Tuesday, December 14, 2010
When I entered the room today I was greeted by the muffled sounds of thrashing and banging. Further inspection revealed my turtle was creating mini thunder clouds of rage by banging his head against the glass and spashing his hateful water about.
Perhaps he can somehow sense my overwhelming desire to have him die.....
Secondly, after very little sleep yesterday I find myself spiraling downward into a spinning vortex of hatred of all things animate or not that pick a fight (ie. Does nothing) with me.
The tiny, adorable, turtle in the corner of the classroom has found himself begging for his life as the trickle of water from his filter makes me want to pee my pants and I hate that. It is of course not the turtle’s fault, but obviously stems from the fact that there are students in my classroom ALL. DAY. LONG. With no breaks. My feeble attempt to control the chaos ended in mass mutiny in my 12th grade class. Despite all that, it is easier to take it out on the turtle than the students, he’s smaller and his body more easily flushes down the toilet.
Lastly I must go to the bank. Like if I don’t they will foreclose on my home…and steal my dog. Well, I’m not positive about the home part but Im quite certain about the dog. Shes pretty darn great. But the idea of trudging down town, finding a freaking parking space in the snowy street and standing in line with my Ziploc baggie of nickels and pennies makes me feel like gouging out my eyes. If only there was a way to direct deposit tips from the bar.
~~Ms. Lewis is running to the bank to deposit her turtle. ~~
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I was just informed that I should maybe clarify these things. I was actually told "Molly, you shouldn't write stuff like that". Which is wrong. I should write it if I feel like it..... but maybe I am a bit melodramatic at times.
I promise that I will let you all know when and if I am actually feeling suicidal. Although I think that there is a greater likelihood that it will be homicidal feelings, we'll wait it out and see.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
There does not seem to be a light at the end of this tunnel. At least there is more tunnel. It hasn't caved in, and doesn't seem like a tunnel to no where at this point..... just more tunnel. See: I am trying not to be hugely pessimistic and whiny here. But, I am really, really tired of this particular tunnel.
I have had 4 interviews this month. All of which turned out immensely disappointing. It seems that I just simply cannot catch a break. I know I am not alone in this. I still know that I should be counting my blessings: food, warmth, family, love, no children to support, etc etc etc.... I know this. But there comes a time when the silver lining to this cloud just seems like crinkled tin-foil and I am so tired of being cheery and hopeful for everyone else's benefit.
I walk every day. Just to get my lazy, pathetic butt out of the house. And of course it helps to make the puppy tired enough to nap in the afternoon. Plus, I am still training to walk 60 miles for breast cancer. Its good to have a goal.
This is hard. Being a grown up is hard. Waking up each day is hard. How come no one bothered to warn me?
On a brighter note, look: puppy.
Friday, September 17, 2010
I got fired today.
My boss called to ask me if I would be working this sunday. The answer was no. I got the shift covered by a co-worker so that I could relax with friends from college. Her words exactly: "If you don't come in, consider yourself no longer employed." HUH? Am I doing something wrong? "No. But you only work one day a week and you have missed 2 of the last 4 weeks." What? I didn't work on Labor Day because someone called to ask if they could work my shift. They wanted hours, they needed money. I let them work it. "Doesn't matter. Are you coming in on Sunday?" No. I got the shift covered already. "Ok then. It was nice to know you." CLICK.
I have never been fired. Layed off, yes. Seasonal employment over, yes. Business closed, yes. But never ever fired. I am a hard worker. I am a good bartender.
I didn't get a chance to explain. She just hung up on me. I was stunned. And pissed. And when I'm pissed I cry. So I couldn't even call her back because I have been a blubbering idiot for the last two hours.
How come nothing can possibly go right for me this year? I don't believe in Karma, and I certainly have never done anything so awful as to deserve this.
I cannot wait to see my friends this weekend, I need them....and a large glass of wine.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I signed up for the Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure.
Although when I think about myself walking 60 miles I can't help but notice how improbable that is. I am a wimp. I whine alot. I hate being tired. I hate being cold. I despise being wet. The farthest I walk on a regular basis is from my couch to the fridge. SIXTY MILES IS A LONG LONG WAY. I reset the meter in my car, and drove around for a few days. I was stunned by how long it took me to actually drive 60 miles. I hadn't thought about how far that actually is.
I am excited to have a purpose. For the remainder of this year and next I have a goal. I am making a difference and I am not just changing my life, I'm changing the lives of lots and lots of people. This is kinda a big deal.
I am blessed to have my mom along for the journey. I have someone with a common goal! I'm thankful for the support of my family and friends as well as I train my body to cooperate with my goals. I appreciate all the help too as I struggle to raise the required $2300.
If my friends could each spare just $7 I will reach my goal. I know times are tough, but life is tough. Things never go as planned, but one good turn deserves another. Please help me in earning the money I need to participate, and find your own blessings in helping in return.
Click here to DONATE. All donations are tax deductible and guaranteed to make you feel good.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I bake when its raining, turning my kitchen into a warm and cozy haven. I love to toss a bunch of random stuff into my kitchenaid mixer and then "voila" something magic and delicious happens. I also bake when I'm homesick. Something familiar and gooey. I mostly bake when I'm sad though. Something new, and difficult. Perhaps a recipe I haven't tried before, or something with tons of prep work, something to keep my hands busy and my mind off whatever is bugging me. The 15 pounds I have gained since May can be attributed to the baking. I like the feeling of accomplishment I have when I set the five-layer, chocolate heaven cake on the table to admire it. I like the satisfaction I get when the sink is empty of dirty dishes and sweet, fruit tarts linger on a linen napkin.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
In the United States alone a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer EVERY THREE MINUTES.
