Monthly Archives: September 2006

Oh, Please, Please, Please!!

I just got a phone call from Tiny Community College. They have a couple of openings – one for a public speaking course (“Effective Communication”) and one for English Composition – and Joe called to find out if I’d be interested in either of them (“Um, gee, let me think. YEAH!!”)

I interview tomorrow at eleven in the morning. Please pause for a moment around that time to wish me well; I REALLY want to work!

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The Little Engine (I think I can, I think I can…)

Well, Friends, I’ve done it again. I sent in my application for a full-time substitute position in a semi-local middle school. I am nothing if not persistent.

From what I can gather, this is the sort of job where I would show up every day and, if there’s a teacher out, I would sub for that teacher. If there’s not a teacher out, I would still be there, covering duties and running errands and the like.

I think that this is a brilliant way to arrange for substitute teachers; the work and income for the subs is steady, the kids get to know who the teachers are, thereby limiting the amount of nonesense and attitude that the subs typically receive, and there are no 6 a.m. phone calls. The school gets a sense of who their subs are and where their strengths lie, and have a ready pool of teachers to pull from should a position open up.

Bowyer hooked me up to the opening. He works in that school district and has been encouraging me to apply because he sees it as a good way to get in the proverbial door. He’s pretty sure there’ll be openings in the high school this coming year, and both of us would love nothing better than to work in the same building.

As always, Dear Readers, I will keep you constantly posted on the outcome.

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Nothing New to Tell…

I’m writing, but I have nothing of interest to say.

I have no job and no prospect of a job. At this point, I’m not sure that it’s worth actively looking for a job, really; the school year is pretty much underway, and I’m guessing that all the positions that needed filling are filled already. I’m not whining, exactly; I’m finding that I have plenty to keep me busy, and my lack of outside commitments means that I can volunteer in my daughters’ classrooms and chaperone field trips, so it’s all working out.

Even so, I’m going to re-send my resume to all the school districts in which I’m willing to work, just so they have my information should something come up during mid-terms. I wouldn’t mind starting fresh in January.

I’m also looking into taking some workshops this fall and, perhaps, a class in January. Whether I’m actively teaching or not, I still have to complete hours to keep my certification current, and I figure it’s easier, in terms of scheduling, brain-power and finances, to spread the hours out over the three years that the license is valid, rather than trying to cram all the time into the last few months before the state comes looking for its renewal fees. There are a couple of workshops at a not-so-local college that focus on the Holocaust and social justice that I wouldn’t mind attending, so I’m going to register for those.

I’ve started reading the Outlander series again. I got through the third book in the set, loving every single page, and realized that there were a lot of details that I was failing to carry from one book to the next (I had thought that reading a different book between the series installments would help to prolong the enjoyment of the story, but it really just proved a distraction). In case you were wondering, it’s just as good the second time around.

If you’re still reading, thanks. I’m sorry that I’ve nothing more interesting or challenging to offer lately. I think I might try to do poetry week starting this coming Monday, or maybe a series on short stories. I’m also open to suggestions, so feel free to comment.

Have a great weekend!

-Mrs. Chili

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Dream Interpretation

This morning, we were all sitting around the breakfast table enjoying pancakes and discussing those of our most recent dreams as we could recall.

When it got to my turn, I told my family about the dream I had this early morning in which I was a nurse in a hospital ward which cared for babies. I had one patient in particular who concerned me greatly. He was an older baby, perhaps close on to a year old, who was enormously obese and had yet to learn to walk.

His father, an absolute giant of a man who was so huge he was unable to walk himself, berated me every time I entered his son’s room for his daily physical therapy. As I hauled the child to his pudgy feet and encouraged him to at least TRY to balance upright, the father would scowl and humph from the corner of the room. “The kid doesn’t NEED to learn to walk” the blob would growl at me, “I don’t walk, and I get around just fine.” The father DID get around just fine, in fact; he made his way through the world in a wheelchair-like contraption that actually turned him sideways so he could fit through doors.

