Sunday, November 30, 2003

Congratulations! I am now a rattie mommie!

Instead of telling you about my Thanksgiving with my family (which was very nice; I made an excellent pumpkin pie), I am going to talk about my new pets!

You might recall that I have been thinking about owning a couple of rats as pets. "Why?" some of you are asking. Well, I wanted a cuddly, furry pet to cuddle and love and call George. Being a tenant, dogs and cats are a big no-no, as in no one will rent to us if we own a dog or cat. Rats are small, live in a cage, are clean and intelligent and very affectionate. When they leave their cage, they don't need to be walked, just allowed freedom to explore a room or a playpen. So, I've read up on them all over the internet, and had a handful of questions for a breeder/owner to answer face to face. Also, I wanted to handle them, just to make extra sure I wouldn't get too grossed out by them. But, I couldn't get in touch with any local breeders, so ended up at a pet store in the area. I didn't like the looks of the rats at the major pet chain. They had one cage of feeder rats and, next to them, one cage of fancy pet rats. Well, one of the feeder rats was wheezing and had blood on its paws, so I did not have a lot of confidence in the other rats.

Before I left for home last week, I popped into a pet store, to check out their cages. I learned that they bred their own rats, so decided to come in today and ask a few questions. Tim came along for the ride. (ok-he drove) Well, I asked about galvanized vs. powder-coated cages, bedding types, etc. The guy said that the rats were bred for food and pets, so they were not handled very often. When I asked to hold one, I was totally expecting to be bit and have the little nipper try to jump from my hand. I was not ready for a curious little furry thing to sniff me, climb up my shirt, and happily sit on my shoulder while I scratched its belly and sides. Tim even got in on the act and took one off me, which, naturally, meant that I had to get another one from the cage. The store had 3 today: one pink-eyed white boy and two grey hooded girls. The girls were sisters and they were all at least 2 months old. Needless to say, I fell for the two girls (I was planning on having boys) and bought a new cage with all the trimmings right then and there. They are now in our computer room and have gotten over the initial shock of the move. They are climbing around their new cage and drinking water. Their names are Janola and Barbara (named after a beautiful nudibranch). Be ready for stories of their antics!

Ha-ha, Mozilla! I saved this blog on Word, so when you shut down, my blog was still saved!!

Monday, November 24, 2003

FUCK! I JUST WROTE OUT A GREAT BLOG AND IT GOT ALL FUCKED UP! I mean, it was great and then the computer got stuck and shut down Mozilla and now I lost that blog. That's what I get for not writing it in Word like Tim suggested. I guess I should just do as he says. Bleh!

Well, I can't remember what I said, but basically I commented on the fact that I worked out at the gym today. I did the elliptical for about 35 minutes (what do I mean "about"? it was exactly 35 minutes--there was a digital read-out and everything).

And, I am doing a lab with my 7th graders today and tomorrow. We are looking at plant and animal cells. I wanted them to check out their own cells under the scope, but it was just a big mess. I had plenty of volunteers; I had to keep them from "donating" blood cells. But they have no clue what the heck they are seeing under there. They didn't know that the squares and rectangles from the Elodea sample were cells; it just looked like a bunch of lines to them. I can't blame them, it's just another example of what I expected them to know and what they didn't. I even had to help them make a chart for the new vocabulary they will be seeing in the next chapter.

After that, my 5th and 6th periods were kinda boring. We were preparing for a lab we are doing the rest of the week. We are finishing up matter by looking at a substance (ooblek) and they are to determine whether or not it is more like a solid or a liquid. I am curious to know what their results will be. I also feel a bit guilty, as ooblek is neither.

I will be observed during second period by the principal. The good news is that 2nd is one of my stellar classes. The bad news is that it will be confusing. Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Goal: Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Words I'm (finally) trying to live by.

Well, tomorrow is another work day for me. This is another short week; only 2.5 days long. I'm planning on a couple of labs which'll take up the two full days for life science and all the time for physical science. In life sci, we're looking at cells under the 'scopes and doing some word sheets. In physical sci, we're playing with ooblek.

Today was a good day. I managed to relax and get some work done. I even got around to calling some parents today. I guess I'll see if there is any difference in class tomorrow.

