The Adventures (or Semi-Boring Moments in the Life) of Cathy the English Teacher
Thursday, April 12, 2007
1:16PM - Attention, friends!
Because my wonderful 8th graders are so smart, they have found my LJ. To prevent any problems or misunderstandings, my LJ will, unfortunately, be friends only from now on. If you read my journal but are not an LJ member, please consider joining LJ for free and becoming my LJ friend. If you are already a friend, really nothing will change. As a teacher, I have to be more cautious than most when it comes to being on the internet. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
8:51PM - Stupid LJ & a Book Review
Grrr...I took some quizzes and tried to post them here, but somehow it all ended up as gobbledy-gook! The most memorable part of my results for The Everything Test is that I am hotter than 0% of the people who have taken the test, but I can take solace in the fact that they were wrong about a couple of things so they're probably wrong about this too.
Also, here is a quick book review:
I love Libba Bray's book A Great and Terrible Beauty. It's completely engrossing and suspenseful; I couldn't put it down. There was a twist about 2/3 of the way through that made me audibly gasp, and to surprise a voracious reader that way and still make it plausible is a great accomplishment. I highly recommend this coming-of-age Victorian supernatural thriller!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
10:08PM - Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! I just finished grading the first set of research papers. Just two more sets to go... before Friday. It took me a week to grade the first set. Grades are due Friday night. Please wish me luck as I drive myself insane finishing the 42 papers I have left to grade. Still, finishing one set gives me a small sense of relief. At least it's only 2 stacks instead of 3. Plus, I've got a rhythm going now.
Oh, I can't forget about the 108 books projects I have to also have graded by Friday. Man, this teaching thing's stressful!
Monday, February 5, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
12:03PM - GO COLTS!!!
Less than a week until the Super Bowl...
AND MY TEAM IS IN IT!!!!
Whoo!!! Go Colts!
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Here are my New Year's resolutions. I post them here in the hope that I will actually remember to follow them.
1) BE MORE ORGANIZED! This includes cleaning out my car, cleaning my apartment from top to bottom, and keeping better track of things at school instead of piling them on my desk. This also means keeping my appointments and deadlines in two places (both at school and at home) so I can make sure I know exactly what is going on at all times.
2) MANAGE MY TIME MORE EFFECTIVELY! This includes working on grading my students' work in smaller chunks rather than letting it pile up and trying to do it all at once. This also means using my prep periods to work on several different tasks rather than working on one thing the whole time. When I work on only one thing during these periods, I tend to stagnate and it takes longer than it should.
3) WORK ON GETTING FIT WITHOUT RELYING SOLELY ON SOFTBALL TO DO SO! This includes watching what I eat and doing other types of exercise when I'm not playing softball.
4) BE MORE PATIENT WITH MY LOVED ONES! This means letting the smaller things slide sometimes.
5) GET UP EARLIER SO I CAN HAVE SOME FREE TIME BEFORE I LEAVE FOR WORK! Right now, I wake up and it's a constant sprint to get ready and get to work. I think allowing myself even 10 minutes of "me time" before I leave for the day would help my stress level.
So here are some things I love right now (in no particular order):
-The Devil Wears Prada movie
-The Devil Wears Prada book
-The Sound of Music (although it wasn't new to me; I mention my love for it because I bought the DVD yesterday)
-hugs and kisses from Cody
-all the souvenirs I got from the Chicago Field Museum after having seen the King Tutankhamun exhibit
-all the gifts I got from my students (well, technically it would be my students' parents, but it's the thought that counts)
-being able to go crazy at Borders, Walmart, and various restaurants in the Indianapolis area because I'm using gift cards I received for Christmas
-being able to relax (even though I have projects to finish grading, and then I have to record the grades on the stupid computer system by 8am Monday morning)
-the card game Fluxx
-spending time with my family
Monday, January 1, 2007
3:57PM - First of Year Post
Hi, everybody! I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to visit LJ in a long time. I apologize, but unfortunately the situation probably won't be remedied until the summer. I figured that while I had the time, I better make a post to start off the new year. It's a meme I stole from my buddy Chris:
Monday, December 18, 2006
I have never been so excited by the prospect of Christmas Break...not even when I was a student.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The Onion's Horoscope for Me Today:
Gemini May 21 - June 21
Remember: You can only run away from your problems for so long before they catch up to you, tackle you, drag you into a nearby alley, and ultimately slit your throat.
