Monday, October 24, 2011

4 Random Thoughts on a Monday Evening

1. As I biked to school this morning, I paused momentarily to admire the mallards dabbling in the river. A half hour later at school, my fellow history teacher commented on how beautiful the birds were, as he'd done the same thing--stopped and watched the ducks--while walking along the river earlier. Indeed, the ducks were beautiful in their own awkward way--they've paired off for the season and the drakes are in their fall/winter plumage: the characteristic bottle green heads, the white collar, the shiny silver wings. The ducks (females) are not quite so flashy, but their mellow brown feathering and pencil black markings have a distinct "autumny" look to them. It has been 13 years since I raised a family of ducks as pets. It's a time of my life that now seems so distant, it almost feels unreal, like something from a dream. The fact that I can still be captivated by watching ducks along the river is a very tangible connection to who I was and where I came from--a small joy in the scheme of my day and yet, I think, so terribly important in a broader sense.

2. In the past 24 hours, I've dedicated roughly 4 or 5 hours to one task: updating my class iCals. I am not a terribly organized person. I improve a little bit each year, but it doesn't come easily. Two weeks ago, I planned out the unit in my Junior Humanities and English classes through December (figuring out major assessments, topics of study and everything... all based around three solid essential questions). Last night, I started in earnest on my day-to-day planning for the unit. What gave me the final push to start this was the fact that I needed to have a homework packet ready by today for all athletes in my classes heading off to the Fall Far East tournaments from Nov. 7-11. In order to assign homework, I needed to know what was happening in class on the days they would miss. In previous years, I gave very vague instructions, such as "We'll probably be reading 'Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl', so maybe read ahead on that." This year, I wanted to be able to say "you'll miss the first 6 chapters of 'Incidents', so read ahead before you leave." And I did get to that point. It just took hours of thinking through logistics, due dates, and reading schedules to reach the point where I could confidently set specific due dates and reading check points. All of this was very important, and will pay off tremendously in the long-run for me. For the moment, it feels like my brain has melted.

3. Tomorrow, I will take my middle school cross country team to Baskin Robbins for ice cream right after school. I'd originally said that if they reached their final ice cream time, I'd buy them Baskin Robbins. However, it rained hard on the day of the last meet and nobody reached their ice cream time. I realized that while records are important, they aren't everything. What is more important is growth over the course of the whole season, and the fact that these kids learned to enjoy running and to glorify God with their running. So THAT is what I'm celebrating--in my opinion, it's a greater reason to treat them to ice cream than them achieving a particular time in the last race. I'm so proud of them :)

4. This weekend will stretch me. I really need to keep track of dates better. Long ago (as in over 6 months ago), I agreed to chaperon the Senior lock-in. They asked me before the end of their Junior year and I said yes. I don't regret this a bit. However, the date of the lock-in changed at some point (from some time in November to Fri, Oct. 28), and without double-checking my iCal (again, totally my fault), I separately agreed to supervise Senior concessions for the middle school volleyball games on Sat, Oct. 29... which happens to be right after the lock-in ends. It wasn't until recently that I realized just what I'd signed up for: I'll be staying up all night on Friday the 28th chaperoning a lock-in, and then diving straight into a full day of supervising Saturday concessions... oops. My goal for the week is to figure out how to navigate these two days without crashing. I'm thinking that I will go home right after school on Friday, sleep until the lock-in, and then power through the following 18 hours and try my best to reset my sleep schedule before the next school-week. Not perfect, but it'll have to do. I should note that I am looking forward to both duties: chaperoning the lock-in and supervising concessions.... I'm just not looking forward to the resultant lack of sleep. Oh well--this is just another lesson to me to be more organized and keep better track of the calendar!

*deep breath*

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