Tuesday, November 07, 2006


1. If I needed to wallpaper a convention center meeting room, I could easily cover every surface with the amount of papers I have not graded but need to.

2. New seating charts would make my life better exponentially, but I would actually have to find the time necessary to creatively arrange 150 kids in five different classes, which takes longer than you might think.

3. I LOVE GRAMMAR! It isn't as important to me as critical analysis, explication of literature, superb writing, and thought-provoking discussions, but it's just so neat and tidy. What's not to like?

4. Forgive me. I already feel like writing certain kids off. I have never felt like doing triage this early in the year, but I can make a short list of students whose grades anchor the bottom half of the curve, and whose motivation levels hover around their ankles like socks without elastic. It makes me less altruistic and energetic than I wish I was, but the truth is, I could sit these kids in the back of the seating charts and pretend they don't exist for the rest of the year. Ouch. But it's how I feel, at least tonight.

5. Even though I'm behind and there are kids who are sucking my soul dry, I think I'm doing a better job of teaching this year. There are too many things to teach in Language Arts, but I'm finding systems and routines that are working better this year than ever before for fitting more into my teaching schedule.

6. In the past week, I have had three former students come back to say hello. One is in continuation high school, one has a felony on record that will be cleared in a year if he can stay clean, and the other is a college freshman. When kids come back to visit, they don't walk in and say, "You have changed my life." "It is because of you that each day has meaning." "I can trace the positive direction of my future back to its starting point right here in this room." But they come back. And they look around the room wistfully, tell me about their friends and jobs, and tell me they are doing well. Or poorly. Either way, I feel honored that I still have the privilege of accessing their worlds, even years later. They linger. I rest my arms on the stacks of papers I need to grade, and I purposely forget the time that seeps away while they sit and talk. The ones who don't suck my soul dry stick in my heart and my head forever. I remember their names. They carry my hopes and dreams with them. They are my children until I have my children. And after I have my children, I want desperately to keep investing my hopes and dreams in these kids who pass through my room and who sometimes come back to reconnect to some place and someone who meant something.


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