WI today. I gained another 0.2 lbs. Yeah, I realize my schedule is all different and that I'm eating more due to stress, but I'm now 4 lbs over my goal weight. It's getting serious now!!

Wish I had more to share with you all, but I don't. I died a few times this evening playing Nethack. It's actually kinda fun. :-)

PS- thanks for the "stuff" Chris. It arrived on thursday.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

TGIF:So glad I made it to Friday. My first whole week as a junior high teacher ended on a good note.

I had a good day. I was more firm today, which means an improvement in my classroom management. Even so, I am lucky that all my classes are pretty good. None has made me tear my hair out yet. My third period takes a lot of my energy, but that is mainly due to its size. I LOVE second and fifth periods! Those kids are so glad to have me and are so into the material. They all do whatever I ask, not like the other classes, where if I ask the class a question, they think it's a time to chit chat. Anyway, today I did a demo in 5th and 6th period (my 8th grade physical science classes) on the Law of Conservation of Matter. Basically, the kids had to predict what happened to the mass of an ice cube when it melted and what happened to the mass of vinegar and baking soda when mixed. They were so amazed when the masses remained the same. It gave them a chance to practice the scientific process; they all ended up having to change their hypotheses, which is what science is all about.

Friday night Tim and I went dancing. I hadn't danced in a while, and it was a lot of fun. I actually stayed awake longer than I thought (thanks to a cup of coffee).

Today (Saturday) I spent being lazy. I slept in, read up on rats, and napped. Also, I finally tried my hand at Nethack, and, to my surprise, I had fun playing it! I died 3 times, but got to beat up lots of monsters! ;-) Tomorrow is weigh in day, but I don't think I want to step on that scale. I feel like I've gained this week. I blame it on lack of exercise and chocolate. But maybe I'll weigh myself anyway. Whether I step on the scale or not doesn't change the fact that I've gained a couple of pounds.

I'm looking forward to a short week. Only 2.5 days. But that will be after 6 hours of work tomorrow. I have a couple of papers to grade, a lab to write up, and materials to buy.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Hurray! I have gone on two walks this week! That's one goal accomplished!

Well, I have the usual teacher problem. My 5th period 8th graders are great. They do the work and find the subject interesting. They really got into the demo I did today. We were talking about physical vs. chemical properties and changes. I lit a candle, mixed vinegar with some baking soda, and poured the resulting gas onto the flame, which went out. They thought that was amazing! They were involved and even logically explained what happened. When I told them we could do another lab before the long weekend next week if we get through all the notes today, they shut up and listened! "Gosh, Danielle," you're saying to yourself, "where's the problem?" Well, period 6's 8th graders are blobs. They weren't impressed and it was difficult keeping them focused. I'm tired of disciplining (from subbing), but now that is what I have to do. I don't think they realize I'm their TEACHER. That means big changes tomorrow. I'm going to re-adjust the desks and just give out detentions. Hopefully that'll work. I know it is the end of the day, but things need to change, and if I don't do it now, I'm going to burn out soon. bleh!

My third period class was much better today. My off-task girls actually did work today. I showed them a pair of referrals with their names on them and that seemed to motivate them.

Hurray! Tomorrow's Friday!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

OK-short blog as I am super tired.

Good things: 7th grade kids used the microscopes today. 8th grade kids got introduced to density. taught them how to make a bar graph. one student stayed after class for help on graphing her data.

Bad things: too hard on myself. got contradicting "advice" from senior science teachers. 3rd period WAY TOO BIG.

Sleepy. Walked with Tim along the harbor. More labs tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Teacher Goal: I will remember to relax and not be so hard on myself. I cannot do as much as I would like. And, I am still learning.

I am very lucky. I have 5 pretty good classes. My 8th graders did a lab today where they measured the mass and volume of several objects. They were excited for the most part. Tomorrow they will be doing the predictions (which I forgot to let them do today) and I'm going to show them how to graph their data. Yikes!

My 7th graders will be practicing on the microscopes tomorrow. I have a very few 'scopes available, so half will be looking and half will be doing bookwork. They are going to look at a metric ruler and a lowercase "e". Next week I'll bring in some microscopic critters, Elodea (every biology teacher's favorite water plant), and have them take cheek cell samples.

