Saturday, May 09, 2009

Andrew and I were driving home from our lunch date today when my phone rang; it was a friend I haven't seen in months - we were finally getting together again tonight. I start talking to her only to have Andrew begin tapping me on the arm, a talent any self-respecting 30-year-old has mastered, and pointing and yelling 'look! look!' He would NOT accept my I'm-on-the-phone-please-stop-the-tapping-now-glare, so I looked...and saw a sign that said SCOOPY DOO: Pet Waste Removal. I grinned and continued my conversation, or tried to at least, but Andrew wouldn't let it rest. I told my friend I would call her back, and turned to my cute hubby, who had tears in his eyes from laughing so hard. How could I not join in?

I fear we may be saying SCOOPY DOO a lot in our house from now on...

Friday, May 08, 2009

Minus 12

I have decided that I'm 17-at-heart. This is why I get along so well with my high school students, why they confide in me, tell me they want to hang out with me this summer, and want to be my friend on facebook the minute after they graduate. Here are some reasons why I've come to the conclusion that I should take 12 years off my age:
  • Young adult fiction is my favorite thing to read. I'm so happy that some of my students get just as excited about it as I do!
  • I love to watch the same TV shows as my students. Examples include Gossip Girl, The Hills, MADE, Taking the Stage, and more than I am too embarrassed to admit. That was bad enough.
  • I can remember so clearly what high school was like, and therefore understand many of the challenges, pressures, and exciting moments that my students face. And I often get as excited or upset about them. This could relate to the bullet above...or to talking endlessly about boys and prom dresses.
  • I hate to admit this, and it's not nearly as true as it was a few years ago, but sometimes I share the fashion sensibilities of a 17-year-old. Let's just say a very hip and sophisticated 17-year-old. I hope.
  • I have the same tendency to rebel against authority that many of my students do!
  • I want to be accepted.
  • Sometimes I just want to 'fit in' and be included.
  • I too often worry about what others think! Including when getting dressed each morning. ;)
  • I drive a 'beater.' [Although sadly many of my students drive nicer cars than me!]
And finally, the best and most unexpected one: I'm stressing about what to wear to Prom this year!

are you out there blog? it's me, tiff

Well. I am not sure why the ridiculously long pause in my blogging, except that I have been busy...enjoying my job...lazy?...whatever. Lately though there has been this little nagging voice in my head telling me to get back to blogging, and I have some great stories/ideas/thoughts to share, so here we go...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I know I haven't blogged in a LONG long time, and I don't have much to say now, but I am sorting through the hundreds of photos I took today at Longwood Gardens' International Orchid Show, and this one stands out so I thought I would share:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

I am a test-taking Nazi.

Here are my rules when kids come to take a test in the library: [please note: I have never yet known these kids were coming beforehand, and I think the teachers don't care if they cheat, because why else would they send 6 kids down the hall together with tests in their hands? I was in high school once, I know what goes on.]
1. Students must sit facing walls ie they cannot face each other and therefore are not tempted to cheat. Which is what I tell them, although I know they think I am just trying to annoy them.
2. No bathroom breaks where you can potentially memorize the letters written on your arm that correspond with your scantron sheet.
3. If you keep coughing I am going to think it's code for a, b, c, etc and yell at you.
4. Same thing if you keep tapping your pencil, hands, feet on the table, floor, chair.
5. Do NOT make eye contact with anyone but me. This is usually avoided by #1.
6. When you are done with the test, give it to me, and I will turn it in for you to your teacher. What, did you think after all that I was going to let you walk down the hall together and compare answers?


Saturday, November 22, 2008

i heart technology?

So, as my last post stated, I love my new job, so much in fact that I have been neglecting my blog to work on school-related things at night, such as this and this. Not sure if that second link will work, but if not I will tell you that it is the ning that my [awesome] principal created for our faculty. I've also been spending time on this ning and on goodreads. I love that I get to spend so much more time working with technology at this job! Also this week I taught 10 classes about evaluating websites, for which I modified and presented a powerpoint, I made a [sweet] brochure explaining how to access all of our online databases, and last night I went to a used book sale where I bought about 60 books - all but 3 are hardcover and brand-new - for only $52!

