9.28.2008

i will write...i promise

Our internet wasn't working all week, so I wasn't able to update about anything. I don't really have time write as a stack of papers is calling my name (personal narratives that need to be graded before mid-term grades are due next monday...will it ever stop?!) --In case you don't believe me, here is a picture of what I'm dealing with:

I appreciate all the love and encouragement I got after writing my last post. Just as a little update:

This past week was a "good" week. I saw some "slow learners" really pushing themselves, had some kids stay after for extra help, and remembered why I entered the profession. Each day is a new day and I must remind myself of this. One of my students wrote something in his writer's notebook (they write in these every day/every other day), and as I read it it gave me a new perspective yet again. He had written something along the lines of this: "I don't understand why some teachers only notice me and give me attention when I'm being bad. Why won't they give me the attention I need when I'm good, too?" (Although it was not that put together...those were the thoughts behind it.) Was this kid one that gets on everybody's nerves? Yes. Was this kid a student with ADD? Yes. Was this student one who you think is understanding nothing and then does well on a quiz and you realize you underestimated him? Yes. After reading this I not only took a different approach with him, but also a few other kids. Very interesting. I just need to be a better listener of my students. Stop listening to what I think is great wisdom and truly listen to what they are telling me (verbally or otherwise) and give them what they need most.

Anyway-- Kali and Dan were able to come this week for an evening and it was great. Here are a few pictures (mainly taken because Kali straightened my hair...and yes, Dan was here but there are no pictures of him ? hmmm):And this one is for Renae, who always made fun of our "pose"...

Although the time was short, it was nice to spend time with family. Also, here is one of the only pictures I have of our softball team. We lost the 3rd place game by one run. It was really fun though. Oh, and I played in the outfield for one game and when the ball was hit to me I first took a step back, and then ran up on it. Later Brent said, "Man Kels, you're so fundamental." Just wanted to say thanks Coach...even after all these years I (fortunately or unfortunately) cannot shake anything you taught me from my head. :)

Hope everyone has a great week. I'll try to write more this week and hope the internet cooperates.

9.19.2008

writing

I'm realizing more and more that I am beginning to slowly stop writing. I make excuses such as, "I don't have time," [don't we all], and, "I have nothing to write about." However, if my professors taught me nothing it else it was to KEEP WRITING even when the well has seemingly run dry. I know that just because I have ceased writing does not mean I have ceased to be a writer...it merely means I have stopped writing. And as far as not having anything to write about...pshhh...who am I kidding-- I have more thoughts rumbling around in my head then I can even begin to sift through and that is probably more of the problem.

So briefly today, before I pack a small bag and head to Kali and Dan's to help them pack up [Yep, I didn't have school again today...all week. Monday is going to be a drag, huh?!], I want to write about one thing that I have processed over the last couple of days.

I can't quite figure out why I'm struggling so much with the 8th graders. Do I feel like I'm a good teacher? Yes. Do I feel like I have control of the classroom? In most situations. Do I feel like the state of Kentucky and all the standards they put on what I can and cannot teach are affecting my ability to be a better teacher? Yes [and that should probably be another post entirely]. But there is something in my gut that I feel is holding me back in some way.

I had a good conversation with a friend recently and he reminded me of a truth that I needed to hear again. He said, "Kelsey, so much of what is going to happen in your classroom this year was determined before you ever set foot in there. The combination of kids and their personalities and what they already know and don't know have determined way more than you need to feel like you have to hold yourself accountable to." Very valid point. A good reminder. But then I started talking...and talking...and talking....and this is what came out:

These kids are from a different time than me. I felt like I would still sort of be a part of their generation and be able to relate to them and understand what they are going through. This is not the case. I feel so removed from the society that they are a part of and the culture that consumes them. These "kids" come into school in the morning with lattes from the Starbucks down the street and Coach purses slung over their shoulders. Since it is strictly a middle school [6-8th], the 8th graders have a sense of seniority, yet the maturity of 12/13 year olds to handle it. On top of this, the science teacher has coined a phrase that works when he said they have, "Sexual Terrets." Yes, 8th graders have always been known to reach a new height in hormonal craziness, but when I was in school the majority of kids weren't acting on it. These kids have seen and done more things...

