I had my student’s submit questions they wanted to answer in our test answer writing unit.  Somebody suggested describing their worst day and how it affected them.  Sounded good–so it was one of the choices.

NEVER ASK ABOUT A STUDENT’S worst day.  If you are anything like me, you will cry as you read the answers.

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I find myself writing in run-on sentences.  There is no stopping point to contain my whirlwind.

I find myself thinking much like a four year old tells a story.  Breathless, excitable, “And then we did this and this and this happened and oh yah this and, and, and.”

This is not me.  The furious working, the flurry of cleaning, the not sitting down until bedtime.  I don’t know this woman.  Me?  I waste hours laying on the couch in front of the TV telling myself to do something and inevitably failing.  I put off everything until the very last minute, just because–not due to being busy.  Me, I know how to relax, stop, sit, and smell the roses.

But, someone has taken over.  I go-go-go until there is no going left.  I spend all of 10 minutes a day sitting leisurely.   I take initiative and plan things.  I am a leader, a doer, a tell-er.

I do not know this woman who has taken over.  She is everything I never thought I would be.  She is everything I never liked!  And yet…

At the end of the day I feel accomplished.  At the end of the day I am so tired I fall asleep without hours of tossing and turning.  At the end of the day I know I have done the best I could, and I am that much closer to having an empty list… like the real me.

I keep waiting for that moment, but the list keeps growing.

I can finally start to feel SOME things calming down.  I still have loads to do, but I feel like the end is in sight:

1. Thesis is due tonight!!!  Can’t wait to cross that one off my list.

2. 10 page papers are all graded.  I stayed up until midnight so I could get them accomplished.  I would be more excited, but another plagiarizer in the bunch.  He says to me, “Yah I probably should have cited more.”  OR, done your own damn work.

3. Wedding thank yous.  All that is left is to address the envelopes and buy a few more stamps.  I will be so glad not having that hanging over my head.

4. I got a new job, so no more searching!

5. Even the house, though there is still much to be unpacked, feels manageable.  I got a lot done last night, now just need to keep picking away at all the crap in the garage.

6. When I think about the grading left to do, I still get a little twitchy, but with less than two weeks left of seniors (who make up about 90% of my classes), I feel like I can make it.

There’s still a lot to do, but I’ve accomplished more than I would have ever in a million years thought possible at this time last year.  It’s a good feeling.

It actually has nothing to do with Cinco De Mayo, except that today is in fact the 5th of May.  I like to say it Cinco De May-o–phonetically, because that is how my Grandpa says it and it cracks me up.

Anyway, today could not be a better day for a meme, because my brain power has all been sucked out of me by grading 18 year old thoughts.  That’s a hard job, man.

So thanks to Ms. Julie for tagging me.  I can’t resist a good meme (I have no idea why)

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

10 years ago I was sixteen.  I was busy hating my sophomore year of high school for a lot of reasons.  I don’t remember any of them now, but I do remember standing outside waiting for the bus with my friend Candace, both of us discussing how horrible the year was.  Maybe it was riding the bus.  Maybe it was geometry.  Despite 16, I was avoiding getting my license, because I am that weird kid who hates to drive.  I was looking forward to the summer and not doing anything except babysit my little sister and blare Sarah McLaughlin with my door shut.  I was angsty.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

1. Grade 7 ten-page essays (I can see the light at the end of the tunnel)

2. Grade 3 classes worth of test writing

3. I would really love to finish my wedding thank yous, I am not sure this will happen.

4. Call my Mommy.

3) Snacks I enjoy:

-Fruity Candy (starburst, skittles, now & laters, jolly ranchers)

-Watermelon

-Nacho Cheese Doritos

-Cucumbers (when I’m feeling healthy-ha)

-Nachos

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

-Pay off all my debt, including my house.

-Let R. take me to DisneyWorld

-Renovate my Grandpa’s farmhouse

– Buy an old house in the country and live there in the spring.
5) Three of my bad habits:

-Procrastinating (Oh yah, I guess I need to add “work on thesis due tomorrow” to my to-do list.

-Being messy

-Internalizing slights and getting over-angry about them.

6) 5 places I have lived:
I have lived in over ten–here are 5 in no particular order
-Ottumwa, Iowa

-Kirksville, Missouri (TSU!)

-Omaha, Nebraska

-Bettendorf, Iowa

-Homewood, Illinois

7) 5 jobs I have had:

– Cashier at Casey’s General Store in K-ville

-tutor

-I was a waitress for all of 3 weeks–it was the worst experience of my life–both the pay and the alcoholic boss.

