01 June 2023


 Hi, Reader.

My apologies for the long lapse in posts.  Things got pretty busy and life got in the way.  But, I assure you, I'm still around.  Still chasing thoughts, deepening my considerations of things, and learning new and improved ways of seeing the world around me.

Recently, I had a friend move in with me, someone who quickly became another adopted child.  Sweet kid, just a couple months older than my oldest biological child, and it's been great having someone around, another human presence in the apartment.

You know...  I've been thinking (dangerous, I know).  We have all manner of different kinds of jobs to keep humans busy.  To keep this ol' world functioning.  Despite the fact that society seems to have lost its marbles and the bag in which to hold them (actually, I think they decided to torch the bag and shove the marbles down the garbage disposal just for funsies, come to think of it), there are always things to do, to keep things at the very least (dys)functional and entertaining (at the very least).

Some people work for corporations, some in retail.  Some are military, and some are cab drivers and sanitation workers.  

The thing is, there are parts and pieces that are necessary to keep even the smallest of towns moving, progressing, and running smoothly.  

It got me thinking the last few days about this.  Perhaps my brain's just wanting to follow the dopamine trail down another rabbit hole, I don't know.

Why are we ashamed - if our job(s) are legal, why are we ashamed to say, with confidence, what we do for our honest dollar(s)?  So what if you work in fast food?  So what if you drive for Lyft?  So what if you work for some big-wig corporation?  So what if you don't have a college degree or even a high school diploma?  If you are out doing legal, honest work, then what's the problem?  There is too much stigma, too much looking down one's nose at specific jobs - retail, fast food, cab driving, etc. - and I fail to see why.

This leads me to this post.  I, personally, do have a job.  If we want to get super technical, I have three, two of which fall under the umbrella of (starving) artist, and one of which falls under the umbrella of educator.  ;)  Nary of my jobs pays, not yet.  But they will, eventually.  My roomie and I were talking about that the other day.  I made reference to being a "future" educator, but then I stopped and thought about that for a minute and said, "Hang on.  Technically, I am still an educator, even though I'm not in a formal classroom working for a school district.  I am educating one lady in ELA, to help her to study for her G.E.D., and another lady, I'm educating in E.S.L., because her main languages are

French and Creole.  She is an immigrant to the USA.  She speaks a little English, so I am helping her improve her English.  Sure, it's slow going, but as with anyone learning a new language, that's just how it is.  You don't learn a couple of phrases and BAM!  You're fluent.  That is NOT how it works.  So, we meet weekly for an hour and a half and we talk, we work together with a book, and tomorrow I am bringing a word game with me to give her a break from the book we're using, to just change things up a little bit.  My entire goal is to help her with her English, and sometimes you just gotta change up the lessons a little, as long as you're sticking with the prescribed curriculum (and yes, I have permission from the Sisters to do this, just like I have permission from the Sisters to be able to change things up a little with my ELA student!).  Later this summer, I am going to be further helping another young lady I did not get connected to her through the Sisters for whom I work, but rather, I met her at CSCC. We were talking about an assignment she'd reached out to a group we're mutually part of - how we met in the first place - and she'd asked anyone reading her post if anyone could help her.  I reached back and said I'd be happy to, and we took it from there.  Three years later, I'm still gifted the honour of lending her a hand, and now she has asked if we can work together on improving her English.  

I was supposed to have a meeting today with someone about my coaching stuff, but that meeting got canceled, because the person I was to be chatting with got sick (hopefully she feels better soon, poor lady!).  All in God's timing, things will happen, but I know I've got to do my part in the equation here and keep plugging away at what I need to do to keep my focus, to keep me on track for the bigger, long-term goal.  :)

I am done waiting for someone to give me permission to have confidence in saying, "I'm an educator and an artist" when asked, "What do you do?"  :)  My job may not have me "rollin' in the Benjamins" as the kids say, but I don't care.  I'm also sick of hearing, "Oh, TeAcHiNg DoEsN't PaY a WhOle LoT!" Shhh.  Y'think I don't already know that?  Oh, did you think I'm only in it for the money?!  Nah, I'm totally not.  I may not rub elbows with people in a higher tax bracket, but I don't care.  At least I'm real and honest and I keep things real.  People tend to not like that, and they look with pity or disdain (sometimes both).  My thing is, that's a them problem, not a me one, and I'm tired of shouldering that.  

Hello, all.  It is nice to meet you.  My name is T. Rea Okerberg, and I am an educator and an artist.  I love what I do, and I won't ever tire of what I do.  

If the old saying, "If you love what you do for a living, you will never work a day in your life" is true, then what I do isn't work.  It's something that not only brings me joy, but it deepens the joy for me when I am sitting with my students and I see the look in their eyes when they realize they've done something they've struggled with and they finally understand how to do that thing, and it also brings me deeper joy because I'm able to have a hand in their journey towards their goals, too.  After all, isn't that part of what being a human is all about, is helping others along the path?  Just because we've "advanced" further than others, does not make it okay to leave those who aren't up where we are, where they currently are.  To be forgotten.  To be left to figure life out on their own.  There should be, at the forefront of all our minds, the mindset of the connectedness that comes with human nature.  We are, honestly, created to be social creatures.  Since that is the case, then we should, by default, be willing to make sure that we're all able to see that we all have a purpose, a place, in this world.  There is, believe it or not, plenty of room for everyone.  We just need to stop crowding those seen as "beneath" out.  Everyone, of course, wants to be seen, to be heard, to be acknowledged.  Therefore, it is only right and just that we give all voices a chance to be heard, all faces a chance to be seen, and all people space and room to breathe and to learn and to explore.

Educating others isn't just for the student, nor is it solely for the educator.  It is, if you think about it, a team effort, a joint collaboration between student and educator, because while yes, I know how to do the things in front of us, and I am helping them to understand it, too, that does NOT make me somehow "better than" they are.  Nor does it somehow make me "smarter than" they are.  They are, in turn, helping me, too.  :)

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