The Teacher Becomes the Student Who Be Clubbin’: January Wrap-Up

January 31, 2019

1. I went to a club with my friend last week because it was 90s’ night. First of all, the start time for the event was 10 p.m. AT NIGHT. And yes, I said that like the old person that I am.

Her: Did you nap?

Me: Of course! I have to take a nap just to make it to bedtime.

Anyway, we had fun, but the music was not great. We found at when we got there that it was a mix of 90s/00s, and at the end of the night, we both thought of songs that should have been played.

My mom: Oh, so the DJ was not good.

Me: YES! Exactly!

So I don’t think we’ll be back–especially since my friend (who is under 35, btw) tried to back out of the evening. No, ma’am. Not after I talked incessantly about how hard I was working to stay up AND complained loudly about the time. We were going if I had to drag her by her hair just so I could continue to talk trash if necessary. (Which, obviously, I didn’t have to do.)

My mom suggested we find a dance or whatever they’re called now (I obviously don’t get out much) next time since that’s where people of a certain age go. Clubs are for the young. And for people who don’t prefer to be sitting on their couches by 10 p.m. (Here’s where I remind you that I went to a NYE party that celebrated on New York time–I’m in California–and I thought it was the best idea ever.)

2. I’m taking a required training for distance education (online teaching) that is required by my job. I have already taught classes online but, since I’m new to the state and district, I have to get certified first.

I am being reminded of why I was a B student in high school and most of college, and it’s also a good reminder of how my students approach my class…which is also required. For example, in our first discussion board assignment, the facilitators asked how we were feeling: excited? overwhelmed? And I was just like, “I’m just here because I have to be.”

I also did the bare minimum on an assignment and knew I would only get partial points and didn’t care.


Me when studenting and knowing someone else will grade it: Eh, that’s good enough.

I am, of course, taking it seriously. But I am also just reminded of my true ways when I’m not doing something that I’m passionate about. (I’m passionate about teaching just not about having to take the class.) (Full disclosure: I also turned that assignment in late so was rushing to get it done in time for credit.)

3. For the first time in a long time, I finally have the opportunity to take my time and plan my courses, and it is so glorious. I’m prepping a brand new class for spring, so I actually read the textbook and wrote reading quizzes and won’t be doing every single thing the week or night before while the class is going on. I mean, most semesters I have a new prep, I’m barely staying ahead of my students, so this is just a delight.

Also, and this is important, I am sticking with the syllabus/readings I used last semester for my other class so I am not stressing about that. I set a goal to use the same syllabus (with tweaks, of course) for the next two semesters because I’m prepping other courses for the first time, and it is actually a smart thing I have done. (I am usually not this smart and practically start from scratch each time.)

4. I participated in the 24in48 Readathon, by which I mean I signed up to do it on Friday and then did a bunch of reading over the weekend. I didn’t realize the point was to read 24 hours, so my goal was to actually start the audiobook I had checked out from the library and to start/make some headway on the book club book that I hadn’t even cracked open.

Success! I listened to an hour and a half of the audiobook and finished the book club book. Next time, I’ll be more prepared and, if my schedule allows, actually aim for the 24 hours.

5. Right, so, I wrote some posts this past month:

6. And I read some books since my last post:

Loser's BracketLoser’s Bracket by Chris Crutcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is classic Chris Crutcher and has all the earmarks of a CC work (sports, social workers, at least one wise adult who can explain the pain behind shitty behavior, some kind of critical thinking project, a makeshift support group, etc.). In a lot of his previous works, he has kids wanting to be with their families because they’re familiar, but this is the first time I remember him really addressing what that looks like and the kind of chaos it can bring, especially for a family mired in addiction. I also think this is the first time he includes a well-meaning but ultimately emotionally abusive foster parent. Though Pop is never identified as such, I WISH HE HAD BEEN because I think it’s so important.

Anyway, this is ultimately a love letter to social workers and librarians and books (so many books), and, by God, social workers really are not paid enough.

I loved all of the relationships–even the messy ones–because they and the characters are all so well drawn. (Annie and Marvin’s relationship is A+++, just perfection really.) Good stuff.

View all my reviews

Black Girl in ParisBlack Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Loved the writing but not the story.

Also, this put me in mind of ZZ Packer’s “Geese.” I am curious if the starving black American woman in a foreign country thing is a trope that I’m just not familiar with (well, except for these two stories).

View all my reviews

Literature for Children: A Short IntroductionLiterature for Children: A Short Introduction by David L. Russell

I’m using this to teach children’s lit in the spring. It’s fine as far as the presentation of information. (I mean, it’s a textbook that delivers on its premise as a short introduction to children’s literature.)

I only have two real complaints:

(1) the use of sexual preference instead of sexual orientation when discussing LGBTQ books (yes, in a 2019 edition. I mean, seriously.)
(2) the lack of contemporary examples

I’m going to email Pearson about #1. As for #2, there’s a huge section on mythology but no mention of Percy Jackson (!!!). Twilight and The Hunger Games are both only mentioned once or twice. For as expensive as this book will be for students, I expected a little bit more that they could actually relate to/identify/be interested in seeking out to read for non-historical examples.

View all my reviews

7. So, my books read in January were:

screen shot 2019-01-30 at 11.01.07 pm

  1. Literature for Children: A Short Introduction by David L. Russell (textbook)
  2. Black Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood (adult)
  3. Loser’s Bracket by Chris Crutcher (YA)
  4. The Islanders, Vol. 1 by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant, too, apparently) (YA)
  5. Royal Crown by Meg Cabot (middle grade)
  6. Junie B. First Grader: Aloha-ha-ha! by Barbara Park (chapter book)
  7. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (YA)
  8. Giant Days, Vol. 5 by John Allison (YA, graphic novel)
  9. Procession of Martyrs by Emily Fernandez (adult, poetry)

That brings my total books read for January to 9 (even though according to Goodreads, it’s 8 because one of the books isn’t listed on the site and, of course, The Islanders is two books in one, which I am not at all bitter about re: my Goodreads count.)

I also watched some movies but I haven’t updated my Letterboxd account yet and need to (a) do that and then (b) figure out how easy it is to copy/paste my reviews here.

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  1. Ally Bean

    So a B student goes clubbing while not reading the required amount of time, but is happy about what she learned along the way. I like how you live and think. Ever onward, eh?

  2. Sharlene

    I had a good laugh about the taking a nap before going clubbing part. Because yes that would totally be me. I fall asleep around 10 most nights so to go to something that starts at 10? Too bad about the music though!!


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