Read the entire quiz first, then follow the directions given. You have 10 minutes to complete this test. (Your teacher will be watching you and making notes of what you do, so read carefully!)
1. Write your name in the upper right hand corner
2. Put the date in the left hand corner
3. Write your age:
4. Write the name of the President of the U.S.
5. Write the name of the author of The Outsiders
6. Stand up and stretch.
7. Write your two favorite colors here: ____________ and _____________
8. Walk once around all the desks in the class.
9. Write the formula for a sentence*:
10. Put your left shoe on the desk and leave it there.
11. Get up and sharpen your pencil.
12. Fold this paper in half.
13. Add 237, 4986, and 866. Answer: __________________
14. After you do number 13, raise your hand for ten seconds.
15. Write the name of your favorite food: _______________
16. Sit down and stand up 10 times as fast as you can. Record how long it took you here: ________________
17. Print the name of the planet you live on ____________
18. Write down a compliment for the person to your right or left on the back of this paper.
19. Draw one red circle and two blue triangles on the bottom of this page.
20. Don’t follow these instructions. Instead, turn this paper face down and read your book quietly until time is called.
*The timer was sitting on top of the foldable we've been working on for sentence types. The formula for a sentence was to the left and I have them recite it weekly at least.
There have been half a dozen times that I type up a blog post, but never get around to actually posting it. Some of them are saved and some have been lost.
Life has been going on, you know?
Work is good. Although I’m not leaving as early as I intended and sometimes it gets really crazy busy, it’s not so bad. I like my kids. The same kids I kept hearing were so horrible I’d want to flee the building screaming and pulling out my hair. Perhaps because of this reputation, I’d convinced myself that I was going to be a hard ass at first, and I guess I have been. I haven’t had many issues aside from the incessant gum referrals. I keep knocking on wood hoping that it’ll stay good all year long. We are just sliding down the October slope though. I’m determined not to spend the entire year in the dip though.
I suppose I should mention that I have a student teacher. She’ll only be with me for a couple weeks more and then off to the other end of the building. I had no idea it’d be so cool. I know a lot of it has to do with her being super awesome and me not being a demeaning witch, but it really does make the day go by swimmingly.
In the home front, I have two new pets. I actually just got them today. I named them Jeff and Kelley. I was told that those were stupid names, but the peeps that know me, know me know why I called them that. They’re happily floating in their plastic cylinder right now. I’m convinced to clear off my desk tonight, so I can sit in there and watch them as I force myself to work.
I’ve also gotten into the habit of podcasting the Rachel Maddow show and watching it before I go to bed. She cracks me up. In the mornings, I like to listen to Fresh Air. It makes the hair situation more bearable. I’ve been growing my hair out some, so now I must do more than rub in some gel and muss it up. Interestingly, my hair kind of resembles that of Rachel Maddow. I’m not sure how long I’m going to let it get, but it’s a nice change. I’d had the same hairstyle for ten years.
There’s not much else to really tell. I’ll probably disappear for another few weeks or months. The textbook committee meetings start up soon, and I’ll most likely be spending lots of free time on finding and defending the best book for our district. As big of a nerd as I am, I’m really excited about it.
The bf has this young male co-worker that is having issues with the ladies. Well, with one lady because he doesn’t get that she is with someone and completely happy with that someone. He hangs on to the hope that she will someday leave her partner for him. Where he gets this hope is beyond anyone because she shows no sign of being interested.
So, naturally (that is meant with a tone of sarcasm), they decided I should compile a t-chart (because I am a teacher and that’s the standard teacher format) with do’s and don’t when it comes to the laydeeez for this kid.
When the bf told me about this, I’d had a long day of meetings* and was idling on the couch trying to clear my brain. Then, I made sense of what he was asking and I said, “Do your work friends not know about me? Do you even talk about me?”
Deer in the headlights looking bf says, “What do you mean?”
“Do they not know that I’m not your typical woman?”
“That’s why I thought it would be funny. You could give him a feminist take on it.”
“Huh,” I said as I returned to my idling.
