Thursday, August 21, 2014

Excellent classroom posters

Teaching is more fun when everybody is enjoying themselves.  I've been searching for a motto for the next school year, and I've arrived at one: ruthless positivity.  Nobody and nothing can take my joy if I don't let them.  Broken hardware, bad software, last minute meetings, angry parents, seemingly insurmountable learning disabilities, contradictory directions from higher ups, aggressive students -- these are all depressing realities of the teaching profession.  But last year, I got lost in all the complaints, and I was miserable. Worse, I was ineffective.  Maybe the district didn't notice; maybe I was better than a long term sub, maybe I did make some progress, but not enough.  Why?

I was wrapped up in what wasn't working, so I didn't see what was, and I couldn't make it better.  This year, I am going to dig deep and find what's good.  When there isn't an upside, I'm going to make one, because my happiness belongs to me.  This job should add to it.  Instead of expecting it to do that, I am going to make it do that.  RAH RAH RAH.

Optimism is a choice.  A difficult one.  It's easy to be disappointed, even easier to be angry.  We have to fight to be excited in a world that tells us, always, that it's cool to check out.  Turns out, it's more fun to do what's hard; sometimes, it's so fun it's easy.  The fun - therefore - easy - but - actually - labor intensive way I decided to start this year is with excellent posters of hilarious animal pictures with classroom-related phrases.

Students spend lots of time gazing off into the distance, so I'm hoping they internalize some of these messages in my relentless crash towards happiness.  They're formatted to be printed on 11x17 paper, which can be ordered through Staples.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I've always wanted a long dress with a lace up back!

Hey look!  It has a pocket and everything, and I made it myself.
 This summer has been all about trying to just be exactly where I am.  No plans made more than a week or two in advance, all just doing whatever I want right before I do it.  I thought I'd write.  I didn't, much.  In the summer, late, cool, evenings, it's too hard to sleep.  In the mornings, lengthy breakfasts and long hikes are a treat.  I've knit booties, I've watched seasons of television, I've tried and tried again to container garden.

One of those things which used to fascinate me but that I'd never gotten up the nerve to make -- much less wear -- was a long dress with laces in the back.  Every time I see a dress that even begins to fit this description, it's super racy with a neckline that's too deep for me or made of a material too shiny, foofy, or cheap for my taste.  Turned out, this pattern was a bit too busy and I'm not sure I love the way it turned out; I might split it in half to make a skirt with the piece, and I might leave it as it is.  I'm not sure, but I love the freedom of sitting down to my machine and making something happen.

There's a freedom to having a job: it means that the things I do for me get to be for me.

My plans change all the time.  One week I'll be a writer.  One week I'll make fabric flowers for a living.  Etsy doesn't take off, so I'll make custom skirts, dresses, shirts; sell them online, have my own site.  Then maybe I'll make custom costumes.  The freedom of having a job is that I get to choose what I get to do with my time.  I love sewing these things and thinking about them; it's great, too, not to have to pressure it.

So, here's my strange little creation.