Thursday, January 26, 2012

You teach WHAT?

I had a desk job once... for five days. I was a temp the summer we moved back from Dallas and I mostly filed papers and occasionally answered the phone. That job was about four and a half days too long and it helped me realize exactly how amazingly unique teaching is when it comes to careers. Every day us truly different. As an example I will share with you a few of the things we have discussed in my English III classroom in the past three days. All but one were (somewhat) connected to the play we are reading: The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

  • We discussed lechery. From the play: Mary Warren tells John that Abigail will accuse him of lechery. What is that, boys and girls? It is extreme sexual indulgence/lustfulness. Yes, I got to share that definition with 91 teenagers. After all, it is in the play. We discussed what the Puritans would have thought of people today in this regard. I did NOT ask them if they were lechers. I abide by the philosophy that I don't WANT to know about this aspect of any of their lives.
  • We discussed why, in a early American setting, it was not an issue that in The Crucible Abigail was 17 and John was in his mid-30's but rather that they weren't married. We discussed that it was common for older men to marry younger girls if their wives had died. After all, I said with a wink, how on Earth were the men expected to clean their own homes and make their own food if they didn't have a wife? We were all in agreement that it was still gross.
  • My favorite discussion: how did Puritan women even KNOW they were pregnant? Um, the same way they do now. My wording "Missed monthly cycles"; I did say that they found out later but that they did indeed know, just as Elizabeth in the play was pregnant. A spin off of this in one class was how women back then tended to their monthly cycles. Really? Did I mention that I teach English? This last part was from a class that is 85% female but I still responded by telling them to Google it. I know a little about the subject but, out of respect for those few sweet boys, I didn't go there. I don't know if you've ever seen a darling, dark-skinned African American boy blush but I have and I didn't want to make it even worse for him.
  • This one is NOT academic. We discussed how some kids save their friends under nicknames instead of their real names and even their girlfriends under "Mom" in case their phones get picked up. The ensuing discussion revealed that sometimes that can lead to some unintentionally revealing texts when you think you're texting your girlfriend and it's really your mom. My contribution to this conversation was that I do not look forward to this time period in parenting.
The best story is one that I have saved for my co-workers and will not be posted on my blog. Think of it as a special little tidbits for my fellow educators. Let's just say that the fun didn't stop there. Every day is unique, for better or worse, when you are a teacher.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I am very much a morning person. I have no trouble getting out of bed and I wake up happy every day. I know that's annoying but stick with me, I get much less perfect. You would think such a person would get to work with plenty of time to spare and I used to... before kids. Now it seems that each year I get worse, especially now that Lila gets out of bed by herself and is no longer trapped in her crib. We are supposed to check in at EAHS by 7:15 and class starts at 7:30. I want to be that teacher greeting her kids with a smile as they walk in, not the teacher that rolls in right after the tardy bell rings. The truth is that I am there greeting the kids with a smile when they walk in... but barely. Getting out of the house dressed and with my things in order is no small feat. I get Cullen on the bus and, at age 12, there are still many things I do for him. Lila needs to be tended to as well, although many days Kevin is the one actually bringing her to school. I will admit there are times that I have let her have a Moon Pie or a pack of fruit chews at 6:15 a.m. just so that I can finish fixing my hair. When I actually get to work it really feels like an accomplishment. I truly feel like I should be greeted with a row of trumpets heralding my arrival. A red carpet would be nice. Mrs. Phillips is here! On time! I feel like I have qualified for the Olympics each time I sign in on time (or even close to on time) in the office. I am tempted to look around for someone applauding because I feel so accomplished. However, I have yet to have the trumpets, applause, or red carpet. My bosses have never once fussed at me for being five minutes past sign-in time; they are parents too and, most of all, they know I do my job. In addition, you need to look a little deeper. The real reason I am late is not because of what I don't do but rather because of what I do. "Mommy, can you read just one book to me?" Yes, baby, I can. "Mommy, can you snuggle me one time?" Yes, baby, I can. "Mom, can you fill out my band practice sheet?" Yes, Cullen, I can. "Mommy, can you pack me a lunch today?" Yes, Carson, I can. I think my bosses know that the kind of mom who does those things will do the same things for her students. "Mrs. Phillips, can I come take that test at lunch?" Yes, sweetie, you can. "Mrs. Phillips, can I talk to you after class?" Yes, baby, I can. "Mrs. Phillips, can you write me a letter of recommendation" Of course I will. That is the kind of mom I am. That is the kind of teacher I am. I may not be here on time but I do get here and when I am here I am ready to do my best, even if there is a bit of Moon Pie stuck to my sweater from Lila's hug goodbye that morning.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crawfish Tortellini Recipe

