anticipation, that first circle of hell, and the never ending concert

In honor of winding up the school year (or having just finished, depending upon your luck), here’s a word from an epic school band parent.

Phase I:  Excitement and anticipation.

Whether you child plays woodwinds, brass, or percussion (like mine), you will be excited to attend this important event, potentially the performance of a lifetime.  All year your child has been waking up early twice a week to get to band practice, instrument in tow.  Finally you get to hear the fruits of his labor!  You mark your calendar, rearrange appointments, and shuffle any competing extracurricular activities so that the whole family is available to be in attendance.  How often are you treated to a night of FREE musical entertainment, after all?”

The 10 phases of attending a school band concert | Screaming into my Pillow

gratitude: our happy dance on the downhill slide

I know I’m not the only one doing a jig these days.

Parents, teachers, teaching assistants, club leaders, students, PTO, administration, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians…we’re all doing the happy dance.  Some of us right out in the open, some when no one’s looking, but feet are tapping all over the county.

We are on the downhill slide to to summer.  Can I get a hallelujah?

I know, I know…the end of the school year requires a frenetic pace, kind of like a mouse hopped up on amphetamines, but the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is so worth it.  Down days, no homework, a change in plans.  There may be schedules to keep in the summertime, but the idea of getting to basketball camp instead of rushing to homeroom is much more palatable.

It’s so close you can almost taste it.  Are your dancing shoes ready?


My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

How Teacher Appreciation Week Nearly Killed Me Last Year (and How I Plan to Survive This One)

Teachers are da bomb, y’all.  Da. Bomb.

They show up – every single day – no matter what.  Budget cuts, political upheaval, poor working conditions.  Kids from single parent homes, military homes, families living below the poverty line, families who’ve never caught sight of the poverty line.  Kids with no support at home, either because the parents place a minimal value on education or they’re working two or three jobs to pay the bills.

Teachers show up for all of our babies, and they lay it on the line.  Because that’s the only way to reach so many different kids in one classroom.  Because no one goes into teaching for the salary and prestige.

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it’s almost time for high fives and salsa dancing

We’ve got spirit
yes we do,
we’ve got spirit
how ’bout you?

Oh, these long, long days of elementary school…reading logs and flash cards.  Homework folders, #2 pencils, and letter grades.  Field days and cafeteria drama.  Good times.

After enrolling as runny nosed midgets who can’t walk in a line, kids slowly adapt to school culture.  They learn to take turns in the bathroom and use up all the paper towels.  They figure out which kickballs are the good ones and how to get an extra turn on the tire swing at recess.  They even gain an appreciation for certain cafeteria foods.

By the time kids move on to middle school they’ve morphed into nearly functioning humans.

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Forever Family: what to do when the KKK walks out of the history book and into your lives

If you visited the blog yesterday you know this has been an intense week.  Frankly, I’ve downed a lot of Advil and done more than my fair share of stress eating, neither of which really fixed what ailed me.  Beer didn’t help either.  That’s what I get for trying to self-medicate.

Bee recently talked about what it’s like to live in redneckia and it made me laugh.  Then it made me cringe.  Then laugh again.  Because sometimes the world is so freaking distressing, so overwhelmingly frustrating and infuriating, that my only coping mechanism is to find humor in the macabre.  Which is certainly how I categorize the racist sh*t we’ve run into over the last three years or so.

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when the KKK and middle school collide

You might want to skip this one if you’re looking for the typical lighthearted RFTM fare, or you could play whirl-a-post.  I get it, sometimes you just want a fun read, so if that’s the case just go down the right hand side of your screen and click a tag or visit the Greatest Hits page.  But don’t expect me to bring the snark today.

The KKK sucked it right out of me.

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sex, abstinence, and the health class dilemma

Ah, the beauty of middle school.

Social drama and texting.  Girls and P.E. class.  Low man on the totem pole, switching classes, and brand new lunch options.

Plus graduation from a fifth grade puberty discussion to the health class that spans a range of topics including – wait for it – sex education.

Let the good times roll.

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gratitude: capitals, planets, math, and geography

"Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
'cept February..." 

blah blah something...

whatever, February has twenty-eight,
twenty-nine in a leap year.

5-things-i-cant-do

I have a rather porous memory.  Some of my friends had the gift of reading something once and it was lodged firmly in their long term memory; I had to work a bit harder than that, and even then I wasn’t always successful.

I mean, learning the capitals for all fifty states?  Talk about torture.  (And talk about gone.  If that info’s still stored in my brain it’s hiding behind some long lost episode of M.A.S.H. or something.)

Mnemonic devices were my saving grace for everything from remembering planet names to the order of operations.  It’s how I memorized the colors of the rainbow, names of the Great Lakes, and that dessert is spelled with two esses.

Having a brain that needs those connections made me a better teacher, too.  Anyone can lecture from a textbook…I taught my kids tips and tricks, how to link facts together, ways to make learning personal so it’s easier to retain.  The same memory glitches that made me work harder are what helped me find better solutions for the kids whose lives I touched.  Including our own.

Thank goodness for those memory aids.


My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.