Friday, September 28, 2007

No escape

I've been dreaming about teaching all week. It's horrible. My days are already consumed with teaching, my thoughts filled with school even when I'm not there. My final refuge--sleep--has now been taken over.

I'm so sick of teaching. Stupid students. Stupid classroom management.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Recipe Review: Tortilla Soup

In all fairness, this is hardly a new recipe. Although this is the first time I have made it, I am intimately familiar with the product. This is my step-mom's tortilla soup recipe. Much beloved by my whole family, this recipe was probably the single biggest factor in my step-mom gaining the love of my sister and me (well, that and being a really nice person). In any case, I'm so glad that I can make this soup myself now, since she's been tinkering with the recipe of late and I'm not so fond of the changes.

Tortilla Soup

Serves 3
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) Chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Mexican stewed tomatoes--blended
  • 4-5 Sprigs cilantro
  • 3 Flour tortillas (burrito size)
  • 1 Ripe avocado
  • 1 Tomato
  • 2-3 oz Pepper jack or cheddar cheese (I just used a small pile of each)
  • 1 sauteed chicken breast, cut into small pieces (or more, if you like. I used tenders because they cook faster)
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper flakes
  • Ground pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder (if desired)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

2. Cut flour tortillas into 1/4 in. strips using pizza cutter, place on a bake sheet in a single layer, bake until crisp (13 minutes or so).

3. Blend stewed tomatoes with rinsed cilantro, pepper flakes, ground pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder (if looking for additional spice).

4. Add to saucepan with chicken broth, heat through.

5. Cut avocado in half, remove seed, run knife through avocado lengthwise, then crosswise to dice.

6. Rinse and dice tomato.

7. Grate cheese.

To serve:
Place avocado, tomato, cheese, and baked tortilla strips in individual bowls, ladle soup over ingredients.

I was very surprised at how quickly this recipe came together. If I had some pre-cooked chicken around, this would be a 15 minute meal.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Never was a Friday so needed

This was Thursday night's M.Ed. class. My concentration level was just about zero. To be fair, I had just given a test which nearly ended in student revolt. My students were just blown away by the questions, all of which were based out of what we had studied. Some even were refusing to describe the pictures of mitotic phases. Pictures! How could they not even try? That whole evening I wrestled with the idea of curving the test, eventually deciding that I wouldn't. They should know this stuff, so a bad grade is just a punishment for those who weren't paying attention in class (which many weren't). Since it looks like a couple of people in today's class will be getting As on the test, I feel quite justified.

Today, as I was driving to work, I suddenly noticed that the scenery seemed... unfamiliar. When I reached a sign for the next exit, I realized that I had missed my turn. It took me three minutes to get back to the freeway I was supposed to have taken. Apparently I was really out of it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Project

I like food. I like to cook. I am, however, fairly lazy. I have so many cookbooks, but have hardly made any of the recipes from them. I've got hundreds of recipes in folders in my computer that have merely been looked over. This summer, I went through most of my cookbooks and marked the recipes that sounded good, but still I haven't tried them out.

I am therefore giving myself a task - The Project.

My plan is to try one recipe a week. All of my classes have yet to start, so I don't know how much energy I will have in the coming months, but if I even wound up trying one new recipe a month it would be an improvement. As means of keeping myself on track (and giving all my fellow lazy cooks out there the vicarious thrill of trying a new recipe), I will be posting the results of my experiments as well as the recipe, should you find yourself needing to try the dish.

This evening's recipe? Stir-Fried Chicken and Asian Greens.

The results? Bland. Not horrible, but nothing to recommend actually making it again. As R put it, "I can't believe someone liked this enough to write it down."

Ah well. Friday's tortilla soup should be better.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I just don't get spectator sports

My roommate has people over for the football game, which means I'm currently avoiding that end of the house. There is a fair amount of noise emanating from a couple of people. Me? I don't get the appeal. There was a giant shouting match in my advisory over the Chargers and the Patriots on Friday (the two teams playing at the moment, for those not familiar with American football), so apparently some of my students are rather big fans. That, or they're just noisy and argumentative.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Man, that improper text wrapping was getting on my nerves. Perhaps I'll make a cool and personalized template someday... I do have three weeks off at Christmas.

