Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day

This one will be brief as it is already 10:11 pm, I left my house at 6:00 this morning, and didn't get home until almost 9:00 this evening.

The first day was a success.  I got through the recitation of my syllabus, rules, etc all five times, and I think I'm going to have some good little students.  I cannot seem to bring myself to do the "don't smile until after Thanksgiving" thing, so I was my usual bubbly self.  But, I don't think that's going to negatively affect anything.  They will learn real quick that if they screw up or mouth off they'll be in trouble.  I really do think that you can't discipline a kid unless you first show them that you care.  That way, if and when you discipline, you aren't just being a b**** but rather are showing the offender that you care about them and want them to succeed.  And that's what this year is all about!

Now, tomorrow I have to actually teach.  Oy vey.  But it should be good.  The kids will have to work in groups to figure out how to do a problem, and I'm sure they'll be thrown for a loop.  Muahaha!  :-P  They will get used to it though.

I decided to buy those protractors and compasses.  Since I had kind of planned on having access to them this week I had to make a fast decision.  As long as they work well, I can reuse them forever so it was a worthwhile purchase.

And now, it's off to bed for Ms. White.  Good night all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Endings and Beginnings

Something has ended and something is beginning.

Friends has ended.  Yes, that's right.  I finally watched the final episode of Season 10.  And I must say that while I am very disappointed to not have anymore new episodes to look forward to, it was a wonderful final episode.

And it seems fitting to have ended this lovely television series on the eve of the new school year beginning.  Yes, that's right.  Tomorrow is the first day of school.  Am I scared?  A little.  But not so much in the oh my goodness I'll have real students tomorrow kind of way.  More in the oh my goodness I have so much to do this week and for the next 10 months and am I going to be able to impart all of my infinite wisdom on them in the best way possible kind of way.

At orientation yesterday it finally hit me just how important my job is.  I've always known how important teachers are for kids, but yesterday it actually became REAL.  It's no small task.  No pressure at all!  Thankfully my district is very supportive and has provided us with a lot of tools and resources to do the best job we can.  The hard part is figuring out how to incorporate all of them.  It's overwhelming!  I spent a large chunk of today trying to organize myself and I feel like I got nowhere.  Add to that my online classes I'm finishing up this month (meaning September) and in October, and the show which is in 3 weeks, and then BTSA will start, and I'm not scared at all!  Again, please note my sarcasm.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited.  Very excited, actually.  I should have some great kids.  There is just so much unknown and while that's not a bad thing by any means in this situation, it's still scary.  I'm a control freak and very much a Type A personality so unknown tends to freak me out.  While I've gotten much better at handling such things in the last few years, (MUCH better), it's still a lot to think about.

One day at a time though, right?  I can do that.  Aim for one new "Active Teaching" strategy per week and take things one at a time.  Use my prep period wisely as well as my after school time.  I can do this!

Should I?

I'm trying to decide if I want to buy these for my geometry classes: Bazic Scale-Arm Compass with #2 Wood Pencil and 6-Inch Protractor Set (Case of 24)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kids on Monday!

After a rather crazy three days of staff development and working in the classroom, school is finally starting on Monday.   I'm pretty much ready - just a few more things to do on Sunday.  Fortunately though, I can do these things at home.  Several, if not many, teachers are going in this weekend, but I was on a mission to avoid that.  For one thing, the second New Hire Orientation day tomorrow kills the entire day.  For another thing, because this second New Hire Orientation kills the entire day, I only have Sunday to rest and recuperate before Monday and the onslaught of children and planning and God knows what else.

Speaking of planning, I have some serious stuff to do.  I've been so caught up in getting acclimated to the school and figuring out where things are and how things work and learning about the specific responsibilities that we have this year that I've put a lot of planning to the side.  Ok, that's not entirely true.  I have the entire year for both classes fitted to a calendar already, and I have lessons basically written out for next week, but that's about it.  I need to get on that.

I was going to take pictures of my room to post but I forgot.  I suppose that's not such a bad thing since there are a few last minute things I'm going to put on the walls on Monday morning.  Perhaps I'll actually remember to whip out my phone and capture the room before children descend.  Oh yes, that will be the first thing on my mind as I wait for my first real classroom of kids to arrive.  Please note my sarcasm.

