Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Lesson Learned: Kids have guilty consciences. Use this to your advantage as a sub.

Today I was an 8th grade history teacher. Ms. B, the teacher, was on campus in meetings all day, so I took over her classes. Boy, I really earned my money today! Those kids took all my energy and every trick I knew just to keep them from climbing out the windows (literally; I'm not kidding). All they had to do was spend 10 min at the beginning of class reading the paper, then work on a project and/or watch the movie "The Patriot." I mean, a real easy day. What I ended up settling for was just sitting still and not making a lot of noise, and some kids had a hard time just doing that. They either had to make obnoxious comments (which I ignored), or they talked or threw things at each other or hit each other. I had boys pointing fingers at each other in one class trying to tell me who "started it". After asking them to separate, I filled in a referral to the principal and told them that if I had to talk to them one more time, they were going to the office. That shut them up right quick. Another class was talking and being noisy and disrespectful when I was trying to introduce myself and tell them what they were doing for the day, so after asking them to quiet down 3 times, I said if they continued to be disrespectful, they can stay after the bell and practice being quiet for 15 seconds. Most of the kids quieted down, but one boy said, "OK." So I did. I put a check mark up on the board and said each check = 15 seconds after the bell, and we'll just see how many checks we can get today. That shut up everyone else and they all jumped on that smart-alecky kid! Then they asked if I would remove the check, which I didn't. Luckily, that kept them in line the rest of the period. And I kept the whole class after the bell. heh-heh-heh

I laugh evily, but it is hard being a bitch. I know that is what I am when I sub (don't tell the kids that), but if I wasn't they would be all over me. I really like being myself, but as a sub I don't get the opportunity to relax and have fun with the kids.

After a day such as this, I went to the gym. After jogging for 30 minutes on the treadmill and 15 min of ab exercises, I felt much happier. Then it was off to Darleen's. She was hosting this month's WEST meeting. She did a really great job. Her house is really small, so she set up her backyard with tables and chairs and had a fire going in the chiminea. It was quite nice. It was also great talking to everyone. I feel that I talked a lot. I think I just miss having other people to talk to.

Anyway, had a pleasant evening. Came home and wrote my blog! Oh, yeah; I called Oxnard wanting to ask about my application, but no one was there. I left a message. I guess I'll just have to wait and see. Lynne gave my info to someone at Santa Barbara High School's Green Academy who needs an assistant. But, no word from him yet. I hope he calls me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Lesson Learned: There are better rewards than food.

Had a good day. Was my first day back OP. That is WeightWatcher's for "on plan," meaning that I journalled, kept track of my points, drank my water, etc. Was generally "good." It was my first OP day in what feels like a long time. I felt so good after working out that I immediately thought to treat myself to some sort of snack as a reward. Then I realized that I'm never going to fully maintain my weightloss until I look at how I see food. Food shouldn't be a reward, at least not for me. So instead I went to the store and tried on clothes for an hour. It was great! I loved trying on sizes that I could never have even dreamed of trying on almost 2 years ago. (Geez, has it been that long?)

I did some errands this morning. Had to go to the university to order some transcripts and get a copy of my CBEST card. Bascially shows that I passed a test demonstrating my ability to write an essay and do basic math. Oh, yeah. I forgot to tell you that I applied for a job as a junior high science teacher yesterday. I know, I said I would wait until next month, but I checked the website out of habit yesterday and found this opening in Oxnard. Yes, I said Oxnard. It is a bit of a drive, about 40 minutes, but not too bad as it is against the normal flow of traffic. Anyway, they wanted to see my CBEST card. Apparently, my cleared California single subject credential is not enough, eventhough I can't have one if I didn't pass the CBEST. Bleh!

So, let me tell you a bit more about this job. It is in a challenging area. Oxnard is quite rural, so there tends to be a large immigrant class there. Kids and families move about or are recent immigrants, so there are all sorts of holes in the kids' education. But, I like 7th and 8th grade. Life science is my love, and physical science at this level is mainly Newtonian in nature, so no big whup.

Anyway, the human resources person will be in tomorrow and hopefully will be impressed with my resume/application and grant me an interview next week. We'll see.

Tomorrow I am a social studies teacher at the junior high. Should be fun.
Lesson Learned: Home is where the heart is. There's no place like home.

