Monday, December 7, 2009

... of complete detachment

You know when someone shows up at a party at your house... and they never take off their jacket? Not like a cute, little,this-is-really-a-part-of-my-outfit jacket, but like a ski jacket. Of course you are going to think that they don't want to be there. And, odds are, they will only stay for 5-10 minutes and then explain that they have another party to attend, or didn't get much sleep the night before, or left the oven on at home.

I think it says even more when someone does not take off their jacket throughout the course of an 8-9 hour work day.

Now, it's one thing if it is cold inside. Sometimes it is cold here in our classrooms at Hendrickson High School. But we all have individually controlled thermostats that work fairy well 85-90% of the time. And still my co-workers and I will have one of those days where we are too lazy to mess with the temperature and we just never take off our jackets. We are supposed to be skillful educators who welcome students into our rooms with warmth and open arms. But instead, we are adults in ski jackets in a moderately temperate room, subliminally saying to our students: "Let's make this thing quick. I've got to get out of here and go home - where I really want to be." And that is exactly what we are thinking.

I only do this a few days out of the year. Days where I really didn't want to come in, I don't really have anything planned, we are probably watching some kind of musical, and I am out of the door before the bell finishes ringing. My co-teacher has not taken his ski jacket off since mid-November. I am starting to wonder if he sleeps in it. You see him and it's always like he's just come from somewhere or he's about to leave. The students come in his room and they ask him if he's going to be there that day. I want to clarify: "Mentally or physically?" Probably neither.

The end of the semester gets so draining that we all just start to wear our physical and figurative coats all day long. Not investing in anything, but just biding time until we get to leave. That might be okay if we worked at Dunder-Mifflin, but we are high school teachers, educating the future leaders of America... and we can't even muster the strength to take off our coats and stay for awhile.

Ah Christmas break... can you hurry... please?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

... of too much information.

The longer I teach, the more that I find I get involved and (sadly) interested in the high school drama that is constantly unfolding around me. I have a student who is more like a little sister than a student. I actually have never had her in a class. She has been a part of the extracurricular theatre program, so there's a little less of a boundary there than there is with my normal students. She supplies me with all of my information. She is wonderfully (and yet horribly) uninhibited and she will tell me anything.

So tonight I not only found out about the relationships that I suspected, but also found out that the children are drinking. And now I have a little inkling of what it's like to be a parent of a teenager. I mean, I did that stuff when I was 18. And I knew that it was wrong. I was a bit more restrained than most of these kids are, though, so I am a bit worried. And how do you say: "Don't do what I did." Especially when you are NOT a parent that they sometimes "hate", but you are teacher that they actually look up to? If I say, "I did this, don't do it", to them, that means "Shockley did it a she's fine...". How do you actually influence them in a positive way?

The things that I did when I was young didn't end up being extremely detrimental and I am actually glad that God put me through some experiences that made me able to identify with them, but you don't want to tell them that. You don't want to say: "I did that, but I'm fine. But don't do it". When you tell kids (people) that they can't do something, they want to do it all the more. That's why I don't like the pressure of being their teacher. If I am actually honest with them, then I could be implicating myself in high school activities that I am not proud of.

I just pray that Jesus will reach them someday like he reached me, and all of those experiences that scared their teachers will be the thing that God uses to bring them into right relationship with Him.

Praying. Constantly praying.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

...of an Oscar! But not really...


This morning the cast of "All's Well That Ends Well" got an email from our stage manager telling us that we had been named the Best Ensemble by the City Theatre for their SummerActs! Festival. Pretty cool.

Also pretty cool that we also won Best Group or Duo Performance for mine and Toni's First and Second Lords! There were 10 awards and 6 shows. The awards were Best Production, Best Director, Best Script, Best Design, Best Ensemble, Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, and Best Group or Duo Performance.

