Friday, August 29, 2008

A cluttered desk is a sign of . . .

This has been a very strange week. We started school on Monday at 8:35 a.m. At 8:30 a.m. I had two brand new students walk through my door. I have 6 students who are brand spanking new to the school. Two are from out of state. And one is from France, who doesn't speak any English. Yeah! You can imagine, things were not as organized as I would like them to be that first day. However my desk doesn't usually get too bad until the second week of school.

Anyway, on Tuesday, the second day of school, I had to leave at 12:55 because I was sick. I don't get sick very often, so this was odd. But I went home.

Bless the other teachers who helped out, especially with my little French student. (How do you say, "Sorry your teacher ditched you while she was reading a story. Come here and silently pretend to read this book." in French?)

When I got in the next morning, feeling much better, there's this note on my desk from the librarian. She had come in to watch the kids and do a little teaching. The note said:

"I taught lesson 1.1 in math. We couldn't find your planner so we read the first chapters of Fablehaven. Hope you feel better!"

A teacher's planner is huge. It takes up the entire desk, and the two pages that are open show a full week. It is a difficult thing to lose. And here it is the second day of school and already people are telling me they can't find things on my desk.

I cleaned it that morning.

Happily the, the rest of the week was much smoother, the class is DARLING, and I need to learn French. Fast.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My windows face full west!

You get ten points if you know where I got that title.

My classroom windows face west which is nice in the mornings. Things stay cooler (a relative term in Utah schools) until after lunch. And then the sun comes around the building. But by then we only have a couple of hours left. No one has died yet.

The problem comes when the district schedules parent teacher conferences between 4:00 and 7:00 in the evening. I was there for the last two evenings and it was awful.

So here is the first impression my parents have of their kid's new teacher:

no makeup (it melted around 4:10)
sweaty armpits (yuck!)
hair pulled in a scraggley bun (I had it all nice . . . and then I out it up off my neck)

They must think I am some sort of street person. But my earrings were new and really cute. If you know me, my earrings are very important to me. And I did wear a skirt and the outfits were nice. But I forgot to shave my legs. Let's face facts. In a parent teacher conference, no one cares what my legs look like.

The more I think about it, I was probably looked less like a street person and more like some hippie earth muffin. Nice.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I was going to get a Diet Pepsi at our friendly neighbohood 7/11 when I passed this cute little lemonade stand. As I got closer I could see that it was run by two of my previous students. So, on my way back, I stopped and bought a lemonade for 25 cents. I had to. they were my little students and they saw me. I couldn't just leave them there with no customers.

Yesterday, my roommate and I again found ourselves in need of a Big Gulp. They know us by name at that 7/11. And once again there was a little lemonade stand out . . . only with more kids. And they were offering Jolly Ranchers for 5 cents. I think they have our number.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I am 34 and still dating. My family is bored to tears of this topic. But think about this, I have been dating since I was 16 . . . that's more than half my life. I am really not good at this!

Anyway, this summer, since I have left my single's ward and went to a family ward, I decided it might be time to try the online thing. Holy Crap! Talk about taking an awkward situation and making it worse. At least with the blind dates I got set up on (as infrequent as they were) I had someone to vouch for the guy. Now I have the guy vouching for himself. Usually with very poor spelling and grammar.

I know some of you are going to read this and say "I know so-and-so and they met on line and they are now happily married with 12 children and another on the way."

Yeah. Whatever. I think y'all are lying.

Let me set everyone straight. I have talked to a few really nice guys. So there are decent guys online. I've even gone out. But they are few and far between.

The first guy that I talked to had the screen name of "hottestguy" and his first question to me was how I liked to kiss. It went downhill from there. I also talked to a guy who invited me over that night to makeout, this within five minutes of chatting. What the heck?! And what is with the 68 year old dude viewing my profile? Does anyone else find that creepy? A man with children isn't a problem for me, but a man with grandchildren is.

I am really not that picky. The criteria I entered into the LDSSingles site were pretty straight forward.

