Dr. Phil’d

April 27, 2013

Tonight I drove home stuck in a very thoughtful mood. 

Actually, I drove home and ended up thinking about things I don’t usually think about too often and sort of talked about things (not out loud) that were going on in my life. I think I was my own little psychologist.

I guess you could say I Dr. Phil’d myself in the car. (And no, that’s not a euphemism for “I pooped myself while driving”; though it should be.)

I’m not sure if you get these moments as well.

This isn’t a super rare occasion for me either. Periodically I’ll  find myself feeling incredibly aware of how things in my life really are while I’m just cruising around by myself.  It’s sort of like getting a progress report on your life for that 20 minute car ride. Or maybe it’s my brain’s way of saying “hey, you need to download some updates right now.” It just helps me stay aware of who and what I am.

After that little drive I feel like I’m conscious of why I make/have made/will make the decisions I do/done/will do and it feels good. Makes me feel like I’ve still got autonomy in my life. I think I get some clarity at those times when I wasn’t really expecting it, but it’s greatly appreciated.

Overall, I felt that things were okay. I like my job. I don’t have any major health concerns I’m aware of. I get along with the people in my life. My closet doesn’t have any grotesquely large skeletons inside (except, of course, those of my enemies whom I have slain in battle), and I have money. Those things alone put me in a much better position than so many others.

Now, I’m not saying everything is perfect. Honestly, who could? I still wish my job stability was much more solid (teachers in the sunshine state are only hired on yearly contracts with no obligations to keep said teacher for any period of time beyond that contract). I would like to buy a house but I’m sort of dependent on that job situation. If I try to buy a house and then I get “bumped” from one school to another, would I even want to live in that home anymore if it was far away from my school? What if I simply don’t get rehired and I can’t find any open slots anywhere?

Another byproduct of the quiet ride home is looking as some of those more… troubling aspects of my past. I really look at those whom I’ve lost over the years. There are even some who just aren’t lost (meaning they’re still alive) they’ve just moved on in life to other places.

Still, considering those things, I’m happy. I’m glad I don’t have to walk 3 miles to the nearest “clean” water source. I’m thrilled I have a car that gets me where I need to be. I’m proud I can say I could potentially become a homeowner. I’m even joyed in the idea that I can live a simple enough life that I can share my little moment of existentialism with strangers staring at glowing screens from all across the globe.

I know that’s all kind of general and sappy, but it means a lot to write that down. Thanks for reading it if you did, fellow human. You’re special.

So what about you, where are you when the thoughtful mood strikes you?

D.A.

 

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Something I Learned

June 5, 2012

As the school year winds down, I would like to share a little experience and lesson I learned yesterday. It’s what I’m going to call a “teaching constant.” It is as follows:

In every single situation, despite your best efforts to make sure otherwise, at least one person will not follow instructions.

Oh, you better believe I wouldn’t make a statement like this without some sort of back up.

You are now entering TRUE STORY LAND.

For the last lab I did with my kids this term, me and another teacher had set up an empty classroom as a “crime scene”. We put a dummy in the room and dropped some fake blood around and generally made a mess. It was pretty nifty. We even managed to get fingerprints on the windowsill and make it look like a struggle occurred.

Our two classes had been going through a forensics section in order to have a little fun before the school year was over. So we thought we would teach them a bunch of crime scene analysis methods and, for a final test, make them use those newly developed skills in a “real world” environment.

Pretty sweet deal, huh? I’m that cool teacher that let their kids leave the classroom and pretend they were cops.

In order to sell the whole idea to my kids I decided I would make up a ridiculous back story so they would feel a little more involved with everything. Just in case I offended or scarred a few kids, I decided to tell them that everything was made up. This is exactly how that moment happened:

The tardy bell rings and I begin my normal routine. I walk into the classroom and make sure my door is locked. As the door closes I check my lab door and office door to make sure the noise from my class will not spill into the neighboring classroom. I then take perch behind my demonstration table and begin my blabbering.

