Category Archives: teaching

Anything having to do with my job, being a teacher, education, my school, or my classes.

The finality of the situation

At the high school we’re admist the last two days of school which are taken up by 90-minute periods for finals.  My juniors and seniors have a final over the play-version of 12 Angry Men, and my sophomores are giving their “How-To” speeches.  This term had been the first time that I had my juniors and seniors read a long, drawn out play; surprisingly they really liked it.  I’m not sure if it was because it was a courtroom drama or the many undertones of racism, economic division, and murder.  The proof that they really understood and liked the play came with the final; usually there are people who struggle through the final and skip questions.  Out of all of my juniors and seniors, only one question was skipped. 

We’ll have to see how my sophomores do tomorrow; the good thing about about the “How-To” speeches are that the majority of the students tend to make something to eat.  This year we have a milkshake, smoothie, turkey/ham sandwhich, top ramen, and a rootbeer float for speech topics.  The students always get into these speeches because it is far more interesting for them to watch than a regular old expository speech, although, they do get a certain amount of devilish enjoyment out of seeing people squirm and writhe with the impromptu speeches. 

In all seriousness, I don’t think I am prepared for this school year to end.  It snuck up on me from behind.  For some sick, unhealthy reason, I’m kind of at a loss for this school year to be through.  Of course, I am looking forward to summer and the time off, but I have always enjoyed being around my students (for the most part) and I look forward to seeing them on a daily basis.  But that’s alright, there are 83 days left until school retarts. 

the race for a little less… update

It has been a while since I’ve posted about my race for less of me.  I definitely ran into some trouble, I had stopped seeing negative numbers, not that I was seeing positive ones, I just wasn’t gaining or losing.  People had said that it was just my plateau, however, I think I have to disagree.  The wall I hit was me, I relaxed how closely I was watching what I eating, there were defintely some days when I didn’t enter a complete day’s worth of food and other days when I didn’t enter anything at all.  After a little self-recorrection, I think I’m back on track. 

 I was surprised this morning.  I came in at 258.5 pounds.  When I first saw that, all I saw was the ‘eight,’ and I though, “how the hell could I have gained almost 7 pounds over night?  After a closer examination, I saw that it was “58” not “68”  I was literally standing on the scale in all my glory, staring at my feet saying, “wow.”  However, being the skillful pessimist that I am, I didn’t believe.  All the possibilities ran through my head, “Maybe you weren’t on the scale all the way. Maybe you were accidentally leaning against something.  Maybe the scale is in one of the grooves of the linoleum.”  It’s funny how I instantly go through every possible option besides: “I lost the weight.”  So I weighted myself again: 258.5 pounds.  After that I’m starting to believe.  I went through my routine, took my shower, got my contacts in, and just to triple-check, I weighed myself again: 258.5 again.  Now I’m a believer.  I’m starting to take on the feeling of doing something good and being proud of myself.  I think I’ve been resisting that because I have always had the sneaking suspicion that when I start to be proud of myself, that’s when I let myself slip.  But I’ve never done anything like this before, so hopefully I’m beyond that.

Sadly, I had a whole post in already in draft form in my head about when I hit 260 pounds.  I was going to post a picture of my license and say: “I am now offically my license weight, I have never actually been my license weight.  My license weight was a lie, but I finally made an honest license out of it.”  …But, I went right through 260, thankfully.  However, once again, my license is a liar, for the first time in my life, my license says I weigh more than I actually do.  Personally, I think that’s certain shade of awsome.

In other “repetitious self-congratulations”: Yesterday was the last day for seniors at CGHS.  I had a lot of my students that I’ve taught come through, say goodbye and take pictures… which was great.  Even my football players came by to make a couple of last jokes and give a hug (with the “man-slap” on the back, of course).  But what really touched me was that there were a lot of students I had never coached or taught that came to say goodbye to me, to give a hug and take a group picture with.  These were just kids that I had just casually talked to in the halls once in a while, or I knew them through one of their friends.  Apparently, I had made a big enough impression that they wanted me to know.  As sappy as it sounds, that was really important for me, it makes me feel as though I’m doing a good job and that I make a difference even if I don’t see them in my classroom or on the football field. 

I think I’m pretty lucky to have my job.

Quote of the day

Scene: Teacher (not me) talking to a student about getting all of their grades up so they can graduate on time.

Teacher: “You really need to pull all of your grades up so you can graduate with your class.”

Student: “Well… I don’t have to, I’ll just transfer to another school…”

Teacher: “That’s fine, but you do know that your grades follow you to that school, right?”

Student: “Uh… well, what if I go really far away?”


I am exhausted and I think it is finally catching up with me.  At least twice during my seventh period class I used the term, “persuasive speeching”.  I’m surprised the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission didn’t kick down the door and haul me off for such an aggravated assault on the English language.

“Do you speak English well?”

“I used to could.”

Updated Update

I just spoke with my dad, he’s doing much better.  Slightly sore, but he’s feeling well enough to get up and move around.  I think he’s just happy to be out of the hospital.  Surgery just doesn’t look like fun. 

In other news, at the high school, seniors must do a senior board which is a combination of a research paper and a presentation over the researched topic.  Today was the big day when  all of the seniors present and thankfully, all of my seniors passed.  It had been a grueling two months of work over presentations, papers, and speeches.  Happily, it all paid off. 

