So, if you’re one of the few, the proud, who have followed my journey into figuring out what I want to do now that I don’t need benefits – aka, my mid-life crisis – you’ll know that I’ve recently resigned my “coveted” (ha!) position as Curriculum Specialist and taken a job back in the classroom. I guess I’ll call that Step One.
I’m mixing reality shows, but somewhere between Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader and The Biggest Loser, I know that at some point, a failed contestant has to look at the camera and say, “I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader,” and Bob Greene says to the kicked=0ff contestant “I’m sorry, but you are NOT the biggest loser.” I feel like when I walk off this job on June 14th, I’ll gladly look into a camera and say “My name is Angie, and I am NOT a curriculum specialist.”
And that makes me proud right now. I want to be a teaching specialist…A kid specialist, a learning and reading and thriving specialist, but not a curriculum specialist. Sure you have to have a curriculum – even though I managed to be a successful teacher for many years either without one or without paying attention to one. But I understand you have to know what you’re supposed to teach, and by nature, you need some measure of your and your students’ success with those goals. And since there are thousands of teachers in Texas – hundreds or more of which are not naturally good – there has to be a common assessment.
I don’t want a common classroom, though.
My treadmill broke last week, and it’s been stressing me into a depression. I’ve learned to do my running and walking in the comfort of my pollen-free bedroom while watching Keith Morrison lay out the details of murder after riveting murder. There is no way on earth I’m going back outside in the dark where the mosquitos are and it might be humid and there aren’t – fortunately and unfortunately – any murders to be solved. So I’ve done no running or walking, just cursing a lot at my treadmill and the scales.
So here’s where I’m going with this: The scales are how I measure and celebrate my hard work on the treadmill. But without the treadmill, I am stubbornly content to just watch that number go in the wrong direction and bitch about the broken treadmill – as if that’s how to fix it. Tests are how we measure our hard work in the classroom – Is that the way I’m going to measure and celebrate my hard work with kids??? Of course not! Never have, why start now?!? I want to find alternative ways – aka “the right ways” – to sneekily achieve what our advantaged students achieve – without the moaning and dread and copy machine. I know this is possible. Dear friend, colleague, mentor, in a conversation with a Resource teacher, flailing a STAAR practice workbook and bitching about the broken copier, reminded her that what kids really need to is to be reading. Resource teacher said to friend, “It’s not what your kids need, but it’s what my kids need,” (paraphrasing) to which friend replied, in her head, “My kids don’t need that because they REEEEAAAADDDD!!!!” I know these truths to be self-evident.
So translate, brainiac! (me to self) – If you can find alternative ways to facilitate a learning environment that achieves the same (or better) measures of success in the classroom, why are you so uncreative and unwilling with the running?? You ran outside for decades when it was all you had, but you’ve been spoiled. Would you be complaining about your kids scores if you had given up on them too?
Not sure what the challenge here is, but I think it’s along these lines: You know what the goal is, and you know what your resources are, and you know what you have to do…Don’t blame a broken treadmill for your lack of activity. And don’t ever blame a set of broken standards for your lack of creativity.
I’m not talking about “dieting” in the American twenty-first century sense…I’m talking about diet. I’ve been eating and drinking a lot of crap lately.
Today was my first day of my fourth round of the formerly-popular Insanity workout. My hott husband (then hott boyfriend) and I bought a used boxed set of the DVDs off Craiglist in 2013 and started on April 1st. It was also an all-important English I STAAR testing day for me, and I worked at the high school which required my arrival by 6:45a.m., and I was just coming off a ferocious tib-fib break that had birthed a titanium rod in my left leg, screws in two places, and a cut open and stitched back together knee-cap. Thinking back on it now, I was one tough cookie that year.
But it was all about the challenge then. I was out to prove something.
The next year was good too…it was nice to feel like it was a little bit easier. Last year I was such a slacker. I was scheduled to have surgery at the end of the first month of the two month program, so I knew I was only going to get in one month. I didn’t even do that month with any real vigor.