“Good morning!” I announce to the class. “If you have anything to turn in to me, make sure it’s put in the green bin. Today marks the beginning of the last week of school, so I have decided to give you guys a chance to change things up.”

This is the point where I usually have to field silly questions about something stupid that occurred over the weekend. But not today. Today I have an energy about me that is making the kids know that today is a special day.

“Before we begin today’s lab I want to be clear about one thing. Everything I’m about to tell you is false. It is fictitious. It’s fake. I made it up. It did not occur. It’s a lie. We’re just having fun, so I’m making this a little more interesting. Does everybody understand?

The peanut gallery only mumbles their acknowledgments.

“Okay then…” I know the mumbles meant nothing. I know that the kids had turned off their brains as soon as I asked a question. I knew somebody was going to end up embarrassing themselves in front of everybody, I just didn’t know who it would be. So I decided to change my tone of voice and expression. I took a solemn form and spoke with authority.

“I hate to be the one to tell you all this…but there was a murder here on campus over the weekend…”

And do you know what I heard from no less than 5 different kids .03 seconds later?

REALLY?!?!?!

A little bit of my brain leaked out of my ears that day. (Summer’s almost here…)

Want another example?

Do you know how many times I told my kids we won’t be having a final exam because they already took the End Of Course Exam earlier in the year? I”ll tell you. Over 20,000 times. Do you know how many kids asked me last week for a review pack so they could study for the final? Almost every single kid.

For a blood typing lab I told all my kids to only use three drops of blood in each of their tests. Do you know how many times I told them to only use that much blood? That’s right, 18 billion times. Do you know how many kids had to have me reiterate those instructions to them during the lab? Every. Single. One.

So there you go…no matter how many times you tell people to stir and not shake…they will shake. No matter how many times you request that people use centimeters instead of inches. No matter how many different ways you can write down and explain instructions. Despite your best efforts… Despite your harshest tones…

Despite your genuine care and concern for their safety you will always have at least one person not follow instructions.

If it sounds like I’m getting mad about this, I’m really not. I’m simply stating the truth. Kids (and people in general) don’t do a good job at following instructions. We mess up. That’s something I’ve come to learn this school year.

So the best thing we can do is be ready for it. Just do a facepalm and move on.

D.A.

This Place is a Mess

May 1, 2012

Just look around here! There are digital cobwebs in the corners of this page for Pete’s sake. All the pixels are very dusty. There is even a new section of my blog called “even older posts.” It’s a lot like an elephant burial ground. Very morbid. Very sad.

No, don’t look for it. It doesn’t really exist. I’m just pointing out that this place is practically falling apart without me.

So we need to spiff things back up! But a little elbow grease into those dusty areas. Spruce it up a notch or two. Maybe put in a nice potted plant to  balance the room. Feng Shui if you will. How about a bonsai tree?

Now that our chakras are in line, let’s meditate on the vastness of the universe together.

Remember, breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.

:::Deep breath:::

:::Deep cough due to the dusty room:::

So whatever happened to that girl that said she was going to take care of this place anyway? She’s a real slacker.

So…

Hey!

What’s up? How have you been? How’s the wife and kids? Or the cats? Or the nothing?

That sounds much better. “How’s the nothing?”

Oh me? Oh, yeah, things are fine. As always. They’re just dandy…

Since we’re being so personal let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room. I haven’t posted in a little while because I’m a lazy bum. Don’t feel bad though. I’ve neglected everything else as well. It wasn’t until today and yesterday that I finally caught up in grading homework from about three weeks ago.

Yeah…I’m a bad person.

As for what’s been going on at work:

We’re hitting the part of the year when everything HAS to fall in place. If it doesn’t then we screw everything up. Grades need to be ready soon. Testing starts back up next week. I have to do inventory for the lab supplies. And I’m certain there are going to be meetings out of the Wazoo. (For those of you who don’t know, the Wazoo is a small and secretive hut used by teachers to have very cramped and pointless meetings. It is usually found behind the cafeteria dumpsters.)

