venerdì, novembre 14, 2008

here are some things I did today.

1. Forgot my classroom keys at home. I had to have my coworker use her key to let me into my classroom. Awesome.

2. Tried to make copies of worksheets only to have a) the copier break and b) somehow punch in the wrong number and wrong copy formation so I had too many of one paper and too little of another. Great.

3. Wear my shirt inside out until I noticed in the middle of third period. Fantastic.

4. call several students by the wrong name. Wonderful.

5. Barely make it through the day. But at least its Friday, which means I can go home. Just as soon as my coworker comes to lock my door.

mercoledì, novembre 12, 2008

semi-indulgent post about grading.

So here I am amidst a scene I am only too familiar with-- sitting atop my bed with papers and books strewn about every surface of my room. Furiously typing away on my computer, feeling slightly frenzied and desperately wishing for coffee.

But here's the difference. The papers, which were once solely mine, are now my students work. I'm no longer surrounded with books for my thesis or classes. Now I have the textbooks I teach from. Instead of drafts of papers that I've written, I have my students' papers. Essays, worksheets, quizzes, maps, homework, classwork. All of which needs to be accounted for. By midnight tonight. I'm down to my last stack--some random late work and one set of exams that need to be graded--so the end is somewhat in sight. I'll finish all this work, return the papers, deal with questions about grades and so on. And then it will happen all again. I'll assign more homework, more projects, more writing assignments, more maps, more bookwork. And it will all start over again. And again. And again.


giovedì, ottobre 16, 2008

politics makes me sad, but students make me happy

I'm currently watching McCain speak at a charity event. I don't know what the charity is for, but Obama and Hillary, and I'm assuming lots of other important politicians are there. McCain is giving a rather silly, tongue in cheek speech. Obama is giggling, Hillary is nearly falling out of her chair. And I can't help but be sad. I'm sad for what McCain has become. Watching the debates last night (and talking about it with my students today) made me realize how much John McCain has changed during this election. I'm not talking about his politics and views, although I do have a lot of issues with those. But I miss the John McCain that I used to respect. And I get the sense that he does too. The one who didn't resort to gimmicky (dare I say Mavericky?) choices in order to spur his campaign along. The one who truly was an independent, and took pride in that. But mostly I miss actually liking the man. This campaign has made me actively dislike him. And yes, I get that this is politics, and politics is dirty. But I at least used to respect the man who really loved this country and was just power-hungry. Now I'm just sad for him. (and also fearful that he might win)

However, one thing that made me happy today was how into politics some of my students were. In every class we talked about the debate, and we probably could have kept talking about them the entire period. Not every student was into the conversation, but a fair amount were. A lot of them had questions and were actively engaged. In short, it was awesome. One of those teacherly moments that gets you all excited to work with youth. Of course then I had to send someone outside because she couldn;t contain her verbal outbursts and saw one of my students at lunch who was strangely absent during my third period class. But all in all, it was a good day.

giovedì, settembre 25, 2008

I should have been on Jeopardy tonight.

I would have ruled.


mercoledì, agosto 13, 2008

oooh, a teaching post

Had another orientation where I was told such valuable tidbits as "don't give your keys to your students" and "don't sexually harass your students." So yes as you can imagine, it was a truly worthwhile experience. All in all though, the day did get me thinking about stuff I probably should be thinking about, what my first day being Monday(!) Also, I re-signed my contract (yay for full time! All benefits covered! Higher salary! More days off!)

I had my first nervous freak out tonight. I was wondering when that was going to start happening again. Oh yay, its starting now. Finally started writing my syllabus though, which has made me feel more settled. Tomorrow, I'll be spending the day at school getting some "professional development." I'm hoping this will somehow include coffee and muffins.

In other news, I got my keys to my first period classroom. And now I'm slightly afraid of the maintenance man at Burlingame. There were several threats as he handed the keys over, my favorite of which was "if you don't hand this key directly back to me at the end of the year, I will hunt you down over the summer." I'm pretty sure I don't want to find out if he was kidding or not.

domenica, agosto 03, 2008

wait, summer is over?!

Its already August, and as such, my summer has about a week left in it. And what a summer its been. I moved to Davis just short of two months ago with no fall job prospects and no place to live in San Francisco. I was essentially resigned to subbing and living in a crappy apartment in Daly City. For the summer, I had a job I knew would be okay, but wasn't too excited about. Oh yeah, and I had a boyfriend.

