Apr. 8th, 2009

Poetry Month - The Miracle Workers

I'm stealing from [info]sams_cafe again. Shhhh don't tell.

BTW, click the link in the title for the megaupload of the audio file. I try to find an excuse to play it for my teenagers towards the end of the year, since they get to teach each other for a change that last week or two. It's a longish poem, so this time it's behind a cut.

The Miracle Workers
by Taylor Mali

Sunday nights I lie awake— )

Feb. 24th, 2009

ah ha ha ha ha ha hahahahaha

Walt Whitman Essay

The scary thing is, I know a few teenagers who would be cheeky enough to write something like this if they could drag themselves out of their self-absorbed apathy.

That, and I think I just found a new time-waster.

Feb. 23rd, 2009

Some days I think I need a wife.

No, seriously.

Taking care of yourself and your place isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but it's so much when you're trying to juggle work (and in my case class) and trying not to go insane from not having enough hours in the day.

That and I sometimes just think I get the occasional longing for someone else to pack me a lunch and tell me have a nice day. It might just be envy from watching too many bento communities. I often don't have time in the evening to do myself a really nice lunch unless I plan ahead for it at dinnertime (something I generally don't do) and at any rate it's just not the same sometimes doing for yourself.

Either that or I'm incredibly lazy.

And sleepy. And hoping I'm not coming down with anything. The snot problem hasn't gotten any worse than it was before, so I think I might have dodged that bullet at least.

By the way, class is going well as far as I've been able to figure. I'm going to have to move on getting the stuff together to apply to this invitational summer course thing-- I can earn another six grad credits from it towards my master's degree if I can finagle getting in and paying for it. (It'll be a good fifteen hundred bucks, tho, and I don't get paid two months out of the year. Though my tax refund will cover most of it.) Getting into the program means definitely no Otakon for me this year, though. The last day of the course-thing is the first day of Otakon weekend, and it's a pain enough trying to commute down there to miss an entire day of the programming to schoolwork. That's ok though, since I'm beginning to think I'm just outgrowing Otakon. Too much fanbrat, I guess, on top of the INSANE Otakon crowds.

I think I'd rather kick it old skool and go to a regular sci fi con instead. I THINK Shore Leave might be a Baltimore con.. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Speaking of excellent scifi tv, I still don't have any of ST:TNG (new DVDs are about $70 a season! The used ones go for $50 if you're lucky!) but I managed to actually find a DVD collection of M.A.N.T.I.S. which was a favorite of mine way back in the day. (It was considered ground-breaking since it was the first show with a black superhero EVAR.. he was also disabled-- paralyzed from a gunshot wound-- but they don't play that angle up much in the promos even though it appears in the show itself a few times.) It includes the unaired pilot. Man was the final show different from the pilot episode they made. They had to make some pretty radical changes to the show that actually aired. Some of them were, I'm sure, because we just aren't ready for them as a culture (the original pilot was very black-- it featured almost exclusively African and African-American characters/actors and dealt with the sort of urban gang violence issues that tend to dominate shows featuring black characters) and because, yeah, some of the elements in the pilot really didn't work too well (like the dorky wearing your business suit over your cool exoskeleton bit and the mismatch between gritty urban drama and high-powered superhero story... MANTIS even in the original pilot was not a Daredevil or a Batman, where it would have worked). But OMG.. so 90's. Nostalgia!

Dec. 16th, 2008

OWWWWWWWW

Today was a day of winces, I guess.

My elbows are horribly dry and scaly and hurt sometimes when I lean on them. I blame a lack of moisturizer.

My wish for a snow ice day tomorrow is likely to go unheeded, which means fun time in the just-above-freezing rainy dark tomorrow morning. Since I actually brought home the crap I'd need to get something done for work in the event work is closed for ice tomorrow. Bummer. And it's a conference night. I'm not scheduled to get out until sometime after six in the PM. But if I get to stay home I get to make homemade chicken teriyaki.