THREE MINUTES?!?! So if you think about it: while you were busy watching Jersey Shore reruns, or eating dinner, or flipping through facebook.... in those 30 minutes, theoretically, TEN women heard those terrifying words, "I'm sorry… you have breast cancer.”
Worse: if you think about the women closest to you in your life...One in EIGHT will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.
So, that is why October 14-16, 2011 I will be walking SIXTY miles for the cure. Its part of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event. I'm walking because I have known too many women whose lives have been forever impacted by breast cancer. I'm walking because I don't want to know that many more. I'm taking action and finding purpose. All that I ask is that you take action with me....
- Make a donation to my team. Please sponsor us as we embark on this crazy, difficult, journey. I'm hoping that my close friends and family can find $30.oo to donate to my cause, I know that times are tough.
Go to my website to see our progress and make a donation. http://www.the3day.org/goto/mollymaureen
- Better yet, join my team and walk with me. I promise that it will be life altering. For you. For the world.
- At the very least, I need your thoughts and prayers. Toward our training and fund raising endeavors.
Thanks so much, and many blessings.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
I applied for 4 bar tending jobs today, and sucked it up enough to put my application in to sub at various local schools.
I have officially applied to 9 districts in the Rochester area, 18 closer to home, two in the god-forsaken north country, two in the capital district, two in Pennsylvania and one in Hawaii. I've gotten rejection letters or emails from 3/4 of them...
I'm tired of being a pessimistic, depressed, little bitch. So, I'm going to get my ass out there and find something that will bring in some money. Even if it means that I have to come to terms with the idea that I will not be heading into a high school come september.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I spent the epic birthday pulling individual blades of grass out of a millionaire's juniper. One at a time, for an 8 hour shift. This is not my idea of a good time. Said millionaire lives on a beautiful lake, on a huge, immaculately landscaped property. The lawn stretches for acres and takes a crew of three guys, three days to mow. Every tree on the property grows arrow straight, and flowers bloom at appropriate times for holiday parties. Each building on the property is surrounded by lush beds of juniper.... filled with fucking grass.
As I sat there, spending my birthday fluffing the juniper back to its proper height, and filling a five gallon bucket with grass blades, I watched as the millionaire floated casually around his lavish pool. Its free, form shape allowed him to float across, spurred by the current of not one, but two waterfalls, for several long minutes before he reached the opposite side of the pool. Sitting there in the shade of a weeping cherry tree was his ice bucket, bottle of chilled champagne and orange juice. The tray held a variety of pastries, and a pile of juicy strawberries. He would lounge there for a moment, sip his cocktail and nibble on the sweet treats laid out for him by the darling little maid, Pilar. (Pilar hates him and frequently can be heard praying to Mary that the "old, bastard drowns", but that's a story for another day).
It was in that moment, standing in the 90 degree heat, weeding someone else's flower beds that the realization came to me. I had a true epiphany.
My life sucks.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Monday, June 07, 2010
Friday she came rushing into the work site with her amber hair flying out around her head in every direction but down. "Mo, I need you to run to the hardware store to pick up about twenty lawn bags and get back here so that we can load up the truck before it gets dark and I think it might rain so we aren't going to spray the weeds but if you have time tonight you could stake up the roses. Not a priority, but something that can fill time, and while you are gone I'm going to finish trimming the ornamental grasses on the west side of the house and hopefully I will get to the other side this evening too. Ok?"
"Sure, I'll be right back."
"Alright and when you are out there, make sure you take the back road otherwise you will get stuck behind the late school bus and never get back. How many hours can you stay here tonight? Did you say you could come out tomorrow morning too? if we get a good hard rain the weeds will be easy to pull, of course you're gonna get covered in mud so dress for that, and do you have enough money? I will reimburse you of course. You should get going."
"Yup, be right back." Sometimes I wish I knew her better so I could remind her to breathe.
In other news, we have planted our vegetable garden this week too! Tomatos, peas, green beans, beets, potatos, green peppers, jalapenos, red peppers, cherry tomatos, carrots, cabbage, califlower, brussel sprouts, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, yellow squash, acorn squash and watermelon! Whew! I am not looking forward to weeding that mess, but I can't wait to eat from it.
And the pictures from our most recent wedding are turning out great! Check them out over at our other blog.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Spring wedding season is in full swing, our first engagement shoot went really well, and there are new pictures up over at the photography blog. I will post one or two here when I get done typing too.
I am so looking forward to summer and life again. School overwhelms me. Next year I am going to limit my after school activities to one or two things.
I am supposed to be writing something interesting for my teacher writers group and publish it on here, but I am having writers block. I think I will just leave you with a few more pictures and call it a day.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
If they were to ask me their grades, or to locate a paper on the pig-sty which is my desk I would have to think of some excuse as to why I can’t find it. However, if they were to ask me about literature, life, the world, I would respond with enthusiasm and concern for their overall well-being. Some things I think are more important than others.
I want them to develop of love of reading, or at least not be apathetic to it, at least not hate it. I want them to enjoy the written word, I want them to find pleasure in writing their own words, power in writing. I want them to go out into the real world with some dignity, some assurance that they are prepared to be people. My concern is for the choices that they will make, the rules they will break, and the people whose lives they will have an impact on. I want them to realize that the world is a big, big place, much bigger than where they currently are. I want them to seize opportunities to spread their wings. My hope is they will also know that the world is so small, that what they do has an impact, that where they go matters, that who they leave behind matter too. I want to be remembered as that “teacher who cared”. Even if late in their lives they don’t remember my name, or what I looked like I want to be a part of the conversations that start like: “My high school English teacher…” I want to make a difference in the lives of my students.
