Thursday, March 26, 2009

Crying and Clinton

Tomorrow will conclude my worst sub assignment ever.

I took a 3-day job teaching 6th grade at an elementary school. I know what you're thinking. Yes, they squeezed 6th graders into all the elementary schools in this particular area and it is not working out.

Yesterday was the worst subbing experience I've ever had. It consisted of:

- kids not listening to me at all
- students running in and out of the classroom for no reason
- lots of tattling
- physical stuff, mainly pushing and shoving (followed by more tattling)
- kids so out of control two policemen were called to the school
- desks thrown and chairs thrown
- kids refusing to do anything when I yell "PICK UP THOSE DESKS!!!"
- me giving a 10 minute speech to my homeroom kids at the end of the day which resulted in
- me crying in front of all the students.

Yes. I cried. Not because of the disrespect I was shown. But because of the lives these kids are throwing away. They don't care about school or their future. They really don't care about anyone but themselves, and they will suffer greatly for it.

Two girls went and told another teacher that I was upset, and when the teacher walked in I started bawling.

I am not one to show my emotions like that, especially in public. ESPECIALLY in front of complete strangers. But I did.

Today, the kids were a lot better.

Not all of them, but some. I still had to call for an administrator to remove one student from my classroom. (He was the one laughing at me when I was crying while all the other kids were yelling at him to shut up.)

Anyways, I returned to the school today, mainly because I had to, but also because I don't give up that easily.

The teacher in the room next to mine was shocked. "You came BACK!?"
I told her that I don't give up easily and she just said, "God bless you. God bless you."

Tomorrow I return again. I just pray for the strength to love these kids and be firm with them. They need that so badly, as weird as that sounds. They need discipline.

* * * * *
On a lighter note, I tried to contain my laughter during one conversation I had yesterday. A student was reading "100 People Who Changed America" and pointing out different incredible people. He got to a picture of Abraham Lincoln and then said, "Do you know who my three favorite presidents are?" I told him I didn't. "They are Abraham Lincoln.... George Washington..... and Obama."
That right there made me want to laugh. But not as much as what followed:
"Do you know who was president when I was born?"
"Hmmmm...." I said. "Let me guess. Clinton?"
"Nope. No, it was uh, it was Clinton's husband."
I had to think for a minute before I realized that I had a generation gap on my hands. The only Clinton he knew was Hillary!!!
Oh, kids.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sick Times Three

Did I mention that I am getting over being sick for the THIRD time in a month and half?

This time, the doctor gave me steroids and stronger antibiotics. He also gave me a cough syrup with codeine in it that made me sick. It was a little bottle of evil and I had to lay on the couch for a few hours in the same position until the room stopped spinning.

Anyways, I think the steroid/antibiotic combo is working and hopefully I'll be back to normalish by tomorrow.

I don't think my body gets along with Houston very well. I have never had such horrible allergies.

It kinda stinks that it's Spring Break (and I actually get Spring Break off) and I'm sick. Not that I was planning on doing a lot of crazy things, but I wanted to get out instead of staying inside all day on the couch.

Maybe I can pack all my fun in tomorrow. ;-)


Monday, March 16, 2009

Fun Being Frugal

One of the reasons I love Austin is because he is very good with money. I mean, he's a financial advisor so that says something in itself. But he has always been good with his money.

Most kids go to Chuck-E-Cheese, get some tokens and then buy whatever they can afford at the end of the day. Austin, on the other hand, would save up his tokens for who knows how long and buy the super nice prizes. Not very many kids have the patience to do that.

I love that Austin is smart with his money. He is generous - he loves giving at church and to missions. But he is also a saver and knows not to blow his money on stupid stuff.

Since we just got married, and since I don't have a job, we have to be smart with money right now. We love to eat spaghetti since it is really cheap. We also have found out some really awesome ways to have fun on a budget.

