The Author

My photo
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, February 23, 2012

It is really hard to be so UNpresent in my kids' lives, like what happens every Thursday. I am extremely fortunate that I am surrounded by an awesome support system, with a husband who acts as Super Dad every Thursday. Today, he picked Vinny up from school, got the rest of Vinny's homework done, took Vinny to track practice, (all while taking care of very challenging Tiana), then took the kids to a dinner at the church, before taking them home to get ready for bed (and he even gave them both baths and washed their hair). I'm impressed. And he does it all with a smile on his face. That's Marc.

But, in the meantime, I am trying to be...

  • Super Teacher
  • Mentor Teacher
  • Tenth Grade Clan Leader
  • Graduate Student/Teacher Researcher

     Yeah, that last one is kicking my butt. Notice I did NOT put the word "super" in front of that part. I am just plain not a super graduate student. I was a really super college student. The ironic thing is...  I didn't really think so in college. In fact, I sometimes thought I was a pretty lame excuse for an English major, since I BSed my way through quite a few papers, selectively chose not to read texts that did not interest me, and pretty much avoided any text I felt was too difficult. There was a critical theories class I would have totally failed if it wasn't for a rag tag Starbucks study group that taught me just enough to survive.

  In a recommendation letter a professor once wrote for me, she stated that I had "superb writing skills and knowledge of composition, rhetoric theory, and pedagogy. She is an adept reader of literature, as well as able to communicate her knowledge to others." I remember wondering if I had somehow tricked her into actually believing these things or if she just had enough pity on my state of unemployment to flatter me with such a beautiful letter. I am now starting to believe that these things were, perhaps, true. As I see that not everyone has the in depth understanding of literature and rhetoric that I do, I am starting to see that the difference between a character trait and an emotion are maybe not quite so obvious as I initially thought them to be....

     So... within the next couple of weeks, I do need to design a research proposal for my Masters program. This feels like such a monumental milestone. I feel like once I am able to commit solidly to a research project, and have a plan for actually carrying it out, I will be able to move confidently forward, but as of right now, I am feeling timid and insecure. Given that these are traits I would typically never use to describe myself, I do not feel comfortable embodying them for long. I am going to need to do whatever processing it takes to get past this state, and quickly.

   I am thinking of basing my master's research around Shawn Achor's theories presented in The Happiness Advantage. He proposes that people in general are more successful if they...
- List things they are grateful for regularly
- Write in a journal
- Exercise
- Meditate
- Practice acts of kindness

I am thinking about playing these out in my English classes and seeing if students become more successful overall.  I think they will.. it is just figuring out how to track it.

No comments:

Post a Comment