Wednesday, August 31, 2005 

Day 7: 26 large coffees and a stun gun please

Classroom dynamics is a huge part of teaching. You can be the best in your field, you can be really good at conveying information, you can even be teaching a cool subject, if the students are sunken low in their seat with no interest in participating to what's happening in the HERE AND NOW, it makes it difficult to feel good about teaching them anything.
Teaching supposes the party that is on the receiving end (ie the students) are actually switching their brains ON, or at least make the effort to go from OFF to NEUTRAL. In this case, I don't even think they ever came across their ignition switch.

So I have this one group of girls who seems to be lacking interest in everything. Or at least in everything I try to teach them. They just sit there and wait for the class to be over. I'm not sure what to do to get them to snap out of this crazy mental state. All 3 other groups of girls are full of life, questions, and interest. We are talking about cool stuff for teenagers (diet, body image, etc) - what kind of zombies will they become when I start explaining how their central nervous system (CNS)works... What are my legal obligations? Will the parents be furious that I did not red-flag the group while it was in the beginning of its dormant state - now that we're talking about the CNS, they are barely breathing, their body temperature is abnormally low, their pulse is below 30...

Perhaps our school is in need of a coffee shop (anyone notice how much coffee the high school kids drink in THE O.C.?) - I bet there's plenty of discussion going on in those classrooms when the kids enter the classroom after 2-3 large mochaccinos...

And so the story goes - there are good days and less good days. Sort of like in all the other jobs I've had.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 

Day 6: "So you DON'T have a teaching degree? Aaaawesome!"

So I'm trying to wrap up the Technology class today, we have about 10 minutes left - this is the 7th period I've been teaching today and I am tired. The blackboard is filled with their ideas of technology, and technical tools. From the internet to the hammer, everything is up there, there is hardly any black left on this board, a cloud of chalk surrounds me, and the temperature is about 90F thanks to the humidity which lingers on despite the summer vacation being over. For about 40 minutes, they flung ideas at me while I was quickly jotting them down on the board in a seemingly organized fashion.

As I try to explain something to them (it escapes me now what that was), I realize I have not really introduced myself to this group, they don't know my background and why some of these technological things excite me so much.
So I go into the whole "I got a biochemistry degree, worked for a year, then went for a chemical engineering degree, worked for 10 years in various industries, and all the planets lined up such that I ended up here, for a whole year, to teach biology and technology."

And then, through the chalk dust, I see their face change and one girl giddily say: "So you don't have a teaching degree?" As I ponder my answer to that, my head slowly swings from side to side, not waiting for my brain to process the best response to this trick question before saying no... And a couple of them smile with an emphatic "Aaaawesome!". And (my favorite comment): "If you've been working more than 10 years, this means you're older than you look - you look like you're 25". Comments like these make teaching worth it...

So I'm not sure what to make of that "Aaaawesome!", what kind of trap lays ahead or is now brewing, if any.

One girl walked out of the classroom with me when the bell rang, and mentioned that it's about time they get a teacher who has actually done something else than go to school and teach.

Now I feel like the girls' expectations are greater than they were on the first day of school. I feel more pressure to perform better than those REAL teachers... But for now, I'll just get ready to improvise some biology tomorrow...

Monday, August 29, 2005 

Back to school night

Well, my son starts grade 4 tomorrow morning. Let's not get carried away - the first 2 days are only half days. But as I now know, the teachers still work ALL day. And sometimes night...
Tonight is the dreaded "Back to school night" which is invariable, year after year, the night right before school starts up. Why, why, why do we always do it this way?

When he walked home on June 23rd, over 2 months ago, a whole summer ago, he brought home his SCHOOL SUPPLY LIST for grade 4.
Why didn't I just bite the bullet and take the list on June 24th to the nearest store to get all this stuff and not think about it anymore? Well, for starters the stores are all closed on the 24th since it's a national holiday here... and by the time the 25th rolled around, I had forgotten all about it.