I tried to donate blood today. I was going to do apharesis since Dad does that and it seems a bit more useful than whole blood since they can synthesize plasma if they need to. Techs from the Red Cross couldn't find a vein in either arm. I'm not terribly surprised by this since even hospital techs have trouble finding veins on me. I've had several IV ports in my hands because of it. Mother naturally insists that it was just bad techs, but really I'd rather be rejected out of hand than endure ages and ages of people digging around looking for a vein. I've had that happen too, so I know.

The really bitchy part is that the finger prick for the hemocrit test hurt like a bitch. Though I did get the inappropriate humor of wearing a band-aid on my middle finger. I was good and didn't flash it around to anyone.

I may try again at some other time, but I think if I get ruled out for dainty veins a second time I'll just say screw it.

Checked my college's account and yup, they posted the charge for my class. I went ahead and paid it. A single course for a little over a thousand, though I think I did get a tiny break on fees since it's online. (Just praying I don't have to get any books aside from the APA handbook, which I can get at B&N at a discount.) Still.. it's going to be a bitch keeping my credit card paid down. (I am not going to completely blitz my checking account until after I figure the last of the December bills/paycheck and make sure I have enough for rent in January. I'm not an idiot and rent is disgusting around here.) No Otakon for me for a few years, at the very least.

All right, and by the time I get around to affording it again I'll probably not bother to do it. My advisor at college was actually all like "take advantage if you want to travel! DOOOOO EEEEET!" And there are places I definitely want to see and things I definitely want to do before I die. XD Though I did learn today that traveling to England is apparently uber-risky from a blood donation point of view, though admittedly that's due to the mad cow thing a while back. (You also can't donate if you were in a lockup for 72 hours or more. Nice state of our penal system if it's pretty much assumed you got an STD if you were in lockup more than a couple days.)

Not much else to report. Work is kicking my ass like usual and I want to hibernate. I've determined I had to have been a bear in a past life. Maybe a polar bear. Or a grizzly bear. Something really cranky.

Dec. 11th, 2008

Boring week = FAIL

I'm enrolled in my first grad course. Go me. I managed to snag a spot in the online version of the course I wanted, so I DON'T have to commute anywhere and it should be flexible enough that if things go flooey at work (as they tend to do in April-May) it shouldn't kill me too bad. I will probably STILL be saying no to people more often, but it's much nicer than having to commute a couple hours on top of taking a course on top of working full time. And I don't get the bill until January something, so that's good too.

Christmas shopping is done unless some miracle thing strikes and I have to pick something up for someone. I still need to wrap stuff. I was thinking about sitting down and doing that tomorrow sometime. I honestly can't believe how close to Christmas it actually is. Even though my tree is up and everything I still can't believe it. Probably because I've been up to my eyebrows in everything else.

No new cooking adventures. Due to tiredness and laziness it's been leftovers, takeout (and leftovers from that), and a frozen pizza.. and I have leftovers from that too. (I think I've just not been too interested in eating this week?) I'll probably try to finish the chili and freeze the rest and then make teriyaki chicken, since I have the stuff to make it from scratch. Either that or french onion soup.

My toon on WoW dinged 80 tonight after a fun Halls of Lightning run. Loken is not nearly as hard as everyone was making him out to be. I want to at least make it to entry-level raiding and get me a pretty dragon or two, so I'll still be busy on WoW. Except now I'll be making a lot more gold than before.. I suppose if I ever get bored of my warrior I'll finally get around to rolling a death knight. XD

Dec. 8th, 2008

Just a quick note to note that I'm still alive.

I've started reading The Count of Monte Cristo for the first time in a few years.. first whack at the unabridged version to boot. I'm liking the translation I have-- my old translation is very dry and stuffy and this one chose to use more modern idiom. It's all the fault of Gankutsuou which the girl and I finally ended up getting around to watching. I am never watching that anime in multiple sitting again.. almost every episode is on a cliffhanger and you end up all obsessy wanting to know what happened next.