I was feeling very raw today. I don't know why. Part of it was my 2nd period; 1/3 of them didn't do last night's homework. Every teacher struggles with homework. What the heck am I to do? I told them that if it continues, I will be calling home. bleh! I don't want to do that. I'm also dreading the grading I'm going to have to do.

Other than that, life is good. I made dinner, did dishes, watched some bad TV, cleaned the living room, made lunch and prepared breakfast. I just have to figure out what I'm wearing.

Off to bed. zzzzz

Sunday, November 16, 2003

This week's goal: I will go for a walk after school at least 2x this week.Should help me wake up for the drive home!

OK, blog fans, will you forgive me? I didn't blog for a number of reasons. I don't want to get into all the details, but let me tell you that I misread the kitchen clock on Fri night, so went to be thinking it was 11:45pm when actually it was 9:45pm. And, I went right to sleep! I have forgotten how tiring teaching is.

I am having to adjust to all sorts of things this year. For example, I need to learn what can be done in 48 minutes (and it doesn't look like very much). I am used to having 90 minute periods. I do feel like I have more free-time than last year. Since my classes are about half as long as last year's, I have half as much planning to do. I am also trying to work in some time-saving tips I picked up from Scott Purdy's book, like having only one assignment to put in the grade book per week. They are doing homework most nights, but I'm not grading it. They will think I am, but I'm not, ha-ha! I will probably stamp their stuff to begin with, then call them up and grade it in front of them later on. That way makes more sense;it gives them a chance to correct it then and there and I can catch who does it and who needs help right away. It will take longer, but that is worth it if there is a chance for them to learn.

Each class is doing a lab this week. Life science is going to have practice using the microscopes and Physical science is going to measure mass and calculate the volume of objects. Should be interesting, and give me lots to grade. I'm not sure how stringent to grade it, as it is mainly practice for future labs. So far, I have each group turning in one paper. We'll see if that works.

I had a good weekend. Yesterday I went to the gym and saw a movie with Sabrina at the UC. The movie was called "The Girl With a Pearl Earring," and it was pretty good. I had read the book a couple of times and had enjoyed it.

The afternoon was spent on my computer researching.......RATS! I am looking to own a pair of pet rats this year! <:3)~ I have wanted a rat for over a year, and now that I seem to have a stable job, it seems like a good time to get some. From what I've read, they are very smart, clean, and affectionate and make good pets (of course they all say that. what rat site is going to say otherwise?) At first, I just wanted one for my room, but they do require more maintenance than you might think. For example, it is best to keep them in same sex pairs or groups, otherwise they get neurotic. And, they need to spend time with you out of their cages every day. But, I think they will do me whole bunches of good. It would be better for me (psychologically and spiritually) to spend an hour after work socializing with my rats instead of sitting in front of the TV drinking a beer. If all goes well, I should get my rats during the winter break. That way, they will have a few days to get to know me before I go back to work.

Today was Sunday, so another weigh-in. I gained 0.2lbs; not bad considering it is TOM and I didn't exercise as much as I had wanted. Then I exercised, came home, watched some of the Rams vs. Bears game (Rams won) before working in front of the computer. You will be proud of me. I did my notes and worksheets for the week! Hurray!

Tim had a relaxing weekend. When I got home from the movie last night, I got the feeling he had been waiting for me to get home. Usually, I think he likes having some time to himself, just like I do, but it felt different last night. He wanted to go for a walk, so we strolled along the warf and up State St. a bit, until the sidewalks got too loud for me. He was very cuddly, which was very nice! He says he missed me, and that is nice, too. Our 18 monthiversary is next week. Wow! 18 months! and it still feels very good being with him. :-)

Tomorrow is my first full week at the junior high. YIKES!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Warm Fuzzy: Had many students actually ask me if they could leave their seat to sharpen their pencils. Was so moved by this, I went out and bought a good pencil sharpener.

Well, another day, and I'm still here. True, I did have two beers and a bag of (albeit low fat) chips to help me relax, but I'm still happy to be working at RdV. The kids are still figuring me out. We had a good lecture. It was about 25 minutes long, and I believe that is the limit to their attention spans.

