What’s With All the Bad Moms?

When I say “bad mom” I am not referring to the normal, sweatpants wearing, mac and cheese feeding, “I need wine and coffee” type of mom. Those ladies are my people. I am talking about moms who are treacherous, who ruin their children’s lives, withhold love, lie, and are generally awful people.

I just finished the audio book (and now motion picture) for novel Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and I started trying to remember the last novel I read that had a good mom. Why is that authors love to turn mothers into villains?

In Everything, Everything the protagonist’s mother assigns her a diagnosis that ensures she will remain in her mother’s care and “safe” forever. It is a Rapunzel remake with instant messaging.

Ordinary People a mother drives her living son to a suicide attempt with her need for everything to seem perfect to the outside world.

Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice wants to sell her daughters off to the richest man possible for her own security and comfort. Mrs. Singer from The Selection series is equally money grubbing and desperate.

Coraline…

The Hunger Games…

Need I go on? And Disney doesn’t bother with the villainy, they just kill mothers off!

I am not saying all mothers should be selfless, sweet, and all around wonderful, but it sure is hard to find one that isn’t terrible when it comes to pop culture.

 

 

In Defense of Fidget Spinners

The newest craze in annoying student behavior has made it’s debut. We’ve dealt with marbles, Pokemon cards, and most recently, water bottle flipping. Now on the scene we have fidget spinners. These small objects are all the rage for kids and the new bane of many a teacher’s existence. But are these actually as disruptive as the teacher lounge peanut gallery is claiming?

I actually think they are great. The most annoying thing I have experienced is that they keep walking away from my room. That’s right, I actually GAVE them to students to play with in my class. I am a maniac people.

Marbles are distracting because it’s gambling. Who can focus with their eye on the sparkly, spiraled prize?

Side note, anyone remember pogs? Man, those were the coolest!

Water bottles are by far the stupidest trend, I mean everyone can flip a water bottle. These kids will be blown away when they discover flip cup in college.

But spinners are quiet. They are individual. There is no goal other than to keep the thing moving. I actually enjoy playing with them, they have a very satisfying whirring sound.They are mindless so it isn’t taking up any cognitive space. So I don’t get it. What’s the issue?

There is plenty of research that says students need to move around throughout the day, and I try to incorporate activity into my daily routines through brain breaks and active learning strategies, but sometimes they just need to sit in a chair and write, or read, or calculate, or whatever. But they must be STILL, and some kids just can’t. If an occasional grapple over the coolest colors, or a broken bearing on the floor is the worst we have to deal with, why not let kids have them?

fidget-spinner-2299246_1280I know not all teachers are grouchy killjoys, so what gives?

This is what teaching feels like!

Today is Day 6 of Year 4 of my teaching career, and I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t really, really mean it: IT WAS FANTASTIC!

For real, I don’t think I have ever had a day that went as well as today did, in every SINGLE class. I already gave my also-a-teacher-husband a full run down so I won’t bore anyone else with the nitty gritty details. But here are the high lights:

A Fire Drill interrupted first period, but I still conferred with 3 COUNT EM’ 3, students about their narratives! That means I saw EVERY SINGLE student at least once, many twice since last week.

In my first reading class a student found symbolism in a story they were finishing independently BY HERSELF (these are 8th graders, people) without my ever mentioning symbolism or anything about it yet this year. The story was “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst if you’re interested. Continue reading

First real post! Speak and The Fault In Our Stars

For my first post I decided to write about two Ad-lit books that I have been hounding people to read since I finished them. They are old news to anyone familiar with the genre, but for the purposes of honoring the stories and the effects they had on me, I want to review them first. They will also give potential readers a hint of my tastes.

Speak

The first time I encountered this book was in high school. My favorite teacher read it aloud to the class a few times a week. It was a new experience for me, having not been read to since I was a kid.

We meet Melinda who has experienced a traumatic rape the summer before beginning high school. Not only does she have to face her attacker in a new and unfamiliar place where he reins king. She has also lost all of her friends and is facing it alone. Her solution is to remain mostly silent. This is a story about a girl, a victim, a survivor, a heroine.

I think the reason this story resonates so much with teens is because of the constant inner dialogue. We live so much in our heads, no matter what age, and I know I felt like a weirdo as a kid because I didn’t realize I wasn’t the only one. The level of intimacy I had with Melinda was validating for me.  We’re her only friends in this experience. We know her fear, her sadness, and her dry humor. I don’t think I’ve ever known a character so well.

The Fault in Our Stars

This was a book I enjoyed as an adult doing one of the most (boring) adult things you can do: jury duty! In the end, I was grateful to have a chunk of time not usually available in my day-to-day life to read this book. Too bad it only took me a day and I spent the rest of the week mourning the ending of the story along with the end of the pages. But I won’t give too much away.

Two young cancer patients fall in love. That’s the gist. But more importantly, we get a whole new outlook on suffering from a disease, and man is it funny. Cancer is not funny, of course, but Hazel makes it very difficult for readers to feel sorry for her. She is cynical and witty and sharp. She doesn’t want you to feel sorry for her, not even a little bit.

When she does let her guard down, sort of, for Augustus, we experience the sweetest, saddest young love story in history. Damn you John Green, damn you. That’s all I’ll say. Just read it.