Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

Awards and Screenplays

Today I received official word that I am the recipient of the 2009 English Division Graduate Award from Delta College! Actually, I found out by accident two days ago, but still, having the award letter in my hand is an amazing feeling! I was told that competition was fierce and that I completely earned the award through talent, perseverance, and hard work. I am humbled. This is the college I dream of teaching at, so winning this award can only help!!

Two years ago, at 32, I walked into Delta without a passion or a dream. Really, just BEING in college was my dream. Who knew it would turn into my life’s driving force? I now have a writing career, am a multiple award winner, and a very promising college teaching career. Whew, life is so unexpectedly beautiful!!

More good news…I met up with a friend of mine who directs adult and children’s productions for our local theater. With my new project in the works, and the excitement of it, I spilled the beans! I gave my friend a very thorough synopsis of “Diary of a Kitchen Table” and he loved it! Actually, as I was talking, I could see the wheels in his head turn. Eventually, he stopped me and said, “Tina, this is a screenplay.” Never having considered writing one, I replied, “What do you mean?” From there he whittled down each scene, as he saw it, which included the dialogue of my characters, the lighting, etc. It was a moment. A very creative and electrical moment. So, needless to say, my options are open. Like I said, I’m keeping it mostly under wraps until I’m ready to share. In the mean time, I’ve got a lot of writing to do!

I love this journey! ūüôā

“Strange things are afoot at the Circle K”

I’m not sure what’s happening, but it’s coming over me, taking my drive and focus to a far away land. Here I am, on the brink of achieving all that I’ve worked so hard for and I’m heading into an abyss of self-sabotage. What gives?

I suppose at the root of my current funk is the disillusionment of University education. I expected to be challenged, to expand on my community college education. What I have is boredom, laziness, and the knowledge that I’m almost over prepared for where I’m at. Is it going to be this way the entire time? Am I going to look back and question the monetary investment? I’m hoping that grad school will feed me, as I will most definitely be starving by then.

The high point of my week found me back at Delta. I was asked to guest speak to a class of honors students about my writing, creative process, and so the students could “meet the author.” One of my essays is featured in their Composition II course pack. Included with my essay is a commentary about the development and revision of that piece. I’m proud of my work and feel honored to be included in the teaching process.¬†The students were full of questions and one even e-mailed an essay for my “expert” critique.

While I was conversing with a faculty member, my former Honors Speech professor asked me to speak to her students as well. This group wasn’t as serious and I would even go so far as to call them an unruly bunch. The boys were flirty and kept questioning my age: “Are you seriously 33? I just don’t see it!” As flattering as that is, he took it a bit too far. I handled it well, but hated being in that position. I did get a chance to talk to the students about autism awareness, which is always a good thing!

I stopped by to see a few other friends on the faculty and was met with smiles and hugs. I can’t wait to be done with my education and get into the classroom! I feel so blessed to know so many future colleagues.¬† ūüôā

¬†I’ve got to pull out of this mood and push forward, persevere, kick down a few doors! Where is that overachiever that dwells within me? I’m afraid she’s going to tell the world to fuck off. She’s done this before. If you see her, tell her to shut up!

The Nothing Blog

I don’t suppose there is really anything I feel pressed to write about, but I feel pressed to write. Does that make sense? My mind is racing, thoughts are nagging, hands are itching. I describe this state of being by borrowing my favorite line from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: “Strange things are afoot at the Circle K!”

Next Monday is my first day at university, which I am now at peace with. It was rough for a while, but I’ve put the whole thing into perspective and am viewing it as the next adventure in my mid-life college journey. Frankly, I chalk it up as more material to include in my manuscript!

Today I got a job offer/proposition that has me spinning in circles. I have time to think it through, which is a very good thing. I’m all about strategy and experience at this point and can’t really afford to make a hasty decision. Oh, what to do??

That’s it for now, nothing profound and life changing to report. I’m still a bit crazy and disheveled, a tad scatter brained and neurotic, but nothing a trip to Magic Doug can’t fix!! That reminds me…

Accomplished

I’m having one of those days where tears come easily, accomplishments are¬†realized, and my future looks blinding. I’ve spent the past two years of my life trying like heck to build a reputation as a writer, student, and teacher. It hasn’t been easy, I’m far from done, but today was the day it hit me the hardest.

