Random Notions and Stories of Teaching

August 31, 2005

First day

Someday I am hoping I will need this post. Even now, I find it amazingly helpful. Thanks Mz. Smlph!

First day of school. Guess I am looking forward to a new year of challenges. Ok, I am trying to psych myself up for another year of subbing and failing miserably. Oh well, just payin' my dues. :)

Can't watch the news on New Orleans. So much horror. Trying to get my mom's hall to organize a school wide drive like the did after the tsunami. We shall see how that goes. Just when I get ready to complain about the day of rain we just had, I remember there are people without food, shelter, or other basic care. I really am lucky.

August 30, 2005

Outsmarted by HaloScan

I keep having HaloScan put in the code for me because I was messing it up on my own. However, any time I try to edit something on my blog it reverts to the old comments. Grrrrrrrr. I'm supposed to be good at this stuff. I've only had HaloScan add their code about 10 times.

Oh...and why didn't anyone tell me flickr was sponsored by Yahoo! I am getting into this blogging stuff now!
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Graceful

Since Cousin Eddie was brave enough to share one of her more embarrassing teaching moments, I decided I would share two of mine. I'm a world class klutz as of late, but there are two that stand out in my mind.

First, both took place during my graduate school placements. That's right, I was an embarassment to teaching BEFORE they gave me a license. Now that is impressive! Sadly, each moment took place at a different school. Doh!

I completed my student teaching during the winter/spring session. It was an unusual winter in Roanoke, VA. In February (my first month of student teaching) they had a total of 12 snow days. They forcasted snow and school cancelled! Boy do I miss that now that I live in the snow belt where we hardly ever cancel school.

Anyway, I was walking into school one morning after there had been some icing. The roads were clear as was the parking lot. The sidewalks had been salted and the black ice was melting. I grabbed my gear (I always had a ton of stuff), locked my car, and started walking toward the door to my cooperating teacher's room. I stepped over the parking lot berm and onto the sidewalk (it was a step down), took two steps, heard the door opening, and WHAM! I was on my butt. At this point my cooperating teacher's aide has the door open and is shouting that she told the janitor that the sidewalk was slippery and that someone was going to fall. Me? I want to die. I quickly jump up, brush myself off, and act like nothing happened. I'm sore, but nothing is bruised but my pride. Meanwhile, the aide is informing everyone she sees that I fell. Mortification.

I arrive in the lunchroom that day (having successfully gotten through the situation - or so I thought) when my cooperating teacher tells me that I need to go to the main office and fill out an accident report. I don't wanna! I want to forget anything happened and sink into the ground! But I went and filled out all the required paperwork. As I am walking back into the cafeteria the principal stops me (this is a new principal in an inner city school, he knew we were there, but didn't have much opportunity to converse with us interns) and asks if I am ok.

I want to die. Not only does he know what happened he knows my name. Talk about making a first impression! (Of course, later he offered me a job, so it couldn't have been too bad) He spoke to me every day for the rest of my time there. I meet another intern in the hall and she asks where I am going/where I have been, since I wasn't with kids. I simply said I needed to go to the office to fill out an accident report. To which she replies, "Oh! So you were the one that fell. I heard one of the VT interns slipped on the ice this morning. Are you ok?" Mortified.

My second little gem is by far the worst for me. My second internship took place at a county school. This school was also an open school. You know, where everyone shares one big room. I could see into the other "classrooms" of the two interns who were also in third grade. There were five third grade teachers and I maintain that I had the best one. She was this tiny spitfire of a lady. Totally Southern and totally sweet. In fact, before my internship was over she invited me to her house and made me dinner. She had never had a student intern/teacher before but after I left she told my advisor she would take another. (Yay for me!) She was great.

Anyway, I was in the middle of doing reading centers. I had set up 4 centers. She wanted a handwriting center where she could work with the kids. I did guided reading and in between they worked on various independent activities. The whole affair was going just swimmingly.

