Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Think It's Called "Having A Chip On Your Shoulder"

Everyone is talking about education lately. Everyone. I'm in a local coffee shop- people are talking about how boring classrooms have become. (Their solution? More photography. I love photography but, wha?). I'm at Whole Foods about to blow my wad on three items with fancy yet irresistible labels- people are talking about report cards and how it's ridiculous that they actually have to go to the school and get them from their child's teacher. I'm waiting in line at the deli (a.k.a. the fourth circle of Hell)- people are talking about the behavior management system in their child's class.

And my gut reaction to all of this? To boldly insert myself into their private conversation and ask what qualifies them to have this conversation, to judge the way we do things.

Think I have a chip on my shoulder?

Don't answer that.

I guess these days I just assume people are going to shit on teachers. I assume they are going to complain without pausing to recognize what is working. I assume they will be all critique and no constructive thought. I assume they're going to blame it all on the teacher.

Jaded much?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where's the Joy?

Yesterday I was walking out of a school, high on the fumes of learning (a.k.a. freshly sharpened pencils and glue) and feeling very productive.  I stowed my two overflowing bags (because any teacher worth her salt can't leave the classroom without a minimum of three projects) in the back of the car when I heard it.

I heard the laughter of children running around in the beautiful fall sunshine.  I stopped to watch two third graders run around the field next to their school attempting to climb a tree.  They were laughing and smiling and couldn't have a care in the world other getting up that tree.  And I thought to myself,

"This is bullshit."

Seriously.  Are you surprised?

In typical MeMonster (phrase coined by my internet BFF, the lovely Dr. Branstetter) fashion, those smiling, laughing faces made me think of myself.  They spent an entire day of school working and learning and trying and attending.  And now they get to fill their time with tree climbing, coloring, hanging with friends and stories before bedtime.  I spent an entire day of school working and learning and trying and attending.  And now I get to drive home, do a few loads of laundry, make dinner, write some lesson plans and get my read on because holy-cripes my professional book club meets next week and I haven't even broken the binding on that puppy!

Where is the joy I ask you?

(And if you tell me that you find joy in writing lesson plans, I will cut you.)  (Okay, I can find nerdy joy in a beautifully planned week or finding the perfect read aloud or even using a fabulous new teacher pen for the first time.)  (All right, and I can find joy in making progress with a little friend or watching a group of kids dig into a project I created.)  (And yeeeess, I do find joy in caring for my family...) (I'm starting to see your point.  I have a lot of professional joy and home life joy for which I'm very grateful.)

But still.

Mama needs a little joy for herself, don't you think?  Some tree climbing?  (Maybe not in these heels.)  Or a little art project?  Perhaps some yoga?  Sooooomething.

So, in true Mimi fashion, I began to list Possible Sources of Joy.

Okay.  I like art!  Let's see, there was that piece of art I started for the Mini that I never finished...where did that thing go?

I also fancy myself a bit of a DIYer.  Oh right, I could work on those stockings I started to make for everyone at chez Mimi.  They didn't quite make it to the mantle last Christmas so maybe I could work on those...

And I did love that hot yoga class, but it's at 7:30 and that's totally bedtime....hmmmm.

Mr. Mimi gave me that amaze balls camera but since the baby I seem to only take pictures of her, so I wouldn't quite call that a hobby anymore, so that's a no.

Tennis, anyone?

And scene on the list.

I guess at this point, there aren't enough hours in the day.  So, instead of climbing a tree, I'm going to enjoy the crap out of blogging.  Instead of running around playing tag, I'll savor using my favorite Sharpies.  Rather than curl up with a good book, I'll milk story time with the Mini and love every minute.    These days schools can be such negative places, I feel like we need to find the joy all on our own.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Confessions of an Uber Nerd

I read a lot.  A lot a lot.  We're talking total nerd fest up in here.

One summer, my brother in law could not get over the fact that I spent entire day on the beach reading a book.  Five hours.  Reading.  Same book.  In the sun.  And all I could think to say in response was, "I'm in heaven."

Nerd alert!

At any given time, you could find a stack of books on my bedside table that include a few professional reads, something Jodi Picoult-esque, an embarrassing amount of chic lit, a humor novel, a memoir, the latest People magazine, back issues of Cooking Light and the newest edition of The Reading Teacher.  (Okay, you can also find four or five half empty or totally empty water glasses.  It's a phenomenon.  They follow me and then can't seem to find their way to the dishwasher.  Whatevs.  At least I'm hydrated, right?)

Notice I said "could."  As in past tense. 

Then I got an iPad.  I heart my iPad.  HEART.  Now instead of a pile of books on my nightstand, you'll find a variety of books downloaded on my iPad.  (Sorry, Barnsey...I still hit your children's section pretty hard so I don't feel that bad.)  I read my magazines on my iPad.  I read my fave blogs on my iPad.  iPad, iPad, iPad. 

I felt all stream-liney and tech saavy.  

And you know what?  Last week, I realized that I actually read LESS.

Because now I can click over to my email and answer just one more, switch to Evernote and work just a little bit more, spend another second tweaking the page I put in Dropbox, and then shame spiral my way onto Facey Face before my little eyes start to droop and ultimately my iPad smacks me in the face as I fall asleep.  (Seriously.) 

So, methinks I'm off to the bookstore tomorrow to remedy my little situation.  Once a nerd, always a nerd. 

Who's Peeking?