This year needs to be different. I have added 10 solid pounds to my “normal” weight, 13 since the wedding. I’m forty now. And I’ve made the career decision for August that puts me back in the classroom where I’m happy and know I can feel my best. My motivation has never been weight, and it’s a good thing because Insanity has never made me lose any. But it needs to this year.
So I’ve been announcing to anyone who will listen (my hott husband) that everything goes into high gear today…Insanity in the mornings (second Craigslist boxed set since we wore out the first set), healthy eating all day, walking in the evenings, and alcoholic beverages only for special occasions. It’s only 8:03a.m., but so far I haven’t fallen off the wagon. I have accepted yet another great challenge geared toward self(ish)-improvement. Insanity will work on the outside, but diet has to be the focus to feel better on the inside.
I’m prepared to dress in pin-up fashion this Friday evening for the Art Car Ball. Even if it’s only in my head, I want to feel better about my body from the inside out…and then I’m going to walk out the door with the confidence of someone who doesn’t judge (see yesterday’s post).
I’m also considering whether or not to provide myself some extrinsic motivation…thinking of registering for a half-marathon in some fun place – maybe San Diego?…Pretty sure hott husband wouldn’t mind a surf weekend soon 🙂
No gimmicks, packaged foods, or calorie counting…just good ol’ fashioned common sense and junk-food snubbing. Here goes…
Two weeks to go. Two weeks left in the 30s club. Two weeks to lose more than those pesky five pounds that I can lose for every important weekend (Halloween, concert, etc.) but that find their way back after a couple of days of Indian food, wings, pizza, and no (seriously, no) exercise. Two weeks to be where I want to be when I have to say that I’m 40.
Way back in my late 20s and early 30s, I ran the Austin half-marathon every year. Every year my M.O. was completely different. But one year, I created a playlist on a borrowed iPod. I made sure I had two hours and 35 minutes of music on it – because I knew I better not take longer than that. I alphabetized the playlist, and I estimated what song I should be hearing at each mile marker. Knowing my alphabet would be a skill that would help me figure out if I was ahead or behind my targeted finish time. I probably should have spent this valuable time actually training, but this was so much more fun. The coolest thing ever – that I could not have predicted – was that I ended up rounding the corner of the capital building with the finish line in sight as The Eagles encouraged me to take it to the limit one more time. Tears welling up in my eyes, arms and fists pounding as if I knew how to play the drums…Sing that intro in your head – yes, it was that beautiful.
I’ve scheduled my life out in little increments. I’ve set goals based on high school reunions, weddings, vacations, milestone birthdays – goals that included weight (usually based on pre-determined outfits), career changes, degrees earned…where I wanted to be at what point, and how to know if I was ahead of or behind the deadline (or the curve, now I see).
Now, with this little adventure I started with this blog, I’m looking around at my life as it is, and something just occurred to me. I was really down on myself last night because I haven’t been as hell-bent of a go-getter toward this self-employment thing as I am when I’m blogging more – which is usually when I’m unsettled about something – which is usually when change occurs. I thought to myself (and out loud to my hot husband), “I’ve had all this time to do more toward my goal, and now that I’m all happy with my job and stuff, I haven’t done anything.” (pout)
How pathetic am I? Complaining that my life is so great that I haven’t done anything to change it, and woe is me…I’m going to turn 40 with my life so great that I don’t want to change it…Waaahh!
I’m certainly not trying to brag (though I do have the best husband, kids, a house that I love to be in, a job that right now is my dream job, and wonderful family and friends, by the way), but I think I’ve been so caught up wanting to do something heroic and remarkable, that I’d lost sight of what the picture looks like right. now. It’s like finishing my half-marathon with Take it to the Limit, but thinking about how much cooler the Wonder Woman Theme Song would be. YOU’RE AHEAD OF THE SCHEDULE, WOMAN! Quichyer bitchin!
(Wonder Woman is 64.)