pamelonian: (Default)

Hard to believe I have only 2 days of finals and one teacher work day left to go. Finals are easy. Hand out the tests and tell everyone to be quiet. I say goodbye (temporarily) to my teacher friends then go away for 2 months.

I am really going to miss Jenny, my classroom roommate. She is the first teacher I have really felt a connection to, like she is one of my people.

This summer will be filled with adventure. Moving in 15 days, an aikido trip to Boulder and maybe camping in Yellowstone. Back home, I plan to watch Cary Grant movies projected on the parking garage, plant flowers, and decorate my new home. Also painting. I like busy and I like adventure!

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pamelonian: (Default)
The new school year is starting out well.  It is not my best year ever, but certainly not the worst.  I don't do beginnings and endings very well, but I do a FINE middle.  Once I get started I am pretty good at plugging along.  I still have chances to be creative and brilliant, and if I am not spending energy getting and keeping the students' attention, I will have an even better year.  This year HAD to be better.  Last year kinda sucked a good deal of the time.

I rode 11 miles today to help myself recover from the 66-mile tour on Sunday.  It felt pretty good.  I had to change a tire before I could leave.  Don't be all impressed, that is the only kind of bike maintenance I know how to do...

Sensei has backed off nominating me and some others for sandan testing.  That is fine by me.  The test is only 2 weeks away!  I don't have the time to devote to really shining, which is how I want my last test in aikido to be.  We don't test for any rank above 3rd-degree.  From there it is all political...  Anyway,  I am not on a timeline here.  I have been doing this for 8 years and I hope to do it for 8 more and then some! 

I was planning to go to the dojo to train just in case Sensei taps me for testing, but after my bike ride I don't feel like it.  Will I or won't I?  I know everyone will be just dying to find out so I will edit this later to let you know...

**ETA:  I didn't go to aikido.  Blame Starbuck, Apollo, and Modest Mouse.  No, not my rodent collection, but I still haven't listened to my new cd or even ripped it for my iPod.  Last night I started watching "The Hand of God," which is the final episode of Battlestar Galactica (the original series).  I only got to watch about 10 minutes of it, and I want to finish it.   I practiced weapons forms by the pool.  I must have looked pretty bad-ass swinging around my wooden sword and staff.  Either bad-ass or silly, it's a fine line...

A night off

Sep. 7th, 2006 07:56 pm
pamelonian: (Default)
I am definitely back to normal with the new school year in its third week. I am not really counting the first 2-day week. I feel like the way I start things is weak, but once the classes get rolling, the momentum carries us. Of course I still have to plan, grade all the papers, enter the info into the computer, fill out forms for Special Ed and Gifted kids, put things away when I am done with them, make copies or request for copying, and all those million little things I deal with, not to mention 150 kids who have needs of their own.

Situation normal: perpetually behind. I got my To-Do list down to one or two things today and I just added three more between the time school ended and the time I left the building.

I don't want this to sound like complaining, because I am not. I am actually amused by the cycle that I put myself through every year. At the end of the school year, all those To-Do's get completed, filed, or thrown in the trash. One way or another, it ends. During the summer I find myself making lists of tasks to do just to give myself some focus and continuity.

I am still trying to make music, hoping that my creativity can overtake my lack of ability. It seems to work for most popular artists!
pamelonian: (Hair)
Today at school was a good day. I feel good about what we did and everything went well. I saw my Seminar class for the first time and though I usually hate babysitting, they behaved today! Today is the day I have hall duty, Spanish 2 twice, then Seminar. I feel like I am getting back in the academic groove! I have everything prepared for the rest of the week and Parents Night is this Thursday.

I am starting the carpool tomorrow and I am psyched about conserving fossil fuels and putting fewer pollutants into the atmosphere! (Saving money is cool, too!)
pamelonian: (Sarge)
The start of school has been exhausting! The kids have a lot of energy. I get it from them and I try to give it back. It is a really cool process that I feel honored to be a part of.

I have many, many WONDERFUL students! I need to keep that in mind because already I have spotted a few pains in the butt. They would have to be the last class of the day. I really need to remember that is more about them than me. I am excited about teaching Spanish 2 again this year. When I transferred to West they had me teach only Spanish 1 all day long. Now there are 2 other teachers with Spanish 1 and I get to teach some Spanish 2 classes. Many of them are students I had last year. We are happy to see each other. I like that.

