Sunday, October 16, 2011

Life in the Book Lane

Today I turned 45 and I got all these books for my birthday. Actually there are a few more not on this stack. Best birthday ever! Now I just need hours and days and weeks and months to get through all of them. Barnes and Noble had a "buy two classics, get one free" deal going on, so we took advantage. They were not expensive to begin with. So happy day. As I an thinking of being a teacher someday, there are so many books and I haven't read, and I am just not feeling prepared! So many books, so little time. At least they make a great centerpiece.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Life in the School Lane

Wow. My head hurts. It is not used to the information that is being crammed between is flabby, squishy walls. It is used to being filled with light, airy subjects like books, family, PTA and how to get out of making dinner and the second hour of church. Or whether to order the pork salad OR the burrito at Cafe Rio. Not things like common core, scaffolding a lesson, unpacking a standard, objectives, rubrics and accountability. Sheesh.

My brain is stretched beyond capacity. So when more data tries to find a spot it strains the walls and causes inflammation and discomfort that can otherwise be called a headache. In other words, I am having a medical reaction caused by a foreign ( and how!) intellectualism. Like a pebble in a shoe. A similar analogy is the class sizes in today's English classes. The brain is like a classroom that  can't get bigger. Students have to adapt by sitting at tables instead of desks, and it is often uncomfortable.

Here is the conversation I have been having with my brain:

Brain: (with conviction) This stuff is hard to absorb. If nothing else, there's too much of it. Get rid of some of it. You are not sleeping, and when you don't sleep then I don't sleep, remember? You  do remember those REM patterns that I HAVE to have to function? I cannot process all this!!

Me: (sheepishly) I know. I can't get rid of all this stuff.  If I get rid of it, I will not pass this class. I will do all I can to sleep better so you can perform better.

Brain: (with resignation) OK, just this once I will try to stretch a bit more. But I can't make any promises. I get tired, too.

Me. (with gratitude) Thanks for trying as hard as you can. When we are through with this tough part you get to do some fun stuff like watch a movie (you like that, right?) stare off into space, look at pretty leaves and sleep more.

Then under my breath I say, " Until the next round of info comes barreling down the track."

Brain: Goody!

And so it goes.

A side note: Thirty five to forty kids in a class is standard not the exception. I kept hoping to see some smaller class sizes when I switched from high school to junior high last week, but no, they are packed in like sardines, too.

An observation: Some teachers measure the stacks of papers to grade by inches and feet. No kidding. But today a teacher from Orem High came to our class to teach us his technique for handling the paper shuffle and I will definitely adopt his method. There is hope.

This class ends in two weeks. I can't believe how fast and furious it has been.