As for what’s been going on in writing:

Not a whole lot. These words you see here are actually the first words I’ve written in about a week. (This means if you received any email/messages from me you are either 1) very lucky because I haven’t done much of anything lately or 2) It’s not actually me it’s an evil doppelganger that somehow found out how to log on to my account.)

As for what’s been going on in life:

I have taken up a new hobby. I drink “gourmet sodas” and I am currently in the search for the perfect cream soda. My journey thus far has taken me to some interesting places. I’ll be sure to share some of these awesome sodas with you soon enough.

Oh, you know why you’ll learn about them? Because I’m going to introduce my very first weekly post.

NEW GOAL: (I love making up goals too much). Create and maintain a weekly segment of posts. They shall henceforth fall on Thursday.

It shall also be known as THIRSTY THURSDAY. It will be my weekly review of another silly soda that has gourmet credentials. (I.E. says “gourmet” on the bottle.)

Sound good? Cool.

So that’s Thursdays planned for the next foreseeable future. (Or until I find that perfect cream soda.)

I’m also going to do my best to make sure that I’m trowing up (bleh!) something on here for the next week. That’s right. It’s another goal of 1 post per day for a week. (When it rains, it pours.)

Maybe some of those posts will be meaningful. Maybe some of them will feature kittens (because everybody loves kittens, right?). There’s even a chance that they could feature me ranting about how I almost killed myself at work the other day. I dunno, but the real point is, expect some more activity on my side of the screen very shortly.

We got things to do.

D.A.

Late but still counts

March 9, 2012

I’m a little concerned for my health. This is due to the fact that yesterday (Thursday and the day of my open house) I didn’t panic about anything when I probably should have been panicking about something.

Yesterday was strange day.

I wake up in the morning in a strange state. As soon as I opened my eyes I was wide awake and ready for the day. This is strange because I don’t usually become fully alert until around 2nd period. This didn’t worry me at all. I was actually pretty happy to be able to feel so awake so early in the day. (This still didn’t prevent me from laying in bed relaxing until I had to wake up.)

At work I realize that I have to plan and set up an entire “cell size” lab and create an instruction sheet for it. I also have to write up some notes in a presentation so the kids can learn some actual material as well. I also have to turn in some paper work and actually plan what I’m going to do for the entire day. Good thing I’m all alert today, right?

In any other circumstance I would have been panicking right about now. “Oh no, I’ve got an hour to plan a real and effective lesson for these kids today.” But not today. Today I was a man that didn’t fear anything no matter how big the event.

Cutting it to the last second (including working on the powerpoint in homeroom) I was successful in my little goal there.

While helping some kids in the lab in 3rd period I ended up teaching by a non-example. This means I was telling the kids that there are proper and improper ways to hold and use a knife for cutting items in a laboratory. The non-example part is when I cut a nice little hole in my index finger. (The things I do for these kids.)

I should have been concerned here as well but I was too busy being a stoic today. I just cut my finger with an old dirty knife. (You should note that the last thing the knife was used for was cutting calf livers. They probably weren’t that clean after that lab either.)

I simply washed it off, put on a bandage, and kept on truckin’.

Then the end of my workday finally arrives. Since I’m starving, I need to pick up a late lunch from somewhere and get home real quick so I can take care of some other business. (That other business will be a post for another day.) On my way home something happens to me that I should have been very concerned about.

I was in a car accident.

I’m fine. All parties were fine. Just a little old lady ran into my bumper going 35 mph.

We both climbed out of our cars and checked the damage. My car was totally fine and the scratches buffed out. Her car took some damage but it was all good as well.

I climbed back in my car and went on my merry way.

I didn’t care that I was just in a car accident. I was more upset that I got a stain on my tie courtesy of the accident. (I had late lunch in my lap in the car.)

I went home. Finished my food. Took car of business. Went back to work. Did an open house for 2 hours. Came back and promptly forgot about most of what happened.

If you knew anything about me you would know this: I have a special talent for worrying about things. I’m good at it. I try not to feed it, but I just end up worrying about a lot of things. (This is one of the reasons why I’m never late anywhere.)

