Sunday, January 26, 2014

Random thoughts for the day...

I realized recently that I'm way cooler than I let myself be in high school.

Right about now you're probably thinking, "Wow.  Modest much?"or "Duh! No one's cool in high school!"  But hear me out.

I was very shy and insecure in high school.  There were plenty of things I wanted to do that I just never had the guts to do.  I was really involved in speech and drama, but mostly behind the scenes.  If I got a part it was minuscule, and while I was ecstatic to have the part, it also created a sense of sheer panic.  That insecurity made it easier to hide behind other people.  Not in a debilitating way, but in a way that shaped my taste in music, or clothing, or hobbies.  I usually felt comfortable being around my friends, around what felt familiar.  If they liked a certain band, sure, so did I.  If they loved horrible B horror movies from the 70's, sure, why not?  To some extent, this continued through college.

But at some point in my twenties, something clicked.  I started to realize what I liked, and I was ok with it.  I was comfortable with it.  I could do things, new things, on my own, and it didn't send me into a panic.  After I had Ellie, even more of those old insecurities went out the window.  I was comfortable with me.

I realize this is all a work in progress, and when I think back I'm actually grateful for the time I spent following.  If I had been stubbornly set in my ways, and my habits, and my preferences, I wouldn't have discovered music I still love today, I wouldn't have learned that I'm terrible at first person shooter video games, or that I hate B horror movies from the 1970s (or all horror movies for that matter…much to my husband's dismay).

I see Ellie, and all her shyness, and sometimes I worry that she'll go through school as timid and insecure as I did.  While I came out with a few positives, it took me until my late 20's to find my confidence.  I'm hoping she gets there a little faster.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I think I need to vent...

Ok, so the meetings have started, I'm giving a quiz next week, the kids have a group project assigned.  This semester is in full swing.

…And I'm already stressed.  I'm already overwhelmed.

It started in a meeting.  We were asked to turn in our unit plans/lesson plans for the semester.  Seriously?  I'm still writing them.  This semester is different than last because I get to start from the beginning, teach the whole curriculum, instead of picking up where the last guy left off.  I'm excited about that, but I'm still writing.  I hadn't even figured out what each unit would be, let alone complied a semester's worth of lesson plans.  What?

Oh, and they're needed so that our evaluations can be scheduled.  Fabulous.

Last semester I got evaluated after just two weeks.  Two weeks.  Two weeks of teaching.  Ever.  No student teaching under my belt.  No finished master's degree, tons of practicum hours, no.  Two weeks of what-the-hell-did-I-sign-up-for, complete and total insanity.  I was still trying to figure out which office I was supposed to call for which issue (we have five offices), or which Academy I was in, or whose team I was on.  Meetings?  Am I supposed to go to meetings?  How do I know?  No one emails me.  No one knows my name yet.  I literally knew two people in the whole building (a building of 2400 students, another 200+ teachers, and countless administrative and support staff).  Yet, I was about to get evaluated.  Luckily I have an amazing Vice Principal who sat me down and explained the process, explained the rubric, it was all very helpful.  I was proud of myself when I came out of it all with a decent score.  Nothing to write home about, but decent for two weeks on the job.

Somehow this second round feels worse.  I feel panicked about it.  I feel nervous.  She's expecting improvement, and rightfully so, but I just don't feel prepared.

And new things keep coming up.  I'm not asking for special treatment because I'm new, but I almost want to send out a disclaimer:

 "I'm new.  If you email me, understand that I probably have no idea what you're talking about.  Explain it to me like I'm 5.  Do not use acronyms.  Thank you."

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Ready, Set, …No, Not Yet

We were supposed to start school today.  We were supposed to have our "no students" day Monday, and then school would start back today.  The weather postponed that, which was fine with me.  I wasn't ready to go back.  So today was our inservice day, and tomorrow students would start back.

I spent the day working really hard in my classroom.  I got organized, better than last semester.  I have a better understanding of the expectations I should have of my students and how I should arrange my bulletin board to show course goals and state standards (and student work, eventually).  I replenished supplies, and I planned some lessons.  I worked, without slacking off at all (honestly!), from 8:30 until 3:00.  I went in this morning not looking forward to this semester at all, and when I left I was excited.  My room was organized, and I had a good plan in place.  I was really starting to feel like my classroom looked a bit "lived in."  I was actually looking forward to tomorrow.

I picked Ellie up from preschool.  We get home, get settled, and I get a phone call.

No school tomorrow.

By the time we get to Thursday, I'll have lost my excitement about going back to work.  Guess I'll just have to think about my pretty bulletin board, and my new clipboard system.

