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All posts for the month January, 2014

Distraction in any language

Published January 29, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

So I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately. I decided to work from home today because I’m starting to feel panicky and stabby.  This is not a good combination, especially since I work with children and books. I love both and do not want to frisbee either across the room because I’m frustrated. 

I know, something has to slack, and it can’t be me. I have a stack of notes for future tirades, most of them about education and reading and how attitudes towards both need changing and feeding, but I can’t consult my notes because it took me all morning and part of the afternoon to deal with my broken phone and get the stuff I need to get me through the next two twelve hour workdays and now I have worked myself up into a new (and improved) frenzy. 

Speaking of frenzied education dilemmas, one of the things I did to prep for the next two days was email the two teachers for whom I’m subbing to ask them how I could best prepare myself for their students. I do this out of courtesy for both the teacher and the students, because tomorrow I’m subbing for High School Special ED and Friday for ESL Kindergarten. Both of these areas are specialized and I think that students who are already challenged deserve a teacher who is at least pretending to be on the ball. (I know, that’s the kind of talk that can get me drummed out of the profession.) 

I got a response from the ESL teacher saying that she is actually leaving the district and that I should have something prepared. 

Wonderful. 

I strongly suspect that I will have plenty of new and exciting things to say about the state of education after that adventure. 

 

Just breathing

Published January 29, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I think I have book lung. It’s like black lung except I’m not a poor coal miner and I realize I’m kind of being an ass about a job I really like because I get to touch books all day,except I have been touching books all day and my whole respiratory system feels like it needs to be wiped down with a lint free cloth.  

I need to slow down. I realized this last night as I was conducting a phone conversation with my brother. I wanted to call him back because I’m trying to help him along his path to sobriety, but I also needed to feed myself and the cat and the stray cats outside, but I’m running low on cat food,so I gave the cat a big chunk of turkey from my chili and gave the stray cats the crumbs from the bottom of the cat food bag.I also spilled a handful of rice on the floor while trying to get  my lunch together for today. I was trying to stay cheerful for my brother so I forgot about the rice until this morning as I was rushing to get  breakfast ready because I overslept. I gritted through the rice ( I know, EEEEWW.) so I stopped and started sweeping up the rice while rushing stuff to the car. I remembered my lunch and remembered to fish out my credit card and put it in my pocket so I wouldn’t have to try and pry it out of my wallet in the wind when I stopped for gas. I did all of that and left my purse at home. 

I realized that all of this is exactly why my neurologist told me I shouldn’t multi-task because the stress could manifest itself in another surprise brain trauma. 

So here I am, trying to breathe. 

I think I am a Dorkus Malorcus

Published January 22, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

It could be I’m getting too busy to pay attention to what I’m doing. This sounds insane, and it’s not on the job, just at home. I keep misplacing things and fumbling around trying to get things together. Having Actor Boy here kind of rumpled my routine, and my routine wasn’t set in stone yet, so the whole thing is having a ripple effect. I am way behind on my writing (contract and personal) but I do have some really good ideas that are just waiting to spring out of my head, Athena like. (See what I did there? My brain is functioning on some classical reference level, which you know will come in handy when I forget how to cross the street and the police have to come and fetch me. I will respond, “I was afraid Sisyphus would lose hold of his rock.” I don’t see that turning out well for me. Or the rock for that matter. Not The Rock, I’m sure HE’s doing fine.)

The previous paragraph is a perfect example of how things are drifting around in my brain.

One of my on the job observations is that I am very lucky to have a sassy brain( take a minute to picture a brain in a mini-skirt, pigtails and a Ramones T-shirt.) because I’m rarely bored. The job I am loving the most right now is my library job. I get to work with my BFF and a lot of cool folk. I also get to touch every single book in the library. This is great because, of course, my brain finds plenty of things to say about author photos, book flap descriptions, and what people leave in books.  It does make my head feel rather chatty; I drown it out with audio books.

I have only been in the classroom for one day this semester. I still love to teach but it does get frustrating when you are limited by lesson plans, class sizes, apathy and thinly veiled bullying (and that’s just the adults!).

I am still trying to wrap my mind around some things that I saw while I was teaching in a densely populated inner city school. Suffice it say that my personal safety was never compromised and the kids were fairly well behaved. The other observations will need so further thought and research on my part.

The question is: When do kids lose the desire to learn? What causes it? How do you get it back?  And how can I keep Julia Roberts from playing the part in the movie when we all know that Kathy Bates or Gabourey Sidibe would completely own it?

 

Wry-atus

Published January 13, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

So Actor Boy is in town,so I am spending a lot of the free time with him. I am taking Salient Notes,as one of my grad school professors used to say,so that I may return to the thought in process.These thoughts will include What I learnt on my first day back in the classroom,books I intend to explore,and fun stuff as experienced on this adventure. Things are in balance because my kid is home.

The plan is willing, but the rest is week.

Published January 10, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

At the end of the first week of what will probably be the way things are for the foreseeable future. I understand that is a long rambly word weasel. (There are so many undiscovered weasel species)

Let me explain. I worked all three jobs this week and on one day, all three. Exciting and terrifying, but I did it. Before I leap in the air with glee and pride.  I did start to flag a bit yesterday as my exhaustion started to give way to some kind of head cold thing. I am trying to fight it back with a number of OTC meds and fluids and resting when I can. I don’t want to wind up with walking pneumonia. ( the result of ignoring a summer cold for weeks until it got so bad that I was forced to sleep around the clock until I recovered. That is not nearly as fun as it sounds and there is NO WAY that I can take that kind of time off now.)