It made me wonder later. Are feminist really that different? Am I a true feminist? Because although I agree with a lot of feminist theory, I don’t feel that I know that much about feminism to comfortably use the term and stand my own in an anit-feminist debate and such.
Then I started thinking about the things I would write on this t-chart, and I don’t know that it would be any different than most women. If it is different, it’s because I have my hang ups since I have been fat almost all of my life and that tends to shape how you deal with people of whatever sex you are attracted to.
I never did get around to that t-chart. I don’t know that I will either. I’m much more concerned with spending my free time sleeping and doing things that I enjoy like research, watching Youtube videos, and maybe hammering out a story or another chapter in that damn novel that has been plaguing me.
*True story, we had a meeting about having meetings. That was a doozy. Seriously, like, really, a meeting about having a meeting? All you can do is laugh.
“I won’t be able to take you to work on Monday,” I said as I unpacked groceries.
He tried to give me the puppy dog look and said, “I know. You’re going to get busier.”
I looked at him annoyed because he hadn’t been paying attention to anything I’d said in the last week, “I’m back to work officially on Monday.”
I’m pretty sure it’s most men that are this absent-minded and self involved, but good grief is it annoying.
I haven’t done anything “special” for back to school. I spent Friday running errands, yesterday I stocked up on groceries to help prepare easy meals, and today, well, I don’t know yet.
It’s been a good summer. I had a little remorse in early August for taking off all of July, but now I don’t. I enjoyed doing nothing or whatever I wanted the whole time. I enjoyed spending almost all of the week my mom was visiting with her, my sister, and my niece.
I turned down being the campus representative for my teacher’s union and I quit my Tuesday tutoring gig. I still feel bad about the tutoring because it’s extra cash. Still, there were times I bought materials out of pocket and if it means getting home earlier to make dinner, I think it’s well worth it. I’m determined to eat out a lot less.
It always happens that in the summer I cook at home a lot more because I have time to peruse ads, plan, shop, and organize. Plus, it helps to watch the Food Network once in a while. I don’t necessarily make what I see, but I get inspired to make things that I thought I couldn’t. This summer’s dish was ribs.
I’m interested to see how this all pans out. I am resigned in a sense to giving less of me. I gave up a bit of my summer to prepare, but my classroom is completely ready. Kids could show up tomorrow and it’d be okay. I’m not freaking out about dept. head duties. If some of the people on the team don’t want to work as a team, then that will be their problem. With our new curriculum, they are going to miss out on opportunities. Where I lost it last year was trying to help all kids. While that is a noble cause, I can’t do that at this point. So this year, I will focus on my kids. The ones on my roster. If I accidentally help others, that will be a bonus.
I’m not sure where I read about a new book about lying. Perhaps it was in the Oprah magazine that I browsed through at Barnes and Noble earlier. Anyway, it pointed out some stats like white lies aren’t really all that good and a large percentage, like 80%, of people tell lies. As I cut through the parking lot to the easiest exit, it got me thinking about all the things I have lied about in particular the things that I’ve lied to myself about.
I lie to myself a lot. Mostly to “fake it ‘till I make it.” On those days where everything goes wrong and I’m convinced my day is going to be horrible because the steamer ran out of water or my alarm clock didn’t go off, I often rationalize that those things will not dictate my day and plaster a smile across my face at the first sign of students and colleagues.
That’s not a lie you may say, but to me, it is. See, this is how I got myself to like reading. I have always read, ever since I was a little kid. My oldest sister used to buy me books from some mail service. I remember I had this huge book with all these funky looking drawings. The book was designed to teach me my colors, numbers, the alphabet, etc. I’m sure you know the kind. I loved looking at it and wanted so bad to know what it said. I had other titles, too and Gabi always brought home books for me from the library. Despite us being immigrants and poor, our house was not a poor print home. My mom always tried to instill in us a love of reading.
My mom always recalls me sitting in my rocking chair next to my record player looking at books and listening to music. I loved having books around and looking at the pictures and being read to.
When I finally learned to read, I was motivated by programs like Book It or by praise from my teachers, but honestly, I didn’t like reading so much.
I would have to read passages over and over sometimes because I didn’t understand the words and/or would go off on a mental fieldtrip. Still, I continued to read.
