Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Evil Utah Cookie People and Their Lies!!!

If you've been watching TV lately, you've likely seen the "Oreo" advertisement being run to encourage people to vote yes for Referendum 1. If not, here's a link to the advertisement:

There's a lot of debate going on about school vouchers, and this ad on TV infuriates me! Everytime I see it, I just start fuming. Anyway, I stumbled across this, more accurate "Oreo" ad produced by a public school teacher. Take a look. AND if you live in Utah, vote NO for Referendum 1--it's pretty much the devil.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm No Teacher of the Year

So. Today I had tres estudiantes ask me what they can do to pass my class first term. My response: the term ended on Friday. Today is now Tuesday. My grades were downloaded at 7:30 this morning. What can you do to pass first term? Absolutely nothing at this point. You can, however, start COMING to class, DOING the work, and STOP MAKING EXCUSES for yourself. I love my students, but bless their little hearts, I wonder what is going through their young minds sometimes.

Best moment of the day, though, had to have been when a parent raved for 10 minutes about her son's last English teacher. She, apparently, could make her son work. She would stay at the school until 7 or 8 every night. She would even come in on Saturdays if students needed additional help. He would work with her EVERY day at lunch...she was just THAT good.

Well, guess what, lady? I'M NOT GOING TO DO THAT! Will I be a good teacher? Yes! Will I continue to ask your son EVERY FREAKING DAY if he needs help on his assignment, if he will wake up and start working, if he's going to bring a book to class next time? YES! Will I keep attempting to make English fun and interesting, sometimes with no reward but continual whining? YES! Will I pretend that my whole existence revolves around adolescent English students? NO! Because, you see, it simply doesn't.

I, unlike Mrs. What's-her-name-Junior-high-educator-aspiring-to-be-teacher-of-the-year, HAVE A LIFE! And, frankly, I'm OK with that. Do I get paid for all the countless hours outside of school I spend lesson planning? Um....last time I checked, my bank account says no. Do I get paid for all the countless hours I spend outside of school meticulously grading horribly written papers and offering suggestions for improvement? Um...again, I'm pretty sure that's a negative. So, please forgive me if I'm not begging for the opportunity to meet up with your dear little boy on Saturday afternoons. I'm available before and after school, but so far, he hasn't seemed to feel the need to stop by.

I might not be teacher of the year, but I do work hard to be a decent teacher. I think, sometimes, that deserves some appreciation.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Well, there's snow on the ground. It started snowing quite hard last night while we were watching the BYU game on TV and I was grading all my students' late work (end of term is next week). The thing is, I really am annoyed that it's not even Halloween and it will now probably be freezing cold until May. One of my number one arguments about this state is that it never really gives us a full four seasons.

On the other hand, as much as I gripe, moan, and complain about Utah, the snow here really is "the best snow on Earth." Especially while it is falling. It is simply gorgeous! The flakes are huge and fluffy, and they flutter to the ground in such a soft, pretty way.

Last night, after the initial groans when Chad announced that it was snowing on TV, and we opened our blinds to confirm that, yes, it was indeed snowing in our parking lot as well, we both decided that it was kind of hard to be mad at it. It was just so beautiful! Chad even said we should leave the blinds open so we could watch it for awhile. Watching it swirl in the light from the streetlamp was such an exquisite image. I felt like I was witnessing visual poetry.

So, there you go. I'm sure that in a couple weeks, if the snow lasts and keeps coming, I will have nothing but complaints. The snow seems less pretty when you have to start driving places in it. But for now, it's kind of fun to look at from afar.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things that Make Me Happy Today

1) My students. Today, I love them! I read them a picture book today as a model of using good details in writing. We are going to make our own class book, using the format of the model as a guide. While I was reading it to them, I almost got a glimpse of how much fun it must be to read to an elementary school class. They were enthralled! It was marvelous! AND you should have HEARD some of the awesome "memorable details" they wrote afterwards. FANTASTIC! They are writers! We described things that are important about Halloween. We came up with 5 ordinary details as a class, and then the students transformed them into more memorable, extraordinary sentences on their own. One girl changed our class sentence of "There are pumpkins" into something like "You feel the slimy goo drip through your fingers as you carve your favorite picture." Another girl changed "It is fall" into "You feel the brown, yellow, and orange leaves fluttering around your feet." Who would have thought that a little bit of creative writing would have them begging to share their words? It was a great day. Especially in comparison to yesterday, when I cried on the couch about what a horrible teacher I am.

