Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Home ?

A teaching colleague of mine, whom we'll call "J", stopped by my classroom afterschool the other day. This teacher is in his second year of teaching and I was a bit of a mentor to help him out some in his first year. He just stopped by to say hi. In the course of our conversation, I asked him how things were with his possibly someday significant other, who is living, in his words, "back home." This got me to thinking about something that I faced as a young teacher many years ago and is still being faced by many young, new to the profession teachers. Where IS home ?

My first full-time teaching position was in a public highschool in the Navajo Nation (reservation), Red Mesa High School. When I got this job, my father reminded me that I had stuff in his house, and that I needed to take it with you. "Your Mother and I have plans for your old room," he said. (It became their library). So, I loaded up my stuff and the stuff I had at my parents house and headed off to the beautiful Colorado Plateau country. My living accommodations there was a one bedroom half of an old trailer/mobile home, which was standard teacher housing for many reservation schools. Rent was dirt cheap compared to "back home" in California. It provided me with a place for my stuff.

Have you ever listened to George Carlin's great routine about having a place for your "stuff?" Its worth listening to and like much of Carlin's sctick, many of us can relate to it. Anyhow, I had a place for my stuff and a place to sleep. But it really wasn't "home". Thinking back on it, I didn't really have a "home." By definition, I wasn't homeless, but yet, I didn't have a "home." I was kinda in transition, so to speak. What exactly defines a "home?" I don't know for sure, but I know when I see it. Like right now, my boys, who are supposed to be getting ready for bed, are in our HOME. My lovely wife is getting ready to go out for the meeting/practice of her weekly local singing 'club' We have a home. A place with caring, loving people. Is it people that make a home? Can you have a 'home' by yourself?

How many young teachers leave "home" for their first teaching job and find that there is a chunk of life missing? They have no "home" and this sense of loss is tough. They have to make new friends and find new things to do in the new place they are teaching. How many schools make an effort to assist their new, from someplace different teachers get comfortable in their new locale? (from what I have seen and heard, none - let me know if you know of any). How many colleagues in the school go out of their way to make a new teacher feel welcome? Probably many. But is it "home" for the newbys ?

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