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Teaching Lessons Outside The Classroom

Posted Jul 13 2012 2:21am

A lot of people ask what the heck I do at a school twelve months out of the year, when the staff and students are off having fun for the summer.

Unfortunately, bills need to be paid, inventory needs to be ordered, outside events occur, and there are a whole slew of random tasks I am probably forgetting that need to be performed in order for education to ensue when the building is actually in session.

So, alas, there are a few of us who are still in operation year-round, regardless of the typical school calendar.

The others who are left in my office LOVE the summer months; they love the quiet, relaxing, less frequent dramatics within our four walls.

I personally, would much rather have the students.

I first got into this field by working in an alternative program; where kids who could no longer “handle” being in the mainstream system, and were sent to me for disciplinary action, personal growth, and credit recovery.

My typical population consisted of those who got suspended too many times for similar offenses against school policy, couldn’t maintain grades or appropriate attendance, or just needed more help than others.

That was quite possibly the best job I ever had in my life.

The personal connections I made with my kids were amazing and most days I came home feeling like I had some sort of positive influence on their lives.

Don’t get me wrong, there were certainly times where I was ranting and raving, ready to pull my gosh darn hair out because I felt so helpless or disappointed with the kid’s decisions, actions, whatever, but for the most part, I absolutely adored the adolescents I worked with.

I moved into my current position because of the opportunity it presented and the immense pride I have for this district.

Both my husband and I graduated from here and we loved our experiences so much, I just wanted to stay involved with the staff I am close to, and ensure that the school is appreciated as much as it should be, but summer is making me sad because I miss the part of my job I love the most; my kiddos.

In my role I have different interactions with the kids, since I am primarily responsible for the financial transactions that happen within the student body, but I do get to see a few throughout the day who come to deposit money for their clubs, or have to pay a bill for a fundraiser, etc.

I doubt they like this but I almost always keep them in my office a few minutes extra just so I can chit-chat and catch up on how they are doing on a more personal level outside being the Pep Club Treasurer.

I can’t help it, I love conversing with that age group!

Anyway, something I realized was that although I would do anything in the world for my students, and have the best intentions within my heart, I am not necessarily the best influence on them.

I mentioned in past posts many of who I was teaching in alternative ed. had drug abuse issues.

There I was discussing the importance of abstaining from their addictions; how it could ruin their lives, etc., when I was doing the same damn thing in a different form.

Although it is not as blatant now, since I don’t typically have drug and alcohol discussions with those who walk through my door (more monetary talk, which is way less exciting), I am still not a portrayal of the lives I would want for the youth of America.

I want to be a role model, not an example of what NOT to do with your existence.

Even look at how I worded that last sentence…

I don’t want people to merely EXIST…I want these teenagers to LIVE, EXPERIENCE and ENJOY life as successful (law-abiding ;-) ) citizens.

But I am not mirroring that in my own life, so I really do need to evaluate my lessons (and blog posts) and determine how to achieve these things personally.

It is one thing to preach about the importance of balance, maintaining a healthy life-style, listening to your heart and following your dreams, but isn’t it just words if you aren’t really emulating the advice?

It isn’t that I CAN’T do it, because there have been times when I have been proud of who I was and pleased with the path I was on, but in the past few years those things have not even been within the realm of my reality.

Instead I face the ugly negativity that comes with addiction and being controlled by something other than myself, which truly does hold me back from SO many things.

What I want for others should also be what I want for ME.

If being a role-model is that important, and something I would like to be, then there are a lot of changes that need to be made within the world of CJ.

This is a pretty obvious fact, but in this fight, I need a daily reminder of what I am losing in order to stay focused.

Here’s to a good, ED free weekend ;-)


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