Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The sun'll come out...

So, we went to see Annie, Jr. today as a second grade field trip. So much fun, and the production was terrific. But then we got back to school, and several of the parent chaperones unloaded on me about not being able to wait in the commons to leave in the morning (because it was state testing) and about having to watch 4 (!) kids for 10 minutes when we got back (because they had left early and we had to wait to make sure that everyone was accounted for in their cars). And then I just feel like I've been trying to work with my class all year to be kind and respectful to each other, and it just feels like we haven't gotten anywhere, and then seeing the parents this morning made me feel like I understand why, but the upshot is that I am very discouraged today.

I feel like we should be in that time of the year where we are able to enjoy each other and the things we're doing more but instead, I feel like I'm still in the first six weeks of school and have been all year.

I don't think it helped that we came back and had to eat lunch in our rooms because we'd missed lunch in the cafeteria and we had to eat almost silently because testing was almost finished but not quite and we'd missed all of our specials for the day so I had to grab a passing teacher just to run down and grab my lunch and take a quick bathroom break before having everyone for almost four more hours!

Oh, woe is me! Ok, I do really have some perspective on this, and know that things could be worse. So, I am going to try and take to heart the words from the inimitable Annie's theme song, "Tomorrow," have a martini, and call it a night.

After all, it is only a day away.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How do I feel stressed? Let me count the ways...

Yikes! I almost didn't post tonight. Ruth and Stacey, from Two Writing Teachers, are taking the week off, and so I almost forgot to write tonight. I was hoping that it wouldn't get so crazy that I put off the writing, because I'm already lamenting not being able to make myself write every night. So, even though I was about to go to bed, because I went in early this morning (6:15) and I need to go in early again tomorrow (my son needs help with something but forgot to bring it home (argh!), I decided to sit down and write. Instead of going upstairs, lying in bed...and then letting my mind race with all of the things I need to do in the next 6 weeks of school...fractions2PYPunitsofstudy(yes, we're behind)readingassessmentspoetryunitfieldtrips2ofmychildren's birthdaysmyoldest'sfirstfencingtournament (out of town)...ack! Ok, I need to take a deep breath already.

Anyway, I am rereading Georgia Heard's For the Good of the Earth and Sun on teaching poetry, and every time I read it, I feel this lovely sense of calm and serenity. I think I want to be her, or at least be near her--maybe her calmness could waft over me and bring my mind-racing, anxiety-fueled persona back down to a normal range. On the other hand, at this time of the year, I'm not sure anything can do that!

Hopefully, after having had my anxiety attack already over all the things that need to be done, I can just go upstairs, lie in bed...and fall asleep.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Beach house memories...

Some of my fondest memories are of my family's old beach house. My mom would get everything ready and the car packed, so that when my dad came home from work around 8:00, we could hop in the car and get going. There was a cot laid in the back seat with 2 legs folded down and 2 on the floor and this crazy patchwork pillow that we used just for car trips for my sister and me. We'd start driving in the twilight, listening to the murmur of my parents' conversation and the strains of "Me and My Bobby Magee" on the 8-track. At some point, several hours later, I would wake up because there was a new smell in the car--the windows would be open and the salty air would wind itself in and around the seats and just barely ruffle my hair.

We were usually the last to arrive on a Friday night, and my grandparents and my aunts and uncles would be sitting up on the screened in front porch, waiting for my parents to carry us up, half-asleep, to the dorm room with the other cousins.

My favorite part was at night, when all of us kids had gone to bed. We slept in the dorm room, with four beds and two trundles pulled out, under posters of surfer girls in Hawaii, and, inexplicably, a poster of a ship sinking with the exhortation "Loose lips sink ships." We would climb into bed, our sheets always slightly damp from the humidity, always a little sandy, no matter how often you would try to brush off your feet before getting in, and talk and joke and giggle in the darkness, until a parent would come in and say that NOW we really had to go to sleep.

Then I would turn my head to the window, looking for the red light at the top of the water tower, listening to the sound of the waves rolling in, and to the adults--having taken over the screened in porch with a glass of wine or a martini, the red glow of someone's cigar, and their quiet conversation punctuated with sharp bursts of laughter, quickly smothered.

We have a new beach house now, much bigger and prettier and comfortable than the old. But I'd go back to the old house in a second if it also meant being able to count on having the whole family together again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Not your typical Tuesday...

Well, I wrote about my first tornado watch in Texas a few weeks ago, but since it is still so new to me, I'm writing about it again after today. During a meeting today, I asked my PYP coordinator if we had a new tornado plan (the school has grown, so apparently the old places to shelter during a possible tornado had to be moved around). She said she would check.

Well, wouldn't you know, we were under a tornado watch later in the afternoon. Then, around 2:15 or so, she came to me with the message, "Here is where your class goes if there is a tornado, and you should go there now."

What?! Right now? This instant, now?!

I know I felt a little wild inside, but I turned to the class and quietly told them to get in line and follow me. Then, I led my rowdy bunch of 20 second graders into...yes, the bathroom in the faculty lounge. We crowded into the space and then were joined by about 6 first graders.

At first, everyone was quiet as they worried a bit about whether we would actually get a tornado. Then, the silence was punctuated by some nervous giggles, a few tears (from the more drama-oriented girls in class), and some surprised yelps as the toilet flushed several times (it has an automatic sensor and flushed whenever someone moved). Of course, one student did scootch through everyone to tell me that she had to go to the bathroom--there's the power of suggestion!

As we waited, and waited for the all-clear, my little ones began to get restless. So we entertained ourselves with some math guessing games and a rousing rendition of "The Little Rooster and the Turkish Sultan."

Just as I was starting to feel lightheaded? dehydrated? from all of the hot air in the bathroom, the principal poked his head in and said everything was safe.

I'm glad everything turned out fine for us today. But I am thinking about others who lost their homes and businesses around our area. Tornadoes scare me because of their capriciousness--the destruction is so random.

Welcome to Texas, everyone is saying to me. Hmmm...I prefer my welcomes with a little more champagne and a little less worry about death and destruction.