Friday, August 31, 2007


I gave out my first detentions on Monday. I then proceeded to give out detentions every day for the rest of the week. Apparently I just hit the point where I was sick of their behavior -- that, or the honeymoon period is over and they're just acting worse. Perhaps both. The kids just can't seem to resist throwing things. So much throwing! My 4th period class (the most naughty) totally trashed their room today. Papers everywhere, recycle bin knocked over and contents strewn about. After the bell rang, I made them clean up everything and only then would I start timing the 25 seconds of silence they owed me. Apparently I terrified the next class. It was awesome. I also discovered the best way to deliver a detention slip -- stapled to the person's backpack. My tech class had gone outside for an egg drop. One guy didn't return to class, but he left his backpack. It was great.

I know that I sound like I'm enjoying this. I am, though of course I would prefer not having to give detention at all. However, it is nice to finally be able to act against all the other rude and stupid behavior that exists in the world.

I had my first day of my Science 6 class on Thursday. I gave a kid detention because he kept throwing things at the girl in front of him. Apparently he mentioned something about wanting to bring a gun to school, so the vice principal is investigating. Hopefully he and I won't be at the same school in a few years, since I think I'd totally be on his hit list.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just when I finally am feeling on top of things...

They go and change my classes. This is the third week of school, mind you.

Yes, today I found out that the introductory psychology class is going to be taught solely by the woman I have been (nominally) co-teaching with, while I am to teach a new section on sixth grade science. Just when I finally have a handle on the psychology class (I no longer have to spend all night every night planning that class, on top of my prep periods), they give me something totally new. At least there is another sixth grade science teacher, whom I will be able to sponge off of, plus my apprentice teaching was in a sixth grade class, so I do have some experience with this age group. I'm still a little sad to see it go.

They're also trying to trade my 7th grade technology class with the freshman biology class of one of the intern teachers, which is totally stupid. I know they're trying to minimize the number of classes I need to prep for, but I don't prep for that class - the other tech teacher does all the work. All this would accomplish would be to unnecessarily disrupt both the classes. Plus, the tech class is so fun! I'd really have to lose it, as it is the highlight of my day. We do so many neat projects!

I suppose these are the pluses and minuses of teaching at this charter school. Sure, we've got tons of freedom, but we're not terribly organized and (according to one of the other teachers) our institutional memory isn't so good, so new teachers are constantly reinventing the wheel, curriculum-wise. We're like cowboys. The wild children of the educational system.


When I was at the grocery store, the cashier who was ringing me up was even more brain dead then I was and kept making all sorts of mistakes. It made me feel good, to see someone more burnt out than myself. I reveled in his misery and exhaustion.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Teaching 101: Intro to Being a Hard-Ass

I got to give out my first two detentions today. One guy threw something at a guy across the room, who then proceeded to throw it back. I also got to tell a whole bunch of students that they couldn't turn in Friday's test today. This was not a take-home test, even though we did go out and about to complete it. No, this was an ordinary, due-at-the-end-of-the-period test. I reminded them to turn it in, but one of my classes apparently wasn't listening (I didn't have any problems with the other class).

This whole thing makes me wonder if these kids have been paying any attention in school. They're 9th graders! They've got lots of experience in the classroom. None of this should come as a surprise.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Flogging a dead meme

Yes, I know this was all over the blogosphere earlier this month (which was when I was actually tagged by School Teacher over at Bright Minds), but as I previously mentioned I'm not at all on top of things right now. If I'm replying to your post a couple of weeks after you wrote it, now you know why. Anyway, here's the meme:

List 8 random facts about yourself:

1. My whole family thinks I'm Asian, or that I want to be Asian. This is actually not true, I just find the cultures over there interesting. I actually find most other cultures interesting, but apparently studying Japanese in school and reading manga leads one to be labeled "Asian."