Friday, November 24, 2006
11:42PM - Some Updates
Hey, I'm alive! I think I'll give you some updates, starting with the most recent and working my way back.
The day before Thanksgiving, I was rear-ended by a giant Cadillac on my way to the school. I got out of my car to check the damage, and my coat caught the lock and locked the door while I was shutting it. Therfore, I was locked out of my running car after being rear-ended. To make matters worse, I was at the exit of my apartment complex, so everybody passed me as they left. I felt like a giant goober. The man who rear-ended me used a piece of metal to try and get my door unlocked, to no avail. A man pulled up next to us and threatened my life because I was blocking the right turn lane out of the complex, and I was really freaked out. He eventually left, to my immense relief. The man who rear-ended me and I had been standing in the freezing cold for 45 minutes trying to get my door unlocked when a deaf-mute (I am not making this up) pulled up next to us and made some motions that told us he was asking if we needed help. We said yes, so he got a hanger out of his backseat and somehow got the door unlocked in about 5 seconds. It made me wonder if he was a deaf-mute car thief, but I digress. As he turned around, the hanger caught my lip and ripped it open. I was finally able to drive to the school, but I had to tie a towel around my neck so the blood didn't drip on my shirt. When I got to school, my big lesson planning binder, the one that has all the lesson plans I've done since the beginning of the year, fell off the shelf and all the papers scattered everywhere. Finally, to top off my horrible day, my neck and back REALLY started killing me. I got checked out, and I have whiplash. I've been in major pain for the past two days.
But here are some good things:
-the principal already told me they are going to renew my contract for next year
-many of my prayers have been answered lately
-something that I thought was heart-breaking was actually the impetus I needed to become a better person (and I think it's working so far)
-my last two softball games of the season, I hit a single, three triples, and a homerun (I was 5 for 6 that night)
-I'm getting more organized (a huge breakthrough for me)
Friday, October 20, 2006
11:48AM - Too busy
I've been too busy with school to post anything. Lots has happened. Will post backposts (up to 3 weeks back!) as soon as I have a chance. Meanwhile, here's a meme that took me about 2 seconds so I could post it:
1. Post your birthmonth.
2. Cross out anything that isn't true of you.
3. Bold 5-10 things that you think really represent you.
4. Post the rest of the list of months under a cut.
Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts. Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
9:40PM - Good & Bad
Sometimes, you have a good day; other times, you have a bad day.
Sometimes, you overhear students talking about how you're their favorite teacher when they don't know you're there; other times, you find that a student broke your fancy (and expensive for scissors) craft scissors on purpose and hid the pieces.
Sometimes, you feel on top of the world; other times, you feel completely overwhelmed.
Sometimes, you feel in control; other times, you find out that grades are due first thing Monday morning and you're way behind in grading.
Sometimes, you feel confident in yourself; other times, you find out parent conferences (which go on for a week and a half) start the day after grades are due, and you also realize you have no idea what to do at a parent conference.
The former was the past few days; the latter was today.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
2:48PM - Pandora Help!
Have you heard about the website Pandora? Well, it sounded interesting to me and I wanted to try it. But I can't get Pandora's music to play for me! Any tips on what to try? My speakers work fine, my computer plays sounds from other websites, and my volume is not muted or too low in any way.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
11:53PM - Happy things
I'm happy because
-I get paid for the first time tomorrow---I've been teaching since August 14 and this will be my first paycheck. This means I can buy food, eat McDonald's occasionally, and actually go to Wal-Mart without being sad because I can't afford anything.
-My after-school French club loves me, even though I'm making them work really hard; they're even trying to recruit new members because (I quote) "French is awesome!"
