Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Tale of the Pencil Sharpener.

Our class electric pencil sharpener decided to die a few weeks ago. It was no problem, because I have a smaller electric pencil sharpener that I brought in to tide us over until I figured out what was wrong with the real one. That is, until our back up one decided to die yesterday. 

Teaching with no pencil sharpener proved to be no bueno, so I brought home the first pencil sharpener to see if by some chance Daniel could fix it. It took him about 30 minutes to take the entire thing apart, get it working, and put it back together again. 

Would you like to know what was wrong with it?

There were four (yes, four) paperclips inside it. FOUR of them. And also a wad of paper, and part of the lid of a pen for good measure. All of that somehow jammed into a poor, defenseless pencil sharpener. 

So, class began today with Mrs. Sorensen holding up a plastic bag filled with the evidence. This was followed by a little lecture about why the pencil sharpener would be making its new home right in the middle of my desk from here on out. 

I brought my other sharpener home today to see if Daniel can fix it too. I can't say I'm not  a little concerned about what we might find when we take that one apart. 

Bets, anyone?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Zoology 102 with M & D

Remember the time Daniel and I debated the difference between an aardvark and an anteater? Well, we have finally found our subjects for Zoology 102 with M&D. While eating Sunday dinner with the Jacobsens last week, we got into a discussion about seals. Brief background: my father doesn't like seals. He truly, thoroughly, doesn't like them. He claims they're "ugly" and "they eat too many fish." Yeah. We don't get it either.

Anyway, after discussing my father's serious dislike for seals, my brother asked him how he felt about sea lions. My dad decided that they were okay. This sparked some discussion about what the difference was between these two animals - if there was a difference at all. So, naturally, we turned to our trusty smartphones at the dinner table and Googled some pictures of these guys. Want to know what we discovered?

In the case of seals vs. sea lions...

This guy is a seal:

And this guy is a sea lion:

It turns out, both animals are members of the pinniped family (along with walruses and even otters). But they have some very key differences, as you can see from this diagram:

Here is a more in-depth comparison.

After reading up on these guys, we now feel like we know a little bit more about the animal kingdom. What we still don't understand is how my dad can look at this little guy square in the face and tell him he doesn't like him.

There are some things we'll never understand. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

a story for your thursday.

Embarrassingly enough, that would be my desk at School. UEA weekend couldn't have come at a better time, right? I'm super behind with grading planning organizing cleaning laundry dishes general life, and I woke up with a bit of a cold today (sad face). Take this story that Daniel told me yesterday as further evidence that I seriously needed a break from school:

The other night, I went to bed a little before Daniel did. These days I tend to fall fast asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, so I was already fast asleep by the time Daniel came in to get ready for bed. I remember none of this, but according to him, I said his name a few times so he came over to the bed. Then I launched into a mini-monologue about how I had explained a story problem to him, and he just needed to do it. I had already told him how, so why hadn't he done it yet? Daniel was trying really hard not to laugh at me, but apparently I was talking with my hands and basically giving him a lecture as if he were one of my students. Finally, he gave up trying to reason with me and told me that I was still sleeping. I guess I was in a compliant mood, because I simply sighed and said "Okay," rolled over, and fell asleep again.

We both got a pretty good laugh out of it, especially because talking in my sleep isn't one of my normal characteristics. Conclusion? We think teaching school is slowly making me crazy. Either way, I'm planning on relaxing this weekend. I see a lot of movies on the couch with blankets and  hot apple cider, long walks outside, and a possible trip to the pumpkin patch. 

Happy weekend!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Life & teaching & stuff.

Photo from our two-year anniversary (!) which we celebrated this past August.

Just wanted to post a quick update on our lives over here. It's been pretty quiet on the blog lately, but our lives have been quite the opposite! Between teaching full time for me, and the work/school mix for Daniel, we don't have a lot of free time. However, can I just say how amazing it has been for me not to be a student for once? I can't say that I miss it.

When people ask me how teaching is going, the short answer is that it's going great, but it's a lot of work. The long answer is: I absolutely love my students, and I have a blast at work (almost) every single day! Being a teacher is the single most rewarding thing I've ever done. But grading papers, long days at the school, e-mails to parents, working with struggling students, and planning double the lessons for my split class has been absolutely exhausting. I constantly feel behind no matter what I do to try and catch up. There are even times I have a nagging feeling that I'm not doing this whole thing right and my students aren't going to learn anything. I've had to take a step back and remind myself that it's my first year, I have a split class, and I'm doing the very best I can.

I was talking to Daniel last night, and I realized that teaching is probably the most stressful job ever for my borderline control-freak/perfectionist personality. My goal is for all of my students to learn and be successful, but there is only so much I can do before it is up to them to listen, and put in the work themselves. Teaching has really forced me to take a "chill pill" when it comes to every little thing being perfect. I have learned that in some situations, that is just never going to happen. I am just grateful that I am not drowning this year. In fact, I'm far from it!

As far as our lives go, if you were to ask Instagram, this is what we have been up to lately:
 Cheering on our Utes!
 Getting our culture on and visiting the new Museum of Natural History. 
Which we highly recommend, by the way.
 Crazy hair day (that I wore out to dinner and a movie afterward), 
and the shirt that my students have named "The Owl Shirt."
Turning garden tomatoes into homemade salsa with my mom, as is our yearly tradition.
 My owl bulletin board, and the sentence that made us laugh out loud for hours.
(Those things make grading papers infinitely more entertaining.)
Our trip to the State Fair, and the creatures that are living in my classroom this Halloween.
(From left to right, a bat, a crawfish, and an octopus preserved in formaldehyde.)

Thanks for reading!

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