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Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

In terms of interests, I have some pretty boring ones.  I like to read, swim, be outside, listen to music, celebrate obscure holidays and feed people.  I'm not sure that any of these could be classified as "hobbies," but engaging in these pastimes always makes me feel better.  In short, they are just plain fun.

I wasn't always all that "in" to having fun.  I am a "recovering work-a-holic."  Work brings me lots of joy, but I have learned that I need balance between work and play.  My two sons taught me this and I am grateful that they did.  They have exciting hobbies - sports, drama, music, statistics, etc.  Mine pale in comparison, but my kids taught me to use the interests that I do have to make life more fun.

That is what I do in the classroom.  I love music, so I play some every morning as the students arrive.  Songs by Cool & The Gang get played regularly, but I like to find more contemporary songs, too.  My standard is any song that has a positive message - so there is a great deal of variety.

Sometimes the songs I play are related to a random or obscure holiday.  Friday was International Speak Like a Pirate Day, so I played some sea shanties.  We celebrated further by having a discussion in pirate speak ending most of our sentences with "me hearties!"  I sometimes refer to the internet for ideas about obscure holidays, but often I just hear about them on the radio.  Observing these days often broadens our cultural horizons, but mostly it keep class fun and festive.

I love to feed people and teaching in Middle School provides me with the opportunity to hang out with hungry people all the time.  Sometimes, the snacks have to do with the aforementioned holidays.  Each year, I make a Three Kings Cake and we make a big deal over the student who finds the baby inside.  Recently, we read a short story that featured Mallomars, so we ate them.  I once had a student that brought in spiced cookies every day for a week - so we are those as well.  Teenagers don't always need a reason to eat, but if I can connect the food to the learning in some way, I feel like our understanding is deepened.

I also love to be outside.  While I can't take students swimming, I can occasionally have a class outside.  This is motivating and fun - but also the fresh air and change of scenery often make the discussion more lively and memorable.

Someday I hope to develop some proper hobbies - like surfing or goat herding (two things I'd really like to try).  Maybe then I can share those skills with my students.  Until that time, I will continue to celebrate the small things in life with music, snacks and going outside.  These things make school more engaging, motivating and just plain fun - for the students, but also for me.