Boy, it feels good to be back. I wish I had the time and patience to tell you all about our trip. (For pictures, click here.)Let me try to sum it up:
Day1-arrive in Newark. Tim's dad picks us up.
Day2- Dinner with Tim's sister and brother-in-law. She is the reason we are in Jersey; she is home on leave for a few days.
Day3-big 10 mile hike with Tim and his dad. Nice views. Very cobbley. MNF --Tuiososopo
Day4-Rent a car and drive to Boston to see Tim's other sister, who is an Americorp volunteer there.
Day5-Tour Boston via the Freedom Trail. Finally get to see some of those historical sites learned about in school. More interesting to be actually there.
Day6-Drive to western Massachusetts for fall foliage. Some snow. Cold but lovely.
Day7-Drive back to Jersey after organic breakfast at roadside cafe. Connecticut looks a lot like Mass. Meet friend of Tim's for dinner
Day8-Met with another of Tim's friends. Drive to Philadelphia in search of cheese steaks. Settle for Mr. Chicken where everything is chicken, even the turkey.
Day9-Fly home. Our 5 hour flight turns into a 13.5 hour adventure as the California wildfires prevents our plane from landing in LAX. We spend 7 hours sitting in the plane on a runway in Los Vegas. Plane runs out of drinking water, food, drinks, and toilet space. Flight attendants try to appese the masses by showing the other movie, "Legally Blonde, 2". (Don't think it makes it better.) Are allowed 30 min off plane while toilets are serviced. Tim and I use this time to go to the bathroom, fill a Nalgene with water, and buy sub sandwiches. Finally arrive at the airport, drive home. End up being up for 22 hours!

Friday, October 17, 2003

Lesson Learned: Always be sure to eat enough fiber and drink enough water. 'Nuff said.

Today was one of the easiest sub jobs I've had so far. I was a Special Ed Resource Class teacher. Apparently, Resources classes are very small; I had 2-4 students each period! Tim was surprised, until I told him the reason behind this was the fact that these are students who require a lot more attention than your average student. However, I do think that smaller classes are the way to go. A lot of students just fall through the cracks in a large class. I think that 20-25 is a great number.

Anyway, these students were good, but you had to have an extreme amount of patience. One student had ADHD, so it was a challenge for him to remain focused and in his seat for more than 5 minutes. Another student had anger management problems. And another had emotional baggage and ADD. You had to give these kids a lot more guidelines yet know when to back off and let them be, something very difficult to do in a mainstream classroom.

Luckily, the students were well behaved. According to the teacher, they had a rough week so deserved an easy day. We mainly watched videos and did a little bit of writing (15 min worth) and reading (45 min worth).

Then I went to BB's to relax and get help with my sweater. My goal is to work on it during my vacation.

Tim and I went dancing. The band was real good and a lot of fun!

Tomorrow I leave for the east coast! Hurray!

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Lesson Learned: Cooking is a fun hobby. It keeps me busy and we get to eat the results!

Had a good day. Felt like I had things to do. Did the stability ball class this morning. The regular instructor was out, so someone else took over this week. She has a very nice, calm voice, which is good, because she is asking us to do these things which kinda hurt! Her voice is so pleasant, you just find yourself balancing this and lifting that just because she asked! I was following along when part of me went, "Whoa, what the heck are you doing?" after doing this glute/thigh stretch while balancing on the ball.

After this, I met Sabrina at a Holiday Boutique. Basically, a bunch of crafty women (ie: make a lot of crafts, not shifty) set up shop in this other woman's house and a bunch of other women come in and buy their wares. I will admit that there was some very cute holiday stuff. There was one of a pair of snowpeople smiling with a sign that said, "Snow very much in love." I actually gushed at this (must have been responding to the high levels of environmental estrogen I'm not used to). Then my logic kicked in and realized that this is just "stuff" and I don't need any stuff. What would I do with it? Nothing. I'm not even going to be home for Christmas, which surprised Sabrina. But, her parents live here in town, so she doesn't relate to the "going home for the holidays" mentality that Tim and I have. She got it, though.

Then (and I'm really proud of this) I came home for lunch! Hurray! I fought the urge to eat out. First of all, I can't really afford it. Second, it would have been a lot of points. Instead, I had a huge salad (purging the fridge) and spaghetti squash. That is my new favorite lunch. The squash takes about 20 min to make in the microwave, but that's a lot shorter than 50 min in the oven. I think what I like most about it is that the squash is warm, and is a vehicle for tomato sauce!

Then I did a bit of odd jobs: Internet search for Tim, trying to find a bus schedule from his parents' house to the airport; called about subbing in another district; got some ingredients for dinner.

Then I cooked. I was having a lot of fun in the kitchen. The radio was blaring, the processor was processing, and I was dancing about. Tim came downstairs to say hi and noticed how happy I seemed. I guess I was. I really do like cooking. I don't know what it is. Before WW, it was more of a chore. Now, I like trying a new recipe and wondering what the heck it will look and taste like. And, I like the challenge of finding points-friendly dinners that Tim enjoys, too. I get real satisfaction when a low-point meal actually tastes good and satisfies his appetite.

Evening came on real quick!

Tomorrow, I'm at the junior high.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Lesson Learned: Food doesn't make everything better. You still have the same problems and now your tummy hurts.

I feel kinda tired this evening. I don't know why; I didn't do much today. Let's look back.....

