Sunday, June 7, 2015

In which we encounter fake flowers, whales with legs, donuts, pixies, and middle school

Well, today is Tuesday, which means it is time to report on my first week living the Johnny Karate Way!  So, here is what I did!

Make Something: We did a lot of art projects at work this past week (professional development for the art teachers, fun for the rest of us), and my favorite was making these tissue paper flowers. It's super easy! The ones that I made look halfway decent, even though I am seriously disabled at crafts. I think I'll have my students make these for May Day next year.



Learn Something: Did you know that there used to be whales with legs? It's true! Sort of! At least, the direct ancestors of whales were land mammals who had legs and webbed feet (kind of like sea lions). Also, I learned that ladybugs lay extra, unfertilized eggs for their babies to eat upon hatching. So that's neat. These are the cool things you learn when you go to the Natural History Museum of Utah. Seriously, everyone go there. It is gorgeous and you can learn about whales with legs, so that seems like a win-win.

Karate Chop Something: I karate-chopped....my hair!



Okay, actually my wonderful hairdresser Shelby did all of the chopping, but it took a lot of guts on my part to let her chop it! This is the shortest my hair has been since I was about 3 and I love it to death.

Try Something New Even If It's Scary to You: On Monday, Aaron and I hiked to Donut Falls. It felt so good to be up in the mountains again, and to try a new hike. Aaron wanted to climb all the way to the top of the falls, past the sign that said, "Do not climb past this point or else you will die," (or some similar warning,) and I was terrified, but I did it, and nobody slipped and fell onto the sharp rocks and died. So that was a win.




Be Nice to Someone: My friend's wife is creating a curriculum for a middle school composition class for her music education capstone, and she needed some volunteers to help her workshop it. So Aaron and I were her guinea pig students for a couple of days. We got to create some fun compositions and brainstorm ways to teach some different musical concepts.

All in all, this week was a success! I will be far away from the Internet next Tuesday, so I'll try to get an early post out by Sunday night. If not, you will get a double post in two weeks. Lucky you!

What have you made, done or karate chopped this week? Did you try anything now or scary? How have you been nice to someone? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

In which I become a follower of the Johnny Karate Way

Well, this blog has gotten a bit dusty, but seeing as the school year is ending any second now (actually, in three days, but whatever), I thought I'd pull it back out and give this whole creativity thing a whirl. And I actually have an idea for a blogging project that's been fermenting for a couple months now. Hopefully this will keep my brain from atrophying too much during the break.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a huge fan of the recently-ended show, Parks and Recreation. I didn't know that a TV show could be so simultaneously hilarious, emotionally engaging, and just....goodhearted. Aaron and I started watching it together when we were dating, and soon we referenced our "Pawnee friends" in conversation the same way we would discuss any other mutual friends. Parks and Rec has been, literally, the most influential TV show of my life.

Television Parks And Recreation animated GIF

All right, so, the project! In the final season of Parks, Andy Dwyer, the series' lovable buffoon, has created a children's TV show called The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show!

Parks And Recreation Tv Show animated GIF
Parks And Recreation Chris Pratt animated GIF
Parks And Recreation Chris Pratt animated GIF
Parks And Recreation Chris Pratt animated GIF

Johnny Karate is absolutely ridiculous, and it also possibly contains the key to a fulfilling life. Johnny's Five Karate Moves to Success are, in order:

1) Make Something
2) Learn Something
3) Karate-chop Something
4) Try Something New, Even if it's Scary to You
5) Be Nice to Someone

Each of these five steps has its own segment on the show. What I want to know is, how would my life change if I implemented these steps? Would I become a smarter, kinder, more fulfilled, happier person? Would I become a space ninja from Mars? Would I be disappointed in myself for taking life advice from a fictional children's television program?

Only one way to find out.

This summer, I'll be posting every Tuesday with the ways I have used the Five Karate Moves to Success this week (and yes, there will be pictures of karate-chopping stuff). I invite anybody who is interested to join me in this challenge, and keep me posted on how it goes for you.

Remember, kids:

Well, it’s time for us to go, but I want you all to know
That karate’s not about fighting,
It’s about knowing who you are,A
nd being kind and honest while you’re kicking for the stars.
Yeah, that’s the Johnny Karate way! 

