Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This and double jointedness belong in the same category

Apparently, I haven't learned enough.

Today, I found out that CSUS dropped my enrollment because I forgot the payment deadline was last week. Today also marks the day I become the biggest doofus on the planet. Today, or the deadline that had just passed.

I'm not particularly worried about not being enrolled since I'm pretty sure I can work something out with the registrar's office. But it just goes to show what a rough semester it has been on me that I forget to pay tuition. It just isn't me. Granted, this semester has had decent amounts of drama outside of school/work so I can't blame it on the semester since I can't say stuff wouldn't have happened without CSUS. It is entirely my fault and I have no excuses.

That said, I really dislike the fact that CSUS makes students pay tuition weeks before the courses being paid even start. I paid for the Fall 2008 semester before summer even began. At UCD and at SJDC (the jc I attend off and on), all fees are due on the first day of the term. Certainly you can pay before, but that time from registering for classes and actually going to the classes is free of all monetary obligations. I know I've been at CSUS for two terms already, and I should know how they work it by now. However, old habits die hard, especially in times of emotional and physical stress. Plus, I've had 13 quarters of UCD's payment schedule on top of dunno-how-many years at the jc. It just makes sense to me that tuition is due on the first day of school.

I also am confused by the fact that some financial aid disbursements don't actually disburse until a week or so before school starts. Some students rely on financial aid to pay for school. I'm paying for the credential program completely out of pocket but more than one of my cohortmates have been through issues of enrolling, then being dropped by the school because they haven't paid. But they can't pay yet because their financial aid hasn't arrived. And some loans may not disburse, seeing that the student is not enrolled this term and thus assumes the student is no longer a student. Then the student can't prove they have the money to pay for school, and so the school won't let them reenroll.

How is this logical? It's like a m⍥bius strip gone wrong.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure my case can be fixed, perhaps with a little more drama involved but still repairable. I'm boggled by the fact that I forgot the deadline. I'm even more boggled by the system. It's quite astounding.

Things I've learned this year:

- I still look forward to when Christmas is over, even when there are fun things to do with fun people. New Year's Eve still rocks solid.

- It is definitely not a good idea to have caffeine after 1pm. Or else I'll be awake, like I am right now when I really really want to sleep.

- I cannot live with my parents for an extended period of time and still maintain a healthy relationship with them.

- I have the confidence to take the RICA and think I can pass. Actually passing is a whole other story.

- I miss China.

- I miss my China teammates and other friends from T.

- I miss my brother. Weird.

- I would very much like to return abroad. Preferably in a teaching/learning capacity.

- I like teaching first grade.

- I would very much like to earn a Ph.d some day.

- I like someone. Who is already in a relationship. So I am also a coward/passive observer about it. But I think I can live with it if he is happy too.

Things I haven't learned yet:

- What exactly I'll do about my future.

- What exactly is going on with my spiritual life.

- The best way to format a lesson plan. At least for my own use, since there really is no "best" way.

- If I'm really a grown-up or still a kid.

- How not to be socially awkward with teenage girls. Teenage boys are ok. It's the girls I don't get. See next line.

- Why children are mesmerized by Hanna Montana.

I've only ever had one super-long term goal for myself, and only because a high school English teacher made us write about short and long term goals once. That is: to make the last year of my life the best. And since one never knows when one will up and smoke it, it seemed like just another way to say carpe diem without the latin.

However, that goal may not be quite as worthwhile after all. It is also very vague. What does "best" mean exactly? And what if the die just weren't rolling my way the year before I kick the bucket? So I've decided on a new, hopefully more concrete goal:

To learn more things than not in any given year.

One can say that one never learns more things than not. For instance, I will probably never learn the finer details and calculations associated with String Theory. Not an impossibility, just slim chances. But when this time of the year rolls around again and again, I would like to make a list similar to the above with which I can prove that I've been more productive with my life than not.

And that would make it a decently "best" year for me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm going to miss those first grade booger snots

I went into room 10 for the last time today. Half in a daze, partly because I didn't have coffee and partly because my mental self had allowed my physical self to loosen some accumulated tension, I helped with some crafts and read some stories for the afternoon.

Then, the students surprised me with thank you letters they wrote themselves. The pictures are the most hilarious. A lot of them remembered to put glasses on me; which made me wish I had worn contacts at least once during the school year to freak them out a little.

They went to P.E. and I helped my CT deal with a kid off his meds. Then we chatted for a little bit with her visiting boyfriend. The bell rang and I went to say a final good bye to the students.

K, one of my favorite students, hugged me for a long time. She is the sweetest, most well behaved kid, albeit not quite academically at standard yet. Far from it actually. But she has shown great improvement.

K: Ms. Ng? Will you come back?
Me: Probably not, but you never know. [my CT had asked if I can sub for her in May when she goes to So. Cal. for a wedding. I said I would if I had no other engagements.]
K: Thank you for the card. [I had given all the students a Christmas card with bunches of stickers to go with it.]
Me: You're welcome.
K: I'm going to miss you.
Me: Me too.

She hugged me again, and then reluctantly left with her mom and siblings.

Yeah, me too K, me too.

Monday, December 1, 2008

When "high tech" educator tools only make me want paper and pencil again

Dear Taskstream,

I want to take this extra time to say: you annoy the hell out of me. Take note that this may not necessarily be your fault (although I really dislike your never ending pop-up windows of d00m). This may not necessarily be my fault either (but like most people of the tekkie generation, I believe anything that doesn't accomplish its task instantly is taking WAY too long).

I am annoyed by you because the Beautiful State of California requires me to do something called a PACT, aka Pressure to Achieve Craptastic redundantness for Teachers, which I must submit online at your site. If I do not do this, I am not allowed to teach until I sacrifice my first born child at the feet of the CCTC, the governator, and all California legislative and nonlegislative staff related to the Almighty Board of Eduction. Regardless of any actual competency in teaching. Or competency in general.

In this case, you, dear Taskstream, take on the unfortunate role of middleman. I do not envy you. I'm sure the feeling is mutual. And I would love to take a we're-all-in-this-together stance, however I, unlike you, have yet to make any kind of living out of all this hoop-jumping. And frankly, I have no mercy for your pains. Because in reality I am about $6,000 in the hole, and counting, since the start of this credential adventure, a chunk of which is residing in your pockets right now. So unless you are an African or Southeast Asian baby suffering from malnutrition and disease, you are not getting my pity.

Just thought you would like to know.


Bandwith Challenged Student Teacher Feeling Like a Dressed Up Pink Poodle