Sunday, April 27, 2008

la resolution

Student #1 - We let her stay.  It's conditional of course, she will need to redo two units of her Math 10 in resource in order to receive her Math 10 credit in June.  If this doesn't happen, she will return to Math 10 in the fall.  She also needs to be successful in all of our new Math 20 things, or she will not return with us in the fall.  I would like to pretend that this is enough motivation for her get her priorities in order, but such things take time so we shall see.

Student #2 - Has found a home in modified Math until the end of the year.  If things go well for him there (ie. he shows up and is awake) he will be put back into regular programming in the fall.

So that's that, the start of Math 20 has been good times, it's pretty awesome to see the evolution in these little kiddies.

Monday, April 21, 2008


They passed!  They passed!  Well almost all of them did anyway, which leads me to the dilemmas.

Student 1 - Has been with me since grade 9 first semester.  Decided to go the way of the "bad girl."  Insists on getting into control struggles with 90% of the adults she meets.  You know, because she's female and wants to win.  Somehow, the two of us have avoided that and occasionally she's been known to listen to me, connect with me, and some rare times engage in math class.  I fought hard to get her into the stretch program last year, because her second semester math teacher wanted her to fail, to teach her a lesson.  Not that my coworkers would ever enter into such a power trip with a 14 year old or anything...  Anyway, fast forward to this year.  We can't exactly say school has been a top priority for this young lady.  Faced with failing at the end of first semester it was pull your socks up time or face the reality of repeating her grade 10 math.  She met us about halfway.  She redid a few things with her resource teacher, and appeared to be putting in more of an effort.  She was supposed to redo more things then she did, to bring her mark above a passing grade.  This didn't really happen.  She did however, pass the final (or parts of it, enough to merit an overall passing grade).  She didn't pass it by enough to bring her mark up to above a 50%.  Do I
  1. fail her?  She had tons of opportunity to pull her mark up, receive support etc etc etc.   We told her she would fail if she didn't do the list of things we provided and she didn't.  It just kills me to fail kids who are capable.  Not to mention ones that I feel a little invested in.
  2. conditionnally pass her?  She still has resource and I could make her continue to redo things during that time.  This would be alright if we hadn't already given her this option before...  I mean, how many chances do you give someone?  Eventually there needs to be some follow through...
  3. pass her but make her leave the program?  We could still make her pull up her mark in resource by redoing some key concepts for us and remove her from our program.  She could handle regular programming in the fall, though she certainly runs the risk of failing due to poor choices not lack of intelligence and less understanding then she's received from us.
Student 2 - Is an ESL student from Japan.  Not the smart kind who want 110% in everything.  The kind with an uninvolved family, who runs the street with various gangs.  He has done a huge nothing for us all year.  Typically he sleeps.  Our EA, potentially the most patient lady ever, tries to work with him when he's conscious.  We gave him the benefit of the doubt - he doesn't understand us.  Thanks to his slightly insane girlfriends, his English has improved dramatically and he certainly understands us.  Needless to say, sleeping hasn't been to condusive to him learning any math.  However, by some black voodoo magic, he passed the final.  Not by much, but enough that says he must have learnt something by osmosis, or recalled some previous knowledge somehow.  Now what do I do with him?  The choices look much like above, only with a please stop taking math addendum.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

les nerves

I piloted a new math program at my school this year. We took the regular Math 10 and 20 classes and stretched them out over three semesters (instead of the usual two). It's nothing revolutionary, and is actually happening all over both systems here in different shapes and forms. However, we really tried to go the extra mile and approach learning math from all different angles, instead of just giving the kids more time to continue to not understand things. This class has certainly had it's high and it's low points, but all in all it has been just an awesome experience watching struggling learners have success at something they totally hate.

That in itself was something of an accomplishment. And no, of course they didn't all succeed all of the time. But, attitudes have changed, work habits have improved, and every student has received good marks on different units. (yay us!)

