Saturday, February 28, 2004

Sometimes, it's obvious

Last night I dreamed that I had been switched at birth. Then I dreamed that I was driving at night, too fast, in the rain. I couldn't see well, but I couldn't slow down.

I don't think it's any great mystery where those images came from.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Why am I doing this?

I don't mean just the student teaching thing - which has me more irritated than anxious at the moment. I mean why the hell am I in Utah? Did I go back to school because I wanted to or because everyone I knew was getting a grad degree? Mind you, up until now the MAED program has been pretty enjoyable...

I just feel like I lost control of my own life in the last few years and I'm living someone else's.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Slight Improvements... I think

Okay, so I still threw up my breakfast before class. (No, no chance of my being pregnant, thanks.) So the anxiety levels are pretty high still... but today's class went a lot better, and I got to work with two students after school who have missed a lot of class and therefore, homework. I love working with the students one-on-one because then you can customize your explanations so that they really get it... instead of trying three different explanations that might cover everyone in the class, or might not.

As for work... I'm only working 3 days a week as it is. At work, I'm able to get some of my planning and grading done... and honestly, it's a stress-reliever because I get to talk to my friends there. That's about as close as I get to socializing lately.

I've decided to give it another solid two weeks and if I still feel sick everyday, I'll reevaluate then. I don't want to give up on this.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Is it just Mondays?

Another sucky day at school...

I have ten and a half weeks left and I just don't know if I'm going to make it without developing major health problems. My anxiety level is so high that I have a constant stomach ache and I keep developing little ulcers in my mouth. Never had either problem before I started stressing over student teaching.

Friday, February 20, 2004

On a brighter note

Tomorrow is my first day off since January 20th and they will be grooming the trails in Millcreek Canyon in the morning. At least my timing is good in one area of life.
Things I must keep in mind

1. They are not my children
2. They are not even really my students
3. It's not my school
4. I'm leaving Utah by 2006.

I felt like screaming when I left school today. I'm not sure what it is... if the problem stems from Utah's dominant culture, the screwy school system which I don't have time or inclination to describe now, or something else entirely. At the moment I can't think of a scenario that would include my teaching in a public school in Utah next year.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The scary part is... they believe it

I recently read a very pseudo-intellectual post on another site about why gay marriage should not be allowed. Evidently, because we all have the right to marry one person of the opposite sex, this constitutes equal rights already. This person implied that conferring "special" rights for homosexuals to marry each other would be akin to making pedophilia legal as well.

Yeah - just a slight legal difference when discussing adults instead of minors, but... well, what can I say. I'm sure this seems quite reasonable and rational to this person.

So anyway, I was much dismayed to see another similar statement against legalizing same-sex marriage in Salt Lake City's alternative paper - The City Weekly. This wasn't on the part of the paper, but was printed in an editorial.

This person's argument was much along the same lines as the above "equal rights already exist", but he continued on to explain why allowing same-sex marriage would harm "normal" marriages. His (sick and twisted and utterly confused) logic was as follows: if gays could marry, they would get company spousal benefits. This would put more stress on companies to pay for all these extra benefits. In turn there would be fewer benefits for traditional married couples. AND (stay with me) Because most traditional marriages fail because of money issues, this would cause even more marriages to fail.

Yes, according to this genius, allowing same-sex marriage leads directly to divorce for traditional married couples. Aren't you glad we've been warned?

People. Take responsibility for your own failings. If you can't get your shit together, getting a few dollars more or less in insurance benefits is not going to help you.

Why do so many marriages fail? It's not the money, really. It's a fricking LACK OF COMMUNICATION.


Monday, February 16, 2004

Conversation at work

smartass coworker: So how was your Valentine's day?
me: Started well, ended poorly.
sc: You know, Viagra could help that.
me: Ha. Funny. No, it was actually the foot in the mouth that caused the problem.
sc: So... duct tape would have been the ticket to romance?
Two steps back

Finally admitted to myself that I'm sinking again. Went back on the meds I quit taking 2 months ago. I know it isn't that big a deal, and is, once again, a temporary measure to help me survive the next three months, but it still feels like failure somehow.

Frankly, I'm almost too tired to care. I need to be able to function, and right now I'm on the verge of not being able to do that anymore. So... another month or three on the anti-depressants, and we'll see how it goes.

It's this numb acceptance of crapdom and inability to focus for more than 15 minutes at a time that tells me I need to suck it up and take the damn drugs. It's been four weeks since I had a day without school or work... How do people do this? Because I know for some people, no days off ever is a way of life. Or a way to death, depending on your perspective.

Anyway, with luck, the drug will work its magic and I will be alive enough to enjoy my real day off on Saturday. One can only hope.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Let me put it words you might understand...

Okay, Mr. CEO, let's try to get this straight. Now, if I walked into your office and started asking you questions about the exact procedure your janitors or your secretaries or security guards used in each particular situation, would YOU be able to answer ME? Yeah, didn't think so.

So why in the world do you expect me--a part-time employee and not even the manager of this place--to know the standard procedures for the concierge, the housekeepers, and the restaurant? 'Splain that to me, eh?

