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A Long Day

March 2, 2010

Oh, it has been a day.  A long, long day.  I am exhausted.  I stayed up much too late last night cramming about comprehension, and worrying about doing something really bad.  I talked to a friend of a friend who was a reading specialist in a high school, and she made me feel much better.  I am amazed that college students still need instruction on fact or opinion.  It boggles my mind, but at least I know how to teach that.   I also woke up much too early thinking of all of the things that needed to be done by my 2:00 interview.

The good thing:  I was too busy to get nervous.   I went shopping and bought all basics in black:  long skirt, short skirt, dress pants, blazer.  I also bought a plain white blouse and a knit turtle neck (that was dressy) in a nice deep pink.  And….I bought TWO PAIR of kick-ass boots!  One pair with big heels, one pair without heels, both pairs:  $70.00.  Woot!  I used a gift card to help pay for my shopping spree, but I think I bought things that are necessary when pretending you will be a professor by the evening.  And, of course, I spent my anniversary gift card on a manicure.  The manicurist didn’t even use polish.  I never get colored polish on my finger-nails.  It just bugs me.  I am distracted and I want to pick off the color.  I know…weird.  She said that she would “buff polish” my nails and it would last longer, plus no chipping!  I told her to sign me up!

I had to run Katie and Nicholas to Jeff’s parent’s house so they didn’t have to endure the shopping.  Then I had to speed to pick them up and get them to school on time (they made it).  I went straight home to decide what of my new fun clothes I should wear, and which pair of kick-ass boots?  High heels?  Flats?  Hmmmm.  I gussied myself up and left right on time.  I arrived early, found a parking space (which I was worried about) and observed all of the students milling around.  Possibly my students.  Yikes.

The Chair of the Reading Department met me in the lobby, and brought me to meet The Dean of Humanities.  Both of them were lovely people.  Friendly, chatty, nice, welcoming.  They handed me a page of interview questions, and that’s when I got nervous.  And then, I decided, who cares?  I will just answer from my heart.  So.  I babbled on and answered their questions.  And…I didn’t do anything bad, so I GOT THE JOB! Wooo Hooo!

The Chair of the Reading Department took me on a tour, showed me where my office will be, invited me to their department meeting next Monday, and loaded me up with books.  I have a lot of reading ahead of me.  I am a little worried about a few things.  One thing:  I am teaching Reading Skills.  In my brain that is much different than teaching Reading. I am troubled that there is only one novel that is assigned for the whole semester, and that the text book is what drives the teaching.  This is not how I teach.  You want kids to get better at reading?  Have them READ. Have them read books that are so good that they can’t put them down.  Have them learn new vocabulary and text-cues and comprehension strategies  from the excellent book that they are reading.  Have them make inferences and figure out the main idea using a real, wonderful, exciting BOOK.  My darn philosophy is making me feel uncomfortable.  I know I have to teach what they tell me, at least until I know my students and can figure out how to meet their needs, but ONE BOOK?  Really?  One of the reasons I didn’t want to go back into the classroom was because of the mandatory testing and skills/drills curriculum.  It seems like I landed right in the middle of that same terrain.  But.  This isn’t the same. I know I will be able to teach the way I want eventually.  Maybe not next year, but eventually.  Second, I still don’t have a good picture in my head of how to teach this class.  I know, it will come, but it makes me hyperventilate.  I like control, and this is not control.  This is jumping into the abyss and hoping you remember how to swim.  Otherwise, everything is rainbows, roses, and unicorns.  I really am excited.  And grateful.  This may be a first step, or it may become my passion.  Who knows?

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8 Comments
  1. March 2, 2010 10:17 pm

    Of course I am NOT surprised! I knew you could do this! A thousand congratulations!

    Don’t worry TOO much yet about the whole text book thing…and maybe you could slip in another novel, and say, “well, they just responded so well to reading a real BOOK…” Who could argue with that? I am so happy for you and can’t wait to hear about your adventures.

    And YAY for cute new boots!

    • March 3, 2010 11:10 pm

      Yay for the boots indeed! And, yes I am obsessing about the text book. But. I have only read the first ten pages of one of the texts that The Chair of the Reading Department gave me, and I am seeing that “study skills” is going to be a part of the curriculum, even if it isn’t one of the student outcomes that is listed in the syllabus that I was given. I just need to calm down, and figure out what I am doing and then I will be just fine. Until the first actual day of school, of course. And thank you for your THOUSAND congratulations!

  2. March 3, 2010 2:03 am

    I’m not surprised either, but congratulations at any rate!
    I am completely with you in the reading-to-learn-reading philosophy. It reminds me of how the University for Foreigners here teaches Italian — in Italian. For the first few weeks, students feel lost, but they’re actually learning through immersion and practice, so much more effective than textbook teaching. I like Sam’s idea about slipping in another novel, or maybe you could hand out short stories in class. I’d imagine you’ll have a little more leeway with this class than grade school provided, right?
    You can rightfully say you’ve earned a long, luxurious nap today. :)

    • March 3, 2010 11:14 pm

      There was no nap to be had unfortunately.

      I love your idea about short stories! I don’t really read them, do you have any suggestions? I need all the help I can get!

      And thank you :)

  3. March 3, 2010 10:38 am

    Sitting here smiling ALL the way through this post. Of COURSE YOU GOT THE JOB!! I never doubted you would for a moment! Hurrah! Hip hip hurrah!! (though I do hope it doesn’t kill all your blogging time..hee!) Out to celebrate this weekend, I hope! Hurrah again!

    • March 3, 2010 11:16 pm

      My face hurts from smiling so much for the last two days. As for blogging time, I was on my way to bed…my nice warm comfortable bed…and thought, “I should get a post up first.” Dedicated to you, dear Liz, of course. xoxo

  4. Jamie Fisher permalink
    March 3, 2010 10:58 pm

    Wow…BIG TIME! I read your post faster & faster until I found out that you got the job! Congrats!! And…good deal on those boots! WTG!!!

    • March 3, 2010 11:18 pm

      Thank you! The boots really did make the outfit. And then there was that other pair at home cheering me on as well. They have not made their debut yet. I am so glad you visited! I hope you come back again!

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