Upcoming things that I am excited about at my school:
* spending more time on my webpage, which for now is only about research
* using ning with students
* teaching students how to create wikis / webpages
* the purchase of a new, web-based library program which is going to finally bring my school into the 21st century in this area
* the formation of a club of students who are going to meet with me to discuss how we can improve the library, and hold events in the library possibly as fundraisers, etc.
* the formation of a photography club, which i will moderate!
* the purchase of some bean bag chairs to make the library more comfy

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

My first day of high school.

It was 14 years ago that I entered high school as a freshman.

Today I re-entered high school, 409 miles away, and hopefully much wiser.

I had conversation with some junior and senior girls on my first day, today,
and they have no idea how much they made my day,
and how much teachers want to be accepted just as they do.
One girl asked me if I was nervous, but I realized, much to my surprise, I wasn't!
I also don't remember being nervous to start 9th grade,
and overall, I really enjoyed my high school experience as a student.

I hope I love it as much from a different perspective.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Things happening soon that make me happy:

  1. Starting my new job in 12 days!
  2. Seeing my in-laws Saturday, whom I haven't seen since June 20.
  3. Seeing my brother-in-law, same deal.
  4. Hanging out with my potential future-sister-in-law this weekend.
  5. Going to see a Jars of Clay Christmas concert on December 17...only 15 minutes from my house!
  6. Attending a wedding next weekend, at which I can spend time with every friend I have from church!
  7. Our 5 year wedding anniversary on November 1st! [wow]

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Things I will not miss about my job:

  1. getting coughed/sneezed on DAILY
  2. teaching 30 classes/over 600 kids a week
  3. saying the same thing a million times a week because of how many kids i teach
  4. not having any time to get library work done [see #2]
  5. meetings...sometimes 5 days a week! [see #4]
  6. giving out grades that are completely arbitrary and pointless
  7. relying on an assistant and 15+ parent volunteers to do my job [see #4 yet again]
  8. being the 'exception' at librarian meetings ie: 'this does not apply to you because you have no time to do this...' [see #2 and #4]
  9. teaching only 20 min less per day than a classroom teacher [again that pesky #4!]
  10. no time to co-plan [see #8]
  11. no time to co-teach
  12. kindergarten classes 10x/week for 40 minutes each
  13. pulling my hair out every week trying to figure out what exactly to do with 2 special needs classes that come to see me [together] for 40 min, for which i have absolutely no training
  14. trite conversations with people that don't really care
  15. working with 4 different budgets that go through 10 different people, when all i am trying to do is buy what is needed/wanted by staff/students
  16. my sore throat that has been hanging on since teaching day one this school year [see #1 and #2]
  17. 'the framework for continuous improvement' which just results in even more meetings

Saturday, September 27, 2008

You know something big is happening when I wake up at 7 am on Saturday and can't go back to sleep because I am too excited!

I got a new job!
It's hard to even really express how excited I am.
And how thankful.
I've been hoping and praying and trying for this for so long.
I'm going to be the librarian at a catholic high school near here.
The library is a mess!
But I am so excited to do library work again
and not so much teaching.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

Monday, September 08, 2008

say that three times fast.

So I've compiled a list of the top 40 'most interesting' student names from the kids I am currently teaching each week.
[Honestly, I don't know how to pronounce quite a few of them!]
  1. Penina
  2. Bhoomika
  3. Akash
  4. Osayamen
  5. Ebreez
  6. Amna
  7. Amir
  8. Nyvia
  9. Jahair
  10. Soumya
  11. Brietta
  12. Tyshira
  13. Sreelikhi
  14. Yana
  15. Jaidyn [also have Jaden and Jadon]
  16. Nivedita
  17. Chiere
  18. Kenika
  19. Radhika
  20. Asuka
  21. Brodyn
  22. Aleksandir
  23. Asiyah
  24. Maxim
  25. Abena
  26. Kanishk
  27. Aislinn
  28. Aritro
  29. Torsten
  30. Naia
  31. Nyah
  32. Dai-Jahn
  33. Mehul
  34. Nybree
  35. Eleni
  36. Akyr
  37. Denisse
  38. Ciasaire
  39. Maizy
  40. Purva

