A Thankful List, From a Lady and a Huntsman

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

 Family and friends top the list, per usual. But here’s the rest of my “thankful” list:

-DEVOLSON IS OVER!!! Fill the goblets! Bring out the pheasant! Strike the lyre and play a merry tune on the lute! The Dark, Evil Vortex of Late September, October and November is but a dark and distant memory! (Can you tell I miss Game of Thrones?) 

-My student teacher. I can’t talk about her too long or I’ll start crying. But she’s an angel. Here is what 90% of our conversations look like:

Me: I’m a terrible human. I’m a mess. I’M THE WORST!
Her: No you’re not! Here, do you want a cookie?
Me: Yes. (with crumbs flying out of my mouth) Do you know where I put the vocab quizzes?
Her: Oh, I graded them and recorded the grades in your binder for you when you weren’t looking. And then I filed them in their student folders. 
Me: Are you sure you want to marry your fiancé and not me?
Her: Yes.

She’ll come around one day.

-Carbs. Have you made it to my Pinterest board for DEVOLSON food? I think I’m going to rename it “Highway to Diabetes,” or maybe “Elastic Pants Are My Soul Mate, #blessed.” I made these ham and cheese sliders for our faculty Thanksgiving potluck and my principal loved it so much he started crying, right there in the teacher’s lounge in front of everyone.

Just kidding. But everyone loved them..

Speaking of carbs, a few years ago I started making leftover Thanksgiving grilled cheese sandwiches that I would highly recommend. Layer one piece of buttered sourdough bread (or something sturdy), Havarti cheese, leftover turkey, another piece of cheese, stuffing (spread thin-like), cranberry sauce, your other piece of bread. Grill on low so the cheese has plenty of time to melt and your butter crisps up like it was born to do. It’ll change you.

-Moving up with last year's students. My students came to me last year fresh out of 6th grade, super behind where they needed to be, and definitely unfamiliar with working hard. Yesterday as I was grading their analysis essays on Anne Frank, I realized how far they have come. I found myself writing things like, “Wow—great point. I never thought of it that way,” and “Nice justification here” and “Holy cow! This is college-level thinking!” Ramon, one of my nuggets whose very first essay for me in 7th grade probably contained a total of four correctly-spelled words, turned in an essay that probably contained a total of four misspelled words. I know sharing this probably sounds conceited and/or braggy, but I don’t really care, because they’ve worked really, really hard, and I’ve worked really, really hard, and in teaching, especially at a Title I school, you just really have to savor and remember moments like I had yesterday during grading. 

-Frozen meals. Between this year’s DEVOLSON and being in grad school full time, it’s a wonder I’ve even remembered to eat things. Frozen meals have been a total lifesaver this semester. My favorites: anything Amy’s brand, the meatloaf and mashed potato Lean Cuisines, and, if you’re feeling particularly naughty, Beecher’s in Seattle makes this frozen macaroni and cheese that may just make your face fall off from dairy splendor.

-This pencil sharpener. Some of you held my hand this summer as I made the important decision on which pencil sharpener to get (thank you), and I don’t regret this one at all. Christopher, also known as X-Acto Teacher Pro, is a fine gentleman and we love him very much.

-Workshop teaching method. Oh, man. This has changed my life. It requires very careful and specific procedures being in place, but is so totally worth it. “Here are your assignments for the next three days. Work at your own pace. I’ll be checking in on you.” It’s. The. Best.

-Dogs. I want to adopt an adult dog over Christmas break and name him/her after a character from literature. What do you think? (Note: this is actually a cry for help. I need a reasonable, logical person to talk me out of it and tell me they are expensive and I don’t have enough time for one.)

-This poem. The past few months have been pretty brutal for me, not as a teacher, but as a lady and a human*. I came across this poem in my reading for grad school, and I think it has saved my life in a small but important way. If you’ve found yourself in a rut, or a valley, or a pit full of snakes, or whatever you want to call it, or even if things are great and beautiful and perfect for you (yay!), I hope this poem is something for you to hold onto.

(Something onto which you may hold? Grammar is so stupid sometimes.)

-You turkeys. I love hearing from you—your crazy stories, your notes of encouragement and solidarity, your reassurance that I’m not as much of a freak as I think (and occasionally the one person who’s like, “Whoah, you are a freak,” and I’m thankful for you, too, because you make me laugh out loud). This year in particularly I’m just very thankful to know you and feel heard. So thank you, and go buy yourself a milkshake for being so awesome.

An overflowing cornucopia of love,


Besides family and friends, what are you thankful for? Tell me right now. Pretty please. Also share your recipes with me.

*later I reread this phrase and thought I'd said that I was a lady and a hunstman and it made me cackle.


  1. I'm thankful for friends, family, and food. Definitely food. And tea. And saltine toffees (seriously the easiest to make and best sweet treat ever.) See, this is what happens when I start being thankful, I always go for the food...

  2. My student teacher writes things down on Post-Its when I tell her to so that I remember to do important things, go to important meetings, and get to my hair appointment on time. I told her that I should just hand my classroom key over now and retire to sunny Florida!

    May your December be better than the months of DEVOLSON, and may you kick grad school in the behind! You can do it!

    Stories and Songs in Second

  3. I am NOT going to talk you out of a dog. DO IT! And, may I just say, I don't know you, but I totally love you. Congratulations on making it through DEVOLSON (I did too, hooray!!)

  4. I really enjoy your blog. As a teacher in training, who is going through the hoops of quitting a job of 12 years to transition in a profession I have wanted and worked for 12 yrs, your blog offers the reminders of why I still work so hard. Thanks Teach.

