Category: i’m allergic

Day One Hundred Sixty-Seven

I went to work without any make-up on today because my eyes were super itchy- allergies and all- and I wanted to be able to rub them without making myself look like a raccoon. I figured that it’d just be my eyes, but then my arms started turning new and different colors during my PLC meeting. Thankfully, once my allergy pills kicked in, all of that settled down.

After PLC, I went to talk to Mr. W because he’s having a super hectic week and needed to vent. He had to dash out to grab a Starbucks gift card for some reason, and brought me back a mocha, too, which was so nice. I also ended up talking to Mr. T about philosophy for half of the block. I am so going to miss him next year.


World went pretty well. There are a few students who are falling behind on Multi-Genre pieces, so I’m scheduling them into my room during flex block next week to get caught back up, but everyone worked hard in class today. I had a long talk with one student, too, who’s been struggling all year, and seems to be turning a corner. Yeah, it’s a late turn, but I will take it. He and I talked about what he needs to do in the coming weeks in order to pass World, and came up with a plan for when he’d come see me to do certain things, and he was smiling when we ended the conversation. A month ago, this same student wouldn’t even talk to me when I asked how I could help him, so this is big progress.

Another thing that happened in World: I learned that a bunch of my ninth graders don’t know how to address a letter. At first, I was really surprised by that, but then I realized that they wouldn’t have had to address letters; everything is done electronically, or else their parents probably did it for them. It’s still kind of wild, though, right?

At practice, The Head Coach and I had a rare disagreement- about attendance policies- and I think I was a little too frank once or twice during our conversation. There were times when his wife looked less than impressed with me. But, y’know, we moved on and had a solid practice. My 4×1 teams’ hand-offs look good, and we’re as ready as we can be for Saturday!

Day One Hundred Sixty-Five

There was caution tape across the entrance to the boys’ bathroom on my floor this morning. Apparently, someone broke a urinal yesterday, which… is the kind of thing that happens in a high school in May, I guess? It always gets squirrely this time of year.

My classes are still going really well, though.

I keep saying how happy I am that the World students have embraced The Multi-Genre Project, so I sound a bit like a broken record if you read this everyday. But if you read this everyday, then you know how much work has gone into increasing our ninth graders’ engagement and academic stamina. At times, it’s been a massive battle, and I’ve always known it’s worth fighting- wouldn’t be much of a teacher otherwise- but it’s been incredible to see how far students have come. 

Sure, some of them are working hard now because they have to hang on to passing grades, but there’s also genuine interest and pride in the work they’re doing. I have serial procrastinators who are ahead of schedule, and students who usually opt to do the bare minimum asking if they can add to the requirements. It’s really cool. 

I’m not doing much besides walking around, reading over stuff, and answering a question or two, so it’s not especially taxing on me. I was wicked tired after Block Four, though, which is probably because the pollen counts are sky high and breathing takes extra effort. So, suffice it to say, I was not energized for the afternoon’s ninth grade house meeting. I don’t think I was the only one who was feeling out of sorts; we all got a little snippy with each other, at first. But then we got to work planning next year’s freshmen orientation, and everyone brightened once the ideas started to flow. Plus, Mr. M went to Starbucks and came back with coffee for everyone, so that was pretty great.

Afterwards, I went out to practice. The Head Coach was at the seeding meeting, so Coach T and I were in charge. We said a few motivational words, did attendance, led warm-ups, and then everyone broke off into their event groups. Mr sprinters did relay passes, block starts, and 100m repeats. We had the whole track to ourselves, too, because Coach K’s throwers were out in the back field and Coach T’s distance runners were off on the trails. So it was unusually quiet, but it was also kind of perfect to be out there without any distractions. 

Day One Hundred Fifty

On the one hand, I’m glad that it’s finally starting to warm up and feel like spring. On the other hand, I’m allergic to eeeeeverything.

