Tag Archives: Life

Anticipating the World Cup, and Group Stage Predictions

I AM HYPED!!!!

Like, really 🙂 The Men’s World Cup, taking place in Russia this year, is nearly a month away. And as the spring season of local soccer is wrapping up (and European soccer is drawing to a close), my passionate focus on the beautiful game can turn to the international competition at its highest level. And while the USMNT crashed and burned in CONCACAF qualifiers, I still have high hopes for some amazing team play and golazos. And so in anticipation for this tournament, I’m going to do a little breakdown of each group and make a prediction on who is gonna advance to the knockout stages. For those who are not familiar with traditional soccer tournament scoring for group stages, a win is worth 3 points, a tie is 1 pt for each team, and loss is 0 pts. A tie in points at the end of group stages is decided by goal differential.

 

GROUP A:  Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay

Arguably Russia, as the tournament hosts, got an “easy” group. However, I don’t actually think Russia is that good, and so having less skilled teams in their group doesn’t actually mean they have a guaranteed ticket to the knockout rounds. Uruguay has definite talent up top (ie- the vampire Luis Suarez and the speedy Edinson Cavani) and finished second behind a red hot Brazil in CONMEBOL qualifying. Egypt, riding the prolific finishing of Mo Salah (of Liverpool FC and the likely EPL Golden Boot winner for this season), is going to test many a defense. Saudi Arabia, unfortunately, is probably going to leak goals and be this group’s punch bag.

Prediction: Uruguay (7 pts), Egypt (7 pts), Russia (3 pts), Saudi Arabia (0 pts)

 

GROUP B: Iran, Morocco, Portugal, Spain

Clearly a group dominated by European powerhouses, the only real question is who comes out on top. Ronaldo might be looking at his last real chance at international greatness, having already won 2016 Euros with Portugal, but when I look at the Spanish squad, I see one of the most dangerous midfield and forward lineups in the tournament. I really don’t have much to say about Iran and Morocco, though I could see either European side getting complacent and letting a goal in, which could decide whether Spain sweeps the group or Portugal actually makes it out.

Prediction: Spain (9 pts), Portugal (6 pts), Iran (1 pt), Morocco (1 pt)

 

GROUP C: Australia, Denmark, France, Peru

This is one of a couple groups that have a clear favorite (in my mind) to come out in first, but the battle for second place could be bloodbath. France, I feel, has the talent to easily notch a few goals per game and clear the group with three wins. Australia barely qualified and has struggled internationally since the last world cup. Peru is a similar story, but they showed grit and has the endurance to win points in close matches. Denmark is a young European squad, with talent like Christian Eriksen in midfield and Kasper Schmeichel in goal, might even give France a good fight if they stay on top of their game.

Prediction: France (7 pts), Denmark (5 pts), Peru (2 pts), Australia (1 pt)

 

GROUP D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

This group is one I definitely will be watching, as it could be one of the most competitive. Not only does it feature arguably the greatest player the world has ever seen (Lionel Messi, if anyone had doubts who I was talking about), but it features two European teams who had strong showings in the 2016 European Championship. And who doesn’t love Iceland? Like, how can you not root for a team who comes from a country of ~300,000 yet goes toe to toe with European giants like England, France, and Portugal. Croatia has a star-studded midfield and can threaten any goalie into making some spectacular saves, or otherwise drop points. And let’s not forget about Nigeria. Consistently a strong team coming out of Africa, I expect a physical and fast style that could potentially steamroll the more technical styles of Argentina and the European squads.

Predictions: Argentina (7 pts), Croatia (4 pts), Iceland (3 pts), Nigeria (1 pts)

 

GROUP E: Brazil, Costa Rica, Serbia, Switzerland

This is definitely Brazil’s group to lose, considering the talent they are bringing. As some might remember, Brazil completely embarrassed themselves the last time around as the hosts losing to Germany in the semi-finals by several goals. That squad was arguably an old guard of Brazilian football, this squad is much younger and way flashier. With Neymar leading the charge on offense, I expect them to make a deep run into the tournament. But the teams they face aren’t going down quietly. Costa Rica featured solid play in CONCACAF qualifying and has enough talent to pick up pts against any of their opponents. Serbia fills a rather weird place in this group and in my mind could play spoiler for who advances in 2nd place. Switzerland has some big name players, but many of said players are coming off poor seasons with their domestic clubs, which could affect their ability to play in the World Cup.