But I went through that entire day without panicking at all. My heart rate didn’t even go up that much.

So I think I may have a hormone imbalance. It’s the only way I can make sense of all of these strange behaviors I’ve been experiencing lately.

D.A.

Open House Part Deux

March 8, 2012

Here’s my idea.

I have another open house tonight for incoming 9th graders and students parents that feel like meeting their teachers.

This will likely be a very quite event. The only problem is that I will have to go to work for a few hours well after school is over.

Bummer.

So why not change up everybody’s rhythm? Let’s enjoy ourselves while we’re doing our assigned duty.

Lawn chairs.

Are you with me?

What do you mean you want me to explain? Come on! Lawn chairs? Beach chairs? Fold-out chairs? Are you not following?

I seriously considering coming home after work and picking up some chairs to take back to work. I could also grab a giant beach umbrella and a bucket of sand. In the hallway we can set out our chairs and stick the umbrella in the bucket. Drink some lemonades and wear sunglasses.

We could even yell at the kids when they walk by. “Hey! Bring me some suntan lotion!”

No…there isn’t really a big association with sunbathing and open houses…but so what?. Let’s just have fun. Let’s relax. We do enough through the year. What’s wrong with a little R & R while at work?

I’m sure behavior like this would really scare the incoming 9th graders because they would think that their science teachers are actually insane. (Which we are). Then maybe they would start taking us a little more seriously when they see us next year. (More than likely they would end up NOT taking us seriously at all.)

In all reality, I am happy I am writing this post one day before I have to go to the open house. I will likely be exhausted after a few impromptu parent teacher conferences and a whole lot of trying to scare/encourage 9th graders that may walk though my door next year.

Thrifty Thursday

March 1, 2012

So, yesterday I ended up filming a very out of left field thing for a churchy…thingy…

Did any of my wonderful ideas of sock puppets and fine lady mustaches make their way onto film?

No… No they did not. But it wasn’t for lack of  trying. I pitched those ideas so hard it made me look like Billy Mays. I even tried to sell those sock puppets in 11 different ways. Still…nothing.

But I did come up with some really simple idea that involves breaking apples in half with your bare hands.

Will it be funny? I honestly have no idea. But it was a lot of fun acting like an idiot for the better part of 5 hours.

That’s right. I said 5 hours. Let me give you a breakdown on what we did for this thing.

 

3:30 – Arrive at church and try to come up with an idea.

4:30 – Find a hidden costume room in a weird attic above the baptistery. (Sounds like it belongs in a horror movie)

4;45 – Another partner joins group.

5:15 – Kick around more ideas.

5:20 – Come up with very weak idea and pretend it’s the greatest idea ever.

5:30 – Justify crazy idea with church related material.

5:32 – Pitch idea to head pastor. He accepts.

5:40 – Grab camera and find classroom.

6:00 – Go buy 6 apples…

5:44 – 8:28 – Plan/improvise/direct/write/act out in sketch.

8:32 – Remember that I am an adult.

 

For the first 2 hours it really was coming up with an idea. And this whole experience has really made me wonder how writers for talk shows and comedic T.V. shows pull this off all the time. Really. How do you just sit in a room and put funny on paper? That’s a pretty demanding task. Let alone, you have to do it so much and in such a short period of time, it really is a feat.

D.A.

At 12:00 p.m. on January 19th I will have officially completed my first half of my first professional year of teaching. It’s been pretty insane. Had a kid drop a smoking bowl in my room. Had a few kids never show up. Had some kids really put the pieces together and learn some cool stuff. I’ve learned things too.

Allow me to let you know a few things that I have learned over that past 4 or 5 months.

It wasn’t and will probably never be exactly what I expected. You experienced teachers could read this sentence as “I’m totally a noob.”  I’m trying to get better at this job and it’s going to take a lot of hard work. The good news is, as long as somebody is willing to hire me in the future, I’m going to be willing in trying to get better.