They also ALL have cellphones. Now, are cellphones inherently evil? Most of you probably will answer no...I say no with reservations. Cellphones, in my humble opinion, have thrown these kids to the wolves [along with myspace and etc. etc.]. However, what I'm beginning to see is that parents are becoming less and less involved in their kids' lives because, "well, if they get in trouble they have a cell phone so they can just call me." What ever happened to the parents questioning, "Who? What? When? Where? Why?" Parents have let cellphones be the parents and have lost communication with their children.

Okay...so how does all of this ranting a raving tie back to me as a teacher? Well, I think that as I'm entering "adulthood" here in full force, I am overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities that come with it. I miss home, I miss college, and now that I'm back in the classroom, I miss Junior High. I think back and realize these were much, much simpler times. Yet, I look out at my students and I see them yearning, acting, aching, to be older, to be on their own. I just want to scream at them, "You're just a kid! Be a kid!!! Go play in the rain! Go have a sleepover! Watch cartoons while you still can!"

I know I was much the same way when I was in the 8th grade [my mother can attest to it, I'm sure]. And I have to remind myself that it comes with the age and the place they are in life. I just feel like it has been multiplied by the culture they live in, and I think because I'm wrestling with my new role in life as an adult, it makes me more "bitter" about it.

Whew. That was a mouthful. It's just me processing all of this. But like I said before, please don't take this the wrong way and think that I am hating everything...not at all. Questioning my place as an 8th grade teacher in a city? Absolutely. But ultimately I know that God has placed me here for a season, however long that may be. I want to be faithful with that, and I want to love my students with His love, even if they resist me.

9.17.2008

100

The name of this post is significant for a couple different reasons:

This is my 101st post [which I counted yesterday's two as one...which would make this officially my 100th]. I started blogging last fall, and have only recently become a little bit More consistent-- hopefully this next year will go even better.

Monday Joan did the math and informed Brent and I that we had been married for 100 days! Before we were married the most consecutive days we had spent together had been 33, so we've tripled that number, and we still can't believe the beautiful thing that is marriage. I truly don't think I could have taught for the first year without him.

A friend of Kali's has a blog dedicated to 101 things she wants to do in 1001 days. Brent and I think that we want to compile a similar list...so now that I've put that out in the open air, maybe it will actually happen.

Well, since this is day #3 that I don't have to go to school [still no power], I'm going to take advantage and vacuum and dust!

9.16.2008

in laws

Thursday Beck and Joan came into town and they left this morning. Although it was an extended weekend, the time went way too quickly. Friday they were able to see the church, and then come up and see my school. I gave them a quick tour and then we headed off to supper.

The real fun began on Saturday. They were oh-so-kind to let me sleep off the week a little in the morning, and I was so surprised when I got up at 10 and they had taken my grocery list and gone shopping for me! How wonderful! I was so happy. We had a quick lunch and then decided on the day's agenda. Joan really is fascinated with the history of Kentucky. We've been settled out here for A LONG time so there is much to be studied and found. Dad recommended visiting Locust Grove, the home of George Roger's Clark [WHO? most of you are asking...well, I didn't realize that most of the world doesn't even know who he is, as I have known since I was about, ohhh, 2. Do a little research of your own, but, yes, he is the older brother of William Clark -- of "Lewis and Clark"]. Anyway, so we went to Locust Grove where he spent his last years and it was actually pretty interesting.
Saluting...as I was taught:

I took quite a few pictures [mainly for Dad], here are a few of them...I'll spare you ALL of them, as you all probably aren't interested in the zoomed in pictures of the hand carved crown molding etc...

I have to explain this one... This is the story dad always would tell. A lot of people don't know this "fun fact," so I laughed out loud when I saw it in the museum. Dad...I believed you all along, but here is proof that you really DO know what you're talking about [most of the time :)]
I don't do very well with the "let's-not-smile-in-this-one" pictures...but we wanted to be historical:Now to the house:

The "parlor"

I loved the wall paper in the ball room.
They actually found pieces of this on the original wall and found the company that made is and still had it in their "files," and they were able to completely recreate the original!