Predictions: Brazil (9 pts), Costa Rica (4 pts), Switzerland (4 pts), Serbia (0 pts)

 

GROUP F: Germany, Korean Republic, Mexico, Sweden

Many would call this the “group of death” for this tournament, which I would agree with if you consider it a two man fight. And if one considers Germany to be a favorite going in to win it all (coming off the last World Cup as victors and fielding many of the same players) as well as a Mexico team that is possibly at its strongest in years (2017 Confederations Cup participants and looking to avenge their loss to Germany there), there will be fireworks. Sweden qualified out of Europe without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and dares to brave the competition without the man, the myth, the legend. Korea generally competes, but I don’t see them having much success against this group.

Prediction: Mexico (7 pts), Germany (7 pts), Sweden (3 pts), Korea (0 pts)

 

GROUP G: Belgium, England, Panama, Tunisia

Another interesting group (arguably the true “group of death”), which features a CONCACAF surprise contender in Panama, a serial under-performer in England, and a rising dark horse in Belgium. Tunisia, despite being 14 in the FIFA World ranking, is probably way out of its league in the group and will be lucky to pick up any pts here. I feel Panama will carry their momentum from CONCACAF and give the European teams a run for their money. Belgium, with talent all across the board, should make a strong showing, and could push out some solid teams in the knockout stages. England “should” be playing with a massive chip on their shoulder and features many rising stars, with some veterans to provide backbone, and may actually not choke and bow out in unseemly fashion this time around.

Predictions: Belgium (5 pts), England (5 pts), Panama (5 pts), Tunisia (0 pts)

 

GROUP H: Colombia, Japan, Poland, Senegal

The final group and one featuring another set of potentially interesting match-ups. Colombia features last World Cup’s Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez while Poland boasts Bundesliga’s prolific giant Robert Lewandowski. Japan has always been a team to watch but is often hit or miss in international competition. Senegal happens to be the second highest ranked African nation and could bring a brutal, physical style that’ll wear down their opponents. This group could be very close, or completely lopsided. I feel it’ll probably the later, being the finishing quality of Rodriguez and Lewandowski.

Predictions: Colombia (9 pts), Poland (6 pts), Japan (1 pt), Senegal (1 pt)

 

Biggest Losers: Chile, Italy, Netherlands, United States

*Sob* There are no words to mourn the lack of these teams in this world cup, but honestly they all under-performed in their respective qualifying and got beat out by much less talented squads. It might be irreverent for these teams to play a mini-tournament between themselves this summer, but it’s one that would still feature a lot of great talent and one I would definitely want to check out.

 

So there you have it, my predictions for the 2018 Men’s World Cup. Drop a comment if you disagree with any of my group rankings, or even just to argue if Lionel Messi isn’t actually the GOAT (which he is, his all-around game is just otherworldly). Once the group stages are over, I plan on making another set of predictions (with scores this time!) for the knockout stages, and predict the overall winner of the tournament. And boy, I can’t wait for some great soccer!

 

 

S.D.G.

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Simply Shorts

Sometimes, when I have a few spare minutes, I grab some paper and write. Sometimes, that writing turns into something. And sometimes, I decide to share that with y’all.

 

Tower on the Precipice

Alone it stands

Perched on the edge

Facing oblivion like a solemn guardian

From a distance, like a needle against the horizon

Once approached, it stands in silent immensity

Few seek entrance to the hallowed halls

Stores of knowledge, wealth of character

Held in reserve for those who prove worthy

Yet time only knows how long

The precipice holds this stalwart

From the abyss below

 

 

The Ocean

Calm and clear the surface stretched

Shimmering a reflection of shining warmth

Serene, it beckons one to gaze in wonder

At the mysteries that lie beneath

Does life move about below?

Can there be turmoil and energy

Waiting to be released?