Monday, May 17, 2010
We are never beneath private lust.
“I can’t tell you his name, or the last time I saw him. I certainly cannot tell you where he lives or how I know him. But sometimes when I am alone I think of him, I yearn for him. His eyes are green like a sour apple, intense and bitter too, with flecs of gold that sparkle when he’s angry. He holds contempt for me, and sometimes I think that is why I want him. The intensity of his hatred for me, and the power struggle of convincing him that he still wants me is so intense it’s hard to resist. My breath always catches when I watch him melt into me as I unbutton my shirt, let down his defenses just long enough for me to wiggle my way in again. It’s his inability to hold back when he sees the curve of my body that makes me crazy for him. His visable lust, and the way his breathing becomes uneven and desperate. I know I turn him on, I dress to impress and brush my body against him as he passes. He has strong, broad shoulders and a sexy, square jaw line that taunts me. The urge to run my fingers along his chin is almost impossible to ignore. I know that black, lacy things make him hard, and running my fingernails along his scalp make him close his eyes and force tiny murmurs of pleasure to escape his lips. Is it possible that we always want what we cannot have? Is it possible that humans can never be truly satisfied? Is there always something better out there? Am I always going to push away all the things that could be good in my life?”
Sara stood in the doorway of the dark, musty bar with her two best friends. They were on a mission tonight. Nikki and Kate called it “The Mended Heart Quest” and were giggling together plotting the MHQ festivities of the evening. Sara scanned the bar thoughtfully, Can I really do this tonight? she thought to herself. Kate grabbed her hand, they had already had giant margaritas at the house, and Katie was not great at holding her liquor. Her cheeks were already flushed, and she grinned.
“Buck up little soldier!” She ordered the gloomy Sara. “We are going to have fun tonight! Even if you don’t want to, and if you once mention that dick head Chad, you’re going to answer to me!” Her words slipped a little and Sara rolled her eyes. Katie never swore or said mean things about people unless she’d been drinking.
They were out tonight, for the first time in ages because Sara had finally gotten up the nerve to break up with her long time boyfriend Chad. Nikki was glad. She wasn’t sure why they had finally ended it, but she was glad to have her friend back. Chad was controlling, he had an uncanny ability to break Sara’s spirit and make her feel guilty for having friends. The three girls had dressed to impress and made pitchers of frozen margaritas. Their mission tonight: get Sara back to being Sara.
Sara had been spunky and opinionated, beautiful, passionate and outgoing. Then, late freshman year she mat Chad. Chad was handsome and manipulative, turning Sara into a diminutive version of her former self. He dictated what clothes she wore, when she could see her friends, and how she was allowed to behave. She had even caught him checking her bank statements and email. Nikki and Kate had secretly hated him, and they were not afraid to admit that they were excited for how this break up might positively affect their friend.
Nikki grabbed Sara’s hand. “Let’s get a drink.” She ordered. And try to get you to smile. She thought. Kate cozied up on the other side of Sara. “I’ll get the first round!” Nikki and Sara exchanged looks, Kate never, ever offered to spend her money. Nikki smiled. “Kate? Are you buying? You must be drunk!” Kate just laughed. “Maybe a little.”
The girls squeezed through the crowd and up to the bar. There were so many people there.
Finally, they caught the eye of one of the bar tenders. He was a big guy in a baseball cap. He slipped over to them.
“What can I do for you ladies?” He asked. Looking at Kate, as she had the money out.
“Our friend is having a baaaad day.” Kate announced. “We need something delicious…and PINK!” she smiled, proud of herself.
“Delicious huh?” He looked at the girls and grinned. “Which one of you is having the bad day?” He talked as he began mixing them a drink. It was clear that he was busy, but he was effective and a multitasker.
“Her.” Kate pointed directly at Sara; Sara felt her face flush.
“Here you go,” he handed her a drink and a shot. “Feel better. Cheers.” He held up a shot of his own, tapped his glass to hers and drank. Sara tipped her head back and obliged him with a smile of her own. Success. Thought Nikki, the first smile of the evening. “Shots are on me,” the bartender said. “The rest comes to eight dollars.” He took Kate’s money, shot them a smile and went back to work.
“Oooooh he’s adoreable!” Kate cooed. Nikki affirmed this by giving him a once over. He was tall, and thick, she thought. But, he had beautifully piercing green eyes and broad shoulders. Yeah, he was cute. Sara just smiled and sipped her drink which was both delicious and pink.
It was Kareoke night at the bar. The girls sat on stools watching the action. Nikki had a mischievous thought. “Let’s sing a song!”
Sara groaned. “Are you serious?” Nikki nodded, grabbed both of their hands and dragged them out to the dance floor where the DJ was set up. Sara used to be a performer. She was in the drama club in high school, a member of the college choir, and part of a private acapella group. This was of course before Chad.
“MHQ! MHQ! MHQ!” Chanted the drunk Katie. “We haveta siiiiing!” She cheered, “it’s fun! We’re supposed to have fun!”
Nikki grinned evilly, “See?” She reached for the book of songs. They settled on “Girls just wanna have fun” and went up to the bar for another drink.
“Did I see you ladies signing up to sing me a song?” the bar tender asked, winking, already concocting them something yummy to drink.
