At school these days:
1. I love my partner teacher. She's a first-year right out of the gate teacher and she's wonderful. She's good at her job, reflective, dynamic, and she loves girls. My neighbor across the hall and I love boys, so she's a good balance. And in the middle school, the six of us, it's an even balance, or even a little bit tipping in the positive (my) direction, between old-school and new-school. If that makes sense.
2. I have fallen in love with 8th grade again. I did it my first year somewhat (I only taught 16 8th graders that year, one little math class), and I fell for them hard last year. They graduated and I naively thought that this next class couldn't replace them. But they have. It's a harder class. The kids in it come from more challenging backgrounds and carry more obvious pain. But they have the same loves and humor and deep need for connection. And I have their attention.
3.I worry about some of my people, but I don't take it home as much as I once did. Two children in particular. I try to make my classroom the right kind of place for them to look forward to each day and that's what I can do right now.
4. My students do math on the windows in dry erase markers. They love this.
5. My homeroom, this week, we are having a class meeting on Wednesday and I'm showing them a Jon Gordon video and they're going to pick their word for the year. Mine, remember, is "fishing." I think I'm going to put them up on the lockers.
6. Conferences are this week. I'm only worried about one of the conferences signed up for, well, one and a half. Something may surprise me, but I think a lot of it will be pleasant conversation. I don't fear them anymore.
7. I'm in charge of the faculty lounge this month, and we're still arguing over who gets to drink coffee. It's a strange place when it comes to some of the adults sometimes.
8. I've started having lunch with students, one at a time. Starting with my 8th grade math class students, then I'll move to 8th grade algebra, and then down to 7th and then 6th. So far, three boys and then tomorrow is a girl from that class. I'm learning a lot. I now can have a conversation about trap shooting vs. skeet shooting. I have a glimpse into the world of select soccer. Families are complicated but sometimes that's all right. Picking a school no one else in your class is going to go to for high school is scary but exciting.
9. About those lunches--I thought they would balk, that it would be weird, they wouldn't want to, and at first they teased each other about eating with the teacher, but each of them has come up with their tray of pizza and grapes and carton of milk smiling. Two of them, I had to chase them out to recess when I realized their lunch was over. I think this is going to be my thing.
10. I'm torn. Torn between staying and leaving. Afraid of getting stuck and not being able to afford high school for London. Wanting to stay at least a bit longer to see certain things pan out. Wondering how long I can risk it. Hoping I pass the high school math exam so that I can find a high school job and leave gracefully. Torn.