Thursday, August 16, 2007

say what?

i'm feeling teacherish. i got my key to my portable building classroom today. and checked out an overhead. and activated my school email account. i was slightly disheartened at the status of my room - chalkboards instead of whiteboards, long tables instead of desks - but hope that these and some other issues will be resolved as next week progresses.

i was trying to get a lot of rules and procedures documents planned out, but learned there's a lot of schoolwide policies being implemented this year about keeping an organized binder and all teams of teachers having similar rules. so i'm putting that on hold until inservice next week.

so i am now brainstorming just exactly how i'm going to decorate my classroom. my school mascot is cardinals. my team name is raptors. i have 2 small bulletin boards. one idea i've had is put up some quotes/sayings/inspirational thoughts or pictures around my classroom.

i was wondering if you, my dedicated reader, have any favorite quotes that you would love to see me put up in my classroom?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

let's do this

my last 2 weeks of summer/5 month work hiatus flew by. the last week of july i was able to help out at our church's vbs in the mornings. i had a blast doing this, and was glad to have a great group of about thirty 5th and 6th graders. at first i was alarmed at the size of the class, but when i realized this is what i will be facing during the school year, i decided i had better get used to it. many fellow leaders gave me praise for my apparent ability in working with this age group. this made me feel good, and my experience built up my confidence that i will be able to handle my classes this fall. i am ready to be a teacher.

that weekend my parents came to visit and delivered my little brother and my youngest sister. ross and i were going to host j & r for the week and we had a blast with them. the evenings were consumed with card games, barbeques on the front porch, sailing trips, video games, and visits to barnes and noble. during the day i did my best to show them around austin- we went swimming at barton springs pool, visited the capitol, kayaked on townlake, jared went golfing at a pga tour course down the road, rachel and i went to a movie, we went to the mall, and took a day trip to san antonio. i think i kept them fairly well entertained and we had a blast with them. the week culminated with a weekend trip to college station to hang out with the family. however. this experience reminded me that i am NOT ready to be a parent.

my last day of summer was spent kayaking again on town lake with matt and ross. tuesday my new teacher orientation for my district started up, followed by inservice next week, followed by school starting on august 28th. i have been working like crazy this week to get everything prepared, wondering what it was exactly that i was doing all summer that took precedence over getting everything ready for my class. but, i am most definitely looking forward to beginning this new career, and hope that it will allow me to make a difference in the lives of each of my 100+ 6th graders that i will have in math this year. :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Captain's Log: August 1, 2007

Disaster at "sea".

You may not know this, but Sharon and I have purchased a 21' Bayliner Buccaneer on the cheap. We keep it moored at Anderson Mill Marina. It's a type of boat known as a sloop; basically a cabin cruiser. Unfortunately, we are going to sell the hobie to pay for new boat. Actually we'll profit on the deal since the hobie will fetch a better price.

We took our first sail with the former owner to get to know the boat better.

However, I will tell you about our initial solo sail as it proved much more interesting.

8:30 PM
My first mate, Sharon, and I decided to go on a little sunset cruise in our newly acquired bayliner. The trip started out ordinarily enough with us moving out under power until we got to the main channel. It turns out there simply wasn't enough wind to get anywhere. We allowed ourselves to drift peacefully in the main channel while we watchd the sun disappear behind the hills.

It wasn't until we decided to go in that things go a little hairy....

10:30 PM
If you don't know this, a lake at night is a very black place. Houses and docks and trees easily disappear in the outlines of hills around you and even the buoys can be difficult to spot. This is why it's a very good idea to make sure you have GPS with you when sailing a lake with as many coves and dead ends as Lake Travis has. Unfortunately we didn't have ours with us because going out was a last minute decision when coming home from a softball game.

We thought we would be able to get away with not having this vital piece of equipment because the entrance to our cave is marked with a flashing red buoy that we supposed would be easy to spot in the black pitch that coats the lake at night. We were wrong. During our relaxing drift, we had moved much further than we supposed. In fact we drifted into the mouth of another cove which also came equipped with a flashing red buoy. Oops.

We did have plenty of fuel however and happily motored on for nearly two miles before realizing this can't be the cove of choice. We met some other midnight skippers who apprised us of our location and after consulting our map, we set course for home.

And here .... here it gets really lousy.

11:00 PM
The motor stalled on our way out of the cove. When I reached down to start it up again it literally flipped up side down, remaining attached to the motor mount by a miracle (which probably actually was tension from the fuel line helping to support it). It had shutoff so I reached down to grab the motor and wrapped my arms around it just before it's second clamp came loose. Sharon held my waist as I heaved our hapless motor aboard.

11:30 AM
I wasn't sure what had happened and realized that another piece of equipment I would invest in would be a million candlelight 12v spotlight. Our cabin lights just weren't cutting it. Unwilling to risk dropping the motor 60 feet down into the depths of the lake in some vain attempt to reattach it to the mount I had little choice but to call my brother Charles.

While we're waiting for Charles, let me tell you a little something about drifting through total darkness. It's kind of peaceful for one thing but at the same time there is a deep sense of irony. I set sail ill-prepared to solve problems in low light conditions. Yet all around were the lights from various shops and houses along the shores. So everything you need is within sight of you; you're not lost, you just can't reach it. And in fact, if we hadn't had a cell phone, we wouldn't have reached it for a very, very long time. Now it is a lake, which means you're still relatively safe and have a high chance of drifting to the shore. Unfortunately, not all the shores are useful since you can't always get out anyway. Also, my boat has a fixed keel, meaning that drifting ashore may be interpreted as running aground. That's not a good thing.

1:00 AM
Charles is a typical man. By which I mean men have an inner desire to be heroic and be the "one to call" in times of trouble. So despite the late hour, he was in pretty high spirits. He knew the cove we were in and was able to spot our cabin light. After the obligatory, "Did somebody order a pizza?", he towed us to the safe waters of Anderson Mill Marina.

2:30 AM
We finally moored and secured the ship.

Cap'n Ross