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the roof… the roof… the roof is on fire…

In the space of a couple of days we actually had, not one, but two actual fire alarms at the high school. Pretty interesting stuff you consider we have a fire drill at least every month. The first was your run-of-the-mill elevator shaft filled with smoke because of leaking hydraulic fluid which was dripping onto the elevator motor.

On Monday, that was the biggie. A student, in their infinite wisdom, decided that they would gain respect and kudos from the student body by igniting a fire within one of the boy’s bathrooms. While the entirety of building was out of the curb cursing yet another fire drill, the fire engines started rolling in. We knew we were in for the long haul. For about twenty-five minutes we stood outside of the school, watching firefighters, the police, and district maintenance people going to and fro with fans. After that, we were allowed to go into the somewhat hazy and very dank halls and back into our rooms.

By the end of the next period, our principal was on the intercom saying that if anyone had any information about who had put flame to the bathroom, that there would be a handsome three hundred dollar reward for that person with such information. Luckily, this period also happened to be my prep period; as per my usual routine, I wandered down to office to check my mailbox to make slightly insightful yet humorous remarks to the office staff. When I walked into the office, there was a line of at least fifteen students outside the principal’s office, waiting to give up information for three crisp Ben Franklins. Keep in mind it had only been about three minutes since the announcement. Apparently the school’s firebug had also been boastful prior to ignition, shown by the population of students outside the office.

As it turned out, the saying about ‘loose lips’ and their destructive power over ships proved to be true and the person was quickly dealt with by the school. the lesson I took from this is to never underestimate the coercive power of money. Friends, foes, and strangers in passing will line up to tell of your misdeeds in order to grease their palm. But, of course, if you’re brave enough to regale a crowd with story, I guess you’ve got it coming.

Time to pick a name…

In my vain attempt to do different things within my classroom, I’ve decided that I will be maing a website where students will be posting some of their work.  From there, it can be commented on, reviewed, and so on… that way it doesn’t neccesarily have to be the usually turn in and hand back format.  With the website, it would be WordPress based, such as Box of Whine, but with the school site I would remain the administrator of the sight while all of the students would have a contributor’s log on…meaning I would review everything before it was posted. Overall, it’s bringing in technology and blogging into the classroom to make it a different experience.

So here’s what I need help with from you, loyal readers.  I have one idea for the name, but Jess has informed me that it’s pretty lame (wellsdotcom.com)–since my ideas are supposedly flat and lifeless, do y’all have some suggestions?  Parameters: It’s school appropriate, no allusions, hints, winks, nods, or gestures to sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, tardiness or cheating.  It has to have some realtion to my name, the high school (Cottage Grove), Language Arts, or my room number (108)… or some combination of those.

Let me know you’ve got… thanks.

That about does it

Grades are submitted, all valuables and electronics are locked away.  Now all that is left is to turn off the lights and lock the door.  Another school year has come and gone. 

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?”

Red all over…

This weekend Jess and I went to her parents’ ranch.  And, as it annual happens, I’ve come back sun-burned.  Even with the rain and clouds, I get burned.  Damn my poreclain-like complexion. 

We had a good weekend, we got to help out a lot around the Ranch.  On Saturday, we cleaned up a lot of the trees.  And by “cleaned” I mean pulled some down, cut some up and burned a lot of them.  There’s nothing like chainsawing in the bucket of a tractor… kind of a new expereince.  Although my favorite was helping to chainup and pull entire trees across a field with the tractor.  Kind of makes you feel more like a man… well, at least it would of if Jess had let me drive the tractor (with my trackrecord with cluthes and transmissions, it is no wonder she didn’t). 

On Sunday, we sorted their two herds of cattle, treated a couple cows, and tagged two brand new calfs, once of which was nice enough to stamp down on my foot.  But honestly, I can’t blame him… If I was a day old and someone was trying to manhandle (cowhandle?) me I think I’d do a lot of stamping.  Beside the hoof to foot contact, I really enjoy working with the cattle.  There’s something almost peaceful about them, plus they are far more predictable than the horses.  Horses are just too flighty for me, plus in the past, they’ve bucked me off and kicked me… I’m not one to hand around an abusive relationship. 

Not counting today, there are exactly 8 days left of school.  It is remarkable how quick this year has move through.  Many people have said, “Well, it’s because you’re getting older.”  Personally, I hope that’s not the case, because I’m only 26 now, if this aging thing continues, I’ll be at light-speed in no time. 

Unfortunately (more for the students than me), being sunburned and somewhat tired has given me a sour disposition today, although it doesn’t help that after a two-day weekend, it seems that the students forget everything we’ve been doing for the past three weeks.  Schedules, out the window.  Routines, what routines?  Just kind of frustrating… not to mention that everyone has to mentioned that I am a little pink as though I didn’t notice.   Stupid UV rays.

Speeching.

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.”

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.