Useful Junk: An Encore

First things first…a little business here.  Being the cutting-edge technology geek that I am, I have taken the trend-setting step of getting a Twitter account.  Now, since this is something relatively new to the online world, I’m aware that most of you probably have know idea what it is, so I’ll clarify for you.  It’s a…social networking…thingy…that has these little communication methods called…chirps…or tweeties…or something songbird-y, I don’t really remember.

Yeah, I’m way behind the curve.  Whatevs.  But if you want to follow me, please do @SingingPigs1

Now that that’s taken care of, on to the next item of business.

I need a friggin’ break.

I sit around my living room, slaving away for your entertainment, channeling what is left of my creative energies after a long day at work into the most clever (or inane) posts that I can invent with the small hopes of brightening your day.

Being a day-brightener is brutal.

So I called it quits, bought a plane ticket and am now sitting on a beach in Mexico.  Yup.  That’s right.  Half of you teaching suckers go back to work tomorrow, and me…I will be sitting under a straw hut drinking margaritas.

Na na na boo boo.

No worries.  I’ll be back.  But in the meantime, here’s a repost.  It’ll probably be new to most of you anyway, because I first published it when I was an uncool geek with about three readers.  Now that I’ve moved into the big bad world of uncool geekdom of about six readers, I figure I’m allowed to re-post.  And if you don’t like it…

I don’t really care because I’m drinking umbrella drinks in Mexico.

It’s a doozy…five posts within a post.  Oughta keep you busy.  Spread ’em out.  Read one a day.  Pass them on.  Whatever floats your boat.  Or mine, because I’m the one on a beach.  But I suppose I mentioned that already.

Hopes this comes in handy for the first month back after break.  And if you’re a new teacher – read the (Re)Norm.  Could save you a few headaches.

Salud.

Useful Junk:  Post Winter Break Plans

Winter break saves my life.

By mid-December, teachers are usually reduced to a) tears b) babbling idiots or c) snark machines with only minimal sarcasm control.

“Hey, Ms. Smith!”  A student busted into my classroom on the second to last day of finals looking for a colleague who sat chatting with me.

“So, I have an 86% in your class and I was wondering what…”

“NO!” my petite, soft-spoken zen-like colleague bellowed.

“But….”

“NO!”  she hollered again, jumping out of her seat and making a break for the door.

“But Ms. Smith!”

“LA LA LA LA LA!”

She covered her ears and ran down the hallway singing like a five-year old, begging teenager in hot pursuit.

We’re done.  Fried, burnt out, toast.

Whoa.  Cooking words.  Never really noticed that before.  Maybe I’ll start adding some new ones, in the spirit of the theme.

“Holy crap.  December leaves me feeling totally fermented.”

And not in the happy Happy Hour kind of way.

But in the Blessings of Teaching (of which, despite my misleadingly sarcastic tone, I can list many) one of the greatest is the opportunity for Fresh Starts.  Winter vacation is your biggest break.  Did you mess something up big-time first semester?  Were your students completely and spectacularly disengaged?  Did you shock and awe with your mediocrity in the classroom?

Yeah, well.  Happens to the best of us.  So don’t even think about whining, fussy-pants.  Best just tell me…what’re you gonna do about it?

4 Ways to Make Second Semester Better That Don’t Involve Boring Crap Like Reviewing Standards and Benchmarks or Analyzing Data

One day I’ll write a post on how to make standards, benchmarks, data, and other boring crap fun and exciting.  That, however, will first require figuring out how to view boring crap as fun and exciting.  I’m not there yet.  Boring crap still makes me want to dig my eyeballs out with a spoon.

Right.  Off-task.  Sorry.

My promise to you: click on every link in this long-ass blog post (as the links are posted)and I will give you multiple ideas that you can use during your entire first week back.  Think of this as the all you can eat buffet of first week back ideas.  You scan it.  Pick what you like.  Pray to god someone hasn’t sneezed on it.  Try it out, if it’s disgusting you just trash it and go back for something better.

All for little or no effort on your part.

Of course, buffets make you fat, so be warned that if you come sniveling to me about your thunder things and cellulite butt, I’ll just tell you to get off your arse and do your own damn work.

And now, having successfully set my positive and upbeat tone for a better second semester, here are your cellulite-inducing buffet options:

1.  (Re)Norm

2.  Get Excited

3.  Be Nice

4.  Breathe

By the end of this week, I’ll have multiple ideas under each of these topics posted.  Click on what you will (pssst – hey, genius, if you can’t click on it, means it’s not posted yet.  I do have a life outside of blogging… sort of.) and it will take you to the appropriate link.  Steal what looks greasy and appealing, toss the rest in the trash.

But above all things, remember your diet.  Tasty as it may be, nobody can live off of sweet and sour chicken alone, so if you start feeling a little stressed, go back and review the above list.  They’re all necessary.  Through the course of the semester, if you’re having a bad day, I guarantee you’ve let one or more of the above requirements slip.

So get your chubby booty out of the dessert bar and head for some salad.

Because when you’re a teacher, balance is everything.

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