Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween!!

I'm excited today because for the first time EVER our principal is allowing us to dress up in costumes for Halloween. A couple of my Student Council kids cornered him at a football game and pled their case. There were some caveats (no face paint or masks and everything had to follow dress code), but we got to dress up.

In celebration of this momentous occasion, I decided to share some pictures from this Halloween and Halloween's past. Enjoy!
Displaying IMG_0951.JPG
Halloween last year (2015) we were Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper.


Displaying IMG_0952.JPG
Halloween 2 years ago (2014) We were Flo from Progressive and Jake from State Farm.

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg
This year (2016) we were a villain and a damsel in distress. Yes...that's fake TNT strapped to my waist. It's all in the details people.


I love getting the opportunity to dress up. Halloween and Spirit Week are some of the best times of the year because I get to wear ridiculous costumes. I re-used the damsel in distress one today (without the dynamite) and am a 1920's flapper, because I teach The Great Gatsby, so it's even relevant. And if you know my school, I know what you're thinking, "But Mrs. Cockrell! Shoulders are against dress code!" Don't worry, I have on a fur wrap. It's hot. I'm a little sweaty. Also, it's really hard to do anything in gloves. 

Displaying File_000.jpeg

My AP Lit kids in 4th hour had some pretty legit costumes. We have Katniss Everdeen and Violet from the Incredibles in the front, then we have a cat, Cleopatra, Daisy Buchanan (me), a nun praying over a convict, a deer, and a renaissance girl. 

Displaying 7th Hour Halloween.jpeg

My 7th hour AP Lit had a hippie, a doe (no antlers), Daisy Buchanan, a panda, a shark, Eyore, and....well I'm not sure about that last one...but I'm sure it's something quirky that I just don't get.

Displaying IMG_0957.JPG

I'm not the only teacher who gets into this stuff. My friend Mrs. Moore is Mary Poppins.


I know that the focus of school is academics and learning. I believe in that, and I try to teach my kids as much as I can while I've got them. But I also think that they are going to be more inclined to learn if we let them have a little fun. If they are proud of their school then that pride will bleed into their work. Some teachers are above this kind of thing. Some teachers don't dress up during Spirit Week because they want their students to see them as a professional and take them seriously, and I get that. Some just don't have the time to put together a costume. I get that,too. I don't judge and I don't blame them, I'm just not part of that group. For me, it's more important for these kids to see that I'm one of them. I'm part of their school. I'm not "too cool" to dress like an idiot and they shouldn't be either. I go all out because I want them to know that's OK; that sometimes you need to do things just because they're fun and for no other reason. There's plenty of bad crap in life so you have to grab at the fun things whenever you can. 

Halloween!!

I'm excited today because for the first time EVER our principal is allowing us to dress up in costumes for Halloween. A couple of my Student Council kids cornered him at a football game and pled their case. There were some caveats (no face paint or masks and everything had to follow dress code), but we got to dress up.

In celebration of this momentous occasion, I decided to share some pictures from this Halloween and Halloween's past. Enjoy!
Displaying IMG_0951.JPG
Halloween last year (2015) we were Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper.


Displaying IMG_0952.JPG
Halloween 2 years ago (2014) We were Flo from Progressive and Jake from State Farm.

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg
This year (2016) we were a villain and a damsel in distress. Yes...that's fake TNT strapped to my waist. It's all in the details people.


I love getting the opportunity to dress up. Halloween and Spirit Week are some of the best times of the year because I get to wear ridiculous costumes. I re-used the damsel in distress one today (without the dynamite) and am a 1920's flapper, because I teach The Great Gatsby, so it's even relevant. And if you know my school, I know what you're thinking, "But Mrs. Cockrell! Shoulders are against dress code!" Don't worry, I have on a fur wrap. It's hot. I'm a little sweaty. Also, it's really hard to do anything in gloves. 

Displaying File_000.jpeg

My AP Lit kids in 4th hour had some pretty legit costumes. We have Katniss Everdeen and Violet from the Incredibles in the front, then we have a cat, Cleopatra, Daisy Buchanan (me), a nun praying over a convict, a deer, and a renaissance girl. 

