January 31, 2014

Hey, aren't you Lot's wife?

I tend not to be a reflective individual, but sometimes you just need to take a moment and see where you've been...

Things that went well...
  • We have two marvelous, new dogs: Hollis and Clementine. Both are, again, named after songs: "Christmas in Hollis" and "My Darling, Clementine." We got Clementine in February and Hollis in August. I wasn't ready for either one, but The Girl was ready, and I have thanked her a dozen times over. Hollis is the white dog there in the pic, the one who looks like me might be mentally challenged. He isn't at all. He's a smaller dog than we've had before (about 45 pounds), and Clementine is marginally larger than we've had before (around 65 pounds). They're a spectacular match for each other as he's younger and more energetic than she, forcing her to play more than she would otherwise do. She's inherently lazy, as we saw when she was the only pet around the house for a month or so.
  • I said yes when Becky Brown, a music teacher at PHS, asked me if I was interested in being on the Ohio Education Association's Board of Directors. It odd to me that I've never been an officer - not a building rep, not a president, not a treasurer, nothing - of my local teachers union but I'm one of fifty people running the state's union. I'm absolutely loving being there, though. I'm learning things every single meeting, contributing to the betterment of my profession locally and on a state level, and having a blast.
  • I taught four summer workshops around the country, two of them with Calencoriel. I stumbled into ASM's master teacher program and have found myself a teaching family, somewhere that I feel very much appreciated and somewhere that I have been able to do teaching that's reinvigorating in so many ways. This summer I'll teacher four more workshops: Indianapolis, IN; Butte, MT; Houston, TX; and Provo, UT (maybe). I've also been running a second blog for the camps and the master teachers.
    • I worked two camps back-to-back, flying directly from Houston to Salt Lake City. A few other master teachers I had spoken to said working two back to back was a killer, but I actually found the second week to be easier as I had the curriculum right at the front of my brain. Setting up the labs was easy because I'd just done it all. I knew what I needed and when I needed it. 
    • I was also the more experienced master teacher in Provo, something I hadn't been before. In the past I'd worked as the junior master teacher or on even footing with Calen. I think I set a good example for Cynthia and might, in fact, be working with her again. At least I'm doing the Provo camp this summer, too.
  • I posted full scans of twenty old PHS yearbook. Admittedly much of the work was done by my student aides at school, but I at least directed the project and am finally seeing production from a project that I had been working on half-heartedly for a few years now.
  • In general, I'm in a better mood at school. I spent a couple of really angry years at PHS, holding back a lot of feelings toward our administrative team, and I've been learning much better to let those things go, to understand what is and is not within the span of my control, to know my role within the building. I think the OEA and ASM stuff has helped that because I can look outside the building for affirmation when I need it.
  • I continue to enjoy most of my interactions with my students. I'm not necessarily thrilled about the part of the teaching job outside the classroom, but I still enjoy what I do within those four walls.
Things that didn't go so well...
  • I find myself becoming less and less inclined to do the grading work that I need to do for my job. This is a problem. I'm putting things off, planning to wait until breaks and weekends, then not doing what I need to do on the breaks and weekends. It's not a good pattern.
  • I'm also less interested in doing anything for the PHS website other than the aforementioned yearbook project. I don't get the impression that anyone above me is paying attention to whether I'm doing a good job or not. I get praise whether I do a good job or not. Positive feedback and behavioral modification is not happening.
  • I'm heavier and less active than I have been at any point in my life. I'm not at all happy about that or the fact that I'm edging toward having to buy larger pants. That has to change and soon.
Things that just were...
  • The Girl and I lost two of our pets this past year. Our cat Aylah passed away in the morning of July 4th, and Harlan had to be put down earlier that same week. I'd spent much of the summer away from Cincinnati, and I wish we hadn't had such an awful week, but I'm glad that I was in town to go through this with The Girl.  It's still tough to look at pictures of the two pets without tearing up. The Girl still has Harlan's picture as her phone's background and LeRoy's pic as her Facebook banner. The sadness wells up from time to time, and I miss all three of our first pets something fierce at times.
  • The Girl finished up her Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) masters degree and returned to Hamilton City Schools. I'm proud of her decisiveness and willingness to accept the need to return to school for retraining when her chosen career, school librarian, didn't go out the way that she had hoped. She's enjoying the SLP work but not necessarily the workload.

1 comment:

thort said...

very well written and self reflective. It is often hard for us to be open about with our feelings, triumphs, and shortcomings.

Thank you for a great post and best of luck in 2014.

You mentioned the health component. I found that the change in pants size (along with unflattering pictures) was a great motivator for me! Good luck!