I stood up to help a student find his place in the basal and when I went to sit down, I forgot I had moved my chair. I went crashing to the floor. I wished I could just sink right through. All of the children were deadly quiet as they stared at me. My cooperating teacher jumped out of her seat and rushed over fawning all over me. "Thought you'd have broken something at least" etc, etc. Only when I began to giggle did the kids join in. I think I scared them more than me. Poor things.

Later, I found out that the other two interns, whose classrooms were literally right next to mine, hadn't heard a thing. Maybe this open classroom idea isn't so bad.

August 29, 2005

Randomness

Quick medical update: Hubby instructed me this afternoon to up my pills to 3 a day (I had been taking 2 since Friday). The glucophauge doesn't seem to be helping. My blood sugar isn't astronomical (approx. 130 - 160), but it still isn't right. Yes, I know 130-160 is high, but considering my uncle was hospitalized and they found his bsl was over 500...that is high. Geesh, I never want to get that bad.

I am wondering if I shouldn't just say frack it and get the D and C. Considering that the doc told me my uterus lining was extremely thick, I am figuring that a D and C is the only way that is going to be solved. Hubby made a good point. They need to get the other problems (blood sugar and thyroid) straightened out first because I don't want to have a D and C then need another one later. You better believe when I go to see the new doc on the 15th I am going to mention it. This is getting ridiculous.

Anyway...yesterday wasn't the greatest day. I am back to feeling consistently bad. Cramps from about 11 to 4, where all I can do is lay in bed and wish I were dead. Anyway, last night we decided to go to Cici's for dinner. Stupid me, I asked my father why he put our trashcan in the middle of the driveway instead of just putting it out of the way. Apparently, this pissed him off royally. He started shouting (and cursing) at me. Yelling for me to take him home. So, I turned around and took him home, effectively hurting my mother too. Since she would have to cook because (in her words) we couldn't get along. She's right. I let them out at their house, where he cursed at me some more.

I know I haven't done much this summer. I have spent an entire summer feeling sick. I don't want to do anything. I just want it to go away. Even being sick I did get SOME things done this summer. (I made a list last night, to prove it to me)

1. My mother and I cleaned my house and her house. Now, her house didn't get cleaned as thoroughly as it should have, I admit that.

2. I taught summer school for 3 weeks. I went every day, all day. With the exception of the retest day, where I needed someone with me, in case something happened medically, I did it on my own.

3. I helped my mother take down, clean, organize, and prep her room for this coming school year. I do this most every year. I don't mind. Her room is as close to my own classroom as I am going to get this year. I did the bulletin boards. I enjoyed it.

4. I've tried to maintain the lawns. During July, I felt my worst and hubby took up the slack for me. However, due to the hot July weather lawns only needed mowed once. I am now currently working my fricking tush off to maintain my lawn, my cousin's lawn, my aunt and uncle's lawn, and my parents lawn. If I got on the lawn mower at 8AM, I would be lucky to finish by 8PM. There is a HUGE amount of lawn to mow. The price of living in the country.

Honestly, I think this arguement stemmed from 2 things.

First, I think he is angry that I didn't rush right out and sign up to sub at the county schools. Right now, that is not an option. My body is so screwed up I don't want to be in a classroom responsible for small children when I don't trust myself. Until I get my health straightened out, I don't want to spread myself too thin.

I also think he is angry with my hubby. (And apparently I have to bear the brunt of his hissy fit) He was mad when hubby wasn't working. Now, he's mad that hubby is working. Good grief! It puts me in the middle constantly. My parents want the best for me, I get that. Hubby and I have our issues. He knows what things I feel he needs to work on and what I need from him. That being said, he is so good to me. He takes care of me. He thinks of me first, no matter how hateful I may become. He worries about me and does anything I might need from him. Yes, he could do better, but he is trying and that is fine with me. He's my husband and I feel like they want me to choose one or the other to be loyal to.

Last night was the first time in almost 3 years that I actually thought moving home might not have been such a good idea.

Yeah...bad night, that sums it up.

P.S. I just accepted my first work of the school year! Three days for one teacher in October. Leaves me plenty of time to mentally prepare. Teacher I like (she's a trip), school I don't like as much (I'll deal). Yipee!

August 26, 2005

Hurrah?

