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written Thursday, 11/25/2010

Thankful for:

Being alive and healthy.

A family that forgives me for not being in touch as often as I ought to, especially during the school year.

Nat & Joan, my local dad and mom. Nat is in critical care at the hospital for the third or forth time since I’ve moved out here. Like the previous times, his situation is dire. Like the previous times, hopefully he’ll pull through and be back home soon. Even in a hospital bed, tubes in his mouth preventing him from talking, monitors flashing and tones beeping all around him, I’m inspired by the light in his eyes. I continue to marvel at what a loving and devoted wife Joan is, especially in the most difficult times. I can’t imagine my Louisiana experience without them.

This year for once, being genuinely content with the way things are rather than chasing things that weren’t meant to be.

My cats. Lovely as always.

Another hurricane-free season in New Orleans.

A job that becomes more of a passion every year. It takes a lot out of me, but gives back even more (forgive the sappiness... it’s just true).

A group of students this year who I really, reeeeeeeaaally like. Maybe they don’t always realize it when I’m cramming math down their gullets, but on a personal level I appreciate them immensely. As always, there’s a wide range of skill levels. Some in AP Calculus have had to struggle in a math class for the first time. I feel like I only really get to know a student when I see how they react in this situation, and some have adapted their study habits beautifully. A few in PreCalculus still manage to excel without breaking much of a sweat (I try my best to keep them challenged, but I rest assured that I’ll stretch their skills next year). Some students know they have math deficiencies, and diligently learn from each other in small groups outside of class. Some may appear not to be a good fit for PreCalculus class based solely on their skill levels, yet they more than make up for it with perseverance. A couple have the most awesome afros I’ve ever seen, like they stepped straight out of the 70’s. Some have difficult home lives (surely more than I’m even aware) yet keep working towards the goal of pursuing a better future for themselves. Many recognize that even when it seems I’m demanding unreasonable degrees of effort from them, it’s because I believe in their potential. All have unique personalities and abilities that keep me excited about going to work this year and keep my job interesting and entertaining.

The Lusher High School math department – there is no tighter department in the school. What we lack in musical talent is more than compensated for in coolness quotient. Not just any colleagues would participate in the ridiculous math songs I’ve initiated for the last few years. (Hmmm, could that mean another jam is ‘bout to drop?)

FINALLY, an Ethiopian restaurant opened up in New Orleans a couple weeks ago. Thanks to the small but inviting Café Abyssinia on Magazine Street, I don’t have to be taunted by long-time residents’ recollections of an Ethiopian restaurant that used to exist here pre-Katrina.

Good friends, a number of whom graciously offered to let me spend Thanksgiving with them. Speaking of which, time to get off the computer and go take advantage of that.