Friday, September 28, 2007


Airbear just sent me an email. It didn't have any text in it, just this link.

Get our your reading glasses...

Ahhhhhhhh, Friday.

I woke up at a glorious 9:00 this morning and am still in my pajamas. I made oatmeal and tea, and leisurely read the internets for a little while. Sooner or later I will have to take a shower and put on real clothes, because a woman is coming to tune the piano at 1:30. But there is a lot of time between now and then that just might--might--be filled with playing video games.

Sure, I could be working on my portfolio, or finishing/editing the 3rd grade page of my "standards matrix," or at least reading my dyslexia (or, as my most favorite school parent EV4R would say, "dick-slessia") book. But I'm not going to. I will persevere in my dedication to relaxing this morning. I already emptied the dishwasher, and that's pushing it perilously close to responsibility. Uh-uh. Not today.

In school news, I did end up hearing back from Grade-Obsessed Dad yesterday. Apparently his wife had not shared the email response I sent her about the issue on Tuesday, so he was uber-pissed that I "hadn't gotten back to him" and restated all his arguments, including how he wanted a "hearing" and how after they got a "settlement" perhaps we could use the situation as a "case study" to teach the instructors at my school how to do things (i.e., give all your students As instead of Bs). He even said that that was "what he paid for." Ha. Anyway, I just said I'd replied to his wife, copied the email (thanking her for understanding that he got a B, as she had sent an email saying so), and said they'd hear from our director of education. She is standing behind me about the grade business, and her letter to them has her phone number on it. So I'm sure he'll still be really mad, but he can call her instead of me. I do not like confrontations or bullies.

I actually find it pretty funny that people with money think that they can act like such bullies and force other people to do what they want. Especially when the people they are threatening are teachers that get paid $0 an hour. That just makes me even less inclined to give you what you want, smart guy. That and the fact that it is just educationally unsound. Forget it.

My difficult morning student has had a great past two days, and has even engaged in conversations with me. He is still kind of ... academically defensive ... but I think it is getting better. I got him all excited about the book he is reading, and we had a conversation about banned books (and movies, games, etc.). He's admitting when specific things are difficult so that I can help him, and he's actually taking time to put his stuff away neatly before he goes running out the door. I feel like I am making a difference, and Thursday's class (the first good one) actually gave me goosebumps because it was so un-bad. That sounds ridiculous, I know. But that's the closest I can come to describing it.

My afternoon student's mom called and told me he had mono*. Although that does make me a bit paranoid (unnecessarily, of course, because it's not like we drink out of the same coffee cup), it also does mean he'll be gone for awhile. And I like him, don't get me wrong. His class has been very enjoyable, and he's been working really hard. But it opens up my work day for a few days (weeks? who knows?) to really get caught up. I hope he feels better.

And finally my night student, whom I am teaching contemporary US history and who is also already a college student despite being only 16, has been a blast. He asks all these earnest discussion questions, and I can refer him to novels that paint a vivid picture of specific historical events, or movies or museum exhibits he should see. He writes them down in the margin of his notes and probably even sees some of them. He was studying the civil rights movement this week, and he has an absolute inability to understand how people could be racist ("I mean, what would it matter if the blacks went to the same school as the whites? It's like they thought they had some kind of disease or something. That just isn't rational!"). He was like that when we talked about the internment of Japanese during WWII, too. I like that there are young people for whom racism is just completely unacceptable, not even a question; people who are infuriated by some of the things that have happened in history (and some that happen today). It makes me feel like the kids that are growing up now actually are more accepting, more culturally aware, more open, and--ironically thanks in large part to our current president--more politically involved. Maybe we won't destroy ourselves after all.

In other upbeat news, my friend Sugar (an alias) is quite, quite pregnant and very happy. She keeps a charming blog about how the pregnancy is coming along, and they've put together a nursery for their daughter-to-be. She said on the blog today that her mother and sister are throwing her a baby shower, and it made me feel warm and happy. I think that's how things are supposed to happen. She's old enough to have a baby on purpose and prepare a wonderful, rich life for it; she will be an involved, nurturing, non-pushover mom; and that baby will come into a huge, loving family. The whole situation makes me happy. I'm been feeling really tired and jaded lately about weddings and babies, maybe because I've been going to weddings that people are having too early and/or for the wrong reasons (i.e., they don't really like each other but both want to get married), and it has felt really forced and dumb. Like we're all just "playing grown-up." But that's not what it's like with Sugar. I'm so happy for her, and it makes me glad to imagine her teaching her little girl to read, and teaching her to make sweet potatoes, and teaching her to call everyone "sugar," like a southern lady should. I know that little girl will doubtlessly be showered with gifts and covered in pink, lacy things, but I also know that Mama will be Boss and the little girl will learn some manners. I also know she will not grow up to be a shithead to her teachers. And that makes me happy :)

