Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tri Me!

Hey, everybody, I just completed my 5th trialthon, and I feel great! Man, tri's are way easier than half marathons. It's hours later and my legs aren't really sore. :-)

It was a beauty of a day-- sun shining, calm ocean, lots of happy, excited people waiting to swim, bike and run. I don't know what it was about today, but I was very relaxed. Now, I always love race day, but normally I'm all excited and full of anticipation. But today I was set on having fun and not worrying too much about my time due to the lack of training. (One month of sinus infections and one week of forest fires have been my excuses for not working out.)

Bumped into a teacher friend of mine (Jess) while I was gearing up for the swim. I had forgotten that I had suggested she sign up for this tri, as the last one we did together was the Oxnard Strawberry Fields Triathlon, the one where the swim was cancelled and we all ran through the surf instead. bleh. I really wanted her to have one good tri experience and felt that today's, the Carpinteria Triathlon, was just right for her.

Well, we walked to the swim, marvelling in the day and ready to cheer on the Olympic Distance athletes who all started before us. We also found Tim who slept in after I left, as my wave didn't begin almost 2 hours after I got to the transition area.

The water wasn't all that cold and I was starting to regret my decision to wear my thick 6mm farmer john wetsuit, then it was my turn to start and as soon as I began to swim I was awakened by an influx of cold ocean down the back of my neck all the way to my hips, so I guess the wetsuit was a good idea. :-) I'm quite proud of my swim, as I actually swam the entire distance free-style! In the past, I've had to alter my strokes from fatigue.

Once out, I jogged most of the way to the transition area-another first (usually just walk). I was having difficulty breathing since my cardiovascular fitness has declined since the half mary. But I didn't want to spend too much time changing. I was so focussed on getting ready that I forgot my timing chip! Of course, I didn't notice it was missing until mile 7 on the bike.

Ah, the bike. Where any headway I may have made in the swim is lost. OK, OK, who am I kidding, I was among the last in my age group to get out of the ocean, and still I get passed up by everyone. And by everyone I mean everyone who are in the age groups after me so, yes, by old people. But I take heart when I'm passed by a 66 year old man because I want to be like that when I'm in my 60s. I'm on my way as I'm so much more active now than when I was in my 20s.

On the bike I passed two people who had bike troubles. One woman was changing a tube and another woman, about 2 miles from the transition area, must've had something major wrong because she ended up carrying her bike the rest of the course!

I couldn't believe how I good I felt for the run. Remembered to strap on my timing chip, which was a good thing. I jogged out of the TA and for about 3/4 mile before I felt the need to slow down and walk. I passed two people (one was 12 years old in his first tri. very cool). The cheering at the finish line gave me the courage to push through those last few yards as fast as I could. I was a bit nauseous once over the finish line, but not as much as the little boy in front of me who puked.

Overall a very good day indeed! Total time for 2006- 1:41:46. Yeah, me!

Tim cheered me on and took some pix if you want to check them out.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Personally, I don't think so

OK, so some people have different opinions than me. Fine. Aaaaannnnnd some people take offense more easily than others. I had never thought that was me, but I was actually offended today. By Brad. Go figure.

Being unhappy with his students' quiz scores on experimental groups/control groups he decided to have them make paper airplanes, fly them (control), change something and fly them again (experimental). Wow, you're probably thinking, I wish I was allowed to make and fly paper airplanes in class when I was a kid. Yeah yeah yeah, we all think that, but that's not the point.

The point is that Brad thought to give the kids a target to aim for. With this in mind he got one of those tri-fold-cardboard-science fair-presentation thingys, put it on one side of the room, drew a picture of two tall skyscrapers (think Twin Towers) and HAD HIS KIDS AIM THEIR PLANES AT THE TOWERS.

My jaw must've hit the floor. I felt like all the air was sucked out of the room. I couldn't raise my eyebrows any higher and neither could I believe what he did. While judging what was best to say (or not to say) my student teacher, who grew up in New York, made a comment. I can't remember what it was but I do remember agreeing with the sentiment. I could see Brad looking at the both of us and not understanding why we were reacting that way. Thankfully, that was that and we all got on with the day.

If this was some other teacher sharing this story I'd find it funny. Funny in the God-I-can't-believe-he-actually-did-that sort of way. But it's my former student teacher we're talking about!

Other than that, it was a good day.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Melted my Cold, Black Heart

This year I'm having the kids write down weekly personal goals along with the class goals (read "State Standards"). I write one up for myself and even give myself stickers during class when I accomplish my goal.

On Friday I happened to see a student's agenda opened to the calendar section where she had put a smiley sticker on each day of the week. "What's that?" I asked. "Oh, Mrs. N.," she answered, "I bought stickers and every time I do my homework I give myself a sticker, just like you."

That was the cutest thing! I wish I could put it in my golden box. I'll just have to settle for a warm-fuzzy memory instead.

Like the Fru-its of the Day-vil

I am E-vil. And, I'm proud of it. The long arm of Mrs. N has just reached out and nabbed an unsuspecting student by the scruff of the neck and is determined to make him pass the class by hook or by crook! This required me to do something I've never done before: call a parent from my home.

I should've done this on Friday, but it was so late when I left school (5pm) that I just wanted to go home. Also, by calling on Sunday there is a greater chance of the parent and student remembering for Monday. John is a student on my team who, like so many others, has a lot of baggage. He's teased and picked on and is somewhat of a loner. The common opinion is that he feels out of touch with everyone because he's been held back in elementary school once, possibly twice. He doesn't think he's capable of passing his classes so he does whatever he can, short of being a behavior problem, to ensure failure. He's nice enough, but spends a lot of time in class not doing his work. This came to a head in my class this past Friday. I had the students working on an activity called a jigsaw ("Jigsaw is a group structure that can be used across all content areas. Students start with a home group. That group is responsible for learning an assigned portion of a task that is prescribed by the teacher. Then the teacher separates students into new groups -- jigsaw groups -- by assigning one member from each home group to a new group. If an activity begins with groups A, B, C, and D, the jigsaw groups have a member from A, B, C, and D. In the jigsaw groups, students share information and complete some sort of project or product." from here.) I had rearranged the classroom seating so that John was grouped with 2 students with lots of skills and one who wasn't highly skilled, but very positive and outgoing. Well, everyone got their assignment done except John, who spent the time phutzing around, doodling, and writing on himself. When the time came to make new groups he had nothing to contribute as he had done nothing. I think he felt a little bad, but he had sabotaged himself. I told him I was disappointed in him, that I know he can pass this class but he had picked up a lot of bad habits and that his job is to break them this year so that he could be successful in high school and that the entire team believed in him and that we were going to help him succeed. I also pointed out that all his phutzing about only hurts one person-- himself.

Now we get to the phone call. Since I have him at the end of the day I asked his mother if it would be alright if John stayed afterschool with me to get caught up on all his missing work. She seemed happy about that. I had assigned John lunch detention twice, he only showed up once and didn't do much, so I'm glad his mother is letting him stay after. John, I'm sure, is really bummed and not looking forward to this at all. Excellent! (Mr. Burns style, fingers tented.)
One down, 149 to go!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Be Right Back!

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