Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ready to Tear My Hair Out

Yeah, that didn't take long after my unabashed joy and excitement, did it?

Here's why I'm at my wits' end:

Fucking JACKHAMMERING at 4.40AM and then again at 9AM. I just couldn't sleep through the night. By morning, my legs and my head felt like glass bubbles ready to shatter at the slightest movement.

There's been construction going on in the apartment next door, and most of it seems to involve BANGING on the opposite side of my main wall. It's been weeks now. It's driving me bananas, because there's nothing I can do. I'm home during the day for only several weeks a year, and this is what I get?

Finally, of course, what frustration *doesn't* stem from interaction with The Bureaucracy? I've now spent probably a couple hours calling all kinds of offices, either on hold or being told that I have to call someone else. Nobody has any answers for me. And jeez, I don't know anything yet about this new job, I haven't started yet! So I can't answer the questions they ask me. So I'm kind of at a loss. The most recent development is calling a specific person at a service center who won't be in until 1pm, or maybe not at all. Argh! However, I am happy to report that a certification specialist just called me back and DID have definitive answers, so there's one person who's knowledgeable in the system, thank god!

Check the timestamp on this post.

It is 4.51 IN THE MORNING right now.

I was awakened within the last ten minutes by a loud noise.

First I thought it was my window fan, stuttering with some stray object sucked to the back.


Then I thought it was one of those mothereffing motorcycles, idling at the stoplight. (Those people deserve a special circle in hell, if you ask me.)

It went on longer than a stoplight cycle, so I got up once again.

You will not believe this.


In the middle of the intersection.


Take a second to process it.

Then, be thankful you're not here and are actually sleeping peacefully through the predawn hours, as man was meant to.

You bet your ass I called 311 to register a complaint. Guess what, there was one already filed in the system! I must have fast neighbors.

Also, this is the first and only time that I've heard shouted protests coming from apartment windows like you see in the movies: "You guys can't be doing this this early!""Shut the fuck up!"

Welcome to the Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps Because Some ASSHOLE is JACKHAMMERING in the Middle of the Night.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Finally, the update! (cross-posted)

Hehe, patience, y'all, I wanted to get all the Maine stuff up first! :)

So as you know, I've been teaching one subject in one grade in one borough (some of you probably, hopefully, know more details than that. But I'm trying to stay mildly anonymous :D). This new job is a charter school in another borough (nearby, starts with B), teaching a different (sort-of related) subject, in one grade higher. This hasn't been taught at this school before, as it's still growing. So there's no existing curriculum and I've never taught it before, and it needs to cover A LOT of information about a couple hundred years of the country. I have zero idea about the logistics of the curriculum--I'm crossing my fingers they have bought or will be buying a textbook. But I have no idea, and it's KILLING me not to know yet. So that part of it defintely makes me a little anxious and apprehensive, but I'm looking forward to the new challenge, and proving to myself that I can work hard, persevere, learn new things, etc etc.

What I do know and love is that the school has adequate facilities, and it has excellent resources. The teachers' room has a free copy machine (at my previous school, teachers had to buy a copy code [cheaply, but still] AND provide paper) and shelves of books, just sitting there (not stashed away in a secret room in a secret stairwell, covered in asbestos dust). Plenty of money for classroom books and supplies. Plenty of schoolwide expectations and reinforcement systems. A longer school day and a longer school year (several mandatory weeks in summer for students and teachers), but also a 10k raise.

The training starts next week! I am eager to meet other teachers, get to know more details about the school, hopefully learn a bit about the curriculum, and get fired up.

Since it's a new borough, this necessitates moving! I am very sad to leave my cute apartment in my quiet and cute neighborhood. But the BF and I are planning to move in together to a new place. So that's exciting (although the apartment hunting is a pain and the moving is going to SUCK ASS).

I now have to figure out how to resign--the bureaucracy of this profession in this particular city is mind-boggling. I called two numbers today and apparently have to go into some office in person to physically resign. I'm going to attempt this tomorrow, wish me luck.