I am almost back into a rhythm for the new school year. When I got back in front of students, it felt really good. "Oh yeah, this is what I do." I mean, I also teach aikido, but my gig is teaching high school. When I am doing it, I remember why I like it. It is work, don't get me wrong, and there are many aspects of the job I don't like, but this is OK for now.

Swiffer products have changed my life!! I actually have a clean apartment thanks to them. I hate dusting, but Swiffer dusters make it almost pleasant. Swiffer mops don't bother the excema on my hands. I was considering hiring a someone to clean my house with my raise money this year. I may be able to get by without that and spend that money on fun things!
pamelonian: (Default)
Tomorrow is the first day of classes. *Gulp* I tend to get a little nervous before the big day. I am going to bed early and I will lay my clothes out so I can be ready quickly. I saw a few students today looking around the building making sure they could find their classes. I even saw a few who I had last year and they greeted me enthusiastically. It was good to see them. I have been working on psyching myself up for the last few days. I think I am ready now.

I love summer, but having students gives me a sense of purpose. I was pretty aimless for most of the last couple of months, which is nice, but I like having a direction, too.

Some of us who live in Lawrence and commute to KC are working on organizing a car pool. I am happy to conserve fuel, but I can only take one passenger in my truck. If I join the car pool (there are 3 of us), I may just contribute money. It should turn out to be less than I am spending or else, why bother?
pamelonian: (Green jacket)
BIG thanks to our friend Carly in Boulder for letting three of us "camp" on her living room floor tomorrow night.  We get to hang out in Boulder and see "Happy Thursday," when a bunch of Boulderites wearing various costumes ride bikes around the city.  (I sooo would do that if I could bring my bike this time.) 

Friday, we are headed to Fort Collins to tour New Belgium Brewery.  There are supposed to be free samples involved!  After the tour, we head to Jacks Gulch campground.  Friday night is set-up and socializing.  Saturday and Sunday is weapons training camp with Kashiwaya Sensei, our national chief instructor and all-around great guy!  This is a great chance to camp with aikido friends from here and all over the region, and try to whack them with sticks!

Sunday night we return.  Monday morning I report to my school for the start of the year.  We have 3 days of In-service and getting ready.  Classes start Thursday, the 17th.  I am so glad to start on a Thursday.  When we start on a Monday, I TOTALLY lose my voice.  It is better to ease into things. 

**No one made noise at the pool last night! 
pamelonian: (Default)
I will be back at school. We will not be doing any real work, just sitting through In-Service. On the first day the principals all take turns going over stuff that we need to know to get by this year. I do look forward to catching up with the other teachers. We do not see each other at all over the summer. Maybe it is because I live in another town. Maybe we just like to separate our school lives from out summer lives.

Today, though, I am riding my bike and calling the bike repair shop about the replacement wheel. Then I have Kids' Aikido Class.

My last weekend of summer will be a trip to Colorado. It is an aikido weapons seminar and campout. Our national chief instructor will be there and it is always a fun time. Camping near Ft. Collins at 9000 feet should be just the thing to beat the August heat.
pamelonian: (Default)
There are only 3 more weeks of summer left for me. I am starting to think about the school year. I see teenagers around town and I bite back the urge to tell them to shut up. It's almost a reflex.

I am thinking about shopping for school clothes (yes, I still do that after all these years). I am thinking about how to start my classes. I want to give them a taste of the world travel adventures that are possible through learning Spanish. I want to make it understood that I have a 2nd degree black belt in aikido.

I hope I can still have fun, go to night classes and keep riding my bike. I must clean my apartment really well before the school year starts because I don't seem to have the time or energy while I am teaching.

Speaking of biking, the Bike Club ride that I went on tonight was the Newcomers Ride. I am not necessarily a newcomer, but riding by myself all these years I have not really learned how to improve my technique. There were experienced bikers giving pointers and helping with maintenance and nutrition issues. Again, it was a ride I have done many times by myself, but it is different with a group of people.
pamelonian: (Default)
I don't post as much during the school year. I have now been teaching for three weeks. I still haven't quite fallen into my groove. Maybe that is not where I want to be, but I like to be able to do things in the evenings and I have been too sleepy to make it happen. I have scaled back my workouts, but I think I can get back to normal fairly soon. The most difficult part of starting this year has been adjusting my sleeping schedule.

