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All posts for the month March, 2019

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Published March 31, 2019 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

What would happen if someone went crazy and no one wrote it down?

I think it might look like a lava lamp eating a sandwich.

And we’re back.

Sorry, Jewel, ask Bradley how I feel

Published March 31, 2019 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

This time last year I was filled with just a smidge more optimism than I am this year. I was so optimistic I began to learn the song “Hands” by Jewel. I downloaded her version, the bluegrass version and the karaoke version.

A year later it shuffled through my play list and the lyric “we’re all ok” came out. I was in my car on my Saturday errands and I said, “I’m not ok, Bradley Cooper!”, harkening back to the day I ruined Midnight Meat Train for BatBeard. (I personally think that Bradley did a good job of that himself, but what do I know?)

There are certain things that are compromising my optimism. I’m exhausted. I spent all last week catching and keeping up with teaching and feeding myself and two cats. I think I have a cold and am praying it’s not the flu because I have to give a math test and a spelling test this week and drag my cherubs through the stages of their writing samples for their files. I also have to get them started on a combination science and social studies project that addresses the big question (that’s a whole blog of its own). The reason I was behind was that I spent the week after Spring Break trying to staunch my tears from missing BatBeard. I got spend four days with him and like Actor Boy says, it doesn’t matter how long the visit is, it’s never long enough. Seeing BatBeard only reminded me how crazy in love with him I am and that he is lucky enough to have a job where he gets to do what makes him happiest, acting. It is just unfortunate that he has to do it so far away from me.

So while tamping all of that down, I was rehearsing my theatre club kids for their first competition. There is a whole lot of detail that I will toss in to another blog. Suffice it to say that I was running on a stream of coffee and not so fantastic leftovers. I think I ate a cold steak finger as I was running from copier to copier to get everything ready.

After all of that, I did find three things that gave me a hint of optimism:

I have a student who is full of questions. Sometimes he’s a pain, but most times they are very good, thought provoking questions. He is the child of survivors of the Rwandan Genocide. He was asking me about how the political environment is affecting racism. (See, I told you they were good questions.) He seemed truly dismayed that he could be judged on the color of his skin. I explained to him that because he has dark skin some may equate him with people of color who have had unfortunate circumstances causing them to commit crimes and possibly felonies. This is because he is African and black he may be misjudged even though his parents would throttle him if he even thought about doing something criminal. It gives me hope that a child who has very few living relatives still finds the concept of racism baffling.

The other thing giving me hope is something I saw on my way back from the errands. Four small boys, probably 8 and 9 years old were walking on the side of the road eating ice cream cones. It was simple thing to do on a Saturday afternoon and it made me happy that, at least for today, it’s safe for them to do this.

And the other. Today a short story I wrote went up for sale on Kindle. I went to see the listing so I entered my name., Lynda Rodriguez into the Amazon search bar. A whole list of things came up. Eight of them were things I have written. Four short stories, two novellas, one play that is available as an audio book. So here I have been feeling that I am not capable of writing a good story. I have written eight.

So, right now, Jewel, I’m Ok. Be sure to tell Bradley Cooper.

Well, what do you say to that?

Published March 28, 2019 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

So Jerry Seinfeld made me feel guilty so I’m trying to eke out some words . Today those words are eking.

As you may know (if you have heard any of my cries and screams) I spend most of my time teaching and/preparing to teach fourth graders. And just like any other teacher at this time of year,I feel like I’m insane.

On an average day, just like all of my harried brethren, I have to teach five different subjects and “Get all of my minutes”- This means an hour of reading, an hour of writing, an hour of math and an hour of either social studies or science. That’s four hours right there. Students also have to get half an hour of P.E. They also have to have Half an hour of music or language. Oh and twice a week they have to have a technology credit. They also need to eat (45 minutes a day) and get from class to class.

So there’s six hours a day, not including the moving from one place to another because no one has figured out a safe way to catapult children from one spot to another. Then there’s the half hour before and after school. Plus at my school I also teach a religion class that means for about nine hours a day, I’m in front of a bunch of nine year olds who not only need constant reassurance and guidance, they also have home lives and baggage that they can’t exactly tamp down on a daily basis.

So I have a relatively small class, but with 11 kids x 5 classes x the equivalent of 2 pages of lesson per class, x 5 days a week= over a thousand pages to grade every week. I also have to plan the next weeks classes with my minutes in mind. I also have to communicate with the parents the dates of any tests or projects or reports that are due, and being the only teacher for my grade I sometimes have to assign and grade two major projects in the same day.

A necessary evil, unfortunately, in each teacher’s life, is the lockdown drill. This is on top of everything else we are doing. I am grateful that at this point it is only a drill. Post drill, it is hard to shove the genie back in the bottle. Today’s drill happened right at the beginning of the day, which was in the middle of reading. We lost 15 minutes because of the drill and then the other 45 trying to get everything back to normal. While I was musing that I would do anything for my students, one of my more challenging cherubs said that he could not do math today because he didn’t like how I make my 5’s.

Seriously.

Well, if Jerry says, it must be true.

Published March 26, 2019 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

According to Writer’s Inc., Jerry Seinfeld says you should do as he does, and schedule a block of time to write even if it’s just for an hour.

Well, here’s the thing Jerry, if I had an hour without a specific focus, like teaching, herding cats, building props, buying food or cleaning my filthy apartment, I would probably be asleep.

I really am trying to write more,especially since it is the side gig that helps me pay for food, because I’m a teacher and I don’t make enough money and I’m too tired to drive for Uber because I’m old and oh yeah, I had a stroke, and if I don’t want to have another one, because, lets be honest, another stroke will probably kill me and I would probably have to die immediately because I only have one sick day left. I have that day left because the TWO times I went to the ER for illness and horrifying head pain, I didn’t take the full amount of time I was entitled to because we don’t have enough subs and I would get even farther behind on my grading.

This whole thing I’m writing now is in the five minutes I have left on my “planning”. I only have five minutes left because I had to make copies and then try to find a diplomatic way to tell a parent that reading has to be done every day.

But, Jerry, if you want me to write, send me some of that Seinfeld money.

I will probably squander it on food and school supplies.