Major Update – Part the Tres (the anecdotes)

Story #1
Three months. Three FUCKING months. That’s how long I’ve been keeping Jesse’s birthday destination a secret.

One sentence. One FUCKING sentence. That’s how long it took Jesse’s dad to tell him where we are going.

Here’s how that went down: Dear Father-In-Law:”So, Jess…you’ll be leaving for San Diego in a couple of days…” Me: “You did NOT just say that?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” He felt bad. He really did. Jesse’s response?
“I knew it!”

No you didn’t, you punk.

Story #2
My cousin just turned 19 on the 24th. On the 20th, she got married. Apparently we just are supposed to nod and smile because getting married at 18 so “we can live together and not feel bad about it” is a good idea. Right. I really don’t want to do it, but I have a feeling that in five years or so, it will be hard to bite back the “I told you so.” Because I do know. Of all the people in her young life, IIIIIIIIIIII do know.

Story #3
About a month ago, Ryan got banned from Megan’s room after painting different colored stripes on Megan’s dresser with nail polish.

About two days ago, Ryan did the same thing to the wall at Grammy’s house. So much for learning lessons.

Story #4
My dad didn’t come out for Christmas – and he really had no good reason. And he wonders why Ryan calls him “other Grandpa.” He will probably also wonder why I’m pissed at him.

Story #5
Today we came home, cleaned up, did laundry and now we’re going to pack for our three-day trip to sunny San Diego. Really, I have no story here. Just wanted to brag about our trip. 🙂

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Major Update – Part the Deux (Christmas)

I cannot lie: I love Christmas. You know those people who love to give gifts because of the joy it brings to others? Yeah, I’m not one of those. I love getting presents. LOVE it. So I was a tad distressed this year when my husband and I decided to not exchange gifts and that we would actually not do it. Nothing to unwrap? Nothing to ooooh and ahhhhh over? Nothing to spy on to try to figure it all out? Robbing me of every Christmas tradition? LAME.

Turns out, I had a wonderfully beautiful Christmas. Here’s why: both of my children were with me. They are both happy. They loved all of their gifts. Seriously. If I could market the sheer joy on Megan’s face when she got her Camelbak water bottle, I would be able to hire someone to update my blog. Ryan is in LOVE with her Fantasia movie – courtesy Santa Claus, via the pawn shop.

Granted, the time with my family was NOT drama-free, which is typical, and Jesse and I drank more than ever just to get through it, but it was fun. Oh, and opening this aspen tree wall sculpture for which I have lusted for three looooong years from my aunt only made things better. Not gonna lie.

Major update – Part the One (school)

Apparently the past couple of weeks have been busier than I thought. Sorry to those of you who actually visit and care enough to read. I’ll be updating in chunks, because really? Who actually likes to read huge walls of text? 🙂

Finishing up the school semester was painful at best. It had it’s bright spots: my day visiting an elementary principal was more fun than I thought it could be, I brought home a HUGE pile of treats and gifts from my students, we did some pretty good fundraising for the spring break Disney trip. But then….FINALS happened.

I swear I don’t know what is the matter with people sometimes. These parents who don’t bother to comment about their child’s grade for three months come crawling out of the woodwork to ask questions, comment and even accuse. What I want to tell them is that if they had cared nearly as much about two months ago, their kid wouldn’t be failing. I got an email from a parent sent on Christmas EVE wanting to know why her daughter, who had about 20 absences, got a C. On CHRISTMAS EVE. Hi. I’m on vacation. Fuck off until January 5th.

I lost count of how many students asked me what they could do “to get their grade up.” Seriously? You want to know what you can do? NOTHING. Well, you could have cared in September, October, and November, you could have done that. You might want to remember that in February, March, and April. But you won’t. And your parents won’t. And I will be dealing with the “if my kid doesn’t pass, he won’t graduate” phone calls. Listen, Mr. and Mrs. Involvedjustalittletoolate, if your kid doesn’t graduate high school because he failed my one class his senior year, he’s got bigger things to worry about.

And people wonder why I drink.

Tooting my own horn

tee hee…I said “tooting”… 🙂

A couple of months ago, my principal sent me to a meeting with principals from the other schools in our district to start planning an event to help our schools transition from being 10-12 grade to being 9-12. Just the meeting was cool…meeting those people, actually making decisions, networking.

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been finalizing plans for this event for our students. Today was the beginning of implementation. I, and four other teachers, took about 60 kids to see Mark Scharenbroich, a nationally-known motivational speaker (www.nicebike.com), which was AMAZING. Any speaker who can told the attention of over 600 teenagers for 3 hours is my hero. They weren’t even TEXTING!!!! Wow.

Then we came back to school, where I had planned activities to continue the ideas presented by Mark. So these kids were working in small groups, sharing ideas, learning, thinking, planning…all that I had imagined they would do. And it WORKED. And they want to continue through the spring! Stage one = SUCCESS.

The best part of this whole thing is that it’s mine. I planned it. I did it. It’s not a “leftover” from the previous student council adviser, it’s not something that the principal did and let me lead, it’s allllllll mine. And I kicked ass. And I will continue to kick ass. I’m very proud of myself and so is the principal. She told me so. 🙂

I really just don’t get it.

I’m watching a documentary about abortion…I don’t know exactly why I would do this to myself at this time of night, but I am.

