Random Notions and Stories of Teaching

May 31, 2005

Books, books, books

Carrie asked a very good book question.

I like books that don't require much thinking. Hehe.

I like romance novels (I'm such a girl). My mom read Harlequins...my mom's mom read Harlequins...I imagine my future daughter(s) will read them too (when they're old enough!). If I have any. I like romantic mysteries, like Sandra Brown's books. I love children's books. Harry Potter is a fav and it is on the list as of July 16th. I just read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (and its 2 sequels). I LOVED them. I also like Meg Cabot, she writes the Princess Diaries books (even though I like the movies better...I LOVE Julie Andrews). If I see a movie I really like, I usually get the book and really enjoy it. I really liked the Bridget Jones Diary books.

Does that help anyones suggestions?

Putting the favorites off another day as it is late already.

May 30, 2005

Busy, busy, busy

So...Friday went really well. We made fuzzy caterpillars, jewelry, and watched the Incredibles (3rd time is the charm). The kids really enjoyed the day. One even told me it was the "best day of her whole life". I love 3rd graders. Hehe. Another teacher loved the fuzzy caterpillar idea (I love giving new ideas to other teachers).

Saturday morning, hubby's parents arrived. Saturday we planted flowers. For those of you gardeners we planted: canna lillies, elephant ears, black eyed susans, zinnias, and evening primroses. Then we bought dahlias, salvias, and some geraniums. I may be really getting into this gardening stuff. I'm scaring myself! :) Don't tell my mother-in-law. We also went shopping. Yippee! I got a double hook for my hanging baskets...and some new socks from Target. Target has the best socks! I got teacher socks and some socks with cats on them (to add to my collection).

Sunday, we went to the zoo! Everyone went. Hubby, me, his mom, his dad, my mom, my dad, my brother, and his girlfriend. We saw lions and tigers and bear, oh my! I am hoping to get some pictures from my brother's girlfriend to post. She got some really good shots. It was really wonderful. I am so happy that I will have that memory. We all ate dinner at Brown Derby Roadhouse too. My steak was awful, but everyone else had a good meal. I'll survive.

This morning, the inlaws left early. My mother and I went grocery shopping. Yay! I love any kind of shopping.

My goal for the week is to get a summer schedule made for us. Where we will be, when we will be there, etc. I want to make a list of summer jobs. I also want to make a list of books that I want to read this summer. Any suggestions?

I love this time of year. I am always filled with so many goals. By mid-July I am in a vegetative state and rueing my lack of motivation.

Tomorrow I plan to borrow Cori's "favorites" idea. :)

May 24, 2005

Bugs, Flowers, and Lu-Lu Bug

Ohhhhhhh what a weekend. Saturday, I planted some more plants. Anyone who knows me would be shocked. I am very anti-gardening. My grandmother was a fabulous gardener however, mother and I are cursed with black thumbs. Earlier this month my uncle cut off allllll of my grandmother's old Japanese Yew bushes. Oh, how I hated those things. To replace the bushes, I planted boxwood bushes. I really like them. They're neat and they don't get too tall. I've planted 12 so far. I've also added 4 white azaleas (they will look nice with the brick house) and an Alice Christenson Lilac. The color is listed as "purplish-red"...woohoo! It just looks so neat! I hope it is! I also planted some light and dark pink impatiens. Good grief...I might be getting into gardening! Oh no!

Saturday night/Sunday morning I came down with some horrible stomach flu. Luckily...it was only really a 24 hour thing. I gave myself an extra day...just to be safe.

Finally, this is the 2 year anniversary of Lu-Lu the wonder beagle coming to live with us. We got her from my husband's uncle. She had 4 brothers and a sister. She was adorable.

So today, Lucy and I had a Lucy and Mom evening. First, my puppy (ok, she's 2 but whatever), is not allowed outside unleashed. She is allllll beagle and will take off after a scent never to return. Plus there are idiots racing down our road constantly, not to mention gravel trucks barrelling down the road. I do NOT want a puppy pancake. We used to put her in the tennis court where she could run unleashed and chase her ball. Until she wriggled under the fence...now she's leashing it again.

