New Commute Routine

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My commute to work the last few years is now part of the past. My co-teacher used to pick me up in the mornings around 6:45 Monday through Friday for three or four years. We’d head up 1st avenue, chatting during the drive, sometimes stopping for coffee or at the bank, then arriving at school just after 7. The way home would be a walk to the 6 train or sometimes a full 2.5 mile walk home, depending on the day I had.

But now my commute has changed. I had to establish a new commute routine because I started a new position as a “central employee” based out of the Bronx division office.

So Sunday night I walked to Grand Central after our ramen bowls to get a 10-trip ticket for Metro North. A three-way subway transfer every morning would end up frustrating me, so I chose the most appealing method of transport to start my day. I looked up the train schedule for Monday morning and determined the best time to leave home to catch the 7:18 train, arriving at 7:36. Perfect for an 8am start. Just enough time to stop in the Starbucks located near the entrance of the building. So far, the morning trip is great! I have a nice 10-12 minute walk to Grand Central, not accompanied by many people on the sidewalk at 7am, and not a lot of people on that reserve commute out of the city.

metro north

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The way home is not as desirable but it’s not horrible. I now take a west side train, the B or D because it’s the nearest to the office. And by nearest I mean, a 10 minute walk. As a walker, not a big deal at all. It’s just an interesting walk. So I hop on the subway and could transfer to the 4 to get to the east side but it takes the same amount of time if I just stay on the B or D and walk home from Rockefeller – which is a nice walk anyway.

Now, this new commute routine will only be valid for the next couple of weeks, because after that I’ll be making site visits and those locations will be different every day. So guess what? No routine there! The routine would be that there is no routine – which I will happily get used to.

Enjoy your long weekend everyone!

 

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Post Withdrawal

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I was looking at my post calendar and realized that I haven’t made a post in over a week! Egad! I am having withdrawals!

I came back late from California late on Tuesday night and headed to an awesome leadership event in Virginia the next day soooo I have neglected posting because I’ve been busy!

A few drafts are in the works and will finish those up in the next week. Stay tuned…

 

Autonomy

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I subscribed to the feeds of Action for Happiness on Facebook. I enjoy following these kinds of non-profits that promote health, happiness and well-being. They offer insight and validity to life when you need it.

The feed below was posted this morning, and it really caught my attention:

Three fundamental needs for human wellbeing: autonomy (feeling in control), competence (feeling capable) and relatedness (feeling connected).

I completely agree and I never really thought that you could capture your well-being in three words (potentially starting with the same letter)…

When I read that post, at that moment I realized why I need a change.

At home, these fundamental needs for well-being are met.

At work, not. I’m missing one of these fundamental needs. I’ve been searching for what what missing. And now it has a name.

I’m missing the A. I don’t have the autonomy I need to feel fulfilled in my job. The “autonomy” isn’t real.

And the sad part is… is has nothing to do with the kids, the teaching, the standards, the curriculum, the professional development, or even the parents. This has to do with micromanagement. And that, I can’t take anymore. It’s time for a new chapter, one the A.

ambulancejunkie.com

ambulancejunkie.com

Late Afternoon Smile

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I felt like today was one of those really blechy days. Like as soon as you get to work you just don’t want to deal with anything or talk to anyone, or even think. One of those days that is just an aggravation and anything you do is not what you want to be doing.

So the day goes on. I’ll spare you the details.

But on my way home around 4pm, I’m walking on 110 Street, crossing Madison Avenue. The same way I walk to the subway everyday after school.

And I hear the music… the music I would hear in warmer temps last fall. Before the long and cold winter days. It’s good to hear. So I look for him. The one who plays the music. He opens the doors to his vehicle, which I’ve never taken notice of, and turns up the music. I’m looking…

And there he is. In his foldable lawn chair, sporting his black faux fur jacket, listening to that funky music. I look at him. He smiles and then he waves at me. I smile and wave back. And I keep smiling for about a block because I’ve forgotten about the day I had. I’m remembering the simple things that make me smile. I’m thinking about spring. About the weekend, spring break, summer.

And then I’m wondering what he will be wearing tomorrow when I see him again, grooving in his chair, tunes cranked.

I will miss him when I leave this neighborhood. When I move on. But I will find someone else who will play their music and make me smile.

Seriously…

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I’m so serious when I tell you that work is ruining my running career, which I’ve previously written about. And now, so is winter. Another storm comin’. It’s depressing me so, I guess I’ll use my gym membership. I’ll just suck it up and do some incline work on the treadmill. What a novel idea! But I won’t get there until at least Friday because work is taking over my life right now. Couldn’t be happier that mid-winter break begins Friday at 2:20pm.

Unfortunately I won’t be escaping the winter of NYC, but I will still be in NYC… so I really can’t complain. Well, can I just a little? A beach would be great right now!

Is This Sustainable?

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This post is a bit of a scatter between scenarios, but I know you’ll get what I’m saying and you will probably agree.

Because my school is environmentally themed, we work with an Education for Sustainability (EfS) consultant.

When we first began our work together aligning our curriculum to EfS in 2010, I really wasn’t sure what this whole thing was going to look like. While I thought the purpose and the content were definitely important and necessary, how were we going to fit these ideas, this language and all this content into daily teaching practices.

