Don’t be these people


So, I intended to write about writing, or something suitably deep. Instead, I’m writing about general etiquette.

I nearly lost my cool in swimming lessons today.

For the last couple of weeks, there have been these two women who discuss, very loudly, EVERYTHING. Last week, they were discussing how my children must be in the same class because I requested it, and that’s against the rules and blah, blah, blah. I mean, who cares about the truth when you can speculate loudly in front of those children’s parents, right? After all, since we aren’t allowed to leave, and we’re all crowded into a room together, it’s not like it’s a “Whoopsie! I didn’t realize you were there” conversation.

But whatever. I ignored it. They didn’t know what they were talking about, I knew they didn’t know, and so they could suck it.

But today… Today their conversation just about made me insane.

I get that people like to bag on teachers. We get summers off, so everyone who has worked for more than five minutes in the last ten years works harder than we do. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Well, you only work 9-3.” I get it from family members, I get it from members of the public, and it doesn’t matter how often I say, “That’s when the kids are here. I work longer hours than that,” no one seems to believe me. Because I have magic fairies that do my mountains of paperwork, right? The minimum of 105 meeting I have in each year just magically occur without my being present, or somehow happen between 9 and 3. Whatever. I get it.

Today, these women discussed how their child’s teacher needed to be fired because she didn’t have the experience necessary. Sure, it’s only the second day of school, but they have it dialed in. One of them went on and on about how she has “most of the classes for an AA in Education” (Do they even give those? I don’t even know), so she knows “how the system works.”

Huh. When I had sixty credits under my belt, I knew, precisely, jack shit.

But whatever. She knows best.

See, here’s what gets me. Everyone and their brother thinks they know how to teach. Some people have even taken education classes. Some taught 40 years ago, and think they understand how it’s done today. And yes, having taken education courses, sure, a lot of them are wastes of time, especially at the undergraduate level. I’ll admit that. But I’ll tell you this: teaching is far harder than the coursework. To do it well requires time, effort, and passion. Teaching is as much a calling as being a pastor or a doctor is. You have to love it to do it well, because Lord knows, you’re not doing it for rockin’ used Subaru you’re gonna get with that fat paycheck.

I would argue that you can take all the classes you want, and you won’t know what it takes to be a teacher. It’s harder than it looks. There is no such thing as average. In any given classroom, there will be the English language learners, the kids who have a speech or language delay, the kiddos who require resource support, the little one with autism, low readers, high readers, and your gifted kiddos. Each one of them has different needs. Each one of them deserves your time and your effort. A single teacher might have a couple of different behavior charts, a token economy, a schedule for reinforcement, behavior plans and testing accommodations, 504s, healthcare plans, and IEP modifications and accommodations to follow. She has to take into account personalities, which student work well together, who needs to work alone, who needs help following rules, who has a small bladder and really should be allowed to go to the bathroom nine times a day, and who is doing it just to escape work (and, alas, sometimes these are the same person).

And then, she actually has to teach. And it’s not just reading, writing and arithmetic. It’s computers and PE, character development, social skills, sex ed, drug resistance education, science and social studies. Oh, and she has to prepare them for mandated state and national testing, too. Let’s not forget that.

But despite this, many people seems to think that they know better. They know who should be fired, and who’s a terrible teacher (on the second day of school). Having never taken an education class, they can tell you what’s wrong with the district, the current math curriculum and the reading assessments. They can tell you all about how teachers do everything wrong.

They’ll do this without knowing what it really takes.

They’ll do this, not knowing how my colleagues and I spent hours pouring over a file, and then proceeded to spent over 18 hours attending doctors’ appointments with our students, to try to make sure that our concerns were being followed up upon.

They’ll do this, never understanding how we’ve written letters and filled out paperwork to try to get our students disability benefits.

They’ll do this, never knowing how many companies we’ve called to see if we can get donated hearing aids, batteries, glasses or iPads for kids who really deserve it. They’ll never know how we bought birthday and holiday gifts for students whose families couldn’t afford to get them anything.

They’ll do this, never knowing that we go out on our own time to watch our students in the rodeo, or in a baseball game or a play.

Teachers will give the shirts off their backs–I’ve never met such a giving group of people. Sure, there are bad eggs, just like there are bad lawyers and bad doctors and bad businessmen. But for the most part, teachers are good, well-intentioned people. No one gets into teaching and thinks, “Gee, I wonder how I can screw someone up today.” And, quite frankly, most of us work harder than we’re given credit for.

So today, as I listened to those women bag on teachers, one thing became perfectly clear to me.

Next week, I am totally bringing earbuds.

Please Welcome CD Hersh to The Bodice


Help me welcome authors CD Hersh to The Bodice. So, what can you tell us about yourselves?