It’s funny that for someone who didn’t love reading, I actually read a lot. Perhaps my lack of friends helped. In seventh grade, I would spend my lunchtime in the library perusing the shelves. Or maybe the summer that we moved to my sisters and there was nothing to do and I learned to stay up all night glued to a book because I became enthralled by the lives of the characters. During high school, I often avoided going home and hung out in the library instead.
When people asked what I liked to do, naturally, I said read because it was something I did often whether or not I was successful. I faked it until I made it because now, I really do like to read. I’ve spent much of my free time this summer with my nose in a book or listening to one on my iPod as I clean or attempt to fall asleep. So maybe lying to myself this instance wasn’t such a bad thing.
Today, amidst the cleaning and napping and errand running I visited two memories.
The first happened when I was sitting on the floor at the foot of my bed staring at the various tubes of lotions that ended up in my bedroom. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed because there still seemed to be so much to do and I couldn’t figure out how I was going to carry that many products back into the bathroom and then I’d have to rearrange the contents of the cabinet to make them fit, but before that I would need to change the litter because surely I wouldn’t be able to stand the smell and I might as well sweep and mop the floor before I clean the litter. So I sat there and took a trip to the district championship soccer game last spring. Who knows what got me thinking about it. But I started thinking how telling it was that the student who invited made sure to come up into the stands to say hello and thank me for coming. I also got to wondering if he’d invited any other teachers. The old coach who took a position mid-semester was there, as was the head coach, and the program coordinator that funds soccer (soccer is considered a club and not a sport at our campus).
It made me feel really good to go and see some of my current and former students kick some SoHo butt. I also enjoyed listening to the parents cheer on their kids. Everyone was supporting “los rojos.” Some parents brought gallons of juice and coolers for the little kids. One of my former students was out there trying his best while his mom gave birth to his baby sister down the street. His dad and little brothers were there supporting him. Those are the things that I truly miss. Last year I had so many duties that although they help kids, don’t allow me to be in the midst of all the action interacting with the kids. I hope I can change that this year.
The other memory trip came as I was driving to run an errand. Again, who knows what triggered it, but I got to thinking about my graduation party. Thinking back, I feel guilty that I wasn’t around to help much. My sister, her bff, and my mom did all of the work from cooking to setting up tables and decorating. It was really cool. There was mole, frijoles refritos, Caro’s famous empanadas, garbanzo and onion salad (one of my favorites), and perhaps some kind of wine punch. There was a cake made by my old supervisor at APP. I’m sure there were other things, but that’s all I remember these days. It was cool because despite it being crazy times, lots of people came and we all just had a good time. When I was thinking about this earlier, I was captivated by the idea that these three women had done this for me, like my ada madrinas. I guess in a way they all kind of are. It’s the kind of thing that happens in movies and sometimes we say, “wouldn’t it be cool if I had….” Sometimes completely missing that we actually already have that.
Summer is halfway over and I feel like I just now got a chance to relax. Even though I attended fewer staff developments this year and the training I helped lead didn't involve as much planning as last year, somehow I feel like I’ve spent the first half of this summer working. June felt like it just flew by.
The good news is that I can totally get away with slacking off now if I want. Aside from spending Tuesday conducting interviews with a slew of characters, I spent most of the week just relaxing. Although, when your nose is constantly congested and your hearing is a bit off because of it and you’re living for your next dose of Sudafed, it’s not much of a vacation.
I did manage to get into a little routine in which I live my life in thirty to one hour increments depending on what television show is currently leading my life. Today, I made a conscious choice not to do that. Yesterday, the finale of the Gilmore Girls was re-aired and I’d been waiting for that since Spring Break, or maybe the little break I gave myself in May. Anyway, I mostly laid around reading a manuscript of an upcoming Pinata Books title with the television on something crappy just for background noise.
The good thing is that it doesn’t take much for my obsessions to change. I just have to become involved in the lives of the characters and then it’s like my sunflower seed addiction—don’t stop until you finish the bag…even if you scald your tongue with the salt.
