Motivational Mondays

Motivational Monday -First Week of Summer Plan

That’s right, summer is here!

summer-time-1405961228GHz

This first week of my summer break is sure to be full, though.  Today is Memorial Day and it is our first day of 100s in a while, so we’re probably staying inside for the most part.  I’m still cleaning and grading and grading and cleaning.

Tomorrow is the end-of-school-year field trip to a local park and I’m driving/chaperoning.  So, three hours will be taken up doing that.  I also have some clean up work I need to do at work, so I will go do that between field trip and pick up time (an hour and a half or so).  Wednesday, I scheduled the dog for a bath, flea treatment, etc. at Noon while DD is at school.  Thursday is the last day of school, so DD gets out at Noon and we’re having her friend over for a sleepover (we did one last year with her as well).  So, I’m trying to figure out what to do with them for 24 hours (Noon is early!).  We are thinking Round Table for dinner and probably some sprinklers since it is going to be hot, maybe a movie…we’ll see.  Friday, we leave for our mini-vacation to Monterey for our pre-hospital enjoyment.  Monday is pre-op in the morning and then Tuesday is pacemaker placement surgery.  Then, hospital for four to seven days (or so they say).

We went to the library yesterday and loaded up on books (I got three, DD got five and has already finished one).  We are also reading the Wizard of Oz together (and that should take a while) and we got the Barnes and Noble classics with five novels in it, so we may just continue on through the four other Oz novels after we finish the original.  I need to get the house clean and type up a list of things the house/pet-sitter needs to do before Friday.  I have filled in my summer calendar with the Dollar movie choices (lots that my DD would like to see), my trip to San Diego for my grant workshop (and DD will stay with my in-laws in Bakersfield, so we’ll drive down and maybe stay a couple of days after), some Michael’s craft workshops, two different art camps, one ice cream camp, one cooking camp, a camping trip with friends…so, we have a full summer planned already!  It is strange to be able to make summer plans because the past three or four summers I have been dealing with a sick parent and the need to be flexible.  This summer, I only have to worry about DD’s recovery, which should be relatively easy (fingers crossed).  It will prevent swim lessons until more towards the end of summer, but I might just go back to enrolling her during the Winter at our swim school to insure she knows how to swim safely by her 8th birthday and can maybe do summer swim team next year.  I will probably try to spend some weekends helping my sister with my parent’s house that she has been doing a ton of work on to get it ready for sale as well.

So, overall, I’m happy summer is here, I’m happy to have a plan and I’m looking forward to the next 10-12 weeks or so!

What about you?  Do you have summers off?  Are you planning anything fun and/or exciting?

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Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Busy Weekend Edition

Joining up for a quick Six Word Saturday over at Show My Face.  Short, but sweet this week.

End of Spring 2016.  Summer begins!

Although I don’t feel like Summer officially begins until my DD gets out of school (Noon on Thursday), I am officially on Summer “break” (grading is still happening of course…I haven’t been THAT productive)!  This weekend has been super busy though.  We have my Father In Law visiting, Friday was my DD’s school carnival, tonight she has her Girl Scout Cookie Sale recognition and end-of-year celebration, tomorrow my Father In Law leaves and we might go to the fair tomorrow or Monday, and Tuesday is the end-of-year field trip to the park for my DD’s class.  Sigh…and all this while also trying to grade, grade, grade, clean up a dirty, cluttered house (which is what happens while I’m focused elsewhere for a few weeks) and keeping our lawn alive in the backyard.  I got some free sod off of Craig’s List and filled in the rest with some Weed and Seed and we’re trying to get it to grow so we’ll have a lawn this summer instead of dirt with some grass growing hear and there (we killed it a couple of years ago with one of those big pools, so it is our own fault).  My DH has been getting up early almost every morning to go and fish or shoot targets with friends, so I haven’t been able to get much sleeping in done (not that I am really a person who sleeps in much anyways) and I’m pretty exhausted.  But, I’m feeling like I’m getting things accomplished and that means a lot to me at this point.  I am looking forward to a summer of reading, rest and redoing my Argumentation and Debate class for the grant I received in the Spring semester (a year-long redo with tech and supplemental instruction and all kinds of exciting stuff).  So, I’ve got a great summer ahead!