“Yup!” Kate answered for them. “It’s gonna be fun!” The bartender smiled at them, handing them their cocktails.
“On me this time girls.” His hand brushed Sara’s as he handed her the cup. “Are you feeling better yet? Hate to see a pretty girl sad.”
“I’m fine, really. My friends are just crazy, they can’t help it.” Her hand lingered next to his for a moment longer than it should have. Nikki cocked an eyebrow at her friend. Maybe this would be easier than she thought. Sara’s cheeks were pink, from drinking or from a cute boy Nikki couldn’t tell, but she was willing to bet the boy had a lot to do with it.
Sara turned away from the bar, and Nikki watched as the bartender’s eyes followed her away. She elbowed Kate, “I think we may be on to something here… check out hot guy watching our little Sara.” Katie looked, obviously staring. “Knock if off guys!” Sara grabbed their hands, “I have to pee, come on.”
In the bathroom they stood before the grimy mirror. Adjusting their outfits and reapplying their lip gloss. Sara was pretty, although it had been a while since anyone had told her so. She stood there with her friends. Arms linked together.
“We are beautiful!” Kate affirmed. She was wearing a low cut black tank top, tiny sparkling barrettes pulling her hair back from her face, she looked young and innocent, and she was. Nikki, several years older than Sara and Kate, had on a plain white T-shirt that made her skin look tan and healthy. Sara wore pink. She loved pink, and how it made her hazel eyes stand out, her dark hair contrasted by its brightness. Sara was just 21, slender but curvy in all the right places. She might have been considered sexy even, if she had more confidence in herself, but her confidence had been long ago smothered by Chad. Sara squared her shoulders and smoothed her hair. “Ready ladies? Lets go get our inner Cindy Lauper on.” Sara smiled, already feeling a little more like herself.
The bar smelled like stale beer and sweat. Bodies were pressed against each other on the dance floor, and Sara noticed that her flip flops stuck to the floor as they walked. It was kind of gross if she thought about it. So she didn’t. Sara snuck a look over to the bar, her eyes found the bar tender, she didn’t even know his name but her belly flipped a little as she watched him work. Nikki noticed her staring. “Come on, we’re up next, you can ogle the bar man later.”
The girls sang, and they danced, liquor making them unashamed and free. Sara caught herself laughing, and hugged her friends. They were truly wonderful and it made her feel warm and fuzzy inside to know that they cared so much about her.
They sat together on bar stools in the corner, sipping their drinks and laughing together. Sara realized that it had been a very long time since she had been out to a bar, or that she had had so much fun. Nikki looked at her friends. Good, she thought, they look happy. She had traveled two hours to make sure that Sara got out of the house. She was not happy with the fact that Sara refused to move out, that she was still living with Chad. They had their separate bedrooms, but still he was so close. It made Nikki nervous to think about how violently angry he got sometimes, and irritable that he would know when she was coming and going and who she was with.
Sara kept checking her cell phone, Nikki supposed it was to see if he had called. “Sara I swear to God if you are texting that creep I will throw your phone in the canal.” Sara smiled sweetly, “Of course Im not Nik, tonight is MHQ, I would never ruin that…” Nikki grabbed for the phone in Sara’s hand. “Gimme it.” She caught Sara’s arm, snatched the phone and dropped it into her own purse. “You can have it back later.” Sara pouted until Katie jumped up excitedly. “Look: the bouncers and the bartenders are going to sing karaoke!”
They assembled. Seven guys, sitting in a line of bar stools and crooning the words to Garth Brooks’ “Friends in low places.” Sara was a sucker for a man who can sing. Nikki and Katie were whispering to each other, watching their friend all but drool over the same hunky bartender that had been serving them all night.
“I will give you ten bucks if you kiss him.” Nikki whispered in Sara’s ear.
“Me too! That’s a twenty dollar bet Sara. Mended heart quest, remember?”
Sara blushed. “No way. Not a chance. I don’t even know his name.”
She looked up at them.
“…oh I’ve got friends in low places, where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away, and I’ll be ok…” He caught her watching him and winked. She lowered her gaze. Why not? What would it hurt? She thought, trying to get up the nerve as the song ended. She would have to catch him before he went back behind the bar. He took a long swig of his Miller Lite.
“Ok, get out your money girls!” She took a deep breath and a few steps then looked back over her shoulder. What am I thinking? I can’t do this! But Kate gave her a thumbs up and a smile.
“Go get him Sara!” Nikki encouraged.
Sara walked up to the row of boys courageously, even though it felt like her legs were made of Jell-o and she couldn’t hear over the pounding of her heart. She walked right up to the bartender and positioned herself between his legs, inches from him. She could feel the heat of his breath and feared he could sense her heart beating rapidly.
“Hey,” he smiled. “What’s up?”
“Listen, this is going to sound crazy, but…. My friends bet me twenty bucks I wouldn’t kiss you… I, uh…”
“Well we can’t let you lose that bet.” He interrupted her, his green eyes sparkled with mischief as he reached for her waist, looped a finger through her beltloop, and pulled her closer to him. Sara angled her head and felt his soft lips reach for hers, the warmth of his kissed reached all the way to her core and left her toes tingling. Oh. My. God. She thought, her breath catching in her throat. He reached up and brushed her hair out of her face.
She turned, embarrassed.
