Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bring it on

Notes on Day 1:

- Nervous up to the first bell, but after that, not at all! It's a nice feeling, to be confident in what I'm doing.

- Apparently, I have "The Devil Kid" in my 2nd period class. I say: bring it on, Devil Kid. Bring it on.

- I need to figure something out for advisory period. It was a blank 10 minutes that lasted forever today. What should I do? Math puzzles? Ten-minute brain joggers? It's only for the first week, after that, there will be a video from the CCTV circuit playing.

- Ok. I think I want my filing cabinet back. Hm.

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day of School Eve

Saying good-bye to summer.

The nerves are starting to make me hyper. And awake. Also, I forget to eat or hydrate. I can't be the only one that this happens to right?

Everyone has been so helpful. Thank you colleagues! You are indeed super.

Well, prepared or not, they are coming tomorrow. I've been pretty confident in my abilities so far but I never know until I'm put to the test, and the results come out, and I'm judged one way or another. Things I'm confident in:

- subject matter knowledge
- evaluating student assessments
- example-based teaching methods
- relating to students on a one-to-one basis
- organization

Things I'm not so confident in:

- mass behavior management
- time management
- stamina
- using technology in a meaningful way
- remembering names and matching them to faces

I gave away my filing cabinet to the other new math teacher. My other colleagues think I'm crazy. I might regret it later, I suppose, but I'll figure something out with storage. It was huge and in the way.

I realize I haven't been blogging much lately. It was nice to take a break from it for awhile. Well, it's back to work on that too, and I know I will have lots to write about. One of my bad habits is talking about work while outside of work too much. Not everyone wants to hear about students, or budgets, or communicating with parents. Writing about it here helps.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One more week

The nervousness comes in waves.

In other news, I'm not sure what to say when people tell me my room neighbor is, um, nosy. And likes to come in while people are teaching and interrupt them. I think I will be teed off enough about that to speak out, if it happens.

Pretty much have the room set up, the system in place, and the first week ran off on the xerox. This next week will be the longest, and the quickest, at the same time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

1.5 weeks to go

My desk is no longer this clean. It isn't even in the same spot anymore. Which is a good thing, because there is a door to the neighboring classroom right behind the chair, and it kept hitting the chair, and it was annoying.

There seems to be so much to do, and yet I don't really feel rushed about it. I don't have my class list. I don't have my schedule. I don't have my school email account. I don't know how to get to the voicemail messages on the classroom phone. I have a mailbox at school, but my name isn't on it yet. Most of the walls are still blank, I want to get a label maker and a bunch of clear storage boxes for group use. Still ironing out the procedures and expectations.

I've got most of the year planned out - long range stuff, none of it in detail. I haven't really looked at the supplementary materials for the curriculum, but I have an outline of what I want to do and when, lesson-wise.

There's a week an a half left to the first day. I really should be much more rushed than this - but I'm not. Is that a good sign?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two more weeks

I take it as a good sign that room F-9 is much closer numerically to room 10 than to room 14.

Excited. Nervous. NOT naive. NOT letting it get to my head.

I also have to say the phrase, "I was told by/to...." less often. Well, I guess I've been doing that because people have been phrasing their questions at me as, "Did anyone tell you....?" and when I'm nervous I tend to speak in complete sentences more than when I'm relaxed. I also tend to make a lot of stops and pauses between words, in nervous/distracted state. That has to stop too.

I am the teacher, and this is my classroom. I follow orders as long as they align with what I believe is appropriate for myself, my students, and the larger community as a whole. Actually, all "orders" are really suggestions to me. I will take everything into consideration, but I withhold the right to edit as I see fit. I am a professional. I appreciate all comments at their face value.

Also: NOT going to fall into the politicizing. Scary though, that I saw some of it going on already.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


我 是 伍 婌 停。 我 是 一 个 老 師。
I am Wu Shu Ting. I am a teacher.

Note: Ricochet made a good point - I should translate whatever I write in Chinese on the blog. The whole point is to make my own documents in Chinese, translated from the English version, for my student's parents to read anyway. Any hey, if some one ends up learning Chinese from reading the English, I'm cool with that.

Note #2: How do I get the traditional character for "个" instead of the simplified? I like traditional characters better. I have a feeling the parents of my students will too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sorry car, but we need to take a break

YES! Yesterday was my last day at the Very Central California art camp. I am ecstatic that I no longer have to drive two hours to teach a one hour class. Oh the freedom of not being trapped in a 4-door sedan!

