Sunday, August 31, 2008

it appears i never learn

Today we needed a few last minute groceries for supper so I grabbed my bags and headed out while H attended to the ribs.  And for the umpteenth time I went to Extra Foods.  I have no idea why I do this.  It's just so convenient - across the street and down a path, but it's just so terrible.

Today I had to circle the produce department several times.  They had no cored pineapple, the lemons were gross looking unless you bought a 3lb bag and the carrots were mutants.  When they didn't have any BBQ beans I put my basket down in frustration and abandoned shopping.

Of course I did what I should have done in the first place - walked the extra block and a half to the Co-op.  It's glorious there.  It took me all of 10 minutes to find everything on my list.  So convenient!  Not only do they carry such complicated grocery items like "lemons," "carrots," and "cream of tartar," everything is fresh AND easy to find.  It's clean and organized.  The check-out girl even asked me if I had remembered to check my eggs.  Do you know what the surly check-out girls at Extra Foods do?  They punch your eggs when you're not looking.

I don't know what it is about that extra block and a half walk that turns my brain into mush when deciding where to grocery shop.  Somehow, I always think "I only need a couple things, Extra Foods will have them, it's faster!"  I am always greeted with aisles full of abandoned stock, rotting produce, crazed shoppers with overflowing carts and 15 year old workers that aren't too sure what basil is, let alone where they'd find it in the store (assuming you could find it at all...).  And of course, I must have the craziest taste in food because it's a guarantee that they will not have something.  It baffles my mind that there are always so many shoppers there, do these people eat a solid diet of presidents choice hamburger helper with some frozen dinners thrown in for variety?  I can be 100% certain that if I had to drive for groceries Extra Foods wouldn't occur to me as a possibility.

I'd like to pretend like I've learnt my lesson.  But I know, sometime next month I'll need "just a couple things" and somehow I'll wind up back there.  Wandering dumbly around the aisles,  confused and/or frustrated,  not understanding how a grocery store doesn't carry bread, swearing from now on I'll just go to the Co-op in the first place.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

annoying, sir you are it

Yes I'm aware I still have a Chicago post to finish up.  I'm bored with myself.  Sorry.

At the end of the school year a Math conference was offered (for free!) to our division.  I do love the free, and it was going to be facilitated by Florence Glanfield who I have never worked with and is a big guru around these parts.

Drawing closer to conference date I was growing more and more skeptical of my decision.  There was no information about the actual plan except the title "Coming to Know...  Mathematics" and my gut was telling me it was going to be 95% elementary teachers.  Not that I have anything against elementary math teachers, we just typically have different concerns and issues.  Finally, the day before the conference, they posted an agenda - it did not reassure me that this was going to be two awesome days, totally worth giving up precious deck time to.

Whatever.  I got up this morning and was determined to be positive about it.  I was pretty sure I would learn something, even though it might not be as action packed as I have grown accustom to over my last year of absolutely stellar PD.  They were providing early coffee and lunch on both days so if I needed to bail Friday afternoon so what?

I arrived and had my initial concerns somewhat validated - the secondary crew was very petite.  And "the plan" evolved very slowly as our two facilitators appeared to get caught up in vocalizing their own ideas for just over an hour before moving to engage the rest of us.  However, aside for that, I had the good fortune to sit next to a man who was clearly much more  unimpressed than I.  Not only was he unimpressed, he thought the simple commonality of our shared grade level would make us allies in complaint all day long.

After today, I have serious concerns about the future of Math in Regina.  This man could not be appeased!  We had excellent dialogue as grade group specialists all day (on and off topic) and he was just so focused on what he would not do - which was almost everything.  For some reason, he kept trying to draw me into his little world of hate, even after I said I was likely one of those "touchy feely math people" (that he really doesn't like, damn huggy elementary teachers!), said I was very against old evaluation practices, and thought I'd made it very clear that you would use more than just a traditional pencil and paper approach in my room.

I would have been slightly more sympathetic to this man and his hatred of all things not drill related had he simply been an old math teacher.  Old habits are hard to break, change is difficult, these new questions have no real "comprehension" as of yet - math teachers are still really questioning how to marry this new trend to really encourage deeper understanding with being able to do.  I think elementary teachers, little credit we give them, are far more comfortable in this regard, even if it is because their curriculum is less complex and their standards slightly more flexible.  This man, however, isn't an old close to retirement senior math teacher pining away for the good old days when kids would memorize their trig identities and regurgitate math algorithms.  This man, is the math consultant for the entire Catholic School Board.  Someone promoted him into a position where he is supposed to support teachers in getting kids to love math and he is rolling his eyes at the back of the room at the very notion that we should share our ideas on a piece of large paper with everyone else.  He is trying to sabotage professional dialogue because it feels a little too touchy feely for his liking, a little too fluffy.  

I hope he chooses not to come tomorrow.