“There is always something left to be done and no heart left to do it,” – George MacDonald
As the school year draws to a close, I think most teachers can relate to this. I’m not just talking about end of the year festivities, getting the grades in and packing up the classroom for summer. Yes, those and a hundred other things sit on the plates of teachers everywhere. But, I’m thinking of that kid, the one who acts out all the time and touches every last nerve. The one who may have a long summer ahead filled with hours of sitting at home. The one who won’t take a family vacation or go camp. The one for whom school is a respite from something much harder.
Hang in there, my teacher friends. Hug them tight when you hug them goodbye and renew your hearts and minds this summer.
I’m nearing the end of my second year of substitute teaching here in Alabama and I’ve come to look at it as more than just a job. When I was a full-time teacher, I had so much on my plate and so much on my mind that many days I was too exhausted to think much past the next set of papers I had to grade. Now I’m looking at things from a little different perspective.
Some days I just sit and don’t do much more than take roll and pass out an assignment. Other days might be jammed packed with instruction and discipline. The variety is usually enjoyable. I have learned to be an observer and I try to make connections with students when I can.
From time to time I’ll be sharing my thoughts, observances, and tidbits from the classroom.
“A circle was ugly without you.” -from Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty
Being on the outside of a circle, looking in, is a lonely place to be. I’ve felt that way over the years, but fortunately not too often. It hurts, no matter how old you are. But, the middle school years are the hardest. If you aren’t in a circle, your outsideness really shows.
Today I saw a pretty young girl sitting all alone in a room full of kids who were talking to each other and laughing while they sat together. I didn’t know her or her story, but I wondered. Did she choose to sit alone? Did she just not have a friend in this particular class, but when the bell rang would she meet up with her BFF as she headed for her next class? I sure hoped so. That’s what I wished for. I wish everyone had a BFF waiting somewhere for them. A person who was interested, a person who cared. But, I know that isn’t always the case. So, all the more reason to be kind. And to remember how ugly that circle can be when you are on the outside.
A quarter of 2016 has already slipped by. The following is a recap of the last three months, just covering some of the highlights.
- I was the voice of @BeingBham on twitter for the last week of January
- Had the best pork chop ever at Gianmarcos in Homewood
- Got my name on the sign at Demetri’s!
- I met Matt Redmond, author of God of the Mundane
- I flew to Tampa for Juliette’s 3rd birthday and Princess Party
- Heard the Vulcan Eejits at the Hoover Library
- Spent quite a few days subbing at RMS and PHS
- Rediscovered some old photos
- Discovered Eudora Welty
I decided to give the look of this blog an uplift that features pictures I took this past year around town. It was really hard to pick out which ones to feature as Birmingham has so many picture-perfect spots.
I also thought about highlighting some blog posts, but they are all here to be found by clicking tags and such. Instead I thought I’d link up some articles I wrote for the Leaf that didn’t appear on the blog.
Four of the articles revolve around Riverchase Middle School since that is where I spend much of my time as a substitute teacher.
· In September Dr. Tim Elmore visited RMS for a day, speaking to students, teachers, and parents.
· Also in September, teacher Hannah Rodgers won the WAIT One Class at a Time Grant.
· The fall brings football, and this year it brought a new tradition to Pelham High School. Players write appreciation letters to former teachers and the coach delivers a jersey to the teacher to be worn on game day.
· Students had a real treat when local author Lou Anders came to visit.
· In August we traveled to Montana to see our daughter. Before we left, I made a thank-you package for a family that was giving us a place to stay while we were there. I had fun shopping for All Things B’ham.
· I was able to see Big Fish in September, my first Red Mountain Theatre Company experience.
Looking forward to 2016, I hope to explore more of the Birmingham area, make more blog posts and continue to write for the Leaf.
art by arztsamui.
When Friday evening rolls around and we discuss going out to eat, I always want to but don’t want to drive to far again after coming home. So, I look for a fairly inexpensive place nearby that will satisfy the both of us. This is no easy task.
