Tuesday, March 06, 2007

short update and then back to the blogging vacation that i promise will end soon

Lisa has two embryos in her belly. We won't know if they're babies or not for another two weeks. Between taking care of her grandfather who has checked himself into an assisted living home for a couple weeks to see if he likes it and writing sub-plans because the babies weren't ready to be concieved when I was off for Feb vacation, I have had zero time to myself.

Like I said, Lisa has two fertalized embryos in her belly. She's doing much better then she did back in August when we had to freeze our embryos for a month. We feel good about the latest round but also a little bit guilty about feeling so good. Other peers of ours are not having so much luck. Lisa and I love you all. Trust me when I say we're not doing that much better then you. For all our success, we're far from danger right now. That being said, I am about to pop from anticipation. I don't mind the process so much as I hate the moment where we have to wait to see if we'll be more then temporary parents. That's where I live right now.

As for Nuno, he's having a rough patch because of a bout with bronchitis a couple weeks ago. When he felt the first signs of illness he quit cigars because "they just don't taste right." So every time he gets a craving for nicotine which often includes a racing pulse and bout of flop sweat he thinks it's a heart attack and has a panic attack about dieing. We got him on a nicotine patch but he just could not settle down and decided he wanted to go "to that place that Nana went that time." The good news is that they didn't want him because he's not sick. He ended up looking at a place behind the Beverly Hospital where he can stay for two weeks for half price to see if he likes it. He checked in this afternoon. Our first report is that he hates it already.

Making my life even more interesting is the fact that today I was told that I will probably be recieving a pink slip in May because my district is 1.8million dollars short for this year. I'm not too worried because the district is so small that rumors fly around faster then conspiracy theories on "Tha Internets." I hear that parents are harassing guidance over getting their honors students into my 512 class.

I need to explain that last statement a little, 512 is the lowest level science class offered to freshmen or those who didn't pass freshmen science last year. You're in my class because your parents, the district and even you yourself have given up on you ever surviving a traditional science class. I didn't realize when I walked into class last September the fucking mess I was handed. I had kids with behavior problems lumped in with kids who had profound learning disabilities piled on top of kids who just didn't understand enough math to take a higher level class then the lowest we offered. The district had no curriculum for these two sections. Other problems had left 512 in the unique situation of being a warehouse for problems to be solved later.

I take my job seriously. I am prepared for my junior level chemistry class every day. That's an easy one. I am a pretty good chemistry teacher. My upper level freshmen science class is beginning to suffer. If I'm cutting any corners, I admit it's with them but that's about to change. I spent the last 5/4 semester planning upper level science and lower level science so that I can swap over at some point. The prep is mostly all done now and I can just extend 511 and 512 to each other.

It's a good thing I have more time now because I'm losing the G&T kids. I wrote what I thought was an easy test and the class average was a 59 with a median of 63. We fought for the whole class today about why I do not scale. The principal came in during part of it. I ended up writing a college level question on the black board. I gave them 20 minutes to see if any one in the room could answer it. If one student could answer it I would give the class 10 points. They worked like they never worked before. They got it wrong. They tried again and again. Finally, one girl working alone got it.

Wow, I really do have ADD worse then the kids do.

512 has become my pet project and the place I try things out. I am bullet proof in there. The district doesn't expect anything out of these kids. Almost every parent I meet admits their kid is a knucklehead during the meeting. I gave these kids homework once and one kid threw his microwave oven while still on fire through his kitchen window and another girl had the fire department respond to her house.

Veteran teachers call me crazy for keeping pet scorpions around these kids but the kids love them and they don't screw around with them because they're scorpions and the kids aren't stupid. Veteran teachers call me crazy for handing some of these kids soldering irons but no one burned themselves. In fact, in 5 minutes I taught 50 kids to make clean solder joints. Industrial Arts give them 6 weeks to learn the same skill.

I know most of my students aren't going to pass the MCAS but they wouldn't pass MCAS if I did anything differently anyway. They wouldn't pass MCAS if any other teacher was standing in front of them. But I can tell you at least one thing I have taught for every one of my students that they will own and recall for the rest of their life. Some learned how to solder. Some learned forces. Some learned about energy. Some will learn classical mechanics.

To finish up the year, my 512 kids are building cardboard walking robots and rockets out of paper towel tubes while the "smart kids" are taking MCAS prep courses. (Big thanks go to Didi and Lee for collecting paper towel tubes for me!)

Next year, if my contract is renewed and I am pretty sure they'll pink slip me in May and rehire me in June, I won't have the freedom I do whatever I want to do like this year. For all the work I've put into reaching these kids and all the prep I put into Freshmen Physics I won't be teaching it. I'll probably be taking Seniors who are even more academically challenged through applied chemistry. I think I'll show them how easy it is to make TNT. It's just nitric acid and toluene.

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Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

You've been busy.

Things sound busy, good and OK.

Good luck on the babies!

Mar 7, 2007, 12:34:00 PM  

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