13 November 2010

(Almost) Wordless Weekend: Saturday

Can't believe how beautiful the weather was at the coast this weekend.  Very nice lunch... outside... with the (almost) birthday boy.  Behind him you can see the Inn where we were staying, and the ocean.

12 November 2010

(Mostly) Wordless (Almost) Weekend

Some weeks, Friday definitely counts as weekend...

mmm... Pumpkin Ale...

Chopstick Kid rides again!

The view from the balcony of our room.  Wish we could live here.

11 November 2010

What's Your Gimmick?

As I finished my last bit of homework for the week, I realized it has been months since I spent time just "surfing" through blogs, clicking random links, letting the interwebs lead me on an adventure.  I seem to have just enough time to check in at Facebook and check my email before logging into my class and participating in the mandatory discussions.  Any other time spent in front of the computer is usually either writing a paper, researching a paper, or doing any number of work related activities.  So this afternoon I spent time just randomly clicking through blogs and reading.

The "next blog" button is one of the things I really like about Blogger.  Like rolling the dice, you end up at some random blog, for better or worse.  I appreciate that these are just blogs written by normal every day people.  They haven't made a bunch of money writing about their kids or their dog, they have hobbies and interests, and publish photos, recipes, links to news articles, stories about their families, poetry, you name it, I'm pretty sure someone has a blog about it.

A couple of years ago when I started "seriously" blogging (what does that even mean?), it was just becoming a trend for "everyman" to publish whatever was on his or her mind.  It seems these days many people use Facebook for their outlet, maybe because there is less pressure to write something interesting every time, but it also seems that within the blogs that are still out there, everyone has a gimmick.  Their blog revolves around something they do, some hobby they have, some thing they are interested in and want to share with the world.

I don't have a gimmick.

In fact, I rarely even have a topic.  I just start writing until some kind of idea takes shape, and, for better or worse, ends up posted on the internet.

I have quite often thought that blogging might be "easier" if I had some type of starting point for each post, something interesting or important to say about some topic people care about.  But, then I tell myself that "the grass is always greener" because it is in all reality probably easier to just randomly type about whatever I feel like and not be strapped to any one theme or style.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I think it would be cool to come up with some new idea, some gimmick that would catch people's attention and be interesting enough for people to want to come back and read about.  It would be nice to be able to use a blog to make a little supplemental income.  Of course, then I realize I am one of about eleventy-kajillion people who thinks that.

Perhaps it is just as well that I continue to post blogs that ramble for a while about nothing, and sometimes entertain or amuse the three or four people who drop in and read on occasion.  What do you think?

10 November 2010


Four days off....

Tomorrow I write a short paper and I will be done with my homework for the week.  Friday we begin a weekend of rest and relaxation.  One that we both have earned.

I may post over the weekend, I may not.  Either way I will make time to be completely and utterly relaxed for at least 48 hours.

09 November 2010

Some Nights...

After a day like today I don't feel like coming home and doing homework.

As much as I didn't really want this blog to be a "mommy" blog, I really REALLY didn't want it to become a "teacher" blog.  Yet, at the moment, I really don't have much else to write about.  Maybe after a couple of days off I'll feel like writing.  Although, it is looking like I'll have to do homework this weekend... a weekend I have something special planned.  I have been working extra hard so I didn't have to bring my laptop along.  Oh well.  It will all be worth it in the end (which, if I play my cards right is only about 6 months away).

08 November 2010

In Case of Emergency

One of the most important lessons (in my opinion) I attempt to teach my students has to do with allowing people to do whatever they are going to do, sitting back, and watching them self-destruct.  You can not control the world, or the events that are happening outside of you so you deal with what you can control: your own behavior.  How one reacts to a situation speaks volumes about who that person is.

I understand what a difficult concept this is for teenagers.  Especially since I watch adults go through situations time and time again where they should be able to have some self control, yet don't, and not learn anything.  It is something we work on in class daily, and if only one student gets it... not even now, maybe even sometime in their 20s.... I will have taught an important and valuable lesson. 

