Painting ©2018 John Clark III
Today feels like Saturday. Normally at this time, I'd be at school, babysitting -- I mean, teaching -- my second class of the day. But today is a holiday, a glorious holiday. No school. And I'm sitting on the couch, a nice cup of coffee at hand, with birds chirping and a cool breeze drifting in through the back screen door. And it's Friday!
The end of the school year is fast approaching now. It's somewhere near the 30-day mark. Somewhere around 30 days left until summer vacation. Halle--friggin'--lujah. This has been an amazing year, and not in a good way. Actually, it hasn't been completely horrible, thanks mostly to the support of family, friends and co-workers, but I will definitely be glad when it's over. I remember two or three years ago, standing in the hallway on the last day of school, right after all the kids were gone, and actually feeling the stress drain from my body.
For those who have never been inside a public school classroom for any extended period of time, it is nothing like Miss Landers' classroom on Leave It to Beaver. You know, with all the little kiddies neatly dressed, scrubbed, clean and smiling, sitting up straight in their little chairs, hands folded neatly on their desktops?
"Good morning, Miss Landers!" they all say, in unison.
No. Not even close. Public school today is ... let's see, how can I describe it. Public school is a zoo? Not really accurate. At the zoo, the animals are all mostly well-behaved. Everything is neat and orderly. Rules are enforced; procedures are followed. So we can't really call it a zoo. A circus? Maybe. But, again, the audience is pretty well-behaved at the circus. Let's see, how can I explain it to a civilian ...
Here's an example. A fella who is earning his teaching credentials and works in the meantime as a substitute teacher told me about an incident in which a student cussed out a sub, who promptly sent the student to the office. Before class was over, that student returned, walked in and tossed a wadded-up hall pass at the substitute teacher, and said, "I told you they wouldn't (expletive-deleted) do anything." Then went and sat down.
An extreme, perhaps, but not at all uncommon example of daily life in public school.
When I was a kid, we didn't talk back to adults, certainly didn't cuss 'em out. Behind their backs, sure, but to their face? No way. It's not like that any more. I've never had a kid cuss me out. But, oh boy, they almost all talk back. There is no such thing as respect for authority in today's society. There's no line between kid and adult, no boundaries, no difference. No respect. No fear. And there is nothing wrong with a little healthy fear. Hell, that's why I pay my bills, pay my taxes, obey the speed limit (mostly). I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't. Kids don't have that fear any more.
A student recently was reading a story that mentioned paddling in school. She asked me what that meant. I told her. "That's child abuse," she said. Right.
Anyway, it's a wonderful day of freedom -- and did I mention it's only Friday? I'm doing an interview this afternoon for a feature story for a friend's local newspaper that is issuing its first edition next week. I'm planning to write something once a week about regular ol' folks who do interesting things, or who lead or have led interesting lives. I'm pretty jazzed about it. I loved my newspaper career, and I still love to write. Covering the news and chasing stories, I got kind of tired of all that, but writing is something that feeds the creative part of my soul. It's the way I express myself best.
Speaking of which, my book, "Finding God in Texas," has been picked up by a publisher over in Florida, who is redesigning it and reissuing it in paperback and e-book. I've seen the new cover and it's fantastic. Things are moving right along, and it should be available before too much longer. An artist friend is working on illustrations for a children's book I wrote, and I'm trying to get the story of my trip to the Camino de Santiago finished and sent off for a publisher to consider. All pretty exciting stuff.
I guess that's about it for now. Ciao, y'all ...
A few reviews of John's books
The 30-Day Optimism Solution:
“Part memoir, part informative text. You get both when reading 'Depression Blues' by John H. Clark III. Mr. Clark shares his struggles with depression in an honest and real way, and as the book progresses, so does his hope. Woven into the story as jumping off points are bits of information about depression and ways to "conquer" the sadness, loneliness, and despair that comes with it.
Mr. Clark becomes more than an author in this book; he becomes a friend who understands the pain of depression and provides light. I recommend this book to anyone looking for light or to anyone who knows someone with depression and wants to learn more.”
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