Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday Morning Fun

This summer I plan on reading a lot. This normally means that I'd spend A LOT of money buying books; however, this year I am going to be more realistic and utilize the library. Although I have a thing with the smell of old books and libraries in general, I have to make this work.
Melissa and I took Mom to the Downtown Riverside library and got our very own library cards and spent a few minutes looking around. We each found a few books to check out.
Mom reminded us about when we got our first library cards :)
On our way home, we stopped at the Downtown Riverside farmers market. It was small, but we found a few things to buy for lunch and dinner.
The strawberries smelled good and tasted even better!
We also picked out white and orange nectarines, asparagus, and squaw bread.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Master Bathroom Update, Part VII

All of the drywall is up. A few electrical issues were found...The room was emptied.We "taped and mudded" the corners, seams, and holes.Somehow I managed to burst a blood vessel in my thumb.
It hurt, swelled, and turned black and blue, but thankfully only lasted two days.Then we started the process of sanding, re-mudding, re-sanding, cleaning, sanding, re-mudding... the process has seemed to go on forever.
This is AFTER vacuuming it clean three times...

We may be done tomorrow, pictures to come!

Looking Back

For Mothers Day and Dad's birthday, we went as a family to Disneyland (May 2--I'm way behind).
It was also our last trip of our annual passes :(

Friday, May 28, 2010

Recent Happenings

Been busy and been lazy--sorry for the dramatic delay in words and pictures.

Here's the happenings in no sort of order:
  • I finished my Masters of Arts in Educational Administration. This included finishing fieldwork hours, a portfolio and comp prep class, hours upon hours of studying, and one nasty hand/finger cramp. Des and I studied for three weeks this year (as opposed to the one from last year) and rocked the flashcards, mnuemonics, and hand motions. Last Saturday (5/22), we sat down at 1 pm and wrote! My comps consumed three hours and forty-three minutes of my time and used 38 pages of paper. We celebrated being over with a ice cream cone from McDonalds. Just waiting for the letter confirming that I passed.
  • My dad was called as the senior pastor at Faith Fellowship in La Palma (Orange County) on the 23rd of May. It was pretty inspiring to be there, listen to his sermon about trusting God, and then get to watch him and mom walk down the isle with a standing ovation. His first Sunday is this weekend. The moving from San Diego decisions are still in the works.
  • Finished up at Liberty as I helped them run their first ever Career Day. The event went well and the kids overwhelmingly loved the experience (thanks Brenda!); I think that they can handle it next year without me.
  • Dave has been working at a contract job for the past four weeks (he has a few more to go) setting up a network and computer system for the new Kohl's distribution center in San Bernardino. He's been working 8-5 and coming home tired.
  • As you can assume, work on the house has slowed down to a crawl because Dave's been working outside of the house. However, we've been working each weekend and some evenings on the master bathroom/bedroom. I understand why the do-it-yourselfers on TV hire people to come in and tape and mud the drywall. It isn't particularly hard work, but it is really, really, really annoying and time consuming. I think I'd be willing to pay someone the next time. Hopefully by the end of Memorial weekend, I'll be able to post some pictures that include paint color :)
  • I didn't get a pink slip this year and I can't be moved because I was last year; so I'll be a lion again. Working with students to get a student spirit club up and running and wishing/praying that Yearbook will land in my lap. Not sure what I'll be teaching next year (it seems to change every time I talk to someone else), but hopefully I'll be in a different classroom.
  • Melissa moved in and has taken over the extra space we d idn't know we had. Because of the extra person and the work in the master bedroom, my clothes are on a rack in the living room and the queen bed is sitting in the dining room. A folding table is set up to "hold" stuff. Every nook seems to have something in it. Melissa also comes home to tell some disgusting stories about what she's experienced at work. I keep telling her that she should write about them because they are downright hiliarious--seriously, just ask her about poop, she has about 15 zingers so far :) She bought a car last weekend and will be finding an apartment of her own soon.
  • Working with a few WW friends to plan a 5K for June 6th. Super excited.
  • Robyn's baby shower is coming June 12th. Elegant and PINK--love this girl thing.
  • I'll be teaching ninth grade English in summer school at Poly HS (all summer school is there for the entire district) from June 14-July 16th. Hopefully the extra paychecks will help get the house done!
  • Even though I don't teach yearbook this year (sniff, sniff), I'll be teaching at Yearbook Camp again July 26-29th.
  • My parents are celebrating 30 years of marriage this August 16th and to celebrate we're going on a family vacation. Much cheaper than the Hawaii trip, we'll be cruising the Mexican Caribbean in August.