This is from my friend and neighbor Deb. I personally think this is a quick and easy way to impress. Because it is pretty rich I don't think it needs very many side dishes either.

  • Couple of spoonfuls of chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 lb of crawfish tails
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 pack of cheese tortellini
  • 1 half pint of whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (just the kind in the container, not real shredded parmesan)
  • chopped green onion
Prepare tortellini according to package directions. Pour in casserole dish.
Sautee onions and garlic in butter until onions are clear, add in tails. When tails are cooked add whipping cream and parmesan cheese. Stir around.
Pour over top of tortellini and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


I fought Pintrest with as much strength as an addict trying to avoid their drug of choice. I fell innocently to Facebook and have drowned in its' waters. I said "WTH" and eventually got on Twitter, although I rarely tweet. I blog (duh).I text now too; little messages back and forth to friends (usually I even send it to the right person) when I should be cooking dinner or playing Hi-Ho Cherry O with Miss Lila. However, Pintrest is like giving a struggling drug addict a whole buffet of all of the drugs of their choice. Social interaction? Yes, please. Great ideas of things I will never have time to do and will simply make me feel like less of a super-woman? Absolutely. Sign me up. Ways to find out all of the books, movies, and articles that can help make me intellectually advanced? I'm all over that. The opportunity to act like I will do any of those things I am pinning? Why, yes, that's all me! Go ahead and perpetuate my super-mom act. Pintrest seems awesome and entertaining but just another way for me to busy myself doing things I really don't have time to do. Now if Pintrest would iron my shirts THAT would be worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bedtime with Lila

I don't stop moving during the day, with one exception. When I put Lila to bed at night I lay down with her. Tonight she insisted on wearing her new princess shoes "in case my feet get cold." I let her because I seriously would sleep in my new shoes sometimes if Kevin wouldn't make fun of me. We always read a few books and we say prayers. Sometimes I skip pages or ad lib, especially when she picks the awful, wordy, Disney books. Sometimes we whisper secrets back and forth and exchange soft little "I love you" or "No, I love you MORE!"'s. Sometimes we fall asleep holding hands (all on cue: awwwww!) Sometimes I fall asleep before her and sleep in her bed for hours on end. However, I must say that the prayers are my favorite. I like sharing my prayers with her. I pray for many of the same people that she prays for... Lila's friends, the boys' friends plus my friends, and my students (sometimes by name). I pray for my friends who are sick, hurting, or aching for something or someone that they don't have. Then I make sure I leave time to listen to her prayers because they go down roads that I would never consider and because I never know what she's going to say. This is what my baby girl prayed for tonight:

Mommy, Daddy, both of my sweet boys, people who are sick, people who throw up (this led to a whole side-line about people with babies in their bellies, specifically a school friend's mom. Also, did I know that Mommies throw up their babies?? Um, not exactly), Austin and Nick (her teacher's brothers), all my baby dolls, that owl (pointing at woodland creatures in the tree mural painted on her wall), that owl, that owl, that bird, that bird, that bird. Jakemyvery bestdogwhoisdeadinthepond (not true... he is dead but not anywhere near the pond), princess shoes, my whole more family Ingrid and Ceci and ALL the people who are throwing up and boys who fall off skateboards. Amen. And Chuck-E-Cheese. Amen again.

So the good news is that if anyone is vomiting right now you are totally covered by our prayers. You and the woodland creatures on the wall. And Chuck-E-Cheese. Amen again.