Showing posts from September, 2010

Day 287- Tough Cookie

Everyone in my building at work comes with a reputation.  In my first few weeks, I heard all about everyone's business.  It was if everyone was all excited to have someone new with no opinions as a sounding board, and they'd just talk and talk about everything and everyone in an attempt to fill me in and keep me informed.  I listened.  Then, I took everything they said with a grain of salt.

I am most certainly not high and mighty, and I say my fair share of things that I shouldn't.  However, I have made a conscious effort to stay out of the gossip and to save up all my gossip and things I have to say about other people for Tom.  He's probably bored by these stories most of the time (I don't blame him), and he is occasionally amused.  More importantly, his eyes glaze over, and I know that none of these things that I say will ever find their way out of this house and into the world where they could hurt or upset other people.  I must say I'm proud of the way I ha…

Day 286- 4:00pm

Tick tock
4 o'clock

Where was I today?

I'm often at school until at least five.  The final bell doesn't sound until 3:20, and then we have to follow the kids out to the bus to stop any possible shennanigans.  I frequently have some kind of meeting or copies to make or stuff to do or after school tutoring, and before I know it, it's 5 o'clock.

I have worked really hard this quarter to stay on top of everything, and today I got to reap the rewards.  I was home by... wait for it... 4 o'clock!!!!  I enjoyed the beautiful beginning of fall weather outside with General for a bit, took a nap (that is unheard of these days), and got some grading done.  I also got caught up on a few shows on my DVR.  It's amazing the kind of stuff I can pack into an extra hour these days!

To continue the loveliness, I think I'll go to bed before 11 tonight.  Man, I'm going to be hyper tomorrow with all this sleep.  I'm already using exclamation points like it's my j…

Day 285- Britney/Brittany

It's Glee Tuesday!

Over the second season of Glee, Brittany became one of my favorite characters.  Like Sue Sylvester, just about every single line she says is some kind of off-the-wall bit of hilarious.  Take her first line of tonight's episode, for example.

Mr. Shue: Who can tell me who Christopher Cross is? 
Brittany: He discovered America!

Brittany finally got her chance to really shine with some solos tonight in the episode featuring songs from that other Britney... Britney Spears.  At first, she was hesitant to fall under the Britney spell.

Kurt: Why not Britney, Brittany?
Brittany: Because my name is also Britney Spears.  My middle name is Susan, my last name is Pierce.  That makes me Brittany S. Pierce.  Britney Spears.  I've lived my entire life in Britney Spears' shadow.  I will never be as talented or as famous.  I hope you'll all respect that I want Glee club to remain a place where I, Brittany S. Pierce, can escape the torment of Britney Spears.  Thank you…

Day 284-Students' Supportive Parents

I have been communicating with the parents of some of my students on a one on one kind of basis, but today was the first time I had to make a big chunk of phone calls.  We are nearing the end of the quarter (quickly!  Friday!), and I want to make sure that all of my students care enough to earn the grades that they should. 

I was apprehensive about making these calls because I have heard all kinds of horror stories.  Telling a parent that his/her student is failing or close to failing the quarter is not exactly wonderful and welcome news.  However, I saw my CT navigate waters like these with parents beautifully, so I took a deep breath and called with confidence.  My intentions are good, after all.  I care about these kids and want to do everything I can to help them succeed... even if that means attempting uncomfortable conversations with their parents.

A beautiful thing happened this afternoon.  Every single call and e-mail has gone well so far (knock on wood).  Parents were thanki…

Day 283- Man on the Plane

Ok, so I still need to update yesterday's post with all of the amazingness that was the Miller-Sheldon wedding.  I'll get to that.  Not yet.

The moment that made my day today was really quite simple.  I brought a set of papers with me to grade on the plane ride, and I worked on them on the way home.  As we were waiting to leave the plane, the man sitting next to me (who was not Tom) said, "I saw you grading papers.  Are you a teacher?"  When I told him that yes, in fact, I am, he replied with, "Thanks for what you do.  You are in a noble profession, young lady.  We appreciate you."