This whole development makes me feel vindicated about not going to China (because I would have been there at the time all this happened) and VERY glad for turning down the other offer. I wanted new things, and this year promises that pretty much every single thing in my life will indeed be different, with just the kind of things I was hoping for. Wow!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Foggy Day

The Bass Harbor Lighthouse, at the southern side of Mount Desert Island:

On the Ship Harbor trail nearby:

Jordan Pond:

Salt Marsh:

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The crashing waves, on the rocks along Ship Harbor trail in Bass Harbor. I love this, and I'm pretty sure you will too.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thoughts and tidbits

We drove north up New England to get to Maine. It did actually take a total of 8.5 hours total, each way, as promised by the online directions.

When I'm on my own on a roadtrip, I'll just keep driving. Out of stubbornness and also, somehow, laziness. Through stiff backs and numb bums, I'll stay parked in that driver's seat, gritting my teeth to arrive at my destination that much sooner.

This roadtrip was a little different. Thank goodness. The BF hasn't been a regular driver for years, but agreed to take on a share of the driving. So this trip, on all the legs, we stopped every two hours to stretch. It made such a difference--the breaks from the car, and the breaks from driving. Because I'm old, my bum knee starts to stiffen up pretty quickly when stuck behind the wheel.

Also, it continues to fascinate and delight me that I can use the bathroom every two hours! Those of you who have never been a teacher might be grossed out by it, but I still find it so liberating to remember that I can pee whenever I want to, during the summer!

On the way up, we stopped overnight in Portland, where I had arranged a stay with someone from couchsurfing. I steered us toward the waterfront, assuming there would be something interesting there. Indeed there was plenty. Full of wharves and piers, and what clearly were the original seafood warehouses now transformed into hip shops and restaurants. Most pleasant!

When we went kayaking, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving all photographic equipment behind. No way could I leave the experience and scenery undocumented! Additionally, of course, no way would I ever EVER even dream of bringing a DSLR onto a tiny plastic watercraft. So here was my ingenious and free plan, since I don't have hundreds of dollars to buy waterproof housing. I brought my Sony (the bridge point and shoot that I only bought in May 2007) and tied it into a plastic grocery bag. That protected it from the splashes while paddling, and then I could take breaks, untie the knots, tuck the bag into my lifejacket, and take photos and videos. I was quite pleased with the results, too. Which is good, because when the guide mentioned what to do in case of capsize, I was envisioning myself fumbling around underwater, frantically trying to escape the splash skirt's hold on the boat while freaking out about the camera, probably forgetting to breathe. Yikes. But of course, nobody on our tour even so much as tilted too far, let alone capsized. Phew!

I definitely noticed differences between people and habits in Maine versus New York City. For one, not once did I see high heels and designer clothing. Now, to be sure, it's the high tourist season, and I'm sure 'those people' do still exist, even up north. But everyone I saw was in casual wear--tshirts, fleeces, shorts, sandals or hiking shoes. It was all so wonderfully laidback.

Even the driving was laidback! Nobody honked, nobody cut me off, nobody blocked me from entering a lane. There were a couple times that I was expecting those things to happen, and immediately another driver let me right in. That does NOT happen driving around these parts. To be fair to my own bad traits, I got plenty annoyed at people driving too slowly on the park roads where it was impossible to pass. Like the woman driving a huge truck with four kids in the truckbed, inching down Cadillac Mountain. I couldn't help be on her tail the whole time, cursing at the rudeness and stupidity, not to mention illegality. I never said I was perfect. :)

I grew up in the Northwest. For years I lived in a house bordered on wild evergreen forest, with views of majestic mountains and foothills. The green seeps in from all sides--pine trees, ferns, moss, leaves--it's always there. Being in deciduous New England depresses me--the world turns brown for months, not to mention always being fairly flat. I don't often think about it; I suppose I get used to it, as you do. Until I go somewhere where I remember what the world should be like. Maine is indeed very similar to the Northwest--evergreen trees, craggy cliffs and mountains (albeit much smaller than on the West Coast), ferns and mosses, and of course, the ocean pounding away on the shore.

Being surrounded by all that green was like being home again, to the soul. I didn't take enough time to really sit and be present in it, and it's cheesy as all get out, but really, it felt healing.

Speaking of healing and peace, here's a video of our kayaking (note, of course, that I'm not paddling while filming, so thanks again to the BF for being patient and strong!:D). Turn up the sound for this one, so you can hear the quiet.

Otter Cliff, Acadia National Park

See why we wouldn't want to leave? :)
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Gorgeous Maine!

We had an incredible time this week! It was definitely too short--there is so much to do on Mount Desert Island.

