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The Fair Winds and Following Seas blog is on to its fourth year. It’s crazy to think this blog has lasted this long! But no worries because I plan to continue it for the foreseeable future!

Moving on from middle school teaching

When I left off with the previous anniversary post back in September 2021, I mentioned that I got a new job as a middle school teacher. Well, things have changed, yet again. This past school year was really tough on me, both mentally and physically, with insane amounts of work and a serious lack of support (I won’t go into all of the details as that would take forever). That’s why there haven’t been as many articles published lately; I didn’t have as much time these past 10 months to do research and write articles as I used to. Hopefully, that will change this year. As a result of these work experiences, I decided to leave my job as a middle school teacher in June (at the end of the school year) and transition back to high school as a substitute teacher. I made this decision for a number of reasons:

  • High schoolers are far calmer and (generally) less prone to meltdowns over every dumb little thing when compared to middle schoolers. (i.e. they have more social and emotional maturity to make better decisions…but that’s not always the case.)
  • High schoolers are (generally) far more respectful to both teachers/staff and each other. I have honestly never seen so much behavioral/social-emotional dysregulation and so much disrespect as I’ve witnessed this past school year in middle school. Foul language, fights, passive-aggressiveness, bringing dangerous objects to school, etc. Middle schoolers are often incredibly stupid and make really dumb decisions. Their poor decision-making and disrespect affect not only themselves but the entire class and my ability to teach.
    • Most of the time it felt like I was managing misbehaviors rather than teaching actual content…but that may be what middle school teaching is basically about. You just babysit young teens and manage their (mis)behaviors. I dunno.
  • High schoolers are better at independent learning and my teaching style is better suited for their learning style(s). (Middle schoolers required an incessant amount of hand-holding for the simplest of tasks and assignments.)
  • Grades actually matter in high school if the students want to graduate. I’ve dealt with too many apathetic and defiant middle schoolers (and a few parents) who didn’t give a crap about their education because they knew their (failing) grades didn’t matter and they’d go on to high school regardless. (I think some kids really need to be held back.)
  • There are serious problems in the field of education regarding low teacher salaries, staffing issues, curriculum, culture wars, the lack of societal respect for the profession, and the heavy (and unnecessary) politicization of education (mostly by people who have never taught in a public classroom). And that’s just to name a few!
    • We saw many systems completely break down, and many of these problems, while not necessarily new, were heavily exacerbated by the pandemic and the attendant learning losses. It irritates the crap outta me.

There are many more reasons, but those are probably the main ones. Therefore, being able to substitute teach this next year will give me an opportunity to work at different schools and districts so as to get a feel for where education is headed in the near future. Perhaps I’ll want to renew my teaching license and stay in the field for a few more years, or maybe I’ll want to find something else to do with myself and work in another sector. So that was my miserable experience with the 2021 – 2022 school year.

Trip to Los Angeles

In more upbeat news, in late August, I took a short trip to Los Angeles to see some friends and do a little sightseeing. I got to see some landmarks and popular places such as:

  • Rancho Palos Verdes and Point Vicente
  • The USS Iowa battleship museum (blog post to follow)
  • The Lyon Air Museum (blog post to follow)
  • Downtown LA (Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), The Bradbury Building, Million Dollar Theater, The Broad)
  • Camelot Golfland (play some minigolf, Disneyland wasn’t on the agenda)

Overall, it was a pretty positive experience. I decided to fly into John Wayne Airport instead of LAX and stayed in a hotel in Irvine (Orange County). It was nicer than being smack in the middle of downtown LA (less traffic and fewer homeless people). My only real regret was that it was for a short stay of about 3.5 days which meant it was a little hectic and we had to run around a lot (read: drive back and forth across LA) to get to some of the things we wanted to see.

Future articles and projects

I don’t want this blog to become just a repetition of “Sailor Speak of the Week” and book/movie reviews, so rest assured that I am currently working on writing some more articles and doing research for upcoming projects. With any luck, I’ll have some more posts published in the very near future and going into the fall and winter. You may have noticed that the citation style has changed in some of my recent articles. I’ve begun using the Chicago Manual of Style which is commonly used in the humanities fields, such as history. Previously, I’ve used the APA style which is what I started using in grad school and is used more in social sciences. I’ve learned that there are two citation methods used in Chicago; one that resembles the APA style where the citation directly follows the material, and the other where the citation is placed in the footnotes or endnotes and indicated in the text as a superscripted number. I’ve decided to go with the latter method since it’s what I see used most commonly in history books and it enhances the readability of the text by not breaking things up with an in-text citation. Once I figured out how to create in-article links for the superscripts, then things got easier. It does add another significant step in the writing process where I have to add in endnotes and superscripted numbers, and then make sure the numbers match up with the notes.

As before, I want to stay true to the roots of the blog and publish more content directly related to the topics of naval/maritime history. The FWFS Youtube channel is still going. I plan to do some more gaming when I can find the time and post videos. Some games will probably be non-simulators and non-naval related.

As always, I appreciate the readers and followers of this blog! That means you!