It’s Been a Rough Month

clam-29449_960_720When things aren’t going well (and lately, things seem to be awful), I clam up. I keep it all inside, and the thoughts pound my brain like a hammer and burn in my stomach like acid. I don’t want to talk about it because I know talking about it will only make me more upset. And if I do talk to someone about it, I feel like I’m bringing them down with me. Misery loves company, so they say. Then I feel bad for making them feel bad, and it’s just a vicious cycle. So, being the independent person I am, I suppose I’d rather suffer on my own than to make someone else feel bad, too, and that’s why I’m quiet.

The last time I started a post like this, I ended by counting my blessings. I’m not going to whine and cry that it’s not fair that all of these bad things are happening to me, but don’t count on a happy ending this time. Nothing is fair. I know this for a fact. And while it might sound pessimistic, the reality is that I’ve had to learn to expect less. Lowered expectations mean I wasn’t surprised when my car broke down again after spending quite a bit of money to fix it. I wasn’t surprised to find my cable and wifi out again after making time to meet a technician to repair it.

In Matthew Quick’s The Good Luck of Right Now, the main character’s mother describes luck as an ebb and flow: when something bad happened to her, it meant something good was happening to someone else and vice versa, and that balance is central to her existence. If this theory is correct, then I feel like some really positive karma is on the horizon. (Some friends have suggested that I ought to buy a lottery ticket because I’m due for some good luck!)

I know I’ll get back on my feet soon, and things will return (somewhat) to normal. And I know that I’ll get knocked down again in the future, and things will look bleak. There’s that vicious cycle. I’ll keep my expectations low for now–maybe I’ll be met with a pleasant surprise at some point.

In lieu of the happy ending, I offer these three songs that have been running through my head lately.

Stronger

The Bug

If You’re Going through Hell

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First of August Musings

I just wrapped up an AP summer institute at SMU Plano. We spent our days talking about strategies and practicing different kinds of assignments to use with our students. We read a story and participated in a modified Socratic seminar to discuss the piece. When we finished, someone asked what to do when a student refuses to participate. I shared my experience with using Twitter in the classroom and allowing students to tweet questions or responses to questions while other students were in a fishbowl. One teacher asked, “How do you know they’re not texting?” That’s when I realized how lucky I am to be in a district that encourages the use of technology. I can’t help but be surprised by how many districts still don’t do some form of BYOT.

I really haven’t had much of a summer. Between xCamp, state assessment retesting, and other random workshops and trainings, I’ve been on the go and my brain really hasn’t had a chance to rest. Because I haven’t really shut off, I was probably the first person to reply to the principal’s request for session leaders for in-service in a few weeks. I decided to offer an “Appy Hour” session to share apps that I plan to use with my students. I created a Google spreadsheet that I’ll share with others and ask them to add to the list as we go through the year (I’ll link it here when it’s a little more complete). Every app on the list is free, except one. I finally paid for Notability, and it is totally worth $1.99.

More to come next week.