Sunday, September 12, 2004

Quite a week.

Lots and lots of meetings. Lots and lots of positive energy on the part of my staff. Nevertheless, during our subject area meetings, we all managed to overwhelm our new teachers. It was partly their own fault; they just kept asking good questions, things we had planned to save for later. But when they asked, we answered, and they walked away looking like deer in the headlights. Personally, I struggled a lot - and am still struggling - with the issue of what to insist upon in the way we teach science, and what to leave up to the individual teacher. It's also hard - because I care so much about our kids - to accept the fact that the new teachers are going to make mistakes, are going to have a steep learning curve, and that we will all weather that together. There are things I can tell them that they still won't know in their hearts until they've experienced a few days, weeks, or months of teaching.

Late Thursday, it became apparent that for scheduling and other reasons, I was probably going to have to move classrooms. Friday was an overwhelming day. I led a technology meeting to get the teachers set up on eChalk. Then I met with the other team leaders to figure out if a move really was the best solution to our scheduling problems. When we decided that it was, we had to meet with the building principal to negotiate for a faster exit from some classrooms that are technically ours but we had not been actively using. The whole team pitched in to help the teachers from that school move out, and then to help me and another teacher move into our new classrooms. I was impressed and proud of the way we put aside our individual needs and anxiety to get the job done, and done quickly. Nevertheless, the day became more and more stressful for me as it got later in the afternoon and I still didn't feel very settled in my space. I will move in more completely over the next couple of days, but right now I don't feel at home. One of my goals for myself, especially because I aspire to greater and greater leadership, is to be able to handle stressful situations like this one gracefully. I am mildly disappointed in myself because I got very visibly grouchy by the end of Friday. Still, it was a legitimately stressful situation.

The weekend brought its own stresses. My cable internet connection has been down all week; when the repairman came on Saturday afternoon, he discovered that the actual cable is damaged (apparently it is acting like a straw and channeling water into my apartment!). We did not have roof access, so I had to schedule another appointment for Thursday. It's funny, I'm almost over the worst of the withdrawal symptoms, but I have work to do that depends on the internet and it's really frustrating to have to pay for time in a cafe like this.

I read for the first time at an open mic! Thursday night at the Bowery Poetry Club I read my poem about Louis which I posted earlier on this blog. I think I did pretty well - I wasn't dramatic enough in my reading; slam poetry is very much about performance - but I got a positive reception and didn't shake too much. It's fascinating how different it is to stand up in front of an audience than to stand up in front of students. I am planning to go the Thursday night slams pretty regularly this fall, and will perhaps read again.

I lost an important friend on Saturday, and it's entirely my own fault. I don't want to get into details here, but I am not feeling very proud of myself right now. I have always struggled with allowing myself to feel strong emotions, and I guess I have also tried to protect others around me from things that I thought they would not want to hear, to shield them from strong negative emotions. In the end, that just makes things worse, or at least, that's what happened in this case. I see now that I need to trust that people would rather hear the truth sooner than later. *sigh*

So. That's what I've been doing this week. I'm nervous and excited about digging in to real classes tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes as often as I can - and hopefully will have internet at home again soon!


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