Cut to a week after moving (and a few days before starting the job). Suddenly, I still had no job prospects/living arrangements, but I was also lacking the boyfriend as well. Lots of tears, lots of good friends.

Started working, discovered that I actually really liked my job. Kept me disturbingly busy and tired. Every weekend was spent having some random adventure or another (barely spent any weekend time in Davis in fact). Started to get over the ex, continued the (oftentimes futile feeling) job search. Still nothing.

A few weeks ago, I called one of the schools I had applied to (just to see if they needed any more documents, etc). They offered me an interview the next day. I said hell yeah! and almost quite literally jumped into my car and drove the bay. Had the interview, thought it wet horribly, and bought myself a vanilla cupcake for its consolation purposes. The school called not two hours later and offered me the job! (Of course, I accepted). So now I was healing from the lack of boyfriend, and had acquired gainful employment. Things were definitely looking up.

Went to San Francisco last weekend to look at a few places. Liked the first one I saw, visited some more, became convinced by my friends to take it, called the guy later in that day and signed the lease.

I am not an impulsive person. I am the person who waits to the absolute last minute to decide on just about anything. And yet this summer has been full of impulsive decisions. Drive to Eureka? Sure. Go to Grass Valley for a week of camp? Why not? It definitely has not been the summer I had planned for or had expected but it turned out to be pretty decent. And now its just about over. This will be the last week of my summer job, then next weekend I pack up my car and move back to SF. I have a week of meetings and orientations and then bam! my real life job will start. You know, the one that I've been talking about doing for the past several years while I did other things (see: grad school, moving to other states, etc.). But for this Sunday morning, I'm going to go outside and try to enjoy my last weekend in Davis.

mercoledì, maggio 07, 2008

today. now.

I had my last class (potentially ever).

I have the possibility of never being a student again. There are no plans for me to apply to any programs, register for any classes, write any papers, give any presentations, or take any exams.

When I finished college, I knew I was going to grad school. When I finished grad school, I knew I would get my teaching credential.

I've always described myself as a student. My conversations have most often centered around academia and my experiences within in. I've never had a moment in my life when I wasn't a student or didn't have any plans to become one again in the near future.

Until now. This very moment.

I find myself completely unsettled by the notion.

mercoledì, aprile 16, 2008

I'm like the Anti-Midas

You know how Midas had that rad power that everything he touched turned to gold? (although to be fair, it kind of bit him in the ass at the end, right?). I'm kind of like that these days. Except every electronic item I touch loses it's will to live.

For instance: my laptop, whose inexplicable desire to turn itself off was a problem I finally fixed (it was overheating mainly) and now can stay on for hours, but no longer has a bright screen. As in totally dim, almost black. In order to see anything on it, I have to shine a bright light and squint as I attempt to find the mouse. This, as one can imagine, makes using it somewhat problematic. Currently, I am typing on a keyboard and looking at a monitor screen, both of which are plugged into my sad, beleaguered laptop.

I borrowed a friend's laptop today, to do some work while I pretend to be a law student... but all it did was freeze every time I plugged my flash drive into it. Which really does not help with the productivity. So that's been fun.

Tomorrow I'm going to pretend to be a law student some more and use the computer lab. Hopefully, I won't set off some sort of campus-wide virus.

Oh, and just to add insult to injury, my cell phone (whose battery has also had some issues of late) has started this fun game in which people call me, and I can't hear them. I can pick up the phone call just fine, and apparently if you're on the other end you can hear me, but I have no idea if you're professing your undying love for me or just asking to borrow a pie tin (not that I ever really get phone calls like this, but for all I know I could have had a dozen in the past few days).

That's it. I'm getting off the grid.


domenica, febbraio 24, 2008


Am I tired.

Had a wonderful time in Oregon. But now it's back to grading and lesson planning and dealing with my students and trying not to be driven mad by my classes at state.

Oy indeed.

lunedì, febbraio 18, 2008

"Scott was a jerk! And I was his best friend!"

Today I was watching some "classic" episodes of Beverly Hills 90210-a drama, which in my opinion was and still is one of the greatest television shows ever created. It had everything; ridiculous plots, unbelievable characters, Shannon Doherty in her prime, and not to mention the amazing sideburns of Luke Perry (aka Dylan McKay). Anyhow, today's episode (well, really 1991's episode) was an especially awesome one (it was the one where David's friend Scott accidentally shoots himself and then everyone feels really sad and asks David how he is until Davis freaks out on his radio show* and yells at Brandon on air that people only care about Scott now because he's dead!) In a word-rad.

