Sunday, March 20, 2005


I am currently unmotivated to do anything, not even to find anything to actually do. Not feeling terribly clever or articulate or anything, but since I usually post at least once a day, I feel behind.

My abdomen is only getting more sore and tight. Yowch.

Saturday was a fun day. The getting up after five hours of sleep was most certainly the UNfunnest part of the day, but surprisingly I didn't feel tired after I was up and going. In fact, on the train, which took forever, I read the whole time. No need to doze. I finally picked up Educating Esme, which is a first-person account of a first-year teacher in an urban Chicago school. It's a great book, filled with excellent ideas and inspirations...but to me, it also makes me a little irritated. Because it makes me look like a shitty teacher. Because I don't spend my money on class sets of several books, or create a 'time machine' box, or decorate every inch of my classroom. I can console myself by remembering that this girl actually went through an education program first, with a fantastic mentor/student teaching experience, and of course had a classroom in plenty of time to plan and decorate. As a Fellow, I had the exciting "sink or swim" experience. And I haven't drowned yet. So, go me.

Anyway, my trip took me into the city for the "Fellows at Five" conference. There was breakfast when we arrived, along with materials, tote bags and keychains. I like free toys like that. I saw my FA from this summer, three Fellows from my summer class, and also one of my colleagues and friends, Ms FG.

We got to attend four workshops. The first two I chose were about classroom management, of course. I think I'll be able to use ideas from them, or at least think about them and tweak things and eventually start a clear system of procedures and rewards/consequences.

The keynote speaker was the fantastic Dr Harry Wong. He told us to begin a new procedure on Monday, rehearse it, then do another new procedure next Monday, and another one the next, and soon we will have a much smoother-running classroom. And we will write him letters a month or two from now that say, "Thank you, Dr Wong, for saving my life!" I am going to institude a new homework handing-in procedure. Also I will definitely institute a 'do-now'; some kind of quote to respond to, or short word activity, or word definition, or something. Hopefully those things will build a quieter, calmer start to class. I hate the noisy chaos. There are some vague routines in place, but they're not ones that encourage peace and quiet and, most of all, getting working right away.

Then a decent lunch. Chatted with my Fellow friends and checked out the vendor displays too. I bought some great books that I will be using this week and hopefully all next year.

The afternoon workshops were alright. Got a few tips that might come in handy. I always make excuses for myself, being a secondary teacher. I only have 43 minutes with my classes, which makes creating a classroom environment a little tougher. And I still need to work on making sure the work I assign is at everyone's level...gah. I get lazy, I know it, but I can't often push myself to follow through on ideas and suggestions. Meh.

Me and Ms FG hung out after the conference, walking around Chinatown. Got ice cream at the fantastic ice cream factory--banana and lychee, yum. Walked down Canal Street for awhile, then went uptown to 34th. Got some shoes and clothes and stuff. Grabbed dinner back in Queens. I crashed before 11pm.

I slept for eleven hours--whee! It was fabulous. I was so tired last night. I hate not getting enough sleep. But it's worth it if I'm having fun with other people.

I am bored. I don't really want to watch tv or movies, or plan anything, or even play on the computer. Just blah.

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