Deep down there is bubbling emotion

Rage, passion, and anxiety dance

Twisting, twirling

They tempt that which swim beneath

A surface, to break, above rests

Twinkles in the dark, catch an eye curious

Daring to glance underneath the calm

To risk uncovering the vast activity

Deep down, an ocean true

 

 

The Garden

A tree rises from the dirt

From a seed planted by faith

Roots spread nourishment to the plots surrounding

Its foliage bears evidence of fruit, yet to reach maturity

The ground below green with growth

Revealing the understanding of purpose

Yet patches of decay creep in

Ground tainted with doubt and failure

Begging for the keeper to intervene

Uprooting unfaithfulness and weeds of sin

Leaving fresh dirt for the seeds of belief

Strengthening the connection to the source

To the tree that overshadows all

 

 

The Pit

Cold, I awake

Covered in filth and muck

Am I lost? Am I stuck?

I survey my surroundings

And see nothing but walls of earth

Above, the sun beats down in hot fury

There is a ledge to my pit

My misery, an open grave

“Hello?” I cry

“Is anyone there?”

Nothing is my response

Nothing but the rustling of wings

A bird, black as night

Lands at the edge of my pit

Soon to be joined by another

The sky grows clouded as each finds a brother

Squinting, I see something squirming in their beaks

In horror, I realize what creatures they carry

As they begin to drop from jaw into my hole

These pests, of scale, and stinger, and silk

Land around me like black snow

“No more!” I plead “Have I no pleasure in this life?”

Bites and stings begin to coat my flesh

Defeated, I am resigned to my lonely fate

But then a voice rings clear

“My son, will you have me save you?”

Wincing in pain, I plead for release

Not seeing who or what offers me freedom

“Very well, it shall be done”

Struggling to stand, I wish to see my savior

But all I witness is a cloud of black lifting a man into the air

Hovering over my pit, like menacing death

My mouth agape, how can salvation be found through this

Drip, drip, drip

Something warm and slick begins to hit my face, my shoulders

Blood, flowing from this gentle, kind man

Tears begin streak my cheeks

This man, in his offer of freedom, has lost his own

A wretch am I, expecting to be freed by such a simple gesture

Instead I doom he that would offer me aid

Through blurry eyes, I see my knees no more

As a fount of blood rises within my pit

Panicked, I seek escape

Must I die in this man’s death?

How is that freedom?

Straining, the warm flow now reaches my neck

Closing my eyes, I accept my fate

If I must die, then I die with a friend

One who gave his life for mine

Suddenly, the pain of the creatures, my tormentors, has gone

I am enveloped, freed from all sensation but life

Prepared to drown, I await the end

My body is light, my mind is at peace

“It is finished!”

A voice streaks into the void

Flying, yes I feel myself being lifted up

Yet not into the heavens, as in death

But by a strong, gentle hand

Up onto the soft, green earth

Kneeling, I bow my head

Unable to comprehend this turn of faith

As the soft hand presses onto my head

That voice, the man, my Savior speaks

“Arise, my son, and see your death”

I turn to my pit, my open grave

And I see it no more

Only life, only color remains

Overwhelmed, I melt into my Savior’s embrace

As he welcomes me into his love, into his grace

 

 

S.D.G.

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Of Prayers, Psalms, and Penance

On Adoration

Oh Lord, Oh Almighty God, my words fall short in explanation
You hold all that is, was, and will be in the depth of Your wisdom
Simple exultation is clearly not enough, yet nothing less than You deserve
Your mercies are new every day and yet never ending
Your love outshines the sun and yet never sets over the cloudy skies of my heart
If only I, like the moon, could reflect Your radiance for just a short time
For in the nights of my years I desire You
And in the days I relish Your presence
For You are good, and You are God
And the truth of these shall never fail to be
 

On Seeking

My eyes blink, wishing to reveal a world of color and wonder
Darkness and vague whimpers of shape greet my sight
Where is the vibrant illumination I seek?
The light my senses crave?
What then clouds my sight, what mystery hides the face of wisdom?
Each step is that of drunken wandering, each call a cry unheard
Yet warmth floods in, and whispers reach my thirsty ear
“Son, thy journey is yet begun
But fret not, for the destination is clear to me
In faith I call thee to step forward
Trust that thine light can shine from within
And guide thee into thy promised rest”
So I lift my foot, setting it out ahead
And ripples of color begin to show
Revealing the footsteps of the One who walks
Ahead, behind, and beside