Her ball. Her favorite toy and a gift from Molly the Border Collie. It is awesome!
She loves this ball. It is better than a tennis ball. She will actually retrieve this ball 95% of the time (she is a beagle). She also loves to shake her head with the ball in her mouth so it whaps her `round her head. If you are in the market for a ball for your dog...this is the one! Anyway...

We went for a walk around the farm...visiting our most favorite smells (the cows, the sheep, the calf, etc). We walked along the quarry site (across the street). Then we sat in the yard and played. Finally we went for a car ride.

Love your pets. Goodness knows, I do!

May 20, 2005

Stop me if you've heard this one...

So...I have a unique situation (for me) and I need ideas.

Next Friday is the annual 4th grade field trip to Amish country. This is a *big deal*. The kids leave at 9 from school and return sometime after 7:30 (barring any delays). Since the social studies teacher, who knows all about this stuff, is a 3rd grade teacher, he is going with the kids. This means there will be a sub in his room (he's requested me...so I am hoping I get the job).

Here's the problem. I will have his kids ALL DAY. No, I am not a baby. I don't mind his kids all day. The thing is the other 3 teachers the students have will be gone on the trip. That means, no math, no reading, no composition. He is not equipped to teach any of these things. The other teachers on the team offered to send assignments for the students...but c'mon, its the last Friday of school. There will be 3 days of school left.

So...I need some ideas for activities I can do. I don't mind doing "work" but since teachers have closed out their grades, I don't want to do anything hard or complicated. I want them to have *gasp* fun. I was thinking some sort of writing activity, a reading activity, a math activity, a science/social studies activity, and a perhaps...a craft. Please don't make me resort to showing The Incredibles for the 3rd time this year (different classes, mind you).

Any suggestions? I'm getting desperate! :)

May 19, 2005

One rant after another it seems...

You know...I really resent when teachers know they are going to be out and their duty schedule mysteriously changes so that they have duty those two days.

Normally...I don't mind, but in a day with NO breaks, why do I have duty when the other 2 teachers that trade off have a specials break? When the system is set and changes the same way all time and it happens that I get a day with no breaks, that is one thing. But this was intentional.

I feel set up.

I feel used.

Grrrr....at least there are only 9 days left!

May 18, 2005

Teaching music?

So...I have finally found a teacher I do not like and do not really respect. In fact, I find it very hard to be nice to this teacher. (This is so not like me...I'm a nice person. I want everyone to like me and I want to like them.)

This person is a music "teacher". Why the quotes you ask? Because sometimes, I have a hard time believing she teaches sometimes. First and foremost, this person CANNOT play the piano. What kind of music teacher cannot play the piano? Even a little! I was in choir from 3rd - 12th grade and band from 5th - 11th grade and I can play enough piano to hammer out a melody for students to sing with. She cannot be backstage at her musical productions because, after all, SOMEONE has to be there to push PLAY on the CD PLAYER!

When she doesn't feel like teaching, she lets the kids color pictures of orchestra instruments. Today, they were watching a movie. Heck...why teach? Wow...they're learning a lot. During her "dance unit" she had them learn a dance in two lines. The dance consisted of 5 steps. As an eight year dance veteran, I was appalled. Where is the square dancing!? Where is the line dancing?! Where is the DANCING!? Doing boogie woogie fingers (index fingers in the air while you move your arms up and down) does NOT a dance make!

A big annoyance for me regarding this woman she is always early. If the kids get out of music at 10:50 and you are not waiting at the door at 10:45, she will walk them up the hall to your room. Mind you, the next class hasn't left and isn't waiting. TWICE on Monday she let the kids out early (like 5 minutes early!). Then, she has the GALL to tell me that I am early for lunch one day. Um, actually, I am on time. SHE was late coming to the cafeteria for her lunch duty. When I have lunch duty, I am there early. I resent losing my break time because she doesn't want to do her job!

