My [redacted] Journey

A teacher's search for inner peace.

Missteps, Mistakes and Mississippi

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July 22, 2014

Dear Readers,

Every year I go back to school forgetting how difficult it is to start back up again. Several things have come together this year to form the perfect storm, not the least of which is less me time.

Last year I had 8th grade and this year I have 7th. Because of this change, I must create all new lesson plans. Right there, less me time. I know, I know, why didn’t I do my lesson plans over the summer. I wish I could have. However, the company with which our school district contracts to create our curriculum, did not have it available until the week before I went back to school.  Thus, I could do no lesson plans over the summer…darn!  I know, I know, I should be working on lesson plans right now.  Misstep.

But I have been doing a little bit of my plans, really.  Here’s the thing, though, I do not create my own tests.  The company the district uses to create the curriculum also creates the tests.  Okay.  I am told what to teach my students, I am told when to teach it to them, and I am told how to assess them.  This would be fine, except the tests are riddled with errors.  And not just simple, “Oops, I misspelled a word,” errors.  But huge, glaring, “I could drive a truck through the holes in this test,” errors.  For example, one test has an excerpt of an informational article for the students to read and then answer questions.  Only problem is, the answer to two of the questions is nowhere in the excerpted article.  I did some digging and found the original article available on-line.  When the test makers took an excerpt of the article, they did not include the part that contained the answers to two of their questions!  And the test only has five questions.  How am I supposed to deal with that?  The tests are copyrighted so I cannot change them.  Administration’s response is to…well, they haven’t gotten back to me as to what I should do.  Mistake.

There is a bright spot in all of this, dear Readers.  Driving an hour to work and an hour home each day is giving me time to catch up on my reading.  No I do not carpool, I drive myself.  I have taken to enjoying audio books.  I have been soooooo reluctant to listen to books.  I enjoy reading books so much so that I cannot even stand Kindles.  I love the feel of a book in my hands, the way the paper crunches, just a bit, as I turn the pages.  I love the way I get lost in the setting of a book and the way my mind envisions the characters, and I was under the impression I could only get lost and envision while my mind was focused on nothing else.  I was wrong, gladly, I was wrong.  I began listening to audio books over the summer while driving to and from summer school.  Not only did the time go by quickly, I found I could still get lost in the setting and envision the characters while driving.  I found I rather enjoy being read to.  It takes me back to my second grade teacher, Mrs. Pickett, and the way she would read a book to us every few weeks.  And that was where my love of reading began.  I have come full-circle.  By the way, I am listening to a book right now titled Sycamore Row by John Grisham.  The central character is a lawyer and of course there is a mystery to unravel.  I can envision the characters and I love getting lost in the setting…Mississippi.

Again, I leave you dear Readers with more of my beautiful pictures.  One of you, dear Readers said it perfectly, “God’s paintings.”  Thank you, DP.  And thank you all, dear Readers for allowing me to ramble my way into your lives.  Peace, ~v.







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