Surprise? . . .
Surprise is not probably the most precise title for this post, even though the accompanying photo demonstrate that word pretty good. Can you help me out? What do you call it when you are expecting surprises to pop up everywhere in your daily life? If you are expecting a surprise, is it really a surprise? Unable to find the right word, I am calling it “the first days of school”. If you could provide a more universal descriptive word for it in the English language please share it. (help me out English majors)
I am back to school and “surprise” plus the knowledge that I will be “surprised” at every turn is how my days are. We have 14 full-days of classes under our belts (not that any of us are counting to the end of the year, yet ;-)). Instead, we are counting the “get to know you”, honeymoon, breaking-in period. The first part of school when everything is new and different. When some things don’t work and still other things are missing or disorganized. (replace the word “thing” with .. schedules, books, students, locker combinations, techie equipment, lessons, etc…). We are far from entering a routine although that is the (goal?) result we will achieve in a few more weeks. For school life, finding “routine” means we are finding sanity again. The trick is finding it without losing the excitement, “surprise” factor that makes learning fun.
My assigned classes this year include four with 7th/8th grade students (double the classes of this age from past years). For the most part, I enjoy this age because they are still eager to learn and try new things. However, this is also the group of students that have the most difficulties adjusting to all the changes moving up to the high school level brings (their first locker, first time moving from class to class, schedules that change day-to-day, etc). Throw in all the hormonal changes they are going through and you can understand the “surprise” factor of daily life I am working through.
As a teacher, I know that keeping the new middle-schoolers actively engaged all hour is extremely important. Sitting at my desk for any reason, is not going to happen. I know all that, but was still “surprised” at how tired I was at the end of the day and frustrated that I had not been able to complete any grading or planning during the school day … dragging home a big bag of work every night can really take the fun out of it.
Not everything is a surprise. I love planning classes and making materials new materials for my computer classes (I often think that I should get a job with an educational materials company). However, it does take a lot of time at the computer in the off hours and is my excuse for neglecting my blog and not visiting your blogs as often as I would like. The “surprises, the “newness”, and the need to be “flexible” and “quick-thinking” all day long are tiring me out (and the first student spread head cold of the year does not help). All together, it makes my job fun and interesting (and I enjoy a challenge) … I am just looking for a little less “surprise” to find a bit more “routine” to bring back some sanity.
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” ~ General George S. Patton
Another fall-out from the constant school surprises is that I don’t have few photos to share with you. Finding time to get outside is really tough. However, my camera sits “shot-gun” on my way to and from school (that is how I got this surprised raccoon) and I try to leave a bit early just in case I need to stop for something spectacular to take a picture of. Believe it or not, I am getting better at the one-handed, through the window shot as I slow down in a timely manner so that my subjects don’t get too spooked or blurred.
Some recent photography subjects are right outside my door and stand perfectly still for hours at a time: Check out my Mush-a-rooms Post at Bear In Sight.