His son, too, didn’t seem to mind not walking. He would roll happily where ever he felt he wanted to be. The effect reminded me a great deal of Violet Beauregarde being rolled to the juicing room after expanding to a giant blueberry. The baby didn’t seem to mind my coming every day to teach him to be bi-pedal, though; he was happily rolling around in his crib, and when I opened the door he stopped, his face splitting into an enormous, fleshy smile he giggled gaily and rolled toward me. I hoisted him from his crib and helped him upright where he wavered between delight at the exercise and frustration that he couldn’t maintain the posture by himself.

That’s pretty much all I remember of the dream. When I told my family the story, though, my husband had an immediate and intriguing interpretation, which led me to post this here for you. He said that the story speaks to my opinion of the state of our educational system and my own place in it: the indulged child rendered incapacitated by guardians (whether they be parents specifically or “the system” in general) which expects nothing of him but who, despite all that, really WANTS to learn: the frustration I feel at not being able to actually DO my job, hindered by the powers-that-be who won’t offer up the chance for me to show how much good I can really do: and the excitement and joy I felt at the excitement and joy the baby showed when I came in the door echoing the eagerness I’m keeping contained at the thought of actually being able to get into a classroom, where I can see to the care and keeping of my own “babies.”

It’s not such a stretch. Freud he’s not, but I think my husband’s got a good case for his interpretation of my dream.

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Me Being Anal….

…or do I have a legitimate gripe?

My grocery store has this annoying habit of offering “daily specials” at the register. They don’t offer USEFUL things – like city trash bags, which I ALWAYS leave the store without, because one can’t buy them in the aisles; they must be bought at the registers. Nope; often, most of these specials are horrid offerings – sugary “fruit” snacks or dreadful BBQ chips – but the other day, my brazenly pierced check-out girl asked if I would like to try Fruity Cheerios. Given that I was starving – I hadn’t eaten lunch, and hadn’t bought anything that could pass for emergency tide-me-over food – I said “sure, why the hell not?” (I used those actual words; I thought brazenly pierced check-out girl could hack it). I popped open the box before I buckled my seat belt and decided that, as far as impulse buys go, this was not a stinker.

Right about now, you’re wondering “what the HELL does this have to do with teaching?!” Patience, Grasshopper; I’m getting there…

ANYWAY, we’ve started eating breakfast at a real table lately, with the occasion of new floors and space in which to put said table. My children, I may or may not have mentioned, are excellent, eager readers and, in true kid-at-the-breakfast-table form, love to read the backs of cereal boxes while they crunch. Frankly, so do I, which is how we got here in the first place.

So, I’m reading the Fruity Cheerios box, where there are four little balls on the back filled with information that is supposed to make moms everywhere prefer Fruity Cheerios to those “other” fruit-O cereals. The very first ball, in fact, says, and I quote:

Excellent source of WHOLE GRAIN
Did you know that only 1 in 10 kids get enough whole grain per day?
It’s recommended that most kids get at least 48g of whole grain per day.

Now, aside from this seeming like a WHOLE HELL of a lot of grain, and the fact that no where on the box does it mention how many grams of whole grain are actually in a serving of this stuff, the first complete sentence is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! One in ten kids GETS enough – there’s only ONE kid – there should be a singular verb there, folks!

I wrote an email to the Cheerios people. Here’s what I said:

As an English teacher and mother of two voracious readers (who enjoy reading the back of Cheerios boxes while they eat breakfast), I need to take some issue with the grammar on the back of the Fruity Cheerios box: “Did you know that only 1 in 10 kids get enough whole grain per day?” The subject of the main clause in that sentence is the “one kid,” which means that the verb should be the singular “gets.” Please help me do my part to teach our young people correctly and to save our language.

Too much, or am I well within my parent/teacher boundaries to request that they get themselves an editor with a grasp of the target language?

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