The concierge is also not supposed to be the errand boy for the chef. If the chef would keep track of his inventory and order his supplies on time, I wouldn't end up doing my job and someone elses for hours at a time.

So... would you like me to wipe for you, too?
I feel it sneaking up on me

Just that sad fatigue again. Nothing seems to be going quite right... half the French 1 kids got less than 160 pts out of 240 on the chapter test, 5 of 22 kids in French 2 got less than 60 pts out of 100 on their quiz.

Mostly, I think a lot of it has to do with my not having had a whole day off (from both teaching and working) since January 20th. I'm so close to finishing the rewrite of Revival, but I haven't been able to sit down and write since last Saturday. When I do have an hour or two to sit down, I've been so tired that my brain can't rise above basic motor control level to churn out the creative energy I need.

I need a vacation... or at least a weekend off.

AND Happy Birthday to Karlyn who turned 20 yesterday. Hope it was a good one, babe. Love you.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

When someone writes what you've been thinking...

Just had a "thank-god-I'm-not-the-only-one-who-thinks-this" moment thanks to a link off of Fussy

American Coddle

This is such an accurate description of the problems that some of the kids in my classes have, it's just not funny. False praise can be much worse than not enough praise.

(Not that I'm to the point of agreeing with my mother's strange habit of random daggers of criticism when I'm feeling really good about something... but anyway. Different rant there entirely. *g*)

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Better Day

Today was definitely a better day. And I ended up not having to work tonight. So the nap I was able to take definitely improved things.

Just saying... give me a slacker teenage boy over a moody teenage girl ANY day. Oy.
degrees of tired

I'm at the one where it hurts if someone touches you, casual conversation is utterly impossible, and simple tasks seem not-so-simple.

I'd like to either go back to bed or sit here and cry, but instead I get to go into school early today so I can get all the grades entered from last week. And then I get to stay through lunch so I can look through the supplemental materials.

Hating it? Just about. If it doesn't get better by week 4, I don't know if I'll last all 15 weeks.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Found this on someone else's site... thought it was interesting.

Notice my avoidance of the Deep South. I also think it's funny that I spent 4 years in New Hampshire and never madeit over to Maine. But then, I didn't have a car when I was in college and it's a damn long walk from the Vermont border to the Maine side of the state.

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide
Snow now ow

I left work as early as I could today because we're getting another great big snow storm. I would be more apreciative, of course, were I able to be out enjoying it. But no. Today I got up, went to work, came home, and must now start to work on lesson plans for the coming week for my French 1 and French 2 classes.

So basically, all this bounty of snow means to me is a longer commute. Oh, joy.

*evil grumpy look*

Monday, February 02, 2004

Could we have two Presidents, please?

Or maybe three? One for domestic issues like education, health care, and keeping the government the hell out of our bedrooms. One for foreign relations and diplomacy, and one for military actions.

Is that asking so much? I don't even want all of them to be Democrats, because I don't think any of the Dems have a good plan for foreign policy or the Iraq issue. I wouldn't even mind if one of them was George W. as long as HE didn't have any further say in resource management (ie: logging and mining and polluting) or diplomacy (because I don't think he understand the word) or education. Can I tell you how much the No Child Left Behind Act SUCKS? No. No. I will not get started on that. I just don't have the time right now. But it's bad and the only candidate who seems to really get that is Dean. But I think Dean would make a crappy President because of his ideas on foreign policy and military actions.

Okay. Not going to pursue this now. Must eat before leaving for work.
Parents, Teachers, Students

Now, I read a lot of rants about how terrible our public school teachers are. Granted, a lot of them are tired, worn out, fed up, insecure, etc. But not all of them are.

With the increased regulations and "core curriculum" and "national standards" that have to be met, teachers have less and less control over what material they teach and how they teach it. I say, anyone who has shit to say about teachers should take a good look at what hoops are being thrown in front of the education system these days. And I won't even go into funding.

But, starting my student teaching, I'm seeing another angle that most people don't ever get to observe.

I'm working with students who are predominantly white, middle to upper-middle class, and about 98% LDS. (That's Mormon, to you non-Utah people.) I really don't think these kids have ever been told "No" in their lives. I don't think they see their parents often enough to be told much, actually. Some of the students are so obviously desperate for attention -- any attention -- that they keep a running commentary going the whole class. The idea that they need to learn material in class so that they can perform well on quizzes and tests is beyond their understanding or caring.

Parents... well, parents at this school seem to care more for grades than for actual learning. The PTA has even created these vouchers that students can turn in to one teacher per grading period and that teacher is supposed to give them the next highest grade. No concept of earning grades here, eh? One parent called the principal repeatedly regarding her daughter's grade (an F), demanding that she be given a D- so that she didn't fail the year. The teacher refused to change the grade because the student had done no work. The principal caved to the parent's demands and changed the grade himself.

Not all parents are like this. Not all students are either. But I would estimate that this is common behavior for about 75% of the students in this school.

So why do we have problems with public education in this country? I'd say we can't lay all the blame on teachers, can we.