Tag Archives: Fair Share

School’s Out. . . For Summer!

Yeah, dudes. Today is the last day of school for students and teachers who are part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system.

Which means that Hyper Lad and I are free for the next couple of months.

Well, really, Hyper Lad is free. I’m just sad.

As you might remember, I’ve been working as a Title I Tutor at Awesome Elementary here in Charlotte for the past almost complete school year. And, honestly, I don’t remember when I’ve had a more fun work year.

It was a treat, a joy, an appallingly wonderful experience to interact with these little dudes and dudettes, their teachers and the school in general during this school year. I really had a hard time holding it together over the last week or so as I considered that this might be the last time I see some of them.

The deal is that the funding for my job is from a federal source, which means it’s not the most stable source around. It could have been offset by the state, but it’s cutting more than 400 teacher assistant and tutor positions around the state in the coming school year. Personally, I think that’s extremely short-sighted. They’re exchanging a happier future for a slightly more solvent present, all so they can avoid making the hard choices like antagonizing their major campaign contributors by making the rich pay their fair share.

I’ll get down off my soapbox now. Sorry.

Anyway.

With the funding for my position gone, so am I. Which means I won’t be around to watch as the younger kids keep growing and learning and turning into young men and young women. I won’t get to watch the fourth-graders prepare themselves to become middle schoolers.

I enjoyed working with all of these students, but there are a few that will remain my favorite. These are kids who really worked hard, who had a spark in their eyes, who loved to learn, or learned to love it. These are the kids who had to overcome even more obstacles than did most of the kids at this mostly-poor school.

I watched them overcome so much, and helped as much as I could. And now I’ll not get to see them as they keep working and keep growing.

Oh, I will be back at least a little bit. I mean, I just can’t go cold turkey. But I’ll only be there as a volunteer and not there as a worker or someone who sees them everyday.

Still, I can’t thank the teachers, students and administrators from Awesome Elementary (known in it’s more everyday guise as Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School). I really feel like I should have been paying them over the course of the year. I’ve come to care about them more than I ever thought possible. Come to depend on seeing their smiles and hearing their voices.

And, for me, as of today, they’ll all be gone.

I don’t pretend that any of them will really miss me, or wonder all that much about me come next year, but they will be on my mind. Dwelling in the small space they dug for themselves deep in my heart.

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The Wisdom Of Football Coaches? Not So Fast, My Friend

Let me tell you, that blog over at coldsores.com has some of the best posts I’ve seen in my many years of writing. I don’t care that they haven’t put up anything new in several weeks, they’re going to be tough to beat in any competition. . . Ah, coachspeak. Where every opponent is the best you’ve ever played against and your team that has steamrolled through the season is weak and suspect.

Having played football through high school, I did manage to get exposed to my fair share of the. . . unique insights available to football coaches. (I’m thinking a lot of them who coached my generation were playing without helmets for a bit too long.) I still remember the head coach of my junior high football team. Coach Keith liked to parade around in sneakers and shorts in the summer and in the winter. Lots of brainpower there, I’m guessing.

One of my favorite coachspeak expressions has always been “There’s no I in team” to which I’d always mumble, “but there is a me.” Of course, what they wanted was for you to take away that you should be playing for team glory, not the individual.

Remember, these men are supposed to be molding young dudes into fine, upstanding older dudes. I talked to my dad, who played football for the Florida Gators, as well as Barry and a few others and these are the best bits of coachspeak advice we could come up with. And, of course, by best I mean worst.

Rub some dirt on it, you’ll be fine.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Call on a mule, he kicks. Call on a thoroughbred, he runs.

Kick the tires and light the fires.

Don’t think; react.

Hit anything standing.

If it does not kill you it will make you stronger

Duct tape can fix anything

I don’t care how much it hurts, the team needs you

Character overcomes adversity

Not sure what kind of molding is being done here, but I’d hate to meet the dude who actually lived up to all of these. Are there any more I missed?

— Richard

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