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Showing posts from May, 2006

What's On Your Nightstand?

idea from House In Progress,

Family Photos that I haven't hung. Included are my favorite photos of my Grandmother from this summer, my mother walking in Paris and my cousin holding her baby brother.

A Purpose Driven Life, which I just can't seem to finish. I think my life has too many purposes. And a journal to go with it. What Do I Do Now - 90 Days To A New Direction, there's a theme here... Why I Believe, Becoming the Process and Answers to Prayers. Also, The Journey (about teaching) and a dog training book.

The sets of earings and a star of David necklace. Two candlestick lamps with hand painted shades... painted by me with ocean themes and little red sailboats. A box of random jewelry and two pillow shams that have never made it on pillows.


My school is looking for a new Math teacher - one who has AP training and experience... and after a month of applications, we had no qualified applicants. Sad, but I know every school is facing this. However, I think we do have some factors in our favor. First, we have one of the best AP programs in the area, and are a choice school for several students because of the program. Second, we have a very supportive administration. Last, and most important, the local cost of living enables teachers can actually have a life on a teacher's salary. No one works a second job during the school year (except coaches) and summers are devoted to conferences (which are usually paid for!). Personally, my job satisfaction level is pretty high. I can work with my students and not be worrying about paying bills.

We're also looking for a new English teacher, although the position hasn't closed yet. While discussing possible interview dates, I'm pretty sure the principal was feeling me out t…

How many days left?

I think I'm more ready for summer break than the students....

This past weekend, my cousins, my brother and I did the Rhody Run in Port Townsend, WA. It's a 12k race, similar to Bloomsday... except that it's all uphill within the first three miles. My time was pretty good. I managed to beat my Bloomsday time by almost 10 minutes! While this sounds incredible, I think it may have a lot to do with a certain amount of panic on my part. I missed the mile 2 and 3 markers. Never saw them, never heard the splits (I swear, they were on bathroom break), so I kept worrying that I was still on mile 2 and I walking very, very slow. They were almost completely uphill, but I still couldn't believe it was taking me that long to get to mile 2. Lack of spacial ability can really suck. When I finally saw "4 mile" painted on the pavement I nearly collasped with relief.

My cousin and I came up with a plan for the summer. If we do a race every couple weeks, somehow we'll end up…

umm... yah... ok...

sorry, to make my last entry so cryptic. It's really not that big of a deal... sometimes, I just can't give up on a kid, no matter what ejits they are or how much better it may be for everyone.

Anyhoo, it was a banner week. The following day I got into a yelling match with another teacher about a new proposal that's come down from the administrative office. I think this harkens to my previous discussion about working the corporate world vs. teaching. Some people think that everything from the D.O. is part of a vast conspiracy to transfer all of our salaries to the superintendent's bank account or fund massive administrative parties. Somewhat reminiscent of what we all thought our parents were doing after they sent us to bed.

Needless to say, this attitude is wearing and I had enough of listening to endless complaints. Another teacher stepped in to try to keep the "conversation" on an even keel... and I swear to God, it was comic relief. I was told in the most s…

Blogging about students

I really try not to blog about students... at least not in a way that would make the easily recognizable. It's a little hard to do because, like it or not, they are a large part of my days. And hysterically funny most of the time. Today there was an incident with a student and the administrative reaction to it is making me very uncomfortable... and I'm not sure what my next step should be or where to turn for advice.

5 Weeks and counting...

Usually (last year! it feels like I've been teaching for decades!) I have students do a portfolio of their writing over the year to turn in at the end of the year. I also had a brilliant idea of doing a literary journal this year... but with only 5 weeks left and Julius Caesar still to read, I'm thinking that it won't be possible. Freshman will still have the Greatness Project and I'm hoping that their Romeo and Juliet "newspapers" will come out really cool. Why is it the end of year always seems like such a cram?

I also have to start planning for next year. At least the AP classes - the master schedule has not been set - need to get their summer reading lists and a hearty shock to their overachieving systems. Anyone have a really good AP summer reading program?

Salary Continued...

One thing noted on my observation was "consistantly seeking to improve teaching methods and student learning." Personally, this seems like a no brainer, but I've been told many times that this trait is a tell-tale sign that I have worked in private industry several years prior to teaching.
In corporate America, employees are only as good as their last project. In order for an employee to be successful, they must constantly prove their value to the company. Current trend to even get a job is sending letters to employers displaying the potential employee's profit-making/cost-saving ability, instead of the usual resume highlighting skills and talents. Many in the business world see this as a solution to improving public education... teachers in high impact jobs and displaying exceptional teaching ability getting more pay, while those in lower impact jobs or not-stellar teaching (which is measured how?) get lower pay.

While this idea sounds good on paper - it doesn't t…

Umm... sure!

This morning, I walked into the office to grab and some coffee. The Vice Principal walked up and asked if I had time to observe my class today... what? oops! I mean, observe your class. Yeah, sure... previous plan - continue reading Romeo and Juliet; current plan - cut reading short and toss in yet another writing assignment - just toss it on the foot high pile to grade - because it's more interesting to "observe."

I'm sure I could file a grievance with the union, but honestly... it's May. I just don't give a crap and I roll with it.

Why we need spring break during nice weather

As the days get warmer, and students get more antsy... schools turn to planning for next year. As mention previously, that means examining the SIP (school improvement plan) for the coming year. We're reporting on progress and revamping. Last week we actually got paid time to do this! No "adding one more thing" or wasting valuable department meeting time. Unfortunely, my group had two attendees out of 10. I'm including myself in that "two." At least there was little discussion and we completed the rough draft rather quickly.

With nearly hour to just sit and talk, we had an interesting conversation about teaching, working and what the job really is about. My committee companion stands firmly in the camp of "teaching is fantastic, and really, the pay isn't that bad." She has around 500 years experience, so I usually bow to her experience. However, in this case I have to somewhat disagree. Teaching is a good job. There's lots of variety, tons o…


Even though it is only the beginning of May, the end of the year is rapidly approaching. Of course, this means we're well into planning the upcoming year. So far, this is what I actually can confirm as fact, rather than spurious rumors....

I will be teaching AP English Language next year. Other than that, I don't have a clue. No one knows how many sections will be needed and how that will affect the rest of my schedule. Actually, no one knows how many sections of anything will be needed. Although basic registration was completed a month ago, the information has not been fully entered into a computer program. Also, no current WASL scores will be available until June... see #2The course listings for the English Department have been changed. Besides AP English, my other options are English 9, Honors English 9, English 10, Honors English 10, English 11, English 12 or English Lab (crap! I flunked the WASL/sophomore and/or freshman English - I have to take it again). Except for the s…