Thursday, November 26, 2009


I know that there are many people who will be listing all of the things they are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Why don't we express our thanks during the rest of the year? It's not that we don't appreciate all of the same things in June as we do in November. Maybe people just need an excuse to be sappy. I usually don't, but today I'm going to write what I am thankful for, today and year round. (I had my students do a lesson like this and I always say I would never ask them to do something I wouldn't do myself. Maybe I'll share this with them!)

There is no particular order for my thanks. I don't want to list and have some things look as if they mean more to me than others. In fact, everything means something to me in it's own way. So here goes:

Things I'm thankful for:

Dunkan. Yes, I'm thankful for my pet. He has unconditional love for me and will always brighten my day. Having him around has helped combat the loneliness I sometimes feel living on my own.

The past 6 months (give or take). I haven't really known the real Sarah until I experienced the biggest heartbreak of my life. Although I would never dismiss the last 3 years, I grew as a person and I learned to love, I appreciate the time to discover who I am. It's hard for me to admit that I have defined myself by the relationship I was in since I was in high school. It's a funny thing to be a 20-something college grad who hasn't discovered anything about herself. (Or maybe that's normal, I don't know) I am thoroughly enjoying being myself, enjoying time with my friends and family, and being able to do things for me and not for "us". It's an amazing feeling. I know that being confident in myself will only make whatever relationship I find myself in in the future will benefit from my being OK with me.

My friends, old and new. I love each and everyone of you. I wish I could list all of the people that mean something to me but I won't because I'm afraid I would forget someone. You know who you are. If it wasn't for my friends I wouldn't be grateful for the past 6 months! (and my whole life!) There were so many people who supported me, listened to me cry, made me laugh, and understood. I only hope that I too have done something to make all of my friends happy.

Being a graduate student. As tired as I am and as stressed as I may become, I am fortunate enough to be able to go to graduate school (however much debt I may land myself in) and meet new people and learn new things. I value education more than most things in life and being able to expand my knowledge makes me one happy girl. I know that the next year and a half of my life will no be easy trying to complete this degree but I also know that I will be filled with pride when I walk across the stage to receive my master's.

My students. I love each and every one of them, all 300 (or so) that I have taught in the 3 years I've been working and even the ones I taught during my student teaching year. These children show me more about myself and the world than I could have every imagined. No matter how much they may get under my skin (I'm sure I get under their skin,too!), I appreciate that they exist in my world. I think about them often. I wish I could take them home sometimes! This year I stand at the door every afternoon and "fist bump" my students as they leave and I make sure to say, "goodbye, have a great day/afternoon/weekend/holiday". Some of my angels (or angel babies as I tend to call them) even created handshakes with me. I love this. It fills me with joy to have inside jokes with my students. I will remember (most of) them for my whole life. I hope one or two of them will remember me. On Wednesday I stood in my door and half of my students gave me a hug as they walked out. If only they knew how much that much meant to me.

My family. I have the most supportive family in the world. Every one of my family members brings something special into my life. I'm glad to have them around when I need them. I am fortunate to have many aunts, uncles, cousins and a grandfather who will listen to me when I need them or who will just have a good time going out and spending some quality time together. I have an amazing extended family from my stepmother who have accepted my family as one of their own. My brother and his fiance and her family love me and never fail to show it. I love being able to be friends with my brother now that we are adults. He really is a wonderful man and I can only hope to find someone who will (1) meet his approval and (2) treat me the way he treats his fiance. My stepsister and stepmother who are shining lights in my life. I know that they will love me no matter what decisions I make but I also know that they will kick my ass into gear when necessary. If I could have picked my second family I couldn't have picked anyone better than these women. My father I saved for last (but I don't want to say I'm most thankful for him even though it may be true!) Every girl should be so lucky to have a father that listens to every mundane thing his daughter has to say. I live for 3pm phone calls with him and weekly dinners. I am so grateful to have him around after a traumatic period in our lives. My father is by far the best friend I ever had and I'm proud to admit that fact.

The traumatic experiences I've had in my life. Not many would admit to be thankful for having two parents who battled cancer and unfortunately losing a mother. I am more than thankful for these experiences because they pushed me to a limit I never wanted to reach. I am a better person for knowing and understanding life and death in such an intimate way. As sad as I may be because of these experiences they make me who I am and I don't think that's a bad thing!

I'm sure I'm thankful for more than these listed here but as I type listening to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and having my eyes fill with tears I can't think of any more. I hope that each person I know finds a way to thank everyone in their life, today and everyday.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Book Review

It's been a long time since I last blogged and I apologize (mostly to myself for neglecting writing). In order to get back in the swing I'm going to write about a book that I finished reading a few days ago.

Have you ever read something that you really want to become a movie? Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job is one of those books. Charlie Asher is the typical "beta male", not too sure of himself but dependable, living in San Francisco. He watches his wife Rachel die shortly after she gives birth to their daughter Sophie. He sees someone in the room at the moment of Rachel's death that no one else can see. Shortly after Rachel's death Charlie finds out he is a death merchant. Not the grim reaper but someone who helps souls pass onto their next life. After Charlie finds out he's a "death merchant" strange things start happening around San Francisco. He finds the strange man he saw at Rachel's passing his name is Minty Fresh and he is by far my favorite character. Minty Fresh is a unreasonably tall, black man who is always wearing a light green silk suit. He is also a death merchant, although Fresh and Charlie aren't supposed to know each other they become what one can only describe as friends. The strange happenings around SF are directly related to the return of Death (with a capital D) and it is up to Charlie to fix the problems. Being a beta male Charlie bumbles around SF trying to save the city from Death.
Moore's humor is what makes this story so enjoyable. He writes the way most people think and his characters, however annoying and needy they are, are likeable. This is the second book by Moore that I have read (Fool which is King Lear told from the Fool's POV was my first) and I plan of reading more!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thoughts on my job....

