Observation Complication

March 1, 2006

Before I get to the main topic of this entry, I want to thank those who left messages of commiseration over the loss of five years of my journal entries. I followed the advice of those who suggested that I check http://www.archive.org, and was able to locate 31 entries (out of hundreds). Only one or two of them were worth retrieving, though.  On the bright side, I did have quite a few entries saved in a file on my computer at work, and will be moving them to Diaryland as time permits. 

I’m still feeling a bit shell-shocked over this whole Diary-x debacle. (I lost a lot of photographs, too.) But, as Texas Peach (http://texaspeach.livejournal.com/) said (in reference to Stephen Deken’s growing family), “real life is more important than online life.” For that reason (and others), I think Stephen made the right decision to quit Diary-x. He no longer has the time to give such an enterprise the attention it requires (and deserves). He can’t be faulted for that. Still, the bottom line is, people shouldn’t take on responsibilities they can’t fulfill, especially when others are depending on them.

While I am not happy about Mr. Deken’s negligence, I don’t approve of the Stephen bashing that is going on. Some of it is rather extreme. I do believe that former members have every right to express their disappointment and dissatisfaction over the mismanagement of the site. It is not unreasonable for us to have expected that backups would have been performed routinely. However, there’s no need for tar and feathers.  Stephen has assumed full responsibility for what happened, and admitted that he failed to do things that should have been done. Now we need to cut our losses and move on. I am not, however, interested in any reincarnation of Diary-x. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Okay, the subject I really meant to talk about in this entry is my yearly observation.  It was supposed to take place this afternoon, but, due to a scheduling glitch, an assistant principal showed up at the computer lab first thing yesterday morning. Fortunately, I was teaching the same lesson (on building a Works Cited page) that I had planned for today. Unfortunately, the students completed the tutorial faster than expected, so I had to wing it and pull additional components out of thin air.

It helped that I was instructing an English 11 class. I am very involved with helping these students find sources for their Personal Anthology – a collection of American Literature based on a particular theme chosen by individual students.  The Personal Anthology is a portfolio project that takes the place of a final exam.

Since I am so familiar with the requirements, it was relatively easy for me to carry on with the lesson.  Still, this deviation from my plan threw me off a bit. I wasn’t expecting to have to ad-lib. Thankfully, no one even knew I was improvising, but I still felt agitated.

A teacher friend later told me I shouldn’t sweat it, and reminded me that other Teaching Assistants have hall duty assignments during which they sit around and read the newspaper. That comment really made me stop and think.  It made me wonder why I am so hard on myself.

Unlike the other TAs in the building, I have my own classroom.  Unlike the other TAs in the building, I develop and execute lesson plans, complete with handouts that I create. Unlike the other TAs in the building, I edit and publish a student poetry booklet. The fact of the matter is, the other TAs don’t do a fraction of what I do.  Even the administrator who sat in for my observation acknowledged that I am a real asset to the school.

So, why isn’t that good enough for me?  Why do I get so uptight when things don’t go quite as anticipated?  Why do I agonize over every little thing?  Most importantly, why do I feel the need to do things flawlessly, and then berate myself  when I don’t live up to such impossibly high standards?  I have to learn to roll with the punches.  My mental health depends on it.

One more thing – watch this video (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/23/earlyshow/main1339324.shtml?CMP=ILC-SearchStories) [on the right]. It is incredibly moving and uplifting.  

Song of the Day:  My Own Worst Enemy by Michelle Branch


One Response to “Observation Complication”

  1. yaketyyak said

    Comments from D-Land

    Carol – 2006-03-01 18:18:21
    I don’t think you are a Virgo but I am and you sound like a Virgo. My twin from another mother. I think you are a perfectionist and that is a hard thing to live up to. I have tired and it doesn’t work. You just expect more from yourself than others do. But I wonder also if you could get your teaching certificate because sounds like you do more than some teachers do much less TAs.
    Kim – 2006-03-01 18:24:54
    You’re a reflective teacher. Every lesson or activity that you plan and carry out probably gets critiqued by you, and any opportunity you get to do it again reflects that critique. Some people are like that. I know I am, in the classroom. Your students benefit. I think it feels good to improve, even in tiny ways. Hey, doesn’t it feel GREAT that the observation is over?!
    Stephanie – 2006-03-01 18:26:27
    Actually, I AM a Virgo! And, yes Kim. It is a tremendous relief to put the observation behind me for another year!
    bb – 2006-03-01 19:02:29
    I can relate to my own worst enemy. 🙂
    Stefani – 2006-03-01 20:06:59
    I’m glad you pointed people to the J-Mac story! It’s gotten tons of play around here, as you can imagine. Steve had me watch it on ESPN one morning – brought tears to my eyes. The next time I watched the story, I only got goosebumps. When ALL the kids storm the court – it’ so cool!
    LA – 2006-03-01 20:34:32
    Damn perfect. I hate needing to be perfect and yet perfect still rules my life. Stupid perfect. Wanna sit around the Galleria and burp and scratch ourselves? Maybe we could even go in pajamas and use really bad grammar too! Just to prove the world won’t end if we’re not perfect. ~LA
    Stephanie – 2006-03-02 05:08:20
    LA, that’s the best offer I’ve had in a long time! 😉
    gin – 2006-03-02 06:18:41
    hiya Stephanie – i mentioned this a few days ago: if you haven’t already done so, so give the cache facility of the search engines whose spiders had access to d-x a go. i had far more luck with yahoo search than archive.com at dredging up old entries – still patchy, but they seem to have cached different stuff. gin (p.s: the thing about Virgo energy is not no much that it wants to be perfect but that it wants to be above criticism. it’s a subtle difference but one i’ve seen playing out in many ways. i have a Virgo MC, and I want so much to be beyond criticism in that area of my life i’m terrified of stepping out and making career opportunities in case i get shot down. it’s a bugger, however being aware of it helps a lot.)
    Stephanie – 2006-03-02 06:22:46
    Thanks, Gin. I actually did check into that after you suggested it, but was running late for work, and didn’t have time to dig deeper. I’m glad you reminded me. As for the Virgo energy – you hit the nail on the head. Fear of criticism is a HUGE problem for me.

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