Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm a Word Nerd

I'm plowing through TONS of research about writing in the classroom for my Master's thesis and I came across a word I had never heard of before.  I wasn't even sure how to pronounce it at first. But it is becoming my new favorite word.  

The word?

It is very fun to say and I keep trying to find an excuse to work it into a conversation.  The definition (for phenomenology) is a philosophy or method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness or a movement based on this, originated about 1905 by Edmund Husserl.

I promise once you start saying it you too will keep wondering how to work it into a conversation. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How to Honor a Loved One

Some of you who read this blog I know also read my friend/cousin Charlotte's blog too.  There are also a few of you who read this that are co-workers or live in Cedar, so you may know this already, but I'm going to brag about my dad a little.  

My dad is someone who likes to find ways to honor or help people whenever he can.  That is why many people in Cedar are in houses, him working with them and letting them do some of the work so they can get in cheaper.  He has this reputation of being a tough guy - which he is - but he has a HUGE heart.  

So when he found out that his cousin, Dr. Coach (aka Charlotte's dad) had cancer, he wanted to do something to show his support.  When some people get this disease, they can be assisted with money or fundraisers or community events, etc.  But there are some people who just have their lives too much together to have any need for this sort of thing.  So my dad had to do some thinking, and found inspiration from a newspaper article that was posted in the local paper (you can read about this in detail at here)

You may know by now where this is going.  My dad decided it would be appropriate to sport the same hairstyle as Coach Corry.  But, being a teacher at CHS, he needed to add a little flair, and at the last pep assembly he told me he was going to get it shaved.  

He gave a little speech about why he was doing it, sat down and one of the cheerleaders started shaving away his hair.  I laughed, watched for a minute, and had a lightbulb moment.  When else does a daughter get the chance to rid her father of all his hair? 

 Opportunity presented.  
I walked over, the cheerleader gave up the responsibility eagerly and I got to help my dad honor Dr. Coach.  In case you were wondering, it was a bit nerve wracking, but lots of fun. 
My dad extended the invitation to any of the faculty who wanted to join and Art Clark (the French teacher) jumped in (and he had a lot more hair than my dad did - shaved his head too) 

I think he really likes it.
(That is his office at the school which so proudly displays his various prizes (from left to right), tail - cougar hide that he got 3-4 years ago, his caribou from I think 10 or so years ago and his turkey from about a year ago)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Educational Discrepancies

Here's the deal. I'm a teacher - you all know that by now, I'm sure. If you count my student teaching, I've been a teacher for over two years. I have the responsibility to make sure that my students know the details of the assignments, when they are due, my expectations, the general outline for the quarter, etc. I have to make sure that the grades are updated every week at least, give out grades twice a quarter and collect them signed at mid-term at least to "maintain communication with parents."

That's the job. That's what I signed up to do. I think every teacher knows that, within the basic parameters, this is the job of a teacher, regardless of the grade/level of students.

As you know, I'm currently taking three classes. These are classes that all three teachers have taught before - all of them several times, and while there isn't a teacher I know who is really good who teaches the exact same thing the exact same way, once the class has been taught, the prep isn't as intense as the first time.

Here's the issue. We are entering the third week of the semester, it is thirteen weeks long. I have one professor who hasn't even got the syllabus up yet.

Hasn't changed the due dates since the last time she taught the class - last June.

We have been told that the assignments are going to be grizzly, but that's it.

This is a class being taught to teachers for the Master's of Education or Administrative programs.

I have a class where, because we only meet once a week, we have already turned in six assignments. Not one has been graded yet.

I know. Professors are busy. The assignments are bigger, they are in charge of various department...stuff, have to do research, write and submit papers, plan and/or attend conferences...I get it. But it seems like if a teacher was going to teach a program about how teachers can become BETTER teachers, actions should speak louder than words.

Of course, that is common sense talking, and we all know that it hasn't been the most prevalent in our modern society.

By the way, my third class is wonderful - gnarlly, mean, going to kick my butt, take my time, stretch my abilities, but the professor - she has all the assignments up for the whole quarter, due dates, explanations, sources for help and offered shoulder to cry on in the middle of the intense first three chapters of my Master's thesis, which has to be done in just 10 weeks.

Just thinking about it makes me want a Diet Coke. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Freshman for President

I started this book two weekends ago - just before school started again - both of them. I have been working my little tail off these last two week - reading only for about 5 minutes before settling down for some deep studying of the back of my eyelids until today. I'm actually a little ahead, and treated myself to enjoying the rest of Freshman for President.

