Sunday, December 29, 2013

Completely, Perfectly, and Incandescently

(If you've made it this far in this blog post, I'll go ahead and apologize for being gushy. You might want to avoid talking to me for the next few months if you aren't a fan of gush. You'll notice the title is a Pride and Prej reference, which is a clear indicator that I'm feeling sentimental. Reader beware.)

A week ago, Brian proposed.

A week ago, Brian PROPOSED.

A week ago, BRIAN PROPOSED!!!

That's how it sounds in my own brain, at least, as I get a grip on the new reality of my life in these past seven days. I know now in a heady, cognitive-sort-of-way that I am engaged to Brian Whartnaby, but the heart-feeling-kind-of-understanding hits me in surprising and happy waves. 

I've always felt the need to have a small independent streak, feeling slightly proud of myself as I attended the weddings of 20 of my friends and family over the past two years with a very blank left ring finger. It gave me a small sense of accomplishment that I lived my life, followed my path, and made plans on my own. I was not about to be settling down nor was I about to settle. My first year out of college seemed to me like The Year of First Dates, full of nice and well-intentioned guys (plus one or two Shady McShadesters) but full of guys that didn't click. I went out with some new people I've never met before, and even talked to some old friends and boyfriends that mutually wanted to start talking again. Nothing felt right. Nothing felt like it fit. A bunch of really nice guys with no room for me in their lives. Sometimes that was a relief, sometimes that was sad, and sometimes it was just okay. But, then, of course, The Year of First Dates continued when Brian called me up. I had just decided to stop progressing things with another person and Brian called me for a first date two days later. It felt sort of quick, but I thought to myself, "Here we go. No harm in going with a nice guy on a First Date." Well he was more than just nice, and the rest, as I suppose they always say, is history. 

Somehow, this kind, smart, thoughtful, talented, sweet, and handsome (I could go on) guy kept asking me to hang out over the past six months until last Sunday when he asked me to marry him. He took me back to the spot  right where we first met, at Timothy Christian in the hallway in front of the counselor's office. (You can get that story from me anytime) After he proposed, he had arranged for my whole family to be ready and waiting at his parents' house with his family for a celebratory toast and lunch. When my hands stopped shaking and I got a moment to look around the room, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with gratefulness for the family I have and the family I'm joining.

Today I caught a glimpse of the ring on my left hand and got a sudden smile on my face. Not because Brian is perfect, or because I am perfect, or because we have a perfect relationship, because he's not, I'm not, and we don't. But as I look forward to this new year that's coming I have to say that my past compulsion to be independent has changed in a small way. I still want to do new things, see new places, and follow new paths, just this time, I want to do all those things along with him. Why? I suppose it's just because he's the best guy I know. 

After The Year of First Dates, I'm so glad that he called. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Yesterday was Christmas. It finally got here.

It wasn't the usual explosion of cheer that December 25th brings. I'm 24 now, and so it was a chill and happy day at home. My brother, Heidi, parents, and I opened a few presents. We ate a steak dinner at home, then we all took naps. We talked about the coming year and made a few plans. We watched a movie. I never actually left the house. It was a long and peaceful day. But I'm still waiting for something.

This year, the Christmas season has been characterized not by the day of December 25th, but by the waiting. The leading up to something. The patience. The Advent season. For good things to come (more on one especially wonderful thing soon), some necessary things to come, and some other things that I'm not sure if they're coming at all.

My church really follows a cool tradition during Advent, with reverent readings and candle lightings and the whole shebang. Sometimes, in times like those, I feel the wait for what's to come to be an exciting and almost magical thing. But for the most part, in the day-to-day, I'm weary in the waiting. The term Advent, in itself, means the arrival. So I suppose I'm waiting on another arrival.

Let me tell you what I mean. As much as I am a teacher on Christmas break who does not want to even think about school, this whole waiting thing actually happens to be all about my life at school.

This year, much more than last year at least, I am aware of the challenges and home lives that make up the realities for my kids every day. I'm asking more questions and am overwhelmed at what six and seven-year-olds are accepting as normal, not because they want to, but because they have to, because they don't know anything different.

Parents in jail, parents with cancer, parents who aren't around, 
parents who are, parents who were shot last week.

Food that isn't there, gas tanks and bank accounts that aren't getting filled, 
presents that weren't wrapped.

Missed rent checks, missed job interviews, missed bus rides. 
Missed payments and the cold that kicks in when the heat is shut off.

Shootings down the street, sirens up the block, 
and bed bugs on the floor where he sleeps.

Cuss words and candy bars for dinner.

And this is the world we have for our kids? This what they wait for? 

And I know I should be positive, not thinking about only the struggles and challenges when there are so many good things to see and be thankful for, but at times waiting for this Advent can be overwhelming. I'm longing for it to be resolved, but here I sit, patiently looking ahead. I feel like Lucy when she was told that it's always winter and never Christmas.

Of course, in my own stupidity, I get stretches of time where I think I can fix things. Where I can patch it up. Where I can speed up the Advent, hurry along the arrival of The Way Things Are Supposed To Be. It's hard for a girl who was brought up as a Dutch Reformed kid to realize that even diligent work towards a redeeming cause might not produce the results that you want. So here I still wait. In one week and a half I'll go back to school and walk past the litter on the street right back up to my classroom. And I'll still be working and waiting for that world I want for my kids.

A perfect little thing happened on Christmas yesterday. My Grandpa Gesch was asked to pray before lunch. He can hardly maneuver around my house anymore and needs my dad to cut up his steak for him. But one thing he'll always be able to do really well, no matter his age or physical limitation, is pray. And he said, on Christmas, that God should help us remember to be loving to each other, to show kindness every day, and to take care of each other by giving each person around us what he or she needs. It was beautiful. And while I can't do many things, one thing I can do while I wait is to love my kids. I can't fix their entire world, although I will continue to do everything I can to try, but here in the meantime, in the midst of the waiting, I have my mission: I want to love. I want to be kind. I want to take care of people. That's the stuff that helps make the wait worthwhile.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cut and Paste

Pinterest. It used to be this cool website where I kept all of my ideas of what I want to wear, eat, and do on a daily basis. I absolutely love all of the outfits that I "pinned" to my virtual bulletin board and I can honestly say that my board devoted to Small Baby Animals has turned a bad mood around once or twice. While I suppose Pinterest is still all of that to me, it has now become my biggest source of Professional Development.

