You Know You’re Busy When

your desk looks like this

and your bed looks like this

There’s been a lot happening, as I know I’ve mentioned before.

Here’s the thing, I can’t do everything. As much as I hate that, I do recognize I’m not Hermione and able to be in several places at once. Because of that, things may suffer.

And that thing for me is my home organization.

Here’s the other thing: I don’t mind.

I love organization, but my organizing is used in a different medium. I don’t particularly like having my areas like this, but there’s no real choice either. I’d rather let this suffer than my work at the moment.

Don’t be too bummed if you have to let something go for a hot minute. You’ll be able to go back to it once you’ve got the mental capacity and time.

Tips as a Substitute Teacher

One of my jobs right now is a substitute teacher (or guest teacher as they call us here). I’ve been subbing off and on since 2016, with at least 12 months under my belt, and have done every single grade level K-12 in every single subject, plus special ed, detention, and the alternative school. So, I’d like to think I know what I’m talking about.

Here are some tips I’ve learned as a substitute teacher:

1. Have a ‘bag of tricks’.

What I generally like to have with me are games and small candies. If we finish the lesson with time to spare, I like to let them have fun. Generally, I’d do vocab guessing games or math games or random history facts games or riddles. I’ve even done Mafia/Werewolf. And candies are an extra incentive for a job well done.

2. Be honest.

Science is not my forte, so when students in science classes ask me a question I don’t know, I tell them honestly. I try my best to help them, but sometimes it’s more than I can understand. I also apologize for being bad at pronouncing/remembering names, because I am. The only time I am not honest is when they ask my age and relationship status. “I’m 1,348 and engaged to Prince Humperdink.”

3. Music.

I’m a person who needs music. It calms me down. That’s why I play instrumentals (piano) in the background. Music also helps the students focus, so win-win. Occasionally, I’ll play, as a treat, regular music that I already know is clean and school appropriate.

4. The theatre voice.

Sometimes students get too loud, so I use my acting training and project. I don’t care how loud you’re talking, I can talk louder. When they are quieter, I talk in a normal tone. Don’t be afraid to use that voice.

5. They should know respect and responsibility.

I am known to be stern or strict among those students I sub, but that’s what makes me good at my job. The students are expected to show respect to the authority in the room; I’m there to help them learn and do well. They are also expected to be responsible in doing their work, however able to do it. When a student is disrespectful, I warn them before they are punished. When a student is not doing their work, I tell them. And because I am so straight-forward, they see me as mean. But at the end of the day, they got work done so the teacher doesn’t have to worry.

6. On the flip side…

I am determined to be a respectful and responsible adult. They only gain my respect when they lost it in the first place. Every student starts with respect to them: who they are, their challenges, their quirks, etc. And I am responsible for maintaining a productive learning environment. I don’t simply give their work and call it a day, I make sure they understand what to do and help them (without giving answers).

7. Lastly, what to bring.

Don’t wear heels. Mercy me, do not wear heels. Bring food. It’s 8 full hours. Bring water. I’m a Diet Coke-holic, but I drink only water at work. It’s better for you. Bring a book. Teachers have prep and lunch to do what they need to, and that’s the time I read. Keep yourself from getting sick and bring tissues and hand sanitizer, and use liberally.

And that’s some of the many things I learned as a sub. Maybe I can help a fellow sub, or even a teacher. Maybe you can use these tips in your daily employed life. I don’t know. Your own discretion.

Hugs

Alexandra

Meet Moro

I got a dog.

She’s a Belgian Malinois puppy, and boy is she a handful. She was at the local animal shelter, scared out of her wits, abandoned, and without a name.

My mother thought it was time to get me a doggo, so we decided to check out the shelter, and I fell in love.

And so I named her Moro. (10 points if you know the reference without Google)

She’s precious, sweet, a fast learner, and so excited about everything.

Prepare to see (and hear about) her more.

Spewing Happiness

There’s something to know about me: when I’m in a state of joy, I ramble. I yak about stuff about me.

I never believe I’m narcissistic. Yet happiness causes me to talk about myself? Honestly…I don’t know.

I just found out about this myself.

I’m involved in a production that has been super stressful. I’ve not been a happy person for a while. One night, I was chatting up with a couple of the actors and I was TALKING. I’m usually a listener, but I was spewing words about theatre, Glasgow, writing, YouTube, and some of the coolest experiences I have been blessed to have.

I didn’t feel a need to show off (I don’t think), and I didn’t think they were bored with my behaviour (I don’t think).

I like to talk about things I love when I’m happy.

Should be said, I didn’t steal the entire conversation. They had their points to make about theatre, makeup, production, and competition. And I listened to them. When it was appropriate, I talked about things that make me happy.

Anyway, later that night, I felt super guilty about sharing so much. I was so worried that I made that whole conversation about me and now they hate me and want to stay away.

But that’s my depression and low self esteem talking.

I believe that happiness is sharing what you love. You don’t need to talk about it like I do, because that might be a little problematic. Do it in your way, but don’t be afraid to share your interests. Be happy.

Hugs

Alexandra

#metoo

At this point, it’s not a surprise.

I’ll spare details, but I have two incidents to share for message purposes.

I was 15 when I was followed on my way home from soccer practice.

Don’t walk alone. And if you must walk alone, be prepared. Pepper spray. Cell phone (don’t look down at it, since it distracts you from your surroundings, but have it at the ready). When I had to take the Greyhound from Virginia to Idaho, Vladimir gave me a knife, which I kept in my pocket 24/7. After what happened, when I’d walk home from rehearsals in college, I’d call someone and talk on the phone the whole way there.

