Sunday, August 26, 2018

Similarities and Differences

I've completed my first week of teaching third grade. I'm a little giddy because of the fun factor. The children are adorable and tell me amusing anecdotes. Plus, they won't be writing multi-thousand word essays I'll need to grade on weekends and holidays.

This is not to say I won't have other things to do on weekends and holidays: the lesson planning and the scheduling and the understanding of students' needs and capabilities in many a discipline will take up that same time. But those tasks seem more interesting to me at this point in my career.

The whole switch has been exhilarating.

Here are some critical differences between teaching elementary and secondary that I've noticed in my first days in the former:
  • One needs a slightly different wardrobe with swishier, more versatile clothing. Many of my outfits no longer suit because of the constant up-and-down of elementary teaching. A skirt needs to have a certain give and a certain length to make it work for sitting on the rug in a circle.
  • The job is more physical, and I get sweatier. It's not that secondary teaching is sedentary by any means. But third-grade teaching with the necessary vertical flexibility I previously mentioned, plus the bending over at the waist, plus the line walking--I don't know. Something about it makes showering more imperative. This is not to say I didn't value cleanliness in my former capacities.
  • The children all have something to tell me. It's charming, and I laugh and smile a lot. To be fair, I laughed and smiled a lot in my old jobs, as well. Teaching is teaching, and it's all pretty fun.
  • But here's an excellent bonus: I've forced kids of all ages sing songs with me and repeat affirmations. However, I've never experienced total compliance and freedom from eye-rolling in grades six and up, no matter how catchy or helpful the song or affirmation. In third grade, though, they look at me earnestly and try their best in these activities. It's that simple.
Third grade! I like it here, and I'm feeling fine.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Back to School

My school is starting a week earlier than normal this year, which means summer was a week shorter. This seems like a hardship for many, including the people who like to get their work done without teachers in their faces all the time. I keep hearing, "As you know, we lost a week this year."

It might feel like we gain a week on the front side of next summer when we finish up in May. However, this fact doesn't help the people who are working their tails off to have things ready for next Tuesday when the children show up.

To kick things off, I bought a book called The Growth Mindset Coach, and we're going to focus on our first month's theme: Everyone can learn! I think we'll do a little writing about when we learned how to do something. I have an idea to write a little sample about learning how to teach. I'm learning all over again now, and I have to say it's pretty fun so far. I feel slightly sorry for my new teaching partner on whom I have to rely rather heavily. I'm trying to make up for that burden by exhibiting my sunny personality. I'm sure she appreciates it.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Summer Fail

Before I get into my fail, let's just put one major WIN on the table: I sent my massively revised novel back to my agent by my self-imposed deadline of today. There's hardly a scene that we haven't overhauled. I cut several characters and added one. I changed the sequence of events that leads to the ending. I gave one of the protagonists a family secret. I changed the genesis and substance of the conflict.

It's just a totally different book. I also think it's a better book. I really hope all of the stakeholders agree with this assessment.

So here's my funniest fail:

I arranged to meet a new friend at a coffee shop. It was my first time having coffee with this friend, and of course, I wanted her to find me charming and impressive. The coffee place was fancy, and I ordered a drink I'd never tried called "Golden Milk," which is high in turmeric and made with an oat-based dairy substitute.

Only someone evolved and sophisticated would order such a beverage.

When the barista called my name, I zipped right up to the counter and grabbed the nearest cup. I sipped it enthusiastically, certain the Golden Milk would be fantastic. But right away, I noticed the drink was an iced latte, not a Golden Milk. "No," I said, turning around. It was at that point I spotted a very sour-looking woman whose latte I'd just sampled.

"That was mine," she said, angry.

"I'm so sorry!" I said. "They called my name, and the drinks look the same!" She scowled at me as if I'd transgressed on purpose. I swear I did not! I babbled on about the mistake. The barista pointed out the drink that was actually mine and told the other woman she'd replace hers.

That latte lady was REALLY mad. Like, really. This coffee situation was a major setback for her.

At our table, my friend and I giggled. What else was there to do? We made jokes about how perhaps I thought the counter offered free samples, or that the Golden Milk came as part of a flight. The more we laughed, the angrier that latte lady became. I felt bad for her and definitely sorry, but my discomfort just made me laugh harder.

When she finally left with her non-contaminated drink, I waved and mouthed "I'm sorry," apologizing again. She did not reply. She rolled her eyes and scoffed. This made my friend and me laugh harder, which I'm sure annoyed her to no end.

I'm sorry, latte lady! I don't know what else to say.