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Cheer

Friday, already?!?  Unbelievable!  Spring 2016 has officially come to a close (Class-wise.  Grading-wise, it has just begun to come to a close.) and I’m feeling both relieved and a little wistful.  So many things I would do differently (and can, next semester).  So many students I hope will keep in touch with me (I had some real gems this semester – I’m saying that with no sarcasm at all).  So many things I really enjoyed (and can’t wait to do again next semester).  So many unknowns moving forward!  And a sure-to-be-too-short summer “off” once I get my grades submitted!  I both love and hate this “in-between period”.  It is hard to stay motivated to keep grading quickly and efficiently when I know that I won’t have students asking me about them in class.  It is hard to not jump forward into planning without doing a proper and realistic appraisal of this past semester.  It is hard not to collapse into a pool of exhausted jelly and just watch the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel for weeks on end.  But, I am attempting to keep things going…and that includes my semi-regular, weekly blogging attempts, of which Five Minute Friday is one of the more regular semi-regular posts!

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So, here goes….

Cheer relates to “joy” when I think about it.  Feeling “cheerful” means feeling content and happy.  It also relates to celebrations to me.  The whole “Cheers!” thing we say when toasting others.  And this week is definitely one of celebration!  I gave my last final of the Spring 2016 semester on Thursday and I am somewhat cheerful in looking forward to summer break.  My DD is going to be finishing up First Grade on Thursday and I’m definitely feeling cheerful about that.  At a number of points during her short life, I wasn’t sure we would celebrate milestones such as this.  Summer is always a reason to “cheer” for me.  It is one of my favorite things about being a teacher!  I get to spend long summer days with my DD enjoying summer fun.  I know how lucky I am to have that ability.

Cheer also makes me think of “cheering” for someone or something.  I love baseball and we’re getting back our minor league team after many years of absence.  I am excited to have someone local to “cheer” on and to be able to take my DD to baseball games during this summer of cheer!


That’s it.  Not very deep this week, but it is done.  Even if it was a day late (I went to bed before the actual Five Minutes began last night.  🙂

 

Teacher Talk, Uncategorized

Bad at Goodbyes – Ending the Semester

I am bad at goodbyes.  I was always horrible at breakups.  I tend to let friendships fade out rather than end in some kind of fiery glory of true “Fin!”.  And this all equates to my final few weeks of the semester being horrible.  I used to think it was because I was tired of my students or burnt out from all the grading and stress of end-of-year events, etc.  But, no.  I now believe it is really because I’m bad at goodbye.

good in good bye

I want to be the kind of teacher that has that last day of class that looks like a scene from Dead Poet’s Society, where I stand on my desk and provide my students with a life-changing soliloquy of life and love, lost and gained.  But, instead, I drag in, carrying a way-too-full work bag full of papers that need grading, pass out their multiple choice final (which tests little of their knowledge gained during the semester) and then tell them “Have a good break.” as they walk out the door, many of them to never be seen again.  None of them finding the experience life-changing in any way, shape or form.  They may have enjoyed the class (at least some of them say they did), but none of them are walking away from the experience with any real sense of closure.

Its funny in a way, because I teach public speaking and one thing that beginning speakers are usually poor at doing is closing their speech.  You get those awkward endings with people pausing, and the audience wondering if they should applaud or if the person is going to continue, and the speaker has to say, “That’s it.  I’m done.”  That is what I feel like my finals are like.  An awkward pause while the students are thinking, “is this really IT?” and then me saying, “that’s it…have a good break.” and everyone leaves slightly let down.

So, I can’t change it for this semester, but it is something I plan to work on for next semester.  I’m considering doing away with any kind of traditional final exams in my classes.  No more Scantrons.  No more multiple choice questions that fail to capture the true learning that has (or has not) taken place during the semester.  But, I need to figure out something to replace it with.  I like what this Professor from Georgetown has to say (and I don’t think I remember a single final I took – papers I wrote, yes, but finals I took, no): “Meaningful Exams for a Meaningful End.”  My friend reads “Oh, the Places You Will Go,” by Dr. Seuss, but he teaches mostly seniors and I teach a lot of Frosh.  End of the semester conferences, like these discussed in “Ending the Semester on High Note,” also sound intriguing, but a little difficult to fit in those last few weeks (since I have performance-based classes where speeches are being given, etc.).  There are a lot of ideas floating around out there in the internets…I just need to figure out which will work for me and my classes.  But, I am definitely open to suggestion!

So, that is one of my “teacher goals” for the summer.  To figure out how to put the Good in my end-of-semester Goodbyes.

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Final Countdown Edition

Now officially in the final countdown!

final countdown pic

Sorry, but for most of you that is probably true.  I actually love the commercials with that song in them.  It was a fave of mine back in the day and I think the commercial is hilarious.

