Sunday, August 23, 2009

Higher Education

Summer is actually ending. The days are getting a bit shorter and the desert nights are cooling.

As it ends, I feel a bit of nostalgia for the summer I didn't have this year. Right. I ignored it on purpose---it's on me. I think it was what I needed to do.

We always appreciate things more at goodbye.

Now we're heading into another school year. I always enjoyed the start of school---it was sort of the new year for me. Even now I feel that the new year begins as the air begins to cool. Autumn has always felt more like a beginning than an ending. It's a revival of spirit. Even more so in the desert, when in summer everything (including my brain) gets burned away.
Besides, I like the smell of pencils and crayons.

Our schools are starting the year with much less than they had last year---with less than they need to succeed. A lot of teachers will be digging deep into their resources, using imagination and creativity to make up for materials they won't have. And, as always, many will spend their own money for things they feel their students can't do without.

I'll volunteer some time to art programming and to the library for readings. I did this last year and truly enjoyed it. This year it seems even more important. I encourage any of you who can to do the same. Also to find out what else you can do for schools in your area. It's reasonable to think that many schools will have want lists available.

All of our lives we're students-- we never stop learning. I tend to believe this is largely our purpose as human beings.

We're also teachers, whether we mean to be or not. Little ones are always watching us. Scary, huh?

And other humans, and Poppets.

A love of learning is contagious. Education is essential and is the responsibility of the community, not just the teachers. Much can be accomplished if we all do a little. A bit of time, donations of money or materials can make a difference. It wouldn't be a bad idea to let teachers know that their efforts are appreciated.
Summer is ending. In many places, soon the leaves will begin to turn. Here in SoCal, fire season will begin. Wherever we are, this is as good a time as any for us to resolve to be better students and teachers.


Anonymous said...

We always appreciate things more at goodbye.

Ah, well put and very true.

My summer is officially gone, and I must ignore the 90+ temperatures. It left me as soon as I stepped into my online physics class and I will mourn as soon as I leave my son at his pre-k class.

I am glad the summer is over, though, it was hard on me.

I love the new art and your thoughts behind it all.

lisa said...

Thanks Kelly. Right. Summer sucked. Here's to moving forward. (I touch my coffee cup to the monitor.)
It's always hard to leave the little ones. I've found balance in this respect by having some time each day-- reading, a swim, a walk or 30 minutes of Lego Star Wars-- when I can give Orion my complete attention. it never seems enough, but I'm working, and working provides for him. We do the best we can. That's enough.

Miss Bliss said...

I adore the little Poppet laying down and reading! I too am ready for summer to be's not quite here a little farther West than you, but not by much. I really am ready for it to be winter least our So Cal version of winter anyway.

By the by...thanks for all awesome inspiring artist talk you share with us here. It helps.

Stacey said...

Ahhh, this is the part of summer I love best. There's nothing better than drifting into September in the Pacific NW, on 78 degree, breezy, sunny days. This is why so many of us are so in love with this part of the country, enough to put up with all the rain.

I love the back-to-school poppets, it makes me wish I were going back to school.

Loraine said...

This term is going to be very busy for me. I've already picked up eight of the nine books I need for my four courses. One of my teachers was just in National Geographic- I'm thrilled to be in his class! But I sure am going to be swamped...

Every day, I'm grateful for my education and wish everybody had one.

The Steampunk Marchioness said...

All of our lives we are students.....

Yes! Hopefully! If we keep our eyes and minds open and don't drift off into complacency. And all of our lives we are teachers... sometimes unexpectedly.

I always loved the fall, the changing light, the gilding of the leaves, the sense of beginning that came with each new school year. A lifetime in academia has done nothing to dim that sensibility. Fall will always be for me a time of new beginnings.

I love the wee poppet tugging on the hem of the big poppet. I can almost hear the little voice... And the laying down and reading poppet... so wonderful.

Benton Warren said...

Oh hell yeah! Fall is right around the corner and the Art is taking over from "the dread of summer"... Which takes up a suprising amount of Ben's operating system! And as Lisa has hinted, alot of her's too. Here's to fall! And here's to the country getting back on its feet too! Oh man... I'm going back to bed for a bit. I can't wait till I feel better. Love you Lisa! The new Poppets look great!

lisa said...

Miss Bliss: This little Poppet is truly inspired. I spent many hours of my life in just that position. My parent's house in SC had a deep screened porch and I got a lot of my education right there. Through the years I've watched my own children tummy read too. I'd hoped Poppet could bring that to life and I'm very glad you like it.

Syd said...

Unfortunately, fire season has already begun in LA County, with two fires burning in the Angeles National Forest: the Morris fire (above Azusa and Glendora) and the Station fire (La Canada/Flintridge). I saw the smoke from the latter late Wednesday afternoon, a relatively thin but noticeable plume. Today at about the same time, the smoke plume was many times larger and appeared to rise above the top of the mountains before being blown to the west.

Very not pretty.

On more cheerful subjects, I think the new Poppets are wonderful. And re: school, I always enjoyed it, even when I got into college and the classes in my major kicked my tuchas. I very much wish I could win the lottery and become a perpetual student--that always seemed like a good thing to aim for!

Word v: strostas. Which I hear in my head with a nicely rolled "r" and sounds as if it should be a Rom term for "caravan."

Or possibly new vegetable to be sauteed with onions for a stew. But it's too hot to think about stew right now.

Carl V. Anderson said...

The poppet laying down and reading is just wonderful!

It is so great that you are giving of yourself to these kids. It is easy to take teachers for granted until you concentrate on their plight a bit and realize just how little they get paid and how few resources they have to try and make a difference in the lives of children they only have for a brief period of time. It is a job that I know I couldn't do and I commend all who teach, you truly are being a blessing to the children you teach.

lisa said...

Stacey: I've been in SoCal for nearly ten years now. Still, when I visualize my dream future, I imagine myself waking up and getting coffee and stepping outside to cool air, somewhere in the Pacific NW.

Lorraine: Enjoy the learnng. I'm thinking of my brother starting his year at Clemson. I wonder if his students notice when he's mentioned by the Sierra Club or if they appreciate what he did to become a professor. It's cool that you appreciate yours. Hope the class is great. Keep us posted.

lisa said...

steampunk marchioness: Then here's to new beginnings, inside and outside. thank you.

syd: yeah. fire season. we can see the haze here from the desert and can smell it. very distinct. It always adds a hint of gloom to the senses, a bit of dread, different from other disasters. We hear of floods and tornados in other places and are full of sympathy. How is fire season in SoCal different? Is it only my own perception?

glad you like the new Poppets!

lisa said...

Bent: I know you'll feel better soon. This year has taken a toll on us, for sure, but as always, fall brings us back into focus.

CarlV: I agree. Teachers need all the appreciation they can get. I want to thank you for your RIP and other reading challenges. You encourage people to read and look beneath the surface. You're a teacher too, for the rest of us.

DesLily said...

omygosh! that poppet laying down it toooo cute! I had to animate it~ (see here)

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