Only 15 to go

I’m in the midst of grading the first writing assignment from my pre-AP 9th graders. I’m not surprised, per se, but a bit disappointed. I’ve only read three (out of 52 so far) that are CLOSE to being where they should be.

Mostly, though, I’m a bit nervous. This means I will actually have to teach. I’ve been so spoiled the last four years by teaching only seniors – the ones who can write, or who, if they can’t, can fairly easily follow simple directions. Turns out that 14 year olds cannot follow directions. Seriously. I spent a full HOUR (even a fun hour!) giving notes about thesis statement writing. When I told them to write their own, it was like the notes didn’t even EXIST. They did the exact opposite of what I told them to do. What IS that? I can easily handle reteaching, or when kids just don’t have the ability, but my GOD…at least LISTEN! I finally had to shut them down (not very nicely) so they would understand I wasn’t going to do it for them. Ugh.

I’m teaching 9th grade because as a school we’ve agreed that the best teachers should be teaching them. Research shows time after time that doing this is critical in setting them up for success. I will be damned if I will back off of my expectations. They will have to rise (and some will have to sweat and bleed) to meet them. I can’t do any less.

In the meantime, I’m off to pour another drink…I’ll need it. I’ve got 15 papers left.


There’s something coming

It’s approaching me and I am powerless to beat it back with my own two white slender hands. (end homage to Chopin)

I feel the need to write. Every day phrases and words and ideas are lurking in my head…dangerously close to actual loitering. I should be writing.

I can’t take this every day

Ryan came to our school after school tonight (we had back to school night and she hung out with mom), with PAPERS IN HER BACKPACK. With STICKERS on them. *sniff* (on a side note, why do teachers stop using stickers? I think I’m going to start. Who doesn’t love a sticker?)

They’re so cute. One is her name all printed out for tracing on paper…and of course she can do that. One is practicing vertical lines…and of course she can do that. One is a remember what happened in the story and color…and of course she can do that, too. She’s BRILLIANT.

Okay, maybe not quite brilliant, but she kicks kindergarten objective ass. But I’m afraid I’m going to turn into one of those moms who frames work. Or at the very least, keeps it all. :::kicks storage box full of Megan’s kindergarten work further back under the basement stairs:::

I’m just so proud of her. I’m so excited for her. She has the whole world ahead of her, and I know she can make a true impact on the world and those around her. Her potential takes my breath away and replaces it with tears of pride. I know she will run into struggles. I know her personality will often clash with the expectation of “proper” school behavior, but my Punky is an amazing child and now I get to share her with the rest of the world.

Before that, though, does anyone know where I can get a good deal on another storage box?

I’ve got an itch

(which sounds disgusting, but isn’t)

Now that I’m finished with school and not coaching I’m feeling a bit, um…underwhelmed. For the past few years, I’ve been constantly and consistently busy, and while it’s been totally stressful, I’ve learned to live that life. I’m used to 60-70 hour weeks. I’m game for staying up late working on projects or grading papers. I’m conditioned to being gone from school for two days a week and writing sub plans for them.

But all that is gone now. I just go to school, and then I come home. Sure, there will be Hell Week Homecoming to deal with soon, but after that, it’s one or two nights a month for student council events, tops. I know that what I should be doing is coming home, working out, and spending time with Ryan and Jesse (and soon, Megan). I should be signing Ryan up for after school activities. I should be scrapbooking.

Instead, I’m looking for photography classes to take. I’m looking for new lenses to buy. I’m thinking of talking to one of our assistant principals to sign up for a committee. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just Take A Break?

For Liz…

(or Beth, which is what your grown-up friends call you 🙂 )

You are a better sister to me than my own. I’ve got the market cornered on crazy around here, so feel free to knock me upside the head when I suck. Also, when should we meet for drinks? 😉

Seriously? I love you.

How did this happen?

Today Ryan had her first day of school. :::insert tears of joy and shock here:::

It was an orientation from 8:30-1:00, and she nailed it. She didn’t care when I left. She was still excited when I picked her up. She’d had her backpack packed for two full weeks and was telling complete strangers about going to school. I knew she would love it.

The only glitch? See how it went until 1:00? I thought it went until 1:30. So when I showed up, she and one other boy were there. Her teacher was so AMAZING about it. I couldn’t believe I did that. I spent a good two minutes trying to convince her teacher that I’m “not that parent!” I suppose that’s karma paying me back for all that parent-bashing I’ve done. Ryan could not have cared less. She was sad to go, and sadder to find out she doesn’t go back again until Monday. I guess we did something right. Here she is in all her first-day glory – and looking at them is the only time I’ve truly shed tears today. I can’t believe how beautiful and grown up she already is:

Remember that teacher?

In my post from a few days ago that threw a baby fit like Ryan? Today, he straight pissed. me. off.

Back in February, he applied to be an assistant track coach. The boys coach and I didn’t hire him because he wouldn’t have been a good fit for our program. We moved on. Apparently, he didn’t.

Today, a colleague and friend of mine said he overheard Dicky Douchebag talking in the common teacher work area to another teacher about how terrible the track program is and it’s because we don’t know what we’re doing. He actually used my name. He used it in connection with “doesn’t know what she’s doing.” Then he went to one of my former student teachers, who competed at CSU and will make an AMAZING track coach that she probably wouldn’t get hired because “Tara and P are so hard to work with, they’ll never hire you.”

Tomorrow I will be having a conversation with him. If he thinks for ONE SECOND that it’s okay, or even CLOSE to professional, to be roaming the building talking negatively about me as a coach or a teacher, he’s got another thing coming. When he bitched and moaned about not getting hired last winter, I looked the other way because he was upset. He was angry, and sometimes when people (even me) are angry, they say things – and go talk to the principal and athletic director without talking to the coaches – they don’t really mean. But it’s been over SIX MONTHS, man. Get the fuck over it. Here’s my planned speech, with no questions or small talk: “I understand you are for some reason still very upset about not getting hired last season. I turned the other cheek last spring when I heard about your comments and concerns, even though you never bothered to pay me the professional courtesy of addressing me personally. However, now that it is six months later, I’m more than upset with the way you have spoken to numerous members of this staff – some of them who are interested in coaching track – in a negative way about my knowledge of the sport and my coaching ability. You do not get to do that, upset or not. I don’t want to hear that you have done this again.” Thoughts?

You will shut the fuck up, or I will find a way to shut you up, you fucking imbecile.