Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Is it odd that I enjoy reading books and watching movies that have nothing to do with reality? I think I get my fair share of reality every day; therefore, I feast on fantasy, science fiction (although, to be fair, science fiction is based on actual sciences) and supernatural fare. I'm watching Fringe right now. Reading Inkspell. And The Graveyard. And writing a new science fiction novel called The Tour.

I'm still putting off reading A Lesson Before Dying. I know. I know. It's a wonderful book. But I really need to see if Meggie or Bod get through their struggles. Seriously, wouldn't you do the same thing?

On a school note, students started passing wafer cookies and playing cards during our Lock-down Drill today. Nothing says "party" like a mock life-or-death situation!

Students 1 Death 0

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cypress is finished

I finished my second novel two days ago. I'm still reeling. I think it is good - much better than my first book. And I love it. Often, when I'm watching my students write at the beginning of each block, I think about my characters as if they are alive. I imagine them as they are at the end of the book. I really, truly love my characters, for they are everything good I believe people should be. Not that they are perfect, for they certainly have their flaws, but they are good, decent people. I love that I created them and added them to my world.

On a school note, I had a student ask me today if I was pregnant. I'm not. In fact, I've lost weight since they first met me. (Sigh) It's days like today I remind myself that the part of the brain that makes rational decisions isn't fully developed until the age of twenty-one.

I also dyed my hair yesterday, which ALL of them noticed. No one looked me in the eye, because they were staring at my head. If their parents ask them what they learned at school today, they'll probably say their English teacher is pregnant and endangered her child by dying her hair. Does that count as teaching?

Students 1 Beth 0

Monday, April 6, 2009

Thirty years and NOW he tells me?

I sat at dinner Sunday night with my parents and husband and heard a very interesting story. My father, a successful ex-Secret Service Agent, told me his experiences in school. I knew he'd been a scrappy kid, notorious for getting in trouble, starting fires, jumping off garage roofs, whatever. But he'd never told me this story before.

I won't bore you with the long details. Basically, he spent eighteen years of his life feeling stupid. He didn't understand basic concepts, struggled with reading and math, and shuffled from school to school because his father was in the military.

My father is intelligent. He is hard working, generous, if not a little tough. But he is not stupid.
And yet he spent all those years thinking he was. I have a very hard time imagining that. I admire him in so many ways. He didn't score well on tests, so they didn't bother to further his education in the military. And then, he met my mother.

My mother graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cume Laude from the University of New Mexico. Currently, she holds two masters degrees and a Bachelors Degree. She supported my Dad when he decided to try college. She helped him with his school work when he needed it. He finally got some support in his educational goals.

I recognize my father in some of my students. His story resonated with me more deeply than any magazine article I've read on the subject. I teach high school English, and I now understand many of my stragglers like I never did before. I'm ashamed to say I didn't see things this way two days ago.

Suddenly, I can't wait for Spring Break to be over. I need to talk to those kids.

Daddy 1 Beth 0