Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This selfish-brat is a Pro-Choice, Moderately Conservitive, Registered Republican with Liberal views on various controversial issues including but not limited to homosexuality and purple hair.....and still is not willing to pay for your health care and is not entirely convinced that a public, government supervised health care system is the best idea we ever had.
Monday, December 21, 2009
-edit and ok ads for Pompey Hollow Photo before the Jan 1st deadline.
-buy christmas gifts for my brother and impossibly hard to buy for little sister
-go to Elmira
-quick ski trip with Dad and Co.
-Penny needs to go to the vet
-Make an appointment with Farrier
-Finish/re-start quilt for friend's new baby that is no longer a new baby
-Make annual mountain of Christmas Cookies
-grade 97 student memoirs
-organize and put away/throw out the clothes pile that is eating my room.
-get more stuff from my house, and cram it into my mom's house
-paint my bed room at house in Rochester so that it might be renter friendly in the summer
-pay some really over-due bills
-contact a lawyer about forming our LLC
-catch up with some old friends
-put together my NEW computer and convert all the photo files on my hard drive to organized DVDs
-consider putting my pictures into plain albums since I will never have time to scrapbook again
-plan lessons for grammar unit for when school starts back up
-figure out what to do for new years eve
-find some time to just relax
Friday, December 18, 2009
Mary is my secret favorite. That is, if I were to have favorites. She's a special needs kid, with a learning disability. Her handwriting resembles a 1st grader's and her ability to fit into social situations is just slightly skewed.
I see Mary first thing every morning, she's a fashion disaster and wears some one's old rejects. I have never seen the child in anything new or trendy, but this kid shines anyway. The last time I saw her she was wearing high heeled Mary Jane's that clicked when she walked. They had several scuff marks that had been fixed with magic marker. She wore a blue, linen skirt adorned with pink and yellow flowers, that hit mid shin. The seam on the back of the skirt near the bottom was coming out so that the back of her skirt was about an inch longer than the front. She had no tights. It was cold out side so her normal attire of basic cotton t-shirt was covered with a sagging and stretched out green cardigan with large, shiny metal buttons that reflected the light across the ceiling.
Her hair sits just below her ears in a haphazard haircut that she probably did herself. It's brown and plain, she wears no make-up and her freckles remind me of an old raggedy Ann doll. When she smiles, its because she is truly happy about something, and when she smiles it makes my heart hurt.
She is a bright, charming and friendly little girl. She's kind, minds her manners and is openly warm. She asks permission before doing anything, she tries hard, volunteers to read, offers answers to questions and participates freely in class.
Mary exudes kindness. She never, ever makes fun of any one's weaknesses or faults. She even will sometimes chastise others for mocking someone. Mary has no friends. I see Mary at breakfast in the morning sitting alone in the cafeteria. She always offers me a cheery "hello" as she sits there doing her homework, studying vocabulary or reading a text book.
Mary has not been in school in over a week and a half.
Prior to this she hasn't missed a single day. So, I was worried and went to inquire what was going on with her counselor. This girl's story has made me cry all day long....I will spare you all the details.
She's been in the hospital with emotional distress. Her mother hasn't gone to visit her because her "feet hurt". Mom also doesn't work, doesn't pay the bills, and offers no emotional support. They didn't celebrate Thanksgiving. There will probably be no Christmas. Mary confided to me in a writing assignment once that she doesn't remember if she has ever been hugged. (**and I'm crying again)
I had my students respond to a writing prompt before Thanksgiving: What are your Thanksgiving traditions? If you don't have any, what things will you do when you have your own home and family?
Mary wrote: "When I am an adult I will have very huge and big holiday get-together. I want all of my friends and family and loved ones and friends to sit around a table, eat together the good food and enjoy the company. I want to have everyone say how thankful they are to be together. There will be laughing and someone will say grace out loud for everyone to hear. Everyone will be happy especially me. I want it to be like you see it happen on TV. Do people have holidays like this?"
I keep filtering through emotions about this kid. Like how do we get her out of this situation? And how sad sad sad this makes me. How can a mother never hug her daughter? I'm sad, then I'm pissed, then I'm sad. Then I realize that even this story isn't as bad as it gets, there are kids out there in way worse situations. And then I cry all over again.
Can I do this job? How long do I have to be a teacher before these things don't get to me like this? How does everyone else handle this stuff? How many kids am I going to cry over in my career? How do I separate my real self from my professional self? Will that separation make me a crummy teacher? I pray for my students every day, but they still have to go home to their lives. How do I tell them that Shakespeare and grammar is important when they then go home to face alcoholism and drugs and being hit by their parents and teen pregnancy and life?
...Mary has the highest GPA out of my 97 students. She works her butt off because she tells me she doesn't want to be like her mother.
...When I see Mary again I'm going to hug her. Even though every class I ever took on teaching tells you not to touch your students......I'm going to tell her I care about her and that I'm proud of her..... because she is worthy of being proud of.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
-There is a teacher in my school whom the students believe is a vampire. I sorta believe them. He does teach with all of his blinds drawn and is rather pale.