In all honesty, I hope I remember.  I want to memorialize my hard work in my first classroom before it all begins.

In other good news, I found out that my classes are Academy classes.  This means that all (or at least the vast majority) of my students are part of either the Teach Academy or the E-Business Academy.  This is very exciting to me.  I'll have a group of students to mentor, there are field trips, a copy machine I can use, and the chance to be a part of something at the school and work collaboratively with other teachers.  My excitement to start the year multiplied by approximately 1000000 when I found out this lovely little piece of information.

I am now saying a prayer that the weekend does not fly by too fast.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Successful First Day

Despite being long and meeting-filled, my first day of work at Century HS was pretty good.  It is not going to be an easy year, and even though it makes me tired just to think about it, I also am the kind of person who meets a challenge head-on and sets out to beat down on its head and say, "Take that!!"  So while I may be exhausted just one week from now and while I will almost certainly have several breakdowns between now and June, it's all good.  I'm a real teacher now.  :)

However it is now almost 10:30 pm and I am not yet in bed.  Why, you ask?  Rehearsal.  I must just keep telling myself it's only a few more weeks.  I know I'll get through it because I've gotten myself through far more tiring stretches of time, but the difference now is that I'm simply not as into it anymore.  This depresses me somewhat, but I know I've already ranted about this in a previous post so I'll refrain from beating the dead horse here.  Suffice it to say that I will be relieved when September 18th is behind me.  And totally refreshed to start BTSA! (Please note the sarcasm).

And it is now officially 10:30.  I must finish updating my enormously long to-do list for the next day and a half and get my butt in bed.  Goodnight.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Farewell Summer...See You Next Year.

  Tomorrow is my first official day at Century High School.  We have three days of staff development this week, then I have my second/last New Hire Orientation on Saturday.  The kids start next Monday.  I'm not nervous yet, but ask me on Sunday night and things will probably be different.

Things I will miss:

  • Morning walks when it's not dark outside
  • Relaxing breakfasts of coffee and cereal while checking email and browsing the web and reading blogs with the news on in the background
  • Not feeling rushed when I get home in the evening
  • Not having to make breakfast/lunch/snack to take to work
  • Sleep
However, for each thing I will miss there is another thing that is good:
  • Despite having a longer commute, I still have time to take my morning walk
  • Changing students' lives, one at a time
  • Making actual money, finally having my own benefits, and all that good grown-up stuff
  • Being a part of something great
  • Doing something that I know without a doubt is what I am meant to do
Ok, I'll admit, it was harder to come up with the second list.  No one likes getting up at 5 am or feeling rushed to get to bed or having to drive 20 miles one way.  But, it's all good.  The next couple of years are going to be pretty fantastic.  I have big plans in these next two years, and I finally get to start putting them into action.  It's pretty good stuff.

And now, some summertime memories....
4th of July

Walking with Amermey - 4th of July

4th of July

Mat's Surprise Party - He was definitely surprised!

Mat's Surprise Party - Blowing out his candles
Mat's Surprise Party - Mindy and I 
Top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas

San Diego trip with Steph - Dinner in Little Italy!

Beach House - He buried his feet which resulted in me appearing taller.  :)

Margaritas - 4th of July
Beach House

Changes To My Blog!

I decided to change the layout, background, font, etc, of my blog.  Oh yeah, and I also changed the name.  Since I'm a math teacher, and a new math teacher at that, I figured it might be appropriate to have a title that incorporates this rather large aspect of my life.  So, drumroll please..."Mel and Math."  This title allows me to write (aka rant) about things in my life whatever they may be, (the "Mel" part of it) as well as discuss my job and things that happen at work that could be relevant to other people like me (the "Math" part).  Genius?  Not really.  But I'm pretty darn proud of myself for coming up with it.

In doing some Googling, I came across a lovely blog from a math teacher in Texas.  It's called Math Teacher Mambo.  In reading just a couple of posts I found several ideas I want to try in my classroom this year.  This was part of what prompted me to alter my blog to be more career oriented while still allowing for personal touches.

