Tuesday, January 28, 2014

All Time Low

Many times in my life I have wished to be a fly on the wall. Oh, the fun of listening in and witnessing something I shouldn't or couldn't! Some things are lost in translation while nothing beats up-close and personal. Yet bearing witness is sometimes impossible, other times impractical.

This year in my life, I am having trouble processing my own reality, so I don't seek access to other worlds. Instead, I wish all my non-teaching friends and family a fly's access to mine: a comfy spot somewhere on the cinder blocks or surveillance cameras to have a look-see, because--as my close friends and colleagues (read: other teachers being pushed to their limits) and I often comment-- "you can't make this sh*t up."

This year my colleagues and I walked into a new Connecticut teacher evaluation program based on Common Core Standards (on which we had no professional development or training); new evaluators (who are new to the district and do not, at present, teach); new software to track our evaluations, which remains barely ready for a test run but is permanently recording comments that may make or break our futures as educators; and new grade book software to replace software we had finally gotten used to and was more user-friendly than this version, which--again--is barely ready for a test run (even after midterms) nevermind permanent record-keeping.

And that's just the big stuff. It's the other, little stuff--the daily decisions and debacles--that has most of us either on the brink of insanity or retirement, clicking away at resumes and job sites, or walking down a short path to Betty Ford's door. Namely? 

...planned power outages at the end of a school day/the beginning of a semester..

...48 parking spots marked for staff (for 100 of us) with no parking restrictions for 500 driving students...

... ID badges with microchips in the name of safety while a dozen times this year our phone system has crashed and left us no connection to the outside world...

The list goes on, and some will make for humorous posts of their own.

My friends and I feel we have legitimate concerns. Our supervisors/evaluators/administrators think we are a bunch of complainers.

You don't need to weigh in, but I leave you with this:

Before I gave my Biology students their midterm exam grades the other day, I gave them index cards and asked them to answer two questions.1) how long did you prepare/study for the exam 2) what grade do you expect.

The results?

Suffice it to say I am at an all time low.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Definitely Not In Sync

A couple weeks before Christmas I was watching Ellen during her 12 days of giveaways. One of the things she gave everyone in the audience was a Fitbit. Hmmm...What's that's all about, I wondered. So I looked it up on line.

It seemed like a great tool. If it did what it says, it would count my steps and monitor my heart rate and tell me how many times I wake up during the night. And it syncs with iPhone. But mostly, if it had the same effect on me as people in the testimonials, I would be motivated to walk more, to park further away, to get more steps in. And getting more steps in would in turn inspire me to make other healthy choices.

I sent the link to my super fit sister, Liz, and the next thing I knew, I suspected she was ordering it for me as a Christmas present.

Oh, happy day when I opened it for Christmas.

And then I opened the package. Syncs with 4s or higher. I have a 4. Syncs with iPad 3 or higher. I have iPad 2.

In other words, can't sync sh*t.

Oh well. Guess I'd need to return it and see if there is something else out there that can help me reach some fitness goals. Yeah, well, that part where I said "I need to return it," is not as easy as it sounds or as easy as it should be. Especially in this day and age of e-commerce when more often than not return labels are  included in the package. When I say it takes an act of congress, I am barely exaggerating.

First I needed to go on line and find the link to begin a customer service email conversation and initiate a return request. Seven emails later, my sister Liz was the recipient of the final "return authorization" email, which I needed to print to include in the package. Now I need to mail it back using a tracking method. And I need to get it done before 45 days of the initial purchase date, back in early December. Time's a tickin'...

So much for getting fit with Fitbit. Fit be to tied is more like it.

My Week in a Word: COLD!

That is frost INSIDE my car one afternoon this week.

I think that was the day it was in the single digits with windchill below 0. So cold it hurt.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Perfect Day

Today I am going to attempt having a perfect day.

We have a snow day in these parts, so I am home from school. I slept late and now I'm in my Christmas pajamas, drinking cup of coffee number 2 (cup number 3 is staying fresh and hot in a thermal carafe) and reading a book, while cinnamon bread bakes in the oven. Jill and I texted a few minutes ago and she's going to call in a little bit. I will enjoy that third cup of coffee with her. 

Later I will brave the bitter cold and subzero windchill to clear off my car and move it into a visitor spot so that my spot can be cleared. When I come back in, I'll get in some comfy sweats and warm up by making a pot of chili. While it simmers I will take care of some Christmas clutter and prepare the containers that I will use to share the chili will my friends. (My Christmas chili is late this year.)

This evening, when my kitchen is back in order and the chili is put away, I'll chop some onions and start a pot of French onion soup. While the onions caramelize I may attempt a project. Or maybe I'll write some more. Or maybe I'll just pour a glass of wine and read some more before I eventually enjoy a bowl of soup as a late, light, but comforting dinner. 

When I go to bed tonight I hope to be happy with what I made of my day instead of thinking, why did you wait for a snow day? 

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