-ISTEP is next week, so I only have a few lesson plans to make.
-I'm only way behind on grading now instead of being so far behind that I almost spontaneously burst into tears.
-I have softball Monday and Tuesday.
-I'm going to the theatre on a date with Cody.
-I get some free books for my classroom library because I got so many points from students ordering through Scholastic.
-I've started a trend at my school. I've gotten everybody interested in reading, apparently. Even some teachers who claim they haven't read a book in a long time are telling me that my enthusiasm for reading is so contagious it caused them to pick up a book and read for fun!
-One of my favorite series of books is making the rounds at my school. I read the Uglies trilogy over the summer, and at school I shared how much I liked it. I only have one classroom copy of Uglies, but it's been passed around more than any other book. It's only four weeks into the year and I've already gotten 10 kids to check it out and actually read it. They've all come to school excited because they loved it so much! Most of the Scholastic orders from the students include Uglies and Pretties, the two books from the Uglies trilogy that Scholastic offers.
-The principal has complimented me the past few days on what a great job I'm doing. He says that the parents love me so far and that the kids always talk about me in particular as being a good teacher.
-Survivor and The Amazing Race are starting their new seasons.
-We're starting to plan the 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C. It's going to be awesome, and the best part is that the school pays for me to go!
-I've just started reading Anne of Green Gables, and it has helped my few precious moments of "me-time" be tranquil and relaxing.
-Project Runway reairs episodes at strange hours so that I've gotten completely caught up on all the runway drama while grading.
-Cody is back in town from being on a business trip.
-I'm getting into my teaching groove.
-BBC America airs the British "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" at odd hours so that when I just want to laugh, I can flip to that channel for five minutes.
-I don't feel sick anymore.
-I've gained a little weight but I'm okay with it.
-My little brother Craig still comes to me when he needs help with homework.
-At school, I have had no parent complaints so far!
-Since the weather is cooler, the school is no longer unbearably hot and sticky.
-My Bible Study group is getting ready to study something that really interests me but that I don't know much about. Yay for new knowledge!
-I think my mattress has formed to my body because it's so comfortable now.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
10:51PM - Being Sick & Beautiful Moments
Yesterday, I was sick and they sent me home. By that, I mean they told me to go home on pain of death and torture. The principal told me (and I quote), "You look horrible. Go home." I went home and slept about four hours in the afternoon, slept nine hours last night, and still managed to oversleep this morning! Plus, I fell asleep this evening and barely roused myself. Stupid germs...
On a bright note, the principal told me that this was the first year that the school has gotten this far in the school year and not had any complaints from middle school parents. He said this shows I'm doing a great job, and I should be proud of myself. The substitute from yesterday left me a wonderful note about my kids, and apparently he told the principal that it was a joy to sub in the middle school this time. He subbed in the middle school last year and hated it. The kids ran wild. I've met the teachers I replaced and they're nice and all, but they tried to be the students' friends at the expense of being the teachers in charge. I like to think I walk that boundary between being a friend and an authority figure very well. They tell me all the hottest gossip (who's dating whom, what celebrity they think is hot, etc.) but listen to me when I tell them to do anything. We get quite a bit done in class, so obviously I'm doing something right. The trouble kids behave much better in my class than in other classes (and I'm not at all forgiving of "a little noise"--when I say silence, I mean silence). Anyway, the substitute and the principal credited "the new middle school teachers" with the positive changes in the students' attitudes. Liz and I, the new middle school teachers, have worked very hard on teaching these students proper respect and behavior, so it's nice knowing that outside observers can see these lessons being applied. Obviously, I must not be a horrible teacher! :)
Moving on, I saw an absolutely gorgeous view tonight. I was driving back to my apartment and passed the Indianapolis skyline on my left. It was breathtaking. The buildings in front looked clear and crisp, and the buildings farther back were shrouded in mist. It was very ethereal and dream-like. The lighting was all muted and yet somehow luminous, almost like natural mood lighting. I was entranced. I couldn't stop staring, even though I was driving down a wet interstate late at night. I love Indianapolis!