I actually stopped mid-teach during World today because my sinuses hurt so much that I couldn’t concentrate. My class was very patient with me while I grabbed my allergy pills and some Kleenex. 

Lucky for me, both World and APUSGOV were pretty low-key. My World students had a vocab quiz, and a multi-step, self-paced assignment. My APUSGOV students did the FRQ section of a practice test. The busiest thing for me was flex time because there was a club meeting in my room, and I was doing APUSGOV exam review, so…. I am a champion of the multi-task!

I left early for a track meet, which I thought was going to be a little miserable because of my allergies. I basically spent the bus ride curled up in my seat with a box of Kleenex, and let Coach T handle supervising the boys. I started to feel better as we approached the host school, thankfully, and it’s track, so I’ll always get up for it.

And the team did really, really well. I don’t have full results because there were some technical difficulties at the end of the meet. I do know that my boys 4×1 was perfect; their passes were perfect, they ran a PR, and they won. I was jumping up and down about it. It was awesome.

But now I’m going to bed.

Day One Hundred Twenty-Two

This morning I was late to work because there was a skunk in the yard. One of my downstairs neighbors got sprayed while trying to shoo it away, and all kinds of chaos ensued, so I just stayed in my apartment and avoided it. That meant leaving five minutes after I was supposed to be in a PLC meeting, but my colleagues got a kick out of my explanation when I did arrive.

Mrs. T and I spent Block 1 preparing for our B day debates, which were all pretty good. Palestinian statehood, the proposed withdrawal of US troops from Syria, and US involvement in the war in Yemen were all on the table today. I think the debate about Yemen was my favorite because both sides had done such good research, and afterwards I got to discuss the resolution the Senate voted on yesterday. When ninth graders realize they’re debating the same things as Congress? It’s a powerful confidence boost.

They also asked if we could keep following the resolution through the legislative process, and, obviously, the answer to that was yes. 

I love that they asked. 

During Block 5, Mr. F, Mrs. T, and I had a quick meeting to discuss some news we’d been emailed regarding one of our students. Then we went to check our mail, and found that there was a therapy dog (and its human) in the hallway to surprise students. It was a basset hound, you guys; its ears touched the floor, and it was adorable! Basically everyone reacted like it was the worst thing in the world when I said I can’t pet dogs because I’m allergic to them. 

It is, in fact, THE WORST.

But I’m glad the dog was there for everyone else. It has been, as I’ve said before, a very hard year. I do think it’s looking up, though…

Day Fifty-Four

There really should have been a two-hour delay this morning because there was a lot of snow. Every district north of us (and I mean all the way to Canada) and most of the ones south of us delayed or closed, and the roads were absolutely awful, but for some reason The Superintendent didn’t call it. Sooooo we had a half dozen students (that I know of) and two buses get into accidents- none really serious, thankfully- and basically all of us were late to school. 

I arrived about fifteen minutes after the first bell. I was a bit discombobulated, of course, but I settled in and still had plenty of time to mark up current events for revision. And that’s what students did during the World/English double block: they revised and submitted a polished portfolio. If they finished early, they could use the time to read, or begin outlining their book papers with Mrs. T. 

While she was going over outlines, I was watching the room, fielding questions, and doing my best to rein in some bad behavior (the health classes are doing the unit on sex ed. now, and some of the boys were flicking the condoms they’d gotten at each other). We switched roles about half an hour in so I could work one-on-one with a student who was refusing to do anything, and then with one who needed lots of help and was getting anxious about it. If we didn’t team teach, that couldn’t have happened, so- as ever- I’m glad that we do!

I had a headache by the time it was over, which could’ve been from the stress of keeping those challenging students I was working with calm and on task, or could’ve been from the amount of Axe the boys were wearing today. It seemed more than usual, and I’m wicked allergic to it.

The headache made it so the two meetings- team, then faculty- in my afternoon seemed oddly long. But I made it through both of them. I had grading to do afterwards, but no Tylenol in my desk, so took papers home, which I rarely do. 

