Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Teachers Write, Day Two - Seeing through a child's eyes

Today's assignment is to take an event from childhood and write about it. I chose something that happened to me in elementary school. 
A class at my elementary school...see the doors?! Every classroom had 2 that opened directly outside!

The Errand

I shuffle step across the hot playground back towards Mrs. Sonty's classroom. The sun is reflecting off the classroom doors...most of them anyways...some have been replaced by plexiglass which is all scratched up now from all the taping and untaping of our work on the door.

I'm the messenger because I'm a good kid. Plus my mom works at the school, but she's in the special education classroom so I'll never have her as a teacher. Fine by me. I get to grade papers for her in the afternoon sometimes and the work they do in there sure looks fun. Not like the purple-ink timed math tests we take in regular third grade.

I avoid the largest cracks in the pavement to save my mother from back aches. I'm a good kid.

The playground between the third grade wing and library wing is the largest at our school. We're lucky because we have three playgrounds and get two recesses a day. This playground is empty right now though so I'm crunching across the gravelly parts of the playground near the hopscotch grid alone.

I'm not excited to get back to class even though it is hot outside. CRACK!

A door flies open and Mrs. Sonty instantly focuses on me. Panic hits my stomach as I put the sharp sound of a rock hitting glass together with where I am and where my feet are and what has happened. It was an accident! I am a good kid.

She is not happy. Brows furrowed behind big glasses. She is as surprised as I am.

I can't exactly say it wasn't me. It was. But it was an accident. Absent-minded feet shuffling across a gravelly playground. If only my feet had the kind of talent that could shoot a rock with dead true accuracy into a classroom door....but they don't. I can barely even kick a giant playground ball when it's rolling directly at my foot.

We trudge into the classroom together. Steaming mad teacher, remorseful good kid. I don't think I convinced her.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Teachers Write Day One! You Come, Too.

This is the first day of Teachers Write. I participated whole-heartedly a couple years ago and then I enrolled in an EDD program so last summer was consumed by professional reading and writing leaving little time for fun stuff. This summer I have completed my coursework and the first three chapters of my dissertation. I am in limbo for the moment between the rock of my paper and the hard place of editing to satisfy my committee. I can't think of a better release than to participate in Teachers Write. 

Today's assignment is to describe where you are...and then describe it again focusing on different senses. I like this assignment. I think it's the same or similar as one a couple years ago, but what great practice! I can see a definite difference between version 1 which I wrote off the top of my head and version 2 which I wrote focusing on one sense at a time. I think the two could be meshed together to form a great intro to a book on how to not finish a dissertation. ;)

Version 1:

Sitting in bed, crossed legs, crumpled blankets. TV is on, but just background noise...like the other tv in the den, also background noise. Dusk is falling behind the sheers over the blinds. If I listen really hard I can hear the cicadas and crickets urging the moon to come out. My phone vibrates, calling my attention away in yet another direction. I am beginning one assignment only to ignore another. My dissertation awaits...

Version 2: 

The gunshot battle on the television reflects the inner battle between sitting in my bed and working on my dissertation. The rat-at-tat-tat of automatic weapons equivalent to the war I wage on myself everyday that I don't work on it. Dramatic music crescendos, but it doesn't rouse me from my bed. Rumpled, slept-in sheets on a casually made bed keep me here. My fingers find the keys effortlessly as I work, but avoid work. The dim light of my nightstand is depressing and mingles with the fading light creeping in from the double-covered windows. I reach mindlessly for my wine glass not really savoring the last few drops of semi-chilled white. I will work on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I Can Haz a Bike? (prequel to A Lesson in Biking)

My Sweet New Ride
I recently bought a bike, and, although I’d ridden bikes over the years, my most recent experience was mostly on those cruddy, non-geared “beach cruisers”. In fact, I hadn't had a 10 speed since I was in 5th grade and my best friend bequeathed hers to me upon moving to another state….over 30 years ago!! (Where does the time go??)

My husband lucked into a sweet deal on Ebay about a month ago leaving me the only member of our family without a bike. I searched periodically on Amazon's and Target's websites hoping to find THE bike that would be just right for me. I diligently perused pictures and read the customer reviews, but nothing ever called my name. The next thing I knew my husband had affixed a bike rack to the back of my car. Things were getting serious. It was time for me that to take the plunge. At Target. Not exactly a bike shop with experienced salespeople.

The shopping process was a little scattered because we had both children with us and I was wearing a dress which makes test riding in the aisles of Target even more precarious than usual. After looking at a few of the women’s bikes and confirming my choice with customer reviews on my phone I settled on a Schwinn Hybrid. It’s brown. Hardly the cute, mint-green ones I’d been eyeing online, but  the time had come to make a decision and the family had just about run out of patience. (Also, the bikes are dangerously close to the toy aisles and my husband and I had already declared this a No-Toy-Trip into Target.)

It was the last week of school, plus I’m in graduate school so I didn't actually take my new bike for its initial spin for 2 whole weeks. I was excited and nervous because some of the reviews from Target.com claimed the in-store assemblage of bikes to be less than reliable.

I hopped on one afternoon in my driveway and was immediately faced with decisions when trying to choose a gear. There are 3 on one handle and SEVEN! on the other. That adds up to like 456 choices of gears I think…way more than the 10 I’d never mastered in fifth grade.

I needed help.

To be continued...