I also joined Google's Adsense and the Amazon Affiliates program.  I have no idea how beneficial these will be, but we'll see what happens.  My next task is to make this whole blog more known/accessible.  Ideally, I would like to find some sort of math teacher blog community.  I suppose that's what this last day off is for!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Socialization Can Be Tiring

Yesterday I had some lovely catch-up time with Kelly.  Today I had some lovely catch-up time with Arielle.  Both of these women I have not seen in nearly a year, and it was high time to chat over delicious Mexican food, Golden Spoon, and Starbucks.  I love hearing about what's going on in their lives and I love how we all are doing such amazing things since finishing college.  We all are truly blessed, both individually and as a whole.  I am blessed to know such amazing people.

However, I'm now quite tired!  Between thinking (read: worrying more than I should be) about my new job, dealing with rehearsals that are seemingly (literally) never-ending, and having at least some sort of social life, I'm tired.  The school year hasn't even started yet.  This is not exactly a good sign.

My aunt and uncle are flying in from New York tomorrow which necessitates a family dinner at my grandmother's house.  I have New Hire Orientation all day Saturday, and am possibly/probably having dinner with Mindy, another very dear friend.  These are all very good things (minus the all day orientation of course), but they're tiring.  My current goal is to have Monday and Tuesday of next week for myself except for having rehearsal in the afternoon.  Starting Wednesday I will need to hit the ground running.  We have staff development Wednesday-Friday, I have my second (and thankfully final) New Hire Orientation on Saturday, then one day off, then Monday the 30th is the first day of school.  It's a full 5 day week which is not common for the first week, so it will be quite long.  Labor Day weekend already cannot come soon enough!

Monday, August 16, 2010

What happened to my motivation?

Once again, here I am days later finally writing an update to my blog.  Clearly my motivation died along with any semblance of a habit I attempted to develop.  Now school is going to start soon and any sort of habit will be much harder to create.  I suppose such is life, but it makes me rather sad.

School news: I have my own classroom!  (Did I already say that last time...I don't remember).  Tomorrow I'm going down there to actually go in my room, move some stuff inside, etc etc.  And get some files from the department chair as well as my second textbook.  Fortunately I don't seem to have to write a ton of lesson plans from scratch because they already exist.  We can take them and adjust them accordingly.  THANK GOODNESS for that.  I was afraid for a while, especially yesterday, that we were going to have to write them from scratch on the template they have, which is super involved like the ones we used in the credential program.

I also get to go to two all day trainings this Saturday and next Saturday.  Lois was clearly annoyed when I told her this, but too bad.  It's for my job.  There's nothing I can do about it.  This is yet another reason Nutcracker is on the fence. Besides just not knowing if I really want to do it, I don't think I'll be able to fully commit anyway.  And that, obviously, is not fair to everyone else involved.  I think I've had to miss more rehearsals for this show than I've missed in the last many many years.

On the bright side, no rehearsal tomorrow or Wednesday like usual.  Granted, now I have it on Thursday, my usual night off, but oh well.  5 weeks til the show.  It will go fast, especially with school starting.

AHH I can't believe school is starting!  I'm a REAL teacher now!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And...I suck

I had this great plan of keeping up with this blog, and here it's been over two weeks since I last wrote.  Now, part of this is due to having been on vacation for a week with limited internet access.  The other week?  Yeah, I suck.

Since Sunday, I have undertaken a serious room makeover.  Not the new furniture and repainting kind of makeover, but the I haven't cleaned out my room and reorganized the closet and gotten rid of all unnecessaries kind of makeover.
Clothes all over the place.
I think my closet exploded.

But the end result will be quite nice!

In other news, vacation last week was quite nice.  A week in Newport Beach?  Can't really go wrong with that.  Now my life is all about cleaning.  Cleaning cleaning cleaning.  And finding time to do online homework.  School is going to start before I know it.  I'm not sure if I'm ready yet, but I guess when it starts I will be because I have no other option.  I go back on Wednesday the 25th, two days earlier than the contract date.  I knew we would probably go back on the 26th instead of the 27th, but the 25th was a bit of a surprise.  At least they're paying us.

I got my classroom key yesterday.  I finally have my own classroom!  It's a bungalow, but it's brand new and it's mine to decorate and such as I please!  I think I will bring Amanda to help me sometime next week.