Leggings From Hell and Other Nonsense

2 I'm a touristI blame the cold. Before I write anything else, let me make that clear. See I couldn’t stop coughing last night, so I started the night in the recliner.When I was in that recliner with the old comforter my husband’s grandma made him that he loves but I just sort of like (the comforter, not his MeMa. I liked her just fine), I thought I’d reached the low end of suckage for 24 hours. Thought. I had no idea.

It was the last day of school this semester so no way was I missing today. Not unless I spiked a 102 fever or some such nonsense.

No problem. I coughed all night, enough that my voice sounded like a lifetime smoker and my abs felt like I’d used the Pilates DVD I bought a billion years ago then promptly stuck in the movie box for use later, BUT no fever. So school was a go.

I might have felt like crap, but I figured I’d at least attempt to look good. I grabbed the new leggings I’d spent real money on instead of the shiny less than five bucks ones from Walmart.

If you’ve ever gone to battle with a pair of leggings you’ll understand my next few lines.

I tugged and pulled and jumped and hollered and swore and started sweating…and coughing…and finally rung those stupid non-pants into submission.

I found my ancient Christmas Santa sweatshirt and pulled it on over my dress. Last day, so Santa is a must. I zipped up my boots and looked in the mirror. Yeah. Looked good. If I used my cough drops wisely, no one would guess I was actually sick.

When I sat down in the car, I should’ve understood. But no.

I ignored the strange feeling that my leggings were starting to slip. And I continued to ignore it as I made my way up the stairs to my classroom. And I continued to ignore it as I started class, but about ten minutes in ignoring it was no longer an option.

My leggings that I spent real money on looked like an old man’s long johns. The butt was sagging, the knees were somewhere around my calves, the waist barely held on to my hips.

And I couldn’t stop coughing, which only made it worse. Because I’m 45 and coughing non-stop when you’re 45 is one of the seven levels of hell on the bladder, let me tell you.

Somehow I made it through the class.

I still can’t stop coughing. The leggings I spent real money on are in the trash. This semester is over and I’m sure I’m not alone in praising Jesus for that favor. It’s kind of funny when I think about it tonight.

Those stupid, god-awful, who the heck thinks leggings should STRETCH OUT WHEN YOU’RE WEARING THEM?!, leggings are a metaphor for my year.

I’m teaching a new class. It’s a new add-on to an already crazy schedule, and instead of rolling with it, I’ve I tugged and pulled and jumped and hollered and swore A LOT and started sweating and thought way too much about the loveliness of losing myself in tequila (that last one is teacher hyperbole, Ma, don’t freak out). After 21 years, I should know better. You can’t FIGHT a class. You will lose. Or at least that’s been my experience. You also can’t throw a class in the trash and say good riddance–they’re kids and they deserve a teacher, but thank God, we get do-overs next semester.

Here’s hoping for a better 2015. And a healthy 2015. I’m kind of tired of this cold. Happy holidays!

Contest looking for READERS!

It’s that time again that The Carolyn Readers Choice Awards (CRCA) from the North Texas Romance Writers Association is gearing up and we need Readers to judge the newest, hottest, up and coming books.

Judge for the CRCA

So if you like free books, and who doesn’t?, are willing to read and then fill out a short questionnaire, go to the Carolyn Readers Choice site and sign up. It’s as easy as that.

Happy Reading!!!

The People Spoke, We Must Too

640px-Constitution_We_the_People

It’s no secret who I voted for, but I believe in The People. We live in a country where that means something. I know in 2011 educators met with Dewhurst and he listened. I know others did, too. I know when I wrote my blog post, A Plea from a Teacher that was viewed a bajillion times around the world politicians from all sides commented on it and sincerely wanted to hear back from me. The People spoke yesterday, and it was a resounding defeat for Democrats, but just like the R‘s don’t own Jesus, the D’s don’t own education. Don’t let an election stop you from fighting for the kids, the classroom and what we know is right. Education can not be a partisan issue now. If people let it become one, it gives the testing companies and their lobbyists more power. Most politicians are parents. They want what’s best for kids, too. They just don’t always know what’s best. They won’t ever know if we don’t speak up. Tell your classroom stories. Tell about how the cuts have challenged you as an educator (not just teachers), tell how testing affects your kids, educate the public. If we go around being angry teachers and parents all the time, those “reformers” sound like they’re on to something.

(Another cross posting from my Facebook wall. Sorry if you’re seeing this twice.)

Speak Up For Our Kids. They Deserve Better.