There's all kinds of negativity floating around these days about public schools and public school teachers.  Everyone wants to complain about the problems that exist, but very few people are actively looking to be a part of the solution.  It was nice to have this little moment with a complete stranger to make me feel validated and important before I'm back in the trenches…

Day 282- Miller-Sheldon Wedding

Wow... it's only 4:30 and my day has already been made?  Um, not exactly.  I may be a morning, afternoon, and night person, but I am not a four in the morning person!  However, Tom and I are headed off to celebrate the wedding of some of our dear friends from Seattle.  No, we're not going to Seattle.  We're actually going to Connecticut.  Yes, I understand that this is all getting a bit hard to follow.

Instead of lugging my computer all over the country today, suffice it to say that this wedding will most certainly make my day... for now.  I'll post all the details of how and why when we get back tomorrow :).

Thank you, Miller-Sheldon wedding, you made my day.

Day 281- New Teacher Work Day

We will be flying this weekend.  Again.  We will be leaving the house sometime in the 4s in the morning to catch a flight in the 6s.  Again.  However, we are incredibly excited for the weekend.  Again :).

In light of all this, let's keep this short and sweet.  My day today was just that-- short and sweet.  I had my first "New Teacher Work Day," where all of us first year kids met with our district mentor.  This meant that I got to sleep in until 6:30.  That may not sound like much, but it is definitely sleeping in compared to my 3:30-4am alarm tomorrow morning!  I spent the day conversing and sharing and reflecting with a bunch of other people who totally and completely get my life right now.  Teaching can be an isolating profession at times because I spend most of the day hanging out with people who are literally almost half my age.  It was really quite nice to have an opportunity to chat with other new teachers and to share stories and ideas.  It was even nicer when we…

Day 280- James*

It would be easy to get caught up in my work instead of enjoying my job.  I am constantly doing "stuff."  I am lesson planning, creating assessments, developing materials, grading papers, going through late work, communicating with parents... there's always 40 hours of work to do in a 24 hour day.

I must admit that I'm proud of myself, though.  Each day I ground myself in what is important-- my students.  I know that we've only been in school for two months, but I'm proud just the same.  I will not allow myself to feel bogged down or burned out because all of those other things are just the "stuff," the means to an end.  What really matters are those kids and the 50some minutes I get to spend with them every day. 

In typical teaching fashion, I had a million and one things to do today.  I will be in meetings all day tomorrow, so I had to create sub plans.  I had things to grade and parents to contact and reports to analyze and assessments to create…

Day 279- Dialect

I Dialike Dialect

A terribly bad poem

Sometimes I catch my students looking
at the clock or out the window.
They shuffle all their papers
and can't wait 'til they get to go.
I don't let myself ever
take it too personally
After all, it's school that bores them
and certainly not me!

However, in my class this week,
we've had oh so much fun.
When they leave, they're walking,
and rarely do they run.
We've covered many topics,
they're writing and their reading.
It's knowledge that they're craving,
and me... I do the feeding!

We had such a good time today
with examples of dialect.
When do I use this or that,
and when do they intersect?
We laughed about "the mitten" and "up north"
and, of course, the pop.
My only fear is that this lesson
might just be hard to top!

You see, today there were
oh so many students' hands raised,
They were overjoyed to share
and soaked up all my praise.
And as our time together ran out,
instead of ru…

Day 278- GLEE Premiere

GLEE Tuesdays are baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!! :)

I've been excited for this day since the season finale.  It was International Peace Day today, and we were celebrating at school.  While my students wrote ideas about how they might spread peace in their worlds for their warm-up, we listened to the Glee recording of "Imagine."  Between that and our sensory details activity with popcorn, it was a fun day at school.

What really topped the day off, of course, was a new epsiode of Glee.  Oh, Sue Sylvester, how I have missed you!!  One of the best parts was Sue's commercials for the new Glee project.  Were there any good quotes?  You bet your bottom there were!

"Think about it.  What do animals do except poop on your lawn and make you feel guilty about how delicious they are?"

"Why should children be bored by the tyranny of reading?  Words are hard!"