We kayaked our first night in Bar Harbor, which was wonderful. It was so quiet and peaceful out on the water, just the sloshing of waves, ringing of the buoys, calling of the gulls. I wished we could have stayed out there longer (although I was mighty sore the next day, so maybe 2 hours was plenty for my first time!). I can't wait to go again.
We battled the clouds all week--impeccable weather on the days we were traveling, but only one of the days we were in Acadia. It was just stunning! There were trees, mountains/hills, and water everywhere. Oh, how I've missed it, living in a city. I reveled in being closer to nature for this week.
The sounds of crashing waves could possibly heal the world. If ever you feel overwhelmed, just sit by the sea and listen.
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Monday, July 21, 2008




It all happened really fast--within the last like five days. I am totally thrilled.


And now we're off on a vacation--a road trip to Maine for a week! Stay tuned for photos and anecdotes!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I love to read!

I love books. Reading them, collecting them, listing them, the smell of them. I love nothing more than getting absorbed into an excellent book for an entire day, or staying up way past my bedtime because I just can't put it down.

This summer I've done a fair amount of reading. Last week or thereabouts I tore through three books in four days. I've been meaning to write a little bit about some quality YA books I've read recently. Since I've been busy and lazy to do that, here's a fun meme that I got from Happily Ever After.

"The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed."
1) Bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE (I'll use asterisks)
4) Reprint this list in your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen--Read it only once. I should read it again to appreciate it more.
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien--will never read it.
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 **Harry Potter series - JK Rowling **--I LOVE these. Especially the later books. So much more than 'just a kid's book'.' Sigh.
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible--I wouldn't mind reading it in a historical analysis course, but not as a religious thing.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell--Utterly fascinating! Although I think I didn't actually finish it. I have a copy of it, somewhere.
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott--I think I read like a third of it in middle school.
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy--Do real people still actually read this book? This is one that I've only heard of in books, where characters are forced to or supposed to read it.
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller--Been on my list for at least five years. Have a copy somewhere.
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare--Pshaw. Yeah right.
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien--Another never. Sorry.
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger--Totally didn't get it.
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot--I bought it, read like fifty pages, and then lost it at an airport. I don't think I would have finished it anyway.
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell--Won't read this one either. I saw the movie one time in college, and it wasn't my kind of thing.
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy--No freaking way.
25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams--I'm so dumb because somewhere, I have the book with all five novels, but never read it.
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck--Henry Ford was really hot in the movie version. :)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll--Eh, probably another never.
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis--Doubtful.
34 Emma - Jane Austen--I should read this. I've liked all the movies based on this.
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini--Did not love it.
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres--Maybe someday; I heard it's really good.
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden--Meh. Interesting historically, but overflowery descriptions got on my nerves.
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez--Also been on my list for years.
44 **A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving** I. Love. This. Book. So. Much.
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins--I've heard it's an excellent creepy ghost story, so I don't know if I could handle it.
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery--This series was the staple of my childhood.
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood--I love her stuff.
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding--Read it in high school. Really fascinating.
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel--Couldn't get past the first forty pages.
52 Dune - Frank Herbert--Never.
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens--Is it wrong that I always get this one mixed up with Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, which I have read?
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley--Freaking awesome.
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez--Heard it's good.
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck--Coudn't get past the first chapter. The dialogue style gave me a headache.
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov: On the list. Or is that Reading Lolita in Tehran?
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt--Also has been on my list for years, but eh.
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold--Creepy.
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy--I only know about this book because the main character in Ordinary People--my all-time favorite book--had to read it. Another one that I've never heard of anyone in real life/modern time reading.
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding--Bloody brilliant. Many overlook this because it's so ubiquitous, but she basically started a new genre. And the book is good! Deeper than one might think, as most quality 'chick-lit' books are. The film adaptation is great. The sequel is excellent, although not the film version.
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker--I have this book at school but I think it might be too icky for me.
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett--Childhood classic.
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson--I love Bill Bryson, but I don't think this is his best book.
75 Ulysses - James Joyce--Never gonna.
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath--Very tragic.
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola--Never heard of this one, but I read most of Nana in college, and I visited his grave in Paris. Does that count?
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker--I think this one has also been on my list for years and years.
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert--I bought this one years ago and still haven't read it.
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White--Surprisingly, I never read this childhood classic, I think because I heard it's really sad.
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom--Blah. Too overhyped.
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--Have it, didn't read it. Maybe someday I will.
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad--The horror! The over-symbolism!
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery--Surprisingly haven't read this one either.
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl--Truthfully, I can't remember if I've read this one all the way through or just seen the movies. I was in the play too. But again, I don't think this is his best book. A couple years ago I reread The BFG, and that was just utterly delightful.
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo--I read parts for a class while in Paris, does that count? :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I did it.

