Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The things I am thankful for are too numerous to mention. That's not going to stop me from trying, though!

First, and always, I am lucky to have a healthy, wonderful family.

What a bunch of turkeys...

There's lots of other stuff I could list here, but I don't want to think that hard. I need to save my energy for the feast.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trusting my instincts

What a week, kids. The weather has been crap, but I still got in some running. This is good, because it helps me stay sane. I've noticed something though; each time I've headed out I have second guessed myself about something in my gear/preparation etc. and made a last second change to my plan. And every time it has negatively affected my run (sockless with new shoes+3 miles=giant painful blister; over-layering for the weather = too hot and fatigued way too soon in my run). As I'm fairly new to "serious" running, these are all valuable mistakes in that I've noticed my instincts are good and if I'd just trusted them I would have had much better running experiences this week.

Yeah; like I'm going to pass up a chance for Star Wars references

Running wasn't the only time I got to test out my instincts. As it turns out, my teaching instincts got a workout this week, and fared much better than my running ones. That means i actually listened to them and things worked out. The plan had been for me to take over my mentor teacher's class for a couple days while she led a Writing Workshop clinic for other teachers at the school. Of course, being an intern teaching student I have to have a certified teacher in the room so a substitute was set up, you know, just in case and to satisfy the requirement. Thursday morning comes, I've planned out the two days' lessons with my mentor teacher and am ready to go, sub safety net in place In walks the principal who tells the sub and me that the building is short one sub, and asks if the sub would mind taking another class and would I mind taking this class solo...wait; what?! 

No adult supervision!

So yeah, as it turned out, I got to teach solo for two days (Friday had another substitute shuffle at the last minute...). I knew it was a big deal for the principal to trust me with this class and I didn't have time to second guess myself. I had to rely entirely on the plans and my instincts for how the day was flowing. I now know my  teaching instincts are solid; the two days went incredibly well (Friday was a little less stellar, but the schedule was so far off of normal that even mentor teacher would have felt it somewhat). 

Sure, I have a long way to go yet before I am ready for full-time class ownership; but, this two days were monumental for a couple reasons. One, it proved that I am on the right path and my instincts are sound. Two, I felt the confidence of those around me (confidence in me to take care of their kids). This was a huge deal and I don't take the trust lightly. Student teaching will be here before I know it. Now that I've had a taste of the full experience I'm even more excited to get there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good enough is never good enough

Here's a little bit about me: I'm never really satisfied with myself.  That last run could have been faster/smoother; the last lesson I taught? Never as good as it could have been. And so it goes in every thing I do. No, this is not necessarily a good thing, thanks for noticing. As a result of this self-critical existence I do not understand the idea of "good enough." those who are simply satisfied with OK baffle me. Sure, I sometimes (more than I wish) produce work that is less than awesome. And, yeah, I may project an air of being cool with it to those around me; it's a coping mechanism. Inside, though, I am reeling with the thousand ways I could have just done x, y, or z better.

How does it compute for someone to just say "eh, it'll do?" Is there nowhere to improve?  Nothing that can be done better? I honestly want to know. I see those around me do this and it makes me want to scream. We are striving to become teachers; how can "good enough" ever be good enough for our students? We have a responsibility to leave it all on the field and give no less than everything we have to further that mission; I can't overstate that.

I know that he who is on a high horse has far to fall, and I'm not trying to be that guy. I don't find myself to be better/superior/whatever than anyone else (see opening paragraph). But here's the thing. I did not take the decision to go back to school and become a teacher lightly. Frankly, I consider it a calling and a mission. I walked away from a career with a lot of growth potential and a good income to do this.  I'm not in it for the pay, the "long summer vacation" that everyone seems to believe teachers get, or anything else like that. I'm in it because I want to educate and foster learning. As a result, I relish every chance I get to learn something or improve myself. I know I have a long way to go and more than a little to learn before I'm ready to call myself a teacher. Don't we all?

I know; at 38 I'm a little old to be so naive and idealistic. Says you. I think the world needs more idealistic naivete. So, yeah, this hasn't been the usual happy slappy funfest. Sorry, but I needed to get this out; it's been burning me up all day. Thanks for reading

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Not too shabby

I had to go to the doctor the other day. Yes, naysayers, I hurt my foot whilst traipsing about flaunting my nekkid feet to the world East Vancouver (or possibly during my last 5K; I really can't be sure). I either stomped on a piece of stray gravel, which happens from time to time, or suffered at the hands of the terribly uneven and rough Portland asphalt in the race. Fortunately it was a minor, but deep bruise to the ball of my foot. I was afraid I'd broken a toe or worse gotten a stress fracture. I will say that, yeah, sure, I got hurt, but it is nothing compared to the chronic injuries I used to face running. Still happy with the bare foot. I'm on a strict half-arsed regimen of icing, staying off my feet (sure, I can do that), and not running for a week. The waiting not running is the hardest part (sorry Tom). I am as surprised as all of you at that last statement. No, not that I co-opted a Tom Petty lyric for my own purposes; I do that kind of crap all the time. The not running being the tough part thing. I have never felt that way before, and it's frankly a little weird; but, I crave my running time and not getting it is bumming me out. Nest Friday I should be able to attempt a short run. I'm like a kid on Christmas eve about it...I can't wait.

On the other side of my life, the one in which I am a teaching student, things are moving fast. I'm halfway through another internship already and don't feel like I'm boasting when I say I've made a real impact on the kids I've been working with since September. They've been engaged with all my lessons and I see the evidence of it in their work. A couple weeks ago I posted I was having doubts about this decision and what I should do. Well, since then things have totally turned around and I feel more confident than ever that I am on the right path (there was never any REAL doubt, just a tough couple of days). 

the right path...get it?

So, yeah, things are good. The ouchie is nothing I can't live with and is probably a blessing in disguise to keep me from overdoing things. On the school side, things are going great and I sense they're only going to get better from here. 

Woo Hoo!