Thursday, August 26, 2010

Open house...two weeks too late

I'm dreading tomorrow.  Tomorrow is our open house at work; it's supposed to be a "meet the teacher" kind of thing but because it's two weeks after school starts, the parents want to treat it as a parent teacher conference.  That's a problem.

We operate on an alternating block schedule, so I see their kids every other day.  I do not know my freshmen yet and they do not have enough grades in for anyone to start worrying.

To me, it would be more logical to do this before school starts.  We have a freshmen orientation but we're not all there for orientation and this year more than half the building was still a construction zone for orientation.  More than one parent expressed disappointment that they wouldn't meet all of their child's teachers.

Another problem with open house is that it means I will be working from 7:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. or later.   Some of the parents don't seem to realize how long we've been there and are in no hurry to let us leave.


With this in mind, I drag myself off to bed for tomorrow will be a long day in an already long week.  I'm going to need a lot of caffeine.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My horoscope...okay, who is stalking me for the horoscope folks?

Tell the world how you feel -- they need to see that you've got some serious emotional issues, even if they can't really help out just yet. Write a blog post, talk to a good friend or sit your family down.

Hmmm, so now I must figure out who is stalking me and reporting to the horoscope people.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Did someone seriously just ask that?

Today was Tuesday and Tuesday means faculty meeting or department meeting or meetings about meetings.  Sigh.  I hate Tuesday.

We always seem to have someone who asks a question that makes me think and sometimes mutter, "Did she/he just ask that?"  Today was no exception.

Our school district wants us to use more technology and social media in our classroom but...they're scared to death of the technology and the social media.  Welcome to my world. 

Today we were given a form letter permission slip to send home with our kids if we were planning on using blogs in our classrooms.  I've been kicking around some ideas of how to use blogging in my class but the biggest problem is a lack of working and available equipment.  If I can't get them to a computer with working internet access, then we can't do it.

But I digress.  That's not what I was going to rant about.

As the boss is talking about this letter, someone asks, "What's a blog?"  I know; you're thinking that they weren't serious.  I wish that was the case.

Now I recognize that some of the more senior staff members have no clue about anything more modern than a VCR but we spent hours after school completing technology PD last year and part of that professional development...setting up a blog!

If I have to sit through another professional development about something that I already know how to do, lead by someone who does not know as much about the subject matter as well as I do all because someone didn't pay attention last time....well, it is not going to be pretty.  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shakespeare: The Power of Master Will--Lockup Edition

I was going to bed and then I started watching Lockup.  The show fascinates me and there are days I think it should be required view to deter some budding young criminals that I know.  On tonight's episode, at a prison in Indiana, they have a Shakespeare program for the inmates led by a college professor from an area university.

The participants read, study, analyze and discuss Shakespeare's work and even rewrite scenes in their own words.  The professor selected Macbeth for their course of study that was shown in this episode.  She said for several reasons and as someone who teaches Macbeth, I understand her choice. 

Watching these inmates--in segregation--intelligently discuss Shakespeare's Macbeth impressed me.  I love Shakespeare.  If I could teach a Shakespeare class, then I would be a happy woman.  

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Frustration is "a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs" (Merriam Webster).   Yep, that is an accurate assessment of the situation.

I am extremely frustrated...already.  Now I have to figure out how to deal with a healthy fashion. 

I prefer to just go off on the person causing the frustration but I can't do that.  This leads to more unhealthy behavior--emotional eating for one.  I can't give in to that impulse; I lost two pounds this week and if I stay on track, I could be at my goal weight by the end of the school year.  I can't let this derail me.

 I also tend to hold on to the resentment (especially if I can't let the anger out) and I end up in a great deal of pain--my neck, my back, my shoulders...tension and tightness.  Headaches tend to follow close behind.

I've taken a walk but I still feel the tension in my body.  Hopefully a shower and some meditation will help.  If not, this may be a long year.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Weight Watchers Wagon

I fell off the Weight Watchers wagon.   I joined; I lost 30 lbs and then I fell off the wagon.


I gained most of the weight back.  20lbs and back up a size.  Now I have clothes that would be perfect for this time of year--if they weren't too tight.

I'm back on track now and have lost 13lbs which means 7 more lbs before I'm back where I was when I fell off the wagon.  Frustrating but  I know what I did to get off track but the trick is going to be to not fall off the wagon again.

I typically do better in the summer when it is hot (and I don't have much of an appetite); my stress level is also MUCH lower during the summer.

The school year definitely contributed to my slip-up.  The stress of work and my hectic, harried schedule resulted in poor food choices, limited physical activity and failure to track my points.  Hence the weight regain has opposed to continuing to lose.

Tackling the weight issue makes me reflect and analyze what got me here in the first place.  I was not an overweight child or teen. It started in college naturally--thanks to Papa Johns and their campus special--but I danced, so it wasn't too much of a weight gain. 

It was when I quit dancing and moved out on my own that the steady weight gain began but taking my current job seems to have led to the most weight gain.

I've never liked to cook and unfortunately, the foods that are fast, cheap and easy are bad for you.  I had a one hour commute to and from work that first year at this job.  I did a pretty good job not succumbing to the fast food drive-thru but by the time I made it home, I was tired and the processed-out-of-the-box meals were the order of the day.  Workouts were virtually non-existent even though I belong to a gym because I never had the time to get there and friends who pledged to go together for moral support--bailed--all of us.

The next year the commute was shorter but I picked up two extra-curricular activities and had even less time. Things got worse from there.

As the atmosphere grew  more and more toxic at my place of employment,  the more miserable and stressed-out I became and the more weight I gained.    I've noticed that many of my colleagues have similar problems.  We're stressed out, sick and overweight.

In one breath, our boss will tell us that she respects our time and in the next, she lists all the events, activities and games that she would like us to attend.  "It means so much to the kids."  And it does mean  a lot to them, I get that but we have multiple events going on nearly every night of the week.  It is impossible to do our early morning required duties, teach all day, attend meetings (during planning and after school), plan for our classes, grade our students' work, mentor individual students, coach extracurriculars, eat, wash dishes, do laundry, see family and friends AND attend all of our students events.  There's just not enough hours in a day. 

I love my students and I love teaching but the toxic and chaotic atmosphere of the place is stifling.  We're (hopefully) in the end stages of a massive construction project and I hope that the chaos is because of that.  The last minute meetings and administrative lack of planning causing emergencies on our parts has cut into my gym time and into my life.  By the end of the day, I'm exhausted and only want to collapse on the couch.

This year is going to be different.  I'm vowing to keep up my good habits from this summer as the school year begins.  This year, I no longer coach and I have no plans to pick up any extra curricular activities.  I plan to follow the example of a former colleague who retired last year.  LC did not miss her regular gym appointments; when meetings ran long, she would declare that she had to go and would leave.  Just like that.  She would leave and the world didn't end.

I have decided that she's my hero and I'm following her many things.  She didn't let the stress get to her and she always made time for herself.

I'm going to take care of my students.  I'm going to teach them what they need to know and do my damnedest to avoid all the departmental drama.  I'm going to have a life outside of that building.

That being is time to brave the heat, go to the gym and then go work on putting my classroom back together.

Wish me luck.