I said no!

Many wonderful people helped me think through the situation and helped me believe that the ideas and thoughts rumbling around my mind were right on track.

So I am putting it out there--I WILL keep looking for That Perfect Job, and something great WILL come along for me.

If I need to, I can stay at my school and find new ways to thrive and grow. I WILL (try to) stay positive.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Go Away, Janus

I feel like I'm losing my mind with these decisions I have to make.

I could go work for a small school in Brooklyn. I don't have good vibes about it. I don't want to work there.
Maybe something new would be good for me. Maybe I would make some new friends. It's the same grade and subject, so I would be comfortable while also getting a new perspective. I could finally move in with my BF.
BUT I don't really trust the principal.

So maybe I should stay at my school. I have an fantastic, inspirational EL@ AP who believes in me, and there are some fantastic people in my department. I could reconfigure and tweak my teaching, try some new things (yay workshops), try to be an even better teacher.
I don't trust the principal. Nobody knows what the schedules or programs will be like. There's one person in my grade dept that I CANNOT stand. They're splitting up me and the colleague that have been teaching the same kids for the last four years. Ms Math has been a rock for me--we talk all the time, compare stories about students, laugh about stupid shit, vent about admin nonsense. She is a fantastic teacher. Next year they'll have me with a different teacher, who is nice enough but it just won't be the same. I'd miss my kids. I was looking forward to seeing them in the halls and such.

I can only convince myself of one or the other for about five seconds before my internal debate kicks in (that's the two-headed Janus reference, btw). I literally cannot decide between these options. Or, more precisely, I've made one decision, but I'm scared to eliminate a choice. Wouldn't that be a bad thing, to say no to the one and only new option I have?

Ideally, of course, there would be a third option, one I would be excited about, one that I would be looking forward to. And I'm still applying to some exciting jobs, but as the last six months have taught me, I cannot count on anything actually being offered. It's really hard to stay positive at this point, because I am clearly INSANE.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I would love your help!

The Tate Modern is doing an exhibit that will turn into a book, called Street or Studio. Photographers may submit two photographs for consideration. As you know, I love me some photos, and I've been practicing candids and portraits lately. I narrowed down my favorites to these eleven, but as you also probably know, I hate making decisions. So I ask you--please vote and tell me which ones you think are the best! 1. Boy in fountain
2. cigarette man
3. splash
4. naptime
5. metaphoto
6. fandancer
7. brimmed
8. pink dress
9. bethesda terrace
10. docktime
11. windowshop

Thank you all so much!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Workshop Thoughts

Our presenters used many of the strategies that teachers use, and some of them work with adults and some do not. Because really, if you have ever spent time with a large group of teachers you will know that they can be much more obnoxious than the students!

Our first activity was a 'getting to know you' group activity. We had a piece of chart paper and split it into fourths. In each square the group members put information about ourselves--names, things we had in common, unique things about each of us, and the expectations from the workshop. Then, each table shared their chart, and the rest of the class tried to guess which person went with which unique thing. This would definitely be a great activity with students, easily adaptable to any classroom and any situation. That basic format would work very well in September, but someone pointed out that it would also work really well at the beginning of a new unit, to assess their knowledge, share their favorites, etc.

One thing that did not work this time was a jigsaw. For those of you unaware of eduspeak, that means taking a text or task and breaking it up into smaller pieces. Each group is responsible for one piece and then they usually report out to the entire class.

The facilitators had us to a jigsaw with an academic article about some study that was done about adolescent readers, engagement, achievement, etc. It was a pretty interesting article, but we were all a little frustrated with reading it with no framework. My group had the last two pages, so it referenced all these things that we didn't know, and we didn't really even understand the purpose of the article.

