Thursday, May 3, 2012

Well, hello anyone even here? I was reading some old posts tonight, since I am unable to fall asleep, and realized that I haven't posted a single thing since August of 2011. Oh my. Today seemed as good a time as any to try writing again.

Tonight I was honored to be selected as the Mile High Teacher from our school. It was nice to be chosen by my administrators, nice to have my work recognized. I got to shake the mayor's hand & chat with some friends from school, and generally enjoy being an educator. As we drove home after the event, I found myself reflecting on all the amazing students I have. On the respect our students have for me, and I for them. For the kids who make me smile with clever comments, who act as their true selves, who are resilient. Our school is not ADA-compatible, but a 2nd grader on crutches made it up and down all our stairs, day after day. I have a 5th grade student who tries to sneak into the library to scare me...and fails every time. Another 5th grader read ALL 13 of the Series of Unfortunate Events books in one week. Today, a 4th grader finished his computer work early, and volunteered to help other students get started on their own work. It warmed my heart to hear him asking questions just like I ask, to hear him practice being a teacher. We have kids with tough emotional/mental disabilities that show up everyday. That bring themselves here, both the good and bad parts. It warms my heart when they smile, just for a minute. Basically what I'm saying is, I am so grateful to have these kids in my life.

I haven't always felt this way. Many parts of my job do not match my personal interests and strengths. It can be frustrating, and leave me feeling helpless. But today reminded me why I go to work every day. Yes, my paycheck is nice, but I'm ultimately there for the kids. For the way I feel when I help a kid find just the book they wanted. For the way I feel when I make a silly mistake when I'm teaching and my class and I all laugh together. For the way it feels to read aloud to a group of kids who are hanging onto every word and fully loving the story. That's why I do this.

I feel that anyone reading also deserves a 90-second update on my life: James & I are moving away from Colorado. Everyone thinks we're crazy, and it seems that everyday I read a post from a blogger who is dying to move to CO. We're working on finalizing our destination, but moving closer to family (aka east) is the goal. We're hoping at least one of us finds a job before we move, but when our lease is up, we're leaving--jobs or no jobs. It feels good. It's time. Currently I'm lying on my couch, not sleeping. I need to be up in 5 hours. Thursday is my longest, toughest school day. Then I'll go home & clean the whole house because my mom is coming to visit! Wish me luck on my long, long day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What I learned on my summer vacation

It is really hot & humid in Northern Indiana in the month of June, but it is all worth it to see two good friends get married, catch up with old friends, and visit all your favorite places in your college town.

Your college town will always sort-of feel like home.

Take any chance to observe the respect and love between your grandparents & work for the same attributes in your own marriage.

Kalona bars are delicious.

Having friends and family come to visit you is awesome.

Elk are really beautiful creatures, but don't get too close!

Finding a new house to rent is stressful.

When moving, make sure one of your friends is really talented when it comes to spatial relationships. Let that friend supervise the loading of the moving truck, and watch the magic of Moving Truck Tetris begin.

It is sad when good friends move away.

When visiting Alaska, it is a good idea to be quite aware of your surroundings when hiking on a trail. If you hear an animal snorting, turn around! Once a safe distance away, use your binoculars to discover the moose that was on your original path.

Whale blubber is an interesting food. Halibut, salmon, moose, and caribou are pretty delicious.

Spending a night in a yurt with 6 amazing, beautiful, talented women is...well...amazing.

If the dogs you are considering house sitting for come with a 2-page instruction sheet, don't do it!

Eating at an awesome vegan/vegetarian restaurant is a great way to celebrate your 2nd wedding anniversary.

Watching 8 seasons of That 70s Show is an accomplishment to be (sort-of) proud about.

Back-to-school time comes much too soon.

I am (sort of) back to blogging here! I can't promise full dedication to the blog with school starting up and our apartment still not unpacked after over a month here, but check back once and awhile for possible updates!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thanks, karma

I was driving home from work feeling terrible about the following: a big decision, the fact that I blocked the sidewalk while turning left out of the school and a pedestrian called me out for it, and that I'd gotten so distracted I didn't notice a light had turned green, infuriating both a school bus driver and the driver behind me.

