Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Parent Teacher Conferences

Tonight and tomorrow night I have parent teacher conferences. They are the bane of my existence as a teacher. For those of you who have children or who might have children someday I have several words of advice for how to handle parent teacher conferences at the high school level:
1. If your child has an A and you do not have questions/concerns to discuss, please stay home. There is absolutely no reason for you to come wait in line for half an hour, to talk to me for only 2 seconds when the conversation will follow this pattern:
ME: Nice to see you again. Little Suzie still has an A. 100% it looks like! Do you have any questions or concerns?
ME: Great!
...Awkward silence until the parent decides that they have demonstrated that they are sufficiently 'involved' in their child's life and can reasonably leave...
2. Leave your child at home. It is a whole lot easier to tell you that your child makes me want to become a Tibetan Buddhist nun if he is not sitting there staring at me.
3. I can only be cheerful and smiley for so long. If you come to me 5 minutes before the end of three and a half hour stretch of parent teacher conferences, which come after an 8 hour day of teaching, and expect to have a long, detailed conversation about how I am not meeting your student's many and diverse needs, please do not be offended if I beat you with sticks.
4. Related to Number 2: I really would rather you didn't yell at your child in front of me. It makes me uncomfortable and I have unpleasant thoughts about what you do to your children when no one, much less a gym full of teachers and parents, are around to monitor your behavior.
5. Please do not complain about your child's other parent to me. I don't need to know that her mother/father is wholly inadequate as a parent and won't help her with her homework while you are slaving away at your job. I really, really don't want to know.

So, there you have it. Parent teacher conference etiquette for the 21st century. I just wish there was a way to communicate these rules to the parents I will actually see tonight.

Monday, February 25, 2008


On Saturday, my high school hosted the region debate tournament. I got volunteered to be in charge of this fun filled event months ago and was promised that "it isn't that hard!". Lies. Dirty, nasty lies. I spent hours preparing for over a hundred debaters to show up at my school, use our classrooms and, hopefully, qualify for the state tournament. Thankfully, I am blessed to have the world's most helpful husband, the best assistant coach on the planet (who, incidently is also married to a very nice and helpful man),a mother who took pity on me, and a very patient custodial staff. Isaac came to school with me at 6:30 in the morning on Saturday to help set up. He then spent most of the day judging Student Congress (not the most exciting event, which is why he was judging. No one else would). When he finished judging he immediately began cleaning up. By the time I was done presenting awards, he had cleaned most of the common areas we had used. The very patient custodial staff only had to empty trash cans and lock doors. My mother took the place of Kelsey, who destroyed her knee at dance practice and couldn't come judge for me. The amazing assistant coach took care of feeding 150 debaters, 60 judges and 10 coaches. Her darling husband ran errands, checked ballots, and helped Isaac clean up. Hooray for wonderful people! Because of their help, all went well. The highlights of the day were that no one died and the school did not burn down. The fact that most of our team qualified for state was a wonderful added bonus. :-) The trouble with all of this is that, for the past week and a half, my brain has been totally focused on getting this tournament set up. Now, I have this horrible feeling that I have forgotten and neglected other important tasks, but my brain is mush and I can't quite remember what those things might be. I hope they weren't too important.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


It is official! We have finally settled on a flight school! This means that Isaac will be leaving for Arizona the first week of April. He is looking forward to finishing his flight training, and it is an added bonus that the weather is so nice in Arizona! :-) I, tragically, will be staying here until at least the end of the school year. After that, I'll move as soon as I have a job offer. So exciting! Isaac should, barring death or other disaster, finish his program in August. WOOHOO! In other news-the trip to Texas was quite a success. The highlight of the adventure was seeing Morgan and Henry. Morgan has the kindest in-laws who graciously shared their limited time with Morgan and their grandkids with me. It was a lovely time. Henry is getting so big! The poor kid did try to put an entire piece of bread in his mouth and, despite my dire warnings of impending disaster, kept shoving it in while saying something about being "big enough for big bread"-it was hard to tell what he was saying around all the bread. This, as you probably guessed, ended badly for the little guy. It was not, however, the disaster Morgan made it out to be on her blog. He and Spencer are adorable! Not great sleepers, but adorable. :-)
And last among the progress updates (and most irrelevant to the rest of the post, not that there was an identifiable or unifing theme before, but whatever.), the quilt that has been in progress for nearly a year is finally finished! A word of advice: If you ever feel compelled to sew a quilt entirely by hand, make sure you have a significant block of uninterrupted time to work on said quilt-if you only work on it when you 'have time' it might end up taking you a year to finish. Just a thought.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's time for a revolution!