“Wait,” he caught her by the hand and tugged her back. “We have to do that again, they weren’t watching.” Had she not been drunk she might have seen this as a line, but she was adamant that she would win the bet and let herself be drawn back into his embrace. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the bouncers look quizzically at them, and high-five each other, but she didn’t care. His lips brushed softly against hers, his tongue moving her lips apart gently and making her heart explode with tiny fireworks. Finally she forced herself to pull away. “Well, that’s the best bet you’ve ever won.” He smiled, squeezed her hand and ducked away amidst the taunting and cat calls of his coworkers. Sara floated back to her seat.
“That was amesome!” Katie beamed. “I cannot believe you did that, and twice!”
Sara started. “What? He said you weren’t watching!” Nikki and Katie laughed. “Oh he’s smooth.” Nikki remarked. “He wanted to kiss you babe. What a perfect ending to the night.”
The girls began to gather their pocket books for the walk home. Sara searched the crowd for a final glimpse of the mysteriously handsome bartender. What would become of this? She thought to herself. Just as she was walking out the door, she caught his eye, held it for a moment and left. Maybe, just maybe MHQ was working, and maybe that boy with his sparkling, green eyes would sweep her off her feet. If not, she mused, no one would know what she would think about in her private dreams.
“I know that all people make mistakes. Its not the mistake part that worries me the most. It’s the moving on part. Its knowing that I can never go back to the way things were, its knowing that there is no such thing as “might have been”. The problem is that sometimes, when I lie in bed with another man, I still want those green eyes to be looking back at me. “
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Some random things that make me smile today:
- One of the things that I love most about my job is that each and every time I walk through the door it is a new beginning. Whatever happened yesterday can be erased and we can start over fresh. I can scrap the crummy lesson that didn't quite work and start over, I can change my mind and teach a different short story, or pick a new poem, I can sing sill songs, create and play and engage my students in ways that are unique to my skills and my talents. I have a wonderful career.
- Yesterday a boy came into my classroom after school and told me that he not only finished reading a book but that he couldn't wait to start reading another one by the same author. (I love moments like these).
- My baby brother turns 15 today. He's handsome and charming, athletic and smart! (he obviously gets all of those things from me) I am so proud of him and the young man that he is. I cannot believe that the little boy I see in my mind when I think of him has turned into such a cool person.
Monday, May 10, 2010
One of my students handed me a recommendation letter today. It's really sweet.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Swimming with Sharks 04/30/10
a darkened classroomafter school
on a Friday afternoon
the echoes ofthe students’ voices
silently resound in my head as i sit here
papers are getting graded
grades are being entered
and yet...i feel (as i so often do) that i am swimming
against the tide
being pulled away
from what i find important
being pulled under
by this rip tide current
of red tape and record keeping
when all i want to do
is swim free and play in the waves
and the creativityof my students
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
I just want to do what I do. I want to teach. I want to engage kids in learning and watch as those "light bulb" moments happen. Those are the things that I find rewarding and inspirational.
Looking for a job is horrible. Any job. I know that in this economy there are a lot of people looking for jobs right now; many of the people that are out of work are teachers. I am finding very few openings posted in the papers, very few schools hiring that are local, very dim light at the end of the tunnel. I am feeling really lost. I usually am able to not only control my emotions but I usually have a plan. I usually have something to go on. I usually know what I will be doing next. And because I have no idea, I am panicked. I am lost. I am floundering around in a sea of wet spaghetti for Christ sakes. Yesterday I applied at one of the local bars. I can bar tend. At least I am good at something.
I feel like a failure. I know that I am not getting let go through any fault of my own, but at the same time I feel like if I had done a little better they might be keeping me. If I was a little bit more involved, if I had coached a sport, if a few more of my kids had passed, if I had been a little bit more visible in the building then maybe I wouldn't be on the chopping block. Maybe they would have found a way to keep me, maybe I would be able to make sense of this. Maybe if I had been a singing and dancing advocate for myself they would have made different choices.
I know that's not the case. If I really think about it I know that I am being crazy. I came to work at least 30 minutes early every day. I tutor, I work school events, I chaperone, I stay late. I have already accumulated 44+ hours of professional development. I went to seminars, classes and conventions for English teachers. I met with authors, I incorporated technology into my classroom, I went to my student's games, concerts, plays. My kids like me, but more than that they respect me and rely on me, that is far more important than if they like me.
Why am I not valued then? Why can't people see past the dollar sign next to my name and see that I am worth the money they spend to keep me here?
I might be depressed. Can you be depressed if you know you're depressed? Or is depression something that sneaks up on you? I thought that depressed people didn't know that they were suffering from a problem. I know that I have a problem. I feel like I am sinking, drowning, losing. I can't sleep at night, I am not usually hungry and I have no ambition to complete any of the tasks looming in front of me. My family is suffering because of it, I burst into hysterical tears over spilt milk, and I keep whining about it in my blog for the poor public to read. I am boring the pants off of anyone that will listen to me for even a moment. And to top it all off? I don't even feel like there is any hope of being successful in my endeavor to find another job.
What should I be doing differently?
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
That being said, the superintendent of our school made $146,935.00 last year.
WHAT CAN HE POSSIBLY DO WITH THAT MUCH MONEY IN THIS TOWN?
Who needs that much money? Why am I being layed off? What does he do to earn that income?
Life is not fair.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Happy Birthday Lydia Grace! I hope life is good to you, and you know how very loved you are.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I commented on this newspaper's blog recently and then a flurry of activity followed. Mostly negative. It's so disheartening to see how the public views educators and education. Read it, comment, spread the word.
Then, I joined this site. Its a really cool place for teachers to talk about their goals for education in New York. It focuses a lot on the city, but it has some really valid points and some great conversation. Its called Educators 4 Excellence. I truly hope that people can begin to see that teachers are really professionals, and there are some supremely great people that do this job.