I hand out what another teacher referred to as "scaffolded notes." Basically, I type out what I feel are the key terms/concepts in a chapter in outline form. Then I go back and delete a few words and phrases and examples. The kids and I work on filling in the blanks. So, in a sense, it is more of a discussion than just me talking at them. It gives them a chance to show me what they know or read in the book. Normally, I try to use the same overheads all day long, but no two classes are exactly alike. They may use different terminology to define a word or have different real-world examples. The principal stepped into my room for a few minutes during my lecture 3rd period. It took me by surprise, especially as he said my first evaluation wasn't until the Monday after next.

I am still figuring out how much work can be done in 48 minutes. Bleh! It isn't much.

Anyway, I'm bringing in my tarantula tomorrow. I hope the kids treat her respectfully!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Achieved: I was still standing and able to smile at the end of the day. And that feels good.

I am so glad the first day is over with. I feel that I can move on now. I did some "getting to know you" stuff, like going over the course syllabus. I also shared a bit about myself and had them write a little bit about themselves on a piece of paper. Usually, I then have them choose one and find that person and then interview him/her and introduce them to the class. This time, a student asked, "Oh, are you reading them out loud and then we have to guess?" That seemed like a good idea, so that is what I did. They really liked it! They loved hearing about each other. We didn't get a chance to read everyone's, but I figure it would make a good sponge activity. Next time, I'll have them write a short paragraph about their perfect day and read those aloud and make the class try to guess.

I have a lot of big classes. I mean, I only have 31 desks, but two classes have over 31 kids! Yikes! The assistant principal said she might try to get rid of a few kids for me next trimester. That would be great! You'd be amazed what a difference 3 or 4 kids make. In the meantime, it is going to make everything interesting. Their lab groups are going to have to be big, like 5 people.

I am looking forward to the rest of the year. I have tomorrow all done and I know what I'm doing on Friday; I just have to get my notes ready. And, I'm pretty sure what I'm doing next week. Only 7 more months to go! :-P

Tomorrow we are taking notes on the scientific process. bleh! Not my favorite thing, but I just want to reinforce some key concepts from their previous chapters before moving on next week.

You know, you would be soooo proud of me right now. Not only is my lunch made, but I've picked out what I'm going to wear and even made breakfast! Tim had the idea of food I could eat while driving, so I made some WeightWatchers pumpkin muffins. Only one point each. And, I have the water all ready to go in my coffee maker. I dusted off the one I had in storage. I figure it would be a way of saving time and money. I figured out that the money I spent on the coffee and filters would be worth about 10 coffee shop cups of coffee, but I should be able to make around 40 cups with what I bought. Hurray!

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Goal Two: I will be more organized this year. It may be the only way I'll keep my sanity!

I spent a large part of my day at the school today. The principal was nice enough to let me in, as the school was closed for the day. I was just going to organize what I brought with me from storage and some of the papers on my desk, but I ended up rearranging the desks. It will definately knock those kids for a loop, but I think it will work out. I have it set up so that there is a large aisle in the middle, with two blocks of kids about 4 deep facing the middle. I was reminded of what the AP at San Marcos told me last year; if you keep the traditional seating arrangement (you remember, five to seven rows across and 5 to seven deep), then you seem ffffaaaarrrrr away from the kids in the back when lecturing/demonstrating, etc. Now everyone is easily accessible to me, which may also keep them better behaved. I am also planning on having them sit alphabetically. They will hate that, too. But, might as well get all the major changes out of the way now so they can get over it.

Anyway, had to go to the UC to pick up some stuff I'm borrowing for a lab I'm having next week. The theme is "Powers of Ten" and should be an interesting introduction to the microscope. The physical science kids will be working with ooblek.

I feel like I have been running around all day. I did manage to fit in about 2 hours of TV; gotta let those brain cells relax. I am very excited about tomorrow. I also can't wait for it to be over.

This is what I mean about being organized. Basically, I want to be on top of things. I won't have much time to spare it seems. So, I did 2 loads of laundry and acutally put the clean clothes away immediately! I usually let them sit on the floor. I have picked out my outfit for tomorrow, made my lunch, and planned my breakfast. Wow! I'm really impressing myself. We'll see how it goes this week. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up.