This is Condie's fourth book - first that wasn't in the Yearbook trilogy or LDS based and it was an absolute joy to read. I really like Milo and related very well to the students in the book. I laugh all the time because I hear mom's about my age with kids about my age who say life gets easier when the kids get older; this book disproves that very well.

This is about a teen, Milo, who is annoyed with what is happening concerning the student body elections at his school, and has a brilliant friend, Eden, who talks him into running as a write-in candidate in the presidential election. They take the city, then state, then US by storm through the methods best for teens - internet. Milo has to really grow up - sometimes it is nice and slow - other times it's in the course of a conversation, but that is reality.

I like that the dreams thought up by these teens are a little big - something abnormally ambitious. I like that the conflicts weren't written to be the conflicts everyone assumes teens have but surely are being over-exaggerated - that Ally wrote them how teens feel them without being cutesy or trite.

This was a very fun read - one that was perfect for the brief "I'm escaping my life" read and I really can't wait for her next book, whatever it may be.

Thanks Ally.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Adding Student to the Mix

I just finished my first week as teacher/student*/mom/chauffeur/wife/housekeeper. Granted, there have been a couple other times when I have been most of these, but the kicker is trying to be the first three at the same time, especially when the first week of being a student again came at during the last week of a quarter for a teacher.

I hate not having my grades done when the quarter ends, and while I'm very, very close, and technically still have a day or two to get finished, I really like to have them done and not have to use those couple of days.

I also really don't work well last minute. Some people thrive under the pressure of procrastination - I just go nuts. I like knowing that something is done before it HAS to be done. Add the fact that I'm prepping a couple of new units at this same time, and needless to say I figured out a couple of things with the whole wear six capes at the same time deal.

1. This is going to be a balancing act.
2. I won't have much time at all to waste.
3. I really have to fight to get leisure reading time in.
4. Somehow blogging time fits in well - especially when I have another poem to write.

But most important

I have an AMAZING husband.

My classes are such that I just have to actually attend on campus twice a week - Mondays from 4-7 and Thursdays from 7-10, and the Thursday class is only meeting through February - all the rest of the work is done online.

Enoch has graciously agreed to pick up the kids from school on Mondays so I don't have to drive like a crazy woman to pick them up, drop them off and get back into town between 3:15 and 3:45 and did a great job getting them fed, homework done and in pajamas for when I got home.

Then, on Thursdays, he bathes them and puts them in bed. But get this. On Thursday, he didn't have a full day of work, so he cleaned the kitchen, plowed through the dust we now measure in centimeters that surrounded all the electronic equipment and fixed it so that maybe, just maybe, we can keep some of it from being slathered in dust.

Sure, you think that is good, but wait.

When I got home just after 10 Thursday night, Enoch was sitting in the living room, watching golf and surrounded by piles of clothes...ALL FOLDED. Yes, my amazing spouse folded all the clothes that needed to be - not a task I enjoy at all. It completely made my day.

So begins the journeys of a crazy woman putting too much on my plate, again. Stay tuned to watch the different degrees of craziness unfold before your very eyes. :)

*If you were wondering, I'm taking a Creative Writing class, the Introductory Master's Thesis class and School Law.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The "New" Discovery

They had not seen Tom and Jerry until yesterday, and we recorded a few episodes for them. They are currently sitting on the couch, laughing so hard that they get the little giggles for each little thing and then burst into laughter about every minute or so.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wanted: Opinionated Computer Junkies

Okay, all you readers out there, here's the deal.

I need a laptop.

I have been borrowing the schools - a fantastic Apple Macbook, but those are WAY out of my price range. I know that many of you who read this aren't really computer oriented, don't program, pull apart, put back together, etc. But I am in the market for a laptop - looking to get one in the next week or so and would really like some direction. With grading, writing a thesis and papers and a book, yea, the time has come.
I'm going to have money left over from a student loan - here are some of my requests.

1. I would like to keep it under $1000 final price

2. I want something functional (basic functions are okay - not a huge gamer and don't do tons with graphics - just powerpoints, word processing, internet use, etc.

3. It has to be reliable, something that isn't going to make me want to throw it against a wall or hit it with a hammer - I'm too busy to take time to kill a computer

4. It must be wifi compatible and not slower than cold tar going up Mt Everest in the dead of winter.

So, there you have it. My requests. Now comes the participation part of blogging - I need all you real people out there to let me know what you have loved, what you have hated - all opinions welcome (even if a spouse or friend has to look over your shoulder as you type to make sure their opinion is known and you got it right)

If you are shy about your opinion but still have one, you can drop me an email if you prefer...