Well, after Thursday's doctor's appointment I was (maybe am) a little depressed. There is no evidence of PCOS (which really is a yay, but it would be nice to know its not just me...something defineable). Anyway, my doctor went over all my test results. One word kept popping up. Abnormal. How I loathe that word.

Uterus size: abnormal
Left ovary: abnormal
Thyroid level: abnormal
Glucose level: abnormal

The doctor perscribed me glucophage: 500mg, 3 times a day. To me, that sounds like a lot. Of course my fasting glucose level was 203, which isn't good. However, I think it was weird. It's been much better since I have been watching what I have been eating. She wanted me to get into my family doctor right away. Well when I told her I didn't have one she marched herself right out to the family physican who shares her office and got me an appointment. In fact, before I left I had met the new doctor (also a woman and pregnant, due in October), gotten a glucose monitor, tested my sugar (144), and scheduled an appointment in September with the new doc. Talk about a whirlwind! I love my ob/gyn though, the family doc wasn't accepting new patients (of course not...being pregnant), but my ob/gyn got me in with her.

Great. So I went today for more thyroid testing (just in case the last numbers were a fluke). Then we deemed today E's Last Hurrah! Hubby and I went to the fair where we shared a gyro, french fries with cheese, and some iced tea. I did not share my hawaiian shave ice. We picked up Chinese for dinner and some cookies for dessert. If I ever see anymore food, I think I will gag. No more food.

Tomorrow I go back on my diet...and start on the glucophage. Yippee. Oh...and the original problem is back. ARGH!

As I told hubby this evening... this summer SUCKED. And I had such high hopes.

August 24, 2005

Training?

Gyros. Corn dogs. French fries. Hamburgers. Kettlecorn. Fresh lemonade. Fried vegetables. Candy apples. Caramel bananas. Cotton candy. Hawaiian shave ices. Fried oreos!

Yes, Mom and I went to the fair today. Ohhhhhh the fair. Considering I wait ALL YEAR for fair food, I think I did well on my diet with only a gyro, half a small fry, some iced tea, and a few handfuls of kettlecorn (Mom is divving that up so I will have some to enjoy all week). It was delicious! Usually I feel like Templeton from Charlotte's Web after a day at the fair, but I managed to control myself.

Hubby and I are going to try and go Friday afternoon when he gets home from work. I am worried about how crowded it will be. But hey, worst case scenario, we leave. I've already been there! It was nice to peruse the fair and see what things I definitely want hubby to see and if there is anything I want to purchase when I go back.

The only thing I may want to check out again is the italian charm stand. Afterall, I have 18 charms to fill in on my bracelet. I've decided to be extremely picky about my charms though, because after I get it filled, then I am done. What will I do then? I do have my heart set on a Virginia Tech charm. Just have to find one on Ebay that I like and that isn't $24. $24!!! Are they insane!?

Tomorrow is my doctor's appointment. So far, things are pretty good. The weening of the pill has been a rousing success (almost sounds dirty, doesn't it?). Now, I'm just hoping for a diagnosis, a plan of attack, and somewhere to get my medicine that won't cost me $36 a month! Sheesh! Plus I want some reassurance it won't get bad again and if by some strange reason it does get bad again, I want a plan of attack that does not include going to the mean hospital. I would like to be some semblence of normal again. P.S. I don't like the pill. It makes me cranky (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

In other news, my father called last night to read me the add from the paper about all the county schools needing substitutes. He really wants me to pick up more than one school district. Even though working one district allows me the free time I want/need and I work enough to get a good reputation in the district. Family relations may have a little bit to do with that. Anyway, it lists all the things you need to bring in order to be a sub for the county schools. Social security card, driver's license, current negative TB test, state background check (possible FBI background check since I haven't lived here continuously for 5 years...grrrrr), etc. You know the drill. Then there is this little tidbit about training:

Subs must attend a two day training session. Topics for training include:
- Classroom Management Techniques (hey, I don't mind that, I am always willing to get some new/different ideas)
-
Teaching Strategies (uh...I covered that pretty thoroughly in college, thank you very much)
-
How to Read Lesson Plans (Are you freaking kidding me!? I have a MASTER'S DEGREE in Education, I think I can figure it out!) My mother summed it up really, she said, "We don't leave you lesson plans, we make you bring your own!" And they do! I think I am competent in this skill!

