Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It's day five of my ten-day Thanksgiving holiday "break" and I can't really say that I have accomplished much at all. Well, if you consider 10+ hours of sleep a day, scoring some sweet decorations for the wedding, and seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Pt. 1 to be "something," then I have done plenty. But, I haven't really made any good progress on any schoolwork, which is starting to make me a little nervous.

I have about five (maybe six... I've lost count) major assignments due Dec. 7 as well as a full week of teaching the week after Thanksgiving. I have started on most of them, but haven't really made any significant progress.

And... I don't really care! I think I am going to officially procrastinate because I feel like the less time I have to work on things, the less time I'll work on them! Right now, every time I sit down to work, I get really, REALLY distracted... and I end up spending twice as much time "working" than I should.

So... adios, schoolwork! See ya on Saturday.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hidden Treasure

Somewhere between teaching three days a week, eating Chick-fil-A regularly, and planning a wedding, I've left behind about fifteen pounds. Normally, this would be a great thing. Well, it is a great thing. I feel better and feel healthier, despite the Chick-fil-A. The problem, though, is that I am about to have an internship where I am required to dress up on a daily basis and none - and I do mean none - of my dress clothes fit anymore.

I've been wearing two pairs of pants that are literally two sizes to big and a pair of cute khaki pants that are a size too big. They're all too loose in the waist, which means now they're way too long. None of my dresses really fit anymore and the ones that do are far too dressy for school. I suppose if I had to, I could start wearing cocktail dresses to fourth grade, but I'm not sure the principal would like that!

Because I have changed sizes so much over the past few years, I keep a box of clothes that don't fit in my closet. I dug around in that box a few weeks ago and was excited to find several pairs of jeans once labeled "too small"! That was exciting - except that I can't teach in jeans! I really wanted/needed some new dress pants and skirts so that I could dress appropriately for my internship... and hopefully for my first job, as well!

So, am I writing this just to brag? No. I just needed to set the stage for what happened this weekend.

After debating for a few weeks, I decided to go to the consignment store on Friday to look for some new pants. I got a pair of nice Gap dress pants (that fit!) and two school-appropriate dresses (that fit!) at Deja Vu for about $50. I felt like that was a success! I went a few other places, but those were the only items I found. I was a little disappointed that I didn't find more, but I felt like it was a good start.

Then, yesterday, Blake and I went out to the storage shed to get the Christmas stuff out... and what did I see? A random box of clothes that I apparently set aside to donate to the Salvation Army. At first glance, it looked like clothes that I really didn't like... and then I started seeing some dress pants... khakis, corduroys, black pants... items I had forgotten about. So, I carried the box inside (while Blake carried all the Christmas boxes!) and quickly began trying on these new-found pants.

Well, whaddya know... EIGHT pairs of pants and a skirt were hiding in my storage shed!! They all fit perfectly (except for one pair, but they'll work for now). How incredible is that? I was immediately reminded of God's sovereign provisions... even something silly like dress pants are all part of God's perfect design. And for free... whew! That's the best part! Eight new pairs of pants and a skirt for ZERO dollars (well... I mean, I paid for them once before, but you get the point!)!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Affordable Health Care

I do not claim to know much about politics (nor do I want to know much about politics), but I thought "Affordable Health Care" meant that I was going to be able to get more affordable health care....

Maybe I am wrong, but increasing my premium rates by $30/month beginning in January doesn't seem very "affordable" to me.

Now, someone please explain this to me. How is it that I - a student who is living off of federal loans, grants, and scholarships - is about to get charged more per month for health care?

I am not very happy right now and I hate to admit it but I am starting to believe that the Republicans have been right this whole time (pun intended).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

High School Drop-out

Last night, I was reminded of a secret that very few of my friends know about me.

I dropped out of high school in eleventh grade.

