Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Ordinary Day Turned Extraordinary

I can't say that I have anything poignant to say on a Friday night on my blog, but I felt compelled to write, so here I am.

I suppose I should start by saying that I'm definitely out of the shit-spiral from last week.Yes, my hallway still not where I want it to be, and some of my co-workers are still stressing the hell out of me, but I'm coping with it. 

I expressed in my last post the need to have faith in my administrators in helping me to take care of the problems on my hallway. To avoid giving away too many details, I'll leave it at the following thought. There are few things more awesome than acknowledgement of your hard work and efforts and support of your actions towards the positive. 

In fact, there you go. I think that's why I felt compelled to write. I needed to share that my day, while very similar to an ordinary day, differed in that my faith in my administrators is actually paying off. Simply having confirmation that my administrators have my back turned my day from ordinary to extraordinary. As the next month unfolds, here's to more of those!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Follow-Up to Yesterday's Blog Post

I'm sure that scared some folks out there who read yesterday's post. My sanity was rightly questioned. Hell, I'm questioning it myself, even today. 
File:Justin Timberlake album.jpg
Streaming this on iTunes now...So far, it's worth the wait!

However, what a difference a good night of sleep + a few moments of empathy + one kick-ass step class later can do for one's mindset. The questions I raised at the end of the post still stand. I want to know how one can get things done for our kids while maintaining personally and professionally. I'm working on it, and I'm certainly in a better place than I was last year on all accounts. Yet, I can do better, and more importantly, I want to do better. But...I accept that this won't happened overnight, and I won't learn how to do it after one magically, non-imaginary conversation. Time it is, then!

Moving for the other major theme: FAILURE. I still think that this school year has sucked. However, as I was reminder from someone who can understand what it is to be a grade-level chair, we can't control everything. What matters is that we go hard on what we can control. I can control my classroom; I can control how I interact with the kids, and I can control how I respond to my team members who are and are not doing what they need. What they do beyond that...well, that's above my pay grade :) I can only trust that my administrative team is handling things from there. 

Long story short, I'm in a better place than I was yesterday. I have an idea or two on how I can salvage the year for myself and for the kids. Let's see what happens!

Intercranial Conversation With the Principal

I find myself unable to sleep, and I think it is because of the inter-cranial conversation that I'm having with my principal. Before I dump the very one-sided conversation here, background is needed. 

Testing season will soon be upon us, therefore preparation season is imminent. After several weeks of odd days off of school, interruptions of the school day, and just plain sluggishness from the kids (and probably the teachers too, if we're being completely honest), things are off. I can't put my finger on what it is and why it's off, but it's off. 

I looked at the calendar today and freaked the hell out. I realized that I basically have 7 days of instructions left, along with 3 weeks of review left before the CRCT. While what I have left to teach in that 7 days isn't really that much to teach, I'm finding it daunting. With that in mind, my inter-cranial conversation with the principal begins with a simple question from her:

[SCENE: THE PRINCIPAL and MS. INSANE board the elevator to the third floor. The door closes.]

THE PRINCIPAL: How are you today, Ms. Insane?


MS. INSANE: Sorry. I was just deciding between a white lie and the truth, but I think the truth would make me feel better. I'm worried. Not just about my class, but I'm worried about everything. From the kids, to the test results this year, to even my job security. I remember when you told me to remember that I can't control everything and that I need to let go. 

However, I can't completely do that, because if I do, things will fall apart. I've tried loosening the reins a bit, and still things are not great. It would be one thing if it were just my classroom I had to worry about, but it's not. I'm trying to think and spin this school year into something that is not a failure, but I'm struggling. I'm feeling as if we, as an entire hallway, have failed these kids. I feel that I, as a teacher and a grade-level chair, have failed the kids and everyone else. Who knows? You might look at the data from this school year and be absolutely appalled by what you see and hold me accountable, which would be your right. 

So, I'm not fine. I'm worried. I'm scared as hell about how this school year is going to down in the books for us. However, I do have a question for you. How do you do it? How do you not crack and lose it? I know, for me, it's hard, and I'm just worried about one grade out of five grades we have here. How do you not internalize every failure? How do you keep this not taking over your conversations at home? How do manage to not let this job take over your relationships? How do you do it? I'd like to be you when I grow up, and you seem pretty successful here at work. You also have a personal life. How do you do this and keep it together?



For obvious reasons, the elevator had to stop when I was done talking, because this is a conversation in my head, and if I had the answers to my question, I wouldn't be having this damn conversation in my head. Also, it was the end of my mind dump :)

...I actually feel somewhat better. At least enough to go to sleep. I'll put a more coherent explanation to this jazz later on. Until, let me add something to this post that DOES make me happy...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Every Damn Day...

A variation of this shirt was seen at a school-affiliated basketball game this afternoon. The opposing team's coach was wearing it, as a matter of fact. While I appreciate the Just no. Not at a school function. Though we had to admit, it would be great as a school motto.

"Every damn day...we teach."
(For students) "Every damn day...we learn."
"Hard Work. Every damn day."

T-Shirt creators, make this happen.