Saturday, October 26, 2013

One more thought...

It's a little odd entering the fall/holiday season and not be living with Lisa. We had some pretty fantastic Thanksgiving and Christmases living together...

The first Christmas

Amadeus - started out as a joke the first year and now a tradition

The traditional Christmas socks. At least they aren't playing music or lighting up!

We're pretty classy. I miss her...a lot.

One smart cookie...

I just have to toot my own horn a bit (feel free to ignore this post). 

I will be as non-technical as I can in explaining all this...

There has been a lot of stress and anger at work in regards to our district mandated interim tests. I have no issue with testing students periodically throughout the year to see where they are and to make sure we're all making progress towards the CRT at the end of the year. Our district has purchased a testing software as well as a curriculum for both Math and Language Arts. It's been a huge headache to get these two aligned so the test is actually testing what has been taught. There's a lot more going on with all of this but I'll just leave it there.

The teachers had been saying (rightly so) that the test wasn't aligned to the curriculum. It was frustrating to teachers and students alike. The district couldn't figure out why the test wasn't aligned as they were working with the information from our curriculum. On Friday I was able to figure out the missing puzzle piece about why the test we thought was aligned wasn't aligned to the test. I'm just that smart...

...actually, I figured it out completely on accident. It was just as likely someone else would have figured it out or no one would have figured out. Still...I felt pretty good about it.

Round 1

Today I signed the lease for my new place in O-town. When I started teaching in O-town I did not anticipate moving there. In fact, I said I didn't want to. Yet, here I am. It's not even two years later and I'm really excited about this move. I've moved quite a bit in the past decade - some moves were better than others. But this is the first move that I have been excited about since moving in with Lisa. My new place is itty-bitty tiny (500 ft) but it has a great view of the mountains and is in a safe neighborhood.

However, this move has had it's own set of challenges (don't all my moves?). Since I have lived with Lisa for so long and she had all the apartment "stuff"...I've had to beg, borrow and steal to get what I need. Well, that isn't totally true. Shannon has been so sweet and generous. She came home from Shopko the other day with a set of pots & pans and a toaster for me. She's also helping me out with a few other things...all without me asking. She's been incredibly generous and kind. I've had all kinds of lists running through my brain. I think I have everything I need to function in the kitchen. It's nothing fancy, but it'll do.

The living room is a whole other issue. I have four medium sized bookshelves, an old TV and TV stand given to me by Shannon, a smallish decorative office chair and a small side table. I have no real seating and I know four bookshelves sounds like more than enough. And for many people, that would be more than enough. However, I have a lot of books...a lot. I may need to get another bookshelf. I don't have a couch, coffee table or DVD player. None are terribly critical, but can be pricey. Because the place is on the small side, it's going to take some organizational help. Luckily, I have a mom that is a pro at this stuff!

All in all, I am very excited about this move. It will relieve a lot of stress and I'm looking forward to living alone. I have loved my roommates, but it'll be good to have my own space and my own home.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I surrender

It's 2:10 am and I have given up trying to sleep tonight. I went to bed a little before 10:00 and woke up at about 12:30 because of my back. I've seen a chiropractor several times and after the last visit I had three fairly serious flair ups in one week...that's some kind of record for me. It resulted in me going to InstaCare and getting a prescription for Lortab and physical therapy. The first thing I did when I woke up at 12:30 was pop a Lortab, I needed to sleep in order to be able to do my job tomorrow. Alas, not even the Lortab is working tonight. So...I'm up until I can ignore the pain enough to fall asleep. I can't call in a sub for tomorrow - or rather today - so, that's going to make for a lovely day at school. I am at my wits end. What started as a somewhat monthly issue and taken on a life of its own and taking over my life! I don't know what else to do. I'm looking for a physical therapist and trying to figure out ways to minimize stress in my life. But for tonight, that's not really going to do any good. I still have to get through tonight and school today.

I surrender. This is me waving the proverbial white flag. I give up...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Superwoman I am not

If asked, I would generally say I'm a fairly tough individual. I can do difficult things. In fact, I rarely do things the easy way. My job requires that I be a firm disciplinarian while also infusing a certain about of heart and nurturing into my daily interactions. The phrase "cruel to be kind" comes to mind, yet it's not cruelty (although many of my students would argue that it is), but rather discipline and structure. 

This year has had a lot of changes for me. I was made department chair, asked to be on the School Leadership Team, teaching productivity (that means the district bought out one of my prep periods so I teach an extra class), doubled my commute, started my ESL endorsement and continue to struggle with, occasional debilitating back pain. I don't feel tough right now. I feel run down, exhausted and a little depressed. I am so tired and swamped with school related responsibilities that when I get home, the last thing I want to do is go out and be social. But I have to and because I'm not I worry about all the other emotional and social aspects of being a single-almost-30 LDS woman. 

Somethings got to give. I can't really give up my job responsibilities so, that means I'm looking at moving...again. I know my mom is reading this and is probably shaking her head or wanting to shake me. I thought I could handle the commute and I probably could if I didn't have so many other after school commitments. But that is the reality. I don't know exactly where or when but it seems like the right option at this point. There is a certain amount of appeal to moving somewhere new and starting completely over. It's a fresh start with no preconceived notions of who I am. But I do know one thing, I won't be able to sustain this current schedule for much longer...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Are we there yet...?


I love my job, really I do. It has simply been a very long, very stressful, very emotional week for me. Most of the time, the good stuff far out weighs the bad stuff. The two lists may look disproportionate, but the value on the good will always outstrip whatever difficulties I may have faced.

Reasons this week needs to be over...

  1. Parent Teacher Conferences - two 13 hour days back to back, need I say more?
  2. Unexpected Admin observation
  3. One student flipped out at me in class. He later apologized and told me a close family friend had been involved in a gang shooting the previous night. The family friend was in critical condition at the hospital and not expected to make it.
  4. Another student refused to work and was really upset. Turns out his mother may have cancer, he had heart surgery in the last six months and lost his father when he was 6. 
  5. Bus duty...worst after school job ever...
  6. Grading essays for 6 classes
  7. Grading short stories for 37 students
  8. Trying to get time in the computer lab and failing miserably
  9. Having a minor meltdown in front of a co-worker
  10. It's supposed to snow during the morning commute tomorrow
  11. Tension headache won't go away
  12. Students could not/would not listen and follow directions all week
This week wasn't all horrible...
  1. During bus duty students all laugh, joke around with me and say goodbye. An admin commented on how much the students seem to like me
  2. Struggling students (two mentioned before) were able to discuss issues with me - this wouldn't have happened with them last year
  3. Ending each day with a happy, fun class
  4. Two self-proclaimed anti-readers, wanting to take home Night to read it over the weekend
  5. I work with awesome teachers and we watch out for each other
  6. Monitoring the hall during passing periods and getting compliments on my dress