Ok- there was that storage unit episode I already told you about. Then I went to the gym for about 2 hours. I lifted for about an hour and jogged for about 40 min (actually, 33 min of actual jogging and 7 min of warm-up and cool-down. Wouldn't want you to think I'm a stud or anything!). Came home, ate way too much and watched too much reality TV. I usually turn my nose up at those bachelor-survivor-money-love-Ted Nugent-type of shows, but I do enjoy some of the surgery-home-improvement shows. My new favorite is Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It is a hoot! I guess men know how to make the most of other men and stuff. It's funny how the gay guys swoop in, rearrange things, chuck other things, and shop, shop, shop, all to make a straight guy decent enough for his girl. What did the girl see in him in the first place?

After gorging on bad TV, I went for another walk. I figured it would keep me from eating (I eat when I'm depressed) as well as be good for me. My legs were a bit stiff after this morning's workout, so I took it easy and just strolled around town. God, I love living here. Santa Barbara is a beautiful town. You should all visit! Urban hikes are a great way to see your town. I checked out a couple of menus to a couple of restaurants (one a bit pricey; Tim is going to take me there to celebrate my getting a job. So, we'll see when that happens). I caught a student art show at the library, smelled a couple of roses, etc.

Then I went dancing. Had a good class. I got kneed in the thigh for the first time, though. I've been stepped on and I've stepped on many toes myself (usually my own), but intead of touching his toe to the arch of the other foot, he touched his toe to his ankle, which lifted his knee and as we were in closed position, I got whacked. Not too hard, though. I think I was more surprised than hurt.

No knitting. I don't understand the language of the pattern, so I'm going to see BB tomorrow. I was going to go today, but got sidetracked by my self-pity. Also I'm a bit intimidated by her.

Tomorrow I'm hanging out with Sabrina for a bit. She invited me to check out a craft boutique. I'm also going to the On the Ball class in the AM. I like feeling that I have stuff to do. Makes it easier than having nothing.

Then I sub on Friday. Yeah!

Oh. BTW- Tim and I are going out of town on Saturday and won't be back until a week from Sunday. Did I tell you guys that already? I don't want to tie up his folks' computer, so don't plan on any new posts. But, who knows! Maybe I'll sneak one in :^)
I'm feeling much better now.

I was feeling down this morning, so decided to get out and run a couple of errands. I had a minor emotional breakdown at the storage unit. I was looking for my credential (to officially register it) when I came across an observation during my student teaching days. It said, "Danielle had planned an excellent lesson. The materials were interesting and the lesson was well-paced...." and other nice things about me. I began to cry. I just want to be a teacher.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Lesson Learned: In the life of a sub, everyday is the first day of school. It's either kill or be killed!

Boy, am I pooped! I just discovered that being a sub takes a lot of energy. True, I don't have to GRADE PAPERS OR PREP FOR LABS/LESSONS, but I am constantly on the move nipping all sorts of mischief in the bud. It's hard growing eyes in the back of your head and increasing your radar sensitivity.

You know, teachers always ask subs for detailed notes on the behavior of their class. I know, that's what I expected when I taught last year, and that is what is requested by the teachers. The problem is twofold. First of all, having only 5 minutes between each class, I don't have time to sit and write down what happened, and by the time school has ended, I don't really remember what went on in the morning. Secondly, there really isn't much to say if the class was well behaved, which occurs most of the time at this school. So, if no one got hurt or sent outside and if everyone was focused and on task, then I think class went well and I forget the other details. Besides, other than really bad behavior, what else am I supposed to write down? How many people went to the bathroom? Who got up to sharpen their pencil? Who volunteered to read? Who asked for help? Today, I tried to write down more than I usually do, like the fact that AJ wants out of his group, and one of the special ed kids asked me for help, and that one group couldn't agree on a project. We'll have to see if this is better.

Tim suggested a walk in the zoo to unwind, so that's what I did this afternoon. It was nice. Since I used to work there, I visited with a couple of people and checked out some of my favorite animals. OK, I saw everybody (animals, I mean)! The guinea pigs used to be my favorites. I know, not exotic or exciting, but they make cute noises, there were a whole lotta them in one space, and the babies were sooooo cute! I guess I also liked the fact that they were snacks for some of the larger animals. But now they have been replaced with rabbits, and they don't run around as much as the guinea pigs! (I wonder if they are food, too?) Today I saw the gorillas; one of them was snuggled under a palm tree in such a way that all I saw was his silver furry butt. Two of the giraffes were cuddling (I realize that I am being anthropomorphic here). And the golden lion tamarins were hiding.

Well, so far, no job tomorrow or Thursday. I do have one for Friday. I will be either a science teacher or a special day class instructor. I ll find out when I get there.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Lesson Learned: It's amazing how much you see when you decide to take it easy. Everyone needs to take a time-out more often.

After getting up at 6:30am, just to be showered and dressed if a sub-call should come in, I ended up being dressed up and nowhere to go at 8:00am. So, I changed into my workout gear, and headed to the coffee shop. I was hoping to jog today, but my feet hurt; it feels as if I have a blister in each arch from my last two jogs. Therefore, I chose to walk the mile and a half to my favorite coffee shop for some java and a read. Remember, being Santa Barbara and being that we live in the foothills, it was more like an urban hike than a stroll, plus I walked as fast as I could. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and warm with the rose garden in bloom and the mission sitting proudly before the hills. (If it was cold and rainy where you were, all I can say is HAHAHAHAHA!).

