Saturday, August 20, 2011

reflection on: No man is an island

I'm pressed for time this morning; but it's a good thing. After a year of unemployment, the fact that I got a full-time job is practically a miracle in this economy. Especially if you're a teacher.

Today's Denver Post headline reads, "Colorado adding jobs, but at anemic pace." I was starting to feel that anemia after about my sixth month without a check. Worse, was being without a career.

Yeah, I got a job this past Thursday, leaving two days--including going in on Sat.--to prepare a classroom for kids coming in Monday. FYI, it takes more than five days to complete such a task.

I knew I'd have to hustle to even do a half-decent job of preparation, but never imagined that this super team of paraprofessionals would come into my new room and magically make it happen.

This is a simple post about an ordinary incident; nothing monumental to report, at least on my part. I still much an incredible amount of work to accomplish to get up to speed, but thanks to the help of workers who are paid less than me, I'm much reader than I would have been in a district where paraprofessionals are less respected.

The title of this post is from a John Donne prose piece Meditation XVII that he wrote after a near-death illness. Unemployment for a year is similar to that. Unemployment beyond that sometimes even leads to death.

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main"

You've heard the lines before, understood them and maybe even used them, but I got a real taste of what they mean when that para team came to my rescue.

The Denver Post article goes on to say, "It is going to take 150,000 jobs to bring it down to pre-recession levels. We have a long way to go." That's also part of how I'm "a piece of a continent." However, the article doesn't explain how remote the possibility is of that many--and millions more across the country--jobs being created. When a country's economic continent sinks, its recovery is not as easy as an air bubble rising.

Donne adds, "any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." In this case, it's not about actual death, just other people's inability to find work. I'm not saying I feel their pain or anything so emotionally grandiose. I just know I myself am no longer sinking, while others gasp for financial air.

"We are really tossed by the winds of the global economy," quotes the Denver Post. I think that's an inadequate description of what's happening to too many people, but I'll say it does apply to all of the unemployed. At least I've got my sail under control and the rudder is manageable.

I don't consider myself lucky. Finding my job had little if any to do with that. If I wasn't pressed for time, needing to head to my classroom, I'd explain how I deliberately, systematically plotted a course to get out of unemployment. Another time, maybe.

For now, although Donne's tolling bell won't be about my economic demise, it's definitely ringing like a, well, bell in a hurricane for millions of U.S. residents.

Maybe I'm posting parts of Donne because I don't want to forget that. Maybe I'm doing it to help remind others. In any case, here's wishing you and yours a busy, productive weekend and week. Although, you're not going to have anywhere near as much fun as I will, starting Monday in a room of twenty-some first graders greeting their new teacher. An island that won't be unto itself.

"And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." John Donne, 1624.

Es todo, hoy



Juan Tejeda said...

I think la bloga is great and I read it regularly, however, it would be even better if the author of the review, article, poem, short story, etc., were required to put their full name at the top of the piece. Sometimes I read a piece and I don't know who's written it. Nomas una sugerencia. Gracias. Juan

msedano said...

felicidades on the jale, teacher. looking forward to hearing about the experiences.