I got like that with My Sister’s Keeper earlier this summer. It was during the three day TALA training that I twitted about. I would stay up until 2 or 3 AM knowing that I had to be at training the next day, but I'd become so obsessed that I was dedicated to finishing it before the week was over. In my mind, I rationalized my reading with being brain dead at the training. I think that’s the only way I made it through that week. Kelley Gallagher said it best, “I was better off sitting in my cubicle staring at my belly button and watching fuzz grow.”
I do have to make a more decent effort at not spending my days wishing I would just get up and shower so that I could sit at Barnes and Noble sipping tea and writing or reading as the afternoon sunlight streams in and causes a golden glow on the table tops. I also really want to check out the renovated main library. Apparently, best coffee shop in the area has a café in there. I should totally go and take advantage of reading smut magazines instead of rushing through them while waiting to check out at Wal Mart.
Next week the Mother arrives so that should be fun. And then after that, I think I have one official week of summer left before my times gets eaten away by the little work caterpillars. I must make the most out of this last bit of summer. Next year isn’t promising anything different and I will need all of the energy and I can gather up.
Okay, so not really the Nation, Nation, but my little nation, you know, my corner of the world.
Things have been ah. For like a week there, I was prancing on cloud nine. But here lately, things have hit a whole new level of suck. There have been broken cars, unwelcome houseguests, arguments, deceased pets, work disappointments, and new levels of negativity.
At this point, the only thing that keeps me going is that crazy optimism that lingers around even if it’s just a faint hint of fog in the air. The one where those major moments of joy and excitement play over and over.
I’m very excited that school is almost over. We have exactly seven days left. Well, eight if you count Saturday which I will be spending with the choir kids at Fiesta Texas. But really, who counts a field trip in which kids who actually like you get to hang out with you and you get to ride roller coasters? It will be a long day, but incredibly fun.
So many misunderstandings have occurred because of this secret--things that if it were out in the open wouldn’t be much of a big deal. But there is nothing I can do. It is up to that person to come clean.
In the meantime, I continue talking with my mom and feeling like I’m watching a Shakespeare play with the dramatic irony unfolding right before me.
A couple months ago when I mentioned my niece being shipped out to war, it didn’t happen because she rolled her ankle and had to have surgery and a brace, etc.
Today she’s finally on her way. I say finally because that’s what she makes it sound like. She told me the other day that she wanted to leave already so that she could get back to see her little brothers.
Strange how she had to leave Easter weekend out of all the weekends. We’ve talked a bit on Yahoo when she wakes up and signs in on her phone. I need to find a St. George candle.
There are so many things I want to tell her, but I’m also trying to remain positive about the whole situation. I just hope she knows, knows how much I love her and hope she's safe and think about her.
Last week for a meeting I was holding, I shared a “My Turn” piece from Newsweek about a mother who has an autistic son and a gifted daughter. She discussed the discrepancy in education between the two. She wonders what would happen if the education system spent even a portion of the funds dedicated to her special needs child on her gifted child.
Ironically, in this meeting, we were told that next year, we would no longer have Pre Advanced Placement Science. We went from Pre AP being offered for all core classes down to three, now it’s two. I wonder which will be the next to go. Perhaps the whole program will go away.
I know all this has to do with funding, but it still infuriates me. It’s so unfair how little is spent to foster some of the talents gifted children have. I suppose it goes with the culture of the country for the past eight years of placing little value on intelligence. Perhaps this will soon change…
On my Facebook status earlier this week, I posted about being on spring break and limiting the work to a maximum of three hours, which turned out to be a total lie. I spent three hours yesterday browsing bookshelves, doing research, typing up my quick start power point, and planning out lessons. I still have to grade some things, enter the grades onto the online system, find a decent Othello clip, create the Othello summary sheet, and type up my lesson plans. That could easily take up all of today and half of tomorrow. I don’t know that I’ll dedicate that much time, but I’m definitely dedicating the rest of the afternoon today.
So before I get back to school and life gets all crazy, I want to spend some time remembering one of the reasons I went into teaching.
