I'm feeling rather lonely lately. Because the truth of the matter is that no matter how busy I am with producing 6th grade versions of The Odyssey or Macbeth (our current project), or reading and writing papers for graduate school, or grading papers, or walking dogs, or updating MySpace and Facebook.....well....there's just nothing that takes the place of having a partner that gives a rip about what the heck is going on with you.
HOWEVER, feeling lonely is normal (for me) and I remind myself that I've felt lonely at times even when I've had a partner(see tragic motif), and so I'm getting past it. I think.
In other news and updates:
My cousin the politician, Wes, got married last weekend to a great girl and they had a lovely wedding that turned out to be the biggest one I've ever had the honor of "coordinating". Basically, I was just in charge of "ram-rodding" the ceremony so that no one forgot when to walk down the aisle, where to stand, or when and how to get the heck back OUT at the end. The couple received a STANDING OVATION at the end of the ceremony (about 600 guests) and I've never seen that happen at the end of a wedding. Neat, yet different.
I've read approximately 3lbs. of the 6lb. book I have for graduate school. I've learned a ton of stuff....no, wait, I guess I've technically learned 3lbs. of stuff. Maybe.
Drew is playing basketball and he is AMAZING. Imagine a NASCAR race with all the heavy souped-up-engine cars wheeling around the track. Out of the nowhere comes a speed demon little Volkswagen darting in, out, and through the pack. That's Drew. So fun to watch.
My 6th grade students continue to "school" me on what it means to be a part of a community that's been together since dirt. OH, it has it's drawbacks, and I tend to hyper-focus on those aspects of life here most of the time. But in the grand scheme of things, I see some kids every day who are gaining the sort of footing that makes them strong enough to go forth and conquer. And I'm challenged to inspire them to do so every day. Even IF they think Obama is Muslim! *wink*
I had an awesome chat with Tdub last night. It's amazing, absolutely amazing really, how REAL he is now that he's living a life that's authentic to his person hood. I will say this: no matter where you fall on the whole gay thing....these guys NEED to be able to just BE. God grant us all the grace to allow folks to just figure out their own crap.....is that so much to ask? Really?
I miss my boys. I just do. I miss being Mom all the time. I think I miss that most of all.
I'm thankful for you. My blog family. I'd ask you to comment just to make me feel good but that would be tacky, wouldn't it??? Would it? Would ya? :)
My students often crack me up. So much so that I could never record it all here because most of it just wouldn't be that funny. And this stuff may not be all that funny either, but I haven't shared anything like this for a while and we had a really good time today.
Today's lesson was a study of character traits in preparation for a character analysis paper.
Me: Let's start by naming some character traits of someone everyone in the room knows. Me. What are some of my character traits and be prepared to provide evidence.
Student: You're outgoing. Me: Ok. And what is your evidence of that? Student: You're not afraid to stand out in a room. Me: What do you mean by "stand out in a room?" Student: Well, like...if everyone in the room ordered hamburgers, you'd say "I want a hotdog."
Here are a few others. Some of them are down right embarrassing and others are kind of sad when you think about it.
Trait: Creative Evidence: You make all sorts of stuff like props for the plays and paintings. Trait: Caring Evidence: You actually teach us things then help us understand them. Trait: Unfashionable Evidence: You dress more uptight than Ms.This or Ms.That (this one hurt, but it did make me laugh....and I'm not entirely sure that one counts as a character trait...hmph!) Trait: Humorous Evidence: You say things that are actually funny. Trait: Crazy Evidence: You pray over dead markers. (don't ask) Trait: Kindness Evidence: You don't yell at us. (oh, but I do, I reminded them) But, when you yell at us it doesn't seem like yelling. (and why might that be?) Because we know that you still like us.
One of the secondary reasons I write this blog is for my boys. I want them to have a record of these things. Which means I probably should write about today's election.
My boys all know that I'm voting for Obama. I spend the most time with Drew, so I've had the most conversation with him about it. Drew, who is 14 now, believes strongly that he's a Republican and that McCain needs to win this election. But....I'll give him this....he does talk to me about it in mostly reasonable terms. I'm not worried about his status as a McCain supporter because it's based on nothing but the lies he's chosen to believe about Obama. You know....all the Muslim, not a citizen, baby-killer crap that's been going around the internet for 2 years. He gets this from his dad who absolutely believes these things. Is it any wonder we ended up divorced?
