I am big on lists.
I make a list at home for groceries, chores and random things that just need to get done. Partially as a reminder to my husband who takes no notice of things unless I literally spell it out for him and partially because I enjoy crossing things off the list.
I like to know that something is done. I like to see that I have confirmed that it is done when I have crossed it off.
Most of the time, the to-do list has no value to anyone but me. The things that I find 'very' important, are probably not even worthy of going on someone else's list. Not even a blip on their radar.
I do not like to procrastinate, I like to get the thing done and know that it is done and then I can relax.
There is always a point in the school year when the to-do list is so long that as quickly as I can cross one thing off, three things take its place.
There is always another point in the school year, when the days are winding down and all the plans are made. The to-do list is actually shorter because I planned ahead, anticipating the to-do lists in the future and not wanting to procrastinate, already did all of the things.
This window of time is always short, but I enjoy it immensely.
I'm not there yet, but I am looking forward to the 'down hill' slide. The to-do list at the end of all of the other to-do lists.
Yesterday I posted about how messy my closet is....I worked on it for a while after school. You can't tell that I have made much progress, but I actually have and I this is how it looks now:
I'I like lists. I like labels.
The problem is that I don't always have the time or energy to label everything as neatly as I would like.
The other day, a student was in my classroom and she said, "Mrs. L* is way more organized than you."
ME: "Why? What makes you say that?"
STUDENT: "She has a bullet journal. I've seen it. It is amazing."
ME: "A bullet journal? I don't need a bullet journal, I keep lists. Why do you think I am not organized?"
STUDENT: "Have you seen your closet over there? It is a mess."
ME: "Just because it looks like it is a mess, doesn't mean that it is. I know where everything is, doesn't that make me organized? And besides, Mrs. L. doesn't teach art. She doesn't need all of the 'junk' that I need for projects and stuff."
STUDENT: "Mrs. Mitchell, didn't you say that we have to all fit in the closet in an intruder drill? How would we all fit, you can't even see the floor in there right now?"
ME: "You might have a point, perhaps I do need to get in there and clean some stuff out."
If you need me, I will be decluttering my room and closet before spring has officially sprung.
*Ms. L's name has been changed for her privacy. ;-)
Nearly every morning, a small group of students make their way into the art room before the breakfast bell.
It is for a short time, after they have gotten off the bus, in which they are hoping to avoid sitting in the gym for 10-15 minutes before the breakfast bell rings.
Sometimes I let them play albums on my record player and we dance around. Other times, I have jobs ready for them like sharpening pencils, unstacking chairs, cutting out circles of cardboard, or passing out papers.
In years past, I have dreaded this group because they either haven't been helpful or it is more work to 'watch' them and it is hard to get stuff prepped and ready for the day when they are in there. But every year, a little group forms....most of them ride different buses and are not in the same class. They just gravitate towards my room and drop their backpacks and announce that they just cannot go to the gym. They simply must wander slowly around the room, looking at everything, asking questions, and telling me about their parents, siblings, church, and anything that pops into their minds.
In a way, they get the inside scoop. They see the 'behind' the scenes work that goes into prepping, writing stuff on the board, and creating examples for the project. Sometimes I get their input, asking what they think about different things I am considering for the day, and getting suggestions for the sketchbook prompt and other things that need to be decided.
Last Friday, the intercom beeped. We all froze.
"Hello?!" "Yes." I repeated a few times. No response.
"Lord. Is that you?" I said, knowing that no one was listening behind the machine.
A 5th grade girl and I burst into hysterical laughter. She got my 'joke' and I told her that I'd always wanted to do that. We belly laughed at the absurdity and the silliness of the whole thing and now it is our 'inside joke'.
We have a few other inside jokes, she asked me once where I had gotten my gold handled scissors and I told her they were a gift from the city.
I love my little 'morning' group. They make me laugh and cheer me up each day and I am thankful.
When I first became a teacher, I had a rough schedule. Each day, I taught a high school art appreciation class. After first block, I travelled to either the kindergarten building or another, farther away elementary school. I had K-2 art classes, lunch duties and since it was my first year, I had to prep everything from scratch.
