hi, internet. (are we still friends?)

Oh hai Internet. It's me, Amy. How have YOU been? I've been...okay. Hey, remember that last time I was here and I went off the handle (in genuinely real, sheer terror I will add in my defense) and said I was done blogging for awhile? And then I came back and deleted the blog post I wrote in response to it? And then I re-posted it because I decided it mattered enough? And then I deleted again because the problem kinda/sorta was resolved? And just now I re-posted it because whatever. It was where I was at at the time, and sometimes I like to review this blog to see where I was at at certain times. 

Yeah about that...I am no longer in sheer terror. What I am right now is hypervigilant, but no longer terrified. Things were straightened out (mostly), and I am moving forward. ONWARD. I have to write; if I'm not writing...SOMETHING...I am not okay. I am just not. I am not. And this blog helps me get a lot of my ick and strangeness out. 

I saw a great idea in my Facebook news feed I'm going to try here, just to give me something to talk about other than ick...at some point this week. Thirty Days of Writing. Don't even have to come up with the topic; they are already outlined for me. I'm going to try it. It may take me 60 or 90 days, depending on my free time issues, but I get to give my opinion 30 times (YAY!) and you get to read it, 30 times (or 300 times, if you want to come back and re-digest my incoherent rambles) (YAY AGAIN!). I bet you guys are very very excited and cannot WAIT for it.

I do love a good challenge. 

Yesterday, I got 2 Needs Developments on an 10 minute evaluation. My small group lesson was fine - I got 2 Proficients for that. But my darlings at centers were off task. And by off task, I don't just mean not really focusing. I mean: literally behaving like monkeys - throwing letter tiles at each other and playing, actually playing. As in not looking like they were hard at work. (Play? PLAY??? Who has time for THAT kinda learning nowadays, silly goose!) 

In their (and my) defense: we'd just finished the 2nd day (out of 5 days) of our 3rd standardized test in a row. So they were a little spunky coming down off the test stress high, and quite frankly I don't blame them. And I am too exhausted, after giving 3 standardized tests in a row, to really care to manage their pinging spunk right now. And plus also there might have been a full moon and NO Scientists I don't care if that's folklore or not. You come do what I do on a full moon day and try to tell me it's not real.

And all this data and negative feedback is making me feel like a really, really, really crappy teacher. Clearly, I have chosen the wrong profession. Ten years ago, I was in the right profession. Ten years later, I suck at it. No, no. I know you're protesting, and you're going to tell me I'm a great teacher...it's just the times. Well, the times are warranting data success, and children working busily at all times, and teachers keeping up with mounds of paperwork and data and deadlines and due dates and meetings and technology and materials and testing...and I suck at all of this. I like to read and write and tell stories. All that other crap? Pfffft.

So I'm going to give my opinion about this Needs Development thing, and I don't care whether I get fired or not for saying it out loud (Mom, clear some space in your basement, please): I don't mind getting Needs Development. When it's for something I need developing in. Because I'll just be honest and tell you that I simply don't understand how to do the Workshop Model of things. I get the overall concept; I don't understand how to manage it or what it looks like. I need someone to actually hold my hand and walk me through this. For one whole school year. Because this is what they want in Public Education nowadays: Workshopping. Everything. I understand how a Writer's Workshop works for adults; I do not understand how to make it work for little kids. I have asked for staff development on it; what I am told is to find an Instructional Coach and have them tell me, or someone from higher up comes in and, in a mere 45 minutes or so, attempts to throw at me an entire semester's worth of information. Meanwhile, I have 100,000 papers to grade or turn in to someone, and about 3,000 other things that are due. And 5 meetings to attend. And a bunch of data to enter somewhere. And my classroom's a mess.

In public education, we are taught to teach like this: I do, we do, you do. This is how most (normal) human beings learn - I do, we do, you do. In other words: I teach, then we practice it together, then I release and you have a go. Hands on practice. Sometimes your results are really bad, and so we go practice again. Other times, you fly. And the more you practice, the better you get. Teaching 101. 

I do not understand why or how people running schools these days don't get this concept and do it with the adults they are in charge of. I am in charge of children. They are in charge of me. And we are ALL learners. Life Classroom. How do they not understand how people, regardless of age, learn?? (Possibly because 90% have never actually taught. But that's just one theory I've got.)

I just want to be able to see what they want me to do in a real classroom setting. But with kids who come from backgrounds my kids come from. This is all I want. Hands on training. Can I get some hands on training? Teaching is a craft, and I need to learn from some masters who are actually in charge of real classrooms and real children, who are doing the craft of teaching every single day. This is all I want. I'm actually terrified to go to another school right now, because professionally I feel undeveloped and I don't know how the heck to develop myself without some support I feel safe asking for. 

But you know, whatever. It's cool. I'll take the Needs Development, and I'll revamp and find something that works for me - I always do. Plus, I'm going to have some help. Today I let my sweet loves know: Y'all got me a couple of Cs on my report card. They were bereft and sorry. And really impressed I prefer to get As and Bs (not all of them really care that much, and I don't blame them one bit...you don't HAVE to be an overachiever to be happy in life. In fact, most overachievers are utterly miserable). And so they promised me: the next time an adult walks in our room with a clipboard or a notebook, they are going to SNAP TO and look very very serious and busy. My little co-conspirators. I do love them so. 

Also, I told them if I get all As and Bs on my next evaluation, I'll bring them cupcakes.

This is what Life is all about, sweet Reader(s). Teamwork. Dodging The Man. Making amends. Being real. Having each other's back. (I've run out of cliches. If I think of more, I'll come back and add them.)

As a slightly related side note, today I got to have a pumpkin spice latte with two sweet, dear friends who get how crazy Life is, and I was reminded that what I REALLY need to do when I'm down and out is put on some Damien Rice music. My one friend observed that whenever I am sad, I seem to listen to Damien Rice. He's my sad jams. (I'm actually not listening to Damien Rice right now, though. I am listening to Ed Sheeran. Ed Sheeran must be my Fuck This Ridiculous Shit jams.)

See you in a couple of days (or so) with the first of 30 inane thoughts. (Possibly from my mom's basement.)

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