Saturday, November 27, 2010


Not all who wander are lost. ---JRR Tolkien

Wow, I guess it's been awhile since I've posted. I probably shouldn't even be posting right now, considering the workload I've induced upon myself in my infinite efforts of procrastination. Why do I procrastinate? Because I'm distracted easily.

Lately I just can't let go of the fact that I don't know where I'm student teaching yet. The options I was provided with to preference are all fabulous, so I'm just excited about it all. I'm genetically wired to not let things go with ease (seriously, if you haven't spent quality time with me and my siblings, you should, and you will understand what I mean by this). I just let things bother me for extended periods of time. For the last year and more intensively in the last six months, it has been increasingly difficult to let go of the uncertainty of it all. I find out in less than a week (Friday at 3:30 pm, if you're interested) and it is just getting worse. The distraction and anticipation, I mean.

I've been distracted with my messy apartment and the laundry monster that is growing steadily in my closet.  I've been distracted with my frustration that my to-do list never seems to be fully completed and the finances of my life never seem to go away. I've been distracted with my worries that some of my practicum kids don't have warm coats or heating inside their homes as the weather starts to get nasty. The jury duty commissioner won't leave me alone-and that too is very distracting, especially because I would prefer NOT to spend my winter break on jury duty.

At the same time, I'm so focused. I'm ready to finish school, with 5 papers and a portfolio left to go, I have 3 weeks. Last semester I pulled two all-nighters, making myself stay awake for three days. I will do everything in my power to prevent a repeat of this because I was too wired and emotionally unstable to pull off my final presentation. I'm focused on crossing things off my to-do list. I'm focused on my long and short term goals, in the classroom and out.

I'm wandering, but I'm definitely not lost.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


We are each other's business; we are each other's harvest; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ---Gwendolyn Brooks (AWESOME poet, check her out!)

I've already accepted the notion that an all-nighter is in order tonight, so I may as well enjoy a little bit of time here to express something that I suddenly became overwhelmed with this evening. It's a feeling that I've sensed a lot with my cohort in the past year and a half, but tonight was just a reassurement that this concept is still ever-present in my group of colleagues: Community.

My cohort of peers in the program is a group of talented, insightful, inspiring, crazy but loving people. When Rob, our old professor, interviewed us and chose to place us in the program, I don't think he realized what a bond he has created. He got a lot more than what he bargained for. I met some of my closest friends. I found a man who is so incredibly smart and inspiring and constantly pushes me to not just be a better teacher, but a better person. This group has seen me at my best, they have seen me at my worst. But they are always there. Here we are at Rob's going-away dinner:

We have started to present our units (Kayla and I go next week) to the class. Listening to everyone's stories, their triumphs and successes, their failures and moments of growth reminds me that I am not alone. I always knew that teachers were strongly bonded, but I'm beginning to recognize how truly honest that statement is. Teaching is a community full of individuals who all live and thrive together. They share, they borrow, they blatantly steal from each other in the name of education. I love every single one of these individuals and I can't wait to develop these same bonds with my future colleagues.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reinventing the Wheel

I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions. ---Augusten Burroughs

Last Friday, my professor came to observe our class. I had been nervous about it all week. Well, actually, all semester. I was saying a novena that my kids would be good, because well, lately they haven't been. One day my CT made them apologize to my partner and I, that's how difficult they've been. I think I spent more hours and labor coming up with the perfect lesson plan for the observation than I have on an entire week of stuff. The lesson was risky because it required them to work with partners (which we strategically assigned) and we had just taken away their "group work" privileges because they can't seem to handle it.

I woke up early. I played pump up music and danced around. I even stared at myself in the mirror and told myself how wonderful I am as I put on my makeup. I had an entire pot of coffee that morning. Things were going to go golden.

And they DID!!!! Kayla (my partner) and I found ourselves looking at each other throughout the lesson and mouthing "oh my gosh!" to each other. We couldn't believe that the lesson went so well. Fridays are a grab-bag day for the kids usually, but they all participated and had fun with what we did for them. My CT at one point whispered in my ear that "they're doing it for you. They know how important this is so they're cooperating." The teacher in me would like to think that the kids were just into the lesson and intrinsically motivated to learn, but the student who is being evaluated in me would love to just be happy that things went well.

Then came evaluations. I was very nervous for this because my CT doesn't give a lot of feedback, so I was prepared for the worst but hoping for the best. More pros than cons, thank goodness. But an area she said I needed to work on was that I try too often to "reinvent the wheel".

In some ways, I don't see how this is a con. True, I do over-book myself and work harder than I have to sometimes, but I think that's because I want to discover things for myself. My professor advised us to "go overboard" with designing this unit because this is as much for us as it is for the kids. So that's what we've been doing. We're learning from it all, and that's why I think that reinventing the wheel shouldn't be a bad thing. I'm definitely going to take that with me next semester.

At this point, I am worse than a kid waiting for Christmas morning with these student teaching assignments. Apparently they're finalized but they don't want to tell us what they are in case something doesn't work out. I'm legitimately going to have a freak out moment if I don't get some kind of information soon.