Tag Archives: teaching

Hurricane Shutters


There are times in our lives where we have a million options in front of us. We have all of the windows and doors of our lives open to see the possibilities. Then slowly things get tough and we start to close windows and doors. Then we take the next step and nail the wood on the outside of the windows in order to easily weather the storm. The problem comes when we forget to take down the shutters once the storm has passed, and if we do another one comes along and we have to board up again.

That’s where I am at. I have been living in a box of my own creation for so long that I didn’t think I would ever be able to see through to the light of day again. Then I got one job that started to open some windows. After that I got sick and the shutters were closed again. Then again I got a new job, and for the first time since I start college many years ago, that ii saw all the possibilities that life had for me.

Now, again my shutters are going up. Problems with work, not my students even when they are crazy I still love teaching, but other problems have begun to have me closing windows. The shutters started closing this weekend when I realized that while I want to get my MFA more than anything, I am terrified of the GRE and there is no way my job will let me take 10 days off at a time for a low residency program.

I am feeling like even though I can see options, I can’t get to them. The windows are closed letting me see all the things in my life that I could do, but I am too scared to. I am pretty sure that it is only a short time before I put back up my storm shutters and hide away from the world. I don’t want this to happen, but this is the path that I have started walking down.

I tell my students all the time that they have to be positive and that attitude is everything. I know this because I know that my own attitude and self-confidence is too low to go the distance that I want to take my life to. I don’t know if I am afraid to succeed or afraid to fail. I just know I’m terrified of everything most of the time, and that I have still not found a way to get past that.

I want to write, and refuse to sit down and do it. I want to date, but I refuse to take a chance with anyone who actually likes me. I self-sabotage all the time, and it is time for me to break that pattern. I just need to find a place to start. I need someone to help me take down the shutters, because I can’t do that alone (I am truly afraid of hammers). I just want to live a day without fear, full of options. Full of hope. Full of anything positive.

So while I am willing to embrace my crazy, I need to refocus it.

Advertisements

Thaknsgiving Student Fun


So my students all know that I spent my twenties as a singer/songwriter, and when they have heard my songs they ask why I’m not famous. This generally makes me laugh, I truly love their optimism, that talent equals success. However, today they got me to break out of my little folk singer mold and do something a little different, and in the end it was super fun.

 

My kids are mostly black students and they are really into new hip hop and rap music. While I have tried to stay up to date on this music, in a general fashion, I am truly out of touch with it. My kids however take their free time, what little they get, to practice rapping. I have no problem with this, because as their English teacher they are really just practice modern poetry. They have for several weeks been trying to get me to rap with them.

 

I would have remained immune from this, but I had to go and open my mouth to help them out. That constant teacher that lives in my head, heard a rhyme from a student that was good, but was cliché. I encouraged him to try to find new ways to saw old things, and that this is the way to get recognized and be good at what you do. They have taken this to heart and the rhymes are getting better, but since that day they have been trying to get me to rap with them. I sing folk music, so the idea of rapping with kids who don’t even remember the rappers I love terrifies me.

 

Then today while we were having a free day, and the teachers and students were bouncing from class to class something clicked. I think it might have been that my coworker from Africa, who can’t rap at all, was in it with the kids spitting terrible rhymes and the kids didn’t judge because he tried. So I jumped in and it was perfect. It wasn’t a more than a few lines, but it was perfectly timed and witty. I was really proud of myself for jumping outside my comfort zone, plus the kids loved it.

 

I love listening to them find their voices in their rapping, just as much as I love reading their essays and stories as they try to find a voice for that. For them the music is more honest, and for a long time it was for me as well. So today was great! I broke outside myself and did something fun.

 

So embrace our crazy, let go of your fears, and bust a few rhymes. You might find a new part of ourself that you didn’t know was there.

Split Down the Middle


Today I asked my students to respond the quote: “Experience teaches only the teachable,” by Aldous Huxley. Only the high school class decided that they were both teachable and not teachable. Then my best middle school student said that she was not teachable. I have to say this made me laugh a little. Mostly everyone misunderstood the meaning of the word teachable, which is fine, but created an interesting array of answers from the classes, so far.

Now during my third period class I have my students quietly reading the short story ‘Split Cherry Tree’ and with that there have also been mixed reviews. Mostly though I have discovered that they are listening when I teach them about grammar, and that you aren’t supposed to write the way you speak unless it is in dialogue. They, in the first line of the story, found a point where this didn’t happen, and they all spoke up about it.

While at first I was annoyed with the 6th grade class all speaking up saying “Ms. Flynn this is written wrong,” but then I realized that they understood something I had been fighting to sink into their brains for 12 weeks now. It was a great moment. It reaffirmed me, it is a reason to be here and that has made my day.

And the update on the other teacher who is insane.  She has continued on her awkward war path against me. She is fighting harder to find fault with me and interrupting my class to track down student who have not yet come to my class today. She will eventually go away, or get into trouble for this. In the mean time, I’m going to bask in the brilliance of my students who have learned despite the fact that they have pretended not to.

