Showing posts from 2013

The Weary World Rejoices

My favorite Christmas song of all time has to be "O Holy Night." I may not be so sure about this Jesus fellow, but I know beautiful language when I hear it, and this song... this song gets me every time.

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices/ For yonder breaks a new and glorious morning./ Fall on your knees/ O hear the angel's voices./ O night divine!"

The weary world rejoices. That line right there is probably one of the most gorgeous I know. This year that line resonates with me in a special way because truly, this year I am weary.

I am always in low spirits in November and December--I drive to work in the dark, I come home in the dark, I don't sleep, the grind if grading is at the highest point, and (let's face it) students are crabby. This year, on top of that, my husband and I are planning a move three days after Christmas while simultaneously attempting to pay off the last of our dreamy European vacation in July. The bills and stress are pilin…

What I Learned from Jay Gatsby, or I'm Too Old to Party Like it's 1922

Anyone who knows me knows I sort of love The Great Gatsby. You know, in the same way that I sort of love Doritos and sleeping in. Which is to say, obsessively love it. With wild abandon. And I am always thrilled when my students, each year, fall in love with Gatsby, Daisy, and all the rest (well...not so much Daisy... they usually hate her). But Gatsby, Gatsby I love.
And then, this year, the unthinkable happened. I gave the book to one of my freshmen who wanted to read it (it's in our curriculum 10th grade year) and when he finished, I asked what he thought. His response? "I liked it... until Gatsby turned into a possessive d-bag." Right through the heart. I was dumbfounded, and no matter how vehemently I tried to explain to this very smart young man that he was just wrong (and why he was wrong, and how very wrong he was), he just could not understand Gatsby's actions and attitude toward Daisy. To put it in his succinct, freshman vernacular, "The guy's douche-y…

One of Those Moments

This hasn't been an easy year--teacher-wise--in my world. And the weather here in Minnesota seems determined to make any possible pain last as long as possible. This past Friday, despite a (depressingly) late-spring snowstorm that closed schools across the state, the Minnesota High School League State Speech Tournament went ahead, sketchy roads and all. I left my house at 5:45am in order to ensure my state participants were at the tournament site in time for rounds, which started at 10:15. As I drove slowly down a back county road with no discernible road markings--they had been completely covered by the fierce blowing snow--I prepared myself for what I knew was going to be a long day.

Thirteen hours later, I sat in a high school auditorium surrounded by 15 amazing team members who had braved the weather and forfeited their snow day to cheer our two state participants on as the MSHSL handed out the last of the day's awards. And standing on the stage, for the first time in schoo…

When You Have One of THOSE Years . . .

The reality of life as a teacher is that some years are better than others. Different mixes in your classes mean that each year--despite teaching the same content--is radically different than the year before it. Last year was one of my good years: a fantastic mix of kids created a magical mix that made coming to work a joy.

This year is not that year.

As such, I've been struggling this year to find a coping mechanism. It's particularly harsh to have a low year after such a previous high, and it seems in the 9 months last year of fairy tale class discussions, I forgot how to manage the stress and disappointment of a rough year. Here I present to you my (admittedly lousy) coping mechanisms in the hopes that somewhere out there, someone's got something better:

1. Patiently Explain the Situations to Students: Let's face it, students whine when you make them work, especially if what you're doing in your room is harder (or perceived as harder) as another teacher teaching th…