Feel updated?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grrr-Rant Ahead

There are a lot of issues with California public schools (duh!); the greatest issue at the moment is financial, to the tune of 374 RUSD teachers receiving final reduction in force letters today. These 374 teachers are not all super star teachers, but MOST of them are--they run our schools from their classroom and lead students to success across the board.

I mourn for them; their loss of a "job" is really a loss of career, and for some, a loss of passion. Pray for them and their families.

That said, here starts my rank (stop reading if you don't care, I won't be offended): With that in the back of my mind all day, I was a bit snippy with a few students today--here's why...

Important Premise #1: Everything about school is meant for the students. Everything. Well, at least everything is suppose to be meant for them.

Important Premise #2: Accountability is important for education as a while.

Important Premise #3: We talk about accountability, testing, and making them bubble until they can bubble blind, deaf, and dumb (not my saying, I assure you), but we never talk about true accountability for them.

Important Premise #4: Our system allows, and I could even say ENCOURAGES, students to fail over and over again.

Think about this for a second:
  • Students learn and test.
  • Teachers are held accountable for their individual scores (great idea, I think)
  • Schools are held accountable for their API growth and subgroup targets (benefits and challenges presented here too).
  • If students do well--teachers and schools benefits.
  • Students are praised over and over again for reaching their goal. We usually even "reward" the student with a Popsicle...
  • If students do poorly--teachers and schools suffer.
  • We try to figure out how to be a better teacher, how to adapt instruction to meet their needs, how to improve their experience, we talk and talk and talk about what is missing (all good and important).
  • Students are moved on to the next grade and the next class without a consequence and definitely without a conversation about how they need to be a better student, how they need to adapt their learning and home environment, how they need to improve their own personal school experience. Simply, students don't talk at all about it...

WAIT! Do you see the break down here?

Do I blame the students? NO. They have never had to talk about it, why would be expect them to naturally and spontaneously start? I blame the school system that has put more money into building "confidence" in students who don't make an effort, than those who do...

Case in point:

Summer school for RUSD:

Those who failed a class get to go to summer school for free (limited subjects, but still, free); whereas, those who want to take a class to get ahead or to make room in their schedule for an college-prep elective (foreign language, science, higher level math, art, yearbook) have to pay!

The paying part isn't what bothers me (frankly, I think they should all pay), but if we're going to make it free to some, don't you think we should make it free to those who did what they we are supposed to during the school year? We're rewarding the losers, plain and simple.

I get really mad when those losers have the audacity to COMPLAIN that they can only take summer school at Poly, or that they can only make up 10 credits at a time, or when they say something as ignorant as "it's my RIGHT to take summer school."

That is when I turn into Scylla.

Odyssey reference for those of you still reading (Scylla=6 headed snake like monster who eats people for the fun of it)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Next Year

I cannot believe it, but it is time to start planning for the next school year. I saw on a teacher's board today that we have 22 days of school left...

Although I'm exhaused and ready for a break, it doesn't seem like the end of the year is here already. Testing is over, but is wasn't a big deal here for the entire school so it didn't seem that major to me. I've started my "last" unit, but I've hardly covered the pacing guide this semester (Romeo and Juliet sideswiped my energy).

Maybe because there is no yearbook party to plan, no frantic last minute people to sell to, or excitement of a finish book arriving in the mail, and no overjoyed and exhaused yearbook students to "play" with...

Anyway, reguardless of how ready I feel for this year to be over, it is now time for me to fill out my teaching "wish list." Selfishly, I've written down that I only WANT to teach ninth grade Intro to Lit (again), have the SFS cluster (special ed kiddos in mainstream English classes), and yearbook (I can dream right?!).

I have left the SELA spot blank... I have until tomorrow to decide what I am going to put. If I put that I want/would be willing to teach it, I will have the class for sure. We've been pretty successful this year, but those kids are SO much work!

What should I do?

(not that I will have a say...)