Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hand Raising, Geometric Shapes & Squiggly Feelings

Raise your hands if you survived the first week of school.

Raise your hands if your feet hurt after the first week of school.

Raise your hands if you’re ready for summer to roll around.

Did your hand pop up all three times? I know mine did. So while I should be working on my lesson plans for the week, some yearbook page designs and those darn tootin’ purchase orders that sadly I meant to complete sometime over the summer but never did, I’ve decided instead to do what any self-respecting Squiggle would do.


Oh my, I guess I forgot to tell you about the whole Circle, Square, Triangle, Squiggle thing. Almost sounds like a bad game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” doesn’t it? The Squiggle thing was all a part of this teacher in-service motivational thing that touched upon Psycho-Geometrics. At any rate, we discovered how our personalities fit a specific shape with special attributes. Squiggles apparently have high energy (so why am I so-o-o-o-o-o tired?), possess a sense of humor (that explains my rubber chicken and hand puppets) and exhibit a certain level of creative intelligence (well folks, just read this ole bloggeroo).

Squiggles also tend to like to challenge the status quo and rebel. Apparently, Squiggles have difficulty completing tasks like those pesky purchase orders.

For the first week of school, I decided to do the same little test with my newspaper and yearbook staffs as part of our “getting to know you” exercises.

About 98 percent professed to be Squiggles.

Jeez Louise, now do you see why I’m ready for summer to roll back around?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Teacher Purgatory, Bowling & Goals

Initially I planned to wait until this weekend to duly record what administrators refer to as teacher professional development or teacher in-service, but what I more fondly like to call “Teacher Purgatory.”

Mine began on Tuesday, and unlike most school districts across the land, my school district actually makes an attempt to make teacher in-service fun. They brought in a funny improv group from Chicago, and in the afternoon, we went bowling.

Yep. Bowling.

It was a team building thing. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all about the team building thing, but I’ve only been bowling once in my life and that was in high school. (Trust me, you don’t have enough fingers or toes to count how many years ago that was.)

But they gave me some nifty white socks (new ones) and some spiffy tan bowling shoes (used and rental ones) and a hamburger (luke warm, but free and edible). We had to bowl backwards, lefthanded, righthanded, dancing… Well, you get the picture, and yes, there were plenty of Kodak moments and plenty of picture taking. Let’s just hope none of it shows up on YouTube.

The following day we had a few meetings in the morning. Since I am a “department” of one, I said a silent prayer that I would get to meet with myself. I just love those kind of meetings. They go something like this…

Me… “Self, what do you think we should do? Should we work on these goals?”
Me too… “No, I make a motion that we should suspend the paperwork and work on getting our rooms ready.”
Me… “Wow, that’s a great idea! You’re fab-u-lous!”
Me too… “Why thanks! Let’s get cracking here…”

But like I said… Teacher Purgatory. Those little prayers weren’t quite working for me. My principal made sure he put me in his group, but that’s OK. I love his meetings. He’s one of the few people left on the planet who doesn’t feel the need to read to you his power point presentation because he knows he’s hired teachers who can, well, you know, read. As an added bonus, his meetings always go speedy quick, and just like I have a bag full of Richie-isms, Dr. Al manages to have his own little -ism gems. I think it’s the old coach in him channelling out. He was on a roll with his pep talk when he said, “If that don't get you burning, then your wood’s wet and you need to dry out…”

See what I mean? You stay awake just waiting for one of those little gems to pop out.

Later we talked about goal setting. I didn’t take me long to jot down my Top 5. In retrospect, I’m not exactly sure these goals are quite what administrators had envisioned, but nonetheless here are…

Richie’s Top 5 Goals For the Year

#5…To actually take attendance within 72 hours. I thought 24 hours or 48 hours might be too unrealistic. I learned a long time ago that when one makes a goal that one must put down on paper that someone stores in some file cabinet one should be careful because one doesn’t want that goal to come back to haunt or taunt them in some future meeting with whatever someone that might be. Now, while that sentence may sound like gobbledygook to some of you, the rest of us know exactly what I’m talkin’ about.

#4…To locate whatever important paperwork that’s on my desk in a timely, rational fashion. Notice here that I purposely did not define “timely” nor “rational.” That’s in keeping with the previous gobbledygook sentence.

#3…To not dance naked on the table. Now before you get all excited about that one, let me just say it’s important to always include a goal that you absolutely know you can achieve. I’m pretty darn tootin’ sure I can check off this one. See, I’m already feeling successful this year, and it’s only Day No. 2.

#2…To keep my job. Pretty self-explanatory. Let’s hope my “Things That Will Get You Fired Folder” stays slim this year.

#1…And, of course, the No. 1 goal this school year is… what else?…Not to call anyone––say it with me brothers and sisters––a Big Fat Stupid Head! The counter, my friends, is still on.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer, Do-Overs & Plan B

I need a do-over.

As in another summer.

With school looming less than two weeks away, I still have a stack of school stuff stashed in the corner of my bedroom (you know, all that stuff I was supposed to go through, organize and file). I’m embarrassed to report that the only time I’ve touched those boxes of school stuff has been to shuffle them around so I could vacuum the dust and dog hair off the floor. Oh, I almost forgot. I also touched them when I moved those boxes to the nether regions of my bedroom, so they would be easier to ignore and more difficult to trip over.

Sad, but true.

I need a do-over because I don’t quite understand where all that time I planned to allot to the “Organize Richie for Next Year” program went.

I wish I could say I was captured by aliens, but I don’t think so unless those Martians erased my memory. Still, I’m a tad bit fuzzy about what happened. I know I spent quite a bit of time gone--four weeks to be exact. However, that really doesn’t entirely explain what happened to the rest of my summer.

Really and truly I had planned to launch the “Organize Richie for Next Year” national pilot program--sort of like Oprah and Peter Walsh’s Clean Up Your Messy House tour. I even have a couple of bags from the Container Store stuffed in the garage just waiting to solve my educational organizational dilemmas, but with school less than two weeks away, I now have to launch Plan B.

My Plan B has a lot to do with a bit of smoke and mirrors and a heavy dose of procrastination.

Richie’s Optional Plan B
replacing the “Organize Richie for Next Year” Pilot Plan

Lounge Lizard… With the sun still blazing and the temperatures still soaring, let’s just sit by the pool and eat more chips and salsa, pretend it’s June instead of August and make a list of why being organized is overrated.

Face Facebook… Let’s just spend hours, like everyone else, updating our Facebook pages. Jeez Louise, since I’m new to it all (much to my sister Maggie’s chagrin), I need to find out what in the Sam Hill a farkle and a hatchling is. Then, when we return to school, we can tell everyone how we devoted our entire summer to “learning technology.”

Movin’ Groovin’… Now, if I remember my geography, I believe that whatever season it is in the Northern Hemisphere, that season is opposite in the Southern Hemisphere. So, my dears, when it is summer here, it’s winter there and visa versa. (See where I’m going with this?) So, when it’s time to start school here, it has to be ending there. Now, all we have to do is move way, way, way down south to launch our little do-over plan.

I planned to have a few more items for my Optional Plan B list, but I’ve got to go now and get that salsa ready, and there’s a bag of chips calling my name.