Educators, regardless who you voted for you have a responsibility to speak up about the travesty taking place in our public schools. The testing regime won, but they can change if we speak up for our kids. I know there were other issues than education driving this election. The Republicans were not always tied to Pearson and the billionaires funneling money into the state for for-profit charters. The Republicans don’t have to stay tied to Pearson, and they can thank the billionaires for their campaign contributions while standing up for public education. When Republicans joined forces with Pearson, they didn’t see the truth about testing. Teachers see it now. Teachers live it now. Students suffer through it now. If you are silent, you are saying this is okay. Do not be silent. Fight for our kids.

(Posted on my Facebook wall tonight. Some of you might see it twice because of that.)

Our_Lives_Begin_To_End_The_Day_We_Become_Silent

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH #SAVETXSCHOOLS, Vote

Dear Texas Educators,

In March 2011 several thousand people gathered to protest the huge cuts to education. Wendy Davis fought for us then and lost. Will we fight for her now so she can win?

In March 2011 several thousand people gathered to protest the huge cuts to education. Wendy Davis fought for us then and lost. Will we fight for her now so she can win?

Maybe you don’t remember a different time. A time when we had enough full-time teachers in a department to teach classes effectively without feeling overwhelmed. A time when curriculum was built around learning instead of testing. A time when entire districts would have laughed at the idea of YEARS WITHOUT WRITING as part of the scheduled day (hello fifth grade, hello eighth grade).

Maybe you don’t remember those days, but I do.

I also remember 2011, the year a tough job got way more difficult.

(From my Facebook post earlier tonight) Dan Patrick said the $5.4 billion cuts to Texas public education he helped spearhead in 2011 didn’t kill anyone. I have no idea if he’s right, but I feel sure the stress teachers have been under since 2011 trying to do what we’ve always done with fewer people and more demands translates to shorter life expectancy. If you’re a rich white guy just hanging out making deals with your buddies to make their lives more lucrative, you probably aren’t hurting much from those cuts. If you’re a teacher voting for that guy, I hope you know why.

If you’re a teacher who hasn’t voted yet or wonders if they’ll even bother, stop it right now and go vote TOMORROW. If you’re in Wichita Falls, you can vote at Home Depot or Sikes Senter. (And we wonder why our kids can’t spell!)

Obviously, I voted for Davis and Van de Putte because I believe the Perry administration along with Abbott and Patrick have done their best to destroy public education in Texas, Texas public school teachers and OUR CHILDREN. Between the ridiculous testing requirements and the budget cuts, we are truly at an impasse.

Get educated on the issues–the REAL ISSUES not those stupid Patrick commercials where he claims to be pro teacher which is the funniest thing I’ve heard all year–AND VOTE. Because if you don’t, when you get another prep next year or a pay raise that’s barely visible because of insurance adjustments or you’re sitting in a class with a kid who’s crying because they think they have no chance of graduating because they can’t pass the 5-hour ELA test, you can look in the mirror and say you’re to blame.

I know you’re tired. I know you feel powerless. If you don’t vote you ARE powerless. If you do, if we all do, we will have a voice.

In 2011 I marched with thousand of others in the Save Texas Schools rally in Austin and I helped organize the local rally here, and everywhere I went I heard teachers say, enough is enough.

It’s time to prove it.

There’s only one way to truly Save our Schools.

Vote.

Dear September Self,

SeptOk, I guess we could even say August self, but August is different. August is the giddy, sparkly, shiny new year self, and she regularly lives in the world of make believe, Disneyfied education where everything is beautiful and wonderful and people sing songs about the greatness of teachers. September is the real world, smack against a wall, what the heck was I thinking, it would be easier to work-at-Walmart-Target-ToysRUs-Cheddars-ElChicos-TheMallEvenThoughYouHateShopping. So listen up September self. Teaching is hard. It’s always been hard. It’s a sucker punch to the gut hard. And it’s a heck of a lot harder now than it was back in the days of teaching six of eight or five of six. So yeah. Eat right, sleep, take your vitamins, walk, find something to binge on Netflix, buy the tequila and margarita mix and suck it up.

DO NOT plan on writing…or creating much of anything really because you’re going to come home and want to bury your head in the sand, a romance novel, a bowl of homemade chocolate mousse. Wednesdays will suck. Bad. So bad you might think about investing in the complete Sopranos collection because violence is good on Wednesdays.

BUT

September passes. Round about the 24th of the month you start to feel like you know what you’re doing…sort of. By the last weekend, you’re excited about the year again.

