Sometimes, I Eat Cake For Lunch

…and other advice you probably never asked for

Month: March, 2013


My Teaching Event is 76 pages long so far (including scans of student work, copies of MANY graphic organizers that I created myself, etc).

I’m so close. It’s due on Tuesday but I want to finish it tonight so that I can a) STOP THINKING ABOUT IT, b) Start planning my Legislature unit, and c) Enjoy the Game of Thrones season premier without having to be thinking about academic vocabulary!


Good Week

This has been a good week. I taught on Monday (Campaign Finance) and it went well! I also taught on Wednesday (Why People Don’t Vote/Single Member District Plurality vs. Proportional Representation) and that went well too! Pretty much only good feedback from my mentor teacher.

Also, I was able to finish my lesson for Wednesday well before I had to teach it, which hasn’t happened in a while. And I’m giving a test on Friday to finish the unit, and I finished that well in advance as well. Seriously, actually having the ability to NOT work on something right before you go to bed feels AMAZING after those last few weeks.

My Teaching Event project is alllmoooost done. Basically, it’s for the State of California (it’s what I had to video tape myself teaching for). Anyway, there are 5 Tasks (Student Context, Planning, Instruction, Assessment and Reflection) that we have to write and scan student work for. They have from between 3 to 8 complicated prompts each, AND each one (minus Student Context) has 2-3 complicated rubrics. The Tasks that I’ve finished writing have come out to be around 15 pages each so far.

They’ve spent ALLLLL YEEEAR prepping us for the TE, holding lengthy seminars on how to complete the questions, etc, so it’s hard not to stress about it (the amount of questions we have to answer is enough to make you stress out, let alone the fact that we’re going to be graded and it’s a requirement to pass in order to get credentialed). BUT — apparently, unless you seriously start it the weekend before it’s due, everyone passes. Which is awesome to know, and this year has definitely NOT been my best academic year (in terms of caring about the quality of work I turn in to professors, due to the LESSON PLANNING FOR ACTUAL students that I am responsible for), BUT it’s hard to be handed a project and not try my hardest. One assignment is one thing, a big, potential 70-100p page project is a lot to not try for, you know? PLus, even though I know that I’ll probably pass, I of course have this fear that I will be the one person who DIDN’T wait to start until the last minute and who STILL didn’t pass. So there’s that.

But all in all, it’s been a good week!

Tuesday Morning

It’s 6:30 in the morning, I’m drinking a delicious homemade latte, and researching Single Member District Plurality vs. proportional representation. But at least I’m almost done with my last lesson of the unit…which I don’t have to teach for more than 24 hours, woooo.

Teaching Went Well Today

It’s still amazing to me how I can prep and prep and still have no indication ahead of time how a lesson will go. Like, who’d have thought that I would have trouble teaching about political parties, but that my lesson today on campaign finance reform was a relative breeze? I’m really looking forward to the day when I can *actually* gage how things are going to go.


Seriously. I just have to teach tomorrow, Wednesday, and give a Test on Friday (a short day, wooo!). Oh, and I have my MASSSSSIVE project due. But at least I don’t have any UCI classes this week!!


Today I worked on my lesson plan for tomorrow, one chunk of my my project, and I wrote (kind of) 10 multiple choice questions for my test. And that pretty much took me 12 hours.

Why is everything so time consuming??

Teaching Tomorrow

Last week was awful and this week is better, but I’ve only taught 1 of my 2 days so far so who knows. I had two small breakdowns last week — after my Supervisor came in to observe me we were having a perfectly pleasant chat and he didn’t have anything really upsetting at all to say to me, but I totally started crying and I couldn’t stop and it was really embarrassing (my Supervisor is great by the way — he reminds me of Papa Don, if Papa Don had been a high school administrator and a football coach). Anyway, so there was that, and then on Monday I had told my Mentor Teacher that I wanted to touch base about a few things (because I feel all depressed all the time about the quality of my work and I wanted to make sure he knew that I DID care and that I wasn’t giving up because I was positive that’s what my teaching has come across like lately) — and I TOTALLY started sobbing uncontrollably to him too. Again, super embarrassing. 

But I felt a lot better about our conversation, because he told me that I’m doing a good job, and that a lot of things I’m working on will only come with time. And that he was planning on making copies of some of my ideas because he thought they were really good. 

But this whole thing is weird. It’s weird having a “job” where it’s always high highs and low lows and you never know which is going to be which. AND it’s hard being able to pinpoint certain problem areas (i.e. I’m always SUPER self-conscious all the time because I still have NO IDEA if what I’m assigning is too hard or too easy, etc) while knowing that there is literally no solution except to wait until you figure it out. 

