Friday, April 20, 2007


The recent massacre in Virginia and the shooting literally in my backyard at Johnson Space Center today have impacted my view of roots. Being rooted to something or someone should make one feel safe and peaceful. On the other hand, maybe people nowadays don't have strong roots, whether they be family ties, religious connections, or social roots, and perhaps this is a major cause of the violence in our society.

Sometimes there are people who long to have roots and a sense of belonging, so they gravitate to gangs, cults, or other people who give them a false sense of having roots. Additionally, there are those people who have roots they choose to ignore or people who perceive that they have no roots. Perhaps they assume the role of an outcast. This, too, can breed violence.

Do people who are rooted in their value system commit such heinous acts as the ones I have witnessed this week? Apparently, some do.

On a different note, my personal definition of being rooted means to be grounded and at peace. To have a place to call home. To be firm in my beliefs. To feel a contentedness knowing that I have family, friends, religion, and social obligations. To be somewhere for such a period of time that it feels permanent. To feel a conviction deep in my soul that guides my decision-making.

I have been uprooted through no choice of my own before - a situation where all I believed in, all I felt firm about, and all I relied on was completely pulled out from under me. Two situations, actually. When my first husband left me with two small children was the first time I felt rootless. Luckily, my whole life wasn't uprooted, but a good majority of it was. Thankfully, I still had some family, a few friends, and my faith to see me through. But much of what I felt rooted in was taken from me.

The second situation was when my father passed away unexpectedly two years ago. I felt completely alone. He had been my grounding force for my entire life, and I feel less rooted in life in general since he is gone. He was almost as much a rock to me as God is. Notice I said "almost."

A third situation was a choice, but it nonetheless uprooted me. When I remarried two years ago, I gave up my home, geographical closeness to my family, the job, the schools, the church, the friends, and the social support that I had developed. Adjustment has been difficult, but I feel like I am finally starting to develop new roots.

I guess that is one good thing about roots... they regenerate. Roots can take hold again even after the plant has seemingly been destroyed. And we can all bloom where we are planted.

Above picture courtesy of

Friday, April 06, 2007

In the News (for Sunday Scribblings)

What is news?
It’s the 10:00 BAD news!
Late breaking news,
Public interest?
Once I was an avid news-watcher…
I want to be aware of my world…
There is no such thing as news without a slant…
Entertainment news? An oxymoron, and moronic at that!
Since when are entertainers qualified to make world-changing judgments and decisions?
Just the facts, ma’am.
I long for a simpler world,
When news was reported not sold.
TV news… it’s about the ratings.
News – what happened?
There are no more details at this time.
What happened in your city or town today?
Anything good?
Check out the weather and traffic.
Tunnel-vision news,
Take a story and run with it,
Run it in the ground!
Noteworthy or newsworthy?
Current events,
Who lives, who dies?
Who tries?
Who’s being tried?
I am tired.
(photo courtesy of )

Dialing 9-1-1 and other crazy 6th grade shenanigans

I haven't blogged in over a month, but I have to tonight. Oh, what an awful day at work! I swear I feel like a total dummy. I have been teaching middle school (intermediate, junior high) for almost 19 years, and I have never been so terribly embarrassed in all my career as I was today. And not embarrassed in front of the students, but in front of my superiors. They must think I can't manage my classroom and that I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do, and that is not the case.

I have the same students for two class periods. Between the two periods, there is a five minute break in which they can go to their lockers, restrooms, whatever. Teachers are supposed to step into the hall to monitor, and let's face it, sometimes we have to go to the restroom, too.

Today, I did just that. I went to the restroom then stood in the hall for the remaining minute or so. All of a sudden, shortly after the bell as I was going back to my room, all hell broke loose. Two separate incidents. First, I had three boys running around the room. One of them lost his shoe, so they picked it up and started using it as a football. The biggest fellow is running, trips over the legs of a girl sitting on the floor actually doing her work, and falls into one of the smaller fellows who has been out sick for three days with fever and just got stitches in his chin about 5 days ago. Well, the boy with the stitches got knocked into the wall, and his stitches popped open and started bleeding. If that weren't enough, before this even happened, I had a student make five 9-1-1 calls from my teacher phone in a matter of 50 seconds. This was not in response to someone getting hurt. When the boy got hurt, the calls had been made already, so the two incidents were unrelated.

Needless to say, the students are all talking about it, and they never get their facts correct. Due to the 9-1-1 calls, the on-campus police officer was at my room in the course of one minute, and I was totally clueless as to why he was there. I didn't know the girl had made those calls. He was followed in the next minute by an assistant principal and the head-honcho principal. So, I have them there, a kid bleeding while I write him a pass to the nurse, and I have no idea what happened still.

All the students had to make statements, and they were very clear in letting the principal know that when I am in the hall, there is horseplay on almost a daily basis, and that this isn't the first time the girl has played with the telephone. Remember, I am supposed to monitor the hallway between class changes, and I can't see inside my room and do the monitoring at the same time. I will not be doing hall monitoring anymore while these kids are in my room, needless to say.

I was in a meeting about this for 45 minutes after school, and it's not over yet. I can just tell the principal thinks less of me. I've always been the "good" one who is where she's supposed to be at all times, who is on time, who turns in everything on time, doesn't send kids to the office on a regular basis, and so on. Well... these two incidents totally wipe all that off my slate!

I am so angry. And embarrassed. And frustrated. They want us to do things that will make learning fun for the kids, but how can I do that when they can't control themselves for five minutes? I don't know the consequences for the students yet, but I can guarantee I will get some parent phone calls - and why? For doing what I'm supposed to do by monitoring in the hall. They are supposed to go in and sit down, but they obviously don't. The student statements made it clear that there is frequent horseplay in the room between class changes. I guess I won't get to leave to go to the bathroom anymore, and they won't be doing anything but sitting at their desks and working from now on. I know it's not my fault since I was doing what I was supposed to do, but it will appear that I have never told them not to do this - which I have - countless times. The statements from the students make me appear to be an idiot. At least, that's how I feel. And in this litigious day and age, I am afraid someone is going to sue me for being negligent whether I was or not.

I had to get this off my chest. Thanks for reading.


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