Wow…I get excited about the weirdest things.

Monday, January 06, 2014

a little cleaning, and a few memories

Today was Ellie's first day back to school.  I was actually a little sad about it.  I stayed home with her for 2 1/2 years, and even though she loves preschool and I'm really excited she is in preschool, having a two week break made me nostalgic for our time home together.

While she was gone, I used the time to clean out her closet.  I sorted her clothes, donating some of the items that are too small, and putting others in storage.  This didn't help.  It's so strange going through her clothes, knowing she'll never wear them again.  It's like boxing up a chapter of her life.  I realize that might sound really sad and I'm being melodramatic.  I love watching her grow up, it's exciting, and she is amazing, and every new achievement makes me so proud of her.  I love the songs she makes up, her shocking grasp on sarcasm, and the new concept of making up games that she has recently discovered.

But there is still a part of me that misses baby Ellie.  I'm sure it has to do with the fact that I know I go back to work this week, which means I won't get a full day of Ellie time.  I also wonder if this is my mind telling me I'm ready for the next baby.  I've gone back and forth about the timing of the next one for a long time.  I know we'll have another, I just didn't feel ready.

Ellie is ready.  She came home from preschool one day talking about her brother.  Brother?  After asking a little more, I find out she has just decided one of her classmates is her brother.  She knows other kids have sisters and brothers, and I guess she was just playing along.

Despite my nostalgia, I did get Ellie's clothes put away.  I also managed to get the new curtain rods put up in the master bedroom.  No more wimpy, cheap, bowing curtain rods for us!  Our room is starting to look like grown ups live there.

I also tried to put towel bars up in the bathroom.  I got 2 out of 3 finished, and then stripped the last two screws.  Seriously?  The last two?  I was so close!  I had to walk away from that.  There was no fixing it today.

Tomorrow I go back to work, but it's an inservice day so no students.  I'm a little excited to get back to my classroom and set up for the last half of the year.   Thanks to the weather for a short week!

Sunday, January 05, 2014


If you're interested in psychology, I have started a blog (yes, another one).  It might have some very random and interesting topics, since the topics are often by student request.  Enjoy!

A New Year

I survived my first semester (9 weeks) teaching.  We were supposed to start back tomorrow, but thanks to the weather that has been delayed.  I used my extra day to prep a little more for the week ahead.  I made mason jar salads for lunches this week.  Part of an attempt to 1. eat healthy and 2. actually eat lunch while at work.

The first week of break was of course spent with family celebrating Christmas.  I was excited that I actually got all my handmade Christmas gifts finished (almost) in time.  There were some unexpected setbacks in the form of an awful stomach bug, so my mom's slippers didn't get done.  She's coming to visit soon, though, so she'll still get them.

The second week of break has been spent frantically cleaning and organizing.  I had a lot of ambition for this house, but it was only one week.  I got the bathroom closet done.  Whatever, I'll take what I can get.  It was awful, and now it's better.

I am determined to be more organized this semester so that I don't become overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted.  In order to do that I have set some goals.  I don't want to call them New Year's Resolutions, but I suppose that's what they are:

1. Clean and Organize the house.  This way a clean house will be easier to maintain, and I won't spend my days off digging us out of the piles of crap collected throughout the week.

2. Eat Better.  First, I have to eat, period.  When I get stressed I forget to eat…until 2 am and then I eat junk.  I plan to shop over the weekend and prep Sunday so that healthy grab-and-go food is at my disposal.

3.  Exercise.  I do need to lose weight, I have for awhile, but aside from that I think this would help my stress level.  I know it would.  I struggle to justify the time for exercise, especially when I'm overwhelmed, but I just have to make it happen.  We own an elliptical machine and I've been to enough yoga classes to do something on my own.  I really have no excuses.

4. Craft.  I managed to knit quite a bit this past semester and it really helped.  It's very relaxing, and I want to keep going.

5.  Write.  Everyday for the first year we had Ellie I wrote in a journal.  I have felt guilty every day since her first birthday because I stopped writing, primarily because that summer I took care of her and a friend's little boy, six weeks younger than Ellie.  It was like having twins.  I was exhausted, and the last thing I wanted to do was write.  I never started again.  This year will be different.  I'm going to write as often as I can, maybe even daily, on this blog.  It might be about my day at work, or something hilarious that Ellie did, my latest knitting project, or how I've been craving cheesecake for three days, but I'm resisting because it's bad for me (true story).  Whatever is going on, I'm going to write.  If you're reading, I hope you enjoy.