Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summertime Itch

When a teacher gets the itch for the classroom, what's it like?

It goes a little something like this.........hit it!

-Visited school on Friday to get official AP results when I get the feeling that being back in the classroom will get be better prepared for next semester. Go figure.

-Monday morning. I hop on the bike, strap my laptop into my backpack, and peddle twenty minutes up the hill to the high school.

-I stop alongside the cemetery where I see a deer munching on flowers. At about 25 feet away, the deer gives me a look that sort of says, "What the hell are you doing here? You still have a month left."

-I peddle to the classroom and park the bike on a group of boxes that have yet to be unloaded. I then stand and scan the classroom. You know, that feeling you try to get regarding where you should start.

-Issue number one is background noise; i.e. radio. I head to the computer and realize that only one of my four Internet drops is turned on, and I need two; one for my laptop and one for my classroom desktop with speakers. I hunt for my uplink hub.

-I find my uplink hub in a box, but the power cord is missing. I find one that looks like it, but I spend five minutes trying to make the connection fit. It obviously doesn't fit, but I'm just not wanting to comb the school for another uplink hub. No success.

-Open the door to head to our tech person who works through the summer. About ten steps out door I realize that I left my keys in the locked classroom. I turn, with the old uplink hub still in hand, and head towards the admin building.

-The very god-like principal's secretary gives me her keys to open my door.

-On the way out of the admin building I bid farewell to the departing vice-principal, who has a new job in district. I'm bummed to see him go, but also happy with his replacement.

-I go back to the classroom and get my keys. Before heading to the tech person, I eye the new wall-mounted projector in my classroom. I head over and try to turn it on. It doesn't work.

-With uplink hub still in hand, and now with my own keys, I head over to the tech person with a couple of requests.

-The tech person is there and is thrilled with the school acquiring a new server. I mutter a silent thankful prayer to God that she's here and not making a whole lot more money somewhere else. She puts up with a whole lot of crap in a public school for someone with her knowledge.

-Request one is the uplink hub. She takes the old one and gives me another, with power cord.

-Request two is to turn on the three other drops. She writes down the drop numbers and says she'll be right over.

-Request three is the projectors. They haven't been tested yet so patience is the virtue to follow. She gives me the disk for the software and the manual (a small novel) to upload to my laptop. Thank God I have this now because everyone will want it come school week.

-I head back the room to drop off my new goodies and head back to the admin building to give the keys back to god-like secretary. I then grab a Diet Pepsi and return to the classroom to work.

-I fix the computer situation and tune to KNBR online to listen to the last half hour of Gary Radnich. He's making fun of arena football, which isn't hard to do.

-The tech person comes into the classroom and turns on the other three Internet drops. I'm glad I'm here to do this now instead of in three weeks when everyone needs attention. I love an empty campus.

-I work for about 45 minutes on my new class syllabus. I add in an attendance provision that is probably one of the more risky things that I've decided to do in my teaching career. But if it works, it should make the whole experience easier and more worthwhile for kids. More on that in later posts.

-At the end of my syllabus I reach the part where I put in my school phone number with extension. I then realize that my extension has changed since I moved back into the new classroom. I spend 15 minutes trying to find my extension and set up my voice mail on the school phone system.

-Radnich ends and I bore easily with the next two yahoos. I turn to Bob-FM 92.7 out of Chico, my home town. I love the Internet.

-I begin to work on my new find; Engrade. I'm dumping the Moodle platform because I became tired of being a system administrator on top of being a teacher. Plus, I want to have my entire online environment on one system that is already set up. I'm putting everything; attendance, grades, agenda, work....online.

-I prepare the first week of class for all my classes. You can see my progress at www.engrade.com/coachbrown.

-I start to adjust a power point that gets my AP kids in the mood of thinking like an economist. Originally I had the basic rules of Ceteris Paribus, Marginal Cost=Marginal Benefit, and that humans are rational creatures. I add in the ideas of Incentives, and that the only thing that can change price is Supply and Demand. I'm reading an excellent supplemental book that I highly recommend to Economics teachers called Economics By Example.

-I got to the school around 10:30. At around ten minutes to 2 p.m. I get hungry and realize that I have to bike home if I want anything in my belly.

-I look around my classroom one more time before I head out the door. I realize that I have a lot of work to do before the semester starts. I also realize that the passion for U.S. History that I've tried to drum up for weeks is simply not there. I loved teaching Gov/Econ and I'm still bitter. But I'll be back to prep again, probably tomorrow.

-The drive home only takes 12 minutes. It's all downhill.

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