"The arts?  They don't need your support.  What artists do need is soap.  Seriously, the next time you …

Day 277- Jennifer Grey

Ok, ok, I have to admit it.  I watch Dancing With the Stars.  This shouldn't come as any sort of surprise because I have already admitted to many reality television guilty pleasures.  I didn't used to watch it, but Tom got me hooked.  I'm pretty sure that he may have forgotten this fact because now he makes fun of me for watching, puts in his headphones, and watches/listens to things on the computer loudly to prove how not into it all he is.

Since it was the first show of the season tonight, the dancing was pretty rough.  There are always a few standouts, though, who are clear frontrunners from the beginning of the season.  This season is no exception.  Brandy looked as if she stepped straight out of the lead princess role in a Disney movie, and that guy from that show that was cancelled a long time ago (you know, the one we've never heard of before) was at least very entertaining to watch. 

The real star of the night was clearly Jennifer Grey.  Even though she got a n…

Day 276- Little Caesar's

Thanks for not closing early after we called you on our way home from the airport.
Thanks for the $5 pepperoni pizza.  It was both hot and ready.
Thanks for that extra order of crazy bread.  I certainly didn't need it, but my food baby thanks you.
Thanks for filling us up so we can get to bed.  You were a nice little ending to a fabulous weekend!

Thank you, Little Caesar's, you made my day.

Day 275- Baptism

I am falling asleep sitting up because we have been up for almost 19 hours straight... but oh, what a fantastic 19 hours we have had!

3:30 a.m. The alarm goes off.  Was that just a nap?  Is it really time to get up?  It's dark out.  Hmm...

3:35 a.m. Get up!  Get up!  Ok, shower.  Zombies get ready.

6:00 a.m. Flight takes off from STL for ATL.  Open-mouthed napping ensues.

10:00 a.m. Flight takes off from ATL to Greenville.  More open-mouthed napping.  Tom gets some of those delicious little biscotti airline cookies.  Jessi, in and out of consciousness, does not.  Fail.

11:30 a.m. Ferris witness a beautiful and emotional military homecoming on their way out of the airport.  Then, Annieka!

12:00 p.m. Ferri Godparents meet Maks :) and are reunited with Lily and Philos.  Hustle and bustle.

12:30-3:00 p.m. Michigan football.  W.  Moving on...

4:00 p.m.  Maks is baptized.  Hallelujah!  God Bless You, little Maks.

5:30 p.m. Philo party!  Taco bar, cupcake cake, gifts, laughs, bubbles, pi…

Day 274- Celebrations

Everyone can use a little attitude adjustment now and then.  I am certainly no exception to this... that's the whole purpose for this blog, after all, to remind myself of what is important and to recognize the million things I have to be thankful for.  We have a practice at school where we have to start out every meeting with celebrations, and I really enjoy it.  It is wonderful to hear about all of the amazing things happening in other people's lives, and it's lovely to hear people speak about the things that are going right before they get into the airing of grievances and down to the nitty gritty details of everything that's going wrong.

I decided to bring this idea into my classroom today for the warm-up that my students do to start the class.  I asked students to write about something exciting/fun/amazing happening in their lives or to share something they were looking forward to doing over the weekend.  Once they wrote these things in their warm-ups, the abbrevia…

Day 273- Adult Lunch

50 minutes
50 minutes
50 minutes
50 minutes
50 minutes


50 minutes

13-year olds
14-year olds
13-year olds
14-year olds
13-year olds


14-year olds



Work Work Work Work Work Work Work

I work with people half my age (literally) all day.  I have to remind myself to go to the bathroom when I get home because I'm too busy to remember this from 7-5.  I am constantly on my feet and running around and doing everything in my power to entertain those around me.  I just so happen to love this crazy, silly job.

I also just so happen to love the 20something minutes per day that I get to spend with my colleagues at lunch.  It is so refreshing after playing with my students all day to talk with a group of peole who know who Chuck Norris and U2 are, people who drive and vote and own houses and are involved in relationships that exist on more than a day to day basis.  My peers on my team and the other 8th grade team that have my lunch are warm and fun…

Day 272- Katie*

Some of the skills we've been working on in our 8th grade classes are drawing inferences and making predictions in reading.  For a quick little practice sheet, students were asked to make a prediction about what comes next in this cartoon.

