Shouldn’t be writing…oh well.

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Super quick…shouldn’t be writing…need to finish grad school paper (among other things)…only giving self 5 minutes to write…only a short list of the current things on my mind…sooo here it goes:

1. I knew I could never keep up with writing a blog.

2. Grad school sucks…as does procrastination–suck it blog you are adding to my troubles

3. My apartment building owes me money…sort of. My car got towed from our lot because there is never any dang parking. I came home very late on Friday…it was dark, cold, scary outside, I had the flu, I was tired, and someone just tried to break in to my apartment last week…you gotta be crazy to think I am parking 3 blocks away and walking. Thus, it was a sad day, but I was forced to park (illegally and what a bad karma deed this was) in…handicap–don’t judge me monkey. Okay, that sounds horrible, I know. However, hear me out–these spots sit open all day and night because there is a limited handicap population at my complex (and by limited, I mean none) and there are never any spots because people park here to go to the bars even when they don’t live here, thus people (like me) who are paying out of the wazoo to live at this overpriced resort get to park in Egypt and walk to our apartments…hence: flu, apartment break in, dark and scary night setting= Meredith pulling a dirty move and snagging a handicap space. Bite me universe, you really made me pay for that one…$230 to be exact. Thus, I believe my apartment building should pay me back because they suck. Probably a long shot…?

4. This reminds me….I had the flu last week. It sucked. I had to miss school on Thursday and Friday. Pros: No school, slept for a solid 15 hours on Friday. Cons: I got behind in all of my work, no school and thus I missed my little rascals (to my surprise), I got behind in all of my work (that is worth mentioning twice).

5. Had dinner at Allie’s house tonight…it was pretty tasty. Butternut squash pasta and good company. It was nice to be around a fellow pre-k teacher :-)

6. Spent about 6 hours watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix with Melissa and Adam…bad acting and our delirium make a pretty amusing pair.

7. Only 3 days of teaching this week–woot woot say whattttt???! Thursday= parent-teacher conferences, Friday= professional development. Still got no clue what I am doing for parent-teacher conferences, but oh well.

8. Had to do report cards for all of my kids tonight…weird. Bet you didn’t think pre-k kids would get report cards, huh? Me either.

9. I am officially taking longer than 5 minutes to write–knew that would happen–and I don’t know why my grammar, punctuation, etc has taken on this quite erratic form but I apologize to those of you who are offended.

10.Random fact to know and tell: I’ve been eating a lot of baked potatoes lately. They are delicious.

11. I am sitting randomly in my apartment buildings office…it is 5am…weird.

12. It was my mom’s birthday on the 18th (Happy Birthday again Mommy, I love you!!!) and I got my kids to sing and dance for her and sent it as a video–wish I could post it but unfortunately I am not allowed to post anything with my kids faces on the internet…something about identity theft or kiddie porn? I don’t know…I am just not allowed. But, if I know you (you probably wouldn’t be reading this if I didn’t) email me and I can share the video with you, if you would like. It’s freaking adorable and my kids are obsessed with themselves and with cameras…sounds like me at that age…”Jill, we had to move Meredith and Cristina away from the mirror today…they spent an hour looking at themselves in the mirror.” hahahaha

13. I get my hair done on Tuesday—FINALLY. Gosh do I need it, I just hoped I don’t turn out looking like a country-bumpkin…whoever knows when you are out in the midwest..ha sike (sort of).

14. I have to go finish my work but……..JONNNNNN COMES TO VISIT ON WEDNESDAY!!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!! SOOO EXCITEDDDD!!! WOO HOOOO!!!

15. This is just one for good measure…who wants to end a list on 14? I will try to write again soon…and possibly stick to a limit of 5 minutes next time.

More details to follow…maybe…probably not.

See ya lata aligata,

Mere

So much to do, so little time and yet…I’m blogging?

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So this will be a short post, but I am up early to do work and have yet to get anything done. I have found that teaching is literally the hardest thing I have ever done–for so many reasons–but one MAJOR reason is that there never seems to be an end to all the things you need to do. I have held lots of leadership positions that were a ton of work and that seemed to be never-ending (cough..vice president of development…cough), but unlike teaching, if I made a solid to do list I could clear the jumbled mess of things I had to get done out of my head, I could sit down and eventually finish the entire list. Teaching is so different. One of the things that makes it so hard for me is that there never seems to be an end in sight. There is always more you could do, always more you could improve, things that would make your classroom or your lesson or your organization system a little more efficient, rigorous, pretty, compliant to standards, effective…and the list goes on. This has been my biggest challenge thus far: PRIORITIZING. I am the type of person who wants to do everything right now: “I need to get all of this done at once because all of this together would make for the perfect classroom and if I am missing one thing I know I will be thinking about how I need to do it or how much better it would be for my kids”…etc. I find all of the “Need To Dos”, “Should Dos”, “Want To Dos”, “Would Be Nice To Dos”, “Would (If There Was Ever Enough Time In The Day) Dos” completely immobilizing. There is so much to do that, too often, I focus on the “Hmm, Maybe I Will Avoid My Problems And Watch TV or…start a blog?…To Do List”. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t spend THAT much of my time on that to do list (just some of the time…like right now). In fact, I could probably invest a little more time on calling some people who I used to know as friends and family…but with teaching it is hard not to feel like every moment should be dedicated to improving my classroom, my lesson plans, my organization system, my behavior management system, my investment plan, my tracking system, my assessments, my classroom centers…or maybe work on my grad school assignments that I haven’t touched?

