Wednesday, May 27, 2009

end of year humor

one of my fellow english teachers passed this around to the faculty this morning. it was the laugh i needed to get through day 8 of the count down. (i'll apologize upfront that i don't have an exact source - i can't get to the onion's website at school - blocked - you know how it goes.)

This was recently published in THE ONION, and I thought maybe, at this time of year, you would enjoy it.

WASHINGTON-A shocking report released by the U.S. Department of Education
this week revealed that a growing number of the nation's educators struggle
on a daily basis with some form of teaching disability.
The study, which surveyed 2,500 elementary and high school level
instructors across the country, found that nearly one out of every five
exhibited behaviors typically associated with a teaching impairment. Among
them: trouble paying attention in school, lack of interest or motivation
during class, and severe emotional issues.

"For teaching-disabled and at-risk educators, just coming to school every
day is a challenge," said Dr. Robert Hughes, a behavioral psychologist and
lead author of the study. "Even simple tasks, like remaining alert and
engaged during lessons, can be a struggle. Unfortunately, unless we take
immediate action, these under-performers will only continue to fall further

"Our teachers are in trouble," Hughes continued. "Some can't even teach at
a basic sixth-grade level."

As noted in the report, hundreds of schools have already begun setting up
special classrooms in which the teaching- disabled can receive the extra
attention they require, teach at their own unique pace, and be paired up
with patient students who can help to keep them on track.

According to school administrators, new programs like these encourage
marginalized and disenfranchised teachers by rewarding them for showing up
to school prepared and taking an active part in classroom discussions. Many
also have counselors on hand to intervene when an instructor grows
frustrated or throws a tantrum and storms out of the room.

In the new "Teachers First!" program at Wesley Academy in Chicago,
educators who were once labeled "lost causes" and left to flounder in the
system for years on end are now diagnosed with specific teaching disorders,
given extra time to grade difficult assignments, and, in the case of
particularly troubled teachers, moved back a grade.

"We're much more sensitive now to the factors that influence their
behavior: abusive home lives, drug and alcohol problems, or often, the fact
that they never should have been put in regular classrooms to begin with,"
Wesley principal Donald Zicree said. "A lot of these poor men and women have
been told they can't teach for so long that many start to believe it after a

"Rather than punishing our teachers or kicking them out, we give them a
gold star every time they do something right," Zicree continued. "If they
write the correct answer to a math problem on the board, they get a gold
star. If they volunteer to read aloud during English class, they get a gold
star. You'd be amazed what a little positive reinforcement can do. Some of
our teachers† have even stopped drinking in their cars during lunch."

According to Zicree, school officials aren't the only ones excited by the
difference the new programs are making. Many educators have also responded
favorably, realizing that they no longer have to act out or create
disruptions in order to get the attention they so desperately crave.

For a few, like Michael Sturges, a 10th-grade history teacher at Wagar High
School in Council Grove, KS, being put in a special classroom has reawakened
a love for teaching he hasn't felt in years.

"Now that I know I have a teaching disability I don't beat myself up so
much when I have a bad day or can't grasp the material we're working with,"
said Sturges, 38, who has pinned a number of perfectly graded assignments up
on his wall. "I used to think teaching and stuff was pretty lame, but now-I
dunno-I guess it's all right. If anything, being in school now might help me
to get a decent job when I'm older."

Added Sturges, "You know, something that pays more than $24,000 a year."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Guess where I am

I came to orem cemetery for memorial day service - very cool. But since I was in the 'hood I decided to visit my grandparents. They've got a great spot up on the hill. Nice seeing them - although I tend to think of them when I visit orem anyway. They were good grandparents - i'm glad I got to live with them for a few months back in college.

Monday, May 18, 2009


You know how brushing your teeth after eating candy can make your toothbrush a scary color? Well, I ate a lot of lettuce tonight. Spring mix, actually. Anyway, the toothbrush was an unsightly poo green color. Just so you know.

background for last post

not that it's needed, but i think it's a bit interesting. i had a dream over the weekend. all i remember is the end where i was wandering around a large building looking for my friends but either all the doors were locked or nobody was where they were supposed to be. i finally came across one friend who was sitting at a bar depressed. i joined her. i was wearing a pink bathrobe and had one over stuffed oreo left to share - i had eaten the rest of the package while wandering. as you can imagine, i woke up from the dream a bit depressed. it felt real enough that i actually ate ice cream for breakfast (i had no oreos in the house) and the rest of the day i struggled with similar feelings. so this morning, when i was reading my scriptures and came across that verse in helaman i suddenly felt empowered to take off the bathrobe and throw out the last oreo. metaphorically.

historically may can be a real struggle for me. i always get depressed at the end of the school year - i start missing my kids and missing the ones that have gone on before. i miss all the lost opportunities and truthfully, i fear the future big time. not so much summer, more the NEXT school year. yes, i tend to fear the future. since i have to do a lot in may to get ready for next school year it's a real struggle for me - lots of confused and mixed emotions. add to this stress i'm still coping with the loss of my father two summers ago. this year i've been doing lots better, but i got hit by it big this weekend. and you know how it is when you get sad and stressed, it's easy to find lots of other things to be sad and stressed about. so, like i said, that verse in helaman was a real necessary kick in the pants.

i'd like to report that today was one of my best school days so far. good class discussion, no conflicts with rowdy students - just nice easy goodnes.

