Tuesdays

I don’t really know where to start today or what to hit upon. I thought about doing a list, but I’ve been so ADD and migraine-brain today that my thoughts fly as fast as they form. Eh. Let’s do it anyway—

  • The world smells like cut grass and the cats are in the windows looking at my unkempt back yard (it’s a valid choice)
  • It’s easy to forget how blessed I am to be upright and breathing
  • It’s strange to use scifi technology to do my job and have it be The Standard
  • I bought stickers today for that future moment when students are back in the classroom
  • I love running into old students
  • There’s so much I’ve let slide and I’m not sure how to level it all out, because it is OverWhelmIng
  • My head HURTS
  • I wore a pretty dress today and it was nice
  • I just woke up from a much needed nap
  • I’m really grateful not to have cable television
  • Twilight is such a lovely time of day…the world brightens or fades and I can just watch, breathe, be…
  • I have a seriously deep love of drama dots ellipses (especially, misusing them)
  • I don’t think I ever believed I would have an RLP or PLP—I always knew I’d never have a someone
  • I have the cats
  • I have some good friends
  • My family cares as much as they can

Please remember that you aren’t totally alone. In this chaotic and stressful and depression (anxiety) inducing time there are people willing to help. They may take an internet search or a social media plea, but they are out there.

Prepare for The Random

Days where I don’t have anything to say are why I stop posting 100% of the time. I’ll have a streak going and then find myself without anything worth saying—it doesn’t stop me offline so it shouldn’t stop me here. Power through and all that Jazz. So, here’s what’s on my mind right now:

  • Got a Grove box yesterday with basics like minty soap and mintier toothpaste.
  • The weather went from wet to low 70’s & it’s beautiful.
  • I feel like I’m actually edging my way out of the total darkness—it’s still a little grim, but I’m alive and that’s a blessing.
  • I miss teaching in the classroom.
  • My tennis shoes are looking at me like, go for a walk. This week’s poor excuse is the street work in front of my house and hills.
  • Reading the Newsflesh series and more romance novels. Glancing through the news for good articles to read and discuss.
  • I have too many boxes to break down and stack up. I just let them collect. This may be some weird packrat pathology tied to my wide streaks of laziness and procrastination. I can feel my goddaughter judging me.
  • I got to the point where I made a ridiculous number of playlists that are all eclectic, but I tend to listen to “Utter Silliness” the most. I had my playlist problem under control for months.
  • I think I’ll go to the six-feet away cocktail hour a block down today. I am really missing my friends and this way I can catch up with a few. Texts just aren’t the same as a table full of people I adore down at The Great Pacific.
  • Love the maps by @alfred_twu on twitter. It’s fascinating to watch the states come together or drift apart.
  • Do some people not think about how much worse this pandemic would be without all the social distancing? I keep thinking about my folks, my friends who are immune-compromised, and I also think about how much I want things “back to normal” already. I just fall into the camp that thinks there will another new normal and no return to the old normal.
  • I’m trying not to obsess too much about the things that freak me out.
  • I have got to renew things soon and finish small projects. I also have to finish a couple of big projects.

I hope this finds you well (especially if you took the time to read this). Most of my posts end up with one to three views which makes it harder to stay motivated. This time around, I just keep reminding myself the only way to get better is to practice. At least my head is a little lighter.

Enjoy the boys; two minutes after this picture they were not so friendly. What is it with cats and their need to be on clean clothes?

Ehn

  1. It’s super cold outside. I hope everyone has a safe place to sleep.
  2. I feel like I can breathe for a minute.
  3. I miss some of my people.
  4. I love reading out loud despite my dyslexia.
  5. I love science fiction and fantastic lit.
  6. Writing for fifteen minutes a day is more challenging than it should.
  7. I hope all the people traveling are safe.
  8. Tow truck drivers and others who help in times of car trouble are much appreciated.
  9. Should I subscribe to Aaptiv?
  10. I’m so grateful for my job even when I feel defeated or frustrated.
  11. This year has been a series of reminders that flexible and adaptable require reflection.
  12. How much more time do I have?
  13. Why are little cats the noisiest?
  14. Maybe it’s the same reason big dogs think they belong on laps?
  15. I like naps way too much.
  16. Sometimes I crave the quiet.
  17. I just want them all to find success…