Also, I have about 98363 girls with a variation of this name:

Friday, September 05, 2008

thurs - after an especially badly behaved class, i had a pretty good one
fri - 3 kids hugged me on the way out [and they had only just met me 40 minutes before]

Thursday, September 04, 2008

trying to find a silver lining, no matter how small

School has started and I can't lie and say it's great...but I really hate that I *hate* it...and I don't like the way I feel when I am there and the way I act and things I say. It's just really not me.

So in order to combat this, I am going to try and think of at least one GOOD thing that happens each day at school.

So here goes:

Tuesday - a 1st grade girl named Maggie came into the library during open house, and her mom told me that Maggie said they had to go visit 'the nicest teacher in the school'...and it was me.

Wednesday - I was completely stressed out about having 4 autistic students and 5 special needs kids in my room for 40 minutes not even an hour after school started...but then we had an assembly during that time, and the kids were wonderfully behaved. Phew.

Today - Umm today was a challenge. I will keep thinking and get back on here soon. ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

i somehow made it through my 1st day.
i can't lie and say it was good.
but i did survive.
until i started driving home,
and thinking about
how i thought i would be somewhere else.
and how i just can't believe
i am still working at this place
that just makes me miserable.

that is when the tears came.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm going to be having a panic attack in about 10 hours.
I'm trying not to have one now in anticipation of tomorrow.
I just hope it doesn't last. It being my feelings, sickness, and THE JOB ITSELF!
But if it does...I pray that I can find peace about it.
And some little bits of happiness here and there.
And if I do end up leaving two weeks into the school year...I hope I can be forgiven.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Are you there God? It's me, Tiffany.

Well, I've had a frustrating day.

It started out ok - I got up and wanted to hit the gym - but alas, my gym is closed for the week. Man, I wish I had my own treadmill.

But I decided to take advantage of the extra time and get ready for my interview which is Tuesday at 11 am.
That's right, yet another job in a long line of jobs that I have pursued this summer.
I just got an email about this one [a Catholic high school nearby] on Friday, called them, sent them my resume, and by 6 pm was set up for an interview tomorrow.

I had to gather all of my materials, including a letter from a pastor stating that I am in 'good moral character.'

I spent the morning getting paperwork together: digging out old lesson plans from 6 years ago when I student taught at a high school; going through documents from college courses to see if I could use any of it for a new, improved, teen-oriented portfolio; gathering copies of reference letters and clearances; downloading my current grad school transcript because I never received an official, paper copy; you get the point.

I emailed links and documents to myself so that I could print them at the library since my home printer hasn't been hooked up in years.

I also searched the internet for "high school librarian interview questions" and general advice for getting a job, and was totally overwhelmed by some tough questions and by the general feeling that I was not prepared and just 'not good enough.'

Going from my K-2 job of the last four years to a 9-12 job will be I ready for that?

My pastor had told me he's be in the office this afternoon so I could come pick up my letter. So I went there and am so grateful for a. a wonderful recommendation and b. the use of their printer [as opposed to going to the public library, waiting, paying, etc].

My lack of printer prompted me to go to Staples next and spend $70 on new ink for my old, dusty printer. [crossing my fingers all the while that I can actually get the thing to work, and my $70 spent was not in vain]

So far, not such a bad day, right?

Well, here is where it got frustrating. My cell phone refuses to charge, and since we are getting a new carrier/plans/and phones on Wednesday, there is really nothing I can do. So Andrew, very sweetly, let me borrow his today. So all day I've used his, and called and checked my voicemail every hour or two.

I got home from staples and got on my computer, and received the following email from the school I am supposed to interview at in less than 24 hours!