I'm busy this week. Keeping my head above water, not taking my frustrations out on my family, and looking for job postings. Keep your fingers crossed, and keep the faith.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Of course, its a Young Adult modern piece of fluff fiction about a boy who steals computers and solves a murder, but none of that matters when you consider the scope of his aversion to reading. HE FINISHED A NOVEL! That is fabulous. I am so freaking happy. :-)
I hope to instill a love of reading in my students. I know this is a big goal. So, when I slice it down to a more manageable size, my hope is that we can negate the extreme hatred that some kids have for reading. I think this would be a good indication that this is working.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Unfortunately, I know that his opinion does not matter. I know that what he values and what helps him learn won’t count. I know that money is more important than learning, and that even though the school professes to want what’s best for the students what they really want is what is best for their pocketbooks.
I wish that things were different. I wish that I could look my student in the eyes and tell him that what he thinks and feels will make a difference. I wish I could tell him that his ambition and passion would open eyes and help the community to see that there were mistakes being made.
So I praised his writing ability and his effort. I told him to express himself, to stand up for what he believes in. I told him I was proud of him and that I could see him going great places. I encouraged him to submit his letter to the paper, to give it to the principal and to shout his ideas from the roof tops. I told him to prepare for failure and disappointment…. I told him I was proud of him, and I am honored to be part of what makes him such a great kid.
And then I cried my ever-loving heart out. The moment the door to my classroom closed I completely lost. my. shit. I am a good teacher. I love my students and this is so unfair.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I honestly thought it would be pink. It’s not, in fact, a pink slip at all. It’s a plain, white, piece of paper with the same letterhead that only a few months ago boasted a huge, bold faced “Congratulations!” at the top. The same letterhead that told me at the end of the last marking period that more of my students were passing than the marking period before and that I was indeed doing a great job. I don’t even get the original. Just a photocopy, signed by the guy in charge, but delivered by my principal. I realize that he is probably having just as bad a day as I am, but that doesn’t make me any less bitter. At least I have been laid-off and not fired; it’s like an honorable discharge and not a “hey- you-suck-at-what-you-do-ge
t-the-hell-out” notice. But it bites just the same.
I’m trying not to be a pessimist. I’m trying not to hate everything about my life. I’m not seriously considering launching myself out my second story window. (besides that would only hurt a whole hell of a lot and not end the whole game) I’m trying to remember the reasons why I do this in the first place, but it’s hard to do in a society that seems to be falling down around me. I have expectations in my classroom that my students treat each other with respect. I insist that they make choices and stick to the consequences that come from those choices. I instill upon them the value that they act like people that care about the well being of others. I’m sad that I am teaching them the rules and guidelines for life in a society that clearly does not exist. There was such a lack of respect in that little office as they told me that my position was being cut, it left me wondering how I can hope to teach my students respect when there are no clear examples from their superiors.
When it gets to a point like this it’s easy to fall back, to fall down, to just fall… and to question everything. Mostly though I find myself asking “why bother?” over and over. Why do I keep trying? Why don’t I use all my sick time, and pop in a video for my students? It’s then I remember the 110 faces awaiting me tomorrow, and I know that apathy won’t cut it. If I don’t care then they don’t care, and we’ve worked all year to boost their responsibility for their own education.
There is something that many people don’t think about. There is a face behind these layoffs. That face is me. I am not a number, I am not a price tag, and I am not a budget cut. I am a teacher and I make a difference in the life of a child. What really gets my goat is that my school district is running an initiative that puts priority on literacy. On what planet does fewer teachers (especially English) and more kids in a classroom equal a positive learning opportunity?
So tomorrow Mr. Bossman, when you’re busy looking in the mirror for 122 minutes and 32 seconds, I’ll be reorganizing my lessons for the day, considering closing activities for my students, stressing about the student who told me she was experimenting with drugs, and thinking of ways to help the kid who just bombed my exam. When you stand there adjusting your tie and looking in the mirror, I’ll be busy adjusting my resume, making copies, and talking to the teenager who just broke up with her boyfriend... And please make sure you can look yourself in the eye and reflect, because I know when I see you in the hall you won’t be making eye contact with me.
Besides, I don’t do this for you anyway. I don’t do it for the pay check, or the experience, or because I needed something on my resume. I do it for them, and I’ll continue to do it until June. Even if you think you don’t need me, and the school doesn’t need me, and the community doesn’t need me…. They need me and that’s why I do what I do.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I do. Imagine how gratifying it would have been to wake up one morning and hear on the news that every single one of your crummy teachers was FIRED. Gratifying at 15, yes. Insanely ridiculous and a horrible solution to a problem, yes. I can't even begin to get my brain around the crap in the news the past few weeks about teachers sucking. I for one, do not suck. Neither do my fabulous colleagues, and if I'm being honest, neither did my teachers in high school. I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the massive lay-offs in my local area, the possibility that I may lose my job, and the media that is slandering the profession of teaching nation wide. With more sleep and less papers to grade I may have something more profound to say on this topic.... I'll try again later this week. Until then, I couldn't put it better than Bill Maher does here.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Things I want to do before I go…. I've gotten to the BOLD items....but I have alot still to get to.
