Adulting is hard.

A couple weeks ago, I heard a quote that changed my life a little bit.

“Growing up sucks because you realize $1000 isn’t a lot of money.”

I hate how true this is. I used to have $50 issues. The occasional $100 issue. Groceries, new clothes, dinners out… these were my biggest expenses. Momma and Dad took care of all the other issues in my life. (Truth be told, they still take care of WAY more than the average awesome parents.)

Recently, in addition to rent, and electricity, and groceries… I’ve acquired a new car. I wanted to tell the salesman while I was signing ALL of the documents, “Hey, dude, I’m really not mature enough for this.” I mean really, what made him think I could handle any of it?

ALSO, it seems like EVERYONE has been nonstop inviting me to every happy occasion. Weddings, birthdays, new babies, showers of every kind. I am honored to be thought of. This is not me complaining. I LOVE being a part of peoples’ celebrations. And I love the opportunity to give a gift that is simultaneously sentimental and useful.

Thank God for Amazon, is all I have to say. Without this magic wonderland, there’s no way I’d be able to find acceptable gifts without traveling out of West Memphis… WalMart can only do so much. AND without decimating the bank account.

I am blessed enough to have a job and be able to HAVE all of these things, all of these friends to celebrate with… to then turn around and complain about them.



Forever learning… (1/28)

Yesterday, my Principal taught a mini lesson to my students while I was in a very short meeting with a parent. I didn’t ask him to, he just had an idea that would keep them engaged, and perhaps teach them something they didn’t already know. I was outside the classroom for maybe 3 minutes. When I walked in, he was at the board, adding numbers to a ruler he’d drawn. The students’ eyes were all on him.

One student told me after he left, “Miss Carlson, I finally understand! I wouldn’t have failed my ruler test if he’d taught me!”

The lesson was a bit off topic, as we are in the middle of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Regardless, I was very thankful for his time. I very much enjoyed watching him teach.

My Lit Coach has been teaching my 1st period English class for a couple of months now. Last 9 weeks, our 9th grade students listened to the Serial podcast. This semester we are reading Romeo and Juliet. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to watch another teacher in action. We teachers so rarely have this opportunity. We are loners for the most part. We have endless time to discuss what has occurred in our classrooms after the fact, but it is not often that we can witness the lessons personally. I do not take all of the lessons directly from this 1st period class. My other 9th graders often are assigned other activities.

I say all this to say that is a blessing to me to see the strategies that other teachers use to teach and talk to our students.

Day 2: Where’s my gold star?

I spoke with a few students yesterday about my new writing initiative. I explained my reasoning, and how important I think it is to be a good example. I also spoke with a few teachers about the #writingchallenge in March. I love the idea of more teachers setting good writing examples for our students. I think our school does a great job getting our students interested in reading. Writing doesn’t seem like a huge leap to me.

On a semi-related note, I thought that this would be a good place to post my 3 goals for this year. They were New Years’ resolution-ish. I encouraged my students to write goals for themselves at the beginning of this semester and felt compelled to lead by example.

  1. I do not want to go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.
    This one has been difficult to stick to. I tend to get rather lazy after supper. If the dishwasher is full, I tend to leave the rest soaking and resolve to do them in the morning… But what an awful chore to wake up to!
  2. I want to pay my car off by the end of the year.
    I really need to look at this closely. It may be feasible. It could be next year, honestly.
  3. I want to read 50 books by the end of the year.
    This, for me, is the most realistic of the 3 goals.What I’ve read so far:
    The Selection by Kiera Cass
    The Elite 
    by Kiera Cass
    by Lucy Christopher
    The One 
    by Kiera Cass
    by Helen Frost
    Pictures of Hollis Woods
    by Patricia Reilly GiffWhat I’m reading now:
    I Am Malala by Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai
    The Heir by Kiera Cass
    Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I am loving reading The Selection series. I have recommended them to a ton of students, and had great conversations about them. Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. Who wouldn’t love that?

I hated Stolen but I have an 8th grade student who is reading it right now and she loves it. It is written in 2nd person. I did not enjoy this perspective, even though it is a really interesting story- girl is kidnapped and kept prisoner in the middle of Australia’s Great Sandy Desert. Sounds like the beginning of a really good Criminal Minds episode.

Hidden was interesting. The prose reminded me a little of Ellen Hopkins’ Crank series. I really enjoyed the writing style and the story- girl is accidentally kidnapped when a man steals her mother’s car.

My 9th grade students are reading Pictures of Hollis Woods right now. Many of them are enjoying it. I find it to be fairly boring, but it’s a quick read and a simple, sweet story about a girl in the throes of foster care.

I Am Malala is rough. I am enjoying it thoroughly. She doesn’t show weakness, ever. She is a rock for her family and for all of the Pakistani girls she’s chosen to represent. It is an inspiring read.

I am only a few pages into Wintergirls. I have very little to say about it at this point, BUT it’s Laurie Halse Anderson. I can’t imagine not loving it.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these- or if you have a recommendation for me, I’d LOVE to hear it!



The kind of person I want to be…

I want to be the kind of teacher who writes every day- the kind of teacher whose writing gets better all the time. I want to be an inspiration for my students. I’d love to have a classroom of writers. I tell them all the time that if they read, they’ll become better readers. The same is true for writing, but I’d sound like a hypocrite telling them that.

I DON’T WRITE, why should they?

I was recently invited by a former writing teacher to take part in a #writingchallenge. The challenge will take place the whole month of March. I’ll need to write every day, post to a forum, and comment on other participants’ posts. I’m a writing teacher. This should be a simple task for me to complete.

We’ll see.

This past year, I finally decided to make an Instagram account. I am frightfully behind the times, I know. This Instagram account is mostly pictures of my greyhound and artistic (ha!) pictures of cups of hot coffee.

HOWEVER, I am also using the account for good. I have a few students who follow me (I refuse to follow current students; I’ll follow them as soon as they leave my classroom at the end of the year). I have begun posting pictures of books I’m reading, always including #whatareyoureading. Because I am cool. I also, occasionally include a VERY short review or teaser or tag a certain student who I think will particularly enjoy the book.

I said all that to say I am passionate about being the type of person I would want for an English teacher.

-slightly dorky
-well-read/written (is that even a thing? Whatever, you know what I mean.)
-occasionally relevant
-always learning

So, I have the reading thing down. It’s time to step up my writing game. Keep me accountable. Let’s hope this sticks.