Generally, I have as much fun people watching as I do reading at the coffee shop. It is usually full of stay-at-home moms and their toddlers this time of day. I can't get over these kids in their designer clothes drinking designer hot chocolate while their moms sip lattes and chitchat. Or there may be a table full of sorority sisters and their den mom talking over stuff I don't even want to know, though I'm sure it is intellectually stimulating and spiritually fulfilling at the very least. Or there is the lone guy and his Bible at that table. I try to leave him alone. Lately, there is an eastern European couple who order, then sit outside, she sulking and he talking to his cell in some language that sounds like German, but probably isn't. And, of course, there are all the other people who sit outside because they: a) have dogs, b) have small children who like to run, or c) smoke. I like to take over one of the two large old chairs they have in a corner and nurse my drink.

Once my coffee was done, it was time to hike back home. Even though it is all uphill from there, I like to take the long way home, and today I walked through the mission ruins to a back street and down a small park. It is just big enough for two picnic tables and someone to play fetch with their dog. I have been living here for almost a year and have never been in this park. It is very nice, has some lovely trees including a Freedom Elm, and a view of the ocean (on a clear day). I felt so good being there.

Well, tomorrow I am a life science teacher at the junior high. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Lesson learned: I can do it! (I didn't use any FlexPoints today!)

Another Sunday, another Weight Watcher's meeting. I had a 0.4lb loss. Not big, but at least the scale is moving in the right direction again. Sadly, next Sunday I will be in New Jersey, so I will miss my WI. Two good things, though: I will be on vacation and as a lifetime WW member, I don't have to WI each week. Betty, our regular meeting leader, was out today, so Lynne (the head leader for our area) stepped in. Let me tell you, this caused quite a stir in the minutes before the meeting. Being two different people, they have two different personalities and different spins on the whole WW thing. Lynne is very structured and has a tone of voice, which, according to one member, can make you feel belittled. Betty is more free-flow and forgiving. I like Lynne because she has been with the program for so long. She began today's meeting with a pic of her 28 years ago and weighing 100lbs more. So in that respect, she has worked hard and knows what she is talking about. But, she is a by-the-book person. On the other hand, Betty has lost 33lbs and will tell you that she does not like to exercise or cook. She even had one meeting where she asked us how we all cheated. You can't imagine all the negative vibes that were in the air before the meeting started, and most of it was next to me. I am now a volunteer greeter; I provide newcomers with a friendly face and get them started with the paperwork. I spend a lot of my time standing by the door. There are a couple of women who sit near me and we all chitchat about our weeks, successes, etc. Well, today they just took Lynne apart and praised Betty up and down. I could see why they feel that way, as they are different with different approaches to losing weight. But I began to feel a bit uncomfortable listening to them go on about Lynne like that. Luckily, the meeting started and was more fun than Lynne's meetings usually are. But I will be glad when Betty gets back.

Anyway, after that I came home and cleaned up a bit before making lunch. The downstairs was a mess, due to the butchering of our crabs and the many dishes/glasses used by our guests. I still have some dishes to do!

Eventually, I headed to the Y and had a marvelous 2-hour workout. I never thought I would hear those words come out of my mouth. But they are true. I lifted weights and then jogged on the treadmill. Animal Precinct was on Animal Planet as I was running. As you may recall, I like to watch/read the Animal Planet when on the treadmill at the gym. Today, two cops were checking up on a car lot owner and his guard dog while a team was investigating some cockfights, which, as you know, are illegal. I didn't realize that when these roosters are confiscated, they have to be put down. I figure, you know, it's a chicken and they're pretty stupid so should be able to adjust to a new life pretty easily. Well, since they are trained for fighting, when confiscated, they each have to be put in their own dark bag, because if you put them in the same cage with another bird, they will tear the shit out of each other. Therefore, you can't give them to a zoo or family or farm because they would kill all the other chickens!

Steelers lost as did the 49ers. And the Packers! What is going on here!?

Tomorrow is Monday and Columbus Day. Don't get me started on Columbus Day. In my 20s, I used to get all riled up because of Columbus Day and the way the native americans (north, south, and central) were treated and continue to be treated. Banks and the post office will be closed, department stores are having a sale, and school is in session.

I'm not scheduled to sub tomorrow as of yet. Part of me hopes I get called in the AM. I need the money!

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Well, began the day with a nice 2 mile jog. That really felt good. It was my first jog since my cold, and I'm glad to report that I don't feel bad at all. I have been taking it easy this week. In the past, I would do way too much once I thought I felt better after a cold, then get even more sick. Seems like I'm learning.

