Monday, September 27, 2010

Coming Up for Air

The last two weeks have been very busy. I am trying to get used to being a mother who keeps her children fed and clean and read to, and a teacher who is available to her students before and after school while keeping up with all the paperwork, and a wife whose husband doesn't have to listen to her whine about how tired she is (at least not every day), and someone who is NOT going to end up on an episode of "Hoarders: Buried Alive."

Last night we cleaned the house (it doesn't take that long when we all pitch in) and the week got off to a good start. For one thing, the weather is cooler--it was below 60 degrees when we left this morning. Friday is the last day of the grading period: another milestone to celebrate. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

In Which I Explain How Much I Love My Job

Another week down! I have no idea how many weeks are left in the school year (I just know it's a lot, so why count?) and anyway, I feel like I'm getting in the groove. I am loving my job! It helps that this week we got the textbooks, so we could start teaching actual literature. Yay!

I love teaching juniors, too. I was right when I guessed that they would be much more cooperative than middle schoolers or freshmen (my two long-term assignments from last year). Yet the juniors do not have senioritis, so they still have some motivation to do the work. They also have to pass the TAKS test this year in order to graduate, which is another level of motivation.

The kids seem to enjoy being in my class, too. I know it's more important to be respected than to be liked, and this is something I have struggled with in the past ("If I punish this kid, they'll think I'm a MEAN TEACHER, oh NOOOOO!") but I also think that getting to know the kids and enjoying the things they say helps them WANT to be in my class and therefore they are more willing to learn from me. I love it when students share their thoughts with me, whether in class or in private; when they tell me about their extracurricular activities, whether that be sports, dance, or color guard; and when I manage to get the quiet ones to respond to my "good morning" as I greet them at the door.

My best compliment this week: the students were answering some questions that required slightly more higher-level thinking than just "What happened in the story?" and a few kids weren't getting it, so I was trying to rephrase the questions and lead them to come up with the answers themselves instead of just giving it away. One of the other students who'd figured it out herself said to me, "Oh my God, you are so patient. I would be screaming at them about now." I smiled and said, "Well, if I weren't patient, I'd need to get another job." More than once in my life I have felt as if I would never learn to be patient--when something comes easily for me, like my student felt about the questions, I have been like, "Why can't you just get this?!?"--and so this felt great, not just the compliment but also the feeling of being patient while not giving in to their transparent attempts to get me to just tell them the answer. I completely credit my children for giving me lots of practice in this area, by the way.

Labor Day weekend has been good too. Justin and I took Mr. Blue to my school's first home football game (Miss Pink was at a sleepover) and it was so fun. It was great to feel a part of the community, especially now that I'm a teacher (and also my ticket was free!) We ended up leaving at halftime, because it was Mr. Blue's bedtime and he was tired of sitting (relatively) still. He barely watched the game even though we had great seats right at the front, but he did like watching the mascot and playing with some other boys.

Saturday was...not so great. We got woken up twice, when Miss P was brought home from the sleepover (long story) and when Justin had to spend half an hour coughing up a lung. So we were both pretty sleep-deprived, but he still had to deliver some furniture pieces he'd built. I spent the day with a headache and the house looked like a bomb had gone off in it. Actually, a bomb might have been an improvement--maybe some of the dirt would've been blasted off the surfaces. I've never been a great housekeeper, but when I stayed home, I did do some cleaning. But last weekend I was recuperating from my first week of school and I didn't clean anything except the dishes and dirty laundry. So the house was truly disgraceful and I felt too yucky to tackle it. I did, however, manage to make some tasty chicken fried rice, so that was a win.

That evening, I complained about my face hurting, and Justin said, "Well, take some MEDICINE, then!" He said I always do that, and it's true. So I took a Claritin-D and slept wonderfully, and woke up refreshed, and all was right with the world. (Also, no one woke me up with his coughing.) I took another nap Sunday after lunch, heroically faced Wal-Mart to get much-needed groceries, and still had enough energy to muster the troops to clean most of the house. I still need to dust (seriously, I think nothing's been dusted all summer--hey, I wonder why I'm having allergy problems?) and vacuum, but it's mostly done, and we're having friends over for dinner tonight, and I don't even mind that I have to go back to work tomorrow.

P.S. If I already like my job this much, what's it going to be like when I actually get a paycheck?