Sunday, January 17, 2010

And Now, The News.

Well, more of an update, really...


It's been so long since I've been a regular contributor to society, both in person and in the blog-o-sphere... people are starting to wonder if I've expired. (Although, come to think of it, something DOES smell a little funky around here...)

Bring on the bullets!

-Grade six. Is killing me, albeit slowly. The kids are WONDERFUL-- so amazingly polite, independent and intelligent beyond my expectations... but the curriculum that they are forced to study STINKS, in my humble opinion... and there's very little wiggle-room for creativity or subject integration, because of all the focus on EQAO (those are our provincial standardized tests, for those of you non-Ontari-ari-arians), which loom ahead of us like gigantic black hounds with gaping jaws. These poor kids are BORED, and quite frankly, I don't blame them. I can't wish for more hours in the day for them to be in my classroom-- I'm a firm believer that most kids are vastly over-programmed and stressed out as it is. But I DO so desperately wish that there was more scope for the imaginations... more opportunity to study things that are relevant and interesting for THEIR lives... Hell, I'd settle for just one good novel study, for crying out loud!! Instead, we are teaching them how to take multiple choice exams, it would seem. What a shame.

-I'm going to get creative in the only way I can, however: we are going to knit. All thirty of us. We are knitting squares to sew together into blankets, to send to Doctors Without Borders. I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when the first few blankets come together as a whole!! I'm hugely excited about this project.

-And of course, it now goes without saying, I'm knitting again!! The arm is improving, and my physiotherapist and doctors are pleased with my progress. I'm not lifting anything just yet, but the extension of my elbow only has about 30 degrees more to go before I'm back to "normal". I attribute all of my progress to knitting and crocheting, which has been my main method of rehabilitation, and kept me from filleting my loved ones out of frustration.

-Projects on the go: one log-cabin pattern afghan (crochet), one beautiful Cabin Fever knitted poncho (for me), one Turkish stitch scarf (also for me), one gorgeous Noro rippled-pattern hat (whoo, it's just AAAAAALLLLL about me right now, isn't it?! About time, too.)

-Schoolwork on the go: What schoolwork? Crap, you mean there's homework??! (just kidding. i'm swamped, and sinking fast.)

-Girlies are fine, although they had a terrible time returning to school after Christmas... Didn't we all??? I could have used about another month off, myself. They are, quite simply, exhausted, and so we took a Ferris Bueller day on Thursday, just to even ourselves out a little. This weekend, I think we'll throw a few clothes in a bag and head off to Stratford for a little time with The Grandparents.

-Best moment of the New Year thus far? Having my orthopedic surgeon double-check my arm last week, and confirm that all is well, and NOTHING is broken. I am so thankful, so lucky.

-Worst moment? My first grade six math lesson... I was explaining an equation on the board, when my mind suddenly got muddled and went completely BLANK... BLANK!!!! I could feel the sweat rolling down my back and into my underwear, and for a brief moment, considered resting my forehead up against the chalk dust in front of me, and just begging for mercy... Instead, I managed to pull it together, excused myself to take another look at the textbook, and confessed that I was re-learning the lesson alongside my students. It was amazing how they all rallied to my aid after that, and we figured out the problem together.

-Biggest challenge of the immediate future? Concocting my teaching resume and portfolio, in preparation to begin the long, hard slog of job applications, and (hopefully!!) interviews. As if getting the qualification wasn't hard enough...

This? Is only the beginning.

A hell right here on earth.

Today, I joined a most wonderful group:

This, dear friends, is Knitters Without Borders, a group that I read about on the blog of the absolutely fantabulous Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, known to those of us in The Knitterly 'Hood as The Yarn Harlot.

Whenever the yellow beacon blazes on Stephanie's blog, it is a "call to needles" for every knitter. And today, I did my small part to help. Because as Stephanie says, it is nothing short of incredible what can be accomplished when we ALL do our small parts, together.

The people of Haiti are living a hell right here on earth.

Please help, in any way you can.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Of pride. And prejudice.

I sh*t you not, dear readers.

Just took a peek at my online transcript, and this is what I found, as my average for the first half of this academic year.

My pride? Simply knows no bounds.

And trust me, with a past heavily steeped in all things Austen, I KNOW where pride tends to lead one.


This old dog needs to pat herself on the back, with the one good arm she has at her disposal. Because going back to university after being at home with three children for thirteen years, and cracking past the "Aged 40" due date on my personal expiration label...


Is a big deal for me.

Now, to set my sights towards the immediate future:

Today was my first day as a grade six teacher. Scary, seeing as my entire career experience thus far (apart from rearing my own eldest child) has been with students between the ages of two and eight. To say that this considerably more "mature" classroom (although... come to think of it, I'm not entirely certain that this is an apropriate word to describe ALL of the students I met today. But hey, it's the only the first day, and I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt) was a bit of a shock to the ol' system is an understatement.

I am secretly panicking that these kids are going to eat me alive.


I have to teach gym. Every. Single. Day.

Gym is not my forte, to put it mildly. When it comes to sports, I am the spectator.

But, it's an experience, right? And besides, what does not kill me will make me stronger.

Or, as my darling grandmother used to say, in full-on Scottish brogue:

"It's a grrrrrreat life, i'ye dinna WEAKEN!!"

Right you are, as always, Grandma.

I'll try not to.

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