If you don't already know, Santa Barbara is the city of a thousand festivals. Take today, for example. There was the Harbor Festival, an Art Show with live music (so very much like a festival), and the Gay Festival. Tim and I went to the Harbor Festival and enjoyed the booths, especially the live fish. We bought two live dungeness crabs for tonight's dinner.

After deciding the food was too expensive, we came home for lunch. Tim then hit the zoo to take some pix, and I went to the knit shop. I FINALLY GOT MY STITCHING RIGHT!! I am soooo excited, as it means I can now begin on my sweater! So I excitedly cast on the # of stitches recommended in the pattern, using stitch markers and all, and then...I had to quit. I didn't understand the rest of the pattern. It was like another language. Let me give you a taste of a stitching pattern: Row 1- k up to last stitch before marker, inc * k rep. What the hell are they telling me?? I was going to ask BB, but she had a case of laryngitis and I had to meet Tim for the Gay Festival, which turned out to be a dud as there was no place for dancing! We were told that there would be a swing band playing around 5, so we should check it out. When we got there, the music was all right, but there was room for dancing on the grass only. You can't swing on grass.

Anyway, came home after wandering around down town. We invited 3 of Tim's friends over for a crab dinner and had a pleasant evening. Tim even built a fire, which was very nice.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Lesson Learned: You aren't perfect, you are going to make mistakes, so get over it.

Began today by being on time, which was good, and looking forward to an easy day, as all the classes were shorter due to an afternoon assembly (more on that later). All I had to do was pass out a packet that had vocabulary terms, a couple of vocab activities, and a true/false quiz the kids were to answer as they watched a short video. The packet had to be worked on during class, finished at home and turned in on Monday. Sounds easy, right? Well, to make a long story short, periods 1,2,3 ended up a whole lotta extra work because I misinterpreted the teacher's lesson plan. OOPS! :-P At least, I'm pretty sure I did. So, periods 4 and 6 had a lot less to do.

Back to the assembly. Let me just say that watching a bunch of 12/13 year-olds on stage, who can't really act, in a program they seemed to have written themselves and included time travel, rapping, inside jokes, and a rabid squirrel, is not something I enjoy. It was really bad. I was sooo bored. The kids in the audience were loud, and when they were quiet, I still couldn't hear those on the stage (they didn't seem to think that mics would be useful.) It felt like a big waste of time. The purpose was to explain the function of the....hell, I'm not really sure what the fuck the purpose was. The only thing I understood was that the new principal thought that dividing the students into houses, like in those Harry Potter books and other schools abroad, would be good for discipline and create teamwork and a positive atmosphere and blah, blah, blah. (Actually, this I got having lunch with some of the staff a few weeks ago.) There was some mention of the current house positions and that you can get points for perfect attendance and participating in lunch-time sports. I think a memo could've taken care of this. I mean, I had to run around yesterday finding out when I was going, which period, where did we sit, etc. And spend today rushing through instruction.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you're saying: What about the students? What about giving them a chance to display their humor and creativity in front of their peers? What about school and team spirit? OK, ok, you win.

Anyway, did have a good time with the kids, even with all the work I made them do. The teacher will just have to take care of things on Monday. Hurray for passing the buck! I hope I'm not generating too much negative teaching karma!

Afterwards, went to Tim's office. A friend of his was giving a slide show of his underwater pix from a trip he took a while ago. Then I met Darlene for happy hour, and ate waaaaayyy toooo many points worth of martini, mussels, fries, and calamari. But boy, was it good! Now the regret is setting in, as I weigh in on Sunday and had a lot of points yesterday, too. Well, I decided to eat those things, no one forced me to. I was trying to lose a couple of pounds this week since I gained so many last week, but I guess my resolve wanes around Thursday. Hmmmmm....always on Thursdays and Fridays. I wonder why? Maybe the weekend has something to do with it? Also, I did work yesterday and today, so maybe ate due to stress?

Whelp, now I'm sleepy. Tomorrow Tim and I are going to check out the Harbor and Seafood Festival. Should be fun.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Learned lots of things today!
#1: GATE kids are just as annoying as regular kids.
#2: No matter how tired you are, a walk feels good.

Today friends, I was a 7th grade social science teacher. The teacher was very organized, which made my job easier. Also, I got to school late (bad substitute, bad!) and got to class just a minute before the tardy bell. Luckily, this school does morning announcements over the PA system, so it gave me a chance to read the lesson plan. Basically, I had to pass out a test and make sure they didn't cheat. After the test, the kids had to do SSR (sustained silent reading for all you non-teacher types). This was more difficult than it sounds. Just picture yourself at that age, no teacher, with a sub who expects you to be quiet for the entire class period of 55 minutes! Yeah, it was like that. I mean, some of us would have a hard time sitting still and reading for that amount of time in a comfy chair with a nice cup of tea, some mint meringues, classical music or jazz playing in the background, with a fire going and a light drizzle outside the window....excuse me, where was I??? Oh, yeah, school.

