Good-bye to 2011 / Welcome to 2012

I was thinking of doing a New Year’s Resolution post on this last day of 2011. I did one last year. I just reread it–it was pretty good. It was spontaneous and heartfelt. I was thinking that maybe it could become a DEC blog tradition. However, I’m not inspired–it would be forced. Maybe a reflection of the year gone by would be more appropriate for me. It has been a busy and interesting year. Lots of ups and a few downs. So, here we go–in no particular order:

(1) I got a new job. After 39 years, I no longer teach, but I am still a teacher. I will always be a teacher and see the world from a teacher’s point of view. I took a leave of absence to serve full time as the president of the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA)–what others might refer to as the teacher union, even though we represent all kinds of educators. This job requires driving to Dover, the state capital, over fifty miles away. I don’t mind the drive, but the traffic in New Castle County can be very frustrating–too many cars, too many red lights, too much wasted time. My school was 3.7 miles away from my house!

(2) Yes, I like this new job. I really do. It’s exciting and satisfying. My calendar is not my own. I go to many meetings. I get lots of requests to meet with someone. I get invitations to events. I meet a lot of people, some of whom are in the VIP category. I am still getting used to the changes in my daily routines–it is very different from teaching.

It feels like a real “adult” job. I have a lovely office, a phone (with long distance privileges), a desk of my own with no smudgy fingerprints, and I have a top-notch assistant! 

It’s an important job. A lot of people are counting on me and on DSEA . I take that responsibility very seriously.

(3) Getting elected to this job was not without its challenges. Who would have thought that running an assertive, active, well-planned and well-financed (by me and a few friends), well-defined, up front and early-announced campaign could get one into so much hot water. And spawn such enmity and confrontation. YIKES. That was a definite low point in the year,…

(4) No, I do not miss the kids. They went on to 7th grade anyway. There would have been all new kids this year. I never met them, so I don’t miss them. This job leaves little time to reminisce about the past. This job has an entirely different focus than planning and implementing instruction or interacting with 150 6th graders. Besides, now I need to think about many more kids–all the kids in Delaware schools.

(5) Surprise! This job involves a great deal of travel. Much more than I imagined. Travel around the state, as well as travel to D.C., Boston, Chicago, and points westward. They move NEA sessions for state presidents around so that the same people do not always have to travel the greatest distances. Makes sense. We are all making greater use of conference calls, webinars, and video-conferencing. Travel can be costly and time-consuming.

(6) I have learned who I can count on: the staff and leadership team at DSEA (they’re wonderful); my family (they put up with my crazy schedule and are always available to help); my women friends: the Breakfast Bunch, Union Girls, Girls Night Out, to name a few; our members and local leaders (they keep you straight, help you understand realities, and never let you forget from whence you came); fellow state presidents (they have been very welcoming and helpful).

A few ideas of a resolutionary nature have come to me as I have been working on this post:   

<> I need to get to bed earlier and be better rested. I have a tendency to stay up late–I am a night owl at heart.                         

<> I need to get back to attending weekly weight watcher meetings. I have lost some ground in the past 3-4 months. This is too important.  

<>  I want to visit more schools. I had a great day in Seaford at the end of November in a K class and at the high school. I plan to set up a schedule of available days.                        

<> I need to get back with books-on-tape from the public library. NPR is great; I love it. But, I can never find the time to sit down and READ, so recorded books look like the answer for me.                                                                               

<> Gotta go to the movies! I was gifted with one of the popcorn buckets from the mall theatres in Dover, as well as some movie tickets. Just saw Girl with the Dragon Tattoo there with some DSEA friends–wonderful film–I highly recommend it to those who like murder mysteries and thrillers–and are not squeamish. I already have plans to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy next weekend. Le Carre is one of my all-time favorite writers. Any Len Deighton fans out there?                  

<> Play more music. My son, Andrew, just passed along a sweet little CD player for my office so I can enjoy my collection of CD’s.

<> I want to learn to play golf (so I can play in the DSEA tournament in June), learn to speak Italian, get back to Arizona and the Grand Canyon (I promised Andrew a trip there and Nick would love to go back), and make a cheese or chocolate souffle.

I was born in 1950, a fact for which I am grateful, as it has made it easy for me to keep track of my age: 1972 (age 22), 1987 (age 37). I will be 62 this spring (2012!). Time is flying by. I still find myself asking, “What happened to October?” I am looking forward to another good year.

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