Now, back to reality. We have to wind up the Math 10 course. We have to have a final. There is nothing more scary to these kids then a final exam. It's one last chance to mess everything up. So we've broken it up, used all sorts of memory recall aids, spent lots of time coaching them on how to get through it as best they possibly can. I'm still feeling very nervous for them. I want them to do well, and I know they can do well, but getting past this whole "I can't remember ANYTHING!" mentality has been all but impossible.

I think we will all be pretty happy come Tuesday and the start of Math 20...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

how i didn't get set up

Once upon a time there was an attempted set up.  It went a little like this.
jeff:   so i hear you are single again
and i have single friends
and i like you both
chelle: LOL
i am glad you like your friends
jeff: heh

This may have set little old me into a bit of a panic.  I didn't want to be set up.  I didn't want things to be weird.  I knew exactly who Jeff was alluding to and I really was enjoying doing my own thing, and spending large quantities of time alone with a book, my tv shows, and making a real effort to see friends I hadn't seen in awhile.  And we all know what chelle does best when faced with even the mention of such things.  She puts her foot down, loudly, shakes her head violently and essentially screams NO.

However, the friend Jeff mentioned in his roundabout way just so happened to be quite a bit of fun, and so we started hanging out without Rach or Jeff since they had returned to Montreal and we were both missing our sidekicks.  Jeff didn't mention anything again, I was very clear with Rach that I wanted nothing to do with their set ups and that appeared to be the end of it.

Then came the Grey Cup.  What a surprise that I don't love football or have any interest in watching it on tv.  I don't mind the occasional live game, or group game - I'm all about the visiting and food.  This year, however, I'm sure you all remember that the Roughriders made the Grey Cup.  Not watching the game didn't seem like an option, so when I was invited over to Friend's, I accepted.  

We spent all day together, sort of watching the game but mostly talking.  I'm pretty sure I saw most of the important bits.  And I know we won, so that's all that matters right?  After the game, we went for supper and talked some more.  Then we went back to him place and watched some tv and talked even more.  Finally it was more than time for me to leave.  It was easily midnight and I needed to work the next day.  So I'm getting my stuff on, saying my thank yous and goodbyes when I notice Friend is standing much closer to me then the rules of personal space really permit.  It is then that my brain dies.  "He's going to kiss you!"  I panic.  I say goodbye so fast I almost run into the doorway and I do trip over the threshold.  Luckily, I don't fall.  I get in my car, fully aware that my brain has just malfunctioned, and wondering how exactly at 27, I have just reverted to being 14.  I burst out laughing, and laugh to/at myself the whole way home.

Luckily he didn't hold it against me, and somehow he did get the courage up again to actually kiss me.  Second time around I didn't run into any doors.  With the exception of of a few days where one of us has been out of town, we've spent every single day since the Grey Cup together.

For his birthday he requested I change my facebook status to "in a relationship" mostly because it's something I said I would never do.  You know, much like I said I would never take part in this little set up.  Happy birthday boyfriend, a blog post will not do justice to just how great you are, or how happy I am because you came into my life but we are certainly "in a relationship."

chelle's guide to buying, selling and moving in less than a month

Part 2 : Selling

So I arrived home from winter camp, exhausted, disgusting, and pretty much dying to know all the details of what boyfriend, his realtor uncle and his lawyer aunt had done while I was away playing in the snow.  Turns out there weren't all too many more details than were communicated via text messages - all I'd missed was returning to the house and the stressful offer, counter, re-offer, and the waiting game played between those things.  I may have gotten off pretty easy by not being around...  So, having only one week to remove conditions, selling my condo became top priority.