The coolest part? A wedding was going to happen that evening :)Sunday we went to the early service and put a roast in the crock pot and had no idea what was about to happen. After lunch we were cleaning up and we started to notice the wind picking up. And then picking up a little more. And then...a lot. And then...the power went out. Well, since they endured the ice storm last winter back home and spent 8 days without power, Beck and Joan weren't even phased. We sat down and played cards for awhile. Eventually, about 4 or so hours later, the lights kicked back on. We didn't know how long it was going to last, so we quickly made pancakes and finished our cardgame. We then decided to run down the street to a local "Homemade Ice Cream and PIe" shop that Beck had been dying to visit...however, by the time we made it to the main drag, we realized this wasn't just a little windstorm The traffic lights were all out, there were trees down everywhere...no one knows how to do a four way stop in the city...and so we quickly made a loop and came back to the apartment. Since we had power we flipped on the news and WOAH! Apparently IKE blew through! I can't believe how powerful this hurricane was to go through the entire country like it did. They were saying we had a category 1 hurricane wind storm! There is WIDE SPREAD damage and POWER OUTAGES everywhere in the city. Hence this blog in the middle of the dayl: NO SCHOOL. Yesterday or Today. Yet, we are a few of the lucky ones that still have our power. However, I can hear the generators running all around me and the city is crazy! Our friends across town came and did laundry and ate some of our food last night because they're saying the city could be without for up to 10-14 more days. These are some pictures of the damage:

So yesterday, since Brent was already scheduled to have the day off because he's working soccer games on Saturday, we decided to head to Bowling Green to the National Corvette Museum. Beck used to have a 1962 corvette, and really wanted to go see the plant. At the plant they give tours and you can see them put together a Corvette from start to finish. It was pretty incredible [we couldn't take pictures on the tour]. Afterwards we went to the museum, which was pretty cool and had a ton of cars!
They even had a huge "video game" where you could "play pit crew." Brent grabbed the fire extinguisher, Beck screwed in lug nuts and I filled the gas! Brent even got to sit in a brand new Corvette, and Beck found the exact model of his from 1962!

Last night we got home, had some supper, checked the news, saw I had no school today, had our friends come do laundry, and hung out for a nice last evening together. This morning they took off, and Brent and I were reminded once again how much we miss home as we watched home drive away.

Thanks for everything Beck and Joan-- We had so much fun and enjoyed our time with you so incredibly much. Come back soon!

a whirlWIND

Since my last post so much has happened [as is typically the case]. So, for those of you that have been left in the dark...BUCKLE UP! :) I'm going to break this down into two posts, just so it's easier to tell what is going on, and will give you a good chance to take a break and grab a cup of coffee [speaking of which, I saw a bumper sticker that said, "The coffee isn't working; Get out the jumper cables!" Perfect.]

This first post is dedicated the last week.

At the beginning of the week, Brent and I were able to make a trip downtown to the National Quartet Convention. A couple from my church back home has season ticket's to the yearly show that comes to Louisville. They weren't going to be able to come until Wednesday for the week long event, and so they sent Brent and me their tickets. We were able to go on Tuesday evening.
When we parked, we knew we were going to be in company unlike us... here is one of the bumper stickers on a car parked next to us:

It says "Happiness is being Gran'ma and Gran'pa." That's okay. The part that made us laugh was the custom made decal of picture of them with all of their grandkids. Just a little over the top.

So this was our first clue we were going to be some of the youngest ones there... and we were. But that was kind of fun. We had great seats and some of the groups were wonderful. Our favorite group was the "Tally Trio." I was able to take a little video, but I can't guarantee how great the sound will be:
All in all though, it was a really fun date night for us [and it was only about 15 minutes from our apartment]! Micah's church choir was coming to sing in the show on Friday, and although Beck and Joan [Brent's parents] also came in on Thursday [more about their trip in the next post], we were able to steal her for a nice supper at The Old Spaghetti Factory downtown, right by the river.

I kept thinking of all of you Schoons that would have absolutely loved the event. Wish you could have come with us! And thanks again, Marsha and Gary... that was very thoughtful!

9.08.2008

grading

This weekend I felt a little bit like I was back in college again. I holed myself in my bedroom and started GRADING! I had a stack of "On Demand" writing...practice for the responses 8th graders must write for their state testing in May. I made my way through the papers, and even busted out my old, favorite mug for the occassion. This mug saw me through many a studius weekend in college...days which were usually so cold that a mug in your hands was as necessary as clothes on your back!The good news was, it didn't take me as long to grade as I thought it might. The bad news? Check out the following mispelled words I found in the handwritten papers:

appesheated [appreciated]
olimpes [olympics]
supost [supposed]
fouces [focus]
fowllow [follow]
veicales [vehicles]
igsist [exist...I think this one was my favorite, if there was such a thing!]
sords [swords]
fild [filled]
theaerdir [theater]
enstence [instance]
enspiyer [inspire...favorite number 2]
egsibites [exhibits]