Elementary teachers everywhere: forget your curriculum, drop out of your master's courses, and just go on Pinterest. It will have the same effect on your teaching and it's free. I'm sure I'm the absolute last TFA-er to maximize Pinterest for the benefit of their teaching, but I always thought: "No, Anna, you should stick to exactly every activity the curriculum says to do because who knows what they'll say if they come in to observe and you're doing something you're not supposed to be doing." First of all, they won't be upset if my kids are engaged and excited to learn about something in a creative way...they aren't all that scary anyway. Second of all, KIDS SHOULD HAVE FUN AT SCHOOL AND I'M SICK OF STANDARDIZED TEST PREP AND I WANT TO DO FUN THINGS. So Pinterest it is. And Pinterest it shall be. Last week we did a Christmas tree activity that helped us practice using a ruler to measure to the nearest inch. And listen here. If you would have told me that throwing out some scissors and glue would make a room that contains 14 squirrelly 6-year-old boys (and let me tell you what the other 7 girls aren't lacking in spunk either) turn into a place of extreme focus, I would have slapped you.

But here we are, and now I am searching for cut-and-paste activities for every single lesson. Check out my cuties getting into the Christmas spirit. Four more days until break people. FOUR MORE DAYS!





Thursday, December 12, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside

Okay before I start my writing, can we all agree that the song to which this post's title refers is a thinly-veiled poppy version of date rape?! "I really can't stay?" "Say what's in this drink?" Terrible. Girls, it might be cold outside, but get the heck out of that guy's apartment. Put the hat back on, go home, and deadbolt that door.

....Pause for a reflection of this creepy song and a transition to fun things....

Now, onto the warmth and cheer. It has been freezing outside. I got into my car this morning and the temperature on the dash read -3. Negative three. Gah. Yet with this abominable weather, there have been some lovely little moments. And, of all places, these moments happened outside in the midst of the frozen tundra. I absolutely hate being cold yet here God put all these fun moments in my life, right in the middle of negative degrees and numb noses. Sorry that sounds sentimental, but I am sentimental. I'm overtired, and I taught Christmas activities to antsy overtired children all day, and I'm in grad class on the last night of the semester, and therefore I'm loopy and therefore sentimental. Oh well. Here are some positive moments from the past few weeks when the temperatures were in the negatives.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, we took part in the Christmas parade in the tiny town adjacent to the tiny town in which I was raised. Sawyer was a little elf (very cute I might add) on the float and I was the official face-painter and sign-maker and glow-stick-passer-outer-to-the-crowds-er for my dad's business. Ah small town life. And a backseat selfie. 

It's hats and hoods and gloves time at recess. My kids love going outside, even in the cold. It makes me rethink my laziness of my "I don't wanna go out there" when it's freezing cold and consider the joy of a six-year-old going down a slippery snowy slide. And also the joy of a fur hood selfie. There's that too. 

Karley and Sam asked if Brian and I wanted to walk around The Magnificent Mile to see the lights. I hadn't been downtown in forever - funny how living in a big city makes you take the touristy things for granted - but it was awesome to stroll in and out of shops, sip hot chocolate, and soak up the Christmas spirit. And, of course, another selfie. SO MANY SELFIES. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Stuff Students Say: November Edition

I am thankful for the weird stuff that my kids say. I am thankful to people like you who find it equally as amusing. Here you go, friends.

On November 1.
Is tomorrow Thanksgiving?

Right after a lecture on how she needs to show her friends how special they are by using kind words and imparting valuable life lessons about being nice. I asked her if she understood what I was saying. She replied: 
Student: Ms. Gesch you pretty.
Me: (Sigh.) You're very pretty too.

In math, when called on to answer a word problem. 
My mama finally got some money and now we buying a house!

I can't do number lines! I'm only in first grade! What do you expect?!

On a pretend phone call to her parents after school. She didn't know anyone was watching her.
Why you ain't picked me up yet!? I almost called 9-9-1-1 on you! 

Student: Ms. Gesch you got kids?
Me: No I don't have any children.
Student: So yo grandma got yours for the weekend then?
Me: No I don't have any children at all.
Student: You gonna get some soon so you grandma can watch them on the weekends?

A student saw a picture of Brian on my phone background. I told Brian about this and he can confirm that no small children from East Garfield Park have visited his apartment. Yet. 
Ms. Gesch is that your boyfriend? When you visit him at his house did you know that I visit his house too? 

Oh I know everything about Ms. Gesch. I even know her favorite color. 

Imma get two thousand dolla for Christmas.

On a bus on the way to a field trip, looking out at Lake Michigan.
I saw a dolphin fighting a shark! I saw it! Too bad you guys missed it.

Do it rain in places like the city?

This bus driver is making my feet turn to chickens.

I wish our school was Wisconsin Dells.
Me too, Deon. Me too. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Muchas Gracias

Ah. Today is Thanksgiving. Memories of weird turkey plays from second grade flood my mind with every utterance of the holiday's name. What a great day. People together, eating, talking, napping, and generally being happy and content. It makes my soul feel good. I have 5 things to share today that I am thankful for. Usually I'm a little more snarky and creative, but in all seriousness, this year I am just plain humbled at all the good things in my life. I write my list every year and would love to read yours too.

I am thankful for...

1. Wisconsin. I've always missed Wisconsin when I'm away, but this year my home state holds a particularly special place in my heart. There is an understood something when I tell people in the city that I'm from Wisconsin. It's like they already know I'm a certain kind of person when I say I'm from Wisconsin and they usually nod and smile. While I used to not want to be in anybody's mind any certain kind of person, I now wear that label with resolute pride. I love Chicago, don't get me wrong. But those people are right, there is something about being from Wisconsin. Something down-to-earth, something friendly, something blunt, something hick, and something human. I will always love Wisconsin.


2. My family. This is a generic thing for which to be thankful, but I am finding more and more that my family is a rare thing. I work with kids every day who don't have the support of a family like I do. I have that safety net below my feet, waiting to catch me the second I trip or even if I fall. I have people on my side, in my corner, on my team. As I'm growing up and figuring out where my life is going, one of the things I want above all others is to grow into a person who becomes a safety net for others. I learned what that looks like from my family. 


3. My MacBook Air. This is totally materialistic. I just finally replaced my old laptop on Tuesday and this new machine is a thing of beauty. I'm using it to put this post up, and I figured it was only fair to be very thankful for this too. Apple got me again. 


