I taught full time for fifteen years and am now subbing so that I can finish my novel. I don't have all the answers. None of us do. In fact, even if something works great for me, there is no guarantee it will work for you.
I hope that we will give each other suggestions. I went to all the trainings I could get my principal to approve when I taught full-time. I talked to a lot of teachers. AND I just kept trying things until I found something that worked FOR ME. We can not go against our own nature. Kids can sense that and will test us.
So, don't give up. Keep on trying new things and always know that there is a place to go where you can be anonymous and speak freely.
Best of Luck to all of you. Our children deserve the best that we can offer.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

10 Writers' Mental And Physical Maladies 10 Writers' Mental And Physical Maladies by John J. Ross, M.D.Doctor Posted: 10/23/2012 12:05 pm Author Ailments , Author Illnesses , Famous Author Illnesses , Slideexpand , Books News The honors list of English literature is a roll call of dysfunction. Coleridge was a dope fiend, Joyce and Faulkner were high-functioning drunks, Sylvia Plath a hot bipolar mess. The epic social ineptitude of Swift, Milton, and Emily Brontë is suspicious for what we would now call Asperger's syndrome. Herman Melville was mired for decades in black depression. The Bard of Avon contracted his terminal illness in the wake of a marathon drinking bout. Why is literary achievement associated with so much gormless and self-destructive behavior? The answer may lie in the fact that the personalities of great writers are formed from a volatile mixture of the elements, a witches' brew of emotional nitroglycerin. Those who claim that Shakespeare did not write his plays posit that only some rich, privileged, and highly educated person could have written them. This premise is fundamentally mistaken. Literary genius is more likely to arise from disappointment and chagrin than comfort and complacency; the wealthy and content have no need of imagination. Most great writers experienced emotional or financial turbulence in childhood. Swift, Defoe, Byron, Keats, Coleridge, Hawthorne, Melville, Thackeray, the Brontës, Virginia Woolf, and Sylvia Plath all lost a parent in childhood. Poe, Tolstoy, and Conrad were orphans. Byron, Melville, Dickens, Joyce, Yeats, and Shakespeare had debt-ridden fathers and sharp brushes with poverty. Shelley and Orwell spent desolate years in brutal boarding schools. Jack London was forced to work in a cannery at age 12. What does an unhappy childhood have to do with creativity? In gifted and resilient individuals, stress and unhappiness in youth may help to develop the power of fantasy and imagination. They also increase the risk for mood disorders in adulthood, which have a robust association with literary creativity. Research by Nancy Andreasen and Kay Redfield Jamison has shown that writers have a high prevalence of mood disorders, including major depressive disorder and bipolar affective disorder. The final ingredient in this combustible alembic is social awkwardness, ranging from mild introversion, to full-blown social anxiety disorder (Hawthorne) or Asperger's syndrome (as in Milton, Swift, Yeats, and Emily Brontë). Individuals with these conditions may be frustrated in their attempts to relate to others in more conventional ways, and seek an emotional outlet in literature. To complicate matters, writers may also become physically ill, either from dubious lifestyle choices, bad luck, or physical hardship. In Shakespeare's Tremor and Orwell's Cough, I tackle 12 writers and their mental and physical maladies, and in many cases, explore their real-life medical mysteries.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ten reasons anyone should write a memoir

Ten reasons anyone should write a memoir by Jerry Waxler Memories pile up year after year like boxes of unsorted photos. Until I was 50, I had no idea of what to do with all these memories so I tried to ignore them, hoping they would somehow make sense or go away. Finally I couldn’t take it any more, and started sorting out who I had been, organizing the past along lines of time and story. This effort has turned out to be a vital activity with many benefits that I want to share with the world. Memories are shifty and hard to follow. If you know who you are only through your memories, your sense of self will be as tangled as an old storage closet. By creating a written narrative, your past takes shape, offering a clearer vision of who you are today. Story telling is a lovely life-skill. Once you get the knack of telling stories about yourself, you’ll learn to organize and communicate all your thoughts more clearly. By writing about your life, you form a connection with those who read your words. Whether they are relatives, old friends, or strangers, by connecting with them you reduce isolation and increase the size and intimacy of your social network. Writing about your life lets you share ideas and lessons. Your knowledge and wisdom can help others grow along with you. If you’re curious about your grandparents, there’s a good chance your grandkids will be curious about you. I don’t have kids, so when I think of leaving my legacy, I imagine contributing to my extended family and the entire culture. All culture accumulates from the creative act of individuals sharing their unique perspective. Writing about your life helps dissolve the hard knots of loss, betrayal, regret, and guilt that keep you stuck in the past despite your best efforts to forget. By forming a writing habit, you change from someone who never writes to someone who does. You will be able to leverage this habit into all kinds of writing, whether for your career, your hobby, or your history. Writing is a challenging mental activity, and research shows that challenging yourself mentally improves your mental agility and stamina. It even develops brain cells. You can extend the knack of storytelling into the future. An optimistic story about the future is far more compelling than a meandering conglomeration of hopes and fears. Telling the story of tomorrow provides you with a powerful tool to keep you moving today. In an airport, sports stadium, or mall surrounded by tens of thousands of nameless people, you might think that you are just one of a crowd. So it’s natural to wonder “why should anyone read about my life?” And that’s the best reason to write it. As you tease out the details of your actual path, and look for what makes your journey worth reading, you will incidentally also reveal what makes it worth living.

America's Facebook Generation Is Reading Strong

America's Facebook Generation Is Reading Strong by NPR STAFF Pew's study found that 60 percent of Americans under 30 used the library in the past year. text size A A A October 23, 2012 In what may come as a pleasant surprise to people who fear the Facebook generation has given up on reading — or, at least, reading anything longer than 140 characters — a new report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project reveals the prominent role of books, libraries and technology in the lives of young readers, ages 16 to 29. Kathryn Zickuhr, the study's main author, joins NPR's David Greene to discuss the results. Interview Highlights On the reading habits of young Americans "We found that about 8 in 10 Americans under the age of 30 have read a book in the past year. And that's compared to about 7 in 10 adults in general, American adults. So, they're reading — they're more likely to read, and they're also a little more likely to be using their library." On the use of e-books among young readers "We heard from e-book readers in general [that] they don't want e-books to replace print books. They see them as part of the same general ecosystem; e-books supplement their general reading habits. And we heard from a lot of younger e-book readers about how e-books just fit into their lives — how they can read when they're waiting in line for class, or waiting in line for lunch. One reader in particular told us that when he has a book that he loves, he wants to be able to access it in any format. So with the Harry Potter series and the [Song of Ice and Fire] series, he's actually bought all of those books as print books and as e-books, just because they matter that much to him ... "We haven't seen for younger readers that e-books are massively replacing print books. That might happen in the future, but right now we're just seeing them sort of as a more convenient supplement." On the changing role of libraries for young readers "We found that [younger people are] very interested in the idea of preloaded e-readers — being able to check out an e-reader at a library that already has some popular titles on it. And a lot of libraries are really looking at how they can engage with this younger age group, especially with Americans in their teens and early 20s. And so a lot of libraries are looking at ways to sort of give them their own space in the libraries, have activities just for them. Some libraries even have diner-style booths for the teens where they can just socialize and hang out, and so that they can think of the library as a space of their own."