Sunday, September 09, 2007


Every night I'm getting tired a little bit earlier. Before teaching started, I could easily stay up until one or two in the morning. That crept back to 12:30. Then 11:30. Then 10:00. I've been ready to go to bed tonight for the last half hour and it's not even 8:00 yet. I also haven't taught in three days.

At some point my body will reach an equilibrium and I will probably get up every morning at around 6:30 and quickly fall asleep every night at 10:30. It'll be nice to finally settle into a predictable schedule.

Tomorrow I am going to go to school looking like a lobster. Seven hours in Prospect Park. Ouch. I tried staying in the shade and thought that was a successful strategy, but was mistaken. It'll give the 6th graders something to talk about.

The first week of school was great. I'm completely smitten by our class. You try not to have favorites but it's nearly impossible. My current favorite is a boy who cannot sit still and often gets himself in trouble. He means well and tries hard but makes some poor choices. I wasn't in the classroom on Friday and have been wondering how that day went for him.

I'm only with this group for 9 weeks and then I have to change student teaching placements. Only 8 weeks left. It already makes me sad.

So much of the first month is spent on community building activities. We're all getting to know each other, building routines, and creating a supportive place to learn and explore. Once all that foundation work is done and the kids start getting into the nitty gritty of learning, I'll be gone and won't see the incremental changes that add up enormous growth over the course of the year.

We can see the Statue of Liberty from our classroom window. I think that's amazing.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The End of Summer

It's been one of the best weekends in memory. There was an exceedingly good weekend back in 1986, but this one was probably better.

What was good? Beautiful weather. Friends. Food.

Every day provided something completely different. Setting up the classroom where I'll be student teaching. Riding a bike across the Brooklyn Bridge. Eating baked ricotta cheese with lemon on a roof in Hoboken. Reuniting with special friends from college. Cooking spicy Asian food with roommates.

Tomorrow school starts and from an academic perspective, summer ends. What follows should be an intense but good fall. As of tomorrow I'll be student teaching in a Brooklyn 6th grade classroom with a view of the Statue of Liberty from our window. Wednesday begins orientation for a part-time teaching job where the most well-known park in New York will be the living classroom. Friday marks the start of a full load of graduate school classes.

I owe a photo recap of the summer. I meant to do that tonight, but still haven't finished the book about pigeons that needs to be read before school starts tomorrow. It's hard to push through a young adult book that involves a gang of boys, a bully who hates pigeons, a boy with a secret pigeon pet, and a town which hosts a pigeon shooting festival. It's difficult to imagine there will be a happy ending. Is it a character defect to be emotionally invested in the fate of the pigeon lover and his secret bird friendship?

Listening to Stevie Wonder while plowing through the book makes the pigeon tension more bearable. If this is to be a perfect 10 of a weekend, that pigeon needs to live.