Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Drugs of choice

Boy, another rough one. Remember that guy from the movie Airplane, the one who says, "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit _____."? Well, that was me today. When I first began to student teach I would come home and have a couple of beers to help me unwind. I had beers three times last week, and a rum and coke last night. I really don't want to get hooked into mind altering chemicals of any kind to help me relax. Or, at least, only on the ones my body produces naturally.

So today I jogged 3.6mi. I started to feel much better after the first mile. The sun was setting over the ocean, various species of water fowl were settling in for the night, and a majestic Great Blue Heron was silouetted against a sky full of orangey-purpley clouds. Talk about trippin'!

Ahhh, endorphins. Is there anything you can't fix??

Monday, October 30, 2006

Finally, another post!

Man, oh man. You will not believe the week month year I've been having! The week I last posted had me staying late 2 days for parent conferences. We also had a lockdown (armed intruder response. *tsk* that is the way of the world nowadays). Then, last week we started keeping a couple of boys afterschool (as a team) to help then catch up, but that has turned into a mental wrestling match each time. bleh.

On top of that, I have so many D and F students that I'm swamped! So many people to help that I can't keep track of them all nor do I have the energy to make them accountable to any detentions I've given them. This group of students is lacking in a lot of skills and motivation. They don't seem to want to do better. There's only so much we as teachers can do; eventually the student has to WANT to do something and then actually follow through. Remember that machine from The Princess Bride that sucks Wesley's life away? Well, at the end of every day I feel like I've been attached to that machine and 1 year of my life has been sucked away.

Wait! there's more: we (the whole district) are being audited by the county education office, so there's been tons of meetings and memos that admin has generated to make sure we are able to tell the auditors, "Yes, I've been made aware of such-and-such." They are also observing each teacher over the course of these couple of days. They didn't get to me today, so I'm supposing they'll see me tomorrow. I've started a differentiated section of this unit and right now the kids are doing independent work out of the textbook, so I hope I don't get dinged for that! Normally, I'm very proud of my attempts at differentation, but now I'm afraid it'll look like I'm not actively teaching.

AAANNNNDDD I've got a student teacher. He's pretty OK, but reads way too much into what I'm saying or totally misinterprets what the heck I meant. Definitely some sort of disconnect going on. He's also very eager and really wants to help, but by the time I explain what he can do to help me it would've been faster to just do it myself. I snapped at him about that last week and I still feel bad about it, but I will admit that he's a bit more independent now (that is he leaves me alone and finds things to do). Now, don't get me wrong; he's a great guy who has a lot to offer. He just needs to learn how to tone it down a bit. Now that he knows how to make copies, that's his main job. Sad how a large part of every teacher's prep is taken up by making copies. Almost makes me long for a slate and bit of chalk.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Inspired to be better

Today I read this post on one of the few blogs I actually read on a regular basis. As a fellow educator and somewhat of an amateur athlete I can relate to some of her stories and adventures.

Today I jogged 4 miles. Instead of psyching myself out of running like I have been doing I tried to look at it as something that's not supposed to add any additional stress to my life. I just told myself to keep an easy pace, not to worry about the time, and git-r-done.

School has been stressful lately; I've been working very hard keeping my gradebook up to date and planning the entire year. On top of that I'm on a couple of committees, have a student teacher, am the captain of my team, and have the normal teacher paperwork/emails/pressures.

This morning we were all told to keep our doors locked and closed as there was a shooting in the neighborhood last night and the perpetrator was still at large.

So, after a small snack and a little Debbie Travis I suited up and went jogging. The sun was getting low and the clouds were high. I jogged to the edge of town where there is a small park along some bluffs. I jogged along them back to the beach where the tide was low enough for me to run on smooth, packed sand, enjoying the wonderful scenery of waves, birds, campfires, and sun.

At the end of my run I realized I had found the calm, relaxed feelings I had been searching for in front of the tv.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Finally Done!

Well, this past Friday was the last day of my big project. The kids and I had spent about 3-4 weeks on California State Science Standard 9: Students will plan and conduct a scientific investigation. *whew* I get all tired just remembering it! First we review the steps of the scientific method, reminding them that it was a guide and not set in stone. Then I introduced the idea of variable and controlled parameters, which I thought they got until I read their answers to the experiment analysis questions. *sigh*

Then I did the diet coke and mentos demo which got them excited enough to ask a ton of questions, afterwhich I had to teach them how to ask a good science question. That alone took 2 days. Next was getting them to write up a hypothesis and design an experiment to test it-again, easier said than done. Remember, students today are taught to write in paragraph form with long, complex sentences full of adjectives and whatnots. They had a hard time believing me when I said to keep the procedures short and detailed.

The-e-en they made posters and presented their experiment to the class. The class voted on the one experiment they wanted to do and we did it on Friday.

Gee, no wonder I'm so tired! The experiment write-ups were due on Monday. So, in grading their work I saw that a bunch of them were still confused on the controls and variables in their experiments. Gues I'm re-teaching tomorrow!