Tuesday, August 29, 2006

First Days of School, Part 1

Well, yesterday was the first day of school and so began my 5th year as a teacher. I'm really excited to be at this stage in my career, the "Cusp" stage, where I'm no longer a newbie but not a real veteran. What that means to me is that other teachers are getting new ideas from me and I am still learning so much from them. Not only am I learning to be a better teacher but I finally feel able to apply these new strategies and activities.

OK, I'm sure you want to hear about the kids. Let me just say that they are an impressive bunch. They are at a higher skill level than last year's 8th graders. Many of them I like already! My team does have a lot of the high-profile-red-flag-get-the-bugger-out kids, but so far, so good.

Speaking of which, this is the second day of school and one of my students already got suspended so he wasn't here today.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'll never get that time back

You know, I normally love going back to work. Everyone's happy and relaxed, glad to see each other and full of energy.

Then, the meetings begin and it's like a blackhole that slowly drains all the joy out of everyone. Now, believe me when I say that I like to take a PollyAnna point of view at these times, but even my half full glass began to look mostly empty by the end of the day. First, the new superintendent (really, she was just hired 5 days ago) gave us all a pep-talk, full of optimism and team spirit. This was great. I love hearing how it is everyone's job, everyone from the custodians to the lunch ladies to the principals, to educate our children. Cool, I'm so down with that. Then we got to hear a lecture from a lawyer about 504's and what they mean. This was pretty good information and he was very illuminating, especially during the last 30min of his 2.5 hour lecture.

Lunch break. Finally! a chance to chat and visit with other staff members! Baby pictures were passed around and tall tales of summer were shared. It was really nice.

One more lecture. Another 3 hours by someone who works for some educational testing company. We, as a district, are getting reviewed/audited or something like that this year so I'm pretty sure this has something to do with it. Ya' know, the speaker used to be a teacher and part of me really hates those kinds of speakers because they always say, "When I was a teacher, blah-blah-blah" and "I understand where you're coming from because as a teacher myself, la-dee-da-dee-da." In my heart, I truly want to believe them, that they completely remember what challenges we face in the classroom every day, how school or district-wide politics sometimes come into play, but part of me can't. I guess it's like the kids who don't believe it when I say that I understand what they're going through because I went through such-and-such when I was 13.
I got a little something from her lecture as well, but didn't think I needed to sit through all 3 hours of it.

And part of me really doesn't want to be one of those teachers. I never want to feel that "there's nothing you can tell me that I haven't heard of before," or "you say that now, but in 5 years' time you'll be preaching something new that I'm already doing right now." As a teacher, I think the most important thing is for me to always be a student.

This will be my 5th year teaching. Looking back, I can see how much I have grown since my very First Day of School. And there is still so much for me to learn.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

5 Random Thoughts

I've been meaning to post all week but laziness would set in and then I didn't feel I had enough information on one subject to warrant an entire post. So, here they all are:

1. I absolutely love being a woman. I enjoy being touchably soft and sometimes girlie. Being a woman has many meanings from frilly to independent to bitchy and I love being able to explore all the options in one day. ha!

2. I absolutely hate being irrational several days a month. When I'm menstrual, I'm over-sensitive and feel like I need to eat everything in the house. All the negative and downer emotions seem so close to the surface at that time and it takes all my energy and logical prowess to maintain what I feel is a reasonable personality. Apparently I don't do as good a job as I think, since Tim will sometimes observe, "What's wrong? Is it because you are 'not pregnant'?"

BTW-we both refer to this time as me being "not pregnant" and celebrate it! Sometimes I buy myself a little somethin' somethin', could be a snacky treat or a girlie treat. :-)

3. So happy my head is better! Tim and I went snorkeling this morning and I was able to dive down and get a good, close-up look at such cool invertebrates as boring (read: drilling holes into rock and not, well, you know) clams, urchins, and anemones. Saw schools of topsmelt and spent about 10 minutes playing with a friendly harbor seal.

4. Finally rode my bike! The actual riding part is great, but the getting part sucks. We live in a second floor apartment and keep the bikes in our spare closet. So if I want to ride my bike I have to lug it down a flight of stairs, and lug it back up when I'm done. I hate carrying it upstairs as it messes with my sense of balance. Well, the part I hate isn't the carrying but the feeling like I'm going to fall back down the stairs with the bike on top of me.

