Sunday, September 28, 2008

The post that was going to be, but wasn't , and now it is:

Where, oh where has September gone? I've actually sat down to post several times, but have backed off. Why? I guess I wasn't willing to devote the time and energy, to give of myself- needing to process some things internally before I "go public" with them.
So here are some things I was gonna write about:

1. Sarah Palin- "thanks, but no thanks". 'Nuff said. (Actually, I could go on and on and on, but it makes my blood pressure go up about 17 points.)

2. Little buggers in my 4th block class- 3 in particular who are making my life hell.

3. Our dog and our new lives as Dog Owners.

4. McCain's publicity stunts that are couched in "policy" and him being a "maverick". November can't come soon enough.

5. That I hate that our parish festival is called Oktoberfest, but it is always held in September and it's always super hot.

6. That I did one of the nerdiest things in my professional life EVER, which was to invite administration into my classroom when I did "learning stations" with them.

7. My review of Chris Bohjalian's book Double Bind. I liked it. It has a big "twist" that I sort of saw coming, but was surprised anyway.

8. How absurd it is to have my teaching interrupted by the sound of what seems to be a pack of 40 dogs barking, but in actuality is probably only 2 or 3.

9. How ridiculous it is that we have 17 girls up for Homecoming Queen. 17.

10. How hypocritical it is for people to criticize teachers for "not implementing technology" in our classrooms, and then not give us any technology to implement. Case in point: teachers at our school are having to spend departmental curriculum monies on projector bulbs on media carts. Students who are preparing to take the AP French test have no working tape/cd players and headphones so that they can practice their listening skills. The World Language dept.'s grant submission requesting a media cart (complete with ELMO, projector, etc.), that would be shared between 6 teachers, has been rejected 3 times now.

So instead of writing about all those things, I'm going to give you recipes for 2 yummy side dishes.

Black bean and Corn Salad
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces (use less if it's a big pepper)
chopped onion to taste
juice of 1 lime
handful of chopped cilantro (or not, if you don't have it or don't care for it)
optional:diced jalapeño, seeds removed
1/2 pkg of your favorite taco seasoning

Toss everything together. If you make this first, then set aside, the corn will be thawed by the time you eat.

Sweet Potato Fries

preheat oven to 450º
4 sweet potatoes
pumpkin pie spice
2 TB cooking oil

Scrub taters. Leave skins on. Cut into thick wedges- put in bowl. Toss with 1 tsp (ish) pumpkin pie spice. Drizzle oil over taters. Toss to coat. Put in roaster or the bottom part of the broiler pan. Pop it in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until taters are done. Stir through them about halfway through cooking time. YUM. And, they are sooooo good for you! My kids even like them!

Monday, September 08, 2008

I'm baaaa-ack!

Well, it's been about a month since my last post. So nice of several of you to check up on me. I guess I took an informal respite from blogging for no real reason other than just barely getting back into the swing of things and feeling really tired and overwhelmed.

Let's catch you all up on what you've been a -missin'.

1. The school year started with the usual meetings and more meetings. THE buzzword in our district this year: Differentiated Instruction. Those in the know (those who drank the Kool-Aid) call it "D.I.". They are so cool, and obviously much, much better teachers than I could ever hope to be. (Disclaimer: I'm not opposed to Differentiated Instruction. I just hate jargon. I also hate the Bandwagon junkies. I'd rather adapt than adopt.)

2. Oh, and I'm now Department Head, which is no real honor since no one else really wants to do it and the 2 others who maybe would want to do it are "difficult", so our principal probably wouldn't have chosen them anyway. It's an unpaid position, it's mostly so that our voice is heard. Kind of like Puerto Rico in congress. I get to run bi-weekly meetings and attend Dept. Chair meetings. My mailbox is the first stop for all kinds of junk mail for Foreign Language teachers.

3. We have a new addition to our family: a brown and white pointer mix named Sookie (After Sookie St.James on the "Gilmore Girls"). She is a bundle of energy and loves my kids, is about a year old and loves us as much as we love her. Here she is on our kitchen floor. Don't mind the dust.

4. Last Tues. after Labor Day I thought we were all going to keel over from the oppressive heat and humidity in my room- seriously it was like 98º and very sauna-like. Anyone else teach in a building with no a/c? In true Iowa fashion, the temps. plummeted to the 60ºs overnight and the kids were all complaining about "the cold."

5. You know how dogs can sense that it's going to rain? Well, that's how teachers in my building are about fights. In between 3rd and 4th block today, I zipped across the hall to visit the baño, shamelessly shirking the hall duty I'm supposed to attend to between classes. Sorry, Charlie, Nature trumps. As I was washing my hands, I noticed a distinct change in the din out in the hall. I asked one of the girls who came in if there was a fight- she nodded her head. "It's really bad, too." I told her to stay in the baño until all the madness died down. There was a huge traffic jam, as the fighters decided to brawl right in the cross-roads that is our section of the hallway- oh, incidentally also in front of security cameras. It was insane- smaller kids were being picked up and shuffled along by the sheer momentum of the crowd- their feet not touching the ground. Lots of kids were really upset by how violent it was- one kid lifted the other off the floor and then slammed his head down, either into the wall or the floor. At any rate, he was knocked unconscious and there was a whole lotta blood everywhere. Someone called 911 (a kid, maybe) and admin was upset by that- not following protocol, don't you know. The nurse saw fit to send us an email stating that when a student is knocked out and might have to leave via the ambulance, the halls need to be cleared of all students and staff for "confidentiality". Oh yes, that will be quite easy to do, given how bloodthirsty our students are.