Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bye Bye Blogger

Update your links, y'all. Got a brand new bag. New springy look.

chezwhat.net


Come 'n see me now, y'hear...

What do you do with a pregnant teacher?



As a pregnant teacher I am feeling a bit like a big question mark. I am asked daily what my plans are for next year. While I can hardly worry about things like the perceptions of my colleagues, I am planning on staying home next year and going part time after that. There was a huge turnover last year at this school (20%) and since the start of the school year I have fielded the question of whether I planned to come back next year. I always said yes, happily. Now its a little different.

Students are asking me too. I do not have the heart to say that I am not going to be back. I can handle leaving the adults and their politics more than the kids. Their next teacher might be better, or might be worse. They have to cope more with new teachers.

I am hearing the questions daily. I don't want to look at them and say "No, I am not coming back next year." But that is what it amounts too.

And with good reason, J and I are doing everything possible for me to be home with kids. We will sock away as much as we can so that ends will meet each other. Yes that car replacement will have to come later. After that I will be part time, probably for quite awhile. And I am quite good with that, I want to still be a mom. But I don't want us to go broke doing it.

It always strikes me as ironic that in the 70's women fought to be able to hold jobs, and now some of us have to hope and even fight to stay home with the kids.

Well, this pregnant teacher is going to aim for the best of both worlds.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Technology in education

AprilMay posted about use of technology in education and it has raised alot of things that I deal with on a daily basis with technology, and have dealt with for several years.

At my last school, mysteriously some departments would get laptops and projectors. While the math teachers were still teaching in rooms set up for science labs and the rest of us were sharing sluggish iMacs, a select few were mysteriously granted these items. In the interest of being professional, it never managed to come up as a problem. After all, it's nice that at least someone in the school got to use technology. The rest of us tried to suss out space in one of the labs, a total of I believe just over 100 computers total to be used by a school with just shy of 3000 students. All bets were off when state testing started until they scrounged enough computers to make a lab exclusively for testing.

In teaching, survival is the way. We learn to make due with what we have and eventually even the whiniest teacher learns that they will be happier if they just forget about it. But when I went looking for a new job, in interviews someone literally rolled their eyes at me when I told them the extent of my internet use in the classroom was having kids make a powerpoint out of drugs that they researched. I redeemed myself slightly by telling them that the information they used to research was hand picked and loaded onto a portal I created, but generally speaking they were entirely underwhelmed with the breadth of my integration of technology.

However when the time was for me to ask them questions, I asked them if they had any projectors to facilitate the use of computer instruction in the classroom. They did have one. The high school shared it with the district office and it could be checked out by the Human Resources person. I tried to choke down my snort.

So now at my new school, I can pretty much use laptops with wireless internet everyday should I want. They also have a bunch of programs for podcasting and whatnot. And the question is not getting technology, but what to do with it once we have it.

At AprilMay I learned that my reluctance to allow my kids to use Google Image searches is justified, as some districts block it altogether. And while I understand the blocking of YouTube, there is some really good content there mixed in with the pornography. Yes, it should be blocked. But if only there was a way to get the good videos while leaving the bad. Have learned how to capture these videos to .flv format, but then need software I don't have to get them into a format that will play on Mac.

There are alternate sites. But for my ELL kids, at least at the outset they are like thick forests where information is allegedly hidden and navigating to it is a little less than intuitive. And sometimes, too often, nothing pops up. For example, nothing about Cesar Chavez or the Aztecs on teachertube, and nothing about other wierd subjects my kids need like "habitat of the quetzal" or "the battle of Puebla".

iMovies are hot with my kids. Strangely enough though, all I have seen anyone do with them is make glorified slideshows with a customized soundtrack. I can do that in Keynote/Powerpoint.

It is interesting, everyone wants teachers to know about technology, but it is generally out of reach, and teachers are likely to be edged out by others with the money to have had a chance at access. Digital divide among teachers as well.

It is hard for me to not wonder why Intel and Apple aren't doing more to equip the educators that are going to help open doors for kids, and not the ones who just messed with it till they figured it out. I know there are a few programs, having participated in "Teach to the Future with Intel" (I received a PC for my classroom which was "absorbed" by the administration 2 years later--heard enough stories about teachers writing grants for technology which districts then utilized for their own purposes. Waiting to hear "Why don't the teachers write grants?" so that they can be reminded of why).

What are your all technology stories?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pregnancy 14 weeks

Being pregnant while working. I know I am not going to elicit sympathy here, but it makes me look forward to summer that much more.

Aside from the "Gads, what am I going to wear today" problem (wherein I consider wearing the same thing every day from now till the end of the school year) there are also 2 coworkers who say "Ma-ma" every time they see me.

I guess I would just never do that to a pregnant lady, I mean, she is liable to karate chop you.

