Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Can't stand the heat...let me out of the classroom!

I haven't been very faithful with my postings during this challenge.  I have all sorts of reasons.  Too busy.  Life is a mess.  Nothing to write about.  But, I finally figured it out.  My brain is literally fried.  See, my classroom has been roughly 80 degrees every day, all day, for the last week.  Yep.  Northern Indiana. March.  Outside temps in the 80s.  Classroom...ditto, or more. 

I've gotten special permission to open my windows.  My work ticket scored me one fan.  I keep the lights turned off more often than on.  Yet I can feel it every day, my brain boiling over....cooking to a crisp.  So I have the ultimate excuse.  I can't write because...

...my brain is fried.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Sitting in a coffee shop
overwhelmed by gratitude
listening to heartache
exchanging pain for laughter

Picking up my phone
as the alarm stops its ring
finding an unexpected message
accepting memories and hope

I didn't know when I started teaching
that being myself
would open new relationships
feed me in such beautiful ways

I found myself today
realizing how lucky I am
as two beautiful young women
reached out to me

Reminded me to stop
take a close look at my life
receive the gifts they offered
become friend instead of teacher

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I can't WAIT!

I've been waiting all year for today.  For the day when we finally can talk about the genre of commentary.  I LOVE this genre.  Love to read it.  Love to write it.  Really love to take it apart and talk about it.  I started the kids off with something hard...a 10-page piece that I knew would bring groans, followed by amazement as they fell head-first into this amazing world of thinking and talking.  And you know what?  It worked.  Yesterday I handed out the packets amid groans of dismay.  Then I sat back and watched.  I watched struggling readers connect.  Fluent readers connect, even slow down and re-read.  I even watched one student wipe tears from her eyes as the writing moved her heart and her intellect.  I know for most kids it was a first.  They have never read, let alone tried to write, something that is based mostly on thinking.

Today we took the piece apart: what did we like? Why?  What would we change (amazingly, no one could come up with anything there - it was unanimous that this particular argument needed this particular amount of space to accomplish the author's purpose).  I saw a gleam begin to glow in a few eyes, the percolation of ideas starting, the itch for paper and pencil.  We are on our way.  We'll keep reading, this author and my other two favorites (maybe more, you never know with me!), dissecting, reflecting, and talking.  We'll make lists, try out ideas, learn more about things we care about, and finally, choose a mentor author and write.  Oh, I just can't wait!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I have to say good-bye
and I don't want to
But she has to go
the pain
the confusion
this is not what she deserves

She is laughter
and love
Hospitality and
She is my friend,
my sister,
my mentor

My life will be
My heart will be
but I know I can't
hold her back
and so I have to
say good-bye

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A silly poem of "T's"

twisting my words
turning my moods

trials of the lovelorn
tribulations of the needy

teenagers is

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I don't know what to write...

Well, I feel just like one of my students.  I've been sitting here for awhile, waiting for an idea, and I've got nothing.  I'm not sure why.  I'm just not finding an idea that wants to go anywhere today.  I've started (in my head):
  • a list of reasons why I teach
  • a poem where every line starts with "T"
  • an entry about making dinner for my daughter and her boyfriend
But none of these has gone anywhere.  Maybe it's Spring Fever.  It was beautiful today.  Almost 70 with a little sunshine.  Maybe it's because I was giving ISTEP and my brain didn't fully engage today.  Maybe I am just out of ideas.  Whatever it is, this is my best for Tuesday, March 6, 2012! (at least I think that's the date today....)

Monday, March 5, 2012


I've been beating myself up
I haven't written every day
Day four passed by
No entry from me

Then I watched ESPN
I saw a man born
without lower arms or legs
who is a champion wrestler
who climbed Mt. Kilimajaro
on his hands and knees

At a rest camp
more than halfway up
he berated himself
for being so slow
then he realized
he'd been focused on how far he had to go
instead of
how far he had come

I realized I've been like him
instead of letting myself
see where I've been
I beat myself up
over where I am not

I have missed a few entries
but I've still written more
than I had
at this time last year
and that is

Saturday, March 3, 2012

First of the real lasts

I did it today.  I went to the first of my real "lasts."  Today was the first indoor track meet of this year...and the first for my last baby...who is also a senior.  So this is my first real last.  Before I could fool myself: this isn't the last band competition, there's another daughter coming in 4 years; this isn't the last sports event, there the baby coming right behind..and when football season was over, that was not so sad.  Track was yet to come.  And so track has begun, and it's time for me to face the truth.  It's ending.  This whole "busy full-time working mom who has to spend weekends at sporting events" role will wrap up on June 3rd. 

So today I took some extra time to enjoy.  I smiled extra big when he took off for the second leg of the 4x200. I let myself enjoy watching the stride of those legs that make him measure 6'4".  I clapped really loud when he cleared the high jump bar (not high enough for state qualifying, but there is still next week for that), and I even jumped up and down as he raced (literally) 55 meters over the hurdles.

I love being a mom.  It's probably what I do best.  It's definitely a reason I think I'm a better teacher.  I will always be a mom, but not in the same way.  And so I let it begin.  The real "lasts," the final good-byes, the packing up of not just a bedroom, but a major life role. 

Ouch.  This hurts.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

And then there were 30...

31 days
Where can I find any ideas?

I've looked on the bottom of my shoes

I've checked up my sleeve

My mind is blank
There's nothing there

How will I fill

(with special thanks to my student, Erica, for her feedback!)