CHRISLEISH in SF
Well, three of my students have stayed on the track and written nearly everyday this month- even over spring break. They have had more days on than I have. I am not feeling bad this time though because, while I am not slicing and posting on the TWT site, I am writing. I am grateful for the March challenge because it reawakens my reading, writing, and thinking inner self. I am working on a retake of my national boards and I know I am writing more clearly and answering questions more thoroughly as a result of the challenge. I also know that my writer's eye is coming back out of a deep sleep. I am reading Just Kids by Patti Smith (if you haven't I recommend it- especially if you are headed to TCRWP this summer) and it reminds of all the stories of my life. I saw a friend from over 40 years ago recently and listening to her story and telling her mine reminded me how universal it is that we all have them and really want someone to share them with. i was also reminded that you can be in the same time and place as someone and not see the same thing. That really got my writer's mind thinking.
Well, I once again missed a day, that led to two, and now I am seeing that I missed three. I promised myself that I wasn't beat myself about missing, I was just going to keep going from that point, so here I am. I am starting to feel like myself again after a week of the worst cold/cough I have had in recent memory. I coughed so hard I spasmed my back. And then there was that.
But this morning as I made my coffee and watched the sunrise, I was able to stretch and it felt good.
This coming week is spring break and my week is dedicated to writing my retake component for National Board Certification. I am dreading it, but determined. I am going to do my absolute best, and if I don't pass on this round, I am accepting that and know in my heart that I am a good teacher, a reflective practitioner who puts my students first...I just have a hard time showing evidence of it in writing.
Dr. Danahey used to say that depression was anger turned inwards, and I am still not sure if I think that is true. I DO know that depression always follows a period of self criticism. I am hard on myself. My husband would laugh if he read that; he might say "duh!" or "boy, is that an understatement."
And I am not sure why it is that when I get sick, I start being especially hard on myself. I think that people think I am faking (even while I am caught in a coughing fit) or that I am babying myself (which I rarely do when it comes to work). Whose voice is that in my mind that finds fault and inadequacies and kicks me when I am down?
I used to think it was my mother; who I had a difficult and complicated relationship with. But, truth be told, she was quite comfortable taking to her bed when she was tired or feeling like she was coming down with something, and I don't remember fighting with her about staying home from school when I was sick. (I do, on the other hand, remember throwing up mid-argument that I was fine and COULD go to the birthday party, thank you very much.)
It is my father, who I loved, worshipped, admired, and wished to emulate that never took a day off and used to tell us, "You'd be done already if you spent half the time bitching about it, just doing it". The same man who spent his life healing others, only to let his own diverticula go untreated and developing colon cancer, dying in his 60th year.
Being hard on y̶o̶u̶r̶s̶e̶l̶f̶ myself is not a healthy life choice.
Being hard on y̶o̶u̶r̶s̶e̶l̶f̶ myself serves no one.
Tomorrow is another day and today I need to take care of myself and be in the moment. Why is that so hard to do?
DAD- miss you.
Technology is a blessing and a curse. I am constantly amazed at the ways in which I can use it, the amount of information I can access, and the awareness that I am not even scratching the proverbial surface.
That said. When you get hacked or pick up a virus it is infuriating. WHY ON GOD's EARTH DO PEOPLE PUT OUT RANDOM VIRUSES?!
I can almost understand hacking, perhaps they can navigate their way into someone's credit card info or bank account. Not that this is an acceptable reason, but at least it is a motivation I can understand.
I don't understand mean for the sake of mean.
Like keying a car.
Or breaking an antennae.
Or leaving out poison for stray cats.
I find it so frightening that they are people who feel so much inner discontent that they exhibit such malcontent.
I am embracing the Random Acts of Kindness Campaign to try and balance out the negative. It is the only thing I know to do.
Lying in bed, time moves differently. At school there is the ebb and flow of the morning before recess, math into lunch, and then the afternoon flurry before everyone goes home and I regroup. At home sick in bed, I read, then sleep, then watch part of a movie, then sleep, then get my plan ready for the sub, and when I look up I realize the kids aren't even out of school yet. The hours go on forever. I am not a patient patient.
Well, the chain was broken, but I am going to keep going. Friday March 16th I started to write, but the day got ahead of me and the cold/flu that I'd been fighting dug in its claw grip. I had a little head cold, but it was Friday and we had a field trip and a special Google AR Pioneer Program in the afternoon when we got back- energy, but not teaching...not a problem, I thought.