She has instituted a new recorder policy. Students must return a signed practice sheet once a week. If they don't have it, they lose recess. Does she take responsibility for those students? No, it falls to the homeroom teacher (like they don't have enough to do). If you institute consequences, YOU take care of them. Furthermore, she screams at the children. Screams. I have no respect for someone who does this.

The music teacher at the other 2 schools does huge elaborate productions that drives everyone nuts...but she has high expectations and those kids are introduced to different musical influences. Not only do they do recorders, they play keyboards! SHE plays the piano. No one has to wait for her to push play on the cd player. She knows how to direct!!!

Hmm...maybe my standards are a little too high.

May 17, 2005

Work and family

Whelp, so far this week I am working 3 days out of 3 days (I am working tomorrow, so I am counting it now). I was supposed to do gym tomorrow from the gym teacher at my mother's school (he told her last week he was going to be "sick" Wednesday...lol). However, I am returning to the G/T class.

My "real" post for the night is concerning my cat, Oliver. First, let me preface my story with some general information. I have 3 cats:

Hokie (4 years)

Ollie (3 1/2 years)

Socks (1 year)

I also have

Lucy, the smartest beagle ever (yes, I'm a little biased)

It is also important to note that (for now) my pets are my furry children. I love them dearly.

So, last night we decided Ollie's eye was beginning to look like he had an eye infection (common with Persians). We had an appointment for today at 2, but I wanted to get him in that night. We managed to get a 9PM appointment with the vet that fixed Socksy. The vet on duty happened to be the one we saw when Socks and his brothers were sick (dying) and I hadn't cared for him then.

He checked Ollie over and didn't see too much inflamation around the eye. We were still concerned because he hadn't been eating or drinking for about a day and a half. So the vet checked the rest of him and discovered this mass that was about the size of a plum. That was his bladder. Ollie has bladder stones. The vet (who I really like now, btw) showed us a diagram and printed off information about the condition for us. He told us that while the procedures Ollie would require can become quite pricey (we're talking $500, ), the condition can ultimately result in death. He left the decision up to us. I didn't even think...FIX MY BABY!

The doctor wisked him off for emergency surgery. Needless to say, I was a mess. It's very unnerving to walk in with your animal and leave with him being prepped for surgery.

By the time we had driven home, there was a message from the vet. Ollie is...erm...unblocked :) and on IVs. They also put in a catheter. This evening the vet called back with an update. By morning, Ollie had pulled out his catheter...which means he is feeling better. They put him back under and put it back. He is currently recovering and doing well. They are keeping him for a few more days because his bladder was stretched and his bladder muscles need time to tone up. Reader's digest version...Ollie almost died, but he's recovering well. Me? I'm a mess. :)

And as the icing on the cake...they have decided not to continue publishing my Disney magazine. Talk about triggering a depression. I NEED MY DISNEY FIX!

I am off to watch the Academy of Country Music Awards...yippee!

May 10, 2005


Mom came home from school today and announced their school would be hiring 2 teachers next year, instead of the 1 they thought they would be getting. We're still in the "fiscal emergency" mode next year so hiring and purchasing is going to be kept to a minimum. In fact, they are "suspending" 10 contracts.

I'm glad for her, because they don't need the big classes that losing a teacher would cause. On the other hand, for me, it sucks. I honestly don't stand a chance of being hired (at her school) while she is there and I understand and accept that. Plus, the way they are doing their looping eliminates me from the position. They teach 3rd and 4th grade looping. I am certified PreK-3 because that is the way STUPID OHIO has decided to do their licensing. As new people fill in positions, gradually they will phase out the K-8 certification. So, unless I want to go back and get licensed 4-8 (which I do not, because I do NOT want to be moved to middle school because I am certified and no one else is). Maybe I will call ODE and see what is required to get 4-8 certification. I need a job. I can adjust to middle school...right?

