Sunday, November 18, 2012

NCTE Conference

I am at the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Conference and having a great time. I cannot believe the author's I have been able to meet along with the amount of free books I have received. Now the big problem is how I will be getting these valuable treasures home. Shipping media mail I think is what is going to happen. Oh, what problems! I have met Jon Scieszka who writes Guy's Read and Scott Westerfeld who has written among other titels the Uglies series. I was able to talk to these authors and I found out from Scott Westerfeld how he formed the idea for Uglies. He stated that a friend that was living in New York had to move to Los Angeles. Scott, among other friends, was teasing him about being in this appearance driven town. But this is not yet where the idea came from for that series. His friend went to the dentist and after his cleaning the dentist called him into his office to have a discussion about what his plan was for his teeth. "Where would you like to see your teeth in five years?" the dentist asked. His friend replied "What?!" The dentist wanted to make a plan for his teeth so that the teeth were in movie star order (e.g., perfectly straight, white, and no bad breath). Thus, the idea formed in Scott Westfield's mind, a thought that he could not believe a doctor would want to make one change who they are just to fit a mold. Great story, right?! More later about the author's I meet tomorrow!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Anxiety? Frustration? All rolled into one!

Okay, I know that a paid trip to Las Vegas and the ability to meet/connect with fellow educators who teach English and Reading should make me giddy, but it does not. Not only is Las Vegas not my idea of a good time (sorry I do not gamble or do the lovely things Vegas is known for), but leaving my students right now is giving me severe anxiety. No matter what I do to prepare my students for my departure, every time I leave for a training my students fall apart. Why? I pre-teach the lesson that the substitute will have the students working on, I do not introduce new material, and I leave all support materials on my website. What am I doing wrong? Any ideas out there? I also feel that I have soooo much to do, as we as educators ultimately always feel. I feel that no matter what I put for a time frame in my mind, even estimating a longer amount of time, for lessons it always takes two-times longer. Yes frustration and anxiety are my new go to words. Now add on a trip that will take me away from my students for four school days and six days away from my family and I am trying not to rip my hair out or give myself another ulcer (I think I already have one as my stomach is a molton lava pit with a churning of acid). I sit and take a deep breath, just hoping that this time everything will be great. That this time the students will not have a zillion questions for me via the web/mail. That this time I will see the beautifully completed work of my smiling, angelic students. That this time my dream is a reality. Please! Please! I beg that all goes well and I come back refreshed, energized, and renewed to the students who missed me and are eager to learn. No I am not dreaming!