Yes, I know, I'm supposed to be teaching Math & English, but really, isn't personal responsibility and self-control just as important?

05 November 2010

Sleep Talking

Just woke up... on the couch... obviously talking in my sleep.  CSB was pretty confused by what I was saying, and all I remember is feeling the need to explain something.

Yes, it has been a long week.  Yes, I'm tired.  Yes, there will be sushi tomorrow.  What you need to ask yourself is, am I sleep typing right now?

04 November 2010

Another Day, Another WTF

People have told me that I am crazy for working where I do, with the population that I do, and/or working with teenagers.  Indeed, it takes a certain type of personality to deal with the drama and hormone fueled insanity that teenagers seem to exude (clouds of it!  Think Pigpen from Charlie Brown!!).  However, I have to say the most difficult part of my job is not typically the kids.... it is the adults.

Today I received a phone call from a parent.  She was quite pleasant, but I could tell she was on the edge of being upset.  The problem?  She, for some reason, could not seem to get in touch with her daughter's classroom and teacher.  She told me she had been calling the school for weeks, and they keep transferring her from teacher to teacher, but it is never the right one.  Of course I ask the obvious, "What is the name of your daughter's teacher?"

Simple enough question.... but mom can't remember the teacher's name.  So my next question is the obvious, "what is your daughter's name?"  Then: "uh... how about you spell that for me?" 

I look the kid up in our computer system, and get nothing so I figure something is wrong with the system.  I take down the woman's name and number and tell her I will get back to her after doing a bit of research.  Don't worry ma'am, we'll get this whole thing sorted out today so you don't have any more trouble contacting your darling daughter's teacher. 

Long story short, I visited multiple classrooms personally, asked every single person in Special Education I could find, essentially spent the day looking for this kid, only to be told time and time again that no one has ever heard of her.  I start to wonder if someone is screwing with me....which would not be unusual given my situation. 

As a last ditch effort, I seek out someone in the main office with a computer and access to district level information about students.  Turns out this kid doesn't even go to my school.  She is enrolled across town.  Has been since August. No. Joke.

I really wanted to call the parent back and say, "How is it that after 12+ weeks of school you STILL don't know how to contact your child's special education teacher?"  And we're not talking mild to moderate disability here, we're talking severe disabilities class.  Seriously.  I'm still wondering if this whole thing was a joke on me... maybe someone trying to figure out how resourceful I am in my limited time.

I managed to find the correct phone number, call this parent back, and leave a very pleasant message on her voice mail.  I really do enjoy helping people, and it is even better when they aren't angry or yelling at me right from the get go.  However, I am completely shocked that no one she spoke to before me even tried to help her.  She said she had called the school six or eight times, and always gotten the same runaround... transferred from teacher to teacher, and never to the correct one.  There are so many levels of fail here, it really boggles the mind.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.  So glad it's Friday.

03 November 2010

Its a Word Now...

I think facebook is partly to blame for my non-bloggyness over the last year or so. All of the brief thoughts that previously might have been developed into something worthwhile lost to interwebs randomness. I once thought twitter would be a great 'dumping ground' for brief ideas I could work out later, yet that didn't seem to work.

Like many others, I originally joined Facebook because a friend had some pictures I "just had to see."  From there I watched other people join and suddenly I had a few friends.  Now, like many people, it is where I spend much of my time.  Keeping up with friends, checking in, and posting my blogs in 200 character (give or take a few) chunks. 

Of course, I've been writing anywhere from one to three (and sometimes more) papers each week on my quest to get my teaching credential and masters degree.  That has definitely cured many of my writing desires... unfortunately, it isn't quite the same.

02 November 2010

Thankful Every Day

I am totally stealing this, but I really love the idea.  A lot of people seem to be planning to post one thing they are thankful for each day this month.  Although I don't think I'll necessarily post something I'm thankful for each day (although Thankful Thursday has a nice ring to it), I think the concept is really nice.  There are so many things I am thankful for, each and every day.

