Category: track

Day One Hundred Sixty-One

Today I introduced the final project of the year for World/English (the multi-genre project) by having students brainstorm topics. This project can be about anything they think is currently important to the global community, so it’s wide open and awesome. I’ll post the full topics list here when I have it. 

It’s a ton of fun to do the intro, but I struggled with my Block 3 class. I had a headache that was super distracting (if anyone is wondering why I didn’t take anything for it: painkiller allergy). Plus, we had an assembly (school-wide: on mental health) partway through the block, so it was choppy, and I felt rushed. But it got done.

Block 4 was awesome. The students got into the idea of this project immediately, and had so many topic ideas (and twice insisted on coming up with more just because they figured they could). They dug into the research, and I had some cool conversations about the links between different topics (like…gender, race, poverty, global warming), a goofy chat about pandas being better than otters (from two boys researching vulnerable and endangered animals), and a very serious discussion of school violence. 

One of my girls found that chart that shows deaths in US school shootings and deaths in the military this year, and started showing it to the kids sitting around her, which generated quite a stir. When I was asked to weigh in, I said this was something my family found tough to take. My dad is retired army; my brother is active duty. He went to war… And now they all worry about me. 

A lot of people do. 

That’s something I’m still sorting out my thoughts on…

Anyways. It was a good class.

Coach T and I ran practice today because The Head Coach was at the seeding meeting (say that five times fast) for States. Afterwards, I made myself presentable for academic awards. Mr. B and I always give out the ones for social studies. I get nervous, but I like recognizing outstanding students, so I deal. After presenting, I got a sudden allergy attack, so I spent most of my time to sneeze in the background during the other award presentations. So awkward! 

Day One Hundred Sixty

Today was many things: Monday after a championship win, Monday after prom. Monday after another school shooting…. 

One minute I was looking at pictures of ballgowns, the next I was listening to a couple young activists talk about the letters they’re writing to the governor. There is as much emotional whiplash as you think there is. Also, it’s late May and I’ve got to keep my classes focused, which is a bit of a challenge even in the best of times. 

Today I did all right. I had a guest in APUSGOV, a first-term state legislator with boundless energy; he talked mile-a-minute, asked and answered questions as he went, and had a fun time. It was really informative- even more than I thought it was going to be- and he got a lot of laughs out of my students, so I’m pleased. 

This was an extra day for my two World classes because of Friday’s karate demo, so I got to do a fun lesson on anime and societal values. My Block 3 class got super into it. My Block 4 class… did not. Can’t win ‘em all.

Practice was quick today because it’s taper time. The sprinters did a ladder workout and called it a day. 

Bonus Day

My girls won a conference championship today. 

It was truly a team win, too, because we have no standouts who can score 20 or 30 points themselves. Every girl had to step up and grab every point possible: in early events where they weren’t seeded to score, in later events they had to do on tired legs… It was after the 3200m that I told Coach T and The Head Coach that I thought they had it. 

It was an awesome moment when they went up to get the trophy, and our captain got to lift it before dashing off with her parents to get ready for the prom. Because, yeah, it’s prom night, too. 

Meantime, our boys, who were seeded to score in maybe three events surpassed expectations hugely by racking up enough points to finish seventh overall. I’m particularly proud of the 4×1 boys for a massive PR (and perfect passes!) They’re such a young team, and their time will come. 

Day One Hundred Fifty-Nine

You know, today was glorious, at first. It’s a perfect spring day, it’s payday Friday, and Mr. W and I did a karate demo for my ninth graders during World (and it was so much fun). Katas, tricks with body mechanics, sparring… Mr. W did the “one inch punch” to me (on my shoulder so I could twist and dissipate some of the force, and Mr. F still had to catch me).

And then there as an incident in the hall.

And then our SRO hurried of for… something.

And then there was a shooting. 


I’ve said before that nothing is as wrenching as listening to kids in public schools after mass shootings. The resignation is terrible. But there’s a defiant joy, afterwards, and a desire to affirm life. 

And so I found myself here with my athletes this afternoon:

That’s the public beach a few towns over, where we gathered for a team spag. Conference championships are tomorrow. 

Day One Hundred Fifty-Eight

Today, the Speaker of the NH House came to APUSGOV, which was very cool. There was a good discussion about some big pieces of state legislation that have come up recently (medicaid expansion, death penalty repeal, vouchers, banning conversion therapy…) And I love listening to my students talk to our guests. They’re so informed and well-spoken. A handful of freshmen, galvanized by Parkland and beginning to explore politics, joined my class, and I’m psyched they have such good role models. 

World was pretty solid. I did the same lesson today as I did yesterday.My Block 4 class was a bit slow, at first, in figuring out how different philosophies (Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism) influence other aspects of culture; I had to give multiple examples and reword my questions a few times. But once it clicked they were on fire. I think, ultimately, they understood it the best.

Halfway through the block, Mrs. T sent a student over to say it’s Mrs. H’s birthday, so she and I stepped out during Block 5 to get her a giant bar of dark chocolate (her fave). We miiiight have gotten ourselves one, too, along with coffee. We got coffee for Mr. F because he didn’t get home from his lax game last night until after 11:00, and we are awesome friends.

