Sara says that February is the single suckiest month there is. I have to agree. With a weeks distance between me and February, I feel I can now safely comment on this stupid month.
For some reason, mayhap because of the shortness of it, February always finds me short on funds. No matter what. Ever since I can remember…well since I started paying taxes and bills, I am always in a position of trying to figure out which bill I am going to short in February. And simply because it is a bad economic environment does not explain this away. February is only short by two days, but those two days seem to have great pull. I can’t explain it at all. Now, I won’t claim that money is flowing from the money tree every other month; it is often that we are tight, but February is unique in its short change. It isn’t Christmas effects, because I am pretty good about not buying stuff I don’t have money for (at Christmas time anyway). In addition to the short fall for bills stupid stuff always seems to happen in February that requires a large amount of cash to fix. This year? It was the computer (see my previous post about what Scott did).
Since becoming a teacher February also brings about the hated and despised FCAT writing test, truly the worst judge of an 8th grader’s writing ability. Nothing like massive amounts of pressure to make a 13 year old spew out a brilliant 5-paragraph essay in 45 minutes or less. Not only does it suck for the students, but it sucks for the teachers because the admins start fussing, mussing and micro-managing what we do in the classroom. Apparently, we teachers are not doing our jobs at all even though we get good reviews on observation days and maintain lesson plans and portfolios and diligently repeat repeat repeat lessons and do grade recovery and oh man the list goes on. Come February, everyone from academic coaches to district cluster chiefs feel we don’t teach enough. It would probably help the system if we went back to actually teaching information rather than teaching strategies to understand information (you know like memorize the multiplication table, instead of a multiplication strategy).
Next, of course is my least favorite holiday: Valentine’s Day. I hate this stupid commercial day of forced love! I can not remember liking Valentine’s Day since I was in elementary school. It has nothing to do with love…maybe once it did, but now it has to do with “how much do you love?” And really, I love Scott everyday (yes even when I want to kill him) and he loves me everyday. I don’t need one day out the whole year to show love. I show him everyday, in a thousand little ways, making him lunch, ironing his shirt, kissing him goodbye and telling him, “Be safe.” These might seem like “domestic” or “trivial” acts of love, but love is a daily commitment and affirmation. It is work and flexibility, compromise and determination. Relationships take work. And yes it is nice to have a “romantic” evening out, giving a flower and all that, but I refuse to be told to do it, to make it a commercial event. One day a year to make a show of love is a ridiculous expectation. People get too wrapped up in “romantic” love and don’t pay attention to real love. (By the way, I feel the same way about Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and all those other days. Ridiculous!)
Let’s talk about the weather. February in Florida is like dealing with an emo, manic-depressive angst-ridden teenager. One day it is freezing the next it is in the high 70s. It gets rainy, foggy, yucky, and can’t ever make up its mind about what it really wants to do. And on top of that: Groundhog’s Day!! What is the point? Six more weeks of winter? Early Spring? It doesn’t matter!! Spring starts March 21st each year anyway and February 2nd is roughly six weeks before it. Why doesn’t anyone see this connection? It’s like trying to play mind games with us so we don’t all get Jack Nickolas crazy-like in The Shining because we are miserable in winter blues. And people get miserable sick in February. It’s the height of Flu and cold season and for first time someone in my family got the Flu and when did it happen? February! Cyra was hit the last week. Thankfully, it was the head and ache flu and not the stomach puking flu!
Finally, (and this is going to sound politically incorrect and prejudiced at first but bear with it, because I do have a point) February is Black History Month. Now, what have I got against African Americans? Nothing. I just think it is ridiculous to have history “months” in general. My problem is that history should be taken as a whole, not chunks separated out by people, but chunks separated by time. All history should be explored because it is in our history that we figure out who we are. Race and ethnicity should not be a factor in studying history. It should not be, “Oh, it’s February, let’s study black history.” Or “Oh, it’s March, let’s study women’s history.” History does not happen in isolation, therefore, we can not study isolated pockets and hope to understand.
Now, that being said, I also have a problem with the term “African-American.” We are in a day and age when we need to look at our race as “human.” And our nationality? Well, where were you born? Poland? Guess what? You’re Polish regardless of skin color. South Africa? You’re South African. American?? Guess what? You are AMERICAN regardless of skin color. The only people who should be referred to as African-Americans are those who immigrated to America and became citizens (even then, I have issues because if they became citizens then they are American). How silly would it be for me to walk around saying I’m Irish-English-Scandinavian-American even though it was three or more generations ago that my ancestors immigrated here? I might have Irish ancestry, but I am American. I might have Scandinavian relatives, but I am an American. Yes, the history of slavery is tragic, inexcusable and devastating, however, we cannot change history; we can only study it and learn from it. And one month isn’t going to accomplish that!
The only good things to ever come out of February: my mom’s birthday (which I didn’t even get to celebrate with her yet because Cyra was sick with the flu!) and my niece’s birthday. Everything else? I’d just as soon hibernate through the month. Now that March is here and Spring is on its way, things are looking up!