Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Morning Awe

Time for cleaning, grading, and planning. Apparently, I am not the only one who does these things on Sunday (see ms-teacher's post)

Here are a few updates while I'm online:

Mom is doing well. Her last treatment was postponed because of an allergic reaction she was having. She has really been a trooper throughout this entire ordeal.

I went to the California Teachers of Reading conference, in Sacramento, last weekend, and had a wonderful time. The speakers were very informative but due to the economy, attendance was lower than usual.

Yes, I survived the "blitz" and so did my students.

I voted yesterday and am relieved that for me the election is over. I feels like McCain and Obama have been campaigning for five years! I am ready to move on. I only had one voting booth change of heart (No, it wasn't about the president...I voted for Obama!). I know that people who have such changes of heart really mess up the pollsters, but reflections on speeches, commercials, and conversation become clearest at the moment a final, decisive action is required.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

For once in a long while, I have the energy and desire to really get some work done.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit motives, and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. April 4, 1967

For such a long time we have been focused on "stuff" rather than the things that are truly important. It's time to get back to the basics of living. The trucking industry is seeing a shift in what the transport. They are hauling more of the staples (beans, flour, etc...) and less of the fluff (designer handbags and electronics).

I have often wondered why people buy pancake mix when they already have flour, eggs, milk, and oil in their kitchens. My grandfather told me it was because the mix was easier to use, and that overrode the cost. If easier was what was best for us, I believe God would have made life, in its entirety, easier. Easy is rarely the healthy or cost efficient way. Scientist are finding that the best for of exercise is functional exercise and not a workout at the gym. As it turns out, the actual work of living is not only physically best for us, it is cheaper too.

Sunday Morning! Back to Basics

I am dodging work at this moment. I have decided to focus on home, hearth and health until 2:00. This is part of what I love about Sundays... time to recharge my spiritual, mental, and intellectual batteries. At 2:00 I will turn my attention to the work of my vocation. I have to do my lesson plans for the week, and since I will be attending a conference for three days, I need to make sure my plans are "Sub Friendly". I didn't get to choose my guest teacher this time, so who knows whether or not I will get someone who is will to come from behind the desk and do the work of teaching.

On another note, my mother is handling her chemo treatments like a champ. She has completed two treatments and has two to go.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Lesson Plans

Tomorrow we are being "blitzed" by the district office. This is when all the district office employees descend on one school and "visit" for an entire day. Union representatives have brought it to the DO's attention that the word "blitz" has a very negative connotation and, in their effort to begin creating a more positive relationship with teachers, they should discontinue the use of this term. Truthfully, regardless of what they call it, the disruption it causes feels like an invasion.

As I create my lesson plans, with students and not the DO in mind, I can't help but think about the needs of particular students.

X needs a friend. She seeks me out before and after school...just to talk. She has one of those pushy personalities (yes, like mine) that tends to drive others away. Is finding M. a friend her age a meaningful lesson objective?

Y is new to my class. He threw a chair at his last teacher. This is his third language arts class this year, and I have been warned he is a very emotional student who doesn't handle change well. The class they put him in moves at an academic pace that is much too fast for him, but they won't put him in the appropriate class because of a conflict he has with a student (who has similar issues) in that class. That is my other core class. While it is our job to make decisions with his needs and challenges in mind, I doubt that this change is best for him. the adults who made this happen seem pleased...apparently it is best for them.

Z had a rough day Friday. He misses his mom, and his new, twenty-something, stepmom is not cutting the mustard in the mom department. He spent the entire second period talking to his counselor about it. Then, he cried and chatted with me for a while during break. Tomorrow our guests will be looking for students who are engaged in the lesson. I wonder if T. will be engaged. I wonder if he will be able to make it to class at all.

I am stressing over tomorrow, but I don't care about having visitors. I have a larger concern...How will I meet the needs of my students and create a the right educational environment for them? They are far more important; afterall, they will be with me longer than the duration of the blitz visit the DO has planned for Monday.