2) My Salt City candle. It is cedarwood vanilla scent, which basically translates into the smell of fall in a jar. I LOVE it! There is something about a candle burning that makes the house feel so cozy.

3) The nice librarian at the Orem library. She gave me a FREE copy of My Antonia (which I already own, but who can pass up a free book?) and was so pleasant and helpful.

4) THIS DIVINE MEAL! The recipe for which I found on Kristylicious' blog. I made it for dinner tonight and it was fabulous (although, we made it less healthy by adding chicken, and putting melted cheese and sour cream on top).

5) The discovery that it takes LESS time to drive to Smith's and Albertson's, shop, and come home, that it takes to go to Walmart (even though Walmart is closer). I feel SO much better supporting stores that are not cohorts with the devil, and feel even better doing it when it SAVES me time! I drove to Albertson's, bought the fresh ingredients for dinner, drove back, and was STILL in time for my ritual re-run of "Gilmore Girls."

6) My fuzzy pajama pants that are becoming my everyday, after-work garb. I LOVE them!

7) My fellow English teacher who is collaborating with me on a research unit. It seems so much less overwhelming when there's someone to work with! We basically have the entire unit mapped out, and just need to get together to finalize a few of the details.

8) The fact that tomorrow is Friday, and that on Saturday I get to meet 3 of my best girlfriends in Salt Lake for some catching up and fun. It's going to be great!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lost but Not Found

So, at the start of September I went with my husband to a photography thing in St. George. It was great fun! I took a personal day, and spent the weekend sleeping in, lounging by the pool, and composing lesson ideas. Sadly, the trip ended on a less positive note.

I left my swimsuit behind.

I just found it this summer. It was brand new. I loved it. It was perfect. It looked like this:

Isn't it adorable? I think so too! In addition, I also left behind my handy-dandy-matches-the-suit-perfectly beach cover-up. I left them hanging on a hook in the bathroom after returning from a visit to the pool.

I am not usually so careless, and the loss of the new swimsuit has been driving me insane!

I know what you're thinking, "Why didn't you call the hotel?" Don't worry folks, I did. In fact, I have called them repeatedly. Until today, the lady named Jen, who is in charge of the lost and found, was never actually THERE! I left her two messages, and my husband even tried to call once or twice while I was at work. Today, Jen finally returned my phone call. Apparently, there is no such swimsuit to be found.

Now, I ask you, who would steal a used swimsuit?!?! I mean, I know it's a fabulous one, but REALLY! I don't care how cute it is, you wouldn't want to adopt the swimwear of a complete stranger! (And this is coming from me...the thrift store queen...some things are just off limits.)

Anyway, I am majorly depressed about it. Jen promises me that she has my phone number, and will call me if my bathing suit shows up in the laundry or something. Right. I'm really counting on that happening.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fall Break is a Beautiful Thing

All through my days at BYU I craved a Fall Break. I think it is cruel that BYU does not give students a break in the fall, or in the spring. It's just...wrong. It became even worse after I got married. Since Chad goes to UVSC, where they believe in letting students have vacation time, he had one and I didn't. I'd have to leave for classes, while watching him still sound asleep. And NOTHING. I repeat, NOTHING, is as miserable as that. Particularly when you're a person who detests early hours, and would like nothing better than to hide under the covers from the alarm clock in the morning.

Anyway, I can put such misery behind me, because I finally have one! It's not a super long break, and most of it will probably be spent forcing myself to finish all the mounds of grading that have piled up, but STILL it is a break! I don't have to go to work, and I can stay in my pajamas all day if I want to. I can finally indulge in a session of relaxation, complete with a mug of Stephen's Mint Cocoa (quite the treat, and we now have a ginormous container of it from Sam's Club) while I force myself to read what are supposed to be coherent sentences created by my 10th and 12th graders. The mountain of book reports is slowly, but surely, depleting. I only have two and a half classes left to go! And, have only found one case of blatant plagiarism so far! It's miraculous! With a light at the end of the tunnel, I think I might actually have a few moments for fun time between now and Monday.

PLUS we are having "fake Thanksgiving" at my parents' house this weekend. And what's better than turkey, sweet potatoes, and a little stuffing on a fall day?

And, did I mention I don't have to go back to work until Monday? YEA!!!
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