–Daycare teacher

– seasonal naturalist

8) 6 peeps I wanna know more about:

I am not a good meme tagger, but here’s a few:

Wegrit

Gibsondog

Bri

The matching dishes & glasses sitting in my cupboard make it official: I am a full-fledged adult.

(Yes, it is this and not being married or home ownership that really does it).

I was offered a new job yesterday.  AND I AM TAKING IT!  I love my current job in a lot of ways, but it’s also a very frustrating place to be for a new teacher who needs other teachers in her content area for support and yet do not have any.  It’s also implausible to stay in the current job because I literally get paid six times a year.  They’re big ol’ checks, but I’ve got bills to pay and I can’t go from July to October without getting paid.

This job is a little less money, but I will have a support system.  I’ll have training and a mentor.  It’s really a great move for me, and I loved the new school, even though I wasn’t so sure at working at a private school.  After interviewing and touring, I was in love.  And, they seemed to really like me too, which is also a plus.

So, all of the sudden I fee like I have a new life.  A wife, a homeowner, an English teacher without having to qualify exactly what I do (dual enrollment).

With this “new life” I am thinking about changing the name of the blog.  These aren’t just brushes anymore, adulthood is here rearing its simultaneously ugly and wonderful head.  But, I am terrible at titles.  The process might take a while, but the URL will stay the same.  So, keep coming back to the same Bat place, don’t be thrown if you see a new Bat title.

May 3rd-Out!

It is amazing how people are different.  Is it a time thing, a locale thing, a parent thing?

I am sitting here thinking about the three chapters of my thesis due Tuesday and how I am never going to finish.  I am thinking of all the possible ways to finish (Much Mt. Dew and a full weekend of all-nighter writing? Turning in half the pages and hoping for the best?  Inventing a time machine and a non-procrastinator machine?).  And, it occurred to me, that though I have 8 billion things to do, all of which have deadlines, it has not even momentarily occurred to me to plagiarize.

Of course, the only reason it even occurred to me sitting here is because I confronted one of my plagiarizers today.  As I suspected, she claimed she did not understand what she did wrong.  She said she cited.  I pointed out she didn’t use these things called quotation marks.  Also, there were paragraphs where there was plenty of plagiarism and NO citing.  She still claimed ignorance, but accepted the grade and that she wasn’t going to put a fast one on me.  We talked and will discuss some options to possibly get her to not fail the class.  I don’t want her to fail the whole class for one mistake–even if it’s a huge mistake that I talked with the whole class about multiple times.

Never, in my many years of schooling did plagiarism occur to me as an option (or as a confusion).  Not to say I NEVER accidentally plagiarized a line or two.  I’m willing to be my paraprasing wasn’t always perfect–but it was never on purpose and never more than a few lines.

Perhaps it was my confidence as a writer.  I did feel it was my one scholastic achievement, and it never occurred to me to let someone else do the work when I could do it and get an A.  But, that isn’t it–because my procrastinator tendencies have gotten me into way too much trouble to really have my abilities be the thing keeping me from it.

Perhaps it was the way I was raised.  The difference between right and wrong was always emphasized in our house.  Not in terms of religion or even laws, but in terms of how we act, what we should do as good, decent people–and this was taught by example.  My parents did the best they could.  The easy road was rarely proposed and rarely taken.  My Dad called gambling “ill-gotten gains” and, though not morally opposed, rarely participated.  He wanted to do his own work and be rewarded for that, not have something fall into his lap.  It wasn’t that we were preached at to be “good”–we were shown how by my parents and grandparents.  And so, just like smoking and drinking never appealed to me, stealing and cheating never appealed to me either.

In the end, I actually feel sorry for my students who take the easy way out.  Who see cheating and plagiarizing as a way to “get through.”  Who see it as no big deal and something that has to be done because they’ve got too much else to do.  These students who feel they’re owed something, who feel their education is a waste.  Because, in the end they really are harming themselves.  The hard part, though, is that while they’re hurting themselves, they’re hurting their whole generation.

And so, I try to focus on the ones that amaze me.  The ones that come to school with a positive attitude.  The ones that do their work to the best of their ability while balancing extra curriculars and social status.  The ones that don’t just “want” an A, but work for it.  The people I know I will see running the world in a few decades.  There aren’t many, but there are some and I think I need to learn, as a teacher, to show my appreciation to these students and to realize all is not lost for our future.