You want to teach these kids?

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week…or so I’m told by a post on from my sister’s Facebook page. Happy Teacher Appreciation week to my sister, Cherie, and my brother-in-law, Terry. They are great teachers who are impacting the lives of a lot of students (and parents, too.)

They are part of a group of teachers — public and private school teachers — who perform a great public service and deserve every accolade they receive. The difficulty of their job has been well-documented, and still is probably underestimated by most people.

However, this post is about another group of teachers.

The other group…

  • doesn’t get a classroom. I don’t mean they don’t have a ill-equipped, barely-stocked classroom. I mean they are given no classroom. You want to teach these kids? Figure out where, because we’re not going to give you a place.
  • doesn’t get curriculum or even basic school supplies. Again, nothing. You want to teach these kids? Figure out how and with what, because this school district isn’t giving you anything. Any item you need, buy it yourself.
  • doesn’t get training. You want to teach these kids? Good luck, because we’re not providing you with instructions or helps or seminars or other teachers to help you.
  • doesn’t get paid. You want to teach these kids? Hope you really enjoy it, because we’re not paying you. No need to think about raises, because a 2% increase of zero is still zero. In most cases, this means you don’t get discounts offered to public and private school teachers, either. No free coffee at McDonalds during FCAT week. No discount at the Apple Store. [EDIT: Thankfully, I am wrong about the Apple store!]

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to that other group. You wanted to teach those kids, so you did. You made your own classroom, acquired your own stuff, and spent countless hours getting the training you needed in order to teach, instruct, and inspire. Despite not getting paid, you are reaping huge rewards as you see your students grow, mature, and eventually graduate.

And Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to Trudi, one of that other group — homeschool teachers. Seeing our third child graduate from high school and move on to college answers well the question we asked ourselves almost 20 years ago…you want to teach these kids? I’m glad you said yes.

24 years

happyanniversaryApril 1, 1990. No, not an April Fool’s joke, though it has been said that maybe it was. The first day for Trudi and I (and the soon-to-be-released Shae) at Faith Assembly was 24 years ago.

There was absolutely no way to know we would still be here all these years later. But we are.

How it went

The tickets.

Okay, so I didn’t follow-up right away.

The trip to Boston was a success. Sammy and I flew out of Tampa and arrived at Logan International early Tuesday evening. On the plane Sammy thought he noticed former Red Sox catcher, Jason Varitek, on our flight. Sure enough, it was, and Sammy got his picture with Varitek once we got off the plane. (Confession: we saw Varitek stop in the restroom, so we waited until he came out before we approached for a photo op.)

Jason Varitek with Sammy.

We chose to travel the city and suburbs by mass transit rather than rent a car. That turned out to be a good choice. The T, as the subway is known, is good. Boston’s system, MTBA, seems to be well run. Since we were traveling during a cool fall week, we wouldn’t be experiencing the heat and sweat that might be present during the summer.

After traveling by train and bus for over an hour via the MTBA, we arrived at our hotel in the suburb of Wakefield. It was an older Clarion Inn. Parts of hotel had been updated, but we weren’t staying in those parts.

Some of the fall color we saw on the trip

There wasn’t much around our hotel in the way of restaurants or entertainment. We walked about ¾ of a mile to a little indoor mall that had a Fuddrucker’s.

After dinner we watched television in our less-than-modern room.

The next morning we travelled back to the city and spent the day sightseeing and shopping. (Shopping the way guys do, for souvenirs and stuff.)

We saw a replica of the Cheers bar and got a picture of Sammy in front of it. (He was born on the same day the finale of the series aired. And, no, he is not named after the fictional bartender of that series.)

In front of “Cheers”, where everybody knows your name, especially if it’s Sammy.

We followed part of the Freedom Trail and saw some of the historic landmarks. We ate pizza for lunch at Reginas Pizzeria, established 1926. Smallest public restroom I think I’ve ever been in.

We went to Fanuel Hall, the Old North Church, and Boston Common.

Then it was time for the main event.

We had delayed going to Fenway, because we didn’t want to get there too early. We didn’t know how much there was to see around the ballpark. If we had known, we probably would have gone sooner. Outside the stadium, along the first base side, the entire street is actually part of being “inside.” The opposite side of the street is all souvenir shops that ticket holders can spend time perusing.

We made it inside well before game time. Sammy stayed at our seats while I roamed the stadium and took some pictures. Fans were allowed to go pretty much anywhere before game time, so I went down to the box seats by the field, where I was close to the hundreds of media people doing pre-game interviews. I saw our pal, Jason Varitek.

The pre game was good and so was the game. The home crowd was very excited by a good start and the game wasn’t really close, but the crowd stayed excited and loud from first pitch until the last.

I got a good video clip of David Ortiz getting robbed of a home run by Carlos Beltran. Later, Ortiz would hit one way too deep to bring back.

Our view. Big Papi at the bat. 2013 World Series, Game 1.

Sammy and I got near an exit for the last few pitches, and when the 8-1 game finally ended, we rushed out to get ahead of the rush.

We would spend the night in the airport, waiting for our 5:30 a.m. flight back to Tampa.

It was a good trip.

World Serious

That’s a lame title for this post, but seriously…

In case you didn’t see it on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, I WON TICKETS TO THE WORLD SERIES!

That’s the headline and good news in the story. The not-so-good-news is that I ONLY won tickets to get into one game. I didn’t win transportation to get there. I didn’t win tickets to more than one game. I didn’t win hotel accommodations or any other special perks. Of course, winning tickets and getting there are two very different things. We don’t even know who will be in the World Series. As of this writing it will either be Boston or Detroit from the American League and St. Louis or Los Angeles from the National League.

But let’s stick with the headline – I WON TICKETS TO THE STINKING WORLD SERIES!

It was a Twitter contest run by Major League Baseball. I was randomly selected from everyone else that was trying to win the tickets at the same time. The promotion was in conjunction with Pepsi and called, Locktober.IMG_0144

But again – tickets to where? Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles or St. Louis. As a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan, it would be great if they were to come back from their 3-2 hole and beat Boston. However, I’ve never been to Boston, so that would be nice, too. And Fenway Park is historic. Dodger Stadium and Chavez Ravine are iconic as well, but Los Angeles is a long way away. I’ve been to the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis, but not the new Busch Stadium.

The agent for MLB contacted me and asked which game I’d like to go to, so I said Game One. The World Series is a best 4-out-of-7, so picking one of the first 4 games only makes sense – you don’t even know if there will be a game 5, 6, or 7.

The first two games are in the American League city and the next 3 are in the National League city. I figured that the most excitement is probably at Game One, and going to Detroit or Boston would be good.

Game one is Wednesday, October 23. And we won’t know if it’s Detroit or Boston until this Saturday or Sunday, October 19 or 20.

Airline flights are expensive. The only relatively cheap flights are out of Fort Lauderdale – 2.5 hours away. But driving isn’t much of an option, with the closest city – Detroit – over 20 hours away. And that doesn’t factor in possible hotel, car rental, food…

Tickets? Yes, two. And, no, I’m not taking you – my son, Sammy, will go with me. If we go. But if we don’t go, I can’t sell them or transfer them.

Eeesh. Who knew winning something would be so difficult?

But I WON TICKETS TO THE WORLD SERIES!

I’ll let you know how it goes.