More things

I have applied for another Thing.  This one’s not a residency–I have been looking at residency deadlines and then letting them go by all year, which makes me think that maybe I don’t really want to do a residency.  This one is just money. I had to squeeze in finishing the application around a bunch of other responsibilities this week, but I did it and I did the best I could under the circumstances.

I also sent the manuscript out to another book contest.

Now I should consider what kind of writing plans I want to make for spring break–in just three weeks.

The speed of sound

I haven’t been using my iPod lately when I run, and while sometimes I miss having a really good running tune to help me pick up the pace, overall I think I prefer being able to hear what’s around me, and I am surprised by how often I stumble over a useful thought.  Today, for example, I thought of a discussion activity for my juniors, who have just finished reading Death of a Salesman, and also conceived of a handout which will be called “25 Things to Say about a Text other than ‘It’s Relatable.'”  (If you know of, or wish to contribute your own, existing rants on this subject, please share!)

Stubb took the Snork Maiden to rehearsal, and I’m doing stuff around the house.  In a couple of hours I will head over to SA and do prep for tomorrow.  There’s this batch of AP practice essays I really should get back to one group of juniors tomorrow–the other group got them on Friday–but I wonder whether I have that in me.  Maybe if I break up the batch of 20 into smaller sets–grade 4 at SA, 4 before dinner, 4 after dinner, 4 at home in the morning, and 4 at my desk before class starts.  We’ll see.

Illness as metaphor

I mentioned last May that Hilda van Gleck had decided to return to her hometown, where she is currently enjoying many snow days, and one of the younger history teachers had been chosen as her replacement as assistant head of the high school.  Let’s call him Domino.  (Why?  I don’t know.  Nothing sinister.  He just looks like a Domino.)  I stopped into his office to tell him something today and he visibly flinched, then explained, “I thought you were coming to ask for a sub.  We have eight teachers out tomorrow.”  So it’s definitely Farch.

Today, though, I taught four classes and I was pretty satisfied with all of them, which is not always the case.  I had a fun scene-writing activity planned for my juniors as we get ready to read a couple of plays (A Streetcar Named Desire and Death of a Salesman), and my seniors were analyzing Raskolnikov’s horse dream in Crime and Punishment.  I attended a lunchtime talk by a local playwright who is also coming to one of my classes tomorrow (and to one of Romola’s, which I will probably attend just for moral support), and I wrote an email to the parents of Dinah’s senior seminar about one of the books they are reading (we usually do this when a book with particularly “adult themes” comes up).

Morning carpool has been basically fine, although getting the Snork Maiden up early has been a chore.  It would probably be a kindness to her next year to take afternoon carpool duty instead.

Mornings on horseback

I have morning carpool duty this week, which means that the half hours before homeroom are spoken for. This will be a bit inconvenient on Monday and Thursday, when I have first-period classes, but okay the other days. I do need to make sure the Snork Maiden is on board with leaving the house a bit early, though.

I actually kind of enjoy this duty most of the time, unless the weather is bad.  There’s one kid whose family’s enormous Bernese mountain dog stares at me from the car window.  This dog is focused.  I always crack up.

A swiftly tilting planet

This was a weird week, too.  Stubb was out of town with his parents, accompanying them to some medical specialist visits for his mom, who has been poorly.  My mom, for whose generally robust health I am very thankful, had a long-planned knee surgery, for which I took two sick days.  (I thought I’d get a lot of work done while sitting waiting for her surgery to be over and in her room afterwards while she dozed, but it didn’t turn out that way.  I got about another hundred pages into one of the books the eleventh-grade teachers want to adopt for next year, and that’s it.  Meanwhile, two of my classes took a test while I was gone, and two took a quiz, so there are sixty-ish new pieces of grading waiting for me on Monday.)

The Snork Maiden had rehearsals and a doctor’s appointment and thought she flunked a chemistry test (but didn’t), and I haven’t seen her all weekend because she’s working on a friend’s senior film.  Stubb has a show tonight and is probably going to pick her up afterwards–they’re supposed to wrap by midnight.  Although the Snork Maiden isn’t driving yet, she is starting to make more independent plans, which is partly facilitated by her spending time with students old enough to drive other students.  Also, while she doesn’t have Uber herself, she has sometimes caught rides with other students using Uber. She has also occasionally taken public transportation on her own, although it doesn’t always reach quite as far as she needs to go.

The big news of the week is that the GGE, who has been serving as the interim head of school this year, has announced that he will be leaving SA in June.  Introducing him in this post, I referred to his “considerable school-running responsibilities,” and in the last couple of years those responsibilities have only grown.  (That post, by the way, introduces the teachers whom I now refer to as Dinah and Orsino, back when we hired Dinah instead of Orsino–but then hired Orsino the following year.)  We have a new head beginning this summer, someone I think will be very effective, and it’s probably a healthy thing that the GGE will move on, but emotionally, I think this one will be tough for a lot of us.  It sure is for me.

