I am done with my first session of grad school. What a crazy ride these last 10 weeks have been. In the last 10 weeks I have done some neat projects. True the first few weeks nearly killed me. I was getting up at 4am to have a few hours of school work. On Sundays I spend from 6am to 2 pm working. There were a lot of hoops to jump through and of course reading, always reading. What I find funny is how crushing the start of this term was and now it is just everyday.
I like writing. I am not bad at writing, I just need a good editor. I was a late bloomer when it came to writing. In fact, it wasn’t till high school that I even began to understand that writing is a process and not just type - and -go. In community college I would spend time in the writing lab and would always expect to have my papers returned to me need revisions. This is funny, as I was on school papers during both colleges. I have even written short stories as gifts to friends. However recently I have started a large Master level research paper on training teachers. It got an ‘A-’ must still needs work. This paper is part of a larger research project and will be the foundation for more projects to come. Writing can be a challenge.
Presenting is the easy part. I have great childhood memories from family holidays. While the extended family members would sit around waiting for the holiday meal, I would entertain the adults with a fake newscast. I present an improvised new cast and while my siblings did sports, weather, and diaper updates. If I were to put presenting experience on a list I would also add theater classes in high school and college. I would count my brief employment on Disney’s Jungle Tour. Of course, teaching counts as a form of presentation. Maybe I just need to work on the writing side of my life and bring the writing and presentation skills into one package.
I am getting used to this madness. I am running at full speed and I won't stop till next December, 2017. Even during vacation time I am still running. Graduate school is race to the end of the last class. To be honest I am worried about what next school year might have in store for me.
Summer vacation is here. I mean for me, after working as the Principal of Summer School I am in vacation mode. I am lazy. I slack-off often. The house is a mess and I don’t care. I have gone camping, discovered a new place to eat, and currently have family visiting. When family visits it is a great chance to play tourist in my own town. The redwoods are always breathtaking. The Santa Cruz beach boardwalk is glorious in its cheesy, sleazy fun. Pool time at the hotel will keep a three-year-old occupied for an hour. I am even sleeping in till 6 a.m.
What! I know, I am just so lazy. I was a juggernaut of early rising. 4 a.m. every weekday while I was running a summer school. It was grueling. I might have even been closed to tears at one point. Up at 4, grad school work, get kid up at 6, be at work by 6:30 am, home by 1:30, nap, get kid up from her nap by 3pm. It was a little too much to do. I often would work in the evenings too.
The regular school year is just around the corner and I might be a little worried. I find that I am showing signs of stress in odd ways. My tongue is constantly pressed against the roof of my mouth. The top of my mouth is now raw and irritated. There has to be a change in my mindset to help. I love a challange and I love learning. Grad school and I go together. This isn’t the worst experience I have been through, so why then the worry?
P.S. Going here for tonight's dinner!
Summer School is over. It was a long, tough haul to get to the end. My team was great, let me be clear. The teachers were the best and needed no help. The classroom assistants were on their game. Best of all, the support staff at the district office was there 110%. It was just that starting Summer School, as the principal took a lot out of me during a time when I didn’t have a lot to give.
For those of you who have been asking, my paper is done. It is roughly 14 pages on teacher training. Basically I look at what trainings, also called professional development, to see how effective they are. I also explore Edcamps to see if this a new model of what teacher trainings could be. It is my first APA style paper. Fingers crossed it meet expectations.
Speaking of expectations, first week for summer and I have already been camping and was a minister at a wedding. The wedding was great and filled with the best people. Camping was amazing and it was our first family camping trip. There was a lot of learning and little sleep. But we knew there was going to be “discoveries.” This small trip to Big Basin is part of a larger week-long plan to Lake Sis. Below you find an image of our afternoon cheese plate.
“Many thousand miles behind us
Many thousand miles before
Ancient ocean have to waft us
To the well-remembered shore”
Sea Shanties are meant to lift the spirits. As I am at the last week of Summer School and working a my first term paper, I feel the need to shantie a-way.
Enjoy this LINK for more shantie fun
Back in college and I am nearly 50. How rad is that? It is work. Going through graduate school is a lot of work. Online classes, reading loads, and just getting used to what I am expected to do. I am taking a lot of naps and falling asleep on the couch. These are big tough days. But I choose this for my birthday present. It’s a big gift. There is of course work, running a Summer School takes a lot. Lucky for me I hired a lot of good people. These are professionals that I do not feel the need to babysit them.
On another note I have been enjoying using Twitter for expanding my Professional Learning Network. Come join the conversation at @teacherdonegan.
