Friday, February 23, 2007


OMG, it's snowing out! Someone organise traffic advisories in case the roads get icy, someone else update the "blizzard's" status at all time, someone else send out emails making it sound like no one will make it home tonight and you, over there, make sure you tell people about the wind - that thing that blows the snow around in an annoying fashion. Mostly, let's get everyone all panicked, because this is a serious situation.

It would appear that once you actually have a serious blizzard, all blizzards are very serious. It's currently snowing. And it's windy. And for some reason, there is a whole lot of to do over these two events occurring simultaneously. I get that there was a very serious blizzard a month ago, blah blah blah. But seriously, think of what you would say if someone asked you to describe Saskatchewan in the winter. Windy, snowy, and cold - in the order of your personal preference. Not to mention, the roads have been overly icy all winter because of the messed up weather we've had.

What comes next? The "War on the Weather?" That we should all be on "high alert" for winter? Get over it people, at least it's not cold.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

je ne comprends pas

Rarely does my age ever cause my any grief at my job, ha ha yes I know I look just like a student ha ha. Typically my ideas and work (or my student's work rather) say enough that I really don't think anyone really thinks about it. Today I was reminded just how annoying it can be to be "the young one."

Core French. Grrr. Anyway, my class has requested that we read a 'real book' instead of the junk they typically water down for non native French speakers. I really enjoy this play called "Zone," and have taught it before, albeit in an immersion setting. However, I really don't recall it being that difficult since it's something done in grade 9. As an added bonus it matches two (2!) of the three topics we will study and lends itself really well to class discussions on current issues, youth issues, and slang/language.

So I go to see the main immersion teacher about using "Zone." Mainly because I figured she would need to teach it at some point in the semester and book sharing would need to coordinated. She hmmm-ed and haww-ed and suggested a few other books I could do. I didn't really want to, but didn't want to be rude. One of the books she suggested was Les Mis. I guess there is a decent shortened version floating around and students have really liked it in the past. I suppose you could say she sold me on the idea, mainly cause I love Les Mis and it did open up the opportunity or watching the musical and doing stuff with some of the music.

Until of course I asked my class, to double check that they hadn't read it. They had. With her. In grade 10. Ugh. No harm done, I still have my original "Zone" plan. So I go back to talk to her about when I can use the books. Again with the suggesting of different books. Again with the explaining of why I want to do Zone. This is getting frustrating since I've already explained numerous times one of the main reasons (aside from the sound curricular ones stated earlier) I'm set on "Zone" is that I've already taught it. I have material, I have ideas, I might even have projects lying around somewhere. I even went so far to say that I could order the books from downtown if she was really that concerned that we'd need them at the same time.

To this she responded "How about "Les trois mousquetaires"?" She is normally such a lovely lady. I just don't understand what the big deal is. If there really is one, come on out and tell me about it. If you have a feeling it's going to go over terribly and I will deeply regret this decision at a later date: 1) I would not feel bad at all abandoning the play and admitting it was a rotten idea to my students if it really was that bad, and 2) please just let me fall on my face on my own. The weird part is, it's not like she's secretly wanting to do it herself with her students next year - these are grade 12s.

In a week I may just go upstairs and take the books without reconsulting her. If she wants them, she knows where my classroom is.

Monday, February 19, 2007

february break - the condensed version

So I had an eventful and an uneventful February break all at the same time. In no particular order:

The most time consuming part of my break was spent with Big Red. You see, the Friday prior he got a waaaaay overdue nose job. If you think you may need a deviated septum repaired, may I suggest you do this sooner than later? Since this was something that should most likely have been fixed, oh say, at least 10 years ago, it was a pretty big deal. Not only did they have to straighten his septum, they also needed to relocate cartilage and "shave" off a large amount of bone. Big Red spent most of the break not being able to move and swallowing large amounts of blood and gel foam. On top of the other stuff, they had to move a nerve to properly repair his nose so his mouth and teeth hurt and will continue to hurt for the next 3ish months. Awesome! Now that most of the swelling is gone and his splint is off, I enjoy staring at him. He looks the same, but different. He says I'm the only one who will notice since I spend a considerable amount of time looking at him, but I think it's fairly noticeable and that the gentlemen and ladies alike will notice his spiffy new nose.

Institute and Convention were blah-ish. The only thing I got out of the first day is that there are a lot of unintelligent teachers out there. I'm sure they are good teachers (well most of them) but most of the conversations I overheard people were raving about the keynote. It was a continuation of last years dreary, never ending presentation of brain development and the media. Yet again, there never was a real point made, or any tangible solutions, or well anything of substance. However, it seemed that since she could competently talk about YouTube, blogs and MySpace, everyone loved her. Boo. Not that I'm a genius or anything, but I'm pretty sure I could have given her entire 2 hour talk in no more than 20 minutes. So much filler.

