missing…

It’s been a long while since I’ve written here. I guess I’ve been busy. Like technically busy and also mentally busy.

During the gap, I have:

  • reached the 10 mile mark in my long runs
  • reached the Chapter 45 mark in my novel
  • went white water rafting for the first time
  • biked 15.5 miles with a 2200-foot elevation gain
  • spent a week+ in Big Bear
  • visited my cousin(s) in Oregon
  • spent 3 days on a road trip to Monterey with one of my favoritest people ever
  • gone to more than a few Dodger games (even though it’s not always fun)
  • reevaluated life (yes, again)
  • realized that I will always, always be in a state of reevaluation and that’s the perfect way for me to be
Mostly, I have thoroughly enjoyed a summer in a way that I haven’t in a long time.
Advertisements

You can tell how good my summer is by how dark my skin is…

I’m happy to report that upon visiting my mom this weekend, my skin has matched her gorgeous brown perfectly. I attribute it to awesome hikes, a fabulous train trip, a drive down the coast and five weeks of watching kids play in the sun (okay, I joined in some of the time).

On Saturday, we headed up into the Hollywood Hills to watch the sunset. We made it to the top, overlooking the Griffith Observatory just as the sun was setting. It was a very hazy day so the sunset wasn’t as brilliant as it could have been, but this was by far my favorite picture:

Hollyridge-7

Reflections on 4 1/2 Weeks

Since I planned to sit here and write out the report cards that I was magically able to finish during the special movie hour today, I thought I would use the time instead to reflect on what I have learned in the past 4 1/2 weeks teaching summer school.

I’m going to be totally honest and say it has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

It’s been a physical challenge as I have never had to spend so much time not only standing each day, but keeping up a high amount of energy and enthusiasm for math. The days of bland lectures about angle postulates were nowhere to be found. Instead, I cut out figures, colored, glued things, and all the while smiled and laughed and was more animated than I’ve probably ever been in my life.

It’s been a mental challenge as I have had to completely redesign my methods of teaching for students who were 6-9 years younger than students I have taught in the past. Not only did lessons need to be simplified, but my entire manner of speaking to students and creating relationships with them was completely turned on its head. Not to mention, we’re also talking about pre-teen girls instead of teen-aged boys.

Because of these two challenges, I was particularly thrilled to meet parents last night. I heard such positive comments about myself and the coursework that I had the students do, that I was pretty happy to know that I hadn’t completely over-shot the teaching or traumatized the students with my somewhat dry personality. I left with the feeling of genuine accomplishment because it was a challenge.

So, I’m going to admit that is what I have missed most about teaching. It’s like the ultimate puzzle. You never know how 20 students are going to react to you or what you’re doing that day. You never know if your expectations are going to be too high or too low. And usually, you have about 15 seconds to assess and alter your plans, your attitude, and your expectations. And, you need to make this as seamless as possible. If you don’t, the kids know. And the second they know, you’ve lost them.

I can look back to two lessons that I know were completely over-ambitious. I think I was able to bring them (the lessons, not the kids) to reality very quickly and the “moral of the story”, so to speak, was still accomplished.

I can also look back to a lesson that was so painfully elementary that the students must have thought I was nuts for even putting it before them. Fortunately, that’s an easy save and everything can be instantly modified to make it more difficult for students who need it.

I listened to students last night describe to their parents the different between perimeter and area; the way they can identify diameter and circumference; and, the three types of triangles we learned about. It was a very satisfying moment. In a less-structured summer atmosphere, I did not formally test the students on these concepts. I asked questions and designed art projects, so I was thrilled to hear them re-cap the class lessons for their parents.

Other highlights:

  • I learned that I am actually too old to play double dutch. I actually hurt myself pretty badly doing this. I can laugh about it now, but wow, who’d have thought there was an age limit for those things.
  • I learned that my teaching methods were very transferable or, perhaps, adaptable is a better word.
  • I learned that little girls can be quite sweet, that their interests are inspiring, and that their desire for perfection is very recognizable.
  • I was genuinely impressed with the love of tree climbing, the knowledge of Santana, and the deep interests in things like chickens, crocheting, and math. All of the above made me very pleased and happy about the education that girls receive.
  • I learned that I can be extremely patient and extremely chipper. I also learned that I can be “on” for a good 8 hours a day.

But the most important thing I think I “learned” is that I am most at home being a teacher. I’d hate to say that I hated the last two years of my life, but I can see now that I was definitely not myself. Teaching has a way of fulfilling me in ways that I can’t even describe, and it’s in all of these moments of the past four and a half weeks that I was able to feel fully alive.

June Gloom

This is the current view outside of my window, a true testament to June gloom.

June Gloom.

June Gloom.

I said to my father, I don’t know how people stand this. And I’m always told that I have no appreication for summer because I don’t suffer through months of horrible weather.

He says to me, that’s like saying I hit myself repeatedly with a hammer because it feels good when I stop. Why hit yourself with a hammer in the first place?

Happy June Gloom.

A dream!

A lot is up in the air right now. A whole lot.

Most of it centers around employment, but with that comes a lot of other factors. Money, of course. Direction as well. The other major thing is time.

I am hoping everything aligns in one very simple way. A way that will give me enough time and financial resources to accomplish this:

picture-8

I think it’s funny the things I think of when people are asking me where I’m going to be working and if I’ll be able to afford to live where I do now. If I do, I do is my attitude about it. If I don’t, oh well. As to where I’m working….I’ll end up exactly where I need to be.

In the meantime, I can continue on with my dreams!