The facts of education are still the same; students who pay attention, really do their homework and participate do well, those who don't, don't. This is what I call a "Duhism" (DUH!) Making kids realize this truism and do something about it is the real challenge. I feel like I'm making some progress at least some of the time; helping a few who haven't been very invested in doing well to realize that a) it isn't all about grades and b) there is something tangible to gain from working consistently on homework and participating actively in class.
I continue to try and gain the trust and share in the success of some students who up until now haven't really "gotten it." I'm not always successful, of course, but I am often enough for me to continue to love what I do and to want to keep doing it. It's those boys and girls "at the bottom of the barrel" who cause me to keep doing that daily routine, hoping each day that I might make a breakthrough with one of them. (Doesn't this sound like a script for every failed tv show about teaching?)
What else makes work fun and interesting? Keeping fresh, trying new things; like beginning classes with relaxing yoga exercises. This can really help to get kids focused and rids the class of a lot of the social / emotional "static" they can bring in the door. (This is especially useful first period in the morning). I've gotten interested in Skype and have luckily been able to make contact with some people in San Miguel de Allende - my favorite place in the world - who are organizing four Skype sessions with a group of my students through the Public Library in San Miguel! I'm thrilled by the prospect and my students are very excited, as are the kids in San Miguel de Allende. Video pen pals have always been a dream of mine, and now I have the chance to make it a reality.
Salt & Pepper continues to be a joy. We're singing at Choate's Alumni Day Memorial Service May 16th and have two other engagements coming up in West Chester, NY and the Regina Lourdes Abbey in Bethlehem, Ct., in addition to a benefit concert at the church where we rehearse on May 30th.
Sally and I continue to see each other as much as possible, and we were lucky enough to be able to spend five days together in San Diego during the first week of my spring vacation and the last week of hers. (She had to be out there anyway for alumnae/development work). It was wonderful just spending time together, reading, watching movies, taking walks, driving up into the wine country. We continue to believe that, although it's not the ideal situation, it is what it is, and we're doing pretty well with it.
So there it is. Life goes on at its petty pace (who said that?) and in spite of its seeming monotony, it still is exciting.