  1. Agree to let realtor uncle sell my condo.  Bonus, he already had a couple in mind.
  2. Try to make a bank appointment.  Realize your banker no longer deals with personal banking stuff.  Find out that all bankers at your branch are booked solid for a week.  Spend a lot of time calling the bank.  Have an acquaintance's mom agree to meet with you at the end of her day to help you out.
  3. Get approved (with flying colours) if and only if condo sells.
  4. Have a couple try to come look at the condo.  Due to their work and needing to go to the mosque this proves to be difficult.
  5. Couple sees the condo, loves it.  Feel much relief.
  6. Couple can't seem to get their financing in order, they are banking through the states and an old student loan is giving them grief.  Wait.  Stressfully.  
  7. Get extremely stressed that your condo is still not listed and now you have 5 days to sell.  Question realtor uncle's master plan silently and not so silently.
  8. Try to be patient with realtor uncle as he assures you things will be fine.  Sit on your hands as not to harass him with endless phone calls as you would someone who was not related.  He's helping you out, he's family, surely he has a plan?
  9. Consider calling to put your foot down and demand the condo be listed.
  10. Out of nowhere, receive an offer!
  11. Offer is a good one, uncle was indeed working some kind of silent non communicated magic with a different couple.  
  12. Accept offer without countering.
  13. Remove conditions!  Realise you are now actually buying a house.
  14. Decide you can probably tell you family now.  This proves to only require one phone call - in some weird alignment of the planets your entire family sees one another that day, passes on the news and then calls you to confirm.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

chelle's guide to buying, selling and moving in less than a month

Part One:  Buying
  1. Randomly think that it might be nice to live somewhere where you have neighbours that don't play music 24 hours a day.  Or at least it would be nice to live somewhere that your neighbours played good music 24 hours a day.  Become an MLS junkie, if only because you love seeing what other people's houses look like on the inside.
  2. Find a cute, very recently renovated 650 sq foot house that is in your price range.  Go see said house thinking "if it has a basement, it could work."  Realize instantaneously that there is no way you can even imagine living in less than 900 sq feet, and that by 900 you mean 1000.
  3. Have your boyfriend's landlord sell his rental property, thusly evicting boyfriend in 31 days.
  4. Feel stressed.  Schedule a lunch meeting with the boyfriend to discuss housing options.  Spend over 30 minutes talking about random things, 10 minutes discussing various housing options, and another 15 minutes off topic.  Wrap up the lunch once again on the subject of housing, realizing you have decided nothing.
  5. The next day, find an okay looking house listed privately online.  Make an appointment to see the house for fun.  
  6. Walk around the house feeling lost, doing a perfunctory opening of closets and cupboards.  Make awkward conversation with the seller, including awkward conversation about what one would do if they were potentially maybe interested in making an offer.
  7. Get in car and commence conversation with the boyfriend.  Realize you both like the house.  In fact, you really like the house.  No, you really like the house.  Hypothesize what to do.  Look at other houses out of obligation?  Seems like a waste of time.  Make an offer on the first house you've looked at?  Seems crazy.  Decide to call in a realtor uncle for a second opinion.
  8. Go winter camping!  Leave your boyfriend with all the responsibility and enjoy yourself for a day and a half before you let curiosity as to what is happening in regards to your potential house offer get the best of you.  Turn your phone on.
  9. Become bombarded with text messages. 
    "Uncle said house is way about 50K. He gave me the history of it. I told him what we're looking for and he's on it."
    "My lawyer aunt is writing up the offer
    ""We offered ***. They countered ***. We said okay. They accepted! Omg as you put it."
  10. Commence crazy texting.  Officially lose your shit when you realize you have a) put an offer on a house and b) can't get real details until you get home over 24 hours from the current time.
  11. Arrive home to a to do list a mile long.  Top of the list - sell condo in less than a week to secure financing to remove conditions.  Thank a random deity that in the current housing market this should not be an issue.
  12. Tell no one what is going on, lest something not workout...

Friday, April 04, 2008

on business

I know I've been busier than usual lately, I just didn't quite realise how much busier til right this very second.

3:15, Friday afternoon. School has just finished, most of my students have left and a few are stopping by to see me since I was away at PD for the morning. All of a sudden I realise I have to pee so very badly I can barely move. As I'm hurrying down the hall to the washroom it occurs to me that clearly I have been ignoring this need for what is very likely quite some time. Then it hit me. Folks, I am so busy I have started ignoring regular body needs.

Something needs to give here, and I am very sure it's not going to be my need to use the bathroom.