Friday, November 19, 2010

Update....a bit dated

Overwhelming..maddening..exhausting...satisfying...exhilarating...confusing...lost...found....that describes my first couple of months teaching Advanced Placement World History. I really wish that I had come back here and had been documenting what a journey it has been. I am not sure if there is anything that could have prepared me for the "I've dropped the reins..the horse is tearing towards the we go...ahhhhh" ride that it has been. It is a totally different beast from regular classes but don't let anyone tell you that you're lucky to have these classes because they're easier. Oh no no. Now yes, I get the kids going with a prompt, lesson or project and it is amazing to watch them brainstorm, create and just take things to a whole new level. It's humbling at times how smart, hardworking and creative these kids can be. But there are time when I do not feel as smart, hardworking and creative as them and I am sometimes forced to bluff because I am relearning and sometimes learning this stuff along with them. I really should learn to play poker again(well...if I had time) because I can bluff with the best. I'm even a good bullshitter too. I'm not proud. One silly thing but major to me at the time that threw me for a loop and blew up my confidence like a first year teacher is the fact that in my district, kids can drop your class after the first six weeks. So...just about the time I learned my students' names and got some sort of routine down...suddenly there are empty desks and the whole dynamics change. Now, some of the kids who dropped..they were really way over their heads and I kinda breathed a sigh of relief. But I gotta say, my feelings were a bit hurt by the kiddos who were solid B students heading toward A's who dropped also. I was bereft. The 11th grade AP US history tried to convince me that it was for the best but I felt rejected. Until one day, I was moping around after another kid dropped and one of my students said, "Ms. 100 Farmers, don't worry about it. It's not about you. They like you. We like your class. They just didn't want to do the readings." And suddenly, I may not have had both reins in my hands but at least I was veering away from the cliff. I'm not going to lie and say I'm not wholeheartedly looking forward to winter break, but the whole history "geek" feeling of really getting into the hows and the whys is making dormant brain cells come to life. I may not be riding on an educational thoroughbred at the moment but this cattle pony seems to be veering well out of the ditches.

Monday, July 19, 2010

(Not so) Floating trip

Kinda amusing that my last post talks about that which doesn't kill you because I tried my darnedest to do it to myself recently. To make a long story short..when floating down the Frio river and hitting rapids:
1. Let go of inner tube next to you if it does indeed pull you under the water and flips you over
2. Instead of worrying about your expensive sunglasses(which you should not have worn in the first place)..head for surface of water
3. Do not try to surface under large group of inner tubers
4. Do not panic and attempt to breathe water
5. Even though you are in the water..floundering like a fish does NOT help
6. Even if your bathing suit bottoms are around your ankles....mouth to mouth is more embarrassing...head to land quickly
7. Help from strangers is always life affirming even if they are first graders
8. A float trip can still be quite enjoyable once you are finished belching up river water

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June stands for adjusting

That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Meh. If stronger means ulcers and a generally pissy attitude. No seriously, have weathered another year of teaching and if I'm technically not stronger, my roots are dug in deeper at least. I was blessed with students that I truly enjoyed and an inspiring student teacher the second semester. Even with the continual torrential bursts of unprofessional behavior from my supposed "coteacher", I can still say it was a year of growth. Now, knowing that my"coteacher" has a new assignment next year and that I get to teach the AP classes, also tends to temper whatever residual pissiness I may have from our last couple of classes together. I have achieved my first summer sunburn and even though I accidentally nearly drowned myself in the Comal River on Monday, it's all good. We are"adjusting" here. I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I don't have a tv nor receive a newspaper anymore. I know that at times I am probably missing some important news but I've found it quite liberating w/o the constant harangue of sensationalism and hyped mediocre news. I was horrified though on our first day back from break to get news that one of our juniors died a block from school in a car wreck the Tuesday before Christmas. He hadn't been one of my students but I knew him and would have definitely attended the memorial service. Nothing was communicated through email or our phone call tree that we use. I had to be told by one of my usual morning visiting student and didn't receive any news from administration until it was mentioned in our weekly email bulletin along with news about our usual faculty meeting on Thursday. No moment of silence, no mention of memorial..nothing except for "Counselors are available for students having difficulty with grief." I know that it's the week before semester exams and that students can be unduly influenced emotionally by things around them but it just seems so cold and uncaring for the day to pass w/o an acknowledgement of the loss of this young man. I don't know exactly what the school could have done but this impersonal action is one thing about my large "recognized" suburban school that I find "unacceptable".