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At school on Saturday

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm here at school on Saturday, firing the kiln. This is a bisque firing - meaning the first firing of the clay objects. We have to bisque fire before we can glaze - and then we need a glaze firing, which I can do in a school day. But with a bisque firing, I like to put in everything, prop open the lid, leave the peep holes open, and fire just one element on low overnight. The next day (today), I turn the kiln up half a notch every half hour. Really. That slowly. But it prevents breakage.

Anyway, my students made things for holiday gifts. If I fire the greenware today, it can all be glazed on Monday or Tuesday, fired, and ready for students to take home Wednesday or Thursday. So that they'll have all their items finished. If I don't do the bisque firing today, well, things may not be finished in time for Christmas or Kwanzaa.

Okay, so the big question is why. Why am I at school on a Saturday, my Sabbath, as well as my day off.

Because I hate disappointing my students. I hate disappointing kids in general. But my students are MY kids this year - and some of them are my kids for two years. Even when they are no longer in my class, some of them are still my kids. And I don't want to be the adult they are disappointed with (or in?). They have rough lives - many live in single parent families or with a guardian other than a parent; many live below the poverty level, or in housing projects; most know someone or have a family member in jail, or on drugs, or who was murdered. By the time they hit age 21, possibly one quarter of my kids will be in jail or dead themselves. That's how it seems having worked here for 23 years.

So I do as much as I can for my kids, while they are mine. That's all parents can do, that's all teachers can do. Do as much as we can, while the kids are with us. And hope that by the time they move on, they know what they need to do to survive in our communities, and they know how to be productive.

That's why I'm here at school on Saturday, for something like 4 to 6 hours, until the kiln sitter cone melts and shuts off the kiln.

That's why I wanted to go down to the street fair last night in town, where my school's steel pan band was playing, where I ran into former and current students, where I got a lot of hugs from kids whose lives I've touched.

Because it reminds me why I'm a teacher. And it reminds me that I didn't disappoint my kids.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    of course honey. And indeed isn't it also part of the Sabbath? DH likes to say it is easy for folks like us to work extra hours and feel like we should do more. "More" has high potential to save and positively change lives, and it is educational, and it gave you peace.

    Have a wonderful week sweetie.
    2620 days ago
    emoticon for taking the time to help make your student's holidays special.

    2621 days ago
    It is really cool that you care so much for your kids - that is so important for them. Thanks for being a teacher and caring so much!!
    2622 days ago
    Good for you: I salute that level of commitment. You cannot know what a difference you may make in the lives of your students.
    2622 days ago
    Thanks for loving the kids who need someone to love them and doing things you don't want to, to see the smiles on their faces. While you shouldn't have to raise other people's children, the world is a better place because you do.
    2622 days ago
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