A majority of those things center around my family.  I have the most supportive and wonderful people in my life.  My parents do so much to help out, and are constantly looking for more.  My CSB takes care of ... well, he seems to take care of everything.  I don't even know how to begin to thank him.

I know it seems cliche, but we should all take the time to be thankful for the little things all the time.  In every "bad" day, there are brief moments of laughs and smiles, and those are the moments we need to take away from the day.  When you fall into bed at night, do your best not to think of the worries and troubles from the day, or whatever might be coming tomorrow, but fall asleep remembering the few laughs you were able to pull from that day.

Live well, laugh well, love well.  Be thankful for something every day.

01 November 2010


There has been quite a lot of buzz surrounding all the Na___Mo of November.  I remember when it was only novel writing month, now there are blogs and beards and podcasts... I love that everyone has a goal for the month. 

I don't know if I should even consider going from posting less than once a month, to daily, but it just doesn't seem like November if I don't try.  So I suppose I'll at least try to write, mostly because NaBloPoMo is how I ended up writing so much here in the first place.

Happy November kids.  Set those goals, reach for the stars, and remember your motivation.

18 June 2010


Since I began teaching in the fall of 2008, the credentials analyst for my school district has reminded me multiple times that according to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act of 2001 I need to have a certain number of college credits to be considered "Highly Qualified" so that I can teach in a specific subject matter.  Apparently, having earned a bachelor's degree in psychology, and currently working on my master's degree in education (with a 3.85 gpa no less) does not make me a "highly qualified" teacher for English.  No, all the essays I've written do not count toward this goal, I still need three (yes THREE) college credits to make me a "highly qualified" teacher.  I have to either take an English course at the local community college (wha?), pass an exam (which will cost me $300), or take a 36 hour course through the county office of education which costs $550 (including catered breakfast, lunch, and random snacks throughout the day).  Of course the only one my district will reimburse me for is the most expensive class... the one sponsored by the county office of education. 

Obviously, I chose the catered five day course that my district is willing to pay for. 

By our first break on day one, I had decided to leave at lunch... and not return.  Surely a test must be better than this torture.  But, one of my classmates reminded me of the money I had spent (which wouldn't be reimbursed if I didn't complete the course), and the money it would cost me to take the exam.  Let's not even mention how much more it would cost if I didn't pass the exam.  Yes, somehow she managed to convince me to stick it out.

So, I sat near an outlet, pulled out my laptop, and managed to entertain myself.  On occasion I would look something up on Google and contribute to the class... mostly so it looked like I was using my computer for something more than Facebook, Twitter, and chatting with Glen

Today was the final day.  The teacher had some small rewards for some of the students for their hard work, and brought a general assortment of candy for the group.  She thanked a few people for their contributions, and said a few nice words, but when she finished with that she pulled out a solid chocolate flower on a stick and said she had a special reward for her "valedictorian."  Keep in mind there are no grades for this class... it is really just a matter of showing up.  Yet, as she is holding this thing and walking toward the back of the room, I honestly kept expecting her to hand it to ... well, any number of people.  I did not expect her to make the long trip to the very back of the room to the one person who has spent the last week goofing around on the internet. 

Honestly, I had to wait an "appropriate" amount of  time (about three minutes) before walking out into the hallway to have a good laugh.  I mean really, my bringing a computer to class, and using it to access the vast amount of information we all have at our fingertips somehow gives me an edge over anyone else in the class?  How is it possible that in this day and age, we don't all bring computers to a class, and use the universe of information available to us to come up with the answer to any question posed?  I realize we can't afford to provide computers to all our students, but why be impressed when someone brings their own, and effectively uses available resources to find the answers to the questions posed in class?  Isn't this something we should be teaching our students to do? And, once our students are all able to successfully find the answers to their questions on the internet, doesn't this significantly impact the way we teach? 

