It's A Real Conversation!

Crib Chick: Did I ever tell you that in the seconds right before the accident, I was singing Rock Me Amadeus at the top of my lungs and wearing an Eskimo Joe's Lord of the Onion Rings T shirt? What if that had been it? What if that is how I would have spent my last moments on earth?

Me: I would have been proud. I would totally have sung Rock Me Amadeus at your funeral.

And To Think I Have To Read Out Of Town News To Find This...

Thank you, EdWonk, for reinforcing my vote.

A candidate for Oklahoma state superintendant of schools advocates "thick used textbooks placed under every student's desk so they can use them for self-defense during school shootings".

Fascinating. What a very Wonder Woman sight it would be to see my students using books as a shield.

Carry a book with you, friends. It's a rough world.

**Edited later to add!!**

This just in! News Channel 4 promises to show "what's in a book that could save your child's life!".

I need to move.

Graduate School Again?

So. . . I’m applying to grad school again. I received an MA in Education in 2002 and I guess I’m ready for more. I’ve been writing for an independent school publication and making lots of changes to curriculum over the last few years. A few weeks ago the idea of going back to school crossed my mind and didn’t seem quite as absurd as it had in the past. If I have all of this drive to improve myself, why not focus it a little and get another degree?

This time, I’m planning on getting an MA in psychology. My undergrad degree is in psychology, so I have a nice background on which to build. I also have a big personal interest in this area. Knowing why one of my students behaves the way he/she does would help me find an appropriate way to redirect his/her focus. This degree would also qualify me for a School Psychologist position and allow me to perform preliminary educational and emotional testing in order to determine the best course of action for various learning/behavioral issues. A school psychologist easily makes double what I do as a classroom teacher. This position would also allow me more flexibility with my hours when we decide to start a family.

That said, I’m not sure I want to leave the classroom. The degree could also help me be a really kick-ass elementary school teacher. Either way I feel like I win. I’m young enough that giving up some time after work and on the weekend for the next two years is not so daunting. We don’t have kids yet, so I need not feel guilty if I become slightly obsessed. I’ve been teaching the same grade for 6 years and even have the option of taking on a co-teacher next year. With all of these things in my favor, it’s hard to find a reason not to go.

Then there is the $ situation. Ya, it is going to be an expensive in devour. Unfortunately, I’m not willing to shop around for less expensive schools. My Education MA program was phenomenal and I plan on returning to the same school for the Psychology program. They teach me in a way I find very conducive to long-term retention and application. In my opinion, there is no reason to mess with something that works. I qualify for a few small scholarships and I’m pretty sure loans won’t be a big deal. I’ll just add it to the monthly payment I make to Sallie Mae now. I’m willing to pay off a house and an education until I’m old and grey.

The new program requires roughly the same time commitment as the previous one I attended, so there is also some comfort in knowing what to expect.

I’m excited.
I’m nervous
I’m going to be very busy!

It's Not Rocket Science

This is my seventh year of teaching. It has taken seven years to feel like I'm capable (well, at least some of the time instead of never). The thought of moving next school year disconcerts me because I'm just starting to get good at this.....
But it's exhausting. The emotional stamina required to sustain teachers has to come from somewhere, you know? Ultimately, I would like to be an advocate for educators. I think if more parents knew about the initiatives, and the ulterior motives related to the initiatives, there would be enough outrage to change the system.

His Superior Intellect Will Serve Him Beyond Sophomore English

Nine weeks tests are today and there are questions on the test about nouns.

Identify the type of noun.

One question reads:

The muffins with the blueberries are sold out.

Which type of noun is it?
a. abstract
b. common

Kid asks me if this is a trick question.

"No, look at the answers. Can you touch a blueberry? Can you taste it?"

"Nope." says Kid. "Not these. They sold out."

Why Don't We Do It In Our Sleeves?

Um...what's that on your arm?

Ewwwww!

I'm Three!

I just realized I have hit my three year blogoversary (blogaversary? blog-versary?).

Whatever. This thing is three now.

This has been the hardest year of my life, and the trouble hasn't escaped my blog. I have struggled with being "public" through this horrible time and considered shutting the whole thing down. It's a tough thing to accept that most everything you've said publicly for the last three years is indexed by Google. I have loved, hated, needed and scorned this blog this year.