Even though the award isn't well-known or extremely prestigious, it was almost better than getting paid for the process. :) I took it more as God's little way of reassuring me that I should keep acting if I can. I'm not going to try to make it my profession, but I'm apparently decent at it and I think God wants me to use my talent for something. Just not so sure in what way yet...

Academy Awards! Here I...... stay. But thanks anyway. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

... of Summer!

We are officially done with One Act Play! This had been the best and longest season that Hendrickson High School theater has ever had. We made it to the state competition. We did well. We didn't place. And we are all now on the down hill ride to the Summer.

I have no desire to be at school. I feel like I am struggling to stay awake, alive, and well. Then I look around at the teenagers sitting in my desks and I realize that they want to be there even less than I do. Of course they don't want to be there. They are teenagers and the weather is nice and they have their yearbooks and their caps and gowns in hand and they are being made to sit inside for 8 hours a day for little to no purpose.

I'm starting to understand that no teacher (especially no theater teacher) really teaches for the last 3 weeks of the year. The seniors leave a week early, everyone else is preparing for finals, and the students mentality is literally: "I worked hard for the last 32 weeks, I think I can stand to slack off for the last 3". Well... they are sucking me in to their little club. I had some really instructional last few weeks planned and they are slowly getting less and less involved. The kids don't want to work, I don't want to grade, the theater just needs to be cleaned and organized, and we all want to do the cliche run out of the school, screaming and flailing on Thursday June 4th.

The only thing that will get me through the next (less than) 3 weeks without deciding that I can't do it for another year is God. He has me in this school in this position for a reason. I have just started gaining some influence and building some good relationships with some co-workers and students, but if I'm not careful, crazy-end-of-the-year-Anaka will ruin it all with her apathetic attitude. I need this day off to be recharging and I want to go into the next few weeks with the light of Christ shining through my life in this difficult time for everyone.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

...of cancellation.

This swine flu thing is really getting out of control. Not the actual flu (of which most of you are aware), but the absolutely catastrophic reactions to it. All field trips and inter-school events have been canceled until May 11th.

Right now, I am not greatly affected. The only field trip that we have planned is the STATE ONE ACT PLAY COMPETITION! Luckily, this is scheduled for May 15th and so this will hopefully all be blown over by that point. However, they have postponed the 1A, 2A, and 3A competitions that were scheduled for May 8 &9, so I wouldn't put anything past them. I believe that up to 3 school districts in the state of Texas are completely shut down until May 11th. There may be more at this point, but I am avoiding news stalking.

God works in mysterious ways, though, ya know? I mean, so far, a bunch of surprising and uncontrollable things that have happened have ended up being huge blessings in disguise. We submitted 2 different plays for approval with UIL and were going to do a play called "Pagannini" hoping that a very flaky teenage boy would be our lead. Then he failed his classes and we had to find another play 3 months ago. The play we ended up choosing was perfect and has gotten us to state. The sad show that we did last year which got us nowhere and we were all depressed about, has supplied the majority of the set for this years show which has received many compliments. And now school may be canceled for a week. But maybe it's just the forced rest that everyone needs. Especially right after TAKS week. I think we are all brain dead.

All I can say is that God proves Himself faithful in every situation. And faithful doesn't just mean working everything out just the way we want it in the end in order to lead to complete success. Faithful really means that God is really good about making sure that He receives glory in every sitatuation. We just may not see that glory until a day, a month, a year, or a lifetime later. I know that He will be glorified in the Hendrickson High School one act play "drama" (no pun intended) and I just hope that I will get to help bring some of it to him.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

... of regressing.

I think one of the hardest things about growing up and becoming an adult is that you are expected to relinquish certain "childish" things. The relinquishing isn't necessarily the hard part. It's the expectation that comes from some unknown societal norm, which is somehow able to enforce the ideas of proper and improper adult functioning. This expectation applies to many things, but I've specifically been thinking about it in regard to literature recently.