Ehn

  1. It’s super cold outside. I hope everyone has a safe place to sleep.
  2. I feel like I can breathe for a minute.
  3. I miss some of my people.
  4. I love reading out loud despite my dyslexia.
  5. I love science fiction and fantastic lit.
  6. Writing for fifteen minutes a day is more challenging than it should.
  7. I hope all the people traveling are safe.
  8. Tow truck drivers and others who help in times of car trouble are much appreciated.
  9. Should I subscribe to Aaptiv?
  10. I’m so grateful for my job even when I feel defeated or frustrated.
  11. This year has been a series of reminders that flexible and adaptable require reflection.
  12. How much more time do I have?
  13. Why are little cats the noisiest?
  14. Maybe it’s the same reason big dogs think they belong on laps?
  15. I like naps way too much.
  16. Sometimes I crave the quiet.
  17. I just want them all to find success…

Random Thoughts

  • The more I watch, the more I listen, the more I read—the more I learn.
  • Got a lot graded today (so much more to do).
  • Being true means embracing the shadow-self and learning to deal with the light and the dark inside.
  • Massive admiration for my friend Paula and her family—she made a huge jump in her thirties to be more true to her whole self. I cannot imagine the strength that takes.
  • I miss the friends I haven’t seen as much of, but I know the love will easily stretch until life brings our orbits closet again.
  • Their “Tigger Modes” are a little hilarious and a little scary.
  • We can all make it through tonight: we can all make it through tomorrow—right?
  • Proud of the former students I run into—they made it to the stage of adulthood where we all feel like we are totally faking it some days…it’s a journey.
  • I was hoping The Saints would win their game.
  • I love listening to the rain.
  • I want another tattoo, but I’ve gotta build up my saving first. A burst of flowers.
  • Why don’t we have more copies of Brave New World?
  • I am so excited for Poetry class and Commonplace Book Projects for seniors.
  • Sometimes I wish I were braver…
  • Few things are easy.
  • I need to get back in my word-bag

Good night, good morning, good day & good luck…

Things

  1. I think auras are actually our souls. Our souls surround us and protect us; every time we touch someone else–in anger, in love, in a hurry–we are briefly mingling souls with theirs (take it to it’s logical conclusion).
  2. I fully believe there is more to the world and the universe than we can understand.
  3. I think everyone has the potential to change for the better or to change for the worse.
  4. I also think we are all born with a kernel of evil and a kernel of good–what we do with those is up to us (my root of bitterness is wrapped around my heart of darkness and I work hard to keep them from feeding each other).
  5. I believe that we sometimes get more than we can handle, so that we are forced to ask for and accept help.
  6. Some ghost are left-over emotional energy. Some ghosts are living people in a parallel universe.
  7. I fully believe that people can be possessed, but evil people aren’t often possessed…
  8. I regularly remind myself that if X, Y, and 458 can all turn into productive and reasonable adults, so can my current pop tarts.
  9. I’m slowly working my way toward having my left arm (and left leg) covered in flowers.
  10. It could always get worse…
  11. Some people are missing their compassion chips.
  12. Beowulf and The Scarlet Letter have a number of commonalities

The Week Of…

  1. The much needed mental break that was the first full week of summer, because new ideas got a chance to simmer.
  2. The chance to connect and reconnect with some good friends over the last week or so.
  3. I have plans for English 3: minority voices in American Lit and American philosophers with some heavy historical perspective.
  4. The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff for the angle I can now justify fully with The Crucible.
  5. Poetry.
  6. Knocking out two books on my extensive reading list. Afterwar is anything but subtle; it is a great read though. The Collapsing Empire was fun and fascinating and such a throwback to the sci-fi I teach. I wish I had an unlimited book budget for my classes.
  7. The children of my soul and the friends who raise them so I can revel in the role of “aunty”.
  8. That I’m healthy enough to walk.
  9. The hope that I can/will reign in my laziness.
  10. All the people I love who love me back.
  11. The students I’ve gotten to teach over the last twenty years: those who have learned, those who have hated me, those who listened, those who phoned it in (slightly different meaning now than it was when I first started, but not that different), and those who taught me important lessons.

