Thursday, October 21, 2010


I am SO stressed out. I have a million things to do for school, my home life schedule is crazy now, and on top of it all, my mother is coming tomorrow through Monday. PLUS, we just found out that sometime soon DH is going to have to go to NE for two weeks. Holy shit.

Being in the school is awesome, though! I love being in the classroom, and the kids totally accept me as Someone. I've definitely seen Some Shit, though, and it's only been four days. I'm in the closest thing to am inner-city school that we have around here, and there's a lot of poverty, a surprising amount of homelessness, and all the stuff that goes along with it. On the one hand, it's hard seeing it all, but on the other, I love being in the middle of it, knowing that the time I'm with these kids could really make a difference in their lives. So, it's all good from that aspect.

The only stressful thing so far is all the requirements I have raining down on me from my university. We have to be evaluated six ways to Sunday, and we have to turn in lesson plans for everything we teach, whether we're the ones making up the lesson or not, in the school-approved software format, meaning I'm going to have to take everything I touch and re-do it in this awful format that no one in the real world uses. On top of all that, my mentor teacher has been doing these lessons long enough that she doesn't USE the lesson plans anymore, she just goes with what she knows, so if she can't find the actual copy of the lesson, I'm going to totally have to re-create the wheel every time I do anything. Since I'm taking over one subject a week, each week I'll have to re-create five lessons (after the first week, we don't have to put it in that format anymore, but we still have to turn them in, so I'm going to have to have SOMETHING to turn in, although I'll be able to use an easier format) each week. Plus the work my classes are still assigning. Plus actually doing the teaching, plus running the study group for my community service project one before-school morning a week. Yeah. Holy crap.

So, I have ton of work to do, and my mother is going to be here all weekend. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle that, really. I honest-to-God don't have time to have a houseguest, even one that I'd actually enjoy, never mind one I don't want to be here. She hasn't even gotten here yet, and she's whined every time she's called to whoever answers the phone about how she 'feels bad' that DH has to drive all over creation to get her, and she knows how busy we are, etc. If she feels so damn bad, why is she still coming?! She invites herself here every spring and fall, parks herself on the couch, and does nothing but wait to have someone tell her to do something. I wanted to tell her to just stay home, if she feels so bad, because I'm not going to lie and tell her that we're thrilled that she's coming, but I bit my tongue. I'm so stressed out, though, that if she pulls that crap while she's actually here (which is almost guaranteed), I'm not sure I'm going to be able to hold it together. So, stay tuned, there may be fireworks a-comin'.

Off to do my TWO assignments for my hateful literacy instruction class. All the other classes have stopped giving us regular weekly busywork, but not her. On top of everything else, we still have to watch online videos and answer questions that are just like the ones that come in the back of those useless textbooks (How did you know that the students were engaged in the lesson? Explain.) from when we were kids. They're easy, but time-consuming!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I just got home from my last student session for the semester! I am officially through with sitting through boring powerpoints and dealing with egomaniac math professors! I'm FREE!!

I had an exam today in my science instruction class, which seemed really easy so I'm not worried about it (plus she adds a bunch of extra credit to the scores to give us credit for all the busywork junk we do in the classroom, so I already have about 7 points added onto a 50-point exam, nice). I barely studied for it, because I was so burned out after nailing myself to the wall over the second math exam. I spent all last weekend and a chunk of Monday staring at my endless stack of flashcards with math facts and theories.

BUT, it was TOTALLY WORTH IT, because I got 267 points out of 270!!! Woohoo!!! If that's not the top score in the class, it's close enough that I don't care. PLUS, that totally makes up for how badly I did on the first exam (213/270), and along with the one other grade we've gotten back (professional journal article reviews, almost everyone got 80/80, total cheesecake assignment) I'm up to a 90. YES!!! My 4.0 may be salvaged after all!!! As long as I get any kind of A at all on the rest of the assignments, which are a case study, a math center, and a lesson plan, I'm still in line to keep The Number. I'm not really worried about getting As on those, because projects are a lot easier to do well on for me than exams and we have to go over what we're doing with our classroom mentor teacher, anyway, so it's not like I can totally bomb.

As of today, I get to start doing the fun stuff! Lesson plans and centers and actual child interaction, oh, my!!! I haven't had time to even think about those until now. :) I can't wait!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back Again

Hello there! I haven't been here in quite awhile! I've been so swamped with things to do that I can barely even look at my computer unless it's to do schoolwork lately. I've wanted to come back, but just couldn't. With our new schedules, I get up at 5:30 to get everyone ready and off to school, and by the time I finish reading with Josie at 9:30 or 10, I'm ready to fall into bed. DH and I generally meet in our room when I'm done, and don't even come back downstairs anymore.