4. Christmas. I AM SO HAPPY THAT IT IS THE CHRISTMAS SEASON! Thanksgiving marks the switch from that November slump to December cheer and I am so thankful that it is finally here. With such a late Thanksgiving this year, I only have three weeks of teaching standing between me and sleeping in, wrapping presents, and ALL THE TWINKLE LIGHTS. I'm giddy already.


5. Last but definitely not least, I am thankful for Brian Whartnaby. And how great of a camera-sniper-victim that he is. Plus he puts up with my crazy fried self after I lose my mind from long days and weeks of teaching. I think I'll keep him around for awhile. 





Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Half-Year-Aversary!



On this date, six months ago, Karley Mae VanDyke became Karley Mae Staal in a swift "I Do" and a kiss. Call me sentimental, but I was super bummed out when it was all over. It was one of the happiest days of my life, and no I'm not ashamed to say that I was probably a little too excited for this wedding to happen. It was a magical day. And I think it's an accomplishment to have made it 6 months in the whole marriage world, because although I've never been there, it seems like a challenge to say the least. I got nostalgic and was scrolling through some pictures to remember how great it was.

 Here are a few pics to reminisce on the beautiful 25th of May this year. Congrats, Karley and Sam! Love you both!




IMG_2132 2


Saturday, November 23, 2013

No-Shame November

It's that time of year for me again! This was inspired for me two years ago by my friend Liz, who spent a whole month blogging about things that she was ashamed of. Then she wrote about those things (some were funny, some were serious) and shared her results. I don't have the humility nor the guts to do a whole month of posts that expose all of the things that make me feel guilty or ashamed, but I do like to devote one post in November to this cause. In a weird way, it's kind of fun. So it's not no-shave November for me (although for my boyfriend it is; his lumberjack beard has come along rather nicely) but no-shame November. And here we go with this year's post:

I'm ashamed that, going on two years into the process, this whole how-to-be-a-grown-up thing is still a mystery to me.

This post has come from many moments of hilarity, confusion, and even sometimes despair. Nobody told me what a crazy ride my life would be after graduating college. I think this is a problem unique to my generation. For my parents and their parents, you grew up because that's just what you did. You worked at the farm, foundry, or family business since you were 12 years old anyway, so working full time and making decisions weren't big steps for you. You were more worried about the life you were building instead of the image you were building. But we millennials are not like you guys.

But seriously though. 

We had the luxury of putting growing up on the back burner. We get to do things like summer mission trips, semesters abroad, and freshman years spent "finding ourselves." We date more people, get married later in life, buy more clothes, and go out to eat. We've had it good, and now we are paying for it. Sometimes it's a really funny moment, like this week, when I made myself the spongebob-shaped-mac-and-cheese and marveled at how much joy this simple thing brought to me. Sometimes it's a really depressing moment, when you realize that you are a "well-adjusted" and fully competent 24-year-old who still doesn't understand her own insurance package from work, even after her own father has explained it to you 14 different times with diagrams and visual displays to help.

Not only does the real world expect you to adjust to the exhaustion of a 50+ hours per week job, it also expects you to find that job in the first place, it expects you to cook dinner, find an apartment, find a church, manage your budget (woof), finish grad school, attend 48 weddings, and keep your place relatively presentable. And on top of all that? You, as a twentysomething, need to also do all of this while looking really cute and having a lot of fun and meeting a lot of new friends because obviously you're enjoying your twenties! 

I do think I had a particularly hard time with the adjustment from college to real-world, simply because of my ridiculous job. It's a good job, and an important one, one that I'm thankful for, but it is also definitely ridiculous. There are many days on my drive home where I look back and just laugh. Balancing the rest of my life against all that goes on in my daily life of teaching in East Garfield Park is definitely a challenge. And here's my question to the world: how do you other grown-ups decide how long to stay in your job? Or what other jobs to do? And how do you really know what you want to be when you grow up?

All of this pressure, of course, is imagined and unnecessary. Sometimes I kind of wish I was in a generation that just did everything that was expected of us. But in the end, I absolutely love this hot mess of a life that I lead. So here we go on the confessions:

I'm ashamed to admit that I have my mom on-call for my trips to the grocery store while I ask her to give me on-demand recipe ideas and pick up the ingredients as she lists them for me. After she explains how to make a simple meal twice over the phone, I go back and email her asking for written directions, only to call her again in the midst of cooking the meal to ask if I'm doing it wrong. This is a bimonthly occurrence. (When you see Kathy next, give her a high-five for her mad culinary skills. Then give her a hug for dealing with a daughter like me who did not inherit her natural knack in this area.)

I'm ashamed that one trip to Target can derail any best intentions at that week's budget.

I'm ashamed that instead of becoming moved to action, the needs of looking for jobs, finishing grad programs, paying insurance, registering my teaching license, making dinner, finishing laundry, and finding apartments actually just moves me to want to take a nap on the couch.

One day I will get it together.  But, at least for now, I have no shame in spongebob-shaped-mac-and-cheese. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekend in D.C.

Last weekend, which now looking back seems so far away, was bliss. I had the opportunity to fly to D.C. to visit my brother and sister-in-law for the weekend along with my mom. I was there for three days and often scroll through my phone wishing I was back in the middle of a long weekend again. Maybe it's the fact that I'm writing this on a Sunday night that gives me such a sense of melancholy, maybe it's the I'm-a-teacher-and-it's-almost-Thanksgiving-break blues. Who knows. But either way, looking back on these pictures gives me a small sense of happiness in the midst of my planning session.

We spent time talking, catching up, eating, and exploring. I think that's the best way to spend time, don't you think? My mom and I spent almost all day on Friday at the Newseum, which was incredible. One of the best tourist things I've done yet. Here's my weekend in six pictures. 'Til next time, D.C.!

photo 5
Great cupcakes. Love the tag line. 

photo 3
Serious happy hour conversations. Like whether or not to order Tater Tots. We decided
to go forward with two orders, and it turned out to be a great decision. 

photo 1
The Newseum displayed all the major front pages from September 11. This was my favorite. 

photo 4
A trip to Alex and Heidi guarantees a great coffee shop. 

photo 2
So proud of Alex! 