I also had the fun experience of telling bosses who pretty much already knew. At least they didn't ask me if I was probationary like my first boss did (He may not have intended it to sound so bad, but it did)

I have had people asking me all year if I would be at this same school next year and the answer has always been "Yes" but with pregnancy, especially now with a second child on the way, our plans were that I would stay home and go part time after the kid turned 2 so as to avoid checking an infant into a day care.

So people are asking me what my plans are for next year. I feel if I tell them I will be home, I am saying "yes, I am new, and I am also a nonfactor for next year". I would much prefer to be planning on staying, mostly for the kids and the sake of consistency.

The kids are very nice. But I still get very tired toward the end of the day such that I have last period prep and it is always some small temptation to hit the road.

But this is standard moaning and groaning. I am of course very excited having seen the baby two times to imagine holding a newborn again, and watching her grow (she is a girl in case I didn't say so earlier). I am excited for the mothering furlough ahead. It is a nice time, as I recall with Addy, I just got to be a mom for a little bit. Nesting, making dinner, making plans with friends...it was all a nice time.

New scrapbooks, new baby nesting and the fact that it seems almost like an otherworldly time of life that only lasts a short time. Am very excited, and will be much more so when this school year is over.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Good Day

For the past months I have been trying to find a doctor in our new community. I found several...I was trying for a female, and a family practitioner if possible, but willing to take what I could get if necessary.

What I found out was:

1. At work, all my calls are automatically forwarded to my voicemail where I do not know the password.

2. There were at least 3 offices that wouldn't take you if they couldn't get you in between 8 and 10 weeks.

Hence this week was the first time I was able to see a doctor. The following thoughts went through my mind while waiting for this appt.

1. Maybe it's just a tumor that makes the hormone to set off the pregnancy tests.

2. Maybe it's not really a baby.

3. I have an alleged baby.

But today, I went to my new doctor, who if she wasn't just as good as my old doctor, she was better. Furthermore, their office has an ultrasound and I saw this child.

Now I can rate this day as highly as the day I heard Addy's heartbeat, and I am for the most part out of the high risk part of pregnancy. To make this all better, as if it could get better, I got to have lunch at Greek Cusina, ride bikes tonight and get my first spring pedicure.

hoorah!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Had ourselves a snowy little spring break


I think everyone who stayed in Oregon for break was a little indignant and disgusted with the fickle but decidedly freezing weather on break.

One's logical thought process:

Oh look, the sun is out. I will go get a jacket and we can go ride bikes. (goes to closet, returns to front door. Upon opening door, is blasted by 30 degree weather and hail which the child is referring to as "beads!") Frik! Now what. No no more TV. That's right, go play with your trains some more. Adult totters around house picking up random misplaced objects, knowing full well this task is among the most futile in the universe. Walks past window to observe a sun break. Oh look, it's a sunbreak, maybe I will go get the mail. (opens door and steps out just as raindrops the size of small lakes deluge and soak any foolhardy enough to venture out) Frik!

And this goes on pretty much every day for a week. It rarely got out of 39 degrees.

What really happened over break? I stopped trying to wear my old clothes while pregnant. And no I am not going to wear those forsaken pants with the 12 inch rubber waist band. I am going to wear dresses with those little stretch pants underneath.

I told my students today though, and they were very happy. I guess I was surprised? I know better than to expect much from middle schoolers...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Retrospective

















I just had to post these, she won't be our only little girl anymore, but a big sister. She keeps talking about a baby brother, but man the child is only 12 weeks along, I am not sure if itself has determined whether it is a boy or girl.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Break and Good news

I am at the end of my first trimester of pregnancy. I still have not seen a doctor, because doctors, particularly female ones are hard to come by in a small town. To make my desires more specific, I was hoping to be able to see a family practitioner, but the one that this town has works like 15 hours a week. Next Tuesday I will see the doctor.

It is difficult not having heard a heartbeat of this child, as it is hard to feel baby is so real. It is easy to focus on the logistic issues that will have to be dealt with, and to lose the real joy that needs to accompany this kind of event. It is interesting to see other people's responses to the news. I really appreciate the joyful responses, because I need to be reminded that this baby is an anticipated blessing, and that really, everything is going to be ok. The flatlines or no responses are strange to meet. How can a baby be anything but a huge huge reason to smile and be joyful?

I guess it reminds me of all the experiences I have ever had giving people good news. How they responded often informed me about them more than anything else. For example, what can you think when you tell someone about a great new job, but they point out negatives? People at work are mostly flatline about my pregnancy. Family members tend to be joyful, but I have had a couple meet the news with indifference or sort of "How nice for you" and a quick change of subject. These responses make me not want to tell anyone.

There is always a contingent for whom the baby is an apparition until it is born, then less of an apparition, but not fully real until the child begins to interact with them.

In other news, A friend of ours gave me a guitar to give J for his birthday. I went to the guitar shop to restring it and have it fixed up. I was very excited to give it to him, and he spent the whole evening on it...I hope he increases in interest with time even. There is something about starting something new in life that really feels very exciting. Sort of like a new little daffodil after a long winter.

I think this gift was about as exciting to give as it was for him to receive....