Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Lesson Learned: Kids say the darndest things. Sometimes, it's the right thing at the right time.

Well, I'm still feeling pretty stressed. I went to bed not knowing what I was going to do today. Oh, sure, I had planned out this week, but on Sunday I changed my mind. So, I had to figure out what it was I wanted to do today and for the unit. On the one hand, I only have so much time. On the other, there is a lot I want my kids to know and experience. Now that they know what pressure is (OK-at least they have a fairly good idea), we can move on to more fun things, like the Universal Gas Law. I'm going to talk about it on Thursday and then use Thursday and Friday to construct models of the respiratory system in order to understand how a change in volume causes a change in pressure, and how that lets us breathe. (I hinted at it today by saying that without the universal gas law [aka-Ideal Gas Law], we would die. For some reason, that always gets their attention.) BTW-we ended up working out of their workbooks today. Was all right. It gave them a chance to work with the material.

What really made my day took place after school. When the last bell rang, one boy stayed after to tell me that he had forgotten my Valentine's Day present. I smiled and said how sweet that he got me a present. He said not to tell anyone because I was the only teacher he got a present for because he feels that I am the best one! *gush* How do you respond to that? Of course, I said thank you. He is a good kid. It meant a lot to hear that, especially since he is in my worst class, so he mainly sees my ogre side.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Lesson Learned: Sometimes, something somewhere has to go. Otherwise, I'll go insane!

You might be happy to hear that I'm feeling pretty good today. After I got over my stomach thing, I got a sore-throat which is now a cough. I'm hacking a bit, but feeling better. I actually did a bit of exercise today; the first time in weeks! Thanks to my stomach ache, I lost 4.6 lbs! Now that my appetite's back, I want to be sure to keep those lbs off. ;o)

Anyway, the kids were kinda cute this week. I started the week off with a lab-the kids made paper rockets fueled by alka seltzer. If the rocket hit the ceiling, they got an A. It was a lot of fun, but required a lot of energy on my part. Anyway, while they were coloring and designing their rockets, one group of boys was talking about the Pope and how sick he was, and wouldn't it be cool if they were the new Pope?! I looked at one of them and said, "But, Ishmael, you'd have to be chaste in order to be Pope." He and another boy looked at me quizzically. "Chased?" Ishmael asked, to which the other boy answered, "I'll chase you." The third boy (GATE kid) and I just laughed and laughed.

On Thursday, I was approached by a teacher after school. She asked me if I felt like I had too much energy and not enough money. I just giggled and asked what did she want. Well, I reluctantly agreed to be the STAR Test Coordinator for the campus. Which means that it's up to me to make sure we schedule all the standardized testing for March and May and if anything goes wrong, it's my fault. This is hard for me, as I've spent my entire non-tenured teaching career by being as quiet as possible and keeping my opinions to myself. Now, I'll have to deal with teachers complaining to my face. bleh. The good news is that I have a great excuse not to do it again!

Yesterday, Tim and I let the girls explore the computer room. We just let them run around the floor, supervised of course. While they were galavanting about, I noticed a lump near Barbara's hind leg. After picking her and Janola up and feeling around, I came to the conclusion that she has tumor. :-( We have a vet appointment for Wednesday evening. Obviously, this is all conjecture as I am not qualified to make a diagnosis. But it fits in with what I read on the Rat and Mouse Club of America site. I also discovered that females are more likely to develop tumors in their old age than males. Fortunately, these are mainly benign. In all likelihood, she could do very well w/o surgery, but eventually the tumor would affect her quality of life by impeding her ability to run around. They are both 1yr and 5 months old. They are a little less active than they used to be, and they seem to not enjoy climbing on the wall of their cage, so Tim made them a ramp, which they use all the time. We also put in an extra door, so they don't have to climb up and over the cage wall to get to their play area on the adjoining table; now, they can walk right on to the table.

Well, last weekend Tim and I put our talents to work and designed/printed our wedding invitations! Hurray! And, all the reply cards and most of the invites have been stuffed and addressed! We picked up the rings yesterday. They are wonderful. Sometimes, I can't believe that I'm actually getting married. Tim is a great guy. We're lucky we have each other.

So, with school, rats, and wedding, I decided to no longer work for WeightWatchers. It just adds stress and isn't very fun. I don't have time for it right now. However, I'll still attend meetings.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Lesson Learned: All is never right with the world. Just when you thought it was over....

After my last post, I had spent a week returning to my regular routine, especially my tri-weekly jog/walk. I even participated in the Run For Life 5K on Jan 22 (3.2 miles in 37 min, thank-you-very-much). I was preparing for a monthly workshop on Project Based Learning at UCLA when all of a sudden, my guts exploded. OK-figurative speaking, but still. It started on Tues night. I thought I had eaten something that disagreed with me, so I slept and went to school the next day. During 4th, one student complained that he was tired. I looked at him and said, "I can beat that," and told them that it was all I could do to keep my breakfast from coming up. That got everyone's attention! I would've gone home, but everyone (yes, everyone!) was in an all-day meeting and no one was available. So, instead of attending the staff meeting after school, I went home and napped for 2hrs (which I never do). Also, I didn't drink my coffee (which I never do) and I went to bed at 7pm (which I never do). On Thursday I was feeling better, but my tummy felt tender, as if I spent the night vomiting (which I never did). I promised myself that if I didn't feel better on Fri, I'd go to the Dr. , so I did. The lab folk collected blood and other bodily fluids (use your imagination--too gross!) and I got the lab results today. Turns out, the natives had decided to take over my large intestines. Although feeling better, I'm still tender. If I'm not 100% in a couple days, the Dr. instructed me to fill a prescription.

Needless to say, I took Fri and yesterday off. Now I'm far behind and have no idea what the heck I'm doing! I mean, I was finally getting back in the groove, and now I have to start over!

I grounded my 6th period class because the substitute basically wrote that if he could, he would've had everyone stay after school 30 min to pick up trash. I didn't scream and yell, like I normally do. Instead, I chilled. Boy, they knew their collective a$$ was grass. We wrote down the definitons for "agrumentative, argue, respect, consideration, and discipline." I said that if I can't trust the entire class, then they won't do any labs. The other classes were going to build Alka-Seltzer rockets, but not them. Heheheheh (evil laugh). I was calm and cool when I said that. It totally got their attention. When a couple of the good/decent kids asked if there was any way they could do the lab, I relented so far as to say that they had to show me that they were trustworthy from now until the end of Thurs. If the entire class was good, then they would do the lab. If one/two weren't, then I'd deal with them, but the rest were a-go. If I couldn't discern any difference, then no-go.

I guess we'll see how it goes.