I’ve always been one of those people that will bend backwards for friends and family. I mostly do this because it makes me feel good to help out others. When I was in high school, I had a friend who used to get to school really, really early. The band room didn’t open until 7:30 AM so a lot of times, she was left sitting outside for a long time. So me, being me, would get there really early, too. It also worked for me because I hated being seen walking to school on the other side of the canal and I really hated crossing the four lane street during morning rush hour.
We used to meet by the rock wall/bench in front of the hallway where most of our classes were. A lot of times we sat there doing homework or reading. When the chill of fall started to greet us in the morning, I’d often arrive to find the rock wall/bench empty. A few minutes later, my friend would come out of Mr. Hinz’s class, our Algebra teacher, and invite me to his class.
Mr. Hinz was this very tall and loud man. He walked with a limp and wore a brace on one of his knees. He once told us that he’d been injured while working on the Panama Canal when he was in the military. He had tons of toys and knick-knacks displayed throughout the classroom. He often wore vests and khaki shorts and a button that said “He with the most toys wins.” And he always, always had his radio tuned to the oldies station The Fox 92.3 FM. I loved going into his classroom because it was a place that I felt I could work.
My friend and I had the same exact schedule all day long. So of course, we would go everywhere together. When Mr. Hinz would see us walking down the hall, he would announce, “Here come the Bobbsey Twins!”
We would always giggle. It never bothered or embarrassed us. We just took it as one of the things Mr. Hinz did.
We had our blocked algebra class with him. He would teach his lesson, show us a couple of ways to find the answer, and give us time to practice. During the practice time, he would always turn on the radio to the oldies station. Sometimes, I would misbehave by talking or laughing too much during practice time. Surprisingly, he only kicked me out of his class once.
For Christmas, the class decided we wanted to have a gift exchange. We were an uneven number, so he threw his name into the hat. When the day of the exchange came, he gave me a box wrapped in the comics. I thought it was odd and he laughed at my face. When I opened it up, there was another box inside wrapped up nicely with post office paper and raffia bow. Inside was a beautifully crocheted white stocking. His wife had made it for me. It was something I hung onto for years. I’d never really had a stocking before that.
The next year, we had moved onto Geometry, so we no longer had Mr. Hinz. He had however nominated me for Honors Geometry since I had a consistent A average in his class. When he saw my friend and I in the hallway, he still continued to call us by our nickname. Sometimes he referred to us as “slothmores.”
The day of my graduation, I was elated to be done with high school. The future was chock full of potential. When I was walking around the grounds afterward to find my family, I ran into Mr. Hinz who gave me a hug and said, “You’re super kid.”
Such a simple little phrase that looks so cheesy on paper, but it’s something that’s stuck with me all these years. In a place where one could easily get lost in the masses, he made sure my friend and I were someone worthy of announcing in the hallway. He gave us a place to hang out and made sure we moved on with some knowledge of Algebra. He also made sure I knew what I was worth.
When the teaching worm starting working its way around my brain, I thought back to this experience. Mr. Hinz was part of this superhero teacher crew at our high school. The superhero teacher crew that cared about kids and wanted us to make it, and I owe it to him to pay it forward.
For the last couple of months, as a means to maintain my sanity, I’ve taken to putting myself to sleep with a Podcast. I usually listen to Latino USA or recently, This American Life.
The other night, I was listening to This American Life #350 Human Resources. One of the segments was about The Rubber Room. In New York City, when a teacher can’t be fired because investigations are still being done they are sent to an office off campus where they wait, and wait, and wait until they are either terminated or reinstated. During this time, they are paid their full salaries and there are some who have been there for years.
When Dan the Man came to bed after a few rounds of Madden, I slurred the facts of the story to him. “What?”
More slurred, blurry facts.
“Whatever, you’re lying. You’re just dreaming and making this up.”
“No, I’m not. It’s true.”
Then, as quickly as I woke up, I passed out again. When I woke up the next day, I remembered the conversation and thought I must have been sleeping. So I listened to the Podcast again, and sure enough, I was right.
Since then, I’ve been having nightmares about work. These nightmares come at night or during my daydreams and I zone out while cleaning or showering. I doubt anything like that would happen to me, but it’s sad to think that it does happen.
