Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Was going to spend tonight grading papers...

But sleeping is more important. I haven't been getting enough of it. Here's why:

1) Went back to Lincoln this weekend, saw some friends, at delicious potato bread, and saw at least 3 praying mantises, between 2 and 6 inches long. Then left to go back to Kansas far too late (830p... it's a 5 hour drive, made longer by me taking a quick nap at a rest-stop due to falling asleep.) after getting up at 6:15 that morning to eat delicious potato bread, which was brutal due to hanging out with friends until 1:30 or 2 am the night before.

I want to get back to Lincoln at least once or twice per month, but it's 10 or 11 hours of driving, and that's hard to justify (while I'm driving) sometimes, though completely worth it, I think.

I didn't feel as sick when I was leaving Lincoln this time as I did last time... that's a good sign.

2) First day back, they had me score-keep and line-judge for a volleyball tournament. Said tournament ran until 9:30 pm. I arrived at school at 7:30 that morning, on 3 hours of sleep. But the standing around (and cheering for our team, covertly, of course) made it a lot easier to be awake.

3) Frustration with writing. I've got things. I've got them in my head. But I forgot how to dump my head out... it all gets mixed together, and I can't tell if it belongs in one poem, or 2, or 7... and none of it is good enough yet that it answers those questions for me.

Commence beating my face against the desk.

End face-beating.

4) Teaching. Yeah. That. My juniors are reading "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" right now... it's a friggin' tough poem, and it's a lot for my juniors to take in. I know this.

But it's also beautifully written, full of all sorts of places where we can probe, and most importantly, it does not have a "set" interpretation (NEW CRITICAL THEORY LOSES!... or alternatively, "Thanks, Wikipedia!")... we can't account for everything.

I'm trying to get my students to realize that we're not looking for the answers, but rather we're pursuing the questions... I told them flat out that I don't understand this poem, but I'd like to, and I want them to help me with it. They seem skeptical, but that is alright.

My freshmen are going strong, at least as much as they can right now. We're studying irony. They don't quite get it yet, but I think they will. I hope they will.

I've got a few rock-stars in both classes (read: students who try really hard), and they make the day go by so much better.

That said, I need to be spending a lot more time grading papers and lesson-planning. But I'm doing what I can to make my students do more of the work, from handing stuff out to reading aloud and doing analysis.

5) The first-year-teacher project. It's a beast, and I'm spending a lot of time with it. No regrets, certainly no regrets, but in a lot of ways, it's just one more thing. I need to be spending more time with it.

6) High expectations. I've got 'em. For myself, for those around me, especially for my students, doubly-especially for myself. (Also, sentence fragments) Working toward those is tiring, and I get home most days wanting to eat and then sleep.

On the plus side, I am doing a slightly better job of remembering to bring a lunch on a daily basis. This is most likely a good thing.

Grocery shopping happens tomorrow.

In other news: I'm going to see if I can do something awesome with my reading-seminar kids. I'm still planning it right now, but we'll see where it goes... let's just say it involves awesomeness.