Friday, September 11, 2009

Not just another Friday

Today has significance for a variety of reasons. Of course, all Americans will, no doubt, take a cue from the calendar date to remember their personal experiences related to 9-11. For millions of us, September 11, 2001, remains a spectacle of horrific tragedy.

We sat in the safety of our surroundings, throughout the day, glued to whatever TV was available, aghast, that such a thing could happen to our nation. The most we could do to help that first day was to sigh and cry about the profound sadness and horror of the event unfolding on live television footage.

Our emotions, though deep, could not come close to the off-the-chart levels of those immediately affected by the attacks, those who died, those who lost loved ones, those who ran in horror, not knowing what the next few hours of their lives would bring.

We shall never forget, and on this day every year of our lives, we shall recount our individual memories and bow our heads in honor of those who sacrificed so much at the hands of murdering zealots.

And, as we go about our business, we now take for granted the changes that occurred in our day-to-day travels because of those attacks eight years ago. Many of these security-related nuisances have become a way of life for a nation once filled with maybe too much trust.

But we move on, doing our best and trusting that we'll never encounter such a day ever again in our lifetimes.

On another front, Willie just left to face and welcome his first TGIF as a classroom teacher. He's still working 14-16-hour days to stay merely inches ahead of his students.

That's the way it is for a first-time teacher. The challenges are very similar to those we face in the early spring when by the time we've mowed the grass, it's time to start all over again.

It just keeps coming at you, and, as he said after arriving home at about 8:30 p.m. one night this week, "I got through today; now, I've got to make sure I have something for tomorrow."

His first rude awakening of the demands of teaching came within the first three hours of his teaching career: 90 minutes is a long time in front of a class.

He had two back-to-back 90-minute stretches that first day and said that, by lunch time, if someone had asked his name, he probably couldn't answer. I reassured him that he was not alone in his weariness.

My friend and former Spokesman colleague Dean Miller has just begun a college teaching gig in New York, and on Facebook Tuesday, he expressed the same frustration of "being on" for that long.

Time management and learning to balance teacher work with student work eventually falls into place. They used to tell us that for every class hour we teach, we probably do two hours of preparation, so the first-year crowd like Willie and Dean will definitely have their noses to the grindstone for the next nine months.

But today is Friday, and I can recall what a relief it was to know that we could at least have a few hours on our own to re-invigorate ourselves and get ready for the next week's grind.

Willie won't have a lot of time to breathe this weekend cuz he's going to Boise early, early tomorrow morning and returning Sunday afternoon. But his doggies and his lovely wife Debbie will be there, so that will be good.

The grind continues at a high pace, though, next week because the SHS teachers will teach all day Monday and then have mini-classes for parents that evening.

Definitely a test of mental stamina!

Today is Friday, and that means a weekend of visiting with Annie. She and Willie will almost literally pass in the night. I'll pick her up at Spokane Airport tonight at 8 p.m., get home around 11 (gotta eat dinner), and Willie will head to the airport for a 7:30 a.m. flight.

Annie spent last weekend in New Mexico, so we'll probably hear about that trip. Since beautiful weather is on the schedule, we'll probably have a barbecue here tomorrow night and invite my mother and sisters.

Sunday Willie and Annie will maybe see each other for a few minutes, again passing on their way to and from the airport.

Time is time, though, and we'll all do our best to make the most of it.


On this Friday morning, I found a folder of old student papers, and I must mention to my blogger friend Darlene that among them was a paragraph assignment belonging to Eric Steffensen, period 6.

He had to break one long paragraph into five, using paragraph marks to show divisions, straight lines under topic sentences, wavy lines under clinchers, cross-outs to sentences not belonging and circles on transitional expressions. Looks to me like he did an okay job. So, Darlene, you can pass that on to your hubby from Mrs. Love.

I also found several formal, typed letters written by students to Ed Humble, Kari Daarstad, Steve Neuder, Ralph Sletager, Jim Stoicheff, Betsy Walker, Debbie Heise, Nikki Zimmerman, Mitzy Hawkins, and Bill Chambers. These were penned by seniors in 1989. Their purpose was to learn about these people's careers.

So, since it's Friday, the first of a new school year, here's a test. Anyone who can tell me what each of these people was doing professionally in 1989 gets an A.

On that, I'm going to say adieu and head out to continue my fence-painting job.

Happy Friday, and may we use this day productively in honor and appreciation for those whose lives were cut short eight years ago.

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