Okay, but here's where my own special brand of cool comes in. So in another (totally believable) subplot, the school is celebrating the opening of a fifty year time capsule, complete with a ginormous chorus that seems to sing all the time and huge banners and events. The fifty year old memorabilia (from 1941) is then displayed all around campus. And here's what gets me. In one of the display cases, there's a newspaper with the headline Pearl Harbor Attacked! Which is fine, except that happened December of 1941, and if this was a time capsule from the class of 1941, who presumably graduated in June, something just isn't right.

Now I know, I'm somewhat of a history geek, and teaching history to teenagers certainly isn't helping matters**. But, Aaron Spelling et. al., I expected more from you.

*okay, seriously. This is one of the more implausible plots of 90210 (and thus illustrating its genius) What high school has its own radio station? And what high school student has their own radio show in said high school? Which brings me to another point. a) the passing periods are utterly ridiculous at this school. There's enough time for several main characters to run into each other, have some sort of drama, and move along the story line... usually lasting for at least several minutes. And this happens all the time! I work at a high school, and let me tell you one barely has enough time to make it to their next class between all the dodging of other students, and quick trips to the locker or restroom. Never have I seen two students break up or have some sort of meaningful life-er, plot- changing dialog...

**Although sometimes their responses and reports can be quite amusing. For example, I had my students create a Russian Revolution comic strip, and for the first box they had to illustrate the autocracy of the czars. One student chose to draw a czar saying "Only Prussian allowed!" Which would be fine. Except we're talking about Russia, and Prussia at this point in history no longer exists. But it made me smile.

martedì, febbraio 05, 2008

sabato, febbraio 02, 2008

Dear gentlemen sitting next to me at the coffee shop

I'm sorry for eavesdropping so much on your conversation, it's just that everything you were talking about was interesting and relevant to me. The architecture in Spain and England, the visiting Eugene and Portland, your friend who is a teacher... all these are topics in which I wanted to share my own thoughts. So I apologize, I swear I'm not a crazy stalker-eqse girl. Your conversation was just so much more interesting than the grading that I am currently forcing myself to do. Anyhow, enjoy your afternoon-the bookstore across the street really is nice and I'm sure you'll find some great items there.

mercoledì, gennaio 30, 2008

So here's the deal.

I do not like being told what to think and how to think it. I imagine that is a common idea for most people. It makes sense, right? Individuality, the ability to think for yourself... those fundamentals that out nation was founded upon so many years ago?

And so, I must wonder what it is about my credentialing program that seems so enamored with the idea of telling us exactly what to do, say, think, feel, etc. Is teaching not an individual activity? Do we not all approach the subjects that we teach from a different perspective? Is that not what we encourage our students to do?

I've finished my first week of the second semester, and it only took three days (well, to be honest, I've been like this since the first three hours) for the feelings of annoyances and absurdity to come rushing back. Only now, I'm also stressed beyond imagination because I'm also planning lessons and grading and dealing with 60+ personalities.

On a happier note, my car (oh, poor beleaguered car of mine!) has a brand new tire and two working headlights! Which means I can drive above 50 and I no longer have to worry about police harassing me on my way home at night (apparently the combination of driving with one headlight in a car that has some nasty scratches-not all my fault though-and a sketchy area (the neighborhood I live in is fine, getting to it can be interesting) is all too tempting for police to pull me over and literally threaten to tow my car away). So huzzah to that!

And that is the end of that.

lunedì, gennaio 28, 2008

NKOTB is back!

Okay, back to grading.

domenica, gennaio 27, 2008

will you love me tomorrow?

Tomorrow I will begin my fourth week of teaching. Tomorrow will also mark the day that I go back to school (perhaps for the last time? Quite possibly... although I've been known to make that remark before). Tomorrow I will call the dentist and discuss the dreaded hateful root canal (could there possibly two more horrifying words in the English language? Well. Obviously, yes. But as for tomorrow, those are it). Tomorrow I will deal with the excuses of my students, get gas, and lug my computer around with me. Tomorrow I will be gone from the early hours of the morning until the later hours of the night (damn you evening classes). Tomorrow I will see classmates who I have missed over the long (and yet not long enough) winter break.

But as for today, I am quietly sitting perched upon my bed, laptop in lap (oh how appropriate), textbooks and papers strewn out before me. Planning lessons, attempting to grade, trying not to freak out. Trying, trying, trying.