    Top 3 things I am thankful for:
    1. Gradschool - Teacher Cred. & Masters
    2. Family/Friends - the above is both impossible with and without them.
    3. My pups - A 5yr old Rottie and 12yr old deaf mixed terrier. They follow me everywhere and keep my feet warm on long homework nights.

    Yummy recipe -- Shortbread Pecan Pie Bars.They will change your life, and no need to fuss with a yacky crust. :)


  5. All of this made me so happy, especially the part about the progress your kids have made. I know how good those moments are (and how rare they can be); you obviously have worked your ass off (and hopefully theirs as well!) and you all deserve to feel proud of yourselves!

    I'm thankful for my husband, my family, our health, and the 125 little weirdos I get to work with every day. They really are the best.

  6. I'm not going to talk you out of the dog either. My roommate has three and we foster for a local rescue. Yes, they are a lot of work and yes, they are expensive but they are totally worth it.
    When you come home from school after a hard day, they are always excited to see you and love you no matter what. They also make me stop working on school stuff all the time and actually have a life outside of work.

  7. Because of you, I have the same pencil sharpener--and I, too, am in love!

  8. Robert. Or Roberta. As in Frost.

  9. Dogs are hella expensive and if you only have one, it is super lonely while you are at work. My solution was 2 dogs.

  10. For me, the cat is the better solution. We have a large dog with an iron bladder, but we still have to be home every 12 hours or so to let him outside. On the world of two married science teachers, 12 hours is a medium day for us.

  11. Thankful for your blog, which makes me laugh, cry, nod my head with understanding, and think.
    ~ a fellow 7th/8th grade Language Arts teacher

    p.s. I've kept every Christmas card we've gotten since we got married in 1990 in a huge basket. I've been sorting them, thanks to pinterest, into groups. One of my favorite groups is my "school" group. My favorite one is from one of my 4th graders from 13 years ago to made me a glittered card and wrote, proudly, "You is the best terche in the school!" Seriously, makes me tear up. What an honor to be a teacher.....that's what I'm thankful for. ~ Pam Clark

  12. What a great list! I laughed out loud reading some of your descriptions. I'm home with my family for the holidays and just had to laugh - your writing style is so entertaining! Thank you for sharing such real and funny stories from your classroom - as a third grade teacher myself, I can relate to the craziness that comes with being a teacher and a grad student (frozen meals for the win - have you tried Amy's Light and Lean Spinach Lasagna? YUMMM). Keep the posts coming!

  13. a Weimaraner named Chaucer? I want a bulldog named Charles Barkwoski myself.

  14. Ah. I left a great comment but I don't think it posted because I had to sign into gmail and my internet is obviously powered by a morbidly obese hamster in a wheel. I don't even feel like typing it again because I just ate leftovers and am useless right now. I'm thankful for the weeklong break. Not having a break since school started (okay, one-three day weekend, but whatevs! I'm in grad school too so I wrote a paper that day. Doesn't count!) has worked a number on my nerves. I'm so thankful for that, even though I went to my classroom two days in a row and rearranged my room, because I enjoy punishing myself. I just got another dog. She's adorable. Her name is Winnie. DO IT DO IT DO IT. Except maybe not a puppy...get a dog that is housebroken and just wants to be lazy and eat and snooze. Actually, I'm all of those things. Adopt me.
    Hearts, Foss Boss (6th grade math)

    1. I think you ARE me. we are twins

  15. Props for the student progress -- my favorite thing to do is to look at the first and last essay received from a student. Either that or his/her reflection after doing the same thing. They get just as proud as we do when they see that tangible progress.

    ...and the verse I turn to when people say "Whoa you're a freak" is from Eliot: "We only live, only suspire, consumed by either fire or fire." Burning bright for education is the right kind of fire (especially when you are actually in the education profession)...and few people rebut Eliot.

  16. I am thankful for the fact that I get to teach high school critters how to blow shite up (CHEMISTRY IS THA BEST!) and also that DEVOLSON is over. I am thankful that you taught me what the eff was going on with this whole fall-depressed-give-me-all-the-cookies-and-also-bagels mess.

  17. My son, heading to med school wanted a dog. I sent him 30 texts telling him why he shouldn't get one. He and his housemates rescued a pit mix and they love her. They named her Piber, after the beer (PBR) of course! I have a mini poodle - tons of work, but he makes us laugh all the time! Get one, but make sure it's little. Smaller poop, puke, and vet bills. Good luck!

  18. When I got married, we each already had a kid and so adding a dog seemed like the right thing to do. We got Ella Fitzgerald in 2006 as an adult dog and it was the best thing ever. She is SO AWESOME. We got another dog a year later (stupid me and my need for a baby puppy) and it was not a good idea. The second dog is super dumb and we have to crate her whenever we leave or she will create a poo-pee-pocalypse. Looking back I don't think Ella was lonely at all. She loves to sit at the window and look outside for hours. I wish we had never gotten Dog #2, but Ella is rad. Keep in mind if you go out of town the boarding is expensive as heck and it stresses them out sometimes.

    1. I love that DOG #2 is relatively anonymous; this way nobody will recognize her when reading the blog! And if that weren't enough, "poo-pee-pocalypse" wins the Internet today.

  19. I'm thankful for my job. I teach homebound kids and get to work one-on-one with kids who are too sick to go to school. LOVE my job...even the sad parts when a student passes away. I get to speak into families' lives in pretty special ways.

  20. I'm so glad you discussed your choice of pencil sharpeners. From a retro point of view, I too have blogged about pencil sharpeners.

  21. get a dog and name him Atticus!

  22. I'm a bored-out-of-my-mind office worker with a rotting English degree who is considering becoming a teacher. I've been reading your blog all day. I think you're fantastic. BUT the link to the poem doesn't seem to be working, and I could really use some life saving. Do you know where I can find it? Thanks!

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