THE POTTY PROBLEM
-I am not a fan of my schedule. I am going to wind up with a bladder infection I just know it. First of all, I have to perform a power-pee. I have literally 2 minutes to run my self to the faculty bathroom and back. I do get breaks, and a lunch, but there is ALWAYS a line during that time. My only remaining option is to rush there between my lunch duty and my 11th period class, pee like a racehorse and shove kids out of my way as I dive down the hall and into my classroom before my students get there. In what other profession does one have to hold their pee for HOURS??
And secondly, for the love of god, if you pee on the seat wipe it off. We are all adults here. It’s the FEMALE faculty bathroom. If I ever catch who is doing this I am totally gonna rub their nose in it “BAD teacher, BAD!”
THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS
-Only 5 more school days till Christmas break!!!!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Today I will try to eat my oatmeal like a good and logical person would do as the Eating Holidays quickly approach us.
On a side note:
Mimi Smartypants is my hero. No really. She is. If I ever grow up, I want to be just like her.
Friday, December 04, 2009
-More important that all that: I think I am going crazy. I dreamt last night that I was a spider. I had to wake up and detangle the dog from the web of sheets I had stuffed her in.
-My swiffer is broken. I'm bummed.
-On a happier note: my cousins from Alaska are coming to Niagra Falls and I get to see them soon soon soon!
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
The boy and I recently met up with a few friends from high school, the strange transitions that life takes us on really smacked me in the face. Our friends had evolved into this married couple with 2.5 kids and a house with a white picket fence. Where as, we too have bills to pay and responsibilities I feel we are essentially the same people we were 10 years ago. Our friends have changed. Why? Do we become the people that we need to be to trudge though life's little conundrums? Do we change to get through the crap that life sends at us? Have we not had enough crap yet? (cause I feel like we have.) Do we have no idea how tough things will get with marriage and kids? What happens to people on the other side of grown-up-ness? Do we ever hit a point where we really feel experienced? old? in control? Is there a moment when I will stop spontaneously dancing and singing down grocery store aisles because that is not appropriate behavior for an adult? What does adulthood mean anyway? And what has it done with my friends?
...I don't think I can resist the urge to hula-hoop in Walmart.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Remember to count your many blessings, hug your loved ones and take nothing for granted.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Today I love my students. I love their impromptu moments of greatness. I love them singing and dancing their way through their Julius Caesar projects, I love them acting out scenes from Shakespeare using entirely LEGO people. I love them with their foam swords in hand, reciting lines of the play like Pros, with true, honest to goodness understanding. I love the guitar-strumming, white-guy rapping, beat box remixes of iambic pentameter. Mostly I love that they are having fun, being respectful of one another's work and truly exploring and demonstrating what they know. I feel like dancing myself.
We all are ready for a break. It can't come soon enough. I cannot wait to close my classroom door for 5 days and not look back. But, its nice to leave them on a positive note, its nice to have nice kids for a change and its mostly nice to be DONE with Shakespeare.
Its all about what we want for our children, and our collective children. I totally agree and hope that somewhere at the end of our rainbow there is a destination like this for all our students.
Monday, November 23, 2009
1.) My few fabulous students that listen to me, and respond appropriatly.
They are the little reminders in my life that I don't have to be a perfect teacher, or a perfect person, all the time. I can still reach kids, even when I make mistakes. Letting my inner pessimest get the best of me has been hard on my day to day classroom endevors. Not that I was giving up, I was just letting my guard down, letting my energy get low, allowing my crappy attitude to get the best of me and thus making my class not as great as I knew it could be.
2.) My pervious students who recently sent me a note via facebook (I let them friend me after graduation only) letting me know that they not only appreciate me now that they are in college, but that they miss having teachers who they knew with out a doubt cared about them.
That is my goal as a teacher. I let my students know that I care. That someone out there in this cruel, hard world gives a damn.
3.)My family who support, uplift and constantly deal with my whining.
I could not and would not be the person I am today without their help, guidance and frequent reality checks.
4.)Also, my battle with my self is getting better.
I feel less ineffective lately. I know that I matter, and than my lessons can truly guide kids to greatness. I am my own worst critic. Now that we are done with our Julius Caesar unit I am hopeful that the energy that is usually a part of my classroom comes back. I know that what we have been doing is waaaaay BORING and my lessons and their behavior reflect that. Hopefully now there will be a clean slate to come back to after turkey day.
5.) Lastly, my new fabulous co-workers. (not all of them are fabulous, but most are *more on that later*)
I am thankful to finally work with some professionals that exude professionalism. I'm happy to work with teachers that truly love their job and demonstrate that with their actions.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
My students are monsters. I don't even recognize them. They are like aliens from outter space. I'm not excited about what I'm teaching. They don't want to be here. I cannot wait for Thanksgiving break and a chance to regroup and recoop.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
This weekend has been dedicated to grading, grading, grading.....and trying to pick a name for the new horse.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Now if only cousin Brian would tell me he would go get her!!!! (he owns a barn where he boards horses and has a horse trailer. We don't have a trailer, which is also why it was a crazy idea to get a horse in the first place).
...I'm so excited.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Everyone should take a moment and say a little prayer for all those people who give so much and get so little in return.
