Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reality Bites

There are many things I find increasingly frustrating as I cross the line between teacher and student. When I'm at work I'm in charge, and after a year in the classroom I've gained incredibly valuable (in my opinion) real-world knowledge about what it means to be a teacher. While I'm at the university, though, my opinion doesn't count for much, especially in the eyes of professors who have either been out of the primary or secondary classroom for years or (worse) were never classroom teachers themselves. Time and again I've had professors tell me to do things that I know are totally unrealistic in an actual classroom. Just today I saw a professor publicly slam a high school principal for a disciplinary measure that, from my perspective, was completely appropriate given the situation. The professor's suggestion for how the matter should have been handled was completely unrealistic. He would have been laughed out of his own classroom had he attempted this "solution" with my high school students.

It's hard (if not impossible) to hold my tongue in these situations, but frequently I've decided that it's best for my grade if I just nod and smile. Let the professors, who by definition deal in theory rather than practice, live in their bubbles while those of us "in the trenches" continue to work with real kids who need real solutions when a problem arises.

My mentor teacher and I frequently commisserated about this issue last year when we were both taking classes. It just doesn't seem right that the people who are, at least in theory, educating educators are frequently so out of touch with the realities of what it's like to work with children.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Since you asked...

M requested an updated belly picture, so here's one that I took last week. Hard to believe that I'll be getting even bigger over the next 10 weeks!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Aaaaaaaad DONE!

Well, this is it. I've cleaned out my room, said my goodbyes, and driven the Border Highway for the last time. The next time I walk into that school for a normal workday will be in November. NOVEMBER!

To celebrate, I plan to spend the weekend painting the nursery and snuggling with Jasper. I really know how to party, don't I?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Tomorrow is the last day of school. My entire day today has been filled with emptying my classroom of personal stuff and supplies and with signing my students out. Almost all of them are graduating seniors, so it's been a very bittersweet process. To tell the truth, I've had to fight back tears more than once, and I'm sure that I'll be an enormous wreck at Saturday's graduation ceremony.

Now that just about everything is packed away and most of the kids have left I'm taking some time to look around the room and marvel at how familiar it feels. I can clearly remember walking in here for the first time back in October and being scared out of my mind. I remember bringing those first few boxes of books and posters into the building, remember writing my first lesson out on the board the Saturday before I formally took over the class, and remember hoping like hell that I'd survive that first week. I guess I did, because it's suddenly May and I'm saying goodbye to everyone.

Times like this I know that I've made the right decision to come back here next year.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I get sentimental about the oddest things

Is it wrong to be sad when a TV show ends? I hope not, because I have a habit of getting very maudlin when my favorite shows get cancelled.

Tonight was the series finale of a long-time favorite, "Gilmore Girls". I started watching it during my Sophomore year in college, and before too long it became one of my favorites. My roommates and I would make sure not to schedule Tuesday night classes just so we could all be home to watch new episodes. I made J watch it with me when we started dating, and I love to tell people that I knew he was "the one" when I called him one Tuesday night after he'd moved to DC and heard the strummy la la music on in the background. Even the manliest man had to admit that GG was a pretty decent hour of television.

And now it's over. I'm sad. It's like saying goodbye to an old friend (or a lot of old friends) and a very specific phase of my life at the same time.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Random Thoughts

Since I can't seem to write a coherent post on a single subject today, here are some random and unrelated thoughts that have been running through my head lately:

--I love planning. Love organizing. Love preparing to do projects. Finishing them is another story, but I rock at planning.

--J and I went to PetSmart last week to buy Jasper a new Kong and almost came home with a new kitten. We're crazy cat people in training.

--J has been growing a mustache for a hospital facial-hair-growing contest for the last month, and has FINALLY agreed to shave it off when the contest is over. This is a very good thing.

--There are currently four shopping bags full of newly-purchased stuff on my kitchen table. Some have been sitting there for two weeks. Maybe I should do something about that.

--I'm wearing mascara for the first time today. I think I like it.

--In spite of my resolution to not buy a ton of maternity clothes, my collection is slowly growing. I dearly hope that some of my friends who are TTC right now will want these things when I'm done with them!

--I can't believe that school is out in just two weeks. Where did this year go?