I'd say that 95% of the kids at my school also support McCain and believe those same lies about Obama. It's classic conspiracy-theory paranoia at work. Since they are all too young to know any better, of course they believe the things that their parents tell them. Which is normal and to be expected. I don't argue with them. But I have been honest with them when they ask me who I'm supporting.
The funny thing is this; typically, when they hear that I support Obama, the student will do a double take of some sort, and you can see those little wheels turning. They are processing the fact that an adult that they respect, believe in, and trust is actually making a different decision than the one they've been led to believe is the only one that's reasonable. It's the very beginnings of kids learning that they have options and things to think through. They are at the age where they begin to understand that you don't have to believe everything that you're told and that you CAN investigate things for yourself. Which is what I advise them to begin doing so that when they are old enough to actually vote, they will know their own convictions and vote according to that.
I want to share a few other things that have shocked and concerned me during the election cycle, but I'll wait for another day. Today is the day to sit back and hope and pray for the best. No matter which way you voted.
Most of the work for the graduate program I'm in is done online. There are 8 of us in what they call a "cohort" and we meet only occasionally at this point. Due to the fact that we're in RURAL Oklahoma, and the fact that there's been some sort of jihad between the smaller universities and what territories they cover, we met last week at a Dairy Queen in a tiny town called Tishamingo. No kidding. Trying to set up these meetings has given the whole experience a cultish feel.
Me: How about we meet here? Professor: That's in theirterritory. Me: There? Professor: No, we have to be more than 20 miles from their headquarters. Me: What happens if we meet at my house but don't tell anyone where we're meeting? Professor: They'll find out, they're everywhere. And that would jeopardize you in a way that I'm not comfortable with.
Ok, I'm exaggerating but only slightly. It's crazy. You'd think we were strategizing the overthrow of every Elks Lodge East of I-35 (the small town Elks Lodge is another post unto itself). But no, we're just a bunch of public school teachers trying to get a master's degree so that we can raise our salary a whole $800 a year.
Our professor posed a question at the table last week, actually it was a table pushed up to a booth but let's not get picky here, in an attempt to find out what our motivations were for being in the program. Being public school teachers, most people have the noble goal of actually wanting to learn more so that they could be a more effective teacher. At least that's what they said. One person admitted that this was merely a stepping stone toward her ultimate goal of becoming a college professor. And we did have one member who's all ready obtained a job requiring a master's degree contingent on her participation in the cohort.
Thankfully, I was able to avoid speaking to the question. I wasn't the only one, so it wasn't awkward or anything. I did NOT want to share my motivations because honestly, the very first reason I'm in the program is because it's available. Much like those folks who climb Mt. Everest and when asked "why did you climb that mountain?" they answer with "because it was there." I felt similarly when I graduated from high school. People were congratulating me, throwing me gifts and money, and I was like, "what else was I going to do??? you mean there were options?"
But seriously, the heart of the matter is that I'm just a big geek. I love this stuff. When a professor starts talking about the new brain research and how that impacts what we know about learning styles and developmental psychology my endorphins go bonkers. If we had our meetings in a pentecostal church, I'd probably start speaking in tongues. Being that we meet at Dairy Queen, I guess this would be a more fitting representation. (the good part starts at 51 secs in)
I do stay somewhat at odds with my inner geek because I want to be liked. I don't want the other kids in the class to roll their eyes every time I open my mouth or be sitting there thinking "would she just shut UP." It's a struggle. And even though I made fun of the great big book I got.....well.....the truth is.....I LOVE that book. It's a good read. Seriously. There are things in that book that I've always wondered about in the field of education like, "how did we come up with the idea of junior high?" and "when and why did we switch from junior high to middle school?" and "how exactly do boys differ from girls in the way they process information and how much of that is due to environment?"
My taco salad kept me busy enough that I didn't make too much of a nuisance out of myself last week. I also don't want to be that person who keeps asking questions and talking when everyone just really wants it all to end so that we can all go back home.
If anyone was still wondering why I'm so comfortable teaching middle-schoolers, this post should should provide more clarity. I relate to them, probably way too well, but somebody's got to do it.