Thank you Veterans.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
My current Tuesday consists of dragging myself out of bed, trying desperately to pour myself a cup of coffee with my eyes closed, and dissecting the million reasons why my students protest to learning so vehemently. Then driving to school in absolute silence, because A) the radio stations that I like don't come in very well on the way to work, B) morning DJs regularly annoy the crap out of me and C) I have to mentally prepare for the over-audio-stimulation that I have pounded into my head for the rest of the day.
Today makes for a particularly mundane Tuesday since we have an after school staff meeting, then a meeting of a really cool writing club which might actually be fun, then I am meeting with a potential photography client..... all of which means I won't get home until after 8 and Im exhausted just thinking about it.
Wish me luck.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Today is a new day. I have on killer, red, high heels. Today is a don't mess with me day. Welcome to English 10, your worst nightmare. Are you prepared?
I am turning over a new leaf in this classroom.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Cassie's math teacher said that she could not bring the doll to class, which seems counter productive to me as she needs to take care of the doll in order to pass another class, but who am I to judge? So she asked if I would watch the demon possessed creature whilst she went to math. She showed me very carefully how to hold the thing so that it's head wouldn't bounce backward or spin around like the exorcist. It comes with 4 keys, each one with a different purpose: burp, change diaper, feed, and give attention. As the thing begins to cry you have to stick the key into a slot in its back to solve its problem. Each key needs to be held in for a different amt of time from 20 seconds to 3 minutes in order to get the thing to stop wailing. (all this information is relayed to me by a very-late-for-math-class young lady). With that being said, she then leaves me to my slow and painful demise.
It starts crying immediately. I know that it registers how long it cries and knows if you shake the hell out of it. Cassie begged me not to kick it. Apparently that will cause her to fail. I also cannot let it cry for more than 2 minutes. (Aren't you supposed to let your kids cry themselves to sleep sometimes?)
I shoved keys in its crack until it shut up. Success! But I had to make copies. And grab some caffeine, and pee. Badly.
So I slung Baby Lucifer over my hip and headed down the hall thinking (foolishly) that it would be quiet for a while since it had just been fed/burped/shaken....
It screamed in the copy room.I had to put each key in twice until it would stop.It cried in the hallway, an ear piercing shriek. It waited to cry again until I had my hands full of hot coffee and a stack of 300 copies. I dropped the keys. I spilled my coffee (although not on baby) and scattered copies all over the hall. I did not drop the baby on the floor. (I think that counts as a failure for her as well).
The door to my left opens and out steps a rather irritated Cassie. "Really Miss W. I thought you were more responsible. Give me the keys."
She promptly shoves a key in devil baby, quieting its cries, gives me a disappointed look, glares at my coffee cup, and stomps back into class.
I am a failure at rubber-baby care. Although Satan Jr. sat quietly for the rest of the period, looking at me with his beady little eyes, I still feel like perhaps it's not the best idea of what parenting is. Most babies do not shut up with a quick key cure. And where are the young men toting diaper bags and babies with minds of their own? I think they should be held responsible too, and exposed to scary demon babies.
Before Cassie came to collect the rubber beast I lysol-ed its disgustingly dirty, H1N1 covered body. Do you think her health teacher will fail her for covering her kid with chemicals?
Thursday, November 05, 2009
For instance, I love that my classroom right now is full of the sounds of pens and pencils on paper. The very sight of 24 kids bent over their papers in full-on concentration, excites me. They are taking their quiz on Act 2 of Julius Caesar. They hate it. I love it. I love the sounds of absolute terror from my students. More so, I love watching the "Ah-ha!" moments as they realize that they actually KNOW the answers. They're smart, and they are focused, and at this exact moment they are realizing that they are capable of passing English 10. Its a fabulous moment. (Except for that kid in the back who just snapped his pencil in half out of frustration...but we can't reach all kids all the time right?)
Check back soon, I promise I will have written something interesting by then.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Her name is currently Abby. I need to change it because I dont like that as a name for a horse.
Did I mention I bought a horse today?
Monday, November 02, 2009
Mine would be full of kids that hate reading....but I feel her pain. Especially feeling blah, and anti-teacherish on this cold, miserable Monday.
BTW it's national blog posting month....I'm going to try to update every day this month. Or at least every week day. Sometimes I'm just too busy and tired on weekends!!!!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Then came the second interview, with the executive principal, the super, and the asst. super...... we sat in a small room in the district office. They were all wearing suits, mine was wrinkled. There were 3 candidates that had been called back for an interview. I was sweating. I'm sure I smelled.
They looked at me for what seemed like an eternity before they spoke. I was 24. Never had a real, big girl job. Had subbed for ages after I received my masters degree, I was wet behind the ears. I was feeling really inferior. Then the super started talking, and I think I didn't pay attention to a single word he said.
"There aren't any formal questions for this interview." He said, (or something like that) "Instead we just want you to begin talking about what you think we should know about you and your teaching experience, ideas, lesson planning. Whatever you think you want us to know."
I sat there. The clock ticked.
"Umm..." I said. Gosh I was smart and well spoken. Pull yourself together I told myself over and over and over. I sucked.