I left a message on your cell phone. We 'contractually" can't interview until the job has been posted. I believe the next posting is Sept 2. Once it is posted we will give you a call or you may call us.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

I think I had to read it about 3 times before it really sunk in. The main thoughts in my head are/were:
- wait, so all of my crazy running around/freaking out/etc today were in vain?
- so now i have more time to prepare?
- do you even still want to interview me? since you were so casual in saying 'you may call us'
- oh no. this is horrible. this means i have to actually start the school year - and teaching - at my old job. whereas if i interviewed tomorrow, there was a chance i wouldn't have to start teaching.
- this means i have to start teaching at my job i hate
- is God trying to make me sweat? teach me patience?
- am i really that impatient of a person that i need this lesson? especially after waiting all summer for a new job?
- i really, really, really, don't want to start the school year at my old job that i hate.
- oh dear.

So...I guess it could be worse. They didn't say they don't want to interview me. Having an extra, oh TWO WEEKS, will be helpful to prepare and feel more qualified to be a high school librarian.

And, I got my printer to work after using it as a dust collector for years.

I'm just a little frustrated. I wish I could hide in a hole for two weeks until I get to interview. But instead...I have to go back to the job/people I really don't like, and pretend to enjoy it for a couple weeks.

I can only pray that is as long as it lasts.

Friday, August 08, 2008

road trip!

So...I'm going on a road trip. With my parents. Actually, first I am flying to Pittsburgh to meet them, and then the road trip begins the next morning.

I think it's going to be: crazy. fun. exhausting. exciting. frustrating [at times]. beautiful. fun!

My main concern is that I get violently carsick. All the time. So I will be stocking up on dramamine, and hopefully driving a lot so that I don't have the possibility of being sick. And, since my dad is an early riser [somehow he actually finds pleasure in rising at 5 am?!] - I hope that on the two mornings we plan to drive, we leave ridiculously early and I can sleep for some hours in the car, thus not being sick.


Here is our master plan:

Friday, August 15: My plane leaves Philly at 8:30 and I get to Pittsburgh around 10 pm. Then I'll stay with my parents at a hotel that night. [Even though I have many friends I want to see! But I don't think I can since I know we will leave at the crack of dawn the next morning.]

Sat, Aug 16: We leave Pittsburgh early [hopefully not too much before 8 am] and drive to Nowheresville, Virginia to visit my cousin Julie and her family. She just had a baby girl in July...after having 3 boys! How exciting.
This leg of the trip should take 5 hours.

Then we leave VA and drive to my sister's place in Gastonia, North Carolina! It should take about 3 hours - and hopefully we get there at like 5 or 6 pm and RELAX for the rest of the night.

Sun, Aug 17 - Tues, Aug 19: We enjoy North Carolina, especially when we whitewater raft on Monday night! We're all staying at my sister's house with her puppy, 2 roommates, and their cat and dog. It will be a full house!

Wed, Aug 20: We are leaving [hopefully early] in the AM and driving to Baltimore, MD to see another cousin and her husband and their new baby. This drive will probably be the worst - it's like 7-8 hours, the same as driving Philly to Erie! [Ugh. I've driven that SO many times, and I must admit...I hate it.]

Once we finally get to Maryland, we're are going to visit with me cousin and her new baby. THEN we are driving [hopefully not too long] to our hotel so we can FINALLY crash!

Thurs, Aug 21: Hooray! We get to 'sleep in.' Then we have a 2 hour drive back to Philly, where we are meeting my hubby for lunch.

I get to go home, but my parents are driving a couple more hours, then staying at their final hotel.
I will certainly be looking forward to sleeping in my own bed [and not alone!] by this point.

Fri, Aug 22 - my parents drive back to Erie, while I sleep in and enjoy being home again!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Questions I can't answer. But wish I could.

1. How will I survive the school year if I don't get a new job and have to go back to my old one?

2. When we will get to move away from here and closer to family? Will this ever happen?

3. When will I ever feel permanently settled? Can I feel that way here?

4. Why can 'everyone else afford to buy a house here' but not us?

5. Why are all of my close friends moving away, thus making me not only unhappy, but lonely here? What can I do about this?

6. Why can't I just trust God like I should and let all of this go?