Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Can Do This

My goodness starting a new school year is overwhelming.

There's always so much to do and so little time in which to actually do it.  Or at least that's what it feels like.  It feels like I'm Atlas and I'm holding up the world (or at least a mountain) and any second now somebody's going to come up behind me like my mom used to and bop me on the back of the knees and make me fall over.  Awesome.

Having said that, aside from the occasional burst of grumpy snippiness or full-fledged, 5 minute sob-fest, I have been uncannily calm about the whole situation.  No, really, it's kind of eerie.  Here I am, about to embark on my first full year as a teacher (yikes), teaching a new grade (yikes yikes) and a new subject, ostensibly (yikes yikes yikes!).  Despite this serenity, I AM TERRIFIED.  In other words, feeling just as should be expected.

Fortunately, I have had some help and support from my fellow-teachers, something I rarely got at either of my previous jobs.  So that's nice.  I do feel way more comfortable knowing I have them and their vast swathes of knowledge essentially at my fingertips.  Thank goodness.  But still, I am viewing this school year as a "We'll know what we're doing next week when next week comes along" sort of thing.  And I'm not going to feel badly about it.  If I get to teach the same grade level and subject next year, then I'll probably be doing this much better.  But right now, I'm feeling lucky to have any sort of plan whatsoever.  Plus, I've been hanging out at the copy machine all day, and I'm pretty stoked about the fact that I have four packets all ready to go.

On a not unrelated note, have you ever noticed that lots of words get smushed together that you wouldn't think should be smushed together, but words that make sense to go together don't?  For example: why isn't copy machine one word?  It just feels better.  And why forthwith a smushed word?  Maybe that one just doesn't make sense because it's kind of archaic.  But you know what I mean, right?  Like tiddlywinks.  What now?  Of course, every now and again, they get it right (e.g. footstool. . .clearly it's a stool for your foot and should stay together because your foot and the stool stay together).  Maybe I'm just cantankerous.  maybe I prefer made-up words like vorpal and frindle.  And possimpible.

So I'll just end with this thought:


Friday, July 20, 2012

It's Crunch Time!

Let me start with:  I ain't getting any younger.  Damn.

I hate to be that person who rambles on about the glory days for eons, but I've really been feeling it this week.

I hate to be that other person, but trying to get 14 little boys to behave on a hike is like herding cats.  "Stay on the trail. . .stay on the trail. . .stay on the trail. . .STAY ON THE TRAIL" was sort of my whole day yesterday.  Even though we walked at a the pace of a snail, I was exhausted by the time I got home.  Then there was no time to relax because Philip was doing his first ever cupping.  It was a successful evening all the way around, but by the time we got home it was 9:30.

For us old people, that's late.

I'm tired.

But the workload is going to start. . .now.  For the past three weeks, I've essentially been babysitting.  I got some great prep work the last week of June, but since then I've really been slowing down.  I probably shouldn't even be sitting here, blogging, when I could be making grammar worksheets.  And last night, even though I'd made up my mind to stay up and work hard. . .I just couldn't get my butt in gear.  I even had a cup of coffee (god it was delicious) but it just wasn't enough to get me to read some more of my book.  I traded a relatively early night (10:30) for a few hours of much needed work.  Uh-oh.

For the next two weeks, I have training (yay!), then one week of time to get my classroom ready (yikes!) then school starts (yay again!).  Pretty much from now until next June I'm booked solid.

I'm still so excited.  I just bought some school supplies: post-it notes, dividers, notebooks, and lots of red pens!

For the record, I don't understand all the hullabaloo about red pens.  Remember all that nonsense a few years ago about how red ink on papers was traumatic to young minds because it was pointing out all the things they did wrong?  Newsflash: that's what it's supposed to do. If it's pointing out all the right things, that seems a bit redundant.  Maybe I'm just a dork, but I liked seeing the red ink on my papers.  It meant that I could improve.  Sure, there's that first twinge of "aw man" and then sometimes the "I really thought I had fixed that," but after those have passed and you sit down and really think about it, aren't you glad that now you have the chance to make something better instead of passing off a mediocre piece of writing as something excellent?  I always am.

