Up, reluctantly, at 6:00 a.m., to the sound of my alarm and my own sadly middle-aged groans. I've been going to bed at 11:00 p.m., which isn't early enough for health. Last night I was reading Red Harvest, the Continental Op novel by Dashiell Hammet, and the Op stays up all night drinking gin and then goes out and gets into fistfights with unsavory characters a head taller than he is, and he's forty years old. I'm 37 and not the Continental Op. I'd rather be in bed.
At school at 7:00 a.m. I eat some instant oatmeal and a clementine I brought. I read that getting in a grain or oat breakfast every morning helps your platelet count, which can reduce the risk of morning heart attacks. So I'm making a decent effort not to skip breakfast anymore, no matter how early I get up or how late I am.
I'm here early for Book Club. Yay? The Vice Head runs the discussion, and it was an interesting session. Remember how back in September I got volunteered by the head to lead a discussion? My chapter's next. Oh, good. I have no idea what I'm going to say.
Also, I have been roped into giving a lesson on teaching reading to my fellow K and First Grade teachers. Hey, I can't give any lessons to no teachers! I don't know nuthin' about nuthin'! As T-Bone said, "You're instructing the teachers now? It sounds like you've got them snowed pretty good."
School begins, and I start leading morning activities (calendar and counting) with the class. Give my assistant a bunch of projects: putting together take-home reading folders, making journals, taking back my library books, etc. Give the kids a couple of assignments (writing lower-case Qs and illustrating a poem featuring Q-words). I'm flying by the seat of my pants here.
I also read the kids two versions of a fable so we can learn compare and contrast. When will the administration notice that I'm a fraud and haven't taught the kids anything all year, and carry me out screaming?
The kids write a few sentences about what they did over winter break and illustrate them. This will be made into a class book. I feel like I probably should be doing more in-class, informal assessments. The take-home readers will start soon, and I'm not entirely sure what level everyone is. Oh well, it's only the 78th day of school; surely there's still time to get to know the kids.
Recess! My assistant takes them outside. Thank all that's holy! Get out, you hellions! Some peace and quiet. I spend this time writing a recommendation for R, a shy and very polite boy whose mother wants him to go to one of Our Esteemed Competitors. Recalling the Vice Head's earlier instructions to limit our praise so we can keep
I also prepare a social studies lesson for the part-time kindergarten social studies teacher.
Lunch! The school provides a baked potato and salad for the teachers because it's someone's birthday. Like all my fellow K teachers, I go and grab a plate but do not give any of the three celebrants so much as a card. In my defense, I didn't know this lunch was coming, but it's still kind of being a dick. Nolo contendere.
The kids go to gym today. I spend this time going over the kids' work, taking down some art, tidying up the room, checking my school email, and filling out my rejected conference proposal sheet with actual facts.
When they come back after an all-too-brief half an hour, we have show and tell, and I read them another book.
They have another recess. I take them out this time. Then we go back in and do some math games, both on paper and on the computer.
I leave school very quickly after carpool is over. I go home, take Dog for a brisk jaunt around the block (I'd like to go much longer, but it's kind of cold, I'm very tired, and I'm on a schedule).
Back in the car, drive down to the hospital, visit Father. He seems a bit better, and is at least eating some. He's so very old and feeble and run-down now, and seems very dependent. He used to be a strong, active, strong-willed man. He was given a few weeks to live back in '90 when diagnosed with inoperable cancer, and beat it by basically walking a dozen miles every day to chemo and back. Now, he's not just a shadow of his former self, but actually sharply different in personality than his former self. He never used to be so self-pitying; he always used to be the one who took care of others, but now like a child wants his sandwich cut into four pieces for him. So I did; I don't mind. But I do hope he gets back some of his old spirit.
I go back home and pretty much veg out like a lump the rest of the day.