Many thoughts about the world, meditation, parenting, Judaism, pregnancy, teaching, cancer survivorship, moving from West Coast to East and more.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tail Tale

Two days ago on our way from "school" (mine where I work and her daycare), we stopped at beautiful Van Saun park and were just in time for the second to last ride of the day on the zoo train. She was so cute when we went up. She saw the train, got so excited and ran ahead of me after I gave her our tickets. I had to yell "Wait wait wait" as she zoomed right past the ticket guy and try to climb on herself.

Anyway, from the train we saw birds, a rabbit and some llamas. I saw a few other animals too but she didn't spot them.

The next day, unrelated, on the drive to school, she asked me a question about a book she was looking at in the back seat. She wanted to know what "that" was on a pig. It was it's tail. So we talked about tails and what animals have them.

She doesn't forget a thing.

So the next day at the chiropractor while I'm lying down on a table with this machine fixing my neck, I hear her chatting with the other regulars as they come in. (My chiropractor works from a house, so if I could have turned around I would have been able to watch her right there in the next room and I knew just what was going on). Someone walked in and immediately she said,

"I went on the train."
"You did?"
"I saw the aminals."
"What animals did you see?"
"I saw birds."
"Did you see a dog?"
"No, dogs have tail."
"Oh?"
"I don't have tail. I have tushy."

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Teaching Log: Type AAAAAAAA!!!

This has been an incredible school year.

It was my first year back to work for a full day since ND was born. That means working from 8-3:30, teaching 2 second grade classes of almost 20 kids each and caring for a two-year old.

To do this I've become incredibly organized.

And it's worked. Not only have I done the work, but I've done it well. I'm very proud of so many things I've accomplished this year.

But I'm realizing now it's had another effect on me too.

Yesterday I was eating lunch with the other second grade English (as opposed to Judaic Studies) teachers and was really freaking out. "But I didn't do this! And they don't know that!"

They reminded me that I didn't used to think that way. I used to be more laid back, caring foremost that the kids were safe, happy and just learning something useful.

During my first year of teaching -- 8 years ago -- there was a particular teacher on my team who was Type A to the MAX! She had it all under control all the time and accomplished triple what I did every single day. I admired her a great deal, but I also felt tense around her. I think she tended to see the children more in terms of their deficits than their abilities. Eventually, I learned that my talents had more to do with making children feel at home with themselves, even if their work was far more impressive. I truly believed that everything they really needed to learn would come somehow if I just could make a comfortable environment in my room and trust them a little more.

I think I've lost some of that now. I want it back... my idealism, my calm, my imperfectionism. Believe me, I worried a lot then, and failed a lot too, by I had little choice to do otherwise. All first year teachers flounder the majority of the time.

I think I can get the old me back. I just need to trust myself, and the kids, a little more. I bet I'll be a more self-confident person for it.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Off To School

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Manners

Lately ND has been experimenting with rudeness. I've even seen her rehearsing in the mirror how to tell others to keep away from her and things like that. I wonder how much is developmental and how much is from her peers at school.

In any case, when she's mad at me she often says, "I not your friend!" The other day she was saying it to me again and again in the car ride home. I'm not sure if she was mad or just having fun testing her limits.

I said, "I'm not even going to listen to you right now if you're not going to speak to me nicely."

She didn't care, continuing with "I not your friend" for awhile until it began to bother her that I wasn't responding.

So to be nice, she said, "I not your friend... please."

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Un-road Trip

Brother of a good friend of mine (who reads this blog).

Family



My husband's parents... ND's grandparents... were here last weekend. We had a great time together.

In the meantime, at school I've been working with my second graders on their annual immigration project. It's a family history project in which they interview someone who immigrated to America, or interview someone about an immigrant.

The first year we did this at school, I asked my dad about the grandmother after whom I was named and who I never knew. I wrote a little about her immigration with what information we had as a way of practicing the project I was asking of my students.

I realized suddenly this year that I can't ask my grandfather now as he died in 2006. I guess I thought I didn't need to as he'd written a great deal already and I had done at least one project about him in high school. But it made me sad to realize that time had run out on being able to ask him more.

So then, with my in-laws in town, I decided to interview my mother-in-law who immigrated from Poland to Israel as a young child, and from Israel to the states when she was eleven. We'd talked about her history before, but this was my chance to actually document it and I do still need to write it all up.

It's been sad thinking about how all of ND's grandparents are so far away. U. grew up with a grandmother nearby, but I've never had family nearby except when I was living with my parents. Yom Hashoah was about a week and a half ago and thinking, too, about how much family was lost then to so many people really made me sad.

The good news is that we have telephones and internet and airplanes. People haven't always had the ability to go so far away except, of course, through loss. But just as people can go away more easily now, they can also come back.

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