Hello everyone, I’m relaxing. I’m telling you this right off the bat because it’s something I haven’t done in a very long time. So long, in fact, I’ve all but forgotten how to actually do it. So, I guess what I should have said was, I think I’m relaxing.
Writing this post is relaxing. Knowing I don’t have to work tomorrow is relaxing. Eating a real breakfast this morning instead of shoveling an english muffin in my mouth as I gun it to work was relaxing. Having time to wonder whether or not I’m relaxing is relaxing.
What I’m really concerned about, I guess, is whether or not there’s a set list of activities that can be qualified as relaxing, and if you’re doing anything other than those activities, you’re not technically relaxing. Should I make a t-chart of “Relaxing” and “Not Relaxing” to clearly outline those activities?
If the t-chart reference didn’t make it clear enough, I should add a disclaimer that I got all my lesson planning done yesterday so that I could come to Michigan and relax. So now the brain power I usually reserve for planning a week of lessons for 31 first graders is being used to thoroughly analyze what it means to relax. It was my goal for the weekend, after all.
I literally wrote “relax” on my to-do list for this weekend.
So damnit, I’m gonna relax. I might have an existential crisis about it first, but you better believe I’m gonna relax.
I’m sitting in a chair in a house in Michigan around other people who are, I think, relaxing. I’m near people reading books, playing video games, and shooting hoops. So, at the very least, I’m in the proximity of relaxation.
Does this mean I’m relaxing? If I want to grade papers once I’m done writing this blog, am I relaxing? Is overthinking whether or not you’re relaxing, relaxing?
Are you relaxing?
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It’s been a while since I’ve written a post on here. It’s been a while since I’ve done a lot of things that aren’t directly involved with teaching first grade. 95% of my life is teaching, 5% of the time is me trying really hard to think about things besides teaching. I’m successful at the 5% half of the time.
I’m writing on Sundays now after sending Benny Jay a text that said, “I’m sorry I’ve been such a slacker. But during the week I have no idea what day it is.” and he responds, “How about Sunday?” and here I am.
I’m looking forward to writing on Sundays because it’s one of the rare days I can piece together a train of thought that’s longer than 20 words long. There’s also so much to complain about on Sundays, and complaining is what I do best, so it’s a goldmine for me.
We all know that after Sunday is Monday, and Mondays are the first day of the work week for most of us, and therefore terrible. So, Sunday is dreadful by association.
You know what else is dreadful by association? America. America is fucking dreadful.
The Sunday Scaries can’t hold a candle to the Trump Scaries. Not that I want to hold a candle anywhere these days because everything is so close to exploding.
Like I lose track of the days of the week, I’ve lost track of all the horrible things Trump has already unleashed on our country. I’ve lost track of what rights I still have. I’ve lost track of the millions of people that have absolutely no rights left. I’ve lost track of the public services that are becoming obsolete for reasons I can’t keep track of.
I’ve lost track of how many hours I will spent and still want to spend working to make sure my students know that they’re smart and capable in a world that’s being created to privatize everything and make every corner of this country into a corporation.
So, sometimes I’ll use this blog to talk about all the things I’m scared of, all the things that I forget and then remember, and all the things I want to change.
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Let me just admit it, I have been MIA. I promise that I still love The Third City very much, it just being a teacher is busy. Especially being a teacher in her first year. Especially when you’re a teacher in her first year and winter break is coming up.
Especially Especially Especially when you’re constantly panicking about whether or not you’re doing a great job. Good job. Fine job. Decent job. Please let me keep my job.
But let’s talk more about that at a later date. This panic is not going anywhere.
Here I am, on my second week of winter break, and finally able to type words into computer in a way that makes sense. Well, as much sense as I usually make.
My first week of winter break aka “The Holidays” was awesome. I hung out with people I love every single day and ate so much food. So much food. So much delicious delicious food. Fine, I drank a lot too. And slept even more than that.
Coming down from the high that was bingeing on everything I love for a week straight has been rough. I’m starting to settle into the idea that maybe I’ll be going back to work someday which means someday soon I’ll be unable to wake up whenever the hell I wanted.
This is sad for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I love my job. I have thought about both excessively over the last 1.5 weeks. But am I ready to wake up before 11am? Not quite yet.
I went grocery shopping yesterday for healthy food that I’m hoping will get me energized and out of bed at an hour resembling my wake up time during school. It was a cart filled with veggies and lean proteins and there wasn’t any alcohol in or around it’s perimeter. Mostly because I knew I had half a bottle of wine and plenty of beer at home, but also because I’m working towards not being so obsessed with unwinding via alcohol. Some would say it’s a bad habit.
But here I am, hoping that 2017 has big plans for me and my “bad” habits.
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I am reporting live from the after school program and let me tell you, basically all I’m doing is trying to get kids to stay quiet and do their homework. The number one job requirement for any teaching job should be: You gotta know how to keep kids quiet.
Really, it’s hard.
I get the pleasure of being in charge of Homework Help for the 3rd-5th graders tonight, a nice break from the 6-8th graders I’m usually with. Though the kids tonight are younger, they’re not any more interested in listening to me tell them to be quiet. They’re even less interested in being quiet. As long as I get them to stay relatively low volume and I don’t hear any curse words, I consider the after school session a victory.