So there’s a lot of change in the air right now: parents’ health, teenager’s independence, and leadership changes at school. Fortunately, tomorrow brings a nice, concrete to-do list: making a pot of chili for my mom to have in the house when she gets home from the hospital, picking up my aunt at the airport (she’s coming to help out while mom recuperates), grading, prepping, writing, exercising, returning library books, paying bills, writing a summer-institute recommendation for Dinah, answering some emails I didn’t bother with while away from campus. In other words, too much to do to think very much about other things.

A week in winter

It’s been a strange week so far, mostly because my comings and goings have been unorthodox.  Routines and habits are so much a part of my school life: my arrival with the Snork Maiden usually between 7:27 and 7:33; the way I push my purse into the bookshelf behind my desk, leave my cell phone on the windowsill, throw my jacket over the back of my chair, and turn on my computer within a minute of walking into my classroom; the many little routines of my classes; the pour-over cups of coffee I make two to four times a day.  I rarely leave before 4, and often stay until 5:30 or later when the Snork Maiden has rehearsal, as she often does.

But this week I’ve come in late (Monday, 10:00 after the doctor) and early (Wednesday, 7:15 so that the Snork Maiden could do some forgotten homework).  I left early on both those days, too, once because I didn’t feel well and once because I had other business to take care of. Tuesday I left late (after 6). In other ways, all is typical: I’ve taught eight classes, graded nineteen short answers, collected thirty-five in-class essays which I’ll grade tomorrow and Friday, produced a couple of handouts, updated a PowerPoint, hosted a literary-magazine meeting, had another meeting with a couple of student journalists and the journalism advisor, attended a faculty meeting, had a couple of confabs with Orsino and Dr. Tea. But the unusual arrivals and departures combine to make me not quite understand that it’s almost Thursday.  The weekend will be a busy one, with both school and family events; I’ll have to try to carve out some down time for myself.

At least, if my grading goes as planned, I won’t take any grading into the weekend with me.  By the middle of tomorrow, all of my AP students should have written a practice essay either at home or in class (I say “should” because a few of the Lit students didn’t turn theirs in today), and I’m hoping to turn those all back tomorrow afternoon and Friday.  I’ll have some planning to do–notably, the reading assignments for Crime and Punishment–but no grading that can’t wait until the beginning of the week.

Thanks for your good wishes on my thumb/wrist and arm!  The injection site is bothering me more than the thumb/wrist situation, which I guess is good, as it’s more likely to resolve itself without aftereffects.

Arms and the man

Today was the one in the rotation when I have only one class.  Usually it’s a day when I can get a bunch of stuff done, but I feel like I never quite got into gear.  For one thing, I wasn’t at school for the first three hours–I dropped the Snork Maiden off and went to a doctor appointment.  I’d booked online through the HMO website and then got a bit confused about what, exactly, I’d booked.  The nurse told me it was in the computer as an appointment “for a Pap smear,” for which I was indeed due, and because that’s preventative care, I wasn’t charged a co-pay.  I think–it’s been a while since I made the appointment–that the reason I went online to book the appointment was that I wanted to talk with her about the thumb thing, which hasn’t quite resolved, and the online system helpfully suggested I needed a Pap smear, so whatever.  I got the Pap smear, had the thumb conversation, checked on a couple of other concerns.  I have to go back at some point soon to fill a prescription and get a blood test.

I still like the HMO, I have to say.  My doctor seems smart and competent–I like talking with her.  The nurses are brisk but kind, and also competent.  One of them noticed that I was overdue for a Tdap booster, so that got done, too.

Then I went to school and taught my one class, had lunch with Dr. Tea, did a little prep work in my classroom (this day also includes a free period when my room isn’t in use), and, feeling a little under the weather (maybe from the shot–my arm is sore, too), left earlier than usual with the Snork Maiden.  I’ve been home for about six hours, and all I’ve done is read, try to nap, have dinner, watch Jeopardy!, and surf the Web.  Okay, I also spent about half an hour reading about a grant I’m planning to apply for, and figuring out where to send book ms. #2 next.

Now I have to decide whether to go to bed and get up early, or make a push to get at least minimally prepared for tomorrow.  Or maybe some compromise between the two.  Stubb is out of town and returning late, so I guess I’ll check in with the Snork Maiden and see how close she is to turning in for the night.

I can’t lie on the left side because of the sore arm, and the right is awkward because of the wrist brace, which the doctor recommended I wear at night, so there might be a restless night ahead.


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