Austin loves pawn shops. I admit that before I knew him, I had never dared to venture into one. They scared me a little. But Austin has opened my eyes to the world of pawn shops. Yes, they are filled with power tools, electronics, guns and ugly jewelry, but they are also filled with cheap DVDs and VHS tapes. Since we love movies and have a VHS player (bought at a pawn shop), we will go to pawn shops and buy tons of VHS tapes. We actually did this on Saturday. They were 25 cents each!!! You can't beat that.

The pawn shop we went to also had a lot of CDs, which is something I had never seen at a pawn shop before. They were $1.50 each. We got a Jason Mraz album for $1.50. No scratches. Seriously, pawn shops are better than Half Price Books sometimes!

Another thing we love to do is go to the dollar theater. Who wants to pay $9 to see a movie? Not me. We spend $3 for the two of us to see a movie that's been out for a while and take some quarters along with us to play some arcade games!

We also did some inexpensive decorating on Saturday. Austin has a large collection of records - mostly classic rock and big band - and so we bought some record frames at Target and framed four of the album covers. They're so cool looking!

Do you have any money-saving tips? I'd love to hear them!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yay Middle School!

There was once a time during my college days when I couldn't decide if I wanted to teach sweet and cute little elementary kiddos or sassy and cocky middle schoolers.

Somehow, probably by God's grace, I chose the cocky kids.

I am beyond thankful.

I know that subbing is not like real teaching, since you only get to be the "teacher" for a day most times. I know that a sub job is not really an accurate experience of what the class is normally like.

Still, my two worst subbing experiences have been in elementary schools.

I don't know if it's because I just haven't had experience in an elementary school or what, but they have been terrible.

The first was 2nd grade at an open concept school.

Don't know what an open concept school is? Think of a huge room of office cubicles, and turn the cubicles into classrooms. There are no doors and most walls are about 5 feet high. It's noisy and you don't have much privacy. There are points you can stand at and see into four classrooms at once. It's a very 60's design and it pretty much sucks.

Anyways, 2nd grade was not fun. The kids were whiny and tattled on each other every five minutes.

Today I had a fifth grade class. Even though I was actually certified to teach this particular class (it was math/science and I am certified to teach math/science 4-8), I still felt a little lost.

I think because it was at an elementary school. You have to line everyone up in a straight and very quiet single-file line to go anywhere. Impossible.

The fifth graders I had today were so disrespectful. They would talk when I was talking and kids would get out of their seats whenever they wanted. I even had kids leaving the classroom for no reason at all.

I've never experienced anything so horrible.

I also had recess duty, which made me want to cry.

I got another class for recess and since it was raining outside, they came into my classroom to watch a DVD. Except that the DVD wouldn't work on the computer because it wasn't Windows XP or higher. So we tried a VHS tape. That wouldn't work either. So then the kids decided they want to play a game. They start screaming and yelling and fighting and running. I desperately tried to get things under control but the kids didn't really care since they had no idea who I was. The behavior specialist had to come from down the hall (because the kids were so loud) and straighten them out. She gave them an amazing lecture and they sat in silence for the remaining 5 minutes of recess.

I wish I could be that lady. She was my hero.

I gave my class a nice talking to at the end of the day about how horrible they were and how they were representing their school and they should be ashamed of themselves.

I hope that when I have my own class, my students know how to behave when a sub is there. I was truly appalled.

All that goes to say, I love 7th and 8th graders. Most people think I am crazy but I would rather spend a week with them than a day with elementary school students.

Yay middle school.


Friday, March 06, 2009


Do you ever hear a song that immediately takes you back to a different time and place? I'm not just talking about songs that remind you of junior high. I'm talking about songs that seem to transport you to a completely different year, town, season, etc. The lighting seems to change and so does the temperature and even the scent of the air changes. I'm talking about those sorts of songs.

Whenever I hear "More" by Matthew West, I am walking across Academic Plaza at midnight (or even later) after Upstream on a Thursday night. Upstream is a Bible Study that I used to go to during freshman year. It's only for freshmen and it was awesome! I used to go there with my friend Catherine, but since we were in different Bible study groups, we would finish at different times and we never walked back to our dorm together. To keep myself company on the long walk back to southside from northside, I would put my iPod in and turn up the music. I listened to "More" many times freshman year, but I especially loved it as I walked back to my dorm. I would look up at the sky as Matthew West sung those beautiful words...

