Practicing What I Preach

I’m rather at a loss as to how to handle my summer.

While all of my non-educator friends glow green with envy, “Oh, it must be so nice to have summers off!” I, miles from my classroom, in my student-less house with my work emails blocked for the next two months, carefully consider their sentiment.  I think about the young, innocent faces in my classroom.  The responsibility I hold to The Future of America.  The great weight of caring for other people’s children.

Hell, yes, it’s nice!  What, are you crazy?  Who wouldn’t want two months off in the summer?

“No more pencils, no more books!  No more teenage dirty looks!”  I run around giddily in a circle, then collapse in a happy heap.  Oh, what will I do with my day today?  Work in the garden?  Paint the house?  Read a book?  Climb a mountain?  I know!  I’ll call my sister!  It’s been so long since we’ve caught up!

“Teach…why the (bleep)  are you calling me AT 5:30 IN THE (bleeping) MORNING??”

Doesn’t everyone get up before dawn?  I mean, what else are you people doing with your time?

Interesting Facts About Schedules in the Real World

  1.  Target doesn’t open until 8:00am.
  2. The bank, post office, insurance office, DMV, and pretty much anywhere else you might need to go to run an errand don’t open until 9:00am.
  3. The movie theater doesn’t open until 10:00am.

Really?  Because during the teaching year, by 10:00 am I’ve showered, dressed, eaten breakfast, gone to work, prepped for seven classes, taught three classes, ninety teenagers, answered 20 emails, and collected a wad of papers three feet tall to be graded.  Ooooh well.  Guess I’m gonna have to entertain myself for the next four hours until the rest of you sleepyheads wake up.

Interesting Facts About Social Interactions in the Real World

  1. Security guards find it unnerving when you wait outside departments stores at 5am on non-Black Fridays.
  2. The five B’s of dress code (no butt, back, boobs, belly, bra) do not apply to the general public.  Even when they should.
  3. Coffee shop patrons (the only other human beings up a normal hour) find it unnerving when you demerit them for violating dress code.

Perhaps entertaining myself should not include the general public.   I’m an adult.  I can find projects to keep me busy. Maybe I can even learn to sleep in!    It can’t be that hard to fill an empty day.  I’m always complaining that I don’t have time, after all.

So I sat down, made a plan, and prepped myself to fill up the summer without freaking out members of the general public.  I flew to the midwest.  Visited family.  Babysat for my brother. Drank some beer. Flew home.  Packed my apartment.  Moved.  Drank beer again.  Unpacked.  Planted two gardens.  In two different towns.  Went to Peru.  Returned from Peru. Weeded both gardens.  Multiple times.  In two different towns. Went camping.  Went road-tripping.  Climbed a mountain. Had some margaritas. Opened a business.  Worked for new business.  Redecorated home.


twiddling thumbs…


Summer’s not even half over and I’m not sure what else is left.  As soon as the gardens start producing, I’ll harvest, pickle, can and freeze, but in the meantime I’m battling the idle-teacher syndrome of confiscating random strangers’ cell phones for using them inappropriately.

Random strangers find it unnerving when you snatch their cell phones.

It seems, perhaps, that no one can get more done in a day than a teacher (or principal, or just about any educator) used to juggling kids, papers, parents, excuses, discipline, phone calls and emails all within a five minute period.  While the fire alarm is going off.  So instead of fighting my teacher tendencies, I’ve decided that it would be more productive to use them to my advantage.  I can knock out the daily to-do list of the average American in about two hours.  (Provided that I don’t have twenty teenagers asking for pencils or trying to explain to me that their printer broke at 12:01am and therefore they cannot possibly turn in their paper.)  The rest of my summer?  I’ll use it for my own Singing Pigs Professional Development. The bettering of my educational prowess.  Some quiet reflection to ensure that I am the best that I can be.  So after much thought, reflection, and margarita drinking, I present my summer PD plan:

Singing Pigs Summer Professional Development Forum 2013

Essential Question:  How reasonable are my classroom expectations?

Short, sweet, but important right?  I mean, how often do we check in with ourselves on the basics?  I frequently find myself repeating what I believe to be the obvious (no, you may not take a nap, class is not cancelled due to nice weather, stop acting like a dinosaur during lectures, I don’t really care if your cat peed on your homework…) so perhaps I need to re-evaluate and see if the obvious really is so obvious after all.

Learning Targets: I can…

  1.   …identify students’ most common struggles with basic classroom expectations.  Even those that a hairless monkey in a tutu could complete mindlessly after the 893rd repetition.
  2. …design and conduct personal experiments around the actual difficulty of meeting said expectations.  Tweak all experiments so that the outcome proves I am right.
  3.  …record observations.  In a manner completely supporting of my bias.
  4. …use data gathered to be obnoxious to students during the 2013-2014 school year.  And all future teaching years.

Whelp – that takes care of that.  PD Plan done.  Being the natural teacher overachiever that I am, I’ll just knock out Learning Target #1 now and be on my way.  My top three Even A Hairless Monkey In A Tutu Could Do This Given the Amount of Support I Provide You topics:

  1. Be on time.  Having to pee thirty seconds after the bell rings = not on time.  Being in classroom but discussing prom with your BFF = not on time.  Blasting through the classroom door right as bell rings, launching yourself over three rows of desks, and face-planting into your green plastic chair. Not. On. Time.
  2. Come prepared.  A pencil and paper is prepared.  Hell, throw in a textbook if you want to get crazy.  An ipod, cell phone, and tablet with the latest Snapchat app…not so much.
  3. Don’t make excuses. There are no unicorns.  You did not run into a village of elves.  And no, the homework website did not go down last night.  Nice try.

So it begins.  Tomorrow I initiate my Week of Being on Time in order to See if it Really Is That Hard.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, feel free to contribute your Hairless Monkey in a Tutu Could Manage This pet peeves.  You add it, I’ll throw it in to the experiment bag and report back. Under the influence of a margarita or two perhaps, but you have to cut me a little slack.

It is summer, after all.

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2 Responses to Practicing What I Preach

  1. shrinkmuch says:

    Love this!!!!!!!!! Had me in stitches!!

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