Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tunnels, lights, and a universal truth....

So much went well today, and I plan to take a moment to enjoy that.


Don't get me wrong, it was NOT a perfect day: we worked through two major blow-ups, and one of them lasted over an hour. There was whining, manipulating, sassy-talk, and even a little mild violence.

On the other hand, I saw "higher order thinking", considerable extra effort, and smiles caused by work satisfaction (not revenge).

I'm feeling the inelegance of these first weeks slip away. I actually feel lighter, more open. Less tentative.

It's education's universal truth, a reality often forgotten in the moment: The crazy-paced and mind-numbing challenges of the beginning of the year are short-lived. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes,however, I let the long path through the tunnel get me down. But for now, that dark trip appears to be ending.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Balance, Brauts, and Blacksburg.....

When in the course of the day I feel a bit like crying; when my bruises are blue and yellow and purple and sore; when I'm so drained as the children head for the buses, I can barely think about planning for the next day ..... then I am sure it is time for a change.

Since school started some 3 weeks ago, I awaken at 5:30 am, and am on the road by 6:30. I've been arriving at school early to be ready--really ready---for the day. I'm lucky if I get home at night before 6pm. Even when the kids are reasonably good, there's committee meetings, subcommittee meetings, clinical support sessions, team meetings..... drama with new, untrained staff members who think the kids are simply bratty.... It sucks the life out of you. And I am old enough to know better.

Where's the balance?

And I'm not the only one. There are dozens of teachers scampering around all glassy eyed and slack jawed.

So my quest for "happiness" has hit a bit of a snag. Tomorrow is Friday. It's another football weekend in beautiful Blacksburg. Happiness will find me there. I'll be balancing a mimosa in one hand and a braut in the other. Go Hokies!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


It's two weeks into the new year, and I have moved past the happy optimism of the first few days, through the renewed commitment stage where I pledge to do everything I can to provide the support my new kids need, and I'm now rolling into exhaustion. It doesn't help that our new school hours make my already long commute even longer. Gratefully, I have discovered the value of Tylenol PM; sadly, I have been purposely ignoring my wonderful husband. Yes, it may be a new year, but not much has changed.

I get tickled everyday by some amazingly cute thing one of the children does. I feel great about the lessons we are doing; my new IA has a lovely way with the kids. This is the stuff that keeps my going.

Back to School Night was a bust though. Only 1 set of parents showed up; one set did call to send their regrets. No word from the other 6 kids' parents. I dressed up for nothing. Oh well.

Some other news from the trenches: A kid has already been sent home for bad behavior, we've had two fire drills in two weeks, and my new shoes are still not broken in.

TGIF.... Have a good one!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

From Graceful Presence Blog

This poem took my breath away... literally. So beautiful, especially as that awful anniversary approaches. I am inspired to breathe out joy and love and learning each and every day in my classroom and beyond.

Wage peace with your breath.

Breathe in firemen and rubble,breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.

Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.

Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.

Play music, memorize the words for thank you in three languages.

Learn to knit, and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty or the gesture of fish.

Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious: Have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived.

Celebrate today.

Judyth Hill

Monday, September 07, 2009

More prep for the first day of school....

Newly purchased outfit selected with care... not too casual, not too stuffy.
School supplies packed in the new bag placed conspicuously by the door.
New haircut and other various self-care procedures completed.
Alarm clock checked and rechecked.... no technical snaffoos tolerated.
Makings of a healthy breakfast set out.

Ready for my first real day of school.
Just like when I was 9.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Boot Camp for Teachers

It's the end of teacher week, and I left my classroom late this afternoon with a light heart and a smile on my face. Why so happy? My room looks great, for one thing. My IA is bright and eager. My teammates (the other ED teachers) are committed, focused, and fun.

I am so ready for the start of school year 2009/2010 on Tuesday morning.

Teacher prep week is a kind of bootcamp, a week of meetings balanced against hours of lifting and stacking and labeling and organizing. It's the dramatic moment when your class list is revealed; it's the panic that sets in when you see how many tough cookies are on that list. It's the feelings of hopefulness that rise to the top because, after all, it's a new year, and you never know, the kids might have matured over the summer. Hmmmm...

It's coming in early and staying late. It's the emotionally draining process of advocating for yourself against colleagues who need to schedule pull-out or push-in times, all the while wanting to throw a stapler, or a punch. It's poster making, lesson tweaking, laughing, sighing, whining.

I am glad it's over.

Enjoy the long weekend. Rest up. It's going to be a happy new year!