Here's what Katie had to say:

The goat is going to jump on the plane and climb on top.  Then, he's going to eat through the plane because he doesn't want free peanuts... he wants some metal.  I know this because he's a magical flying goat. 

Pfft.  Noooo.  The goat is actually standing on a mountain that is covered up by clouds.  So the plane will crash in 5...4...3...2...1.  BOOM!  Haha.  I know this because they can't see the mountain.

I already absolutely adore Katie for so many other reasons.  She's sweet, she's kind, she participates in class, and she's always smiling.  She has her own style each and every day.  Sometimes she shows up in baggy basketball shorts and a hoodie.  Other days she'll show up in fl…

Day 271- My Sweet Helper

Tom made a delicious dinner for me when I got home from work.
He has been emptying the bathroom trash occasionally before it gets too full.
He helped to fold all kinds of laundry this weekend.
He takes the dog out for a nightly spin, and they both come back panting, tails wagging.
He scrubbed more than his fair share of dishes, got the groceries, and made a trip to Costco.

Who says that you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

The best part of all this is that he did all of these things without me even asking him to.  I'm a lucky lady these days :).

Thank you, my sweet helper, you made my day.

Day 270- 7th Hour

To say that my 7th hour is a chatty bunch would be an understatement.  They are the opposite of my 1st hour... they just do not stop.  What a set of bookends for the day!  It's a good thing they're so likeable :).

I experienced something in 7th hour today that I have not experienced in there ever before.


Quiet, hardworking students.  On task.  I think I must have finally worn them down!  That's what I'd like to believe, at least.  They participated when it was appropriate and worked quietly when it was appropriate and acted as if they were totally appropriate people.  They seemed to be really pleased when I complimented them on their behavior, and they worked even harder.  They didn't even try to pack up early!  Oh, how I hope this loveliness will last.  If it does, there's hope that I might eventually wear them down on that late work... 

Thank you, 7th hour, you made my day.

Day 269- Homemade Chinese Food

In the past, I have stayed away from trying to cook any kind of Chinese food myself.  I figured that this was best left to the professionals (those ladies down at Mandarin Garden really know their way around a kitchen).  However, in a continuous attempt to expand our weekly menus and to add some flavor (literally and figuratively) to our lives, I have become a bit more adventurous.  Tom and I worked together stupendously tonight to create a lovely meal.

Here's our menu, which Tom calls "Asian Persuasion."

Asian salad- lettuce, wonton strips, dried fruit, Asian sesame dressing, etc.
Crispy fried sesame shrimp, zucchini and mushroom caps with a ginger soy dipping sauce
White rice

It sounds and looks pretty simple, but Tom said it was, "Oooh!  Delicious... especially scrumptioussssssssss."

Thank you, homemade Chinese food, you made my day.

Day 268- Alan Jackson

Yes, Denard Robinson tickled me maize and blue today with his 500 yards of offense.  Yes, Michigan football pleased and amazed me today with a big win in an instant classic game.  No, I'm not going to elaborate on either of those things any further at this time.  My hope is that there will be plenty of time for that this season.

On this day nine years ago, I woke up, showered, and went to my psychology seminar.  I had been living in Ann Arbor for less than a month, and I was just settling into a routine of classes and studying and football Saturdays and all of the other fabulous things that come with college.  That day started just like every other day of that week and of that month and of that semester.

I quickly discovered when I left my psych class that morning that it would not just be any other day in a string of days.  People were running around frantically saying that classes were cancelled, and everyone should just go home.  I was confused.  I had another class.  After hea…

Day 267- Challenge Students

UPDATE: Justin and two of my other students all got big parts in the play.  They're incredibly excited and are toting their scripts all around.  It's sweet :).