Anyway, after I had collected all the tests, I let them quietly "discuss the test" and do homework for other classes. That kept them busy for the last few minutes, and they actually behaved very well. I just had to growl at some GATE program (gifted and talented education) kids because, after doing the first 2 or 3 questions, they were commenting to each other about how easy the test was. I said if they spoke again, I would take away their test and send them to the office (heh-heh-heh). After the tests were in, I said to save any comments for Monday, when their teacher returned.

Which leads me to a tangent: OK, so the kids know I'm a sub, and that that means I am not their real teacher, and most teachers give the kids a heads-up if they aren't going to be at school, and give them an idea of what they are going to be doing while the teacher is absent (at least that is what I did). But I don't think they put it all together. What I mean is I get a lot of flack for the lesson plan of the day, which the teacher put together. Like today: some kids complained about the test to me as if I could fix it or it was my fault the test was set up that way. I've even had kids say that what we were doing was boring and why did they have to do it. It's not like I came in and decided to do the boring thing. (After re-thinking this scene in my head, the student was probably being obnoxious.) Their teacher did. I told this particular student that it wasn't up to me, and she said, "But aren't you the teacher?" I guess being kids, they see adults like me as having control over their school lives, which is true. Unfortunately, this excludes me. On the bright side, I guess that means they respect my authority.

The other side of the coin would be substitutes that don't follow the teacher's lesson plan and do all sorts of wrong stuff. I've heard of this occuring a few times.

Well, since I've had the pleasure of subbing at this school quite a bit this last month, I am starting to see more of the same kids in each class. I got lots of comments on that, ranging from being so-and-so's personal sub to stalking what's-his-name at school.

I think that subbing has been good for me. It has given me a chance to focus on my classroom management skills. As a real teacher, most of my days were spent planning and researching lessons, creating curriculum, and GRADING. As a sub, my most important task is to maintain control of the class so that they can do the assignments at hand. My withitness has greatly increased!

It's time I brush my teeth, floss, and gargle. And get to bed! Tomorrow, I am the same teacher, which is good. They are beginning a unit on the Medieval Europe. My favorite period of time!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Lesson learned: It's amazing how much you don't eat when you're busy and out of the house!

I got up this morning, and decided I needed a cardio workout today. Lately, I've been jogging, but for some reason chose to attend an aerobics class at the Y. I was ready for a new workout! I'm glad I joined the class. It almost kicked my butt! I wasn't panting or anything, but I was humbled. I thought I was somewhat in shape, but turns out that I'm not. It was also a challenge following the instructor. Some of the patterns were different and unknown to me. Luckily, they were repeated so I had some chance of catching up with the class. The nice thing was that there were lots of different levels in the class, so it wasn't like I was the only one lost or the slowest/fastest one in the class. It made me realize that my coordination needs some work!

After my workout, I hung out at the knitting store (re-reading this, it sounds funny to "hang" or "chill" at a knitting store!). The owner, BB, was nice enough to get me started on my sweater. She had to remind me how to cast and stuff, which was why I was there. My maternal grandmother taught me how to cast, knit, and pearl about 6 or 7 years ago, and I haven't done any knitting since then. I made 3 pairs of socks using 4 needles. Apparently, socks are a more advanced pattern, so the owner thought I was more experienced than I feel. Once I got about 4 inches of knitting done, she looked over my work and told me I did it incorrectly. When she showed me how to do it right, she said I could continue or start over correctly. I decided to do it the right way. I also learned that the style of my knitting is Continental as opposed to American (English). Makes sense, as my grandmother probably learned from her mother who learned from her mother who was from Italy.

This evening, I attended a curriculum fair at the county education office. I really enjoyed myself. Not only did I get exposed to a lot of good ideas being done by teachers in the area, but I got to visit and socialize with some people I haven't seen in a while. It always feels good to talk with other teachers. We understand where each other is coming from. Also, since I made no bones about my subbing, I may get requested by these teachers to sub for them. Heh-heh-heh…a little networking!

I made calzones for dinner, which were pretty good. As you know, I love cooking, but recipes requiring dough suck. Don't get me wrong; they are usually easy and very tasty, but they are really messy! I get flour everywhere: on me, the counter, dishes, cutting board, floor, etc.

Anyway, ended the evening with dance class, came home to hot dinner and sweet boyfriend (he did the dishes, hurray!). Now I’m writing to you, and will go to bed after I do a bit more knitting.

Tomorrow I sub. I will be a junior high social studies teacher. I wonder why they don't call it history anymore? It is a two-day gig. Let me tell you, I love feeling that I have something to do and somewhere to go. It gives me a sense of purpose. I feel very good about today, with all my errands and whatnots. I know I'll feel good about tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Today was my first day back on my feet. I think that head cold is gone, except for a bit of congestion. I felt good enough to participate in the On the Ball class at the Y today. I still find it amusing, a room full of grown women, bouncing balls and stuff.

