Sunday, June 26, 2011

Week 25 of 52

This is the 25th week of my 52 Project but it is also the 36th and last week of school. The students have all gone home for the Summer. There are so many song lyrics that come to mind with the end of school and coming of Summer Vacation. The first, is the classic by Alice Cooper, School's Out for Summer. It comes to mind just as Alice sang it, in that heavy metal, shock rock manner, screaming and raging in excitement at the end of authority. When Alice sang this song his point of view was of the students. I am here to tell you that many of the teachers, staff and administrators are thinking and sing that song as well, in the same manner and vigor.

For us on this level of education, primary K-12, there is a small transitional period where we wind down, close out and purge the current year to prepare for the coming year. This is usually done on our 'Pupil Free Day'. A day just like it sounds, there are no students and we can focus on non student tasks like, completing student records, turning in materials, packing up equipment and prepare the room for summer cleaning. This year we lost our 'Pupil Free Day' to the budget cuts, so many of us have found ourselves with a lot of stuff still to do. The next song that comes to mind is War's Summer which reflects all of the activities and feel of a California Summer, which is never really far from memory. The song is sort of the prelude of things to come.

As summer vacation days loom, and we say good-bye to our duties, I was a little more focused on the theme of the MCP 52 Project. Week 25's theme was Crave or Craving. We are in a rush to meet deadlines to students, parents, families and district offices to get report cards, last minute transfers, collect textbooks, annual reports and other materials before the all offices close. So I was craving more time so that my professional duties don't spill into the summer. I was craving, spare time for photography, bike rides, reading, sitting in the sun or just sharing a meal with friends.

This week's photo show you my craving. It also, fits my theme for 2011, Structure. There is nothing more structured than time. There never seems to be enough of it, nor can it be replaced so I am always craving it. I shot this in black and white to give the feel of age. Old photos are usually in black and white. Time is also black and white. Once it is gone... it is gone! When I finish all of my house cleaning duties on Tuesday is week I will be thinking of the song by Sly and the Family Stone, my all time favorite, Hot Fun in the Summertime. I hope you enjoy this photo along with my others on my flickr site. Enjoy your summer, I know I will. If you don't know these songs, please click on them and listen. I will see what I mean.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week 24 of 52

This weeks photo is from the end of an evening at the celebration of the ending of another school year. Last Friday was our staff's End-of-the-Year Social at Tony P's in the Marina. This school year has tried the patience and the will of everyone from student to staff to parents. And as we close the year, one week left, we are still waiting for the July 1st reduction-in-force notices (pink slips) to go out. We will not know who we will be working with when we return in August and September. So we celebrate what we do have, one teacher's reduction-in-force notice was resended, two programs reinstated, we work with pleasant and kind people and the best behaved students in the city. We often think about what we have lost or will loose. We rarely look at what we have and how good it is.

The End-of-the-Year Social is a time to do just that. We laugh at each other, at our students, their parents. We fill in the other side of tales half told. We check in our colleagues family, boyfriends and spouses. We talk about parenting, the budget deficit and summer plans. It is a time to blow off some steam. As someone once said, "It is a time to drink mash and talk trash." So that's what we did. After this, the final week of work, with all of its stress, tension, irritations and last minutes requests from everyone, really doesn't seem that big of a deal.

This week's photo is from the end of that celebration. This is the remains of what the School Administrative Assistant's mother, (did you follow that?) would drink at the end of dinner. This was a surprise to her daughter too. This is coffee and Patrón (tequila). Yes, coffee and tequila. I was ordering straight Patron, and the waiter, Paul, asked if I wanted the Patrón Coffee? "What's that?", I said, and then said, "never mind, bring it." Well this is Patrón XO Coffee Liquer. You can either do Patron with a coffee back or mix. If you take the shot, it kinda like a tequila toostie roll. By that time of night, doing two things is way to much, so I mixed it and it was wonderful. It's when I realized I needed to shot something for Week 24. The MCP 52 Project's theme was Make it Tasty. Well, it was. It was a tasty drink and a tasty night. Structure, my 2011 photography theme, is this end-of-the-year ritual of sharing a job well done with colleagues. Enjoy the drink, the photos, an time with friends.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Week 23 of 52

This week was me preparing for iFest. I am on the Board of CUE LA which stands for Computer Using Educators of Los Angeles. Our big project is the CUELA TechFair held annually in November. This year, I missed that meeting, but we decided to put on an iFest. A mini conference about iDevices, iPhones, iPads and iPods and their use in the classroom. Well, the Board does all of the prep, the name tags, the programs, registration, coordinator volunteers, set up rooms, set up breakfast, raffle, and the break down all that you set up and it all begins a week before the conference and finishes about two hours after the conference is over. Your life as you know it takes a back seat. Well for me the first thing that took a back seat was my 52 Project Photography.

The MCP 52 Project theme this week was Enchantment. And my theme of Structure. I had something I was going to shoot but was wrapped up in the getting things completed for the iFest, I completely forgot. I was so worried about getting the work finished, getting to bed on time to get up and be at the site by 6:00 a.m. the morning of that shooting anything, even with my iPhone. So, this week I had nothing to submit to MCP I'm posting a photo I took in December 2010 at a Winter get-together. And I ask the question, What can be more enchanting than a gingerbread house? Structure? What's a good definition of structure but a house? I liked it. Hope you do too.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Week 22 of 52

As I squeeze this blog entry in to my life I realize how much of my time is spent doing things that I'm trying to hold up. When I left teaching to work at a school as a coordinator of programs, I found that I was coordinating more than just programs. I was doing what most Coordinators do which is the last item listed in the job description, 'other duties as assigned'. Because of this, I equated my job as being a plate spinner.

As a child, Sunday night entertainment was The Ed Sullivan Show. This was back when we had only three TV channels and everybody watched the same thing because that's all there was to watch. Ed Sullivan brought the world to your living room. Dancing Russian bears, Polish acrobats, a Italian hand puppet named Topo Gigio, and a Spanish hand puppet named, Señor Wences. Wenceslao Moreno, the puppeteer for Señor Wences, would usually end his act with a juggling and plate spinning. As a plate spinner, you are watching all of the plates so you can attend to the next one that needs spinning in order to keep it on the stick and everything up and going.

As a Principal of a small elementary school, I've found that I have expand my act. I'm still spinning plates but I've added juggling knives, chainsaws and live kittens, dancing and a few singing gigs. All of this seems necessary to do my job and live my life the way I thinks I want to live, so I keep going. According to Joyce Meyer, Christian author and speaker, once said, "Ninety percent of life is maintenance." If 90% of life is maintaining what you already have, the wise thing to do would be not to add anything more without taking something out. But that is not how I have learned to live my life. So, by adding in something that I want to create needs to come from the 10% of my life to do so. I'm not great in math, but that doesn't leave a lot of time.

This weeks MCP Project 52 theme is Reflection. I've been reflecting on many things even if I didn't take a picture of me doing it. So I selected a picture of an structure, my 2011 theme on the 4th Street wall of the Santa Monica Place Mall. You can see the small reflections in each one of the balls in this structure. If you are interested in the other photos of I took this week please visit my flickr site and enjoy.