We've been working with our 8th graders on all kinds of writing skills for the past few weeks.  This is reinforced by reading examples of good writing together, dissecting them, and then practicing these skills again independently.  I asked them to go home and write last night and told them that it was extremely important that they complete the assignment so that we could work with their pieces of writing today in class.  It worked.  This year's group is infamous for turning things in late or not at all, and they have lived up to their reputation.  Not today.  My kids came to school today with their writing.

I was not only pleased that they all went home and tried out their assignment for class.  I was also delighted at many of the things I was seeing.  Their writing was funny and brave and full of detail and pe…

Day 266- Mallory*

One of the things that I'm absolutely loving about teaching is seeing things through the eyes of my students.  It's true... kids really do say the darndest things!!  Here's something Mallory* wrote in a paper today that made me laugh out loud.  Literally.

Cats keep the single and lonely people company.

I certainly don't mean to diss the cat people.  Or the single people.  Or the lonely people.  There are many people I like who just so happen to have cats.  I'm friendly with lots of singles and lonelies too.  However, her observation had me cracking up.  Tom too.  General giggled in his own way.  Then, he barked, got out all his toys, and laid down in a big exhausted heap in the middle of all of them (General, not Tom).  I guess dogs keep us married folks company.

Thank you, Mallory*, you made my day.

Day 265- Justin*

His name isn't really Justin, but he reminds me of the character Justin from "Ugly Betty," so we'll go with that.  Justin (in real life and on that t.v. show) is spunky and sweet and sassy.  He's not like a lot of other boys his age... but, in some ways, that's part of why he's so awesome.

Because he's different, I worry that he may experience some tough times, especially in the sports loving, wise cracking, girl chasing herd of his peers.  It seems as if he is mostly friends with girls, and it seems as if this works just fine for him.  He comes to class beaming every day, so that's a good sign.  I hope I'm right.

A week or two ago, I filled out Justin's recommendation form to try out for the school play.  I did this without hesitation because I adore this kid.  He is always the first to volunteer answers in class and to start discussions.  He always makes eye contact and responds to my "Good mornings" with enthusiasm, which is n…

Day 264- Kohl's Sale Skirt

One of the highlights of my day today was short and sweet.  A $7 clearance skirt made me feel like a million bucks.

Don't worry, the skirt itself was not short and sweet.  It was medium length (long enough) and only kind of sweet.  I found it through a chance enounter with a clearance rack at Kohl's a few weeks ago while Tom was looking for some new Dockers on sale.  It was mildly aesthetically pleasing.  However, I thought I might be able to throw on a few accessories and make it work.  When I saw the $7 on the price tag, I decided that I could most certainly make it work.

Today, apparently, I kind of worked it.  Just about anything looks decent when paired with a white collared shirt and a cute belt, eh?  I think I'm finally learning how to mix and match five(ish) basic things to make like twenty outfits.  Oh, the possibilites!  This excites me :).

What also excites me is that I got compliments all day long on my cheap black skirt.  A little flattery here and there is ni…

Day 263- Labor Day

I absolutely do not take weekends for granted.  I have spent the past nine years of my life in and out of the retail and food service worlds.  I've sold all kinds of stuff, served all kinds of stuff, and done all kinds of stuff.  One thing the retail/service world does not recognize is a good old-fashioned weekend.

There are positives to this.  It is nice to find a Monday delightful because you have it off while everyone else is complaining about going back to work.  It's lovely to have a sometimes more flexible schedule by not being tied down by "The Man" and his 9-5 (or 7-4 in my case) schedule on Mondays through Fridays.  However, now that I'm in a big girl job again, I am finally able to enjoy the beauty of two (consecutive!) days off instead of pretending that I don't care about weekends anymore.

Three (consecutive!) days off is absolutely UNHEARD OF in the tools/bras/sub shop/Greek family restaurant world.  In my new big girl world, I got those three da…

Day 262- Eat, Pray, Love

- Gingham's turkey and spinach omelette (I needed a break from my usual order, the Gingham's Country Club omelette)
- leftover football chili cheese dip (processed cheese...mmm... http://www.thisiswhyyou'
- movie theater popcorn with a touch o' butter
- Fratteli's roasted chicken canneloni with peach wine from Augusta, MO
- Omaha steaks apple tartlets (the last of our goodies from the Lisa Kohl gift that just kept on giving)

I think I'm going to brush my teeth now in order to stop my eating.  Thank goodness this is not one of those food journals where I have to count calories. 