Field trips are anything but a day off- why do I forget that every time? The nervous energy about managing behavior, transportation, little emergencies when away from home base. I came home dragging.
The AR app is awesome, but my kids are not great at sharing and taking turns- yes, I know, by 5th grade that should not really still be an issue, but it is. So in order to be sure that our school did not have a huge bill after this wonderful experience, I had to ask kids to leave who were mishandling the equipment and then find a way for them to come back in without being wishy washy- I really did feel that ALL of the kids needed to experience or be exposed to this new technology. So I held the selfie stick for 2-3 kiddos and got caught up in the enthusiasm.
When they left I folded onto my chair and looked around the room. It was a mess. I wished at that moment that I could teleport directly into my bed under the covers with a cup of hot lemon, honey tea.
Indoor recess AGAIN!:(
I was brave and tried a new Academy of Science live chat with my class this morning. My kids are not particularly patient with technical difficulties or terribly self disciplined. It went okay. Unfortunately, the chat appeared to be geared to a slightly younger crowd or just moved a little slow- I think it was the "hosts" first time too. I am getting braver about trying things and not needing them to be perfect the first time out. I am less afraid of losing credibility in front of my students by trying things and not having things work out- being a learner in front of them.
I am rereading some of the first Professional Development books I ever bought nearly ten years ago and finding I am still working to incorporate some of those basic practices. As my mentor Libbie used to say "be the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage." There is always some balance between the two to be struck.
Today was a full day. Starting off with Word Wizard where the kids need to look up a work, find a definition, synonym, antonym and use it in a sentence that shows meaning. They are then asked to edit a paragraph- Daily Language Review- show the commas, capitalizations, periods and other end punctuation and correct verb tense and run on sentences. The kids groan...but they are satisfied when they get all the errors. And then it is on to the SOL# and they are quiet or chattering, but they are completely engaged. Reading other people's posts, writing their own, commenting, and trying to find just the right image for their daily post. I love reading their blogs. Some of them don't seem very into it and then they will surprise me with a detailed story of something that happened the day before- a perfect slice of life.
Anyway, today was Pi day so I brought some tortillas, quiche, and cookies to measure. These kids are so jaded- they wouldn't eat the quiche because it had mushrooms in it and tortillas were cold (not warmed) and organic. FINE_ just measure them.
My students are kids but practically teenagers some of them. Then I have the other spectrum...kids who are sheltered by protective parents- culturally. These are new waters and I am trying to give myself leeway and credit as I navigate- but sometimes I feel adrift in still waters without a sail or oar...
Maybe it is the drop in pressure or rise in pressure. Maybe it is the rain or the loss on an hour's sleep, but I am tired and a little bit melancholic (is that even a word?) Retiring is tempting me, but I am at least 5 years away, and anyone who knows me has always told me that I am one of those people who can't retire- I am historically a workaholic, but lately I just want to hole up and read and write.
When the energy is good in the classroom, there is no where else I want to be. When I have one or two kiddos I can't figure out how to turn around- academically or behaviorally- I feel inadequate, and I need time and space to figure out how to make things better- but then the next day comes and I don't feel any closer to the goal.
Learning Goals, behavioral goals- how to set realistic goals and have incremental checkpoints set at realistic targets. 8 years in, and I don't feel any closer to getting a handle on the pace of the school year. Covering the curriculum is easy, but that is not the point. Cultivating motivated learners and empathetic people is my goal. It is a worthy goal, but not for the uninspired.
Spring ahead my foot. At the end of the day, it is rainy and foggy, and I am dragging. This is the point in the year where I am aware of my early success and now feel like we are in a slog. Routines become boring and repetitive even though I still think they are important. It is time to shake things up a little bit-
This year's class has challenged me more than I have ever been challenged before. In the same way that I am having a hard time navigating the world of parenting young adults, I am having a hard time teaching kids who don't value learning. Not all of them by any means, but it seems to only take a couple to throw me off.
It maybe because if they want to know something, they can look it up and get the answer. But learning isn't knowing the answer- it is understanding the how and the why of it.
Someone once spoke about the back of the tapestry and the story it told.,,,and I think that is learning. the warp and the woof- not just the pretty picture.