Tuesday, January 29, 2008

hearts all over the world

I have started reading Tolstoy's Ana Karenina by email with DailyLit. It's going to take me 430 days, but I think that might be the only way to get through the beast. DailyLit is actually a great way to read literary classics, if you don't mind dragging it out a bit, and they have a ton of books available (the classics are free, but I think you have to pay for more recent publications). I think I might start Flaubert's Madame Bovary as well. I think my only problem is that I want to read more than 20 minutes of a novel a day... We'll see how this goes.

I found a great article this morning about Georgia schools paying their students to study so I've been asking my students to read it and journal about it and we've been having the best discussions. They actually are critical thinkers, they just only want to think critically about certain things! Sometimes that's hard for me to remember when I read some of their superficial, shallow, mindless writing. Today has been a nice break from the norm. We'll see how sixth period does.

I realized yesterday how much better my classes (sixth period especially) are doing. I gave out my first referral of second semester yesterday during sixth to a student that just transferred into my class. As his behavior was ramping up, leading to the referral, the other students started shooting him looks and whispering "Stop. You need to stop. She'll kick you out. You have to be good in this class."

It's not that my students are afraid of me, I think, it's just that I have made my expectations clear for their work and their behavior and they know there are clear and consistent consequences for their actions. My new students don't know that yet and are pushing my limits to see how much I'll tolerate (not much, as they will soon learn). The best part of it all is that I don't even have to tell them to stop - the other students do it for me! They don't like to see me upset anymore than I like getting upset.

Teaching has gotten easier and easier this year and I feel really confident about myself as an educator and a role model for my students. One of my EL's is writing his firsthand biographical essay about me, and was trying to describe why I'm not like other teachers in his broken English. I think what he finally concluded was that I'm "different" because I "sit on the tables" (don't tell the administration!) and I talk to them about what they did over the weekend and what TV shows they watch and, basically, treat them like real people.

My biggest problem with working in a big school, incidentally, is that I don't feel like the students are treated like real people - they're numbers. It doesn't help that we're in Program Improvement and in danger of getting some funding cut. I don't want my kids to be successful so my numbers look good - I just don't care about that. I want them to do well because they're learning and because they are getting excited about something and... I just don't feel like that is highly valued because that takes time and the numbers can't wait for the time I need to accomplish that kind of success with a lot of my students.

I have a "date" tomorrow night which is pretty exciting. It feels nice to have something other than finishing my thesis to look forward to. :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

feel it capsize

I'm wide awake and so alive
Ringing like a bell
Tell me this is paradise
And not someplace I fell
'Cause I keep on fallin' down

Just push me 'til I have to fly
I've shed my skin, my scars
Take me deep out past the lights
Where nothing dims these stars
Nothing dims these stars

I wanna let go and know
That I'll be alright, alright

Thursday, January 24, 2008

this earthquake weather

OK, things are getting ridiculous. All of my friends' newest Facebook updates (See Megan. See Megan work on her thesis. See Megan get distracted by online networking. See Megan disgusted with herself...) are pictures of their babies.


Although with as often as I talk about my thesis, I might as well take pictures of that and post it on my Facebook. I guess it's sort of taken on a life of its own at this point... I kind of feel like I'm in labor. A long, painful, 20-week long labor.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

back to your heart

More thesis updates. After sitting in class yesterday, naseous for three straight hours, I packed up my things and drove to my parents' house. I will get my outcome data analysis done today. I will. Tomorrow night I have a soccer game at Off the Wall and I still need to lesson plan for this week, but right now I resolve to focus only on writing.

Last night my mom made me watch The Notebook with her and I almost vomitted from the sappiness. Is the book just as ridiculous and predictable? And I wonder, Is it that I don't believe in love like that period or I just don't believe it will happen to me? It made me feel terribly depressed and wonderfully self-sufficient at the same time. Whatever the case, I started rereading The Time Traveller's Wife (for the 4th? 5th? 63rd time?) last night, which is far more my style anyhow. It helps me believe that supremely disfunctional people are destined for great things and great love and it also makes me want to quit my job and move to Chicago and become a librarian at the Newberry.

No matter. Data triangulation, ahoy!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

this will pass like yesterday

Yesterday I told myself, "I will write for three hours today!" but instead I went to Ikea and bought a bookcase and went grocery shopping and cleaned my bathroom and did laundry and cooked butternut squash deliciousness.

Today I told myself, "I will come home from church and do my writing and make graphs!" but all I've accomplished so far is assembling the bookcase from yesterday and writing this blog.

Gah! Let it be March already!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

made for each other

I don't make New Years' Resolutions, but this works for me:

"Our lives are nothing but the stories we tell ourselves. If you don't like the story your life has become -- tell yourself a better one."
-Millionaire Mommy Next Door