My first group of kids can only be described as “ecletic”. I’ve had kids that are wonderful and introspective toward the material. I’ve had kids that are apathetic/not awake through out my classes. I’ve have some kids who are a handful, but mean well. I’ve had kids who are quite and obediant but are probably wishes terrible things on me.

I’ve had kids who didn’t show up but a few times in the 90 days of class. I’ve had kids that haven’t missed a single second. There were even some kids that I really felt great hope for our future knowing that they will be the decision makers for important companies and organizations. There are some kids that I really feel concern about them being able to function in open society.

My coworkers are awesome. I have been given so much help from them it’s almost a crime. They are super nice and easy to get along with. I really feel comfortable there, as compared to the other schools I have worked at.

I think the leadership at the school is solid as well. I really enjoy working for the people who hired me. I think they have a vision for the school and really want these students to succeed, and yet they still do their best to stay out of a teacher’s hair if they can help it.

Not having a faculty restroom really sucks. This point really explains itself.

Science is hardly any student’s favorite subject. This hurts my feelings as well as affects my kids grades.

I remember when I was in high school, it wasn’t my favorite subject. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure if I had a favorite subject… I think most kids don’t see science for what it should be and have been led astray in their comprehension on how to perform it. This causes many problems in terms of their understanding of the material.

Eating at the teacher cafe is hardly ever worth it. While the food is sometimes surprisingly tasty, the fries are almost always soggy and cold. $5 for this is really not motivating me to spend any more money there.

Planning periods bipolar. They are both a tranquil escape from the daily grind or a terribly stressful ride on a rocket ship of frustration. On the days when you have planned most everything for the day, you can really take 15 minutes to just breath and enjoy the silence. You can even feel a smile spread across your fact.

On the days when you have 12 things to get done in an hour you can feel your heart rate match the rate of a fighter pilot in battle. You may even feel the sweat drip from your brow onto Timmy’s paper where he kept writing the response “IDK” on the homework from last night. As the bell rings at the end you let out a holler of frustration that sounds like Chewbacca squatting in the woods after a night partaking in the all-you-can-eat buffet at the local Taco Del Rio.

A failed plan is better than no plan at all. If you walk into a classroom and have a plan, more power to you. Even if that plan fails, at least you tried and you can at least try to salvage that. It’s okay, that kind of think happens to everybody.

If you walk in with no real idea what you want to accomplish, then you will have a painful experience. It will be a hard experience to shake off. You may even get that thousand yard stare for a few hours there….

Yelling is always an option. It’s just never a good one. Once you’ve done it, you’ve lost the game.

Pick a time when you’re available after school to help kids/allow them to make up tests. If you tell them, “I’m here everyday after school. Just let me know when you will make it.” two things will take place. 1. They will never remember/lie about when they are going to come in. You will wait. You will hope. They will never accomplish this. 2. They would rather be told when rather than decide for themselves.

Assign lab groups. Don’t let them pick that crap. Because you will get crap from them.

Find a way to keep kids informed of their grades/missing work. This one is tricky. I know there at 1000’s of different methods to figure this out. I know you may have some awesome suggestions (Honestly, if you have one, please let me know what you do) but you need to find one that works.

So far, I haven’t been lucky enough to win the battle on this subject. It’s just a messy situation.

Grading and scoring directly proportional to the work they turn in. If kids aren’t turning stuff in, it doesn’t matter how you grade papers/assignments, they will still get a bad grade. It’s okay to use your own grading system, the trick is being consistent with whatever you pick.

Late work is just… stupid.  I previously allowed for kids to turn in work late at a great penalty. I don’t think this works nor do I want to deal with assignments from 3 weeks ago. On time = full credit. 1 day late = half credit. 2 days or more = no credit.

I’m not sure if that’s fair, but I let my kids know when stuff is due days (1 week in advance actually) ahead of time. If they don’t get it done then, they usually don’t try to get it done even with an unlimited amount of time.

Most kids will look at you like they hate you. Some of them probably do. Most of them probably don’t though. Maybe.

In general, it was a mess. It was a pleasure. And it was definitely a challenge.

I have 75 new faces to learn on Monday. Wish me luck.