I can't even begin to explain how annoyed I am when people tell me how "lucky" I am to be a teacher. Don't get me wrong I LOVE my job. I wouldn't do it if I didn't. But for people to be jealous of teaching as a career because of my vacation time is something that really bothers me.

Teaching is just like any other job. I have paper work to fill out, a boss to kowtow to, and a task that needs to be completed. It's just that my job happens between September and June and not all year long. Yes, I get a week off around the holidays; yes I get another week in February and one in April; yes I have to summer off. I understand that not everyone gets this much time off and I'm not saying I'd trade it in but it isn't something to covet.

Most jobs are 40 hours a week and done. I work 40 hours and then some. I come home and plan lessons, grade papers, and stress over my students. My job is my life. I chose this as my career and therefore chose this as my life. If that isn't something that another wants to do so be it. I don't want to work in an office building or in a cube.

The phrase "those who can do; those who can't teach". How about those who teach can do everything. Yes I teach. I teach middle school students the difference between a noun and a pronoun and I explain away gerunds and infinitives as if life will test them on these things someday. My students understand the difference between a colon and a semicolon and when to use them. My students also understand that in life we don't always follow the rules of grammar and until the grammar police start existing that it's OK. I teach my students to pick apart single lines of poetry then I make them write their own. I have my students read Shakespeare before it's required in my district. I make them get out of their chairs and act. I make them stand and stretch and I make them sit in silence while that one kid is taking forever to finish his test. In terms of things a teacher has to do, again, it's everything. I spend my day being an English teacher, a mom, a sister, a friend, an enemy, a nurse, a therapist, an entertainer, and a disciplinarian. How many people have had to practice a lockdown procedure, in case of nutcases showing up in the building, only to have one scared kid look at you, fully knowing it's practice, and say, "what happens when this is real?"? You can see the hurt and fear in their eyes and all you can say in return is, "We are prepared for the worst but I can assure you it will never happen." How many of you would risk your life for a coworker? I would put myself in the line of fire if it meant protecting my students. It's something I've thought about. I would sacrifice myself for them in a heartbeat. Someone has to.
I watch students go through teen pregnancy, drug/physical/sexual abuse (them and their family members) and yet I walk into my building everyday and I smile. I try to remind and teach my students that they can make themselves something even when everyone thinks that they will be nothing. I show my students that even if you grow up in less than ideal conditions you can still follow your dreams. Hell, I show them that you can still have dreams and goals. I am the most stable part of my students lives. If a teacher on my team is absent the students are off the wall. The only structure they know has crumbled and they don't know how to handle the change. I am depended upon by not only my superiors but my students and I drag myself in even when ill to be with them.

I come home with the funniest and saddest stories. I hear and learn about things that I never even knew existed. I laugh at least once a day because I am entertained by the lives of teenagers.

I will never understand the jealousy people have towards teachers. I don't feel jealous of those who work a "normal" job. I love what I do. I have to power to change the world. I have the power to make a difference with the next generation and generations to come.

Don't envy me. Envy my students. Be glad that they have someone who loves them and wants them to do well. You'd love to have me teach your children.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


The idea of home is something I contemplate quite often. I once cross-stitched as sampler: Home is where the heart is. Cute, huh.

If you think about it the saying is true. Home really is where the heart is. Think of all of the people you love and how you feel when you enter their house. I have many friends whose houses I am very comfortable in; I love them dearly and I don't feel like a guest. Same for my family. I can be in an aunt or cousin's house and I feel at home.

I haven't lived in my childhood home for some time. In fact my childhood home is now my aunt's mother-in-law's home. So unlike some of my peers I don't go home to the place I grew up. I don't see my old bedroom unchanged over time. I'm glad. I can go to the house where I grew up and spend my time with my aunt and uncles and cousins and I feel at home. Their second floor apartment was as much my home as the apartment on the first floor. My father lives with my step mom in a different city but I know what no matter what that is my home. I haven't ever felt displaced although the idea of home has had to change as I've gotten older.

When I first moved into my apartment it didn't feel like home at all. The smells were all wrong. All of my important things were packed away. My cat wasn't even here the first night I stayed. It was terrible. I've slowly turned this into my home. I have all of my belongings organized and I buy myself fresh flowers once a week when I go grocery shopping. I have my cat here and although he may be obnoxiously crying at me when I'm not focusing on him I love to have something waiting for me every night. I walked into my apartment a few days ago I plopped myself down on the couch and I looked around.

Home, I thought. This is home.

This is where I will entertain friends and family. This is where I will plan my lessons and complete my school work. This is where I will sleep after long days of work and home. This is where I can do whatever I want whenever I want. I love this.

It's good to be home.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Home again...

I am so bad at this blogging thing so far.

This won't be a full post because I'm really just trying to get myself to fall asleep. I was tired in the car on the way home from Maine about 3 hours ago...what happened?

I'm sorta sunburnt but I'll live. It just makes it very hot and hard to move too quickly without thinking my skin is going to rip. Note to self: more sunscreen, more often, take sun breaks.

Maybe I'll read a little and hang out with the cat. He has been meowing at me since I got home. I wish I could understand what he is saying to me.