Monday, June 21, 2010

Wow. That's Ridiculous.

Today was day one of my first professional conference. Overall, it's been amazing! Here's something though... this is a professional conference right? And BYU and the cooperating school districts have got to be paying at least $1,500 per person for us to attend.

Why, why, why would so many of the "professionals" attending this conference be messing around on Facebook, browsing all the different models of phones, and talking to each other about inane things during the presentation?

I hope that their students do that kind of stuff to them.

Oh, world... what will become of you?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm Trying Something New

So... this summer...

I've had a lot of conflicting feelings about what to do with myself. This hasn't been a problem for me for a long time. Here's what I've done the past few summers:

2006- School. I took all the pre-requisites for my major so I could apply the fall of my sophomore year. That would include: British Literary History (to 1500), American Literary History, Introduction to English Language (a linguistics class), and Fundamentals of Literary Interpretation. You know, the light stuff. I used to have this goal of graduating from college in 3 years. I can't remember why. I did it in 4, but it was a 5 year program, so I still feel good about that.

2007-A whole lot of working. After so much school the year before, I, for some reason, thought it would be very refreshing to work 10 hour days at the library and then get Friday off. Yay, three day weekends every week! Nope. 10 hours is a very, very long time at a library. (Luckily, I worked with awesome people- hey guys, thanks for reading!)

2008- Class/working. Over the summer I had my YA literature class and a film and literature class. They were so fun and awesome and great! The reading load was kind of heavy, and reading 40 books in 8 weeks was kind of time consuming. I'm also pretty sure that I had some sort of sleeping disorder, because I was tired all the time. So, I was either sleeping or reading basically all the time. Not so bad.
2009- Be unemployed/date future husband. Which was actually a whole lot of work as I was applying for jobs left and right, dealing with constant rejection, and holding all these weird, random temporary jobs. Also, on a wonderfully bright side I spent my evenings with Mike doing fun things. That part was nice.

So, in conclusion, I am usually extra busy during the summer. I was planning on keeping very busy this year too. But, after having spent the last 9 months in high alert panic mode, I have been thinking about taking a break. It is new for me. It is a little strange and uncomfortable. But, I'm going to try it. I'm really not that good at it yet.

Before you judge, please know:
*I still get paid- yay!
*I have plenty of things to do. Like get ready for a big conference in Park City :) And help my sister get ready for MRU. And use the sewing machine my adorable husband bought me. And read books.

Okay. Now judge.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Meta

Happy first day of summer! The year wouldn't feel complete without some end of year reflection. Wikipedia says that "some evolutionary psychologists hypothesize that metacognition is used as a survival tool," and I believe it because thinking back helps you figure out how to move forward. Here's what sticks out to me from this past year.

1. I am setting an example.
In the middle of a presentation on some literary period a student raises their hand.

Student (12th grade boy): Mrs. H., you make your own PowerPoints, huh?
Me: Yes...
Student: I can tell. You always cite everything.
Me: Yeah, I guess I do.
Student (thoughtfully): Mrs. H.
Me: Yes?
Student: You're setting a good example for us. Thank you.
Rest of Class: Yeah, thanks Mrs. H!

That was kind of an odd exchange. But, it made me feel good that they're getting something positive from me. Also, I feel like I should attribute the title of this post to Dr. K. Matthews- my rad American Modernism professor- I think it's funny.

2. Make friends. You need them.
You need to be able to rant, to get second opinions, to share ideas, to borrow Diet Coke money, to sit next to someone during pep assemblies... it's important.

3. Parents May Be Adults, But That Doesn't Mean They're Mature
At a point pretty square in the middle of the year, I got a pretty nasty email from a parent about the grade I had given her daughter on her essay. She went so far as to pass the essay along to a former English teacher and quote his response that strongly implied that I wasn't intelligent enough to recognize her daughter's genius. It hurt a whole lot.

I took it to my department head, showed her my rubric and the essay. And, she was outraged by the immature things the parent wrote. Turns out we all pretty solidly agree that even if your kid is a genius, her essay (about legalizing marijuana- a topic geniuses do tend to dwell on) still needs to meet the essay requirements. And, if you're mean to me, Mrs. R. might maim you. From this one I learned to stick to my guns and not take anything some coddling parent says too much to heart.

4. Reading Makes People Happy!
Hamlet rocked the 12th graders' world (The "Homelet" (Hamlet + omelet) Party didn't hurt either). And, 9th grade girls cried when Romeo and Juliet end their lives. A couple of 10th graders read books in their entirety for the first time in their lives... and they liked them. And, even the surly 11th graders felt good about The Princess Bride.

5. Your Attitude Will Make or Break You
I would be lying if I said I was a ray of sunshine every day... really, really lying. But, I saw very clearly that whatever my attitude was would be the attitude I got back from my classes. When I was excited and happy, my students were too. When I was exasperated and exhausted and overwhelmed they tended to become exasperating, exhausting, and overwhelming. Let's just say, there were good days and bad days, but I want to change the ratio. Because really, why do it if it doesn't make you happy?