Honestly, the whole job situation just depresses me. I'm tired of subbing, I want my own room. Not to mention the fact that I find myself questioning...everything.

Can I have my own room? I have no idea how to plan a whole year.
What if I forget everything I learned in school?
(I feel it slipping away already)
What if I am a bad teacher?
What if my kids don't learn?
Maybe I haven't gotten a job because I don't interview well. What am I saying wrong?
Is it me?
Is it them?
Is it Ohio?
Should I start looking into another "career" (job)?
What if I end up in a minimum wage job for the rest of my life? I went to college, I don't want to work at Wal-Mart again.
Should we move?
(I REALLY don't want to)
How can we survive if we move?
Where else could I find free housing and family next door? Living here allows me to sub and still survive since hubby is just starting to get nibbles on jobs (since he changed careers).

Grinding nature into oblivion!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh....summer is finally here. For the time being!

Hubby and I were awakened at ten `til 8 by the Stump Man. Hooooooray! At 9 he arrived and ground our stumps (24 of them...15 were bushes), except the one I forgot. So, we'll have to deal with that. I'm such a goof.

Between the nice weather and the grinding of the stumps into oblivion I am in a good mood. I told hubby my new motto is "Grind nature into oblivion!" Don't be alarmed! I'm actually considering planting something this year but we will see. I did save some of the lillies of the valley that were in by some stumps. Gotta figure out where I am going to put them now. I also trimmed the two green bushes that we left. I may have gotten a TAD overzealous. Of course, I have another saying (that I get from my Grandpa), "If I trim it and it comes back, it was meant to live...er...be." :) I like pretty things (like any girl), but I want them to come back every year and not take much care. I just don't have the time or desire to keep up with them.

After we reduce the size of the beds and if I have the money, I am thinking:
  • Elephant Ears (MIL will bring the bulbs and they're soooooooooooooo cool looking)
  • Impatiens (probably white, since the house is red brick)
  • Lillies of the valley (transplanted)
  • Evening Primrose (MIL will bring and SO cool!)
  • Stella O'Dora Lillies (I have a bunch of these already in a flower bed by the back door...need to thin them out so they start filling in...MIL will help with that)
  • Zinnias (somewhere where they can fill in...they're so pretty)
I am thinking of planting boxwoods where they old bushes were. I know, I know..."you just got rid of the bushes". I got rid of the bushes because they were Japanese Yews. #1) I hate them. #2) They're extremely poisonous to animals. I live on a farm...HELLO!? Anyone know any other bushes that don't get very tall, but also provide some windbreak? I don't like evergreens, fyi. lol I also need a nice small tree for the corner of the house. Again, something small that grows SLOWLY.

Any suggestions of things I should/shouldn't try? Remember my rule, comes back every year (I want a few annuals though) and little upkeep. I live in Ohio so that should be taken into consideration too. Hehe.

Usually, Ginny is right about Tuesdays, but today is shaping up pretty good. Of course the day isn't over yet. :)

May 09, 2005

You Might Be Employed By a School If...

You Might Be Employed By a School If...

1. You believe a playground should be equipped with a Ritalin salt lick. / You believe the staff room should be equipped with a Valium lick.

2. You want to slug the next person who says, "Must be nice to work 8-3:30 and have summers free."

3. You can tell if it's a full moon without ever looking outside.

4. You believe "shallow gene pool" should have its own box on the report card.

5. You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, "Boy, the kids sure are mellow today."

6. When out in public you feel the urge to snap your fingers at children you do not know and correct their behavior.

7. Marking all A's on report cards would make your life SO much easier.

8. You think people should be required to get a government permit before being allowed to reproduce.

9. You laugh uncontrollably when people refer to the staff room as the "lounge".

10. You encourage an obnoxious parent to check into charter schools or home schooling.

11. You can't have children because there is NO name you could give a child that wouldn't bring on high blood pressure the moment you heard it uttered!!