Here I am. All by myself in the great Republic of Texas. Well, not really by myself, because I came with three other people from my school. I am all by myself in my room because I didn't want to eat dinner poised precariously on top of a pointy tower. More on that later. Since I am basically alone and I don't really have much else to do, I am perusing the "news" online. And, I am once again reminded that most news stories aren't really news at all. For example I just read the headline, "Beagle scores Westminster first". Now, I should tell you, this headline can be found on a respectable new organization's homepage. A beagle and a dog show. On what amounts to the front page. Of all the things to put on the front page! I had to search around for election results, but I can tell you what won the Westminster dog show with no effort at all! Good Grief.
Now, I am positive I am not the only person who is incredibly annoyed by the trivia of the "news" so I propose we do something about it!
Thinking humans UNITE!!
It will be our own little revolution. Of course, I have absolutely no idea what we'll actually do about trivia and nonsense being passed off as news. All I know is that people with a group identity tend to be taken more seriously than one lone person. One lone person is a lunatic. A group of lunatics is a cause. Who's with me?!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Clancy, the giant baby

So, Clancy. He's huge. He has these giant floppy ears-very cute. Tragically, they also get ear infections pretty regularly. Gross. To try and prevent the ear infections, we have this handy-dandy ear cleaner stuff, which we use to clean his ears just about everyday. You would think that the stupid dog would appreciate the fact that I clean his ears, because this means that they don't get infected and sore. But no. He is a giant baby about his ears. He hates having me clean them. He whines and wiggles and shakes his giant head and generally acts like I am killing him. Yesterday was the worst though. He was sleeping by the table when I went over to try and clean his ears. He got up and hid behind Isaac. I got a cookie and tried to bribe him. He came out from behind Isaac but as soon as he saw the ear cleaner and cotton balls, he hid under the table and whined. He would not come out, no matter what bribe I offered. I finally went under there with him-a rather tight squeeze by the way-and tried to do the ears. He rolled over and pushed me away with his feet! I have scratches all over my hands and arms from trying to turn him over! I gave up. If he is smart enough to figure out that the white bottle and cotton balls mean I am going to clean his ears, why can't he figure out that I'm not trying to kill him?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


The ceiling in my classroom is dripping. I guess, if I were to be specific, it is actually a light fixture in my classroom that is dripping copious amounts of water. I have gone to the custodians about this problem and have been assured that A) I and my students are not in danger of electrocution and B) There is nothing anyone can do about the constant drip. This has me slightly peeved. I, for one, do not believe that water pooling in a light fixture does not pose at least a small risk of electrocution and, on top of that, I am certain that something can be done. It has been my experience that when someone says "There's nothing we can do," what they really mean is, "There is nothing I am willing to do," and that just irritates me; almost as much as the steady drip...drip...drip... onto the floor and desks of my classroom.
Since there is, apparently, very little that anyone will do to solve this problem, I am considering an anonymous call to the fire marshal. He is the one who made our school librarian remove all couches and armchairs from the library because they are 'fuel for a fire', should a fire start in the library (to which instruction I responded: "Ummm. Did you not notice the shelves and shelves of books in the library? With paper?! The library is going up like a torch, with or without the chairs.")I am certain he will be interested in the electrocution risk, however remote, posed by the water in my light fixture.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I am slow..but I get there in the end.

So, Kara tagged me a few days ago and I am just now getting to it. As I am rather slow, it took me a little while to figure out what being 'tagged' meant. Anywho-here goes...

10 years ago...Ten years ago I was a senior in high school and had, in February, just found out that my stake president had lost my recommendation form for BYU and my application was going to be significantly late. I was not a happy camper. It all worked out in the end though. Let's see.... I also didn't have class on Fridays, which was nice. My senior year was not very exciting.

5 Things on my To-Do List Today...1. Email our school's webmaster...sigh. 2. Prepare lessons for a sub for next week. 3. Go grocery shopping 4. Finish grading AP tests. 5. Fill out financial aid forms for flight school....double sigh.

5 Snacks I Enjoy...1. Oreos. 2. Ice cream. 3. Dots (the candy). 4. Cracker Barrel biscuits. 5. Baked Lay's potato chips (seriously, these are so much better than regular potato chips)

5 Places I Have Lived... 1. Provo, Utah 2. Germantown, Maryland 3. Wausau, Wisconsin. 4. Mission Viejo, California. 5. Wichita, Kansas

5 Jobs I've Had... 1. Teacher 2. Hotel Front Desk Clerk 3. Tutor 4. Test Question evaluator (a totally random, but rather interesting, job) 5. Queen of Everything at Odyssey Recreational Learning. If you don't believe me, I can show you my business cards. (my parents own the company and let me decide my own job title. Everyone called me the Office Nazi, though. That hurt.)

5 Things People Don't Know About Me...I have no idea. My life is an open book...let me think...Ok, here goes. 1. When I started at BYU I was a microbiology major and wanted to go to medical school but by the time I graduated I had declared 11 different majors. 2. I was 'associate of the month', after working for 1 month at a summer job at Sam's Club. I was only there for 2 months. They loved me there. 3. I really like winter. 4. I, apparently, knew I would marry Isaac when I was 12. It's amazing what one reads in one's old journals! 5. From about the age of 5 until my junior year of high school I wanted to be the pilot of the space shuttle. I found out my junior year, as I was applying to the Air Force Academy, that my eye sight was too bad (by the tiniest little bit) to fly jets-which one has to do if one wants to fly the space shuttle. The day the dream died was a dark day in my life. Really. I was heartbroken.