I was 14 when I was assaulted by a girl in my P.E. class.

It’s not just boys assaulting girls out here (though it’s still a problem). Girls can assault girls. Boys can assault boys. Girls can assault boys. It can go any which way, but for some reason anything beyond boys assaulting girls is almost swept under the rug. That’s why when it happened to me, I was called a liar and that girls can’t assault other girls.

Bullshit. Yes, they can. Support your friend no matter who they say did it.

Those are two moments.

I wish nothing but safety for everyone.

#metoo

Being Fat is Unhealthy

That’s the stereotype, right?

If you’re a chub, you’re unhealthy, eating nothing but McDonalds and sitting lazily in front of the TV.

Genetics, DNA, chemistry, science; they have nothing to do with it. You’re fat because you do nothing, and that’s unhealthy.

It’s something I’ve faced my whole life.

I’m fat (used as a descriptive, not derogatory word). I’ve faced ridicule from classmates, teachers, co-workers, even strangers. Trying to do anything was a challenge when they believed you weren’t capable because of how you looked.

I was told I couldn’t try out for basketball because I was too bouncy and soft.

I was told I couldn’t be on the softball team because I wouldn’t fit into the uniforms.

I was told I couldn’t be an Egyptologist (my original dream in life) because there was a lot of outdoor activity that would strain an unhealthy (fat) person.

I was traumatized by a physical education (P.E.) teacher who tore me down for my weight in front of classmates, which would spawn a dozen years of self-hate.

I was told my fatness was causing ulcers, when in reality I had a life-threatening infection spreading to my kidney and stomach. (Don’t even get me started on doctors who believe everything wrong with you is because of weight. I could’ve died, and they barely looked at me before saying it’s because I was ‘obese’).

I was too fat to be on a horse, to tap dance, to act on stage, to be in improv, to do anything. Despite doing those things anyway.

And don’t even get me started on diet!

Countless times have I been asked if I ‘should really eat that?’ when it came to anything non-green. Basically, if I wasn’t eating raw spinach, my dietary choices were in question. Heaven help me if I craved some pizza.

I can’t do sports because I’m ‘unhealthy’. I can’t perform because I’m ‘unhealthy’. I can’t eat ice cream because I’m ‘unhealthy’.

I’d like to sat hello, as a girl who was a Varsity soccer player, and who had an eating disorder in high school and college.

But I’m fat.

So I must be unhealthy.

A Small Crack in the Dam

One of my favorite moments in life is when my sanity is pushed to the breaking point, and when I snap I get at least one of the following statements:

“Where’d that come from?” “Why are you mad/sad all of a sudden?” “What just happened? You were fine a second ago.” Bleh bleh bleh. (Also, I’m kidding, I hate this happening).

It didn’t come suddenly.

That’s what people don’t seem to understand.

Do you know why a small crack in a dam is so dangerous? Because it can spiderweb, crack some more, and eventually break the whole dam, drowning everything in its path.

People are dams.

When they explode, it was the final crack before the dam burst.

And because the person was only there to witness one crack, they defensive, confused, even angry. Not understanding that there may be more to it than telling someone the printer is out of ink, resulting in a machine gun fire of profanities and crying.

Most of the time we don’t know when our dam will burst or what will do it. That’s why it’s called a snap: it’s sudden.

I, personally, feel like I’m only a couple of cracks away from a dam burst.

When I Didn’t Have Time to Write a Proper Post

I had an original plan to write another down post for the Down Series, but I ran out of time. So, in order to get this out on time, I’m gonna share some pics of what sucked up a lot of time this weekend: a concert.

I went out of state (aka down to Utah) to see Disturbed opened by Three Days Grace. One of my favorite bands opening one of Vladimir’s favorite bands. Arguably, our actual favorites. It was so much fun, we had a blast, and here are some pics:

See you with a proper post on Wednesday.

When a Class Made Me Cry

I’m a guest teacher.

That’s my job, and it can be difficult. Particularly the students.

Not too long ago, I was teaching 8th graders (age 13-14). We were going over an Edgar Allan Poe story as a review for the quiz they were about to take. I was excited talking about Poe, obviously, he is my homie. (Also his birthday is tomorrow!) Even still, I was already stressed, and this class was not helping.

They were loud and obnoxious and argumentative and rude and made fun of Poe, of his story, of me…

And I cracked.

I was silent. No noises. And I tried to hide it, but tears were a-flowin’. I simply handed out the tests to a now-shocked class and sat behind the desk, facing away, dabbing my tears (gotta preserve the makeup; it’s my only dignity at this stage).

What makes a job so menial that students think it’s okay to treat us like dirt?

And why does society accept it?

Maybe I’m just a cry-baby.

Fear

I am scared of children with scissors.

Reasons why can be found here.

Yesterday and the day before, I did an activity with sixth graders (age 11-12).

And I can tell you, I was so scared!

Kids love to play with scissors! They walk opening and closing the blades in front of them. They pretend to cut each others hair and clothes. They point them at each other and jab the air.

But it’s a “stupid” fear, so I have to keep quiet while I watch children cut paper too close to their fingers. And God forbid they come anywhere near me with them!

How childish! How immature! Why can’t you be afraid of heights like a normal person? What a lame fear.

I know.

You don’t think I wish I wasn’t scared?