July 30, 2009

Making Five Points

Melissa over at The Scholastic Scribe had a fun meme the other day that she invited all her readers to participate in. I could use a kick in the rear for some topics, so I begged her to give me some inspiration.

The Process
  • She gave me 5 random well-thought out words for me to reflect upon.
  • It is my job to say something profound about these topics. Some of them are tricky, so profound is probably not going to happen on all the topics.
  • If any of my three readers would like to participate in this meme, please comment and I'll swing by your blog and leave you with 5 words.
The Product

Middle School
I've written about crazy middle school life several times over the years. I think I'm better suited to teaching high school, but I like the school, program, and level of students I teach at my middle school, so I've stayed there for far longer than I thought I would--or could!

I think the hardest thing about teaching 8th grade is that the students are at such varied developmental levels. Some of them are so mature that I forget how young they are, while some are so immature, I can't believe they've even made it to 8th grade! Immaturity isn't always a bad thing, though. I think it's hard growing up in today's world, so if some of them are able to maintain some innocence, I'd like to encourage that! What's tough about teaching this age is trying to keep it real with them without scaring or scarring them!

I think the best stories come from daily life, so I think a review of some crazy times would be most entertaining.
Middle school is the biggest mind trip for everyone involved, but I'm starting to catch onto their humor:

Read is my drug. If I don't get my frequent doses--in an written or electronic form, I start to get twitchy, itchy, and cranky.

Some low-grade read get me by from day to day, but at least twice a month, I have to have a fix of some entertaining fiction. A few times a year, when I have more time, I try to overdose on books, thinking it might get me through when reading time is scarce, but it really doesn't.

This summer I've have tried to overdose a few times, but I've only had hit after hit of low-grade read. It sucks. That low-grade leaves no residue of euphoria that the good stuff does.

At any time, if you'd like to see my latest brain candy, just check out my Shelfari bookcase to the left. And if you want to read something more inspiring about reading, avoid any posts about my quest to earn my masters in reading, and instead, check out this more entertaining post about books from 2006.

Miss Teacha was very anxious to hear about my unconnected vacation in July. It was a bit unnerving knowing that I would be at least four days without Internet, and there was also a possibility I would not have cell phone service either.

Initially, I was a little stressed out because I started a class on the day I left for vacation, but I was able to contact the instructor where I basically said, "Sorry I'll be out of contact for several days. Going to visit Grandma. It is what it is." I didn't end up having any penalties to my grade because I was able to catch up when I came out of the woods. Whew!

I was also a bit nervous thinking that because I spend so much time connected that I might find myself going through withdrawls. How humiliating it would be if I were addicted to the Internet! How stupid would I be if I broke out in cold sweats if my Blackberry had no bars. I might be a dork, but I didn't want to be a Super Dork.

Guess what? No Internet! No cell phone service! We didn't even have a land line in our motel. Not that there aren't landlines in town...just none at the Pierce Motel.

It was peaceful.
(And not as bad as it looks.)
I liked it a lot.

As big as a pain in the arse yearbook is, it has also opened doors for me over the years.

Way back when I was still in college, hoping to graduate and get a job in my hometown, I discovered a way to get my foot in the door. I knew the yearbook adviser (who also taught English) at the junior high, and she agreed to let me come in a few times a week to observe and volunteer so I could learn a little about yearbook. This was a brilliant idea because my friend was going to be moving at the end of the year. A job opening!

Perfect idea, except that after the yearbook teacher left, the district didn't refill her position. I still don't know how that was justified, as class sizes were already upward of 40, but what could I do?

I was hired for my first teaching position in the middle of August, five days before school started. I always felt like I barely landed the position, which was hardly a cherry job to begin with, but I was desperate. I don't know for sure, but I think the principal hired me because I said I'd do anything. And since my resume showed me to be quite the jack-of-all-trades, I found myself teaching high school English and publications. Obviously, I had no idea what I was doing.

I did a pretty good job, but did I mention, it's a pain in the arse?

After I traded schools, I swore off yearbook. And that lasted one year. The yearbook adviser bugged me for half the year to take over yearbook the next year, but I refused. When she left at the end of June to teach at another school, I reconsidered my options. She had a better schedule than I did--even with yearbook. So, I went to the office and told the administrators that I'd like to be considered for her position. I was pretty lucky that they didn't laugh me out of the office because I'd had such a horrible year that I nearly quit teaching--in the middle of the year. I ate humble pie, acknowledged my utter failure, tried to convince them I had once been a good teacher and I thought I could be again, and then...I reminded them that I had 7 years of experience as yearbook adviser.

And here I am. Middle school yearbook is a cakewalk. Trying to publish middle school newspaper that isn't lame is another story...

Marge Simpson
I don't know much about Marge Simpson. Or any of the Simpsons.

Somehow I was off the planet when the Simpsons became popular, and then I just never watched the show. There's a time in my life, in my early 20's when I didn't have a television, and when I did, I could only pick up PBS, there was no rock station in my hometown (I missed the Nirvana era!), I was working, going to school, playing D & D and being a drama groupie in my free time, and in the middle of that, I became culturally inept in a lot of areas.

Melissa might have thought I was a Simpsons fan because of my banner, which I am super tired of now. Sometimes I collect avatars to use in ComicLife. Fun, huh?

Phew! So there are my five subjects, essentially five mini-posts for me. Let me know if you want to play along!

Thanks, Melissa, for getting my brain going!

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