new school year, same apathy toward blogging

Since I last visited my own blog site, I’ve moved to another state and started teaching 9th grade for the 3rd year in a row. A whole bunch has happened that I’m SURE is blog-worthy.

I occasionally contract these grandiose ideas about how often I’m going to blog. (I call it “contracting grandiose ideas” because sometimes that’s how it feels- I NEED to be blogging, it’s that important…)

Then life gets in the way, the feeling doesn’t just get put on the back burner; it’s taken off the stove completely. When I go back and read what I’ve posted in the past, I get that fire in me again, but it eventually dies too.

I may as well post something worthwhile and tell you what I’m reading…

I just finished The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It was chilling in most places and beautiful in some others.

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Now, I’m reading Finding Manana by Mirta Ojito because it was on the shelf in my classroom and I’d never read it. It’s a memoir of a Cuban refugee. I really like it so far.

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I’m also reading The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor because whatshouldireadnext.com told me I should. Oh, how I love that website!

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I think my next post will be a tribute to my artistic students’ awesome work. They hand me such beautiful pieces, there’s no reason not to share them with y’all.

‘Til then! 🙂

Book Update

It’s been a couple months since I posted about what I’m reading. I thought I’d catch everyone up…

I finished Kiera Cass’ Selection series. Happily Ever After is just as cheesy and sweet as we’d hope.

I re-read Davis Sedaris’ When You are Engulfed in Flames. Because greatness must sometimes be revisited. He is one of my favorite authors. He is hilarious and real and I want to be his best friend.

Last year, I read Gone Girl when that was all hyped up… before I watched the movie, which bytheway did not disappoint. And since I loved that so much, I frequently entered that title in to whatshouldireadnext.com and one of the top titles was always The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison. Well, I finally got around to reading that and it is wonderful. It has that same creep factor that Gone Girl did.

Lastly, I have been devouring Augusten Burrough’s work. I started with Running with Scissors last summer, I think. Just recently, I read Dry, which is his story of his battle with sobriety. It is eye-opening and shocking in all the right places.

Right now, I am reading both Possible Side Effects and Magical Thinking. They are both great. Both collections of short pieces with I LOVE.

 

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
    Stolen
    by Lucy Christopher
    The One 
    by Kiera Cass
    Hidden
    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.