I looked pleadingly at the Executive principal who looked the friendliest. Help me.
Finally after 27 minutes of silence someone asked a question. I began to babble. Something about a kid at the school I subbed at that no one liked, but I did. (great now they think you're strange), on to something about how the teachers I worked with were really unprofessional, (super job, they are probably related to someone there). I talked about how I believed that we should inspire kids to read by reading ourselves. I blabbed on about some lesson I taught on grammar with an orange. (WHO CARES?) and I prayed. Hard. God, help me to at least formulate cohesive thoughts.
They looked at each other. They looked at me. No one said anything. They did not smile. They showed no mercy. They asked no questions. I am such a failure, I thought. Then, SHIT did I say that out loud? No. Good. Is it over yet?
They shook my hand and escorted me to the door. I breathed for the first time in an hour. The second candidate was waiting in a chair by the door. Older than me. Briefcase in hand. Black suit, no wrinkles, and heels that she could walk in without tripping. She was polished, and didn't smell like BO. "How was it?" She smiled sweetly. I wanted to punch her in her perfectly make-upped face. "Piece of cake! Soooo easy! " I gushed. "Good Luck!" Secretly hoping that my cavalier manner would make her panic.
I made it from the door to my car before the tears started. Did I not want this job? Why didn't I try harder? Did God hate me? Why was I such a disaster? Why could I think of nothing intelligent to say? I cried the whole way home. Which took 32 minutes. I had never had such a horrible interview. I was a passionate, idealistic person. I really wanted to make a difference and to TEACH! Why could I not get that point across at an interview. I had had a total of 12 interviews this summer. 15 last summer and all I could land was a long-term subbing gig. Why could no one see my potential? Why couldn't I show people all I had to offer? Why do I suck at life?
...I got the job (obviously as I am teaching now, duh). They called back within 2 days. Here's the kicker: Why after 2 months am I again feeling all those same insecurities? How do I reach these kids? Why do they resist me so much? What am I doing wrong? Why can't I show them that I care and that they can be successful? Why am I not the world's greatest teacher that I so want to be?
Monday, October 26, 2009
...but I hate the idea of leaving my little naughties with a sub. I know subs are competent, intelligent people, I used to sub. I also know that as a sub I just wanted to survive the day and get through the material left by the classroom teacher. I dread leaving my kids for the day. The last time this happened they were nightmares and I was only gone for a half day. They totally took advantage of the situation and did NO work at all. I'm thinking of just leaving a movie for them to watch, which I have always thought of as a cop out. But, I have no faith that the sub will be able to get my unruly little devils to cooperate.
ah well. Whats the worst that can happen?
Friday, October 23, 2009
How I do love you! Especially on mornings when I am running late and can't get coffee and would otherwise have a truly crummy day. You are surely the rescuer of teenage lives. Be proud! And stay always within my easy reach.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
That being said, I stumbled across this blog today, (while I was procrastinating doing the work I truly need to get done)and decided I too would like a personal assistant.
Wanted: Personal Assistant
Must be willing to make and receive numerous phone calls on a daily basis. Subject of phone calls can be, but is not limited to:
scheduling parent conferences with 100% success rate
scheduling parent conferences with 100% of the parents
scheduling parent conferences with 100% of the parents to be completed within a 10-day window
scheduling parent conferences for parents that can't actually come on parent conference night
scheduling alternative times for parent conferences during teacher's planning period, before school, or after school (when even the teacher doesn't even know what days he/she will actually HAVE a planning period, or when the teacher only has 1-day lead time as to whether or not they will have morning duty the following week, or when the teacher doesn't know when a last minute after school frivolous meeting will be scheduled)
tracking down missing paperwork/documentation for records
communicating information to parents about missing/incomplete student work
communicating information to parents about their child's negative behaviors in school
Must be willing to file paperwork that involves, but is not limited to:
student's new/revised home contact numbers
running record of all times and events teacher goes above and beyond what is necessary
Must be willing to make copies that are, but are not limited to:
Must be willing to monitor a school calendar so as to keep the teacher informed of:
upcoming staff meetings
upcoming planning meetings
upcoming off-campus meetings
upcoming off-campus-planning meetings
upcoming campus events that affect instructional time
upcoming campus events that are after school hours
unscheduled important last-minute meetings
unscheduled important last-minute deadlines
unscheduled frivolous last-minute meetings
unscheduled frivolous last-minute deadlines
unscheduled frivolous things in general
duty assignments and dates
upcoming due dates
upcoming counselor guidance lessons
Must be willing to monitor a school calendar so as to help the teacher:
schedule educational events for students
schedule bathroom breaks
schedule days on which the teacher can get "sick"
Experience in interior decorating a plus
use interior decorating experience to decorate classroom with various student works, to be rotated out every 2 weeks
use interior decorating experience to decorate classroom without covering more than 60% of wall space in order to stay in compliance with fire codes
use interior decorating experience to decorate classroom with the "stuff" that meets the educational requirements of each department (i.e. math, science, reading) while still finding room for the student works that need to be displayed and not go over the 60% wall-coverage as required by the fire department (when 75% of one wall is windows and 80% of another wall is ceiling to floor cabinets)
use interior decorating experience to organize student desks for cooperative grouping while still keeping the desks in a position in which all students can see the board....with occasional times of organizing straight rows and columns for testing days....and then moving them back for non-testing days.