I don't know why people complain about the ending-- the ending was perfect for what the anime was about and just as importantly who it wasn't about. I'll be spoilery in the comments if you want, but nothing on the main page. It's too good to spoil. You know an anime is good when you're cheering on the characters or crying when bad stuff happens or someone says something profound and sad.

I made a batch of Dad's chili and some guacamole on Sunday. The guacamole is gone. It was interesting since I had tangerines but no lemon, so I squeezed half a tangerine in there to protect the color of the guac instead. Tasted gooooood. Had leftover chili for lunch today and I have a good half the pot left for later. But I'm eating pizza tomorrow because I'm too lazy to wash out the tupperware right now.. well, that and I'd rather muck with the microwave on a long lunch. And I'll be dining out tomorrow somehow, just haven't figured out the details.

Advising appointment is tomorrow in the evening. I'll probably fool around in town after the appointment since I'm not dumb enough to try and make the drive back in the teeth of rush hour. I think I might be able to afford a class on my own. Maybe. I'll have to get back on that one, since a class is $1200 with fees and tuition and not counting books, and with the nation's economy in the crapper I'd rather not run up credit card debt if I can help it, even if it's for a good cause.

Yes, I realize that I'm among the minority of American citizens in that I could pay off all my credit cards today and have a substantial amount of money left over. Doesn't mean I don't want a more stable savings. You know, retirement and all that jazz. I've had to blitz my savings account just about every time I've been close to having enough to a higher-interest account on some kind of important something. Bleck. I might be blessed with having a very stable job, but that doesn't erase the fact I don't get paid two months out of the year.

In other news, I'm almost finished with Christmas shopping. My tree is up and decorated. Nothing's wrapped yet. The girl and I did what's fast becoming tradition and traded a couple presents early. She got a DVD copy of Vision of Escaflowne since her VHS set is a collector's item and she's afraid to watch them anyway because of wear. Especially on tape six. (Operation Golden Rule of Love. LOL) I got a nice big T-Fal skillet with SCIENCE that's supposed to change color when it's heated. I have two more presents to get people and that's it. And I even made the annual Harry and David order for the extended family. Got this and this so there shouldn't be any complaining. XD

Have an angry Manfred von Santa. :D

Aug. 27th, 2008

ZOMG College WUT?!

This is the year I'm getting off my butt and getting into a graduate program, and to that end I finally printed off the application paperwork for Towson University. (Short story is that I need a master's degree to keep my certification for my job, I get ten years from the date of certification to do it, and I'm in my fourth year of certification. So I need to get moving on this since I'll need to complete around 11 classes for the degree.)

I'm planning on the Master's of Education with seminar since I probably won't have the brain capacity to work and pull off writing a thesis paper. (And one of the options with the seminar product is to write curriculum, and I've wanted to resurrect a couple of favorite electives from my childhood in my current place of work. Like DEBATE COURSE FTW.) And I'm giving myself until spring semester to pull together the money to be able to enroll in courses. :| It'll be about $1000 a course with the cost of books factored in, so it's not cheap but it's doable, and since I paid back the loan my parents gave me for my car's down payment, Dad-the-miser is willing to forward me the cash to do this. :3 (Work has a reimbursement plan, but it's not 100% of the cost. Boo. And parental loans are 0% interest. :D) I'll probably still be calling the admissions office later to see what kind of scholarships they offer to grad students. The really nice thing is that I won't need GRE's or any of that nonsense to apply, just my transcript from good ol' WAC since the only admission requirement is a 3.0 GPA in undergrad. Considering I graduated Magna Cum Laude from WAC, this is not an issue at all.

For my efforts, I'll eventually earn an advanced certification, a small raise in my pay grade (Don't get too excited, it amounts to an extra $2,000 a year I have an APC until year 10 when everyone has to have them and there's no more difference... hence why a LOT of teachers complain about their pay not being up to snuff after you've started out. Most people with comparable degrees and training levels are making a LOT more money when they've hit the 10+ year mark.), a nice thing to show the admins when it's professional development chat time, and I won't have to get observed as often by admins during the school year.

