Wednesday, September 28, 2005

True Stories from the Hood

I'm gonna type this verbatim from two bus referrals of this week:

Driver comments: "When I was stopped at a red light, Ernesto yelled out the window at a vehicle next to us, screaming 'Crackhead' at the driver. Then he tried to mess with the air-conditioning vents, even though they are clearly marked 'Don't touch - Hands off!' He refused to sit down even though I was yelling at him to take a seat. Please put him off my bus for a long time."

Action taken: Conference with student.

One day later...

Driver comments: "Ernesto boarded the bus, went to the rear of the bus but didn't sit down. I asked him three times to take a seat. He refused. Then he began making his way to the front. I asked him what he was doing since he was going against the flow. He yelled back, 'None of your business!' He continued to force his way through people to get to the front and then left the bus. I recommend he be put off the bus for the year because of his previous trouble and his totally disrespectful attitude. He should also be prohibited from even stepping into my bus because he likes to temporarily board the bus and call for his friends to join him in taking a DART bus. All this does is make boarding impossible for the rest of my riders."

Action taken: Removed from the bus one week. Return to bus 10/3/05.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I want to apologize to legions of you who are fans of my blog.

I've been busy.

My total student count sits at 192 now. Last weekend I had a stack of papers 6 inches tall to grade. Plus, it was the end of the six weeks and grades had to be averaged.

It is taking a toll physically and mentally. I'll try to make it up to you. In the meantime, say a prayer for me as I cope with this ludicrous situation.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

This was going to be a post to elicit sympathy for me. After an exhausting week with my overcrowded classes, I basically spent the weekend grading papers.

But we just returned from a Bible Study and as usual, we went around the room asking for prayer requests. There was Stella, telling us about her friend, June, who has been battling cancer for a long, long time. June begins a new round of chemo this week. Nine treatments.

There was Fran, informing us that her sister, Jan, has a very arthritic spine, beset with bad disks and bone spurs. Jan battles pain every day, but needs two more years of work in order to qualify for her retirement package...and her insurance situation is miserable.

So let's put it all in perspective. I will survive school with God's help. But I have no problems. Just blessings with some of them disguised as problems.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Typical Saturday

7:15 Woke up, having enjoyed an extra two hours of sleep.

8:00-10:00 Finished mowing the yard and weedeating...had started the task las night.

13:00-1:30 Graded papers with 20 minutes off for lunch.

1:30-2:15 Carole and I tried to take a quickie nap, but weren't really sleepy.

2:15-6:00 Graded papers until I was cross-eyed.

6:00-8:00 Ate supper, then returned to grading about 60% of the papers I brought home graded...

8:00-9:00 Worked on family finances

9:00-10:30 Created a question sheet for students on Monday and a test for Wednesday. Then did lesson plans for next week.

I am totally overwhelmed by school this year. The stress created by 185 students is crushing. If one has to spend a "relaxation" day this way, followed by a church day with more grading, well, you can see I'm tired of all this.

Only 30 more weeks to go!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Good News!

Grandson Zach had an MRI today to ascertain whether there was anything left over from a traumatic birth experience that might show up on his brain area.

He's clear! He has overcome so much in his short lifetime (3 years) and today's news is so encouraging.

Sometimes I can't get enough of God's power. Over and over again, prayers are answered. The more I see of His hand in our lives, the more confidence I have in turning "stuff" over to Him.

When Zach is much older and is fulfilling our dream that he be a warrior in God's army, he won't remember much about today. But parents and grandparents won't ever forget.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


News and tidbits:

1. Brooke and Michael are home from Vancouver. I can't wait to get their impressions. God is so good to have protected them on their honeymoon. Always a bit nervewracking to have your kids off by themselves in a distant land.

2. DISD is trying to kill me. With the addition of 7 more students yesterday and three more today, I now have in excess of 180 in my six classes. When I look out at the kids, I just see a sea of faces. Everything a teacher must do to be effective is strained to the limit by extra bodies. Particularly when some of those extra bodies have no interest in education.

By the end of each day, my voice is dead from lecturing and my bod is exhausted from dealing with the problems incurred with so many students. Luckily, I get to unwind by driving two school bus routes.

I'm getting through this by telling myself that this is it as far as DISD is concerned. I will hopefully get a job at Dallas Christian next year. If not, I'll stay home and help Carole with Maddie and drive a school bus for Rockwall...or Dallas County Schools again.

3. The lady who will evaluate me this year is an assistant principal who is so inept in English that she thinks "attentative" is a word. She will no doubt criticize my teaching skills as I wonder why someone who murders the language should be evaluating ME.

4. I've added a request for rain to my prayer list. This drought is getting ridiculous. September is supposed to be one of our rainiest months. No rain yet and none in the forecast for the next 7 days. My property is beyond parched. We need a hurricane to come up one of the interstate highways to Dallas, but praying for a hurricane now is, uh, kinda stupid.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Weird Guy

My family was polite enough not to say anything to my face. See, I had gotten up at 5 AM on Labor Day to pursue my hobby and an elusive picture. I wanted to catch the silhouette of an airliner with a rising sun as a backdrop. So I hustled out to DFW and was in place as the sun rose. Unfortunately, I may have been in place, but the aircraft didn't cooperate. The above shot was the best I could muster, and it was taken about an hour after sunrise.

But I had a blast. Even though I had traded sleeping late for this opportunity, I was really digging the early morning atmosphere at the airport. Plus, I was way out of earshot of the less than complimentary things the rest of the family was saying. I guess no one understands another's hobby unless one has the same hobby. Too bad I can't work up a lick of excitement over Scrabble.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Tribute to Carole

My wife and I got Brooke married yesterday. The new couple is off to Vancouver for a few days to start their marriage off in style. The wedding was glorious and wonderful...mainly because my wife sweated the details and got it right.

I can't tell you how many nights' sleep Carole lost due to the incredible task of overseeing the planning of what amounts to three hours of Brooke and Michael's lives. It's nothing that a man could pull off. Shoot, we guys don't even know what to call things that are inherently wedding-related. They have this stuff that goes on the ends of the pews called "tulle", a homonym of "tool". When Carole told me about the "tulle" on the end of the pew, I started hunting for a power screwdriver or a wrench. First I'd ever heard of it.

So hats off to my beautiful wife for a beautiful daughter and a beautiful wedding. This will be the final one. No more for us. Thank you, Carole!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Faith Time

I'm down.

The anarchy and apocalyptic behavior in New Orleans has buffeted my heart, leaving scars that may never go away.

The kind of stuff I've been seeing on TV reminds me of attitudes I see simmering just beneath the surface every day at my school and the neighborhoods in which I drive a school bus.

Chief among these attitudes is the concept that nothing is ever wrong unless it gets you caught. You can do whatever, say whatever, try whatever...just don't be stupid enough to get caught. It's this type of moral vacuum that overwhelms me sometimes, and the enormity and complexity of the problem renders no easy solutions.

Of course, Christ is the answer. But where do you begin? I try to demonstrate Him to my students as a group and to individuals one-on-one every day. But when dealing with traditional poverty and poverty of the soul, I feel outnumbered.

I've quit watching the horrible inhumanity going on in New Orleans. Let me know when it's safe again to flip the channel back to CNN.

Meanwhile, I'm gonna go to work on my hope factor.