Friday, May 20, 2011

There are bad days and then there was today

This was given to me today by one of my seniors and I can't help but share it as a reminder that sometimes . . . there is a reason.

Dear Mrs. Ring,

I express myself best through writing so this letter is the result.
I'd like to thank you for four wonderful years. I've learned alot from you an you've made them memorable.
Thank you for creating an atmosphere in your classroom in which I've always felt accepted and included despire my many quirks (& thanks for tolerating them.)
Thank you for encouraging my passion for the English language. Should I follow the educational path, I think I'd like to be like you.
Thank you for helping me find my voice through your drama classes. Singing for a crowd was just a dream, because I never had the opportunity or the courage for it. Now I know that I DO have the courage and thank you for helping me realize that.
Thank you for ruining every horror movie I'll ever see by teaching me symbolism. I'll have fun being the obnoxious know-it-all who ruins it for all her friends, too -
And finally thank you for challenging me. I don't remember ever having an "A" in your class that I didn't have to consciously maintain. With so many teachers just letting student slip by for minimal work, it's refreshing to have to try. I value that greatly in a teacher, so thank you, thank you and thank you again.
You're the teacher that I'll tell my kids about. I hope you realize how valuable you are.

Sometimes this albatross is rendered speechless by the beautiful voice of a dove. Thank you CM.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Culminating Project Ideas

Alright my Happiness Project Writers and Bloggers - Gimme your tired, your weak - oh wait, that was something else. Hang on . . .

Friends, Dixians, Countrymen and women, Lend me your ears - Nope, that's for third trimester.

Ah yes, now I remember.

Okay folks, so here's your chance to put your .02 in before I throw the hammer down and lay down the edicts for your final projects.

Tell me, though I won't guarantee anything, what is it that you think would be a good culiminating adventure for your hero? Convince me. Persuade me that your idea is the best.

On your mark; Get set; Go . . .

Sunday, October 10, 2010

To Tell the Truth

"There's a very positive relationship
between people's ability to
accomplish any task and the time
they're willing to spend on it."
- Joyce Brothers

Monday's goal will be to reveal what this project is really about - the work, the indivudual attention, the revelations I have learned about who will be successful in the future and who will probably not show up.

I'm actually looking forward to getting back to teaching my way and not doing this whole free-flowing thing anymore. Letting go has never been one of my strong points and while I've probably been succeeding at it this half of the trimester and my students will probably still not get it, I'm glad to have undertaken this particular Buddha-esque project of my own.

We'll see how tomorrow goes. If nothing else, it should be interesting.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Quotation I found reflection-worthy

"What you get by reaching your
destination is not nearly as
important as what you will become
by reaching your destination."
- Zig Ziglar

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Share the enthusiasm - Epic Fail


Today's goal was very quickly deflated. I supposed it's true what Elphaba says, "No good deed goes unpunished." Today's goal was to take the newfound enthusiasm from the day of "spreading the happy" and channel it into the classroom today. Well, that didn't quite work. Frankly, it slammed right up against a gigantic Great Wall of China.

I teach my students to reflect on each experience and I'm the model here so here goes for a reflection.

When I came into class, I had expected to find my students equally inspired and thrilled by the prospect of sharing what they had learned through this process with someone who had no vested interest in their grade. I thought the idea of sharing what they'd learned with a perfect stranger, face to face, would show them the confidence they had accrued during their 15 day trek.

Instead, the concept and my enthusiasm were met with hostility and fear. I supposed I expected them to have seen the confidence and the growth that I saw. Maybe they don't know how much they've grown in just these last 13 days. Maybe they don't think they can do it. Maybe they are just afraid.

I'm still going to push them to share this with someone they don't know - tell the world how much they've learned and how much they've grown. Who knows - maybe that's really what they're asking me for by being so hostile and afraid.

Perhaps beneath that anger is the tiniest of voices whispering, "push me."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spread the "Happiness" and see what happens

Today's goal was the discuss the Happiness Project with as many people as I could and get new and amazing ideas for doing this again next time.

I spoke about the project to one friend who worried that the project needed narrowing - I should dictate the 15 days (or perhaps shorten it to 7 days - after all the world was created in less time) and monitor specifics a bit better - daily check-ins instead of the twice a week or weekly I've been doing.

Another friend told me I should expand the project for an all year thing and allow my students to take on one of Gretchen Rubin's tasks a month, following more closely in her footsteps.

A few were really positive and thought that the project had a great amount of merit; one or two thought I was way in over my head and should abandon the assignment right now before any more damage is done.
I wonder what my students would think?

The most positive thing that came out of this was the idea to include a culminating project - something to bookend the declaration day - a way to culiminate the project and present it. She wants to hear some of them, so I offered to send her 10 or so students who would present their projects to her. Other ideas I had for culminating project were a scrapbook, a gallery showing in my hallway, presentation of a final video, a collage of pictures, an art diary, etc. - obviously since it's a VPAM class, I want to keep it artistic.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Family Time

I purposefully pushed my Friday goal to Saturday so that I could focus on spending time with my daughter. With the daily barrage of people, there are many nights I get to spend only 30 to 40 minutes actually playing with her. It seems I fall into the trap of putting everyone else first and I decided that my daughter needed to come first today.

We traveled to the Brown County Fair with every intention of showing her the real cows, pigs, chickens and such from Old MacDonald's Farm. After dodging the rain for most of the day and introducing Jenny to several of the fair foods, we returned home - having introduced Jenny to none of the live animals in the entire place. Oh well, there will always be next year.

I can reflect on how simple her joy was in this day - the balloon that cost us nothing and the corn cake she ate from my annual corn dog - all simple and all so absolute. It made me miss the simple things about being young again.

This is my favorite time of year - the wind that crisps the leaves through my back yard and the mysterious sound of a bonfire. I love that musty and sacramental scent of burning leaves; the tender prickliness of fleece blankets; the biting nip of the barest frost on the tip of my nose.

This time of year yearns for snuggling and time with family. I can only hope that my daughter will let me have more great days like Saturday at the county fair.