Bottle biomes

My sixth grade class is learning about ecology. These biomes, made from 2 L soda bottles, have aquatic and terrestrial sections containing plants and animals. They are sealed off from the outside world, which left my students very concerned about the critters therein. "How will they get any air?" Ah, we shall see.

Since my class started 3 weeks after school began, I've been trying to catch up with the other science teacher. I was only able to give the kids 2 days to find consumers (unlike the other classes, which had nearly a week), which resulted in only 2 kids bringing organisms. Fortunately, one of those kids brought a bunch of rolly-polies, so I was able to spread them out amongst the class, and I had some fish to spare. Crisis averted!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Little pick-me-ups

My wee sixth grade troublemaker managed to get himself expelled, which will make my life a bit easier. This will also make my other students happier (particularly the two girls who I had sitting next to him), as he was fairly uniformly disliked. Apparently he was poking other students with push pins and threatening to staple them, which would probably explain their dislike.

I talked to my mother recently. Apparently, after coming home at 9 pm, she cried herself to sleep on the first day of school. This probably has something to do with being involuntarily moved from kindergarten to second grade in violation of her contract (she's got seniority and one of the other teachers wanted to change grades instead). Still, it made me feel better that veteran teachers are also miserable when school get back in. Ah, schadenfreude, you're my only friend these days.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh, how I hate them

One of my advisory students asked me today if I had ever considered getting French tips. Yes, like I'm going to take fashion advice from a sixth grader.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Well, I suppose it is a compliment

I went to the office today without my keys (i.e., the symbol of authority) and one of the campus security guards asked me for my pass. Since I ignored him (well, truth be told, I didn't hear him. I'm almost infamous for my obliviousness while walking around), he turned to his fellow security guard and said, "TA," to which I had to reply, "Teacher." He promptly asked me my age, at which point the other security guard started getting on his case for being too blunt. Later, the second guy apologized to me privately.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

School-related link

Awesome (and quick) article about school lunches in France.

All of the sudden

While getting a bite of food at Rubio's before my evening class, I almost told the cashier that name was Ms. A. I had to think about my first name before I could say it. After, I could only think, "When did this happen?" At the beginning of the year, I kept almost telling my students my first name when they asked me what my name was. Last names just seemed so unnatural, but now it's my first response.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Great Cover Slip Massacre of Aught-Seven

Yesterday and today I had my first lab. The students were looking at their cheek cells under a microscope. The whole thing went fairly well, aside from the fact that almost no one could find cells. I was not much help, seeing as I haven't used a microscope since high school. The lab really served to make the difference between the two classes clear. My 7th period class went fine, nothing broken or spilled. My 4th period class managed to break nearly every cover slip I had and several students (intentionally) dyed their hands with the methylene blue we were using to stain the cells. Apparently the prospect of permanently staining a layer of skin was far too exciting. To think my 4th period class is significantly smaller, too (but contains a lot more guys, which I think may be the issue. Guess who were dying their skin?).

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Showing a little ink

Today I wore a scoop-backed shirt, which allowed the top of my tattoo to peek out. Now, at a lot of schools, visible tattoos are a big no, but my school is very relaxed and full of young teachers, so no one seems to care. No one on the staff, that is. My students were fascinated. I avoided answering questions about it ("That's an after-school question."), but it was still somewhat disruptive (it also renewed the guess-the-teacher's-age contest that has been going on in my classrooms). I think I'm either going to have to cover up or show it more often, so that the tattoo loses its novelty.

On the upside, one of the girls in my advisory class came over and quietly told me that she thinks teachers with tattoos are awesome. Which gave me an idea. Any of you all have pictures of teacher's tattoos that you'd like to share? I'd post them. We could have a whole series. It would be great.

So, yeah. Hand them over.

Do it.

It'll be awesome.

Monday, September 03, 2007


feeling so sticky
cold shower, my only love
A/C is broken