D.A.

Not Sure What To Write

November 2, 2011

So I’m just going to throw out whatever I think I should.

Yeah, it’s been a while…blah, blah, blah… you know the routine.

So what have I been doing?

Working. Lots and lots of working. And it’s not easy. But hey! This is the thing I’ve wanted to do for years, I’m just trying to see where things will take me. But enough about that.

Here’s some things I’ve really wanted to talk about with people but most everybody I meet doesn’t want to talk about it or they just don’t care.

1. I’m really excited about The Dark Knight Rises. It’s going to be so big and so awesome it’s going to create an epidemic of nerdism around the world.

Why am I so excited?

It’s the end. The final installment of what is easily the BEST hero film franchise ever made. Don’t even bother arguing against it being the best, because it is. Period.

How it all wraps up means so much. That is because this film is in the possession of Mr. Christopher Nolan. It’s being written by David S. Goyer and Christopher and Jonathan Nolan. These three men know how to spin a yarn. And this yarn ball is sure to be the greatest in size they have ever spun. And that’s because there is quite a wide array of options they could choose to end this trilogy. 

The ending scenes are being shot (rumor) with only key people knowing the plot and actual details of the scenes. It’s a big secret. And that’s just driving me crazy. Not knowing isn’t the thing that bothers me, it the part that it’s so important that it HAS to be kept a secret really gets me interested.

And I could probably write 3 posts on just my different predictions of what will actually happen (which I may decide to do this later…) but then again….I don’t want this to become me just ranting about TDKR.

2. This whole thing about Arrested Development getting a mini-series run as well as a movie makes me really happy.

This is one of the funnier shows I’ve ever watched and I’m happy to see it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves. It won so many Emmy awards right before it was cancelled that it doesn’t quite make sense. Then again, maybe it does make sense because FOX has been responsible for cancelling some popular and funny shows only to have to bring them back before they see a real uproar about their poor decision making skills.

3. I just remembered the movie/NES video game Little Nemo: The Dream Master.

As I was writing this I watched the entire speed run of the game.

Loved every second.

4. National Novel Writing Month.

Yeah, I’m totally not doing this.

I know, I’m a lame-o/sourpuss/crumb-bum/loser/wimp/whiner/slacker/weakling, but I’m a very busy man. I do things. Like… work. And… sleep. (Which is practically a hobby now-a-days). That’s all I pretty much do.

Now I know why they call this first year of teaching the “survival year”. Because I’m literally trying to stay alive.

I’m just not committed enough. Therefore, I just I’m not that much of a writer…But trust me. I really would like to participate but I just don’t want to participate.

You catch my drift there?

No worries, it’s not like I planned on doing this for a living. This is still my hobby and my goal is to write a novel. And, my personal goal is to have that novel “done” in about a year. So… still on track with that.

5. Speaking of novels. I think I have in mind what I’m going to write the novel about. Unfortunately it’s going to be very complicated and will require a lot of research. Mostly about foreign trade agreements and neutrinos.

It may also involve … MURDER. (DA-DA-DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA)

Yes, it’s going to be sci-fi. But it’s probably going to be a little bit more of a “hard sci-fi” book than I ever thought I was capable of writing. Or maybe it is going to be more book that I’m capable of writing…

Self reminder, I need to get better at writing first.

Well, still, that’s not going to stop me from trying.

Anyway, the idea is still in it’s infancy but it promises to be (hopefully) unique in how it’s done.

I may even give it a shot on trying to make part of it into a short story, and then work on it from there.

I dunno. We’ll see, won’t we?

 

And there it is. My little update/random writing moment.

I’m going to try and update more often to make sure the three of you who are probably reading this will still think I’m alive.

D.A.

It’s WHAT?!?!

October 2, 2011

Apparently it’s Sunday.

This is the day that follows Saturday. It is also 4th day that follows Wednesday. Wednesday was the day of my last post.

Whatever happened to me working on this blog? Actually trying to get better at writing…?