And so I carefully stuck in a drawer on the 23rd when he got home, to keep it safe from the girls who are getting just a little too good with scissors...

Then later, I rationalized that waiting until August to pull out the LIST would be SMART because school supplies usually go on sale at the beginning of August.

But at the beginning of August, I was busy getting this blog going, signing my school-year-life away, and, oh yeah, posting on my blog. Last week, while I was picking things out for ME to use at school (like red pens and a Winnie the Pooh folder - which I've had to fight to keep away from the girls), I picked up a few items I guessed a fourth grader may use.

Now tonight, we need to reconcile the LIST with what we have in house. And then, we have to write his name over and over, and over and over, because everything has to be labelled - or else it may self-destruct instantly when the first school bell rings.

I smell like gasoline (I did mow the lawn, ran out of gas, and poured some in the lawnmower, some one me), I need a shower, and then just so that my first day off is even more enjoyable, I have a dentist appointment...


Day 5: Easy Mondays...

Well, since our work week is spread over 4 (intense) days, we have the benefit of having a day off, and in my case, it's Mondays. This means that I will be having long week-ends all year, it also means that once I get my act together (ie get the planning done during the OTHER days of the week) I will have a real day off. Today has been quite productive:

- Get the girls to daycare - CHECK

- Get some breakfast and drink as much coffee as possible - CHECK

- Prepare this week's biology lectures, assignments, and think of the first upcoming test - CHECK

- Feed blue-eyed son and friend nutritious lunch - CHECK

- One load of laundry - CHECK

- Get some more course prep done - tackling this as soon as this post is done

- Go to the dentist - soon to be done

- Get my daily post in - almost there

- Cut the grass around the pool - keep dreamin'...

I watched (with A LOT of sadness) the last episode of Six Feet Under last night. I don't remember enjoying another series as much as this one, and getting attached to the characters such that I can't get the final 5 minutes out of my head (once again, an "OFF" button issue - perhaps the neurologist could help with that...). I suppose having watched all 5 seasons in less than a year made me "bond" more with the characters ...

Saturday, August 27, 2005 

Where the hell is the "OFF" button??? And I wouldn't mind an instruction booklet with that...

I can't stop thinking about school. Not in a bad way, just in a "what else can I come up with" way. Like cool learning activities for biology. Right now we're talking about nutrition - and that makes it all the more interesting and easy for me, the Diet Queen, but soon we'll be moving onto other topics and I want to make sure to keep this stuff interesting.

So far, nothing wrong with overthinking school, right? Except that I think about it all the time. I can't stop the think-box.
I was thinking while I processed 8 (yes, 8!!!) loads of wash today, I was thinking about it while the girls were scratching each other's eyes out, I was thinking about it while my son was asking permission to watch Jackass, I am thinking about it as I am typing up this post...


Friday, August 26, 2005 

Day 4: Whose line is it anyway?

Short post today - once again, Mr Migraine is playing squash in my head, and is beating the pants off Mr Fiorinal w/Codeine. I need my pillow, I need quiet, I need darkness, I need to get away from this computer! I got away from the students at 1:00 when my school day ended, after 5 hours of lecture (straight!!!). The day started at 3:51AM when Mr Migraine knocked on the temple door, got in and started warming up for the current game. At 4:02AM, I sent in Mr Advil hoping that he would be man enough to just shoo Mr Migraine out of the court, but no luck...

Today went remarkably well - considering I improvised 3 hours of biology and 2 hours of technology. I ended up going to bed last night (rather than staying up to prepare today's lectures) because I was too tired and thinking of getting up early, driving to school and preparing there. HA ! HA!!!!! Not happening. Not today.

The scary thing was that it was pretty seamless, kids didn't notice I was up there without a specific roadmap, and now I wonder how many of MY old teachers got away with this... I'm thinking that if things don't work out teaching, I'll be able to call Drew up and offer my talent (is that show still on???).