On Wisdom

Words of truth, knowledge, and insight
Found by those who open the mind and ear
Yet the fount of wisdom springs from within
Guided by the gentle voice of the Spirit
“Gush forth and consume the land
Heal the parched soil of the soul
Restore the decaying corners of the mind
Complete the cracked and faltering heart
For I am the source of all you seek”

On Pain

This wretchedness, the abundance of anguish
Speaking volumes when the throat has no words to utter
Crushing, shattering, piercing to the core
Why must I hurt? Why must it be so real?
When does this ruination of my person find rest?
Yet who am I to question the eternal providence of Your Holiness?
If in trial and tribulation I find my rest in You
Then how shall I not be purified like the silver before the smith?
Strip away my dross, Oh Lord, and allow this pain to yield luster
A shine that reflects you in truest form
Such only painful temperance could produce

On Silence

Staring into space, embracing the void
Emptying self into nothingness
Quiet, still, poised
Waiting
Wanting
Listening
Content in the lacking
Safe in the silence

On the Condemnation of the Flesh

Oh Lord, my Judge and Law-giver
I am wretched and condemned before thy Law
This flesh I am born into hates and rebels
Against all the good rewards
A peaceful and righteous life might obtain
How is it I do that which I wish not to do
When I see exactly what I should be doing
Remove this warring state within my nature
My Lord, My Redeemer
And sanctify my heart that I may cleave flesh and spirit
Leaving an obedient heart loyal only to You

On the Nature of Opposing Lands

Two countries stand opposed
One of rational thought and logic
The other of vibrant emotion and feeling
As the gates of one opens to issue its messengers
The other may very well keep theirs shut
All too often these messengers leave destitute
Forgoing the conversation so desperately needed
To benefit both lands in growth and wisdom

On Forgiveness
 
Oh Glorious Saviour
Thy gift is undeserved
How is it that a sinner like I
Has made it into Thy loving grace
A name written in blood
With an eternal script
Sufficient for past, present, and forever
Perfect to change my heart from stone to flesh
Death into life
And let me not forget this gift
And become callous to the plight of my nature
For Thy forgiveness is not to be wasted
Through a life of iniquity
But rather one to be affirmed in a life of obedience

On Sanctification

If pain has purpose
And trial creates tenacity
Then pour out Thy wrath on my heart, Oh Lord
Great and Fierce Warrior
For its callousness knows no end
And its war with the mind has no amnesty
For the mind knows what is good for the soul
Yet the heart, lost in its sin, continues to rebel
Like the smith with the silver
Purify me from within
Lifting my dross to the surface
And scrape me clean
Letting me reflect Thy holiness from within

 

 

S.D.G.

 

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Willing that the Will will be

So my church just finished a sermon series focusing on the Will of God and how we might discern and respond to God’s Will for our lives. And honestly, this series couldn’t have come at a better time for me, as the question of God’s Will is something I’ve been wrestling with for several months. Lemme build the setting here:

So at the beginning of this year, I finished my Transition to Teaching program at IWU and received my Teacher’s License so I could teach US and World History. This accomplishment as clear affirmation to me that God wanted me to pursue a career in education. I spent the rest of the school year as a substitute teacher, doing both day-to-day assignments and a couple of longer term positions. And I loved it. So when summer rolls around, I had two decisions to make: first, where was I going to work over the summer and second, how far would my search for a teaching job take me from Warsaw? The first question didn’t really weigh on me, as I figured any job I got over the summer would be temporary until I found a teaching job. As far as the second question was concerned, I limited my search to (more or less) to Indiana around and above Indianapolis. So I applied to over two dozen schools over the summer. I heard from a handful and got a few interviews. Of those schools, two actually had the courtesy of notifying me they went with someone else. Of those two schools, one was the school I did my student teaching at, which I had considered my dream job.