Oh, that’s right, I’ve been pre-occupied trying to do all these things:

  • Learning material I have to teach.
  • Delivering material I have to teach.
  • Learning how to teach the material I have to teach
  • Grading papers
  • Writing referrals
  • Making up labs
  • Buy class material when I need them
  • Worry about parents yelling at me
  • Putting grades online
  • Submitting lesson plans
  • Making arrangements for my observation for my teacher evaluations
  • Stress out about my teach evaluations
  • Doing attendance in hindsight because I can’t remember to do it during class
  • Taking away student’s cell phones
  • Wonder if I need to start carrying a baseball bat in my classroom just like Casey Jones.
  • Trying to stay on schedule
  • Turn in any forms I am supposed to turn in during the week
  • Make myself lunch and dinner (Ramen Noodles)
  • Wonder where my time for fun went
  • Find my time for fun laying in a gutter, bleeding, crying, like it had been beaten within an inch of it’s life by Mr. Casey Jones.
  • Get angry at the Florida Gators for losing a game in such a way that they did
  • Help people move into new apartments as they move on with their life
  • Eat bowls of Ramen Noodles as I don’t move on with my life
  • Look at my friends who have happy and loving relationships with people they are going to marry
  • Look deeper into my bowl of Ramen Noodles looking for solutions to the problem…
Things suspiciously absent from my list:
  • Sleeping
  • Having coherent thoughts
  • Peace of mind
  • Enjoyment from students learning new material
  • Good test grades
  • Writing
  • No pain in my feet
Anyway, what I guess I’m trying to say is that I’ve been a little busy, and time seems to fly when you’re busy.
So here is my new goal. To make sure I post at least 4 times this week. That will run from today (Sunday) and will not include this post.
This is now my excuse to write: “Oh, I have to post something online tonight. I made a promise to potentially 3 billion readers. I can’t let them down.” Yes, that isn’t a very good one, but it is at least one.
Now, keep in mind, I have been writing, but not very much, and not for this blog. I started a really cruddy story that I plan on writing into something with a purpose and a real direction. So maybe by the end of this week I will have finished writing/working on this story.
I’m making no promises on how good the story will be, but remember, the goal is just to write. It’s okay if it’s a turd. As long as it’s my turd made from my own effort and time then I will consider it a victory.
In a weather related note I should mention that Florida finally had Fall arrive. It is currently 75 degrees outside for the first time in about 9 months. So, at least I’ve got that going for me.
Alright, I’ll be back… You just keep checking to make sure I do come back. And if I don’t send a group of mercenaries to hunt down and kill my captors. This is because the only reason I would not come back in time for a new post would be due to my being taken hostage and held for a very high (or sadly low) ransom.
D.A.

Psychedelic Potpourri

September 23, 2011

I have to tell you this crazy story about teaching. But before I can do that, I figured this would be a good time to tell you another thing that’s pretty cool. So stick with me, it’ll all pay off in the end.

When I graduated from college, (way back in the spring of 2011), my grandmother gave me the first of three handcrafted glass ornaments.

She said she wanted me to have them for two reasons:

1. She wanted to give me something that meant a lot to her. These glass ornaments were actually something I (D.A. “best grandson in the world” Bancroft) gave her when I was merely a youngin’. I’m not sure why I gave them to her, but i’m sure she thought they were great. She thought giving me these gifts would be her way of saying “look how far you’ve come”.

This whole gesture meant quite a lot to me coming from her. And I know it meant a lot to her. The ornaments, in her words, represented different moments of my “adulthood” (which sadly only happened this year). The first was for my graduation from college. The second for my teacher certification. And the last was for me getting my first job.

I though this was so awesome I’ve put them on my desk at work. One is a cool glass egg, the other is a globe, and the last is a friendly looking  plesiosaur. You know… like Nessie.

(Que the canned response from the audience)

Awwwwww…

2. The second reason (a likely the main reason) she gave me these ornaments is for more practical purposes. I’m quoting her in saying, “I’ve got so much junk and I’ll probably die soon anyway, so I might as well start giving stuff away before people start throwing it away.”