Monday, September 11, 2006
The Colts won! Huzzah! :)
And I pwn you, lesson planning! It's only 12:35 am on a Sunday night and I'm already headed to bed! You are so defeated.
My boyfriend heads to Boston on business for 3 days. I'm going to be so lonely. :( But he's promised to call me every day, so I'm sure I'll be able to deal (at least for a little while).
Thursday, September 7, 2006
11:52PM - Today
Today was pretty bad...
I woke up at 7:15am. Problem: I'm supposed to be at the school at 7:30. Fortunately, I live only 15 minutes away, so I was only about 10 minutes late. Still, I couldn't seem to get into gear; I just didn't feel like myself. Grades for progress reports were due today, and I busted my butt (I stayed up until 3am working on them for 3 nights in a row) but did not get as many grades in as I would have liked. I just don't feel that the grades accurately represent where the students stand right now because they've turned in tons of stuff and I didn't get a whole lot of it graded. Well, anyway, the getting into gear thing. I spent all day trying to fix grades because the computer program is super-screwed up (we all hate it) and gave people grades and percentages that didn't make sense with the number of points they have. A 97% being an F? I don't think so. Trying to get all that fixed meant I didn't really accomplish anything all day long. I feel like I had no preps even though I had one prep and one study hall. I had to leave the club I run after school in the hands of the principal because I had a dentist's appointment on the south side. The appointment was at 4:10, but because of being stuck in traffic I didn't get there until 4:30. At least I got to my softball game on time--it was the only thing I was on time for the entire day. I feel stupid and useless and jittery and just plain bad about the entire day. :(
Oh, and we lost our softball game by one run, meaning we have to settle for second place. Nothing could go right for me today.
Friday, September 1, 2006
5:33PM - Hugely long survey
Thursday, August 31, 2006
11:38PM - softball tonight
Wow, softball tonight was...interesting. We played an undefeated team, and beating them put us into a tie with them for first place. We ended up smoking them (12-2) but they were really poor sports about it. They tried to extend the game longer than the rules allowed so they could catch up, but the game was ended as it should have been. One of the guys on the other team said in a very menacing tone "Next week" and stared each of us down as we shook hands. One girl walked off the field and refused to shake hands afterward, and one of my teammates yelled, "Nice sportsmanship!" For some reason, the girl flipped me off even though I didn't say anything. She then said something about the loss being our fault because we pointed out to the umpire that the game was supposed to be over because it was, in fact, the 5th inning and therefore we had 10-run-ruled them. I yelled back, "As home team, it's your responsibility to keep the book and know what inning it is too." I don't understand what was so offensive about this fact, but she threw her stuff down and stormed the field like she was going to clock me. I knew my team had my back so I just turned and walked away, then cackled like a madwoman in the dugout because of nervousness and a certain feeling that the entire thing was quite ridiculous. I probably made things worse by laughing, and she threatened to "kick my a**!" The scary part: we play them again next week. And I am the third baseman, meaning I get a lot of hard shots hit to me anyway even when the people are not intentionally trying to kill me. My mom said she would have jumped the fence and hit the girl in the face with her umbrella or something if she had come any closer to me or touched me; it was both satisfying knowing my mom would defend me that way and scary knowing my mom would assault somebody on my account. I am a little worried about next week, especially since the girl had a good 30 pounds on me and looked like she had had her share of bar fights. Yikes.
At least I can take consolation in the fact that I scored our first run, getting the momentum switched in our direction since they had scored first. I also played a defensively errorless game, cleanly fielding a few hard shots and throwing out every person who hit the ball near me. I hit 2 for 3, one of them scoring a run. I also took home as an extra base and slid in for a close play in which I was called safe (the correct call, as I was underneath the tag). The other team was really ticked about that one. This makes things even scarier because they may very well decide next week's game is not softball but Peg Cathy As Hard As You Can Until She Bleeds Or Is Knocked Unconscious, Whichever Is More Fun.
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