So it’s now over halfway through September and I’m still at my “summer” job working as a 3rd shift Inspector for Zimmer-Biomet. So no, apparently God’s Will for my life wasn’t to be a teacher this school year. Or was it? See, I’m of the opinion that God chooses when to implement His will for our lives. And this choice might very well be dependent on how closely we are pursuing our relationship with Him and if we are living in obedience to Him. I believe that God might close a door at one point in our lives because He knows that if we access that blessing too soon, it will lose some of the magnificence and impact God intended it to have. Case and point, the first time I applied for the Transition to Teaching Program a few years ago. I was at a place of lacking direction and purpose, as well as struggling with some major areas of sin and spiritual oppression, in my life and the only route I saw to instill some change was to chase my passion for learning and become a teacher. Looking back, I should have known that the timing wasn’t right because of all adversity I faced just to get my application completed. And when everything was said and done, and my application was in and I was accepted, the door was slammed shut in my face because of a clerical error. Why? At the time I had no idea. But now, I can look back and see that God knew I wasn’t truly ready, in my maturity as a person and a believer. God knew I needed to “grow up” and it took some pretty painful lessons to reach the point where He was finally ready to re-open that door.

So fast-forward back to today. I’m working in a field I wouldn’t have even considered last year and the one teaching job I really wanted and thought I was a great fit for didn’t happen. I’ll be honest y’all, I miss being in the classroom and around students. But I cannot help but wonder God has postponed the blessing of a full-time teaching job because there’s something He wants me to learn first. Is it patience? Is it trust? It is an area of sin that I’m still harboring? Is it an area of maturity I still lack? I really don’t know, and that’s why this recent series on discerning God’s Will has been so impactful. Yet at the same time, I see how my current situation has afforded me certain opportunities. If I was teaching full-time, I probably couldn’t have taken two trips in the past month to meet and hangout with people from a Facebook group I’m in. And both of those trips ended up being a great blessing, just being able to spend time fellowshipping with people my age who are passionate about their Christian walk. I also couldn’t spend nearly as much time investing in building relationships with my various social circles. So I am aware God continues to direct my life and through my obedience to the parts of His Will I am privy to I am blessed.

But that’s the kicker folks. I feel like there’s very little of God’s plan for my life I’m actually privy to right now. I’m mentioned before I feel drawn to being a teacher, and specifically I want to work with middle schoolers, and yet I’m not currently teaching, not even as a substitute. And while I’ve continued my search, there has been no peace about any of the positions I’ve inquired about or interviewed for. I even had an interview at a charter school in Indy last Friday and yesterday morning I sent them an email withdrawing my candidacy for their opening because I couldn’t shake the feeling God still has something for me here in Warsaw. All signs still point that I’m supposed to be here, and all doors that would have led me away stayed shut.

So what is my purpose for this sudden reappearance of literary dictation of mental vomit? Well, honestly I’ve been reflecting quite a bit about the “story” of my life, as I’m less than three months from my 30th birthday. Three decades of life, and what do I have to show for it? Where am I at in my life? What sort of person am I and is that who I thought I would be 5 years ago? What sort of person will I be in 5 years? So many questions, and very few answers. If you’re familiar with the Enneagram, I’m a Type 5, so having too many unanswered questions and areas of knowledge unknown drives me crazy. But here is something I did discover about myself over the course of all these questions: I’m behind.

Wait, what?!? What do I mean by “I’m behind”? Well, through my investigation of the past 10 years of my life and the path it has taken, I’ve come to the opinion that I’m about four or five years behind where I could’ve (or should’ve) been developmentally (socially, emotionally, and spiritually) because of poor decisions, areas of rebellion, and sinful choices I made in my early to mid twenties. Almost every major decision I made since leaving Warsaw for college up until moving back to the area after living in Anderson for a short time, was not really beneficial to my personal growth. One of the things that made me realize my “behindness” was the age group I tend to gravitate toward. Most of my friend group are about four to six years younger than me. And if you believe in my theory of personal development, this makes perfect sense because developmentally I’m on about the same level of this age group (assuming they themselves didn’t squander their years and stagnated their growth like I did). So I have a strange division of maturity, for I have the experience and wisdom of someone perhaps older than I truly am but I lack the social skills and emotional maturity of most people my age. And so know here I am, 29, single, employed in a field I don’t really take joy from, and asking more questions than answers can be found. And all I can say is “God knows, I don’t”. And I need to live in peace with that. Because God hasn’t called me to know everything, just Him, and to obey Him when He calls me. So I guess that’s where I’m at right now, awaiting His call, and the revelation of His specific will for my life. And I guess until that happens, I have to turn to Scripture, prayer, and godly counsel from peers and mentors so that I may best pursue His will in the calling I’ve been placed in at this time. And you know what folks? It actually excites me to anticipate what God has for me in the future, because if the path my life has taken over the past few years is any indication, it’s gotta be real awesome 🙂

 

 

S.D.G.

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Cultivating the Creative Consciousness

With the school year winding down and opportunities to substitute becoming as scarce as water in the desert, I’m forced to consider what I’ll be doing with myself over the summer. Summer often presents new possibilities and a chance for more activity than colder months, but I’ve often grown complacent and content in doing the simple and mundane tasks. Rather than just do the usual, I’ve thought about what I could do to spice it up this summer. This got me thinking about the qualities I value in others and the first thing that stuck out is the creative nature of people.

You see, I’m draw to the creative expressions of other people. Artists, builders, designers, creators, inventors, writers, dancers, painters, photographers, engineers, etc. Y’all amaze me. You take something unnoticed or undervalued and breathe life into it. Perhaps I appreciate these things more because I do not have that level of talent myself. Personally, my creative talents lie in my mind’s ability to design and create using words and phrases. And I enjoy doing so! I have several story (as in novels) ideas lying around and I might, just might, work on finishing one of them this summer. But let me get back to the purpose of this post…

I want to encourage everyone, no matter what your vocation or hobby, to keep giving it your all. You are needed! You create things for others they often don’t realize they need! Even those of you who don’t create in a traditional sense, remember you are creating moments and experiences every second of every day. Life is about creating memories and every moment counts. So I encourage you all, dear readers, to be not discouraged if you feel undervalued or lacking creativity in your daily life because I assure you memories are anyone’s forte. Value each moment, treasure each interaction, and cherish those memories you create!

 

 

S.D.G.

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Surviving the Soreness of the Soul

There is an indication our body gives when we stretch its capabilities and test its limits. We generally call this “being sore”. And today, on my last free day in my otherwise busy schedule for the next three weeks, I realized this soreness is not limited to our physical bodies alone.

 

It is easy to get so caught up in life’s busy-ness that we never take a moment to sit down and consider what has been happening to us and within us. While I did not necessarily plan for this to happen, I had several days off last week from subbing and I took the opportunity to rest, reflect, and read; all things I haven’t done much of for some time. Granted, one could argue that my last four posts were all reflections, but those were merely trivial compared to the introspective soul-searching I’ve done over the past few days. This internal pilgrimage had me revisiting many of the lessons God has taught me over the past year, facing old temptations, and anchoring new knowledge to a more secure place in my life. And as I wandered through this mental landscape, I felt a heaviness deep within, one not of sorrow or pain, but of exhaustion. I had become spiritually sore, having stretched and spurred my soul to grow in ways only God could have planned, and now I finally feel the aches of this maturity. Yet it is a weight I gladly bear, for I know the fruits of this labor are eternal and good, but must also be guarded and tended to like precious life on a barren wasteland.

 

As much as I would like to divulge every detail of my journey over the past year, I am still not yet finished with my journey of self-reflection and therefore cannot begin to highlight the stops and strongholds that littered this winding path. There is much uncertainty beyond the horizon and yet I feel a fierce dedication to what lies beneath the setting sun, knowing that each new day is an opportunity for growth: physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. And I readily welcome any traveler of this mortal plane who wishes to come alongside me and share their story to do so, as a life of experience has taught me that good company makes even the roughest road a smoother ride. And remember, the aches of life, whether physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental, are not merely times of unnecessary suffering but rather a sign of growth to come and maturity through experience waiting to happen. Cheers and God bless friends.

 

 

S.D.G.

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Secondary Minutes in the Life of a Temp

I can honestly say there’s a noticeable difference between how last week and this week has gone. Not only is the daily schedule fairly normalized as ISTEP testing is all but over, but also that many of the students have accepted me as their new teacher for the next few weeks. It goes without saying that some students are still a handful, but at least I’m in a better place to handle those disruptions now than I was last week. So on to the day by day!