Hopefully I took my last post-two-master-degrees graduate class to finish adding a special education endorsement onto my teach license.  I am petitioning Pacific to be forgo my last class, which is about assessment, and move onto the process of having them submit the proper forms to TSPC (Teaching Standards and Parctices Commission) stating that I’ve met their requirements… and then I hope to be done with taking classes until I am interested in becoming an administrator.  We’ll see how it goes. 

By the way, this is the 200th post on box of whine.  I’m not sure if that’s an accomplishment.

Livin’ on the edge

Teaching can sometimes have that “ho-hum” persona to it but that was broken yesterday.  With about ten minutes left in fifth period, our principal came over the intercom that there had been a cougar sighting down by the river which is across the street from the school.  I’m sure that would have made walking home a lot more interesting.  As well, I wonder if skipping dropped between fifth period and the end of the day.  Nothing like a man-eating animal to curb truency.

To top it off, this morning when I came in for morning weights class, there had been a fire over in the gym complex.  Apparently, dryers and their contents can be quite flamable.  Not that the building was actually damaged, the dryer, on the other hand, was torched.  The entire gym building did have a particular pungent stink to it, except for the weight room which was right next to the dryer room; it smelled like a marshmellow toasted a little too long. 

…And people say teaching is boring.

…a good year

In my 11th/12th grade classes, we work hard on improving their reading, specifically comprehension, to do so we use an online based program suite called Teenbiz 3000. This program has them writing, responding, reading, answering questions.  As well, kids can also submit jokes or riddles to be displayed (if they’re lucky) on the main page for an entire day.  Every time we use this program they check the daily joke, which is usually followed by a groan over the sappy, elementary joke (ex. Why was six afraid of seven… beacuse seven, eight, nine).  However, on this day, my first period students were saying, “Whoa, that joke is actually kind of funny.  I can’t believe they put that on there.”  Having never heard the students actually like the daily joke, I looked at the joke:

What do you do with 365 used rubbers?  Melt them down and call it a good year.”

Apparently, the editors of the program, which is designed to improve comprehension, didn’t comprehend the meaning of the joke.  I’m sure there was a complaint from someone because by the following period, the joke was replaced with another groaner.  I can’t imagine how proud the kid is who submitted that joke, my only hope is that he saw it.  The lesson to be learned is that if you’re an editor of a education site used by kids all across the country and you don’t get a joke… ask around because my students definitely got it… now that’s improving reading comprehension.

I’ve got artichoke all over my face

I’m walking, living, breathing faux pas. 

Let me set the stage: As with most days, one of the most exciting moments in my day is during lunch.  I thoroughly enjoy sitting with my colleauges, swapping stories, making fun of each other, and generally enjoying ourselves for 30 minutes out of the day. 

Routinely, people leave extra food, goodies, snacks, left overs from parties, and what not on the table to be consumed by the malnuritied teachers.  This time, someone left some pieces of artisan jalepeno-cheddar bread with some artichoke and jalepeno dips.  Sitting in the middle of the table, the physics teacher and I decided that it was a ‘freebie’.  We both had a small piece of the bread, the dip was fantastic.  It was so fantastic I had another piece.  It made my single fajita and an orange seem drab. 

As lunch went on, I talked and joked with my coworkers, every once in a while I’d glance back at the bread and dip (to moderate my intake, it falls under my “look and don’t touch” rule after having a reasonable amount).  I thought it would be selfish to have another piece and only leave one or two pieces remaining for any of the other staff members.  I thought I was being courtesy to the point of down-right chivalrous.  Little did I know I was wrong.  On one my repeat glances at the bread and dip, they had moved.  No longer were they in the middle of the table, but in front of the band teacher.  In my own horror, I realized that the ‘freebies’ weren’t really in the middle, they were more off to the side of the band teacher’s soup; with even more horror, I realized they weren’t ‘freebies’ at all.  They were stolen goods. 

I actually sat there and ate someone else’s lunch. I’m an accidental bully. 

So much for going past the “overweight person” stereotypes.  The only think worse would have been to hold him down or give him a wedgie before I shoved his food into my mouth. 

This proves my point, there are always new lows to be found.

When I wake up early in the morning…

The weather is a harsh temptress.  We woke up Sunday to almost 2 inches of snow on the ground.  It hailed and snowed through most of the morning into early afternoon.  You would think that would set some kind of precedent for today…but no.  I think I must have woke up five or six times waiting for the phone call from the school district saying that we were having a snow day.  I even laid in bed for a couple of extra minutes because I didn’t want to be in the shower when the call came… it never came just like last night’s snowfall.

 And, to add insult to responsibility, as soon as I step through the door of our house to head out to work, it starts to snow.   I’m sure it will snow off and on throughout today, just infrequently enough to get a reaction from the students but not frequently enough to stick.  There will be the barrage of questions about how much snow it would take for the school day to be canceled once already in session.  Lousy April weather.

The power of a statement II

A couple posts back I wrote about a a comment during lunch in the staff room that turned into a good portion of the school watching one of the math teachers run the mile… well, here’s the YouTube video of it: