Monday, August 20, 2012

SUP chick heads back to school

A salty start to the first day of school

Going back to school (as a student or later as a teacher) has been a staple part of my life for the past 53 years. Today classes start and what makes it special to me is that it will be my last year as an educator. Teaching has been a wonderful honor, but I’m ready to leave the Ivory Tower, get out of the academia box, and become a “global citizen.”  More on that in a future blog.

The day started in a typical summer mode, up early and off to the beach for a paddle board/surf session with Dan. First stop, VG’s Donuts, the Starbuck alternative for locals, for a $1 cup of coffee. Monday am at Cardiff Reef State Park is quiet with a handful of ocean enthusiasts out in the water by 8am. Dan and I sip coffee, survey the surf and gradually get geared up for some aquatic fun. Being an ocean sweeper or SUP chick (Stand Up Paddleboard ) is the coolest part of my identity. It is natural for me to be in the water element, maybe because I was born in the year of the water snake, or perhaps because I was exposed to boats and water sports growing up. Sunny skies, no wind, great water visibility and temps around 70 make for a perfect day at sea. Dan and I are out for about 75 minutes getting ocean kissed. Seeing Dan catch a wave and living vicariously through his endorphin rush, I smile and think, this is as good as it gets! 

The challenge is to keep my energy up and brain cells fully functioning for this evening’s class. Teaching evening (6-9 pm) classes has been my reality for the past several years, but three hours is a long stretch to keep students engaged in the process of learning. It’s a time when our natural biorhythms are screaming it’s time for dinner and winding down. This year, being my swan song in academia, I vow to do things differently. I’m going to class lighter than usual, no props and no Powerpoint, no boring pictures of my summer vacation. 

Without the threat of another tenure review, my mantra is to “be real”  and  not hide behind my role as the authority figure. What I really do know is, students teach, as much or more, than I pass along to them. So, school bells are ringing and it's time to get the salt out of my hair and the sand from between my toes, and head out to Palomar College.


  1. I like that the "salty ocean sweeper" is being "real" her last year of school. Why do we wait for a benchmark occasion to take a stand on something for ourselves besides. . . rhetorical, I know.
    Hey, betta' late than never.
    Rock on' paddleboard chick!

    1. Some lessons take a long time to learn. Appreciate your comments, and I do hope to keep rocking till May.