I learned so many things this week. I learned that I still have my love of teaching and I really want to have a class to call my own instead of following the migratory pattern of teachers looking to use their sick/personal days before they use them. (I do find it ironic that my grandparents made so many sacrifices to keep their descendants from migrant work and after years of their struggle and my years of college, I am now an educational migrant worker.)

But the day of sub training wasn’t nearly as soul robbing as I thought it would be. There was a really cute guy in my group. Probably too young for me, but exactly my type (Tall, moderately scruffy, blue eyes, artistic bent and laughs at my tangential comments) I discovered he has a girlfriend when Ms-too-good-to-work-in-Special-Ed from the other workshop butted into our conversation.  Oh, well.

There was a girl (not woman, girl) who came to the sub workshop in a short skirt (Short enough to rise to mid-thigh when she sits) tights and hoochie boots. She also had a tiny gold hoop in her nose. I have no problem with any of these things, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have any place in any classroom. She verbally protested when one young man said that he didn’t think high heels were proper sub attire. She was mad because, “that’s such a guy thing to say”

No princess, that’s a fellow teacher trying to offer some advice to a clueless person who is either going to break a shoe sprinting around the gym when she gets moved from one assignment to another without warning, or going to fall and crush a child in an elementary school assignment, or even more probable, going to lose the respect of whole classes of high school and middle school students. The girls will hate and judge because of the skirt ant the boots. The boys will ogle and be disruptive.  She has no clue.

There were only two people in the entire workshop I wanted to punch. Not a bad day.

I learned a lot on my assignment yesterday (Ninth grade English at an inner city school) but my Dayquil just wore off. I will post that adventure later.

The glove is on the other foot

Published January 7, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

It’s really cold today. Today would been the perfect day to curl up in bed all day, but even though it was 15 degrees (!) this morning, today was also the first day of my three part-time job adventure. (I still hope that I will eventually get a full-time job so that I will actually get the number of things I need to do at the same time down to less than a hundred. )

Anyway, I’ve started a work journal so I can remember the odd things that happen over the course of the work day.

Job 1: I got my 1000 words written early this morning. I think tat part may work out.

Job 2: Didn’t have to work at this job today, I just had to drop off the paperwork so I can get paid. It took me twenty minutes to find a parking place. It took me less than five minutes to handle the paperwork.  Soul-robbing, but I’ve had worse administrative experiences.

Job 3: I actually really enjoyed this. There were some lulls but I did write a lot of interesting things down, mostly related to the inconsistent sizing of Children’s books and the fact that each and everyone of these books is slippery and hard to hold.  I also discovered that handling books all day will leach the moisture right out of your skin, thus making it had to function.

There is some speechifying I intend to do concerning the trends in Children’s Literature, but I’m exhausted and I have to get ready for tomorrow. Similar schedule, twice the exhaustion.

 

I have had the weapons all weekend and haven’t killed a single zombie!

Published January 5, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I buy myself gifts for Christmas and my birthday. This year I bought myself “Rise of Nightmares” an interactive game for my Xbox Kinect. (The Xbox itself was a birthday present to me the last big check I got from teaching and directing. I  remember thinking that it was probably going to be the last time I would be able to do that. I was right. Sometimes a rambling fool will show you the way. Wow, that was a long parenthetical.)

In the game you punch and kick Zombies and other monsters. I am really looking forward to this. I just haven’t had the time and its already about to be shut down time.  I still have enthusiasm for the week and the upcoming madness, because I have the plan.

The plan only works if we stick to the time management schedule. (This is a hypothetical schedule because I’m waiting for my dayplanner refill to come in. I think it’s in, I just have to go fetch it from the UPS office. I’m really going to vexed if it’s not here.  Oh well, the UPS office should be an adventure. Why, yes, it does take years of practice to keep up with my conversation,just ask my Amanda-Friend, she’s been following the story for over two decades.)

And now, my something interesting and brainy for today, brought to you once again by the good people at the Daily Spark:

Ernest Hemingway once remarked that All American Literature since The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn owed a great debt to that novel.  Imagine that you are a famous writer about to publish the Great American Novel. Which aspects of Twain’s book might you play with or emulate in your own book. 

First of all, Ernest Hemingway was a big ol’ drunk.  I’m sure he said a lot of things, so why are we not looking to some of those other things to pry apart literature?  Considering the amount of time he spent in Key West and Cuba, I’m sure he had many clever ways to request more ice.  I know that I find it easier to write with a big soda with lots of ice.

Second of all, even if you are a famous writer, how do you know you’re writing the Great American Novel? What constitutes fame? Stephanie Meyer is famous as is E. L. James and I don’t think either of them will crank out (dirty) anything akin to great. Maybe American as in the Twilight series and the 50 shades series are both the processed cheese food of the literary world.

Unfortunately at this stage of my writing career, such as it is, I would have to focus more on themes that are trending, which might not survive the ages but be popular enough to sustain my living expenses without my having to work three jobs, and with that in mind, I would take Finn’s exploration on the Mississippi to an alternate, futuristic plane of existence where Huck and his pal, Gym  (a robot who is his physical trainer) shoot back and forth from place to place in a pneumatic tube.

As always, if anyone thinks this is a good idea, I call dibbs.