Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vignettes of Fall 2009

So you guys know how I said a few months back that this fall semester was gonna literally kick my butt and that blogging would be sporadic at best?
Yeahhhh, I had no CLUE how right I was.
It seems that this semester is quiet possibly one of the most emotionally and mentally exhausting time of my life thus far.
And I thought being in school and planning a wedding was tough (note: read blogs from October '07 to June '08 and you'll see!) but this is tough in a whole new way. Taking 5 major (graduate level to a degree) courses while still taking almost all responsibilities with the classroom 3 days a week including planning, grading, preparing, and reflecting is draining. I come home and my brain aches. I get so frustrated because this semester I've not been my usual on-the-ball self. I'm not cooking new things or trying many new recipes (sorry guys, Hubs misses them as much as you do!) and I don't call people and check in or go visit. I'm not Suzy Hostess or Suzy Homemaker. I'm Suzy Teacher and Suzy Student rolled into one.
That being said, my poor blog has also been neglected in this process. Daily, I have these life changing moments- epifanies about my role in the world, new perspectives on how blessed I am, new ways to look at things, and I think, MAN! THAT'S A BLOG POST RIGHT THERE! But this semester, those moments are happening so fast I can't keep up with them all by the time I get a chance (or make one) to blog. So here, for the sake of my brain & time management (I have a stack of Egyptian hieroglyphics projects to grade tonite!) I'm gonna give you a list of updates, big moments, and thoughts recently experienced by yours truly:
1. First Formal Observations: SCARY, phenomenal, exhausting, empowering. My MT says I'm a natural and my Univ. Supervisor told me I'm teaching like I'm already ready for the Spring internship. HUGE motivation.
2. Kids. How I already love them. Their smiles, their excitement to see me and learn from me. I love how I learn from them. I have several boys I'm concerned about getting behind and I see the next few years as critical in their personal development (as in they might go down one of two paths: good grades, good behavior, and bright future, or poor grades, poor behavior, and dim future) and I feel called to make a difference in these boys lives. I hope I succeed! I am especially inspired by my blind student. She is a joy to be around and makes me a better teacher.
3. I hate my 507 class. In fact, one of the reasons I've had such a tough time is because with the exception of one class & one professor, I feel like they are a waste of my life. The professors have been out of the classroom way too long to be practical, the courses are secondary-oriented, not middle school, and the expectations are both annoying and unrealistic. Boo on class!
4. It's fall. The anxiousness feeling I get with August is gone with the wind and the crisp, welcoming, fall breezes have replaced it! I love, love, love this time of year. Next week is the fair! Which if you take a look at last year's post, you'll know I LOVE the fair with all my heart. I've made myself keep weekends as blank as possible this fall so that what little bit of Saturdays I get to enjoy will be spent doing fall traditions like camping, pumpkin picking & carving, buying mums for the front yard, baking pumpkin bread, and maybe even going to Scarowinds. This Halloween, I'm not even dressing up. I'm wearing a dark outfit, heels, and either my witches hat or devil horn head band and sitting at home with my papers to grade and/or write and waiting for trick or treaters, something that I've never got to do because we've always had busy plans for the night. :)
5. Church. Our church is always important to us, but it's neat that right now I feel like in many ways, everyone is wanting us to be even more involved- which time-wise, isn't really possible. But by teaching TLW class to middle school kids on Sunday nights and going to a few big functions, we've gotten closer and I feel more connected in the past few months. It is so nice to feel we have a great Christian family and a place to refocus each Sunday. Hubs and I know we will not be at this church forever, it's simply too far away from home, and someday in the not-too-distant future, we will change churches, but for now, I feel its exactly where God wants us, and I feel like home there.
6. Lastly, SWINE FLU. Remember how I was sick? Well, apparently I had a bad, bad cold and some allergies, but the doctor at school gave me some meds to knock it out. She was positive that I got it as a result of donating blood, weakening my immune system, then being around 135 wonderful and germy middle schoolers. LOL. Whoops. I had a tough week that week, but I made it. And as it turns out, I'm surprised it wasn't the piggy flu (as my friend Katie calls it!) because the teacher in the class next door has came down with a case. I'm just glad I feel better!

