Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mobile Mess

My internet keeps dying on us, which is annoying at best. Thanks to my cell phone I can still give you a glimps into the utter wreck my room is right now - moving has always and will always be a pain in the neck. It also puts a damper on me enjoying my last week in my college town. A lot of my friends here are real people and thusly still around. Tonight is my last salsa, at least in Delaware. For now, cleaning, purging, and packing are my focus. That and Guitar Hero (google that. I cant link from my phone).

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Countdown

  • 7:45 - Rise and drive to Philly to retrieve my beloved cousin from the airport sometime after 9:09. Return to Newark.
  • 11:00 - 6:00 - Hang out with Liz and Ana. Try to control progress of the inevitable "freak the heck out".
  • 6:00ish - Back to Philly to see my mother
  • By 12:00 - Settle my many guests in their air mattresses. Get myself in bed! Hopefully... fat chance...

  • 12:00 - 7:00 - Try and probably fail abysmally to sleep.
  • 8:00 - Show up at the stadium in ridiculous regalia. Ponder surreal situation I find myself in.
  • 9:00 - 11:00ish - Sit and sweat. Ponder the reality of this whole thing. Continue to fend off the inevitable freak out. Walk across the stage and receive a most handsome empty folder.
  • 11:00 - 1:00 - Bring my family back to my house. Assure them they will not diseases from anything on the floor. Talk about the surreal situation I find myself in.
  • 1:30 - English dept. ceremony. See procedure for 9:00-11:00ish.
  • Remainder: more family joy, more eating, continued fending off of inevitable freak out, departure of family, wandering Main St. with all the other seniors and my beloved cousin.

  • 9:00 - Depart for Maryland with afore mentioned cousin. Continue to ponder reality of surreal situation.
  • 12:00 - Mass at Divine Word
  • 3:00 - Fiesta, where in my parents realize they just spent a staggering quantity of money to buy me some really weird friends.

And by the way, this is what started the spiral to the inevitable freak out:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Two friends of mine got married this past Saturday. They met in college through the Oratory (the place I've probably spent half of my waking hours as a student), started dating after a Habitat for Humanity spring break trip, and got married in the same church he had his first Communion at. Kevin and Carol Ann are truly two of the nicest and most genuine people I've had the pleasure of knowing, and it was an honor to be present for their wedding.
Almost as much of an honor was being with the hoard of Oratoryites who have come through UD over the years.
About three generations of Oratorians.

At the very end of the reception, right before the bride and groom skipped out -- and I will readily admit the cheese of this, but maintain that all the cheese in the world did not detract from the poignancy of it for me -- the DJ played "In My Life" by the Beattles. Being at a wedding, being a graduating senior (and, by virtue of that, being of a reflective mindset to begin with), being surrounded by friends, and being a sap, it was a rather sentimental moment. It occurred to me, as I stood in an arm-twined-and-swaying-out-of-time circle, that the rate of awesome people in my life is really pretty ridiculous. Especially over the last four years, the stream of remarkable people to come into my life has been constant.

It's sentimental, I know, but at the same time it's authentically amazing. These people who defined my college experience also helped me define myself. I don't know why I'm so lucky, but I hope it's clear how grateful I am.

I mean, if nothing else, what are the odds I would meet so many people willing to join me in this foolishness:

Or better yet, people willing to be photographed doing this:
"Yeah, you shook me aaaaaall niiiiiiight looong..."

Actually, I don't know if they know that picture exists. Or that I have it. Or that I'm posting it.

The point, dear readers, is that I am blessed, and I will carry these hearts with mine for many a year to come.