Thursday, August 25, 2005 

Day 3: My feet hurt and I'm tired.

6 hours of lecture today. My feet hurt and my hands are already drying up because of the chalk. I have to say that I actually enjoyed the day. I am a little surprised at the pace required to teach these kids - I keep thinking that it will take only minutes to go over certain topics, but then it ends up taking a lot longer.

It was the first day for the kids in elementary school (this school goes from pre-school to Grade 11). It was total mayhem - I was 5 minutes late to my first class because I had to park about 1 mile from the school and walk, walk, walk, climb the 4 floors to finally make it to the classroom.

The great thing about being a teacher is that teachers don't line up for food - they get to walk right up in front of the gazillion kids in line and order. I can get used to that. I'll have to remember to do this ONLY in the school caf though...

This post is short for a few reasons, including the fact that I am pooped, that I need to prepare some biology material for tomorrow AND prepare for 2 hours of technology.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 

Day 2: What teachers do all night (and you'll be surprised....)

So today was an easy Day 2 since I spent about 30 minutes only with three groups of students. I did roll call, handed out the biology course outline and talked about myself a little - three things I can do very well. My strategy is to get them to like me. Somehow.

I was amazed at the level of detail you need to feed the students. If you mention that a binder will make their lives easier, then they want to know what size (1 or 2 inches?), how many index separators are required, if they will be allowed to write on the handouts I'll be distributing throughout the year. I could have mentioned a preferred color for the binder, I'm sure they would all have gotten just that color. I could get used to this kind of power...
My last 8 years of school were university and so I'm thinking like a university student, not a high school teacher. I wonder why that is...hmmm... maybe simply because I AM NOT A REAL TEACHER!!!

I got further proof of this unfortunate fact when two teachers were discussing how little sleep they got last night:

Teacher A: "I got two hours of sleep last night. You would think this is my first day teaching - I've been at it for 25 years and I just could NOT sleep."

Teacher B: "Don't worry about it - it's like that for me every year since I started... I tossed and turned all night."

What I did NOT add to this conversation was that I slept like a log (us people with kids do not use the expression "like a baby" because then we couldn't complain about the sleepless nights, now could we?). I don't want to stand out too much.

After doing my "thing" in the third class this morning, I overhead one girl say to another as they were leaving the classroom "I like her" - and I'm thinking she may have been referring to me...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 

Day 1: Ped Day (which I learned stands for "Pretty Erratic Discussions")

Well, today was an easy day to survive since it was a day with NO kids. I always thought ped days were simply days off - but teachers actually have to show up and "work" on those days.

I've worked in some cool places since I graduated from Engineering school 10 years ago. I've always been in the business-corporate-let's-make-some-money-to-survive world and suddenly, I find myself listening to teachers debate about whether to fine ($1)those students who leave their books (dictionaries mainly)at school over the summer... Same discussion every year apparently... A few short months ago, I was trying to fix timelines and budgets because the FDA wanted a small change to a clinical oncology protocol - this "small" change had repercussions in the $1M range for a certain project I was managing. Did I drive in to work on a different planet this morning? Will I be able to survive 20 more ped days and be genuinely concerned about these students matters? Will I miss the boardroom discussions and challenges I am so used to?

Tomorrow is not a real day. It's the back-to-school half day - complete with a corn roast and all. I do have to be in class at 8:30AM though but since I only have 1 hour with two differents groups, I will simply introduce myself and have the kids complete a short form I've put together.

I can imagine all the REAL teachers out there laughing at me as they read this, but that's the great thing about internet - I CAN'T SEE YOU LAUGH AT ME!!!
So, in this form, I ask the kids to tell me their favourite color, TV show, music, sport, restaurant, hobby and school subject. I'm thinking (these are my inexperienced-naive-I-can-do-it-all positive thoughts) that I will be able to include their interests and favorite things in my lectures and projects somehow.