We are a husband and wife writing team who have been married for 43 years. We met in high school, got married in college, started writing plays and dramas for our church about 16 years ago, and paranormal romance about 6 years ago. We like to travel, go to movies, and just hang out together.

Wow! 43 years is a long time! And it sounds like you totally enjoy your time together. That’s awesome. Do you have a day job?

Up to two years ago Donald worked for the government and Catherine worked from home as a freelance writer. Donald is now retired.

That’s great. Husband and I are now talking about what we’ll do when he can retire from his government job (I have a ways to go before I can retire from mine… Unless I win Powerball. Right now, that’s my early retirement plan). So, how do you balance writing with all of your other obligations? (I ask, because I have yet to find it!)

We are working that out on a day-by-day basis. Retirement hasn’t made it easier because we keep finding more things to do. Catherine likes to garden and now has pulled Donald into doing day labor. He says “So much for relaxing.” LOL. The rest is just keeping our calendar updated. Smartphones are a help with that.

What’s your favorite book of all time, and why? (Because I’m a lit geek, I’ll let you get away with listing more than one)

Donald’s would be Tom Swift, Hardy Boys, and Sherlock Holmes. They fueled his love of SiFy and mystery. Catherine’s is Lord of the Rings because she loves the fantasy world created there and Stranger in a Strange Land again because of the SciFi element.

Who is your favorite movie/TV character and why?

We love Gibbs on NCIS because he is able to communicate so succinctly. We’ve even used some of his characteristics for one of our characters.

We like Gibbs in this household too. What are your interests outside of writing?

Reading, movies, traveling and gardening. Catherine’s hillside garden is an award winning garden.

I like to travel, even if it’s just for a car ride. I’ll happily go anywhere, but I love hearing about vacation spots (seriously, I missed my calling as a travel writer). Why don’t you tell us about your favorite vacation.

There are so many favorite vacations because we like to travel. In fact, we’ve managed to travel a lot since Donald’s retirement. Our favorite destinations that we have consistently gone back to are Williamsburg and Disney World.

If you’re willing to share, what’s one of your most embarrassing moments? The only reason I ask is because I am the queen of the embarrassing moment.

Catherine seems to have the habit of falling up the steps, down the steps, out of the closet and out of the flower beds. Good thing we have good insurance.

Let’s talk a little about your writing. Answer as many or as few as you want. Here’s the cover.

 

ThePromisedOneHighRes

Is there a particular author who may have influenced you?

We can’t really think of any particular author as we both read many genres. Of course, our favorite books would lead to those authors influencing our work.

Tell us a little bit about what inspired this book.

A road sign in New York. We often do our plotting as we travel, because it makes the time pass. On one trip we were looking for something new to write about and we saw the sign for Turning Stone, New York. One idea led to another and the Turning Stone Chronicles series was born.

What is your favorite sentence or quote in your new release?

We have several but probably the best is: “Grief is a midnight indulgence when no one else can hear.”

 

I like it!

Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?

Get involved with a critique group and local writing group and learn your craft.

 

Where can your readers stalk you?

Website: http://cdhersh.wordpress.com/

Soul Mate Publishing: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00DUMODKI/

Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/pages/CD-Hersh/1374333942788724

Twitter: @AuthorCDHersh

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CDHersh

 

Tell us about your new release:

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles) is the first book in a paranormal romance series. A magically based shifter society is living among us, and the good and evil factions are fighting for control of the world.

In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones, and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

The book was just released in ebook form for Kindle July 10, 2013.

 

Do you have an excerpt?

The woman stared at him, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth. “Return the ring, or you’ll be sorry.”

With a short laugh he stood. “Big words for someone bleeding to death.” After dropping the ring into his pocket, he gathered the scattered contents of her purse, and started to leave.

“Wait.” The words sounded thick and slurred . . . two octaves deeper . . . with a Scottish lilt.

Shaw frowned and spun back toward her. The pounding in his chest increased. On the ground, where the woman had fallen, lay a man.

He wore the same slinky blue dress she had—the seams ripped, the dress top collapsed over hard chest muscles, instead of smoothed over soft, rounded curves. The hem skimmed across a pair of hairy, thick thighs. Muscled male thighs. Spiked heels hung at an odd angle, toes jutting through the shoe straps. The same shoes she’d been wearing.

The alley tipped. Shaw leaned against the dumpster to steady himself. He shook his head to clear the vision, then slowly moved his gaze over the body.

A pair of steel-blue eyes stared out of a chiseled face edged with a trim salt-and-pepper beard. Shaw whirled around scanning the alley.

Where was the woman? And who the hell was this guy?

Terrified, Shaw fled.

The dying man called out, “You’re cursed. Forever.”

It was great to have you guys here! Good luck with this release. It sounds great!