Cliffs of Moher

Damn, have I not posted since August?

I guess real life gets in the way of all this online stuff. At least I remembered my password.

Ironically, not much has been happening. Robotics came to an end last semester; administration switched me to a section of pre-calculus, which I'm perfectly happy to teach. After five years doing the same thing, it's nice to stretch a bit.
Cliffs of Moher

Summer ticks down.

I've done a lot. Three weeks on the west coast, including a cruise to Alaska. Two one-week AP and pre-AP classes, positioning myself to be senior math teacher in year-after-next. (Rumor has it that senior teacher will be retiring after this year). About a week on the beach, if you add up days. And now I'm doing random web surfing. Here's something that caught my eye, from the land of "somebody's just clicking the first thing on their list without really paying attention..."


Part of http://pleated-jeans.com/2010/11/04/24-more-hilarious-daytime-tv-screen-grabs/
Cliffs of Moher

Here's where I'm pissed off at my students.

It sure looks like students have been messing around in my briefcase.
A "missing" packet of work has appeared in it, my teacher guide to the current chapter has vanished, and I now am in the possession of four copies of the city grade 9-10 math assessment as well as two copies of the city exam for English, grade 10.
Cliffs of Moher

Halfway through the year, positioning myself for next ...

Hard to believe! Jan 28th will mark the end of second quarter, and halfway through the school year! The rest will just fly by now, with Feb break knocking a hunk out of second quarter, and spring break similarly disrupting third quarter. And after spring break anyway, it's just downhill until summer and we really don't expect much of the kids.

Classes are the usual hodgepodge. Robotics in particular seems to be a dumping ground again. As an elective with no prerequisites, I get students just sent in to fill a space in their schedule. Many students really don't care at all. On the other hand, I have a few who work diligently all block on the robot kits and almost refuse to leave at the end of class, and two who really seemed to take a shine to my new experimental unit on discrete math. After explaining a simplified version of Dijkstra's algorithm, they really were delighted to find out what was going on under the covers as their GPS navigators announce "Recalculating!"

For next year, my school's being merged with the school downstairs, and I'm assuming I have a job. Robotics may be seeing its last semester, but there's always a need for math teachers. To increase my flexibility, I'm taking a pre-calculus class at Harvard Extension School, in their "Masters for teaching mathematics" program. I really don't need another master's degree, but it's good for me to be stretching! Not too much of a stretch, actually ... looking at the textbook, I know everything in it, although my trig is rusty. And if I pick up a calculus class over the summer, I'll be positioned to teach any part of the high school curriculum next year.
Cliffs of Moher

What's happening on Wednesday?

It would be really nice if our principal would inform us about the schedule for Wednesday. Monday's all gone now. Happily, I assumed that nothing meaningful would happen on the early-release day before Thanksgiving, so I planned for a regular lesson today and tests on Tuesday. I'm Xeroxed and ready to go. On Wednesday, maybe we'll have regular classes. There was talk -- but no decision -- about a school-wide makeup day on Wednesday. Could be an assembly. Maybe I'll show movies. What's happening 68 hours from now? Nobody knows.

Given that he expects us to have our full week of lessons planned in when we walk into school at 7:10 AM on Monday morning, it's a little frustrating that now ... at 8:00 PM on Monday night ... I still don't know if I'll be holding classes on Wednesday.
Cliffs of Moher

Refinance time!

Hurray! I've just closed on a refinance for the house ... 4% fixed, for 15 years. Between lowering the interest rate and extending the time of the loan, this means a couple hundred dollars in our collective pockets which can go to a hypothetical House 2 as Eva gets bigger ... and we consider school systems. :-/
Cliffs of Moher

More last-minute time-wasting mandates.

So I've just discovered that our school will be giving the PSAT to all sophomores and juniors on Wednesday morning, and freshmen will be attending an assembly. This clobbers three-quarters of the school for three out of five periods on Wednesday. Adding to the confusion of what was already a shortened week due to Columbus day, the Wednesday and Friday schedules will be switched.

I shudder for anybody who doesn't read their school email in the middle of a three-day weekend and will only discover this on Tuesday.
Cliffs of Moher

Setting the alarm clock for 5:30 AM.

And here we go, for the first day of school. Sort of. One teacher planning day, then students on Wednesday, for what will probably be mostly an extended homeroom and paperwork. Two "real" potential days of school on Thursday and Friday; I'll do introductions and group activities on Thursday and a diagnostic test on Friday. I'm teaching the same classes again ... two sections of Algebra 2, two robotics classes. I have no idea who's going to be in them, but at least all the material is familiar.

I feel like I'm in the groove now. A few years out, that groove will become a rut, I'm sure, but for now I'm very happy to be in a comfortable place.

180 5:30 AM wakeups until next summer!