Displaying 7th Hour Halloween.jpeg

My 7th hour AP Lit had a hippie, a doe (no antlers), Daisy Buchanan, a panda, a shark, Eyore, and....well I'm not sure about that last one...but I'm sure it's something quirky that I just don't get.

Displaying IMG_0957.JPG

I'm not the only teacher who gets into this stuff. My friend Mrs. Moore is Mary Poppins.


I know that the focus of school is academics and learning. I believe in that, and I try to teach my kids as much as I can while I've got them. But I also think that they are going to be more inclined to learn if we let them have a little fun. If they are proud of their school then that pride will bleed into their work. Some teachers are above this kind of thing. Some teachers don't dress up during Spirit Week because they want their students to see them as a professional and take them seriously, and I get that. Some just don't have the time to put together a costume. I get that,too. I don't judge and I don't blame them, I'm just not part of that group. For me, it's more important for these kids to see that I'm one of them. I'm part of their school. I'm not "too cool" to dress like an idiot and they shouldn't be either. I go all out because I want them to know that's OK; that sometimes you need to do things just because they're fun and for no other reason. There's plenty of bad crap in life so you have to grab at the fun things whenever you can. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Let's Get Real for a Minute...

Image result for exhaustion

I know that my posts on this blog vary in length and distribution. I try to post every month or more, but sometimes that just doesn't happen. It's been a couple of months since my last post, and in order to relieve some of my own stress and frustration I decided to explain why.

For some reason (at the moment, I can't remember why), I agreed to teach all new classes this year. One of those new classes is an AP course, which means it's college-level. I have to prepare my students for an exam in May that will determine whether or not they get college credit for this course. And while I knew it would be difficult, I had no idea how difficult. I've had 120 essays turned in just this week, and next week there will be 120 more. On top of all that, I am in charge of my school's Student Council. Student Council does homecoming. Homecoming was this weekend. It involved a parade, an assembly, a coronation before the football game, and a dance. And I am the only teacher at my school in charge of Student Council.

Needless to say, I am exhausted. Like, the kind of bone-weary exhaustion that makes you feel like the only solution is to put on some sweats and become a vegetable for a few days, only coming out of a lethargic stupor in order to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's or sip on a glass of wine while watching some kind of trashy TV show that requires no brain power at all to understand. I can't do that, though, because I had to be out of my classroom Thursday and Friday in order to prepare for and run the homecoming festivities. Which means I'm behind on grading all those essays (i.e. I have about 200 or so that need to be graded in a timely manner so that my students can use the feedback for their next essays). I just finished one set and now I've decided to reward myself by procrastinating on the rest and writing this post instead. And I feel better already.

I am an organized person - at least when it comes to my job. And I have always prided myself on keeping up with my planning and grading. Normally, I am proud of what I do, but right now all I am is tired. 

I think transparency is important; for me it's even cathartic. So, I've decided to be transparent right now, because I am not only on the struggle bus...I'm driving it.

All aboard!

Sometimes though, that's just how it is. Sometimes I feel like I'm rocking it. Sometimes I'm the world's most awesome and put-together person. Sometimes I wake up, look at myself in the mirror, and say "You is kind. You is smart. You is important!" (That is a reference from The Help and as an English teacher I feel compelled to point out that the poor grammar is part of the allure of the reference. If you haven't read The Help, you should). But sometimes I'm doing good just to get out of bed, brush my teeth, and put on mascara. The last week or so has been full of only those "mascara and fresh breath are about all I can handle right now" kind of days. I'm not ashamed to admit it's been a uphill battle for a while. 

The worst of the battle is over and I'm finally on the downhill slope. I can see the end of the 6 foot tall pile of papers on my desk waiting for me to grade them - it's far away...but I can see it. I am done with the most stressful week of my year (Fall Homecoming). I'm starting to get my sh*t back together again and that's a good feeling, but man it sure seems like it's been a long time coming. 