It is funny to think about who I was back then: A thirty-two year old married, mother of two, embarking on the college experience. At times I wanted to give up, but then I’d look at my children and remember why I’m pushing myself to fulfill my dreams. My dreams are calculated and thoughtful, not selfish and indulgent. I want to be the best role model I can, prove that it’s never too late, and give back to those who’ve inspired me along life’s journey.

December 17th will mark my first college degree. The first college degree in my family. This is HUGE! It will be bitter sweet, that’s for sure. I will be leaving behind many friends and mentors. I’m not looking forward to being a face in the crowd at a big¬†university.¬†It will¬†tough leaving an environment where I had at least a dozen faculty members who really know me and my capabilities. I’ll have to start over, a daunting task.

I’ve turned in my last LAND entry, my last writing award submission. I don’t even care if I win (that’s how much I’ve grown!). I just want to be remembered. I’ve left my fingerprints all over Delta College: in the Writing Center, in the classroom.

I’m proud of what I’ve done and who I’ve become during these two years. Honestly, I’ve only just begun!

Death By Schedule…Just Kick My Corpse Off To The Side!

Its only Tuesday, and I already wish this week to be over! Is there such a thing as too much opportunity?!

This semester, I’m taking sixteen credit hours, something I’ve never done.¬†This killer schedule came about as graduation looms on the December horizon.¬†Not only do I need to fulfill some transfer requirements, but I also needed one extra Honors course to secure my Honors Certificate. Graduating without this was NOT an option, hence the killer schedule was born.

Monday I have three classes between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. This week, I spent my only break time guest speaking in a freshman composition class. I embrace these opportunities as¬†they allow me to practice my speaking, teaching, and informing skills. Speaking in this capacity has helped build my confidence, thus making my message clear and credible. I spoke to a new group of freshman today during another break in classes. Needless to say, its only Tuesday and I’m toast! Unfortunately, I have two more days, and three classes to go before I can officially tell this week to take a hike. I hope this is all worth it in the end! ūüôā

Adding to the stress of school, are my other ventures. First, there is my position working as a consultant for Delta College’s Writing Center Cafe. My first day is next Monday, and I’m very excited to be a part of this much-needed enterprise.¬†And of course, whenever I get excited, something always arises to give my bubble a slow leak. I received an e-mail yesterday informing me that¬†the training for my position requires the purchase of a textbook, and homework! What?! This was never discussed with me when I initially volunteered, and actually, I was told that since I’ve been in the Peer Mentor program,¬†I didn’t need training. Well, now I am in the position of finding some miraculous way to pay for said textbook and add more stress to my schedule, or let¬†a host of people down and bow out gracefully. Since this project is being headed up by my future (crossing my fingers) boss, I’m going to suck it up and find a way. It sucks all the way around!

Then,¬†I have my freelance¬†writing job. The project was bid at approximately 20 hrs. per week.¬†I just submitted an invoice for 24¬†hours…for a two week period!¬†There are two issues to think about here. First, am I working at a¬†pace that is on target and productive toward our¬†overall goal? Second, do I need to seriously recommit to this project and get my act together? The last thing I¬†want is to alter or damage the client’s¬†“go live”¬†target date.¬†This is a big deal, and also a contributor to my enormous stress level.

Last but not least (and I’m actually not convinced that there isn’t more), I¬†have to¬†come up¬†with some quality pieces to contribute to¬†The Tridge’s October print issue. Normally, this would be fun and exciting,¬†but at the moment, a HUGE stressor. I have a few things in my arsenal that I could tweak, but is that what I want to do? What I’d really like, is some time to devote to fresh material.¬†Where do I get those minutes?! I have to believe there is relief soon, or I’m¬†simply going to expire.¬†The worst part is, I don’t have any Rolos to get me through this difficult time…Oh, the humanity!!

Peace in the afterlife.

Into the Unknown Abyss

As I approach the end of community college life (I’ll have my Associates in English¬†by December), I find myself looking ahead to university life and what that entails.

I will begin at the university next January to complete my Bachelor’s in English with a creative writing concentration. I am excited, as it takes me one step closer to my career goal of teaching at my community college. My biggest worry, however, is if I will fit in to the student body.

