Thursday, January 05, 2006

a severe week

It was a long day at work today, and when I got into my car late in the evening, I was greeted by Billy Joel, blasting from the speakers. I was reminded that life exists outside of work. Strange how I could seem to forget that for 12 hours. "We choose between reality and madness..."
It's been a long week, and especially two very long days since students returned. And I say, shoot, my reality has been madness lately.

Yesterday, on students' first day back, we had a parent meeting in the evening. One parent asked me, "So, did you find the kids had trouble staying awake today as they transitioned back to regular schedules?" I literally had to think long and hard to draw my mind back to the beginning of the day, and I'm sure I had a confused look on my face as I asked, "Was today the first day back? I...don't remember this morning." It seriously felt like five days. But then I did remember a bit of what we did that I shared with them.

As we transition between 2 novels, we're studying the poems of Emily Dickinson. One of my favorite poems ever is "There's a Certain Slant of Light" and ever since I read that, I felt like I could relate to what she was talking about, and I have always seen winter afternoons with different eyes. What I didn't account for, in teaching my students here in Atlanta, is that the effect is not as drastic down here as it is in New England. Perhaps it oppresses even more in Alaska. I shall see... I guess that here there is just less of a tilt to the sun's path, and less of a change in the way the light hits the atmosphere, making it white and bright. So there I was, bearing my heart out, on how I felt that 'heavenly hurt' it gives, and they were looking at me with odd expressions, saying they don't know what she means: summer sun is far more oppressive. I challenged them to write a poem in response. "To You: Emily Dickinson" [ha ha, I laugh because I think Courtney and Mother will get my references.] Or perhaps they will understand the next time they go outside and see with new Emily Dickinson eyes.

Today was such a long day because report cards are due tomorrow. Ideally I would have finished them on Monday, our work day, but unfortunately that was just not as productive a day as I would have liked. There was planning for the week to do, and other little petty things that always take up more time than they should like planning/curriculum work, writing emails to parents, arranging parent-teacher conferences etc. I won't bore you all with the details. I was just talking to fellow teachers about how it's hard to explain our job. People have a feeling for what teachers do, having been students for 12+ years, but it's hard to explain to them what takes up my time post 3:30. Maybe someday I'll get inspired to do it and post it, but I fear it would be a most dreadful boring list.

So that is my week in a nutshell. And since I worked so late today, I didn't take a paperclip home today, and so I am getting to blog to my heart's content. I'm now going to get into pjs, and with some delicious ovaltine, read A Severe Mercy. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is so good. I picked it at a gift exchange with fellow teachers. It was a white elephant for books. I was really tempted to pick up Good Poems, a collection by Garrison Keillor, or Peace Like a River which received wonderful recommendations. But instead I decided to buy those for Mother and Ruth for Christmas, and take A Severe Mercy for myself. Summer, a teacher at my school, said it was excellent. I will tell you just a little bit about it, and while I know that I rarely actually read what someone recommends to me unless they put the book in my hands, I still say read it!

It is a true story written by a man about him and his life. It is a salvation story of their love. He tells the story of their love together - how it grows and is preserved, and is led to real Love. It is written so well that I hang on each word, full of vivid imagery. Part of the book, the part I am reading now, includes letters written to and from C.S. Lewis which, of course, are so well written and hold great insight.

I'm quite thrilled to have comments on my blog. Would that have to do with me actually posting things? =)

Does anyone know how to indent on CSS? I'm looking for a tab-sort of thing. I found 'blockquote' which achieves the above effect, but I'm looking for something that will indent without separating itself from the paragraph above and below as that does with those lines.


CP said...

I am reluctant to admit that I don't get the reference, though it strikes some vague chord at the back of my mind. And thanks for the poems. The certain slant of light makes me wish that I were a character in a Louisa May Alcott novel to experience that 150 years ago at Walden!

kate said...

oo - Archibald MacLeish reference. it should actually be a bit different. The poem is "You, Andrew Marvel"

Anonymous said...

hi kate, yeah, interesting to read about comming back to school from the view of a teacher ;))) I believe it is hard and long. Hope it will get better soon. Take care.

kate said...

aha! I got the blockquotes without those lines! Isn't it bea-U-tiful?