We learned a lot of theory and models of thinking. Ok interesting but with the little time we have as teachers to plan and grade and teach and plan and plan and plan, I really just wanted to get to the nitty-gritty of this EfS and plug it into my plans. But there was a reason why we didn’t just jump right in – we wouldn’t have been putting this into practice in a way that would be sustainable for our current practices or our mental models. We needed the time and knowledge for our own mental models to shift to this way of thinking before we can teach it and sustain it in our practices.

This couple of years’ work with the consultant has been productive. Now I deeply understand the purpose of the approach to learning and teaching EfS. Not that I didn’t understand it before, or didn’t think about sustainability before… but now that I can look back on the progression of the work that we’ve done and now knowing some theory is internalized, it is the fabric of how we should be thinking, speaking, teaching, living, etc.

The beauty of our conversations and time together is that our consultant has a way of making sustainability connections to almost anything that we talk about: food, communities, garbage, animals, wedding plans, life lessons, work, cooking. And as she speaks, I listen intently. I am her kool-aid drinker.

So funnily enough, as I was running in Prospect Park for my Rock n’ Roll Brooklyn 10k yesterday morning, I found myself thinking about our conversations from our meeting last week. I noticed I could ask myself the title question at any moment, whatever I am doing, in practically any circumstance:

Can I sustain this pace the entire race?

Will that banana sustain my energy for an hour?

How much longer can I sustain my current career?

How do long-distance runners sustain their bodies when they are worked so hard?

Would I be able to sustain my mental state if I ran a whole marathon?

Will water sustain my need for liquid or should I grab a Gatorade?

While my internal questions in the midst of my run seem silly now, they were important at the time and may contribute to the failure or success of my next running adventure!

But seriously, sustainable thinking and living practices require a lot of attention initially, but become habit over time. A positive habit. A habit that could sustain your happiness, your longevity, your life.

Up and Down Day

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Today was an up and down day. Mostly ups and super trivial downs.

1. Up – woke up before my alarm which was nice because I wasn’t rushing

2. Up – ordered my new iPhone, would be ready to pick up after work

3. Up – lovely walk to workshop on the west side

4. Up – great workshop facilitator and information

5. Up – relaxed lunch in the park

6. Up – learned that CitiBike was moving on up to Harlem!

7. Down – false information from the Daily News, no CitiBikes in Harlem

8. Up – got out of workshop 15 minutes early

9. Down – checked email about phone pick-up and it said they were shipping…. so cancelled order…

10. Up – checked phone availability and there were still some available in store so I walked to the Apple Store at Grand Central to get one since my cancellation hadn’t gone through yet

11. Down – got to store and no phones available

12. HUGE up – when walking home from Grand Central, the Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwich truck was parked right outside the east walkway like it was placed there just for me (today I enjoyed the ginger cookies and strawberry ice cream)

12. Up – home early to relax and maybe do a little run

13. MOST IMPORTANT UP – tomorrow is Friday

barkingmadaboutrunning.blogspot.com

barkingmadaboutrunning.blogspot.com

14. UPDATE: Unfortunately, another down – the vegetable soup I’ve had brewing in the slow cooker all day is BLAND! Ick! Disappointed.

If You Only Knew

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If you knew all the things teachers have to do, your head would spin.

We teachers in the United States are in the midst of a massive education reform. Is it needed? Yes! Is it easy? No, not at all. Not for anyone. Not even close to easy.

Let’s examine what we are doing. If I can even think of all the bits. And this is just the new stuff, not anything to do with grading, parents, workshops, etc!

1. Newish standards. While the Common Core standards have been available for a couple of years, this year the state tests are aligned to them. We are full on Common Core. Makes sense, except we don’t have the Common Core curriculum yet…

2. New reading and math curricula. Awesome idea. I’m extremely excited about this, but it would be great of we had all the pieces so we could dig in.

3. NYC instructional shifts. These shifts are tied to the standards and the curriculum. I call the shifts new old ways to teach. good ways to teach too. Makes sense. Lots of info on the DOE website, not sure how much it gets used outside of PDs.

4. New teacher evaluation system. Again, an idea that make sense. Teaching is a profession just like medicine and law and the standards for who can teach should be high. After all, teachers are the foundation for every other profession. Tons of paper work? You bet. Do I like it? Not particularly, but it’s necessary.

5. New mayor for NYC. Monumental event for the teaching profession. A mayor who supports teacher may be elected! Imagine that!

Oh my gaud! This little snapshot makes me crazy! Why am I a teacher!

Why am I a teacher?

A lot of days I forget, but then I remember when I hear the kids talk about how someone needs to “improve their conventions”. Or I have kids staying back from gym to quiz on math literature by choice. Or the parents tell me that their child is excited to go to school.

Oh ya, that’s why. Forget all the other stuff.

Remember the Moment?

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I’m sure we all remember the exact moment when we heard the Twin Towers had been hit by commercial jets. This moment obviously changed millions of lives forever, near and far.

Although it’s been 12 years, those wounds are still fresh for those directly affected by the day that changed the world. While there are many different versions of what happened that day and who is to blame, innocent people’s lives were forever changed. So on this somber day, embrace the moments that make you happy.

Those moments for me today were:

  • feeling the 92 degree Fahrenheit heat and humidity of a September day (although it was kind of hard to bear)
  • my delicious iced coffee
  • the little old black dude dressed in the peach-colored suit
  • a man taking a work break in his foldable lawn chair, listening to his boom box
  • listening to the intelligent ramblings of an 8 year old
  • the guy chair dancing on the subway
  • knowing I made my family excited because they got the treat package I sent 😉
  • and this…

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Tell me this didn’t make you smile!