Archive for January, 2010

I am a copycat.

At school a couple weeks ago, one of the 1st grade teachers was wearing a super cute short sleeve sweater.   After developing an acute case of sweater-envy, I decided that I was smart enough to knit a copy for myself.  I dug through my stash and found some half knitted chunky grey wool which I then un-knit and re-knit into a sweater.  I knit a neck band, picked up stitches along the edge and used the proportions from cosmicpluto’s top down raglan sweater.  Size 13 needles and chunky yarn means a quick sweater!  The yarn was a little musty so I washed it and it grew.  I love the length that it ended up, but now my carefully planned waist shaping is now butt shaping.  Best laid plans.  Now I need a button.

Not a great picture.

1, 2

The boy and I were at Sunflower Market today and as I was getting ready to lift him out of the cart, I started counting to 3 just like I always do.  Before I could get past 1, 2, he said, “Buckle my shoe!”  Now I had no idea he even knew this rhyme so I played along.

3, 4 – Shut the door!

5, 6 – Pick up sticks!

7, 8 – Put them on the floor, flat!

9, 10 – Start all over!

Apparently rhyming isn’t one of his strengths.

Have to love his enthusiasm though.

Two Years

So I couldn’t sleep last night.  At first it was just normal Sunday night anxiety, thinking about school.   How am I going to tighten the ranks in middle school without alienating them?  How am I going to get them to the high school for rehearsal.  Do I have enough kid coverage for my upcoming accompanying gig.  Stuff like that.  But when those fears quieted, I still felt weird.  Almost like the anxiety attacks I had as a kid that came back with my diagnosis.

And then it hit me.  Today’s my cancerversary.  Is it possible that the body remembers even when the brain’s on to other things?  When I was in college, working for the Math Mod program, the deadlines for students to start taking tests was a very stressful time. Years later, my friends who were at the job with me and I realized that we would still get inexplicably stressed out at that same time every year, long after we’d started other jobs.  It makes me wonder if my body’s still in this sort of cycle of stress.

Two years ago today I found out a had cancer.  One year ago this month, I was diagnosed with lymphedema.  Today, I don’t even have any doctor appointments.  (Until next month.)

I wonder how long it will take for my body to forget?

Charming

Remember that second grade I was worried about?  Well I’m not sure what happened  but the last two times I’ve had them they’ve been the most charming 2nd graders I’ve ever seen.  Sometimes as a teacher when you have a lesson plan, you have how you hope it will go, and how it really goes.  Most of the time, it’s the latter.   They’ve been the kind of group you wish you would get your formal observation during.  So weird.  I’m pretty sure the other teachers think I’m making it up.  (I probably would think that too.)

Middle school is giving me headaches.  I’m not sure if it’s belting Interplanet Janet 5 times a day or just the fact that it’s not ready to perform.  Today, after consulting the middle school teachers, I pretty much assigned parts by sneaking up on kids in the hall way and telling them they should do one.  Could that be construed as bullying?  Heh.   I’m going to be handing out mini scripts on Friday and a few kids are going to be surprised to find that they have a part.   I’m also building in some fail safes in case a part doesn’t show (something I learned to do a long time ago).  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun musical, but man, I’ll be glad when it’s done.

Cheers!

So today I was teaching a rhythm cup passing game (so creatively named “Cup Thing”) to the 5th graders.  I’ve taught this more times than I can count so I’ve learned that if I want them to listen to instruction they need to either have their cup on the floor not touching it, or hold their cup in the air.  Today I chose the latter since they already had them in their hands.  Taking a chance, I asked them “Why do you think we have our cups in the air?”

And one boy seriously said, “So you can say, Cheers!”

Heh.

Too funny.

And did I mention I have a high school intern?  I sort of knew this, but I forgot until he showed up today.  Luckily he’s a kid who really loves music and throws himself into whatever the kids are doing.  I think this could be very cool.

Back in the saddle.

So I’m two days in and still alive.  Tired, but alive.  🙂  And I mean that in the most positive way.  I’ve had such great fun teaching these last couple days.  It will be sad when the honeymoon is over.  But it will.  And there will be testing. (Both by the kids and by the district.  Heh.)

So what I’ve discovered so far is:

1) Middle school kids can be cute.  Loud, and sometimes annoying.  But cute.

2) There is a seriously different dynamic when all your classes have twice as many boys in them as girls.  No really.  They do.  The most extreme is at a 17 to 3 ratio.

3) Some second graders need to work on their brain filters (we call them “Positive Choices!”) as I was asked if I was a man today.  Awesome.

4) 3rd grade sings on pitch!

5) 4th grade is pretty rhythmically solid

6) I taught the most mature group of 1st graders I’ve seen since’s Ms. O’s class back at the old job that loved to listen to Chattanooga Choo Choo as a reward for good behavior.  (No really.  They did.  Would you like to play a game?  Nah, but could you put on some of that big band music?)  I had the wrong roster for today’s class so only half of the kids were correct on the seating chart.  Which could have been disastrous.  But they just played along, told me their names and found their own places to sit on the floor.  Too crazy.

7) 2nd and 5th are going to be the challenging ones in this rotation.  But only sort of.  They were still easier than other classes I’ve had.  🙂  I also find that sometimes the best stories come out of those classes.  So stay tuned…

PS Music Teacher friends: I’m sorely in need of some pitch matching exercises that aren’t dull and boring.  And any advice for the changing middle school voice would be greatly appreciated… 🙂

Stormy Weather

I had such a wonderful morning.  🙂  Kids got up.  I got up.  On time.  Got to daycare and school.  On time.  Met the staff at my new school.  Everybody was super nice and I got such a great vibe from all of them.   You really get a sense that kids come first here.  And that’s awesome.  (I love the word awesome, but it’s so hard not to hear Keanu Reeves when I type it.)

I feel at home and I haven’t even finished putting the room together.  And I figured out how to fit 7 congas in my cabinets.  4 more to go.

The weather was turning just as I went to pick up the boy.  Snow started fall.  Not the pretty kind but instead the blizzardy kind that obscures your vision and hides treacherous ice patches on sidewalks.  Which I did manage to find and fall on.  I’ve been afraid to look at what I’m sure is a very lovely bruise.

As the weather continued to worsen, so did the mood of the day.  My once cheerful children became sullen and whiny.  (Apparently it is very unreasonable to turn off the TV at dinner.  Who knew?)

The phone rang.  One friend was calling me on behalf of another.  To tell me her cancer is back.  She and I were diagnosed at the same time.  Similar stage, though she had different pathology.  We went to the support group together.  Our kids are roughly the same age, though she had the added challenge of a baby during treatment.  My heart is broken for her.  I feel like there are icicles in my lungs as there is cancer in hers.  All that she’s been through, the surgeries, the chemo, the radiation, didn’t keep it away.  I will never understand why treatment works for some and not for others.  It is incredibly unfair.  But then disease is not concerned with fairness.

Pray for K and her family.  Please.  For the right chemo cocktail to keep her cancer in check.  For strength as she starts the fight again.  For hope, because none of us has an expiration date stamped on us.