Saturday, October 28, 2006

Yet another classic third grade moment...

Friday afternoon I'm sitting at my computer as my student teacher finishes up a lesson. She asks the class to line up, which they do. All except for A. Who, for unknown reasons, wanders over to me. Here's what she had to say:
A: "Mrs. S, you have a really long gray hair right there." (Pointing to my head.)
Me: "Thanks A, I've got a few of them....go line up please."
A: "Yeah, wait, I see some, two, three, four, five, six...."
Me: "Thanks A, you can stop counting now. Line up please."
A: "Why do you have so many gray hairs? Aren't you too young for them? My Mom doesn't even have that many."
Me: "A, line up now."
A: "What's the matter Mrs. S?"
Me: "Nothing, A....I'd just like you to line up now, it's time for gym."

Again, nothing like third graders to share their honesty with you....

Friday, October 27, 2006

A scene in a third grade classroom

Picture this: I am standing before a group of twenty three third graders. They are reasonably silent because they are munching on various snacks-- apples, doritos, yogurt...the usual. I am holding several new books that just came in from our new book order, eager to share them with my students. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: "So, boys and girls, this author also wrote Frindle, The School Story and Janitor's Boy...." I trail off as a hand shoots in the air. Thinking I am going to hear about one of the books I just mentioned (you may not know them but they are great books, and third graders love them!) I call on the student. "Yes, S?"
S: "Mrs. S, I think something's wrong with your neck, it's all red."
Me: "Hmmm, well, I don't know what's wrong, I'm sure it's fine. Back to this book, it says it's a mystery or two, which is making me wonder why the author...." I trail off again, as another hand shoots in the air. Thinking that this student might notice that I just used one of our more recent reading comprehension words and have something to add, I call on him.
M: "Mrs. S, I think you have a rash, your neck is splotchy."
Me: "Yes, S just said that, I don't know what it is, but I'm, anyways, as I was saying, if you enjoy mysteries, or this author, then you'll probably enjoy this new book. The next books are a series, do you know the Black Lagoon Series?" Several hands shoot in the air, as soon as I say that. I choose one.
K: "Mrs. S, your neck is red, are you OK?"
Me: AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!! (That was in my head.) What I said was: "OK, boys and girls, I understand that my neck is red, I feel just fine, I don't know why it's red, but I'm sure it will go away."

Third graders.....

Friday, October 20, 2006

Working within the system

At one point in college I was about five minutes away from getting arrested. Shocking, right? Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not the getting arrested type. Well, we were staging a demonstration. A sit in to be precise. We walked into the Admissions office and sat ourselves down until someone listened to what we were saying. Interestingly, it wasn't the threat of arrest that drew us out of that building, but the threat of expulsion. Even then, crazy college kids that we were, we knew that in order to get things done we needed to work within the system. To a certain extent. And there is no way you can do that if you are kicked out of that system.
It might have been a hard won lesson, but it was a lesson learned nonetheless. But sometimes, the system is really really really frustrating. For the past seven months I've been involved with contract negotiations for our district. We recently had a meeting for mediation. A fifteen and a half hour long meeting. (Yes you read that right. It started at 4:00 and ended at 7:30 the next morning. The most amazing part is not that it lasted that long but that I made it through the whole meeting caffeine free!) And in the end we walked away. With, essentially, nothing. Why you ask? Well, simply put, we didn't like what they had to offer. And that's putting it mildly. We couldn't stage a sit in, but we sure could walk out. So that's what we did. Knowing that we had to start all over again. Knowing that our next step, arbitration, was a crapshoot. Knowing that in the end the people we represent won't be happy with what we end up with....we walked away. Sometimes, even when you are working within the system, you need to send a strong message.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Life, in a Nutshell

BareNaked Ladies, has a song titled Life, In a Nutshell. I'm not sure why this post, as it formulates in my head, makes me think of that song, but it does.
Awhile ago, Russ drove home with a brand new car. In the midst of driving around the block with him at 10:00 at night, it hit me, my god we've moved quickly. In three years we've met, gotten engaged, moved in together, gotten married, bought a house, and are now trying to start a family. As I write that, it sounds like a lot, but it all feels so natural. What amazes me is how each journey we take together is all so new. Meeting and getting married was so....big. Taking that step, knowing it was forever. It seems like everything else after that shouldn't feel as big as that moment (except for maybe giving birth). But somehow, looking for a new house, redoing a kitchen, buying a car....these all somehow feel like big moments too.
Sometimes I look at veteran colleagues and I wonder if they remember what it was like to be where we are now. Does it get any better than this? I can't imagine it could it? But then I think about three years ago, when we met, and I thought that way then. And two years ago when we got engaged and I was convinced that was the best feeling....then a year ago when we got married I figured that was it, I was on top of the world and no way could it get better. And somehow it does.
I started this post, not really knowing where it was going, but determined to follow it to its end and here I am. Amazed, once again, at how life marches on and somehow gets better and better the older you get....