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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Midweek Meandering 

It is midweek and we have a new roof!

The roofers are gone, the extra materials are stacked up outside, and the roof looks great. I wonder how many nails are hiding in the grass? We will rent a magnet and sweep the yard to try and pick them up.

Our roof has a steep pitch and some funny angles. The roofing crew was overheard referring to it as the “nightmare roof”!

Aubree was told she was being promoted to the advanced choir. She was thrilled, but nervous at the thought of performing in competitions. She has a beautiful voice and I’m sure she will be fine!

I think Terri is almost caught up from all the sleep she missed last weekend.

Work is going well but I am sooo busy. My secretary noted that my lunch gets later and later each day….when I eat lunch at all. I master the fine art of sneaking bites to eat in between phone calls, roaming the building, meeting with parents and teachers, and dealing with students.

The Olympics is over and it is time to focus on….football season! I am very much looking forward to attending and watching football games this fall. Autumn is my favorite time of year with cool breezes, falling leaves, beautiful foliage, and football!

This the 1400th post I've written on this blog. Wow....time does fly by!

So how is YOUR week going?

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Peace and Quiet! 

It has not been the most restful weekend at our place. We had little Aidan for the weekend and apparently sleeping at night is not always his preference. During the day we had a crew putting a new roof on the house. Aaahh….the symphony of a crying baby, hissing air compressors, and the pounding of roofing hammers!

I am somewhat blessed by being a sound sleeper. Terri is totally exhausted after being up with the baby at night and not being able to nap during the day. By tonight we should have the roof completed and the baby sleeping back at his home. We may have to go back to work tomorrow to get some peace and quiet!

I hope everyone had a little quieter weekend than we did!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Midweek Meandering 

It is midweek and I think I’m ready for a weekend!

I need to get back into “school shape”. My feet and ankles ache from walking up and down halls and stairs all day long! I enjoy my work but I feel it at the end of the day.

Patrick and Aubree had their first day of school today. The word was that the first day went pretty well. Aubree doesn’t like her science teacher’s voice. Patrick thought things were too chaotic. But I think both of them enjoy being back around their friends and getting back into the swing of things. Both of them look tired. It shouldn’t be a problem getting them to go to bed tonight!

Is it bad that I’m already looking forward to a three day weekend on Labor Day?

I’m working closely with a group of teachers on a pilot project of 9th grade teams. A lot of research shows that the 9th grade year is so critical and that the enormity of a large high school leaves many kids lost. I have cohorts of kids that have the same core teachers which are located in close physical proximity to each other. I am also very interested in the teachers integrating what they are doing in class with what the other teachers are doing. I’ve asked them to create some projects and thematic units which will tie knowledge from the various disciplines together. I’ll be monitoring it very closely and I have high hopes.

I took Aubree shopping for school clothes last weekend. We visited stores all over the mall, trying to combine my idea of value with her idea of fashion. I think both of us ended up fairly pleased at the end.

I’ve also watched some of the Olympics with a particular interest in basketball, track and field, and of course the incredible Michael Phelps. What an extreme competitor Phelps is! I felt like I was an eyewitness to a legend being born. It is a sign of my age that I also remember Mark Spitz setting the medal record that Phelps broke.

So how is YOUR week going?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And The Bell Rings 

Whew! School is back in session. Over 1300 hormonally charged teenagers are swarming up and down the hallways of our school. Most of them are even going to class! I have been inundated with kids who need schedules and those who want schedule changes. Our freshmen are still trying to find their classes and get there on time. I wouldn’t describe it as chaos, but it isn’t exactly a finely tuned machine yet either!

Yesterday marked my 22nd first day of school as an educator. Its all just a matter of scale. In my first year as a teacher it was all about my five classes and getting my classroom ready. Now? It is all about getting an entire school up and running, trying to make it all come together.

I still love it. I really do.

I just keep coming back for more. Does that make me a masochist? Not really. Those who share my profession understand the lure of the fall, of new beginnings, of really trying to make a difference. Our experience tells us that there will be many trying times in the next nine months. It is an emotional job dealing with teenagers, working with other people’s kids. Already I have visited with kid who was shot over the summer, pregnant girls, other kids with various problems.

A large public high school is like a kaleidoscope of society. We have students who drive new expensive sports cars and students who are homeless. We have kids that colleges are falling over to offer scholarship money and kids who are just trying to scrape through and get that diploma. We have honor students and those who will sell drugs. I really don’t think that the general public knows the challenges that so many of our kids face and that we face in trying to educate them. Ever tried to teach Algebra to a kid who sleeps in a different place each night of the week?

I’m all about trying to improve our student’s performance, of getting those test scores up. We owe it to the students to offer them the highest quality of instruction and to push them to do their very best. But there is also the human needs that have fallen to schools to handle. You wouldn’t believe the stories we hear every day.

But I remain an optimist, having seen so many kids overcome so much and do so well. I want to be part of that, to play my small role in making it happen. I want to deliver that pat on the back, that verbal kick in the rear, that encouraging word, that pointed dose of reality that some kids need.

I want to remain in the game, coach.

Here we go again!

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Midweek Meandering 

It is midweek and I’ve been a very busy guy.

With school starting in a few days there are seemingly a million things to do to get the school ready to go. This is the school administrator pre-game prep for the opening kickoff. Rooms? Textbooks? Schedules? Everything needs to be ready to go.

Of course you never get to finish what you think you will. People call and come by. Other things pop up. I had some seniors drop by to talk about their schedules. It can take a long time to get a senior schedule right. If you mess it up it puts their graduation at risk. We don’t want that.

The kids have been staying home alone while I’ve been at work. Other than the assorted messes that Patrick can make and eating me out of house and home, they have done pretty well.

Speaking of Patrick, we noticed something playing on the TV that should not have been playing. He was using the DVR to record “Alien Sex Files”. I didn’t see any aliens or any files, but there was definitely some sex going on. He claims he didn’t know what it was. I’m a bit skeptical. He is, after all, 16 years old. I need to check that DVR list more often.

I am done with my classes for a month now. That feels good! It is hard to believe that I only have five classes left to complete the class part of the doctoral program. Then there is that little matter of writing a dissertation.

There are a large number of “ABDs” out there, people who complete all the requirements for a doctorate but never successfully complete a dissertation. I don’t want to be one of those. If I’m putting in all this work, I want the title!

It has been very hot and dry the past couple of weeks. How hot you ask? I put my hand on top of the steering wheel in my car the other day and noticed that some of the vinyl covering it had melted!

My kids don’t return to school until August 20th, but my school opens for classes on Monday. We are starting earlier so that the first semester will end before the Christmas holidays.

So how is YOUR week going?

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