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Showing posts from March, 2006

What Have We Learned?

stolen from the reflective teacher, who in turn stole from posthipchick.

What My Students Have Learned This Year

1. Housebuying takes a really long time.
2. Vinyl siding will take the fun out of egging a teacher's house.
3. Shakespeare tells lots of dirty jokes.
4. Censorship could lead to nuclear war.
5. You can change the meaning of what writing simply by changing the punctuation.
6. English teachers have a lot of grammar jokes
7. We can pass the WASL!
8. WASL writing is very simplistic.
9. Sometimes poems have dirty words in them, but I need a note from home to check out the book that contains those poems.
10. There are consequences for every action, no matter who I am.
11. I can't pass if I don't turn in the work.
12. Pre-writing is essential
13. Teacher just might have a myspace page.
14. If you tell your teacher how horrible your life is, she'll probably let you turn the assignment in late.
15. English teachers think grammar jokes are funny.
16. My english teacher thinks eminen i…

Homeless

I think rule number one of buying a house should be "believe no one - they're all liars."

As of Sunday night, I will be homeless because my Mortgage company has basically lied since day one. All month long I've heard it will be "done" by the end of the month... I'm not sure what they believe the word done means, but is not the dictionary definition. BTW, it will not be done before the end of the month and I doubt it will be done with in the next week. Stupid me believed these ejits (National City Mortgage- YOU SUCK!) and scheduled my move out date for this weekend. I believed I had given myself a cushin of movement... after all, it will be the beginning of April... but alas it is not.

These ejits (National City Mortgage - YOU SUCK!) have given me every excuse known. Besides the usual, lost paper work and non-reply of various information sources, I was a victim of a fallen crane. Additionally, the entire banking system is populated with unprofessional chil…

Double Dipping

Assorted Stuff put up a post discussing the removal of electives for students who aren't passing their standardized tests. As happenstance, my meeting tomorrow is about designing the new "English Lab" courses for those students who didn't pass the WASL this year... or in 7th grade, if they haven't taken the 10th grade test yet.

Not only will our students loose their summer for remedial classes, but it is very likely that we have sophomores who are only taking english, math and science courses next year. Basically, the student schedule would look something along the lines of:
English 10English LabMath 10Math LabBiologyEnglish 9 or Math 9 make-upIf it wasn't for the science WASL, that might be dropped as well. Some have advocated that students be given core credit for the lab classes - although others have said "what happens when the student is senior and has already recieved all of their english credits? Do they bail on Senior English?" Of course, my q…

2006-2007

Now that the reading/writing testing is over, we're steaming full ahead for 2006-2007. Yes, I'm still trying to figure out how to cram everything I need to teach into the remaing school days and, yet, here we are planning for the coming year. Attending meetings that take me out of the classroom. To discuss what we're going to do with students who didn't seem to learn anything this year. Probably because of all the meetings I had to attend during the school day, while the world's most worthless sub sits reading her novel in my classroom. (Seriously - the building would burn down around this woman and she wouldn't have a clue) What a crock!

On the housing side, I'll probably be homeless next weekend. Apparently, it was extremely hard to verify my employment. My guess is that our techno-phobic district office just couldn't figure out how to use those new fangled phones or fax machines. If I had known a paper needed to be filled out, I would have done it mys…

waiting around

trying to take a nap,
originally uploaded by Hedgetoad. I spoke with the mortgage company today about the progress of my loan. There isn't any. In fact, despite sitting on someone's desk since Monday morning, no one has bothered to even look at the paperwork until receiving a phone call this afternoon. Perhaps more information will be available tomorrow. It's taking all of my self control not to pull my hair out. Apparently, my students aren't the laziest people in the state.

I'm calling again during MY lunch. (thanks to early start times, school lunch is at 11 am) Maybe being a nag IS the only way to get anything done these days.

Keavy

Keavy,
originally uploaded by Hedgetoad. Keavy. All that love and trust, asking "When are we going out?"

All this week I've been very tired. Why? 5AM walks. 3PM runs. 7PM walks. 10PM walks. I'm good for about a walk a day - 4 mile long walks are killing me. For Bloomsday training, I'm right on schedule.

On the plus side, I'm becoming more organized. You can't suddenly put a 4 walks into your day and not have to push something out. Like planning your day at 5AM. No more last minute searching for a cool activity. No more washing the previous nights dishes before school.

Only a couple more days in the apartment. Then it's fenced backyard all the way!

Failed Experiement

In November, I was very focused on house hunting and felt that I was moving away from education in the blog... so I split into two blogs. This one was to remain focused on education and the other was more focused on personal things. What they evolved into was something that was only partially satisfying.

For me, being a teacher involves my personal life. They overlap. My students have gotten the blow by blow story of house buying through my my purchase. It came as quite a shock that buying a house is not like buying a lamp or a car - one cannot walk in with a check and walk out with the keys, at least not if the buyer is an average citizen. My students remembered that I participate in Bloomsday (49 days to go!) and am some sort of marathan walker. Not really, but the fact that I would purposely walk 7.5 miles for an ugly T-shirt is something really intersting. At the same time, I can tell you who made their own prom dress and which kid will probably give you their really cool artwork …

Cross these off your gift list

While packing the kitchen, I've discovered that I currently own 18 wine glasses. I also have a large box in my trunk that may contain more (xmas gift that I never opened since I have no storage). For some reason, I keep getting wine glasses as gifts for every occassion. As a result, I either throw a large party or go on a wine drinking binge for a long time. First on the list to buy for the new house... shelving for all the glasses.