Speaking of weddings, we're going to another one in a couple of weeks for one of Airbear's game-programmer friends down in San Francisco. It's in Sonoma, and I think it will be fancy and nice. It will also be a little vacation, and those are always good. But best of all I think it will be a nice wedding. They seem good for each other, and really happy. And really, I think it is good for Airbear to see normal weddings. They're not all bad. Ha ha.

Well, this update has gotten too long and I need to go play some warcraft. Catch you all soon!

* My gay boyfriend kissed one girl in his life, when he was in high school. (He tried very hard not to be gay, you see.) Anyway, that one girl gave him mono. That must have been what decided it ;) **

** I am, of course, just kidding. There's a picture of him as a toddler wrapped in a pink feather boa and don't-look-at-me-I'm-a-celebrity sunglasses. There was never any real question. Plus he can dance. That decides it.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I am too tired to write much tonight. Suffice it to say, if your kid gets a B+ in his class instead of an A-, he probably deserved it and you should not spend 40 minutes on the phone yelling at his teacher (or campus manager, as the case may be).

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Can I get a hallelujah!

So my meeting with the procert woman went well. Really, really well. She answered my questions--as it turns out, one of the things I was worrying about doesn't even apply to me, and another one can be easily changed. We didn't even have to rewrite my plan or anything. In fact, going through my plan, I realized how much work I have already done. Much more than I thought.

Anyway, she also showed me about a dozen sample portfolios of various subjects/age ranges, and even let me photocopy some for references/layout suggestions. She had a folder prepared for me with information about the portfolio requirements (information that she usually hands out in the interim "refining seminar" this fall that she suggested I not take because it is BS and it would bore me to death--yeah, I heart her for that too). So now I have specific requirements, a framework, even samples to look at. There is still an enormous amount of work to do to put the portfolio together, but in theory I could do it all right now. Of course I do not need to, because the "culminating seminar" during which we do put the portfolio is not until February (and lasts until June, leaving me plenty of work time then). But knowing what it will be supposed to look like will greatly facilitate my gathering stuff for it now. And, in moments of feverish productivity (they do strike me from time to time, those moments), it will allow me to even work ahead. Man, do I ever love working ahead.

My biggest task for the immediate future will be registering for, beginning, and completing my two SPU distance learning classes. I need to earn 9 total credits for my "core development activities," but I had already done a seminar which offered 1 credit. I am in the process of sending a transcript to the Univ. to make sure that credit gets accepted, and then I will only need 8 credits. And actually, I am going to another conference next Saturday (at 8:15am, boo, but at least it's at the Univ. and that is close by). It doesn't say anything about clock hours or credits on the flyer, but I am going to check it out and make sure. If that did have one credit (it couldn't possibly be worth more than one), then I would only need 7. Whether I need to earn 7 or 8 will decide which SPU classes I take, so I need to find this out first. Then I will sign up and begin distance learning like mad. All credit courses need to be completed (and, I assume, transcripts sent) by February when culminating begins.

Long story short, I am feeling very relieved about this whole procert thing. It is all in practical (and manageable) terms now, and that is much better. I even got all my paperwork and the evidence I have gathered so far organized and put into files for easy access. I'm even reading a dyslexia book for one of my development projects, and have done about eighteen loads of laundry today.

Go me!

P.S. I am celebrating by drinking hot cocoa and eating cookies :)

Monday, September 17, 2007


I noticed that the grocery stores had big displays of pumpkins out already. I like big displays of pumpkins, because it makes me think of fall and leaves and warmth and candy. And my mom.

But of course I did not buy them, because it is the seventeenth of September. Who starts buying pumpkins now? Either a) people who don't cut them to get out the delicious seeds or 2) the same people that buy their Easter candy the day after Valentine's.


I hope kids trick-or-treat in my neighborhood this year :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Weekend off

I took this weekend off.