I'm probably going to focus my electives on special education topics (since I teach cooperative/collaborative classes with lots of sped kids) and English-y topics. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll get a genuine lit class or two. :D

So I'll probably be bitching endlessly about my coursework come January. Just so you know.

May. 2nd, 2008

meh

I hate doing bills. They rape my wallet. Especially trying to get the credit card paid down before I stop getting paid for the summer. Bleh. Thankfully, our promised economic restimulation money will be enough to cover paying the card off pretty much completely in June. Woulda had it done earlier, but I bought the compy this year and I'd spent the beginning of the fiscal year paying off the hotel from Otakon in the summer. The good news is that the hotel I got for this year will be about half what I had to charge last year and much more easily paid off. (Worry not, this is just me whining. I am nowhere near my credit limit, have enough saved to definitely last the summer, etc, etc. I kind of had to blow a good chunk of my savings getting the car, and I kinda want to rebuild that.)

In more amusing news, yesterday was the Day of Unexpected Underwear. Sometimes I wonder what the kids are on that they leave such weird random stuff sitting in my room. (It was disposed of in the trash. Nobody came running back to claim it, and I hardly need or want random floor underwear.)

I still think that relationships that involve having to care for another person should be reciprocated out of love rather than a sense of obligation. (The whole "you shouldn't have to thank someone for everything" thing I wasn't too good at articulating earlier.) Self-proclaimed literary experts who completely miss the boat on a story that most children immediately understand make my head hurt. (I mean, there's a reason why most kids and adults like The Giving Tree. They know the tree is representative their mommy, if only unconsciously, and that makes them think of their mothers and love them more for the knowledge that their mothers will always have what they need and be happy to share it.)

The cat has not repeated the poo-head thing. Instead he's continuing his campaign to shed as much as possible on my light green sheets.

Got the CD I ordered in the mail. Mwah ha ha ha ha ha for classic 90's kids televison.

I'll probably update the book list later. I only got around to reading two this week. I've decided to adapt the book meme to an assignment thing since apparently though we read pretty much every day in my class, we don't read enough books. Am still kind of boggling about the whole ZOMG BOOKS hysteria that the department as a county-wide whole has, since it's not indicative that kids don't read period, they just tend to get turned off to books over the course of time. Will attempt to use positive reinforcement a la most elementary school reading programs to get kids to read more (am betting that the admins will approve of taking a class to celebrate if presented with proof that all individuals in said class read 25 on-level books that year, lol). Will see how this plays out next year.

I have developed one hell of a stress tic in my right eye. :| Between regular school, spring insanity, and all this HSA hysteria I'm way too burned out to hit the Anon protest this month. I know I'm not going to have the energy to go next week. Plz to have 10 more people go out and protest in my place, kthx.

Next update: I will finally get an image for you of scary "Beauty and the Beast" Lex Luthor from the Superman comics, since Chellemi doesn't believe me about it. And possibly a picture of the cardinal hanging out at the feeder.

Apr. 24th, 2008

Caesar: Just doin' it for the lulz

According to the kids, Ancient Rome is officially totally gay. Even if most of them still confuse the Republic with the Empire.. it's still totally gay. XD

Been watching the 1970 Julius Caesar movie as a bit of a break after finishing the play. So far Brutus has been roundly condemned as a robot, Cassius needs a hefty dose of prozac, several people thought Casca looks like one of the assistant principals, and the best part of the movie hands-down was when Brutus ran on his sword.

Gotta love fifteen year olds.

I will say that the 1970 Caesar is a lot better than the 50's cheeze-fest with Marlon Brando as Antony that I used to show. Most of the actors in the 70's version actually manage to emote rather than just repeating lines woodenly. Even if Brutus didn't really manage it.