August 23, 2005

AESOP, not just a fable anymore

You know...the training session wasn't so bad. The bad part about the training session was the asinine questions people asked.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

Some people seriously need to get out more. My favorite was the lady who wanted to know the percentage of jobs that are "last minute" (morning of). Well, duh, most of the jobs are last minute. The district is encouraging teachers to post jobs as soon as possible, but they can't make them. Besides, sometimes, people just get sick! She would not let up, "but what is the percentage of calls?" WHO CARES! Good grief!

The gentleman that wanted to know if he would lose jobs because he wasn't on a "preferred list". Yes, no, maybe? The tech guy basically said maybe and gave the example that one person can only take one job for each day. This guy got ANGRY.

Let's see...a retired teacher informed us that "at her old school" if they wanted a particular sub they would just call them right before they were putting the job up and tell them it was being posted and to snatch it up quick. Uh...that's cheating. I'm not above doing that for the teachers at my mom's school, but its cheating. The look on the admin's faces were priceless. It's like telling the class the answers are in the back of the book.

The "older" subs (retired folks) are downright cranky. Geesh. I plan to take things as it comes. If I start to see that I am not getting enough work, I plan to call the county schools and get on their list. (After the "training session" however....I will be livid if I am required to sit through a course entitled "How to read lesson plans". Are you kidding me!?) After 3 years of subbing, I am becoming.....resigned (?) to my fate.

I've already recorded my name in the system so I am ready to go. Our system becomes live on Monday. So I see myself spending all of Monday constantly refreshing the site to see if I can get some work.

Is it wrong that I had to stifle a giggle when someone mentioned that if they are online, they're on their phone. Ahahahahahahahaha, cable modem ladies! Ching, ching!

August 19, 2005

Charmed

I just had to share one of my birthday presents. It is unbelieveable.

First, my cousin's wife has started a business making italian charms. She personalizes them with your own pictures. They're really neat! So, for my birthday my mother got me a charm bracelet! But its not just any bracelet. It's unbelieveable.

There are five of the large charms. It takes two of the 9mm charms to connect the large charms. On each of the five charms is a picture. One of hubby and I (wedding picture), one of my parents, one of his parents, one of my maternal grandparents, and one of my grandfather and his second wife (surrogate grandmother). That in and of itself makes it extremely precious. Then she added pictures of my animals (Hokie, Ollie, Sock, and Lucy). Then my brother's baby picture and senior picture. Finally is my baby picture and a senior picture. I still have 18 charms left to fill in on my bracelet! It is the best present. I'm so excited. I know you couldn't tell, that's why I said it. I will have to get her to send me pictures of the bracelet.

Cumpleanos Feliz

Happy Birthday to me! Wow...the big 2-5. This has been an extremely nice birthday.

I went to lunch and a movie (where I didn't COMPLETELY blow my diet...just a little) yesterday with one of my best friends. Speaking of movies, if you like girlie movies, you have to see Must Love Dogs. First, I do love dogs, so I was convinced I had to see this movie. This was my second time and I don't see movies repeatedly.

Today, hubby woke me up semi-early (9AM), hey, for summer that is early! We went to the mall where we searched high and low for the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack. I've checked every Wal-Mart, K-mart, Best Buy, and Target in the area with no luck. We finally found it at fye for $20. Egads! We got it anyway because if I buy it online, it'll end up being that much (shhhh, that's my rationalization). Then he took me to Olive Garden for lunch. I love, love, love Olive Garden. It's my favorite restaurant, bar none. Instead of getting soup, salad, and breadsticks like always, I splurged and got lasagna. Mmmmmmm. It was delicious. Well worth the diet guilt.