12. You think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.

13. You know you are in for a major project when a parent says, "I have a great idea I'd like to discuss with you. I think it would be such fun!"

14. Meeting a child's parent instantly answers the question, "Why is this kid like this?"

15. You're not talking about a food group when you mention "vegetables".

16. You believe in the aerial spraying of Prozac.

17. You have ever had you profession slammed by someone who would NEVER, EVER DREAM of doing your job.

18. You wonder how some parents ever MANAGED to reproduce.

19. You believe chocolate is a food group.

An overshare? Perhaps.

Ugh. Sinus infection is MUCH better. Barely any nose blowing today (hooray!). However, there is one little gastrointestinal side effect. Sometimes I have the side effect after I eat...sometimes I don't. Without getting too technical, it becomes a priority though. Ok...now that everyone has stopped reading. lol

I worked all day today (for the same woman I worked for last Monday) but I am contemplating turning down any more jobs offered this week. I had to leave the kids alone for a few minutes this afternoon while I ran (RAN!) to the restroom. These were the "good" kids and I threatened them then bribed them so they were good. But there is no way I could do that with another group of kids (I shudder to think what kindergarteners would do!).

I don't want to get a "bad rap" as a sub because of a medicinal side effect. On the other hand...if I don't work, I don't get paid. Any suggestions?

May 05, 2005

This, that, and the other

Haven't worked in two days...I'm glad. While the cold has disappeared I think I am getting/have a sinus infection. Been blowing my nose allllllllllllllll week....green is bad, right? Did I share too much? :) My face hurts...right by my cheekbone, beneath my eye. Being sick sucks.

Talked to my mom's kids about my Mexico and Spain trips on Wednesday...so I thought I would share some pictures. Hope you enjoy.


Alcazar in Granada
Lion Fountain...most photographed place in Spain

Spanish Royal Palace

Wizard's Temple, Uxmal

Sunrise in Akumal

May 03, 2005

The week in review...

I made it through 9 days with the same kids. Now...I think of them with affection...mainly because I don't have to put up with their crap! Hehe.

Monday I worked across the hall from where I was the past 2 weeks, 4th grade math. I love this woman's class...what's not to love, she's regrouped the kids so that all the G/T and smart kids are in her class. It's truly a wonderful group. They pick up on the sarcasm. They're funny kids too. The highlight of the day...kids turned in $606 in Mathaton money...in addition to the $700 dollars Friday. Today she had $200 by 9AM. For a smaller school...it is a lot of money!

Today, I worked next door to my placement yesterday. Science/Social Studies. It was only half a day, so it was nice. Drove to school with the radio turned up, singing along with the radio...I'm sure I looked silly. But it was nice anyway.

Last night as we were leaving school, I see a student in a friend's class zooming up to the school on his bike. He parks said bike and enters school. Today when his teacher arrived there were stuffed animals (from her bottom file cabinet drawer) out, glue sticks on the floor, and candy missing. Money in her desk was not missing. Mom says we can't accuse said student. Uh, why not! He's a known theif and we watched him walk into the building last night. That's enough proof for me. Probably another good reason I am not a full time teacher...I'm still to snarky. I need more time for the system to beat me down.

In non-school news...spent money I didn't have at the store to get 3 movies. National Treasure (gooooood movie)...I spent the extra $5 to get a book. I am such a nerd. Pocahontas (to add to my Disney DVD collection). Again...I am such a DISNEY nerd. Random tangent...did I mention the paint color I like best for the living room is called Buzz Beta Sector (yes its a Disney paint color)...it will go with my Mickey's Pants color in the bathroom. I am SUCH a Disney nerd. Lastly, I bought The Phantom of the Opera (and the book). It was soooooooooooooo good. I was not disappointed and I set high standards!

Side note: (To anyone who was in the same theater as me when we went to see Phantom in theaters) I apologize for singing along with the movie at the top of my lungs...it's such beautiful music...I couldn't help myself!