Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Yesterday, I kept reading tweets and statuses about friends sending their little ones on the first day of school. There were updates about happy tears, sad tears and mostly happy children excited to embark on this new journey of their lives.

It’s been a long time since I had my very first day of school. Don’t worry; I remember it.There were jelly shoes involved. I remember all the happy days of going to school, and I remember the days of tummy aches, bullies and insecurities. All of those days play in my mind like film negatives. Very small, slightly blurred snapshots of my life.

Not only did those stories make me think of my school days, but of the different role I play now. I sometimes think—and I think other teachers have this same disillusioned thought—that we are the zookeepers. We have to keep the students in bounds. We’re there to make the students do really hard stuff. They need to learn. They need to be quiet. They need to remember how to open their lockers.

We forget that they are people. They may be small or really tall, but they’re just little people. They have feelings—no matter how tough their outer shell. Yes, they need to learn responsibility and MLA format and how to open their lockers, but they also need to learn compassion, love, and how to help a neighbor. We’re there to teach them those qualities too. We might be the only example they see. We just don’t know.

It’s exciting to see those updates about very first days of school, but as high school teachers we need to remember that the 10th first day of school, the11th first day of school, and the 12th first day of school are still firsts. There are still things to learn. There are still mistakes to be made.There are still examples to be set. There are still relationships to build.

Start building.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Anecdote One

Today was the first day of school. It was the best first day of school I could have hoped for. I loved seeing my students from last year. They’re seniors now and clearly rule the school. I enjoyed meeting a whole new set of students—9th graders and 11th graders. I genuinely feel like it’s going to be a good year.

As most teachers do, I had my students fill out a survey about themselves so I could get to know them better. One of the questions I asked was, “how much time do you spend on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. ?”

One 9th grader raised his hand and asked, “What is Pinterest?”

I explained.

Then a classmate chimed in, “Oh yeah, my mom uses that.”


I’m officially old.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Today Is A New Day


I go back to school today. There’s still a week before the students show up, but this is a week full of anticipation, meetings, planning and organizing. It’s always bittersweet—the end of those long, lovely summer haze days. Then there is the smell of sharpened wooden pencils, the crisp paper to be copied, and the books—so many books waiting for someone to love them.

I’ve spent more time than I should admit in the past week dreading the early mornings and PB&Js every day. Then I saw this little Winnie the Pooh snippet.  This day is good. This day means I have a job. This day means I have the chance to make a difference in many lives—not just a few. Those are opportunities that most people just don’t get. I’m lucky.

You’ll hear me grumble through this year. I will vent to other teachers. I will likely say a choice word or two on the way home from school. I’ll fall asleep grading papers and wake up far too early in the morning, and at the end of the year I’ll be able to look back and see that the year was not spent in vain. That the time was spent doing the best I could to contribute in the way I can. That’s okay with me, so today will be my favorite day all year.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Recap

People—I start back to school on Monday. That’s in 6 days. What did I do this summer? Where did the time go? Every summer I feel the same way—like I didn’t do enough. I wasted too much time, watched too much trash TV, didn’t complete enough projects. Basically the end of summer makes me feel like a complete failure. I know that’s ridiculous, but that feeling creeps in every year. What do I do when I feel this way? I make a list and eat chocolate, obviously.

Those two are the best.

Bryant and I went to Kansas to celebrate the wedding of friends.
Kansas Bear
We celebrated our 6th year of marriage.

I hung out with the fam.
Dad takes s’mores very seriously.

We celebrated Bryant’s 30th birthday.

I painted our bedroom.
It’s so much better, right. Maybe I’ll take some non-iphone pics to share one day.

I spent a week in Tuscaloosa training for teaching AP classes.

I went to Hilton Head and Savannah with my mom and sisters.
HIlton head marsh

My mom and sisters came up for a quick end of summer visit.
We did what we do best: shop for books and hide in the brush while waiting for a table at dinner.

I know the month just started, but I wanted to list what I’ve done so far.
Thanks to E posting this tutorial I achieved my goal of making a quilt this summer!

I started a book club in my community.

I suppose I didn’t squander away the free time too much. It was a really great summer. I just want to do it all over again.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


There is a little known fact about me: I love ballet. I’m a sucker for it. The slippers, tights, and tutus just make me happy.

There is also a well know fact about me: I don’t dance. You won’t catch me doing the Cha Cha Slide at your wedding. I feel ridiculously silly. I envy all of you who bust a move on the dance floor, but I just can’t work up the nerve to do it.

Even though you won’t catch me under the disco ball, ballet has always held a warm fuzzy spot in my heart. I, like most young girls, enrolled in ballet class. I kept up with it on and off through junior high. I even spent a year or so en pointe. Then I became the most sarcastic cheerleader known to man—that’s a story for a different day. I loved the Angelina Ballerina books. Loved. Those. Books.

The point of this is that when I saw that ABC Family was airing a show called Bunheads this summer, I was excited. Then I discovered that the show was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, and I nearly died with joy. She created Gilmore Girls. I love Gilmore Girls. There are very few shows written with such quick wit, whimsy, drama, and interestingly developed characters. I have watched all of the episodes of Gilmore Girls more times than I should admit. They never get old. There is always something new to discover, and I love that. Bryant skulks around calling them the gabmore girls and pretends that he hates it, but he usually sits down and says, “Oh, is this the episode when….” Yep, caught. Deep down he knows it’s some good stuff.

Anyway, the show has not disappointed. Many actors from Gilmore Girls have reappeared as very different characters—which I like. The characters are developing as quirky and idiosyncratic. The writing is close to as quick as that in Gilmore Girls and the humor is never lacking.

Moral of the story:

I like ballet; I don’t dance at weddings (I do dance in the mirror when I brush my teeth); I love Gilmore Girls; I really like Bunheads; My husband secretly likes Gilmore Girls, and Angelina Ballerina will forever be my mouse hero.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Party with Jay Gatsby

I’ve been eyeing goods via Pinterest with that catchphrase, and I love Gatsby.
Does this song remind anyone else of The Great Gatsby. I think it would be great to teach alongside the book.

Okay—enough teacher time. The point of this post is that I started a book club in my community. I’ve wanted to do this for a while. When I was in grad school, a bunch of us tried and failed, but we were in school. We had plenty to read and discuss with one another. I took a leap of faith this time and posted the idea on my neighborhood Facebook page and the response was positive. We had our first (small) meeting last night to decide on a book for the first month. I can’t wait.

book club profile pic
(some books at my parents' house)

I’ve always been a reader. I seriously don’t remember a time without books or reading or stories. It just didn’t exist in my world. I don’t even remember learning to read. It just happened; I think. Growing up the house was always filled with books. They had a hard time keeping me from the books that I was too young to read. The first good murder mystery books I read were from sneaking into the bathroom to read whatever book Dad had left in there. I was a member of the Babysitter’s Club. I lived through the Civil War with Scarlett and Rhett. I traveled the world reading the mysterious romances of Victoria Holt. I discovered the existential crisis with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I was indignant alongside Guy Montag.

Lately I’ve had an issue with reading, I keep stopping mid book to read another book and then I don’t finish. I’ve never faced this problem before. I think I feel that my free time is so short that I am trying to cram too much in it. That issue and the idea of meeting new people in my community lead me to start this club. I’m really looking forward to sharing something I love so much with others who also love books.