2. I don't know how to cook beef. With the exception of hamburger, the times I've cooked beef could probably be counted on one hand, possibly on one finger. This probably has something to do with the fact that my family almost never eats beef and not with any sort of objection on my part to eating beef. R has decided that it's high time we eat more beef, so I've laid before him the task of learning how to cook it. I just... don't really care.

3. I love home decorating shows and model homes. I'm somewhat ashamed of this, but at least I've hit a point in my life where it is a bit more acceptable. It was something a bit more odd in a middle school student. The nice thing about this is that it is one of the few things my mother and I have in common. We may fight about everything else, but we can have several wonderful hours together looking at model homes.

4. Writing the previous fact made me go call my mother. Okay, so I'd been meaning to call her anyway. This was just the final impetus to actually go and do it.

5. R and I have the same toes.
His are a little bit hairier, but they're still the same sausage-toes as I have. I find this inexplicably cute. We're toe-mates.

6. I've been working around a busted keyboard for several weeks and I'm really not sure when I'll wind up getting a new one. The shift buttons each have several characters they won't work with, but these keys vary between the left and right shifts. For a while I couldn't get into my e-mail account because I didn't realize that it just wasn't typing one of the letters in the password. Considering that this weekend I might finally replace my headset (for Warcraft) which hasn't been working properly since I got it (sometime last year, I believe), I don't think I'll be getting a new keyboard soon.

7. I secretly like rap a little bit. Not that scary stuff, but some of it I can actually enjoy. I'm sure B will be thrilled.

8. I suck at keeping in contact with people. I have an excuse this year, what with all the school, but I'm just no good at it anyway. I think, when I have a kid, I'll have to have a baby blog so that all the relatives can keep themselves up to date, lest they all be waiting for phone calls that will never come.

Since you all have already done this meme, I'm not tagging anyone, but if anyone feels the urge they should feel free.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm so not on top of things

I just realized that I totally let my first blogoversary just blow past without any mention (it was my first day of school, so I think my mind was elsewhere). In any case, one year ago last Tuesday I posted my first post, having just decided to start a new, more mature blog in order to separate myself from my whiny LiveJournal that was aimed at at my high school friends. Happy belated blogoversary, self!

I also totally forgot to mention that Snosked over at Life in the country... mentioned one of my posts in her weekly wrap up a while back. Oops!

My first test

Yesterday and today I gave my first test at school. It was actually a pretty cool test. Originally, being a fairly linear thinker myself, I was going to give them a test that plainly asked them what I wanted them to know - what quantitative and qualitative observations are and the steps of the scientific method. For the rest of the class period, I had planned on going down to the pond and having them practice making observations. One of the other interns had the brilliant idea of combining the two, which lead to a test where the students actually had to apply their knowledge of the scientific method and design and experiment to answer a question raised by one of their observations. An excellent idea, filled with higher thinking, which also wound up being much more interesting to administer.

Some of the answers, however, have been hurting my brain. The kids had to make quantitative observations, which, for all those humanities types out there, involves numbers. Here are a few common answers that definitely aren't sufficient for quantitative observations:

a few

Sorry dudes, those don't count.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Forgive the mess

I've decided to follow Lara's lead and give the page a face lift.

You know you're having a rough day...

When your primary goal is not to cry in front of the students.

Well, I didn't actually cry today, but it was close. I've still got little red crescents in my forearms from using my nails to keep myself from crying in the copy room. What set the whole thing off was coming in to see that my teaching area for the next class had been reserved, messing up my whole lesson plan. I don't actually have a classroom for my psych class, you see, but instead the students and I meet in a large open area that is filled with computers. The teachers in the surrounding rooms can reserve the area so that their class can use the computers, but we're still getting the kinks in the reservation system worked out (namely, notifying me). I had to quickly figure out an alternate assignment (not quite so easy when the kids don't have textbooks), only to wind up having class in the computer area after all. Gah! Apparently I'm fragile enough that this sort of event will send me into another spell of "Why the hell am I even doing this when I don't even think I'll wind up teaching at the secondary level as a career?" misery.

