A break in the action

Can hardly believe we just finished our first month of teaching — four weeks with 8th graders already completed.  I don’t recall any teaching year ever zipping by this quickly.  The exhaustion factor continues and I’ve come to believe it’ll grow exponentially week by week, especially if I don’t do a better job of getting to bed earlier.  I am my own worst enemy!  My excuse?  It’s oh so quiet after 9:30 p.m. and I get some good work done during that time.  Plus, I just can’t turn out my light without reading another chapter or two (or three).  Some habits are hard to break, especially for folks like me who love ending their day with story.  I’ve managed to read a lot since school started, joining my students for choice reading daily and putting in a full 30+ minutes every evening on my MRT commute home from school.  Add in the time I read at night and it’s easy to make steady progress.My most recent book recommendation is Boys without Names by Kashmira Sheth. Just published this year, this one is definitely response-rich.  I’d love to include it in a literature circle with 8th graders — their belief in issues of justice fits perfectly with this contemporary story of illegal child labor in India.  Read it and let me know what you think.

What’s with the “break in the action” post title?  Two reasons . . . Earlier this week I managed to walk right into a steel laptop carts.  Cumbersome, heavy, and right in the way, the last two piggies on my left foot hit that danged cart as I hustled to leave a colleague’s classroom following a morning meeting.  By day’s end my little toe was a motley shade of grey-purple and nearly double in size.  Here’s the good news/bad news about a broken toe.  Bad news: It takes time to heal and there’s not much that can be done except apply ice for swelling, ingest ibuprofen for pain, and avoid curbs, crowds, and a school full of kids.  Good news: My shoe wardrobe in Singapore includes variant versions of flip-flops and sandals.  Lots of room for toes to breath . . . and heal.

The other “break” in the action was a day off from school yesterday due to the Muslim holiday Hari Raya Puasa, or Eid, marking the end of Ramadan, and celebrating the conclusion of the holy month’s thirty days of dawn-to-sunset fasting.  In Singapore it’s a public holiday — no school (public or private) and lots of family festivities.  Fred and I took advantage of the day by visiting Istana (meaning “palace”), the official residence of the President of the Republic of Singapore.  It’s only open five days during the year and, lucky us, it’s just a short walk from where we live.  The sprawling 100 acres includes glorious theme gardens, numerous bungalow type buildings and the grand Government House that is used mostly for ceremonial and entertainment functions.  It’s a “white house” of sorts — set in a magnificent location. A lovely way to discover more about our Singapore home on a much-needed day off.