Helaman 16:22

This verse spoke to me today. Do you ever find your mind thinking unproductive negative thoughts? I had one of those internal struggles yesterday. In the end I believe truth won out, but it was hard and it may have cost me some joy. My mother used to tell me to count my many blessings - I believe that may be one of the most effective ways to combat any foolish and vain thinking.

Friday, May 15, 2009


don't carry a red folder against your chest with a water bottle in the crook of your arm while wearing a white shirt. if you do, be prepared with a clorox stick - hooray for modern day miracle inventions.

p.s. the yearbooks have arrived! the year of death is nearly over!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

tired thursday

i generally wake up on time. most often i wake up before the alarm goes off. this morning i over slept by 10 minutes. 10 minutes can totally throw off my morning routine - i keep my mornings packed and i'd already put off a couple minor things to squeeze into my morning that i normally do before bed. so what did i do? i decided to stay in bed another 45 minutes. somehow in my head i reasoned that i was just skipping out on my morning exercise, granted i only allow 30 minutes for exercise in my schedule - somehow in my tired head it all equaled out. i rarely (think once every 3 years) give myself permission to "sleep in." well it only lasted another 15 minutes. by then i'd done the math and realized i would miss my scripture reading time as well. one of the reasons i fill my morning so full is because getting exercise and scriptures read before work seriously has an impact on how well i feel and how patient i am with my students. for their sakes as much as mine i need to do those two things. well, i can feel it. i can feel that i missed one of the two. maybe i'll take a brisk walk to the office - or do some jumping jacks. or even just a sun salutation will be better than nothing. i had a tough day on tuesday, i'm determined to be better today! one of my favorite lectures for students is that if they act tired they'll only be more tired - it's about time i started acting energized - i need it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I probably should have saved this for a wordless wednesday type of post. instead - we'll call it... manic monday. don't you get a bit manic when eating chocolate covered strawberries? sure, sounds good to me too. you should have seen some of the other photos. really.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Ever wonder how much people notice your earrings? My sisiter used to say she felt naked without them and couldn't leave the house without putting at least a basic pair in. Today, in my debate over which ones perfectly completed my outfit, I apparently left with one turqouise dangle and one silver/brown dangle. Nobody noticed. When I got home I showed bret - I made him look at me and tell me if he noticed anything different. I even held the hair back. Finally after a wrong guess and with a little gesturing he figured it out. I should mix and match more often! It would make the decision of which to wear a lot simpler!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Breakfast in tropic

We managed to eat every major meal at a place named after a man. Even ruby was short for reuben. Clarke's might be more of a family name. It's my sister's married name - I took it as a good omen either way. They had some delicious hot cakes. The dishes were brightly colored and the walls had fake brick showing through the plaster - very rustic.

The koa

Speaking of relaxed. This is a shot of my view from bed. I retired around 8. we spent some time sitting on the front porch watching evening come on. We also visited with a stray cat. I did some crocheting. We were tired. The koa was fabulous and perfect for our needs. As you can see i'm in the top bunk. Kristin slept below me and plewe took the full sized bed next to us. The place had wifi, a pool, and the cleanest bathrooms, and best showers ever. I give the bryce canyon koa 10 thumbs up!


After our strenuous hike we went to ruby's (where we'd sayed on one of our earliest wwww tours) for lunch/dinner. we were exhausted. This photo doesn't fully capture our relief to be sitting but I did get a large pina colada - the epitome of relaxed.


These photos were taken about halfway through. We had lunch shortly after - traditional salami and provolone on sourdough. And some tapioca for dessert. This was also about the time kristin tried to find a bandaid in her pack for a nasty blister on her heel. Alas, we'd left all our first aid stuff in the car. Smart, I know. We would stop every half hour and try to repad it with tissues and napkins. Finally plewe asked an older couple crossing our path if they had a bandaid to spare. They had moleskin - the best invention ever! unfortuantely even that gave out before the end of the hike. When we got back to the rim we left kristin and took the rim trail back to our car (2.7 miles) and drove back to pick up our poor injured sister.

But check out all those great hoodoos! We were standing at the top of a range - so unbelievable to look down on what nature can create. It was also lots of fun to keep saying hoodoo.

Tower bridge

On the way to tower bridge (our original intended destination) we made friends with some germans. They told us how much they enjoyed hiking in sedona that we were persuaded to consider it for a future wwww tour. Another couple pointed out the china wall to us - sorry I didn't take a photo. It was at tower bridge that we ran into the germans again. They encouraged us to do the entire fairyland loop. The rest of the day we'd catch glimpses of them far up the trail - they at least kept me going. At the end of our hike we ran into a young couple that were self described nomads. They'd been hiking for days - everywhere and anywhere. They recommended the needles district. I can't imagine a life of hiking. One full day was enough to tide me over for a while.

Hiking ladies

This picture was taken near the start of our 5 hour, 8 mile hike of fairyland in bryce canyon. We intended to only do a third and turn back but by the time we got to destination tower bridge we were feeling strong enoug we just kept going. Every view was stunning and worth the effort.


Each wwww tour we get ourselves a mascot. Our first was probably a.j.r. homie - the homie from a grocery store in monroe ny - or some similarly named town. Anyway, clem is this year's mascot. he's a miniature cat that we got at larry's drive in. We kept him in his snow globe like container. In fact, while hiking we found some really pretty yellow dirt that we thought would make good "snow" for him. This photo was taken before we added the dirt.