Tuesday, November 27, 2012


So I've applied for a job at a school that values its teachers very highly. 

I wonder what it would be like to work in a place like that?  I applied not sure if I would be OK with accepting an offer.  Of course I don't have an offer, but what would I do?  It depends.

To help me fill in the ledger, I looked back over the blog at what I've written about my school.  Brief flickering moments of joy shine among long, frustrating slogs.  That's the impression I have of the last two and a half years, interspersed with some true disasters -- the 2nd science fair that the students just didn't do, dealing with students who are not normally socialized, etc.

And I still feel like a square peg in a round hole, even more so when I look at the grades my students are earning in other classes, and I click through to see their assignments in the other classrooms.  I see that I have three times as many assignments/assessments - usually 3 or 4 a week.  How else can I hold them accountable?

The bottom line is the majority of my students don't care whether or not they pass science, because they can fail science and still get promoted at my school.  This policy is sub-optimal, as institutional support is lacking from the get-go, but I'll still go through the motions of printing out missing assignment reports and calling parents and all that.  But every time I do those things, I keep thinking, why am I bothering with this? No one cares about this except me.

This week, balancing chemical equations to a crop of eighth graders who can barely do fractions.  It's going to be interesting.

Oh: Thanksgiving was awesome.  I have photos and will get them up eventually.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I want to say something about today

I started the day running late because I couldn't decide what to wear because that new teal shirt I just bought has a grease stain on it already.  And it's cool, cold almost, in the mornings, but hitting 80 by mid-afternoon and that means dressing in layers and figuring what I have to layer that won't leave me either too hot or too cold seemed impossible this morning.

I ended up going into work in a perfectly serviceable outfit that I did not like one bit, and that set the tone for the day.

It should have been my easy day, since I only teach 3 (long) classes today, but it wasn't.

Without getting into anything specific, let me just say this: if a student makes comments about my personal appearance ("Mrs H has a nice butt") and constantly invades my personal space and touches me even though I have repeatedly made it clear that behavior is unacceptable, the person that needs to change is the student, not me, regardless of the excuses her older sister and her mother make.  That exchange was the coup de grace.

I'm seeing way, way too much "I reject your reality and I substitute my own" behavior.  There is only one reality and we all have to live in it.

Or maybe we don't, but I don't want to live in the world some of these people are inhabiting.

Monday, November 12, 2012

home alone in "winter"

My kids have school today, and I do not.   It's weird to be home by myself, and even weirder to think that just a few years ago, this was my default existence.   I'm thrilled to have this extra time to catch up on grading and planning -- the last two weeks we've had things scheduled nearly every evening after school, which makes it hard to keep up with everything else.

Not-summer is in full swing, arriving as it usually does: one day, it's just not hot any more.  It would be nice to slide gently into cooler temperatures, but we routinely go from the mid-90s to the mid-60s in three days or less.  I'm scrounging around in my closet looking for shoes after wearing sandals every day for the past 8 months.  Presently I'm in a sweatshirt and slippers and feeling chilled.  It's only 72 degrees in here and I'm used to it being 80.

It's hard to convey a "laughing at myself" tone of voice in print -- but I am.  I don't miss Massachusetts winters one bit, as even in this 72 degrees my hands are feeling stiff.  For me, cold = pain, and I am very grateful that this is, more or less, as "cold" as it will get.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

digging out

All apologies to East Coasters who are literally digging out in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  I'm just digging out from the pile of grading that I managed to stack up, somehow, but am finally clear of, just now.  That was a long slog, but instructive.  It doesn't matter what odd things are popping up on the school schedule (high school AIMS tests, for example), I should still keep up on my grades because they seem to multiply if I leave them out of the gradebook for any length of time.

Recent days feel like a long series of unsteady stumbles from one minor crisis to another.  DS2 is reprising his annual "I don't feel like doing my schoolwork" routine, precipitating extra work for DH (checking math homework) and me (checking the signed agenda and other completed homework).   DS1 is doing congressional debate and impromptu speaking, and, as usual, puts in just enough effort to be fair-to-middling or sometimes even pretty good, but doesn't push for excellence. 

My own students require a "means business" teacher and I am too much of a squish to do that most of the time.  One of my biggest problems, I just realized today (stupidly, some 13 weeks into the school year) is that on Wednesdays and Thursdays I need to eat!  The other days I get my prep hour around 10 so that's when I have my breakfast.  On block days, I don't have the same schedule, so I end up starving and cranky.  Not good. 

Healthwise I'm doing well on my weight (steady around 137 if I don't drink alcohol too often), reflux, and arthritis.   I have enjoyed the occasional Starbucks tall decaf skinny mocha without getting sick afterwards, so that's progress.  I'd love to be able to drink coffee regularly, but I think it's the dairy that's getting to me, and I love my half-n-half possibly more than the coffee.  I've been having Trader Joe's peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets for breakfast, and that amount wheat doesn't seem to be triggering any horrible reactions.  Admittedly some nights my entire body is throbbing with pain, and I'm not exactly sure why, but at least I'm still sleeping well and generally feel fine when I wake up in the morning.  My hands are bothering me slighly these last few days.  I'll just have to keep an eye on things as the weather cools down.

Crazy weekend ahead - debate tournament and DD's birthday party.  We survived Halloween with a minimum of fuss (other than me haranguing DS2 about blowing off more schoolwork...), but that's just an illusion.  We're in the crazy time now, and there will be events every week between now and Easter -- or at least it's going to seem that way.