Killing doctors, blowing up clinics, harassing women who have abortions or use birth control, passing judgment on anyone who is associated with abortions (even though God explicitly tells us not to do so) isn’t going to stop abortions. It’s just not. I simply cannot fathom the words that some people say…that if you are not a Christian, you should be executed. If you are gay, you should be executed. If you use birth control, you should be executed. Then they follow this up with “let’s return to what our Founding Fathers wanted”??? Which ones? The Puritans, who ran away from a country who wanted to kill them for not being the “right” religion? Or the ones like Thomas Jefferson who fathered illegitimate children with his SLAVES? Which ones of those should we follow?

At the core, I think a lot of this movement comes from control. Control the woman, control the money, control the family…Hm. I’ve got some control. Over my words and my actions. Over my belief system. Over my life. I worked very hard to earn it. How about you let me keep it?

66% complete

Monday was the final class of School Law. Saturday is the final class of seminar. When that is over, I will only have one semester left – 7 credits! – until my principal license is finished. Here’s what this reeeeeally means:

In March, there will be two assistant principal positions open at my school, either of which I would be more than qualified to be hired for. I am doing everything in my power to set myself up to be the obvious choice. March. Three months from now. And I’m not really sure what I should do.

For context, let me explain that I’m not the type to fail. I think that has less to do with my amazing skills and more to do with my decision making ability. I don’t put myself in situations where I will not succeed. As I write that, I feel like a coward, but I want you to understand that I’m not afraid of failure, I’m just smart enough to avoid it. I still take chances. I still do things that challenge me. I am not afraid of being a principal. I KNOW that I can do it. I know that I SHOULD do it. I believe that I am the type of person who needs to be in those offices – I care about kids. I want them to be successful. I care about teachers. I want them to be at their best.

I have what it takes to do this job.

But…

I have a husband. I have made a commitment to another child. I know that I cannot fully commit to being a principal and being the mom of a newborn. When my fellow intern asked our principal what he needed to be successful, she told him, “you need to make more sacrifice in terms of time with your family.” I have never been one to be concerned about this work-home balance – I mean, I went back to work when my oldest was a week old, and Ryan’s been in daycare since she was three months old.

However, one of the things I’ve learned in my program is that administrators are somehow supposed to be more committed. We are supposed to spend an insane amount hours at the job (hey, it’s why we make the big bucks!). You might have noticed that most women administrators are the parents of nearly-grown children. Only young men seem to enter this field…you know, because they don’t have to worry about the dreaded work-home debate. I can’t talk to my principal, because if she knows I’m thinking about more kids, she will remember that. To be fair, I currently spend more hours at school than any other teacher. I’m second in time spent in the building only to the administrators. The extra contract means I go three weeks after school is out and I report three weeks before it begins. Quite honestly, this isn’t much different than what I’ve always done and continue to do. So why am I worried?

Because I wouldn’t hire a pregnant me. I wouldn’t hire a me with a newborn. I wouldn’t put much faith in a first-year administrator on a hormonal roller coaster. I would doubt my commitment to the job, even though I have bled black and green for the last 4.5 years. Trying to reconcile the commitment I’ve made to my husband with the commitment I’ve made to myself has become one of the central issues in my life. On one hand, I *do* want another baby (note: I don’t actually want to be pregnant, just another baby 🙂 ), but on the other hand, I want to provide for my family in a way we would otherwise never know. Over here is the thought of bringing another loved, beautiful, perfect (and well-reared! yay!) child into this world, and over there is professional improvement and success.

I am truly struggling with this. And I have three months to figure it out.

Wow, it’s been a while!

Hello there, my lovelies! I can’t believe what a blog slacker I’ve been. Okay, actually, I *can* believe it, but I’ll pretend not to so I can feel a little better…

It’s obviously been busy. We had a fairly uneventful Thanksgiving. Only seven people, everyone gone by 6:00 pm, shelves full of leftovers…pretty typical. We decided to stay home for the holiday, since spending two of our five days driving made us more than a little ill. Couldn’t have made a better decision. I was so proud of myself that I managed the weekend without cleaning a thing. I needed the break.

So now I’m back at school, down to only 12 days before the real vacation begins. Twelve. Here’s what happens the last 12 days of a semester, in case you’d forgotten:
Student: Hey, um, what can I do about my grade?
Me: What is your grade?
Student: Um, it’s a 54%.
Me: hm….well…you can start caring in October. Oh, sorry! Too late for that!
ORRRRR
Student: Hey, how many points do we have left?
Me: Why, do you have a B?
Student: Yeah! Is there something I can do to get an A?
Me: hm…well…you can start caring in October. Oh, sorry! Too late for that!

It’s just that time of year. Every parent on the planet is calling me wanting me to change my classroom policy to take late work. Every student is suddenly turning in every piece of work. Every teacher is laughing. I had a student with a SEVEN PERCENT (that a 7% for you number people) ask me what he could do to pass. There are five class periods left. Nothing. You can do nothing.

I struggle all the time with these kids. It’s such a fine line between caring too much and preparing them for real life. I console myself with the fact that most of them are 18, and fully capable of making decisions about their time. If they don’t do work, they know the consequences. They KNOW the policies and expectations. Their parents know as well. So when I get phone calls and emails and visits, I stick to my guns and hope it all works out. Contrary to popular belief, I do have a heart and it is hard to toe that line. Getting those emails one, two or three years later thanking me makes it all worth it.

More tomorrow, when I update you all on my exciting master’s program developments. Try not to pee your pants in excitement for that.