Tell you all about it tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Bedtime, so I'm gonna keep this brief.

No school today; at least, no kids. Had a teacher in-service. Was actually interesting. Was about the neurodevelopment of children and adolescents. Turns out, your brain isn't fully myelinated until you are abuot 20. After birth, you have a major brain growth spurt at 2 years, which explains why you are such a brat (ask your mother). You have another brain spurt at about 12 years. Not as much as a toddler, but enough to make you a horrible person. Apparently, connections in the frontal lobes aren't fully formed, so you have difficulty controlling yourself. However, you can learn how to strategize etc. It's just going to take longer. Not sure how much of this info I should share with my students.

Rummaged around storage looking for stuff afterwards. Found some comments last year's students wrote in June and they made me feel much better about this new job. They all said something positive, like how they enjoyed certain labs/units/etc. and that I was a good teacher.

Then Monday Night Football and free food at Tim's friend's house. Greenbay lost to New York Eagles! At Lambeau! It was about 39 degrees and raining! How could they lose??????

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Goal for the Week: I will exercise at least 4 times this week. With my new schedule, I may have difficulty in fulfilling this.

Yes, I weighed in today. Yes, I lost a little weight--0.8lbs as a matter of fact! Not a huge loss, but I'm not complaining. As long as it's going down, I'm happy. I had a good workout afterwards; lifted over 22,000lbs and ran 3.2 miles on the elliptical. I'm not even sore yet! Not even my triceps.

Well, as usual, I'm all motivated to stay on plan this week. I even took the "traveling journal." It is a journal that gets passed from person to person, so someone next week is going to read what I did and what I ate this week. I like taking the journal when I feel I need an extra kick to get me back on track. I usually have a loss on those weeks, too. So far, so good! And the night is almost over!

Tomorrow is Moday and I work! Hurray! It feels good to have a steady job. The kids have the day off, and we teachers have an in-service. Someone is talking to us about new philosophies on teaching, or something like that. Anyway, they are providing a continental breakfast and lunch, so I'm happy. Yes, teachers will attend anything if there's free food. I don't know what it is, but it's true. You could put a box of food in the lounge and people will eat it!

I spent most of this evening preparing for this week. I finally decided on a plan of action. I just have to remember that I am the teacher and therefore am in charge. And if what I planned should blow up in my face, then I'll just have to change it for tomorrow. Hmmmm....maybe that should be my lesson for the day.
Saturday, 8 November 2003

Today was a good, social day for me. I went to a jewelry party at Lynne's house. She was one of my instructors at the UC and we have kept in touch. (Actually, I've needed her help many times, and we both belong to the same professional group, which she began.) After this, Tim and I met my sister and her boyfriend downtown for a late lunch. It was a nice visit, if short. I actually met a couple of his relatives! They have been together for 6 years, and I am the first person on my sister's side to meet someone from his family. My sister penned it an "historical event. "

Once at home, we had dinner and watched a movie, "Shakespere's Romeo + Juliet," the one with Claire Danes and Leonardo Di Caprio. It was actually pretty good. I've seen other movie adaptations, and I enjoyed this one. Took me a minute to get over the contradictory input (olde English in modern times).

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Second Goal: I will not ruffle any feathers yet. I need to be calm and cooperative.

Well, it's after midnight, so I'm gonna keep this short. Today was my second day of work. This time, I observed the other science teachers at the junior high. They are quite a collection of people. They all have different teaching styles and philosophies. I think the dept. chair (Gail) and one of the 8th grd teachers (Mrs. Willis) have styles very similar to mine. But everyone has been very kind and helpful. I really do think that I will like it there.

I was feeling very overwhelmed after school today. I had to go shopping otherwise I would've eaten a lot or drank. I can't afford to spend anymore money after today! I don't know what it is. I think I'm just making it worse than it really is. i.e. I'm worrying about stuff that hasn't happened yet. It is like one of my teacher nightmares, the one where none of the students listen to me and they have taken over the room. I think that is what I'm afraid of: that the kids won't like or respect me. I'm not afraid of the content or the paperwork, just the classroom management.

