Going back to work and Caprese Salad

Two things that really have nothing in common with each other. Let’s start with the snack first since that is probably how you found your way to this blog.

On my first trip to Rome I found myself wandering the streets by myself. My alcoholic aunt who i had traveled with, decided that she did not want to tour the city and would rather drink herself silly at our rented apartment. So I ventured out alone. I visited the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Forum and the Colosseum. I jumped on a bus that took me to the Spanish Steps. It was hot, muggy and there were so many mosquitos. I was tired, my feet blistered and aching. I stopped in a out of the way cafe for a solitary lunch. I was seated. I was a hot, sweaty, tired tourist. The woman seated near me was the epitome of Classic Rome, she was beautiful, poised and drew at her cigarette with a graceful bored look. She blew the smoke my way on purpose. I looked at the menu and spotted a cool and refreshing lunch option. Caprese Salad. I ordered my lunch and gulped what could have been gallons of water. The waitress brought me my lunch and I was astounded to see that my light lunch of cheese and tomatoes was about a pound and a half of fresh mozzarella cheese, with enough tomatoes to feed a family with a lovely drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil. There was no way that I could eat all of this cheese by myself as i once again cursed my aunt for leaving me to navigate by myself, at least she could have helped me eat all that cheese.

it was delicious. A meal to remember, and I did my best to eat what I could. So I give you …Caprese Salad. Easy, convenient and good for you. (Try to get the mozzerella packed in water, it is more authentic)

Caprese Salad

ingredients:
Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Tomatos
Basil
Quality Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
Cut slices of mozzarella. Cut slices of tomatoes. Arrange on a plate. Drizzle with oil. Top with julienned basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Going back to work

edith 3 months-67

I am grateful to have a job. I am grateful to have a job that I love. I am grateful to have a job where I make a difference. But my job consumes me. It is my other half. I am Mrs. Clemmerbottoms, and when I come home I am Kate.

I have had the good fortune to have had 16 weeks of maternity leave. 15 weeks to spend with my new baby. And now it is time to go back and leave the care of my baby to someone else for the majority of the day.

I can’t say that motherhood and I have come to terms yet. It is so boring. Everyday is the same. Everyday I attend to every whim of this baby. Sometimes I don’t get dressed. I haven’t left the house in weeks. My boobs ache. My flabby belly folds over my pants. I have spit-up down in my bra and I just don’t care anymore. And next week I have to leave it all behind, and it makes me sad.

I can handle going to work and being Mrs. Clemmerbottoms. I love it most days. But it takes a lot of time and effort to be the best I can be at my job. There are on average 70 souls I see each day, and each day I try to say something nice to them, to know that I care. I teach, I counsel, I encourage, I listen, I joke, I smile, I manage behavior, I write emails, and plan lessons, organize supplies and clean up after 70 kids. And that was all well and good when I didn’t have a child of my own.

Since having my own child I am completely devoted to her. Her every need I attend to. For petes sake I am still supporting her growth from my body. Every moment of my day is for her. And that was all well and good until I have to go back to work.

I am not the first or the last to expound upon this modern conundrum. But I feel pulled in so many directions. Somehow I must balance Mrs. Clemmerbottoms, Mommy and Kate. Three different parts of me, all important. So who loses? Most likely Kate loses out, let’s just hope she doesn’t get lost.

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Roast Chicken with Creamy Tarragon Pan Sauce

Today we had a faculty meeting. There is nothing in the world that can make me more angry and sad than a faculty meeting. Sometimes I feel like I am on the forefront of a failing education system with no ammunition. Yep, just shoot me now because I am powerless to do anything. It seems that people with little to no real-world teacher experience bring down these “best practices” and tell me how to do my job. The trouble started when people ceased to be people (and by that I mean the students) and started to be commodities that could be data pointed and tracked. As a teacher my job is so much more than what data points I reach, or standards I post on my board. You can’t quantify meaningful relationships. Each kid comes to my room with different strengths and abilities. A good teacher recognizes these inherent strengths and weaknesses and adjusts the curriculum to support them. The system is so intent on producing manufactured human beings they lose sight of the beauty that is our differences. One size does not fit all, not for kids and not for the teachers that dedicate their lives to helping them.

On a brighter note, one of the kids mentioned me as their favorite teacher in the paper and said very nice things. Those are the little things that keep me going.

Tonight’s Dinner:

Roast Chicken with Creamy Tarragon Pan Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole fryer or roasting chicken
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4tbs of butter

Chicken

1. Open up the chicken cavity and put some salt and pepper inside the bird. The place garlic cloves and butter inside and seal.

2. Preheat Oven to 450

3. Sprinkle salt, pepper and tarragon on top of chicken

4. Place in oven for 25 to 35 minutes until the breast registers 120 degrees

5. Lower heat and bake another 25 to 35 minutes until the breast registers 160 (thighs 175)

6. Take chicken out and drain off pan juices and prepare the sauce.

Sauce:

  • 1/2 onion , minced
  • 1cup chicken broth (or juices from the chicken)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. While chicken rests,  Place skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tbs of fat from roasted chicken add onion, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth and mustard, scraping skillet bottom with wooden spoon to loosen fond. Simmer until reduced to ¾ cup, about 3 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter, tarragon, and lemon juice. Season with pepper to taste; cover and keep warm. Serve with chicken.

Burnt Out

My doctor told me to try and eat 6 small meals during the day. I can’t even sit 6 times a day, let alone remember to eat.

I am starting to question my career as a teacher. Isn’t that terrible? After 10 years I am beginning to dread the walk down the hallway to my classroom, I dread staff meetings and I am losing my connection with my students. My job satisfaction is at an all time low and I feel burnt out. Are there any other teachers out there that have felt this way and overcome the throb of discontent? How can I possibly make it another 15 years? Where do I look to find that spark?

I am tired of being misunderstood and under-appreciated (I actually had a student say she hated me under her breath the other day, and that NEVER happens to me…ever) I am tired of thinking that education is headed down the shitter and I am just along for the ride. I am tired of fearing I will be laid off because of budget cuts and the lack of community support of education.

No one takes into consideration that I take on the confessions of the suicidal teens, run 2 after school clubs (without pay), fight for the equality of all my students, take on the special education students without assistance, facilitate my students entering  and winning contests, participate in community projects, serve on the committee for underachieving and at-risk students, give up my plans to conduct independent studies and carry the whole department on my shoulders.

Eat? Who has time to eat?

Today I had yogurt and blueberries, half of a protein bar, an apple and MCB snack attack and dinner. Is 4 our of 6 good enough? I took my metformin yesterday and tried to drink more water today.

 

(I teach art, this is a project we did last year. Can you believe they didn’t like this one? I can’t win!)