And the kids…the kids are great. They’re probably having the same problem with Wednesdays, so don’t plan tests or deadlines on Wednesdays.

Take a deep breath and know September passes. <3

Sincerely,

Your 2014 late September Self

Dear Educators

time-thiefDo what’s right by your students but protect your time. Burnout runs rampant in this business because what we do is a calling. But we deserve and need lives outside the classroom. School is a job and people will take what you give. If you have a great administrator, and thank God I do (best ever, retiring, I want to cry), they’ll tell you or at least hint that you’re doing too much. That doesn’t always happen, though. So you need to tell yourself.

Remember you are a professional. And you deserve to be compensated for your time. That doesn’t mean you won’t work hours before and after school for free. It doesn’t mean you won’t spend money on your classroom and for your kids. But don’t go broke for your school. Not monetarily, physically or emotionally. And choose those free hours. Don’t let them be chosen for you.

Educate yourself, study best practices, don’t drink the Kool-Aid just because someone presents it as the Next Best Thing. Trust your gut. Practice your craft. Have fun. Teach the topic, not the test. It won’t be easy, but you owe it to your kids.

Fight for what you believe in. Fight for your kids. Fight for your fellow teachers.

If there’s a problem, talk to the person who can fix it instead of getting caught up in a perpetual gripe session with people who sympathize but can’t really do anything about it. If you’re afraid to talk to that person, get over the fear. If you can’t, remember you choose to stay. You control you.

And since you do, since you must, always remember,

Protect Your Time.

You can’t get it back. <3

**********

I’ve been going through my blog tagging entries. This is what I wish I could tell myself. It isn’t original. I can’t tell you how many educators said these things to me on bus trips to UIL Meets, in district meetings, at Leadership Cohort, in offices, in the teacher’s lounge. The people who told me this were absolutely right. Looking back with regret for the time you missed with people you love sucks. You don’t want to go there. Promise.

 

 

An Experiment

foodFood is not my enemy.

I feel like I’ve probably blogged those words at some point in the past. Since I’ve been blogging for the last nine years and I’ve battled weight my whole life, it’s a pretty good bet I have.

I’m trying something different.

The good thing about Atkins is I could lose weight while working ridiculous hours without exercise.

The bad thing about Atkins is I could lose weight without exercise AND when I broke, it was bad.

So

I need to heal.

Because where food is concerned, where weight is concerned, where the body is concerned, I am broken.

Food is not my enemy.

High fructose corn syrup is an enemy for all people. And processed sugar has been proven to be harmful to the body.

But food, in general, is not the enemy.

It is not something to be battled.

That mentality leads to me losing.

Food is not my enemy.

 

 

And here we are again

sugarI will go to the Y, I will go to the Y, I will go to the Y…

There are a million twelve things I could write about, like the BATs and Arne Duncan or the amazing marriage seminar we attended last weekend or the whole gas tax thing that was ONLY ON THE DAILY SHOW instead of the real news, or that dude from Amazon who wrote the Pitchforks article and was on NewsHour this week or the fact that I wrote 5k words Tuesday or my love for the new Scooby Doo and the band Enigma. I could write about any of those.

Instead I will write about the thing I write about often on these pages.

I will go to the Y.

And then I will try to forget my love of all things sugar.

Because those things are going to kill me if I don’t stop the insanity of the yo-yo dieter life.

One day maybe I’ll post about how I conquered my addiction. One day.

I keep thinking there’s a way I can learn to live with sugar. That we can be friends. And for a day or two or a week or a month sugar plays nice.

And then everything changes.

Done whining.

I will go to the Y. And I’ll get past this.

Ugh.

 

What a week

marybethlee:

I was in a negative funk when I stumbled on this post from August 2005. This is why I teach. I needed the reminder.

Originally posted on A Writer's Life:

I still don’t quite understand my beginning classes. One even begged me NOT to do a fun activity with them. I let them choose. In the end, it worked better because I wasn’t killing myself trying to get them engaged in the learning process, and they did learn the information, it was just so boring. I can’t stand boring. It drives me crazy.
But they didn’t look bored, which was a new thing. I need to go to a different learning styles class again. Maybe I’ll discover some great new tricks.

I got into teaching because I wanted to advise publications. My high school journalism experience was amazing. I never really wanted to work for magazines, newspapers or the other stuff my kids talk about. I just wanted to advise. And I love it. Along the way I learned to love teaching English too. I’m thankful I don’t have to…

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