How many is too many?

Today the district's Director of Curriculum brought in 3 elementary principals and 14 4th and 5th grade teachers to observe me.

Yes, that's 18 people. Plus my own principal. In a class of 37 kids. It was cozy.

They came in early, my principal talked them through what they were going to see, then they hung out all period. I have to hand it to my kids-they were awesome. During their work time I told the visiting people to feel free to talk to the kids and ask them if they knew what they were doing and why they were doing it. They did, and the kids were all able to tell them. I heard a couple of them ask the kids if they liked the style of class they were in and the way I taught it, and the ones I overheard all said they had a lot more fun and learned better even though it was hard. Their behavior was exemplary, even though I was seriously concerned that so many extra people in the room were going to drive them nuts.

Then a colleague covered my class and I met with the visitors in the library for about 45 minutes to debrief. They grilled me about the math program and asked a lot of good questions. I could tell they were a little overwhelmed and it seemed to reassure them when I told them that I started off as a first grade teacher, so I understood where they were coming from. My favorite question was when one of them asked "if someone decided to teach like this for a year, and then didn't like it, could they go back to how they were teaching before?". My response was "I'm sure you could, but after you've seen what it does for the students, why would you?".

I mean really.
was I lifting that?

All or nothing...

I have a very bad habit of all or nothing thinking.

The thought process goes like this: "I don't have time to train for a meet right now because of grad school (and all the other academic madness). Training seriously for a meet takes like 10-12 hours a week. If I don't have time to train for a meet I just shouldn't bother lifting at all".

This is the same thought process that often keeps me from creating anything "It won't be perfect. Not only that, it may be terrible, so I just shouldn't bother". If you aren't wired like this, you'll think this is incredibly stupid. Which I admit it is. But if you are wired like this, you will totally understand how the loop starts and then how the paralysis sets in.

At any rate, I have noticed lately that I don't feel well physically, and that I have been drinking a lot more lately. I don't think either one of these things are good, so today I shut off the paralysis and went back to the gym to deadlift. It was pathetic (compared to previous sessions) and it wasn't perfect, but it happened. It happened enough that my back is already verrrrry excited-can't wait to see how big the party gets by tomorrow night when my legs and butt join in.

It's interesting to me that I actually need physical activity, and strenuous activity at that to be functional and happy. For various reasons I never thought of myself as a physical person, and as rather lazy at that. So this "my body wants to move" is weird. Then I remind myself that I am an athlete-for crying out loud I still hold the USPF deadlift record. Also weird.

So even if there isn't a meet in my immediate future I need to lift. It helps keep me sane and it helps keep the stress under control. An I'm an athlete. I'll just keep saying it until it sinks in.

Everybody's Changing...

You say you wander your own land
But when I think about it
I don't see how you can

You're aching, you're breaking
And I can see the pain in your eyes
Says everybody's changing
And I don't know why

So little time
Try to understand that I'm
Trying to make a move just to stay in the game
I try to stay awake and remember my name
But everybody's changing
And I don't feel the same

You're gone from here
Soon you will disappear
Fading into beautiful light
'Cause everybody's changing
And I don't feel right

So little time
Try to understand that I'm
Trying to make a move just to stay in the game
I try to stay awake and remember my name
But everybody's changing
And I don't feel the same

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math nerd


Yesterday I was having a drink with some co-workers, and I had to fight back the urge to punch one of them in the face.

I was listening to two of our social studies teachers talking passionately about a couple of different history topics, and how they had created lessons around them. At one point I said "I envy you guys the ability to have this kind of conversation with a colleague. I don't have anyone to talk to like this-there are some great teachers in my department, but they don't have this kind of passion".

At this point one of the history buffs says, "well that's probably because you know, history is more important to life so it's easier to get passionate about".

**cue urge to punch face here**

No, you nimrod. I have nothing against history but it's more important TO YOU because that's what you are passionate about. I teach math now because that's what I am passionate about. I see where math is important although you may not. It has nothing to do with the specific topic-it's the passion I need to interact with (although it's math passion I'm looking for).

I need to build the type of math department where that passion is there-that's what I'm going to need to stay where I am. There will be a lot of factors working against me, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Hopefully no one will have to get punched it the meantime.
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I am teh awesome

Cause sometimes ya gotta brag a little...

Apparently out of all the people in the LMU program, I am the only one who didn't take an incomplete.

And I got an A.

(I'd like to point out, however, that the fact that only one of us finished says major program flaws to me. I'm still writing a letter. That is all. )
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    happy happy
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Three good things (because I'm tired of whining)...

In the time between my last regular journal entry and starting up again recently, at least three good things happened. I'm going to write them down here so I have something positive to remember.

1. After breaking my ankle (a year ago this month!) I went back to powerlifting in July as soon as I was cleared to lift. I went to the Olympia Invitational in Vegas in September and I broke the North American Deadlift record for my age/weight class. 353 lbs, 5 months after breaking my ankle. Good times.

(This summer I'm hoping to do a little more powerlifting-haven't had time recently with all the school crapola.)

