Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's about those overpaid, underworked teachers

Over the past year there has been an orchestrated attack on government workers, particularly those who belong to unions, people in power blaming the economic condition on the wages and benefits paid to government employees because of their unions. Union-busting is nothing new but this attack legislature by legislature is. Among those being blamed for the high costs of government are police officers, firefighters and teachers.

Teachers, those overpaid underworked educators in an education system that leaves America behind much of the world in terms of academic achievement. Of course it has to be those teachers, imagine getting a full salary for working only six hours a day and only nine months per year. Amazing that some of the most vocal critics can barely spell or form a simple declarative sentence without an error in it. And, of course if they recognize this shortcoming at all, it is going to be the fault of the schools the writer attended.

Well, over my lifetime I have known several teachers very well. Every single one of them amazed me with the amount of work they do outside the classroom, often at home late at night grading papers or planning future lessons, and then there are the continuing education requirements, advanced college courses that need to be completed within certain time frames.

This is not one of those jobs where you go home every night with a sense of closure having manufactured a completed product that day. This is a job that goes on day after day, week after week, year after year with only a vague sense of what has been accomplished. And it is a job that continually throws new situations at the teacher, new children, new problems, new regulations in a constantly fluid and changing environment, always maintaining order no matter what surprises should occur

My friend Gail ran into one of those unexpected events the other day. This is something new for this blog, I am going to let her tell her own story:

"You have not had your full share of life's excitement until you have had a moose run toward you while you are trying to get children onto a school bus!

"Yesterday was another gorgeous, sunny, warm day and the weather made it the perfect spring day. There were sixty children, mostly ages from five through ten, that are in the after school program that I teach. We had the children lined up in two groups to get on the buses, but as we walked them outside, there was a mother moose and her teenaged offspring near the school building. We got the children back into the building - a good trick in itself since the kids were trying to look at the moose. There were little kids trying to go forward and little kids trying to go back, and it was total confusion with a lot of pushing and grumbling going on. Only the people at the front knew about the moose. The rest of us were just confused at this was unusual behavior.

"The two moose were roughly forty yards away from the school bus, and the woman in charge was yelling and barking contradictory orders like a drill sergeant, her voice frantic. "Move it! Move it! No, go back! Get in the building!" Get against the wall! Get back out here! Move! Move! Move!" I was in the back of the line and had no idea what was going on, but was annoyed that she was screaming at everyone.

"Finally she decided that the moose were busy nibbling branches and were far enough away that we could load the students safely if we hurried. One bus was too close to the moose, but the one we needed was a little further away from them, directly opposite the front door of the school. We had to walk thirty little kids about twenty yards in a straight line to the bus.

"The "drill sergeant" kept frantically barking orders at the children to hurry up, and we got the kids on the bus. Just as the last two children were getting on board, the young moose put his head down and started running toward us! The "drill sergeant" and I were the only people outside the bus in his trajectory. The kids were still boarding the bus, but she grabbed me, screaming for me to get on the bus, and she pushed me. I fell on the steps, jumped up, and leaped on board. She kept pushing me and we sort of got on the bus as one unit and stood on the steps inside the door. Hahahahaha. The adrenalin was running rampant for sure!

"Meanwhile, the thirty kids on the bus started screaming at the tops of their lungs when they saw the moose coming toward the bus! We couldn't get them calmed down for what seemed like the longest time. It was pretty awful. The bus driver was on her microphone but it was impossible to hear her. Finally, the "drill sergeant" took the microphone and saved the day. Her familiar voice caught enough children's attention that they quieted. She told them to stop screaming because they were scaring the moose. She told them the moose were looking for a way to get away from the school since there weren't any woods right there to run into. She appealed to their sensitive natures, and the children quieted right down. (The fact that the moose were obviously leaving helped too.)

"The bus driver had managed to close the door as the young moose ran by us. The moose slowed his pace and looked the other way after he passed us. He wandered over to a different spot nearer the front door of the school. At the same time, the mother moose ambled over to him, and they both trotted off down the parking lot and out into the street. Whew!!

"At last the other thirty children were able to come out of the building and get into their bus to go home. It was quite an exciting afternoon!!!

"WOW! The joys of teaching..... Was that in my contract? Hmmmmm, I wonder..... (No matter. It was exciting and fun!) "

Now, was that in the job description of any overpaid, underworked government employee?

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Interesting quotations

· " “Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” Stephen King

The thing about ignornance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeareon Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve