Potential sleet in McAllen thursday? If we get a weather day (1 in a gazillion chance), mark my words, I will write a majorly long blog post.
29 Jan 2011 Leave a comment
Ok, so I am a failure at blogging. To attempt to recap the past however many months would be futile and a bit tedious. Instead, I present you with the snippet version.
- In January, 3 of my biggest troublemakers were transferred out of my class. As much as I hate to abandon some of my kids, it has made a huge difference. That class may still be widely known as one of the worst classes EVER IN THE HISTORY OF EVER (allowing for some hyperbole), but there are actually periods of real quiet. They are actually learning. I think many of them just decided it wasn’t worth the fight.
- I decided it wasn’t worth the fight. I made a conscious decision not to get as angry. It wasn’t helping them, and it wasn’t helping me. I try to joke around with them, to smile, and to be firm but unaffected. I’m more relaxed and they’re less defensive. It works.
- One thing I used to do a lot was wait. If they were talking, I would fall silent until they listened. It worked eventually, but we lost tons of time. Now, I’m trying something new– the louder they get, the more soft and regulated my voice gets. Eventually, the kids who are trying to learn on the other side of the room, the ones who can’t hear me, make sure the people around them shut up. I think that when I waited, they took advantage of it as “free time.” when I talked over them, there was no reason to be quiet. Plus, now I don’t lose my voice.
- My middle block now calls me Ms. Swagger (or Swag). This may stem from an incident in which I rapped during our poetry unit.
More snippets later– hopefully not months later!
15 Nov 2010 1 Comment
Sam is on my case again about blogging. But, I’m a bit too tired today (and too desperately looking forward to thanksgiving) to do a whole written blog post. So, I present you with a photo essay, comprised entirely of crappy webcam photos! Aren’t you excited??
I call it: Lunatic has a laptop. Watch and enjoy.
Once upon a time,a crazy teacher went to work, excited for what the new day would bring.
Despite our heroine’s happy start, the kids decided it was a good day to OUTCRAZY the crazy teacher!!! Oh joy!! First she got sad…
Then she got MAD.
Suddenly, she was visited by a little flying devil. “Teacher,” it said, “forget that achievement gap. Throw papers at the little monsters! Storm out and never look back!!!!”
Fortunately for the little darling students, he was soon followed by a little angel. “teacher,” said the little angel, “remember why you’re here? teach the children a love of reading! Close the achievement gap! Make significant gains! blah de blah blah!!”
So our heroine thought about the devil’s point, and thought about the angel’s point, and finally….
Decided to do something else entirely.
24 Oct 2010 1 Comment
It’s been an inexcusable amount of time since I’ve written on this blog. I would love to say that I haven’t written because I’m too busy, or because living life is just too exciting to write about it. Truth is, things have been relatively crappy of late. This job is immensely hard. I really can’t explain exactly how difficult it is. In the midst of all this difficulty, I discovered an inherent truth about myself: I have an incredibly hard time writing about the difficulties in my own life. When things get hard, I react as if I’m walking in a snowstorm– bundle up, put my head down, and senselessly trudge forward. I recognize that this is unhealthy, but I seem to be doing it anyway. I cannot shake the feeling that no one (save my roomates, who get to hear about my miseries every day) wants to hear about this stuff. That being said, I cannot underestimate the cathartic value of writing about the bad. So, I plan to. But not tonight. It’s been a pretty darn good weekend, and I actually managed to get my brain off of work for awhile. Also, things have actually been looking up lately, and I feel like the storm has settled, if only for a little while. This is not to say it’s not cold, but maybe the swirling snows are not quite as stinging against my skin. So, in the spirit of a settling world, a catalogue of good things from the past few weeks:
1) I’m helping out with the Color Guard at my school. Their coach quit a few weeks ago, so I stepped in to help out for the end of marching season, and will be the head coach for winterguard. It’s a huge time drain, which I absolutely don’t need right now. Still, I LOVE doing this. Color guard is something I’m actually pretty darn good at, and that’s a good feeling. Also, it gave me the opportunity to feel as if I’m actually impacting a student, even if it isn’t in class. One of the girls is a bit shaky on her flag work, and in general doubts herself a lot. Since she messes up a lot, the other girls and coaches get very frustrated with her. She asked me to help her with a transition, so I ran through it with her. I realized that she actually did know the work, she was just convinced she didn’t, so she kept looking at other people and falling behind. I told her exactly this. The next day, her mom found me at the football game and thanked me, saying that her daughter came home confident and happy for the first time this season. It seriously made my week :)
2) A student came back to visit me who used to be in my class before a schedule change. He was asking me all about the stuff I’m writing (I have this on a sign in my class) right now. It was cool to realize that my students actually care about this stuff, and it reminded me that I need to spend more time on my writing, if only because Abad thinks I tell “cool stories.”
3) I had a very serious conversation with one of my students lately, which started with his behavior in class and moved to the real problem. He has very little support in life, and just feels so empty. My heart broke for him. After that day, I noticed a huge change in this student. He still acts up, but he listens and he pays attention. At this point, he’s only doing it because he knows I’m on his side now and I will listen to him. I’d love for him to do the work because HE wants to, and because he understands it’s value. Still, this is a HUGE step.
4) Damn, my roomies are cool. You, blog people, can thank Sam for my return to the blog world. Or send him hate mail. Depending on mood.
5) This is the order of events that occurred in my first class friday. I feel the need to document it because it was so miraculous it may never happen again. First we went to the library for new free reading books. We came back and started their 15 minutes of free reading. Usually, at about 2 minutes left they start getting antsy. This time, as the time ran out, no one looked up. I asked quietly, “would you like some more reading time?” Many nods. 15 more quiet, enthralled minutes. Then we journalled, which usually takes 10 minutes. Time runs out, kids are all still quietly writing. Once again, I float them some more time. Then we finished the second section of our book, had a cool discussion, work time on homework, and class was over. BEST. CLASS. EVER. They were so chill and they LIKED reading and writing!!! It was amazing.
Don’t be fooled by the cheery nature of this post. This is still the craziest, most frustrating and demoralizing job that exists, in my opinion. But it is not without sunshine.
14 Sep 2010 Leave a comment
From an interesting roomie email:
“The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up.”
It’s an interesting concept! Check it out-
post yours in the comments if I know you (who am I kidding- I know all of you people. This is not a popular blog) and I’ll fill it out!
12 Sep 2010 Leave a comment
This was my breakfast on saturday, brought home by my wonderful roomies:
A breakfast Taco! That’s right folks, not a breakfast burrito- a breakfast taco. It may not look like much in this blurry cell phone photo (on that note, I’m hoping my new iphone will take better photos when I get it, because I never seem to have my camera with me), these are one of the best things in the valley. I’ve become uncomfortably addicted, and it may be the downfall of my health.
That baby right there is a potato and egg breakfast taco. Moist scrambled eggs and seasoned potatoes, all packaged in an amazing fresh flour tortilla. It’s my breakfast nemesis. Every morning I try not to buy one… most mornings I fail. The problem is, this taco is from a gas station. A GAS STATION. and it’s good! How is it possible to avoid that? There are two Stripes stations that make these on my way to work, one at the very beginning of my drive and one at the end. So if I avoid the temptation the first time, I usually cave at the last minute.
Resolution: I will eat less than three of these this week. Baby steps. At least I’m not addicted to the donut shop right by work. Yet.