Friday, May 23, 2008

What I've Learned

I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately, not because I reflect a lot on my actions, but because I had to reflect. Last week was a rough week...rougher than I care to admit. I don't know why, but I felt off. I couldn't connect with the students, and I think they felt it too. I didn't feel like I was doing my job well enough. I know I can be overly critical of myself, but I was starting to feel fatalistic about everything. I didn't feel like I could go anywhere to relax. It was probably the one and only time camping in the middle of the woods somewhere alone seemed relatively sane. It has been about a year since I started this program and more things have altered the course of my life in this one year than probably all my years combined. I am not the same person that started my graduate work. So, here's what I've learned:

I've learned that no matter how much I may want to plan out my life, I will never fully have control over it. I will make feeble attempt after feeble attempt to be prompt and stick to my commitments, but I won't always be able to.

I've learned that reading the first and last paragraph of each chapter is almost as good as reading the entire textbook.

I've learned that all things happen for a reason; I just haven't seen all the reasons yet.

I've learned that people are, for the most part, good. Very few people actually want, or intend, to cause harm.

I've learned that it's equally as painful to hurt someone else as it is to hurt yourself.

I've learned that I will live through utter self hatred and loathing, and that I have far more strength than I originally thought.

I've learned what it means to have a group of friends you can confide in, rely on, and bond with. And, there is nothing Qdoba, broomball and kickball with the cohort cannot fix. Thank you.

I've learned that I work well under extreme amounts of stress...and there's the reason I always knew I was going into teaching.

I've learned that my parents will love me regardless of the mistakes I make and money I cost them. Thank you.

I've learned that if I have to vomit in the car during rush hour, I will still make it to class, and be able to do it in such a way that I don't stain my clothes.

I've learned that I am able to still genuinely laugh when I'm on the verge of tears.

I've learned that no matter how hard I try to understand people, some will never be able to understand me. And because of this, I've learned to stop jumping to conclusions.

I've learned that after teaching 32 16 year old students at once, clowns and spiders don't seem so bad.

I've learned that people come into your life with purpose. And sometimes they lead you to the reasons you're looking for. Thank you for leading me.

I've learned that no matter how hard I try to have a strong faith, I will never be certain.

I've learned that innuendos in English Education are endless.

I've learned that some people need to be selfish; I've learned to be selfish enough to take care of myself.

I've learned to be comfortable with who I am, even if that means knowing that I will not always feel comfortable with who I am.

I've learned that it's okay to be human.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I have found 3 more large boxes of books in my attic. Nice. My father is going to kill me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Future of Education: Teach the Kids how to Teach Themselves

A friend of mine sent me this last night. I may have nearly wet myself I laughed so hard. In reality, it's too true to be funny. I was telling my cooperating teacher last week that I didn't learn much from the University of Minnesota except small group activities. As elite and renown as the U is for their education program, they completely left out how to conduct a lecture or class discussion. On the plus side, I have thousands and thousands of dollars invested in facilitating small groups and literature circles. I have at least three books filled with small group activities. Maybe I wouldn't have had to pack so much if I was taught how to lead a class, rather than hand it off to the students.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I have concluded that I have too many things. Not like too many things as in too many shoes, too many clothes, too many papers from ten years ago that I'll never need. But too many things as in what I will most likely need later, but not right now.

I've been packing my life away it seems like today. To be honest, I was expecting this to go quicker (or easier) because I'm not a pack rat. I'm not someone who needs to keep more than one copy of the same sheet of paper or book just because (okay, to be fair, I do have two copies of Jane Eyre, but that's because it's just that good of a book that it would warrant two copies). I don't keep useless or broken crap just for the sake of never knowing when I might need it. In fact, I'm actually the person that will throw everything away and then next week want to know where it all went because I need it.

I can see why people want to go digital so badly now. I have too many CDs and too many pictures. But I really don't have that many CDs and that many pictures. I just don't feel like packing them and taking them with me at this point. I'm sick of moving, even though I'm very excited to be at my new place in a couple weeks.

I guess I just imagined having a few boxes, my laptop and a couple suitcases with all my clothes (yes, I can fit almost all my clothes into two suitcases) and that would be the end of it. But no, I have movies and music and pictures and kitchen stuff and living room stuff. AND BOOKS. I have three overflowing boxes of books alone. I have books that I didn't even know I had. Where did they come from? I actually asked myself that four times while I sorted through them. I'm not complaining. But seriously, for the sake of moving, I should have reconsidered my major in college.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Leather Chaps and Dreadlocks

Last night I saw my friend Toni. I've known her for about 10 years and she's moving to Denver at the end of July. I'll be sad when she leaves because she's one of the few people I can feel totally comfortable around. I blame her for my lack of maturity in the humor department.
Toni talked me into going to see this blue grass band. Not normally my thing, I was a little hesitant, but decided to go for the experience. It was in south Minneapolis, at this biker lounge. It was this strange mix of bikers on Harleys and washed up hippies with dreadlocks...and Toni and I. The guy that stood next to me at one point was so involved in the music that he hit me several times in the face with his dreadlocks. He smelled too. I now know what it smells like when leather and patchouli are mixed. Disgusting.

But overall, it was fun. I enjoy the biker crowd. They are usually kind to me since, I have been told, I look like Little Bo Peep and they take pity on me. One biker told me he would pay me $100 for my coat. I'm not sure what that meant since it was pretty warm out and he had a nice leather one. I laughed and pretended he was funny. But truthfully, I wanted the $100. I'm poor, and really, who needs a lined vest with faux fur on the hood? Especially since I probably paid less than $30 for it while I was working at Gap. I wasn't thinking on that one.

Here is an adorable picture of Toni and I a couple years ago, clearly up to no good as usual.

Friday, May 2, 2008


I made my first video of kickball. I think I may have Meaghan be the designated video person with my camera--no, you won't break it, Meaghan--since she is sadly injured and I have kind of really enjoyed making movies...once again, thanks Rick Beach.

I should make a blog solely about Rick Beach and his influence on my life.


I did conferences last night. Yay for a 13 hour day. But I had the day off today, so it was almost worth it.

Conferences were neat. Kids and parents came. It was actually nice to get to talk to the students on an individual basis. As exhausting as it was, it reminded me that I absolutely love what I'm doing. I love seeing the students every day. I like their parents even. I'm so happy to be where I am now. Really. It's so great.

Too bad Minnesota's parents didn't show up for conferences. We really need to talk about the weather issue going on here. I mean the rain is okay, but it could definitely improve on the temperature aspect. It should be against the law to snow in May. Seriously.