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The Twenty-Oh-Exs – a decade in review

January 11, 2010 am31 1:27 am

For the new year several bloggers I know wrote summaries of the decade.  NYTeacher, SHC, MM, I’m likely missing some.  Cool! I thought, let me try the same thing. A decade can be an amazing chunk of time. For an 11 year old, the next decade is a lifetime away. For the younger bloggers I know, so many changes! But me??? Hmm.

I remember New Years 2000. I was a smoker. Pack, pack-and-a-half-a-day. Camel filters. Or Marlboro (regulars, I think they say “reds” now). These days, if there are no New Years plans, there are no plans. It’s an overrated holiday – lot’s of pressure to create a special party. But ten years ago, I was younger. I think that was the last time I minded not having plans. And I minded. A lot. I’d been planning to quit smoking. Tried cold turkey. Every time I lasted just a few hours. I tried the patches. Couldn’t keep them lit. So here I was, New Years, staying in and not happy about it, and I notice, 8 or so, down to my last 2 smokes. And I’m not going to a bodega New Years Eve, just to go back home to do nothing. Not going out. So I put myself to bed – early, I think – thought I don’t recall all that clearly. And I kept myself in the next day. Crawling the walls. I was unpleasant for a few months. And it wasn’t until the summer that I couldn’t tell you how many days it’d been. In the intervening decade I’ve smoked, I think, seven cigarettes. And gained about 20-25 pounds. Let’s pretend 10 from age, rest from quitting.

I closed the decade without plans for New Years. But a late invitation turned up, and I went to the movies. Funny, I was thinking, I can’t remember the story in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Turned out, I’d never seen it before. The clock struck 2010 just before I got to my building.

I opened the decade as a third-year teacher, having just stopped trying to figure out how to make my exit from this awful choice of job. I ended it as a thirteen-year teacher, really not able to see myself doing much of anything else.

New Years 2000 I had just gotten involved in an effort to stop bad math reform in the Bronx. This work brought me into contact with the Bronx UFT. I was still 6 months away from becoming a delegate. I ended the decade a UFT activist, Chapter Leader, member of an opposition caucus, Executive Board, Negotiating Committee, etc, etc.

New Years 2000 I had just gotten involved in an effort to stop bad math reform in the Bronx. By the end of the decade I had served on the Exec Board of the State math teachers association, gotten involved in curriculum design, spoken at a whole bunch of conferences…

Opened the decade not travelling, working summers, overwhelmed by the demands of teaching to the point of not being able to relax when I was out of school. Over these ten years I made Tampico, Montreal, then Greece (Athens, Crete, Salonika), then Greece (inc Salonika and Alexandroupolis) and Turkey (just Istanbul), then Berlin, Beograd, Salonika, Sofia. The last two years I have done volunteer teacher union work – in New Orleans, then east Texas.

Spoke English, bad Spanish, partially grammatical Russian, badly accented French, tourist Turkish. Today? All the same, all rustier, except the Spanish, which has neither improved nor gotten worse.

Renter. Now own an apartment. Two blocks away.

Walked a lot. Still walk a lot. But now I drive, too.

Big school. Small school.

Single. Single.

Coffee. Tea. then coffee. tea again, briefly. Coffee. (there is a mug of tea next to me now)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2010 am31 9:39 am 9:39 am

    Sounds like it’s been a busy decade nonetheless with lots of professional and personal growth. Here’s to the next decade.

    • Jack Israel permalink
      January 11, 2010 pm31 8:58 pm 8:58 pm

      I am moved to tears…such honest reflection!

  2. Венера permalink
    January 18, 2010 am31 1:03 am 1:03 am

    это так грусно. :(

  3. January 18, 2010 am31 1:55 am 1:55 am

    Девушка, у тебя задачек нет?

  4. January 21, 2010 am31 11:25 am 11:25 am

    sho ye? ne razumiem. been a *long* time.
    i like seein’ the cyrillitsa anyhow though…

  5. January 21, 2010 am31 11:27 am 11:27 am

    good heavens. “j” for “y” in “shto je”. i swear i’m sober. it *has* been a long time…

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