Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Money and Education

Yesterday I got the news that the financial struggle had come crashing down - and it happens to take my Education program with it.

Three years ago I helped to write a grant and we received funding to the tune of 90,000 over a four year period. The team of grant writers was overjoyed! The program we were building was for kids who wanted to be teachers. Last year I was able to teach the class and we had a wonderful time.

This year 16 kids signed up - but due to low numbers and the current enrollment being far over what was originally projected, they needed to cut the program. This is the first time in school history that they have had to cut programs. Tomorrow hundreds of new schedule changes will be happening and students will be changing classes in a hurry. I'll be getting a new class all together.

With all of this change and all of the disappointment.

Here are a few things that I am thankful for.

1. That the students who were in the class for those two short weeks are planning on starting a Future Teachers club and will be trying to raise money to go to the Museum of Tolerance in the spring.

2. I have amazing friends (who happen to also be coworkers) who were there for me and gave me lots of hugs today.

3. I will now have a prep period at the end of the day. It means that this Friday my day ends at 12:10. That's pretty awesome.

4. My wonderful husband who is so supportive and has done everything in his power to make sure I'm okay. Including let me do the ugly cry (oh yes - it was bad).

5. I have a job, at a school that I love, with people I love.

6. Kristine (of blog stalking fame) is letting me help advise the class of 2012. It feels good to feel needed again.

So even though I am very sad to be losing my program. I still have much to be grateful for.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Good Friends - Our dog Tonka is a bit of a wild woman. She got bored one day about three months ago and ripped the wires out of our air conditioning unit. At the time it wasn't hot. And we were saving for our trip to Australia. Then we were gone for a month. And now it's H.O.T. hot - the southern California summer is very much alive and well. The current forecast for the week is 100+.

Our friends Dave and Nicole are very handy - Dave offered to come over and help Bren fix the air conditioning. We were overjoyed! Nicole and I went out to get some yummy lunch and when we got back - the house was a bit cooler. It is awesome. I'm so very thankful for wonderful friends who give of themselves so willingly.

Now I just have to remind myself of the bill that will go up now that we can stay nice and cool.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

True Story

Picture it - first day of school. Last period of the day.

I'm tired - I've given the same speech over and over. A child walks in, sits down and begins to send a text message before the class has even started. Before the bell even rang this kid is texting. Heaven help this child.

D - 'sitting, texting, unaware of the wrath about to be placed upon him'
Me - What is your name?
D - D
Me - Why are you texting D
D - ummmm
Me - D - this is a great way for me to tell the whole class that I don't like texting. I hate it - I think it will be the downfall of the English Language. Because the word 'cuz' does not mean BECAUSE.
*At this point I think that D is terrified*
D - I'm sorry it will never happen again. I promise.
Me - it better not.

I smiled at him to let him know he was not in a huge amount of trouble - but then later I found out that he is the younger brother of one of my favorite students. Sooo as it turns out he had been warned that I'm a little crazy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

day two and the feet still hurt

Ummmm when is it okay to switch to wearing slippers in my classroom.

House shoes as I like to call them.

Because really who wants to teach 30 - 14 year old wearing shoes that hurt your feet. Not me friend, Not me.

Today was day two - but because my school is on block schedule, it's kind of like the first day of real teaching. We read Everyday Use - 7th period liked it better than 1st. Or at least they were more vocal about enjoying it. And in 7th period there were seriously 10 people who interrupted class. I hate that. Pass for this kid, Some kid saying hello because they were going to go to the bathroom then they remembered that they missed my class... bla bla bla - seriously being interrupted with 35 kids in a room does not help the flow. But I managed.

Needless to say - it's good to be back - but what's even better is that tomorrow is Friday.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

first day of year 6

feet are tired. voice is tired. mind is tired. it was a great day.

The funny thing about teaching is you can gauge the year by how the first day goes. And let me tell you - it's going to be a good year. Other than the 11 minute drive that took 40minutes!! It really was the start of something awesome.