The high school was equipped with college level text books which weren't practical as there was only about 25 for two classes of 28 to share. So most of the information had to be delivered through lecture. At the time, I was only 23, and some of my students were 18 and they could smell my inexperience and nerves as I stumbled around mispronouncing Italian artists' names and fumbling to answer random questions designed to disarm and confuse me.
There were many things to prepare as I had none of the resources created by the art teacher before me.
There were no slide shows, tests, study guides or anything. I had to cobble together the daily instruction based on my college experience and resources. I also had to turn in copy requests well in advance to a building I had vacated by 9:20 each day.
I tried to make the most of it, by arriving to the high school by 6:30 most mornings (class started at 7:20). That gave me time to look over my notes for the day and make sure that everything was in order. I also stayed until 5:00 each evening so that I could prep supplies for buildings that I was only in every other day. I shared all three of my art rooms so nothing could be left out and everything had to be put away for the other teachers to use when they had classes in that space.
I was so excited to be a teacher, that I didn't realize how hard my first job truly was. I was grateful for a wonderful mentor who supported me and helped me along the way.
When my position changed and year and a half later, I was relieved. Only two buildings, MORE kindergarten classes and less sharing rooms. Third grade was added to my plate, but I didn't have to go to the high school for first block anymore.
I am still really grateful for the taste of teaching high school. It was hard. It was challenging, but it was really good.
I had made relationships with some of my high school students that still exist to this day.
Some of the students that I taught were 15 or 16 at the time, are now in their mid-twenties and participate in my book club, I see them on Facebook posting about the same concerts I am heading to, a few of them are teachers in my school district and they are wonderful adults who still have fond memories of my class. One of my former students just graduated law school and she asked ME to write her a letter of recommendation for the BAR exam.
At a recent PD day at school, I caught up with one of those former students. We were both in the stop motion class, which was taught by her husband. How funny. And so ironic.
I had led my high school art appreciation class through a stop motion project when she was a sophomore or jr. and she told me that she has wonderful memories from that class and that project. I have fond memories of that project too. The students were engaged, working in small groups to make short films with iSight cameras on giant mac computers using modeling clay and wire and construction paper sets they had designed themselves.
In 2015, I had set a goal to read 20 books. I actually read 25.
In 2016, I set a goal to read 30 books and I actually read 38.
In 2017, my goal was to read 40 books and I actually read 41.
This year, my goal is to read 45 books, but I'd truly like to read 50.
In order to accomplish this goal, I am reading three books right now. One book is for my book club and I have it in my purse. It is a small paperback and I haven't read very much of it just yet. I actually started the second book last year but never finished it. It is called The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. It is massive. Not an easy one to carry around, so it sits on my bedside table and I read it before falling asleep.
The third book I am about halfway through is an audiobook. I have a tendency to wake up SUPER early and sometimes having an audio book helps me fall back to sleep or at least stay in bed for a while in the early morning hours. The movie for this book recently premiered, it is called Red Sparrow by Jason Mathews. The movie features Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika Egorova the Russian intelligence officer, which is easy to picture in my mind. I had a little trouble getting into the book the first chapter, but at the end of each chapter there is a recipe for food that mentioned in the chapter, and I really like that. Also, Dominika can see auras around people, which helps her judge their character, which is pretty cool.
I've read 11 books so far this year, so I am about 4 books ahead of schedule. I'm hoping to finish Red Sparrow this week, and Warmth of Other Suns by the end of next week.
Do you have any suggestions for books that I should include on my reading list this year? I need about 30 more ideas!
My husband and I recently got a Red Card. If you haven't heard about this card, it is really helpful if you like to go see a lot of movies at the theater. It is a very expensive habit to go to the movies often, so we don't go as much as I would like. With the red card, you pay $10 a month and you can see as many movies as you want.
The problem with that, is the Joplin movie theater has majorly improved its popcorn game. Seriously. The popcorn has gotten so good lately, that I am going to write an entire post about it. I have also considered running by the movie theater just to get a tub to take home.
