Monday, February 22, 2010
Where have we been?
Buried under books and binders is one possibility.
As you can see in the picture, our kitchen table and apartment are littered with teaching materials and papers to grade. The lack of blog posts is partly due to our busy schedules and partly due to our boring, hamster-in-a-wheel-like routine that would not make for great reading. If you're curious, my week goes like this: teach in the morning, reflect on my lessons, grade papers, go to credential classes, lesson plan, lesson plan, lesson plan, rinse and repeat. Chris has even less variety: read Shakespeare, write about Shakespeare, take placement tests.
As mundane as it all may sound, I am really enjoying teaching. I have a class of seniors who are mature and love to discuss philosophy, and a class of freshman English language learners who love to aggravate me. ;) It is enormously challenging, not to mention emotionally draining--worrying about 60 students and their fragile teenage state can be overwhelming (I can only imagine what it will be like next year when I have 150). However, the highs are very rewarding. Just today, I introduced the themes of Romeo and Juliet with an activity, and the freshmen ate it up. They could not say enough on the topic of whether your parents should be able to choose who you date. Plus, teenagers are great entertainment. They constantly inspire me to create new ways to hook them on literature and writing.
I mentioned that Chris has been busy reading and writing about Shakespeare, with a side of English literature competence testing. He is almost finished with his KU correspondence classes (hence the Shakespeare), and has really thrown himself into studying so he can finish by May. It is a lot of work because he essentially has to teach himself some of the greatest and toughest literature ever written. Luckily, he is very smart (if I do say so myself) and has aced just about every one of his writing assignments. In addition to that, he has been taking a series of competency exams to show he is knowledgeable in the subject he wants to teach. Again, he has passed all tests so far with flying colors. Needless to say, I am very proud of the application he brings to his work--and that he is just a plain ol' smarty pants. I mean, c'mon, look how cute he is?! (This picture was snapped while we were at Ocean Beach in San Francisco on the way to a friend's bday)
On occasion we have managed to break free of the routine. We went to see Michael Pollan give a talk, attended a few friends' birthday bashes, and I just had a week off from school. Even though I spent a significant portion of it gearing up for the teaching weeks to follow, Chris and I did get up to Berkeley/Oakland to see our relocated friends Chris and Tiffany. They live in an area we absolutely adore, so it was extra fun to check out their new digs and sniff out the local bars/restaurants/shops. That's me on cloud nine at the Berkeley Bowl, an ultra-crunchy grocery store with a produce section to die for. It seemed like they had every variety of apple in existence and plenty of exotic fruits and vegetables that I couldn't identify. It is culinary heaven.
Santo is his usual self--cuddly for three-quarters of the day, rambunctious for the other part. My aunt brought him a new toy when she visited a few weeks ago that he goes crazy for (thanks, Aunty!). Otherwise, you can usually find him at 506 adorably sleeping in his bed or trying to nudge his way into our laps despite the books in his way. He is great company and we love that he greets us at the door no matter if we've been out for five minutes or five days.
For now, it's back to the grindstone. I have a big performance review to complete in order to secure my credential (sort of like passing the bar or boards of teaching) plus all my usual teacherly duties, so I will probably be once again on lockdown until spring break. I keep looking toward the summer as the time I may be able to catch my breath. We have lots of fun things to look forward to in the months ahead--weddings in New York City and San Diego, a visit from Scott and maybe Jim & Carol, travel, baseball season, time off--as well as plenty of scary unknowns--job search, bleak economy, applying to a credential program during a budget crisis, possible relocation. Even typing it makes me a little worried. But it's a lot easier to go through the curveballs of life with someone who has your back.
I used to sit in the cube behind you. Then I didn't. And then we fell in love.
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