Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Can't Teach Shakespeare to 14-Year-Olds Without a Slightly Twisted Sense of Humor

Things are funny. Kids are funny (sometimes even when they don't intend to be). Teaching some of the heavy classics in the dead white guy canon to the texting generation presents itself as a challenge, to be sure. Which is why, sometimes, I wish I could show them stuff like this:

without the fear of some prude's parents getting me fired.

My personal favorite lines: "You took a ruffie from a priest." and "Save it Patty Hearst! I'm not buying any Stockholm Syndrome today!"

Stephanie, thank you for introducing me to my current youtube favorite.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Today I count.

In the past 15 hours I have made it through...

1 shower.

2 shaved legs but only

1 nicked knee.

1 really nice encouragement card from

1 of the world's best pals.

2 trips to the copy room.

14 student schedule changes.

8 tardy students.

1 day of the students' return.

13 "when does this class get out?" queries.

3 class periods.

1 insanely busy prep period.

10 hours at work.

95 of my 180 students (with a 3% name retention rate).

1 blister from supposedly "comfortable" shoes.

23 minutes for lunch/bathroom break/set-up the next class/give a student their make-up summer homework/chat with two teachers who "just-popped-in"/a visit from old AP students (and still--I managed it all!).

1 really stressful and uncomfortable department chair duty email composition (why must some co-workers be so difficult?).

25 extra minutes of teaching tacked onto my day (did I mention how they extended the school day?)

2 Traffic Jams but only

7 late minutes due to said jams.

2 thoroughly enjoyable Visiting Teaching appointments.

13 hours from when I left my carport to when I pulled into it again.

1 cold cut turkey sandwich for dinner.

2 really tired legs.

1 blog post (the first in a really long time).

May I find some kind of normalcy in all of this sooner rather than later!

The Rookie: Attractive on SO many levels it's almost scary.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

For Myself (more than anyone else)

In two minutes I am officially done with summer vacation. For some reason, I feel more hesitant than usual about this fact. I am not ready to go back. I'm not ready to have the students return to my classroom. I keep having nightmares about unruly classes and a voice that cannot be heard. I think it is fear of the unknown sinking in--unknown students, unknown material. I'm teaching an entirely new to me subject this year, which is much like being a new teacher again when it comes to developing curriculum.

But somewhere in my mind I keep thinking, knowing that this will all be fine. My nightmares are merely nightmares. I have a teaching voice--the same one that inadvertently turns heads in public places. I've been down this road many times. And yet, once again, I feel a sense of dread.

And so, for me at this exact moment in time, a reminder:

"Ultimately, we know deeply that
the other side of every fear is freedom."
~ Marilyn Ferguson

And away we go!

Monday, August 9, 2010

My She-lationship

Men think they invented everything. Take the Bromance, for instance. Apparently, close or best friendship needed a term coined only when men caught on to the benefits of such a relationship but didn't want their heterosexual status questioned. The film I Love You, Man demonstrates the difficulties and challenges associated with male bonding (even if it portrayed female friendships as shallow and less meaningful). For most women, close friendship comes a bit easier. There are countless possibilities as to why this is. My own personal theories on the matter relate to the ratio between word count and monosyllabic guttural noise.* And GNOs.

When I was 13 and had discovered the joys of a daily personal hygiene routine for myself but not anything more comfortable than a ratty sports bra for my newly developed breasts that just kept growing, I met this girl at church. Originally, there was a posse of we silly and over-dramatic adolescent girls. The gaggle of us dwindled as some moved away and eventually others married. By the time I was halfway through college, it was down to us.

Alice and Rookie.

And then there were two.

For eight years now we've been besties. Through lame bridesmaid dresses, lamer boyfriends, grad school, differing hobbies, those six months she crashed on an air mattress on the floor of my bedroom, a crush triangle (I wouldn't dare call it "love"), new career paths, unemployment, life catastrophes, celebrations, three apartments, failures, fights, and successes we've been there for each other. Thick and thin and all that bid-ness.

Needless to say, she's the person I know very best. If I didn't trust her so much, all the dirt she has on me would keep a girl up at night. We hang out most days of the week and still I never tire of her--even if we're roommates.

We're rare. I know this.

Some folks aren't sure which is which (I've been called Alice, she's been called Rookie). But before you start to think this is an eerie demonstration of enmeshed dysfunction, it should be noted that we actually celebrate our individuality. Allyson hates Pride & Prejudice but loves Billy Madison, for one. She is wise, filled with common sense and a knack for winnowing things down to what is most important. My head is in the clouds. She celebrates my rather geeky affinity for the written word. I revel in her deep and nuanced observations on humanity. She loves the thrill of the trauma bays in the ER and the Newborn ICU (she's a hospital social worker), I faint if someone says the word "vein". She's a Vince Vaughn/Jack Johnson kind of girl, my heart belongs to Javier Bardem/Dave Grohl.

I mention all of this because this summer marks 16 years of friendship. Sometime after seventh grade, Alice and I started this road to best friend-dom, wo-mance, whatever you want to call it. I am blessed to have a partner in crime, a sure and steady chick flick date (excepting period piece dramas), and someone to share the rent and inside jokes.

I love you, woman!
Here's to 16 years of memories!
May we have 61 more!

*(Oh, now don't be so offended, boys. I kid, I kid.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yes, please.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

*Photo found here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Totally Tasteless TMI Tuesday: The Lady Doctor

**To my few and far between male readers, you probably don't want to proceed. Consider yourselves thoroughly warned.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, loves going to the doctor. Unless you have Munchausen syndrome--in which case, it probably isn't an MD that you need. But there are certain doctors that offer a slightly more awkward experience. Yesterday was my annual check up with the Ob/Gyn. Thanks to an insurance switch, this doc is new to me. My nerves and sick stomach the morning prior to said appointment made me wonder why this annual ritual was so dreaded. I came up with the following during my experiences with the lady doctor.

In no particular order, the top 8 things I could do without at the gynecologist:

1. Waiting. It is a doctors office and waiting is part of the game, I know. But waiting makes me even more nervous.
2. Shaving like it's your wedding night.
3. Peeing in a cup.
4. Public weighings.
5. Calming yourself, "Relax, relax, relax," during the blood pressure check. I fear my nervous state will make it look like I have high blood pressure. Yes, I see this as evidence that I'm neurotic.
6. Making small talk about the weather or your job during the breast and/or pelvic exam.
7. Avoiding any and all eye contact during aforementioned exams. (Read: the fluorescent lights are our friends.)
8. Resisting the urge to ask, "So how did you decide on gynecology?" (I can't help it; this question pops into my head. Every. Single. Time.)

Like I said: Totally Tasteless TMI Tuesday. But not so tasteless as to include any type of visual.