Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Last Day

My long term substitute position has come to an end. Monday is the "crossover day" where I will pass the torch back to the permanent teacher and then throw myself into the pool of per diem substitutes. Sigh. I have spent most of January dreading this moment. The anxiety of not knowing whether or not I will have a job each day, of going into different buildings, different classrooms, never knowing what breed of student torture awaits me has been turning my hair gray and tying my stomach in knots. I have been offered another LTS position, but it does not start until late April. In the meantime, I have taken on a second job tutoring inner city kids two nights a week. The program is paid for by a NCLB (No Child Left Behind or as I like to refer to it: The worst act to ever enter the world of education) grant and helps kids who are falling behind on their state tests. Mostly I work with K-3 kids on basic reading skills. It's been quite the change after working with 11th and 12th graders. Honestly, I miss my 7th graders. Such a nice, happy, hormone-driven medium.
But I digress. From what, I don't really know. From rambling on in my self-pitying state. I am hoping that the daily exposure to students who may or may not shoot spit-wads at me will make me a stronger person in the end. That coupled with the debilitating winter we are experiencing, with record lows and snow like I haven't seen in years, makes me think of a Princess Bride quote. Will I survive until April? "That would take a miracle."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Can I get a vowel?

Paul is able to identify all of the letters in the alphabet (capital ones at least, we are working on lowercase) and has taken to spelling everything he sees. For a while everything spelled "Paul", but he is slowly starting to figure out that different groups of letters have different meanings. He has learned that a red octagon with the letters S-T-O-P spells "stop", and knows now that only the letters P-A-U-L spell "Paul". For everything else, he uses his own little version of context clues to figure it out. He will say all of the letters and then announce what they spell. It can be pretty darn funny. Some of my favorites:
  • At Paul's favorite hangout: "J-C-P-E-N-N-E-Y. Mall"
  • While drinking from an old glass mug at my folk's house: "A-S-U. Hot cocoa. A-S-U. Cup. Mommy, what A-S-U spell?" ??? Upon inspection of the cup right side up I replied, "USA honey. From back when we actually made things here." (Besides plates and tires of course.)
  • While driving his giant digger all over the kitchen: "T-O-N-K-A. Really big digger." That's for sure.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy 2009. I am contemplating writing a nice little piece about resolutions - all of the things I promise to do better this year, ways I will improve myself, blah blah blah. But we all know that people make lofty resolutions every year and most of us have broken them by the second week of January. If we even get that far! Last year I actually drew up this whole chart and analyzed each section of my life (work, family, health, etc.) and plotted out how I would make small changes that would make me a better person. HA. I am still engaging in the same bad behaviors.
This year, however, I did have a bit of a scare that may trigger the end of an awful habit (one can only hope). I have been a nail biter for as long as I can remember, and about two weeks ago I developed a nasty infection in my finger that is just now clearing up. I was in excruciating pain, had to take a round of antibiotics and down some heavy pain killers just to get through the day, and ended up having my cousin's fiance (she's an EMT) drain the puss out during our Christmas party. My dad was convinced that I was going to lose my finger and possibly even die. Nice, eh? The infection was most likely due to a hangnail that I had created when - you guessed it - I bit my nail. Gross. One night when I was up at two AM, doubled over in pain, tears streaming down my face, I promised to NEVER EVER EVER bite my nails again. Hopefully after making a similar resolution pretty much every year since middle school I will actually STOP biting my nails. FOREVER. Perhaps if I just stick to that one resolution instead of trying to fool myself with an entire chart, I can actually accomplish it.
As for the rest of the family, Paul has resolved to sleep in his bed with no railing (ok, so we decided that one for him), and CJ is working on not reacting to everything with negativity. I will keep everyone posted on where we are come mid-month.