All of the aforementioned things are the reason that I cannot get on to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc…because once I do, I spend an hour updating my profile or searching new connections (cough..might have just fell off the bandwagon and done that on LinkedIn) and then I get so distracted with having some resemblance of what I used to consider a normal life, that I start thinking crazy things like…”Hmm let me just write (or start?!) a blog because that seems really important right now! I know all that other stuff needs to get done, but this is equally as important!” Oh procrastinating, avoiding brain of mine…please come to your senses and let me be the teacher Teach For America would want me to be (despite their valiant efforts to act like they want us to have “PPA”…aka Personal Professional Alignment): let me put my entire life on hold (not just most of it…ALL OF IT) and focus on nothing but teaching for the next 2 years. Let me eat, sleep, breathe teaching. Let me run each day on 2 hours of sleep and the amount of caffeine that would kill a 300 pound gorilla. Let me plan in to the early hours and yet still be calm, collected, and transformational in my classroom each day. Let me ignore the professional drama of an urban school district and let the hurtful, annoying, insulting or otherwise unpleasant happenings roll off my shoulders. Let me take each day with new eyes and remember the reason that I am here in the first place. Let me enjoy the simple moments of sweetness that come each day in my classroom and ignore those moments that make me question so many things. Let me love the friends I have made and keep the ones at home as close as an 18 hour drive will allow. Let me take the good and the bad in stride, learning that each new experience is just another step in this journey–”these are the times that try men’s souls” but they are the ones I was looking for when I committed to this:  I wanted the hardest experience of my life, something that would change me forever and allow me to leave a place a little better than I found it. Let me see that I am getting everything I asked for in this experience, so let me appreciate that and take every advantage of it. Let me remember all of these things when the times get tough and I feel like I want to run. Let me Teach For America.

So much for a short post. Now that I have effectively wasted an hour on PPA, time for some more work.

Catch ya on the flipsideeee (if anyone besides me is actually reading this),

Mere

P.s. woo hoo…it’s FRIDAY!!!

A sign of a very different place in my life…

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I am blogging? This must mean that I am in a very different place in my life than I was a few months ago. For those who know me, it is not news to you that I am a person who can’t even manage to post pictures to Facebook within a month of taking them–so I am hoping that writing a blog is something I can even maintain…I’m also a little unsure about what I am even supposed to write about in a blog—there are no promises that this does not turn in to a rambling mess, but I know those people (probably the only ones who will actually read this) would expect little less of a Chatty Kathy like me.

That being said, here is to a valiant effort and my very first post.

Kansas City, Missouri. The Mid-West. After hearing these words, the first thing that comes to mind when you are from the East Coast probably has something to do with corn, farms, flat land, cows, or maybe the Wizard of Oz. So when I found out that Teach For America had placed me in Kansas City, I was slightly concerned. I have lived in Maryland my whole life, so to move 18 hours away from everything and everyone I have ever known was a daunting idea to begin with, but the thought of moving to a place that was surrounded by nothing but cows and corn was almost too much to handle. However, I soon learned that my fears were unwarranted because Kansas City is actually a really awesome city! I wouldn’t want to have been placed anywhere else, now that I have experienced the culture of Kansas City–both the culture of the city itself and the strong culture of the TFA Kansas City Corps–and the immense potential for making a serious difference in this school district that has seen so much turbulence over the last decades. In the few months I have been a part of TFA, I have made both friendships and changes within myself that I have no doubt will be lifelong. I have never met a more driven, like-minded, and passionate group of people and I am so extremely proud to be a part of it. Being around my fellow TFAers makes the struggles of the classroom easier and the joys that much better. When I have a crappy day because R or T were running around the classroom and standing on tables and my frustration level is through the roof, it makes the day just a little better when Melissa and I head to Cheesecake Factory and eat our miseries away ha. It is things like Saturday morning brunch with a group of new friends who already seem like old friends and Thursday night Beer Kitchen traditions that make the struggles of this new world more bearable. I miss home—my boyfriend, my friends, my family (especially my mom)—so much, but I thank God everyday for the great friends I have found in this strange new world. It is these new friendships that have started to make Kansas City feel a little more like home—a new, very different home—but still a home with a misfit family thrown in.

So, I have covered new friends…now on to the people who will undoubtedly be the stars of this little dog and pony show: my scholars. I am a pre-k teacher at an elementary school in Kansas City. I currently have 16 students, ages 3 and 4. I had 17, but last week, one of my most promising students moved out-of-state. :-( She will be missed! Well, already my time as a pre-k teacher has given me lots of emotional ups and downs. I have laughed, cried, yelled, and even sat in silence at a loss of how to respond appropriately to a given situation in front of a group of young learners who inspire me every day to keep coming back and work as hard as I can to give them everything that they deserve. I only hope that I can give them as much as they deserve and as much as I want to give to them.

Favorite school-related moment thus far: Going to one of my students’ 4th birthday party. My friend Adam came with me and we had a blast—even though we were the only people there on time because, as the girl’s father said, “This is a Hispanic party, we had to put 4:30 because that means people won’t get here until 6:30″…turns out, this is true. So, I was late to the party (per usual) but still managed to be the first person there. I am actually glad this happened though because I got to help set up and spend some time with the family and really get to know my student’s parents.

Favorite quote from a student: Me: “What’s a word that rhymes with kick?” R: DICK! haha But my friend Adam’s student has a pretty great quote to0..”Ahh (I) hAAAte dis skoo!” haha I’m sorry friend

So I have to go…so much more to tell you all, but we are having another impromptu family dinner and sweet potato fries are calling my name :-)

Catch ya lataaaaaa,

Meredith

Check out the flowers my wonderful boyfriend sent to me when I was having a REALLY tough week. I am so luckyyy. Only a few weeks until I see himmmmm ahh I love him and can’t believe how long we have been apart :-( This is also the very first picture I took in Kansas City with TFAers, still some of my best friends here :-)