I even went to a knitting store and bought a pattern and some circular needles! I am FINALLY going to work on that sweater I've been meaning to knit myself. It will be a basic raglan pattern, with a hood. I'm pretty excited. I'm using this great wool that I bought from a supplier in Maine about 5 years ago. It's still all skeined up and everything. I balled one up this evening. Am looking forward to knitting on the plane the weekend after this.

Also, I'm thinking about applying to Trader Joe's. There is a new one opening soon near my house, and I figure if I could do it part-time, without interferring with my subbing, then it would be a good thing. But, we'll see.

Anyway, going to bed now. Good night.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Well, that torta did me in. I gained 3 lbs this week. :^( I guess that is what happens when you spend an entire week on your butt. As the receptionist said to me this morning, "What is gained in a week can be lost in a week." I sure hope so. After that, I came home and relaxed, as I am still fighting this head cold.

Tim and I caught this morning's game, Seattle vs. Green Bay. The Packers won, hurray! They are my team. I have never been to Wisconsin, much less Green Bay, but Tim and his friends suggested I choose a team to cheer for, as it makes watching football more fun. I have to agree with them on that one. Then we saw tonight's game, Cleveland vs. Pittsburg. I can' t believe what we saw- the Browns creamed the Steelers! Tommy Maddox threw some bad passes, and the offensive line wasn't very great, either.

Anyway, Tim made an awesome beef stew. It was a crockpot recipe, but Tim reasoned people have been making these types of dishes for years before the invention of the crockpot. He figured that if we just let it simmer on the stove in our Dutch oven for 9 hours, it would turn out the same. I guess he was right!

We ended our evening with a short walk around the neighborhood. The mission looked particularly nice, all dressed up for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

I have to call a school and cancel a job interview. What! You may be wondering why I would do that, seeing as I am unemployed. If you recall, I said I was done with rejection, and this is the job that I believe is not a good fit with me and what I want from a teaching position. I would be unhappy, and full time benefits aren't worth it.

By the way, this is a cool article on some recent deep sea explorations. Check it out.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Today I ventured to the Carpinteria Avocado Festival. My friend Sabrina picked me up, and we had a good time.

First thing, we went in search of avocado goodies, and after viewing many tempting goodies (but not as many avocado-based stuff as I had hoped) decided on bar-b-que tri tip and guacamole tortas. They were ssoooo good! I was full and happy, and ate every last bite.

Once that was done, we listened to a live band for a bit and wandered through the crafts booths. There were some of the usual things you expect to find at a local festival, namely jewelry and ceramics. There were a few items that were new to me like flowers made from leaves (you have to see them to understand what I mean) and fairy costumes for little girls. There was a clothing booth full of those flowing-colorful-batik-silky-funky clothes that hippies and older women seem to enjoy. That was the most fun, as it gave me a chance to enjoy the close sisterhood women seem to share among themselves. It is too bad that men don t seem to have such a relationship, at least none that I’ve been able to see. For example, when we wandered in, two women were trying on these robes and dresses over their own clothes, admiring each other in the one corner mirror. While we were there, we were asked for our opinions on what they were wearing, and they gave theirs on what Sabrina was trying on. I got sucked into the spirit and tried on clothing that I feel isn t really me (if I was 45, then maybe I would be enticed to buy something like that). But it was fun being girlie, which is what I like from my times with Sabrina.

After that, we ate avocado ice cream, which is a bit spicy, and came home. Tired, I napped for a bit and had a quiet evening with Tim.

Tomorrow I weigh in, so we’ll see if that torta has taken up residence.

Friday, October 03, 2003

OH...MY...GOD. Why do I want to be a teacher again??
I had the craziest day today. I subbed for a friend. (Actually, he doesn t know I subbed for him yet.) Anyway, I was a junior high science teacher. I had four 7th grade Life Science classes and one 8th grade Physical Science class. =:o Well, he had planned for them to run experiment simulations in the computer lab, using some software, and complete a worksheet. Sounds simple, right? Well, it wasn t. The teacher forgot to tell the tech guy about the software, so we had to pass out 32 CDs and explain 56 times (they're 12 years old; how often did you do things right the first time when you were 12??) how to insert them into 5 year old iMacs. Of course, this didn't take place until they had tried to log in and access the CD. As you can imagine, this was interesting enough on it's own. Plenty of kids forgot their ID numbers, or entered their birthdays incorrectly. Eventually, we finally accessed the necessary program, and there was one minute of silence as the video-generation glued their eyes and ears to their screen and head set. Then, hands flew up because they didn't know what they were doing. Needless to say, only 2 of the 30-odd kids finished the worksheet. It only went downhill from there.

