Handling the responsibilities of life

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Can a commander-in-chief resign his post?.

Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Can a commander-in-chief resign his post?

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There are positions in life at every level folks move into certain they can handle the responsibility. Myself, when I started out as a teacher, coming from Mankato State’s program, I thought I could do the job. I hoped to be able to teach as Ms. Morey had taught us in fifth grade. After all it was having her as a teacher that spurred my decision to go into teaching and June, July and August.

Suddenly I was facing all these students that first day and I discovered how ill-prepared I was. I enjoyed art but putting up a bulletin board was a task I felt helpless with and I didn’t seek help. The first few days the other teachers were busy decorating their rooms making them "student friendly" and there I stood looking at three blank walls and a row of windows.

I wonder if George Dubya is busy looking out the window of the White House at the South Lawn and the cherry blossoms blossoming with the same misgivings.

Is he looking at the fence where they shot the man with the gun?

Is he getting depressed as I got depressed as a beginning teacher? Is he feeling overwhelmed?

It’s hard to face the hard facts of life when you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

Last week’s Star Tribune mentioned that Japan was angered by a U.S. nuclear submarine that failed to give notice before coming into port. The U.S. Navy blamed it on an "administrative error," the first-ever violation that says the United States has to give a 24-hour advance warning.

I suspect the incident off the shore of Oahu where the U.S. sub sunk the Japanese boat is still being talked about in Japan – but not here. We’ve become pretty immune to feelings and thinking.

In the same article, it mentions an F-16 fighter crashed into the sea off northern Japan last Tuesday.

And the relationship that was growing with China, in fact our own Hormel built a plant in China, and now George seems to be tearing it down, not the plant, the relationship, making arrogant demands.

He sounds to me that he’s trying to take over where his father left off on his "new world order" directed by Washington.

Can the people make a vote of no-confidence like college teachers can about an administration.

Locally it was like a reunion at the high school auditorium not so long ago, a deja vu another $800,000 deficit. It was good to see Marian Clennon again, a concerned parent in the last go-around. Missing were two of the veteran board members, leaving the plight to the "new board" members. Simonson was there – as chair, I suppose he had no choice.

Like a good institution that talks with "data," we could to see overheads of expenditures, class sizes in Austin compared to other Big Nine schools – something I see the board manipulating.

Again mention was made that 80 percent of the money goes to pay for teachers. That seems to be mentioned every time. They didn’t mention the superintendent’s $10,000 raise.

There was quiet mention of liquidating the "central office" an oasis of sorts six blocks from the high school. Maybe it’s a quieter environment to work in. It would be so distracting to do their work in the high school with all those students around.

Anyway, they divided us in to two groups and sent us down to the cafeteria to "brainstorm" ideas – ways to cut money if the governor’s budget stays where it is.

There is still a chance the schools will get a 2 percent to 3 percent increase that will cover the $800,000 we were told, but it would behoove of us all to contact our state legislators and urge them to increase educational expenditures and remind the governor that teachers don’t have the time to take million-dollar Saturday night jobs to supplement their income.

It is good to see the administration providing an opportunity for community members to get "involved" in the decision-making process only it almost sounded that the decision on "cuts" is something the finance committee will come up with.

Maybe moving the meetings to the public library, away from the high school would allow for some fresh thinking.

One also has to wonder about the high utility cost so suddenly and why has that changed so.

I still think Wendell Berry’s thoughts that we will have to learn to live poorer is applicable, especially in this world market we have created.

Bob Vilt is news clerk for the Austin Daily Herald. His column appears Tuesdays. Call him at 434-2236 or e-mail him at newsroom@austindailyherald.com.