Saturday, November 22, 2008


I say this for many reasons. Yes, I am very concerned about going back into a drought. I grew up during a drought and it was no fun.

But this is not an environmental blog I'm posting.

No, this desire comes from purely selfish motivations. I am a bad, bad person for the following reason: all this warm, nice weather is MURDER for high school teachers. The kids are losing it, and I am not far behind. I cannot even imagine how unpleasant it is for high school administrators right now.

Allow me to explain.

Unlike for elementary and middle school students, rain has a very calming effect on high schoolers. They are sleepy. They are compliant. They are quiet. It is wonderful.

Don't get me wrong. I love to hear kids talk. I'm all about engaging them, having a student-centered classroom, and hearing their colorful perspectives on things.

The key term is classroom.

Outside of the four walls of my safe, warm, inclusive classroom lies a very different environment. 1,500 hormonally charged bodies roam our campus everyday, carrying with them agendas, alliances, and bad-a**-ness to prove.

It takes about a month and a half for kids to start to lose their start-of-school good behavior; then, grades come out, tests are administered, conflicts happen, and true colors begin to show. Typically, the weather also becomes cool, so kids are so worried about rushing to class so they don't freeze their pa-tooties off that they don't care to engage.

Not so this year. There has been plenty of engagement on my campus this week. I myself stepped into the middle of a couple (fun), and a student of mine summed up the whole situation quite succinctly the other day:

Student: "Ms H, can I use a cell phone in my skit?"

Me: "No, I'm not really into that. It sends the wrong message if an administrator walks in and you're using a phone."

Student: "Oh, I don't think there will be any administrators in classrooms today. They seemed...busy."

Thank all that is green is this world that we only have two days of school next week. In the meantime, I am praying for rain.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Niece!

Here are some pics from my niece's 2nd birthday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

There's Something to Those Old Wives' Tales

The teacher next door to me is AWESOME. I consider her my mid-western coffee talk lady. She has a ton of cool stories about being 22 and dealing black jack in Tahoe. Now, at 60, she still has a ton of spunk and one never quite knows what will come out of her mouth.

She has a theory about full moons.

I am beginning to hate this theory.

Because it's true.

Every single time we have a full moon, my teacher friend tells me to beware the crazies. This is not a good thing when you teach sophomores. The name quite literally means "wise fool." The paradox is enough to drive anyone batty.

On any given day 15-year-olds are unpredictable. One day laughing, the next swearing at you. Whatever, I'm used to it.

Or I thought I was.

Yesterday, an absolutely dear student of mine (please note the sarcasm) refused to work. This is not new, but she was being louder than usual, so I asked her to step outside. She complied with the usual eye rolling and hair flipping.

I went outside. No student. She must have magically disappeared. Right.

Anyhow, I still needed to teach, so I moved on. Later, another student, this time one who I typically have a great relationship with, needed a moment to reflect. When I went outside to consult with student two, I found that student one had returned.

Yay me.

Student one proceeded to shout profanities at me when I asked her to kindly move away from my classroom. Luckily, a security guard was coming up just in time to hear her state that she wanted to kick my donkey (you get the idea.)

She was taken away. I was not happy, but I had to move on (after a little cry between passing periods.)

Luckily for me, I never saw her again. But I found out later that once she found out that she was being suspended for five days, she fled from the office and tried to "find" me. Security tackled her.

This child is no longer my student. In fact, she's on her way to expulsion. Neither of these things make me happy. I'm not so naive to think I can save every child, but it is painful to watch a student so completely self destruct.

I love my students. They are great kids, and this particular child is not indicative of who I teach. My school responded swiftly and appropriately. But still...

It was not an experience I needed to have. I'm so happy it's Friday I can barely contain my glee.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The List versus Reality

As a teacher, I have today off. Yay! (I'm trying not to be bitter about those districts that had yesterday's not working, but I'm trying...)

So here was my list for today:

1. Breakfast with Em
2. Grocery Shopping
3. Reading and nap (Em, not me)
4. Working out
5. Nap for me
6. Grading
7. Dinner
8. Bedtime routine

After step 2, everything went to you-know-where in a you-know-what. Em went down peacefully. However, I was 30 minutes into my workout and I heard Em babbling in her room about stickers. So much for her typical 2 hour nap. Sigh.

So I had to eliminate the nap and the grading, but I got to add the following:

* Dancing to Elmo
* Painting
* Watching Gilmore Girls with Em

I still made dinner (though Justin was hovering the whole time), and we still got through our bedtime routine, although Em was a little too sleepy for books.

While I'm feeling a little guilty about not grading (tomorrow is going to be UGH), I did really enjoy my day off. It almost felt like today was Sunday: a nice gift because we didn't really have a weekend. I spent all day Saturday in class, and then we spent Sunday in Redding. Today was a gift.

Friday, November 7, 2008

In 24 hours...

24 hours from now, I will be with my daughter. I haven't seen her all week because she's been in Redding with my in-laws. She's had a fab-o time, but I have missed her so much. Yes, I connected with my husband. Yes, I had some freedom I haven't experienced in awhile. It was wonderful.

But I want my baby back.

24 hours from now, I will be done with my second class of grad school. It is finishing with my least favorite of projects: the dreaded group project. It's going fine, but working as a group, especially with a bunch of high achieving teachers, is a challenge. I'll be happy when it's over.

24 hours from now.

And my week really has been great. My students are doing well. I'm busy and happy.

And, of course, there was an election this week. That was pretty much the most awesome thing EVER.

But I miss Em and, more importantly, I miss our routine together. We are starting to have a very predictable, comfortable pattern of Mommy/Toddler time since my husband started school. And since I'm planning on going into administration in the next couple years, I really appreciate being able to pick up my daughter and spend so much time with her in the evening.

So now I'm home, putting off my homework, looking so forward to seeing my daughter tomorrow. It is so cool to watch her grow up, especially when she gets to have experiences on her own. I know that having these experiences away from her parents is important to making Em an independent, self-sufficient girl.

But, still, I miss her.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween Pictures

Here are some photos from Halloween. We had a great time (once Em was into wearing her costume.)