Thursday, January 20, 2011

Teacher Moments

As you may know, I'm student teaching this spring semester. (Have I mentioned that here?) It's been a crazy semester so far because we started for four days and then were out for six and a half for snow/MLK holiday, back for one, and got out early today because of the threat of bad weather. Several of the teachers didn't think we would be in session tomorrow or possible next week, either. (I live in the south and we don't know how to handle ice and snow.)

But I digress. What I really wanted to talk about was something that happened today. It was my first time teaching third period (I'd done some things in fifth and seventh, but I'm slowly moving backwards to take over the whole day). I taught a lesson on prepositions. We went through an interactive power point where we learned what prepositions are and then identified some prepositions in some sentences. When I finished, I assigned their homework and gave them the last 2-3 minutes to work on it before the bell rang. As I was processing my lesson and getting ready for the next class period, this girl in the back of the room raised her hand. I acknowledged her, and she said, "You teach good."

I was extremely appreciative of the compliment. But guess I need to add "good vs. well" to my list of things to teach. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow Daze

We've been out of school for ten days straight. Okay, only five days of snow days, but adding in the two weekends on either side, one of which is a 3-day weekend for the MLK holiday, we're working on 10 days without school. My only hope is that the students are as bored as I am and will be ready to get back to school... I know, wishful thinking.

This week has been incredibly lazy, which is how snow days should be, in my opinion. We've had a lot of fun hanging out with friends, watching TV, sleeping until noon, and playing in the snow. However, I, like many of my Facebook friends, are ready to return to the world. Sadly, there is a limit to the time one can be a bum on the couch.

I did start rehearsals for the play I am directing this Spring on Thursday. The play is Doubt, by John Patrick Shanley. This is the FIRST play I've ever directed. I've done every other role in the theatre, from acting to stage managing to assistant directing to lighting. But I have never directed, until now. I'm really nervous about being completely in charge of a production, but at the same time I am so excited. As you know from a couple of posts ago, theatre is a major part of my life. I am directing this show as part of my senior thesis for my English degree, so I will be directing the show and then writing a 30 page paper about the experience. Hopefully, it will be a good experience, a good show, and a good paper!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Great Day!

I learned last night that I was to have my very first snow day as a teacher! Overnight we got almost 10 inches of snow, which I believe is more snow than I've ever seen. Sure, it pales in comparison to New York's recent blizzard, but just the threat of snow is enough to call off school where I live. And seeing as snow is a rare occurrence, playing in the snow became the top priority of the day.

After breakfast (homemade pancakes), we bundled up and headed outside to see how the dog would fare in the snow. He loved it. He actually tried to bury himself in it. Crazy dog. We spent time making a snow man (who we turned into Harry Potter) and then I made a snow angel. After some more running around in the snow, we came inside to get warmed up and take a nap. Dinner consisted of grilled cheese made on a homemade loaf of bread. (I love having a baker for a husband.)

What started out as a regular snow day for me has escalated into an amazing day for Auburn fans everywhere. After dinner we settled in to watch the BSC National Championship Game of Auburn against Oregon. I've been an Auburn fan since birth. My grandfather taught at Auburn and was the pastor at First UMC in Auburn. Auburn pride runs in my blood, and tonight I was so proud to watch them win the National Championship! It's a great day to be a Tiger!

A great day, indeed.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

An Aha! Moment

My sister has made a commitment to blog once a week, using the help of the daily post. This intrigued me, so I checked it out. This is a blog that gives you topic suggestions on what to post each day, to provide support and community for people who want to blog more.

I could get in to this. I like prompts. I'm considering using journaling prompts as my bell work if/when I get my own classroom. High school students, beware.

The first prompt I came across was this one: describe a recent Aha! moment.

My moment wasn't recent. But I got to thinking about this blog and how I talk about things going on in my life right now, but I never really talk about me, who I am, or what has made me who I am. Or, more specifically, what has brought me to where I am right now. Because there's a specific moment. I kind of knew it at the time, but over the last approximately 2 years since this event happened, it's become more and more clear to me that this was a defining "Aha!" moment in my life. At least, I want it to be.