When I picked up the mail, I found yet another reason I love my dentist: He sent me a personally written thank you note and two movie tickets for referring a friend to them.

And it's warm enough that the ice cream truck is patrolling the neighborhood.

Thanks, karma, for reminding the world is not a completely terrible place.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A veces

Sometimes I think I am actually certifiably insane. Case in point: the next week of my life.

Monday-Wednesday: Complete inventory of entire library collection at work. Yes, that does mean 11,000 books. At least I have volunteer help?

Thursday: RIF distribution day at our school. I'll be in the auditorium all day helping every student pick out a free book to take home.

Thursday, 11 pm: Get on a plane and fly to Pittsburgh.

At least spring break happens at the end of this ridiculous week? If I still know my own name by Thursday night, I'll be lucky.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Up past my bedtime

Somewhere along the lines of the last few weeks, I have forgotten how to sleep. It is now 1 hour after bedtime, and my eyes are exhausted. My brain, unfortunately, stays awake.

One of my favorite parts of working in a library is reading out loud. I used to be active in theater, but now I save the theatrics for read alouds at school. I actually scared several children today when I yelled a line of Vernon Dursley's from the first Harry Potter book. The fourth graders groan when I have to stop telling Harry's adventures when we run out of time. The first graders die laughing when I read Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. It makes me so happy to share their joy as they listen to a really good story. I allow myself to be silly and read Fudge's lines in total and complete baby talk, which always makes the third graders smile, and I feel safe making silly animal noises with the kindergartens. Reading to kids makes me a kid again, too.

Yesterday I went to the Molly Brown house & the Capitol building on a third grade field trip. I learned all about Margaret Brown (which is what she was actually called) and how her family struck gold (literally), leading her to be aboard the Titanic (and survive the event). She was a generous humanitarian, and also an excellent decorator if you're into the whole Victorian look. The Capitol was fun as well...trekking up to the top of the inner dome with 30 nine and ten year olds is an experience I think everyone should have. I was glad to learn a bit more about Denver history along with the kids.

Tonight I made a vegan lentil walnut loaf. James keeps calling it meatloaf because that's the most efficient way to describe it, but I find it humorous, as there's not a single animal product in it. It was quite tasty with lots of ketchup and a side of roasted potato wedges and broccoli stems. I will no longer purchase the Kroger Value bags of frozen broccoli cuts. The trunks vastly outweigh the leafy tops...and I don't like to eat the broccoli tree trunks!

I had something else to write about it, but can't remember now. Such is the life of my addled, sleep-deprived brain. I think I will read a few blogs and try to get to sleep.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A funny thing happened...

I'm reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to the 3rd grade classes. They love pretty much anything Fudge says or does, and I'm loving the chance to read a childhood favorite aloud.

This week we were working on describing a character, based on what the book has told us about the character. We were thinking of words to describe Peter, the older brother and narrator of the book. I had students talking in pairs about words they'd use to describe Peter and why they chose them. When we got back together as a group, I asked for people to share what they'd talked about. I had heard several students saying Peter was jealous of his younger brother Fudge. The first kid I called on told me that Peter was jealous because Fudge gets special food when he refuses to eat. At the same time, another student right behind him held up his hands, scrunched up his face, and said, "Ugh, now I'M jealous!" [because he didn't get to share his answer, which was the same.] His teacher and I died laughing, and then I was able to take a moment to have the student dissect why he was feeling jealous so we could all understand the emotion a little better.

Man, I love a good teachable moment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Confessions of a sometimes-blogger

  • I cannot sew, so I've recently taken to using book repair tape to hem my pants.
  • Sometimes I listen to pop radio (as in, the songs my 5th grade students listen to).
  • I feel incredibly happy when I get to listen to three good songs in a row on the radio.
  • I am a terrible water drinker.
  • I am known to eat large spoonfuls of peanut butter topped with chocolate chips.
  • I love to watch M*A*S*H episodes on DVD.