After I'm done with school, we are bringing my dad's boat to a different yatch club, where it will be hoisted out of the water and hauled away to Connecticut to its new owner...

Monday, August 22, 2005 

The Day After Tomorrow...

The day after tomorrow - and I am not referring to a movie here (wouldn't that be nice and easy?) - I am referring to the fact that the day after tomorrow is my first day TEACHING. I go in tomorrow for meetings all day (also known as a PED day - didn't we all think teachers were simply off on those days???? well, I am here to tell you that these are WORKING days, with the slight advantage of not having the kids).

I've been working furiously on the content on the technology class. Well, I must admit "furiously" is probably a little strong - but I have been at it since 9:00 this morning (it's 11:55AM as I am blogging)and had very little interruption from my son (miracles do happen!). I got one load of laundry done as well, just for fun.

We watched an episode of House yesterday. The opening scene was in a classroom, the students were writing an exam, and there was a teacher changing the time remaining on the blackboard (you know, erasing the number of minutes left every 5 minutes just to make students nervous).

I didn't even remember that teachers did that. What else do teachers do?????? I guess I have until the day after tomorrow to figure it out...

Saturday, August 20, 2005 

Who's your daddy?

Conversation between the girls and I while driving last night (we were listening to Kids' music CDs):

Christine: Put Caillou in now!
So I pull it out and was holding on to it for a few seconds.

Christine: Let me hold it for you.

Me: No - only adults can handle the CDs - or else something might break and we'll never be able to listen to these 5 hours per day and that would be tragic.

Caroline: Only adults can touch CDs?

Me: Yes, only adults.

Christine: Only adults, not daddy. Not daddy, hen?

Me: Yes, not daddy... Only real adults.

Friday, August 19, 2005 

10 years ago, we took the plunge (and the water wasn't even cold!)

Well,it's been 10 years already since Hubby and I tied the knot. Funny saying really when you look at the perfect shape of wedding rings. No knot in those. No knot in anything I can think of at the church. Or at the reception.

Perhaps the whole expression is mispelled and is really meant to be "try the not" , as in "I will try the not-philandering", "I will try the not-getting on your nerves", "I will try the not-leaving the toilet seat up" (OK, OK, that one is pushing it a little for most XY creatures).

I used to think 10 years was a long time. And today, I wonder where the years went, how we went from wedding vows and an awesome honeymoon in Jamaica (at Sandals no less - we recommend this resort to EVERYONE!!!) to a mortgage, a minivan, a trampoline and six extra feet to buy shoes for.
When did our lives change so dramatically without us having the chance to blink?

Would I change anything?

Would I take the plunge again?

The water wasn't cold then, and it's only getting warmer every year...

Thursday, August 18, 2005 

What a klutz!

Today's post has to be short. I hope PETA doesn't come after my husband... but if you can picture a chicken with no head (one has to assume that it was somehow cut off)running around to get stuff done, with Barney annoyingly playing in the background to (unsuccessfully)keep the girls away from me and the computer - well, if you're still following and can picture that, you've got a good snapshot of what's going on at our place today. I am the chicken - my husband must therefore be the one who amputated the avian creature...

I'm keeping an eye on Christine who is playing with tiny pop bead creatures... These beads seemed like a good idea when I saw them yesterday at Costco ( it said "4 yrs+" on the package, but my girls are smart, beautiful and can do anything, right?
Well, it turns out there might have been a small, very small reason that they suggest this for 4-yr olds (and NOT 3yrs, 4 months, 1 week and 3.5 hours- the twins' exact age as I am writing this). Actually, there are 167 little reasons, purple, red, blue and yellow among other colors, for which this activity is not recommended for those less than 4 yrs old...

So I'm trying to keep these darn beads in the same general area (I've given up on them remaining in the tupperware - if they are on the floor in ONE room of the house, I can live with that) while "I love you, You love me, We're a happy family..." is blasting from the tv...