I know some of those people are to blame and they probably did something ridiculously obtuse—something children should never have to witness. However, I know there are some in there that don’t deserve to be there, but because they used their voice, they got on someone’s crap list.
It also makes me wonder, is there such a place in Houston?
I have not had very good days lately. Yesterday, I was sent home from work because my craziness got me all antsy and sickly. Today, in an attempt to clean the apartment for the impending Super Bowl festivities tomorrow, I managed to do the following:
- Spill an entire bottle of perfume on the bathroom floor
- Break the bucket used to hold the mopping solution
- Proceed to get water all over the carpet and bathroom floor
- Break off the top of the bath towel chest dropping everything that was on top of it on the wet bathroom floor
- Slip on water and almost fall
I still have to wash dishes (I did manage to break a glass while doing dishes), get a haircut, and get my mail from the post office*. So much room for more accidents.
THEN, there was the botched project at work. I totally ruined this event we were planning because I was dilly dallying around. I really hope I can find a new work home for next year. I’m so done being a headless chicken. People say it’s me because I do like to work and be useful and make people happy, but I have had jobs that I’ve done all of the above and still had time to come home and cook dinner and exercise and spend time with people I love. I try to rationalize all the work that I do by saying, “It’s for the kids.” Because when you think about it, it does come down to being about the kids, but I can’t save the world. I have this mentality that believes that even if I don’t teach all those kids, I can touch their lives by educating their teachers. But I can’t because some of their teachers are headstrong or have better ideas or just don’t care, and I don’t have the power to change that. Maybe I will finally get the picture.
*There was a furnace explosion near the office at our complex. The explosion burned down two apartments, our mail center, and the office. Had I mentioned this before?
I saw that quote a couple weeks ago on a cup at the Barnes and Noble café. I’m not much of a quote person. I get too curious about what else it says and if it was taken out of context or what.
But that Gandhi quote really resonated with me.
All around, people keep squawking about change and things are actually changing. You could hear the earth rumbling last year and then it picked up speed at the end of ‘08. At times it seems like they’re coming so hard and fast, they might crush a few of us against the wall.
It’s a little daunting to think of what is to come. Normally, I’m the kind of person that enjoys change, but I don’t know what it is that has me freaking out. Perhaps it’s the uncertainty of it all. The fear of falling face first on the ground. I know all of these things are normal, but I hate feeling them. I want that hopeless optimism to kick in already, and at the same time, I know it probably won’t until I make peace with all of this change.
And really, what I put in is what I will get out of this whole experience enter the Gandhi quote. Overall, I think 2009 will bring more of the good stuff and less of the crap that 2008 spewed out at the end. If anything, The Bush will be out of office; so it really can’t be that bad.
When my butt starts scraping the dirt, the Gandhi quote will be my mantra.
So it’s a New Year. 2009. I will be 29 later this year. I will have completed my fourth year teaching and start on my fifth. I’ll be eight years into a relationship. I will be one year away from thirty.
Someone asked me what my New Year’s resolution is this year and when I said, “Nothing.” They were shocked. They could not believe that I wasn’t setting a resolution.
When I was taking a writing class a couple semesters ago, our teacher said that he was always interested in writing a story that took place on New Year’s Day. He tried to explain why, but I had one of my J.D. moments where I get lost in thought. I knew exactly what he was talking about. How people think that this year will be the answer to all of their prayers. This year will be the year that they decide to change their lives for the better by not smoking or eating or spending so much time at work or spending less time in front of the TV and more time at the gym.
So many people write against New Year’s resolutions. Then there are those that set their lives to them. I fall in between, I guess. If I really think about it, I have fresh starts so many times a year. There is the end of the school year, my birthday, the start of a new school year, the start of a new semester, and then all of those moments during the year that I decide I should change things or the universe thinks I should.
I’m avoiding the resolutions this year, not because there aren’t things that I want to change in my life, but rather because when they come about, I don’t want to have to wait until January 1st to do it. In the past, when I’ve made life-altering changes, the date had nothing to do with it. I want to get away from this idea that it must be done at a certain time.