The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Familiar Territory

I am back in school.

I am officially a graduate student. I suppose I was officially a graduate student during my credential program too, but now I am officially working towards a graduate degree, and it feels good.

Actually... it feels REALLY good. First of all, I am back at CSUN. While I was never terribly involved in student activities or anything like that- in fact, I have only walked into the University Student Union once in all my years there- CSUN is home. It is home in so many ways. I first stepped on campus when I was 15 and my uncle took me with him to his orientation. When I had terrible health insurance, the health center gave me an asthma specialist to see regularly on campus. I found out I was pregnant from a nurse on campus... and then cried to my advisor that I was taking a break (only to be told that I didn't need to and we would get through it together). I dragged two-week-old Vinny with me to my women's lit professor's office to finish an independent study she provided me with to help me finish my degree. I have spent countless dollars on Freudian Sip coffee and countless hours searching for a parking spot. It is home, and it does feel good to be back.

This program is also really exciting to me. It is a program just for English teachers and being in a room full of English teachers, learning theory and strategies that relate specifically to English education, is like a dream come true. It is exciting to think I am going to get to do this once a week for two years. I am not even stressed about the homework. Well.... I am not stressed yet. We will see how the rest of this semester goes.

Maybe it is just because I am getting more experienced as a teacher, or maybe it is just better planning in general, but this year feels much less stressful. I am feeling the energy to try new and exciting things. I am gaining the wisdom to know which things work and which don't. It is going to be a good year.

I read this great article today about teachers "getting on the desk."
In the article, he said that the one trait that students want in a teacher more than anything is just a "happy" teacher, and that doesn't mean a pushover, but someone who is in a good mood. Someone who will act crazy and get on the desk. It made me laugh, but opened my eyes in some ways too. I like to think I am this kind of teacher, but I know that I still have a ways to go. This year, I really truly am trying to just be, well, happy.

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