Monday, February 23, 2009

Better Days

I don't write often about work. At least once every couple of days, something happens that I think would make a great blog post, but I'm a pretty lazy blogger. I'm trying to get better, but usually I just forget.

Today, I had a bad day at work. And as I was thinking about the fact that teaching has such high highs and such low lows, I thought about the fact that I should probably write down some of the things that aren't bad so that I can look to them when I have a day like today.**

This story actually happened last Friday. In celebration of Black History Month, we had a troupe of African drummers and dancers in for an assembly. I attended with class made up of 3- and 4-year-olds, since the assembly fell during their library time. The program was pretty great--all of the kids, regardless of age, were engaged, and it's hard to find something that will do that with kids ranging from 3-11. And then the stiltwalker came out.

I'd heard that there was a stiltwalker, and I had pictured...a guy on stilts. In fact, he was a guy on stilts dressed in a raffia skirt, pants that covered the stilts, a brightly colored shirt and what basically amounted to a hood over his head, with a hat on top. When I first saw him, he made me jump a bit. So naturally he scared the bejesus out of the younger kids.

As soon as he passed by me, one of the girls from the class I was with made a beeline for me, tears streaming down her cheeks. She crawled up into my lap and cried. Then I looked behind me and saw two little girls from another class clinging to each other and sobbing, so I had them come over. There was no room on my lap, so they stood next to my chair, pressed up against my side. All three of them were quite upset.

The stiltwalker made one circuit of the multi-purpose room then sat down on an upright piano in the corner. The kids calmed down a bit, but would not take their eyes off him or sit back down in their seats. They relaxed a little after about ten minutes, and I had just gotten them sitting down when he stood up again. I saw the girl who'd been on my lap stiffen and reach out and clutch the side of the bench she sat on, so I put my hand on her shoulder. She turned around and dove for my lap.

You may be thinking "But this is a terrible story! Those kids were terrified!" And yes, they were. And I'd prefer that they hadn't been. But one of the things that I like about my job--the thing that keeps me going through the bad days--is those moments when I know I've had an impact on a kid. And in this case, I could make a scary situation a little less scary. It's different from having a student tell me that the book I suggested for them was perfect, but still hits the same spot.

**Nothing catastrophic happened today. I just had a class that refused to get it together, and turned what should have been a pretty awesome lesson into total crap.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge

So I've decided to participate in the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge. I'm a little late, but I do have my reading journal which gives me a partial list of what I've read so far this year. (I'm not good at keeping up) I'm modifying the challenge a little bit--it includes all books from the library, including children's books. I check out on average 10 children's books from the public library a week for use with my classes; it doesn't seem sporting, so I won't include them. I will, however, include young adult books--but not books that I read from my own school library. And instead of doing 50 books, I'm shooting for 100. I get most of my books from the library these days, so it seems like it won't be a problem.

So, without further ado, the list so far:

1. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
2. The War Within by Bob Woodward
3. The Hippopotamus Pool by Elizabeth Peters
4. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
5. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
6. A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

7. Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters
8. Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima by Stephen Walker
9. The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters
10. The Falcon at the Portal by Elizabeth Peters
11. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich
12. Three Bedrooms, One Corpse by Charlaine Harris
13. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
14. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
15. The Devils of Bakersfield by John Shannon

16. He Shall Thunder in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
17. Lord of the Silent by Elizabeth Peters
18. The Golden King by Zahi Hawass
19. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

20. Affinity by Sarah Waters
21. Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar
22. Blue Bloods by Melissa De la Cruz
23. The Last Undercover by Bob Hamer
24. Don't Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff

25. No Angel by Jay Dobyns

26. The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
27. The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
28. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

29. The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
30. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
31. Spy Mice: The Black Paw by Heather Vogel Frederick
32. Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters
33. Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
34. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
35. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
36. Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke
37. The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets by Nancy Springer
38. Guardian of the Horizon by Elizabeth Peters

39. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

When geeks attack...

Man Robs Convenience Stores With Klingon Sword

What's especially awesome is that when I saw the headline on, I immediately thought, "Oh, a Batleth." It may be time to stop giving O. such a hard time about being a geek.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I don't know what the problem is, but this school year has been brutal. Every time we have a day off, I need another one even more badly. I feel like I never quite settled into the rhythm of the year, so I've been struggling from day one. I thought things were supposed to get better after your first year...

On a brighter note, my diploma arrived in the mail today. I officially have my Masters degree, which prompted the happy dance of joy. (Yes, I know that's redundant. The level of joy seemed to warrant it.)