Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Forward

Spring has sprung in Mexico City and we have been using our weekends to take advantage of it; going to the park, Spring festivals, the zoo and more. I love this warmer weather and the beauty that can be found inside this city.

Taking a stroll in the Xochimilco Ecological Park

Hanging out with the ducks in the park

Isa dressed as a fairy for the Spring Festival at school

Checking out the camels at the Chapultepec Zoo

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Teacher's Day

Classroom Antics:

The scene: The kids and I are sitting in a circle on the carpet throwing a ball around and naming different geometric solids. The kids have named all but one.

Me: OK, there's one more and I'll give you a hint. It's two words and the second word is prism.

Federico (my student): (confidently raises his hand, catches the ball) CYLINDER!


The scene: My students are presenting their end of the unit projects on a form of communication. Two boys are presenting on rap music. They've graffiti painted huge rolls of cardboard and lied them on the floor and around them like they are in a room. After setting up one of the kids says, Ms. Lauren, hit the lights. I do as he says and start the song "Good Feeling" by Flo Rida.

Gal (student): starts "break dancing". I use this term lightly as it was mostly him running in place and jumoping around like crazy. The music slows down and he does the robot, all while rapping and singing the words perfectly.

Awesome day.

And in case you haven't heard it, here you go:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Slow Down

Slow Down.

This is what my doctor told me yesterday.

I had called her because I was feeling sharp pains in my lower abdomen off and on all day. She said she was pretty sure they were preterm contractions. Since I've experienced contractions before and know what they feel like, I was almost certain she was right.

Contractions aren't supposed to happen at 14 weeks.

So, we made an action plan. She prescribed me some medication to take to ease the pain and stop the contractions but the main thing she told me was to rest. She gave me strict orders not to go to work for the next 2 days.

Preterm contractions can be brought on by a number of things, but the main thing is overdoing it. My doctor thinks this is most likely the culprit; and I can't deny it's probably true.

Being a 3rd grade teacher requires at least some overdoing it everyday, whether that's by breaking into song during a lesson or becoming highly animated. I'm constantly kneeling down, standing back up, sitting on the carpet, walking from table to table. Elementary School isn't about standing in the front of the room lecturing or sitting at your desk. It's about movement.

Taking care of a toddler also requires movement. Isa goes a mile a minute now days and James and I are constantly having to chase her around the house. This, plus her growing toddler body to pick up can be tiring.

So, how exactly do I slow down? I know this baby I'm growing inside of me is more important than my job. It's more important than my students, and I know I can cut down the amount of movement I have in the class, but it's hard.

Working full time and being a mother is hard stuff. Add pregnancy to it and it becomes an even greater challenge. I so wish I could find some time in my day to rest, but with work, then coming home to cook, take care of Isa and do some more work once she's in bed, it's near impossible.

My wonderful husband has began to make it a point to let (or should I say make) me rest. He will take Isa and the dog for a walk and I will try and get in a quick nap. This whole parenting this for him and I has always been a 50/50 job. I'm forever thankful that I'm not going at this alone.

I'm not quite sure how to go about this slowing down business, but I am making it my mission to make it happen. This baby inside of me requires sacrifices even before it comes out and as a parent it is my job to make them.

So here I go trying to figure this out.

Monday, March 5, 2012

They Say Patience is a Virtue

Today was one of those pull-my-hair-out teaching kind of days. My students and I made it through the morning smoothly; I'd even say they learned a few things (fancy that), but by the time recess was over and the afternoon rolled around they had lost it.

After a 10 minute or so explanation of what they were to do next (which included written instructions on the board; for those visual learners) I let them get started.

They were to work on their project about our current unit. There were books in the room for them to research, questions on the board they needed to answer and actual project work that needed to get done. Sounds like enough to keep them occupied, no?

Well, for the next 40 minutes or so my time was spent being bombarded by 8 year-olds, who, for the life of them could not understand that when one conversation is going on, it's not OK to blatantly interrupt (this happened maybe 10 times).

I had one girl asking for paint and while I was digging out the paints on my hands and knees, another kid told me they didn't know what to do (seriously?!). Next up it was another kid telling me they had to use my computer, then another telling me they can't find the art teacher who was supposed to help him with his project that day. I told him there was plenty he could do in the mean time, but he could not move on from the fact that he was not with the art teacher. For the next 30 minutes he paced around the room every once in a while stopping to say, "Ms. Lauren, can I check if he's there again?"

To top it all off I had a girl run up to me and tell me she had found her book from home on the library cart. I told her to take it and keep it somewhere safe. After the time was up and she had gone to her Spanish class I found her book on the hallway floor outside the classroom. I picked it up and brought it to her only to be told, "well, I don't know if it's actually mine."

What???!!! You just freaked out telling me this was your book, you were so certain and now you're saying it may be at your house and this may not be it.

I didn't actually say this to her, but it was running through my mind. In the end I told her to go put it on my desk and I walked away to take my much needed break for the day.

Some days I use every ounce of patience I have in the classroom and when I get home I find I have so little left for my almost 2 year-old daughter. Today was one of those days. James had to stay late at work, so I was on full time Isa duty until he got back later in the evening. I found myself being too short with her, getting frustrated easily, just wanting to put on a video so she would sit for a while and I could rest.

Today I felt like a below-average mother and it sucked. I'm not one to get down on myself, but I feel it creeping up on me today, that feeling of guilt.

I'm reassured by the logical person in my head that says:

You're not perfect,

you can't do it all,

sometimes you will fail...

and it's OK.

I know how much I love my daughter and I know I am a good mother. I just need to put that sentence on repeat in my mind every now and then.