Also, Charlton Heston was surprisingly good-looking as a younger man. I can see why his milkshake brought all the ladies to the yard.

I am probably going to be horrible and delay doing grades until Monday. I'll post a note so nobody wonders where the report is, but I am complete braindead between the long hours after school with HSA prep and a touch of sleep dep from spring-induced ADD.

At least I get paid tomorrow. :D

Nov. 30th, 2007

Best things about this week:

--I actually got grades done and out the door before 4 PM today despite a massive backlog.
--One of my kids gave me a picture of her for my wall. :D
--Huntard kid wasn't completely obnoxious today.
--ADD kid wasn't in today. PEACE AND QUIET OMG THANK YOU LORD.
--I got to play Apples to Apples all during second period yesterday because out of a class of thirty kids twenty-five spent the period at the honor roll ceremony. (Would have been twenty-six, but one didn't want to sit through the ceremony and left after free donut time was over. TO GO TO CLASS OMG.)
--We will not get in trouble over the reading class schedule, even if that mess is back in flux depending on Monday.
--AP gave me an absolutely glowing observation report!
--We are getting the hang of having intelligent discussions without me having to ask all the damn questions.
--I got to watch another kid gleefully showing off Christmas decorations she'd made on another teacher's windows. Yay Christmas!
--Every week should have Mumfy's Muffin Monday. XD

Nov. 29th, 2007

/random

Work is work... I have a zillion papers I'm supposed to grade before going home Friday so that I can make interims. Since guidance is printing them for us this time, we need them done no later than sometime on Tuesday. Saves us a step later, but it robs us of time, man.

I think I just hate November and December in general. The holidays make me hyper and makes it hard for me to focus, and I have that whole lack of light = crazy person thing going on. January is often bad as well, but we get snow days in January.

I have also somehow been hooked into helping organize an inservice thing for CC teachers on how to co-teach. I am firmly advocating the idea of cake and prizes. Mostly the cake since I doubt I'd get a prize. XD

Speaking of prizes, I need to make a run on Michael's at some point for supplies for the fundraiser for the lit mag club thing. Kids voted on calling it Entropy. We're going to make mystery boxes and sell them for Christmas, but somebody is going to need to get things in gear if we're going to sell them in anything like time and I guess that's going to be me. I swear sometimes our department chair isn't here on Earth with the rest of us.

Payday isn't until next week and it's bill time. I'm probably going to be wincing about my lack of funds for a while.. need to pay rent and make my savings transfer this weekend so I don't forget.

Ran Deadmines and tanked. Much better run this time around than the last time I tried to PUG Deadmines. Nobody died once! Even if my luck with the dice sucked ass and I only got one green I couldn't use and a shadowgem. At least I got the lumber for my pally weapon o doom. Now I just need to run Blackfathom Deeps and Shadowfang Keep. lollerskates.

Cat's stomach issues have cleared up, so now I'm just cleaning up after hairballs. Thank god. Of course, he had to tag my shoe with his last one. :/

Also, LJ just handed a magical dickhead tool to all the dicks out there. So glad I'm not an LJer anymore.

Oct. 17th, 2007

HAET.

I spent FOUR AND A HALF HOURS today with the idiot class because we couldn't get them out of taking the PSAT. Despite the fact that all but one I think aren't even going to college, they're all several grade levels behind in reading, and many have ADD/behavior issues. I really LOATHE AND ABHOR the one-size-fits-all mentality at the board that kept us from getting that class out of taking the PSAT, or at least giving them and their parents the option so that we're not forcing the severely squirmy kids to be in the same room as the serious ones.

Somehow we all survived, the room wasn't burned down, no other classrooms were disrupted, most of them at least filled in dots, and only one student was referred to the office..and that was after the test when he decided to be a drama h0r in the middle of the library.

