Transitioning from summer break to school is like moving from your cozy home to an erupting volcano. Whatever that means, it's all too sudden and discomforting. Having been in school for two weeks now, I can say it's not all that bad. I'd just rather be on summer break. :)

This school year is already better than last. It took me no time at all to stumble upon this realization; we've only been in school with students for two days. But even the eight days of professional development were better than last year. Chalk it up to experience, I'm certain.

While I would never consider myself "experienced" as a second year teacher, the basic fundamentals of each school day are a breeze compared to last year. By this time last year, I had already argued with a girl before the bell ever rang to begin the first day of school, I had been cussed out by a male student who was suspended for three days, and I had been on the receiving end of countless instances of sexual harrassment. I shudder at those memories.

This year-- no similarities. Not one. Praise the Lord. These students are precious and are widely known as being a class that is much better than the last. I have two pre-AP classes this year instead of one, and I can't contain my excitement. I love them! Everything has gone so smoothly. Not one student has asked me my age, not one has made a crude or sexual remark, not one has talked back to me... but many students and parents alike have made sweet comments. Being "not new" makes such a huge difference. I never would have thought it mattered that much.

I have two main dreads about the probable transition to Fayetteville: 1) leaving three of my best friends (though being closer to others) and 2) having to be a "new" teacher again (assuming I continue in this career). I know I'll still have these experiences which will help me, but I'll still be new to whatever district and to all of those students and parents.

I'm also excited about many of my plans for this year, which was definitely not the case last year. Of course, I'll still grumble about not having as much free time as I'd like--did you really think I wouldn't?--but that doesn't mean I hate teaching unless I explicitly say so (and I would).

Also, for anyone who actually understands, we met AYP last year in Literacy, after being in whole-school improvement for three years!! Wahoo!


Simple Pleasures

If you know me in the context of having visited my home or my classroom, you should know how much pleasure and joy it gives me to be clean and organized. If I could get paid to organize things for people, I would. To those of you who have known me for a long time and think I'm lying, I'll admit I haven't always been this way!

Now, I find it difficult to enter a true state of relaxation if there is something that can be cleaned or organized. It all has to be completed before I can find relief, which is challenging in an apartment with little storage space. I can handle the challenge.

Let me share with you my newest undertaking: the cabinets. Not all the cabinets-- the pots and pans. I found it annoying every evening when I had to unload four pans from the cabinet just to get the one that was on the bottom. Need I even mention the lid issue? Anyone with me? So I fixed it. I forgot to take "before" pictures, but here are the "afters!"

*Sing it with me: "Haallllelujah!!"

You can find these slotted organizers at Wal Mart or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. What you see in my cabinets is actually three different kinds. My pans wouldn't fit in the white ones. Also notice the label still on the silver organizer; I wanted to make sure I was pleased with it before taking that off!

Sure, it's a far cry from perfect. But it's a few trillions better than it was before. We also have two extra large plastic tubs full of more kitchen utensils, gadgets, glass pans. I can't wait to get a larger kitchen! In the mean time, you can find me coveting Rachel Ray's kitchen (which is actually quite small... so nevermind).