Friday, October 19, 2007

Back to School!

This has been a spectacular week. Monday morning I interviewed for a part-time instructional assistant position at the kids’ school. Got offered the job Tuesday. Did all the paperwork Thursday. Got called this morning to sub for one of the fifth grade teachers. Had a fantastic day, in all. I start my new job Monday, so I only ended up subbing one day. Crazy.

So – here’s the thing about my day in fifth grade: SO MUCH FUN! The “big kids” don’t scare me at all, since I spent so much time in seventh grade. They have a little mouth on them (some of them, at least) and they don’t push the limits nearly as much as their older peers, but they will stop when you put the hammer down and make it known you mean business. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to mix that business with pleasure, and I believe we achieved that balance today. I think most of the kids would think I was a thumbs-up, given the opportunity to rate the sub. We didn’t accomplish nearly as much as the teacher left for us to do, but I think there was some actual learning going on and that she’ll be satisfied.

And here’s the thing about teachers: I appreciate that the folks who are there every day think they have to help the sub and tell the kids how to behave, but in fact, that only serves to undermine the sub. I had one entirely-too-generous-with-her-expertise teacher come in during the morning rush (I literally had just enough notice to get to school before it started) and tell the kids to settle down – while I am standing right there thinking to myself that they were actually more settled than they are when their regular teacher is there! Anyway, I hope I’ll remember that when I am back on the other side.

I continue to think the ladies (and gentlemen) who are there day in and day out are amazing. When I get back into the full-time teaching world again one day, I want to find a way to enjoy the children for who they are, to allow them to be themselves, and to keep everyone learning at the appropriate pace while leaving rejuvenated rather than drained every day.

Topics I need to touch on some day:
The Parents-Are-in-Charge Phenomenon
How Many Girls Does it Take to Clean a Guinea Pig Cage?
Talking in Class: Tool for Learning, Evidence of Thinking, and Not Necessarily Rude
Squelching the Children: How and Why it Happens Daily
What’s With All the Transition Time? A Story of Shuffling and Sharing Students
Don’t Get Me Started on Notes With No Context

Stay tuned for tales from the Literacy Lab. I am so excited!!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Definitely NOT for the taste of it...

Urg. Those of you who’ve known me a while are pretty aware of my loath for artificial sweeteners. I hate them all. Nutrasweet, Sweet-n-Low, Splenda – all of ‘em. I almost envy people who say they can’t tell the difference between regular and diet drinks. I can not only tell the difference, but I can’t stand the icky chemical taste in my mouth that lingers for-freakin-ever. I avoid diet products like they are poison. Blaaaccchhhh!

But here I sit, drinking one of Jimmy’s diet cokes with lime, and I’m not dead yet. Can’t say I’m enjoying it, but it’s doing the trick. Ordinarily, if I want something calorie-free, I’ll just have some water, but my caffeine intake for the day is low and I have the headache that accompanies such an affliction (addiction?) – couple that with a trip to the doctor for a physical today, and regular coke is now out of the picture.

Yep – my EVERYTHING is off-kilter. Iron’s still low, weight’s still high, and now my cholesterol is officially elevated. Thyroid functions just outside the normal range. Vitamin D deficient. And don’t even get me started on my serotonin issues. (Wish they could measure THAT in a blood test. How about some of you geeks I adore get busy on that?) SO, I’ve gone from no meds to five pills a day in the span of two weeks. Fantastic. I’ve come of age and I’m experiencing finer living through pharmaceuticals.

AND, to make it all suck worse, I really need to make some lifestyle changes. Got to eat better and get some serious exercise so my arteries don’t get completely clogged and so my spirit will improve. Got to get outside for some good old fashioned sunshine to get the Vit. D up so that my scrawny frame doesn’t diminish any sooner than it has to. (I’ve seen how ugly osteoporosis can be, and I want nothing to do with it.) Mostly, got to accept that I need to be responsible if I don’t want my body to backfire on me. Bummer.

Meanwhile, me likey the food. Me likey it long time. I hate carrying around twenty-five extra pounds, but I also hate the thought of not eating a bag full of jerky when I want to. Alas. So here I go, on a quest to slowly change my eating habits to those of a fiber-loading, sugar-avoiding, carbo-fearing old fart. Right. I can’t imagine ever being there, but I’d rather make changes now than wait for the doctor to tell me I have an expiration date due to some tragic illness guaranteed to befall me.

So, wish me well and join me in the effort to be healthy and fit. I’m not ever going to be a total purist, and I am not one to deprive myself of anything, but I do intend to make better choices more often. Yay, me!

(By the way, I’m almost done with this here diet coke, and I’d still rather have water than this crap.)