Weekend Coffee Share. Lit!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Today is half-caff coffee day for me. Enjoy whatever you like, and pull up a chair for this virtual cafe-chat!

Coldplay sets the musical ambiance, and my once-again-fluffy dog wanders about, summer haircut growing out. It has been a nice, cool few days here in Northeast Florida, but today feels warmer. Still, it is lovely out. Autumn is here. I enjoyed a Thai dinner with my friend last night. The sun set through the window as we ate, conversed, and laughed. It is setting earlier these days. Sometimes that’s the main indication of a season change in my corner of the world. I’m sort of used to it. 🙂 My ‘friend’ is a young man I dated 2o years ago, and we re-connected a few months ago. I think we are good for each other at this point in our lives.

This last week was full of activity, and I’m keeping quite busy lately. I’m running the yearbook club this year, and meetings with students will start Monday. In National news, last week was #ReadaPoemtoaChild week. I have a Poe t-shirt, so I read a poem by Poe to my class, a lesser known poem called The Magician. My students loved it.

My life is Lit! 🙂

I asked a student to take pictures. The kids loved it! My teacher friend next door read a poem by Maya Angelou and dressed in a lovely African-style print, touching on the history of our nation at the time the poem was printed. She incorporated some Civil Rights background. It’s really awesome when we can all communicate and pull something together like this on our own. Sadly, so many days we’re too concerned about ourselves and what’s going on behind the doors of our own classrooms.

Still, now and then the magic comes together. So, we keep taking chances that it will work. We must try, right?

As far as writing, I am so busy with life, and I don’t like sitting at the computer for too long. There are ongoing ideas that will be finished further down the road. However, I am getting ideas for Janie and second chances, so that is the basis for my new writing idea, which is a short story, length to be determined. Janie is in my published short story of this summer called Crossroads Diner #205. Find out more about this Kindle story here, which also has a theme of second chances: https://www.amazon.com/Crossroads-between-Pamela-Schloesser-Canepa-ebook/dp/B098269VSN

Thanks for stopping by for a brief chat. I am off to get a hair trim soon. Monday is picture day at school! Have a great week, everyone.

Weekend Coffee Share, Back to School for Teachers

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com!  Teachers are back at work, so that has been my life this week.  I crashed early every night, sometimes on the couch.  I even skipped yoga Weds. night, but at least I got in 20 minutes on the Gazelle last night.

In addition to teaching English Language Arts this school year, I will teach one elective class of 7th and 8th grade Journalism.  It will be an introductory class.  I have a few ideas, such as showing clips of newscasts and having students detect any bias in the reporter, as well as, overtime, having them produce a newsletter.  Most students did not get this class by choice, so it will be my challenge to keep them interested, I suppose.  I will be teaching more Gifted students in my Language Arts classes as well, and I think that will be interesting.  In fact, I will likely take another course on teaching Gifted students this fall.

Along with what I am teaching, there are the extra things they want us to do.  A blogger wrote about this phenomenon at jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com.  He urges teachers to not work beyond contract time (4:25 each day).  Others responded to him that our CAST (teacher performance rubric) actually consists of all the extra things that one has to work beyond contract time to fulfill.  Being a member of a professional learning community, committees, etc. are some of the ways a teacher works beyond their “teaching” day.  Staying within contract time for some means bringing more work home.  It also means not participating in some of these committees or extracurricular activities.  I have volunteered for one or two things so far and am being asked to do more.  I’ve said “I don’t think I can,” or simply “No.”  I have to really think before taking on anymore.  Taking on nothing can mean a lower teacher eval score, which means, when that test score (VAM) number for the last 3 years comes from the state, it could even lower my teacher evaluation more.    This VAM number consists of a mysterious high level formula that I don’t think many of our brightest Math teachers even understand.

I love inspiring young people, but I hate the politics of this job.  This is why I stay in the Union.  Case in point: this one week of teacher planning is sooooo overwhelming, I have not even written a thing this week.  This is the first writing I have done.  I imagine it will be like this for a few weeks, though I’ll try to participate in a flash fiction challenge.  So, in some way, a teacher’s right to say no to taking on one more club, committee, or responsibility needs to be protected by SOMEONE!  I constantly seek balance. I’ve already said yes to a few things, and I’m making it a point to reach out to new teachers and make their transition smoother.