Embrace the crazy, sometimes it surprises you!

Up to Date with Depression


So it has been awhile since I have posted. Although I have been trying to write more recently, I have been in a very depressed state and that has translated into no writing, a messy disaster of a house, and increased anxiety. This has been caused my multiple reasons of course, my continued stomach issues, lack of a boyfriend, and some issues with work related things.

Well, I guess I will start with my stomach problems. I have the official diagnosis of Gastro Paresis and Acid Reflux Disease. Yay! This means that I get to take medication for my too high stomach acid, try to keep my stress down, and continue to vomit every day like a pregnant woman. Now, I have lived with this for years, however it wasn’t until this past year that I started having severe issues with my stomach and it sucks. I haven’t had more than a couple days total that have caused me to be sick all day since I started my new job, but even that sucks. I don’t like missing work, I don’t like throwing up, and I don’t like taking meds to help with a problem when they don’t do much. Though on that front I have stated seeing a chiropractor who is confident that he can help with my stomach problems with alignments. While I have so far only had one adjustment on my back, it hasn’t hurt anything so it is worth a try.

So the next general depression problem is the lack of boyfriend. I had spent the last two years casually seeing someone, and when I got my new job as a teacher, that ended. This is ultimately a good thing though. The relationship had become more drama than it was worth and I have very different priorities in my life than he does, however it sucks to be single. I had met a nice guy on my birthday, and while my priority with him was friendship, I think he thought that I wanted to seriously date him. I am not opposed to a boyfriend, I just mainly want adult company. I am alone a lot and I want someone who I can talk to, and of course get the added bedroom benefits. With him I was just looking for the friend with benefits situation, he just wanted the friend part. So after being humiliated with this reality on Friday night, I have since increased my level of depression.

Dating is tough, especially in your thirties, and especially if you are a crazy person with super high standards. I need someone who can deal with my crazy, handle my throwing up, and also preferably never been married. I don’t want anyone who just wants to use me as a sexual object, and I can’t deal with clingy. I need my space and I don’t want to constantly have to be answering texts. Needy guys please stay away. I am independent, focused on my career, and don’t have time for drama. It seems everyone I have met in the past year falls into one of my red flag areas, and those that don’t are super young and aren’t ready to date at all, even in a super causal manner.

So for my last depression issue—work. I love my job, but a coworker has been making things extremely difficult for me. She has decided that everything is my fault, including student attitudes towards her. I even got blamed for a fight between two students, which happened during her class. I am still trying to figure out how in any way this fight was due to me or my teaching, especially since I wasn’t there. Almost a week later, and I am still baffled.

Friday she came up to me and again decided to place blame on me for a student hiding from her for 25 minutes and not going to her class. He hid in another teacher’s classroom, and I let him out early to go to his next class, because surprise, I have a class to teacher after the one he is in with me. So my classroom door was lock, the student was not in there, and yet it is my fault he didn’t go to her class. Maybe I should be proud of the fact that she seems to think I have god like power and authority over these kids, but I’m not.

the reality is that several of the students hide from her class and when they come to my class I send them immediately on their way back to her. It is my job to deal with the class I have at that time, not to make sure all of her students arrive to her class. In fact if students are continually not going to her class, I think that says something about her as a teacher. I don’t know if this teacher is just placing the blame on me because I’m new, or if she truly believes that it is my fault. I do know that because of this week being blamed by her for everything that has gone wrong, I almost quit.

So I have been dealing with a lot. However, after attending Jax by Jax yesterday, and running into old friends I have decided to get back to what I am truly supposed to be doing. That is of course writing. However, I am actually going to start really submitting my essays for publication, and maybe a few short fiction pieces as well, we will see. I am excited about this new turn and I hope it helps pull me out of my depression. I have always had a hard time writing when I am depressed. While it used to be music, now it’s writing in general.

So embrace your crazy, do what you love, because that is the only way to find yourself and crawl back out of the holes that we sometimes fall into.

Updates…


Alright, to start I am still alive. I survived my month of sick leave from my old job, yes I did say old job, and went back to work. Then in August I got a great opportunity and now I have become an English teacher. 

So much has happened in the past few months, I don’t even know where to start. I say this with every disappearance I have from my blog that I am trying to post more and will more frequently, and I am going to try. However, as much as I want to write and let my readers know what’s going on, with my new job teaching and new dedication to my spiritual self I don’t always have the right mindset to write a post. 

I will say however, that I haven’t just been neglecting my blog, but my writing all together. This is something I truly intend to change. As I get more comfortable in my new job, I will begin to post more frequently. I know those of you out there who read my posts will like them happening more, or even at all as the case has been these last few months.

So, I am embracing my crazy in all new ways these days and I look forward to sharing my new journey, my old stories, and any random bits of insanity that come my way.