This could be a long year, folks! :) By the way, fight number 3 in 5 days happened today in the hallway...what have I gotten myself into?! Other then that, things are starting to settle down and I'm feeling a little bit better as this week begins. I'll let you know how I feel on Friday :)

9.06.2008

fellowship

I woke up to this sight on the kitchen counter:

So many dishes again?! And then I remembered last night and smiled, and was thankful for the mess on my counter:

Although it had been a long week, Brent and I had really been wanting to hang out with some of our new friends, Shane and Meagan, and so we called them up on Friday, and even with the late notice they were happy to come over for supper. We planned on watching a movie and playing Cranium, however, after supper we ended up sitting at the table until about 8:30 just talking. Shane got to talking about his passion for studying WWII, Meagan talked about a dessert she makes, and at one point I even pulled a book off the shelf to read a paragraph to everyone. It was just like I was home [what with the history, and the food talk, and the book reading...and the endless sitting at a dinner table even after the meal has long been eaten!]

So after filling chicken parmesean and pasta and apples and, of course, apple dip, Meagan and I made some tea and talked and talked and shared wedding pictures, while Brent and Shane messed around with his guitar.When Brent and Shane came back in the living room, we had planned on popping in the movie. Instead, all four of us sat down on the couch and talked and laughed for hours until we realized it was 1 o'clock in the morning! Needless to say, we never got around to the movie, let alone playing Cranium. At one point during our conversation we were literally laughing so hard we were crying. It was such a blessing to find some friends to spend a great evening of fellowship with. They both grew up in a small town in Indiana, and so we all appreciated each other's ability to relate to the small town life [some people just don't understand!!]

Sometimes when you are trying to find new friends, everything can seem so manufactured. You force conversation and then go to a movie so the experience is less intruding. But last night Brent and I were reminded of how real friends come about: sharing life's stories and a dinner table and losing track of time. At the end of the movie "Into the Wild," the main character comes to the realization that "happiness is only real when it's shared." We had both experienced this in college, and had been aching for it ever since.

The Lord is faithful.

9.02.2008

a laborless weekend...sort of

Here we all are on a Tuesday that feels much to much like a Monday! But I hope you all enjoyed the three day weekend. NW never took labor day off, so this was my first one in 4 years and I definitely enjoyed the much needed down time. Brent and I didn't make any big plans; we just wanted to enjoy the time off to regroup and relax. We did allow for some fun though.

Friday, as I mentioned, was my first payday and so for the first time in A LONG time we wentto a movie at the "regular" theater [as opposed to the "cheap theaters" we usually hit up to see movies that were released a few months ago.] We went and saw TRAITOR, which was a pretty good, suspenseful movie, but I was disappointed in the ending [if you wanted a review:)]. Saturday we were able to sleep in a bit [oh glorious], and then we needed to clean. It's amazing how often this has to happen, even though there are only two of us here! Once we got done we took the time to go exploring a little more in our neighborhood: found a mall we didn't know existed and got a few clearance items at Old Navy :)

Sunday was the big game here in Louisville: University of Kentucky vs. University of Louisville. It's much like the MU vs. KU rivalry back home. Although neither Brent nor I had chosen sides, we decided it would be fun to watch the game, and Eric and Rachel came over [he's for UofL, and she goes to UK...interesting]. I took the opportunity to make some fun "game time snacks," including one of my favorites, "garlic-cheese pita crisps!" [I'll post the recipe later]It was also Rachel's birthday, so I made a "brownie cake" for her!
That night some of the other interns called and asked if we wanted to watcha movie. We get together in the pastor's "study" on the fifth floor at the church. This study consists of two large tables which are almost the exact size as ping pong tables. So... the pastor has made a net to fit and keeps paddles and ping pong balls in the room. We meet here because it has a projector and big screen...and endless entertainment for the boys. The guy diagonal from Brent is also married, and his wife Megan is wonderful and we sat and talked for about an hour while the guys played.
Yesterday we didn't want to do too much to ruin the beauty of a holiday, so we just hung out at the apartment for most of the day. Instead of going out for a picnic and fighting the mobs and the 98 degree weather, we just made a picnic at home.
Brent said thumbs up to the pasta! All in all it was a great weekend [minus the couple of hours I had to put in to grade...just to keep up!]. We wished that some of you could have been here to share it with us! PLEASE book your trips now :) [And yes, to the right of Brent is a luminous stack of papers!]