After long discussions about choosing a moving date, I'm planning on April 1st, but hoping for an April Fool's joke and move the previous weekend. I'd really like to be out of my apartment before the first of the month... even though having Spring Break open to paint would be nice, I just want this move over with. Actually, I'd like the whole house buying thing over with.

WASL Testing

One positive note about WASL testing - since I cannot talk to any of my students about the WASL or anything about reading and writing, I'm learning a lot of interesting things about my students...

One of my students is engaged to Jessica Alba. We discovered this while discussing the merits of body shapers and how everyone wears them with formal dresses - except the Las Vegas hooker dresses, which (hot tip) no one should ever wear to a prom. Even Jessica Alba wears a body shaper, or probably does. None of us actually own X-ray glasses so really only her fiance knows... and he wouldn't comment. We also had a long discussion on the proper way to hem something and whether you could just use a serger along the edges. Quite a few students sew most of their formal wear! We ended the day with a discussion of the proper way to introduce a fish into it's new home, what kind of accessories are needed and how advice from Wal-Mart staff is not be trusted. (there was a side conversation…

Gap Creek

I started reading Gap Creek today - it may become one of my new favorite books! Usually I'm not a huge fan of Orpah Book Club books. I know everyone is always proclaiming the book they read was life altering, hugely introspective and the greatest thing since sliced bread. Personally, I was raised on Trixie Beldenand Sir Thomas Wyatt, the elder, so my tastes are a little off.

The first chapter describes the death of the main character's young brother in horrifying, yet fascinating detail. There's no way to put the book down for that entire chapter, and after that the reader is hooked. I think I'll have to do a "book talk" when I'm finsihed.

Signs of Spring

Manito Park
Originally uploaded by Hedgetoad. This weekend, while walking the long lost puppy, I noticed robins everywhere! Does this mean the spring is finally starting? It only rained for 20 minutes today...

I can't wait to start planting a real garden! Maybe even shrubery.

15 more Days

I've finally started packing. With the positive inspection and the mortgage paperwork percolating in the background, there's really nothing left for me to do until the closing. So far, I've packed 5 boxes. Well, 4. One was already packed. I figure if I do a couple every day, I'll be all ready. It's already starting to look a little bare around the apartment.

I got a little early dog training on Friday and Saturday. A lost dog showed up at school on Friday. Unfortunately, our local town has no animal control and the dog was somewhat disrupting. I did hear that one administrator was terrified that the dog would poop on a floor - how that would hurt 35 year old heavy duty vinyl tiles, I'm not sure, but a freak-out was immenent. So I took the dog into my classroom for the rest of the day. She was a 6 month old puppy, really sweet and mellow. I kept her overnight, until Saturday morning when her owner was found. Thanks to unknown house training, I walked about 4 mil…

WASL Countdown

This weekend has brought WASL into a media frenzy. The front page of the Seattle Times is covered with WASL articles, as was our local newspaper. Last night, the local news touted a new website where students can test themselves... which I'm sure is a great comfort for those parents who firmly believe in full form cramming. However, it does need to be noted that there is less than 24 hours before testing begins. No amount of cramming over the weekend will give any student a better passing percentage that they had last Monday.

I've got a positive feeling as to how my students will perform on the test. I know they're nervous, but I'm also hoping they'll remember everything we've done for the past year. I also believe that since this test really counts, that the students will put more effort into completing the test. Several former students failed last year simply because they didn't want to bother doing it.

Hurricane? Nor'easter? Typhoon?

Sitting in the school cafeterial, we're all watching the huge storm
rush through the area. The winds are raging and all the electronics
have been unplugged... it's expected that we'll be loosing electricity
any moment. Perhaps school will even be cancelled tomorrow.Now for the question of the day... what do we call huge, destructive
storms that hit the PNW coast? They aren't hurricanes or nor'easters.
Do typhoons come this far north? I thought they were just in the south
pacific... "winter storm" just doesn't seem to cover it.

WASL Fixation

WASL scores are down. For a new principal, this isn't good news... and you could be fired if you don't prove yourself a miracle worker to magically raise them significantly. Yesterday, that meant all my sophomores got a 50 minute power-point lecture on how to pass the WASL. Even I was slightly bored, surfing the internet. After the first session, I told him to skim over the "tips and tricks" of Reading/Writing WASL... the students have heard that song for weeks. I thought the students were all going to bust a gut and point out the sloppy handwriters, when the principal started in on "if they (the scorers) can't read it, you didn't actually write it."

Speaking of handwriting - does anyone know of any teachers who still teach this? Do they demand that students write everything legibly or practice cursive writing? Rumor has it that a school below mine (which shall not be named) insists that teachers do not say a word about student handwriting at any poi…

Inspection

The inspection went really well. There were only a few minor things that need to be repaired and I'm off to the money guys on Monday.

There were a couple of things that I noticed about house on that extended tour. First, if the dyer decided to go up in flames and I'm in the master bedroom, I will die. There aren't any windows large enough to escpae from in that room. Still debating that change. The other thing was the testing of the party flow... probably a first for the inspector. Several co-workers/friends showed up to take a tour of the house and one brought champagne! Honestly, when he started talking about the hotwater heater going up in flames and not being able to finish the inspection due to lack of water, I needed that booze.

I also found a dog! Her name is Bibi and she's 2 years old. Apparently, she's a real sweetheart and has a very calm temperment. She gets along with other dogs, people and children (very important in my family). I think I'm almost m…