I was counting on someone's website - a great website on a class I'll be teaching in less than a week - to use as a basis to draft my course outline, assignments, etc. I know it sounds like last minute to be working on that - but this website was sooooo good, I had no worries about this. And now, that very organized and experienced teacher just went ahead and changed her site to suit the new "Communication" focus she is giving this course. I mean school starts NEXT WEEK - why did she have to update everything and design new assignments and tests I can't use!!! So with the kids wreaking havoc all around, I am trying to think of cool themes to talk about. So far, electricity, biotechnology, cell phones, satellites and automobiles are among the ones I've decided to concentrate on...

I am starting to feel the pressure - I'll soon be standing in front of a bunch of girls, I want to get them excited about science and technology, while internally there is a vulcano of inexperience brewing.... I guess the real science project here is taking someone like me, sticking that person in charge of coming up with course material, and seeing what happens to my vitals on an hourly basis.

Oops - this post is NOT short.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005 

I slept with a new man last night

Those who read these words with horror, please settle down. I am still married (and faithful) to my dear hubby (it's going to be 10 years on the 19th of this month).

He had a bday earlier this month, and he's starting to feel the weight of the years (this is my explanation of his strange behavior). Some of his hair is turning grey but what I am referring to is the new pj he bought yesterday. He's always worn t-shirts and "leisure pants" to bed, mostly uncoordinated but comfortable pieces of clothing. All that changed yesterday. He bought one of those pjs my father has always worn. They manufacture this type of pj for the ageing population, those well over 50, with lots of grey hair or no hair at all. Is this where we are headed? What is next? Grecian Formula? White sports socks in his sandals?

Lordy, Lordy, what will it be when he's forty????

Monday, August 15, 2005 

He's 9 going on 16

Well, today is a day I will remember for a long time. My first born, my beautiful blue-eyed son, my one and only boy, the ultimate "mama's boy", chose to hang out with some friends tonight rather than going to the movies with me. I have to mention that we are both movie buffs, that we watch way too much TV, and that we LOVE watching movies on the big screen.
I had suggested The Island or Four Brothers - both of which look good, and after giving it some thought, he turned me down to hang out with three 12 year-old girls. They listened to music, they jumped around on the trampoline, they basically just hung around outside, went for ice cream and talked. And that won over a car ride ALONE with me (since his sisters were born, he has missed being alone with me, and since they started talking, we all miss the concept of QUIET). It won over seeing the previews of the next best movies of 2008. It won over the overpriced salt-ladden popcorn we always buy, and the can of Diet Coke we sneak in my purse.

Hanging out with girls won over a movie. That alone says it all. Deep down I knew this would happen some day - I never gave any thought to this. I do accept his wanting to be independant. I guess I must have done something right.

I figure that as long as my hubby never turns me down, life is good.

Saturday, August 13, 2005 

He blew so well!

It was hubby's bday today - I put 32 candles on his cake and we all watched him try to blow them out in one breath. And he did!!!!

I finished writing my review on our trip to the Breezes Punta Cana and will be posting it tomorrow on TripAdvisor. Finally. I'd been putting it off. Sort of like preparing my Technology course outline. I should try to get some of it done soon...

Why is it that when we were shopping for summer sandals for the girls in late May, there were tons of fall shoes available. We are now mid-August, we went today for the fall shoes because if we don't go early enough (or so we thought it was "early") we can't get two pairs of identical shoes (same size). Well, it was too late - they were already out of most of the fall line-up. Why are we now shopping one season early??? - I got the fall edition of the Sears catalog on May 31st. MAY - summer wasn't even officially here yet and there I was looking at suede boots and winter coats.
Why not buy clothes for the rest of our lives right now and get it over with. Some people might be happy with that. In fact, some people never do much shopping and wardrobe renewal.
Don't get me wrong, I consider shopping a preferred aerobic activity and a great way to get away from the kids while still being a good mom since I shop for THEM (constantly and some might think obsessively).

