Saturday, May 23, 2009

New grass!

So after months of doing it on my own I cheated and purchased sod for the yard. Only $80 worth but did it make a difference. I had been pretty successful in getting the grass to come back but there were some parts that just will not grow. I am pretty soar - probably will sleep through church tomorrow.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Looking Back: My first year of teaching

With all the graduating seniors in the news and emails from friends left behind I have been thinking a lot about my first year in my choosen profession. It seems as if it was yesterday that my dad and I piled into the moving van to embark on a 3 day trip from Pullman, Washington to Midland, Texas. I remember my first morning sunrise in Seminole, Texas some 60 miles northwest. I stepped out of the motel room and the heat hit me like my momma had just slapped me in the face. At that moment I knew my first year here was going to be a rollercoaster ride.

The first day was easy, introductions and rules. The second was the hardest - first off the lesson was too short and the period was too long. That was a long day - especially since I had come to the realization that almost 80 percent of my students were Hispanic (SJJHS is 50 percent Hispanic). That fact, I had come to the conclusion, would be my most challenging task all year. In addition to having to relate to them myself, I had to teach a history that combines the America's early prejudice, slavery and white society with Mexican tradition and culture. How on earth would I teach these kids?

Swifting gears, than we have the house hunting which didn't go well from the beginning. Nothing that we really felt we could afford and the one house I really wanted was on a flood plain. Now it hasn't flooded in Midland since the 1960s but you are still required to have flood insurance. That would have raised a monthly payment by about $200 or so. To bad because that house was pretty much perfect. Nice neighborhood, new appliances, roof, big back yard, and about 1 mile from work. In the mean time we were staying with a family from church who were extremely patient with us and most likely would have let us stay as long as we wanted to. But in late September we found a home for us and although small it is perfect for our needs. Since then things have slowed down, the house is coming together but the initial anguish made the move feel like we would be "one and done."

Back to the teaching part of things. It took awhile but after about 2 months or so the Hispanic thing was no big deal. Although I have my complaints from time to time about the students - such as the laziness and the stupid comments they make on a daily basis - overall I feel that my first year has been a success. But I am ready for a break. Ready for Megan to take on a job this summer. Ready to enjoy some time with MY KIDS. Ready to rub it in that I am finished with school while the entire state of Washington has another month......HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Perhaps the most difficult task to take on was coaching, not teaching. I mean why wouldn't it be - I was teaching Texas History - a subject that I knew nothing about. However, I never felt that it would be difficult. Coaching on the other hand - I had a lot to prove. I mean for Pete's Sake, this is Texas, the football Mecca of the world. I am in the middle of Friday Night Lights. Midland Lee won 3 straight state titles from 1999-2001. The school that was the enspiration for the book, movie and now TV series, Odessa Permain, is 15 miles from here. And yes they do eat, drink, and breath football. Yes they do have morning football talk shows on the AM and FM stations. Yes parents have signs in their yard for which position or sport their child happens to be apart of. And yes, 7th grade Saturday morning football games draw crowds of well over 1,000, parents scream at and stare down a losing coach (only for the first 4 games), and the only success you have is the success within that 100 yards. I proved myself however, proved to be a winner with a team of what everyone told me would be losers. Proved to have the knowledge and the toughness to take on the nation that is Texas football followers. Needless to say I enjoyed it and look forward to next year.