After 36 hours of learning about things I have been teaching for the last nine months, I found that what I really should be learning about is teaching in the age of the internet.  Even our low-income students seem to be more technologically advanced than many teachers, and certainly more advanced than our schools can afford to keep up with.  Schools are insanely behind when it comes to the technology portion of education, and this is doing a great disservice to our kids.

I don't believe I was the "smartest" student in the class, and I was certainly one of the least experienced people there, but I was one of the few that was able to use a great resource to my benefit.  Why is it that a room full of people with cell phones (many of them obviously "smart phones") spent an hour discussing the difference between a cliche and an idiom?  My answer:  because they weren't using their resources wisely.

One of the best pieces of advice I've been given as a teacher was, "don't reinvent the wheel, this has all been done before, you just have to figure out what works best for you."  All the instructions for how to build "the wheel" are out there... we just have to find them... then decide how to best provide that information to those who need to know.

13 April 2010

*blink* shiny! *blink* ooooh! *blink* what?

I can't count how many days of spring break I spent looking at a blinking cursor.  I want to post, I even attempt to post, but for some reason this bout of writer's block has lasted longer than most.

I miss blogging regularly.  I miss sitting down in front of my computer and not having any idea what I was going to write about, yet typing until it started to flow.  Once the words started coming, I had no control over my fingers... they would fly over the keys typing letters, my eyes reading the sentences as they popped up, my brain making sense of the whole thing as it came together...

It has been so long since that has been the "norm," I don't even remember how I did it.  A glass of wine, background noise provided by the TV, my work day and mommy day behind me... I would sit down and the words would somehow appear.  Where are they now?

13 March 2010

O Hai

Imagine my surprise this morning when I logged into my blog to add a link and noticed that my latest post was dated 2009.  I was shocked.  2009!  That is SO last year!

How has this happened?  How could so much time have passed?  I'm an English teacher who forces my students to write in a journal every day, and yet I can't seem to post once in two and a half months.  That can't be right.

It really is amazing how quickly time can pass when one is working full time, taking accelerated courses (a semester every month if you can believe it), dealing with two internships, and mommying.  I try to take one evening a week for "me time."  This usually includes a glass of wine and catching up on whatever is on the tivo (Survivor!) or playing video games... and of course some laughing and snuggling with the ever-patient, oh-so-wonderful CSB.  I don't even know how to explain everything he's done, and how amazing he's been without sounding like a completely schmoopy goob, so I won't.

One would think that in this "me time" I might sit down and write a post or two.  Unfortunately, by the time I get an evening "off" I usually am unable to think in full & coherent sentences.  Anyone who has seen me in a social setting recently can probably attest to this sad yet true fact.  I suppose this is also the point where I  apologize for being so bad at keeping up with communications with most of my friends.  I promise, as soon as I have my teaching credential and master's degree, we'll have a drink & catch up.  At this point, we're looking at about a year (depending on how many classes I drop).

Another thing which has occurred to me lately is that I actually like my job.  For the first time ever, I am concerned that the things I say and the things I do might cause me to lose my job, and I actually care.  I suppose this whole teacher thing has kinda gotten to me.  I seem to actually be enjoying it and have heard that some people might think I'm good at it... I'm not entirely sure what might happen to me if I am told I can't do it anymore.  As much as I fought against the idea of "being a teacher," I suppose that is exactly what and who I am... and I really don't mind it. 

It is really funny, now that I've done it for almost two school years, every assumption I ever made about teachers has disappeared.  Only to be replaced by a new found reality, understanding of, and respect for the people who spend every day of their lives focused on someone else's child.  In her emmy acceptance speech, Sandra Bullock thanked, "the moms that take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from," and although I understand exactly what she meant, a little part of my brain added teachers to her intended meaning. 

If you missed it, you can see her speech here  (have a tissue handy).

Anyway, I suppose all this is just to say hi, and to let you (if there are any of "you" left... aside from my mom and CSB) know that I'm still here, and plan to continue blogging.....