Monday, November 8, 2010

Thorns, Buds, and Roses

My school has something called Advisory, which is basically a small(ish--my Advisory is seventeen kids) group of students that have half an hour daily to do things like team building, study skills, listening practice, discussions on important issues (for example, we had an amazing conversation about wearing purple to support the recent highly publicized suicides by homosexual youths), and start to think about life and career goals. The incorporation of this sort of class is a growing trend, and it's kind of neat that my school is somewhat ahead of the curve.

Anyway, I mentioned Advisory because one of the activities that we are strongly encouraged to do with our students is called "Thorns, Buds, and Roses". (I've done a variation of this sort of multi-faceted reflection with my English classes for years now where the prompt for student writer's notebooks is "School: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly").

Basically, you're able to stop and think about where you're at, what's good (roses), what's not so good (thorns), and what sort of hopes you have on the bloom, so to speak (buds).

It occurred to me that this might be a neat blog post, so feel free to give it a shot (you can also focus it a bit--do it in terms of writing, in terms of your week, in terms of your day, in terms of your goals, whatever)

My Thorn:
Loneliness is killing me. I don't mean in terms of being alone--I'm surrounded by my students and colleagues all day and my family all night--but more a general impression that nobody understands me, that nobody has any idea of what goes on in my head (or even worse, that they really don't care). I have been used pretty relentlessly throughout my life ... but I was aware of it and it was something I chose to involve myself in. I'm at a point now where dishonesty and the "I'm there for you as long as there's something in it for me" thing are really starting to bother me, mostly I think because I'm there for people that need me no matter what ... I cannot comprehend people that don't have this mindset, although I'm starting to realize that I must be the strange one for always putting myself out there and getting nothing in return. Since I can't change the nature of who I am, though, this is going to be an ongoing thorn in my life--but I guess I'd rather that than become a person that I don't like. This might not make any sense ;-)

My Bud:
My writing. After a long (LONG) hiatus, I seem to be back on track with my writing. I've reread both the finished novel and the getting-close-to-finished one, and I'm really surprised and pleased at how really excellent I think they are. I've got a lot of ideas for finishing the WIP, and I'm contemplating redoing the query process with the finished piece. I'm really proud of the stuff I've been writing lately for Zelda Lily, and I'm also super excited about having rediscovered how much I love this little blog of mine :-) Hope springs eternal!

My Rose:
My students. There are days that I think I am completely wasting my time, and then there are the moments that I realize the little angels really do listen to me and care about what's going on. Seventh graders are reading The Outsiders and they can't get enough of that book--vehement non-readers are angry when we don't work on it in class. And my eighth grade classes are reading The Hobbit and, while they're not exactly loving it, they're getting something out of it (we talked about conflict today and how cool it was that Tolkien gives the reader a name for the internal conflict going on inside Bilbo--"something Tookish rose up in him"--and they really seemed engaged).

So there you have it :-) Leave a link in the comments if you decide to give it a try ...