Posted by: patrick | April 25, 2005

remembering Julius P.

I went to San Diego to attend Julius’s memorial service this past weekend. It’s a strange feeling knowing that I have a brother from my chapter that’s no longer with us. I do feel sad, but I haven’t cried or wept; my personal feelings more resemble emptiness and grasping at memories. Is he really dead? Is he really gone? He is. We must continue to live on.

Since my father passed away three years ago, the reality of death, and of living life, has been of great importance to me. Life and death are part of a cycle, and it helps no one when you’re in denial of death. My philosophy of the past few years has been this: to live life to the fullest extent and to enjoy it as much as you can, because you never know when your time is up. That idea has motivated my Marine experience, and probably my choice of teaching as my current career, but I feel that idea pulling me into other academic and career pursuits. I know I can’t teach high school forever; I give this current period 5 years max before I move on.

Teaching mathematics is a daunting challenge–for some reason I’m still afloat and sane. I like working with my students, counseling them, and discussing random topics from time to time. The challenge of explaining math to students who are struggling with the subject also motivates me. But I also have to plan three different courses each day, which results in one good lesson and two “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” ones. And then, even the good one may not work.

What really irks me at this time are my classes at SF State. Correction–the classes and the fellow teachers I meet there are stimulating and interesting. It’s the bureaucracy (bureaucrazy) of the program that threatens to turn me off from teaching (or at least getting my credential). I can handle paperwork and red tape; I think I’m pretty adept at it. But it irks me to no end. If teaching is constantly dealing with re-certifications, applications, and so on, I might just get out of it. I’ve considered the college scene, both two- and four-year colleges, but I’ll have to get moving on a master’s or a doctorate to do so. I want the intellectual stimulation of doing research on things I like and communicating those ideas to people interested in them. High school students will sometimes not give a shit what you’re talking about, either because other things are prioritized as more important, or just because they could care less about your class.

Lesson planning, reading for college courses, and so on…where is the time to eat, sleep, and shit? Not to mention having any social life with someone of the opposite sex…I’ve given up on actively looking for the current time. Lately, my mind-body-soul system has been rebelling against all this work, through procrastination, time-wasting from reading and web browsing, talking and catching up with people I know, and so on. I think it’s reclaiming my time from work. But I still don’t sleep regularly.

Jeez, I’ve written a lot…starting from remembering Julius to griping about work. A bunch of good folks I met this year teaching will be leaving and moving on. That’s not motivating to me, but I can hope that next year’s crew will be a good bunch. If not…well, the officer path and the overseas study path seem to be pulling me now too.

God bless the dead.


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