Blake and I (as well as my 16 elementary education classmates) attended the screening of a documentary last night about the stress of school in America. Race to Nowhere presented the cases of students (elementary, middle, and high school), their parents, teachers, administrators, and psychologists. Over and over again, the audience was reminded of this push for "success" we have in our culture and that our schools and teachers are being used as producers rather than as educators.

Between testing, hours of homework, grades, college applications, college scholarships, and growing up, our children are being pushed to... what? Finish a math packet that has no real relevance to anything they're doing? To have a high school transcript and resume longer than that of many business owners? To read books they have no interest in and would never read on their own? To cram for tests and then dump the information from their brains the next day so they can prepare for the next test? What exactly is it that we are trying to teach our kids?

So, all this got me thinking about my time in school and the difficulties I faced. All through elementary school, I was an A/B student, even in math (although I hated and struggled through math). When it came time to sign up for middle school classes, my sixth grade teacher refused to put me in advanced math or science. I was stunned. How could I have made such amazing grades and not been able to go to the advanced courses like many of my friends?

The trouble started there. All of a sudden, I realized that I was not good at math... or science. In seventh and eighth grade, I took a mixture of regular placement and advanced placement courses at my middle school and did so-so. I usually made A's in any arts-based courses and I think I had B's or C's in math, science, and... social studies. Yes, I was stinking at social studies, too!! Somehow, though, all of my eighth grade teachers agreed to put me in advanced classes for ninth grade because they saw that I didn't quite "fit in" to the regular classes.

In ninth grade, the school's daily schedule changed. We went from seven fifty-minute periods to four ninety-minute blocks and you only attended four classes a semester. That means... algebra... in one semester. Lovely. I made a C in Biology. I scraped by with a C in algebra. I probably didn't do well in English, either because I remember having to read Shakespeare (though I love Shakespeare now!).

For some reason, my teachers continued to put me in advanced classes. This sent so many mixed signals to me. I felt so stupid, yet I was continually placed in the classes with all the smart kids. Why didn't a teacher just tell me the truth and say I needed to take regular classes? To be very honest, I don't remember really caring about my grades - I just cared about the label they carried. My friends were all breezing through ninth grade and I was struggling. I felt so dumb. And the worst part was, I didn't know how to make my grades better. I just thought I was dumb and I was just going to make bad grades.

In tenth grade, things got a little bit better. I took geometry - and made a B! My first B in math since who-knows-when. I remember being so proud of myself! But, tenth grade ended more quickly than I wanted. Eleventh grade was swiftly approaching, which meant Chemistry and Algebra II were close at hand.

The first semester of eleventh grade, I was scheduled to take chemistry and history. English and algebra II were for the spring. The first semester was rough, but I made it through because I got my driver's license that semester. Nothing really mattered - other than driving, of course - for a few months! Chemistry was difficult because of the math. History was also hard because I didn't know that I didn't know how to study. I don't remember really caring that I wasn't doing well in school - I had already accepted that I was dumb. I remember having a very nonchalant attitude about school and made it seem as though I didn't really care. After all, no one was pushing me to make better grades. My parents always told me that they would always be proud of me if I did my best. I thought C's were my best.

Over Christmas break, I started to feel very... blue. I was sleeping a lot, laying around a lot, and generally just ill. My parents probably just thought I was being a typical teenager, but I just didn't feel right. I spent Christmas 2000 crying. The entire day. It was awful! And before I knew it, it was time for school to start.

The first week of school that January was pure torture. If a teacher called on me, I cried. I couldn't pay attention in class at all and generally had little knowledge of what we were supposed to be doing or understanding. In Algebra II, I could barely even understand the words coming out of my teacher's mouth and when I asked questions, these three girls in my class laughed at me. They continued to pick on me all semester, making me feel even worse about being dumb.

MLK Jr. weekend came around and I went on a weekend youth trip to Gatlinburg. While there, I cried a lot. A whole lot. My friends thought I needed help... they told me that they didn't feel or act the way I these feelings weren't normal. So, on the Tuesday we returned to school, I got help.

