Friday, December 30, 2011

Almost Over...

These days of enough sleep will soon come to an end. I'll miss the sleeping part, but I won't miss the sitting around on my heiny part. I'm wondering if it almost wouldn't be better to have a week shorter break, and then take those 5 days and sprinkle them around for FIVE FOUR-DAY weeks at various times during the year. Then it would be like mini vacations all the time.

I went to a wedding of an old friend yesterday, a retired math teacher getting married for the first time, WOOT, and not surprisingly, he invited a bunch of other math teacher friends he'd taught with throughout his career. I was chatting with a few, and we happened upon the discussion of administration. A retired woman was commenting on the fact that as the years went on in her teaching, she'd see various administrators come and go, and they got younger and younger and greener and greener and she just had to ride out the tide.

Some other retired middle school teacher's husband commented on the fact that at the various school parties he noticed a hefty amount of alcohol. Ahem.

Another teacher was reminiscing about the days when there would be a "homework hotline" where they were paid $10/hour to sit and wait in the evening for possible student calls for math/english help.

Another retired teacher was mentioning the fact that she now gets paid $26/hour to tutor 10 students at a particular school. I know of another retired math teacher that tutors students in a wealthy district for about $40-$50/hour and for most of the year (half the year?) has about 20 students on his roster once a week. Yeesh. I guess there won't be any shortage of things to do when that time comes. ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


That's what I deem this first day of vacation.

It started out with a much needed 8 hours of sleep. Continued on later with a brisk exercise walk in our "freezing" 46 degree weather. Followed by a yummy lunch and 2.5 hour nap. Enhanced by starting a book ("Odd Thomas" by Dean Koontz) recommended by a work friend. To be concluded with having friends over with delicious take out from a neighborhood Italian restaurant.

This year has aged me ... or maybe I'm just aging. I don't wear glasses (except for driving), but I've been noticing a fuzzier appearance to the world. I guess that's what 46+ years will do to you. I'm also not getting enough sleep during the school week/year, so I feel haggard. I'm also skipping yoga too much because I feel trapped at work too late (maybe that will be my New Year's resolution: leave on time on Tuesdays). This causes me to feel stiff and achy and stressed. I think I may piggy back that resolution onto another resolution a friend told me about: try at least one new type of drink a month (to get out of her same old same old rut).

I did enjoy two new endeavors this semester. The first was teaching Digital Electronics. Loved it! It's a nice mix of logic and math and breadboards and LEDs and such that you control with your skill.

The second was an online Java course I took (and will continue taking in the spring). It's the AP Computer Science curriculum taught through the University of Missouri. The teacher is great, the curriculum is well laid out. The topic is fun. I get to program again. I even made a version of "green globs" for my final project, and it worked! I love the push I have to actually go through the subject because of the deadlines and grades and tests I have to submit. I know if I just said I'd do it on my own it would be so easy to put it off all the time because I am busy.

All in all, it was a good semester, and MOST of all, I'm going to enjoy my free time by napping and reading and movie-ing and puzzling and such.

Friday, December 16, 2011


This problem makes me happy in its difficulty and challenge. I threw down the gauntlet to my precalculus students. We'll see if they run with it to the finish line or not. Either way, I wanted the smartie smarts to at least know there are some problems out there that require more than just rote brain power.

Friday, December 09, 2011


As always it's just slam-banged and gotten here already. Now it's a scramble to get all things graded and finals written and reviews made and failers cheered on to get their act together and mouths kept shut due to lack of sleep and knowledge that if something comes out of my tired brain/mouth it will be a regrettable snarky comment that won't do anyone any good.

On a positive note, I have this extremely clever 8th grader this year. She's quiet and polite, but every time the timing is right, she comes up with these zingers. For example, today I quickly made up a review sheet for geometry, and it had an answer bank on the bottom. Being the last-minute person that I am, it was all hand-written. Well, as a shock to no one, there were 2 mistakes in the answer bank due to my non-checking of my work. So as their class started, and I handed out the hand-written sheet, I mentioned that there were some "pen-o's" on the sheet (you know, typos, but penos). This class also knows since I've mentioned it several times that I have a pen buying problem, and I'm trying to go through my current bazillion stash before I succumb again to purchasing more.

Anyway, after I said, "pen-o", she said, "is that like wino but with pens?" Then we chuckled and mentioned that I should join PA, "hello, my name is ____ and I have a pen problem."