Did I mention how super sweet and super cool my dear hubby was about my birthday present? He actually listened, read my mind, and delivered. Of course, had he not spilled the beans a few days early I would have been TOTALLY suprised by my gift. As it was, when he told me, I was totally surprised. He got me one of these. I absolutely love it. I'm not addicted yet...but I feel it coming! So far I have two games: The Sims (not the new one, its not out yet), which hubby bought to go with my present and Jeopardy. I can't believe how much I love this Jeopardy game. It's sad really. A grown woman yelling at the screen because the categories for double jeopardy STINK! Hehehe.

Did I mention there is a Brownie Batter Blizzard Cake in the freezer? Ohhhhhhhhhh yes.

August 15, 2005

Happy Birthday Dad!


Today is my Dad (and his brother's) 58th birthday. Wow...they're old.

The best thing about the picture above, is neither Dad nor Uncle know who is who. It is like that for most of their childhood pictures. My grandmother never wrote who was who on the back of photographs (don't get me started on that woman). Anyway....no matter what, my Dad's a pretty good guy to have around.


Happy Birthday Dad!

Hope

Found this at Yahoo...thought I would pass it on, in case anyone actually reads this. ;) (Thanks to everyone who does actually read this)

Blog for Hope

August 10, 2005

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Broke down and went with my mom to get my hair cut today. For years I went to chain hair salons, specifically, Famous Hair. They gave me my first perm. I was adorable, if I do say so myself. However, over the years, I got disgusted with the ever changing staff. The same girl never cut my hair twice.

Add to this the fact that while I like my hair, I am stylistically challenged. I can curl my bangs...beyond that, I am all thumbs. I look forward to having a little girl so I can practice braiding her hair. To me, hair is just there. Pull it out of my face and off of my neck and I am good to go. I live in the boonies; hair isn't a big deal. It's a necessary evil.

So I went with my mom to get my hair cut. D has been my mother's beautician for as long as I can remember. In fact, my mom had D's children in school. One of my earliest memories is sitting with my mom in the salon while D cut her hair and feeling an earthquake. I couldn't have been more than 4. But I digress...

D has been my beautician for at least 5 years now. She went to hair shows to get ideas for hairstyles she could do with my hair for my wedding. She's a neat lady. I trust her implicitly. Anyway, I went to get a hair cut today. My hair was way too long, thick, and blah. Simply put, I was not happy with it.

The woman is a miracle worker. I sat down in her chair, said "I want something different. This isn't working. Not too short because my face looks round, but not too long because then its limp and icky."

I love, love, love my hair. She cut it shoulder length and then razor cut the sides so it is not so heavy but not bushy. I love that I can just plunk myself down in the chair and trust her to work her magic. I am just thrilled. It's hard for a antihair person such as myself to describe. I will try to get a picture (here's where that digital camera birthday present would come in handy -- hint, hint -- only 9 more shopping days).

August 09, 2005

Dear Parent...

Dear Psycho Former Parent From Hell ,

I am sorry your life is so devoid of meaning that you must harass people who went out of their way to help you, not to mention your child.

These people cared about your son and wanted to help him achieve. You would have none of that, since you wouldn't get money if he wasn't learning disabled. Shame on you for using your child to get money.

I'm sorry you have so much leisure time on your hands that you will continue to think of asinine things to sue the school system over. Your latest "charge"? Puh-leaze. Get a life lady! I pity you. Your life must be so empty.

That being said...if my mother, who has decided to retire after 36 years at the end of this school year, suffers anymore mental anguish from your antics I cannot be responsible for the lawsuit YOU receive. Everyone under the sun has told you they did nothing wrong. The state department of education passes your complaints around...YOU HAVE NO CASE!

You didn't get your way. Get over it!

Sincerely,
An outraged daughter, citizen, and teacher

August 07, 2005

Count down...

Dear Friends and Family,

Once again it is that time of year. Yes, it is the season of my birthday! Only 11 shopping days remain! Don't leave your shopping until the last minute. Afterall, this is a milestone birthday, the big 2-5. I don't feel that old, but the fact remains after I do the subtraction that is the number that keeps coming up.

