Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Prodigal Returns

I just returned from a three day International Baccalaureate teacher conference in Houston. It was a jumble of all sorts of positive reinforcements - hanging out and acting ridiculously silly with good friends and sitting among brilliant academics, sipping coffee and saying nonsense phrases that sound important, like "transatlantic metonymous paradox." I was at Rice.

As usual, I left that place feeling all starry-eyed and inspired about IB but this time with caveats: What time is worth giving to teach 10 of 150 students v. what do I owe them since they are among the few who actually care? When will I find the time to implement the necessary changes I hope to see - as in reading, selecting, and preparing a new curriculum for the course - that will in the long run make my job easier, but that will in the short term increase my work load at a time when I am stretched so thin? What would make me more credible and therefore respected as an educator? Age? A second degree? A change in locality? Etc. and so on.

I savor going to these conferences because I have the opportunity to imagine what the ideal classroom looks like. I enjoy hobnobbing with people from all over the nation and beyond, in part because I find them all so familiar, but also because I romanticize their situations. I don't have to see them in the trenches of reality; at conferences we are all academics, inspirations, of value. For three short days we get to experience those platitudes that people are so willing to dole out to teachers: that we are needed, that our job makes a difference, that we are worthy of all the lovely things in the world (such as hot breakfast, a fluffy, down duvet, and genuine conversation).

But I'm back, now, counting down the days until my next escape. The baby was up all night. The neighbor dog barked in between baby shrieks. The kitchen needs a good scrubbing, and research papers are due on Tuesday.

24 comments:

Jen said...

I know exactly how you feel when I go to a good conference like that. Unfortunately I the ones I've gone to are local, I would love to go to one out of town! Anyways, I hope you can use what you learned in your classroom even if it's just a little something! I know it's hard, because I always want to implement everything I learned but it's just way too overwhelming! Maybe this will be the boost you need to get you to June!!

Love You!!

Jen

Lora said...

Oh, do I ever know those feelings! I'm SO ready to be back in the classroom, but I remember so well those feelings of not being "noticed" by the general population. It's all good though...I don't do it for them :0)

Visiting you from SITS...have a wonderful day!

Amy said...

Hi,

I see you made it over to the SITS place. I saw you on roll call. I am happy to see a face I know. It is a great site and looks like you have someone already here to say hi. Glad you had a fun time in Houston.

sandy said...

I came by to welcome you to SITS! It's great to have you in the SITStahood:0)

Joe. said...

This is so true, but not just teachers but in life its self. The world has become self absorbed and continues to cares less about one another as the clock keeps ticking, unknowing that time stops for no one. We shouldnt run or try to escape reality in truth there is no escapeing we should stand up for what we believe in or cause....Mrs.Haag you are a Great teacher and most of all a Great person, which is most important if only there was more people out there much like you...

Best of Luck Hippie jkjk :)
Your Actual learning Student Joe Kaid

angi_b72 said...

Welcome to SITS!!

Aubrey said...

Hello!

Another one coming over from SITS to say hello & Welcome!!

Mandy said...

I'm with the Welcome Wagon for SITS, we are so glad you joined us! You'll love it--it's a fabulous group of ladies. Welcome, welcome, welcome!:) -Mandy

AP said...

stopping in to welcome you to SIts, the next best thing to another get away

Jen said...

I so know what you are taking about with conferences. I am a nurse and every time I go to a nursing confernce, my spirit is renewed. I guess that is why we go.

Just stopped by from SITS to say hello and welcome!

Rachael said...

conference or no conference, i experience the same ups + downs. something will renew + refresh me and then reality hits. but, i always have the next time.

stopping by from SITS to wish you a warm welcome. tomorrow is the spring fling, i hope that you stop by!

Rhea said...

I'm glad you were inspired by the conference. Sorry reality had to sneak back in.

I'm with the SITS Welcome Wagon! I've been with them for a while now, and it's an wonderful, supportive community for women bloggers. I've read so many fun blogs and met so many amazing women. Welcome new SITSta!

And don't forget to visit SITS tomorrow for the huge Spring Fling/giveaway!!

greedygrace said...

