Saturday, February 6, 2010

365 Progress



Do you ever need just one thing? One thing for yourelf--a you-only fun thing? Truth be told I have several (art days, reading afternoons, cooking with collin) but my one new daily thing is this 365 photo project. For the project, you post a picture each day to flickr and if you belong to a group you put it into the group pool as well.

No matter the work at school or the laundry piling up at home or the various and other sundry projects on my plate, I have a picture a day in my mind. A creative escape. I'm not as timely as the rules recommend, but I am taking pictures--everyday. I'm starting to see things in pictures and notice shapes, color and the curve of lines. It feels as if I'm getting back to an essence I had before I got so busy. That, I like.

Monday, February 1, 2010

In the Weeds Rant


As service staff say, "I'm in the weeds." I'm behind on delivering food to my customers, or clearning tables, or keeping up with everyone's orders. Wife, mother, daughter, friend, teacher, comittee member, part-time writer, photographer and dog-groomer--how do women balance all of these things?

In school, I need to get ahead on lesson plans. I'm feeling behind in terms of planning. I know where I want I want to be in six weeks, but I'm not more than a week ahead of myself. Sometimes I think that is as it shoud be--I can't know exactly what I will teach tomorrow if I don't know what students' understood today. Still, I usually have things planned out further ahead.

As a Mom I feel as if third grade has gotten away from me. I haven't been as involved in Collin's learning as I want to be. We don't have a great homework routine. We are reading together less (as he reads by himself more). Tonight I sat down to help Collin get his binder organized. Collin has a mish-mash of papers in his binder. Some from September and some from last week. He brings home papers several times a week in a big white envelope. Really, some of my
9th graders book bags are quite the paper mish mash too.

In the beginning of the year, I helped Collin sort the returned papers into his binder, so he could use them for reference (which I don't think he did). Eventually, he convinced me that he didn't need them, so we kept things in our usual file folder in the office. Things have gotten a little backed up. Wrinkled papers were peeking out from behind every cover and corner of Collin's binder. I know it's not my responsibility to organize for my child, but someone does have to help him establish a system and learn to use it. Do other parents do that? Do you leave it to the teacher?

It's the same with my own students. If we teachers on their 9th grade team are making a committment to use binders the "AVID way," meaning students file papers from every subject, in an order, every week and have their binders checked each week by their AVID teachers, then we as teachers need to support students and teach them how to do that. If we say we're going to do it, we have to give the students time in class to put their papers away and to organize. If we want students to use their binders as a resource, we have to make ways for that to happen in class (not my strength this year).

Collin cannot articulate what he supposed to do with his binder. He's not sure what it's for other than a repository for papers. Someday I hope that he can see value in going back through his work to review what he's learning--but he doesn't see that right now. He doesn't use his binder as a resource; he doesn't refer to things in it. Though he does have a system for putting papers he needs to turn in, in the front pocket.

Really the mother thing is bothering me. Time or feeling like I don't have any of it has become difficult. The binder thing is bothering me. I'm as rushed as the White Rabbitt, "oh my ears and whiskers how late it's getting!" Like I said, I'm in the weeds.