Well, that's it - I need to reduce the calory intake, increase the calorie burning and get in shape. It's official - I need to do it. Of course, it's been official since I gave birth to the twins, but now I'll be standing in front of (hypothetically) skinny girls who'll simply remind me of this fact so I need to take care of it ASAP. On that note, I'm going to bed. Not high on calory burning (well, it depends of course...)but after surviving the day on 5 hours of sleep, I can certainly use 40 winks.

Thursday, August 11, 2005 

it's about to explode

My head. Migraines. That's the hidden monster in my head. It hits at the most inopportune times of course. My hubby was gracious enough to drive me home while his parents watched the kids. We are on our camping trip, except that I am now home and they are at the campsite.

Life sucks sometimes...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 

Sold to the man from Connecticut!

Well, we got the good/bad news that Varuna has been sold. What is it that makes humans feel anything for THINGS – like inanimate objects that are tools we use for fun or play - and yet get somehow attached to them... I am very sad that this oversized piece of wood with two masts, four sails, and a sleuth of other nice features is actually going to disappear forever from our lives. Enough about this - even though it was his decision, I'm sure my dad hasn't slept since he accepted the offer 24 hours ago...

Well, we're going camping for a couple of days. We reserved two campgrounds yesterday because my in-laws are also coming. Let's make things clear here - we have a huge tent, air-mattresses, pillows, NON-nylon sleeping bags, and basically everything else they sold in the camping aisle at Walmart. The girls even have those animal flashlights that make roaring sounds when you turn them on. And yet, all this is NOTHING since my hubby's parents are rolling in next to us in their super-deluxe-it's-got-everything-even-two-kitchen-sinks RV. If you're not too fond of sleeping in the wild, and going to the community john, this is the way to go. It's the size of a tourist bus, with one tv in the front area, and one in their bedroom. We're doing the camping thing because the kids dig it so much. Being outside all the time (we have to keep them OUT of the tent if we want to sleep there eventually!), sitting around the bonfire until way past their bedtime, eating junk food like hot dog sausages and marshmallows with our approval, no less... As exciting as all that sounds, there begins what I like to call the paranoid weather watch. That's an activity reserved to adults, particularly those who do not want to wake up to shoes drifting by in a puddle of rain INSIDE the tent. Yes, that would be me...

As I'm sipping my green tea, on a comfortable chair and with my high speed internet conenction, I'm starting to wonder what possesses human beings to subject themselves to such barbaric activities. And as my first day of school approaches (13 days to go), I hope I don't feel the same way about teaching as I do about camping...

Friday, August 05, 2005 


Anyone who knows me knows that I always have something to say. I've always got something on my mind, some cool new fact I just found out, some news I like to discuss, something, anything.

Yet today as I think of my blog, I am drawing a blank - I am 17 days away from my first day at school, still miles from being ready to actually stand in front of a classroom and teach, convey knowledge, look like I know something, not to trip over my own feet or my cordless laptop...

I've been thinking a lot about what it will be like to get to know - fairly well since I'll be spending 5 hours per week with them - a bunch of 9th graders. All girls. 100 of them in total. 14 and 15 years old. Those were not easy years when I was growing up. But I made it and so will they. Will I make it as a teacher to those teens? Both time and this blog will tell. Through my eyes and keyboard.

And in the meantime, I'm still stuck in that marathon...

Thursday, August 04, 2005 

I'm in the process of completing a marathon!

Dear hubby and I got back 5 days ago from a romantic get-away to the Dominican Republic to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. It was our first time leaving the kids behind, and although we did enjoy the freedom associated with NOT having three kids complaining, crying, asking for something to drink or to eat, begging for candy, or in need of a bathroom NOW-oops-it's-too-late, I have to admit that they keep us busy in a good way, and that freedom to do whatever you want is slightly over-rated.

