Saturday, March 17, 2012

Beth and Her Offspring's Participation in Competitive Sports

Today I was reminded why I never participated in competitive sports. They make me nervous. 

Turns out, watching my kids compete isn't easy for me either.

Joey is going to be on a flag football team this spring, and today were the "assessments".  I thought that meant the kids would do a bit of practicing while the coaches watched them.  Instead, the kids were participating in a draft, which will officially take place tomorrow.
Future Football Star

Although this knowledge stressed me out beyond belief, to the point where my
heart pounded every time they handed him the football and told him to run, Joey was blissfully unaware of the situation.  Some of the kids took these assessments VERY seriously.  My sweet boy didn't.

In usual Joey fashion, he hopped around in excitement the second he got onto the field.  As soon as he realized that high-fives were happily given with enthusiasm, he eagerly participated.  Every chance he had, Joey was giving a coach a high-five.  I even saw him pull a "Down-Low-Too-Slow" on one coach.  Nice one, son.

When they practiced throwing the ball, he was paired against a child who was a football prodigy.  The kid  threw many perfect spirals, and one perfect spiral into Joey's chest, but to his credit, he apologized for hurting him.  I cursed prodigy child in my head the entire time, coming up with other ways I could match them where my son would reign supreme.  I decided that Joey would be a MUCH better reader, and that in a wrestling match, Joey would, without a doubt, kick his ass.

In the 20 yard sprint, Joey's first time was so-so.  While some of the kids set their jaws and ran like they were being chased by green vegetables, Joey ran like he was at the end of a marathon, smiling and waving to Mike and me.  Just before he ran, he yelled, "I love you Mommy!"  I had to admit he seemed like the happiest kid on the field.  However, my competitive streak set in, and I sent my husband over to give him a message.  His second time was much better.  The message?  Run like Sonic the Hedgehog.  Don't judge.  It worked.

During the last trial, however, we discovered our son's strong point.  When they had to run within the cones and pull the flags off the other players, Joey was king.  He moved quickly and with purpose, and was down to the last three kids every time.  Once, he even tackled another kid to get his flag.  Though against the rules, I swelled with pride. 

My little linebacker. 

Beth - 1
Joey - 1
Linebackers - 1
Perfect Football Kid - 0  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wandering Minds

 Lately, I've noticed my mind wandering.

This doesn't mean my mind is wandering more than usual.  It just means I've actually paid attention to my wandering mind. 

For example, the other day, my friend was describing his job. 

"Basically," he said, "I have to put together a year-end statement for the FC . . . " 

A puppet to my thoughts

To be honest, he lost me at year-end statement.  My mind wandered to other things, like what I was going to cook for dinner that night, and whether or not I would use sherry and salt in the green beans.  As he continued, I decided my socks were particularly comfortable at that very moment and that my feet were unusually cute-looking when wearing them.  When I re-focused on what he was saying, I found that nodding and looking appropriately-concerned was sufficient to make it look like I'd payed attention, and that he no longer felt the need to discuss his (super boring) job.  I can say this because I know for a fact he doesn't read this blog.  And because he has a super important job.  And because what I do doesn't interest him either.

Last night, my mom and I went to see a performance by the Cedar Lake Dance Company, which is particularly known for its fusion between ballet and contemporary dance.  While I enjoyed the majority of the performance, I again found my mind wandering during the slower points. 

For some reason, I had a problem with the costumes.  As a result, I focused on what the dancers were wearing rather than their performance.  One of the male performers appeared to be wearing shorts that were very similar to the skirt of his female counterpart.  I imagined more appropriate costumes, alternating colors and styles between the different performers  I'm sure there were more important things to focus upon, but I just couldn't help myself. 

In many ways, this reminds me of my students.  If I had this much trouble paying attention to something I had voluntarily attended, imagine how much trouble they must have attending classes they don't care about.  The answer there is NONE.  They have ZERO attention towards my class.  My guess is that even if I put on my husband's boxer's and pranced about in a tutu I would have very little impression on their lives. 

If my friend had used terminology with which I was familiar, I might have been more attentive.  I've I'd understood the logic behind the costumes, perhaps I'd focused more on the dancing.  But either way, something was preventing me from providing my full attention.  I could have done my best to re-focus, but it was harder than I imagined. 

Teachers, I hope you've learned as much as I have from this post.

Beth  0
Beth's attention span - 0
Average attention span of the teenage student - 0 


Monday, March 5, 2012

A Teaching Analogy

Recently, in the same week, I had a student tell me she wanted to "marry" my teaching (this was a compliment, by the way, because she really likes the way I teach) and another student cuss me out as he stormed out of the room.

And I've come to the conclusion that teaching is the equivalent of horse-back riding.  Sometimes I'm riding bareback in a pristine white cotton dress along a deserted stretch of beach in Fiji.  Other days, the horse uses a tree branch to blind-side me, knocking me off his back into a big pile of dirt.

I just don't know what kind of day I'm going to get when I arrive at work.  Being an English teacher, I couldn't begin to tell you what the odds might be of me landing in the dirt; all I know is that it takes one of the 90 children I see each day to start bucking (still sticking with the horse analogy here) to turn my day upside down. 

Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't have it any other way, but sometimes I wish I were dealing with loyal dogs instead of willful horses.

I just realized that I'm essentially comparing my students to horses and dogs.  I think I'll stop now.

Beth - 0
Hor . . , um, Students - 1