Annual Salary: 0.01 K (paid by Mr. Ed U. Cater himself)
-Well done Mr. Ed U Cater for understanding exactly what is missing in my life. Let me know if anyone applies for the job.
Monday, October 19, 2009
looked at clock
still wide awake
got some water
back in cozy bed with snuggly fleece sheets
pushed snooze 3 more times
looked at clock
jumped out of bed
hit elbow on wall...hard
jumped in cold shower
climbed out and dripped all over bathroom
searched for towel
dripped all over hallway
searched for towel
ran brush through wet hair
searched for bra
found neon pink bra with sequins on it
searched for a clean shirt that was not white
looked at clock
scratched at sequins poking at arm pit
found pants and socks
scratched at sequins poking at arm pit
threw on clothes that sorta matched
scratched at sequins poking at arm pit
took off bra and put on extra sweater
tripped down stairs on dog toy
scrapped a hole in ice on windshield
drove to school, peeking through said hole
hoped no animals were in the road
bought drive-through coffee
spilled coffee on lap
arrived late to work
ran to classroom
got key permanently stuck in door
dropped coffee...on worksheets for first period
picked myself up from rocking fetal position on the floor
said a prayer for Monday to get better.....
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I am tired of being grumpy. Today was the worst day yet. I want to enjoy the rest of the class. They are a group of wonderful, smart, witty children. I can not let two kids ruin my day or my year. I will do everything in my power not to let that happen. I know that I am a capable and interesting and involved teacher. I know I can do this.
...I am at school till 9pm for open house. I can't wait to go home.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wish me luck. My kids are naughty and not well suited to doing activities.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Yes, I am aware that it affects people in the 18-25 yr old category into which I fall. Yes, I am also aware that I am exposed to hundreds of germy, grimy, gross kids every day.
I feel it was pushed to market much too quickly, although I am not a medical expert. I have never received a seasonal flu shot, despite that it was recommended to me many times by the professionals that I work with. Last winter I got the flu. Bad. I was laid up for over a week. I coughed and sneezed and whined my way through it until I finally was better. A month and a half later. This year I will probably get the flu shot. I learned my lesson. Do I need to get the swine flu to learn my lesson over this? Maybe, but the bottom line is that I’m a brat and I do not like to be told what to do. In fact I hate being told what to do, and I feel like people are telling me that I must get the H1N1 vaccine. Well, guess what? I do not have to. No one can make me. I do not belong to a national health care system (currently), so there. Plus, I feel that it would spur onward this mass paranoia and panic that revolves around the pig flu. Yes, people have died from it. People have also been stung to death by killer bees, drowned in a tea spoon of water, and been electrocuted while vacuuming….
---Surely I have started a battle now.
I’m off to buy a bee-keepers suit.
...and there's the bell. Which means it homeroom. Happy Thursday.
Friday, October 02, 2009
I love having my car back. It was sick and in the shop. Nothing serious, she's doing just fine.
I love my students first thing in the morning when they are all still sleepy and rubbing their eyes and I am reminded that they are still, really, babies.
I love being "home" in all aspects of my life. I love CNY. I love my little home town. I love bumping into my high school biology teacher at the gas station and talking about my new job and hearing that he's proud of me. I love knowing what is going on in town. I am so blessed to be surrounded by my family again. I love the farm.
I do not love living with dogs that are not mine..... now Penny barks and its annoying. I realize this. Its particularly annoying when you are trying to sleep, read or watch TV. However, she comes when she is called, she does not chew things that do not belong to her and she would never EVER pee in the house, especially not on the FURNITURE under ANY circumstances. I think she would rather die. I hate dogs that pee in the house. That's why there is a gate between kitchen A and kitchen B. For some unknown reason that gate is frequently left open and no one but myself seems to care. Now..... someone peed on my carpet yesterday. Someone also peed on my chair. Someone also peed on my desk, which somehow permeated the drawer and soaked through on important papers.... my home smells of pee...... pee pee pee.......this is not OK with me.
But, I get scolded for pushing the dogs back to the other side of the house. And I am not allowed to scold the dogs. I am hugely frustrated.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
But I can still try. And when a single student, at the end of a random Monday afternoon, comes to me and says: "Miss Willis I really liked that poem we read...and can you come to my soccer game tomorrow?" I know that I make a difference in the life of a child and to me I have already reached success.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I know I sound whiny but I pride myself in being able to manage my classroom effectively without help from adminstration and I feel like I am failing, myself and the kids.
I'm tired and looking forward to school being over for the day.
Friday, September 18, 2009
A-the kid in the cafeteria during the 8th grade lunch that I supervise. Who has a beard and appears to be 30, and sits by himself every day.
B- overhearing the girls in the cafeteria talking about another little girl: "She wears that same sweatshirt every day, no wonder she has no friends. What a dirty skank...."
