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.
 
 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In which I've got all this free time and it's super weird.

Yesterday I learned that there is no graceful way to answer the question, "What are you up to these days?" when you're up to absolutely nothing.

See, I graduated. And then I was substitute teaching. And then I was taking a two-week Kodaly course at BYU. But all of those are over now, and I've got about three weeks until the next adventure, which isn't enough time to get a job or anything, so I'm still kind of working on figuring out ways to use the time. Which makes answering questions about my daily activities kind of interesting. Explaining the situation in its entirety takes a little long, and, well, I'll let you see the other answers I've come up with.

"What are you up to these days, Karissa?"

  • "Oh, you know...nothing."
  • "I'm between life stages at the moment."
  • "Being unemployed. It's great. Oh, no, you don't need to put in a good word for me anywhere. I don't actually want a job right now.../"
  • "Well, yesterday I cleaned my apartment so thoroughly that I ran out of cleaning supplies!"
  • "Donating plasma as often as possible. Did you know they give you a free T-shirt the first time?"
  • "Trying to use up all of the gift certificates I've acquired in my time in Provo. I'm almost halfway done!"
  • "I mostly just sit on the couch counting the hours until my boyfriend gets home so I can make out with him."



Yeah, my life sounds pretty lame from the outside. But I'm working on some good ways to fill the time. I have a few musical instruments I need to learn before the school year starts, and a crock pot that has still never been used. So maybe I'll have better answers soon. In the meantime, any good suggestions for how I can succinctly answer people's inquiries about my life?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

If I were still a blogger...

I feel like I've lost the whatever-it-was that made me a blogger. That fire where words would build up inside of me and I had to rush to my computer and type until they were out. Which is a shame, because if I still had that fire, if I were still a blogger, there is so much I would tell you.

I would tell you about the bike ride I went on the other day, and how I stopped by the river and watched it awhile, thinking of how such a calm thing can seem so terrifying when you watch it long enough, trampling itself in a rush to get downstream, like a stampede out of a burning movie theater, or tomorrow morning coming sooner than you'd like.

I would tell you about the 5.10c I climbed day before yesterday, and the satisfaction I felt when I high-fived the chains at the top.

I would tell you about how I'm sick this week, and spend every minute of my sub job hoping that the next class will decide they don't need to come to music today so I can rest...and how, since it's the last week of school, my wish is often granted.

I would tell you about how so many of my best friends are getting married and having babies lately, and how happy I am for them.

I would tell you about the amazing roommates I've had this year, the job I found for the fall, and my sweet, wonderful boyfriend.

I would tell you how hard I find it to lose weight while still maintaining a positive body image, and how I wish I could go back to my high school metabolism.

And maybe I will later. But for today, I am all out of words.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In which student teaching is a bit rough

Here's the thing about kids:

They are incredibly easy to love.

They are also incredibly easy to become frustrated with.

Today was my first full day soloing; my mentor teacher was at an all-day meeting, so it was all me.

And I said some things I regret.

And slipped into my impatient, sardonic voice for too much of the day.

And responded to too many requests by sighing and staring at the ceiling.

These kids are so tough, but so fragile, and I worry that one of those sighs, frowns, or tired outbursts will permanently break a small part of them.

All I can do is try again tomorrow. Write a few more kind notes, and recognize the wonderful things my students do, and mete out discipline in a measured, even tone, rather than sniping.

All I can do is remind myself that I love these munchkins, even when they're doing all they can to make me forget.

And then keep doing it again and again for the rest of my life,

because even when I get tired of hearing it repeated ad nauseum,

My favorite name to be called is "Teacher."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

In which the cold never bothered me, anyway

This weekend, I went with my family to see Disney's new animated film, Frozen. And I was blown away. I loved almost everything about this movie. The music! The animation! The fact that the romantic subplot is a subplot, and not the story's main focus! The music! Sisterly bonding! Olaf the snowman! The music!

Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that I walked out of the movie theater with a mind full of new thoughts and a resolution to change my behavior in accordance with these thoughts. Here are a few things I learned from Frozen:
  • When you are blessed with a gift, you can use it to create or to destroy. When you seek to control a gift with fear, it will almost always lead to destruction. When you use your gift with love, you create beauty and joy.
  • Trying to solve a problem by shutting yourself off from others and from your own emotions is often more damaging than the problem itself. Letting people into your life can be scary, messy, and complicated, but it also allows love to flow into your life, which increases your capability to face challenges.
  • "People make bad choices when they're mad or scared or stressed, but throw a little love their way, and you'll bring out their best": When people act in hurtful or destructive ways, it is most often out of pain or fear, rather than maliciousness.
  • True love is putting others' needs before your own. True love can be found in any relationship, not just romantic ones.
  • "Everyone's a bit of a fixer-upper": we've all got flaws and challenges, but we can help each other to overcome them.
  • Reindeers are better than people, but people smell better than reindeers.
I've been thinking a lot today about what my gifts are, and how I can use them with love instead of trying to harness them with fear. I also wore deodorant today, in an effort to continue smelling better than reindeers. See, people? Life-changing epiphanies all over the place here.