Day 6-

I just realized that this week the dates actually coincide with the number of days I have been on this assignment. Crazy huh? As far as Monday’s go, today wasn’t too bad, but some students are really toeing the line with me. I decided to try to entice my Math Labs to work harder by offering them a reward if they can maintain a good average for learning across the week, so we’ll see if that actually worked or not. Things do feel a little subdued at the school today, which could either be due to it being the final day of ISTEP for 7th grade or just because it’s the beginning of a new week. It’d be nice if this level of lethargy sticks around for the rest of the week , but that’s probably wishful thinking haha.

Day 7-

Still can’t quite get over the fact that the days line up the way they do, maybe it just appeals to my peculiar sense of number structures. Sadly, this thought was about the only entertaining thing about my day. I officially put my foot down in my science classes, basically telling them to “sit down, settle down, and shut up”. In general, each class has a few students who struggle to contain their talkativeness and end up carrying on conversations while I am trying to teach, which is extremely disrespectful and disruptive. I told every class that this little speech I gave was their final warning and if I had to stop class to reprimand them for being disruptive, it’d be a write-up. If they continued such behavior after this, they’d go to the office. To be honest, the fact that some students haven’t already been sent to the office already shows a great deal of leniency on my part. I really don’t want to send students to the office, especially on days I’m covering new material, but I’m also certainly not afraid to start writing up students who still don’t handle themselves in a proper manner.

Day 8-

Well I definitely called it. Sent one student to the office today and wrote up another for talking. These two students, in particular, fall into a category of students that are self-absorbed and not very socially conscious of their behavior and honestly I hope they learn something from my time at this school because I’ll probably be pretty hard on them from time to time. It might be tough love, but I do believe I’m doing it for their ultimate good. Overall however, most of the students seem to have responded positively to my speech yesterday and are much better behaved and respectful to classroom operations. Another problem I’m facing now is a host of students who have missing or late work. I’m not entirely sure how this school handles such situations, but I need to find out so I can get those grades in before the window closes for the nine weeks. Several students will have lunch detention in order to get those assignments done, but I just need to figure out who to notify about that. I also need to find more ways to accommodate for students with special needs and/or learning disabilities, but I have almost no information to work with there. It’s easy to forget how hastily I was brought into this position and in many ways I’m playing a lot of catch-up when it comes to school policies and operations. Thankfully, the teacher I am covering for is very organized with her lesson plans, so the content really is the least of my worries.

Day 9-

Today was super laid-back because many of the Jr High was gone on a reward trip for keeping up with their homework and grades. However that did mean the students left behind were usually the “difficult” ones to begin with. But because I had significantly less students in every class, I was able to focus on certain students and get to know some of them a little better, which hopefully helps build respect between myself and the students in general. My math labs are barely short of meeting their goal for the week and earning the reward (donuts for my morning class and cookies for the afternoon). My planning for the end of the Earth Science super-unit is taking shape and I just need to setup a time for the students to take the Earth Science Acuity test, most likely next Friday. But before that, I need to teach them about fossils, which I find to be a very dated topic…

Day 10-

I was really glad today is the end of the week and that classes are just a little shorter. Not only was I up late last night for a “skype date” but also I need a break from some of these students. Especially the ones in my 7th grade Math Lab, I mean I had to write-up one girl for hitting another student on top of the head, one boy for always antagonizing other students into creating disruptions, and a third for throwing pencils and paper across the room. I hate to put it this way, but I barely tolerated being at school tonight because I was heading out of town to see my brothers (and their wives) this weekend. It’s always meaningful for me to see my brothers, because in many ways they understand me better than anyone else I know, including most of my friends. My Science classes did a practice test over the unit we just completed, and the only reason I didn’t collect it for a grade is because I did NOT want to do any grading this weekend. Not that I wouldn’t have the time, but I just didn’t want to do anything school related for a couple days. That said, I might go in on Sunday to put the finishing touches on my lesson plans for my fossils mini-unit, but I might just need a nap instead haha.

 

Well folks, two weeks down in this assignment, and probably two more to go. The teacher I’m covering for is hopefully she’ll be able to come back a couple days before the school lets out for spring break (which is two weeks long!) but even if she did, I’d probably stay and teach for those last couple days (cuz I’m poor and that last week I’ll be on full-time teacher pay!). Thanks again for reading along and if you are the praying sort, I’d certainly appreciate some! Cheers and God bless!

 

 

S.D.G.

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