I was told today that I’ve been ‘silent online’ recently, and that’s definitely true. I’m still here, though! Tonight I’m going to give blog writing an honest-to-goodness fighting try. I’ve begun a few blogs over the past two weeks, and they’ve all fizzled into nothing. They almost all start with some variation on the theme, “I’ve been studying.” Then I realize that pretty much all my attention has been sucked up by that studying, so I don’t have much to write about other than elementary pedagogy and linguistics. (For example, did you know that the reason it’s so hard to learn English grammar is because English has Germanic roots, not Latin roots, and grammar rules were first devised by Latin teachers who tried to fit the English language into the Latin rules they were used to? No wonder learning grammar is the bane of all fifth graders’ existence!)
But really, I have had a life of some kind over the past couple of weeks, although the variety of life experiences has been much reduced. What has happened?
1. I have studied. My tests are coming up on February 18 and February 23. As I keep telling co-workers at the library, I will be a different person when those tests are done: a happier person. The tension frown between my eyebrows will (hopefully) disappear and I’ll have a sense of humor again.
2. We have decided to get a hamster at the library. National Library Week is in the middle of April, and the three of us on the planning committee for this momentous week in the world of librarians decided it would be fun to get a hamster and then allow children to participate in a naming contest for the hamster. My vision for the hamster is that it will live in the office that my fellow children’s librarian and I share and that we will bring it out after school gets out and let kids pet it. Maybe we’ll let it roll around the children’s section of the library in a hamster ball. You may think that we’re crazy for wanting to get a hamster. But really, it’s only the other librarians who are crazy because the hamster is my idea and I will be washing my hands of the little rodent and leaving it and its smelly cage in their care in about 2 ½ months.
3. I have studied more.
4. I had a birthday. Having a birthday in January means that I often receive calendars or winter-related items. I tend to not be terribly excited about calendars after years of calendar birthday presents. Neither Mark, nor his parents, nor my parents gave me a calendar. This year, my parents gave me a coat.
Pretty, yes? I told Mark that the amount of teal and turquoise in my wardrobe is reaching a critical level. I don’t want to turn into a turquoise Dolores Umbridge.
For my birthday, Mark and I went to a classy little café in the next town over. We had crepes and good coffee.
Then we spent some time continuing a discussion on ‘family values’ that we started on our 3rd anniversary date in August. We’ve wanted for a while to write down a list of values and post them in a visible place in our house.
The idea is to try to live up to the values. That may seem obvious, but I find, at least for myself, that life gets in the way and I don’t end up really thinking about my values. I only discover later that I’ve passively adopted habits that reflect a rather disappointing value system. So, the hope is that with these values posted in our house, the habits will come as a result of the values, not the other way around.
5. I have taken practice tests and studied the rationales behind the answers on the practice tests.
6. I have gotten a haircut. It was a really not-dramatic haircut. I didn’t have the energy to think of anything exciting to do with my hair.
7. I have found more materials to study and pored over them in an antisocial way at the break room table at the library.
8. I have not read much, other than textbooks and the books that I’m supposed to read in order to lead various book club discussions at the library. For those I’ve read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, which I found both fascinating and then disappointing; Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, which taught me more about the French Revolution than any history class I’ve taken; and am currently reading Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation by Jonathan Kozol, which I sneakily planned into the book club schedule when I was making it last fall because of my interest in Teach For America. Oh, and I've also plowed through 'The Dark is Rising' series by Susan Cooper. Fun, but, as I said, I had to plow.
The tests have undoubtedly stressed me out on occasion over the last couple of weeks. I’ve had a number of optimistic cheerleaders hooting and hollering for me, even when I have felt like I will never pass the tests, which will render my life pretty much worthless. (Did I mention that stress makes me prone to overreaction?)
I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the tests now. But I still may not be ‘here’ much until they’re over!