The New Year: Seven Years Later

If someone had asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing now, I don’t think starting my 7th year teaching high school English would’ve been my answer.

If you haven’t read my really old posts, I started teaching with zero experience. Zero. I’d taught exactly one lesson when I walked into my interview. I’d never subbed for another teacher. I’d never student taught. Zip. Nada. Zilch. I walked in cold with keys to an empty classroom.

Two weeks before the 2008-09 school year started, I stared at the vastness that was my classroom. And then I built a tree.

Having a comfortable classroom is part of my teaching style I guess. And I had plans for that giant paper tree in the corner. It took me the better part of a day to get it up and looking just so. I hadn’t received my curriculum yet so why not build a tree?

Seven years later, I’m still concerned with what goes on my walls but I learned that hand-built trees aren’t appreciated as much by the audience as they are the maker.

Seven years later, I still cringe when I think of that first group of kids I taught. I’m still mortified by my greenness back then and feel sorry for them. Except for 7th period. They were the spawn of Hades. (But not Pearla – she was so sweet and timid and a hard worker. I felt sorry that she was in that class.)

Seven years later, I still reflect every year and try to do better by my students. I know there are still (STILL!) teachers that pull out the same lesson plans year after year. In this age of dwindling unions and Common Core, that practice is diminishing. And maybe it’s just my own boredom that gets me to keep changing how and what I teach each year. I just can’t imagine teaching the exact same thing every year. Even if I teach the same novels because that’s what the novel list dictates, I still come up with a different way to approach it.

Seven years later, I still believe that I’m actually making a difference somehow. It’s hard to see the impact when I’m knee deep in the muck the kids throw at me on a daily basis (apathy, excuses, laziness). But I think it happens. I do.

Taking Stock

I saw this done on The Small Things Blog and thought I’d give it a shot myself since I’m up early.  (Original post here.)  Little miss woke up around 5am for a little early breakfast and snuggle then went right back to sleep.  Since we’re leaving at 8am to go pick up Grandma from the ferry, I didn’t see any point in going back to bed when I’d be getting up pretty soon after.  So here we are.

Making : a tiny sweater for my tiny daughter
Cooking : vegan and vegetarian things these days
Drinking : decaf coffee with a smidgen of fully loaded
Reading: Goldfinch on my iPad
Wanting: to get back into a workout routine
Looking: forward
Playing: “who’s got your hands??” with my baby girl
Wasting: no time planning out the upcoming school year
Sewing: all things useful
Wishing: time would stop
Enjoying: my little family
Waiting: for everyone to wake up
Liking: mornings
Wondering: what my daughter will be like when she’s my age
Loving: little snippets of time to write
Hoping: I don’t screw up this parenting thing
Marvelling: at how quickly my daughter is growing
Needing: just a few more hours of sleep (kinda wish I had gone back to bed!)
Smelling: crisp after-rain air
Wearing: no perfume these days
Following: my instincts
Noticing: how blessed we are to live where we do
Knowing: what’s best for our family
Thinking: about meal planning
Feeling: happy we have another couple of months off
Bookmarking: recipes and dresses to make for tiny daughter
Opening: lovely packages from lovely people

High Five for Friday!

Friday is here! Let’s get started.

1. Today is a good day already for two reasons.  One – it’s the day after my last day of work.  And two – it’s the first of three snow makeup days that we didn’t have to use this school year so that means The Mister is snoozing in this morning.

2. I made it to 39 weeks preggo working full-time!  Some people thought I was crazy for going so long but I really didn’t have any issues that would have kept me from working.  Other than being as slow as molasses climbing up the stairs to my 2nd floor classroom multiple times a day.

3. I finished a pair of tiny mitts for Peanut.  Can’t have any scratching going on.  I think I’ll wait till the baby gets here to show them to you.  🙂

4. We had a few days of near 60 degree weather this past week.  It was glorious!  I cannot wait for spring to truly be here.  I love our sunny days! The sky is truly blue, the water is gorgeous to stare at, the grass is greener.  Really it’s just beautiful up here when it’s sunny.

5. Our fruit trees are budding and blooming out.  Which means fruit will be coming in and I’ll be able can some more this year.  Combined with The Mister’s garden (he so has the green thumb in the family – mine is black), we’ll have quite a bit to store up and give away.

What’s great about your Friday??

Check out The Lauren Elizabeth’s blog for more Friday posts.

Karma

As I type, I’m sitting in my classroom, listening to a whole hoard of elementary school children file in the auditorium (above which my classroom sits) and a little irritation rises up inside me.

Don’t they know we have classrooms up here?

Can’t their teachers keep them quieter?

Why are little kids SO loud?

And then it hits me.

My kid is probably going to be the loudest of all someday.

I’m only saying that because I wasn’t a terribly loud kid but The Mister and I can get into some loud conversations about nonsense that sounds like something dramatic but it’s not.  On occasion.  Nothing earth-shattering or vow-breaking, just… we’re loud sometimes when we’re talking to one another.

Plus there’s that whole “paybacks are a B&$#H!” karma/divine retribution thing.

I can only imagine what our kiddo will pick up from us.

Changing the subject just slightly, we are just about ready to meet this little one.  Like I mentioned before, the nursery is done.  My DIY project is done (both with much help from my lovelies.)  The car seat base is in the car, as is the hospital bag though I keep adding to it.  Lip balm anyone?  We heard first hand at our last birthing class that having your favorite lip balm handy is a top priority because the hospital-provided balm is crap.

What’s the first thing The Mister grabbed when I texted him last week and told him my midwife thought that my water broke?  My lip balm.  He’s so good. (P.S. Obviously my water had not broken or I’d have posted Peanut pictures already. False alarm! But The Mister was ready!)

As we creep closer to 38 weeks (seriously, this last month is taking forever to get through!), I’m sad, happy, excited, and nervous all at the same time.  The sadness is reserved for my students.  I’m sorry to be leaving them next week, three months shy of the end of the year, and six weeks before their AP exam.  They’ve been really wonderful and I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to teach AP this year.  I may not have this chance again.

At the same time, I’m really excited to meet this little bug that’s been growing inside me for the last 8 months (truly, finding out we were pregnant at roughly four weeks makes for a long pregnancy but so worth it.)  I’m also nervous because, well, I’m a first time mom.  And I don’t want to be super paranoid first time mom or lax either. I can’t believe the hospital sends brand new babies home with newbie parents!

And because of that whole karma thing, Peanut will probably be late, prolonging my elephant ankles and waddle even more.