But, seriously, I AM in the final countdown.  One of the campuses I work at is done for the semester (other than a pile of grading I have to do in those classes, but I’m making pretty good progress this weekend) and the other is in finals this coming week.  So, three more class meetings and I. am. finished.  So thankful.  I am tired this semester.  More tired than usual I think.  But, I also think that teaching is like childbirth.  If anyone really remembered everything that happened in the process, they would never return to do it again.  So, we have some selective memory that allows us to continue doing what would otherwise seem insane to do a second (or third, or twenty-third time – well, not childbirth unless you’re part of that Duggar family and they really may be legitimately insane – at least some of them. But with teaching, people definitely teach for upwards of 20-25 years and that is 40-50 semesters or more).  So, yeah.  We remember the good, tend to play down or forget the bad and we go back the next time feeling like we have a good idea of what is coming, but not realizing our memories are all distorted somehow.

Well, that took a direction that I didn’t plan on at the start…but, that is the beauty of the Six Word Saturday!

Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Expect

I’m joining Five Minute Friday again this week.  I missed it last week.  I almost did it a couple of days late, but decided not to.  I like the idea of doing it ON Friday.  This week’s topic is “Expect”.  Join in if you would like to be part of a supportive community with great messages to share!

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So, here goes:

I have high expectations for myself and my life.  I often over estimate what I’ll be able to do or get done in a certain amount of time.  I often have expected that things will come easily for me (because many things have in the past).  But, life is not so simple or easy and I often find myself coming out the other side disappointed.  It has not yet caused me to change my expectations though.  I somehow stay optimistic (perhaps unrealistic?) in hopes that even those things that didn’t come easily for me will still come.  I still expect that I will be able to accomplish what I need to accomplish, even if it takes longer than I thought it would originally.

Part of this “positivity” is my optimism.  Part of it is hope.  Part of it is that I realize expecting little doesn’t do much for my motivation or my drive.  So,  I would rather have high expectations and fall short than have low expectations and not have tried for something better.  Part of the positivity is based on the fact that I have had such huge blessings in my life, how could I not recognize where things have come more easily to me than to others (Bean’s heart is one thing that always comes to mind…we waited such a short time and we’ve been so lucky with her health since).

So, I expect…not necessarily “the best” but definitely good things to happen and for me to be able to do what I truly need to do when I truly need to do it.  So far, thank the Lord, I have been allowed to experience that, for the most part.  So, yes, I have had a rough seven years or so, with my parents’ illnesses and Bean’s illnesses, but things could have been so much worse.  And most of the time, I think I was pretty consistently thinking that things would be better, not worse.  I wasn’t always right about that, but the thoughts kept me sane.


That’s it for this Five Minute Friday!  Join up!  I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday #13 – Simplicity is not Simple

Another Sunday already?!?  I actually wrote that title LAST Sunday and that was it for my posting attempt.  Sad.  But, I’m back with the same title, hoping to actually post something this time.  My house is a total disaster right now.  Partially because I have been busy, busy, busy for the past month or more.  But, a bigger reason is that we just have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF!  For example – this is my dining room and end table currently:

Messy Dining Room Table

First of all, every time I take a picture of my house I notice something else I hate.  I mean, I hate the mess, but that light fixture in the dining room – hideous.  How badly stained the arm on my couch is (a replacement couch has been sitting in our garage for over six months now, but there it sits)…but, the point of the picture was the piles of stuff.  That is what I’ve collected over the past couple of weeks as everything that does not have a place goes on our dining room table.  The piles get moved around, but there they stay.  The pile on the end table is my grading.

So, yeah, I’m starting to realize just HOW MUCH STUFF we have in our home.  It is somewhat insane.  There are only three of us.  So, I’m trying to get rid of stuff.  But, it is sometimes difficult.  I feel like there are things that should be kept (books, for example), but they take up space.  Precious space.  And do I REALLY need them?  I did get rid of some sheets today from our queen size bed (we replaced it with a King for Mother’s Day), which was liberating.  And I’m going to get rid of some additional pillows and buy some King size pillows tomorrow or Tuesday.  I also threw out a few makeup items and took some things from our downstairs bedroom that actually belongs upstairs.  I am ready to be DONE with moving piles of stuff from one place to another, from one room to another.  But, that means the stuff in those piles have to stop moving AROUND my house and start moving OUT OF my house.

So, that’s the plan.  The Summer of Simplifying!