Service:  St. Robert Bellarmine's 9:30 mass
Overall Message of the Day:  Be a disciple.
Favorite Hymn From Today's Service:  "You Are Mine"
Funniest parishoner:  Boy five rows up doing the YMCA (when stopped, he became the boy five rows up vigorously picking his nose)

Gettin' our Jesus on really starts out the week right.

I loved settling into our …

Day 261- Brock Mealer

Brock Mealer, a diehard Buckeye, gleefully led the Michigan football team onto the field for their home opener today.

Wait... say what?

You can read the sensational story of his incredible courage, faith, and devotion HERE.  WARNING: This story may cause you to "get something in your eye" a time or two.

Brock Mealer, a man paralyzed in a car accident, a man who was told that he would never again leave his wheelchair, walked across the field today.  He did it wearing a t-shirt that read "1%.  Glory to God."  The 1% was an acknowledgement of the fact that he had beaten the 99% odds against him.  These were the odds that dictated to him that he would never walk again.  The "Glory to God" was his acknowledgement of the presence of the Big Man in the Big House this afternoon.

Brock Mealer showed today what incredible faith and dedication and hard work can do.  He was also proof that Mike Barwis, our strength and conditioning coach, possesses Jack Bauer/Chuck No…

Day 260- College Day

Background: Every Friday at school is some kind of dress up day.  We've had Cardinals Day and Hawaiian Day and "Look Your Best" Day (for school pictures).  Today's magical theme was College Day, where students were encouraged to wear gear from their favorite colleges.  We had mostly a whole lot of Mizzou roaming the halls, with the occasional something or other else.  Do I even need to say what I was wearing?

Things I Loved About College Day

1. I got to dress in my Michigan gear from top to bottom (which I would have done today anyway).  My students especially enjoyed the maize and blue striped socks and the waving of the "All In" towel.

2. It gave me a reason to play my "Saturday Traditions" cd, which features selections from the Michigan Marching Band.  All of my classes had the privilege of listening to "The Victors" today (which I would have done anyway).

3.  My students are big ol' brown nosers, but their efforts are often quite …

Day 259- TGIFridays

I thought I was sooooo smart when I planned the meals this week.  Tonight we were supposed to have delicious pork BBQ sandwiches.  I have been craving them since Sunday, and I was so excited that tonight was finally the night.

I put my pork and sauce and all the goodies into the crockpot before I left for work this morning.  I left it on low and was delighted at the thought that half of our dinner would be made when I got home.  From the time I stepped out of my car this afternoon (early evening, really), I could smell the wonderful fragrance wafting out into the garage from the kitchen.  Mmm... barbecue goodness. 

Unfortunately, as I opened the door and stepped inot the kitchen, this scent changed.  I gave Tom a puzzled look, and he said, "Man, I know... it's bad."  He then proceeded to show me the char in the crockpot surrounding our brick of pork.  Sad.

I pride myself on my skills in the kitchen, and I fancy myself a pretty decent cook.  This was not my fault, I prom…

Day 258- Stephanie L.

I don't like to run out of stuff.  I always buy more butter when I'm halfway through the tub, just so I won't be caught with none some night while I'm making dinner.  I stuff four or five bags in the bottom of all the bathroom trash cans in order to make sure that it can always be changed and refilled all at once.  We stockpile Cotsco products in the basement and the garage... just in case.  If there's ever some sort of crisis, you can count on me for paper towels, Mountain Dew, tissues, cleaning wipes, toilet paper, foil, and freezer baggies for at least two years.  Oh, and extra salad dressing.  And microwave popcorn.  We'll call this a quirk of mine (because that sounds a whole lot nicer than other things you might call it).

Because of this "quirk," I always order two of my makeup stuff from my special makeup lady.  I like getting my Mary Kay creme to powder foundation in twos because then I can plan ahead.  When I finish the first one, I know that…