My university experience will be different than most, as I am a thirty-something, married mother of two. I will not be living on campus, attending frat parties, or pulling all-nighters. My niece, who just graduated from high school, will be at the same school, but one semester earlier than me. Weird. I will probably visit her at her dorm, and maybe hang out with her a little as she is amazingly fun and sweet.

My goal is to get done as fast as possible, as I’m not getting any younger. If I really push it, I can finish in four consecutive semesters (including summer). Did I just step off the crazy train?! With both kids in school, I’m hoping to attend classes while they are safely tucked away in their classrooms. This way, I won’t drop the domestic ball or neglect anyone.

I will be applying to grad school in less than a year, and that freaks me out too. I found out I can take some graduate courses while finishing up my bachelor’s. Bonus!!

I may die in the process, but this is my dream and I’m sticking to it. I sure wish I’d finished all this education business when I was younger, but hindsight is 20/20. For all young ladies in their late teens and early twenties, NEVER listen to a guy who says, “You don’t need to finish school because you’ll be a stay at home mom. Why waste the money?” You never know what lies around the corner.

One Good Chapter

On Monday, I passed the first six chapters of my memoir to a trusted mentor and published writer. He was excited to read my unfinished manuscript and promised to send feedback via e-mail. I have allowed¬†a select few¬†to read it already, and based on the comments I’ve received, felt it was ready for the “big guns.”

Maybe I was wrong.

Well, maybe I wasn’t wrong, but maybe I’m not ready for criticism. My friend found the first chapter the strongest voice, and would like to see that same voice carried throughout. I contemplate if this is possible. The first chapter was written almost a year ago, and was part of the original essay.¬† He said it “has a precision, economy, and a tone that seems mature and persuasive. The voice is poignant and true. The voice is right.”

Did I set the standard too high in the first chapter? Or do I need the subsequent chapters to rise to the occasion? I’m sure the latter is correct, and will go back and try again. My friend says, “I’m sure all the facts are accurate, but I sense you’re not yet as sure¬†¬†of your voice and of the ‘right’ details to include.” On this, he is right. I’ve spent my time factually¬†recounting the experience and aftermath, leaving out the emotion, passion, and message.

Such an amateur faux pas- am I a good enough writer to tackle this project? I write for readers and I don’t want my readers to spend their valuable time on anything less than extraordinary.

So, after picking myself off the floor, I will regroup, rewrite, and resubmit. Oh the humanity!

 

Consequences, Trust, and Lessons Learned

After taking the first box of “lifted” items to Ryan’s school Principal, we came home and filled box #2. I didn’t know there were any additional items to fill a second box, but as usual, my little guy baffled me. The Principal has been very decent, not patting Ryan on the head and telling him it’s OK. This has happened with teachers in the past, and is probably a HUGE contributing factor to our current dilemma.

We have discussed several things with Ryan: Breaking trust, consequences, and self-control. In true autism fashion, Ryan sits through these conversations (probably driving a school bus in a warm climate), completely oblivious to all involved. He takes these mental and emotional vacations when he is uncomfortable, and thus loses the significance of the lesson we are desperately trying to teach.

I see that his face is blank, expressing complete detachment with the situation at hand. The Principal holds up an item from the box, asking how he got it. “I stole that from the book fair,” he announces without shame or hesitation. I am almost convinced that he is not understanding the concept of stealing.

We talk about trust, and why its important. Again, I see nothing. Trust is intangible to Ryan, an idea floating is space. He can’t see it, touch it, or smell it. Trust is an abstract idea and therefore, does not register.

I believe we did make headway on the topic of consequences. Ryan’s class was looking forward to a trip to the local planetarium today. He was so excited, especially since he scored 100% on his science test for this unit. The Principal and I chose to have him miss this trip, hoping that it would make a big enough impact to stay with him. I told Ryan that if he demonstrates a period of time without stealing anything, the good consequence would be a trip to the planetarium.

Of course he begged and pleaded for us to give him another chance. He also asked if we could think of a difference consequence. He cried, and in that moment, I saw a glimpse of true remorse. My heart broke for him, but I had to stay firm. I am preparing this little boy for, what we hope to be, an independent future. It looks grim, but I saw a flash of light today.

It hurts to be a mother sometimes.