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Observation Complication (01 March 2006 - 5:35 p.m.)

Before I get to the main topic of this entry, I want to thank those who left messages of commiseration over the loss of five years of my journal entries. I followed the advice of those who suggested that I check archive.org, and was able to locate 31 entries (out of hundreds). Only one or two of them were worth retrieving, though. On the bright side, I did have quite a few entries saved in a file on my computer at work, and will be moving them to Diaryland as time permits.

Iím still feeling a bit shell-shocked over this whole Diary-x debacle. (I lost a lot of photographs, too.) But, as Texas Peach said (in reference to Stephen Dekenís growing family), ďreal life is more important than online life.Ē For that reason (and others), I think Stephen made the right decision to quit Diary-x. He no longer has the time to give such an enterprise the attention it requires (and deserves). He can't be faulted for that. Still, the bottom line is, people shouldn't take on responsibilities they can't fulfill, especially when others are depending on them.

While I am not happy about Mr. Dekenís negligence, I don't approve of the Stephen bashing that is going on. Some of it is rather extreme. I do believe that former members have every right to express their disappointment and dissatisfaction over the mismanagement of the site. It is not unreasonable for us to have expected that backups would have been performed routinely. However, there's no need for tar and feathers. Stephen has assumed full responsibility for what happened, and admitted that he failed to do things that should have been done. Now we need to cut our losses and move on. I am not, however, interested in any reincarnation of Diary-x. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.


Okay, the subject I really meant to talk about in this entry is my yearly observation. It was supposed to take place this afternoon, but, due to a scheduling glitch, an assistant principal showed up at the computer lab first thing yesterday morning. Fortunately, I was teaching the same lesson (on building a Works Cited page) that I had planned for today. Unfortunately, the students completed the tutorial faster than expected, so I had to wing it and pull additional components out of thin air.

It helped that I was instructing an English 11 class. I am very involved with helping these students find sources for their Personal Anthology Ė a collection of American Literature based on a particular theme chosen by individual students. The Personal Anthology is a portfolio project that takes the place of a final exam.

Since I am so familiar with the requirements, it was relatively easy for me to carry on with the lesson. Still, this deviation from my plan threw me off a bit. I wasnít expecting to have to ad-lib. Thankfully, no one even knew I was improvising, but I still felt agitated.

A teacher friend later told me I shouldn't sweat it, and reminded me that other Teaching Assistants have hall duty assignments during which they sit around and read the newspaper. That comment really made me stop and think. It made me wonder why I am so hard on myself.

Unlike the other TAs in the building, I have my own classroom. Unlike the other TAs in the building, I develop and execute lesson plans, complete with handouts that I create. Unlike the other TAs in the building, I edit and publish a student poetry booklet. The fact of the matter is, the other TAs donít do a fraction of what I do. Even the administrator who sat in for my observation acknowledged that I am a real asset to the school.

So, why isnít that good enough for me? Why do I get so uptight when things donít go quite as anticipated? Why do I agonize over every little thing? Most importantly, why do I feel the need to do things flawlessly, and then berate myself when I donít live up to such impossibly high standards? I have to learn to roll with the punches. My mental health depends on it.

One more thing - watch this video (on the right). It is incredibly moving and uplifting.

Song of the Day: My Own Worst Enemy by Michelle Branch

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