Monday, August 17, 2015

New Year's Eve Summer 2015

Another summer break has ended which means a New School Year is about to begin. As I find myself looking back at my summer, I reflect on all the plans I made at the end of the last school year as I anticipated my summer break-those plans I completed and those I didn't and I ask myself why didn't I complete them? I also see myself preparing for and anticipating the New School Year, and how to make it better than last year. Sort of like Teachers' Resolutions. Like on New Year's Eve.

I didn't actually make many concrete plans for the summer, as I just wanted to rest. And recuperate. And recover. I just had some small home decorating ideas to further make my mark on my house. Plus, I'd hoped to read more, write more, and maybe get out and shoot some photographs. I did read a little-I started "Game of Thrones" but am finding it overwhelming with its cast of gazillions. I did write a few short passages as I was feeling very stuck due to personal issues. I got out a time or two but didn't find much to shoot due to lack of inspiration as I've shot so many of the places nearby, and wasn't much in the mood to travel far.

One of the two pieces by Hector
I look forward into a New School Year, with a new group of students and a new grade level; third grade, which means a sort of new curriculum as I'd taught third grade for many years before, so I'm somewhat familiar with the curriculum, though the standards have changed somewhat.

The only real definite plan I'd made and followed through with was to visit my mother outside Atlanta, Georgia. It was a quick visit as I'm not fond of the south, due to its climate-both political and weather. Mom is fine, just not as active as she used to be so we really didn't get out and do much. We did celebrate her birthday, at the same place we celebrated last year.

I had been wanting to add to the decor of my house home for some time. So, I bought two pieces of art by a favorite artist of mine, Hector Silva. I finally decided on some Talavera tiles for the soffit in my kitchen which I painted last summer, and some other artwork for my dining room wall which has been unadorned since I moved in. I discovered a buy-one-get-one-free frame sale which then led to a mad dash to find someone who could enlarge black and white film so I could hang more of my photography in my house. And I did.
Two of my photographs
I also began a major improvement to my home which involves professionals and waiting on them to finish is trying my patience. But, it's a lesson to learn. I have no control over what their other schedules are. And I know it will get done. Eventually.

I did, however, spend a lot of time binge watching some television shows I'd missed out on. Thank the gods for Netflix and DVDs. 

One other positive thing I did was start taking yoga classes. I had been wanting to for some time, so I did. It gets me out of the house, gets me some physical activity and tries to teach me to focus my mind on what I should be focusing on (my breathing) and not what I am ruminating on. 

The Talavera Tiles
I didn't get out much for photography sessions due to lack of motivation as a relationship I had had high hopes for began to implode which left me a bit down. And I've covered it here in other posts, so I won't go there again. 

As the New School Year looms, I hope to pour more of my energy into it to distract my thoughts from the relationship's deterioration and prepare myself to maybe possibly consider any future relationship, though I'm not looking, holding my breath nor counting any chickens. 

I had a very challenging class last year, very challenging. While every class has its challenges, there just seemed to be an unusually high number of special personalities in that group. I don't anticipate as many this year, but as I've not met my new students yet, I have no idea exactly "who" will show up. Though I will be better prepared with more challenging lessons to keep them engaged and out of trouble.

One challenge I see is my own self. Over the years I've taught, I've come to realize I'm actually an upper grade teacher but have a hard time dealing with the age and challenges of pre-adolescents. I chose to move to a lower grade this year, from fourth to third, because I might encounter less attitude. But, there's no guarantee. I've seen second grade girls with more diva attitude than Miley and Brittany combined. 

One other reason I changed grades is the class size limit. In my district, the limit for kindergarten through third grade is 24, while fourth through sixth is 27. That's three less students and all their accumulated papers to grade and  record; three less parent conferences; three less report cards; three less profiles; three less cumulative records to fill out. And there's no guarantee I'll even have 24 students.

As I involve myself in my new class, maybe I can get beyond this newest loss, and focus more on just the present moment and more on me to further my personal growth. With less student work to grade and record, maybe I'll be spending less time with it at home, giving me some more free time to get out and socialize more.

And I'll focus more on my breathing as I go from pose to pose further directing my thoughts on where they're more productive and not on something less so.

For more on Hector's art, click here.


  1. Jeff…another year! I remember your post not too long ago about getting a summer break. Has it really gone by so quickly? It doesn't matter, you're doing what you love, so enjoy it. Take it one day at a time. Not that I'm a huge philosopher, but it's important to do the things you enjoy once in a while - write, read, garden, work on your home. I wish I had as much gumption as you but, alas, I don't. Maybe someday. Glad to see you're blogging at least. :) Just enjoy it all!

    1. Sean...yes, another year! Summer break has indeed gone by quickly. It is important to do what we love, even if it is once in a while. Hopefully, I'll get my mindset back to writing more before these characters in my head abandon me forever! as for your gumption, just do it! ��