5. *gasp* There was this new teacher on this message board I've been surfing who actually lived through my nightmare: Kids out of control! Everyone talking and nobody listening! Kids with a long history of bad behavior! Feeling like a failure of a teacher! She is afraid of being a tyrant.

*piffle* I let the kids know right from the start that what I say goes and not to mess with me. I'm very strict, especially during the first few weeks of school. Once the lines have been drawn and the kids realize that I am in control then we all relax and have a good time. So, why am I having this nightmare? I know what to do. I'm large and in charge!!

**Bonus Thought** I like my bellydance class. Those dancers have amazing muscle control. I've only had 2 lessons and what I've come away with so far is just that as a bellydancer you are really dancing with your entire body. The belly is just one part! There are moves for your face, hips, legs, arms, which you would expect. But there's also finger, head, stomach (yeah, duh, but you have to move your abs a certain way and it ain't easy!), and hair moves. Yes, hair!

Friday, August 11, 2006

House Head of Pain

OH EM GEE. i have had the worse headache ever. wellllll.....there was that time i quit coffee and had wicked caffeine withdrawls, but that went away when i took an aspirin or drank a small coffee. this time nothing helped, so i saw my doctor yesterday. tim went with me as the supportive husband, but also, i think, to satisfy his curiosity about my "hippie" doctor. he wasn't disappointed, from the meditation tapes for sale in the waiting room to some of the questions my dr. was asking (searching for a cause) to the accupuncture treatment and my dr's sensitivity to my grief at the passing of my sweet janola rat.

but, he's a good dr, and as per his suggestion i made an appointment with my dentist for today. the dentist was so different. utilizing the latest technology they took a panoramic x-ray picture of my teeth and maxillary sinuses. the dentist took one look and happily reported that what i had was a sinus infection which was easily treated with antibiotics.

it seemed to stump him (at first) and my doctor that i would have sinus trouble without having a cold first or some sort of allergic reaction. but after a bit of internet research (i love google) tim and i think that this is what happened: my half marathon obviously stressed my body's infrastructure, including my immune system (i remember reading how endurance sports and basically over-exerting yourself will do this). everyone (yes, even you) has "bad" bacteria living all over the place, even in your sinuses. but a normal, healthy immune system keeps them in check. ok-the third piece is the pool. yup, apparently the chlorine in the pool most likely aggravated the linings of my sinuses, causing who-knows-what to take place and enabling the bacteria to take advantage of my weakened immune system and have a party in my left maxillary sinus. case closed.

ha! i feel like angela lansbury in "murder she wrote." now is the time when everyone is happy even though someone died. die, buggies, die!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Workout 5 Aug 2006

Still feeling empowered from my half marathon, I've decided to begin training for a sprint triathlon. Guess I'm just a glutton for punishment! Seriously, I thought it would be a good way for me to use other muscle groups than the ones used in running.

So, today was Day 1! I swam 30min, not really pushing it, but not trying to rest too long in-between laps. Oh, yeah, I swam in the community pool. Didn't want to go in the ocean until I got a bit stronger. My shoulders will be telling me off tomorrow, but they feel OK right now.

Later this afternoon decided I really should ride my bike, too. I mean, it's a nice bike and I'm embarrassed by how clean it is. Tim decided to ride with me which was nice, as he never rides with me being such a better cyclist, but since his back is tight I guess he thought that staying at my pace will be nice and easy (which it was, for him). In the middle of it I said to him, "Wow, I really don't have any biking muscles," to which he answered, "Clearly." *sigh* Had to tell him that I wanted him to say something supportive. "Well, you're working on it (getting biking muscles) aren't you?" And, yes, I was. Only thing is that this race is next month near the end of Sept.

Now, I'm wondering if I have enough time to get in shape. Can I do this? This will be my third year in this race and I want to do more than just finish: I want to beat last year's time. It would be great to finish in the top 50% of my age group!

I have learned that long distance running is way harder than sprint triathlons. I know I will finish this race. At least that's something, right?