Thanks Grandma. You’re a true optimist.

I tell you all that in order to tell you this.

Today at school I had a very busy day. I had to have my final grades for the 1st quarter submitted, plan and implement 2 different labs, and still corral kids into doing what I want them to. It’s never an easy task but today was a harder day than many.

When I drove to work I needed pick up a few things from the local Walgreens to pick up windmill supplies. (Yeah, windmills for renewable energy lesson, go figure.) When I arrive at work I drop everything on the desk and begin working on entering grades on the computer. Why am I waiting until the last minute to enter grades? Because I lazy and …. well I’m just lazy. But that’s not the point of the story.

Eventually human beings enter my room and expect to do things. Oh yeah, I say to myself, I’ve got to teach today. So I do that and everything goes good. Then I get a planning/lunch period where I set up a lab for fourth period. Since I skipped lunch in order to enter more grades on the computer I started getting a little ragged out. I was running out of energy. With no fuel to power me I just hoped that the rest of the day would go by fast.

And it did.

I was so happy, things were looking up for old D.A. Grades were submitted. Labs were done. Kids were somewhat entertained. All in all, it was a B+ of a day. (See how I just throw grades out there?)

The final bell rings and I take the last breath and say the thing I wanted to say all day.

“Have a nice weekend. Now get out of my room.”

(Yes, that’s what I said)

As I walk out into the hallway (like any good teacher should) I start talking to a fellow teacher across the hall. Since me and her get along quite well we could have had an awesome conversation. Maybe we were going to start talking about how the Florida Gators are doing this year. The conversation might have moved on to a different subject. We could have ended up complaining about the prices of the school lunches. We might have even had the chance to talk about another teacher’s poor choice in music. Oh, what sweet memories they would have been…

Before these little moments could be shared I was interrupted with a very fast and high pitched holler.

“Mr. Bancroft! Mr. Bancroft! Mr. Bancroft!”

I turn and look inside of my room and see a student holding up a colored shard of glass.

“Oh no,” I say to myself. “I hope they didn’t kill my little nessie.”

The kid holding the shard looks at me and says “This fell on the ground. It’s not mine.”

“Of course it’s not yours. Who broke my nessie?” I said with a little perturbed edge.

I just knew in my gut that one of my glass ornaments had fallen to the floor. I was so disappointed in myself and my kids. They knew how much those meant to me. But why did I trust them in the first place? I know kids are clumsy. I know they end up doing stupid things. It’s my fault because I put them there. I knowingly put them directly in the line of fire.

That still didn’t stop me from feeling like it was all their fault. Some things that were going through my mind in that moment were:

How dare they! How could they! The injustice! The horror! The mess I would have to sweep up! What a boneheaded thing to do! Kids these days!

“No, Mr. Bancroft, It’s not your ornament.” the student exclaims.

Then what the crap is it?” I ask reluctantly.

“It’s a bowl. Like, for weed.” he utters with fear. “My finger prints are on it but it’s not mine, I swear. I just picked it up to show you.”

“You’ve got to be dookin‘ me.”

(Yes, I actually said this)

3 minutes later I’ve got an administrator and a SRO (student resource officer) in my room picking up the chunks of this stupid paraphernalia. He has that look in his eye that says, “Freakin’ kids…”

How dumb are high schoolers? Clearly they are dumb enough to bring their freaking weed pipe to school then leave it shattered on my floor.

And what will come of it? Probably nothing. There is no evidence to tie any student to the pipe. They all left before my attention was brought to it so I don’t even have any real suspects. (I do have suspects, but that’s just my judging eye looking at my group of kids. I really have no idea.)

What’s the point of the story? 

I dunno… No real point. Just telling you like it is. That’s the note I ended on today. A pretty sad and stupid note.

Well, at least some idiot won’t have a pipe to smoke with tonight…

Afterwards I bought some comics and ate a gigantic sandwich. It was lovely.

What’s the point of that story?

Comics and sandwiches are among my favorite things.

Not weed.

Until we meet again,

D.A.