Sunday, July 15, 2007

Teaching Conundrums

It really isn't fair sometimes, this teaching gig. I shouldn't grumble about it, because the worst day of parenting is far, far better than the worst day of parenting in addition to public school. But I'm human. I admit abject humanity and thereby my tendency to grumble when I find I don't know what I'm doing or how I'm going to do it.

I think it's time for my oldest child to have just a smidge, just a wee bitty slice of structure in her learning. Not that I want that. I take to structure like a polar bear to hot tubs. It isn't natural and it isn't me. And yet, I need to find some way of measuring something for which I have no natural way (yet) of measuring. I need to know where she is with her knowledge. It doesn't feel like a need to keep up with the Joneses, or a need to figure out if she's on par with little Janey at the local elementary. It's more like a dance where you need to know your partner's skill range. I don't particularly care how many lists of words she has memorized, but I do care if she knows what a suffix is, or a prefix, and how and why they can change a word, and where they are used. What's a root word and does it make a good soup? What's the difference between a verb and an adverb, and if you catch a wild gerund should you shoot it or tame it? I'm not sure I would know a gerund if I saw it, wild or not. What's a participle and should it really be dangling like that? I know how to split hairs, but can I really mend a split infinitive?

Since she isn't applying for grad school quite yet we may have time to figure out whether it's really wise to kill your average adjective. Some of them might really be nice creatures.

Monday, July 9, 2007

On Being Hit By Lightning

Granted, I am speaking metaphorically. I'm sure that if I had been hit by an actual bolt of wild electricity I would be wandering around with my mouth hanging open like a grouper trying to figure out what in the world just happened.

Wait. That does pretty much sum up what I've been looking like this month.

Really, it is a most undignified look for someone who has just been elevated to the grand title of Editor-in-chief (who is also, by definition, chief cook and bottle washer, not to mention beater-of-brush in the authorial fields. Did I mention I volunteered for this? Did I also mention that I only did that because I was sure they'd find someone more qualified? HA. We hold forth that this is exhibit A in proving that the Universe has a sense of humor.)

My spouse has no sympathy whatsoever. My children rally round and tell me that they still love me and that everything is going to be all right. Which goes to prove that they really don't know what's going on, but bless their little bitty hearts anyway. And my first thought on receiving the news that I'd been picked was, geez, this is going to make NaNoWriMo an even hairier challenge.

So why take on this challenge? Because it would have been so much easier to say no, but it wouldn't have been wiser. Because it is possible to do this and it is entirely possible that I can do this, and with this being so it was impossible not to try. I've managed to pull off the impossible before. Because it's a chance to work with adults again in a way that will not compromise my ability to be a mother to my children. I also need to do this because my children need to see mom working with other adults, doing adult things. I wish they could see their father doing that as well, but their dad's line of work sort of precludes that. Not every job can be made kid-friendly! In all fairness, it's also because this is the biggest brain-candy I have come across in a long time. Did I mention that I'm a learning junkie? If it's new, different, unknown, potentially dangerous (at least to my ego) and intellectually challenging I'm a lost cause.

All hail to the chief cook and bottle washer, and let's hope for a plentiful season on authors!