Tuesday, March 25, 2014


...from this ridiculous day!!

I got up and (a little bragging here) rode my exercise bike for the 16th day in a row for 13 minutes. Go me. Then, showered, dressed and made my lunch. I had to make a quick stop at the store to pick up some teeny cupcakes for my special lunch with two students, and a 3-pack of tissues because there are NONE anywhere at school, including the supply room. It's been a very snotty three months in fourth grade.

I arrived at school and (YES!!) snagged the last parking space in the front lot. As I entered the front door, I realized that the actor's troupe was already there, setting up their scenery and props for the assembly we'd booked for today. Yay! They were really terrific too! So, no worrying about that part of my day (I was in charge of the assembly) as I headed into the office to pick up whatever was in my box. The secretary looked dolefully at me and explained, "The art teacher is out. You'll have to sell your prep."  Good news: a little extra money. Bad news: I get no planning period today and...what will I do with my class? Hmm...

I rushed down to my classroom, turned on all the electronic devices I love to have available for my use, snatched up my papers and zipped up to the copy room. I whipped out my needed papers for the three periods, and dropping off that little stack on my desk, put on my sunglasses and marched upstairs to stand my morning playground duty. I watch wall-ball and keep it from turning into free-for-all-ball. (You realize, of course, that many boys only put up with the learning part of school because of recess?)

The bell rang, and it was line-up, say the pledge and go downstairs time, all too soon. I got to have a stand-off with a little student who MUST say "up" if I indicate "down"---I lost. That round...we went around again later. It's every day, every hour.

We took attendance and headed straight down to our assembly. It was great!! The other 4th grade teachers went off to take their students to P.E. and Music. We voted to stay and watch the assembly again with the younger kids! It was delightful all over again. We left and held 1st period. I walked everyone out to recess, went to the bathroom, stopped back in my room to check school email and went out to pick up my Lunch Buddies. Back to the room, we ate lunch, chatted, served cupcakes. Dashed out and picked up the rest of the kids after their lunch. Switched groups and taught 2nd period and 3rd period.

Next, we stacked all the chairs, and headed out the door with the bell. I helped my co-worker direct traffic so students could cross the street safely and headed back into the classroom.  Where I served granola bars to 15 students who joined my co-worker and I for after-school tutoring. However, today, instead of staying the 75 minutes to help her, I had to attend a teacher's union building representatives' meeting. She had enlisted another teacher to help her tonight with the small groups we created to focus on essential literacy skills. I'll be there on Wednesday, though. And, of course, this group is comprised of many of the people who stretch our patience all day. It's why they need the extra help...inner motivation and impulse control is not their strength.

After the union meeting, I went grocery shopping and finally pulled into my driveway 11 and a half hours after I'd left this morning. (And, just so you entrepreneurs know...I don't need help taking the bags to the car. I'd like someone who'll come home with me and put it all away.)

Yes, that is a fairly typical day. Except for the "selling my prep" part. Usually, I do get a 50 minute planning period during the day. Plus, I didn't tell you about all the little dramas---band-aids applied, cough drops dispensed, pencils sharpened, quarrels stopped, pesky little people motivated by The Look. On a "normal" day, it's not really all that different.

But! I still love my job. We just really really need Spring Break to arrive. Soon.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


It's here. I hope it is also happening where you are. Spring, I mean. Just now, I went outside to add some carrot peelings, kale stems, and onion ends to my composter, after preparing dinner. The air was so soft and pleasant. There was a faint glow in the sky over the western mountains still, although the sun had set some time ago. A few stars were starting to appear. My neighbor's tall palm tree that towers over the corner of our common wall was stirring slightly in the evening breeze.

Today, I reveled in the fabulous morning weather while I stood on the playground, checking off the names of students as they arrived.  Several of my fellow teachers and I were at school for a couple of hours for "CRT Camp." This is an event we hold on a couple of Saturdays this time of year in anticipation of our high-stakes yearly tests. We invite the entire grade level, and usually get about 1/3 of our students to come. We spent the morning rotating to our different classrooms, focusing on test taking tips, and squeezing in a few little extra points of curriculum. Plus, in between each 40 minute session, the students get to take a lap around the interior hall of the school! (The real reason they come...)  We almost didn't want to go inside because the day was so fantastic! Clear skies, puffy clouds, a small breeze accompanying the brilliant sunshine. Sigh. I love this time of year.

But, even when the temperature start to climb, and summer takes over, I will still love living here. I'll just be loving it from the swimming pool.