I love you more than the sun and the stars
That I taught how to shine
You are Mine
And you shine for Me too

I love you yesterday
And today
And tomorrow
I'll say it again and again
I love you more

It it is amazing to be reminded of the amazing love that God has for us. No matter how alone or small and insignificant I feel, God is not going to let go and He will never forget me. Freshman year was so much fun, but I felt very alone a lot of the time. My family was 5,000 miles away and I only knew one person (Anna!) when I started college. The lyrics to "More" were comforting to me. If you don't know the song, I recommend looking it up to listen to it!

It's no secret that I love John Mayer's music (Austin's not a fan, but that's ok). My favorite song is "3x5". It's probably my favorite song, period. Well, if we're not throwing praise songs into the mix. When I hear that song, I am sitting on top of a hay bale, alone, looking at the sunset over the English countryside in the summertime. I didn't like to take walks very often when I lived in England, but I remember this one walk I had that I really enjoyed.

Didn't have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world through both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it
When I'm in the mood to lose my way with words

You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
It brough me back to life
You'll be with me next time I go outside
No more 3x5s

I listened to this song, sitting on that hay bale during summer 2006. It was the last time I was going to be in England for a long time. My family moved back four months later. I guess I was trying to take it all in. There are very few people I know who have experienced that part of my life with me. Austin is not one of those people. No matter how many photographs I show him, he has no way of really knowing what my life was like. Pictures just don't do it justice. Sitting on that hay, I knew that the next time I came back to that spot, I would have him with me (even though I didn't know him then). That day I finally overcame trying to fit the world inside a picture frame. I love that song.

Summer 2007 was another big summer for me. It was the first (and only) summer I took summer school at A&M, and I loved every moment of it. It was also the summer that I met Austin and fell in love (okay, maybe not "fell in love", but I had a crush...). Whenever I listen to Jon McLaughlin's album "Indiana", especially the song "Industry" when I'm driving in my car, I am no longer in Houston/Dallas/wherever. I am in College Station, after class one hot day, with Carolyn in the car, blasting the music, and we are planning something awesome to do for the rest of our day. I loved that summer. I felt so free. We had so much fun hanging out, sharing an apartment, going to Coffee Station and doing completely random things.

Caedmon Call's song "Table for Two" also reminds me of that summer. When I hear it, I am walking across campus one beautiful morning from G. Rollie to Blocker. It was a long walk, and I enjoyed listening to my iPod during the walk. I remember "Table for Two" for some reason. I would be wearing my stretchy pilates pants (I had pilates first, and then statistics), feeling a little self-conscious in such tight clothing, but choosing not to let it wreck my morning. Haha... and then if I was lucky, Austin would be at Blocker waiting for me. Haha.... oh, it's funny to think back to those times. I recently told him about how I felt self-conscious in those pilates pants, but he doesn't even remember them. I'm trying to remember why he was even at Blocker at that time in the morning... I honestly think he just went there to see me. :-)

Wow, it's fun to think of old memories. And those are just a few songs I thought I'd share. Are there any songs that "transport" you to a certain time and place? I would love to hear about them!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

You've Got to be Kidding Me.

Here I am, sick AGAIN, laying on the couch. For the second day in a row.

How did I get sick again only a month after my horrible puking virus? This time, it's sinus junk. That seems to be the story of my life.

I kind of blame myself, though. I told myself that I was going to use my Neti Pot (well I don't actually use the pot anymore, I bought the more extreme version to use) every day. And I didn't. The wedding was near and I was busy and stressed and I couldn't remember to use it every day.

I'm going to get better at it and then hopefully I won't have another episode like this.

When I'm sick, I become a completely different person. I don't care about washing my face or hair or brushing my teeth. I also want to lay around all day which normally drives me crazy.


I really want to cook dinner for my sweet husband tonight so I'm going to go see if I can do it. We'll see.