Human Male, 30-39, Average height, Average weight, capable of speech . . .

I'd also like them to be active in the church and temple worthy.

I fed my criteria into LDSSingles. They told me that there are 84 guys online within a 30mile radius of my zipcode. 84.

I was curious, and I asked how many women with the same criteria were online in the area. 500+

Yeah. The odds are not in my favor.

I guess there would be more if I looked outside of the valley, but I have a job that doesn't allow for any movement. If you leave the district you don't take any retirement with you, and you start at the next district as if you were a first year teacher. I'll only do that if I move to someplace like Hawaii or The Bahamas. (I have tropics and sun on the brain).

Amazingly, I am not that upset. In fact, I am alarmingly happy. For many years I have asked myself "Why me? Why am I single?" I now have the answer. After looking at many, many profiles of single men, I know the reason the Lord has kept me single is so that I'm not married to one of them.

So, I will go shopping, buy a new pair of boots, and feel good that I gave it a try.

And if you know of someone . . .

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Trick

The worst/best job in teaching can be getting room ready for a new year. It is fun because you get to be creative, make everything clean again, and the room looks nice for maybe a week before people come in. It is the worst job because the school isn't airconditioned, and you have to do it in June or August. Putting paper on bulletin boards doesn't necessarily have me running to tell Mike at Dirty Jobs, but it is really awkward and you get sweaty and dusty really fast.

To finish a room, it takes me about a week, because I only work a few hours in the morning. Then I go home and take a shower.

Last May, the District and the State changed our standardized testing format. The students took them online. That meant we had to fit 13 classrooms into 2 computer labs. Thank heavens the little kids still take paper and pencil tests. This meant we started earlier and ended later. All this meant that my schedule for the end of the year was thrown out the window.

I was pulling out old lesson plans to fill the last three weeks of school. After you've taken the tests you tell the kids, "I know you don't have anymore big tests but this information is important too" they look at you and think "yeah, see we just took our tests for three weeks. We're tired. Our learnin' is done this year." (I blame "No Child Left Behind" for making the tests so dadgum important that even 10 year olds are aware that a failed test can "fail" a class, and enough of those can "fail" a school. I didn't tell them that. But I digress.)

So in May during the last week of school, out of desperation, I started putting up the next year's bulletin boards and I got everyone involved. They went up in one afternoon. (I had 35 helpers). I got worried that the sun might fade the paper, so we covered everything with more butcher paper. That took another afternoon.

So, now I don't have to put anything up in the August heat. And it looks really nice. Neat trick!

Just use the underaged workers. I paid them with candy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Jessica's Adventure or: What Not To Put In The Microwave

I wasn't going to post so soon. However, I have to share what my roommate Jessica did last night.

To begin with, on Saturday, Jessica was in a pretty severe dirt biking accident. On Sunday she was in a lot of pain and couldn't move around. My other roommate, Jennie, and I were getting ice for her banged up knee, heating pads for her back and neck and shoulders, and ibuprofen for everything else. She is pretty banged up.

The heating pads are where things get dicey. I have two of those flannel bags filled with rice that you stick in the microwave. They are fabulous when you are sore, because they hold heat forever and you don't have to plug them in. So, I stuck them in the microwave for Jessica's back, and because they can get too hot, I wrapped them in some towels.

Last night before bed, Jessica was saying how her back felt so much better but her legs were hurting. I suggested she try the heating pads again. She's mobile now, so she could do the microwaving herself. I told her to microwave each for about 5 minutes. About 5 minutes later, Jessica came to my room and told me my towel and heating pad had caught fire in the microwave, and was I mad that they were burnt. Because my first thought was for the towel and heating pad, not Jennie's microwave. Here's what happened:

Jessica put the heating pad wrapped in the towel in the microwave, which would only make it less likely to heat up, but not a fire hazard. Then she went to her room to wait. Which is sad because she missed the arcing. See, the towel was a Christmas towel with metallic embroidery.