Monday, August 9, 2010

When it rains, it pours...

As happy as a sea otter and a hippo.

...and when the sun shines, it SHINES. Two pieces of really cool news, plus friends visiting me in my new abode made my day today. The news:

a) I passed subtest I and II on the math CSET! w00t!

b) I get a FREAKING EXPENSE ACCOUNT to set up my classroom. The account has no expiration date, and I can use it at any time during the year, or even next year.

The latter really takes the cake. I didn't even know that could even happen! I was prepared to outfit my classroom entirely out of my own pocket - and I will end up buying some stuff that way - but SRSLY??!! I'm going to get reimbursed? I save my receipts, fill out a form, drop it in the box for the principal to sign, and wait for a check to magically appear in my mailbox from the district office?? Did I just die and go to teacher-heaven?

Also: Yes. I'm spelling SRSLY the way twelve year olds spell it. It is THAT amazing. Because I come from teaching at schools where the windows fall out of the walls.

Now I'm feeling a little guilty. Especially when I personally know people in much less fortunate schools than mine.

Today has been a happy day. There were other bits of info that made me happy. And hanging out with friends is, of course, great. AND I got to eat Thai food. But these two little nuggets of dork-dom ROCKED. Hard.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


It's a chocolate day.

Didn't actually teach today, but am getting a bit panicky about the new school year. Will I teach well? Will I be effective? Will I be consistent in discipline and grading? Will the students respect me?


I know all these questions, and more, are answered with both a yes and a no. I know that I can prepare until my eyeballs give out and still some last minute thing might pop up and throw me off. I kind of dread that.

Confidence! Be confident! I have "with-it-ness," I just need make it show.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Huh. So you CAN brand anything

Teaspoons can be branded too. Just ask Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Found this among all the fine print in my teacher's-manual-that-is-not-my-teacher's-manual-because-I-got-the-textbooks-with-the-wrong-publisher:

"* Pre-AP is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination Board, which was not involved in the production of and does not endorse this product."

Whoa. I did not realize AP was a registered trademark. I did not realize there was such a thing as "Pre-AP." Learning new things every day.

I wonder how one gets a job with the College Entrance the Examination Board? Because I smell big money there, and also in the curriculum development department of any textbook publisher.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The funny things time does

There is this certain town in central California. I've been teaching a cartooning camp there for a little more than a month. It's not the most wealthy town, nor the most modern. But it has it's own positives. The students I teach there are well-behaved, smart, and motivated. The parents can be a little helicopter-y, but most parents who are willing to pay upwards of $70 for a six week course in simple drawing and coloring tend to lean towards the helicopter-y side.

This town, however, does have one downside: apparently, all the clocks tell different times. The parks and rec office clock says one time, and every single student (and their parents) claim their clocks read something different from everyone else's.

Mine, of course, is checked with whatever clock calibrator AT&T wireless uses for their cellphones. I also check it with my laptop clock (which checks in with some other time calibrator that laptops use), the time notifier on my local NPR station, and occasionally the morning/evening news channels.

Needless to say, my clock is nearly always off from the time this town keeps. Which means nearly every one of my students arrive to art class too late, or too early. Strangely enough, they have all been picked up punctually - even the parents who don't stay and hang out in the classroom.

I know a fellow teacher who teaches in the US Virgin Islands. Her stories of "island time" remind me a little of "small central California rural town time." Pretty much everyone goes at their own pace in the US VI's, regardless of any other clock. I'm sure it can get really annoying - which it does for me, in this town. I have other things to do before and after teaching there - things that are usually time sensitive.

But I also think one can get used to "island time" really easily, as long as your own schedule isn't dictated by the hour and minute hands. I think my teacher-friend in the US VI likes it. She wouldn't be staying there for a second year if she didn't.

And hey, the beaches and palm trees probably doesn't hurt either.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thinking thoughts

Working on Algebra 1 problems is kinda fun.

San Diego rocks! Mainly because my friends there rock, but there are some things completely unique to SD that are really awesome.

What to do for the last 2-3 weeks of school? After the CSTs? After finals? PSAT prep of course! Logic problems, multi-problem problems. Oh yeah, and some fun stuff like puzzles and games.

Need to accumulate some worksheets as holiday homework/extra credit assignments. I have some, but not enough.

Moving is a whole different job entirely. I've got at least another three car loads to go before all my crap gets moved in. Granted, my car is small. Also granted, I've got quite a bit of stuff - more than I care to admit sometimes.