My little buddy for the weekend. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

So That Happened

I'm currently on a long weekend visiting Alex and Heidi in Washington D.C. with my mom. It's been a great time of hanging out and catching up with them as well as Heidi's side of the family who is out around these parts as well. On Friday, my mom and I decided to visit the Newseum, which, by the way, is one of the best museums I've ever been to. I'll post pictures and a little description of that later of course, but I had to share this super super awk moment. A moment that some might say would only happen to me. But maybe this has happened to you and you can relate. Whether you're sharing in my misery or laughing at it, here's the story either way.

So there I was, minding my own business in the FBI exhibit of the Newseum. It had writeups of famous cases where the FBI was involved and artifacts and descriptions of interesting details of each. My mom was in the same area of the museum, but at a different display. I was standing by myself examining the letters from the Unabomber when, all of a sudden, an unknown human came from behind me and grabbed me around my hips, meaning to scare me. It was one step away from a butt grab. It was definitely one of those try-to-make-your-girlfriend-giggle-and-smile moments except for the fact that I was not this stranger's girlfriend, nor was I giggling, nor was I smiling.

Now, maybe it's where I live, maybe it's more about where I work, but I have a personal space instinct that I gets me a little ghetto when it is invaded. I whipped my head around with an emphasis on the neck motion, looked at the guy with my eyebrows slanted inward, and go, "What the HECK?!" in a very pointed tone as I leaned back on one hip.

The guy looked at me, realized I wasn't who he thought I was, slapped his hand over his mouth, and went into a word-vomit session of I'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorry and OhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygosh and I thoughtyouweresomeoneelse! over and over.

Realizing that he was so embarrassed, I of course switched right into people-please mode and went into my own word vomit session of It'sokayIt'sokayIt'sokay and awkward laughing and Don'tevenworryIdon'tevencareIt'snotevenabigdeal.

After this exchange, we, of course, ran into him and his parents about 4 different times in the next 30 minutes.

It was weird. And I know we overuse the word awkward as young people in American society, but I think it justifies this situation. IT WAS SO AWK. 

Woof. Continue on with your day. And make sure the girl you're grabbing is really who you think she is unless you want some ghetto-fab attitude cominatchya. Life lesson #4562.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Watch Your Language

I love words. As a first grade teacher, I'm even getting into the nitty gritty of the letters and sounds. And I love those too. At least sometimes, these words express our language. Language is a funny thing to nail down, slippery and sharp at the same time. I've been collecting quotes about language: what it is and what it isn't. These make me think about the words I choose, and what words mean to different people. Nice things to ponder on a Sunday night. 

It is true that words drop away, and that the important things are often left unsaid. The important things are learned in faces, in gestures, not in our locked tongues. The true things are too big or too small, or in any case, always the wrong size to fit the template called language. | Jeanette Winterson

It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality is more important than the feeling for pictures. | Vincent van Gogh

The finest language is mostly made up of simple unimposing words. | George Eliot

The best way in the world to deceive believers is to cloak a message in religious language and declare that it conveys some new insight from God. | Charles Stanley

When one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language. | John Donne. 

Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation. | Noam Chomsky

Proletarian language is dictated by hunger. The poor chew words to fill their bellies. | Theodor Adorno

A riot is the language of the unheard. | Martin Luther King, Jr.

The finest command of language is often shown by saying nothing. | Roger Babson

Of all of oru inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language. | Walt Disney 

It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water. | Franklin P. Jones

But I like Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry. | Chinua Achebe

We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives. | Toni Morrison 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Stuff Students Say: October Edition

Oh boy. Halloween has come and gone, finally. Once I make it through tomorrow, Halloween week, nay, Halloween month will officially be over. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good spooky picture book and pumpkin craft just as much as the next guy. But I'll move on past the sugar-highed-antsy-in-their-pantsy class of children that comes along with this month. Here are the quotes that came with the chaos:

Why you put your hair behind your ear Ms. Gesch? It so cute when it's flowy!

Student 1, addressing an embarrassed student 2's dry skin: You never heard of cocoa butter before? Oil up your legs or something!

Ms. Gesch me and him we cousins. She know my gramma so that makes us cousins. When you know the others gramma. That's how you know you cousin. 

Before our field trip to the planetarium...
So wait we going right to the lake? So we going swimming, right?

At the planetarium, to the big yellow model of the sun...
THIS the sun? It's not hot though. You lie to us in school because you told me it's hot. 

Student 1: You eat chicken?
Student 2: Yes.
Student 1: Then yo breath be KICKIN'! 

Three times three equals I want more juice.

Me: I'm going to eat at a Spanish restaurant this weekend. They have food like the food in Spain.
Student: I love Spanish restaurants because you get a fortune cookie AND fried chicken!
Me: Are you sure that was a Spanish restaurant?
Student: Oh yeah. 

Me: What are you doing this weekend?
Student: I'm finding the free candy and going out there to get it all. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Search

These days I'm steeped in research.

Ever since joining Teach For America and starting this crazy ride of teaching in urban education, I've been bombarded with the research. The research on poverty. The research on racial systemic injustice. The research on boys and girls and who learns better in traditional public schools and who is favored in science class. The research on college readiness exams. The research on being ready for second grade. The research on unlimited varieties in curriculum and why certain ones are better than others. The research on phonics. The research on higher-order thinking. The research on vocabulary acquisition. The research on rewarding kids for success and moving towards intrinsic motivation. The research on character development and social-emotional learning. And a lot more.

In the past two years I've read countless articles, about 10 books, and a lot more blogs on what it means to be in this tough but important work of serving in low-income schools and the children in my community.

And with all that, I've still got so much to learn, so much to know, and so much more to understand.


I still can't wrap my mind around what it is going to take to work with people in my school's communities and others like it in order to have a holistic and healthy renewal of poverty-ridden areas so that children everywhere can grow up to be who they were meant to be; so that places like the West Side of Chicago can be places of hope, fairness, and life. There is so much that goes into an effort like that, and I am made aware every day that it needs to be an all-hands-on-deck approach: no single white girl driving down from Wisconsin is going to change anything unless she is working with all kinds of other people who are working for the same things, teaching her so many things in the process. But.

But. But. In all of the research, in all of the social programs, in all of the new ideas and curricula, there seems to be something missing. Something that I have a hard time articulating, but something that I know in my guts has to be there for anything good to happen or anything new to grow.