C- Offering my students time to do some silent reading in class, because reading makes us better readers, only to have a student in the back who would prefer to balance his pencil on his nose than actually read something. (I even handed him a magazine article about swimsuit models).
D- not having the proper materials (or money to get them) to offer my students the array of learning experience I want to be able to give them....and watching my students that are 6+ feet tall squeeze themselves into little, tiny desks, when they should be able to have tables and bean bag chairs and places to comfortably read from.
A-the new student teacher plopped herself down with the lonely kid at lunch, bought him an apple and had a long discussion about why he sits alone, (he's actually in 9th grade and doesnt know the 8th graders) and how he wants to be a published poet.
B- another girl at the table said to her friend...."Maybe she can't afford another sweatshirt Emily! And btw you wore that same hoodie on Wednesday." and proceeded to get up and go sit with other people.
C- I looked around the room and saw 23 other little heads bowed over their respective novels. Some of them even smiling as they read tales from a bunch of differernt authors in generes that interested them.
and D- I'm still struggling with this one and get frustrated....where does the money for education go? But its payday today.....and I need colored pencils.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
See below: The catastrophe that is my home.
Note: the multiple wine glasses and coffee cups--my sanity savers.
I can only hope that this packing, upheaval, crazy process will someday ease into memory as a great and wonderful step in our lives.
Monday, July 27, 2009
She will quietly lay in the grass and watch. There's no need to leash her, or tie her up. She's perfectly happy laying in the sunshine waiting for me to get done. Occasionally she will get up and follow me calmly down the freshly mown pathway that the lawnmower creates, her own white feet also turning a bright shade of green. Or she'll roll happily through the grass clippings, loving the way they feel against her skin, or the way they smell, or the bugs that she can find still lurking in them.
And I envy her a little bit. The pure and utter happiness that a dog has by just being. I envy her trust, her absolute certainty that I will not mow her over, and that when I'm finished I will most likely throw her tennis ball that she has been patiently moving around the yard, away from the perils of mower blades.
I also realized how much I love my home. I looked around the yard today and noticed how tall my lilac has gotten since I bought this house. I planted it the spring that I moved in. The flower beds that my mother and grandmother painstakingly created for me, patiently explaining which were plants and what was actually a weed. (knowing all along that it would remain un-weeded until they came back again). My slightly crooked, quirky mailbox, the humming birds that frequent my flowers, the mint that makes perfect mojitos, my slightly eccentric neighbors, the puddle at the end of the driveway that clearly resembles the playboy bunnie after a hard rain.... I am going to miss being here. I'm going to miss having things that are mine. I'm going to miss making decisions about which color to paint, what plants to move where, which trees can be cut down. I'm going to miss being independent and I'm going to miss alone time.....
This is going to be a difficult change for me. I know that its for the best, and I am so excited to start my new job and begin a real life together...but adjusting to a house full of people, sharing a kitchen and laundry room, permanently, is going to take some getting used to.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Friday, May 08, 2009
Oh well. So I bought this lilac bush at the Lilac Festival 3 years ago and for the first time ever it is covered with blossoms. I didn't kill it, and its beautiful.
Life is good. And the Lilac Fest is this week and next week with great food, pretty flowers and wonderful music. If you have never been to Highland Park during lilac season GO. Go now.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
So when my peers, my colleagues, other PROFESSIONALS.... come to me in the course of my day to chastise me for being so young, or to complain about their students or to assume I don't know what I am doing because I look 18....I get irate. I get furious. I want to demand an apology. I want to know what their philosophy on education is. Because mine is so much different than many, many of the teachers I interact with on a daily basis.
I have a student who comes to me during his free periods because he doesn't understand the way his English teacher explains what is expected of him. He spends his lunch, study hall and after school in my classroom pouring over his notes, scribbling away in his note book and asking questions so that he can finish his senior research project and go on the senior trip without having it on his mind. He's not my student, he's not on my roster, and I am not accountable for his successes or failures..... but he's a child, and he has asked for my help. His teacher approached me in the faculty room last week to question why he comes to me for help. Telling me that she would love to send him to me during her class time with him because she's "known him since the 7th grade and he is a real ass".....and....."good luck with that kid Molly, I gave up on him a long time ago. He's not going anywhere, don't waste your energy." Well..... I told her that I don't give up on students and smiled politely while I walked away from her so as not to hit her. This student is a clown, and is easily distracted. But, with a little patience and a quiet atmosphere he's a hard worker who knows his limitations and asks for help when necessary. There's not much more we can ask for. But really......... I'm an educator and he is a student. It is my responsibility to teach. A doctor cannot drive by the scene of an accident without stopping to see if their is anything they can do to help, should a teacher be allowed to so easily shrug off her responsibilities and write a student off for lost?
I am so disenchanted with...... not my profession, but with the "professionals" in it. Is it just because I am so new that I haven't become jaded yet? Teachers come up to me in the hallway and say things like "How's it going ready to run screaming from the building yet? We have some really terrible students here." IN FRONT OF THE KIDS! Or they will poke their heads in my classroom in the middle of my lessons to say things like "Oh! I'm sorry. Is there learning going on in here today? I thought Miss Willis was every one's favorite teacher just because shes so ___________________" (insert word of the day here: fun, hot, easy going, young, etc) and yes......this has happened more than once in the few weeks I have been working at my current job.