I have to teach them again tomorrow, naturally, since my idiot class is also a daily class. Thank God we'll have three teachers in the room for it tomorrow and the third (who's our coach for this reading class format) suggested something fairly light rather than making them sit still and write a paragraph. (Especially since, yeah, the plan on that needs a lot of refinement that I currently lack the mental capacity to handle.)

I might say screw it for tomorrow for the rest of my classes and do something light with them as well. A round of "Fact or Crap" using the Dihydrogen Monoxide FAQ might be interesting and will keep the A-day kids from getting any more ahead of the B-day kids.

As for now, I'm exhausted and I'm going to read my theoretical physics book in my bed before there's a homicide report with my name as the chief suspect.

Aug. 22nd, 2007

My books, let me show you them.

I'm in the process of trying to build an SSR library in my classroom.. it's my first time finally being able to unload some of the books that I've been hoarding in hopes of actually getting to build a library, but I'm finding that my range of interests as far as fiction are slightly on the narrow side. Let's face it, I'm pretty well addicted to speculative fiction and fantasy, with perhaps a dash of historical fiction and horror thrown in... and most students prefer realistic fiction, which I don't like at all. (I'm of the school that if I wanted a real-life experience, I'd go have one rather than waste my time reading one.)

So, flist, I turn to you for help.

I need a list of the books that you loved while in middle/high school and any books that you read more recently and thought were awesome that you think a kid with about a middle school reading level would be able to handle. Recommendations for comic tradebacks, manga series, and daily comic strip collections are also welcome-- I do plan on stocking Calvin and Hobbes when I get over to the deep discount rack at the bookstore next. :D The point of the SSR library is to get kids to actually engage with text, no matter what form that text takes, and I know for a fact that comics can get kids to become readers since that's what worked on my brother.

I would especially love you forever if you could get me a complete set of Newberry Award winners for my library, but I jest. XD

In other news.. we got our laptops today. I swear, I'm going to need to get my name on mine somehow since they're all identical and I just know that everyone's going to start getting theirs mixed up!

Room's virtually done. I'm just fiddling with other odd and end sorts of decorations. (I need more poster putty.. and Staples is out and Target doesn't seem to have any stocked at all. And the laminator is still missing, so I can't put up my cool hiragana chart yet.) I'm starting on getting my beginning WOW activity planned out and pulling class lists and all that other sort of mundane stuff that goes into starting a school year. (I plan on giving the kids a cool survival kit and doing the Ordeal by Cheque, where you piece together a story about a person's life by looking at this collection of voided checks. It's kinda cool and forces you to read below the surface to make meaning, which is what we're going to be doing in the class when analyzing lit.)

Aug. 18th, 2007

I'm still tired and sore. Chores done at work for the moment. Until we get more books, at any rate. Moose went with me and helped hang posters and get all the textbooks stamped.

We have 282 10th grade anthology books. I know because I had to unpack and number Every. Damn. One. I just know it'll be like that all over again when the grammar books arrive. Speaking of, we haven't gotten any teacher materials from McDougall-Littel, along with the novels (they had a nice deal where you could order a novel per book you ordered.. we got a mega-set of Fahrenheit 451 and something else..) and the grammar books. We may also be a class set short, since they ended up changing one of the other teacher's schedules.

At least building passed inspection this time around. There are still a bunch of rough things that need repaired (my tile is still chipped, the moulding is still flopping everywhere, and I just discovered that one of the plates in the wall came right out when we were slugging books around) but at least we'll be opening on time after all.

It's weird being the baby of the department. Some of the other teachers have kids my age. @.@

Yesterday I enjoyed my day off by sleeping, cashing in a few odds and ends I had, and buying a bunch of CDs. And some neato glow-in-the-dark devil ducks that were on sale.

