books are better than boys

I like bicycles, beer, and books.
Some other things I like.

contact me: dommelr (at) yahoo (dot) com

A productive Sunday (after a ridiculously lazy, but wonderful Saturday) - graded papers, cleaned, went grocery shopping, baked muffins, harvested cactus for a terrarium, chatted with the neighbors, and got a fresh egg from their chickens.

A productive Sunday (after a ridiculously lazy, but wonderful Saturday) - graded papers, cleaned, went grocery shopping, baked muffins, harvested cactus for a terrarium, chatted with the neighbors, and got a fresh egg from their chickens.

They call me mom accidentally.They tell me that they hate me and my class, and the next day they come in and give me a huge hug.One of them told me that he makes teachers quit, and he was going to make me quit. Now he comes to my room every morning to say hello.They say (ad nauseam) “it’s too hard” or “it’s too much” until the moment they actually try, and then it’s all, “Miss, this is so easy”.They ask about if I have a boyfriend. And one girl asks if I have a girlfriend (because she does, and she’s confused).They behave horrifically. And when I hear about their lives, and what they have been through it makes more sense, but I won’t allow it to be an excuse.They say they are dumb/stupid/retarded because that is what they’ve been told by other teachers. I tell them that they are smart/creative/charismatic, and we look up the words in the dictionary and we talk about what they mean.I “irk” their lives.I need to stop “dick eating”.(They curse. An obscene amount, but much less than they did in September.)They are “off the chain”.They are “hype” (especially after lunch).They are hungry. Always. ALWAYS.They are dancers.They are rappers.They are singers.They are artists.They are athletes.They are poets.And they use the Pythagorean Theorem like a boss.The boys can, and will, draw a penis on anything.The girls will cry at the drop of a hat.They are loyal.They say that they are “a grown-ass man” and come in with tattoos.The same ones get excited about a Sponge Bob coloring book.They never bring a pencil.They are shocked to hear me say “jawn” or find out that I know who Meek Mills is.They have limitless potential.They are extraordinary young ladies and gentlemen.They are about to graduate from middle school and I am so proud.

I cannot adequately describe the past year of my life. But as it comes to a close, I can say that there are sixty 14-year-olds in North Philadelphia who I love more than I could’ve ever imagined, and I am going to cry like a baby when they walk across that stage.

They call me mom accidentally.
They tell me that they hate me and my class, and the next day they come in and give me a huge hug.
One of them told me that he makes teachers quit, and he was going to make me quit. Now he comes to my room every morning to say hello.
They say (ad nauseam) “it’s too hard” or “it’s too much” until the moment they actually try, and then it’s all, “Miss, this is so easy”.
They ask about if I have a boyfriend. And one girl asks if I have a girlfriend (because she does, and she’s confused).
They behave horrifically. And when I hear about their lives, and what they have been through it makes more sense, but I won’t allow it to be an excuse.
They say they are dumb/stupid/retarded because that is what they’ve been told by other teachers. I tell them that they are smart/creative/charismatic, and we look up the words in the dictionary and we talk about what they mean.
I “irk” their lives.
I need to stop “dick eating”.
(They curse. An obscene amount, but much less than they did in September.)
They are “off the chain”.
They are “hype” (especially after lunch).
They are hungry. Always. ALWAYS.
They are dancers.
They are rappers.
They are singers.
They are artists.
They are athletes.
They are poets.
And they use the Pythagorean Theorem like a boss.
The boys can, and will, draw a penis on anything.
The girls will cry at the drop of a hat.
They are loyal.
They say that they are “a grown-ass man” and come in with tattoos.
The same ones get excited about a Sponge Bob coloring book.
They never bring a pencil.
They are shocked to hear me say “jawn” or find out that I know who Meek Mills is.
They have limitless potential.
They are extraordinary young ladies and gentlemen.
They are about to graduate from middle school and I am so proud.

I cannot adequately describe the past year of my life. But as it comes to a close, I can say that there are sixty 14-year-olds in North Philadelphia who I love more than I could’ve ever imagined, and I am going to cry like a baby when they walk across that stage.

An exciting night at Hoffman House

It’s ‘Why Not Wednesday’, which means wine, mac and cheese, and tater tots.

And I’m super psyched about working on the incentive plan for the whole 8th grade and making behavior trackers for some of my students. Also picked up ‘red balls’ aka fire balls for one of my students, as an incentive for having a good day in class. Who knew that the promise of a tiny piece of candy could work wonders on the most difficult students?

Killed it in New York this weekend.I’m getting marginally better at balancing work/grad school/life.

Killed it in New York this weekend.
I’m getting marginally better at balancing work/grad school/life.

How do we stop needing things, though? I think the main way is that eventually they disappear and you look around and are not dead, and say, I guess I didn’t need that.

A Lady on the Hairpin,

Damn, son.

(via meaghano)

yes.

(via beenthinking)

the way we get by

I’m not sure how to start to describe the past month. Maybe I’ll start by saying that it’s true what they say – teachers do not get paid enough. And it’s not just because of the of the 12 or 14 hours days, breaking up fights in my classroom, chasing students down the hall after they bolt out of the room, being cursed at in English and Spanish, the paper balls and crayons flying across the room, or the fact that every morning on the way to work I feel like I’m going to throw up and have to keep repeating to myself ‘today will be better than yesterday, today will be better than yesterday…’

It. Is. Hard.

Let me say it again. It is hard, and I’m not good at it yet. For someone who is used to being good at things, it’s especially difficult. I know I will be a great teacher, but right now I’m struggling. It has been a long month. Some days I’m convinced that I can’t do it, but I make myself smile and I keep on repeating ‘today will be better than yesterday, today will be better than yesterday…’ and some days it is. 

This week felt particularly long, but on Friday I had students in my room for a silent lunch detention and for whatever reason they couldn’t stop giggling. They were being so silly that at one point I had to walk away from them so that I wouldn’t burst out laughing, and then I did anyway. So we just sat there for the last five minutes of lunch, all of us uncontrollably giggling. On Thursday one student talked to me about the high schools she wanted to apply to and what she could do to get better grades this year. She asked if I would help with her application and write her a recommendation. On Wednesday morning, when I was serving breakfast in my room, I let one student DJ and I found out, to my great surprise, my kids like Call Me Maybe. And the moment when it clicked for T. and he ‘got’ prime factor trees and then went on do to extra problems! Those are the moments that I try to remember. 

Every morning we start fresh. I smile and shake their hands at the door because I am genuinely happy to see each and every one of them. It is hard. And it is undeniably worth it.

Today was my first time in my new classroom. It’s kind of insane when I stop and think about it. Six months ago I was feeling antsy, unfulfilled, and realized that I was almost finished with graduate school and still had no real direction. Then, two and a half months ago I moved half-way across the country, and today I’m just over a week away from my first day teaching 8th grade in one of Philadelphia’s more challenging middle schools. Things have changed more quickly than I expected, but, oh-me-oh-my, I’m ready. I think.  

(Taken with Instagram)

Today was my first time in my new classroom. It’s kind of insane when I stop and think about it. Six months ago I was feeling antsy, unfulfilled, and realized that I was almost finished with graduate school and still had no real direction. Then, two and a half months ago I moved half-way across the country, and today I’m just over a week away from my first day teaching 8th grade in one of Philadelphia’s more challenging middle schools. Things have changed more quickly than I expected, but, oh-me-oh-my, I’m ready. I think.

(Taken with Instagram)

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