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All posts for the month April, 2015

Process(ing)

Published April 27, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

There is a lot going on my world; (It’s still Planet Earth, but it is entirely possible that I have slipped into some kind of bizarro world. I have decided to just relax and go with it.) so much is happening that I can’t quite keep up.

The least strange thing that has happened is that I learned how to make low fat cake in the crockpot.

Some things have gone well; the roof has been fixed. Some have gone not so well; I left the cake crocking too long. It was still tasty but it was so crunchy I sprinkled it on yogurt and applesauce. (What? I don’t want to contribute to the wasteland of consumerism.)

Overall, there are some big changes on the horizon. I can’t talk about them yet, but I can tell you what they’re NOT.

I’m not going to jail.

I’m not having elective surgery to reduce the size of my peasant-like haunches.

I’m not taking part of a study to prove that the secret to long life and prosperity is flourless chocolate espresso cake.

I’m not joining a tribe of grammar vigilantes whose theme song is “Word Crimes.”

There are five weeks left of school. Strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Congratulations to My Amanda Friend and AOG! Much happiness to you both. (Even if I didn’t get a chance to throw a huge bachelorette party.)

Ap(parent)ly

Published April 19, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

So as I am sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, much like any other, trying to ward off panic attacks. . I’m a relatively young person, I shouldn’t have this kind of stress, I know what this is related to, but I can’t talk about it yet. So I will talk about something else to channel my stress.

A former student of mine, Crusher, asked me if Food Insecurity affects any of my students. Food Insecurity is the state in which someone is not able to guarantee where their next meal is coming from. As you might imagine, this is particularly horrifying when it comes to children.

I know that students all over the city, but not necessarily in the school where I currently teach, have food insecurity. I know the Free Breakfast program is alive and well in my community. I also know that the food that is available to many school age children is of poor quality and high in processed carbohydrates and sugar. Now I personally am a fan of sugar and the chemical tang of certain prepared food products (I once stress ate half a can of frosting), but I know that it is not a good source of nutrition, particularly when it appears to be the sole source of energy on a school day.

I pointed this out to Crusher who then went on to ask how this would affect a student’s performance.  I told her that this early morning carb blast is usually followed by a lunch that consists of the worst Mexican Import since Montezuma’s revenge; the Takis.  I have no idea what is in these things, but they smell terrible and make middle school age children both thirsty and sticky,neither of which is conducive to the learning process.

This conversation led me to wonder if children have changed. My Amanda Friend, who is both wise and kind, and also the mother of two boys, one of whom is still in school said that she doesn’t think children have changed but parenting has. I don’t know if that is true, but I certainly have seen a decline in accountability from both parents and students. Is it related to food insecurity? Who knows?

But what I do know is that if you are a child who only knows terrible food choices and you go on to a life built on impulse driven choices, largely colored by the availability of the cheap and easy, you are not going to be in a place to be a good parent. Who is going to help you make the smart choice?

Apparently no one.

Miscreants and Malcontents (World’s worst law firm)

Published April 11, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As I am sure I have mentioned (both ad infinitum and ad  nauseam; my principal called me a clever wordsmith and it may have gone to my head) I am challenged on a daily basis by job/calling/avocation (You could also substitute  mental illness, crazed obsession, tragic result of my relentless optimism for any of those words.) I am generally too exhausted to think, let alone write or read or cook or clean or anything that a responsible adult would be doing.

People ask me how I manage to keep up with my life (like my huge house rambly unattended lawn, cleaning, laundry and a personal life. The answer is  I AM NOT. I am not keeping up. My bills are being paid, but I haven’t had time to meet with my financial planner or get new car insurance, cell phone plan, health insurance.

But I AM keeping up with my lesson plans and I successfully finished UIL One-Act Play season mostly successfully. (That means I didn’t drop dead from the stress, didn’t have an anger related incident and didn’t “accidentally” bash my car into someone . I directed two One Acts and competed in the same five week period. One of my shows advanced, which is huge because that cast was the first High School cast from our school EVER, and this is my first UIL season EVER)

I did keep up with all 160 of my theatre students and survived my first PDAS evaluation (I have no idea what all of my graphs and domains add up to at this time. I should know something soon after my principal meets with my advisor)

My students are all right on schedule with where they need to be in accordance to the curriculum. We have done some fun projects with minimum fuss and a great deal of mess.  Even my Miscreants and Malcontents (My euphemism for some of my most challenging students) have made some improvement.

Case in point: The kid who is the most vocal about his displeasure with the way I run the railroad, to the point of trying to incite a riot mostly behaves and participates. Today when I was trying to get the projector to work so I could show some example videos to demonstrate their projects, several students suggested that I just use the overheard projector. (I don’t have one, but there is one in every other classroom.) When I explained as patiently as I could that was not supplied one for the year, the challenger said, “Why does the best teacher have the worst stuff?”

When did my most challenging student decide I was the best teacher?

I’ll still take it for the win.

Too bad that didn’t come with a shiny placque like the one I got for advancing at UIL