Homecoming Week Grind

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The end of The Age of The Virus has brought about a return of “normalcy,” as then-candidate Warren G. Harding famously said during the 1920 presidential election.  Normalcy is good, and I welcome it.

Granted, the world of today is not the same as the world of The Before Times, in the Long, Long Ago.  Widespread lunacy seems to constitute “normalcy,” and the sane among us must do our best to endure it.

But if the The Virus fundamentally transformed the assumptions of our civilization—fear trumps freedom; coercion trumps liberty—the outward trappings of “the good old days” still stretch a thin facade of fun over the face of a conquered people.

So it was that my school celebrated its annual Homecoming this past week.  It was fun, but fun can be a grind!

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Phone it in Friday XXVII: Virtual Learning Hurricane Holiday

Hurricane Ian has been battering Florida, and South Carolina should be experiencing the effects of said battering today, albeit to a vastly diminished degree.  The weather is calling for high winds and lots of rain, but nothing that seems (to me, anyway) particularly dangerous.  I just wouldn’t recommend hanging out underneath any old trees.

Naturally, the slightest degree of inclemency prompts the shuttering of all operations for those of us in the cushier fields like education.  Fear of the “L Word”—Liability—means my administration has opted to close the school today, lest some witless teen driver find himself, wheels spinning, in a watery ditch.

Of course, in this post-The Virus era—here in The Days After The Age of The Virus—there are no longer inclement weather “holidays,” as there were in The Before Times, in the Long, Long Ago.  Now we can hop seamlessly online, teaching and learning from the comfort of our couches.

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Phone it in Friday XXVI: Unschooling with John Taylor Gatto

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about John Taylor Gatto, the teacher who rejected compulsory schooling and argued forcefully in favor of a true education, one unbounded from mass school schemes.  I was on a kick back in the spring of listening to his talks, but hadn’t listened to him much lately.

That is, until the YouTube Algorithm—may it be praised—tossed this video into my feed:

I know, I know—it’s nearly an hour long.  I don’t expect you to listen to it all now (please finish reading this blog post first), but if you’re in the car or warshing (as my girl would say) the dishes, put it on in the background.  It’s a must-listen.

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Hustlin’ with Private Lessons

The school year is back in full swing, and with the brief respite of Labor Day behind me, it’s a long stretch of mind-molding from here until Thanksgiving.

Fortunately, the school year means music lessons, and music lessons—as one former colleague, now retired, frequently reminds me—mean money.

I don’t love money, but I certainly need it.  And love teaching music lessons, so it’s a happy way to bring in some extra bacon while also teaching kids (and adults!) to make music.  There are few things I enjoy  more than nurturing a love of music; if I make a few quid in the process, well, all the better!

The Lord has blessed me with an abundance—perhaps an over-abundance—of lessons.  At the time of this writing, I am sitting at twenty-six lessons a week across twenty-four students.  Scheduling has been a bit of a nightmare, but I think I have it largely figured out (of course, whenever I think that, some conflict arises and I have to play scheduling roulette—ha!).

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Chapel Lesson: Listening

Now that The Age of The Virus is pretty much over, my school has resumed its normal schedule of weekly events, most of which were shuttered during those two, long, pointlessly fearful years.  Part of that schedule is Chapel on Thursday mornings.

Years ago, we had a regular chaplain, a crusty ex-Marine and Episcopal reverend whom I loved dearly (his widow gave me several of his shirts and a leather bag, which I still carry to this day).  After his passing, we went through a parade of youth pastors of various stripes and backgrounds, and briefly brought in a charismatic black man who shouted inspirationally at the students (and frequently showed up late, or not at all).

We now have a young Spanish teacher—a very sweet, unassuming fellow, who is probably six-and-a-half-feet tall—who will serve as our chaplain.  However, he’s a shy man—a gentle giant—and wasn’t quite ready to dive into Chapel this year.  As such, the administration asked me to deliver the first little lesson of the year.

It’s a responsibility I took seriously, but also willingly.  I prayed about what I should cover, and while flipping through a devotional from The Daily Encouraging Word, I found a good lesson from James 1:19 about listening.

It was a good, broad message that is applicable even for non-believers, and I thought it’d make a good, quick lesson for students, who often need to be reminded to listen closely and not to jump to conclusions (many adults—myself included!—need to be reminded of this lesson, too!).  The five tips are directly from the DEW devotional, but I added in some verses I’d been mulling over from Proverbs.

