Well, last week I didn’t post to the blog at all. This week I didn’t read a single blog from my Google Reader list of over 300. I feel as though I am a liar if I claim myself to be a book blogger and I don’t read, review, or even blog about life.
While I could make up excuses that it has been a difficult and busy two weeks, the truth of the matter is that I just didn’t feel like it.
Update on Mom
Mom was indeed placed in hospice care and it has been an interesting time of orchestrating all the care givers and medicine schedules. I am delighted to say that her hospice nurse is a lovely woman who gives Mom all the time and care that she needs. She is friendly, knowledgeable, and easy to talk to. Mom has seemed to stabilize now and is doing fairly well….considering.
We have had non-stop visitors for the past two weeks as well. My aunt from Houston came in for three days last week, my son came in Thursday for a long weekend, and my other aunt flew in and out yesterday. It is a good thing that my lesson plans were caught up and I did not have much grading to do during this time period. I have one more relatively “easy” week at school and then the week before spring break will be a mad dash to complete all assessments for the quarter.
I had an epiphany this week. Well, probably not a true epiphany, but I actually experienced what I knew to be true. The first eye-opener is that not all classes are equal. I can teach the same material – the same year – the same way – to two different classes and receive completely different results. Case in point: the 9th graders are reading To Kill a Mockingbird. In years past I have conducted a mock trial after we finish reading chapter 21. There have been times when this activity has been a highlight of the year – and times when this activity has fallen flat. This year I have two English 1 classes: one is a class of eight students, 7 of which are boys. The other class is a class of twelve students, evenly split boys and girls. The class of eight has two “high level” learners, while the class of twelve has at least eight “high level” learners.
The trial in the first class was mediocre at best. While all students managed to bring their scripts, only two were in “costume” and few had truly rehearsed the lines to the point of performance. At the end of the class period I felt as though I had wasted precious class time with this activity.
The second class was the direct opposite. While everyone had a script, all but two had fully rehearsed the lines – almost to the point of memorization. The enactment was filled with proper intonation and emotional acting. Again, all but two had a costume, some quite elaborate complete with wigs and mustaches. Students knew entrances and exits and it was a pleasure to watch this classic scene enacted by such talented individuals.
I anticipate class discussions on Monday to be different as well. I fully expect that the second class will want to delve deep into the injustice that occurred in this court of law. I expect them to dissect Atticus’s closing argument as a piece of literature worthy of study in a high school government class. I expect them to be emotionally charged when we discuss Jem’s reaction to the verdict. I am not so confident that the other class will have much to say. And I feel sorry for them. Yes, the study of lines and creating a costume was extra work – but the dividends were so much greater. For this second class, the mock trial will be a fond memory of their high school career. I just hope that the other class fondly remembers the lessons that Atticus teaches us — even today.
It is nearly the end of the second month of the year and I think it is a good time to review all those New Year’s resolutions that I named on January first. While I have abandoned some and postponed others, I have managed to keep two going strong to the point that I think they have become good daily habits.
If I had to sum up the extent of these resolutions, I think they were all developed to help me create a more balanced life in 2011. I wanted to relax more; I wanted to be in better shape; and I wanted to deepen my spiritual relationship. While I have a long way to go in finding that perfect balance, I have managed to develop a morning “sit up” routine to strengthen my core abdominal muscles and I have maintained daily devotions for eight full weeks.
I discovered a daily Bible reading program that works well for me: a different section of the Bible each day so that I do not become bogged down in the ‘begats’ or ‘thou shalt nots’ that have always plagued me before. I have also discovered that blogging is the perfect way for me to personalize the scripture. In the past I would try to journal, but my hand would always ache and I would become discouraged before the end of the second week. Blogging is quick and easy – and it is a way for me to look back and review my spiritual walk if I so desire. While I doubt that any of you would be interested in reading these personal dribbles, I have set up a separate blog to record these thoughts.
The exercise routine will be increased in mid-March (that is, if the weather cooperates during Spring break) to include what I hope is a manageable cardiovascular routine. I timed the route and it is exactly 1.1 miles to the nearest Starbucks. My plan is to walk to Starbucks, carrying my netbook computer in a backpack – spend a half hour or so sipping a beverage at Starbucks and writing (yes – that is another resolution that has fallen by the wayside) – and then walk home. This will hopefully provide 8-10 miles of walking per week (maybe more) and about 4-5 hours of writing. I will be becoming more physically fit – taking care of my heart (which apparently is genetically prone to health concerns) – and relaxing in an environment that is conducive to my academic pursuits. That is at least the game plan.
Yes, I do continue to read for about twenty minutes before bed, but that does not allow me to finish many books. I have almost completed The Second Journey and have enjoyed this one as much as the other Joan Anderson books that I have read. In this book she speaks a lot about her ailing mother and how she balances those responsibilities with her own personal needs. It is exactly what this woman of the sandwich generation needed to hear.
I still plan to read Jane Eyre over the next couple of weeks in anticipation of the release of the movie in March. I went to see The King’s Speech last night (for the second time) – and the previews for Jane Eyre look wonderful. I think I might be able to coerce a few students to see it with me as an extra curricular school activity.
Well, that is what is happening in my neck of the woods. Not too much in the book blogging arena I am afraid, but I have not given up on returning to that passion in the not-too-near future. Please bear with me.
I hope that all of you have a most pleasant week – and that March chooses to come in as a lamb rather than lion. I, for one, am quite tired of this wild, wacky, weather.