Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I remember last October when I had to write my first paper for an English Lit class. Because of my parental responsibilities, I couldn't get to it until 3 days before it was due and I was utterly stressed out. A mom of one of Ben's buddies saw the look on my face when I dropped him off at their house the night I was starting the paper. As I walked to my car, she yelled: "Remember, BDP!" Huh? Translation: Big. Deep. Breath. Over a year later, I've never forgotten that phrase and found myself muttering it under my breath (pun intended) all quarter as deadline after deadline loomed overhead. On Monday I was able to not only say it out loud but put it into practice because .......Fall quarter is officially behind me!!! Ahhhhhhhh.....I can feel the stress leaving my body moment by moment.

I've posted intermittently about my quarterly musings, most of them tongue-in-cheek about my classmates and our generational differences. Probably because that's been the most fun to discuss. And also because, after the warnings we received about posting personal info about our teaching experiences on social networking sites, I was completely paranoid that I would never find a job or, worse yet, be kicked out of the program. Even if I talked in code, I was sure "the powers that be" were perusing the Internet in search of violators. I now understand a little better who they were warning and why they were warning them. I'm not out to disparage anyone or vent over my grades or assignments. You have a little more perspective the second time around. All that said, I definitely need to do a "download" of the last 12 weeks' highlights.

Thumbs Up:

  • My "middle schools" class: with only 6 of us in there, everyone of whom was over 5 years post-baccaleaurate, the lively, mature discussions made showing up at 8 a.m. worth it every Tuesday and Thursday.

Thumbs Down:

  • It was the only class that required a meeting during finals week. I did my final presentation and thought I was officially done. On the bus ride home, my classmate informed me that there were grading guidelines posted on our website--of which I had no clue. I missed doing the part that was 50% of the grade. OOPS!! It turned positive when I emailed my professor and explained my ignorance. She extended a lot of grace and let me do an "addendum" after the fact.


  • Having an actual teaching experience in a middle school setting. Planning lessons and spending time with the students was invigorating. My professor's daughter and my son were students at the school so we had an affinity with each other over our love for the building and its teachers. My supervising teacher was Quinn's 6th grade teacher which was another plus.


  • Trying to team teach with a classmate from another endorsement area whom I had no relationship with. And learning later,from someone in another class, that my teaching partner was not fond of me and referred to me not by name but by "that older person." OUCH!


  • Having a professor who was a professional storyteller with a British accent. She brought such enthusiasm and fun to the class and gave amazing feedback to our performances. My classmates were so creative and passionate about their subject areas. Every week I grew to love them more.


  • It was only a two-credit class but we regularly met for 3-4 hours per week, in the middle of the day. And knowing I won't share classes with but one or two of them next quarter makes me sad. Also, I was a nervous wreck all four times I had to get up in front of the class. Crazy.


  • atching my family adapt to their mom and wife being preoccupied by her schoolwork and completely step up and show support and encouragement. Having the boys regularly ask me how class was and Trey taking over carpool while I rushed off for my early morning classes warmed my heart. I found out yesterday that when they shared prayer requests in Ben's class last week, he asked his classmates and teacher to pray for his mom's finals. Double "thumbs up!"


  • Having to say no to "can you have lunch with me?" or "can you pick me up from practice ?" or "did you make it to the store today?" and regularly accepting a messy house, unfinished laundry and cereal for dinner.

It's been a great adventure and one that presses me into uncomfortable places and out of that comfort zone which is always a good thing. Looking forward to a month of no deadlines, clean clothes, nutritious meals and quality time with all my guys. Until I disappear again on January 3rd.