Tomorrow I hang with Sarah and Brian. :D And then on Monday it's back to work for training. And I get to go to the lovely broken-down high school that they converted into offices/meeting space which still suck because the building is unrenovated and full of asbestos and you probably get the idea. D:

But training for mah course can't be worse than the big department meeting will be. I have yet to go to one that wasn't eye-bleedingly boring. At least our admins planned for something that was useful. I guess that's why I willingly went to work on a Saturday morning. :3

Aug. 14th, 2007

The building is finally opening tomorrow~! I get to move all my crap over and inventory it all and try to get it put away and.... yeah, lots of setup work to do. At least I'm not stuck trying to haul the boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff the more experienced teachers are having to shift around. Being a long-term sub half of my first year and a floater all of my second meant I didn't really collect a whole lot of junk-- it all fits in a rolly crate, a big satchel, and a small box. (Well, not counting the posters. I went a little mad in the teacher store and bought a couple of the crazy-big ones as well as some of the traditional motivating teacher-y posters.)

We're also supposed to be getting these massive care packages from Office Depot (so far we've only gotten pictures.. but it's enough stuff to pile fairly high on a desk!) and I've got to look through all that and make a shopping list for the things I want to have that I didn't get in the boxes.

One of my friends is coming up to help me move my crap, since it's just a little too much for me to want to handle myself. (I are a wuss and I don't care.. my new room is on the second floor of a massive school.) Maybe we can get the furniture arranged as well. I figure we go in at eight, work a couple hours, maybe pull lunch, and we can split up afterward since she needs to go to the library to get some stuff together for a job interview. And I can clean and hang up stuff and get my posters laminated...

I dunno, this is all very free-form since I really won't know what my plan of action should be until I get there. I was considering just moving it all myself, but then I got all chicken. :/

Went clothes shopping today. Spent a ton of money.. it's impossible to find nice clothing for cheap anymore! And I had to replace most of my socks/undies/bras in the great purging.. but it's been a few years since the last time I went through, so I don't feel too guilty about the expenditure.

..Maybe I'll do some more clothes shopping tomorrow after I've done all I can do with the room. There's a Fashion Bug not that far away.. or I could catalog shop. Lane Bryant is kind of a bust in the area yet-- it's really kinda barren and a little depressing at the mo.

Aug. 7th, 2007

Jorb

So, it being my first day as a 24-year-old and all, I figured I should finally come clean (to a select few) about my job so that I can actually start posting in detail about it. I've spent the last couple years being pretty vague about it, even in f-locked posts, but IJ is a different animal from LJ, and I just decided to say screw it. It's not like I'm going to post about it publicly.

Relax, I'm not a porn star. XD

I'm a high school English teacher. Yes, we really are that kinky. I work for a public school system in Maryland, though I'm not gonna tell which one. Been doing it for two years now (this will be my third), and I earned tenure last year which means I'm off the probationary period all new teachers go through and pretty much have my official cred seal of approval. My next trick will be getting my master's (in English.. I don't have any real interest in administration or any of the supervisory/specialized programs) so that I get an advanced certificate and I can keep my job.. since I'm required to get one at the 10-year mark anway. (I'm seriously thinking about trying to do it as an online course, or maybe a combo online/summer program, so that I can keep my energy more evenly distributed between teaching and being a student.) Someday I'm going to make people call me doctor, but that's way off.

I'm back on the job two weeks early since I got selected to be part of the faculty for a new middle/high school that's opening up in the county. It's been a fairly exciting process-- the principal is someone I interviewed for when I was initially on my job hunt and I liked him a lot, and he's managed to pick a group of people who are just awesome and friendly. It's like a whole other vibe from my previous high school, which, while pretty cool, just didn't seem as open and energetic as our group is. A lot of what we've been doing is teambuilding, sharing ideas, and making sure we have a common vocabulary going as far as lesson planning and what the administration will be looking at when they do evals. (Yes, teachers get evaluated! Sometimes multiple times a year!) Our building hasn't completed inspection yet, though, so we're meeting in another high school and an office building about twenty minutes away (the actual school's about three miles away from my place). The office building is this ancient denatured high school that doesn't even have central air (though they at least installed window units so we don't die in there) and we met in the cafeteria in the high school today.