On the way to school, I was crying and dreading the walk into the building. At some point, a light bulb came on - I thought, I'll just withdraw from school and home-school for the rest of the semester... maybe even through next year. I called my mom and told her what I wanted to do... I don't think she knew what to do, herself, so she told me it was going to be okay and to talk to my counselor.

In the counselor's office, I was determined. Nothing she could say would convince me to stay in school. I wanted to go home and do all my remaining coursework at home. Period. She told me that as long as I promised to graduate with a high school degree, she would be okay with that. She just didn't want me to drop out and never get my diploma or GED. She got my mom on the phone and talked to my mom about the benefits of home-schooling and that there were kids who got their GEDs and went to Harvard. It was going to be okay. By mid-morning, I was officially withdrawn from Tuscaloosa County High School.

I remember having to turn in my textbooks. I think I gave most of my books to the counselor, but she let me take my English books to my teacher, Mrs. Thurmond. I loved her class, even though I couldn't stop crying during it. I told her that I was leaving school because I was sick. She hugged me and took my books.

I didn't get to say goodbye to my friends.

That afternoon, I was in a psychologist's chair.

Tune in tomorrow for Part II.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


This semester, I am required to take a Writing Methods course for my degree. Honestly, I was not looking forward to this class at all. I thought it would be difficult and boring, but I have been found completely wrong week after week. The professor I have is so insightful and is such an excellent writer and teacher that I actually am beginning to think that writing may be my favorite subject to teach! There are so many interesting ways to teach writing that never entered my mind before taking this class.

We have focused on three major modes of writing - narrative, expository, and now we are studying poetry. And, of course, poetry is my favorite.

I am not a poet nor do I aspire to be a poet... nor do I claim to really "get" poetry, but I do love it! Ever since my 11th grade English class where we studied poetry in depth and created our own poetry books, I have adored all types of poetry. My first year at the University of Montevallo, I took a class that revolved entirely - and I do mean ENTIRELY - around Edgar Allen Poe!!! It was miserable! :) And now I am learning incredible ways to teach poetry to my own students.

Most people snub their noses at poetry and if you are one of them, please do not write anything on my post!! I love poetry and I don't care if you don't love it! Anyway, without further adieu... some of my favorite poems.

And... if you read long enough, you will see - for the very first time - poems of my own. :)

"Red Wheelbarrow" - William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

"Jabberwocky" - Lewis Carroll

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Nothing Gold Can Stay" - Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

And... a few of my own:

"A Dash for the Timber" - Katie Lewis; an ekphrastic poem in response to Frederic Remington's painting of the same name (written November 2).

Cowboys fighting greedily,
Horses fleeing swiftly.
Natives chasing courageously,
Weapons shooting. Blood red.
Wild West dying, deserted.

"Ten Years from Now" - Katie Lewis; Written in 2001 :)

Ten years from now, where will we be?
Married? Single? A family of three?
What will we become? What will we do?
Will we become what we always wanted to?

Ten years from now, where will we be?
In school? At work? Enjoying being "free"?
Will we laugh at the good days and reminisce fun times?
Or regret our days in high school and erase it from our minds?

Ten years from now, where will we be?
Will we have new friends and a new family?
Will we have moved on from our old familiar ways?
Will we remember all our memories like they were just yesterday?

Ten years from now, where will we be?
Will I remember you? Will you remember me?
Will we all still be friends and be as close as family?
Will we all stick together to be the best that we can be?

All these answers we don't know,
But I guess one day we'll see.
Teen years from now I'll meet you here;
I hope you remember me.

"Dreamers" - Katie Lewis; Written in 2001

Hopeful, Imaginative
Thinking, Wondering, Wandering
Making Plans / Activating Plans
Working, Acting, Creating
Successful, Dedicated

"Emily" - Katie Lewis; Written in 2001

Life is a death trap
We live routinely and methodically
We wander around trying to please everyone
Only to end in the end of earthly life

Congratulations to you if you made it through all of that. :)