a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Monday, March 26, 2012

Safe Landing

The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Two Writing Teachers
I vent to talk to my mom nearly every day on the phone.  Some Most days I have happy stories to share.  Today was not one of those days.  My students were obnoxious less than cooperative.  I am buried in grading woefully behind in my paperwork.  And tonight was the board meeting to vote on a Reduction in Force (RIF) of nearly 600 certified and non-certified dedicated staff members who have been working in pouring their hearts and souls into the district for 1 to 5 years.   The information report also included proposed purchase of a web-based intervention program for middle schools that would mean mind-numbing computer based punishment for kids drastic changes in access to arts curricula.

So, my mom was digging for a positive story tonight.  She begged me for what she calls a “the plane landed safely” story.  She claims these are the stories we never see on the news.  I think she is right.  But tonight, I didn’t have one. 

Until now.  You see, the night isn’t over.  Even though I might have missed my slicing deadline, and broken my perfect record, I am not feeling badly.  I have a “the plane landed safely story” to share.

The board meeting was packed with over 200 people—so many we couldn’t even all fit into the room!  The crowd included teachers, parents, and community members.  When the meeting was opened to public response, the people spoke! 

Of course, my favorite was the teacher who stood up and said, “I don’t have a question, I just want to share my story…”  Her story.  Her story moved people.  I watched the waxen faces of the school board members begin to soften.  I saw heads nod.

When it came time to vote on the RIF, a board member inquired about tabling the motion.  She moved to table the motion.  Another board member seconded her motion.  They voted.  The result was…NO, they refused to table the issue. 

So, they had to go ahead with the vote.  And the board members, with softened faces, voted AGAINST the RIF!

Of course, I am not sure what this means for our district, but for now, all passengers are safely on the ground.  The plane landed safely.


  1. So many districts around the nation are facing decisions like this one. It is especially fragile when a decision made means valuable people out of jobs. The worst part is when there are not many other options. Good thing you have an amazing mom to vent, oops, I mean, talk to. I am glad that the plane has landed safely for now. Keep us updated!

  2. So happy your mother pushed you for THAT kind of story, Christy & happy for all the teachers there. Nice, funny way to write too. Fun to wrte I guess, too.

  3. It is so emotional this struggle of RIFFing. You can't help but take it personally. I am so happy to hear the board supported you all!

  4. Such a nice way to descibe seeing the cup "half full"...which incredibly is my post for today / Tuesday's SOL. I think I will use it because it really does indicate a happy ending to the day / story.

  5. The power of story. The frustration is easier to take when there is a positive story to follow.

  6. That is such a hard decision for boards to make. Something has to be cut, but perhaps they have a better grip on the stakes for the people who pour their heart and soul into their job. Powerful story Christy!

  7. I probably don't say this enough. Your mom is awesome. You're a chip off the awesome block.

  8. Stories matter and we each have one. I am glad to hear that teacher had the gumption to share theirs and that it was heard. Glad to know the plane landed safely.

  9. Hooray! I'm glad you have your plane safely on the ground for now.
    Is it ok that I secretly cheered about the missed slicing and breaking a streak? 'Cause I sort of did that....for 3 days....but, well, it just happened.
    My plane is safely on the ground for now too, and hopefully we'll have clear flying for a good long while.

  10. Thanks for sharing your story. It helps encourage us. Love the "safe" ending.

  11. Christy! I loved your slice of professional triumph tonight! And, who cares that you missed the slicing deadline...sort of...I did that once this month too. Real life happens. I do apologize especially to you --- I love reading your blog. But, for some reason my home computer will not allow me to access my Google account which means I can't post to my blog from home or comment on any other blogspotter's account...which means you. So, if my remarks have been slim (and they have been I know and I hate that) I sincerely apologize. I learn so much from you, so keep writing the way only you can :). I'm thrilled about your colleague who shared her story. I think we all should do more of that!

  12. Wow, what an amazing story! Just proves the power of how stories touch us as people! I also loved the cross-outs; your signature style was especially touching in this post!