Westside (2)

Teachers of the Year 2020-21

This is a screen full of dedicated people, working in public education, through a global pandemic, for the sake of kids. Thank you to all who worked to support public schools this year.

So this happened. I was going to be all humble and demur about it, not mentioning this at all. Then I thought, “Oh HELL no!” This has been the craziest and most challenging year of my career. To be nominated by my colleagues for Teacher of the Year, in this year, well that feels … I’m not sure of the right word. Special Education often feels like working through a constant state of emergency, so if I were going to be recognized for any year, this one feels kind of perfect. Any professional educator left standing after the year we’ve endured will be, forever and always, wearing a crown. I’ve got crazy respect for the parents navigating the crisis, while managing to keep what is important at the forefront, and what is not possible in perspective. And to all of the administrators, trying to blaze a trail through the unknown, finding themselves constantly beset from all sides, you are my heroes. My hope, as we begin to come through to the other side, is that we build on the knowledge that the ones who tried their flawed and humble best, those of us who kept failing and getting back up again, and again, the ones who didn’t leave or give up, we were there for each other. We showed up for kids. We crashed and burned, sometimes in spectacular fashion, raw and on display, to parents and caregivers on the other side of that Zoom screen. But at the same time, we shared in the triumphs and ‘ah ha’ moments, and glorious successes, made all the more beautiful because of the obstacles in our way. I hope that, because of this year, we never forget to give each other grace. I hope we remember the positive intent, and the effort, even when things didn’t go the way we wanted. I hope we preserve the connections strengthened by hardship and that we let go the sometimes hurtful words spoken in moments of exhaustion. I hope we continue to understand each other’s limitations. I will always put my full soul into the work of public education, because it is worth the effort. Despite the enormity of the hurdles, public education is still the place where good people show up for all kids and do what they can. And this year we showed up naked on a life raft, in the middle of the ocean, and said, “Well, ok then. Can someone show me how to make a paddle?” Just keep swimming.

This video compilation was put together by my amazing principal. It has Dory in it, so I’m posting it. It also has a lot of Darren, which is fun. We spent a good part of this year doing faculty dance videos. I’m thankful the one of me in the hot dog costume did not make it into this cut. And the one with me in a Dory costume happened one year ago, from the Putah Canyon Campground, right as we entered the shelter in place and began the longest year of our collective lives.

And now, on to our regularly scheduled programming…

Pretty nice site

This was our second visit to Westside Regional Park, but this time we had a sweet site. A bit of backtracking first though: Richard put a lot of effort into two projects during the week. First he reinforced the mounting of the pedestal base for the table and installed much lighter slides. So far, we give it a tentative thumbs up, but we want to travel with it a little more to see if it really will hold up. Next, he figured out how to rig up an audio system that plays straight into my hearing aids, but allows him to hear through the regular speaker. I will not try to describe it because it is way too complicated to understand. But it means I get to have the best big screen movie experience ever and not even worry about whether we are disturbing other campers. Win win!

Could have sworn the calendar said site 35

We pulled into the site at dusk and got all set up and had dinner. Then we realized we were in the wrong site. We did ponder for a while whether we could maybe get away with not moving and offering our reserved site, which was right next door, to the people who might show up. We pondered that all through dinner. Ultimately we decided that we (I) cannot handle that kind of stress and if I were on the other side, I’d want the site I reserved because it is on the end of the row instead of one slot in. So we moved. It wasn’t that bad.

Beautiful dunes and blue skies

Saturday we planned to do some hiking around the Bodega Head trails area, but when we got to the parking lot, it was pretty packed. We aborted at that point and found another trail that was less peopley. We noted on the way that there were numerous and intimidating No Trespassing signs posted all around the Bodega Marine Laboratory lands. We decided that either meant the marine biologists there are super badasses, with vaporizing lasers, ready to take out anyone who missteps and does damage to the ecosystem, or that they are a front for a covert government organization. Either way, it was a more exciting hike than usual.

Sunset cheating

Following afternoon nappy time, we drove back out to the parking lot with the plan of just staying inside the car to watch the sunset. It was super cold and windy out and Richard deems that one the best sunset ever, just based on the comfort factor. Then it was off to pick up a to go order from La Bodeguita and top it off with a margarita and a fully audible big screen viewing of “Rango.”

Bodega Bay – low tide with Egrets

Not much else to report. We mostly watched the tide come in and go out. We also decided we need better binoculars. We made it home just before a big rain, so that wraps up a pretty perfect weekend. Oh and by the way, no one ever showed up for the site we mistakenly pulled into. Oh well. We live secure in the knowledge that we did the right and noble thing.

Total miles: 85.1, 2 hours 28 min, 15.1 mpg. Site 36 (not 35). Great solar and cell for both. No hookups, but water spigots nearby. Bathrooms were open, but we didn’t use them. Dump is $7 cash only, even if you are staying in the campground. Sites by the water get incredible bay views.

6 thoughts on “Westside (2)

  1. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! It’s about time❤️ Your words about this past year and the journey with your colleagues were beautifully written. You are so deserving of this recognition, bravo!

  2. Not only could the marine biologists be badass, I think. That we can all agree that as a teacher and a person, you are TOO! Congratulations! Hugs from 🇨🇦

  3. Congrats on earning the teacher of the year award. I say earning as opposed to winning, because you definitely earn an award like that!

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