Last Saturday, we went to see Annihilation. The movie was okay. Maybe a renter. But watching the movie with that giant tub of hot buttery popcorn made the experience totally unforgettable. My mouth is watering thinking about the yumminess of the popcorn. It isn't too salty, and we asked for layered butter. OMG. So good.
I also had a giant cup of icy coca cola to wash it down. I don't drink soda very often, so when I do, I really enjoy every bit of it. The fizzy, sweet, sugary rush and the salty, crunchy, buttery popcorn, it was like the best treat ever.
Here we go again. Another month of blogging.
This is such a fun writing experience and I really enjoy the opportunity to share more about myself, and to learn more about others. It is amazing what you can learn about someone when they write about their every day life experiences. Every day this month, I am going to try to write about a little 'slice' of my life.
Today, I decided to make a list of topics that I hope to touch base on over the course of this month.
Dentists and doctors
Book club and reading
Favorite guilty pleasures
Tea vs. coffee
movie theater popcorn and the red card
4 word story
Plants--Aloe no green thumb
Hopefully this list will help me drum up a topic if nothing poignant happens from one day to the next.
Preparing for my final slice of the year, I wasn't sure what to write about.
It has been an emotional week.
It has also been a stressful week.
In my last few posts, I've been trying to focus on positive things as I've tried to deal with my emotions and compartmentalize each thing so I could deal with it with the least amount of stress possible.
Last Wednesday, a friend committed suicide.
On Sunday, I learned out that an amazing coworker died.
They say that death comes in 'threes'.
I really hope that that isn't true this time.
I am scared that someone else will die.
On Wednesday, I grabbed my headphones and went to Mercy Park to run up and down some stairs.
Music and a good hard workout allowed me to think and process.
I'm off for now. Hoping for sunny skies and happy times next year.
Last year, I finished my Master's Degree.
Going in, I knew it was going to be difficult, but I didn't realize how accomplished I would feel when it was all over.
It is just a piece of paper.
Most of my colleagues already have degree.
But working full time and actually finishing something so hard felt really really good.
Someday I would love to to take some Master's level art classes for fun. I can also see myself teaching at a university.
My degree is in Educational Administration, but that isn't where my passion is....I had one really great boss who inspired me to get into leadership. Another boss made a comment that has always stuck with me, she said that I was a leader and that other teachers look up to me.....she knew that I have an ability to organize and rally support and that my influence can have an impact on other attitudes. I think she told me that as a cautionary tale. She wanted me to be on her side. And I was.
Even thought I graduated over a year and a half ago, sometimes I look back and wonder how I possibly got through all of that homework and research. Whew. I am so glad that is over!!
The Spiva Sketchbook Project is a year-long project. I signed up last summer and got my sketchbook in September. The books are fairly small, just 8 1/2" X 5". The books cannot exceed 1" thick. I was nervous about signing up for the project, because I was afraid that I would not make it a priority and I would just quit. But I've actually been pushing myself to work in the sketchbook. I don't have to submit it until August, but I've got a fair amount of the book filled up.
The paper in this particular moleskin is quite thin. It isn't ideal for two sided images because whatever you put on one page shows through the page behind it. As a result, I have filled my book with special watercolor paper, thick collages and all sorts of things I have found in magazines over the last 6 months.
It has been fun to carry the book around and have it with me when I am in meetings and stuff. Knowing that there is a deadline means that I actually have to follow through with the little sketches and ideas that I usually just doodle on the edge of a handout and throw away later.
I am really glad that I signed up for the project and it has inspired me to keep a book every year. When I turn this one in, I really want to start another one.
This is my 'slice of life' blog.
My Art Teacher Blog:
This Little Class of Mine
Other Slice Blogs:
62 Days of Cats
Life is a Slice
Wilcox's Slice of Life 2017
Beth's Music Room Blog
WCHS ELL Slice of Life
The Cardinal Way
Mr. B's Slice of Life Blog
Swaim's Slice of Life
Dr. Zornes' Slice of Life
Smith's Slice of Life
Two Writing Teachers
Favorite Everyday Writer: