Monday, July 27, 2009

To be smooching on the Eiffel Tower or to not be

It begins in the throat:sandpaper. Then the shoulders try to shrug but the sinews feel butter-coated, sloshed. Then the nose tries to enlist like a nasty conformist weakling, and, suddenly, one has an active crawling bug on the week of her trip to Europe.

However, it hasn't overtaken me. I'm drinking Airborne water, popping JuicePlus pills, swallowing zinc and C's. I will overcome and will not even kiss my sweetie to give it to him (he needs to be in good form since romance demands so).

Yet one must think . . . will we be spared from something if we get left behind? Hmmm . . . to be sick or not to be sick, that is the question. I'll do my part to be healthy unless some other force whacks me on my back.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Life's musings, death notices

My third post in one day. I must truly be procrastinating my grammar decisions and my 9th grade fiction decisions, although grammar will be more innovative than imagined, and multi-tiered for the parents who desire the advanced treatment and for those who rebel and accept the basic package. A car wash approach. But, now, I want the 9th graders to hone their short story writing skills (the 2nd annual writing competition) and read The Hobbit and the obligatory Lord of the Flies all in the fall semester. And with three school days a week, time runs out quickly. Despair! I can't assign layers upon layers upon heads. Dismay!

On the Personal Front:

1. Kevin and I leave for France on Thursday.
2. I can't wait to smooch him on the Eiffel Tower.
3. Cody is going to the school where I teach.
4. I am scared to death for his success.
5. My purple phox is all a-lit outside my window.
6. I'm supposed to be planning for my course instead of blogging.
7. I ate three granola bars in a row.
8. I'm reading the book called "The Book Thief."
9. My husband just knocked on the glass door and told me a neighbor's husband just died; the husband in the house right beside them died about a month ago. I hope this isn't making its way down the street.

Au revoir!

Roll over

Oh, Grammar, how to teach you? Must I truly teach the correlative conjunction and the compound-complex sentences and the reflexive and intensive pronouns? Should I really use valuable class time to delve into your science, instead of your usage in students' writing? Or, do you really need to be labeled so that the students can so quickly forget about you (which they truly do -- even my smart students forget about you)? Yes, students need to know how punctuation works within your rules. Yes, students need to be able to identify certain parts of a sentence (noun, verbs, adjectives, adverbs), but when did you become a tyrant in my classroom, shaking your algebraic fist at my young learners who would rather be exploring meaning instead of hammering work ants to death. I must rein you in this year. I must! I must. I will:

A Rein Plan:
1) Go through the grammar book and choose the essentials;
2) Send the students home with their paid for books, where the two shall meet more than in the classroom;
3) Perform grammar check-ups throughout the semester, which looks like -- once every two weeks, set a grammar assignment deadline; throughout each week, spend only 30 minutes of class time covering the assignment, answering questions; incorporate the grammar lessons with their writing assignments, making practical sense out of the abstract; cut the abstract good-for-nothing lessons out! Amen, sister, preach it!

Thank you, O Grammar, for cooperating with the Alpha Teacher.

Thought deposit

My blog has suffered from distraction of good and hard things, but I've been yearning to return lately, so here I am.

Currently, I am downstairs surrounded my papers and books. Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 stands nearby taunting me to a dare to choose it for a student text, a parent's anxiety. Will I receive a letter from a parent which asks me why I don't choose a book by Catherine Marshall or by one of those Christian writers that are making the popular fiction rounds? I'm not sure why I want to choose this book. I've not even read it, but yet I think it might be preparatory for students to figure out how to assimilate belief with social, and perhaps religious, criticism. How is faith firmed when angular worldviews are presented? How do you accept good points about life, truth, government, human nature without scalding your thin skin of Christian paranoia? Well, I want my students to be prepared for all sorts of ideas by learning how to think, filter, toss the damaging but save the good. If God imbues all, then let's see Him in action. Yet we can certainly not get caught up in destructive images, thought patterns, hopelessness. Come on, students, learn!

I'm teaching now obviously, and I love it. I have anxiety, yes, but that spurs me on to be better. I'm going into my second year, and I must go to work right now on my freshman curriculum.

Perhaps I can write in this blog again and trust that I don't have to produce little mini-treatises here but just deposit thoughts as I make my way through the land of potholes and God's grace and love and direction-giving.