I don’t want to spend this blog post bitching about how stressed out I am. Everyone I know is stressed out a lot of the time, so to continue to announce it to people gets pretty redundant. However, I think it should be noted that this semester seemed tougher than most. My dissertation data collection stressed out way longer than I wanted it to (I won’t be done until Friday–blog post on that forthcoming), I struggled with completing grading and writing without losing my mind, and in the month of November alone I made not one, but two trips to the West Coast. Nothing stresses me out like airports. But I got the sense that other people have been having a rough time too. The teacher I work with for my study frequently seems stressed, many of my students had a tough semester, Mike is stressed out at work…it seems like everyone is having a difficult time. Not to mention the news lately. Michigan is not-so-slowly turning into a conservative wasteland, and of course, there is the school shooting in Connecticut last Friday. I imagine if Mitt Romney had won the election, I would be in a mental institution right now. Or living in Sweden.

The school shooting news made me incredibly emotional, more so than stories like these usually do. Clearly, it’s because of the nature of the violence and the setting. This man murdered 1st graders for chrissake. This happened in an elementary school–a place where I spend Every. Single. Day. (Especially this semester). I am so saddened by it, but there have been so many mixed emotions as well. I cried so hard hearing about teachers who gave their lives for their students because I totally get it. I don’t know a single teacher who doesn’t worry about their students, feel proud and brag about their students, and yes, wouldn’t stand up to a man with a gun for their students, even if it meant possibly losing their life. Just like a parent would.  I hope this makes the general public see (especially the Michigan legislature) that teachers are incredibly important people in a child’s life that should be protected and treated with respect by society. Ask the parents of those kids in CT who survived how thankful they are for their child’s teacher and they can tell you. I’ve seen stories that we should arm teachers and train them to use deadly weapons. I’ve seen a story from a complete idiot who said that this maniac would never have made it into the building if there was just a MAN around to protect everyone (the CT school principal and most the teachers were female). These disgusting stories completely miss the point. You want to protect kids, you start with putting the people who would give their lives to protect them on a much higher pedestal.  Teachers don’t need guns, they need respect.

Life is stressful this semester looking for jobs. I got flat-out rejected from three positions–the one that hurts the most was Hope College. I really thought I had a chance there, but apparently neither of the search committee chairs that I met at LRA and talked to on the phone late one night thought I was very impressive. It sucks because that job meant I could possibly stay in Holland, but who knows now. Good news is that I do have an on-campus interview at my old stomping ground, Central Michigan. I am a finalist for two positions there– elementary social studies professor and introduction to education professor. I think on Jan 31, I’ll be heading up there for a two day visit of schmoozing people, talking about my research, and teaching a class! I am very very excited about this. Hopefully it turns into something positive to turn this semester around quickly.