But at least today was a bright spot. Because of my schedule, this is been in the first day in over a WEEK where I came home from teaching and didn’t have to go to class. PLUS, I was able to start tomorrow’s lesson plan YESTERDAY, which meant that I had more than 24 hours to mull over my plans and do research and figure out a schedule for the day. I’m one of those people who can never procrastinate because my first draft is NEVER good enough, so it’s been really hard having to start and finish my lesson plans for the next day the day before they are do.

My gigantic ridiculous Teaching Event project is due April 2. I’m just waiting for it to be over. But I probably should actually start at some point. Hmmm, but when?? (I’m going to sleep right now in a much better mood than is represented in this post, btw).



My posts are getting fewer and fewer, and it’s  testament to how little brain power I have (note: not being able to think deeply due to stress makes it extra hard to plan good lessons, making this whole thing a vicious circle).

Anyway, Friday was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time. I got to Stephen’s in the afternoon. I had told him earlier that week that I required comfort food for dinner that night, so while I took a much-needed nap he surprised me with mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and delicious ribs. Perfect.

That night we also had plans to meet my best friend EB and her boyfriend Joe and their friend Spencer at this bar in LA that we had been wanting to go to for a while. EB has also been incredibly busy, and we hadn’t talked for real in a long time, so getting to see each other in person was extra special. The bar was fun too (I had a grasshopper. I usually don’t love mixed drinks compared to beer or wine or cider, but it was necessary on Friday). After the bar (which was fancy and dark inside and all of the bartenders were wearing bowties), the other three were hungry so we went to the Japanese BBQ place right next store. Stephen and I had already eaten, but we still wanted to hang out and we did want dessert (this place has s’mores), so we decided that the $15 dollor a person minimum for the Happy Hour prices was worth it.

We were both really full already and pretty much only wanted dessert, but because of the minimum OBVIOUSLY we were going to order some food too (it’s the kind of place where they bring you delicious raw meat that you cook yourself). The only problem was that the Happy Hour prices were ridiculously low (think, as little as $1 a plate), so to make a long story short, we ended up eating a LOT of unnecessary-but-so-worth-it Japanese BBQ to meet the minimum. I pretty much had 4 dinners that night. I was pretty delirious though, and it probably had something to do with the fact that I had been awake since 4AM that morning putting the finishing touches on my lesson plan, which meant that by the time I went to bed I had been awake for 21 hours.

Today was Rough

It wasn’t even that bad. And I’m aware that even real teachers have bad days, but this one really hit hard for some reason. It wasn’t an awful lesson, I’m just still learning things about how to treat background info, etc. I would bet a million dollars that everyone in a teacher training program has at some point during that time had doubts about whether they wanted to *actually* do this for a real living.

I’m not considering dropping out and I still want to teach. But it’s hard. I knew it would be hard, but there are little things that I don’t want to have to do all the time. Like, cognitive things. I’m totally down to put in the work and wake up at 5 every morning to make this happen. But it’s stuff like deciding to what extent you’re going to let individual students make up missing work that I HATE. I’m not interested in having that much responsibility right now, I hate it.



Sometimes I Drink Milkshakes for Dinner

(I also had pizza, it was a well-balanced meal).

This is a crazy week. The only way I can get through it is by dividing it up into 9 parts and counting down when each part is over. I need to be at the high school 5 days this week (which is normal. But I’m teaching 3 days when I usually only teach 2, and one of them had to go really well because I filmed, and one of them is a visit from my supervisor, so AHHHHHHHH). And I have class this week for 3ish hours on MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY. So I’m somehow already 4/9 of the way in. I have a lot of homework and lesson planning to do before I reach 9/9.

I’m trying to stay positive. One way to do this is to insert good YouTube clips into my lessons! Tomorrow I’m teaching about the 2-Party System and Single Member District Plurality:





I filmed myself for my teaching today. It was okay. I felt better the first period, which isn’t supposed to happen because what SHOULD happen is that by the second time I teach something (which was when I filmed) I’ve got it down (or at least better) but I don’t know what happened. I haven’t loaded it in to check it yet, but I’m sure it’s not great. I’m filming again on Monday and I think that will be better because I won’t be attached to my notes for that lesson. 

It’s Thursday! I need to keep reminding myself that tomorrow is Friday (i.e. I still have school). I’m just so grateful for my responsibilities to be over for this week.