Parks And Recreation Wink animated GIF

Sunday, April 12, 2015

In Which I Am Lonely

Not long ago, loneliness, for me, was inevitable. My roommates would leave on their dates, or to the library to study, or to their graveyard shifts, and I would be left alone. Sometimes I would try to make plans with other friends, and sometimes I would be successful. Sometimes I would call my mom or my sister and catch up. But often I would find myself at home with nobody to talk to, knowing that there was nobody who actively desired my presence. I got accustomed to the dull ache and learned how to work around it and to distract myself, but time and time again, it came back.

This evening, I feel that ache again. I desperately wish there were somebody home to talk to, to laugh with, or just to sit by. I am craving companionship and I don't know where to find it. It's been so long since I had to deal with this kind of loneliness, and I don't remember how I used to numb it. It hurts.

But in a strange way, I relish the pain. Its very unfamiliarity is a reminder of the goodness that is my life these days. I get to spend each day with my best friend, and when I'm not with him, I'm either working at a job I love, spending time with friends or family, or relishing my alone time. I still experience depression, anxiety, and stress on a fairly frequent basis, but loneliness? It's almost unheard of now.

So, tonight I feel lonely. And I am grateful, because it reminds me of the time where loneliness was everywhere, and how much has changed since then.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

In which I become reacquainted with an old hobby

Recently, I reintroduced myself to my old friend, the sewing machine. I had five very large windows and access to a room full of free fabric, so I decided that I should make some curtains. Now, I haven't actually sewn anything since I was about 13, besides a few errant buttons. I have fond elementary school memories of helping my mom with sewing projects, making a pair of pajama pants for my Dad one Christmas, and making a pillowcase in 7th grade home ec. However, sometime around 8th grade I stopped sewing. Maybe it was because I strongly, strongly disliked my 8th grade sewing teacher. Maybe it was a misguided attempt to reject stereotypically feminine gender roles. Maybe I just knew my mom wanted me to learn to sew and I was being a punk. Who knows. All I know is that even though all I've made so far is a set of really simple curtains, I am in love with this hobby. The hypnotizing clacking of the machine, the precision involved in measuring, cutting, and pressing, and the satisfaction of looking at your finished product....it's just awesome. All of it.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

In which I have learned a few things this week


  • If you are teaching at a school with a population largely made up of refugees and immigrants, you cannot assume that anyone, even the sixth graders, knows the lyrics to "Jingle Bells."
  • Second, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders can handle singing "don we now our gay apparel" without giggling about the word "gay." Third graders cannot.
  • Procrastinating going to bed does give me more time to hang out with my husband. However, it also makes me lethargic, cranky, and late for work the next day.
  • Jeans are not professional enough to wear to work. Unless they have a weird pattern or a bright color. Then they magically transform into business casual (my mint skinny jeans are really happy about this). 
  • Audiobooks can make a 45 minute commute bearable in a way that the radio never will.
It's been an instructive week, to say the least.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In which I use my lunch break to whine.

You know, I never really believed that teacher burnout was a thing that would happen to me.

I would read all these articles about new teachers leaving the profession in droves, exhausted by how much they had to do and I would smugly think, "Well, yeah, but that's never going to happen to me because I love teaching and I love music and I love kids, so I'll just always want to do this."

Oh, my friends, my friends. I spoke too soon.

I have been a real, actual teacher for just over two months now.

And today, I hate it.

Today, I want to quit.

Today, I want to go find some job where I don't have to interact with children and I can just have scintillating conversations with adults and like...do data entry or something easy. And I'm sure a cushy job like that doesn't actually exist, everything has a stressful, hard side, but I just want something that is not this.

I'm sick of being sassed and talked back to. I'm sick of seeing kids zoning out while I teach and knowing it's because my lesson isn't as engaging as I thought it was. I hate that my students either don't take me seriously or hate my class because I'm "mean". I swear I learned all of these foolproof tricks to keep these things from happening back in my college theory classes, but I can't remember most of them, and I think I must be doing the rest of them wrong.

I guess I just have spent the last 6 years thinking this was something I would love and be really good at, and I feel like I'm not good at it and I don't love it and I just want to go home but I have like three more hours before that can happen.

And maybe it's because I'm getting over an awful cold (but I'm still not sick enough to make writing a sub plan worth it). And maybe it's because I'm new at this, and as I get better at teaching, it will become more enjoyable. And maybe I'm just having an off week.

But today, I just kind of want to throw in the towel on this whole teaching thing. Is there anything else I'm qualified for?


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

In which I learn how to operate a die cut machine

Guys, one of my schools has dinosaur die cuts.

This is the greatest thing.

 
I mean, it would make decorating my teaching space easier if they had music note die cuts, but still...DINOSAURS.