Alas, those papers are still waiting to grade so I'm gonna cut this short. We didn't have evening church today because of Homecoming and I'm so stuffed from the dinner, it's tempting just to go to bed, haha! Love to all and thanks for the patience as the dear old blog slides back to the back burner for now! <3


Monday, September 21, 2009

Blogging at the Doctor's Office

This post has to be short because I'm currrently blogging from a kiosk in the doctor's office on campus....
That's right, I'm sick.
As a stinking dog...
It happened this weekend- it came on slowly, but now it's in full attack mode- I've got a raw, sore throat, watery & itchy eyes, cough, drainage, headache, the works. I went to school and taught this morning since I had no fever, but I'm seeing the doctor because I don't want it tp be any of this flu business. I was so excited that even though I felt like crap today, my MT said I was doing a good job regardless. It was nice to know that even when I feel like my teaching is not at it's best, its still good. I even got hit on by a subsititute teacher today. I felt like I looked HORRIBLE, so that made me feel a little better. It helped that he was really good looking to! HAHA! I know, I know, married lady! But still, its always a nice feeling!
Life right now seems like a massive juggling act, one that is mentally, physically, and utterly exhausting. I am running on about 4 hours of sleep or less each night (ha, maybe that has something to do with why I'm here at the doctor's office? Speaking of which, what's taking so long? I've written a paragraph already!!!) and I'm not taking very good care of myself, I know. School rules my every moment. It so exhaustinhg. I never get all my work done. One of the teachers on my team is an alumni and she said this semester nealy killed her as well. Joy. But on the upside of things, I am doing well at this whole student teaching thing. I bad an amazing formal observation to gush about soon, but I think they are getting ready to call me back soon. Until then, <3.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Frogs and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails

I love my neighborhood.
For once in a blue moon, Hubs and I had no Saturday plans and slept it. All the way to 8 or 9... and for us, who are usually up around 5 each day at least, it was great. We got up, got on the couch, both eating a bowl of cereal when all of a sudden I see movement behind us on the front porch, and there are little boys on the porch, 2 sitting in my rocking chairs.
I'm not gonna lie, my first thoughts were about Halloween and trick-or-treating for some reason.
Hubs, being in his element- he just gets little guys in elementary school, maybe because he is just an over-grown one himself- he goes out and talks to them and discovers they have found two little kittens and are trying to find them a home. Of course, with Bella and Mama's severe allergies we had to say no, but they these guys - both the boys (none of the three were more than 7 or 8 years old, and one had to be as young as 4!) and the kittens were adorable.
They stood outside talking about who in the neighborhood they had asked already & where they found the kitties when one of the boys says "Whoa, is that an in-ground pool over there!?" pointing to the brick fence surrounding our pool, left of the front porch. Hubby said yes it was, and started to tell them good-bye when the same little boy interjected, "Don't worry, I'll ask first!"
I laughed out loud standing by the door! Oh, kids make me so happy. And off they trotted to the preacher's house across the street. I asked the hubby why the oldest was in what looked like Little League football gear, and why they had practice so early in the morning on a Saturday. Hubby just laughed at me, and said that I was crazy, that sweaty, dirty little fella was wearing it just because he liked his football gear!
Moments like that make me excited for the day (way in the future, remember...) we have a little guy of our own. LOL.
They also makes thankful to live in a place where the only "disturbance" you get on a Saturday morning are lively, funny children wondering around the neighborhood with football gear and kitty cats. :)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Labor Day and a Laborous Semester