If I am true to myself, try to make it so that I survive and have fun, and just realize that I deserve their attention and hard work, then things will be OK.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

First Goal: I will not get up any earlier than 5:30am! Not if I want to remain sane this year.

Well, today was my first full day on the Rio campus. I miscalculated my commute time and gas consumption, so it took me 45 minutes to get to school, going with the flow of traffic (ie: 75 mph) and filling up. I arrived just in time for the staff group pix. Another sign!

Anyway, I followed the current sub around today. I met all my classes and was introduced to them as their new teacher. As you can imagine, this elicited mixed responses from the students. A few were disappointed (I know they will miss Mr. G). A few were glum (now they REALLY had to shape up). A few were confused (needed to be reminded that I was the REAL teacher and would be with them till the end). And, a very few were glad. I think that, deep down, they are pretty happy to finally have some consistency.

The subs have done a good job with the kids, but they definately need more organization and better planning, which I will naturally provide. Sadly, they haven't had any labs yet! Can you believe it?? That is the best part of a science class! I have begun to search for a lab for us to do next Friday. This is going to take A LOT of planning on my part, as there aren't any science labs on campus, supplies are very limited, I have no lab supplies in my room, and I only have 45 minutes to go over the lab sheet, set up the class, pass out the materials, do the thing, answer the questions, and clean up! BLEH! But, I'm sure the other teachers have some suggestions to make this less of a hassle.

Since I was a little late in arriving at school this morning, the thought, "Maybe I should get up earlier," entered my mind. Fortunately, the rest of me said, "No way!" I refuse to get up any earlier than 5:30 (the smelly butt-crack of dawn). That is cruel enough. So, in order to do this, I realize I really need to manage my time wisely. I also don't want to do any grading at home. Therefore, I began to read Scott Purdy's book, "Time Management for Teachers." It seems to have a lot of great ideas and time-saving tips. It also makes me look at myself as a true professional, which is how I do see myself, but thought I was being silly. I am only a teacher, afterall, but Scott says we teachers need to behave as the highly specialized professionals we really are, and I'm down with that.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

5 November 2003
Lesson Learned:I guess good things do come to those who wait! Read on!

OMG- has it really been three days since I've written to you all? I am so sorry to be such a slacker. Let me start with Monday, 3 November. As you may remember, I had a job interview. Well, I got there early, but not early enough to see the school before my appointment. Just goes to show that I'm a bit out of practice with my morning routine.

Well, I was a bit surprised when I got to the district office. It has been my experience that teacher interviews are held in a panel format, with some administrator, a couple of teachers, and maybe someone from the district. When I walked into the room and met Ron, the Human Resources guy, he was all alone! No one else was there, so I felt weird. His first question was to explain my education background. I just started at the beginning (a very good place to start), which means where I got my bachelor's degree. Turns out Ron used to live in Santa Cruz and teach at the UC, so he was very interested and had a couple of anecdotes of his own to share. I continued my history feeling more relaxed by his reaction. He said he was impressed with what I said and with my certifications/application and wanted me to meet with the principal of the junior high in question. That was fine by me, and before I left the office, Ron introduced me to the superintendent (who is new, BTW). They both seemed to be quite pleased with me, but I didn't want to get my hopes up too high.

Got to the school and sat with the principal for a bit. He, Jack, asked me a few questions (very few. Not questions off a list as has been the norm), namely about my impressions of that age group compared with high school students. He also told me a bit about himself, how this was his first year at that school, but has been a principal for about 30 years, etc. He had nothing but positive things to say about his school, the kids, and the staff. It was like he was trying to sell the school to me, instead of the other way around. I asked him a couple of questions about the curriculum that he couldn t answer, so he asked the head of the science dept to come down and talk to me. She seems like a pleasant person, and honestly commented on the school's few resources, but led me to believe that the staff was cohesive and supportive, which sounded better than my other school. Next, Jack gave me a tour of the school, let me peek in on their computer lab (which I still don t understand, re: not accessible during class time) and on the class in question. As it was lunch, we stepped into the staff lounge, which was full of teachers! I wasn't used to that! At my old school, only a few of the older teachers ate lunch there, and they usually had negative things to say, so I avoided it. Well, here I saw folks collected into two or three groups, and was given an opportunity to speak with another of the science teachers. Everyone seemed to like being there, the kids seemed to get along as well as 860 pre-teens can, and I felt good being there.

