Zamenhof Day!

“Al vi ni sendas bondezirojn niajn,
Kaj volas por vi bonegaĵojn ĉiajn.
Feliĉa estu en tiu ĉi vintra tago,
Kaj progresadu dum la Nova Jaro!”

Traduko in la Angla lingvo:
“We send to you our good wishes,
And want for you goodness of every kind.
Be happy on this winter day,
And continual progress in the New Year!”

This is the little rhyme that my Esperanto class used on our greeting cards this year. We had the Esperanto version on one side and the English translation on the reverse. We used ribbons to attach them to little treat bags that we put together for the foreign language teachers at the nearby high school, signing our club name and “Future Foreign Language Students” since our middle school feeds into that particular high school. I hope the teachers liked them. They probably didn’t realize this, but these were delivered to the high school on Zamenhof Day (December 15)–the 150th Birthday of Esperanto’s inventor/author.

Speaking of which, did anyone tune into Google on the 15th? If so, you were treated to this lovely Esperanto flag for the occasion:

See? Less obscure with each passing day!


I Got It

I went to one of the local high schools today to meet with a very pregnant English teacher. I substituted for her one day last week as sort of a trial run to see if I could be a good fit for her classes while she’s out on maternity leave. To make a long story short, I’ve got the job. It starts the first week of January and will run through mid-April. And when she comes back, she wants to teach three days a week, meaning that I’ll have the opportunity to continue for the other two days until the end of the school year. Did I mention that she works part time? So I’ll be teaching only in the mornings—only three classes. Two periods are identical sections of marginally motivated 11th graders who I will have for American Literature. I’m far more worried about the third class: AP Language and Composition. I’m not concerned so much about the course content, it’s just that I’ve never taught AP before, and I want to make sure I give these kids the best preparation for the Big Test as possible. They are all college-bound seniors and have a lot riding on this test. Please wish me luck!

Since I’m working in the mornings, I’ll probably even be able to continue teaching after-school Esperanto at the middle school on Wednesdays. My students there are dwindling, but it’s still the highlight of my week.

Although it will be nice to have steady employment for the coming months, the part time wage of a substitute teacher is nothing to get especially excited about. That’s really not the reason I’m accepting this position. The larger attractions are that it will give me the opportunity to actually get to know kids again (instead of just seeing them as nameless faces for random days here and there). It will allow me to meet and make some impressions on faculty, some of whom might be willing to write a recommendation for me at the end of this road. It triggers the right for me to request an official observation from the administration—a key element for job applications—and one that’s surprisingly difficult for short-term subs to arrange. And, hopefully, I’ll be able to arrange to work for a month or so as a student teacher for one of the history teachers in the afternoons—meaning that I can accomplish the “pedagogy assessment” that’s required to get my History endorsement (I’ve already passed the content test). If I can become successfully endorsed in History, other dominoes will fall: specifically my Social Studies and Mid-Level Humanities endorsements. I could be going into the summer (job hunting season) with four endorsements this year instead of the single one I had last summer. Add those endorsements to recent observations and recommendations, and I will be in a far stronger position to find a full time teaching job for next year.

I gotta go start reading.

To Future Friends

I believe we all have a friendship style, and mine is very low key. I’ve never been the kind of person with dozens of friends buzzing around, friends for every type of occasion. I have more often found myself with just a few, good friends at any given time. Sometimes they’ve been available to me; sometimes not, so I have concurrently come to rely upon and enjoy my own company. I’m just as happy to go to a restaurant or a movie all by myself as I am with others. I’ve never understood people who endure the company of people that they later spend their time picking apart rather than just going solo. For some people, clearly, that “picking apart” is part of the fun. In fact, I could see myself falling into that unkind habit, so it’s just as well that I don’t pursue a lot of shallow friendships.

Last year, I lost a good friend and I still don’t know why. She suddenly—quite suddenly—decided to sever contact, and has never responded to any of my attempts to communicate with her since then. I’ve gone over our final, cordial email exchange dozens of times to try to discover something that could have offended her. Nothing. One minute we were making plans to get together that evening, the next she no-showed me and now no longer responds to my calls or emails. It’s a puzzle, but it’s not a tragedy. After all, the last thing I want to do is pressure someone into continuing a friendship if their heart is not in it. Still, it hurts that I don’t know what happened after all these years.

This year, I lost another good friend. In this case though, it was my choice. This person has been a huge part of my family’s life in recent years, but, recently, I came to my attention that she holds a very low opinion of my husband. I certainly don’t require my friends to also be my husband’s friends, but I also don’t feel like I can invest time in a friendship with someone who believes, after observing one unfortunate incident, that the man I’ve lived with and who has loved and supported me for more than 20 years is a Bad Person (I’m not sure if she believes him to be evil, but it might go that far). Even if that weren’t a deal breaker (which it is), she also allowed her opinion to make its way, albeit indirectly, to my son. And that, I’m afraid, is simply unforgivable (not that she feels any regret about that happening anyway). My son and my husband have a complicated relationship as it is, and I don’t need to bring any adults into the mix who are going to disrupt the work we’ve done to establish a peaceful family. No.

So, anyway, it’s getting a bit lonely around here. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some new people and try some new things. In fact, I think it’s getting easier to meet potential friends now that kids are getting older and people seem to have a bit more time. We shall see.