In related news, I am not a teacher so that I can babysit and coddle.  If you want me to hold your hand and spoon-feed you, newsflash again, it ain't gonna happen.  I see nothing wrong with a little sweat, blood, and tears.  Mostly the sweat and tears.  You know, the classes that caused me the most grief in high school are inevitably the ones I look back on as having influenced me the most (I wish I could say the same for college, but alas the ones that were the most influential required no less sweat but way less tears).  Things really do feel better when you have genuinely earned them.  Praise is so much sweeter when you know it is well deserved.

And that's why I use red pen.

Welp, here goes resolution #2: drink more coffee.  Where's that pitcher of toddy?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hey Wow, It's July Already!

Is it sad that I'm actually looking forward to the bitterly cold, gale-force winds of November in Flagstaff?

I thought I moved away from the literal hotbed of Arizona in order to enjoy a cooler clime where sweat was a mere figment of the imagination.  THINK AGAIN.  It is incredible how hot it can get in Flagstaff.  And there's at least two more months until it starts to get cool again.  I mean, yes, when it's hot, it's 86 instead of 120, but still!  This is kind of outrageous.  Maybe I'm just in a combative mood with the weather because I'm sipping a hot drink at the coffeeshop, but I kid you not when I discuss the overbearing nature of this heat.

Fortunately, Flagstaff has one thing in its favor most days that Phoenix definitely does not: clouds.  As I sit here, beautiful plumes scud across the sky.  Have you ever noticed that only clouds scud?  Nothing else ever does.  Clouds also wander.  Apparently, they have quite a personality.  Whatever their anthropomorphic qualities, they make me happy.  And they make the scene so much more pleasant.  I am thinking of rewarding myself for this week (which is going to be long and tough, I am sure), with a creek trip on Saturday.  Wouldn't that be nice.

There's so much to look forward to in July.  I get a paycheck (isn't that nice).  I get infinitely more practice driving stick shift.  (Coincidentally, I drove all around Flagstaff yesterday with my best friend, to both of my work places for July, to the library, everywhere, and I DIDN'T KILL US.  Yes, in fact, we even got up to like 45 mph.  There may have even been a curb incident, but like I said, witness the two of us distinctly alive today.  I consider that a triumph of the highest order.)  I get to start training for my new teaching job (ohmygiddygoodnessI'msoexcited!).  I'm going to get a haircut (you have no idea how much I've been needing a haircut and haven't been able to get one).  I'm going to get some flower baskets to put on our back porch, and maybe some things to eat someday.  I get to catch up with old friends before school starts.  And, perhaps most importantly, THE OLYMPICS START ON MY BIRTHDAY.  Is there any greater birthday present than fireworks in London and incredibly jingoistic portrayals of national fervor and competition??  NO, there is not.

Ooh, and right after school starts is me and the man's two year anniversary of starting to date and he promised to take me to a really nice restaurant for dinner.  I'mma gonna dress up all fahncy and order me some classy wine and say things like, "Oh my!  What a delightful bouquet of fromagian splendour!"

Still, most of all, I'm grateful and happy to have such a great husband.  I am going to gush about this as long as is humanly possible.  Some of you may know that I had to go to the emergency room recently.  I was having chest pains, shortness of breath, dizzy spells, and I almost fainted earlier that afternoon.  We felt it was a case of better safe than sorry, so we packed up and headed out to the emergency room. This man not only held my hand all night and told me stories of when his little brother stabbed him in the thigh with a fork, but he giggled at the next-bed crazy right along with me.

In case you have never been to the emergency room around midnight, I will tell you what kinds of shenanigans go on there.  In one bed you have a man so wasted they called an ambulance for him at the bar and he keeps barking "Don't touch me!" to the nurses who are trying to take out his IV.  In the other bed, you have a woman who has broken her L1 vertebrae (god we were bored), and in the course of the various conversations spanning three hours managed to discuss at length how her mother did not in fact commit suicide (she had goals), but her father most likely murdered her mother and then staged it as a suicide.  And then started playing a Justin Bieber documentary on her phone.  Fortunately, unlike either of those folks, there was nothing actually wrong with me so after three grueling hours of listening to crazy, we got to go home.

Best of all, we now have a beautiful x-ray on our refrigerator.

Ahhhh, the magical days of summer.