Day 2 was slightly more inspiring. Mostly since I was able to participate in some really good discussion with a small group of teachers in the afternoon. I would call the morning a total waste of my time, only it did give us a catalyst for the lively afternoon discussions. Nothing too world changing came out of these discussions, but it is interesting for me to kind of realise that I am slowly solidifying some strong beliefs, values and opinions about my position as a teacher. It's an interesting evolution to chart if I think back to when I was an intern in 2001. Ya, that's right, 2001. Did I mention they've given me a student teacher for the next 2 weeks? In Core French. Gong show.

I didn't get as much planning as I'd have liked done (do I ever?), but I did put in some quality hours. What I did do was take a mental vacation from the stress Core French is putting on me. I think this is most likely as valuable considering the enormous feeling of hatred that would overcome me just thinking about it before the break has turned back into a feeling of disorientation, but also something that could be fun.

Oh yes, Big Red and I also played a ridiculous amount of Twilight Princess and watched and entire season of Scrubs.

Back to work tomorrow.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

i guess you had to be there...

Often I try to tell stories of the weird and wonderful projects my students make up for me. Normally, I do a piss poor job and everyone looks away awkwardly (except Rach, who wishes school was still about making funny videos...). So, thanks to YouTube, I can now share these darling projects with you. This is my most recent acquisition. Voila, le future simple and le future proche for your enjoyment!

It looks like YouTube isn't cooperating with me right now. I can't even access YouTube since I'm at school so I'll have to fix this later. Stupid school board and their blocking antics.

Update #2
It would appear YouTube and I aren't friends anymore. You would think since google bought both Blogger and YouTube using the same account between all three would be simple. YouTube currently thinks doesn't think my blog is mine. So go here to see the video.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I was having a terribly depressing day. Full of stupid stress, just counting down the hours until February break when hopefully I can finally get a handle on all that I am supposed to be doing and accomplishing right now.

I'm not sure if I've ever talked about Erica on my blog. My bad if I haven't. You see, she's over the top amazing. Many of my happiest times in Japan involved la belle Erica. Then, because being the regular kind of amazing - you know, all around good person with an attitude and the patience typically only awarded to people in make believe stories, crazy intelligent, empowered, going to change the world type of amazing - she had to go kick leukemia's butt as well, just to add that to her long list of credentials.

One of her very good friends, Uma, had a brain aneurysm this week. Now, while a young person having this happen to them definitely doesn't bring joy or happiness, seeing this just kinda snapped me out of my way overly self involved pity party.

Screw you school, stress, and the non essentials. I have way better things to focus my energy on and have nothing to complain about. So send some happy thoughts and energy the way of someone you know who truly needs it.

Monday, February 05, 2007

tales of gr 10 repeaters

S: Ms did you get your hair cut?
Me: Nope.
S: Well are you wearing a new sweater or something?
Me: Ummmm, no S, I change my clothes every day. It's kinda my thing.
S: Oh. You just look different today.*

The class approved of me changing my clothes, while S persisted with "no but she really looks different!"

*I was wearing my contacts. And a different sweater.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

so this is what everyone was talking about...

I think I've unfortunately found out what everyone was complaining about back when they were first year teachers. Up until now, I thought the rumours of never going home, of having no resources, very little support and always having something to do were just a wee bit exaggerated by people who for one reason or another, just aren't efficient. This might still be true, but to those of you who were genuinely working your butts off, I'm sorry.

So, on year 4, I have been reduced to that person who has nothing. Today was the first day this week I wasn't at school til way after even the extra curr activities has gone home. Mainly because I had to be at the store, looking after other people's boobs. Also, our school is hosting a big basketball tournament this weekend and I have decided to let all my classes "support" the games as a coping mechanism. Essentially I am buying myself time. 3 blessed days before I need to magically understand how to teach kids French.

My staff has attempted to be helpful, by saying things like "there's some stuff in this book, and this book, and this book over here" and then following it with "but I don't really teach Core French so I'm really not the best person to ask." The girl who is the person to ask, lent me her binder (thanks!). Unfortunately, it is full of grammar worksheets and things that make me hate French. She tells me she had "a lot of fun!" with her class last semester, but I have no idea how if this binder truly represents what went on in her classroom.

To top it all off, I was pretty sure Core French involved putting on skits and eating fun things. I was sorta hoping for cupcakes. My students have asked if we can read a novel. Bless them for wanting to learn, but seriously. You want me to be good at this? It's going to be a long semester.