Track practice was short and sweet. Tomorrow’s off, and then Saturday is the conference championship. We’re as ready as we’re going to be.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Seven

Today was one of those days when a lot of little things went wrong. Like, nothing catastrophic happened, but there was enough to put me out of sorts: a white out bottle leaking in my desk, a marker being out of ink when I tried to use it, a student letting me know today that he’s going on vacation for ten days, a guest presenter canceling last-minute… You get the idea.

My World classes were still all right. My students did group work activities on East Asian cultures, so it was pretty low key. They made a mess doing some Chinese arts and crafts for one activity, and I think I was a bit short with them about it, but it wasn’t too bad. The general mood stayed positive. 

I did roast one of the lax kids (it’s an ongoing joke that sprung out of the fact that Mr. F and I roast each other all season and our athletes wanted in), which got a laugh out of everyone… 

Block 5 was team meeting time. Thankfully, nothing went wrong there. Then I headed out to practice, greeted a handful of former athletes who came to visit, and got to work. I went to get the relay batons out of our supply shed, and as I was jogging back I sprained my ankle.

In true, melodramatic fashion I’m treating this like it’s the worst thing ever. WHICH IT IS.

At least no one saw me do it…

I had a meeting after practice, so I had to put my dress clothes- and heels- back on, which was not awesome. Buuuut I made it through.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Five

Our student council decided to do a spring Spirit Week this week to lead up to prom. There’s no pep rally, but there are fun after school activities (today there was a trivia tournament), and dress-up themes (with prizes!) each day. Today’s theme was holidays, and I… had nothing. So I threw on a floral dress and called myself Earth Day. 

I will up my game tomorrow. 

Anyways, I spent a chunk of my prep time helping students and redecorating my room (new posters!), so did not get nearly as much grading done as I’d wanted to. But it’s all good. I won’t have any of my APUSGOV students tomorrow- AP Calculus exam- so I’ll have a bit of extra time.

World was fun today. Some students had culture projects due, so they shared those to start. Then I pre-taught some vocab on Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism- with some karate tricks thrown in (and me insisting I was a Jedi, of course)- because that’s what their homework is about. They had time to start it in class, which was good. 

Practice was ups and downs. Ups: it’s post-season and we have a solid week of training ahead of us. Downs: we had to remove a couple athletes from our roster (and it’s going to cost us a relay team), and two of my sprinters dinged their hamstrings… But we’ll rally. 

Bonus Day

Today was our last regular season track meet. It was a little conference meet- only six schools, and we’re the largest- so it was over before noon. And it was a good one. The best moment was when our boys’ captain qualified to run in the 800m in the conference championship because he was so close all season, and just couldn’t get his time down… and he smashed the mark by five seconds or so. Our whole team was ecstatic.

All our relay teams had monster PRs, as well. There is no more nerve-wracking thing for me as a coach than being on the infield during the 4x100m, and just hoping the passes happen. Having a team of rookies ratchets up the pressure on me, too, because good passes are our thing. That’s what we’re known for, and I’m known for being able to teach them. 

I’m sure I amused other coaches by watching with my hands partially over my eyes.

The boys still have room to improve (comes of having no consistent leg 2 runner), but the girls were perfect. I was jumping up and down after every pass.

It’s the most beautiful thing in track when it’s done right.

And just in time for post-season.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Four

Today capped off Teacher Appreciation Week. Our teacher prep students (yes, we have a whole program complete with an on-site preschool and internships at all the district schools) have been doing little things like putting surprise candy in our mailboxes all week. Today they decorated the whole school with supportive signs and personal notes, so we walked into a celebration of us. That was fun. 

Then they came around during Block 3 to deliver awards to the winners of student-voted superlatives. Mrs. T and I won “Best Friends.” She also got “Best Dressed” (I’m told I was runner-up), and Mr. F won “Most Outgoing.” I heard them coming, so when they burst into my silent room (my students were writing essays) I got up and cheered right along with them. 

At lunch, I went down to their classroom because they had food for all of us, and it was fun to hang out there for a bit. 

I definitely feel appreciated. 

It’s Friday, so practice was quick: relay passes (soooo pretty) and grass strides. Tomorrow is the last meet of the regular season!

Day One Hundred Fifty-Three

The students in both of my World classes were writing essays today, which went well in spite of the fact that there were multiple interruptions involving cupcakes.

The first one was unexpected. A girl on one of the other ninth grade teams came in during Block 3 to hand a cupcake to one of my students (yes, she asked my permission first). Then another of my students realized this girl had more cupcakes to give out, and bolted down the hallway. She returned a moment later, looking very proud of herself, with a cupcake in hand. I cracked up at that point.

The disruption to my Block 4 class was my doing, and I’d warned my students it would happen. See, my APUSGOV students took their exam this morning (and my colleagues laughed at how jittery I was during PLC), and I promised them cupcakes after it was over. So they came running up to my classroom en masse, which was fun. We’re not allowed to discuss the test, which is WAY HARDER than I anticipated it being, but they were in good spirits. That’s a good sign. 

I spent Block 5 having a grading party with my cacophonous friends because we wanted to sit and chat about stuff, but we all had work, too. Then I spent practice doing 4×1 passes with the boys. One of our former athletes came by, and he did relay for four years, so he critiqued, too. This one will coach someday, too, I think, so it can’t hurt to practice.