Semper Gumby

When we were pilgramaging in Syria, and something unexpected came up (like the time when, just as we were all expecting lunch, we instead went on a two hour tour of a war museum; and when we found out that instead of staying in Sweida we were to instead spend the day touring about, looking at things, and meeting people, and… it happened a lot), Father Matthew would say to be “flexible like Gumby,” a sentiment he apparently got from the marines (iirc he was a former marine).

Sometimes I think that should be my teaching motto. I came in this morning expecting to make tissue paper collages, only to find that all the paintbrushes had been moved from the staff closet to… nobody knew where; probably the locked shed outside. Sometimes I think I should leave emergency sub plans for myself (we worked on 3/4 portrait drawings). Every now and again I show up for work to find the MPR, where I teach, already occupied, and am sent, period by period, to unoccupied classrooms, finding out where I can be between classes. Today I found out just as a class was sitting down that there was an assembly, and we were to move. On several occasions I have found out about an assembly a period before it started, and once I learned of it as the other classes walked by, and I had to poke my head out and ask. There were posters the students were asked to make for a contest: I thought that it was a voluntary contest, and told the students so — but the day before they were to be judged I learned that they weren’t, so all the next morning they worked on these posters in all their other classes.

In a Skype interview with TLG she asked things like: “are you comfortable with not knowing where you’re going to be living or who it will be with until you get there?” and “would you be alright if you were asked to teach immediately, without any real background info or placement information, or curriculum?” and “the key to doing well in this program is being cheerfully flexible.” Like Gumby.

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One thought on “Semper Gumby

  1. I visited the Cherubim monastery in 2006 with 2 of my younger brothers. I’m happy to see that this monastery still exists – I had seen some photos taken the next year, and the cross was missing, so I was worried something had happened to the place.

    BTW, I’m a former Marine (so is one of my brothers) and I use the phrase “Semper Gumby” a lot. 🙂

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