Here's what I mean. One Thursday night, during grad class last spring, we had a guest speaker come in to talk about social-emotional learning. She was promoting a curriculum that she has used and helped develop and was now pitching to us young teachers. Don't get me wrong, it was a good curriculum I am sure, complete with group problem-solving and peace-keeping strategies, as well as activities to practice and foster a sense of kindness and community. Her curriculum was, of course, backed by all the research in the world. During her talk, I made a note of some of her quotes that particularly struck a chord with me:

"Teach all the math and reading that you want, but we've gotta change what's going on on the inside if we want any actual change for our students."

"I'm educating my kids for life. I'd lose a few points on those standardized test scores if it meant making time for social-emotional learning."

"This kind of stuff is what matters in marriages and families and workplaces and life."

And as I read those quotes over again, I am struck again with how much I agree. Recently I just finished reading a book called "How Children Succeed," by Paul Tough that I really loved. It spoke to the skills that most successful children have in common. Surprisingly, it's not their high test scores or exemplary IQ. It is their character: their grit, curiosity, social awareness, and integrity. So teachers, leaders, and parents should all be working to teach and develop those skills in our children. And again, I was struck with how much I agree. It was completely research-based, of course, with study after study across multiple disciplines backing his supposition.

But. Again, I felt, for some reason, that all of this is research missing something. The research is, for certain, searching for something. I like the word research and its prefix "re" for the simple fact that it could mean to search again. We know that the word implies that someone is searching systematically for an answer. And all of this research in the educational and social and political world in which I exist is looking for something to answer all of our issues, all of our challenges, and all of our struggles. What is the answer? How do we help people? How do we help kids? Every year or month or even day, it can seem, the newest and latest thing comes out from the newest and latest research. A new answer to our problems. A new solution for the ills of the West Side. And while they are all very positive and even often have results and data to back up their success, there is one side that is left out.

For all of their searching and researching and searching again, I think the scientists, sociologists, and educators are missing something very important about children, and for that matter, about people in general. I wonder if they consider that a child is someone who is more than just a human, physically here with physical needs, and a physical brain that needs to understand how to achieve character and academic growth and adequate test scores so that they can maneuver about their social environment to make their own way forward. I wonder about the idea that a student has a soul, a spiritual side, that needs to be cared for; I wonder about how people expect to "change what's going on on the inside," as that well-meaning guest speaker purported to do. Is it we teachers who really change what's going on on the inside, the deep-down inside? Am I the one with the ultimate ability to heal the spiritual and emotional traumas of my children?

Or is there another answer for which we are searching? Is there another way to which I can point that fills in the missing piece to the puzzle of helping and working with low-income communities? Is there a possibility that the cycles and roundabouts of finding new and good ways to serve kids are missing something in their important search? Every day that I spend with my kids gives me the conviction that there is, indeed, more to it when it comes to children. When it comes to people. When it comes to our world. My kids, to me, are living proof that there is a never-ending depth and mystery to the meaning of what it means to be human, of what it means to have a soul. The research is well-meaning and even effective and helpful. But the search that should be taken up on behalf of my kids' souls must be addressed. It has to be. I guess all of this doesn't mean that I have an answer.

But I might have an idea of where to look for one. The search always leads me there, leads me to the same place, leads me to the very start where my hope and love and faith began. I wonder if the search will ever end. I don't know that it will. But I'm gaining conviction that I know exactly where The Search needs to start.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Colah Run

The pronunciation of this post's title is meant to help you pronounce "Color Run" as if you were an old lady from Brooklyn. As in, "Dahhling. I went out layast weekent ta do tha Colah Run. The colahs. They wah gawwgeous." And the reason this post is entitled in such a ridiculous manner is thanks to Melanie Lawrence, who has been speaking back and forth with me in said accent since 2009. She also was the one to text me expressing her deep disappointment in the fact that a post dedicated to this shared event has not yet been published on my blog. The disappointment, of course, was expressed with a high percentage of sass. One might have called it a SASS ATTACK. Little did she know that this post was already ready to be published, but that I had scheduled to put it up today, Sunday the 20th of October. I've since added this paragraph to let Melanie, and the rest of the watching world, know, that WE DID THE COLAH RUN. IT WAS FAAHBYALUSS. AND WE HOPE YAH AWWL SUPAH JAHHLUSS.

The pictures below depict the fab time I had with Mel, Becky, and Gina on a Sunday morning in September. I've been wanting to do a Color Run for forever and these were the perfect three with whom to join in on the fun. I conned Brian into driving us to the race to avoid taxi costs (suckerrr!) and we had a great time jogging around, getting plastered with paint powder, and catching up between the paint stations. Afterward we all went out to eat at Simone's, which is a nearby bar and restaurant that by now should probably just have a permanent seat reserved with my name on it.

photo 1
As far as this run compares to the others I've done in the recent and not-so-recent past, this one by far was the most joyous. I highly recommend it for sorority sisters and girl scout groups to sign up. It isn't, however, the most competitive or physically challenging atmosphere. Most people are walking, even just standing still, right in the middle of the road and running path, just because they're having too much fun talking and catching up and doing this fun activity with their friends. I'd call it more of the "Color Fun" than the "Color Run" but that's a-okay. I'm signing up when they come back to Chicago next year and recruiting all of yous off of the couch and out to join in on the fun!

photo 2
Becky and me. For a cousin picture, of course. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Here's a post to check in with myself, and you guys, to let it be known "where I'm at" in this life of mine. I like to think of these posts as a way to give myself a more well-rounded status update. Here is what I'm loving, reading, watching, anticipating, listening to, planning, working on, and wishing for in October of 2013.

Loving: Fall break. As you can see from the picture above, it is absolutely beautiful in Clearwater, Florida. Hanging out and catching up with Hannah is so fun and so good. I've been able to go in to her school and observe some classrooms to get ideas for my own, have extended periods of time to catch up on finishing my report cards and schoolwork (a lot more to finish yet...), and have an hour here or there to lay out in the sunshine. I love the midwest dearly, but I love taking the trips away. 

Reading: A few books, actually! Look at me go. I've used this break to my advantage in the reading department. I've gone on a Shauna Niequist binge, reading two of her books in three days. I saw her book Bittersweet laying on the coffee table in Hannah's apartment, picked it up, and didn't put it down. Then her roommate asked if I wanted to borrow the other book of hers, called Cold Tangerines and now I'm finishing that as we speak. She has a way of writing that makes me feel like I'm not the only one with swirling thoughts, words, and sentence fragments floating through my brain at any given moment. I've also been reading How Children Succeed by Paul Tough, which has me considering so many important issues when it comes to my children, Chicago, and what it will take for the world to be a place of opportunity for them and not a place of constant heartbreaking disappointment. He champions the development of character in a child as the number one way to help him or her become successful in the future, and backs it with a flood of research. More of my thoughts on his book later. 