I learned to cope in some ways, though. I have the power to shut down comments if I don't want discussion. I don't have to share everything. I have found, however, that when I do want to share, this is one of the first places I want to come.

I don't want to take the blog down now. I have chronicled so much here that it's like a photo album (but please remember only a partial one) of the last three years of my life. I am past the point of feeling funny telling people about a good friend and saying "Yeah, I know them from my blog.". I have even started enjoying writing here again.

The comment section is open for public expressions of adoration and general well wishing. Thank you all so much for staying around, even when I wasn't sure what to do with you.

Creepy Link O' The Day*

Eigh! I left part of myself with my baby! I left part of myself with my baby!!!

Either that or I allowed my baby to be raised by Mummenschanz.

Edited now to add post-entry conversation!!

The Crib Chick calls this afternoon. Please remember that what with my barren womb and all, I defer to Mme. Crib, a five child nursing and childbirth veteran, on all things child soothing and lactational and the like...

Me: Did you read the whole page, though? Or just the creepy puppet hand
picture at the top?

Crib: Just the top, it was enough!

Me: Ok, seriously, you're only having half the fun if you focus on the top.
Scroll down. They advise you to "give the pillow your scent" in order to soothe
your baby. So that means..?

Crib: You stick it in your bra.

Me: Oooooookay. You know, I am sure that that boob scented hand shaped
pillow is soothing but how do you explain...?

Crib: The pillow hand sticking out of your bra? Yeah, good question.
Imagine explaining that to baby daddy. "Yeah, hon, in an effort to get through
your inattention of my boobs, I have chosen to give them over to these pillow
hands. I have also chosen to allow these pillow hands to parent our offspring,
thus creating a circle of inattention and avoidance."

Me: Good idea. They talk about daddy giving his scent to the pillow too.
What do you think that might...?

Crib: I think every daddy who wears a bra should have that honor.


So do I, friend of friends. So do I.

*Please don't allow yourself to be confused by the phrase "o' the day". This feature may never happen again.

If You Can't, Maybe We Can...

How many layers are there to this story?

I first heard this story today and was embarrassed not to have caught it on the news.

An eighteen year old HS student is kicked out of his house. For days, he's gone to school and gotten money here for lunch. He's sustained himself hanging out at school, it's night and he's hungry. He sneaks back into the school and steals a bag of chips in the cafeteria.

A security guard catches him. He's taken off to County jail and spends several days there. The DA (don't even get me started about the DA) drops second degree burglary charges against him only after the local paper discovers the story and it goes public.

Meanwhile, the kid was a model prisoner and was in heaven. He had a bed, all the food he could eat. What's not to love?

When the charges are dropped and he's released, his school takes over. They work to get him in a group home and now he's in school and living in a place where he gets some care.

This kid could be in my class, maybe yours, oh edu-bloggers. The kid would bug me. He doesn't behave, he asks for money, he gets sent to in school suspension. But this same kid, obviously not a raging success in school during the day, feels that his school is the safest place to stay and he chooses to live there when his home is no longer an option.

The whole story is here, read it but be aware you'll have to register with the Daily Oklahoman (grab a fake password from BugMeNot if you'd like). I taught at this school for a year and again, this kid could have slipped through the cracks of my very classroom. The lesson I am reminded of is this: listen to kids. Let them talk sometimes and really listen. A former principal of mine used to say that many times school is the best place a kid will be all day.

Know what the kid's t shirt read? The one he wore for ten days straight while he lived in his HS courtyard?

I Can't Do Good All The Time.

Thinking

My evenings, like most teachers’, are pretty routine. I come home, change, check email, make/order/eat dinner, watch TV, read a few blogs, do whatever work I need to, veg-out/think, get ready for bed and go to sleep. My veg-out time is particularly key to an evening well spent. This consists of me turning my desk chair around, it swivels, putting my feet up on the plush pink armchair and just thinking. Most nights this is accompanied by music. Once in a while, it’s nice to have silence though.

This is when I process my day and prepare myself for the next. Sometimes I even dream about the future. I can spend anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes lost in thought gazing at my Ikea paper lamp. While reviewing the day’s events, I’m able to see things I may not have noticed in the moment. I feel that certain kids can be over looked due to my larger class size. When I look back on the day, with individual kids in mind, it helps me remember their specific accomplishments. It can also remind me that I didn’t notice very much about a particular student and should really give them some attention the following day.

