I got up eeeeearly today to get on the bus and take the track team down to huge invitational meet- thirty teams- that we ordinarily wouldn’t go to. It’s a bit too far for us to travel comfortably, but the weather’s been so bad that it was about the only meet happening, so we went.
The weather was beautiful, at first- sunny and 60s, and I got a sunburn on my face- but around noon the temperatures started to plummet. By 6:30, when the meet ended, it was 35 and raining.
It was a good meet, though.
A lot of our kids PRed, some qualified for post-season, and a handful placed in the top six and got ribbons. Both teams had mid-table finishes (girls did better than boys), which I’m happy with, given that it’s a building year.
My girls DQed in the 4×1 and were disappointed, but I assured them I’m not. They’re young, they got jumpy, it happens- and especially when it’s so cold!
We’ll keep training.
We got home about an hour ago, and I’m still warming up, but I wouldn’t trade meet days for anything. Tells you how much I love my team.
Mrs. T and I spent the day at ECET2NH/VT over in Hanover. It’s an awesome, empowering, and free!!! conference led by some phenomenal teachers. We were definitely both glad we went.
I think the most helpful session we went to was about transitioning to CBE- we got lots of good resources- but the whole day was helpful. There was a “political panel” that included educators, admins, students, and people in politics. One of them was NH’s commissioner of education, a man about whom I have Definite Opinions (caps intentional). Today he surprised me a few times, though.
Mrs. T made a few new friends, too, over the course of the day, and I demonstrated my utter inability to sit in a room full of people without at least trying to make them laugh. I mean, I say ridiculous things on the regular, so giving me an audience just makes it worse.
… Or is it better?
We also got to tell stories about teaching moments, and that’s a great thing to get to do. We all have so many!
If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that I spent much of today at the Write Now Conference, which is the best teacher conference ever. I always learn SO MUCH from the presenters, and get so much energy from them and the other attendees. It gives me a chance to nurture my professional growth and CELEBRATE my profession.
And it gives me a chance to write!
This year’s presenter was Kelly Gallagher (pinch hitting for Kylene Beers), so I knew I was going to write a lot. I’ve attended his presentations before (and, once, Mrs. T and I handed out photocopies for him and Penny Kittle at NCTE). I generally love his writing prompts, so I was super excited to write some crummy first drafts (his words- because all first drafts are crummy) for him today.
This one was in response to a political cartoon depicting a teacher holding a gun like a pointer in a math class:
My brother and I piss off our parents by arguing over who should hold the bake sale: his army or my school.
My brother and I hurt our parents by arguing over which is safer: his army or my school.
Parents whose sons grow up to be soldiers know it’s more than dress blues and polished shoes, but parents whose daughters grow up to be teachers think it’s going to be about blackboards and books, not learning the geometry of safe spaces in the classroom. Not thinking about the angles at which kids can bend their bodies to fit in closets and under desks in case the shooter comes.
If my brother dies from a gunshot wound there will be a funeral at West Point. If I die from a gunshot wound there will be a debate about whether or not it was the fault of the gun. If he dies from a gunshot wound, my mother will get a folded flag and the thanks of a grateful nation. If I die from a gunshot wound she’ll get thoughts and prayers, and be told not to politicize it.
If I die from a gunshot wound, hug my mother- not a gun.
I’ll be tinkering with that in the future, for sure.
I also wrote a 34-word story about a Red Sox fan learning his girlfriend liked the Yankees. That was in response to a photo of an upset-looking man and woman. Kelly had been making baseball jokes, so I went in that direction. I volunteered to read it and got a laugh, so I’m feeling successful.
I do like to entertain the masses.
I learned a lot about different things I could incorporate to get kids writing. I loved that Kelly put a whole unit plan up on argument writing because I could see how he built up his students’ skills and compare it to things I’ve done and, consider what I can and should alter. I also got a lot of ideas for doing more reading in World. I do a lot already, but I can improve how I do it and what students get out of it. As Kelly said, it’s about more than just making compliant readers and writers, and that is something I worry about happening.
So I have a whole list of things to try in my classroom, and another whole list of books to beg Mr. B to buy for me. I’d say I got a lot out of the conference.
A couple weeks ago, the local Republicans invited me and two of my APUSGOV students to their annual Lincoln Dinner (they only had space for two, so my class rock-paper-scissored for it). That was this evening. The governor was there, as were candidates and elected officials of all levels- and, of course, they always want to talk to young people, so our table was quite popular. It really was a great opportunity for my students.
And my parents will be happy to know I didn’t forget my fine manners; “sir” and “ma’am” to everyone with a title, all of that… My students were amused, I think.
I had to leave before the dinner was over because I’d promised to chaperon the Winter Carnival dance. So, yeah, I went from swanky hotel ballroom to high school gym. It was awesome.
I had just enough time when I got there to wolf down a slice of pizza and a cookie, and then kids started showing up. Ms. H and I hung out together, as we always do when we chaperon. We dance in the back corner of the gym, and keep an eye on the doors, and our students either come running up to say hi or ignore us. Whichever.