My school is going pretty well. I have As in all my classes except math instruction, which is like hell on earth. The professor, S, had us buy a book that isn't a textbook at all, but rather a collection of math activities that we could conceivably use in a classroom one day, but which has no bearing on the material we're supposed to learn in class. He spends about six hours a session vomiting math garbage on us, while we furiously write down everything he says. The problem with this is if we miss a class, or he stumbles or misspeaks, we have almost no recourse because there's no book to look things up in, and whenever he feels like it, he renames a method after himself!!! I'm not kidding - so far we have the S method for factoring, two that he's named after his wife (the J methods), the S method for solving story problems, and so on. This makes things even worse because if we're confused after we get home, we can't look it up online, either! Also, his exams are the kind that are made to purposefully trick you, for instance if we don't have a definition written exactly the way he thinks he said it in class, it's wrong and we get points off for every word he changes. We've had one exam so far, and most of the class got Cs or below. In grad school, a C is pretty much like failing. I got a 79, which almost made me even more mad than if I'd gotten something lower, because it was so close to a B. We have another exam on Tuesday, and I've been furiously studying, but I'm not sure how much difference it will make, because I studied like mad for the last one, too and it didn't do me (or most other people) any good.

Really, the best news is that after this week, I'll be back to student teaching! I can't wait to get out of my classes and into the school again. I have to do a community service project, so once a week for the rest of the semester (or year, if it goes well) I will be holding an after-school story and activity time for first and second graders. I'm a little nervous about whether I'll get enough children to make it a real success, but we'll see what happens; if there aren't enough, I might open it up to other grades as well, although that would be challenging. My mentor teacher said that the principal and VPs had a really good opinion of me, which makes me feel happy and confident about going back.

Josie just got her first middle school report card, and she got a special certificate with it because she got all As in her merit classes! She's doing better this year than she ever has, and has almost perfect averages in four classes. I love that the teachers at the school she's at send weekly emails with the scoring updates for all her work, so there are no surprises, and if she's missed something when she's sick we immediately. She's been sick a few days, I suppose because of the new mix of kids is introducing new germs for her to fight off. The other big news for her is that we let her get contacts on Friday. She's been wanting them for a long time, and I decided to let her get them because she can't wear her glasses during karate, and I know from experience that that stinks. We were planning on not having her wear the contacts to school, but the acclimation schedule that the eye doctor gave her really means that we have to let her wear them there while she's getting used to them, and while I was nervous at that idea at first, she's taken to them like a fish to water! She has no problem getting them in and out, and the solution they gave her cleans them for her, so there's no scrubbing or anything. They're two-month disposables, but the pair she has right now is a free trial pair; we'll go back on Friday to get her actual prescription (I don't understand how that works, that they gave her some approximation or something? she can see fine with them now, so I don't know what they're going to do) and buy a supply to have on hand. I was shocked at how much less expensive they are now than when I wore them in my 20s - $15 a box! That's less expensive than glasses, for heaven's sake! We still got her a new pair of glasses, because her prescription changed, but hopefully we'll be able to use them more as a backup and not get them updated every year anymore.

Patrick is liking his new school a lot. He goes to aftercare, which is working out nicely - they go on field trips once every couple of weeks! He's going to be in beforecare once I start student teaching, but only for a short time, like 15 minutes or so, because I'm technically supposed to be at my school at the same time as when he can be dropped off now. My mentor teacher said that I don't have to worry about it, but I don't want to be The Intern Who Was Always Late. I'd rather be The One Who's Always Around when it comes time to apply for jobs, you know? :) The curriculum in his magnet program is great, and he seems to be really challenged now. They have palm pilots (which they call little computers) for each student, and they use them a lot at their seats, and he has spelling words like stingray and jealous.

Dh finally got hired at a new company, and starts next week, on the same day I start student teaching. He got a raise, but best of all will be able to work from home a few days a week. This will cut down on the rushed feeling a *lot* because he'll be able to pick up Patrick right after school on karate days, or at least that's the plan.

That's all the basic news. Next time (tomorrow, hopefully) I'll talk about the upset that's been going on surrounding my IL's 50th anniversary planning. I think it's OK now, but who knows.