Sunday, October 18, 2009

If You Have Done It For The Least Of These

I found out today that the food pantry at church is empty. Mine is not a small church. The other large church in our town has a dwindling pantry, too. I should have suspected this. Many people have reached the end of their unemployment and there is no work here.

It was very humbling to have a college degree and a license in 2 states and still be unable to find work. I am employed now, but make about a quarter of what I made 3 years ago. Others may not have my resources.

I guess what I am trying to say is this, if you are a member of a congregation, inquire as to the state of your church's food pantry. See what you need to round up to donate. If you don't belong to a church, check out other local agencies that provide food for your community.

If we all do a little we can ease the suffering of other. I am about to see, right now, what I have to share.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This is the time of year when teachers are required to update their training. Last weekend I spent time training for my teaching job at Sylvan Learning Center. The rest of this week I was off at a TACS training conference, updating my skills for my job at Woodlawn. I attended numerous helpful, informative classes.

All this training reminded me of some other teaching conferences that I have attended.

I once attended a training conference for my short-lived job working for Shelby Co. public school system. I knew instantly how they regarded their new teachers. Their schedule was so tight that there was no time for a bathroom break and if I wanted a lunch I should have brown-bagged it because there was no time to drive to a nearby fast food restaurant.

My first impressions were correct. The sessions were more about a show of authority and less about providing information about classroom management or teaching techniques.

I taught for 8 years in West Memphis public schools. I did sit through a few good classes, but the basic in-service trainings should have been outlawed under the rules of the Genevia Convention. They were basically ways to cover themselves in an environment of political correctness.

I spent the first 3 days of every school year knowing one thing; I was being paid essentially, to stay awake. I used many methods to try to achieve this end. Once I spent several hours attempting to keep one foot, then the other, about 2 inches from the floor. If I could hold up the foot, it would be impossible to fall asleep, which would have brought down the wrath of my principal.

On another occasion I spent an afternoon doodling in a notebook, hoping that everyone would think I was eagerly jotting information. In fact, I figured that as long as my hand was moving, I couldn't fall asleep. I eventually began drawing large circles on the pad, hoping to fight slumber. What was the session about? I don't know. I just remember a social worker on the stage reading her lecture from a spiral notebook. She never made eye contact with her audience and her monotone voice was like a lullaby. I barely was awake when I exited the building, walked across the parking lot, and headed for home.

I have to say that the sessions I attended last week were much more entertaining and far more helpful for any teacher.

Well, I'm all trained up and ready for action. I wonder what the kids will throw at me this year.