July 01, 2008

i forgot how much i missed reading for fun...

Today I got to do something that I have not done since last summer...sit in a coffee shop and read a book for fun. Between the hellish year I had teaching as well as taking some intense Masters classes, and lately having to get my SEI endorsement, all of my reading has been academic in nature.

I forgot just how awesome it is to get whisked away in a well-written story...to become a part of an adventure and actually get frustrated because I cannot read fast enough to find out what is going to happen next.

It is kind of funny what I am reading too. Believe it or not, one of the things my students loved the most in my homeroom was the times that I read to them. Yes, fourteen year olds got all giddy when they got to hear me read them a story. So I kept hearing so much about the book Uglies by Scott Westerfeld that I thought I would read that to them. Well I am not sure who enjoyed this story more - me or them - but I got so engrossed in the book UNTIL the end. Whereas everybody said how good the story was BUT nobody told me that it was part of a trilogy!!! I literally got to the end of the book the last week of school and damn near screamed out loud some inappropriate school words when I saw it ended in a cliffhanger. Needless to say I had to find out what happened next so I just bought the second book, Pretties and it is just as awesome.

So I now have the month of July to cram in as much reading time as possible before the roller coaster ride starts up again in August. After Pretties I have Specials to finish up the trilogy and with any luck I will still have some time to sneak in another book.

I really do not understand why some people hate to read...

July 08, 2008

i miss school...

...yes, you read that right.

Okay, I know most of you fellow teachers out there will groan when you read this, but it is true...I am looking forward to school starting again.

I am not sure if this is just a carry over from my old corporate days but having this much time off drives me crazy and I can feel myself easily slipping into "lazy mode". I remember all too well in getting only 10 DAYS a year to do with what I wanted so having 13 WEEKS off is still a strange concept.

Yes I know I have only been teaching for the last 5 years but I truly love what I do and after a few weeks off of not doing it, I really start to miss teaching. And the funny thing is that whenever I engage some students in some serious one-on-one conversation, most of them admit that they too were glad that school started up again. Definitely the first few weeks are always fun with staying up late, sleeping in and playing hours and hours and hours and hours of Halo on xBox (boy am I getting good at that game!!). But ten weeks is an awful long time to try and fill with meaningless stuff.

Oh well, as of right now, there are 34 days to the fist day of school....how exciting is that?!?!?!?!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

memories through music...

[I know that I really have not been blogging that much about education-centered topics...but hey, it is summer, and it is nice to stretch out my brain muscles on other things]

Last night I ended up watching 4-hours worth of VH1's "Top 100 Songs of the 80's" series. I just could not turn it off. Now understand that the 80's were the critical foundation years of my life - in 1980 I was finishing up 8th grade and in December of 1989 I graduated from college. All of my formative years were during this time period. It was amazing that EVERY song (and I am not exaggerating there) they played, I had some memory of doing something to that song.

Just some of the memories that came flooding back to me were: numerous school dances, couple skating at the Roller King, road trips with friends, breaking up with a girl, playing in my friend's pool, my first concert, all night study sessions, my first solo ride in my first car, cramming for an impossible final, numerous mixed tapes, BS-ing with friends around a camp fire, hanging out at an under-21 club, proms, homecomings, my first day in high school, my last day in high school, and even my first trip to a "gentleman's club" (trust me, if you have ever been to one of these places, you will NEVER be able to hear "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard the same way again). Every one of these memories were chronicled by a song and all of this well before there was such a thing as an iPod.

Music is such an emotion-stirring catalyst. I have always heard that our brains are so powerful that they actually have stored every memory, experience, conversation and words read that we have ever had - the problem is we just do not know how to tap into it. And with all the wild flashbacks I was having last night, I completely agree that it is all stored up there somewhere.

Wow...I sure did love the 80's!

Friday, July 18, 2008

practically recession-proof

I will admit that even though I am mostly an optimist, our economy is really going through a rough patch. I have no doubt that we will come out of it stronger than ever (hey we survived the Carter years after all) even though it might take awhile.

But in listening to the news, something hit me that brought a little smile to my face. I spent 8 years in the high tech industry, specifically in sales and marketing, so when there was a down-turn in the economy, it had a huge impact on me and on more than one occasion I was even laid off (3 of the last 4 companies I worked for do not even exist anymore). Well now here I sit as an 8th grade science teacher and I have to say this brings a whole lot of comfort to me in the fact that my job is extremely secure.

Teacher always tend to bitch and moan in that they do not make enough money - heck I even organized some picketing this year on that very subject. But I would soooo rather complain in the fact that I did not get a big enough raise this year than having to figure out where my next paycheck was coming from and trying to decide which bills I would pay this month and which would have to wait until I got the nasty phone calls.Yes, been there, done that.

Oh sure, teachers do get laid off from time to time but it is not something that happens a lot. And I must say it feels good that I have a lot of "plusses" going for me that really moves me away from that pink-slip:
  • 4 years seniority (maybe not a whole lot but there is a huge pool of "baby teachers" below me on the totem pole)
  • Middle school teacher (and halfway through getting my masters in middle level education)
  • Science teacher (I teach science because I love it - and then there is the side benefit that a lot of people do not share that love)
  • Being male (yes there are benefits to being a part of a "minority" even though it is not publicly talked about)

Now since I have been through numerous layoffs I can totally feel the pain of these people who are loosing their jobs because of downsizing. But for once, I can at least sleep a little better at night not having to worry about my boss coming up to me asking that gut-wrenching question:
"You got a minute?"
[Note: for anybody who has been laid off, you just got a chill to run up your spine after reading those simple four words because you remember the conversation that followed.]

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