My high schoolers have been crazy over this book called "Twilight" for at least the past year. Girls are forever quoting it, referencing it, and alluding to it. Now, it really is a teenage GIRL thing, but it is extremely prevalent within that all too dramatic realm. In hearing so much about it for so long, I decided I wanted to read it to see what all of the fuss was about. I mean, I was pretty much the president of the Harry Potter Holdout Party for years until someone finally tricked me into reading the first book. I've never turned back.

So I read "Twilight". In two days. On my iPhone. (The iPhone part is unimportant to the story, really, I just thought it was cool that I could have a book - or two - or ten in my pocket at any given moment). I didn't like the book, but I did like it. The 26 year old college graduate/teacher in me thought it was sort of poorly written and not imaginative enough to reach Harry Potter quality. But, the dormant 15 year old girl inside me loved it. It's that whole dangerous/bad boy/true love/"Grease" kind of thing that every teenage girl eats up. And I discovered that as I've grown up I haven't left behind my younger years, I've just piled expectations of maturity on top of them and caused them to stop making decisions for me.

I think that's the allure of Harry Potter. I mean, nearly everyone had an imaginative childhood, and when anyone reads something as endearing and different as Harry Potter our 10 year old selves come up momentarily. But not everyone has been a lovesick teenaged girl. And those of us who have, tend to pile expectations of maturity on top of those years first to try and forget all the stupidity and "heartche" that existed within them. So it's understandable that "Twilight" would not be as widely adored and accepted as some fantasy sagas.

Reading the book made me feel like I was in high school again. I liked it as 15 year old Anaka and I couldn't wait to read the next one. However, I found myself embarrassed to admit to anyone, including my husband, that I enjoyed the book in some way. The other thing I found was that I really did want to talk about it with someone, but the only people who had read and enjoyed it were my 15 year old girl students. I really didn't want to take off the 10 years of age difference that I have worked so hard to distinguish over the past year and a half by opening up that conversation.

So that's where I'm left right now. Blogging about "Twilight" to an audience of none and about to read a chapter in the third installment in the series. Maybe I'll cook for my husband or clean the house later in order to get back to my 26 year old self that I'll let rest for the moment.

By the way, go Team Jacob.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

...of a sick day.

Only a sick person would not take a sick day.  I mean, sick in the head.  So I must be... sick in the head... as well as in the throat.

I think back on the amount of sick days that I have taken when I never went to the doctor, I wasn't "contagious", and I almost definitely should have gone into work.  But now I am a teacher and have subsequently gone crazy.  In more ways than one.  I have strep throat.  I have been to the doctor.  He has written me a "note" and told me not to go into work tomorrow.   This is the PERFECT sick day, right?  But I'm not sure that I can do it.  I told you: I've gone insane.

I am worried about my students getting their work done.  I didn't make plans for a sub.  My kids are supposed to be in a computer lab tomorrow and I HAVE to be there to supervise.  They can't function without me.  Or can they and I'm not giving them enough credit?  Do I risk getting them sick in order to make sure they don't kill an innocent substitute with their teenage ferociousness?  Or do I trust them and take advantage of one of the only authentic sick days I will have for a very long time?

Hmmm.... what to do, what to do?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

... of Blogging

I've never "blogged". I've done the obligatory "note" on facebook, but nothing consistent. I think my major apprehension has come from the fact that I'm not sure I have the time to add one more commitment to my plate. Aside from school, the responsibilities that Quinn and I have taken on at church, not to mention the things I think I am supposed to do as a wife (like make sure we get fed, cleaned, rested, etc) seem to pile up daily.

But all of a sudden I realized that starting a blog isn't like getting married. It isn't like having a child. It could be put on hold indefinitely or abandoned entirely, if need be. I'm not going to invest in a ring for you, blogger (hope you don't mind), but I'm just not looking for any more commitment right now. I'm looking for a good time, a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen to my ramblings, and provide a kind of storage space for the small moments in my day and life that just might be worth storing. So don't get attached, blogger friend, I don't want anyone to get hurt.