The kids laughed at my jokes, respected me when I asked for quiet and had the right amount of 'I'm scared' for my liking. A friend of mine who teaches 12th grade said this at lunch and I tend to agree...

S: I want my kids to have a bit of fear and be a bit timid on the first day of school. I don't want them thinking that they can make jokes with me yet. We aren't there yet.

There should be a healthy respect for the teacher up in the front of the room. I want my students to feel like they don't really 'get' me yet. The process of getting to know them and them getting to know me is the fun part.

As for tomorrow Adv 10 will start to read Everyday Use by Alice Walker. It's a good one to start with and I look forward to seeing how much they already know - and where I need to take them in order to get them to the goal of AP English 11.

I will be going to get something yummy from the fridge and put my feet up. Tomorrow I'm wearing flats.

Monday, August 9, 2010

back in the sadle again

There is nothing like a trip to an office supply store to get the teacher juices flowing. I have a serious love for office supplies. Today I was able to get scissors for 0.25 cents! So I bought 6 pairs. I also got personal pencil sharpeners for 0.05 cents so I got 6 of those as well. In all I spent 24 dollars but am now set for the fall semester. If I can get a few kids to bring in tissue boxes then I'm golden.

The goal for this year is to have a personal 'edit and project' box for every table group. I was thinking that I would put the kids back into the flying V as I like to call it. This V helps the kids focus on the front of the room. But I also have all advanced English classes this year - and I might put them back in table groups. It's a constant battle really. The groups allow them to talk a bit more - but they also have the ability to swap papers and discuss when I want them to. hmmmm I think this year it will also depend on how much work needs to be don with my room.

Tomorrow is teacher day. This means that I'll be at school around 7am and get my keys back - meet up and learn what the admin have in store for the year. Then it's off to my room to set up shop. I will also get my picture taken for the yearbook. Last year a lot of us made funny faces. This year I might just bring my crown and wear it in the picture. Who doesn't want to look like a queen in the year book.

This year because of budget cuts classes are f.u.l.l. I love having 28 in a room. 30 is okay, 31 I can handle (but I don't have to like it), 32 gets a little crazy at times, 33 and up and it can become crowd control. I have 35 kids in my 7th period class. So at the end of the day it's going to be a wild ride. I hope that a few of the kids get shuffled around. I have some classes with lower numbers so even a little movement will help.

I'm looking forward to the year ahead. We'll have to see what adventures are ahead.

Friday, August 6, 2010

So I'm Back

I feel like there are a lot of things to cover. I will not be able to post it all now, because I'm trying to get back to a normal sleep schedule. After all the first day of school is on Tuesday - first day with kids is Wednesday.

My brain is still trying to get a hold of this time situation. Because it still feels like I should be awake until about 3 am. But I made it to bed at 1 yesterday - that's two hours better from the night before.

The trip was wonderful. I gained 5lbs - but we'll say 2kg because it sounds like less. Why aren't we on the metric system. I mean really - what are we doing with this bologna about feet and pounds. It's a bit to complicated for me.

Here we are at LAX getting ready for our flight. It's hard to think that this was over a month ago. The flight took us 13 1/2 hours to get to New Zealand where we almost had to run to catch another 3 hour flight to Sydney. We got in at 9am Sydney time and had to wait almost an hour to get our bags. It may not have been an hour but it sure did feel like a long time. We got through customs and then we were out to meet the family. Tracey (mother in law) and Liam (brother in law) were there to pick us up. Liam is now taller than Bren. I couldn't believe it, neither could Bren really.

Here is a Koala that we saw at a wild life park we went to. He was loving himself sick with the eucalyptus leaves he was eating.

Here is Tas (sister in law) and Bren at the museum of natural history. This is a taxidermy kangaroo - Bren is pretending to snub it.

ps. I would like to post more pictures but it takes a long time on here and I'm not sure if there is a faster/better way to upload pictures. If you know of a way can you let me in on the secret.
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