Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It Wasn't Broken Overnight...

And it won't be fixed overnight.

Just in case you missed it, the website is www.usaservice.org .

We are all in this together. Unless, of course, you're Rush Limbaugh. And if you are Rush Limbaugh, get the hell off my blog! I doubt you would understand it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Little Peer Pressure

C'mon...you know you wanna...all the cool kids are doin' it.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change has Come!

History was made today, thankfully. The "Education President" has left the building and as an educator, I shed a tear of joy and breathed a sigh of relief. Once again we have a leader who is literate. I am confident that President Obama will embrace the English language with such passion as to not feel the need to make up his own words. A student asked me today what Bush will do now. I answered, "He will write a book...um, er...he will hire someone to write a book."

All of the country's education issues will not be solved overnight. I am saddened how many parents have raised their children to be uninformed teenagers. This morning a student, after seeing the Obamas on television leave the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, wanted to know when the footage was taped because, "church is only open on Sundays and Wednesdays". Teachers cannot do this alone. I will give a big shout out to the Chief Justice for the teachable moment he gifted to all of the English teachers watching with their classes today. It was the perfect opportunity to highlight how adverbs can be moved around and not change the meaning of the sentence.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pretty Cool, huh?

Have I mentioned how much I love my job? This year I teach two English and three reading classes. At last count, I have about 120 students. Yes, they are bunch of knuckleheads some of the time, but I love them. Our writing test is coming up on February 25th, so I will be spending the next five weeks convincing them there are no such words as kinda, gonna, or cuz.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Retrospect...Part 2

My dad would have turned 82 today. He passed away in April. It was, perhaps, the most difficult experience of my life. It happened during my first year of teaching. After finally finding a pursuit that I love so very much and seeing my children mature into independent, well adjusted young adults, I was at a good place in my life. It all still seems so incredibly unreal. I just hope he somehow knows the things I need for him to know. Being the youngest of three, I guess I never thought it would ever fall to me to make any tough decisions. My sister and brother and I had a few theoretical discussions about our parents' future, both immediate and long term. What we weren't prepared for was Daddy not being here for the long term. He was an amazing man. This is how I want to remember him...

It was the only day he ever put on a tuxedo, and he did it for me.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Retrospect...part 1

The past few years have brought about monumental change in my life. At the risk of waxing philosophic, I cannot help but wonder why I plan anything beyond what we are having for dinner next week. After all, what is the saying? We make plans and God laughs.

In January 2003, after an almost 20 year absence, I entered a college classroom. I had decided to pursue a mid-life career change, after spending much of the previous 12 years as an at-home mom. I frequently supplemented our family's income by substituting throughout the district, teaching a variety of grade levels. Through these experiences, I learned that I really enjoy being around middle school-aged kids. Crazy, right? What can I say...we click. So I began to pursue a teaching degree in middle level language arts, so I could teach reading, my favorite pastime. I would reach every 12-14 year old who crossed my path by arming them with a copy of Harry Potter or Hatchet or A Wrinkle in Time. I was going to change the world by turning all of the young teen-aged knuckleheads in our town into readers. Heh...God laughs.

I graduated in May 2007, 30 years almost to the day after receiving my high school diploma, with a brand spanking new Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, which, along with a set of fingerprints, afforded me a teaching license in the state of Oklahoma. This degree, coupled with many extraneous English credits, allowed me to "build my housse" in language arts...aka, prove I was "highly qualified" to teach our youth in middle school. Now all I had to do was find a job. I was looking, of course, to teach reading. Reading is the foundation of everything. It's not boring like social studies. It's facinating. It's not technical or confusing like math, although you do have to be able to read in order to pass a state math test. And it certainly isn't scary, like science. Just ask any of my students...I don't do science. I was thinking 6th grade. They're still moldable. They can still be polite. They're still young enough not to see through you when you haven't got a clue as to what it is you are doing. 6th grade reading...yes sir, that's my dream job. God laughs.

I got a phone call from my son's principal. He wanted to know if I was interested in working for him. 8th grade English. 8th grade? They're almost high schoolers. I'd never be able to fool any of them into believing I was a teacher. English? That's writing, not reading. They even test the 8th grade in writing. Well, my degree and my housse say I am qualified to teach them, so why not? God laughs...out loud.

After just one interview and just one day, I was offered the job, and I took it. And I've been laughing with God ever since.