D couldn’t have known.

 

Friday afternoon and things were a little off. I ride home after a frustrating meeting and week where the irritations were overpowering the joys. Usually, I can reset my mood by the time I turn right at the plaza, cruising on my trusty Schwinn Typhoon by tourists who have that wide eyed, “It’s so beautiful here!” look as they sip wine and gawk at the beauty we take for granted on the daily.

 

Ironically, it’s the end of teacher appreciation week which came and went without much fanfare. And really, do we need a teacher appreciation week? Not so much, what we need is a fair wage for the work we love and do. In 5 out of 9 presentations I went to at the recent Authors Festival, the presenters mentioned that teachers need to be better compensated and better appreciated.

 

This fell on deaf ears as I was having a great and free festival, but what about if all teachers had free access to all things like the Author’s Fest? And what if teachers were revered like they are in other countries, what if we were paid better and…OK, I’ll stop whining, you know the story.

 

Then I remembered the conversations I’ve had with teachers about SIFF and The Sonoma Speaker Series and the Author’s Fest where the value I see is not a shared experience. Teaching is hard but we should all be lifelong learners and bring that lifelong learning into our classrooms.

 

Andrew Yang depressed me.

 

6 am Tuesday morning and I want to forgo my usual morning meditation, walk the couple of blocks from my house to the Fairmont Mission Inn and shake Andrew Yang awake with a “SAY IT’S NOT SO ANDREW!”

 

In the fantasy we walk to Sonoma Danish and Donuts for buttermilk maple bars as he tells me how the political scenario he outlined Monday night at the Hanna Center was just a shock technique to ignite the masses into resetting our dysfunctional government.

 

The truth is things are a mess and 2/3 of the country think that electing a bully baby is the answer.

 

I like Andrew, always have. But the world he outlined at Hanna was grim. He basically explained why Trump will win in November (2/3 of the country believe the lies), and that he (Andrew Yang) will be part of a great reconnecting after America hits rock bottom. He also explained how California, while hugely powerful will have no effect on the election. Powerlessness is very depressing.

 

The year is ending like a runaway train. It’s crunch time for students and if you saw Saturday Night Live a couple of weeks ago, teachers are feeling a little maxed (I’m referring to Maya Rudolph playing the principal of a school and announcing to students, “You won”, might be true, might not but the skit at least led to some interesting discussions).

 

But what if we all won? What if students realized that their job is not to rely on teachers but to be inspired by them and what if teachers were so appreciated that they were happy to be lifelong learners and attend things like SIFF and the Authors Festival and the Sonoma Speaker Series. Bringing their real-life experiences back into the classroom.

 

Sitting on my dining table is a picture D and I at our Creekside graduation from 2002 and a note of thanks and how she loves watching me ride off down Lucas each morning, doing what I love and hopefully helping students like her (even though she is now 40).

 

 

More of that. If you are wondering what a good first step is for appreciating teachers, a giant bag of cash is always best but next best is a heartfelt note about what the teacher meant to you. Will I remember any matches from this year’s tennis season? Not nearly as much as what the players said during our end of the year party.

 

And please write your appreciations down, I save mine in a drawer at school for days when things aren’t going the right direction and I’m feeling powerless, reminders that tomorrow is always a new day.

 

And I guess that’s the message, in this time of powerlessness, there is always a way to create and appreciate beauty and move things forward. If you are a teacher, congrats on the year, relax for a while this summer but once the batteries are recharged, make plans for the best 24-25 school year ever.

 

And if you are a student, please thank those who helped in your journey, the cards you write might seem silly now but one day they just might mean everything.

 

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