I have received some devotions books from fellow blogger, Rick Christensen at https://discoveringandsharinggrace.com/, and they are delightful!  They are all about Gentle Witnessing, which is something I am trying to do more.  Not just keeping to myself, I want to share my strengths with those it may help.  Right now, my strength is that I have taught for 18 years under 6 different principals with 5 different schedule cofigurations.  I can be of help to a brand new teacher.  Two years ago, an emotional storm in my life and family made me what I feel to be the weakest link in my school for a period of months.  I still did my job, but I was a shell of what I actually could be.  I plan to do much better this year, but again, I need to balance it and rest while at home, write when I am moved, give time to my family and faith community, and have fun with friends and the boyfriend.  Sunday I plan to go to church and afterward, see a movie with my son, since he is off.  Balance.  I will try!

Please visit https://discoveringandsharinggrace.com/ and read a little of it.  If the message resonates with you, follow his blog and/or check out his devotionals!

Bloggers, feel free to join and share in the Weekend Coffee Share conversation at Weekend Coffee Share 8/10/18

 

 

 

 

 

Worry, and Impossible Things

When life is hectic and people are dumping too much on you, and you’re not getting enough sleep, you just want to escape or at least get your hair done, but there is not enough time…..What can  you do?!  Short of pharmaceuticals, that is, which are wrought with their own problems… I have to try a “cocktail” of strategies to keep myself from cracking.  Here is my recent mixture:

* I am strengthened by biblical scripture and have tried to get closer to this since the beginning of the Lenten season.  I believe my pastor discussed this scripture at the beginning of Lent, and it is a staple of my spiritual diet lately.

Matthew 19:26: “But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men  [it is] impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

I have lived through parenting a teenager and being faced with realities I did not want to be a part of.  He has been in the E.R three times in his life  due to his playing with danger, and I prayed furiously, fighting the worry.  Yet, here he is.  After wavering and wallowing over his confusion after high school, when it seemed impossible to motivate him, he is taking a test today that will determine if he can get into trade school.  It involves some Algebra, and yes, I want to worry, but instead I’ll write my blog entry, which is actually a sort of prayer.  I am going to have faith, even if things don’t turn out the way I want, that things will work out just fine.

*I am rewarded when I look to Literature for an escape.  It is fairly inexpensive, and there is no hangover.  To believe in impossible things, one must be an optimist, and may even be a scientist.  I am probably a dreamer.  But guess what, someone has to dream up the ideas in the first place!  And it nourishes my soul.  From Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass: 

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

I had abandoned this book long ago, because it seemed so out there, it just lost me.  Well, it must be just what I need right now, because it is sticking to me like a well-balanced meal sticks to your sides.  I lick my lips in delight like a full Cheshire Cat after reading a chapter of this outrageous masterpiece of wordplay and riddles.  It’s the escape I needed from worry over my son who is a grown-up now, and over my job where I sometimes feel I am given an impossible task, where what I do is never enough.  But guess what, I am doing fine and I need to remember that.

*Music.  It relaxes me, it awakens me, it pumps me up, and helps me forget the little nit-picky things that can really bother me.  I especially need it when driving in traffic to get to work in the morning.  Case in point, horrible traffic on the way to work yesterday.  I was playing Coldplay’s “A Rush of Blood to the Head.”  Just the right song makes me not care that I am getting to work later than I had hoped (For Pete’s sake I am always  there before my contract time anyhow)!  So, I sat in a line of cars at the light yesterday jamming to Coldplay’s Politik, enthralled in the notes that went higher and higher, trying to sing with the notes (I was singing “eyes” in every note up the ladder while Chris Martin was holding and breathing through that word….Eyyyyyyessssssssssssssssssss).  I hope I looked as crazy to those around me as I felt, since I truly did not care what they thought.

 

*It has been too long since I had a true vacation, and I am feeling that one will be in order pretty soon.  Therefore, my photo with this entry is of another time, in another place, when I was on vacation with family, including my nine year old son who was amazed at the beauty of the mountainside he had never seen before.  It was a place where you think of the silence or the birds singing around you, and what beautiful wonders are just ahead as you make your way through the trees or up the hill.  That is the best.  Those memories also help me to hang on, but they are certainly helped along by prayer, song, and a steady diet of just the right reading at the right moment.

 

So, I sit here after dropping my son off early for his test, knowing he just wanted to get out of the car and away from my questions or reminders.  I know how my worry bothers him; I dealt with the same thing from my mother.  I am working on it, as I know it is to my physical detriment, in other words, not very good for my health.  Heck, my worry bothers me too.  But I have sent out my prayers for things to work out, and for him to never give up, which I hope he has learned from me.  Now I think I can fill my mind with something else.  It is a beautiful day, and there is still more to read about Alice!

 

 

 

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Ah, Nature!  Nothing to worry about if you just know what to hold onto.  Colorado Mts. , 2005.

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