Since I had worked 5 out of the last 6 Fridays at school, and since I *technically* was not required to attend the boring Friday progress report training, I did not in any way, shape, or form go in to work on Friday. I could have (you always could find things to work on), but I didn't. I slept in, I watched some stupid television, and I went to meet LaRue at her classroom. I hung out with her while she worked hard and graded a bunch of quizzes. I worked a little on my procert, but not much, for reasons I'll get into shortly. But one thing I did notice for sure was that I did not miss the classroom, and was in fact extremely intimidated by it. The idea of having that many kids at once still feels so much like .... work. And the idea of having a classroom full of kids who a) don't speak English, b) don't remember anything they've ever been taught, and c) could kick my ass....well, let's just say I don't know how LaRue even faces the prospect. To me, it is akin to climbing Mount Everest. I assume it is impossible, and I have no desire to attempt it. Kudos to those few, those proud who can.

In procert news, I managed to talk to someone at the University who is not full of crap. (Can you believe it, such a creature actually does exist!). This woman, whom I will call Hera as she is the goddess of my procert journey thus far, told me *not* to take the "refining seminar" as it would be a complete waste of my time. Instead, I should just focus on my professional development activities and not do more "re-examining the 12 criteria" and longing to throw myself in front of a bus. Not only did she save me from that torture, but she also volunteered to meet with me next Friday, on her day off, to go over my professional growth plan and "amend" it to make it more realistic. She is even going to give me concrete, measurable requirements for what my portfolio will need to look like, so that I don't end up doing 12x more work than necessary. There will also be sample portfolios involved.

Now, if I were a cynic, I would shout to the heavens that this is what the original intro seminar should have been about in the first place. Instead, I will just be thankful and elated that this woman has come into my professional life and saved me from several more months of useless bullcrap. Ah, life is good!

Better go, gotta fit in some more non-working before the new schoolweek arrives.. ;)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Back on my "A Game"...

....whatever that means!

For me, it means that this weekend I got caught up enough to spend some time leisure reading (if you can believe that) and also made a big pot of chili and a bit pot of tortilla soup. I also bought a bunch of healthy groceries, and plan to cook a delicious dinner tomorrow night, consisting of this and this with probably some wild rice. Possibly even an appetizer. Imagine!

Anyway LaRue and I cooked all day and watched sex in the city. Nice :)

I also had a great night last night at the pub chatting it up with Leo and Airbear in the pub, along with my little friend Grinz. It was all fun and adorable. It followed some excruciatingly boring sitting around at S&Js while J and our old 'friend' Crazy talked on and on about vitamins and workout routines. It was Crazy's birthday, though, so it was obligatory. At least it got to end on a charming note.

Starting tomorrow, I shall hire on that new Spanish teacher, reduce some of my own teaching load, and start packing the Seattle campus full of new students! Wish me luck for week 2 :)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Week 1 over. And in a revelation that will shock and amaze you, I am actually feeling ... caught up.

Actually, I'm feeling caught up with a slight tinge of panic, because part of me believes that someone must have actually hidden all the things I was supposed to have to do today. I swear I had at least 20 student binders/programs to prepare, and I actually only had to do about five. What's more, because I thought I had 20 to do, I began them with gusto and determination. Accordingly, the 5 student binders I actually had to do got done quickly and I even had to - get this - wait around for it to be 3pm so my interview candidate could show up. I had some spare time to clean out the email inbox a little and make an organized to-do stack for next week. I feel like there must be something wrong for me to be able to be this caught up. I am thoroughly confused. I will update you on Monday when I discover the remaining butt-ton of things I was actually supposed to have to do today, mysteriously reappearing back on my desk. Surely, that must occur.

Speaking of interviews, I had scheduled two of them for today so that I could hire a Spanish teacher to come and start work for me next week. Even though it was supposed to be my day off, it was very important that I come into work and do this because otherwise there is a Spanish student on my schedule for the week and the only Espanol I habla is "uno grande burriTo con queso, por favor," and I am pretty sure that that is not 100% correct. (But if it gets you a burriTo, who cares, right?). Anyway, my first interview didn't even show. My theory is that she arrived, looked at the sign on the door that said we're closed Fridays, and ignored the fact that the lights were all on, believed the sign, and did not try the door to see if anyone was there. Whatever, I still think she is dumb. I will not reward a lack of curiosity/resourcefulness with employment!

My second interview, however, more than made up for it. Not only did the person speak Spanish (as was requested in the ad), but she could also teach math up through calculus. And not only that, but she had the same name as both my boyfriend and my life partner! (My boyfriend and my life partner, if you don't know, are two different people of two different genders who coincidentally happen to have the same name because God knows I can't remember more than one name.) She lives in town, she wants to work for me for at least a year, and she eventually plans on going into the same education graduate program that I went into, so she was impressed with me and interested. I think she looks up to me already. I shall hire her and make her my minion.

