Sunday, August 26, 2007


I love coincidences. Maybe I read to much into them, but I feel like they are the microscopic pushes of God.

It's like the quote I love from C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters."
You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creatures to stand up on its own legs — to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish.
(Sorry that was so long.) So last night I was watching this Nooma video and Rob Bell gets ends with this amazing benediction. I love his benedictions because they feel like the Holy Spirit is being breathed out onto the congregation, like a balloon is getting filled. He always begins with "And May You..." I am getting chill bumps right now just imagining it.

After hearing this amazing benediction, I talked with my friend Michelle about how these blessings are just so powerful. Then I thought, "I want to bless like that."

Now fast forward to church tonight. Chris Seay spoke on the meaning of living well in community. The first part of this was blessing. We ought to bless.

I guess, then, that I ought to be a blessing. I'll see what I can do.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I finished setting up room 1107 in preparation for Teaching: Year 2. I am very excited to see how all of the classes and trainings and planning work out for my kids this year. I think that my new focus on problem solving will be a great thing, but I don't really know yet.

On the positive side, I am not nervous. Teaching summer school gave me a dry-run on first day of school stuff, so I feel like I know what I want to do, where it will go. I feel prepared. Of course this is a huge shift from last year.

In other news, my quest to become environmentally aware and friendly is growing; I am now recycling. I even put up signs over the garbage to remind my roommates that they too have an obligation to recycle. They were forgetting.

I finished Serve God, Save the Planet, and highly recommend it to anybody who is interested in environmental or health issues. Even if you are not of the Christian persuasion, the author is well spoken (or written, I guess) with a lot of sound advise for everybody out there.

Friday, August 24, 2007


This week marked my first week back at Alief Middle School. Last week was full of professional development opportunities (oh yes, opportunities) through TFA or the Alief district, and while some of that time actually proved to be quite useful, it is just not the same as being on campus, in your classroom, getting things ready for Day 1. Which is the 27th.

In preparation for this week of in-service training, planning and copying, Mr. F and I rolled over to AMS on Wednesday afternoon of last week. Our goal was simple: pilfer as many tables and chairs as possible.

See, last year, we came in as wet-behind-the-ears-newbies, with grand aspirations for the 'group concept', only to be greeted by a room full of desks on our first day. After submitting furniture requests and even begging at one point last year for tables, we now know, being the grizzled veterans (of one measly campaign!), that if we want tables, we have to do it ourselves.

Luckily, we knew where we could acquire said merchandise without offending too many folks. A teacher left the math department, who just so happened to have a room full of tables.

Mr. F and I arrived on Wednesday during a deluge and began moving desks out of his room, swapping tables back in. I was waiting on final word for a potential room swap (thankfully, I managed to remain in the same room this year), so we piled all the chairs into Mr. F's room, and most of the tables.

But at this stage of the exchange, two important things happen. First, my assistant principal catches us in the act, asks what we are doing, and then says "Oh, well, keep up the good work" in response to our explanation. Second, we realize that we know have 2 rooms worth of desks, but only one room to store them in.

An executive decision prompts us to stash all of my desks, all 24, under the stairs to the second floor, in the "Cub Reading Den". It ends up looking quite ridiculous. Imagine row upon row of desks with about a 2 foot clearance above them. Bring on the wee people! (I do not know the DCA term for people of abnormally small stature)

Our job done, we left.

This week, we meet our new teachers and find out that Lo, the school hired an interventionist to occupy the pilfered room. She is a first year teacher, and in a eerie turn of events, strolls in with a sketch for a grand group concept, of course necessitating tables. She asks me "I wanted to do lots of group work, where could I find some tables?"

I of course feign ignorance, and (laughingly) bring her to Mr. F. "Hey Mr. F, she needs tables. Do you know who to ask?"

Mr. F nearly dies.

New teacher gives up on tables. Shifts focus to getting uniform desks. At least if they are all the same color, type etc, things will be manageable right? Well, there is a classroom worth of yellow desks under the stairs. Whose are those? Nobody knows.

New teacher goes to ask the Math Department head. "Whose are those?" "I don't know. Ask the assistant principal."

New teacher goes to ask AP. "Can I have those yellow desks?" "What yellow desks? Oh those. Well, yea you can have them. But if anybody comes asking for them you have to return them."

So let me summarize (that's a higher level thinking skill.)

Mr. F and I decide we want tables. We take tables. We dump desks.
New Teacher wants tables. She has our dumped desks. She can't find tables. She then asks for more of our dumped desks. She has to get permission. Then she has to get more permission. For our dumped desks.

Should I feel bad about this?