My class during the day? That’s another story entirely. At the beginning of the school year, it was a straight up circus. I think at some point I had become numb to the noise and just sort of went through my day thinking it was ok a few kids were talking when I was talking. Two weeks in, my headaches didn’t stop and I realized it was because I pretty much spent my entire day trying to talk over loud six year olds.
So I decided that these kids were gonna shut their mouths and listen. My “Be Quiet” crusade began. I tried a few different methods:
Consistently telling them to be quiet
Calling parents to have them talk to their especially loud children (this I still do)
Writing names down on the board of kids who were in trouble
A behavior chart (this I also still do)
and a rewards chart that moves up or down depending on how correct the kids are acting that day. It has things like “sweet treat”, “pizza party”, etc.. on it that the kids can build up to. Some would call it child bribery, I call it the best fucking thing to happen to my classroom.
Telling my kids to be quiet got them quiet for a few minutes, telling them they get extra recess if they close their mouths, that’ll keep them quiet the entire week.
Positive reinforcement has been the miracle drug I’ve been waiting for. Thanking the children who are behaving correctly leads to the others kids fixing their behavior faster than my telling them to fix it ever could.
Moving my kids up on the “giraffe chart” towards things like a dance party ensures 95% of my class shuts their pie hole.
And let’s be honest, if I told you I’d through you a pizza party if you just shut your mouth while I was talking, you’d shut the hell up too.
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In the wake of the jetstream of bullshit that has occurred over the last month, I wanted to bring up just how thankful I am for strong amazing women. Namely, my best friends, but also the millions of women who get up and work hard and empower the people around them.
Trump launched his attack on women a long time ago, but it’s been in the spotlight as of recently. As you may have heard.
So, here I am, reminding everyone how thankful I am for amazing women and how they’ve helped me through the last 28 years.
I am thankful that I have role models I can relate to.
I am thankful that I can call any of my best friends and tell them about my day and they listen and love me no matter what.
I am thankful that none of the women I love ask me when I’m getting married.
I am thankful that all the women in my life support me following my dreams to become a teacher and still support me now that I am, finally, a teacher.
I am thankful to the strong women on my staff who continue to support me and their students everyday.
I am thankful to the hard working mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, etc.. who get their children to my classroom every morning and do homework with them every night.
I am thankful to the single mothers who can’t get their children to school every morning because they’re doing this by themselves and only have so much energy. I am thankful that they still show up to parent-teacher conferences.
I am thankful to all the women who have built me up to be the woman I am today. I am proud to be a woman because of them. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished because of them.
Thank the women in your life who are sitting around your Thanksgiving table tomorrow and tell them how much it means to you that they showed up to a table to give thanks in a country that just elected Donald Trump President.
Thank Planned Parenthood.
Thank the women of color who aren’t properly represented under the blanket term “women” because racism is still so real.
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I am feeling nothing, sadness, anger, disappointment, more anger, more sadness, and even more nothing.
I am angry with myself for not realizing how possible this apocalypse was. Do I need to start going to church? This must be what the end of the world looks like.
I am wondering: How did this happen? Did I let this happen? What have we done?
Spending the last few weeks telling myself that Americans would “Do the right thing” in last nights election, but then waking up to “Trump is President” as a headline this morning was jarring. I am sitting here stunned. I have no jokes to write. I cannot produce anything that would even remotely muster a smile.
Today I am scared. I am overwhelmed and I am so scared. Inherently good people are a heartbreaking minority and that fact was dumped on my head last night & this morning as I watched the results.
I stayed late at work last night, grading papers and getting ready for report card pick up. I drove home knowing that Trump was “ahead” but still felt calm about it turning out for Hillary.
Then I got home and watched the news and realized how lazy & naive I’d been to trust this country to do anything mildly progressive in the year 2016.
So here I am wondering still: How did this happen? Did I let this happen? What have we done?
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I had my first session with a personal trainer last Thursday, and I’m happy to say that almost a week later I can finally walk normally again.
I literally spent the last week hobbling. Getting up and down stairs was a straight up nightmare. Trying to move fast was impossible. No one could come within an inch of me without me screaming “BE CAREFUL”
But, what else is new?
My trainer was nice, and tiny, enough. She started me out fast & furious and about 10 minutes in I had to turn to her and say, “Look, I’m gonna puke if we keep this up.” So I went and sat on the toilet for 10 minutes and then came back out and we finished our work out. Thankfully, she now understood how brutally out of shape I was and went sort of easy on me. I still had to do a few rounds of plank, so it was no picnic.
I would say the best part of the work out was that I survived it. I would say the worst part of the workout was that the trainer thought we could chat as I worked out.
I was literally jumping in the air with weights in my hands doing my best to just take air in my body and let air back out, and she asks “So, what’re you doing this weekend?” to which I tried to respond, but I don’t remember what I said because it took so much energy to form words on top of minor physical exertion, I momentarily blacked out.
After our session she wanted to be cheerful and excited for our next sessions. I tried to reciprocate, but in my head I was just thinking, “I need to go get in a wheelchair, hopefully I’m able to be mobile by our next session!”
I probably actually responded something more along the lines of, “SEE YA!”
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