Watching: The headlines, dialogue, and circus surrounding this government shutdown. I suppose it's happened before in the 1980's and so I shouldn't be alarmed that the world is ending; we've made it through before. But what it does give me pause to consider is the way that we get along, the way we make decisions, and the way that we speak to one another in this country. Sometimes I feel like I'm in the middle of such a selfish, illogical, and unjust society. What that means, I suppose, is that people need to start standing up for what is right and just and not what is ME. We are such a people obsessed with the idea of ME-ness, myself the first in need of an attitude makeover. 

Anticipating: So much in the YA literature department. I pre-ordered the third book in Veronica Roth's Divergent Series, which releases on October 22!! I plan on devouring that book the second it reaches my hands. Then, Catching Fire comes out that very week in theaters!!! My Katniss alter-ego has been laying dormant waiting for the next movie to be released. I'm so excited!!! There are so many exclamation points!!!! 

Listening to: The Cranberries. I have Linger on repeat right now. I can't explain it, but they speak to me. Sometimes I sing along in my own Celtic accent to feel like I'm really there. I also am listening to a million new bands I have never heard before, thanks to my boyfriend's addiction to music blogs that discover bands so he can say things like, "You've probably never heard of them before, but..." In all seriousness, he has really good taste. So I get the benefit of many cool suggestions. CHVRCHES, Grouplove, and Justin Vernon are my favorite additions he's given to my musical knowledge database. I feel more authentically like a resident of Pilsen with all of this hipster cred I'm getting. 

Planning: A few things: 1) More little get-togethers. No big parties or bachelorette parties to fund and coordinate, but I'm making a bigger effort to have coffe-shop-get-work-done-sessions with TFA friends, monthly dinner dates with my college friends, and visits to my family when I can make them. and I'm also planning 2) My effort at tackling making working out a more consistent and regular part of my life. It was one of my goals before I turned 25 to have a regular fitness routine, and I'm figuring out that plan these days. I don't want only to be working out excitedly when I have a half marathon or 15k looming, I want to be doing those runs and events in the midst of the good stuff I'm doing anyway. I still will sign up for any and every 5k and more that I can find, but you get the point. The gym has been joined and the plans are just starting to take shape. 

Working on: My master's degree. Doing school and work is exhausting. Particularly when the "work" part of that equation takes up much more time than 9-5 each day. By May I'll have my Master's of Arts in Teaching from Dominican University, if all goes well and the funds all go through. It's a weekly grind and routine, doing schoolwork throughout the week and attending long hours of night classes every Thursday in a classroom a half hour away, but I am excited to think about the light at the end of the tunnel, that is coming in the form of a certificate with my name on it, in about 8 months or so. I think I can, I think i can, I think I can...

Wishing: That I could freeze time. I love fall and all these changes we're seeing. I love how I feel at this point in my life right now and right here. I have so many blessings and struggles and bright spots and gray days. The mix of the sublime and the difficult and the mundane and the peaceful in my life right now gives me a sneaking feeing that I'm growing, stretching, and forming more into the person whom I was really meant to be. I love the hustle and bustle and twists and turns of becoming that person. I know that I can't freeze time, and that it will relentlessly bring me forward to much higher highs and even some lower lows, but the satisfaction I feel in this time in my life right now in working and living and dreaming and being is rich and full and good.

How about you? How are you currently living and doing and working? Let's get together and talk about it. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Press Pause

It is really here. Fall Break.

Those words have such a delicious taste as I type them on my old and on-its-last-legs MacBook. I'm sitting at an outside table at a Pizza-by-the-slice joint on Main Street of a quaint little town called Safety Harbor and this is my view: 


Yes, those are palm trees you are seeing! I'm in Florida visiting the one and only Hannah Joy Schaap for four days while my students and I get a break from school and one another. Hannah is just one of those girls - full of adventure and saturated with independence - and catching up with her is like a gulp of fresh air. This chick takes trips to Kenya, bikes across the country, and moves her whole life from the midwest on her own to become a fabulous first-grade teacher in Florida. She has her own opinions and ideas and follows them. She takes time out of life's routine to enjoy herself. On top of all of that she has such a caring and encouraging and happy and giving heart. She is a year younger than my grade in college, but I look up to her for all of this. So here I am, in the sunshine and so so thankful for this time off. I needed it. 

October, as I'm sure all teachers might tell you, is the perfect time for a week off. We all seem to get in a funk at this time in the school year.  Room 25 and I have completed the first quarter of our school year together and as we are feeling the days start to get shorter and the nights stretch out to get longer, fall beak is just what the doctor ordered. 

I realized in the last month that, although I was busy and my life was full of great things to do, I wasn't always making time for the good things that make me feel centered, balanced, and, frankly, like me. Between Brian's friends and mine, we've had 5 weddings in 4 weeks. The weekends have been devoted to roadtripping and gift buying, and the weekdays devoted to catch-up. I haven't, in the chaos, made the time to write in my journal, write on my blog, read books I like, or read the Bible. Of course, I've had the time. We all have the time. But when I didn't make the time, the time that I had was swallowed up in other little things. I was staying up late to cram, pressing snooze, rushing my mornings, saying yes to everything that I should do, and no the things that I need to do. I think we all do that in different weeks and months and times of our life, and all that we need is a day, a morning, or even a few minutes to hit pause and take stock. 

When I think back to last year's fall break, I was dreading the return to school as soon as the break began. I was worried and anxious and nervous and hated going to work and overwhelmed at this unbalanced life I was leading. I suppose I still have to work on that balance, of course, but I like where I'm at much more this time around. This year, on fall break, I'm doing a little catch-up on school work of course, but I'm looking ahead to the coming quarters of school, changes in seasons of weather, time with people I love, and more open weekends with contentment and even a little excitement. 

Maybe my life won't ever be balanced, but I can try in the middle of it all to find moments to pause and look around. I can try to find those moments of clarity and reorder the priorities again; to tidy up my to-do list by discarding a few should-dos and adding a few more need-to-dos

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Stuff Students Say: September Edition

It's two days late. My b. My b. Enjoy the last 30 days of quoted goodness from Room 25!

