Sunday, February 27, 2011

Multiple Hats

If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line... but that's not the way I have done it, so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimmage has been wandering and unmarked. Often what has looked like a straight line to me has been a circle or doubling back...I have known something of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, but not always in that order. The names of many snares and dangers have been made known to me, but I have seen them only in looking back. Often, I have not known where I was going until I was already there. I have had my share of desires and goals but my life has come to me or I have gone to it mainly by way of mistakes and surprises. Often, I have received better than I deserved...I am an ignorant pilgrim, crcossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off teh feeling that I have been led. ---Wendell Berry

Hello, dear reader. Did you miss me? I definitely missed you. My sincerest apologies for not keeping you updated. They told me I would be tired after long days of teaching, and I believed them, but I guess it didn't really hit me until about 5ish weeks in how tired I would be.

Let me also say that if you are student teaching in the next year, PLEASE do not work while you do so. Ten hours a week is ten hours too many.

SO much has happened since the last time I posted. I am now chaperoning a trip to NYC/DC where I will get to meet Elie Wiesel and have a reserved time in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with no one else but our group. And that's just a small portion of the trip. I won't try to make you any more jealous than you already are.

I have three full preps now. It's exhausting. I think the hardest part is keeping up with the grading, out of anything. A part of it I brought on myself with Composition. But I love seeing what the kids produce each week.

I'm finding that with each passing minute, a have to wear a different hat. I have to be an authority figure one minute, and then an educator, and then I have to slow down and explain things. I have had the opportunity to speak with parents at Parent-Teacher Conferences, and I've gotten to say, "your kid is awesome." I love it, for as tired as I am.

I feel like there is something else I want to discuss, but I will save that for (hopefully tomorrow) another blog post. Look forward to reading about Indifference.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

good heart, good human.

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.---Nelson Mandela

I will admit it. I'm a softie. I really am. I cry at the drop of a hat over things like a beautiful sunrise or those darn ASPCA commercials with all of the abused puppies, or the most recent "We Are the World" video after the Haiti earthquake. Oh, and the ending of It's a Wonderful Life, every time. Let's see, I know there's more...

People tell me I'm just tender hearted. But that's beginning to become a problem. Like when students tell me, "Ms. Kurtenbach, I work every day of the week and thats why I couldn't get the reading done socanIpleasenottakethequiztoday?" as I'm passing out the reading quiz. And I feel for them, I really do. I worked every day too in high school. Some weekends I feel like I live at work. But I still manage to accomplish all that I need to. But boy, that summative quiz is going to tank this person's grade if they couldn't read any of what I asked them to... What to do, what to do...

Part of being the teacher who cares (once again, being a "good human" to our students) is making ourselves accessible to the student. If only more students took advantage of this accessibility, they would truly see how much the teachers want them to succeed. For those small numbers of students who have taken a proactive approach to their grades and their commitment to their education by coming in to see me or at least being honest with me about their difficulties with a text (or even admitting to not reading) they see that I AM willing to help. And I think that it increases my integrity as a teacher. Now, for the kid who didn't read, one of the most difficult things I've had to do (and it happened today) was to say, "sorry. You've had 3 days to read this AND time in class. Do the best you can on this quiz." It was like stabbing my heart with a butcher knife.

We have talked so much in 403N about "integrity as a leader". One of my colleagues noted in his blog that in order to become leaders with integrity, "we need to know exactly what makes us whole." What makes me whole, what pushes me forward is the constant will to help others and make others recognize the human conditon. I now completely recognize why I was placed with my CT. He is a wonderful person and an excellent example of what good can be brought to a school if only one person works for a meaningful learning opportunity such as Holocaust Lit. His integrity is well-recognized throughout the school. He is an educator I hope to become some day. In the mean time, I will start with my students now.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

snow day=productivity

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.---Will Rogers

I love snow days. Seriously, I love them. In fact, I think I love them even more now than when I was a student. Why? Because the past two days saved my butt from falling dangerously behind on life.

After sleeping in, I have used the past two days to get ahead on planning. I've used it to clean up my apartment, which was really getting quite embarrassing. Grading papers? Well... that's probably the one thing I didn't get to do as much of as I would have liked. I think eventually, I will loathe the idea of them after I've been teaching for a few years and have everything planned out more than the night before. Now I just need to keep utilizing the fact that I'm ahead of the game.

I texted my carpool friend to let her know about Snow Day #2 and her response was "Oh my gosh! I have to get online and reserve the computer lab for a different day!" I suppose I will feel the same way someday if the situation arises again.

On a happy note, a student told me that I'm "getting better at this whole teaching thing." Well, gee thanks. It must have been after I showed an entire episode of The Office in order to teach ethos, pathos, and logos that changed his mind about me. Well, Friday I'm using Lupe Fiasco in my lesson plan. I hope I can keep this up. Maybe one day they will tell me I'm cool...