So my self-declaration from this experience was that if you want to do a jigsaw with real students, it needs to make sense for every group. So I think that taking one big text and splitting it is not the best idea; rather, take several short, discrete related texts and have the students read and analyze those. That way you can avoid frustration on all sides.

The paper itself, like all education research, had a couple interesting nuggets as well as plenty of 'duh's. For example: Time for reading is not sufficient; it's vital to actually comprehend what is read. Boys 'underperform' and engage less in reading than girls. Boys are better with 'noncontinuous text'-yet another silly eduspeak term for things like comics, magazines, online stuff. Teachers should give boys the opportunity to read and interact with computers. (Because, naturally, the nicey nice girls don't need exposure to technology, since they're so weak and too unintelligent to need to use computers. Durr.)

At the end of the article, they suggested three strategies to...redo? improve? reading achievement and engagement: a full and varied range of texts, both print and electronic; plenty of library programs to support reading; and instruction in strategies for reading and self-monitoring for comprehension.

Once again, duh. I mean, come on. Is it any surprise that kids, or anyone really, need a lot of different books to choose from? Our question was from whence these texts would magically appear. My school certainly doesn't buy classroom library books. When a teacher starts at my school, there's a small, low-quality group of books. Not too many teachers seem keen on developing them--mostly because new books have to come from somewhere, either our own shelves or our own pockets. I've bought some books at sales, on ebay, and I've gotten a TON of free books from Scholastic. (If you're not using them, you are missing out. FREE BOOKS.) But in an effective schoo, those should be emergency backup rather than primary building of a library.

And just for the record, I did get some good clarification about reading strategies instruction this week, but! Not once did anyone mention actual reading instruction. If a child reads on a third-grade level in sixth grade, sure, they can try to read books on their level and attempt to use the comprehension strategies. But from what I've seen, kids still don't understand what they're reading, even if it is low level. You know why? Because they don't know HOW TO READ well enough! They need phonics, and they desperately need vocabulary work. Reading third-grade books will certainly not improve a child's vocabulary if they're twelve years old. With shared on-level reading, they're still confused. There HAS to be something for these kids--no wonder they have such abysmal scores in this city. All the students who can barely read scrape by with 2s on tests (AHEMINFLATEDSCORINGAHEM) and get passed right along to the next grade. The extra services in my school, when they're there, have had no effect on actual reading level in my experience. Of course, we don't actually have a reading program in my school, because god forbid anyone be responsible for, you know, TEACHING them something they need.


I have more thoughts and resources to share in the coming days, so look for that.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer Week

So this week I kept very busy, got some great news, and some bad news.

The busy part was doing a four-day workshop. (See what a dedicated educator I am? Using my "free time" to professionally develop myself? Getting up early when I don't have to??) Parts were interesting, the resources we got were awesome, and parts were just plain silly. Par for the course for these things.

Oh, and there was ranting, too. One woman marched up to our facilitator--who was only in charge of our classroom, nothing else--and screeched, "I will not stand for this! I must have breakfast! There is no coffee, no tea, nothing! I must eat in the morning!" and so on and so on. The ten of us who, DUH, thought ahead and brought our own stuff, just sat there, quietly eating our snacks and sipping our beverages. What a spoiled brat.

I have lots of things I want to write about--in fact, on the first day of the workshop, I actually made a list of topics to post about from the last couple weeks, but right now I'm tired.

So, the bad news, the very depressing news, is, of course, on the job front. A few weeks ago, I got a very random job lead. It was for a charter school that I love, for a different grade and, more scarily, a different subject. But I didn't care. It was a little intimidating to think about going so far out of my comfort zone, but I was excited to tackle something new. I cared more about the atmosphere of the school itself--being in a professional, high-standard place, where everyone is on the same page, motivated, with plenty of school-wide procedures and routines. I really wanted to work there. I knew that I wanted to work at this school back in November, when I visited it on an open house. So I was thrilled about the opportunity.

I interviewed, I thought it went well, and then I got rejected.

I was really upset about it. Sad, dejected, depressed, blue, and more than that. This rejection feels magnified a hundred fold coming on top of nearly six months of active job searching and that many rejections, magnified because this felt like a last chance, a last grab for positive change in my life, something to actually look forward to in the fall.

I'm currently looking at two options, neither of which make me happy or excited.

