Wednesday, September 20, 2006

week three check-in

I think this is going to be a good year. So far, no tears. Last year, there was a lot of frustration, but this year, I'm not feeling it as much. I think I've learned how to pace myself and the kids (I'm working on this with the creative writing group since it's a new prep and all) so that no one is terribly overwhelmed. I've kept up on grading on a level that I hadn't before (OK, wait until things really get rolling)--a set of something each day and I'm doing fine. And drama is looking better this year--I feel more involved, less stressed, etc. I hope I hope I hope this stays the same.

I think a big reason for this is because it's my second year. I know that's why. I already know how to reign kids in when I need to and when to let things go--I have a few discipline tricks that keeps me from having to use administration but allows them to know that I mean business. I have better communication with parents. I have shown the kids that I am passionate about my subject without being overwhelming and am excited to go on this journey with them.

Another big reason is that this group of freshmen is much better behaved then last year's. I am terribly nostalgic for my kids from last year (most of them, anyway), but I don't brace myself for any particular class period during the day. When I think about having the principal in for observations, I'm not thinking about which one will embarass me the least (OK, really, there were just too many loose canons--free spirits, you could call them) and instead I'm trying to figure out which one will shine the best. All five hours are great, and I wish I could trade any one of them for any one of last year's groups just so I could have a rock star hour. (And, of course, none this year are exactly rock stars, but when you compare them to last year's... well...)

And of course, we have good days and bad days. I think my second, third, and fourth are the strongest and I'll probably have the principal watch two of those three and once with my creative writing class. This way, he can get a sampling of my day--fifth hour is extremely quiet so as far as discipline goes, that's not a problem, but they also seem a little bit less motivated, so class discussion sometimes falls flat. I can get 2nd, 3rd, and 4th talking and involved, but they get squirrlier as the day progresses. I want to pick one that I've had practice with (3rd or 4th) at that point, but, like I said, the goofy factor raises. But hey, this debate isn't nearly as painful as it was last year. And I know that it's not as much about perfection as it is about growing and reacting. He's looking to see me be less critical of myself and more comfortable in my classroom. I can say that I'm still critical, but less frustrated. Instead of being upset, I'm starting to keep track of ways that I can improve. I think, "Rats. OK, so next time I teach this..." (since I've already got C.W. again next semester and will likely have a gaggle of freshmen again next year... that is, if the levy passes and they can afford to keep me!!) I've already reworked the first month for both classes, but I think things are going well.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the job.

At home, things are going well as well. We've gotten a few wedding details started and hope to check things off the list by the end of the month (my hope--K seems to like to mull things over a lot more then I do, and I find myself more impulsive then I ought to be). P has been handling our being away during the day better then I expected. We just went on a walk down to the library and she carried a branch around with her, all proud. I couldn't stop laughing at her insistence at carrying it all. the. way. home. I took some pictures and will post them in my picture blog soon. I also posted some school pics and have some more garden ones (the zucchini is getting still bigger--attack of the killer vegetables). I haven't seen the inside of the Y as much as I ought to (oy), but I'm working on making a routine. K and I had a fun time last weekend seeing the florist, jeweler, and baker (yum, cake--that's his job though), and that night he took me out to eat at my favorite restaurant in town (very spendy, to use a MN word).

OH! And some of you who read my blog last year knew that I was looking for a dear old friend from my days growing up down south... I had found her just after her sister passed away, then lost touch again. Well, she emailed me, I wrote her a letter, and I actually got one back from her. At some point we hope to meet up in Milwaukee, though it would be strange since I haven't seen her since the summer before my senior year in high school, which we all know was a million years ago.

(I keep thinking 1998 wasn't long ago but apparently it was... my ten year reunion is only a few years away! That is, if we have one. We didn't have a five year.)

What else...? My father came to visit a bit ago and we went to see The Great Gatsby at the new Guthrie. It was pretty good. My father isn't a fan of that spoken word poetry style of speaking (he thinks it doesn't sound human), but I don't mind it so much. I was actually a little disappointed in the set, but the play itself was great and aside from some gum (cud) chewing behind us, I was pretty lost in the play. And my mother came the weekend before (kind of strange to have them visit one by one but it made sense for them not to have to make two trips and not kennel their dogs twice and all) and we went to a bridal show where I won a $300 romantic weekend getaway to a Marriott in the cities. I should probably give them a call... the bridal show people contacted me, but the Marriott reps weren't actually there! It was strange. My good friend KF came with me and we tasted lots of cake and checked out some pretty scary dresses and I ran into someone I took French classes with in college.

I thought I'd leave you all with a picture of a cake I found while searching just before I handed cake duty over to K (really, it's perfect--he's the one with the sweet tooth!). I don't think he'll let us have a book cake, but I do have a birthday coming up... hahaha.

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