Friday, May 26, 2006

Standing in the Shadows of Giants

With last night's BHDS board dinner, Jewish Events Month is almost over. All that remains is the Volunteers Dinner, scheduled for June 4. And that one's casual, unlike last night's dinner.

I have been having a tough time with Jewish Events Month, I have to admit. Seems like every year about this time I start wanting to dive into the rabbit hole, shut the door behind me and brood for a few months. Summer comes just in time. I return in the fall, refreshed and once again normal, ready to put in some time to help the school and by extension, my child.

Witness my response to last week's Walkathon, a fine event produced by fine people who care every bit as much about the school as me. Indeed, people better than me, with advanced social skills and patience expanding far beyond my own. I am the first (and frequently also the last) to acknowledge who is at the core of my occasional and unattractive misanthropy: that would be me.

It was with this baggage, plus the outfit I wore to Greg & Tracy's wedding in 2003, that Sandra Bullock and I arrived at the Board Dinner, where I would, along with Jenny from the Block, Mr. San Francisco and a Marin parent, be honored with the or chadash award, for the top volunteer of the year.

Actually, Mr. San Francisco and I were being honored with a special or chadash thanks to the trip we took to Texas in the fall. Unbeknownst to almost everyone in the world, and continually not accepted by those I repeatedly tell, Mr. San Francisco did pretty much everything for the trip. I just rode along and wrote dispatches home.

So it's not like I don't feel like a total fraud accepting this award, or anything like that.

This is not my point, however. My point is that, despite all of my grousing, I was listening when the board president and head of school spoke, and felt a familiar surge of pride as they spoke about the school. It was nice to be reminded why we're all here, and to feel a part of a community. And after we received our award, it was nice to have my hand shaken (is that the proper tense?) by all of these people. I really felt appreciated and acknowledged, if not for the trip than at least for all the other stuff I do at school. I've certainly never gotten that from any job I've had.

I returned to my seat and said to Sandra Bullock, "I deserve this, but not for that trip." She agreed.

At this time, I'd like to extend my condolences to the faculty of BHDS. When I was a faculty member at Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle, our end-of-the-year dinners were casual drunken blowouts. We made sure to drop by our classrooms, beer in hand, just to savor the sheer decadence of it, and always ended the evening at some really corny karaoke bar in North Seattle, where at least one teacher feared not only by students but by other faculty would suddenly develop a pressing need to perform "To All the Girls I've Loved Before." That was our tradition.

I can only hope that our BHDS teachers have a similar tradition, one that we are not privy to. They were kept completely buttoned down at this event, given a half-hour of cocktails followed by an uncasual dinner. I can only hope that their post-party gathering somehow resembled those of my former cohort. After all, when the indie rock nerd teacher goes the extra mile and throws a sportcoat over his usual Weezer-esque gear, you've got to reward him by cutting loose a little.

I will check today at pickup. Maybe some teachers will be moving a little slowly.


Anonymous zelda said...

oh my G-d I am so jealous of you and your posse at BBHS. of course we did not go anywhere or do anything fun last night. we had taught all day until 3:15 then raced home to shower and change--what to wear? the *parents* will be there! so keep all tattoos and piercings and cleavage covered, just like at school but this time in heels--all to be at a 6 o'clock cocktail hour on the other side of the bridge?! at the Embassy SUITES no less! over-dressed salad, did you order pasta or salmon miss?, oh the awards started, is that a marin parent?, stand up sit down stand up sit down clap clap clap. actually a very nice speech by our fearless leader CH in tribute to the escapades of you and mr. san francisco. did you like that i snuck in a little bloggable comment as i shook your hand when you passed by our table? speeches, dessert, speeches, coffee, women in the restroom acting like they are IN middle school, not just teach it. oh it's over, goodbye and go, carpool back to the city, it's 11pm already and we all teach at 8:15 tomorrow.

so, no. no karaoke or carousing. don't worry, we'll have our fun between now and the end of the school year. we just can't do it with all of you around, because if we did we're afraid you wouldn't respect us in the morning. we still have three more weeks as your kids' teachers, you know!

and, rant aside, mazel tov to you Lefty on your well-deserved recognition last night. your generous work is an outstanding example to our community of the true nature of tzedakah, even if you didn't drive all that much and just sat in the passenger seat with your laptop.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous flush puppy said...

the jawa's teachers have tattoos and piercings?! i like them already.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous zelda said...

lest i misrepresent us, we also have masters' degrees and significant bodies of research that we've published in a variety of professional journals.

i say this not to brag but to ensure you see the full picture, not just the 'teachers gone wild' side of the jawa's school!

9:48 AM  

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