There are, however, a few go-to places we’ve been to more than once that we like. Here’s the short list:
- Tortuga’s in Hoover
- Baumhower’s in Hoover
- Jim-n- Nick’s in Pelham
- Johnny Brusco’s in Hoover
- Nino’s in Pelham
Tonight it was Tortuga’s, where the deep dish Chicago Style pizza was more than we could handle. Every time we’ve been the place has been hopping. Service is fast, but you must wait for them to cook your deep dish pizza. They also have thin crust pizzas, as well as lasagna, spaghetti and such. You can while away your waiting time enjoying all the memorabilia, mostly sports related, and most often Chicago Cubs related, on the walls.
What’s your go-to neighborhood place?
We stumbled on quite a crowd today at Oak Mountain. We were headed to the parking lot atop the mountain to walk the trails to Peavine Falls, but were told we may not find a place to park – there was a big bike race going on. Since the crowd at the top would be gone in about an hour, we decided to start with the Treetop Trail . This one started out easy on a boardwalk past some interesting caged birds.
We followed the trail until we got to the Alabama Wildlife Center. There everything was ready to go for the Bird Baby Shower. I took a quick look around, deciding to come back again soon to take it in slowly. We went back the way we came, then drove up the road to the falls parking lot.
This time I was able to get to the bottom and see the beauty of the falls. My goal for my next trip here is to pull off the boots and step into the waters.
On our way out the park was even fuller. Between the Bird Baby Shower, the Bump n Grind bike race, a Chili Cook Off and a birthday party, there was quite a diverse crowd at the park today.
My brother-in-law and niece are in town this week. He came for the SEC Baseball Tournament at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. She has no interest in baseball, so she and I set about exploring Birmingham.
The day started out nice at Oak Mountain Park, but the niece got to feeling sick, so we had to cut the visit to the great outdoors a little short. We stopped for a beautiful view from Ada Overlook on our way up the mountain.
We were able to get in one hike to the top of Peavine Falls. It’s always beautiful outdoors enjoying God’s creation, but I was expecting to see a bit more water in the falls. Maybe next year in April after the rains I will try it again.
There was a Senior Picnic going on at the pavilion area, with quite a large group of senior citizens in attendance. I’m sure they had a lovely day!
We took it easy the rest of the day, and then picked up pizza from Johnny Brusco’s on John Hawkins Parkway for supper.
School will be out soon and it will be a good time to hit the trail! This 9000+ acre park in Pelham, the largest state park in Alabama, has so much to offer in addition to hiking. There is a beach and swimming area, boat rentals, camping, biking, golf, nature programs, basketball courts, horseback riding – and that’s just some of what you’ll find here – whew!
I went for the first time last week with my husband, son, and his family. We went for the hiking, so I have lot more to check out! It was a great experience and I will definitely be going back.
Once more, the backpack came in handy for the little one. There were some really steep spots, but we soldiered on and got to the more level areas. The trails are clearly marked – our five year old grandson was a great scout, keeping us on the white and yellow trails. Along the way there was a creek flowing through – a great spot for a break.
I can’t wait to go again!
- Bug spray is helpful
- Hiking shoes – it’s not about the looks, it’s about the ankle support
- Buy a map at the park office and use it
- Bring water
- Don’t overdo it
2698 Pelham Parkway – Pelham, AL 35124
Phone: (205) 620-1116
Hours: Sunday noon-8pm; M-T-W 11am-9pm; TH-F-S 11am-10pm
Nino’s Italian Restaurant in Pelham was a treat! A big thank-you to Mel for gathering us together there. The hospitality was great, thanks to co-owner Walter Caron. They accommodated us all at one long table. Walt read off the specials to us and was patient as we asked him to repeat some of them. I enjoyed the Shrimp and Crab Ravioli in Pomodori sauce.
This is a kid-friendly place, as you could tell when Walt held Mel’s little boy, Jacob.
I will definitely go again and would like to try Mel’s fav Hawaiian Pizza.
You can read more here: Ninos Italian Restaurant