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10 months.

I’ve been 23 for ten months now, and all the shit I freaked out about has happened.

This is how 23 has felt so far.

This is how 23 has felt so far. Photo courtesy of BlogHer.com.

In ten months, I’ve managed to:

-get my first big girl job
-find a love that I deserve
-get engaged
-model in a runway show in Chicago
-receive affirmation that my first book idea is a “good one” and at least one major group would be interested in funding it
-accomplish more than I ever thought I could accomplish in a year, let alone ten months

#23til23 and its aftermath has been pretty awesome.

How have your past 10 months been?

The end of National Poetry Month 2013

I’ve been participating in National Poetry Month for the first time sine my freshman year of college, and I have to say it was refreshing. Yesterday, April 30th, was not only the final day of NaPoMo and the PAD Challenge, but it was the one year anniversary since I last stepped foot into a poetry classroom as a student. I took one poetry class a semester during my undergrad, which came out to be 21 credits with the same professor. Poetry was my therapy through my college years, and I never would have discovered my love for writing if I hadn’t accidentally been placed in an Intro to Creative Writing course the first semester of my freshman year.

Since my last poetry class a year ago, I’ve neglected my poetic writing, only occasionally writing for poetry readings I’ve been invited to perform at. It’s really easy to neglect your first writing love when you have a blog and social media taking up so much of your life. Writing a poem a day during the month of April was a bit stressful, yet relaxing, all at once. While I wrote way more haikus than I ever have before, it still felt good to be writing poetry. On the days where I wrote more difficult poetry forms, I felt alive. It felt so good to be writing each and every day, and to be challenging myself.

So, I’ve decided to try to incorporate my first love of poetry into my blog. I’ll be implementing “Poetry Wednesdays” because, apparently, Wednesday is the day of the week I blog the least on.

Thank you for joining me on this PAD Challenge.

Here are all the poems I wrote over the past month:

4/1/2013 - an arrival poem

4/2/2013 - bright poem, dark poem

4/3/2013 - a tentative poem

4/4/2013 - Hold that (_______) poem

4/5/2013 - a “plus” poem

4/6/2013 - a “post” poem

4/7/2013 - a sevenling poem

4/8/2013 - instructional poem

4/9/2013 - hunter/ hunted poem

4/10/2013 - a suffering poem

4/11/2013 - in case of (blank) poem

4/12/2013 - a broke poem

4/13/2013 - a comparison poem

4/14/2013 - a limerick on writing sonnets

4/15/2013 - an infested poem

4/16/2013 - an im/possible poem

4/17/2013 - express poem

4/18/2013 - an “I Am….” poem

4/19/2013 - burn poem

4/20/2013 - a “beyond” poem

4/21/2013 - a serenyu

4/22/2013- a complex poem (villanelle)

4/23/2013- a love poem or an anti-love poem

4/24/2013an “auto” poem

4/25/2013“Everyone (blank)”

4/26/2013- a cast poem

4/27/2013a mechanical poem (substituted mechanical for recipe)

4/28/2013- a shadorma poem

4/29/2013- take the line of a previous PAD poem & use it as the title

4/30/2013- a finished or unfinished poem

“You know Miss B, this whole thing has me wondering…would you take a bullet for us? Be honest.”

I’ve blogged about my student teaching experiences before, and how I’ve handled my sexuality in the classroom, dealing with the aftermath of Sandy in my school, and other experiences. However, I never expected to have students ask me if I would take a bullet for them.

After some reflection, and getting the go-ahead from my cooperating teacher, I decided to discuss Friday’s shooting in my classes today by opening up with a Do Now that read “What have you heard about Newtown, Connecticut?” I figured that this would open up a conversation if students wanted to discuss it, and even if they didn’t, writing a response in their journals would allow them to at least process it a bit.

I allowed the first 10-15 minutes of two of my classes for students to discuss the shooting and the fears, and my double period spent the entire first period of class discuss the shooting and why violence happens. It was a really insightful conversation. We even discussed the history of school shootings, and whether or not there’s a difference between a school shooting in an elementary school versus a school shooting in a high school. My Creative Writing class talked about the shooting for about half of the period. In all of my classes, we discussed the different stories that had been emerging, as well as the differences between fact and fiction regarding internet rumors about the shooting. This led to the discussion of various individuals who had either lived or died, and how the media had conveyed them.

At one point, one of my Creative Writing students said, ”You know Miss B, this whole thing has me wondering…would you take a bullet for us? Be honest.” I responded, “Am I ever anything BUT honest with you?” (The question initially caught me offguard, but it was something I was asked more than once today.) Then I asked for a moment to gather my thoughts before stating the following:

“As a teacher, I feel my number one priority is to create a safe learning environment for my students, and to make them feel protected and safe. Teachers are responsible for the well-being of their students, and I’d do anything in my power to protect you from harm’s way. While I hope I never have to dive in front of a bullet for any of my students, the fact of the matter is I care about all of you and would put your needs before my own, as I have done multiple times without you realizing it, because you are my responsibility, and because I care about all of you a lot.”

My students trust me to protect them and support them, and I don’t think I’d be okay with the idea of me not doing so. My answer might change slightly in a few years when I have a family of my own, but my students will still be my students and my responsibilities won’t change.

I think that reassured them more than anything else. I’ve also been reiterating in all of my classes that, even when I leave on Friday (my last day of student teaching), I’m here for my students if they need to talk, and that I do care about each and every one of them oh-so much.

Victoria Soto, the teacher who hid her students in their cubbies and then took a bullet for them, has been on my mind a lot this weekend. I found myself questioning whether or not I’d have the courage to take a bullet for my students, and, at the end of the day, there is no question about it. Protecting my students and helping them succeed to the best of my abilities is a large part of being a teacher. If this meant taking a bullet for them, then yes, I would, because my students mean the world to me.

teachers

I saw this floating around Facebook today and it seemed fitting for today’s post.