Me: Stop sucking your thumb.
Student: But Ms. Gesch I like it because my thumb tastes like a sandwich.

Ms. Gesch you smell sweet. Like pancakes. 

Ain't nobody got time for apple picking.

(On our field trip to the apple orchard, there was an exhibit on bees.) Why they got us all in this  little house with all these bees?! They tryin' to kill me?!

(Referring to how old they thought I was.)
Student 1: She's 20.
Student 2: Naw she's too little to be 20.
Student 1: Okay she's 60 then. 

Student: Did I have a good day today, teacher?  
Me: You were not respectful at all today.
Student: So I had a good day then?!

(Tattling) He called me potato.

Ms. Gesch you got soft hair. Everybody should touch this hair. 

Why do you look like Taylor Swift?

I hope you have a beloved birthday.

(An apology conversation where they confessed their trespasses to one another)
Student 1: Sorry for calling your mom baldheaded.
Student 2: Sorry for calling your mom old.
Student 1: It's okay.
Student 2: Yeah it's okay too.

Ms. Gesch I'm going to bring you something real good tomorrow. Like strawberry cake. With cheese on top.

Watch out for that white lady. 

Student: Where's my mama?
Me: She's coming to pick you up soon I think.
Student: No THERE'S my mama. 
Me: Where?
Student: You right there! YOU my mama! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Your Best Shot

Last weekend in Wisconsin we introduced Brian to all that Sheboygan County has to offer. This, of course, means a trip to the shooting range. He did really well, considering his girlfriend's dad was eyeing up his every move. We met the "gun-range-crowd" there as well, of which I'll let you envision your own stereotype. After a successful round of target practice, what else was there to do but stop by the local meat market for some steak and beer? Ahhhh, home.


photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My 24 Before 25

Last weekend, Brian took me home to Wisconsin for my birthday weekend. My work life is in a crazy phase, so it was awesome for us to sit around a fire with my parents and stare at the stars in the crystal clear sky. We shot guns (more on that later), sat and talked with my grandpa and great aunt, and ate more calories than I would like to think about with my aunt and uncle.

But, as it was my birthday, I am now 24 years old. Whaaa? Why is it that I feel like I'm perpetually 16 in this adult world? Yet the number goes up each year. I do think I'm more mature now than I was a year ago, but somehow it still feels weird. I suppose that if I felt more accomplished I might feel more mature each year at my birthday. So I've decided to do just that. I've decided to accomplish things.  Here is a list of things, large and small, that I want to accomplish before I turn 25. Next year around my birthday I'll check in to see if I actually did any of this stuff!


My 24 Before 25

1. Have a regular fitness routine. I'm on and off this year, from intense running for a half marathon to slacking for the whole entire beginning of the school year. At a time where running is necessary to relieve stress and clear up my mind, I don't make time for it. I want to get better at this for next year.

2. Write a book.

3. Read 5 books, just for the sake of reading them. 

4. Get rid of clothes that I don't wear. Jen, my roommate, is really great at being a minimalist. She's constantly throwing stuff out. I feel like she lives lighter because of that. Pack-rat-dom brings me down. I think my rule will be that if I haven't worn it in a year, it's got to go.

5. Learn a new song in sign language.

6. Learn about wine. I don't understand wine. But I like it. So I want to learn about it.

7. Wake up really early and go to the beach to see the sun rise.

8. Take pictures of some of the murals in Pilsen with my nice camera. This neighborhood is a special place

9. Paint a piece of furniture in a fun color. 

10. Host people over at my apartment for a fun event. 

11. Find a mentor. Whether that age difference is one year or fifty, getting advice from someone older is important.

12. Bake a cake or cupcakes from scratch. 

13. Learn to use a grill. 

14. Create something crafty to hang up on the wall or put in my apartment. 

15. Eat sushi. I've only tried one piece of sushi once in my life. I've never "gone out for sushi" like most hip girls my age have done. I feel like this needs to happen.

16. Pay off grad school and be debt free. 

17. Spend less per week on groceries. 

18. Get a no-chip manicure. 

19. Give more money away to church and charities. (This goes hand in hand with 16 and 17.)

20. Go to a yoga class. Namaste.

21. Start to figure out where I will live/work/be for age 25 and beyond. And when I say "start to figure out" I mean just that. In no way do I intend to know my life path/calling/future a year from today. Something tells me that life is more about changing lanes along the way than reaching a destination.

22. Write more Thank-You notes. 

23. Read the Bible more. Right now, this is embarrassing to admit, but I'm averaging about 3, maybe 4 times a week. I need to do it every day to feel like my life is good and happy and right and on-track.

24. Go on a road trip to a place I've never driven before. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Dirty Laundry

I've been reading, hearing, and thinking a lot lately about the conundrum we all have in 2013 and the social reality in which we live with one another. I've heard a sermon on it at church, read a few blog posts, saw a status or two, and had a few conversations with friends all about this issue. The issue of our dichotomy as young people with iPhones, iPads, and instagrams. The dichotomy between life as it actually is and life as you present it. Your life as it is neatly displayed on your Facebook facade or your life as it is in the nitty gritty.

I've had feelings that go both ways. I've sat there and rolled my eyes at the girls who put on makeup and tease their hair into a styled ponytail to work out so that their fitness blogs are cutely adorned with their hawt workout pics. Yes, I just wrote "hawt." Just admit that you eat a heaping bowl of ice cream sometimes just to make me feel better about myself! I've also thought to myself: dang. You go girl. You work out in 3 inches of makeup and fake lashes. You do that. Power to you because Lord knows I wouldn't ever put that much effort into working up a sweat. Work that updo.


And being in your 20's poses this challenge in a particularly difficult way. This is the decade of life stages coming through in rapid succession. College life, graduation, working world, independent living, engagements, marriages, kids, moves, trips, vacations, and more all start to pop up on our feeds every time we flip our thumb to scroll to the next screen. With all the happiness, success, cuteness, and beautiful things that people are doing and seeing, you can kind of feel like you're not quite making the cut. Or even worse, you start to harbor a sense of envy and disdain for anyone who seems to have a Pinterest-perfect little life. You might start to think: Why is she always so stylish? I could never afford those clothes. Or..Why are their kids always so cute and well-behaved? Mine are terrors most of the time. Or...Look where they got to go on vacation. I can't remember the last time I was on a beach. Those thoughts start to get dangerous. I have them from time to time, and it does absolutely nothing to harm the target in my head. The only person whom it damages is me. Getting caught up in the competition is just not worth it. I suppose I really am real-life-Anna when I'm writing on my blog, but there are definitely bad days (this Monday, ahem...) that I choose not to share and relive every time I scroll through my old posts. And that's okay.

