Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why? Just Why?

A reflection today during Round Zero, TFA's lesson planning boot camp, made me think seriously about my kids from this summer. The reflection was about the tendency of children to insult another child by calling them "Little girl" or "Little boy". 

I had one student in particular who used this, Jazzy. Jazzy was one of the more challenging students this summer. She most likely had an IEP and yet we had no access to it. She also was supposed to have glasses, but somewhere shuffling back and forth between her parents she lost them. Over the course of the summer, we learned different things to say and do to help Jazzy focus but one of her biggest issues was how she interacted with her peers. After one particularly rough day, her father told her "you're here to learn, you're not here to make friends". While I appreciated the sentiment, I honestly think some of her issues would have been easier had she had more friends.

Instead, when she had any kind of negative interaction with another student, she would say things like "little boy, don't touch my pencils" or "little girl, don't look at me."

Really? The boy is a head taller than you. That girl? She's a year older than you and she's following directions like a good student. 

It's one of those mysteries like why they always say "I need to use it" when they mean that they need to go to the bathroom.

My mind seems to wander back to my kids from this summer as I get started planning for this coming year. Even though I'll be teaching 4th not 2nd, its so much easier to think about what I'm doing when I've got actual kids in mind. Who knows? Maybe I'll have another Jazzy in my class. 

My school's not finished yet, so I haven't seen my classroom at all. I have no idea what I will have or what I won't, how much wall space I'll have or what kinds of things I'll need to have before school starts. Buuuut, in theory, we're moving in next Tuesday!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We are so over

Dear IKEA,

This is hard for me to write, since we haven't been together all that long. I had admired you for so long from afar, ever since you crossed the Atlantic a few years ago from those Swedish shores.  My friends told me how wonderful you were, and there you were in my host families house. My host mother was almost embarrassed at how much you were a part of their lives.

But IKEA, as quickly as we started, we are so over.

I passed you every day in Atlanta on my way to school, just before the sleep deprivation would lull me to sleep for the next 20 minutes, thinking of pleasant things like my new place in Nashville instead of the children that awaited me. I finally worked up the courage to go see you (bringing a friend along for the first time to make sure I had her approval) and that was it, I had to have you. I'd flirted with the idea of other furniture, like Target, Walmart, and things on Craigslist, but I kept coming back to you.

It was rough at the beginning, and not as easygoing as I had hoped-- that you didn't want to fit in my car should have been a sign that you didn't fit in my life. But when there's a will, there's a way, and you ended up tucked in the UHaul with other TFAers furniture to Nashville.

Perhaps I shouldn't have moved so quickly to get you into my bedroom. I unwrapped everything so quickly and excitedly and then....had no idea what to do. It was so new, different, and damn confusing. That piece is supposed to go where? That can't possibly fit! What the heck is that supposed to do??

But finally, after 8 hours, punctuated with different periods of separation, it felt right. Well, almost. I'd misjudged one piece of you and unlike what they say, you can't always go back. I tried to change you, making holes where I needed them to be and ignoring the others that just didn't seem as important. Now I know I can never fill those holes.

So, IKEA, we're done. You look smooth and classic on the outside, but in the end, you're really just cheap. And for me, that's not enough. I can't spend anymore time on you, trying to make it work, all the while wanting to throw my screwdriver at your linguistically ambiguous directions. I confess as well -- I went and got some Target furniture when I couldn't deal with you anymore during one of our separations. That bookcase in the corner? We fit together in 20 minutes.

This is a little awkward now, since we're living together and all, but I promise I won't kick you out. Now that you're moved in, I guess you might as well stay.


Ms. A

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy (Belated) Birthday Amurica!

It's been a while since I've actually had a weekend to do exactly what I wanted to do, and I'm afraid that while the original intention was to actual make some phone and skype calls, I wanted to sleep. Or rather, needed to. I spent Friday evening enjoying some time with one of my Nashville roommates here away from school and responsibilities. However, it now appears that wherever there are small children around, I will revert to teacher mode. Being at the aquarium and looking around in wonder made me remember what I love about education, and museum education in particular. The kids were fascinated by everything around them and excited to engage with the presentations. That, is the best part of teaching, not the fighting and the lying and the constant breaking of pencils (it's not an accident. They do it on purpose. To torment me so that the sound of the electric sharpener never leaves my brain).

I spent much of Saturday sleeping, as somewhere in the jostling of my purse at the museum, I accidently activated my alarm clock on my phone. The one that is set to go off at 5:30 in the morning. I was so confused when it went off, especially since my phone was in the living room and I was deep asleep -- although I missed my roommate this weekend while she was back in Nashville, I'm so glad it did not wake her up as well at that hour! Needless, I fought any urge to get up and be productive and, let me tell you, --- it was glorious. I did finally get up to head out to a barbecue that some of the 2009 corps members threw in celebration of the 4th. I've barely had a chance to see some of the other Nashville corps since we started teaching since we're at several different schools and teaching different grades/subjects, so it was yet another reminder this weekend that I was a real person sometimes not just "Ms. A"