Keeping up with school this semester has proven quite difficult thus far, and I've already learned that without my Middle Level family, I'd never make it. There are 8 of us total who are seniors and we have every class together. We text, talk, email, and study together and make sure we all know what's going on. It's like a small, family-like professional learning community, and those folks are my knights in shining armor the semester.
It looks like the semester is gonna get even worse with each week.
Because of that, Hubby and I took a Labor Day camping trip to Grandfather Mountain and had the best time. He caught a HUGE trout and we made s'mores til we couldn't eat another bite. It was so fun. Pics are up on FB now. :)
I know it's probably gonna be the last time I do something other than study until Christmas.
I've been so frustrated lately. I feel like every single friend wants me to get together with them and hang out. I have no time to clean my house, be with my hubby, finish my school work, heck, I get 3 hours of sleep each day... how the heck am I supposed to fit in so many lunch dates and whatnot?! Not that I am not thankful for my friends. Lord knows I love them all dearly, but I just have zero time right now... I mean, I worry if I say no, I'll let them down, but really, I need to turn off my phone, lock my door, stay off facebook, & get my work done. I hate being so busy I feel like that!
I'm heading to bed. My University Supervisor is coming to see me and my mentor at school tomorrow, so I want to be prepared! :P May 8th is the goal. I have to stay focused!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

First day

Things I learned on my first day in the school:
-How to work the copier... I love making copies. I was the kid who always did it for all my teachers in high school, so it feels right, lol. I don't know why this is a big deal for me, but I love knowing how to run the copy machine! :)
-Teachers don't really wear heels. At least not at this school. I mean, I always try and wear kitten heels, or pairs I've worn to proms, weddings, funerals, and formals- you know, well broken in & comfy? But here, these teachers wear flat sandals, or even nicer flip flops. No one has on a pants suit and heels here... it's khakis, a simple soild color cotton top, and leather flops or sandals that say "aero" or "air" or "soft" or "comfort" on the sole. I always pay attention to the shoes teachers wear. It says a lot about their jobs day to day, how they teach, what the school community is like, and the teacher's personality. I wore lower black heels, but since the floor has several "ramp" like hallways, it's gonna be the last time. I went to Shoe Carnival last night & got some leather Villager sandals, and cute buckle ballet flats. For super cheap, too. Cost effective teacher shoes, the realllll ones, make me happy.
- I wanna get better at technology. I have a Promethean AND an Elmo and I plan on using them until I become an EXPERT at them. I'm a technology nerd deep down, I think... I'm the type that is naturally clueless about this kind of stuff, and I've never been tech-savvy a day in my life! But I'mma change this during this experience!!!!
- It's all coming together... all this stuff in my head. Content Literacy, differentiation, contextual factors, interdisciplinary units, scaffolding and ZPDs, metacognition, FERPA, and all those other abbreviations I'm still memorizing... 504s, IEPs, EOCS, PASS, IWS... they are all coming together! Teaching isn't just a career, I'm not just learning stuff to make me a better teacher, but I'm becoming an EXPERT in my chosen field! Ack.
- I almost lost it and came completely undone. Guidance counselor tells me a student of mine lost an immediate family member that morning, like right before school. Student came to school anyways. I see the child come in, looking tattered and exhausted. But this student came to school because school is normal, and school is safe, and school is comforting. My MT hugs the child before class starts, says nothing like "are you okay?" or anything, just sighs, shakes her head, and pulls the child into her arms. I see the kid melt in the teacher's arms, just completely melt. I realize school has only been in for a couple of weeks, and surely they aren't that close yet. I realized it wasn't about the relationship with the student, it was about the role of the teacher. This child, in a mere 2 weeks, has looked at my MT as a safe, dependable person who cares about her students' lives. Teachers have that power. From the moment we step in front of a class, we are their safe place, their protectors, their leaders, their routine, their comfort in life's storms. We are so much more than educators. We have one of the most important jobs in the world, and it's an honor to have such a burden. I choked on a lump in the back of my throat, wiped a runaway tear, and fought back the urge to break.
- I'm going to succeed. Call this motivation, a prediction, call it a self-fulfilling prophecy, call it whatever you want, as long as you know that I believe it with all my heart. I am going to do well this school year and graduate with the skills, knowledge, and spirit being a great teacher requires. I'm just telling myself this, I'm believing it because I know this is where God has led me, and I know that He did not make me to be mediocre. He made me to be phenomenal. And He will give me the strength and courage to be just that.

Man. If I learned this much from Day 1, can you imagine who I will be by the time Christmas gets here?