I bet that even the fake-lash-cake-make-up-workout-girl wakes up on a Monday morning with a zit on her forehead. Or gets heartburn. Or forgets to shave her legs. Do you really want her, in the name of being honest, to blog about that stuff? Maybe, but I say let her be good at what she is good at and share it with people who want to read it. 

Or how about those parents who inundate your facebook feed with pictures of their cute and perfect little angels? Do you really want to read a status a day complaining about no sleep, no spare time, funds getting tighter, and bratty screaming tantrums, just for the sake of transparency? Maybe, but I think we can just let them have their moment of cuteness in the midst of their chaos. 

Do you really want, in a sense of an egalitarian social media society, everyone to just air their dirty laundry out in public? Just to even the field? Just to prove that we all have parts of our lives that suck? Mmmmm, maybe not.

So what then, run away from it all and delete all of our accounts and adopt amishdom? Some of you brave cooler-than-me hipsters can do this, but I love the connectedness and joy that all of these good social media things bring. So only one option is left. I think the best thing you can do is to give thanks for everything. Be grateful that there are interesting, beautiful, and talented people in this world doing exciting, funny, and meaningful things with their lives, who, of all things that they could do with these wonderful things, want to SHARE it with YOU!

So go like that picture. Go favorite that tweet. Heck, go nuts and reblog a post you like. Share the encouragement, the beauty, the inspiration, the ingenuity, and the intelligence. Be happy for the cute kids, the hip lattes in local coffee shops, the intense fitness routines, the beautiful weddings, the huge engagement rings, and the cool apartments. Let people sort through their own dirty laundry themselves and just be thankful that there is a God who gives good things that people want to share. We all know that there is no such thing as a perfect life, so just be happy when there are parts of it that are wonderful and good and beautiful and pleasant. There is a God who brings us all of these things and is now bringing us together because of them.

So go scroll that newsfeed. And be thankful.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Oh Snap! ple.

So many apple-y things are happening in first grade. I've had more fun this year with really hitting home fun activities around more thematic ideas. So, of course, it is apple mania lately in Room 25. We made an apple bar graph, made an apple book, ate apples and charted our favorite apple color, wrote everything we knew about apples, use apples in word problems, learned apple poems, and read apple books. It's only fitting that last Friday we went to an apple orchard. It was a blast.

Going out to the apple trees
We went to County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana. My kids boarded the bus amongst tall buildings and concrete, and got off of the bus with wide eyes at trees, fields, and blue skies. We got a tour of how honeybees help grow the apples, how the apples are sorted and cleaned, and finally hopped on a wagon that took us out to pick our own apples. Each kid got a bag full and had a blast running around the trees. We went back, ate lunch outside at picnic tables, and ended our day at a farm and play area where we could watch ducks, pet goats, and climb on each other (the last part of the list was not supposed to happen, but it did). It was cute. I hate being that teacher who gets overly sentimental at her children, but for all of the planning, herding, wrangling, and directing they made me do, it was totally worth it to see my kids out and about in the fresh air.  This year will be the year of field trips, let me tell you what.
This is K, asleep on my lap. Knocked out. Being 6 is exhausting. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Spaghetti Brain

I forgot to turn the washer on.

I was hungry and I had no food except a box of macaroni and cheese and I had Teach For America deliverables due tonight and I had to watch video tutorials on my vision statement and I had to do 60 pages of reading and annotating for my grad class tomorrow night and my principal asked for data on my struggling student by tomorrow morning and I accidentally left half of the math tests I had to grade at school on my desk and I had to call the apple orchard because our numbers aren't the same as our confirmation letter and I had to plan small groups and pair my kids into reading buddies based on their levels and my mom called to chat and I had to wait on hold for 25 minutes to track down missing concert tickets from UPS for Friday night and my roommate had an interesting weekend to tell me about and my stupid computer won't load the Americorps webpage so I'm in trouble with Dominican University and I have one new follower on twitter and I have to empty the dishwasher and I have to pack a lunch for tomorrow and I have an early staff meeting to prepare for and I put my dirty laundry in the washer at 5:30 and I forgot to turn the washer on. 


That is one big, bad, run-on sentence. 

It's 9:00 now. That was over three hours ago, and the washer is still not going. This is one of those nights, when the juggling act of being the human being named Anna Gesch is sometimes too hard for me to do. Just too hard to do. Teach For America, Dominican University, and the LEARN Charter School, while all great institutions in their own right, have on this evening, September 4th, 2013, combined all of their bureaucratic power to load down my brain with obligations and flaming hoops such that I am now sitting on my couch, unable to do anything. Completely paralyzed. A few hours later, it has happened. 

My brain has turned to spaghetti. 

Buon appetito, working world, adulthood, and night school. Tonight, you've eaten me alive.

But just for tonight. 

I'm going to sleep.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Stuff Students Say: August (First Grade Edition!)

We are a full month into the school year and here are the best quotes of the last five weeks. I hope they help you enjoy the last few hours of a Monday off from work. I mean, is there anything better than getting to stay at home on a Monday? The only thing I can think of is to stay at home on a Monday AND get to read funny quotes from six-year-old kids.

Ms. Gesch your kind of face is my favorite kind of face of all the faces.

(The following conversation took place on August 1.)
Ms. Gesch I'm so excited for my birthday coming up soon!
Me: When is it?
November 22. 

Is it spring break tomorrow?
(Also stated on August 1.)

On why she was misbehaving...
I can be a leader, but it's just that sometimes I have a problem attitude.

Look at my fuzzy backpack. It's nice and soft. Like a dead bird.

You got a lot of freckles Ms. Gesch. Do birds come and peck at them because they think they sprinkles on your face?! 

He called me a crybaby!!
Me: Why would you think he might have called you that? Do you think it might be because you cry a lot?
Well yeah I cry every day but I ain't no baby. 

(We were learning the months of the year, and I was trying to get them to realize that they actually already know the name of the month they were born in because they know their birth date.) 
Me: My birthday is September 14 so the month my birthday is in is September. When is your birthday?
July 10.
Me: So then what month is your birthday in? 

If you tell my daddy that I was good I get a ice cream cone. Can you just do that for me?