--I signed my contract for next year. My principal agreed to a modified version of the plan the assistant principal and I cooked up, so I'll be coming back to work around Thanksgiving instead of in early October. I'm really happy with the way this has turned out.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Rest in Peace

My parents took Checkers to the vet this morning. My girl is gone. Goodbye sweetheart, I'll always miss you.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Teenagers can be real people when they want to be

My students saved me from having a total breakdown today.

Last night my mom called to let me know that our family cat, the cat I adopted when I was 10 years old, was sick. Really sick. We found out today that she's probably in kidney failure, has diabetes, or has hyperthyroidism. Regardless, she's severely dehydrated, her kidneys are shutting down, and she only weighs 5 lbs. The vet expects to have test results (and a diagnosis) tomorrow, but until then my mom is giving her lots of love and feeding her a prescription wet food.

Anyway, after getting this news, I was a bit of a wreck. Today was one of my busy days at school, so I was kept preoccupied until my conference at the end of the day. I fully expected to just sit in my classroom, bawling, for the entire 90 minute period, but instead I got a wonderful treat. Five of my students (four of whom are failing and needed to do some makeup work) came to my room to work and chat. We sat around, debated some of the symbols in 1984, and really enjoyed each others' company.

I don't know how (or if) they knew that I needed to be with people right then, but their presence was exactly what I needed. Sometimes teenagers can be real assholes, but sometimes (an increasing number of times) they can also be incredibly thoughtful and compassionate. It was nice to be reminded of that today.

No updates on the staying vs. leaving issue today. I could hear something definitive tomorrow, but in reality I think it will probably be closer to Friday before anything is decided.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Something even better than job news

Please go over to Julie's to read about legislation currently being revised in the House of Representatives that could provide infertility coverage as part of standard health insurance. I'm writing a letter to my Representative this weekend. If you're not sure who yours is, go to this site and enter your ZIP code.

Oh, and on the job front--the wait for an actual answer has officially been extended to next week. I signed the contract since the district won't be willing to work with me at all if I don't have one, but it's still very possible that I won't be going back next year. As if you hadn't already guessed, my feelings on the matter are decidedly mixed.

Please send non-alcoholic alcohol

Did you know that I'm going grey? I am. I got my first grey hairs when I was 21. It was during the summer I interned in DC while I was still in college, and I probably should have taken that first grey strand as an omen. DO NOT MOVE TO THIS TOWN BECAUSE YOU WILL LOOK LIKE AN OLD LADY BEFORE YOU ARE 30.

Being me, I didn't listen to the grey prophet and thus spent three years living in the DC area accumulating many more of his little friends. My hair now looks "sparkly" when viewed from above, and my stylist keeps tempting me with pretty highlights that I cannot afford to maintain once I commit to them.

Well, I may just need to book an emergency appointment with her ASAP because I will be shocked if my hair doesn't go completely white by the end of the day.

In short, there has been no movement on the decision over whether or not I can come back next year. Numerous balls have been dropped by numerous people, and I really have to include myself in that list because one lesson I should have learned by now is to never EVER trust anyone else to do what they say they'll do when the issue at hand is vitally important to my future health and happiness. I'm hopeful that something will be decided by the end of the day today, especially since my contract needs to be signed by midnight tonight, but after the way this week has gone I'm not exactly holding my breath.

Until then, I could really use a drink.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Off the hook?

Job situation update:

Number of hours spent wringing hands over job decision since last post: 144

Number of friends dreading my e-mails/phone calls because I won't shut up about the job decision: ALL

Number of meetings had with my Assistant Principal to figure out a compromise that makes everyone happy: 3

Number of very good, very workable solutions offered to me by Assistant Principal: 1

Number of people who still have to sign off on the very good, very workable solution: 1 (Principal)

Finally finding tentative peace of mind over going back to work vs. staying at home: Priceless

I promise to be less vague about the details of this job solution when (if!) it's approved by my Principal. Currently, I just don't want to jinx it. Suffice it to say, the fact that my school has, so far, bent over backwards to keep me on staff next year makes me feel like I'm making the right decision to fight like hell to stay here while still being able to spend most of Luke's first year of life at home with him.