When I read this prompt, the moment that came to mind is the moment that prompted me to quit my job and return to school, albeit not in a direct route to the revelation this aha! moment produced. Two years ago, we had just moved back to the college my husband and I both graduated from where hubby took a job as a professor. I was still working where we used to live, commuting several days a week and telecommuting the others. I had been very involved in the theatre program, and upon returning, some of the students who knew I'd acted before encouraged me to audition for an upcoming production, The Importance of Being Earnest. It was actually being directed by a student, and it was mostly she who encouraged me to audition. I was really nervous because, while I knew some of the students through other people, we had been gone one whole 4-year rotation of students, so the majority of people were people I had not worked with before and didn't know all that well...yet.

I went to the audition and read opposite another girl (I can't even remember who...) for the role of Gwendolen. I remember sitting on stage in a chair down right, lights blaring, a bunch of people I didn't know sitting in the audience. I got about half way through the scene, and felt like it was going really well, until I completely lost my place. Like, lost my place so badly I had to stop and ask the other girl where we were. I was so embarrassed, but we all laughed it off and moved on. But somewhere in there, something clicked and I thought, "This is what I'm supposed to be doing." Not working a 9-5 job that was a good job but really didn't bring me joy. Not driving an hour and a half to get to a job that didn't bring me joy. Not staring into the face of corporate America with no end in sight. I wanted to do theatre, and I wanted to do it with people like me—people who had a passion for it, people who couldn't breathe without having a little bit of drama in their life. I loved theatre all through high school and college the first time around. But after I graduated, I didn't really do it anymore. And I didn't realize how much I missed it until I got back on that stage and flubbed up the lines of an audition, and loved every minute of it. I loved how I could suck at something so badly and not be scared away.

I got the part, by the way. And a year later I quit my full-time job and returned to school to pursue a teaching license. Aha! moments can't always produce change immediately. But here I am, entering student teaching and preparing to have my own classroom someday (hopefully), and I am so excited about what I am doing. My plan is to get certified to teach English and then add on a Theatre certification so I can do both. I eventually want to teach theatre at the college level. So, this isn't exactly the most direct route to my eventual goal, but I really love what I'm doing and where I am. And as part of striving to find the peace in between, I am content with experiencing the journey, because, while the goal is hopefully going to be amazing, the journey is pretty awesome, too. And I'm thankful for my Aha! moment that put me on this journey.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Creeped In...

The hubby and I had a wonderful Christmas! I didn't make it until the 14th without doing something Christmas-y, however. I ended up spending about half an hour decorating our house the night of the 12th. Not much, just put wreathes and candles in the windows, set up one of my two nativity scenes, put up our miniscule tree (really, it's about a foot and a half tall, but it grows on me more and more every year), and put our Christmas throws on the couches. It was not much, but just enough. And it's all still up, as of today. We purchased a new shed over the holidays, and I'm hoping I can wait until it is delivered before taking down the decorations so they can just go immediately into their new home out there.

We traveled a lot over Christmas, which is part of the reason the scaled-back decorations worked so well for us. We saw Seussical: The Musical at the Children's Theatre and A Scattered, Smothered, Covered Christmas at a new Dinner Theatre, starring Joyce Dewitt, who played Janet on Three's Company. We attended several large family Christmas gatherings, got several nice presents (including gift cards that went to the purchase of a new battery-powered tool set!) and ate more food than should be legal.

I was reading Ali Edward's blog the other day, and she commented that she is one of those people who wants Christmas to be over Christmas day. That night, she's ready to move on to the next thing, to get ready for the new year and whatever else is to come. When I read this, I realized that I am not that type of person. I don't like that Christmas smacks you in the face the day after Thanksgiving (sometimes earlier) and then disappears like it never existed at 12:01am December 26. I want to ease into the season, and then ease out once it's "over."

I am easing out a little more quickly this year, however, because I start student teaching day after tomorrow. Gone are the days of a month-long Christmas break. Public schools start anytime between January 3-5, depending on when the holiday falls. So even though my decorations are still out and some of the presents have yet to find their permanent home, my energy and focus are shifting to school.

I am excited about this year. I've been pondering my "one little word" and some possible resolutions. Even though it's the 2nd, it's not too late, right? Maybe that will be one of my resolutions - stop feeling the need to adhere to ambiguous dates/times/orders. Sure, days and months are there to provide organization. But really, how different is the 31st of December from the 1st of January?