Anyhow, it's a good thing we did not have them along for this particular vacation, because kids under the age of 12 cannot take Immodium, and those who cannot take Immodium should NOT go to the Breezes in Punta Cana! Almost everyone we spoke to (with the exception of a family of 4) got some kind of tummy problem (that's the polite term for DIARRHEA). I personally like the image that pops into my head when people refer to it as having "the runs". Not that there is anything funny about the mad dash to the loo, but the runs almost makes you think you're getting a workout out of the whole ordeal...

We've been back 5 days now, one would think my tummy problem would be subsiding but I'm close to completing my first marathon. Running. To the bathroom. I now feel I live in that Immodium commercial as my son and hubby constantly ask me "How's your diarrhea?". I can't wait to reach the finish line...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 

This ship is about to sail...

Today was a bit of a bummer day - I helped my dad show off Varuna, a beautiful sailboat my parents bought the year I was born - they are now looking to sell it. So, for all of you trying to do quick math here, this boat has been part of the family for 36 years, and it holds basically all of my memories of summer vacations, as well as week-ends. We spent EVERY week-end of the summer either going for 2 day trips or simply sleeping over, and 2 whole weeks going cool places and getting a nice tan. This was back when there was an ozone layer and the notion of sunscreen was non-existent. Actually, I remember buying tanning oil to accelerate the whole process. Imagine that... I now lather my kids with SPF 30 or 45 depending on the time of the day ...
Even though my outings on the boat are now few and far between, it will be hard to see it go... I'll post some pics of it later - now it's time to hit the sack with the brand new 2006 IKEA Catalog. I've got 2 copies - HIS and HERS - to avoid any and all possible conflict. It's nice to dream of everything we want to buy... unfortunately, until they allow us to dump the kids for more than 1 hour in the play area, we can't do it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 

Just signed on the dotted line

Well, it's as official as it gets - I signed the contract this morning. I knew that there are 180 days of school - IT NEVER OCCURED TO ME THAT TEACHERS WORK 200 DAYS!!!! Not that it makes a difference at this point - I hear course prep and exam correction take up plenty of personal time as well...

Had my head checked, so to speak - I saw my neurologist today. He's my best hope to keep the drugs coming to combat those horrible migraines I get every month. He suggested I start thinking of preventive meds I would take every day. I don't mind popping a pill every morning if it means I never have to worry about my head throbbing like mad at any point in my life. The main side effect however is weight gain - now I think I'll stick to the throbbing and use the regular meds because if I add anything to the 25 lbs I'm still carrying after my last pregnancy, someone will have to add anti-depressants to the mix, and by then, I may as well just re-orient my career and become a pharmacist because I'll be constantly thinking about pills anyways...

The kids are taking their bath in the pool. It's one of those practical summer solutions we have found to work entirely to our advantage. Not only does this drain whatever bit of energy they may have leftover at the end of the day, but they're squeaky clean when they come out, and they dash into the house once they're out because the mosquitoes are lined up waiting for them to get out.

Monday, August 01, 2005 

Yes, I do... and I hope I won't regret it!

So I did accept the position - it seemed like a great opportunity - the summer off with the kids, plenty of time to prepare the courses, get a great tan, and did I mention having the summer off?

So here we are, I start in 22 days, so this technically would be Day -22. So really I'll be blogging the 202 days of my experience - and perhaps more if I feel the inherent need to post something once I am done with the final exams, done with the kids, done with the whole adventure... There was no inherent need to start planning and outline the courses 2 months ago, back when I had "ALL SUMMER" to do it. Here we are, August 1st...

I started the Biology planning today. I've handled the management of chemical plant automation projects worth over a million dollars, planned the timelines and strategies for developmental cancer drugs, wrote extensive documents pertaining to validation to meet FDA standards, surely planning a simple Grade 9 biology course is something I can handle.

