Thursday, August 16, 2007

My fabulous Ellie

I have a beautiful little four-year-old red head named Ellie. She is full of life, has very few inhibitions and showcases a personality that I always wished I had - carefree and full of love. I have visions in my head of Ellie needing to have a room at the opposite side of the house from Will, who is very much like me, because she hears a song that she loves and promptly pleads, "OH!!! I LOVE this song. Mom - TURN IT UP!!!" Yes, this is how she acts. Yes, she is four. Yes, she is taking dance starting in September which means that when she hears a song she just loves, she can sing and dance to it.

Here is the funniest thing - she has already decided on the type of music she likes, which is pop/rock. Her current favorite songs are Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne, Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani and Hey There Delilah by the Plain White T's. She is the funniest girl and I can't help but smile when I see her. She wants to be a princess all the time, dress up and what she is looking forward to most is dancing in parades. I can forsee that life with Ellie is going to be very active, trying and fun. I can't wait.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Period of Change

I thought that it was appropriate to switch the template of my blog again as everything else is changing over the course of two weeks. I, again, changed the title of my blog and template because, well, sometimes I get bored with things being the same all the time. Just a few weeks ago Enoch and I rearranged our living room again because the TV was in a bad place in conjunction with the window, causing beautiful bright rectangles on the screen if the TV was on ever before 9:00 pm. And since the TV was in a bad place, we just decided to rearrange the whole room. I know, crazy, but that's how we work.

I have spent the better part of a week working through tediously long meetings and frantically trying to get my room organized. I just added To Kill a Mockingbird to my to read list because it is the novel that the English department would like all of the 9th graders to read and I LOVE the book, but thought it was a 10th grade novel. It is such an amazing book that I'm feeling a little bit of stress because I want to do it justice - I want my students to get it. Luckily, I'm not planning on that one until Feb after the first round of testing so I have tons of time to prepare.

Speaking of my to read list, I'm almost to the point of giving up on keeping track. I'm sure that you think this is insane, that an English teacher would want to give up on keeping a to read list, but let me explain. The reason that I want to terminate the exisitence of this list isn't because I think that reading is a bad idea, but because I have so many books recommended to me, so many books that I really want to read that I feel like the list is doubling daily but my time is not. I'm drowning in the sea of anticipated literature and the coast guard isn't anywhere in site.

I was lamenting this fact today to a co-English teacher and she laughed when I said that I felt like I wasn't very well read - I feel like I'm at a bit of a disadvantage. The mature women who teach in the all female English department have a leg up on my by sheer existence - they've been around longer than me and have had time to have their minds experience more literary pleasure. And of the two teachers who are just a year younger than me, neither of them are married, have children, soccer practices, dance practice, dinner for five, laundry for it feels like 20 and they can spend their evenings perusing whatever their literary heart desires. Hence, my disadvantage, but blessing too, because I get to do fun things with my family, but don't get the joy of reading nearly as often as I would like. I guess I just have to hope that I live with decent vision and comprehension for a long, long time.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

My Marathon of Boredom

Somewhere, someone had the brilliant idea that having some training for new teachers prior to just handing them the keys and throwing them in the classroom might be a good idea, and indeed it is. The problem arises when instead of addressing what it is that the teachers are most concerned about, have the most questions about and could benefit from the most, we have the opportunity of listening to what the administrators think we need to know - most of which is common sense (I think) and totally impractical without hands on experience. And so ended my week of 21 hours of training of which about 3 hrs was helpful.

It was interesting to me how many of the people in this class hadn't thought of things that I think are essential for being a teacher - how to handle late work, what to do with students who are tardy, what steps need to be taken to get more money faster, etc. Either I am just well informed because I have 3 aunts, an uncle, parent, several cousins and siblings who are educators or going into the educator field, or it is just another evidence that common sense is dead. The biggest key to teaching adolescents is to respect them for the progress they've made, treat them like the teens that they are and not tweens or elementary kids and make sure they know that your way goes. Period. No exceptions.

The nice thing is I got some ideas for what bulletin boards I want to do, started to figure out a good schedule to get everything in that I want to get in most of the time (because let's face it - most teachers don't get through everything they want to all the time - but the idea of being underprepared drives me insane and makes me lose sleep at night, and I don't function well with very limited sleep) and finally got the idea of how I want to start my creative writing class. That last one is an exceptional bonus because there really isn't a core curriculum and I have to create my class as I go (this has both benefits and significant complications)

School starts in under two weeks, and if I can just get my students desks (which are apparently on their way) and get some things copied and cut, I'm going to be set and ready to teach with enthusiasm. :)