Visiting from SITS to say hi and welcome!

Jen said...

GINGER!! I saw your comment this morning over on SITS and I cannot tell you how excited I was!! You should of seen me I was jumping and hollering it really was a sight!! I am so excited!! You're going to LOVE it!! It's a great blogging community!!

LOVE you SITSta!! Hope you have a great day!

Jen

Beth said...

Coming by via SITS.

And I think your post is very thought provoking. It reminded me to not idealize others but realize that we all have burdens and we all have successes. And I should learn to recognize that!

K said...

Suonds like a nice break even if the return to "real" life was a bit rough.

Welcome to SITS!

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Wow! Are you overwhelmed by all of the SITS love that you have received yet? Don't be afraid. It is going to be OK. In time, you might even get used to the comment love and learn to like it a bit. :)

I have two very young kids and have looked into an IB education for them both. It is a fascinating topic to me.

Mom + work + research are about some of the hardest activities you can take on simultaneously. I know this all to well. I wish you luck in finding the balance and the answers to your questions.

-Francesca

Ginger said...

Thanks all! I love the supportive comments, especially the v. insightful ones!I am just getting settled with SITS and wouldn't you know it, I got a cold. So please forgive my halfassed attempt at the mo. I'll get better, I promise

Joy said...

Just wanted to stop by, say hello, and welcome to the SITS community!

Tiffany said...

Welcome back!
Please stop by my blog, Eat at Home and leave a comment today. Each comment is worth $1 for the Global Food Crisis fund and all you have to do is comment. SITS girls are great at that!

Eudae-Mamia said...

I'm fairly certain I'm not smart enough to be reading your blog - fascinating. Honest. Good stuff.

Welcome to SiTS! Em

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

I don't think I'm smart enough, either, but I enjoyed reading it anyway. :)

Dropping by to welcome you to SITS!

Ginger said...

Wow. You guys are all smart enough to be here. Believe me. If you knew some of the jackholery that comes out of my brain, you would know that I'm not always academic..

The Rambler said...

Just stopping by from SITS to say welcome!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Prodigal Returns

I just returned from a three day International Baccalaureate teacher conference in Houston. It was a jumble of all sorts of positive reinforcements - hanging out and acting ridiculously silly with good friends and sitting among brilliant academics, sipping coffee and saying nonsense phrases that sound important, like "transatlantic metonymous paradox." I was at Rice.

As usual, I left that place feeling all starry-eyed and inspired about IB but this time with caveats: What time is worth giving to teach 10 of 150 students v. what do I owe them since they are among the few who actually care? When will I find the time to implement the necessary changes I hope to see - as in reading, selecting, and preparing a new curriculum for the course - that will in the long run make my job easier, but that will in the short term increase my work load at a time when I am stretched so thin? What would make me more credible and therefore respected as an educator? Age? A second degree? A change in locality? Etc. and so on.

I savor going to these conferences because I have the opportunity to imagine what the ideal classroom looks like. I enjoy hobnobbing with people from all over the nation and beyond, in part because I find them all so familiar, but also because I romanticize their situations. I don't have to see them in the trenches of reality; at conferences we are all academics, inspirations, of value. For three short days we get to experience those platitudes that people are so willing to dole out to teachers: that we are needed, that our job makes a difference, that we are worthy of all the lovely things in the world (such as hot breakfast, a fluffy, down duvet, and genuine conversation).

But I'm back, now, counting down the days until my next escape. The baby was up all night. The neighbor dog barked in between baby shrieks. The kitchen needs a good scrubbing, and research papers are due on Tuesday.

24 comments:

Jen said...

I know exactly how you feel when I go to a good conference like that. Unfortunately I the ones I've gone to are local, I would love to go to one out of town! Anyways, I hope you can use what you learned in your classroom even if it's just a little something! I know it's hard, because I always want to implement everything I learned but it's just way too overwhelming! Maybe this will be the boost you need to get you to June!!

Love You!!

Jen

Lora said...

Oh, do I ever know those feelings! I'm SO ready to be back in the classroom, but I remember so well those feelings of not being "noticed" by the general population. It's all good though...I don't do it for them :0)

Visiting you from SITS...have a wonderful day!