Research Pre-season

Research season is coming for my students and I’m thinking about how to best help my students understand that not every source is reliable no matter who recommends it and not all information is factual even if the source is usually reliable. Last year, two classes of seniors read about fifteen articles from various sources and had to determine the value of the source, the value of information, and identify its bias.

I keep hammering the idea that not every source is created equal and many consumers fail to notice. The Atlantic Monthly leans liberal and Fox News leans conservative. Anyone can go online to see the different covers Newsweek has for its international clients versus its American clients. The point is, again, that all of these sources are biased or a consumer has to search and search for relatively unbiased sources.

The Economist,Al Jazeera, and BBC America have been regularly voted the most fair source of news in the US by various polls. Two of those sources aren’t based in the United States, so they aren’t beholden to corporations that back certain American political parties. Their news comes across as a little drier, because they aren’t trying to entertain the masses; they are trying to inform the masses. The first question every consumer needs to ask is: Who is the target audience?

To be a rational thinker and an informed citizen, We have to make sure to acknowledge and actually give time to other viewpoints, to sources of information that we might not normally rely on. It’s our job to double check information. It’s our job to make sure the source is somewhat reliable and to understand the source’s bias. It is our job to assess the information and incorporate information that has actual value.

A List

  1. Woke up without any head pain today.
  2. Got some serious reading done.
  3. Meeting up with a friend for bubbles and a chat—family, politics, science, literature, faith, movies, and hypocrisy (I have awesome friends).
  4. Remembered I was supposed to write something today.
  5. Still have a ton of things I’ve avoided and they need to be done!


Do What You Can

I looked over a checklist of qualities good teachers have. I’m always looking to be a better teacher. And, I like to think that I know my flaws.


What does it mean to have high expectations of my students?

I want to see improvement in students’ critical thinking skills (assess and evaluate), their communication skills, and their ability to apply information and skills to a wide variety of problems. I want them to turn their work in on time and to turn in work they are proud of. I want them to participate in class discussions and show they are interacting with the text (getting something out of it even). I want them to disagree with the traditional interpretations of literature and find textual support; I want them to agree with the traditional interpretations of literature and find textual support. I want them to be able to effectively explain their ideas and find support for their point of view from a variety of sources. I want them to become smart consumers of information and various websites or media. I want them to take information from history class and science class and use it in arguments in English. I want them to write solidly built sentences and paragraphs on short-answer tests for science and math and health.

It’s my job to get my students up to the level they need for functioning and succeeding in the world outside of high school.


Objectives and Outcomes: Goals

Currently my goals are tied to Common Core National Standards which most teachers agree are “aspirational” rather than realistic.

We want our students to take in information, weigh its sources, and evaluate its content. We want our students to take examples from the text and explain what those examples show and how they relate back to the answers.

It’s not about hitting every little goal. It’s about hitting the skills over and over from totally different angles until they become a sort of mental muscle memory.


How do we engage students?

We can’t get every student’s attention every day. It sucks, but it’s honest. We don’t always know the struggles they have outside of school or the social issues they may be facing at school. We may not be the type of teacher they learn best from. School is a proving ground for kids where they have to learn to balance their dislike against what they need to learn for some nebulous future.

I try to improve the classroom experience constantly. Every summer I revise my unit lesson plans, tweak the application and the expectations. I read fiction and nonfiction and the news to find new ways into the material or skill sets I focus on. I find different ways to approach grammar or the writing process on blogs or at workshops or by talking to other teachers.

I’m willing to get better.


How do we build strong relationships with students?

I ask questions. I get to know kids over time. I read some interesting things that they’ve written.

I recognize that I see a small part of who they are. They have a face they show at school, a face that can change from teacher to teacher. It isn’t the same face they show their family or their friends. As long as I recognize this, as long as I sincerely try to help the move forward, then I’m doing my job.


Ultimately, students need to be treated like human beings.