Well, after spending all day with the biology book, the binder of notes left by the teacher (who just retired after teaching this for 32 YEARS by the way), here I am with a few things scribbled on a loose leaf I stole from my son. I have not used a loose leaf since 1996 when I finished engineering school. There simply has never been a need for it, and yet this morning I was scrambling for this basic tool so that I could "think on paper". I'm trying to be practical about things, I want to be a cool teacher the kids will love, maybe even have a few of the girls say that Biology is their favorite subject - but so far, there will be a test at the end of each chapter, and we will be covering several chapters per semester. Not to mention the lab reports. Is that crazy? I'll never really know - I'm my own boss for this stuff, it's all up to me - what to cover, what to leave out, how to make sure they understand and how to evaluate their efforts.

I'm signing the contract tomorrow - it will be the official piece of paper that says I'm a teacher (for the 2005-2006 school year). I've been trying to avoid thinking of the paycut this represents. Teachers are not paid much money here - or anywhere from what I understand. Whenever I think of this, I keep reminding myself of the 4-day workweek and all the days off at Christmas, spring break, Easter, etc...

Well, time to tidy up the house, get dinner ready, and step into my Mom function... the ultimate 24/7 job that pays absolutely nothing, costs more as the kids get older, can cause heart attacks and aches, is often the cause of lack of sleep, lack of sex, lack of personal time. It also happens to be my favorite job, go figure!


180 days: Before and After

Well, this is it... I'm armed with a keyboard and a new blog, ready to share my experience with all of the world, or at least those who'll care to read it.

180 days as a grade 9 teacher.

Nothing spectacular about that at first glance - thousands of people around the world, in all those countries lucky enough to have mandatory schooling, are actually grade 9 teachers showing up in classrooms and sharing their knowledge with some patience, a large dose of discipline and all the cool teaching methods they learned when they completed their Teaching Degree. And that's where my experience will be unique - or at least my perspective of it all - I am NOT a teacher, I did NOT complete a Teacher's degree, and I have never stepped into a classroom in a teaching capacity. Biology, and Technology are the grade 9 subjects I'll be teaching, as well as running a computer workshop for the 8-graders.

How did this happen? Is the director of that high school crazy to turn over these kids to me? Well, in her defense, here's a bit of my background which has led her to believe I can actually pull this off, and even do a good job to get these kids excited about science.

I'm one of those weirdos who loves school - I completed my first university degree in May 1991 - a bachelor of Biochemistry. In September 1992, after working, buying my first car and gathering some money, I started another degree, Chemical Engineering, which I completed in 1996. To add to the academic challenge, I married in 1995 and decided to have my first child before finishing school so that I could enter the workforce without constantly thinking of that biological clock business... Thus, I was big as a house when I wrote my 7th semester exams, and had the cutest 3-month old boy to look after during my 8th and last semester of engineering school. Challenges such as these are what make life fun, right? I started working when my son turned 1.

Fast forward to February 2005, we now have three kids - my twin girls were born in 2002 and have re-defined the word "challenge". I'm a Project Manager in a biotech company, I absolutely LOVE my job and my co-workers, and BOOM!!! Some investors decide to pull the plug, take their money and run elsewhere with it - and almost everyone is laid off. A good friend of mine mentions that there is an opening for a science teacher - a one-year replacement - where she teaches. This happens to be the school we both went to from Grade 1 to Grade 11, a private, all-girls, nun-run school.

A couple of phone calls later, there I was, faced with a big decision: to be or not to be a teacher for a year...

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About me

  • I'm Lolita
  • From Canada
  • Challenges... don't we all love a good challenge? University, married life, a mortgage, kids, keeping my sanity while we cruise through life at 100 MPH... why not try my hand at teaching for a year. After all, a school year is only 180 days - anyone should be able to survive 180 days, right? Well, I'm about to find out - follow my journey and enjoy my trials and tribulations as I embark in this 180 day rollercoaster ride of teenage hormones and drama, spiked with discipline, homework, exams and surprises I'm sure...
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