Thursday, February 28, 2008

"You can't save them all"

If we've just met, I'm a teacher. I'm many other things, but in most (if not all) of those things, I'm also a teacher.

Yesterday I was venting to one of my colleagues about a specific high schooler in my care, and how I couldn't figure out how to motivate this kid to turn stuff in and pass my class. There was a block there, and I needed to break it, and I couldn't figure out how.

"Story," said my colleague, "You can't save them all. You're young, but you'll learn. You can't save them all."

That's a lesson I don't ever want to learn.

Maybe, in truth, I know that I can't save them all, but that doesn't mean I'm willing to give up on this one, or on any of them. Maybe I can see that in the grand scheme of things, some of them will make the wrong choices and I can't stop them, but that doesn't mean I'm willing to accept that a child at the ripe old age of 15 is just lost and beyond my help. And even if this person is going to continue to make the wrong choices, shouldn't he see me trying to save him? Shouldn't he see that I care enough to try, that someone does? Because even if I don't see it now, mightn't that make a difference at some point down the line?

The truth is, in teaching as in many other things I'm sure, that we often don't get to see who we saved. The ones that we thought hung on our every word are sometimes the ones who slip away while the ones who appear not to care can come back a year later gushy and teary with thanks. Even ten years after I graduated high school, I still look back gratefully at things my teachers gave me, and it's not the things I thought I'd look back on. I wonder if they know that. I hope they do.

So, maybe you can't save them all. But you need to try to save them all. Otherwise, what's the point?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Taxes and such

A few weeks ago, I read an article about the proposed tax stimulus package. Apparently, my husband must have read the same article because he came home that day and said "Hey, did you know we're getting $1200?"

"Yeah," I answered, "What are we going to spend it on??!?"

"Uh," he said (because I've brainwashed him so well), "I figured it would just go into savings...."

"But.... I thought we were supposed to stimulate the economy...."

At which point we both started laughing hysterically.


Then there's my regular taxes. As it turns out, we actually owe some money this year, a sizable chunk. Job #2 picked up a ton this year, and I didn't think to adjust my withholdings at job #1.

Well, the check is written and in the mail because we had the money in savings. And in some ways, I know cognitively that it's better to owe a little than to get a huge refund, but it's just . . . a let down. We're not as far ahead as I thought we were. I know it will be okay, and knowing that $1200 is coming helps, but it's just time to reshuffle again.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Will you get a tax rebate?

Just thought I'd post this calculator for you all so you can figure out if you have a rebate coming to you. Commentary to follow.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cool new way to donate for free

In case you haven't heard of it yet, check out Free Rice. By taking vocabulary quizzes, you trigger advertiser donations to a charity that provides rice to people in need. It's fun, easy, and strangely addicting.

Go help!