Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Whatever you are, be a good one." Abraham Lincoln

It has been exactly two weeks since I've blogged. Travesty, I know. Things have been ominously quiet and calm in my life, so I'd been saving up energy for whatever it was that was going to happen.

Well, our school caught fire. Yep, your read that correctly, we had a fire in our cafeteria and had to evacuate mid-day. 4th grade was out at recess, so I was completely oblivious as to why 600 students were pouring out of the building.

I have to admit, I wasn't completely oblivious. I had actually been informed by my student. I know, like an idiot. I just assumed he had his wires crossed when he was screaming at me that the school was on fire.

I owe him an apology.

The worst of it came when I had about 12 belligerently crying students who were adamant about the fact that ,"We must go in the building and safe Guinicula from the impending flames!!"

I was assuring them that he would be fine while simultaneously praying that Guinea Pigs aren't effected by smoke inhalation.

Well, several fire trucks and an hour later we were all inside. It was a long day.

Monday was my birthday, and I have never felt so loved and appreciated. I lucked out and got the kid whose family owns the local Frozen Yogurt shop, so we had a regular ice cream party. Toppings and All!! The kids were thrilled, and I got a lot of neat stuff!

Adam took me out this past weekend and we had a wonderful night in the city. Sundance Square in Fort Worth is a wonderfully romantic place with a great vibe and lots of energy. We had fondue, hit up a live jazz club and an art show. My favorite part was just walking around, truly feeling away from it all. We had an awesome time.

Now, I'm decompressing from all the action and finding time to rest and reflect.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Birthday

Harry was the MOST excited about Adam's birthday!
I am so happy to celebrate my sweet husband's 24th birthday today. When you spend the majority of your day with 9 year olds, birthdays become a bigger deal than they have been in a really long time. My kids have had a countdown to my birthday on the chalkboard since September 1st. (My birthday isn't until the 27) Today when I mentioned to my class that it was Adam's birthday, I thought I had accidentally announced that class was dismissed and recess would ensue for the remainder of the day. But no...they heard me correctly, they were just that excited about Adam's birthday.

"We MUST make him a card!" they exclaimed. Mr. Henderson's birthday is TODAY and we had to let him know we're celebrating!

Kids. Love. Birthdays.

I love seeing my world through the eyes of a child. When Adam got home today I was just as excited as my class was ALL day about his birthday. That kind of joy is contagious, I don't care who you are.

The truth is, my husband is my best friend and I am so happy and thankful that he was born today, 24 years ago. As the years go by, I am more and more thankful for who he is and what he means in my life. He is an inspiration and constant reminder of the fact that we are not here by accident, we have a purpose and it is our job to work daily to fulfill it.

Now, time for cake.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Box Paradox

It's so interesting how the aspects of teaching that I thought I was looking forward to, are now the aspects of teaching that bring me the most stress.

Case and Point: When I was taking my tour of the school, my co-worker showed me my "box" in the front office. I tried to stifle my excitement over what I was seeing, but I'm sure it was obvious. I've always had these glorified ideas of what it meant to have my own box. During my Student Teaching, my mentor teacher would always inform me enthusiastically, "I'm going to go check my box," She would always return with teachery things that seemed to confirm that she, in fact, was a real teacher and that I, in fact, was not.

Well, I  am a real teacher. A real teacher that is gripped with a heart wrenching fear when I get a spare nano second to go check my box. Every single time I go to that God Forsaken box, I have to add 10 things to my never ending To-Do list. Whether it's a Memo's about meetings I need to attend, Assessments that must be done by the end of the week, folders regarding students that have legal modifications to be implemented into instruction, or an invitation to a Premiere Jewelry Party that I have absolutely NO interest in attending, there is always something. One afternoon I intentionally emptied my box, went promptly to the restroom and sauntered by my box just to get a glimpse of what it looked like empty, and lo and behold....There was a slip of paper so mockingly nestled in my box that I turned around and huffed back to my classroom.

There are other aspects of my job that I thought I was looking forward to as well. Grading and lunch duty are just to name a few. Why I ever thought a mountain of math worksheets and a red pen would bring me happiness is now a complete mystery to me.

And lunch duty...don't even get me started on lunch duty. Picture this: I'm scanning dozens and dozens of noisy kids hoping that none of them choke on the mystery meat they are eating, while simultaneously opening Go-gurt tubes and applesauce. Compete Madness.

On the contrary, my job has brought me joy in ways that I didn't even know to look forward to. Like   when a student brings me a picture they drew from home, or the way they hang on my every word when I tell a  story, I realize that they are looking up to me. When I stand at the door in the morning and welcome my students and their sleepy eyes I know I am a tone setter for their entire day. When I have the opportunity to encourage my kids who feel left out or discouraged, I know I am making a difference.
These moments far outweigh any mountain of grading, impossible applesauce, and yes, even the box.

I am still very happy and continue to look forward to seeing my students every day. I love my job.


 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Utter Contradiction

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.” — Charles Dickens, from A Tale of Two Cities


I was reminded of this quote the other day, and couldn't have connected with it more. I feel like my world right now is a walking double negative. I mean, I don't not love teaching, but I don't not want to crawl under a rock and stay there forever sometimes either. 


 I don't want to become a "Saturday Only" blogger, but until my weekdays stop eating me alive, it looks as though that's my only option. This week was particularly difficult, for many reasons I will explain shortly. 


My favorite part of my day is when I'm with my students. I LOVE every minute of it. When I'm watching them discover through their own curiosity or make connections because of something I explained to them is the most fulfilling aspect of my life right now.


So, what's the problem you may ask? Well, this Wednesday, As I was bending down to move Guinicula's cage so that I could have more room on my back shelf for the lighting system that had to be set up for our planting unit we would be starting the following day, I heard the most cliche ripping sound coming from the backside of my skirt. My eyes became the size of pancakes and I felt on my behind to assess the damage. Yep, from hem to hem. My skirt had completely torn down the backside. Of course that particular day was laundry day, and I was wearing my most ridiculous pair of granny panties. This. is. my. luck.


It was after school, so I didn't exactly forcefully insert that horrific image into my student's nightmares, but I also had no time to run home and change or go to a store and buy something because our school's Curriculum Night was starting in about an hour, which meant I was about to have a classroom full of parents to deal with. I held my skirt together and ran across the hall to my co-worker who could only find one safety pin to try and hold my skirt together. Great. Now I look like I'm going clubbing. As all of my teammates stood around me trying to stifle their laughter, one of them finally spoke up and said in her most demure southern accent, "I don't know, I just always thought you young girls wore those G strings." 


All's well that ends well I suppose, because another one of my teammates lives across the street from the school, and she loaned me a skirt. I mean, I guess that's what I get for complaining about how young I look all the time. Dress me in a skirt that belongs to a 50 year old.


I'm learning a lot and trying to be reflective about everything I do. It's difficult being on a team with such veteran teachers, because they have all got teaching down to a science. The easy thing for me to do would be to take the way they do things, and do them that way too. The challenge, however, is to observe and reflect on how they do things, and decide how they fit into who I want to be as a teacher. I don't want to simply be a carbon copy of someone else. I don't want to fill anyone's shoes but my own.


It was a good week for the most part, and I'm hoping life settles down as I get into the groove. 


On a final note, I championed a completely new definition for what it means to "cover your ass."