Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Break!!


I made it to spring break….I can’t believe I made it to spring break.
Last night, I slept over twelve hours.  Or, I guess it would be more accurate to say last night, this morning, and part of this afternoon, I slept over twelve hours.

I love teaching.  I love seeing the spark in someone’s eyes when they understand a new concept.  I love having a student tell me that he built an ion engine, and then hand me a one page poem about his family.

I love when a student who refused to write at the beginning of the year turns in an essay that he’s started and erased so many times that the papers have holes from eraser marks.

I love when a student tells me about what they want to do after high school.  When they are brave enough to say; “Here’s what my mom wants me to do.  But here’s what I want to do.”

I love when my students challenge each other respectfully in the classroom.  When they say; “I understand what you think.  But here is what I think…”

I get so focused on the bad days.  The frustrations, the challenges, and the tears.
I’m happy to have a break to rest and refresh, and I’ll be happy to come back and end the school year strong.

Monday, March 3, 2014

True Life: I Teach at a Small School


Today, I subbed for a ROTC teacher…(hooah?)
The structure of my school is very unique.  The school is all one building, with the majority of the academic core subjects on the third floor.  Electives are on the first and second floors.  Except English.  Always except English.

We have an adorable corner on the building, nestled on the 2nd floor, right next to Engineering labs and simulators.  Far away from the coffee filled teachers lounge, but right by the school library.  Eh, there’s downsides and upsides to everything.

I also teach in a very conservative county.  I’ve had three classic books pulled from the curriculum this year: Invisible Man, 1984, and The Lords of Discipline.  When I was being questioned about 1984, a parent was objecting to the extraterrestrial aliens in the novel.  Yep- I know…I feel as though this year has been a crash course in avoiding conflict.  I’ve been somewhat successful.  So it goes….

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Stereotypical Morning


In a Florida high school, first period bell rings at 7:11 am.  Anyone familiar with the circadian rhythm of a high school student knows that given the choice, they wake up right around noon.  Anyone familiar with my sleep schedule knows that I wake up naturally around 9am.  My solution- coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee, at regular intervals throughout the day.

On a typical morning, I wake up at 5 am (or 5:15, depending on if I succumb to the beautiful siren song of the snooze button), and stumble towards coffee.  Leave the house at 5:45, and arrive at school at 6:20, provided I don’t get stuck behind a school bus.  Most of my drive takes place on a one-lane road, surrounded by fields of cattle.  The school itself is neighbored by a local airport.  I stopped jumping at low-flying airplanes in month 3.  So because of the remote-ness, my morning is incomplete without a great deal of prayer that my car doesn’t become cranky.  Let’s just say, if my car broke down it would be a stereotypical start to a horror movie…

Once I arrive at school, I feel like the day begins the blur.  Late morning planning period provides another cup of coffee to push me through the rest of the day.  By the time the clock hits noon, we are done with 6 of 7 class periods.  I’m through with my most challenging class of the day, and I know the rest of the day is manageable. 

I honestly don’t understand how some teachers manage without coffee.  I feel like they must be significantly more zen than me.  But I need something to help me get through the long hours, endless grading, jokes about being short, and lack of sleep….

Saturday, March 1, 2014

First Year Teacher


Last year, I participated in the SOLC as a student and an intern.  I was cozily ensconced in a university, happy with my part-time job and my full-time class-load.  I dreamed of my classroom, and was arrogantly sure I would never go back to my hometown.
            So much changes in a year.  I teach freshmen, sophomore, and junior year language arts to almost 150 students at a high school.  I’m back in the town that I grew up in, with all the expectations and assumptions weighing heavy on my shoulders.  My hair is a little bit longer, and I’m a few pounds thinner.  Teaching has been enormously frustrating, challenging, scary, and rewarding.  I’ve only cried in the middle of the day three times, and two of those have been because of parents.  The third time was from a holiday card that a student wrote me. 
            Everything’s different. And everything’s the same.  You can’t outrun yourself.