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.

Monday, April 14, 2014

There is a season - turn, turn, turn: Spring

Since it has been a while since I have blogged, I am going to try to visually catch up on everything that has been going on.  As I have mentioned before, 2014 was my return to the stage in Willy Wonka.  It made my soul feel alive again. I grew as a person and found an inner peace I had been lacking for quite some time.   I made friends I will never forget. I laughed often. I smiled. I stayed out late. Wonka was good for me psychologically.

    Meanwhile, life continued to be fun with my students and my family. We attended the Holi festival as a family, and I offered my students extra credit to go as well, since I think it is so important for them to experience all the joyful, exciting things that exist outside of mainstream American culture. 

They had such a good time.  I think it was good for them to see me in a context outside of the classroom on a Saturday as well.  Some of the students with whom I have to be the strictest came and had the best time. 

 And of course Tiana had a blast because she is just that kind of kid.  Several weeks later, we were driving in the car and she said, "Remember when we went and we threw color everywhere and it was like, 'Ahhhhh!'  That was so much fun." She and I are kindred spirits. She just gets me. She reminds me so incredibly much of myself as a child.
I think this might need to be our Christmas card next year.

     And of course there is still the usual stress that is my life... grading hundreds of papers.  It has been a hectic season -- lots of papers, lots of work, lots of responsibility at work. I took to heading to Starbucks in the early mornings to do rush grading sessions before school (which is actually a really good technique).  
My students this year are great.  I really like them a lot as people and as students. They are mostly hard workers and they have a greater sense of personal responsibility than my students in the past have had.  I'm not quite sure why exactly that is, but I think it has something to do with the fact that we have been focusing on personal responsibility as part of our school culture.   (Notice the common theme in all of these pictures... a cup of coffee.  I feel like I am fueled by purely caffeine and adrenaline lately.)

Vinny has also been going through some rough times emotionally lately, so I've been doing my best to be there for him.  Things I learned in educational psychology have been seeping into my consciousness -- remembering the "industry vs inferiority" stage, specifically, has helped me to understand why Vinny struggles. Because his strengths and achievements are not in areas valued by society, at least not for men, he struggles not to feel inferior to his peers. He isn't good at handball (or really any sport) and doesn't like building things. But he is a great singer and dancer and painter, but these aren't things really valued by his peers, so that has been hard on him. I've made it a point to spend a lot of one-on-one time with him lately. We went to a trampoline place one weeknight and had a great time bouncing all over together. Well... I should say that Vinny had a great time. It frankly made me feel old, as I did quite a bit of falling on my butt and found myself being told by the college kids who work there to "be careful."  Lovely.... thank you.

After Wonka closed, my weekends became completely free again, so last weekend we took the kids to the opening weekend of the Renaissance Faire, which was awesome.  My super creative, imaginative children really thrive in this environment.
I think Tiana probably had the best time of all of us.  She loved this place more than Disneyland. 

  Vinny's favorite part was the magic show. He asked the magician afterwards if he could take a picture with him.

Tiana ran right up to this guild of
washer women and delighted in learning how to wash clothes.  I'm thinking next year we are all going in peasant costumes. While it was fun to dress up as middle class, by the end, I was DYING to get out of my hoop skirt and corset.  I really feel for Renaissance women. They had a rough life.

 I think I would have enjoyed the Renaissance Faire more if I were rich. It's fun, but it really is meant for people who have truckloads of money to spend. I think I would enjoying staying at the Double Tree hotel nearby and taking their shuttle back and forth because both the kids were so tired afterwards that even though the drive is not that long, it felt too long to them.  And it also was really frustrating to have to keep saying to the kids, "No, we can't do that. It's too much money."  Everything cost an arm and a leg. If I had said yes to everything the kids wanted to do, we would have spent a couple hundred dollars. Maybe some day we will have enough money to somehow budget for that kind of day there. Tiana loved every minute of it, nonetheless.

  I also got to take my students to see In the Heights last weekend.  What a wonderful show and what a wonderful experience.  I truly believe I may have changed some of my students' lives with that trip. They saw musical theatre threw an entirely different light.
Egg Hunt 2013
Egg Hunt 2014
This past weekend was the egg hunt at church for Palm Sunday.  This is like the third year in a row that my kids have gotten to do this, and comparing years is an interesting benchmark in my mind, reminding me how much my little ones have grown. Last year, T was just like one of the little babies to me in her cute spring dress. This year, she wanted a "cool" skirt and t-shirt and was so independent. She is just getting so big.

Life goes by too fast.  Do you ever feel like you are still a little girl just pretending to be all grown up?

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