Success comes in small packages sometimes. Case in point, just recently the wife took a major test for her profession. It was one of those big tests that requires the taker to go to a special facility. She had to store all her possessions in a temporary locker and was even scanned by a metal detector. Of course she passed. Success!
Potty training is very popular in my house, too. The three year old has good days and bad days. She is mostly resistant to going when we need her to go, say before a long car trip. I mean, I would be resistant to urinating on command too. She is doing great. Not to mention the fact that we have cut TV down to one 20 minute episode. Needless to say, book reading has increased nearly 300%. I have the data, a few nice charts, and powerpoint if you need the evidence. Success!
Summer school has nine days left. Then there is three weeks off. During those three weeks we will have company every single weekend. Then I work for a week. Take a week off at The Lake. Then I am back to work at the regular school year.
My life is now measured my tea cups. Graduate school is now in full swing and I am halfway done with my first term. I find myself adjusting to expectations and realities. Having spent most of my college career as a Literature student my writing style has always been a more on the ‘feels’ side of writing rather than the science side. Heck the whole teaching profession is filled with sentimentalism versus what the hard facts show. Now that I am in grad school, I need to write like a scientist, asking myself, “What does the data show.” I have gone from the textual citations of MLA to the fact-filled world APA. This is a big shift in thought process.
TV, who knew. I’m in graduate school and every possible moment is filled with something. There is no sitting around on couch and looking for something to watch on TV. There is readings on educational law code, school budgets to examine, research to be done, and always posting posting posting to discussion boards. This has left me lacking in my parent duties and have allowed for that Polyphemus-like babysitter to take control of the house. How could I have guessed that a three-year old is a perfect mimic of what she watches? Needless to say, hitting, spitting, and other less-than-desirable behaviors have emerged. Worst, these behaviors are happening at daycare. Daycare is the much needed that allows my wife to do her job as a therapist. On Friday, after a very rough day at daycare, we cut off TV for the whole family. The improved change was almost instant. Goodbye Nick, Office Hops, and our friends in Zootopia. Hello reading, drawing, and more imaginative play. This is another big shift and it’s for the better.
At work I am finding that there is a new verb to describe a certain type of patent; Vinegar people. This idiom comes from the old saying, “You can get more flies with honey, than you can with vinegar.” To be honest, the vast majority of parents are the best. Parents are so kind. They are hard working people and take their time to keep informed of their student’s education. But, MAN! The parents that enter our school, already angry, and wanting to show that no one is going to tell them what to do are unbelievable. I am left wondering how does a person like this functions on a day to day level. Like, how do they buy groceries or how do they treat wait staff at a restaurant. With fingers flapping in my faces I had to the brunt of a parent’s wrath and she didn’t not care the children were in the office hearing her profanity strewn tirade. This mom was filled with vinegar.
It is the first week of summer vacation and I am exhausted. While my co-workers sleep in, take vacations, or just slack off in Santa Cruz, I am running blind in countless directions. I forget things, like computer cord, I'm scattered, and I fall asleep on the couch every night. Summer has happened for some teachers, but not for me.
This year, for my third year, I find myself a principal of summer school. This week is prep week. I stare at my daily to do list and shutter at the countless details. Student classes to organize, teachers to recruit, and student helpers to train. The work load is large and the hours are long. I get to work by 6:30 am.
Did I also mention grad. school. I am getting the hang of the work load. But, I still feel like am a rudderless. I crash upon my reading load, like some sort of ship without the thing in aft that helps to steer. Just recently I was trying to swim with the workload and found myself drowning. I had to write an essay about what motivates me for the project I am doing. I was (insert bad nautical simile here) trying to figure out where does APA style require citation when writing a self reflective piece. In the end I looked at the teachers sample. Where I had written nearly four pages, her sample was a paragraph. Time to catch my breath.
It has been a long school year. I am happy to see that the last week is here. The staff and I are just spent. We are tired and dream of doing nothing. Well, for the staff that dream is just one day away. Lucky for me I'm an idiot.
Summer school is on the 13th of June and will be the Principal. There is just so much to do. True, I have done the Summer School gig before. Just, that at this time of the year, putting on a sock takes a great amount of energy.
Just when I couldn't put anything else on my plate, did I mention I am in grad school. So far my two courses are great and I find the on-line format to be my forte'. I'm just just getting used to the work load. I am also getting used to the reading load. I am a little out of practice. Sure, I know what Sam and Dean have been up to (come on my Supernatural fans) but I am out of the reading habit. This blog is for myself, the future me, who rested and has plenty of time for tea parties with his daughter.
For now, I am frazzled with my work load.