Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mrs. Lutjens' Homework

February 16, 2012

I gave my students this assignment last week, so I thought I'd write my own version.

Six Things You Should Know About Me If....You're Going To Spend Time With Me. (Students could choose their audience: ...If You're going to Date Me, ...If You Don't Want to Irritate Me, ...If You're My Teacher, etc.) Students had to create a list of short phrases about themselves and then develop each statement into a full paragraph:

1. My Family Means Everything to Me.

I adore my three children, and I love spending time with them. Every day they surprise me and amuse me and delight me. It's true that they can also frustrate me and sometimes annoy me, as I'm sure I do them, but they make me so proud to be their mom, and I love them all more fiercely and deeply than they could ever know. In addition, my husband is the one who not only makes me happier than I ever thought possible, but who completes our family. I have been in awe of the role of step-dad he has taken on so sincerely, loving the kids and working hard to let them know how important they are in his life. When Doug married me, he knew he was taking on more than just me, and together we are making a life for ourselves and our family that is all about love, laughter, and real friendship. Finally, all of my extended family is an unfailing source of friendship, support, and loyalty. No matter what the distance that separates us, family is family. Blood is blood. We have quibbles, I suppose, every now and again, as every family does, but there is nothing that we wouldn't do for each other.

2. My Friends Are Just Like My Family to Me.

My girlfriends are my sisters, and my guy friends are my brothers. I love my friends dearly, all of them, and I know they would do anything for me. I was blessed with two brothers and two sisters by birth, but I consider myself lucky enough to have several additional brothers and sisters by choice. I adore those people who love me unconditionally, and I am very thankful for them. We hang out, play softball, sing karaoke, share family stories, eat, laugh, dance, hug, kiss, and even sometimes cry together. My life is richer because of the amazing people who have become such an integral part of my life.

3. I Teach Because I Love It, Not Because I Couldn't Think of Anything Better to Do.

There's an old saying that has always irritated me. "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." Ugh. Could you get any more dismissive of an entire occupation? Don't get me wrong; I am sure there are those for whom this is true. As for me, however, I went into the teaching profession not because I didn't have any 'real skill' but because my real skill is working with kids. I have a strong knowledge of my subject matter, but more importantly, I don't feel there's any more important work that I could be doing than to do my best to help students along their path as they transition from the world of childhood to the world of young adulthood. I feel that a teacher's job is not just to transmit knowledge, but to guide students into becoming the critical thinkers and thoughtful human beings we'd like to send out into the world. I feel a real sense of pride and privilege to get to be with these kids as they start out on their journeys toward becoming their future selves.

4. My Shyness Can Sometimes Be Mistaken for Boredom--Or Worse.

Those who see me in the classroom or with a close group of my friends would not likely see me as shy. When I am in my comfort zone, I don't suppose I am. However, around new people, or in large crowds or unfamiliar situations, I revert back to the shy young girl I was in my youth. It's a girl I have never really quite outgrown. There are people I know who walk into any situation with the mindset that they can add to any environment--they are an asset to any gathering. I don't mean this to be a condemnation or an indictment; I really admire those folks with that kind of confidence for all occasions. I myself still try to perfect invisibility in new environments. I need the time to process, to let the atmosphere sink in. Unfortunately, sometimes people can mistake my quiet demeanor for boredom or apathy, or even condescension, which is usually the last thing on my mind. Give me time, and eventually I might even become the life of the party!

5. I Have a Somewhat Enthusiastic Communication Style.

Once I've become comfortable in a particular environment, I become quite the talker. I'm a storyteller; my favorite communication style is via anecdotes. When I do tell a story, or debate issues I'm passionate about, or give directions--honestly, anytime I'm talking--I do it with flair. I gesticulate. Wildly. My hands talk almost more than my mouth. It's my own personal sign language. Actually, once my class bet me that I couldn't go a full two hour class period without using my hands. I almost made it through the whole class period (notice I said almost), but it was one of the longest class periods I've ever endured. My kids said it was one of the most boring classes they'd ever endured. On top of that, I found it quite difficult to think and to find all the words I wanted to use to communicate. I was so focused on not using my hands that I couldn't process what I wanted to say. It was an interesting experiment, but not one I'm likely to try again. I embrace my visual communication style. Just don't sneak up behind me when I'm speaking, or you're likely to get hit inadvertently with an errant hand gesture.

6. I'm a Little Addicted to Pop Culture--Unless It's Sports Related.

Sports are not so much my cup of tea, but besides that, I'm addicted to pop culture. Music, television, movies, books, magazines--I love it all. Although I can't really sing, I've got a huge catalogue of knowledge of song lyrics. I watch way too much television--reality shows like Top Chef and Dancing with the Stars and sitcoms like Whitney and Modern Family, for example, though that's certainly not a comprehensive list. My hubby and I are such movie fans that we throw a huge Oscar Party every year for all of our friends that's one of the highlights of our year.
I love most genres, although horror is not really for me. Hubby makes up for my lack of interest there, though, since that's his favorite genre. We've got a movie collection that rivals Blockbuster. (As a matter of fact, since Blockbuster is gasping its last breath, we'll probably take over for them. Maybe we could go into a small side-business of movie rentals.) I'm an avid reader of books, as well--pop fiction, classics, teen fiction, non-fiction, and we subscribe to more magazines that we can possibly read. I think I just figured out why I only sleep five hours a night....

1 comment:

  1. Now I know I can cancel my Netflix subscription and just come over to the Lutjens Movie Library! lol As for #2, where do I fit in? ;)