Jessica came down to check on it, saw the fire, tried to blow it out, yep, blow it out, and when that just fanned the flames, she threw water on it.

Fire out, towel and heating pad burnt, microwave still working. As you can see, it wasn't a little fire.

P.S. Not one smoke alarm went off. I guess I'm buying batteries today.

P.P.S. Jennie wasn't mad because her microwave still works. She just made the new rule that Jessica can't use any electrical appliances without supervision. Jessica agreed.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Name Game

My sister Erin and her husband Rob are expecting their third baby in January. They have some great girl names, but no boy names. This is because they are crazy.

Erin's choices for a boy's name are really red neck. She likes the following:

But these are better than Rob's choices. He like Buster and Barnaby. I am not kidding.

As a teacher, I have a different perspective. Because I have learned to really love some children and really "tolerate" some children, their names have special significance to me. There are names that I once loved that I can't think of now without thinking of the child I taught. I used to like the name James. Then I taught a James. I never liked the name Max until I taught two Maxes. Now I can see naming my own son Max. There are several boys who have impressed me so much I wouldn't mind using their names one day.

So I give to you, Erin and Rob and the world, my least favorites and most favorites, from my 9 years of teaching. (In hopes that perhaps you'll name your child after someone who doesn't have a car on cinder blocks in the frontyard and a stained couch on the porch.)

Please be assured that if your name is on here, and you were ever in my class, OF COURSE THIS ISN'T YOU. It's that other kid. You remember him, right?

Least Favorite Names:
1. James - Diligent in studying the effect of violent video games on his mind
2. Fred - Children should be seen and not throw things
3. Ian - Don't remind me, I know, you're smarter than me
4. Taylor - Just one second of silence. One. Just one.
5. Michael - If you touch another person . . .

Most Favorite Names:
1. Daniel - He sang "Sponge Bob" when he got an answer right
2. Max - This kid's gonna be a star . . . or a lawyer
3. Spencer - Do they really make kids that smart?
4. Nate - How do you tell a boy he's sweet?
5. A.J. - Best P.E. teacher in the whole fourth grade.

Really, there are only 5 least favorite names. I could have come up with a lot more than 5 favorite names.
So I guess I have been lucky.

I could have had a wonderfully talented and bright boy in my class named Barnaby.

Friday, August 1, 2008


I really have no news. In fact I'll bet Erin will post these pictures on her blog too. But they are so cute!

I love to shop for souvenirs. Not really for me. I have sadly come to the realization that there are only so many t-shirts I can own. So when I go on vacation, I shop for everyone else.

But the big fun this time was clothing. Come on, it's Hawaii!

Holly and Sam are my adorable niece and nephew. Holly is 6 and Sam will 3 in three weeks. They have been in Minnesota all summer and I have really missed them. These two are my sweethearts. Aunties really try hard not to play favorites but I have with everyone of them from time to time. And Holly and Sam and I have bonded over many things including teaching and learning how to give "wet willies", trips to the bookstore, and a long drive to Disneyland when the three of us shared a backseat.

Anyone who knows Sam knows he could really end up "hanging ten" some day. I can see Sam driving around looking for some good waves in his pickup with his longboards in back. So now he has the clothes. He just needs a pair of flipflops.

Holly is every inch the princess, unless she's giving you a "wet willie." So I got her something frilly. And here they are!:

I got Erin a lei made from nuts and painted with flowers (Holly is wearing it). It was much easier to get home than lei made of real flowers.

But my favorite find was a fluke. I called Erin from Hawaii and asked if her husband Rob would feel left out . . . was he dying for an Aloha shirt? Apparently not because Erin laughed.

Then at Pearl Harbor I found this great magnet. It was an old WWII propaganda poster. There is a picture of this plane crashed into pieces and it says "Warning! Consider the Consequences if You Don't Do Your Job!" Rob is in the MBA program at BYU. So Rob, you get a motivational magnet and the knowledge that I am openly encouraging your son to live on the beach and catch waves for the rest of his life.

Hope you like it! I laughed out loud.