Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Summer

Finally.

Summer arrived.

Really arrived. High 90's for days in a row. And, a windy, rainstorm last night.

But here I am.


Drinking my coffee.

Reading my book.

Watching the waves.

NOT complaining about the heat
or lake flies

Because last month at this time there was still snow and ice hanging around.

Also. I don't have to go back to school today and finish up. Retired teachers don't have to go to school after Memorial Day.

I don't have to cook or clean or anything else I don't want to do because

I am at the lake.

Finally Celebrating Summer

Who's going to complain about lake flies and heat?

NOT ME.

Literally a month ago, northern Iowa still had snow on the ground. Ice out at the lake was not official until April 30th. I wasn't sure we'd ever open the cabin. A bit dramatic, I know. But it just seemed like winter and April lasted forever.

But here we are. The first official week of summer. I finished subbing Friday at 12:35pm. I don't have to go back to finish up Tuesday. I'm going to stay at the cabin and just enjoy.

I'm pretty sure Stephen King put out his new book just for me this summer. And the weatherman certainly heard me wishing for summer temps. Of course, he may have taken it a little too far. I'm not sure we needed 95 degrees quite so soon...


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

#sol18 The End Again

Well, I'm almost done. Friday is the last day of school and the last day of my long-term sub. I'll walk out the door with the students for summer vacation.

Some things were fairly easy. Some were harder than expected. There are things that I wish I had done differently.

I would have changed the book in the Modern Lit class from Gatsby to something I was more familiar with. I regret kids didn't have a good experience with the book. For a while, it wasn't for sure I would finish the year, so sticking with the plan was the way to go. But this group wasn't really meant for Gatsby. I know that because I taught most of them before. Even with a whole class novel, you have to think about the composition of the class.

While most of my classes were high school classes I taught before, there were two classes of eighth graders that I finished the year with. I would have set my deadlines with the 8th graders. There was some taking advantage of the sub for a little bit and because my time, in the beginning, was open-ended, it was difficult to convince some of them to stay on task. Even when I told them I was finishing the year with them, I was a sub, not a "real teacher". Boy. Could I have used a few high school kids to fill them in!

It had been a while since I taught junior high/middle schoolers and there were a few things I forgot

  • There is no room big enough for 8th-grade boys.
  • They touch each other ALL THE TIME. 
  • Most are in constant motion.
  • They are loud, even when they try not to be.
  • They come in many different sizes.
  • No matter the size, most are really awkward.
  • Anything can be turned into sexual innuendo
  • They think old lady subs are clueless about sexual innuendo.
  • They want you to like them, even when they act like they don't.
Next year I'll be filling in for a friend when she takes maternity leave, and I think that will be a bit easier. For one, I'll be more prepared!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday Tired

I forgot about being Friday tired.

Teaching all week. Grading papers. Working with students. A little lesson planning.

I forgot about being Friday tired.

But whoa!

Right now, sitting in the last class of the day (who are remarkably quiet and busy) I am having to work to keep my eyes open. I graded a couple of quizzes, but, right now,  I can't face the rest of the assignments that need a grade. They are going to have to wait.

Wait until tomorrow morning when I will wake up at whatever time I want. Wait until after I've had several cups of really good coffee. Wait until I've had a little lake time to breathe.

They certainly aren't going anywhere and I know I can get them graded in a short time when I am not Friday tired.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Shower Thoughts

The best ideas come to me in the shower.

And today, I even remembered it after the shower!

"What am I going to do with the 8th graders?"
"What am I going to do with the 8th graders?"
"What am I going to do with the 8th graders?"


This last week, those words just kept running through my head. Once they finished this writing assignment, what would they do? There would be another week of school left!

And then as I was washing my hair, it hit me--or maybe I rubbed it in--
The fun writing activities I used to do in Creative Writing!  I'll set up stations with directions and give them choices to write about.

Better than a movie. Better than sitting and doing nothing.

We can make this work.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

#sol18 Walking with Grandpa

I see the girls first.
Twirling,
Skipping,
Walking backward.

They make me smile with their simple joy. And then I notice who they are walking to school with. It has to be Grandpa and his old black lab. They are walking slowly, and you can tell, Grandpa is listening intently to the animated conversations he's being gifted with this morning. I think how lucky they all are, to have these special moments in the morning.

The girls will head into school and start their day having been listened to, loved and appreciated. Grandpa and the lab will head home with smiles and Gramps will chuckle several times throughout the day thinking about the conversation as they walked. They too will have been listened to, loved and appreciated. Isn't that a lovely way to start your day?

And me? I start my school day with a smile too and an appreciation for the little things.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Just Like Riding a Bike

I don't know what or why. But I'm doing an emergency long-term sub position at my old high school. A call yesterday to sub today. And then the "Are you open? Can you do the rest of the week? Maybe the rest of the year?" I know I will sub tomorrow, but I really don't know about the rest of the year. Yet.

I will because I know it's an emergency.
I will because the classes are mostly the ones I left a year ago.
I got this.
And I can figure out the rest.

It's amazing how you can step back into the classroom so quickly.

I handled eighth graders by introducing myself (that was strange) and going around and talking to them all individually while they worked on a speech. If I'm going to work with them, I've got to make connections quickly.

The upperclassmen next door laughed when they heard me with the eighth graders--especially the boys. And they really thought it was strange to hear me introduce myself. "You're a legend, Mrs. Day. How do they not know you?"

Two of the lit classes I've taught before are reading books I know quite well. No problem with discussions there. We'll take it one day at a time and we'll all be ready. One lit class is reading Gatsby and it's been quite a while since I read that. If I have to finish the year, I'll be reading it over the weekend.

Connecting. Reading. Planning.

I've got this.