*None of the above pictures are mine, by the way. This is a departure from my usual policy, but my digital has more or less kicked it. But that is another story for another post.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Question #19

Graded my Juniors' Great Gatsby tests all day. I put one funny question on all my tests because it makes grading 63 of them bearable. Question 19 was:
Miss C. is remarkably intelligent.

with the option to correct false statements (a lot of my kids wrote in even though they answered "true"). The standouts:
  • Not only is she intelligent, she’s stunningly beautiful.
  • If she gives me an A. Psyche! Just kidding. What a fatuous comment.
  • (No response) I would have t get to know you better to make a conclusion.
  • What kind of question is this? Honestly. It has nothing to do with the Great Gatsby. Was this just a moment of random boredness? Well I said you were smart. Happy now.
  • And a super-nerd which is awesome. ROFL copter goes woosh x3 (the rolling on the floor laughing copter is an instant messanger thing I never understood)
  • (Emphatic circling of false) Just kidding! True.
  • Miss C. is amazingly fan-friggen-tastically intelligent. She makes Albert Einstein tremble in his grave
  • She’s a stright up gnarcore teacher. She is hXc intelligent and that’s my word.
  • She does dumb things and isn’t the most intelligent (student's score: 64%)
  • She thinks global warming is real. What a nut case. (I never said that.)
  • She is taking a job that doesn’t pay. But she is remarkably awesome.
  • Miss C. is not only remarkably intelligent, she is also wise, talented, reserved, and master of sculpting young scholars’ minds. A.K.A. Beast of the Teach
  • I am afraid to say false because you might mark me wrong.
What do you say to that?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Punch Drunk

I finished teaching on Thursday of last week. This week is "observation", meaning I'll sit in the back of the room and grade things while my co-op goes back to teaching her (my) students. Evidently, I'm a little punch drunk from this semester and my professionalism with the students is slipping.

I was standing out in the hall when our after-lunch class (sophomores, so they're "little") came in, and I faked a punch at one of the boys, TD. He seemed rather taken aback. "What's gotten into you?"

One of the girls, YA, came over and tipped her head at me. "You're shorter than I thought," she said, and TD nodded.

"Yeah," he said, "we're used to you trekking around the English room like..." and did a dead-on impression of my teacher walk. First of all, I love that he said "trekking". Second, I love that TD, who gives me such a headache and is at least an inch taller than me, walked on his toes to get my walk right. Anyway, it's true. Not only have I given up my 3-inch heels for the semester, I've also abandoned my professional, ram-rod teacher posture, so I may now be a solid five inches under what I have been. "You're kinda short, I'm not gonna lie, Miss C," TD said.

I protested and CW -- another one of my boys who also has a couple inches over me -- said, "No, you are."

Well, fine.

Right as class was starting and I hunkered down with my tower of tests, KG and CW started talking about Spiderman 3, which I had the distinct pleasure of seeing this weekend. I proceeded to talk about it with them even as my co-op was trying to start class, and continued to respond when the kids tried to engage me in side conversations. I am, in short, my own worst nightmare.

On the warm fuzzy side, a few of the kids are on a no-kidding campaign to keep me from going to Texas and to teach at A.I. instead. They think of every possible reason I should stay. Among them:

"It's hot in Texas."
"We already like you."
"You talk too fast. People in Texas won't understand you like we do."
"There's no way the nuns are as much fun as we are."
"No, Miss C, seriously. I actually did good on your test. That never happens."

It's almost tempting, honestly. And the fact that these kids make me almost think about maybe not going after my dream of four years says something -- about them.

Monday, May 7, 2007

It's All Coming Together

That, dear readers, is a cap and gown. My cap and gown, specifically. The one I'll wear in eighteen days, when I'll strut across the stage of the Delaware Stadium, flip that little white Arts and Sciences tassel left to right (right?), and be done with school for the first time in seventeen years.

Oh... and cry. Torrents.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Paradox

The blogs I read probably collectively update in the neighborhood of 100 times a day, so I don't typically do much in-depth reading. A couple, though, always command my full attention. Found this on Whispers in the Loggia:

[A] young man, 22 years old, once took a piece of marble and sculpted in it two of the most deep human sentiments: suffering accepted from the hand of God does not diminish the beauty of the human person but increases it, and -- second sentiment -- even in death, a son continues to have full confidence in his mother. This is the Pietá of Michelangelo, that you can see every time you enter in the Basilica of St Peter in Rome.

