Catching Up (SOL Day 5)

I still haven’t quite gotten in the habit of writing, but I am determined to make up any days that I miss. Sometimes I feel like I am always working to catch up on things.

The first year of teaching (and I’m sure other years as well, but I haven’t experienced that yet) often feels like I am cycling between drowning and treading water. There is no floating going on here. I felt like I was finally getting a steady tread going this week (I had some time to catch up on grading and planning), and then today a couple of my classes seemed out of control, which made me feel like I had gone underwater again.

As Robert Burns said, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft agley,” or, things don’t always go as you would hope, even though they appear to be so well planned. When I feel like I’ve gotten a handle on my lessons plans and my students should be good to go, the universe usually decides that I need a little more of a challenge. I know I can handle it, but I’m hoping that after this year things will feel just a wee bit easier. Experience should do that, right?

Teaching is so much more than helping students learn content area material. It’s learning to work with adults and children (or young teenagers, in my case) who continue to surprise you on a daily basis. This can feel incredibly overwhelming, but more often, it really is wonderful. But those two feelings aren’t even mutually exclusive.

Forgetfulness (SOL Day 4)

Sometimes things slip my mind. For example, when I have meetings after school and meetings to worry about the next morning, I can forget about little things. Little things like writing. So today I will write two posts, in order to make up for the one I missed yesterday.

It is often hard to keep track of everything, and even though I try to keep up with school and personal commitments, there are occasions when this or that falls by the wayside. Whenever I fall behind during National Novel Writing Month, I try to make it up by upping my word count on the next day. This doesn’t always work because I tend to get too far behind. With this project though, I would like to keep it up, even if I fall behind a day or two. I can double up on posts, like today (and hopefully I’ll remember to write again later).

Most of my posts so far have been reflections on writing, and with this post, I’m hoping that it will remind me to continue writing each and every day this month, and maybe even beyond. If I practice being reflective, hopefully it will become a daily habit!

The Winds of Winter (SOL Day 3)

Has Mother Nature realized yet that it is March? I went out tonight for ice cream (a little ridiculous, considering what I’m writing about), and it was 7 degrees outside. We were briefly in jeopardy of a snow day today, but after a couple of inches yesterday morning, nothing else happened. While snow days are fun – sitting around drinking coffee, reading, and knitting – I’m ready for spring.

I’m ready for warmer weather. I’m ready for 50 degrees, driving with my windows down, and hiking through the woods. Spring break is only three weeks away, but sometimes it seems so far. I know that after that, the last two months of school will fly by and I will no longer be considered a first year teacher.

One of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer, as I mentioned earlier, is hiking. Last year, Scott and I went to Gatlinburg in March, and it was fantastic. There was a little snow on the mountaintops, but overall the weather was perfect.

Image

 

Looking at some of these old pictures, I can’t wait until I won’t freeze every time I go outside, when I have to debate weather or not to wear a jacket. It’s not as far as it seems, but it’s just out reach right now that it feels too far.

Semi-Lazy Sunday (SOL Day 2)

Sundays are days that I love and hate. I love it when I have the day stretched before me, as I’m sipping coffee and relaxing in the morning. Then about 5 o’clock hits, and I realize that I haven’t done nearly as much as I wanted to. I always plan to do so much, but I need to let myself be okay with not always being productive on Sundays. I can spend some time binge-watching t.v. shows and knitting, without feeling guilty.

Today I did start out doing some school work, creating some guided notes for this week, and I graded one of the two sets of essays I had to do before tomorrow. I still have one class of essays left to grade, but I know I’ll get it done before tomorrow.

One of the biggest pieces of advice that fellow teachers gave me when I started this year was to use my weekends for myself. While I try to hold myself to this, I never feel like I can go the full weekend without a little schoolwork. It’s just in my nature.

So here’s to Sunday, one of the best days of the week, even though it doesn’t always seem that way. After my grading, I plan on watching the Oscars and letting myself relax a little. Or at least as much as I can.

First Day, First Slice for Slice of Life 2014!

Image

As I begin this post, I still feel unsure of what to write, but according to the Slice of Life Challenge that I’m starting, it doesn’t really matter. It only matters that I am writing. When I started this blog back in July, I planned on using it as a way to reflect on my first year of teaching. Life got in the way, and I ended up doing nothing with it except for posting a few pictures of my classroom before the first day of school. Fast forward six months, and I have now learned more about teaching than I ever thought I could, and I continue to learn more each day.

So I will begin again today, with the Slice of Life challenge. All of my posts might not necessarily be related to classroom reflections, but since teaching is such a huge part of my life, many will be. I’ll use today as an “introductory” post, since writing about yourself is supposed to be one of the easiest things to do.

Hi, my name is Rachel. I teach 8th grade Language Arts in Dublin, Ohio. As a first year teacher, it is both incredibly exhausting and thrilling. (I consciously chose not to use the word “rewarding,” because it is so overused. But teaching is so rewarding. There’s a reason that descriptor is used so much.) In my free time I enjoy hiking, writing (which I never do enough of), reading, and knitting. I also have an unhealthy relationship with coffee, but I’m okay with that.

In the past I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), which challenges participants to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days during November. I’ve participated for the past five years, but only “won” (written 50,000 words) twice. Last year I got up to about 30,000 words, but didn’t manage to finish. So when I was told about the Slice of Life month-long challenge by my friend and fellow teacher, Gretchen, I was immediately on board. I could post a blog everyday for a month. It doesn’t even have to be long. That’s nothing compared to 2000 words a day during NaNoWriMo, right?

But this is different. Writing for NaNoWriMo, I can write whatever I want and never have to show it to anyone. It’s a great writing practice, but I can keep everything to myself. With this challenge, I know there is a possibility that others will be reading my writing, so it adds something to the challenge. I have to write something worth reading. And maybe it won’t always feel this way, especially when I get farther into the month, but I’m not used to writing for an audience beyond my students.

I’m excited to get started on this project, and I hope to see it through all the way to the end of March. I have a tendency to start things and never finish them, but I’m going to hold myself to this challenge. Let the wild writing begin!