Saturday, September 12, 2009


Teacher Musings:
I really can't believe I let the whole summer go by without writing a post. Well, maybe I can believe it as I look back at what went on this summer. My husband and I bought and moved into a new house. I took two summer school grad courses. Also, we visited a lot of family, and had some family and friends come to stay with us, which was wonderful!! All in all, it was busy yet enjoyable. However, it means that now school is suddenly back in full swing. As the year starts I find myself (and everyone else at my school) facing a lot of uncertainty. A certain amount of uncertainty is just factor at the start of any school year: What are my students going to be like? How big will my classes be? What unexpected factors will affect the schedule? What will my curriculum team decide we need to focus on instructionally - two weeks before school starts? At earlier points in my life this uncertainty has made me crazy and stressed. However, after six years of it (interspersed with moving to a new state with no job, being laid off and not getting into my classroom until one day before students show up) have helped me learn that a certain level of uncertainty is a given in September, so I better learn how to deal with it. In order to get through the uncertainty, you have to make certain adjustments. I've learned that I can plan some of my year in June (as I prefer to) but that some planning I just have to wait and do in September. I've learned to plan roughly for the first two weeks but to put off making some copies until the day before - because I don't know whether or not I'll really have a full-length class that day, or suddenly be asked to give a new diagnostic. However, making these adjustments has been the easy part - letting go of my resentment that I have to make them has been difficult. In some ways its easier to hang on to my frustrations - there are plenty of people who would not only listen to me complain, but would join me in a cacophony of bitching. While this might feel good in the moment, what I have found is that this type of complaining has done little to nothing to improve either my teaching or the uncertainty that comes with the job. So, when I think about making adjustments this year (of which there will be plenty), especially the ones I don't want to make, I have made it my goal to not only adjust as needed, but to not resent the changes I need to make. With a new role at school and new home responsibilities on the way I have no time to spend on the negative. So, I look forward to both a flexible and positive year!

Yummy Stuff:
One of the comfort meals I love is breakfast for dinner. Lately I've been into apple oatmeal pancakes - they are both hearty and extremely yummy! I've searched around for a few vegan versions, but the one that has come out best is a synthesis of non-vegan oatmeal pancakes and regular vegan pancakes. So, here is my own little recipe for oatmeal pancakes - apples (or raisins or walnuts) optional, but oh so good!!

Oatmeal Pancakes (with Apples)
¾ cup oatmeal
¾ cup flour
1 cup almond milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TB canola oil
2 TB maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 of a medium apple, chopped (sweet versions, like Fuji, are best)

Soak oatmeal and ½ cup milk for 5 min

Mix in rest of milk, cinnamon, oil, maple syrup and vanilla

Stir in flour, cinnamon and baking powder

Stir in optional apple pieces

Pour 1/4 cup of batter on a hot griddle. When you see bubbles on the sides (about 2-3 minutes) flip the pancake. Push down with your spatula to spread the second side a little. Then, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve with warm maple syrup!