It was remarkable to me how the Holy Spirit placed these related verses in front of me as I was putting this little talk together.  I’ve been reading and rereading Proverbs, reading one chapter a day for each day of the month, and it’s really deepened my understanding of the wisdom contained therein.  It just so happened that there was a great passage from Proverbs 25 the morning I was to give the chapel lesson, so it fit in nicely.

To God Be the Glory!

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TBT^4: Back to School with Richard Weaver

We’re back into the swing of things with the new school year, and as of the time of this writing, I have not yet made my annual dip into the introduction to Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences.  That’s due in part to my morning Bible study, which has taken precedence over other, non-work-related reading, and because I’m weary with how accurate Weaver’s prophetic scribblings are.

I’m by no means black pilled, though.  Sure, things are not good at the moment, but life goes on and God Is in Control.  The solution is not to embrace the black pill, but to take the Christ Pill.

Regardless, we can take some joy in our daily lives while recognizing the real dangers facing liberty and civilization.  Being a Christian shouldn’t have to mean accepting the erosion of religious liberty and the secularization of our culture.  Indeed, we’ve probably been too complacent, especially on the latter point.

As such, Richard Weaver’s insights are still worth pondering today.  Studying the diagnosis could suggest a cure, or at least a course of treatment.

With that, here is 20 August 2020’s “TBT^2: Back to School with Richard Weaver“:

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Phone it in Friday XXIII: School’s Back!

School’s back, baby!  We resumed classes Wednesday, 17 August 2022, a full sixteen days after the poor unfortunates in my county’s public schools resumed (they started back on Monday, 1 August 2022; while the school district has transitioned to a “semi-year-round schedule,” as they call it, it still seems borderline criminal to start school that early).

Just like last Friday’s post, I’m actually filing this one early; indeed, I’m writing it the day before school resumes.  As such, I can’t comment on how this first, abbreviated week has gone, but I can give some insights into what we’re planning on doing, and how I’ve prepared for the start of this year.

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Lazy Sunday CLVIII: School, Part II

Well, the first day of school is coming up on Wednesday, which is appropriate:  all of this weekend’s posts are about that halcyon first day (or week!) of school:

  • First Day of School in The Age of The Virus” – I was really dreading this school year, and this post might reflect that somewhat.  We had to implement a lot of crazy new measures to accommodate The Age of The Virus, most of which have (hopefully) fallen away now.  Still, we made it through, for the most part.
  • First Week of School in The Age of The Virus” (and “TBT: First Week of School in The Age of The Virus“) – Even after a week, I was already feeling a bit better about things.  It was still a bit crazy getting students to wipe desks down every time they entered a classroom, and the technology issues were in full effect (I’d completely forgotten about Loom—thank goodness!).
  • Back to School 2021” – I hate to be negative, but this school year sucked.  But there were some bright moments, too, and I had nearly twenty students for private lessons at one point.  Wooooot!

That’s all for this second edition of school-related posts.  Excelsior!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Lazy Sunday CLVII: School, Part I

Aside from a fairly early issue of Lazy Sunday about education, I haven’t really done one about school.  Now that I’m back to work, it seemed like a good time to revisit some timeless classics about education, school, etc.:

  • Back to School with Richard Weaver” (and “TBT: Back to School with Richard Weaver” and “TBT^2: Back to School with Richard Weaver“) – I used to reread at least the introduction to Richard Weaver’s seminal Ideas Have Consequences, probably the most powerful book I’ve ever read (besides the Bible).  I haven’t read it in some time, but I think it’s time to pick up this old chestnut again.
  • First Day of School 2019” – Ah, yes, the 2019-2020 school year—easily the most unusual school year any teacher has experienced, with the possible exception of 2020-2021.  I was absolutely burned out by the time The Age of The Virus hit in mid-March 2022, and it ended up being a bit of a silver lining (with all due respect to those who suffered and even died because of it).
  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Returning to School in The Age of The Virus” – I grew so accustomed to the freedom of working from home, I was actually really dreading returning to school for the 2020-2021 school year.  It wasn’t that bad overall; 2021-2022 was much more difficult.  But it was certainly an unusual—an unprecedented!—time to be a teacher.  I still feel sorry for those who entered the profession this year.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments: