Thursday Notes

An interesting piece at CNN today, written by a teacher, describes the difficulty teachers have in working together with parents in the best interest of students. The undisciplined, rights-over-responsibility mindset that dominates in our culture has caused a catastrophic breakdown in many schools. The teacher describes how parents are increasingly turning up with lawyers for meetings with principals and teachers regarding students’ behavior.

You can’t do anything in schools where this kind of mindset rules among parents. It’s little wonder that the average teaching career spans a little more than four years. Burnout is high when teachers have to walk on eggshells, are not allowed to maintain discipline, and where parents enter a school year with their elbows out.

Obviously, multiple factors play into the overall downfall of American education. When some teachers make headlines weekly in this country for sexual involvement with their students (one news site has a running list just of the female sexual predator/teachers who have been criminally charged. It is mind-blowing) it is plain that the breakdown of family and morals has consequences at all levels of society, and education is no exception. When parents refuse to grow up and take responsibility, and when children are taught zero respect for authority, it cannot end well.

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Into an otherwise mundane work day, Tom and an organist colleague brought some musical beauty yesterday. I acquired a babysitter and left everything for a noon hour concert at the Cathedral in downtown Milwaukee. Lake Michigan was at its most beautiful, and the music was heart-lifting.  Tom played the regal Prelude to the Te Deum by Charpentier.

And the lyrical side to the trumpet and organ was heard in the lovely Bist Du Bei Mir (If You Are With Me.) – J.S. Bach. Thanks, men, for such a wonderful lunch hour.

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Very abruptly, the days are getting shorter. It’s 6:50pm and it’s dusk. It was down to 43 degrees two nights ago. Time for the warm pajamas, at least this week. Next week, we may need summer ones, as this time of year you just never know.

I pulled my acorn people out of the hutch yesterday. Every year they sit on the piano. They’re my Dollar Store tribute to fall, along with my scarecrow Welcome sign for the front door. I also put my autumn colored runner on the dining room table with a candle that smells like pumpkin pie. Not to rush things, but I do love this time of year. Soon I can write entirely  new posts filled with rhapsodic prose on the glories of autumn. “October is my favorite month of them all. Flaming trees, alive with color, the spicy scent of leaves as they crunch under your feet…”

School has started again. Will is a sophomore with plenty of challenging classes to keep him busy. He has also been asked to play the organ to accompany his dad for two separate events, so that is exciting news.

Emmy has school, too. She gets books off my shelves, kicks back on the sofa and “reads.” She’s had Dante’s Paradiso out, wrong way up, of course, and seems drawn to my Russian history section of books, Lenin’s essays in particular. I’ll have to balance her out with Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind from Burke to Eliot when she’s through with the Russian revolutionaries. In between her literary efforts, Emmy can be found with her chunky crayons at her pink Dora the Explorer table she received as a gift for her birthday. She has also learned her first color. You guessed it, it’s pink!