...And when students come to me and say "Miss Willis can you help me on my math (science, social studies, Spanish) homework because Mr/Mrs So-and-So said I would never be able to learn how." It breaks my heart. There is hope for each child that wants to learn, and turning away a child that has a question or an idea is horrible. I don't think that every person can do well in school, I do NOT believe that every kid is going to graduate, I think that we should fail kids that fail to do their work, I think that there should indeed be children "left behind"......but I think it's a crime to stop trying. I think that when we stop feeling empathy and stop striving for successes for all our students then we stop being educators. I think that tenure and unions are ruining the education system and that we need to be able to fire teachers that no longer do their jobs.
Is it me? Am I alone in feeling this way? Am I really too ________________ (young, naive, inexperienced, idealistic, hopeful, caring, etc) to become a successful and good teacher? Or....are there any good teachers left out there?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Random kids: "Canada?" "France" "Is it that place in Australia that they always show on TV with the weird white theater thingy with all the pointy parts?"
Me: Are you serious? Who's your social studies teacher?
Student B: It's in France I know it is. London is in France!
Student A: No it's not. It's in England.
B: Whatever same thing.
A: yeah, that they're both in Europe.
B: I thought you said London was in England. Now you're saying its in Europe.
Me: Stop! London is a city, on the island which is England, on the continent of Europe, on planet Earth, stuck in the milky way, in a universe that we cannot measure.
B: Wait. What's a continent?
Needless to say, when I came home from school, and poured myself a glass of wine, and sat down to watch tv only to hear the president say: We need to raise standards and raise graduation rates. I wanted to get him on the phone and give him a piece of my mind.....
Those 2 things are completely contradictory. 100%. If we raise standards then gradutation rates will drop. AND THEY SHOULD. Children are getting passed along and not learning ANYTHING.
Thats like..... Lets say that there was a new rule saying that in order to eat dinner tonight you had to run a 10 minute mile. Many, many people would be able to eat dinner. Now lets raise the standards a little. In order to eat dinner tomorrow, you have to run a 4 minute mile. How many people do you think will be eating dinner tomorrow?
If you cannot meet standards you will fail. If you cannot lift 10 lbs and someone tells you to pick up your car. You will fail. And thats ok. Only those really huge, ugly guys on TV are supposed to lift cars.
I feel like we are making a joke of the education system. A certain suburban school district near Rochester boasts a 100% graduation rate.....well, I taught there....and lets just say that all their sutdents are not rocket scientists. How is this possible? Why do we just let kids float along through life? What are we teaching them? That mediocre is ok? That things will always just be handed to them? That life is easy?
It just seems like such a disservice. To kids, to society, to our country. It makes me sad and angry at the same time.
I need more wine.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Yesterday I was in a crummy mood, hating everything including the sound of the weather guy's voice...... today is so much more peaceful. The wind whips around my house like its trying to get in and sweep us all away, but the way it jingles the wind chimes makes me smile. I can hear my new roommate's dog snoring softly behind her closed door, and I know that later when my roomie goes to work and the two dogs are here alone that Penny will sit outside of Chianti's crate and tease her all afternoon. The coffee is dripping slowly into its pot (and can you think of many things that sound better than that....aside from champagne corks and babies laughing I cannot) and it smells fantastic. I can't wait to fill my travel mug to the brim and sip on it all morning. I have all of my lessons perfectly prepared for today to be a success and I look forward to actually getting to know my students now that I have mastered most of their names.
And most of all..... I just am at peace being here. For the first time since I have been back a sense of "everything is going to be ok" has come over me. No rushing, no hassle, no lonliness..... just me and I'm alright.
....and I am late for work ;-)
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I'm a good teacher. (and if I tell myself that over and over I may actually remind myself of that fact) and I love my job. So life is good.
Except for being in Rochester alone..... and being seperated for the next 4 months.... and doing the same things we swore we would never do again.....
Saturday, February 14, 2009
This little kid I know is engaged. ok.....so he's not so little. Hes gotta be 22ish. And I had the BIGGEST crush on him ever, which was highly looked down upon by my classmates when I was in high school I might add. If I wasn't truly enamored in my own relationship I totally would have gone after this younger man...... he's been happily dating this chick for 2 years and they recently got engaged. This makes me look at my own 9 year relationship and wince. We have been going no where for 9 years......9 years. People that have been interested in me have moved on with their lives......
im frustrated and bitter.......and its valentines day. super.
ps. job is going well. its nice to have a friend at work (thanks eddie! ) especially friends who give wine as gifts.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Monday, February 09, 2009
Im teaching 9th grade (same grade as before yay!) in a teeny tiny little district, that pays not even half of what I was making at previous suburban school, and no health insurance and is 40 mins away from home...... and I will be away from the boy, and alone in my house and cranky....
But.... I HAVE A JOB. and should count my blessings. Because it will look GREAT on my resume and I am going to have a pay check that goes into my bank account. and life is good.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
I have my 2nd interview tomorrow for a long term English position! Its just a subbing job, but it will get me through June with a paycheck every week.
