Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Update

Realizing it has been a while since my last post, I figured it needed a little updating.

The weekend prior to Veteran's Day had me traveling to Arizona to spend sometime with my parents and brothers for a mini-reunion. I picked up my brother Greg from the airport in Vegas on the evening of the 6th and he, Scott and I drove to Phoenix to pick up Doug and Garret the next day. We got away later than I had anticipated, missed our exit and ended up being more than 3 hours late picking up Doug and Garret from the airport. I was horrified and felt guilty the entire time. Waiting in airports is like Chinese Water Torture...I can't think of anything I hate more. We finally made it to Steven's house in Tucson after spending 11 hours driving. I think I will fly next time I need to make this trip. It would be much quicker.

The weekend was a blast...but it always is with my family. Lots of talking and laughing. Monday all of us went to see the San Francisco 49er's play the Arizona Cardinals for Monday night football. (Greg was the only one absent, having flown home Sunday night). Until the last 2 minutes of the game the 49ers had been leading. Unfortunately a few bad plays and they were unable to win. Even though they lost, we still had a great time. Here is a picture of us at the game. Good looking bunch!

The rest of November should have gone smoothly, but it was a month full of holidays which makes students go a little ape nuts. It has been a battle trying to keep them interested and motivated when they knew it was a short week. My students grades have never been lower. Hopefully in December they will get their acts together. Due to work, I was sort of in a funk the rest of the month. Once again asking myself that age old question "Why am I a teacher?" To top things off on the 18th, one of my students stole my ipod. The only thing I used this ipod for was to create podcasts and so this really made me mad. The school ended up buying me a new one, but it didn't change the circumstances. I have no idea who took it, so there really isn't anyone to blame but myself. With all of this going on I have wondered if I should remain a high school teacher, or venture off into some other field. I do enjoy teaching, but my current population makes me hate it. I am still looking for other teaching positions for next year as I continue to ponder my dilemma.

I stayed in town for Thanksgiving. Scott and I went out to breakfast and then saw "Twilight." He had to work that afternoon and I went home to finish some of my Christmas projects. The weekend was nice and I wish I could have a few more days to catch up with school work, but time of course flies quickly.

I made a momentous decision on Friday. Recently, I have been reading a blog called "The Happiness Project." On the blog the writer talked about a book about how to write a novel in 30 days. I purchased the book and it arrived on Friday. After reading the book my roommate and I decided that in December we would write our first novel. We have 31 days to write 75,000 words. I already got a head start and I have the first 1000 words written. During the month I will post weekly updates on how the process is going. I have no illusions that this will be a publishable novel, I just want to get something out to see if I can do it.

My book is presently titled "Ataturk's Dream" and is about a young teacher who takes a trip to Turkey and her world is thrown into turmoil while she is there. I don't have an outline, or a major plot--all I have is a couple of main characters and a desire. We shall see how it goes.

Since November is a month to pay a little more attention to our blessings I will end my blog with my gratitude list. It is in no particular order.

  • working computer
  • my good students that are trying to learn and ask amazing questions
  • my school for the new ipod
  • my family, I couldn't ask for a better buch of brother and the most amazing parents on the planet
  • primary music - I was recently called to be the primary chorister and it has turned out to be better than I imagined
  • friends - even though we are far apart, I think about you constantly and look forward to seeing you
  • my Heavenly Father, even though the world is in turmoil I feel at peace
  • my nephew Scott, he is serving his mission in North Carolina and I am so moved by his testimony and faith
  • a healthy body that allows me to keep up with my crazy schedule

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day of Change

I take my civic duty of voting very seriously. I try to instill in my students the desire to participate in the democratic process of our country. I am fortunate that my voting location is at my high school. Yet another perk of living next door to my job. As I went to vote, one my former students Mike (he is part of the group that went to New York with me) was working as a volunteer checking in voters . Standing next to me at my voting booth was one of other former students. I was proud to see them and their enthusiasm in the process, but I was also glad that I could demonstrate to them what I had spoken about.

Regardless of who wins the current election big changes will be happening in the United States and I am hopefully optimistic for the future.

In other news, today I was able to teach one of the break-out sessions for our Staff Development Day about Socratic Circles and Philosophical Chairs. Both of these strategies are a great way to develop inquiry skills with students. To help me demonstrate both of these teaching strategies I had 15 students come and do both activities for the teachers. The students were amazing and they really stole the show. I think most of the teachers enjoyed my session. It is often difficult to read their body language.

After it was over, the school provided pizza for the kids and we talked about the experience. They thought it was amusing to see that the teachers acted just like students. They mentioned that as soon as I turned my back on them the teachers started chatting, some were texting, others were reading magazines and one even had the audacity to surf the internet on his laptop. Fortunately the teachers did model some positive behaviors. One of which allowed the students to see some different sides to the articles they had discussed. I think my students might have finally gotten a glimpse at how difficult my job can be as they watched me put together and conduct my presentation.