Oh, and speaking of minions (!), my Big Boss Lady (yes, the crazy one), said she had an email requesting an internship from some girl in the MA Ed policy program at Univ. Phoenix online. The girl has to work for a school and learn stuff about administration at a school and she wants to work at our school (who knows why), but the catch is she has to work under someone with a Master's, so that basically leaves BBL and myself, since the two other lovely ladies w/Masterses work in admissions and curriculum development, respectively. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I would have my very own minion who would do administrative tasks, learn from me, and work unpaid. On the other, it seems as if I would have to let her do responsibility-type things, like talk to parents, handle files, create student programs, maybe participate in enrollment meetings. And I don't know if I'm into all that. I kind of like it better when there are not additional people getting "all up in my business," as the kids would say. Because what if she screws things up and then I have to deal with the mess? Plus, it's a business built on relationships, so I want the parents (and kids, of course) developing a relationship with me, not someone who's going to be gone in a few months. That just seems like more of a hassle than it's worth. I don't know, what do you think? Oh and also the "site supervisor" (which would be me) is supposed to get a $500 stipend for participating and doing all this mentoring. But I don't know if that $500 actually goes to me or to the school. You know what side logical reason would bet on.

So anyway work seems to be going spectacularly well, and if this week keeps up, perhaps I will ... get ready for it ... not have to go into work next Friday (!!!!!!1). A whole day off. I can hardly imagine. Well, I still have a dentist appointment that day. But sleeping in til 2 and getting my teeth cleaned is nothing compared to the last x number of weeks.

I left work at about 4 today, thrilled with the word and ready to celebrate. Had other people been home, I probably would have put on my party pants, gone to a club, and shook my booty til the sun came up (after it went down, of course, this was only 4pm after all). Alas, everyone was at work for 3 more hours so I came home and watched this silly British show called Coupling and relaxed with the kitties. LaRue came over later and we watched this other silly show (American, and sluttier, surprise) called Sex and the City. Or teh citay, as LaRue would say. Even Airbear watched a bit when he got home, although I'm not sure it made a lot of sense to him. It does sort of shoot waves of estrogen right out of the screen, after all. But I have to say that sitting between my boyfriend and my life partner and collectively eating ice cream out of the pint while watching a sitcom episode about vibrators was quite an entertaining way to spend an evening. Not quite booty-shakin-til-dawn, but it'll do ;)

Happy Weekend!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Day 1 (sort of)


* The power went out this morning about 15 minutes into our first class, so I taught for 45 minutes in the dim light of my front office. But the kid was really nice.

* The power went back on just in time for the second class. Thank goodness.

* Six different parents called wanting to change their children's schedules all around. This sounds like a minor pain in the ass. It actually is a very large one. I got two of them solved.

* One of my teachers, let's call her Cotton, started whining because she has to be at work 11 hours per day. Keep in mind, since we are open four days a week, a full-time employee (which she is) works four 10-hour days. With a 1-hour lunch, that means you are at work 11 hours. But she's been taking half-hour lunches and leaving early, and now that she can't do that (because she has a student first hour and last hour), she's whining about not being able to leave early. I told her that I sympathized, because I know that leaving after 7:30 stinks. After all, I was there til after 7:30 on Friday. (I hope she will realize that we do not actually work on Friday, so that means I work a million more hours than her and she should shut up.)

* Two of my other teachers are brilliant, reliable, calm, efficient, and ever so helpful. I might buy them candy.

* Ever since I started at Seattle campus, I look up at the clock thinking it is 10am and it is instead 5:30pm. It is interesting. I hope that the feeling continues when I am caught up, and my days at work always go by quick as a breeze!

Enrollment meetings tomorrow.. keep your fingers crossed for me that I can fit them into the ever-changing schedule somewhere :)

Monday, September 3, 2007

New Adventures

This will be a very short p0ast, because I am going to try to go to bed early tonight. Tomorrow I begin my New and Improved gig as campus manager of the *Seattle* campus (which of course is much nicer than the 23-mile-away Issaquah campus) of my school. It will be much busier (about 3x), but more profitable and just a lot closer to home. That alone makes it, as my friend Eric Cartman would say, super sweet.

That being said, my "four day weekend" included one full day of working (for free) to try and get ready for the new school year, one full day of attending Puritannica's wedding, and several hours of cleaning and laundry. I am tiard, and will be at work approximately 12 hours tomorrow. So rest is necessary.

Wish me luck tomorrow!