Monday, August 14, 2006

Just breathe...

Well, the first week of the 2006-07 school year is finally over. Only 35 more to go! It was a whirlwind that I have yet to recover from--hence the absence of posts on this blog. I have been extremely stressed out these last couple of weeks, and I haven't quite been able to figure out why or how to snap out of it. I decided to begin writing again in my "blessings book" that my dear friend Jesse gave me several years ago to remind me of all of the cool things that God is doing. So, instead of all of the frustrating, negative "back-to-school blues" things that I could vent about, I have decided to write about the highlights of my week...
  1. I get to eat lunch with my friends! After having "Lunch Duty" last year, I was relieved to be able to sit in the lunchroom and eat in peace but, I was thrilled when I found out that my lunch wave was the same as my English chicks as well as one of my good science friends. (That NEVER happens...)
  2. I have 4th period planning. That is huge because that means I have 3 classes, a break, and then 3 more classes--an even break in the day and a time to get reenergized. 4th period planning also comes right before lunch, so it feels like I have a longer break than I actually do.
  3. I have some really sharp students. Of course, I have some not-so-sharp ones as well, but any student who seems at all interested in reading has potential to me. This week they took their literature "pre-test" and wrote a diagnostic essay. Usually, these are painful to grade, and many of them were excruciating, but since I'm being positive here, I am pleased to report that I have some good writers and grade-level readers. I actually had one student make a perfect score on his reading test; of course, he was moved to AP lit the next day, but it was nice to have him in class for 4 days. I'm hoping there's another Preston, Darrius, or Ter'Merria in the midst of them...
  4. I get to teach 4 12th-grade classes and 2 11th-grade classes again. Last year, I was sort of stressed about that because British lit is my passion and my experience; however, I fell in love teaching The Great Gatsby and Of Mice and Men last year. I'm pumped to get to do it again--and hopefully a better job of it.
  5. I have a new barricade from my students, a larger work space because of it, and a more organized system as another result. I get very annoyed and personal-space-violated when my students walk up and get right behind me or in my face when I am sitting at my computer. I added a table and a file cabinet that streches my desk space while also closing me in. So far, so good. The extra table allows me to spread out my "stuff" and not feel so cluttered and junky. Thanks for the idea, Jen.
  6. I am getting to teach some of my 11th-graders from last year again in the 12th grade.
  7. I have 2 student teacher's aides during different periods in the day to help me not get so bogged down with rudimentary grading, filing, copying.
  8. I get to come home to my puppy, Maggie, and my hubby!
It's overall a pretty good life if I'll just slow down, enjoy it, and let it be. Check out my updated class website if you want to keep up with the goings on in my classroom. :) Any Takers?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

"My kids bore me..."

This British mom is taking a lot of heat for writing this article about how her kids can sometimes bore her--Gasp. She writes that much of "mommyhood" is glamorized. I heard she wrote this in response to an article written by a mom who gushed over how perfect and wonderful motherhood is. What do you think about it?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Marley and Me

With school lurking around the corner, I am trying to pack in all of the summer pleasure reading that I can this week. I just finished a GREAT book, Marley and Me. Great books to me are books that evoke all types of emotions, books that you laugh out loud to one minute--and then sob to a few minutes later. This was definitely one of those books, and I'd recommend it to any of you dog lovers out there... Maggie was sleeping soundly on my stomach as I tearfully finished it, and it just made me want to soak in all of her and what she has brought and will bring into our family. (Thanks, Linds, for letting me borrow it, I'll bring it to ATL this weekend. And, Mom, when you read this, I think you will be hooked into getting another dog--Cassie, rest in peace. <>< :> )

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's in the air...

It's back to school time. I can feel it, and I'm starting to get that giddy feeling of going back to my classroom, meeting new students, having routine, acting out Macbeth, and even grading research papers... I must be doing what I'm called to do if I can find something good about research papers...

I went back to my classroom today for the first time all summer. It was a bit of a rude awakening. Dust mites everywhere, air conditioning not working, complete filth... At one point, I was rearranging things and in the process of moving a pencil sharpener, pencil shavings dumped everywhere... in my desk drawers that were open, all over my desktop, the floor, on my shirt, down my shirt--I even ingested quite a bit and have been sneezing and wheezing off and on all day long... I attempted to get my schedule so I could, I don't know, start doing my lesson plans since school begins in less than 2 weeks, but I learned that they are not giving out schedules yet... What!?

In spite of all of these seemingly disappointing factors, I am STILL looking forward to a new school year, and I am determined to have a good attitude and look for the positive things that remind me why I love teaching. I'm excited about being with teacher friends again, and I have high hopes for the two new teachers that will be on our hall. (Keeping fingers crossed) I went shopping for new school supplies and got a new desktop calendar, some clear page protectors, post-its for my students to take notes within the texts, pens and pencils, dry erase markers, sharpies, dividers, the works. I also visited Target and was thrilled with all of the "One Spot" hot teacher items.

Tonight after dinner with some friends, Patrick lovingly took me "Back-to-School" shopping--as has been a ritual since I was a student and will continue through my teaching years. A good outfit on the first day of school helps take away some of those jitters and gives an extra measure of confidence--I buy it. We found some great deals at Banana Republic and Ann Taylor, and I really got excited about the first day with my new students.