Monday, March 31, 2008

First Day Back

Gosh, I like being at school with kids. They are funny and interesting and interested in me.

The thing I don't like about school is the extras, the things that I need to do outside of actual teaching. They get overwhelming at times. Today's extra tasks: finishing report card comments, setting up a National Honor Society meeting for Wednesday, preparing a report for our school recertification process, choosing books for next year's courses (and therefore deciding what exactly I'll be teaching), and preparing a syllabus for the new AP course that I'll be teaching next year so that I can be "certified" by the College Board people.

Fortunately, I finished the report card comments, set up the NHS meeting, and started the book choosing process and preparing the syllabus. I'm hoping to do some work on the recertification report tomorrow.

When it's all done, I'll feel accomplished, but until then, I'll just feel that I should have worked more over break. (Though I really enjoyed doing nothing...)

Sunday, March 30, 2008


My kids are just finishing their unit on genocide in the 20th century. Dith Pran, a photographer and journalist who escaped from the Killing Fields in Cambodia, and who was portrayed in the film "The Killing Fields," died on Sunday from pancreatic cancer. Story from the NYT.

Blind Dates and Other Observations

I went on a blind double date last night, courtesy of Crazy Blind Date. It's the funniest concept: you enter info about what you're looking for (age, education level, etc.) and a time that you'd like to meet someone and they set you up. I met three other people at a swanky hotel bar in DC at 6 pm and we sat and chatted until about 7:45, when one of the daters had to go to a party. But seriously, so much fun. When you get home, you fill out a feedback form -- apparently I was highly rated as a date, which is cool. Observation on dating: I haven't met anyone new in so long and it takes a long time to get to know someone. The conversation last night never lagged, but really, I only found out somewhat superficial things about them. I know where they're from originally and what they do for work and fun, but have no idea about other things.

And another thing: why do my menstrual supplies need to be pink with polka dots?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

End of Break

My brother left early Thursday morning and ever since, I've been lazy. Sleeping, reading, a little schoolwork and a trip to the gym. That's it. It's nice to spend some time with no one but myself, just hanging out.

I also seem to be spending some time sorting through clothes, packing up stuff in my closet, putting books into boxes in preparation for the move that will be coming. We got caught up (we assume) in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage collapse. I rent a house with two other teachers from my school and our landlord had this house foreclosed on, which has left us with uncertain legal status. Friends have suggested, possibly quite likely, that we are squatters. We haven't paid rent since October, since we're unsure who actually owns the house. The mortgage company/bank which bought the property wants to resell it, but won't assess it with people living in it, since it's generally assumed these days that renters (and owners) who are evicted will trash the place on the way out. (We won't be, but apparently we're in the minority.)

We went on Wednesday morning to look for some new places to live. Found a few nice townhouses in towns which are right on the bay, which would be nice. They are off the beaten path (as opposed to right on a highway with traffic going by at 65 mph). I'm hoping that we can find enough people from school who will help us move when the time comes... there will be bribes, certainly.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Visiting and Walking

One of my brothers is visiting me from Boston where he's a Latin teacher. We're both on spring break, which means that I'm getting caught up on sleep. I picked him up from BWI on Monday morning, then we drove to DC. We got a good bagel for a late breakfast and then went a walking. Nick really wanted to see the Supreme Court, his favorite branch of the federal government. Late lunch and then we went home. We walked about 4 miles. (Past the Easter Egg roll on the White House lawn, the women protesting human rights in China, the little girl wearing the "president elect 2032" t-shirt, and the circus parade with the line of elephants walking down E Street near Union Station.)

Today we went to Annapolis for coffee & reading in a bookshop, then lunch, then took the long way home. We spent the afternoon on the couch watching old "West Wing" episodes. Tomorrow we're going to look at new places for my roommates and me to live, since we're being evicted from our house sometime in the next few weeks, we think. (Hopefully we won't have to move until Memorial Day weekend, but who knows?)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Legacy of Colonialism and Such

NYT article again (I'm obsessed with the NYT, what can I say?), this one about the legacy of colonialism and the difficulty of languages

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Recovering college a capella singers, as covered by the New York Times.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Phone Books

I find this stuff interesting... the long, slow death of phone books.


NYTimes article re: parents who don't vaccinate their children --

The whole point of vaccinating is so that children don't die from highly contagious and potentially life-threatening illnesses. I get the personal choice aspect for the parents, but the kids aren't the ones who are making those decisions for themselves. It seems weird and selfish to me -- one mother in the article admits that she's putting other children at risk. How on earth did we get this way?

I wonder if these parents would vaccinate against polio and smallpox? Typhoid and cholera if we lived in areas where those were present? Hepatitis? HIV if that ever becomes available?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Interesting News...

From the past few weeks, a few articles for your consideration:

Diners in Changing Hands -- no more Greek diner owners! I fear this may be the direction of pizza parlor owners in New England as well.

When Girls Will Be Boys -- how women's colleges are reacting to the rising numbers of younger transgendered people.

A Daring Treatment, A Little Girl's Survival -- about experimental cancer treatments for children and the practical applications thereof. Yay to Dana-Farber in Boston.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Field Trips Galore

I teach at a small independent (read: private) school in southern Maryland, in the sticks, but close to the cities of DC and Baltimore. It's convenient for trips and for field trips -- chances are, if you're studying things, you're close enough to a relevant exhibit that you can just pick up and go. So, today I took my 10th graders to the Holocaust Museum to conclude our study of genocide in the 20th century. It never fails to surprise me that no matter how well the kids are behaved (and they were extremely), I end the day completely pooped. Tomorrow, I'm tagging along with the Upper School Latin students to an art museum in Baltimore. So, I don't doubt that I'll be pooped tomorrow, but stuck at school until 6pm with after school study hall. Thank goodness spring break begins after school tomorrow.

Inagural Post

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