Thursday, December 30, 2010

Writing with Purpose

A story is a way to say something that can't be said any other way, and it takes every word in that story to say what the meaning is. You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate. ---Flannery O'Connor

I'll admit it. I've had a few literary crushes in my lifetime. However, my girl Flannery is probably pretty high up on the list. She's just really awesome, and if you've never read her, you probably should. Start with A Good Man Is Hard To Find.

I chose this quote because I've had a lot of time to think over the past few days, mainly due to a nasty bout of the stomach flu. (We're talking projectile-vomiting proportions). When I wasn't sleeping, I was revisiting some wonderful works of literature that were dear old friends during dark times. I re-read O'Connor's short story mentioned above, as well as The Great Gatsby, The Sunflower, and Of Mice and Men. I was reminded of what called me to these books over and over again-the authors' precise choice of words, melting together to form this amazing story that fulfilled many afternoons, car rides, and evenings of adolesence. These authors wrote with purpose, which is something that I sometimes feel I lack. Am I telling a story? Am I just jotting down thoughts? Does this word I chose belong here? Crap, this is all just chicken scratch.

I know I probably won't ever write something that is truly worth someone's time. However, I know I need to be able to teach my students how to write with purpose. I have all of these amazing examples of authors who were able to write with purpose and half the time I can't demonstrate myself what the purpose of my writing is. Guess I'll have to add it to my ever-growing to-do list.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

cheery holidays?

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.---Aldous Huxley

Well, it's official. I'm on winter break. (I'm so used to saying "Christmas vacation" from my 12 years of Catholic schooling, but now I'm in the public school system, so I have to be politically correct). I kind of started to feel it this morning as I slept in until almost 11 am... something I haven't done since this summer. I would like to think that I could enjoy myself and eat bon bons on the couch while catching up on all the tv shows I've neglected, but sadly that is not the case for me this winter break.

Financially, it's time to kick it up a notch, mainly to make sure I have enough money saved so I don't have to work as much during student teaching. That means spending long days waiting tables and kissing butt for money. Oh, how I wish this weren't so. I love that people automatically assume I'm doing nothing with my life since I'm serving them their spaghetti and meat sauce.

SO... I will be spending my break working a lot. And then on top of that, the mountain of books keep on piling up. The CT is great. He wanted me to enjoy my break but did give me a few books to peruse, mostly about the Holocaust. It's a little weird, trying to be full of Christmas (holiday) cheer and read about death and starvation and torture and modern-day Holocausts. Here I am, sipping on some wine and thinking about all the Christmas shopping I have left, and I'm reading about people dying halfway around the world.

It's easy for people to fall into the trap of thinking there's nothing that they can do, but they can. Maybe if they ignore the problem, it will go away. But it won't. I'm hoping to educate myself enough so that one day I can be more active in this cause. That's the beauty of education.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

(insert witty title here).

dum spiro, spero. (when i breathe, i hope)---Latin proverb

Sigh. Still not quite finished with the massive portfolio due on Friday, but getting closer.

I meet my cooperating teacher tomorrow! I know I'm not the only one who is excited to start working with their CT but I think I'm a little giddy. I creeped on his webpage at the high school, and I'm just ecstatic at what I am finding. I have so much to learn from him, I just can't wait to get started! We're meeting at the school so I can see the classroom and the general layout, even though I've been there before. He's never had a student teacher so I think this will be a learning experience for both of us.

I'm totally overbooking myself over break with work, getting ready for next semester and trying to catch up with family and friends, but I think if I just have one day where I can sleep in, watch movies all day in my PJs and eat junk food I will be rejuvenated for everything to begin.

Ah, probably should get back to doing the dedicated student thing. Only a small (but time-consuming) amount left to do!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Day of Lasts

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be. ---Douglas Adams

Oh, gosh. Tomorrow is my last day in practicum. I didn't think I would be as sad as I am. I'll probably cry. Okay, maybe not cry but probably tear up.

We had our final evaluations today from our cooperating teacher. She gave me the highest marks in everything except Classroom Management, which she explained is just something that is going to come in time. I remember thinking that I hadn't really changed that much, but after some deep reflection today, I think that I am leaps and bounds from the beginning.

It's hard to believe how far I've come. If you've ever wondered about your true character, a good test would be to teach a room of sophomore boys. Or just adolescents in general. You will encounter some extreme disappointments (and utter failures in your teaching) but the victories will make everything worth it. You develop some pretty thick skin. I've been frustrated and driven to tears, but I cannot imagine being any happier doing anything else in this world.

I will miss them.

BUT I am moving on to a new setting next semester, one which I am completely and utterly ecstatic about. I am working with an educator whom I already admire very much and I'm in a new school setting. I am teaching 3 classes (AHHH... um, when will I sleep?): American Lit, Reading & Writing Ideas, AAAND...drumroll... Holocaust Lit. This is such a wide spread of classes, abilities, and students, but I think this is so important for me as a student teacher because I know that I'm going to have all levels when I get a big-girl job. I was looking forward to catching up on my reading this winter break, but it looks like a lot of it will be in preparation for next semester. Oh, well. Reading delights me no matter what. :)

Now, on to this wonderful portfolio (EEEEEKKK) that will tear down an entire forest before it's finished...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

You Wanna Know What I Make?

...I make them realize that if you've got THIS (brains) then you follow THIS (heart) and if anyone tries to judge you based on what you make you give them THIS (the bird). Here, let me break it down for you so you know what I say is true, teachers make a difference, now what about you? ---Taylor Mali, on What Teachers Make

In the spirit of getting toward the end of the semester, not getting burnt out, and FINDING OUT PLACEMENTS, here is something that I love to listen to from time to time. It reminds me why I'm doing what I'm doing. I'm not usually one of those people who likes to read books about "inspiring teachers" and "how I found my passion teaching" but this guy is pretty darn awesome.