There will be plenty more on that later.

But. For now, let's end with some good news, eh?

Y'all should know by now that I'm just a leetle in love with photography. I take pictures every single day (mostly of myself for my 365 project, but I take zillions whenever I go somewhere. As you know, because I've got as many pictures on this silly blog as written posts. And there are more of them to come. [pictures, I mean.][although I really do want to do more writing and reflecting here too. but that takes both time and effort.]), and I have this gorgeous new camera that I love (even though oh my GOD do I want/need a faster lens...I hope I can make it to November to make it a birthday gift...). Lately I've been practicing portrait and candid photos, which are a lot of fun, and I've gotten some good shots, I think.

So anyway, I am going to now be part of a nonprofit organization, taking pictures for them as an unpaid intern! Well, I hope I will be, of course, the first gigs are next week, so think happy snappy thoughts for me. :D

That is very good news indeed, as it moves me that much closer to my very faraway dream of being able to take photos as a job.

Pictures from Last Week

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I feel old.

The other day we happened upon a rerun of the gymnastics Olympics trials. I recognized not a single competitor, but I did recognize one girl's coach/dad as a famous Soviet (male) gymnast from the 80s and 90s. Then someone's score came up and it was 15 something! Fifteen! What the hell? Why do they have to change everything? What was wrong with the scoring system that's been in place for the last fifty years?! You don't suddenly see baseball making home runs worth two points or something crazy! Argh.

I watched a shitload of stand up on Comedy Central from the weekend. I recognized one guy's name, and though he didn't really look familiar I looked him up. Sure enough, he went to the same high school I did, and I'm pretty sure he was the long-haired silent kid who was after me on the school bus route. Crazy.

This afternoon I just noticed another white hair---IN MY EYEBROWS.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Another field trip!

Yesterday I went down to lower Manhattan. I stopped by the Fulton Street Strand and bought six books for eighteen bucks. Then I continued on to the South Street Seaport to hang out and look at the Waterfalls. I took lots of pictures of the bridge, and the boats, and the people around me. I noticed a sign on one of the yellow boats--free water taxi ride to the new Brooklyn IKEA. I figured, hey, why not?

It was a gorgeous day--the weather was divine! The ride from Pier 11 to Red Hook (?) didn't take too long, and you can go up on top to enjoy the views. I even bought a couple little things at IKEA, like some cheap slippers and a magazine rack. I took tons of pictures from the boat (more later!) and was thoroughly pleased with my little trip.
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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Uh oh

I woke up with a start around 8am today, and bolted to my piles of classroom stuff.

Oh no!

I left my bin of school supplies in my classroom!

Then I tried frantically to remember what was in there. I hoard things so I haven't had to refill it much over the last three years. Post its, overhead pens, scotch tape, who knows what else.

This is really going to bother me. Should I just forget it and leave the bin as a surprise gift for the next teacher? Should I try to go in and retrieve it? Hopefully when submitting a letter of resignation? Have a friendly colleague take some choice items for me and leave the rest?

Then I started thinking about my classroom and a stranger opening up that bin to find so many teacher treasures. What will become of my legacy? I imagine kids coming to visit me next year, asking and looking for me, and some cranky stranger will be all, "I don't know who that is. Now leave us alone!" Will the kids remember me? Will my colleagues care? What will that stranger think of my room? Will they appreciate the library that's still decent even without all the books I built it up with (you can bet your butt I have all those here with me)? Will they know how to spell?

Or will all this be moot because I'll be right back there again?

Or will it be moot because the kids won't care? (haha, no, I think this crop of kids would definitely care. And I definitely care about them, I still want to find a way to check in on them somehow, even if I'm gone.)

I really hope I won't be back there to find out. In a way it makes me really sad and scared to close that chapter of my life. It's the only thing I've known for the last four years. It's what's kept me in New York for two years (soon to be three?) beyond my original commitment. It's made me a few friends and it's also made me even more intolerable of lazy, nonteaching, so-called professionals who can't use proper grammar and spelling. It's made me realize that I don't want to be in charge of other grown-ups, because grown-ups are often more immature than kids are, and you can't yell at or admonish adults (without serious attitude and consequences, at least). It's made me really appreciate the schedule and freedom to travel.

You can bet this will haunt my dreams for the summer. I only wish I was being overdramatic.