Drive across the country ~ Do a Breast Cancer Walk ~ Try Escargot ~ Make a peaceful home for my family ~ Own a Horse ~ Step foot on each of the seven continents ~ Step foot in each of the 50 States ~ Perfect a chocolate chip cookie recipe ~ Go dog sledding ~ Drink at an Irish Pub, in Ireland ~ Mentor someone ~ Learn to bartend ~ Have a professional family portrait taken ~ Learn to crochet ~ Christen a boat ~ Have a front porch swing ~ Learn to write grants ~ Finish a quilt ~ Write thank you notes to my teachers ~ Have a career I love ~ Create habits in my family of being loving and exhibiting loving gestures ~ Flirt, be unashamed ~ Plant a garden, actually take care of it ~ Play tennis ~ Tithe ~ Begin a tradition of celebrating the mundane: champagne on the 3rd of every month perhaps? ~ Learn to make jelly ~ Go clamming ~ Take a canoe trip ~ Stand on the Great Wall of China ~ See a wild kangaroo ~ Help someone get into college ~ French bread and coffee in a café in FRANCE ~ Kiss someone under the shadow of Big Ben ~ Scuba Dive ~ Exercise regularly ~ Zip line through the jungle ~ See the Mayan ruins ~ Plant flowers for a stranger ~ Cook Thanksgiving dinner ~ Finish some of my unfinished projects ~ Return to scrapbooking ~ Make a difference ~ Become a foster parent ~ Love myself ~ Train a puppy ~ Build a house ~ Take up painting ~ Be conversational in at least one other language ~ Write a book ~ Swim with dolphins ~ Make a million dollars ~ Go white water rafting ~ Walk on stilts ~Build a tree house ~ Be an extra in a major film ~ Live in a major city ~ Learn how to accept a compliment ~ Ride a camel in the desert ~ Be my own boss ~ Learn how to Waltz ~ Own something Prada ~Teach someone to read ~ Visit Walden Pond ~ Visit Canterbury Cathedral ~ Rio: Carnival ~ Spend a Christmas on the Beach away from the chaos of the holidays ~ Take a hot air balloon ride ~ Appreciate my life ~ Kiss the Blarney stone ~ Fall in love ~ Fall out of love…appreciate the difference ~ See the Mona Lisa’s smile ~ Learn to play the banjo ~ Be in awe of Stonehenge ~ Appreciate Emily Bronte ~ Ride a pogo stick ~ Get my PhD ~ Join the Peace Corps ~ Donate blood ~ Vacation at Martha’s Vineyard ~ Sleep in a castle ~ Go skinny dipping ~ Help build a habitat for humanity house ~ Get a Labrador ~ USE my savings account ~ Have floor to ceiling library shelves ~ Get married ~ Ask a stranger to dinner ~ Have a full pantry ~Raise a child ~ Stop worrying ~ Swim in the worlds largest swimming pool (Chile) ~ Go deep sea fishing ~ Become debt free ~ Take surfing lessons ~ Be in a horse show ~ Adopt a kitten ~ Have one of those great recipes that people ask for ~ Count my blessings ~Write a letter to the editor, about something I’m passionate about ~ Take more pictures ~ Be inspired ~ Pray daily ~ Become a “regular” in some little bar or café ~ Refinish a piece of furniture ~ Learn how to rope cattle ~ Be proud of myself ~ Hike a mountain, camp there, hike down ~ Read all of the books on my “to read” list ~ Teach a college course ~ Find a church I love ~ Find a church I love close to home ~ Learn how to change a tire ~ See Venice ~ Stop putting things off ~ Be joyful~ Make a difference ~ Write a letter to everyone I love ~ Hang more pictures in my home ~ Create a killer website ~ Be a fabulous teacher ~
...which leads me to contimplate jumping out my own window. It's my first year in the classroom and I do not have all the answers. If fact, I have very few of them. So why did they give me the class load that I have? Why in god's name did they give me the most troubled, difficult students? Why are all the impossible kids in the classroom of the least prepared and least experienced teacher in the department? Why does my mentor not mentor? Why didn't they even toss me the tiniest life preserver? "Sink or swim sweetheart, you're on your own...oh and by the way, there will be multiple lay-offs this year. Best of luck."
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Is a snow day really that much to ask for? Isn't our safety important? School is OPEN?!?
I rushed to get dressed, tossed on boots, and trudged to work. It was treacherous.
School carries on, just as it is intended to.
Thank you Mr. Super, for keeping education rolling.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
2nd semester begins today and I not only had great lessons in 4 out of 5 classes today, I also graded all work that my kids handed me today and put it in the computer!
Today marks the 10 year anniversary of the day I started dating the love of my life....
Today I was able to complete my taxes.
Today was a good day.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Today I assigned an in class DBQ. Its about the civil rights movement, the KKK, the treatment of African Americans in the United States...it ties in to the novel we are reading (To Kill a Mockingbird)in theory it sounds great. In reality though it was simply to give them something to do so that I can grade papers.
Are all my students going to be unprepared to go off to college?
Do I suck?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
That is all.
Monday, January 25, 2010
For instance, I do some mini lessons on listening and note-taking. As the NYS regents has a listening requirement. I would love to have a class set of highlighters for these activities. Nothing special or extravagant, (although a class set of mini white boards would be great too)yet for a 24-pack of highlighters that will cost me $13.99---practically half of my budget.
I really wanted the chart paper that post-it makes, that is already sticky on one side so you can pull it off and slap it on any available wall....but those pads are TWENTY-FOUR dollars.
How can I be creative and interesting if I have to teach with nothing? I am not that good.
I want my kids to be able to create diaramas, and posters. I want to be able to take pictures of them, and develop the film. I want to be able to let them read great, contemporary literature. We have no money for books.