Now it’s time to grade them…

Day Thirty-Five

I started my day with a lecture on interest groups and lobbying (with a tangent on PACs and stuff because someone asked about that), then assigned a group project on interest groups and iron triangles. I had lots of little discussions while students did research: communism, chambers of commerce, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the establishment clause, gun control, Reagan… 

It’s good stuff. 

Fed. 10 will come back to haunt them shortly. Mwahahaha.



Life in the Cavern of Learning was good, too. Mrs. T worked with anyone whose narrative wasn’t done. I moved everyone else on to the new unit- Africa- and to labeling maps, doing some cultural research, and reading books. There was a medical emergency in the building (I have no idea what happened, but the kids had tons of rumors), and a resulting lockdown right before Block 2 ended. That caused minor chaos- lots of questions, kids trying to look out the window at the ambulance, etc…- and basically ate up flex time.

In spite of that, it was a super productive double block, and a great example of the “move when ready” approach to learning that The Principal wants more of. We also got observed by an elementary school teacher after lunch, and she thought it was neat. Go us.


Now, the other day, a bottle of Axe exploded in boy’s backpack, which was wicked bad for me because I have a fragrance allergy. We figured he’d wash the backpack, but nope. I did my best to stay away, but it wasn’t enough. By Block 5 my nose was stuffy and my eyes were itchy. I had an APUSGOV student in to retake a test, so I just had to sit and resist the urge to sniffle and CLAW MY EYES OUT OMG. 

I managed, though!

Day Thirty-One

I felt a bit out of sorts today. 

Our juniors were all taking PSATs, so the bell schedule was off, which meant my timing was off. And I am still getting over a cold, and my allergies were haywire. My allergies made my eyes so watery that I could hardly see during APUSGOV, which, of course, my students thought was funny. But I managed.

I did a lesson on media bias and selective exposure, and fake news. It’s a cool lesson, and it went well enough, but- aside from the moment when my students realized I know what 4chan is- it didn’t pop. I was hoping for a more animated discussion, I think. Must do better next time…

World/English was great. Mrs. T started class with some quick grammar lessons (pronoun usage, formatting dialogue) and then we divided students up to work on their narratives. Everyone without a finished rough draft went to her side of the Cavern, and spread out to keep from getting distracted while writing. Everyone with a finished draft grouped up with 2-3 others on my side for peer conferencing. Mrs. T an I did conferences, too. It was definitely a productive day.

And! During Block 5, a student who’s been behind on his work came by to turn the bulk of it in, which was awesome. I was so proud of him, and said as much.

Day One Hundred Forty-Eight

Today was hot, humid, and full of pollen, so my allergies were terrible. They make my eyes all red and itchy, and it’s hard to see, and just… not a good look. This was confirmed when I walked into PLC and Mr. I asked if I’d had a late night. 

He made up for it later by pointing out that I love my job and take it seriously.

It’s… reassuring isn’t quite the right word, but close… to hear someone else say that, you know? Because later on in the morning, as class was starting, I was feeling out of sorts, and stressed for no particular reason, and I reminded myself that he’d said that. It made me feel better. 

And then I was treated to an APUSGOV presentation about domestic policy with parodies of “No Diggity” and “I Want It That Way,” and all was right in the world. Presentations (the other two were more traditional) took up the bulk of the block, so I had just enough time to chat about what’s next (AP exam practice!) 

Then research took up the bulk of World. My students were not as enthusiastic about it as their peers were yesterday, but they still got good work done. It’s interesting to see which topics are popular in different classes. Like, yesterday, a lot of kids were looking into LGBT rights and womens rights in various parts of Asia. Today, lots of kids were looking into the dictatorship in North Korea, child labor and poaching. 

Practice was all about 4×1 hand-offs for me and eight sprinters. I made minor adjustments for the boys, and major ones for the girls- including putting a new girl at third leg, and moving the one who had been there to anchor. It took A LOT of trial and error to get passes down, but I think we did it.