2. In January I won an award. The school district had every middle and high school choose a "Campus Innovator" and "Campus Difference Maker", and our school was the only one where the principal let the staff choose-everywhere else admin chose the award. So my coworkers named me "Campus Innovator", and I was touched because to me, letting the staff choose gave the award way more meaning.

The best part of it? I got called up first (because they did the schools in alphabetical order) and I had to stand there while they called up all the other award winners. People took about 1000 pictures since it's the first time the district gave these awards out. So anticipating a boring day of meetings, I was wearing a shirt that says "My IEP says I can". Which is now in about 1000 photos. Those of you in education can laugh, the rest of you can just know it's vaguely inappropriate.

3. I ran into a PTA mom last week of a former student. This student is currently an 11th grader in multi-variable calculus who got a very competitive summer internship at a local hospital and now wants to go pre-med. And she told her mom it's all because of my 6th grade math class.

That makes me feel pretty good.

I am

I am all sharp edges
There is no smooth place
I have turned myself over to see

I am gnarled and unkempt
The center is tight
While all of the edges unravel

I am disappearing
What is left behind
Will be small and easily broken
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was I lifting that?

The good and the bad...

The bad news-I'm finally going to cave and withdraw from the lifting competition I was supposed to be in on July 10th. I could go bench only, but my upper body training has been too sporadic for a decent showing.

The good news-based on how well I did at the meet in March I got invited to deadlift at an invitation only event in Vegas in September. I just spent this last week in Cabo with my coach and my trainer (they got married-more thoughts on that trip later) and they were urging me to go since he got invited to go as well. It sounds like it will not only be a good competition, but also a lot of fun. Plus, I won't lie-I'm a little psyched that I did well enough to be included in an invitation only event.

Now the tough part-I haven't been cleared to do any heavy lifting yet. I see the doc next week, and hopefully I'll get the green light. That will give me almost 3 months to prep. Wish me luck.

My health quote of the day...

"Only once we begin to realize that perfection isn’t required -- and that health isn’t something we “begin” and “end” -- can we settle in for long-term changes that match how we actually live as human beings."

From a PN lesson.

Time to tighten things back up.
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    determined determined
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Here's what I've been doing while my bone was knitting...


9. "Generation A" by Douglas Copland (297 pages)-I like Douglas Copland, but his books are hard to explain. I believe he's credited with coining the phrase "Generation X" (or maybe it was just writing the novel of that name), but this one petered out at the end. Bummer.

10. "E is for Evidence" by Sue Grafton (200 pages)
11. "F is for Fugitive" by Sue Grafton
12. "G is for Gumshoe" by Sue Grafton
13. "H is for Homicide' by Sue Grafton
14. "I is for Innocent" by Sue Grafton (329 pages)
15. "J is for Judgement" by Sue Grafton (360 pages)
16. "K is for Killer" by Sue Grafton (292 pages)
17. " L is for Lawless" by Sue Grafton (322 pages)
18. "M is for Malice" by Sue Grafton (337 pages)
19. "N is for Noose" by Sue Grafton (322 pages)
20. "O is for Outlaw" by Sue Grafton
21. "P is for Peril" by Sue Grafton

Borrowed all of these from the fabulous an_irish_rose. I don't generally read mysteries after a bad Agatha Christie experience in Junior High, but my mom loved Sue Grafton and I love her protagonist. Great mind candy for when you're weaning yourself off pain meds.

22. "The Anvil of the World" by Kage Baker (350 pages)-I've read her other series about "the Company" a group of time-traveling immortals and loved it. This book is more pure fantasy and I really liked the world she introduced, although the environmental parallels were pretty overt. It starts with a man who takes the name "Smith" to avoid his violent past and become a caravan driver. Of course the caravan goes by the foot of the mountain upon which the Demon King resides and shenanigans ensue. It's more like a series of 3 novellas then a novel, but her characters are really fun.

23. ""Nightlight-A Parody" by the Harvard Lampoon (154 pages)-A "Bored of the Rings" for the Twilight set. Hysterical-I laughed out loud in several places. Of course in 20 years it probably won't be as funny either, but now? Hilarious.

24. "Moloka'i" by Alan Bremmert (400 pages)-My neighbors are starting a book club and invited me to join. This was their first selection. I really enjoyed it-historical fiction about a girl who gets leprosy and is sent to Moloka'i in 1891 at the age of 7. She lives her whole life there and is finally released at the age of 60 after being cured. I've been fascinated with Moloka'i since I was a kid, and this was an interesting read.

1. "Switch-How to Change Things When Change is Hard" by Chip and Dan Heath (264 pages). This book gave me a lot of food for thought, and I have no doubt I'll read it again. It's most useful probably in a business setting when you're trying to get reluctant coworkers (hello, math department?) to adopt something they'd rather not, but it also has lots of potential applications for my own life.

I have also spent a lot of time knitting-I was thinking sympathetic magic, I knit, the bone knits. Haha. I'm working on the biggest project I've ever tried, and when it's a little further along I'll post some pics.

The ankle is progressing well-I'm out of the boot and into an ankle brace. Still walking with a cane, but that will probably only last a few more days. Now I'm off to see a local band. Good times.
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    Nota II
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