Amy said...

Hi,

I see you made it over to the SITS place. I saw you on roll call. I am happy to see a face I know. It is a great site and looks like you have someone already here to say hi. Glad you had a fun time in Houston.

sandy said...

I came by to welcome you to SITS! It's great to have you in the SITStahood:0)

Joe. said...

This is so true, but not just teachers but in life its self. The world has become self absorbed and continues to cares less about one another as the clock keeps ticking, unknowing that time stops for no one. We shouldnt run or try to escape reality in truth there is no escapeing we should stand up for what we believe in or cause....Mrs.Haag you are a Great teacher and most of all a Great person, which is most important if only there was more people out there much like you...

Best of Luck Hippie jkjk :)
Your Actual learning Student Joe Kaid

angi_b72 said...

Welcome to SITS!!

Aubrey said...

Hello!

Another one coming over from SITS to say hello & Welcome!!

Mandy said...

I'm with the Welcome Wagon for SITS, we are so glad you joined us! You'll love it--it's a fabulous group of ladies. Welcome, welcome, welcome!:) -Mandy

AP said...

stopping in to welcome you to SIts, the next best thing to another get away

Jen said...

I so know what you are taking about with conferences. I am a nurse and every time I go to a nursing confernce, my spirit is renewed. I guess that is why we go.

Just stopped by from SITS to say hello and welcome!

Rachael said...

conference or no conference, i experience the same ups + downs. something will renew + refresh me and then reality hits. but, i always have the next time.

stopping by from SITS to wish you a warm welcome. tomorrow is the spring fling, i hope that you stop by!

Rhea said...

I'm glad you were inspired by the conference. Sorry reality had to sneak back in.

I'm with the SITS Welcome Wagon! I've been with them for a while now, and it's an wonderful, supportive community for women bloggers. I've read so many fun blogs and met so many amazing women. Welcome new SITSta!

And don't forget to visit SITS tomorrow for the huge Spring Fling/giveaway!!

greedygrace said...

Visiting from SITS to say hi and welcome!

Jen said...

GINGER!! I saw your comment this morning over on SITS and I cannot tell you how excited I was!! You should of seen me I was jumping and hollering it really was a sight!! I am so excited!! You're going to LOVE it!! It's a great blogging community!!

LOVE you SITSta!! Hope you have a great day!

Jen

Beth said...

Coming by via SITS.

And I think your post is very thought provoking. It reminded me to not idealize others but realize that we all have burdens and we all have successes. And I should learn to recognize that!

K said...

Suonds like a nice break even if the return to "real" life was a bit rough.

Welcome to SITS!

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Wow! Are you overwhelmed by all of the SITS love that you have received yet? Don't be afraid. It is going to be OK. In time, you might even get used to the comment love and learn to like it a bit. :)

I have two very young kids and have looked into an IB education for them both. It is a fascinating topic to me.

Mom + work + research are about some of the hardest activities you can take on simultaneously. I know this all to well. I wish you luck in finding the balance and the answers to your questions.

-Francesca

Ginger said...

Thanks all! I love the supportive comments, especially the v. insightful ones!I am just getting settled with SITS and wouldn't you know it, I got a cold. So please forgive my halfassed attempt at the mo. I'll get better, I promise

Joy said...

Just wanted to stop by, say hello, and welcome to the SITS community!

Tiffany said...

Welcome back!
Please stop by my blog, Eat at Home and leave a comment today. Each comment is worth $1 for the Global Food Crisis fund and all you have to do is comment. SITS girls are great at that!

Eudae-Mamia said...

I'm fairly certain I'm not smart enough to be reading your blog - fascinating. Honest. Good stuff.

Welcome to SiTS! Em

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

I don't think I'm smart enough, either, but I enjoyed reading it anyway. :)

Dropping by to welcome you to SITS!

Ginger said...

Wow. You guys are all smart enough to be here. Believe me. If you knew some of the jackholery that comes out of my brain, you would know that I'm not always academic..

The Rambler said...

Just stopping by from SITS to say welcome!