These are often my most creative moments, when I think of my best lesson plans and time saving ideas. Organization is one of the keys to my classroom success. I feel capable of handling most unexpected changes during the day because I always have something I can whip out and fill time with. Not just something, but an educationally valuable experience for the students. (Earlier this week I couldn’t get the VCR to work after getting my class excited about the first video of the year. I built it up by letting them know how very few videos they will be seeing in my class this year. We worked on a fire safety mad-lib I had waiting in my basket.) Finding ways to streamline my classroom is a continuous process that changes as my students’ needs do. This quiet-time has also given birth to some of my favorite cooperative project ideas.

While I’m veging-out this way, my diligent husband is typing away on his keyboard not three feet away. Sometimes I wonder: does he think it is odd that I stare off into space like this every evening? I never see him doing this. He used to offer me websites to look at or magazine articles to read, but after hearing nothing but a polite, “no thank you” he gave up. Now he just checks to make sure I’m awake. It’s true; I’ve been known to fall asleep in my chair from time to time. He has come to accept my “process”.

Am I alone in my quiet time ritual? I have never really thought about it as odd before, but maybe it is. How much time do you spend just thinking? Do you do it while watching TV, listening to music or doing something productive like knitting or exercising? What do you think about or does it vary?

Just wondering.

Funny That I Read This As A Cough Sets In...

Maybe you can understand how good it is to hear someone say this. Real Live Preacher speaks today about grief. He's put words to the thoughts I have tried to form at the graveyard when I am told "he isn't there" and to the people who offer me comfort with "He's in heaven".

I am down with the Apostle's Creed. I believe it. I believe in an afterlife. I struggle, however, with this picture of some sort of "All Dogs Go To Heaven" reward. If this thing is real, it can't be like anything we know. I like to think it's better than what we'd know.

Somehow, during all of this, I have faith. I am more shocked than anyone to find it's still there. It doesn't cover as much ground as it used to, I believe fewer things than I ever did. It's somehow just deeper. Those few things I believe, I believe deeper and with less explanation than ever before.

Most of all, I believe in people. I am so very wildly grateful to the people who have let me, as RLP puts it, "cough this fucker up"*.

*If this language seems grossly out of context, you didn't read to the end of the RLP entry. Go back to the link and read. We'll all be quiet so you can concentrate.

Wondering...

Why does the phrase "making it relevant to today" usually mean "crapping it up"?

Halloween Costumes??

Didn’t we just celebrate Halloween? Wasn’t it just yesterday I worked so hard to come up with a very cool idea that was fun and yet still educational? Why is it here again so soon? Well, this year I need a little help. Does anyone have any costume ideas for a group of 4 elementary school teachers? Please leave me a note if you do. We’ve been the 4 seasons, a painter and his works of art and even a number sentence. Please save me from weeks of stressing over this.

Feel free to leave any other cool teacher costume ideas too. I can’t be the only one out there looking for something new.

Welcome to October!

Loved it!

Dinner with the former student was a raging success! It was wonderful to see him again and reaffirm how very cool he is. My husband and I got along famously with his parents and really hope we can see them all again. I’ve actually started an email relationship with the student. He makes me laugh and I think it is good for him to know someone outside of his family really believes in him.

We've Not Spoken Of Yarn In Some Time, Have We?

Tracey Ullman is a knitter. I cranked up the NPR Friday on the way to work, put the sunroof down, and offended all the children driving with their booming bass. A knitting story on the NPR!! Of course Tracey Ullman knits, I have loved her since I bought that silly album she made in the 80's on vinyl with my saved up allowance. Of course she knits. This has happened to me before, I discover someone with whom I already identify to be all yarn obsessed and get all giddy.

She's co authored a knitting book. Did you know that besides patterns, knitting books have some of the best short prose? Seriously. If they'd let me teach a knitting book to the tenth graders, I think I'd go for Stitch and Bitch. First of all, they'd read it because the word Bitch is in the title and futhermore, the text is geared more toward the younger set. Then, I wonder, if instead of suggesting all the movies we could watch in class (Anyone else get that? Ohmigosh Ms E!! We could totally watch this five hour epic film because it is in English and this is, in fact English class!!!), they'd say "Hey, could we knit that scarf in class? Maybe on a Friday??"

Oh, I could dream, couldn't I?