Sunday, September 24, 2006

Still Here

It's been crazy, and every time I think I should post when I get home, I get doing other things. But I'm still alive.

Student teaching is great. I am getting to know the kids pretty well, and most are great. One makes me sad - he's nice, but has real problems understanding and wears second hand, too-small clothes and really old sneakers. I have to make a point of not looking at his shoes, because it really makes me want to cry. I've always been too much of a bleeding heart, so I'm really going to have to figure out how I can deal with this stuff on a long-term basis.

Mr. Duck is doing better - we went and had the doc at OHSU botox the muscle in his back that is pushing him over, and his grandparents are going to help pay for the treatments (about $3000 every 3 months, and the insurance only covers 65%). This is a huge relief, because we can't afford to pay it ourselves. Meanwhile, he has been trying so hard to overcome the back issues that he has put out his hip, so he can barely walk. Seeing him hurting so much has been very upsetting to me, which is increased by the fact that there is nothing I can do to actually help him, besides carrying all the groceries myself, so I feel kind of useless and helpless. Which feels great, let me tell you.

In other news, I helped escort my first field trip on Friday. All the Freshmen in the school of IDEAS took a day trip to the coast, to the Hatfield Marine Center and then hiking. I volunteered to go because I had never been on the chaperoning end of such a trip, and I thought it would be a good experience. Holy cow, so much noise, for such a long time. We started at 8 am, and got back at 7 pm, and there was yelling the entire freaking time. Forgot about that. I also forgot how uncomfortable school buses are. I could not sit facing forward without my knees squishing up against the seat in front of me, but If I sat at a diagonal, I was crowding my seat-mate out. I felt bad for some of the really tall boys, though they seemed less concerned about being considerate of the people next to them :-p

The hike was up Cape Perpetua, and it was very challenging even for the sporty kids. I was assigned to a 'challenging' group - fast and far - and I was awfully sweaty by the end. I crashed at 9 pm, and didn't wake unitl 8. Sore too. I thought for sure the students would be tired on the drive back, but a lot of them were like 5 year olds - purposely keeping themselves awake. I just sat back and tried to relax, but the headache was raging by the time we hit florence.

There were two other student teachers on the bus - one who, while nice and personable and friendly, does not know how to stop talking. Honestly, she chattered non-stop the entire day, until she fell asleep after the hike. Like our own personal talk-radio station, talking about herself and nothing much else.

The other thought it would be best to sit in the back at first, because she felt the teachers should not be grouped at the front. That ended before we got out of the parking lot - she came up and told the group leaders that the kids were "awful" and "evil" and she had never been with such an ill-behaved group in her life, and that they were "disrespecting and insulting" her.

And I am not trying to call her out, because I like and respect her, but what did she expect? In our school, the brainy/studious types mostly self selected into the International school and the school of Arts - IDEAS is all about lap tops and has the reptation of being less academic, so these kids are not, for the most part, the quiet, studious types. There are a whole lot of rowdy, social, unmotivated kids in this group. So first thing in the morning, this lady who they don't know waltzes to the back of the bus and makes one of them give up their seat for her, demands they show her respect, and gets offended and upset when they test her on it. Hmmmmm, how's that going to turn out? And really, 'evil'? Maybe poorly behaved, maybe disrespectful, but evil? And it's all on them - none of it was possibly how she presented herself? Several of them were in my group, and they certainly weren't anything other than normal, sometimes sullen, 14 year olds.

I did have to spend a lot of time gently prodding, and calling roll to make sure they were all on the bus after each stop, and later on yelling "stay ON the trail!" and "NOT acceptable language!" Crack that whip! It would be interesting to go on a trip with the kids in the International group, just to compare and contrast.

Classes start this week, so the crazy busy will just continue for now.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My own bed

This week has been my first as a student teacher. The kids don't start until next week, but we have been having meetings and setting up classrooms (everyone had to move for the small-schools layout that was begun this year) etc. I like my cooperating teacher quite a bit, and the school as a whole seems great. Everyone gets along and is friendly, which is very nice.

Last weekend, we went to the coast for Chile's wedding. She wanted a 'tropical' beach wedding, all bright colors and sunshine and Hawaii. Unfortunately, it was socked in with the fog the whole weekend, which I loved (such a romantic atmoshpere!) but she was disappointed with it. A few miles in either direction, it was bright sunshine, but our beach was foggy the whole time. It was also cold - about 30 degrees cooler than in town. Mr. Duck and I had checked the weather and packed jeans and jackets, but no-one else had taken the forcast seriously, so there were some chilly looking folk there. After the wedding, some guests, of questionable sanity, decided that it was simply ridiculous to go to the beach, and not swim. I tried very hard to convince them of how cold the water is here, but severa of them stripped down and jumped in anyway. And then came out bluish.

Chile looked beautiful, and the wedding went well, and Chef was handsome in his tux.

I made the mistake of asking a friend of the bride to take pics with my camera, without reminding her to get a few pics of me. So she used my entire roll, and got me only in a couple group shots before the ceremony. She got pics of her friends with the bride, and her friends coming down the isle, but none of me, and not a single one of Mr Duck, which is disappointing because he looked very handsome in his new tie. And I didn't have another roll, so I got nothing of the cake cutting, or toast, or first dance, or anything. A mistake I won't repeat. But here is the bridal party,

Everyone was very beautiful. I look really tall here, but it's the slope of the path. I swear.

You can't see it here, but some of us were suuuuper tired that day. We were all sharing a few rental cottages, and the best man was in mine. The guy, while very nice, has some crazy sleeping disorder, that his doctor hasn't taken seriously. He snored like a freight train, but I got used to that and fell asleep. About 3 am, we were woken up by shouting downstairs. At first, I thought there was a fight or someting, but it was just this one guy, and was rythmic, and really loud. Loud enough they could probably hear it nextdoor. He would scream with every breath for abut 10 minutes, then go through a couple strange breathing patterns for another 10 minutes, then start yelling again. This lasted over an hour. The groom tried to wake him, but the best man fought back, and slept the whole time. Unlike the rest of the house.

When I got up the next day, and went downstairs looking for coffee, he was still sleeping on the couch, and was kicking in his sleep. And still snoring. Maybe it's an old wive's tale, but I had always understood that the way to stop someone from snoring was to roll them onto their sides. I did not know until this last weekend that it is possible for a human to snore while sleeping on their side or stomach. But it is. I saw it with my own eyes. The guy said he had told his doctor that he wasn't sleeping through the night, and that his dog wouldn't sleep on the bed anymore, but the doctor had just poo-pooed him. We all told the guy to have the doc call us, 'cause we could describe his sleep patterns in detail, and it's not normal. The guy felt pretty bad at having ruined our sleep, but we were all too tired and grouchy to do the whole 'oh, it's OK' thing for him.

Never been happier to sleep in my own, lovely, bed.