Thursday, October 17, 2013

October Envy

I keep looking at the blogs from mainland rural people - and they have oodles of apples to can.  I don't think I would like winter much, but it would be so cool to have an abundance of apples that you could just pick and process (I know it'd be a lot of work, but the cheapest I can get apples is $4/lb, and they're far from fresh enough to can well). 

We do have guavas, and three bunches of bananas starting on the red banana trees.  Our mountain apple is growing fast (not a real apple, though).  Even my tiny Meyer lemon tree has four or five baby lemons.  I keep telling my orange,  lime, tangerine, and Brazilian plum trees to get on the job... Even the fig tree, which I thought was dying has a bunch of new sprouts.  So it's not like we're devoid of fruit, but still.  I love applesauce. 

Work has been incredibly stressful, although I know I am putting a lot of the stress on myself.  Yes, I got asked to represent our school at the next standards meeting, suddenly and kind of inconveniently during Imua Week (our version of homecoming).  Yes, I am planning to go to the small claims court with my son to battle the unscrupulous landlord the very next day.  Yes, we have both the PSAT and the big regional championship race.  But those aren't my responsibility - except sort of to find enough course marshals for Saturday.  It was probably stupid of me to also schedule my formal observation next week, too.  I just wanted to get it done, to tell the truth.  

National Boards is stressful on its own, but it's not like I don't do that kind of reflecting on my own - it's just the nitty gritty stuff.  They want certain fonts and formats and one line over means the whole page is discarded and you fail.  I appreciate why they need to be so exacting and detail-oriented, but it does add a certain level of stress.  Also, I really, really hate being on camera.  It's basically a phobia of mine, and the thought of filming my class and then having to watch it over and over and transcribe it and reflect on it is just so insanely appalling to me.  It's like asking someone afraid of bugs to sit in a room crawling with creepy critters repeatedly. 

Unfortunately, both my evaluator teacher and my National Board coach are exactly the opposite of me pedagogically.  In my usual, "blame myself" mode, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I had to make myself like them and felt pretty crappy in general - until I took some time to really think about it.  Although there is room for all kinds of pedagogical beliefs in the classroom and different things work for different kids and different teachers, the way the people assigned to "coach" me teach gives me the cold chills - literally: I read a lesson plan by one of them and it gave me a shudder.   It works for them; it would make me deeply unhappy.  People learn best when they are happy, and me being happy and excited makes my students happy and more willing to take the risks I ask for in their thinking.  

I asked the National Board coach whether teachers from other schools would be considered "community" for one of the entries.  Her reply was it would depend on why you are including that activity.  My first, sarcastic and quickly deleted, response was, "You are useless," because I know why I am including the activity and that was not the question. That's how I know I am stressed.  I usually try to see things from others' perspective - perhaps too much.  I have decided I will go to the meetings and take the materials, but I will have other people read my entries.  I have several friends at other schools who are already Board certified, and our curriculum coordinator has offered to help, too.  There isn't any point in dealing with that level of stress if I can find a work-around.  

On another level, there is my son's security deposit dispute.  Pray for a good outcome for my son.  There is a certified letter in the mail for him (which is problematic as he doesn't live with us and the post office closes before I get off work), which I suspect is the landlord lodging a countersuit.  He doesn't have a case and it is retaliatory, and therefore helps our case next week, but it still is stressful.  My son isn't stressed, but I am.  I just have to get through next week, and then all I have to worry about is NaNoWriMo and National Board, and NaNoWriMo is, again, self-imposed and not a big deal - if I miss a day of writing 1667 words, so what? 


Leigh said...

Oh NancyDe I'm so sorry to hear you are having such a stressful time of it. I so hear you on teaching styles. The same is true of learning styles! Praying for the grace to conquer the stress, also a good outcome for your son. Maybe NaNoWriMo can be your stress reliever!

NancyDe said...

Thanks, Leigh! I think you might be right about NaNoWriMo - writing fiction can be pretty therapeutic!