Monday, September 28, 2009

Furlough Fridays Turn into Frantic Fridays

While I do agree that the various departments need to cut their budgets to meet what is in the State coffers, I think that the scheduling of the Furlough Fridays cut into the student learning cycles with shorter weeks on an inconsistent basis.

It would appear to me that it would be better to consider attaching the furlough days to intersession and vacation periods. Parents can plan for extended days off rather than sporatic days here and there. As a teacher, I could plan for student work during the longer vacations so that students can do independent or directed studies activities at home...for high school students - research papers, papers requiring interviews of people in the community, art projects, the reading of tandem novels, poetry chapbooks. Many, many things could be planned to put the extended days off into real use for the students to explore, spend more time thinking and working on projects.

But what is common sense does not always seems to be the choice plan of action. It is noble of some schools to continue to run school with the teachers working for free. Despite all the public thrashing of teachers, this is really a noble act. People who are not in the field don't see the daily sacrifices teachers make for their students. But of one caution to these teachers who are willing to work for free, it would behoove them to check if they will be covered by State insurance should something happen while working outside of the State contract.

Let's hope that the financial straits we are in are a temporary measure. Rather than grumbling, we need to take action to resolve the situation beginning with the individual homes...more careful consumption, more conservative spending, better use of our resources, more consideration of our less financially able neighbors and friends. We cannot do everything but each of us can do something.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Anticipation, Expectation, Dejection, Revelation

It is kind of funny how we might scheme to do something, plan for it, look forward to it, consider all the positive outcomes and when the event occurs we fall flat on our faces...things did not turn out as they were planned.

That is what happened to me this weekend. I had a whole bunch of things I had sewed or embroidered and the leftovers were taking too much space in my two closets. I had to get rid of the extra inventory. So I wrote up a classified ad and had it submitted to the local newspaper. We were going to have a garage sale with discounts of 20-50% off!! What a deal? Only thing, people would have to drive waaaaay out of their way to Glenwood...a whole 20 miles out of Hilo, a whole 20 minutes of their time to get to our ranch. We posted our company sign on the front fence of our yard.

That morning began at 5:15 am. We got up and started putting up the clothes. I would say we had over 100 pieces of clothing including bikini tops, bathing suits, cowboy hats, men's and women's shirts, mu'umu'u, and all of that. The day was beautiful. The sun was shining and the cool Glenwood breezes were so refreshing. By 10 minutes to 9:00, our sale start time, I had worked up a sweat. 9:00 came. 10:00 came. 11:00 came. 12:00 came. I went into the house for lunch and still, not even a rustle of cars even slowing down as the millions of cars passed our house either going to Volcano or going to Hilo.

Finally, at about 10 to 1:00 a car drove up. It was a parent I knew from Mountain View School. We chatted. She reminded me several times I needed to do something about our welcome goose that had fallen on the side of the road. Put a rock or brick to keep the goose stand steady, she advised. So she left without even walking near the clothes racks. I walked down the driveway and put a brick on the goose stand.

I walked into the house and told my husband about what a bust our plans to get rid of all of the old inventory were. His eyes were glued to the TV as he courteously nodded. He was watching his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and USC was marching down the field under the direction of a FRESHMAN quarterback. OSU was ahead but USC was march, march, marching down...84 yards in 12 plays under the direction of a FRESHMAN quarterback. Oh well, I muttered, we wasted $66.40 on our classified ad. He kept his eyes glued to the USC march downfield and made soft wimpering sounds as expressions of sympathy. But Damn...USC made a touchdown!! OSU lost its chance to be the first Big 10 team to beat USC in a million years!!

Defeated, I walked upstairs to my office and started doing some work. 2:00 came. 3:00 came. No other customers came. Am I going to be depressed that no one wanted to buy my clothes? Did anyone care that I spent $66.40 on advertising? I went back outside. The skies were blue. The Glenwood breezes gently blew between the clothes hanging. The clothes were glad to be in the sun and fresh air! I got my homework done. It was a beautiful day. Heck, even veteran apparel companies like Reyn Spooner had garage sales to get rid of old inventory...and they had 1000s of shirts and dresses for sale. I'm lucky I did not have 1000s of items to get rid of. Yeah...and turned out to be a beautiful day after all.