Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Brain Dump

Chloe is insanely scared of two things: bugs and "rain sounds."

The bug thing is new. It almost seems like an affectation, a way to be more of a girly girl, but surely she's not old enough to play those games, right? But suddenly this spring, Chloe will scream and cry and panic whenever she sees a bug, even if it's a gnat flying by. It's totally annoying. I'm hoping she moves past it soon so that each trip outside doesn't have to be so full of drama.

Rain sounds have always been a problem. It started off that she was scared of thunder and lightning, which is certainly fair. For some reason, I think this kind of stuff is louder in her room. Connor has the trees in front of his windows, but Chloe gets all the lightning through hers. But she's gotten so paranoid about it, that now she's even nervous about rain since rain often leads to the more intense thunder and lightning. Oftentimes as I tuck her in, she'll ask, "Is it going to rain tonight?" She needs a heads up. Last night she was in bed with us before the thunder was really roaring. "I hear the rain sounds!"


Our talented friend Richard did a wonderful job in his Commercial Appeal column of summing up the acheivement test experience in the Memphis City Schools. Allow me to add our take to the mix.

This was Connor's first time to take the test, so our first time experiencing it as parents. (Although I still have TCAP nightmares from my days as a teacher.) I hadn't heard him saying much about it, so I thought maybe his teacher was playing it cool. Not so- on Sunday night, Connor was a bundle of nerves. He went on and on about needing to get a good night's sleep and eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast. He was adamant that it needed to be cereal! I realized that he has no idea that all the directives handed out at school weren't aimed at us. They were aimed at people who let their kids stay up all night and then don't feed them breakfast! I said, "Son! We feed you breakfast every morning! Eat what you normally eat and you'll do fine." I didn't step in on the sleeping thing, though. He wanted to get right in bed after his bath, skipping 15 minutes or so of reading time. (We read before the bath instead.) I figured it was in my best interest NOT to point out that he goes to sleep by 8:30 each night and gets about ten hours in before I wake him up. I'd hate to give him the idea that that other people sleep less and maybe he should be staying up later!

I volunteered to proctor the TCAPs a couple of days, and was worried I would have some kind of traumatic flashbacks to my days as a teacher. And I did feel a little bit of that panic. The TCAPs are the main reason I quit teaching- I found myself teaching kids these specific skills and not just teaching them how to learn, you know? And also, I just couldn't handle the idea that my worth as a teacher was judged on how these kids performed on this test. I would walk up and down the aisles of my classroom, silently willing them to pick up the pace, or to stop and think about that one because it looks like there are two correct answers but only one is right!, or just dying inside as I saw answers my best student had marked incorrectly- I know I taught you better than that! I hated that part of the job, that it seemed nothing else I did all year meant anything, just that week of testing. And at that point it was totally out of my hands. I'm too much of a control freak for that. I need a job where my annual evaluation is based on what I've done, rather than what 20 10-year-olds have done. I like going back and volunteering with the kids here and there, but I doubt I will ever relax enough to be able to enjoy teaching as a career again.


Chip and I spent the week fighting a spring cold. Sunday evening I had a sore throat and a little sinus pressure, along with some sneezing. I thought it was allergies from being outside all weekend. By Monday my nose was gushing, by Tuesday I had a slight fever, by Wednesday it was all in my chest, and by now I feel okay except for the raw skin around my nose from all the nose-blowing. But by Wednesday, Chip started feeling bad too, and went through the same progression of symptoms. So now I'm thinking it was a bug of some kind. Fortunately, the kids didn't get it. But it made for kind of a long week for us. I'm looking forward to putting it behind us and moving on to a great Memphis weekend, one involving the Memphis Farmer's Market and the NBA playoffs! Go Grizzlies!

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