Its about a half hour drive from my home and its a cute little school district. So Im hopeful that all goes well tomorrow. Its been really frustrating lately with no money coming in at all. We've been surviving on his unemployment check....barely. And there are black clouds in the future for his family, we're pretty sure that dad is losing his job soon...and then I dont know what we will do.
Im up in the air about moving back to my house, I know its for the best and I really really really need this job. But its tough on us when Im 2 hours away for most of the week. I know that we always work things out for the best, but it has been a rocky road for us for so long now. we were really hoping I could find something near home, and that we could just be together.
So..... wish me luck, and keep us in your prayers.
And more exciting news, my little Luke man is going to be a big brother! Congrats Jen and Jeff on Baby #2 on the way. I can't wait to meet her. (its going to be a her, I can feel it.)
Saturday, January 17, 2009
So my mom and her bf came to visit for the weekend.... meaning I am at MY house. I had a metal support beam in the basement that was rusted through (since my house has flooded on more than one occasion) and I am no handy-man so they needed to install the new one for me. They also willingly dusted my living room including all the knick-knacky things annnd helped rearrange my furniture while sipping on a delicious glass of wine. It was wonderful in every way.
One of my good friends from high school emailed me today to let me in on a job lead in the school district he works in. (currently love him very much) I feel he mostly wanted me to stop whining in my blog and write something more entertaining. But, Im still happy and grateful to have another application to fill out. And hopeful that doors will start to open.
But, my family is in bed now, sleeping. Im sitting on my couch now alone. And Im so so so miserable and melancholy. I feel like I am stuck. In between homes, in between jobs..... not moving forward and can't go backward. I'm grumpy and looking at other people's facebook pictures of their seemingly happy lives is making me unnecessarily jealous. I know I have a good life and great friends and good things in front of me. So why do I feel so crummy?
And to top off all that nonsense.... I was hit by a bike the other day. Driving along in my friend's neighborhood when all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I see a large object flying (at an abnormally fast pace) RIGHT INTO THE SIDE OF MY CAR! The guy was not looking as he drove into an intersection (where he had a stop sign) and flew through it. He smashed right in front of the passenger side door. So I hopped out to see if he was ok and recommend that he consider wearing a helmet, and he grabbed his bike and ran away from me. Like I was the crazy person who just smashed him. My car is dented. He's lucky I didnt get my hands on his bike.
And, as long as this had turned into my typical whiny post. It's cold. It's really freaking cold. It's all I can think about. Sometimes my thoughts change from "Its really cold" to "I need another pair of socks on"... but really it's all the same. There is FROST forming on the inside of my walls. This cannot be good. Literal frost. It's white, and wet, and cold. Worse yet, said frost is occurring in my beautiful new bathroom. Waaaaay to close to pipes that, so I'm told, will freeze when cold resulting in flooding and ruination of all things sacred and new and beautiful . And, after living at the farm for the past few months I truly appreciate, and miss, things that are MINE and only mine and that are clean.....and beautiful....... are you seeing the beauty here? Its a burgundy wall, which matches the rose colored veins that run through the marble tile on the floor, that I both picked out, and LAYED myself. The frost is now my mortal enemy. I am currently running a space heater and a dehumidifier in the bathroom, despite my mother's assurance that the paint and the drywall in the bathroom are made to handle moisture.... but what about the really freaking cold part? I keep getting up off the couch and checking the bathroom wall like a crazy person. Is it still cold? Is that frost? There. That speck. See it? No. Ok its a spider. No problem.
I should sleep now.... or maybe have another glass of wine.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Both currently unemployed.
And so, if you could add us to your daily prayers and well wishes that would be wonderful. I was (like usual) working 2 part time jobs and subbing daily at a school near home, but with the economy the way it is right now there were less and less people going out to eat and more and more nights when I would go home with less than $20.00 in my pocket. (Now, I am a fantastic waitress, its not bad service that was resulting in low tips.) Keeping in mind that waitstaff makes just over 4.00/hour as their base pay and that their wages rely on tips I thought that I would be better off finding a job where I could at least be making minimum wage. As I have been managing the bar in Brockport now for 4 years I was hoping I could find a management position...... I hoped wrong. Its tough for people to get references from my previous employment as a manager when the business was seized by the IRS....... I have since applied to wait tables again at 8 different places, applied to be a bank teller as that is what I did to help pay my way through grad school, and re-applied to be a substitute at now 14 different school districts....
its frustrating, and heart breaking, and nerve wracking and I think I might explode in the near future....
and to top it all off, the plant where he works just laid off another 200 employees. And despite collecting unemployment and applying anywhere that his skills may enable him to work, we are not making ends meet.
So we pray. And I cry. And life goes on. But our blessings are still there in black and white. We have a full freezer, a wood burning furnace, supportive family, and a fledgling photography business that is doing well. (we just booked another August wedding, which makes a total of 8 weddings for this coming summer!!!!!)
So keep your fingers crossed, we're hopeful that things will turn around soon. And lets all remember to count our own belssings, (which is one of my new years resolutions...less whining, more blessing counting.)