It is not a secret (I don't think) that I pretty much despise the National Education Association. Everything it stands for and has created has some layer of evil in it, I think, and its political affiliations are completely opposite of mine. I will always remember what my AP English teacher, Mrs. Williams, said about unions, specifically the NEA: they protect the inept. The longer that I am in education, the more I know about the NEA and the more mature I personally become, the more I tend to agree with her. I just can't shake that sentence out of my mind, and I think that it is very true in the case of the NEA and all its state affiliations - it protects the inept. This doesn't mean that all who belong to it are inept. Take me, for example; I became a member of the NEA for practical protection after an incident this school year. Just because I belong, though, doesn't mean I agree with it. In fact, the whole organization makes me disdainful at the least and disgusted at the worst. Not to mention all of its ridiculously leftist political agendas...but I digress. After all, this is the blog of an educator, not a lobbyist, and politics is not my area of expertise.
The NEA, however revolting it might be, made my day today. I came home today with Charlotte in tow, having had a HORRIBLE day. The reason that I had a horrible day can be boiled down succinctly into two words: full moon. I never believed this before I became a teacher, this nonsense that people get crazy when the moon is full. But today was a day. Everyone seemed to be tense, my students were bouncing off the walls almost literally, I got scolded for something ridiculous, and there was general madness at school. Our ITRT has a saying that somebody poured crazy into the water, and I think that may have happened today.
I came home and got the mail, and there in the letters and bills was the latest issue of the NEA magazine (which is so much better than the VEA's equivalent). And I looked through it because I always do. I always have, even when Adam was a member and I wasn't. And for some reason, today, this magazine picked up my spirits a little. Looking at professional peers of mine, reminding myself that I'm not the only one in this profession that, let's be honest, is not great right now. Not only is the economy making education impossibly challenging everywhere and especially in Virginia, but February and March are always the hardest months of the year. October is a distant third. So to look at this magazine today of an organization that I don't even support or like and have my heart warmed and my teaching spirit a little renewed was a pleasant surprise. I skimmed through a nice article about mentor teachers, read every word of an interview with the children's author Katherine Patterson (promoting Read Across America Day which is March 2...I'll need to blog a separate post on that), and perused the feature on Manassas Park Elementary School in northern Virginia. After that, and flicking through the article with Sandra Day O'Connor about teaching government in today's NCLB age, I felt much better about my day. I don't even know why. Maybe I will go back to work on Monday after all. :) At least February will be over.
No new Charlotte pictures because there are no AA batteries in our house at all for the camera. We'll pick some up tomorrow, since inevitably, I will get cabin fever and need to get out of the house for an hour.