3 packages of construction paper, one package of 5x7 index cards, and the highlighters consume my entire budget. Anything else I want I will have to buy myself.
This isn't fair. Where does all the money for the school district go?
This year, its going into the building of a new lounge for the seniors. Something is not right.
Friday, January 22, 2010
You drove me home from work in your red jeep with the broken heat and it snowed so hard that night. The kind of big, fluffy flakes that make you dizzy when you drive. I was nervous that you wouldn't make it back to your home safe. I was nervous anyway, being alone with you for the first time. I almost made an excuse to not have you drive me, but I had no other way home.
For a while I thought I might throw-up and my hands were shaking so hard I had to sit on them while you drove, you thought I was cold and kept apologizing for the lack of heat. You even tossed your jacket over my lap. My throat was dry and my lips were chapped and we were listening to Shaggy's stupid "Angel" song on the radio. I caught you singing along. Twice.
It took us nearly 30 minutes to drive the 10 miles to my house because of the snow. It took 30 minutes longer on my momma's front porch to say good night.
You were a jock, and popular. I was a nerd, and part of the drama club. I had just started wearing make up, you had friends who looked like Barbie. My first relationship was just getting started. (As I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16.) You had just broken up with your amazing girlfriend who was IN COLLEGE. You had the bluest eyes I had ever seen.
You finally reached down to kiss me and my heart stopped beating. It was slow and gentle and chick-flick-perfect. I melted into you. I didn't stop smiling for hours. I couldn't sleep. I was one cliche after another.
That was January 22nd. Ten years ago. I can't believe its been so long, it feels like yesterday. I love you.
Friday, January 15, 2010
The address was, if nothing else, midly entertaining. Our fearless leader spoke about sacrifice to the kids, as in sacrifice 30 minutes of TV time and devote that to homework. I got the gist, they did not. In fact, he spoke in such a way that kids related him to The Godfather. They wonderer aloud if he meant "sacrifice your little sister", "sacrifice what? a goat?" or if they were truly going to find five guys in suits with tommy-guns on their front porch later. It was intimidating while it was meant to be movitational and although I know he had good intentions, most kids though it was either laughable or scary. And it took the entirity of homeroom, a time meant to allow them to socialize and catch up on last minute homework. They were not pleased.
My main problem though, is the curtains. In moving them for the address yesterday I now have a wretched stench in my room that will not go away with any amount of relentless fabreezing.
My already pathetic looking classroom now smells like an old lady's attic, and does not make for the best learning environment. On top of all that, there are stink bugs seeking refuge from the snow on my window sills. I didn't know they were there (thus they did not bother me)prior to moving the curtains. Now that I know they exist I can't help but thinking that at anymoment I might find one flying into my hair. Nothing creeps me out more than giant bugs in my hair.
On an up note, I put a visitor counter in the corner of my blog the other day, and its already had almost 90 hits. That makes me feel like I might even have a few people that read about my daily trials and tribulations. You know, ya'll should comment so that I don't think you're all creepy stalkers.
That is all. Watch your backs, those stink bugs are sneaky.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
other kid: Holy Shit, Miss W is a real person!
kid: Why do we have to read this stupid book?
(it's To Kill A Mockingbird)
me: because it will inevitably come up in conversation over coffee someday and you will sound smart
kid: I don't like coffee.
kid: I didn't do my homework because it was stupid
me: um.... ok?
kid: Does it matter?
me: if you'd like to pass
other kid: what if i don't care?
me: then you fail at life
other kid: oh
third kid: what if I did half of it?
me: really? Did anyone do their homework?
entire class of 25 kids: **silence**
kid: Miss W, you look beautiful today.
kid: Are you dieting?
kid: Miss W, can I ask you a serious question?
kid: if I complement you daily does that mean you won't mind that I didnt do my work?
me: really? Did anyone do their homework?
entire class of 25 kids: **silence**
I don't know how to teach them if they refuse to help themselves.
Well, I do like coffee and I need a refill......
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
This week we had to buy new tires for the car.
This week I was that person in the grocery store checkout line with a full cart and not enough money.
This week I was on the phone with the bank disputing charges, begging for fines to be taken off, and resorting to tears.
This week I argued the rise in my interest rates.
This week I've driven places just beacuse they were down hill and I could coast there in neutral, rather than to places where the road was flat and I would be wasting gas.
This week I told my student loan rep that "even though this is your job, you're still really, really mean."
This week I put off driving to Rochester to get my mail because toll prices went up.
This week we've been called by debt collectors, paid late fees on several bills, and had a credit card canceled.
Just when I think I might be a responsible adult I am reminded what a horrible failure at life I really am.
all that being said...
This week we begin our new years resolution of being more intellegent with our money. Including finally opening my 403b, putting some money into a rainy-day fund, and advertising more for our photography business.
This week we balance our check book together.
This week we will not be going out to eat or to the movies or anywhere other than home.
This week we will research new venison reciepes so that we can do less grocery shopping.
This week we will roll the coins in our piggy bank.
This week we will take time to enjoy eachother.
This week we will count our blessings as we count our pennies.
Friday, January 08, 2010
Today I celebrate homeschooling!One of my biggest problem students has been officially withdrawn by his parents to be, you guessed it, homeschooled. I would be lying to say I was sad to see him go. Having him in class was like having a time bomb strapped to a ADHD spider moneky in the back of the room.
Life is good. Happy Friday.
-I realize this is not very teacher-ish or an all kids can learn attitude yadda yadda yadda of me.....but I'm ok with it.