Friday, June 20, 2014

Poetry Friday: Pitcher

It's Poetry Friday.  Today's link up is hosted at Check It Out.

So I'm a little hooked on fantasy baseball.  One of my pitchers, Mat Latos, is back with the Reds.  Yep, I'm writing this in hopes of sending the power to him to strike out my son's players on the other team.  Oh, fantasy sports.  

The pitcher
touches his hat
looks left
chin touches shoulder.

The ball
goes behind his back
he stares
at the hitter.

He moves
the ball
to his glove
and stares again.

He winds
sends the ball
toward the batter.

The batter
but the ball
smacks the catchers mitt.


© Cathy L. Mere, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Teacher's Summer

Today I'm joining a Slice of Life hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by for links to this amazing community of writers. 

Today was my first day without school related responsibilities even though school ended nearly two weeks ago.  Since that time I've been packing my classroom as I'm switching to a new position next year and attending professional development meetings.  So this morning, I thought I'd stop for a cup of coffee at Starbucks in celebration of all the possibility in a day without a schedule.  The barista handed me my coffee and said, "You have the summer off now."

Perhaps they noticed that I had actually had a few good nights of sleep since completing report cards, finishing end of year paperwork, and preparing things for the end of the year.  They know me well in there.  We laugh when I say, "No skim today as I need a high-test cup of coffee so I have energy for this day."  Sometimes they look at me and suggest, "Perhaps an extra shot of expresso."  I always assure them that no one could tolerate me with extra expresso.

So when they smiled and suggested "school's out for the summer" as if the party were about to begin, I smiled and nodded to make things easier.  How do you explain to someone a teacher's summer?  Yes, my schedule might be a little more relaxed and my alarm might not be set for 6:00 a.m. Monday - Friday, but summer isn't really "time-off."  School has been out for 9 days and I've been working unpaid for each one of them.  Over the coming weeks, I'll read professional books to help improve my teaching and prepare for my new position.  I'll attend Summer Academy classes offered by my district.  In July I have two professional development conferences in which I'll lead sessions in addition to co-hosting the #cyberPD book talk.  In August, I will attend and lead a session at ILE Ohio.  Not only will August be spent preparing for school, but I will also co-host #pb10for10.

Last week I read, "How To Stop Obsessing About Work When You're Not There," shared by a colleague.  Honestly, that's a little more complicated if you love what you do.  I look forward to the time in summer so that I can catch up on professional reads.  I look forward to the time in the summer so I can meet with colleagues to discuss learning and consider changes for the new year.  I look forward to summer so I have time to think about how to make things better.  I look forward to summer so I can spend time learning more about the ideas I want to pursue.  I look forward to summer so I can have time for professional writing and reflection.

As a teacher it's true that my summer schedule slows down a little more, but there's still much to be done during this time.  I love what I do and choose to spend much of my summer improving my craft.   How do you explain to someone a teacher's summer?  I'm not quite sure, but know it isn't all spent by poolside.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

You Might Be a Hoarder If...

It's Tuesday!  Today, and every Tuesday, Two Writing Teachers hosts The Slice of Life Challenge (today's link).  Thanks to everyone at Two Writing Teachers for establishing and supporting this amazing community of writers.  

This week I spent my days moving from my first grade classroom to a small room I will be using as a home base while supporting primary readers.  I've been teaching more years than I care to admit; just a little over a quarter century.  Actually, that sounds worse than saying I've been teaching for 26 years.  I've taught everything from kindergarten to 6th grade, as well as worked as a Reading Recovery teacher and as a Literacy Coach.  Though I've held many positions, I've always been in the classroom for part of my day.  So, I've collected some stuff.  That's putting it mildly;  I've collected a lot of stuff.

It took days to sort through everything, separating my materials from those belonging to the school.  I had to think about what I would still need in this new position.  I had to decide if there was room for it in the small room I was moving into for next year.  My sweet husband came with his truck and loaded the boxes, mostly book boxes, back to our house.  Twenty-six years is a lot of books.  As I sorted through I laughed at some of the things I have collected.  I've decided I might have hoarder tendencies. If you're a teacher, I know you know what I'm talking about.  You just never know what you might need.

Signs You Might Be a Teacher Hoarder
You have post-its in every shape, color, and size.

You have enough magnetic clips to hang every piece of paper you've ever touched.  You have silver small, silver medium, silver large, magnetic people, and even magnetic frogs stored away.

You have rubberbands in every size and color….bags and bags of them.

You dedicate file cabinet drawers to folders.  Yep, you can't have too many folders.

Pencils?  Everyone needs pencils.  Small, large, skinny, fat, with erasers, without erasers, striped, starred, red, yellow, blue, colored, regular…you get the idea.

Created bulletin board materials circa 1988 which haven't been used for decades - you have kept them.  Lamination makes them timeless.

You eyed the shredded paper, resulting from standing in front of the shredder for nearly a half hour, thinking it could be used for something.

Those BINGO dobbers your grandma used could surely be used for math, reading, or some crafty activity.  You better keep those.

You have drawers dedicated to tape:  fix-it tape, highlighting tape, book tape, packing tape, scotch tape, duct tape.

Speaking of tape, you do have rolls of electrical tape for lining smooth surfaces.

Those magnetic stove covers from the 90s can do more than cover burners.  They're magnetic after all.

I've laughed as I've talked about my disorder with other teachers.  I've discovered it's a silent problem no one wants to talk about.  I now know friends who have used entire closets in their houses, bedrooms, basements, garages, and even rental spaces because one just never knows when those materials might be needed again.

Well, my classroom is clean and the new small room has things packed (tightly) away.  Now, about this house.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Slice of Life: Priorities

Today I am participating in the Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge.  Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for hosting.

I went into school this morning to start to move from my first grade classroom into a small room for reading intervention.  I'm excited about the change, but not as excited about figuring out what to do with all of the stuff I have collected.  I went in at 8 o'clock his morning and worked until it was well past dark.  After putting in over 12 hours, I had decided jumping back into Slice of Life could wait until next week.  

Then I stopped by Kidblog and saw that Maggie had posted today.  Our class had discussed posting on Tuesdays over the summer since we enjoyed the month long challenge in March.  She had written a poem about the beach.  I decided if she could find time to write, I would too.  Thanks, Maggie, for reminding me of what is important.

I'm going to follow Maggie's lead and write a poem about moving.  


Stacks of books
line the tables
the shelves
the floor
beginning to fill boxes.

Round trashcans
filled with items
well used
or long outdated

learning tools
cover table tops.

What should go home?
What will fit in the office?
What do I need?
What should be passed along?

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