A lot of them said hi tonight, so that’s fun.
Aaaaaaand I have no voice and ringing ears now, and it’s all good.
We took two jumpers, two relay teams, and a 1000m runner to States today. It’s a smaller showing than we’ve had in recent years, but it was a good showing; both jumpers medaled, both relays PRed. Our lone distance runner had a scrappy race that he referred to as his “UFC try out” afterwards.
Rubbin’ is racin’.
My dad came up to the meet, which was cool. Amusingly, he realized that as an assistant coach at a state championship, I do… very little. Heh.
It’s especially true since I had no sprinters in individual events, and no 4x200s. No drills to oversee. I made sure the 4x4s checked in and told them to have fun and go fast. At this point, there’s nothing else I can say. They know what they’re about.
And, hey, we’re home in time for that other big sporting event today.
The indoor track team had a 6:30AM bus departure for the State Championship Qualifier meet al UNG. SO I got up at 5:45AM, threw on my coaching clothes, grabbed my gym bag, and hurried out of my apartment…
AND WIPED OUT COMPLETELY on a patch of ice in my driveway.
I wrenched my shoulder, bruised my knee, and had no time to deal with either, so I was pretty sore throughout the whole meet. Oh, and when we arrived we were greeted by the one coach who- in thirteen years- has not learned my name; that’s 25% because I’m a lowly assistant coach, 25% because I’m a female coach, and I don’t know what the other 50% is about. But whatever.
The kids all ran well. Our focus was getting our relays qualified because our individual event athletes already hit the standards they needed to. Our boys 4×200 and 4×800 didn’t really have a shot, but both ran well (and the 4×800 with a sprinter thrown in because one of the actual runners overslept and missed the bus). The other relays all did have a shot; both 4x400s made it, and the girls 4×800 might squeak in.
My girls 4×200 gave it their all, but came up about .7 short. They were satisfied with the fact that they’d PRed, though, and I was so proud of them.
I had to coach a track meet today, so I went to church last night. The priest asked how I was, and I said, “I teach government and politics, Father. How do you think I am?”
At least there will be cake….
I spent most of the ride to the meet explaining government shutdown stuff to the kids who had questions because that’s what I do. The rest of it I spent KT-taping ankles and knees, and dispensing advice about sprint form because that’s also what I do.
It’s a good combo of skills, I think.
And it was an awesome meet!
All of my sprinters ran well, and most PRed. And the four relay teams all had MASSIVE PRs! I couldn’t be more proud of them. It bodes well for their chances going into qualies next weekend.
And it’s always good to close out the regular season on a high note.
I was about a minute late catching the bus for track today. In my defense, I got stuck behind the slowest driver ever on my way up to the high school. Head Coach didn’t give me too much of a hard time about it, though.
And the meet was good! A lot of our athletes PRed in individual events, and so did the girls 4×400 team. The 4×200 team was trying to PR- and make States- but didn’t quite get there. It was still a great race, though. And a cool thing for me was that they lined up against the team from my alma mater, so my old coach and I ended up side by side at the finish line to cheer. I asked him if it was surreal since he remembers when it was me on the line to run that very race, and he laughed.
It was -5 and windy when I left my apartment this morning to go coach indoor track. I think my toes are still cold.
But it was a good day.
We raced at PSU, which has one of the best facilities in the state. A lot of the teams from our conference were there, so we got to see how they look, and got catch up with their coaches. We’re generally friendly with each other, but there is one coach who still doesn’t know my name (after thirteen years… this is because I’m only an assistant coach and I’m not a dude). It’s amusing when he comes to shake hands.
There were a few really strong performances, and I think most everyone improved a little. I had one sprinter scratch out with a hamstring injury, but I’m hopeful that it’s not too serious. It did leave me, yet again, winging the 4×200, but, hey, I guess I need that stress in my life. Heh.
Two of my uncles and one of my cousins came up to NH to winter climb Mount Washington (note: they are experienced climbers… this is not a thing to do otherwise). The wind kept them from completing their first attempt at it, but they made it to the summit yesterday afternoon, and then they came to visit me. This morning I got to take them up to the high school and show them my classroom, which was really cool. One of my uncles taught math for a few years after he retired from the army, and my cousin is student teaching right now in NY. He and I had drifted apart a bit over the years, so it was good to reconnect and have this profession in common.
He’s going to be good at it. I can tell.
I gave them a little tour, we said our goodbyes, they headed home, and I got on the bus with the indoor track team. The captains had set up a Secret Santa gift exchange, and distributed gifts on the ride to UNH. They gave us coaches gifts, too- I got a scarf!- and they brought the meet officials cookies. It was sweet.
We had two mid-table finishes, which is about what I expected. Sprint times were a little slow because it’s vacation week and we haven’t had much practice, but my 4x200s both did better than they had on Tuesday. There’s work to be done, but I’m generally pleased.