I need to reference this entry later, because it is the one where I say that I like my job and I like my classes. The students at West have been rather nice. They say "Hi" to me in the halls, or say "Hola" or "Buenos días." I like that. At Northwest most kids pretended like I wasn't there. It gets to a person after a while, especially when they do it when I am trying to teach them something!

I have a glorious three-day weekend, and I am going to ride my bike wherever I can. Gas prices are so insane that I am even thinking about trying to car-pool with a VERY high-strung English teacher. I don't know if I can handle the mental anguish, though. There are some things more valuable than a few dollars, like my sanity!
pamelonian: (Hair)
The first week of school went very well, thank you very much! I have more wonderful children and a few delinquents. I feel like West is where I belong. This is a BIG DEAL, because I have never felt like I fit in anywhere before. The students laugh at my jokes (when they are funny) and even say Hi to me in the halls.

The Spanish 2 teachers both told me that the students I sent to them are wonderful. They know the material, and they have a good attitude towards Spanish. That is my job- to sell them on the language and on continuing to study it.

Super Teacher and I have bonded. She burned me a cd of all her files that she used while teaching Spanish 1 & 2 in Middle school. I have been trying to help her adjust to high school so that our relationship is mutually beneficial. I have been doing my Random Acts of Kindness, and not just to suck up. I really like my coworkers and enjoy doing nice things for them, like picking up their copies from the production center while I am going to get mine.

I like Super Teacher now because she has admitted to feeling overwhelmed by teaching two new levels of Spanish. She is human, after all, and is keeping just one step ahead of the students. I know that feeling. I have been teaching Spanish 1 for like 15 years, so the job is almost too easy for me. I wouldn't mind a new challenge.
pamelonian: (Default)
Tomorrow (Tuesday, August 16th) is the first day of school for us. Today was a good day of getting the room, the handouts, the rosters, and myself ready. I had a really good time with my new classroom roommate, AKA Super Teacher. It would figure that I would wind up liking her... I also bonded with another colleague who relatively recently became a Jehovah's Witness. Who'd have thought? She even makes jokes about going door-to-door. (She does it, but she still makes jokes!)

Early this evening there was a loud BOOM outside followed by a power outage and I got tired of not being able to get on the computer or cook my food, so I left for the gym. I wanted to work off any nervous energy and get myself good and tired so I will go to bed early and sleep well for a change.

I have not been sleeping well at all lately. I have been waking up every hour or two. Last night I slept with the window open, so I heard the neighbors having a small party until around 4:00 AM. They were just talking, but I could hear through the window. Then the trains started. I am trying an experiment tonight: No alcohol. That may actually help me sleep better. We shall see.
pamelonian: (Default)
Change is stressful. Even supposedly "good" change brings about a certain degree of stress. I have been mostly stress-free all summer long, and tomorrow I go back to teaching. We will have the usual 3 days of in-service, meetings, and time to prepare the rooms (and ourselves) before classes start on Tuesday.

Truth be told, I am looking forward to it. I have been getting quite restless here lately and it will be good to be able to occupy my mind with daily minutiae. (I haven't used that word in a while!) The main difference the change brings is the daily need to get up early, leave at 6:15 or so in order to arrive in Kansas City by 7:00ish. I can do it; I have been for years. It is funny how quickly I forget what it is like and what I do all day...

I have been having the school dreams again. There is the one where I can't find my classroom and I am wandering the hallways lost until the class is practically over! Or the one where I show up in the morning with absolutely nothing prepared and a room full of teenagers are looking at me like, "If you can't occupy us, we will think of something!" (I can, and have adlibbed a lesson before, but that can only happen well into the school year when a rhythm and a routine have been established. The day can run itself if the pattern has been set.)

Anyway, back to today. It seems too hot and humid to ride my bike. There is aikido class tonight, and I have been sitting on my butt reading. I guess that is an OK way to spend my last day of summer. I think there will be more beer involved.


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