OK- I exaggerate, but you should come to expect that from me. I'm sure you're curious as to what this "virtual lab" wanted them to do. Well, you asked for it:

When they accessed the program, a "Dr. Labcoat" spoke to them from a "virtual lab" with the scenario. Today, a " Mr. McMullen" was having problems with his African cichlids. They were dying, and he didn't know why. As you can probably guess, the kids had to identify 5 variables they were going to test, and contrast a control with an experimental group (basically, this is supposed to be an example of the scientific process in action.) Also, they had to reason why only messing with one variable at a time was best. So, if they read the "fax" from McMullen and followed the worksheet, they would end up doing 5 experiments, coming up with a hypothesis each time and noting any observations. In the end, they would discover that the fish were dying from the...well, you'll just have to do it yourself! And, a lot of them didn't even make it this far. I can't blame them too much, even though I want to. What happened was that they listened to Dr. Labcoat say something, then interacted with the screen and did a couple of experiments where they had multiple variables and couldn't conclude anything. Bleh. At the end of each class, I was just glad not to be the one grading these papers!

After period 1, I thought, "OK, I' ll help them along and review the key terms, ID number, password, etc with them before running to the computer lab." One good thing was more kids logged in and were ready to go sooner than that first class. The bad thing was they were still lost. I forgot that they are only 12 years old, and what 12-year-old kid listens? How many of us grown ups listen, for that matter? (Tim is reminding me that all adults are stupid, except for us and you.) At least I knew where they were to go in the program to find their answers. It is VERY DIFFICULT to get students to figure out the answers for themselves. It is also REALLY HARD not to give up and just tell them. I realized today it would have saved my sanity if I had just told them the answers, but then they wouldn' t be learning, would they?

I was really "pumped" come period 5. By pumped, I mean loopy. I was very enthusiastic, especially when two boys ACTUALLY FIGURED OUT THE ANSWER ON THEIR OWN! I ONLY HAD TO POINT THEM IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. I jumped around and cheered and we gave each other high-tens. The other 8th graders (therefore much more sophisticated than the 7th graders...ppphhhttt) just rolled their eyes and giggled at me, but that is what I expect from them.

At the end of the day, one girl I was helping came up to me and was so excited because she finally figured out that the...was killing the fish. She was all smiles, and remembered me from the other week when I subbed for her English teacher. She just gave me a smile and said she really liked having me for a sub, and she hoped to have me again.

Then, with the boys' success and her smile, I got a warm fuzzy, and remembered why I want to teach.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Inspiration. People find inspiration in many things. It all depends on why you want to be inspired. Artists might find it in the glory of the day or the depth of their sadness. Some might turn to the Church and God and stuff. These things work for me when I am feeling artsy or need some comfort in my life. But inspiration can also come from other people. When I want/need motivation for continuing my weight loss journey, I look to others who are/were in my place.

For example, last week an obese woman walked into the gym and walked on the treadmill for about 20 min. I was jogging along next to her when she got on and when she left. Now, a 20 min walk may not sound like much, but I know that when I was heavy, there was no way I was going to any gym. I mean, people might see me, and what will they be thinking? I admired this woman’s bravery; getting dressed up in stretch pants and a tank top and heading for a place where everyone is thin and fit is pretty scary. When I feel like skipping out on exercise or pigging out, or even when life scares me, I think of her. She just walked in, did her stuff, and left; didn’t look around her or anything. Just did what she came in to do.

This afternoon was pleasant. I am still feeling a bit sick, but saw a movie with my friend Sabrina and a friend of hers. It was called " Under the Tuscan Sun" and it was exactly what I needed; girlie, predictable and romantic. Sabrina admired Diane Lane’s wardrobe, and we all fell in love with the scenery. Definitely not a Tim movie.

Lastly, my old friend Chris called up. I like talking to him. We’ve been keeping up this long distance friendship for years now. Mainly due to his energy, I will admit. I don’t know why he does it, but I’m glad.

Well, tomorrow I’m a junior high science teacher. Should be cake, right??

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Geez, is it October already? Where has the year gone to? Anyway, had that meeting this morning. They wanted to know about my classroom management techniques and any note-taking or organizational skills I have used in the past to support students. I don't know if I said the right things. I realize I may not have the experience they are looking for, but, like I said yesterday, this will be my last interview for a while. I need to relax and move on. It went well, but that doesn't mean much.

I'm a bit distracted right now, as Tim is sitting next to me in his underwear. :^) Analyzing his gas :^P

OK- where was I....oh, yeah, my day. Since I'm still suffering from a head cold, I spent another productive day in front of the TV. I don't even remember what the hell I watched this afternoon. Something on E! and an old episode of Perry Mason. I love the court room scenes, but I hate how that show cheats! Yes, cheats! I mean, you go along, get introduced to the characters, and and the suspect is always someone you never met before. That's what I'm talking about; you never get a chance to solve the mystery yourself. Now, Murder She Wrote, that is a good show (and I also watched it today). You do get a chance to figure out whodunit and why.

Tonight I have the attention span of a gnat. I turned my head to check out some of Tim's animal pix, which led to my wondering how to say "turtle" in Dutch, which meant breaking out the animal encyclopedia (written in Dutch) which led to my looking at cool animal pix for the last 30 minutes. I guess that's a sign telling me to get to bed. Good Night. I'm subbing on Friday, so that'll be interesting.