Lemmie say, those integrated table-stool things they have there are secretly Chinese torture devices. They're all right for an hour or two max, and after that I started getting the pain. My butt still hurts. :/ And we were forced to use them as chairs all damn day. I really hope when we go back there Thursday we don't!

I'm actually still kind of in shock since for the most part the administrators are just awesome at conducting these meetings despite the fact that normally such things are eye-bleedingly boring. They get information out quickly and concisely and (gasp!) even tell jokes. One of the APs was even using lotto tickets as a motivator to get people to talk when it was real early this morning, too. XD The only really boring part of the day was when one of the county people was in and talking about PLCs, and it was more like the usual sort of presentation (the sad thing is, with those sort of things if you've heard it once you've heard it a zillion times).

PLCs are the big thing in the state and probably in the rest of the country right now. It stands for Professional Learning Community-- basically, it's a model where the team/department/whatever is more than an administrative unit and we're supposed to pick topics of importance and problem-solve. I've been in one PLC or another since back when I was student teaching-- they were piloting the PLC program at the middle school where I interned, and it's been PLCs ever since. The cool thing is that the administration actually put some structure on the PLCs rather than making it an extra busy-work kind of thing. We're all in three PLCs-- course, department, and vertical (basically, all the teachers of a particular subject over all the grade levels in the school)-- that are the natural groupings for when the county wants us to do inservice and improvement projects to begin with. And we got time built into the schedule so the only time we're having to work after school (and thus off the clock, so to speak) is the obligatory monthly department meeting. My course PLC is two people and the department is five since the high school part of the school is only 9th and 10th grades, and the 10th grade PLC got a whole bunch done as far as what we're going to focus on for the year (all two of us). It's extra neat since the other 10th grade teacher is the department chair, and we're totally on the same page despite the rather large difference in our ages. (I'm the baby of the department again-- I'm a year younger than the other third-year teacher there.)

I keep hearing rumors that there are going to be all sorts of awesome things we're getting in our rooms. I'm just orgasmic because I will have access to Powerpoint again! I mean, yeah, Powerpoint slides are often abused horrendously by people who don't understand that it's supposed to be a supplement to actually talking and not the be-all, end-all of what you're saying. But I got used to using Powerpoint all the time in college and I've sorely missed it in my teaching assignments. Most of my really neat techniques involve being able to project a computer screen! And I think I'm going to make it a personal goal to see how many cat macros I can legally relate to my curriculum.

I just really hope that we're not stuck in the cafeteria again on Thursday. :/

Jun. 16th, 2007

~.~

Well the pain is over until next August. I got all my sign-out stuff done except for debt forms and final logout done before noon, and I was all cleaned up by about 1:30. Moose showed up a little before 2, but I had to wait until we got the all-clear notice before I could leave. Which kinda sucked, since I was stuck waiting with nothing much to do.

Grades were flawless as always, though, so I was able to bounce out promptly at 2:30. And that's all she wrote. No longer a Bobcat. (Though I did get a cool mug and a book of recipes from an old fundraiser as a going-away present. XD I have a cool mug from all the places I've taught at.)

In other news, I decided to run the literary magazine for the new school. It's a paid position, so for a few extra hours a week after school I get a little over a thousand added to my paycheck. I'll need to learn the software for the layouts and such and guide pretty heavily the first year or so, but I should be able to take my hands off and let the kids run it themselves. (Which is surprisingly awesome to do. I know Anime Club started actually doing events after about a year. And the Reverie staff at my old school were just amusing to watch.)

I have to make up a class for good old Multicultural Education on the 25th, and after that I'm completely free until August 20 when I go in for training for the reading course I'm supposed to be doing. I'm inheriting the students from a friend's reading class exclusively and she's mentioned how they're all cool, so the reading class should be a joy to teach. I'm told I've gotten students into English hardcore when they weren't before, so I'm kinda looking forward to it.