Michelangelo, the author of the Pietá, is considered one of the greatest artists in the world. I don't believe it! The greatest artists are the educators -- are you -- because you try to sculpt the best of yourselves, of who you are and what you know, not in a piece of marble, but in living, breathing human beings, who are the glory of God.

-Archbishop Pietro Sambini at the National Catholic Education Association convention in Baltimore last month

As I get closer to the end of my student teaching and my collegiate career, this is a good sort of thing to come across. Before I started spending time in the classroom, I looked at teaching and saw a noble, almost regal, profession. I saw a vocation. Being in the classroom (and the break room, a habitually gloomy place) reveals an exhausting, grinding, often thankless environment. A lot of it was in stark and almost painful contrast to everything I believed about teaching (especially after being in New Orleans in January). I've had to work really hard at not letting it get under my skin.

I realize I'm young and idealistic, but really, how is that a problem? I believe all kids can be taught and, more importantly, that they should be taught. I know some kids are never going to make it past 5th grade math abilities and 7th grade reading skills, but that should not be because anyone gave up on them. I know some kids are beyond my ability to help, especially when I have 32 of them in a room, but I'm going to try anyway. I know teachers never get the resources they need or the credit they deserve, but the kids don't either. I know I'm not a miracle worker -- but I know this guy who is.

I will probably be teaching in San Antonio, and I will probably be teaching some of the kinds of kids that get given up on. I hope -- I pray -- that I remember my idealistic foolishness enough not to be the one who does that to them.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

I Got It!!

An excerpt (I added the links):
Dear Andrea,
Thank you so much for sending your application. We have reviewed it. Your essay answers show depth, commitment, and very worthwhile values. The Lord has blessed you abundantly and it is wonderful that you wish to share your blessings with others. We are delighted that you chose VIDES.
CONGRATULATIONS on your acceptance to VIDES+USA Formation/Service Camp!
We are ready to receive you with a TEXAS-SIZE WELCOME!!!
I just got home (yes, at 4 a.m. -- I am in college after all) and checked my e-mail, and I'm pretty upset right now that no one is awake because after I started breathing again I wanted to run screaming into Becca and Meghan's rooms to tell them the news, and call my parents to tell them, and start calling all my friends. However, it's 4:30 and not a good time to be screaming about anything. I did call the friend I was with until about an hour ago, which was great, but I'd really like to do some roof-top shouting right now.

I can't believe it. I'm so excited! I feel like I used to at Christmas, my little heart is ready to burst!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Last Line

My tenth graders performed the last two acts of Cyrano de Bergerac today. One of my boys (LH), who's been stone silent most of the year, volunteered to play the title character in the death scene. All the other students in that scene tend to "act out" in class anyway. As I expected, the performance was delightful. LH switched between a well-projected reading voice, an overdone and slightly British dramatic oration, and channeling the Pythons, cranky old men, and screaming eels all at once. The play's last line is Cyrano's, and has been judged by my students to be "the worst last line ever, in anything".

LH fell into a classmate's arms, lowered himself gracefully to the ground, and howled the last line: "My white pluuuuuume!"

Unbeknownst to him, my cooperating teacher had come in to watch. As I sat trying to regain my composure and the rest of the group (deservedly) patted each other on the back, LH sat up and grinned out at the class. His face fell when he spotted Mrs Donovan. "Hm," he said, "didn't know Mrs. Donovan was here. That's awkward."

After the frenzy following that brilliant performance dissipated, the topic of "when is Miss C done teaching us" came up. The answer is next Thursday, I told them, and then I thought, Next Thursday?!

I only have four days left with my kids. After working with them every day for twelve weeks, I have four days left. All of college was building up to this fourteen-week decathlon, and I have four days left with my students.

At this point, I don't know how to feel about it. I don't know if I'm personally satisfied with my performance as a student teacher. I know, it's student teaching and it's not supposed to be perfect, but I could have done something more, something better, something else. I don't know. They all get their final tests from me next week; we'll see how that goes. I get my final evaluation from my supervisor and co-op on Tuesday. We'll see how that goes.

As student teaching wraps up and graduation creeps closer, expect more introspection and sentimentality. Consider yourselves warned, dear readers.