Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Don't Get It

Today I realized what the most difficult part of subbing is for me. It is so hard to relate to the kids who don't want to learn, don't want to work, and don't even want to try. Granted, this is two days before winter break, but it happens any day and there's at least one in every class.

Maybe my expectations are too high, but I don't think it's asking too much for kids to do their best. My relationship with some kids is often only hours old so I understand that they don't care about impressing me. I try to take the angle that they should strive to prove to their teacher that they can be trusted to work hard even when she or he isn't there. What I am beginning to understand though, is that it's not me, it's them. They probably don't work hard for anyone.

I assign the work, I ask for questions, and I walk around offering support and encouragement. Still, some kids wander around the room doing everything from sharpening a pencil to asking to use the restroom excessively, while others just sit there doing absolutely nothing.

Me: Do you understand what to do?

Kid: Yeah.

Me: Then get started on it.

I know school's not fun for a lot of kids. But the day goes by so much faster if you do the assignments and try. You have to be there anyway, so why not make it worth your while? This is one of my biggest frustrations so far. I don't understand and am unable to accept laziness and apathy, and I strongly feel that I shouldn't be expected to.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An Afternoon of Fun

The best part: I got paid for it.

I had a half-day sub assignment in third grade that began at 11:30 this morning. At noon, I walked my students to lunch. I picked them up at 12:40, and at 1:00 the entire third grade began their "Christmas around the World" rotations; they're doing a couple each day this week. I taught the same lesson twice (sweet!) and had two separate groups of kids for only forty minutes each (even sweeter!). Our classroom's lesson was all about Christmas in Sweden, which was cool because I learned as much as the students did. I also developed a strong craving for gingersnaps that I have, unfortunately, yet to satisfy. Then for the last half hour of the day the homeroom class returned, completed some holiday worksheets, packed up, listened to a story, and left for the day. Easy peasy. Loved it.

I also loved this teacher's style and creativity. Her room was decorated so tastefully. There was a retro-looking clock made of pencils, a gorgeous antique white bookcase, and a burlap "WRITING" banner hung above the writing center. I had to take a photo of her best work, though, and share it with you. She had a red wooden mantle with a cute tissue paper fire inside. It was adjacent to the bookcase so the kids could read their books by the cozy fireplace. I've been in many classrooms but have never seen anything so adorable. Well done! Great afternoon.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Winter break is almost here. There are only three more school days until the kids and I have eighteen days off. I'm looking forward to later (warmer!) morning runs and maybe even sunny afternoon bike rides with the kids. Maybe this is the year we finally take them up north so they can see snow for the first time ever. Or maybe we'll do lots of hiking around here like we have in the past. The point is there are no plans so we can do whatever we feel like. Do what we want and not what we have to? That sounds good to me.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Birthday Boy

Brian turned 39 yesterday. He's not one for a lot of fanfare, so he got some handmade cards from the kids and opened a few practical presents from me. He went out for the afternoon to look at toolboxes, bike shoes, and helmets, so he had a pleasant and peaceful day. Then we got a babysitter, and he and I went out to dinner.

He was totally fine with it all, but I felt like I didn't do enough. So when he went riding this morning, I made him a birthday cake and we had it after dinner at GiGi's tonight. It was good but it was also a lot of work even though it most definitely looked homemade. It took a long time to put together and a long time to clean up because I used so many bowls and utensils. I remember when I used to love creating things in the kitchen. Now I view it as a chore that's lost all its fun. 

Good thing he's worth it. Happy birthday to Brian!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Back to It

You know what I miss? I miss learning new things on the guitar.

I still pick up Genevieve in the evenings, but I only strum some favorite songs using open chords that I know I can play. I haven't been learning anything new lately, but I would like to. Life just got busier when I started to work again on a pretty regular basis.

So. Over winter break I'm going to work on my guitar skills but not so much that I hurt myself again. Darn my passion! As I learned last spring, you can't move your arm in the same repetitive motion for two to three hours a day after never having done that for thirty-seven years without developing an injury. It's good to be goal-oriented but not obsessive. Learn from my mistakes, folks.

Friday, December 12, 2014


I need to always remind myself that things work out. It might take a few minutes, days, or sometimes years, but a person eventually figures out how to solve a problem, resolve an issue, or let it go. And I didn't even have to hike the PCT!

Jennifer and I went to see Wild tonight. I have too much to say about it before midnight, though, so expect something all about that soon.

Aimee and I are hiking in the morning. Coincidence? Hmmm.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Matthew's Turn

Tonight we watched Matthew at his winter concert. These concerts are always so fun. The chorus (third through sixth graders, I think) begin with lively songs and sometimes even a little dancing. Afterwards, the first graders wear their handmade snowman shirts and sing their hearts out. It's adorable and there are always a few kids you can't take your eyes off of because they are such hams. Lastly, the second graders fill the stage in their finest attire (or something like that) and share some festive Christmas songs with us. Each grade sings only four songs, so it's short and sweet and always well-organized. It's delightful.

And this mom was proud. Matthew willingly dressed up, walked onto the stage, smiled, and sang. Can't ask for more than that!