Pure Insanity Reigns

Obviously record companies are under a lot of stress. I mean, they need to buy mounds of cocaine for the musicians, those Korg keytars keep breaking down, and Steve Jobs keeps calling and screaming “iTunes!” and hanging up, laughing maniacally. It’s a tough time to work in the industry.

It wasn’t always, though. So how can you explain the horrific album covers of years past? Check this site out. You will recoil. You will cry. You will thank me.


Autumn Exists

It’s almost fall. The weather is getting cool, school is about to start. (Teachers care a lot about fall.) And for the first time in many years, I live in a place that actually has an autumn. I’m excited. Fall has always been my favorite season, and I’m happy I get the chance to enjoy it.

Enjoying fall means driving the kids through the country to see leaves and drink cider. It means begging Jaime to bake treats. (But honestly every season means that. Fall just means I’ll get more treats per beg.) Fall means food and cool weather. If I had more time, fall would mean long walks under beautiful foliage. But I don’t imagine I’ll be walking anywhere except to to and from school.

I’m anxious to get the school year started. I’m really anxious to get into the semester and get some of my projects done. It’s insane to think that this time next year I’ll have my own elementary school class. The first step to that is getting into the fall and accomplishing my work. The leaves turning red is just a bonus.

Poetry, Pain, and Lesson Plans

I’m starting the school year working with a 1st grade class. I’m extremely excited to be there, and I think I’ll have a great year. It’s going to be strange to work with kids this age. It’s exactly the age I want, and I think I’ll do well. It won’t be easy; it’s a tough time in a lot of ways. My philosophy of elementary school involves placing kids in situations to appreciate the world, and learn from it. My lesson plans pull from many things, but you can see my primary focus: math and poetry.

Not that I’m a math genius or anything. Quite the contrary, I am mediocre at best at advanced math. But I like it. Oddly enough. I enjoy it. I think it’s important. I think math and poetry are important things for human beings to understand and appreciate. There is a difference for my classroom though: I’m good at poetry. And I hate bad poetry.

I mean I have a seething, intense rage at bad poetry. Unreasonably so. To get a better understanding of what I mean, here is what I consider good poetry. Whitman, Creeley, Rumi are all good poets. There is no particular time or region that defines good poetry. There is just an aesthetic sense, a value of the poems themselves. I don’t know if I can even explain why Ryokan and Zukofsky are both good poets. I don’t know if anyone can.

Bad poets, on the other hand, are plentiful. Sometimes, like Nimoy, they are people who are good at other things and think they can try poetry. (Jewel, *cough*) Sometimes, education is the problem. They are MFAs in poetry and then write. It never works out for the best.

And here is my problem. I want to introduce, to teach them to appreciate. But education and poetry have historically created monsters. I think I can say without hyperbole that most poetry journals publish horror that is ten billion times worse than the next worse thing anyone can ever imagine in the history of the universe. I’m pretty sure I’m safe in stating that.

So, I will probably be careful. I will have the kids write poems. If they produce anything as bad as most poets, I will quit. I promise. There is always math. That can’t hurt anyone, right?

Return of the Blog

I’m starting the school year, and preparing myself for the insane year ahead of me. In the process of deciding what is useful work and what is wasting time, I have decided to try and continue my blog. I enjoy it, and it is a way to keep perspective and vent. I doubt I’ll be updating that often, but I hope to post a weekly summary of what my life is like. I expect it will be mostly personal work about myself and my family, and very little about what I’m doing in the school. It makes sense to minimize the amount I write about the schools, and I imagine the bulk of my friends and family are more interested in me than my work, regardless.

So, the year of coffee fueled teaching begins on Monday. I am incredibly excited. I hope we can make the situation relatively painless. Well, except to my adrenals. They are totally in for a beating.

I’m ready to get moving on this great project of work and life. I’m ready to take the next step forward. I’m ready to make another cup of coffee and start going over lesson plans.

I’m planning on making the weekly posts relatively simple, honest affairs. It reveals the extent to which this blog is decompressing for me, and I apologize for that in advance. At the same time, if you are reading this you are a friend or family member and are interested in what I am doing, so hopefully this will work for everyone.