I would also like to remind you of h0kieerin's Birthday Week of Fun. Yes, an entire week of celebration must be observed. Since the fair has decided to move a week later, a trip to the county fair will no longer be part of the festivities. We're all saddened by this loss. My birthday also no longer falls during college move in time, so there should be no danger of that late night "oops I forgot your birthday" phone call from mom.

In preparation here is a brief list of DREAM birthday gifts:
- anything Mickey Mouse (it's an addiction, I've accepted it)
- a digital camera (I'm dying for one...really)
- The Sims 2
- Gift certificates in general
- Another kitten...it can live in the garage, just like Socks! (Hey, Socks spent one night in the garage. He thinks "garage" living is pretty cushy)

Sincerely,

H0kieErin

August 06, 2005

"Invited" to MANDATORY training

I received a notice in the mail today from the assistant superintendent "inviting" me to a mandatory training session for all the substitutes in the district on August 23rd. Uh...thank you? Where shall I RSVP?

The reason for the training is the district has decided to implement that AESOP (Automated Educational Substitute Operator) system. This will be my first experience with this type of system. I am worried. 1. Because I don't like change. and 2. I am worried about getting as much work. As it is now, I get a lot of calls because TSC (the sub caller) knows I will work if she calls me. I am reliable and game for just about anything.

So...anyone have experience with this system? Should I be worried about working?

It's hard to not get discouraged about getting a full-time position when I am entering my 3rd year of subbing.

August 04, 2005

Another week of the same old same old

I apologize for not posting as much as I should, but the fact is, all I do is whine about not feeling well lately and I don't want people to stop coming.

Another week of the same problems. In fact, as each day passed, things got worse. She had instructed me to go up to 2 pills a day. If that didn't work, go to 4 pills a day for another week. Two pills didn't work. It helped, but not enough. After seeing the mental toll this is taking on my dear hubby decided HE should call my doc because apparently I back down and downplay my problems. Who me?

So starting last night, I began my one pill every six hours routine. Hubby says that the doc said if four pills a day doesn't stop it then I am to go to the hospital. Honestly...that is what scares me the worst. The hospital in and of itself doesn't bother me. However, the way I was treated last time I went is something I don't want to go through again. What happened last time? Oh, do let me share my horror with you.

-----
Flashback My "girl problems" started in May. I had never been to the ob/gyn and it scared me. However. by June I decided things were getting silly, so I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood (the only place I could afford having no health insurance). June 20th I went to Planned Parenthood. They wouldn't do an exam since I was still...having "girl problems". But they handed me three months worth of birth control pills and said, "See! I bet you didn't think you could get birth control without an exam!" Yeah. Yipee.

So I faithfully started taking my medication. It made me sick. Like clockwork, 30 minutes after I took it, I would run for the bathroom. Then I would spend the rest of the night feeling queasy. So after 2.5 weeks, I stopped them. The problem hadn't gone away (in fact it had gotten worse) and I was sick of being sick. The night before the 4th of July, I let my mom and hubby talk me into going to the ER.

After taking blood and a drive-by pelvic (that's what I've decided to call the minute - and I timed it - that the doc was in the room) they told me to get an appointment with an ob/gyn in 4 days because there was nothing they could do. They didn't see a problem. Afterall, the doctor said, "blood does clot". Fine.

I called the ob/gyn and they said their first available appointment was July 18 (2 weeks later!), After some wheedling, they agreed to *try* and squeeze me in on the 14th.

Then the following Friday it got worse. I put up with it for 2 days, hoping and praying it would go away. On the 12th I decided I should follow my last ER visit's post-care instructions of coming back if it got worse.

We finally left after 2 hours without being seen because I was sick of the nurse's looks and the whispers. Add to that the fact that the triage nurse told me that I had to go to my Thursday appointment. DUH! (she ASSUMED I had been canceling them). THEN she proceeded to tell me that I need to get seen because they couldn't (and I quote) "keep putting out fires".


--------------

See why I really don't want to go back to the ER? Sure, I could go to another hospital...but this one is literally 10 minutes from my house and it's the only hospital I've ever gone to. Plus, I know we qualify for reduced cost care due to low income. I think my worrying is making it worse, but its hard not to worry. Especially when you are a worrier.