Please don't read this and think that I'm whining or complaining. I'm not. This isn't a cry for help or anything like that. I'm slowly catching up on all the grading. This is all part of my job, it's just a crazy stressful part. If you want to feel bad for someone, feel bad for my husband. He gets the full brunt of the crazy (and handles it like a champ most of the time). I just wanted to take a moment, be real, and let you know that right now, I really need a nap. But I'll just write this all down instead and use it as a way to rejuvenate myself so I can grade the next set of 60 essays. 

Some days - uh...or weeks - are harder than others. Last week was one of those weeks for me. This week is already better and hopefully it'll keep getting better from here. 

So, thanks for letting me procrastinate, vent, and gear up for round 2 of AP essay grading. You guys are awesome. 

The takeaway from today is that "this, too, shall pass."

Have a great week! Happy Monday!

Let's Get Real for a Minute...

Image result for exhaustion

I know that my posts on this blog vary in length and distribution. I try to post every month or more, but sometimes that just doesn't happen. It's been a couple of months since my last post, and in order to relieve some of my own stress and frustration I decided to explain why.

For some reason (at the moment, I can't remember why), I agreed to teach all new classes this year. One of those new classes is an AP course, which means it's college-level. I have to prepare my students for an exam in May that will determine whether or not they get college credit for this course. And while I knew it would be difficult, I had no idea how difficult. I've had 120 essays turned in just this week, and next week there will be 120 more. On top of all that, I am in charge of my school's Student Council. Student Council does homecoming. Homecoming was this weekend. It involved a parade, an assembly, a coronation before the football game, and a dance. And I am the only teacher at my school in charge of Student Council.

Needless to say, I am exhausted. Like, the kind of bone-weary exhaustion that makes you feel like the only solution is to put on some sweats and become a vegetable for a few days, only coming out of a lethargic stupor in order to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's or sip on a glass of wine while watching some kind of trashy TV show that requires no brain power at all to understand. I can't do that, though, because I had to be out of my classroom Thursday and Friday in order to prepare for and run the homecoming festivities. Which means I'm behind on grading all those essays (i.e. I have about 200 or so that need to be graded in a timely manner so that my students can use the feedback for their next essays). I just finished one set and now I've decided to reward myself by procrastinating on the rest and writing this post instead. And I feel better already.

I am an organized person - at least when it comes to my job. And I have always prided myself on keeping up with my planning and grading. Normally, I am proud of what I do, but right now all I am is tired. 

I think transparency is important; for me it's even cathartic. So, I've decided to be transparent right now, because I am not only on the struggle bus...I'm driving it.

All aboard!

Sometimes though, that's just how it is. Sometimes I feel like I'm rocking it. Sometimes I'm the world's most awesome and put-together person. Sometimes I wake up, look at myself in the mirror, and say "You is kind. You is smart. You is important!" (That is a reference from The Help and as an English teacher I feel compelled to point out that the poor grammar is part of the allure of the reference. If you haven't read The Help, you should). But sometimes I'm doing good just to get out of bed, brush my teeth, and put on mascara. The last week or so has been full of only those "mascara and fresh breath are about all I can handle right now" kind of days. I'm not ashamed to admit it's been a uphill battle for a while. 

The worst of the battle is over and I'm finally on the downhill slope. I can see the end of the 6 foot tall pile of papers on my desk waiting for me to grade them - it's far away...but I can see it. I am done with the most stressful week of my year (Fall Homecoming). I'm starting to get my sh*t back together again and that's a good feeling, but man it sure seems like it's been a long time coming. 

Please don't read this and think that I'm whining or complaining. I'm not. This isn't a cry for help or anything like that. I'm slowly catching up on all the grading. This is all part of my job, it's just a crazy stressful part. If you want to feel bad for someone, feel bad for my husband. He gets the full brunt of the crazy (and handles it like a champ most of the time). I just wanted to take a moment, be real, and let you know that right now, I really need a nap. But I'll just write this all down instead and use it as a way to rejuvenate myself so I can grade the next set of 60 essays. 

Some days - uh...or weeks - are harder than others. Last week was one of those weeks for me. This week is already better and hopefully it'll keep getting better from here. 

So, thanks for letting me procrastinate, vent, and gear up for round 2 of AP essay grading. You guys are awesome. 

The takeaway from today is that "this, too, shall pass."

Have a great week! Happy Monday!