As you could imagine, I was very hopeful about this position, but tried real hard not to get too hopeful. I didn't want to get my hopes dashed like before. Tim was very helpful keeping me rational.

On Tuesday, 4 November, I subbed at a local high school. It was my first time as a high school sub, and after that experience, I think I prefer the junior high kids. You expect them to be immature and are prepared for it. High school kids I expect to be more mature, but I was wrong. Of course, not everyone was a doofus, but enough to make me glad when it was all over. The teacher had enough stuff for them to do, but not enough materials. She gave explicit instructions about them not sharing textbooks, and even when through the trouble of Xeroxing a few pages for those who didn't have a book, but there were still kids w/o books (of course). So it was hard to keep them from working together. I just let them form partners and tried to keep the noise down. Also, she was a roving teacher, so I had to run all over campus to get from one class to another. One of the regular teachers, when he discovered for whom I was subbing, looked at me sympathetically and said he was sorry, explaining that she has a rough group of kids in all her classes, which was true. But, the classes she said would be difficult, weren't as challenging as those she said would be good, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I was glad I subbed, as it kept me out of the house and away from the phone. They were going to call that day, which was on the back of my mind while I worked, and when I got home I had a message to call Ron back. I did, and he wanted to offer me the job!! I was soooo happy!! I did the happy dance a few times and called my mom, who was also very happy for me.

Which brings me to today. I got my LiveScan taken care of, with a bit of running around, and filled in most of my paperwork! I officially start tomorrow, and will get a paycheck at the end of the month! Not only that, but this year I will be earning the entire salary! I know, hard to believe, especially as I figured they would deduct Sept and Oct wages from it, but no, I will get a nice big paycheck this month! That was a HUGE relief. I almost got teary-eyed right there in the office. (Just to let you know, I only have about 80 bucks to get me through the month, and I have a mountain of bills that need paying, so I was very happy to hear this!)

I was so psyched about the money, that I went shopping, and demonstrated great restraint! True, I did buy some teacher clothes, but nowhere near what I was interested in.

Tim took me out to dinner to celebrate. We went to this very small restaurant, William, which I've been curious about. The meat was very tender and cooked just right. The French onion soup was amazing. Now, I'm blogging, trying to get you all up to date, and Tim is playing his new video game.

I'm going to go to bed soon. I need to be at the school at 7:10am!

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Lesson Learned: It's gonna take constant vigilance. If I want to keep the weight off, then I must count points and watch my portion sizes for the rest of my life.

Today was my first day on the scale in practically 3 weeks. I was up by 0.2lbs. Not bad, considering that includes my vacation and Halloween. While chatting with some of the other members before the meeting, I realized that I have been deluding myself. I had been telling myself that I can now coast. That is, I can finally relax: no more counting points, no more serving dinner with a measuring cup/spoon, etc. But if I really want to keep off the weight, I'll have to continue with my food journals and measuring cups and dressing on the side. At least exercise isn't a problem anymore; I WANT to workout at least 5 days a week (can you belive it?). But the other stuff......well, thought I wouldn't have to consciously do it anymore, that it would all be natural. But if it was natural, then I wouldn't have gained all that weight to begin with.

After my meeting, I went to the gym and lifted and did 3.25 miles on the elliptical. Since the closed captioning wasn't turned on, I couldn't read Animal Planet and instead read a People magazine.

Then it was home sweet home. Tim had gone to a bar to watch the Steelers lose to the Seahawks, so I had the house to myself. I fixed up some lunch. That was bad. For some reason, when I'm home in the afternoon, once I start eating, it is hard for me to stop. I plan on a big salad and a lot of squash, and that usually keeps me satisfied until Tim comes home, but today I had to get out of the house! So I wandered around the mall and bought a diet soda. I was very proud of myself for changing my environment into one less food-oriented.

Knitted my sweater some more. It is now about 5 inches long! Watch the Packers beat the Vikings. Caught some more TV, then upstairs and ready for bed. Tomorrow is a big day: my job interview for a science teacher position in Oxnard. I am planning on getting there early and tour the school before the interview. Just want to get a better idea of what I'm interviewing for.