When my step-brother was going off to join the army, my dad shared with us that the purpose of boot camp was to break you down and mold a new person from the rubble. I suppose that is the point where I am right now--broken. This is my teacher boot camp. Hopefully soon I'll be getting a bit of that new, freshly molded, stronger person. I could really use it about now.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Teaching & You

I've noticed that teaching appears to exaggerate certain... character traits of mine.

You see, I'm a big hand talker. I get this from my dad, who was known as the "[phone gesture] [flat surface gesture] guy" by the administrators at my middle school, since he was always coming to pick me up from school sick (I would call him from the nurse's office, where he would find me laying down, hence the hand gestures). Although my sister found them quite annoying, my hand gestures have always been appropriate. However, when I'm teaching my hand gestures seem to grow with the volume of my voice. It looks like I'm landing a plane.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It has begun

Well, I have now survived the first two days of school.

The first day... well, I think it can be best described in lolcat form.


R was very much afraid that I would come home and announce that I had quit the teaching program, and in all honestly, he wasn't too far off the mark. There was certainly some crying involved at one point during the day and the semi-serious consideration of the fact that bowing out of the program immediately rather than waiting a while would be much better on everyone, seeing as the kids had only had one fluff day with me and there are still interns in the teaching program in need of biology positions. The kids weren't even bad or anything. I just didn't feel like teaching was clicking with me - you know, all that standing up in front of people and talking.

Today was a lot better, though. Even though it was just the first day all over again with a new set of classes, I felt much more confident and a bit more prepared. If nothing else, I now feel that I can make it through the year.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Snorkeling, by the numbers

Stolen from this place.
1 guitarfish
2 tiny stingrays
3 seasick people
4 leopard sharks

One of the sharks noticed me at the very same moment that I noticed it. We both jumped, and then the shark quickly swam away.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Slightly ridiculous

Just this morning I found out that I'll be helping out with a middle school technology class. Apparently we'll be going to the ropes course for the second class session.

What? Doesn't your school have a ropes course?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My school

Phew! Those were an exhausting couple of days. Classes, in service... and it's not over yet. Luckily, I don't have to spend the entire evening in class or doing homework (as I have in fact done the last several days), so I thought I'd tell you a little about my school.

The people? Totally awesome. Everyone is so helpful and friendly. The place is also jam-packed with interns from my program from previous years (there are 9 of us there this year), so everyone is also very sympathetic and accommodating about the demands of the program.

We get a lot of collaboration time. We collaborate both within our department and with our house. The students and staff are all divided up into houses (like in Harry Potter) based on our advisory classes. I'm in one of the high school houses, which means that I'm advising 11th or 12th graders, which is odd since all of my other classes are 9th grade biology. Well, that and one mystery class. Hopefully they'll have that one assigned soon!

At the moment, I'm feeling really good about this whole endeavor. I think I may like it here.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Think of it like a museum

Sometimes, I really don't get people. We were out snorkeling this morning and there happened to be a family of sea lions. We went over to watch, as did everyone else at the cove, but we stayed back so as to not freak them out too much. This one snorkeler, though, was going right up to them. They kept swimming away, but what kind of idiot does that in the first place? Doesn't he know those things can bite your hand off? Some people!

In other animal-touching news, we also spotted a smallish tiger shark (3-4 feet long). R and I spotted it, then our friend swam right up to it and appeared to be trying to touch it! Apparently he just didn't see it (nor did he get to, as he scared off the shark).

Friday, August 03, 2007

My day

Signing forms, fingerprinting (again), drug testing.

You'd think they don't trust us or something.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


I got a job! I got the job! The one I wanted!

Quote of the evening

R: "Maybe I'll just go out like this."
Roommate: "Maybe I'll go out like this."
Teacher A: "Maybe I'll go out like this."
R: "Maybe you should put on some underwear."
Teacher A: "Undergarments are for losers."