Wish me luck. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Lesson Learned: Sometimes, time flies when you have nothing to do. Geez! What the hell did I do all day?

I can't believe it's 9:30 pm already. Really didn't do much.I cleaned the kitchen area, which does give me a good deal of satisfaction. I knitted while Tim played video games. I started another book. Did a little grocery shopping. Made dinner. Nothing much. Yet it filled my day. I was happy and relaxed throughout the entire time. I'm sure there's some sort of spiritual lesson here, along the lines of chopping wood and carrying water. Maybe all this freetime is allowing me to reach another plane of existence. I'll have to think about that one.

Due to technical difficulties, the last two blogs are a bit late.

31 October 2003
I received three compliments today!
1. An aide said I was the best-dressed sub they ever had.
2. Another aide from a class I subbed for on Wed. was impressed by how I managed to maintain control over period 6.
3. The teacher for the class I subbed for on Wed. said her students all thought I was a strict sub, to which she gave me two thumbs-up!

Well, today was probably the most relaxed I have ever been as a sub. It was a special ed class I had before, and even with a few student changes, the kids were all very well-behaved. Many were in costumes and had been eating candy all day long, but the aides were very helpful and the teacher was prepared. The individual instruction classes watched a Halloween video, the English class read Edgar A. Poe’s "The Telltale Heart," and the math class had a timed multiplication test and a fun review sheet. The kids were very sweet, and wondered why I wasn't dressed-up. I said I was; I was a teacher for Halloween. Others were shocked to learn that my house wasn't decorated and that I hadn't bought any candy for the trick-or-treaters. I had to explain that no one would be trick-or-treating at my house, as it was so hard to find.

Tim and I went to a party at his friends' house. We watched "The Matrix" and "Scary Movie." It was a pleasant gathering. I got to chat with some people I don't see too often and everyone seemed to have a good time.
30 October 2003
Lesson Learned: If I was to make a blanket statement about certain age groups, I'd say that 8th graders were butt-heads.
But it isn't very nice to deal in blanket statements.

Well, today I was at a different junior high. I did 7th grade English and 8th grade social studies. The 7th graders were cake; the teacher had them take a written assessment which took up the entire class period. The 8th graders had a multiple choice test which only took them 25-30 minutes to do. Let's focus on them for a moment.

First of all, they were very loud. They talked, made noises and stupid comments. I guess they just want to show everyone else how clever they are, and you remember how clever you were at that age, right? Yeah, they were that un-clever. Enough students in both classes were special ed kids, so I had an aide to help out. I was also fortunate in that the teacher had the foresight to have the aide escort them to another room to take the test. So, I only had 25 kids to myself. Heh-heh-heh. One student commented that since there is a sub, she could now goof-off. Like yesterday, I had very little to say, but had to fight to be heard. Let me rephrase that; they had to be reminded to respect me and my authority ;-). Again, I did the old "quiet now or quiet later" thing, which, like yesterday, made some settle down and a few push harder. So, I put up my check marks, which got this group worried and quieter. A few asked if they could get rid of the check, to which I firmly replied, "no." At the end, when one kid loudly remarked on the unfairness of it all (ie: why should he stay after when he didn t make any noise), the rest of the room saw fit to tell him to shut up and just do it. Hah! At least they discovered it is best to do as the sub says. Most of them saw that I meant business when I sent a kid outside to finish the test and called security to check up on a girl who had been gone for 10 minutes, supposedly to the bathroom. It doesn't take you that long to pee. To be fair, I told them they had my permission to tell their teacher what an evil-mean sub I was.

As you could imagine, I was a bit wound up after school, so I went to the gym and lifted weights for an hour. Then, with the evening being so nice, no smoke or ash, I went for a nice 3.5 mile walk after dinner along the cliffs. While I was walking back to the car, I looked at the dark hills and the twinkling home-lights on one side and the ocean on the other and thought how lucky I was to be living in Santa Barbara.

Tomorrow I'm a special ed teacher at the old junior high. I've done this class before, so hopefully it won't be too bad. I don't have very high expectations, as it is Halloween and the kids will be dressed up. I hope you are all happy where you are and have nice tomorrows to look forward to, too.