pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
Yes, a new blog post! Follow the clicky link for the most recent post.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
At some point I'll do a more personal update. For now, though, I've started blogging about teaching again. This time it's going to stick.
pixkris: (joy...puppy)
I'm stealing the title of this entry from Douglas Adams, obviously, but also from another board I post on. They have a yearly "Goodbye and Good Riddance" thread, which this year was subtitled, "So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish." Here's my entry, which I feel is fitting to include here.

So 2009. I'm glad we have the thread title we do, because 2009 gave me a lot of fish, figuratively speaking. 2008 had been the year from hell, and I limped into 2009 praying it would be a better year. It's not that it was a perfect year--it had its moments of stress and sadness--but it was a year of resettling and reaffirming the choices I'd made.

After a tough 2008-2009 school year, this fall semester has reminded me why I teach. I love my students, and working as the New Faculty Coordinator also allowed me to mentor new teachers, one of my passions. I'm only teaching three classes this year to provide time for my work with the new faculty, and that has been perfect. Just enough time in the classroom to fire me up about teaching and remind me that I have the best job in the world without being so overwhelmed with grading that I lose my life outside of school. Because of the pay cut I took when moving from the first LA school I worked at 2005-2006 to this one, I only finally got back to the salary I made when I first moved out here last year...and now the recession means I'll probably not see another increase until 2010-2011 unless something drastic changes. It's a little demoralizing making close to the same salary for five years straight when I've learned and grown so much, I'll admit, but I understand the realities of the economy and have faith that that will change at some point. I'm still very grateful to work somewhere that makes me happy and loves me as much as I love it. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

In and out of work, I have been deeply grateful for my friendships this year, including those with my family. My LA friend base really solidified, and I finally have a core group of best girlfriends here that bring a lot of joy into my life. It takes a long time for a new city to be home, and finding that urban family can be difficult, especially when so many people have to or choose to move away. 2009 was when I realized that I have a group again, a clan, an urban family. I cherish them. Of course I also cherish my online family, who has been witness to so many of my ups and downs in the past six years. You people are often my sanity, and I'm so grateful to have you in my life.

We started renting the back house at the end of 2008, and Drew really turned it into a working office/studio/base of operations for Diablo Sound in 2009. One of our greatest blessings has been his company's success. In a time of recession and layoffs, his company grew tremendously, and he was able to hire three full time workers for a six month contract. Over the course of the past six months, he employed 20+ other folks at least here and there, so we can feel good about the company's success, but also its success in providing more work when work was scarce. I am so proud of him. He has been a professional sound designer and self-employed for 10-15 years, and most of those years were very, very sparse. He lived on Mac&Cheese and ramen noodles and shacked up with two or more roommates for most of them. In the past five years, his business has gone from spotty to solid, and it all stems from how hard he works. He strives to be ethical, fair, and generous as a businessperson and a boss, and that makes me want to be with him even more.

Speaking of, the highlight of this year for me personally was the unique, heartwarming proposal I got last May (see tagline). Sharing that moment (or, I should say, those moments) with all of you was wonderful. Drew and I have been through a lot together since we started dating in 2005, and everything that has happened has convinced me that he is the love of my life. We leave tomorrow to fly to Hawaii (meep!) to get married on Tuesday the 5th, and I can't wait to call him my husband.

So thanks for all the fish, 2009. You saved a very difficult decade for me. And 2010? I'm expecting great things!
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
My newest blog post at Little but Fierce is up: PEEP SHOW! It's not what you think.

It's better.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
A new essay is up on my teaching blog, Little but Fierce: Merit Pay Without Merit. I abandon humor this week in favor of righteous political indignation. Please share with anyone who you think might be interested. Thanks!
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (edumacashun)
After an absurdly long time being locked out of my own site because I was too stupid to realize I was trying to log in with the wrong username, my teaching blog is back up and running. Just a quick (but funny!) post for now, but I'll be posting regularly from now on.

Here's the link: Long Absence...But Pictures!

Please feel free to pass the site along to any teacher types in your life.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
It's been a very slow writing semester for me due to personal health and other fun stressors, but I have finally updated my teaching blog. My newest entry, "Reflection," is now up on Little but Fierce.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
New teaching blog entry over at my site: Scheduling My Tiny Little Breakdown.

Sub Plans

Jan. 15th, 2008 10:51 pm
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
New blog entry about the uselessness of sub plans and my utter inability not to write them: I Got Plans.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Default)
New (and long overdue) essay up on my education blog, Little but Fierce: Oh Crap! I Forgot How to Teach! Please come visit if you get a chance or pass the word along to others in the teaching biz. Thanks!
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
After an extended writing vacation, a new essay is up on my site:"What I Did This Summer." This one deals with the myth of the perfect summer, all the things we intend to do but don't quite manage, and those anxiety-fraught essays elementary teachers used to make us write.

If you have any teacher friends/family, please share this link! I'm back to posting regularly now that school's starting up again. Check back soon for next week's essay: "Oh Crap! I Forgot How to Teach!"

As always, if you know anyone who would like to be added to the mailing list, just send me their email.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
My second column is up: "10 by 10: Ten Lessons Learned in Ten Years of Teaching--Part Two" here.

Spread the word, if you'd be so kind?

Column Up!

Jun. 21st, 2007 11:23 am
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Default)
My first column on the new website is up!

10 by 10: Ten Lessons Learned in Ten Years of Teaching--Part 1

Please to link from other sites, email lists etc.? Thanks for your support!
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Brave)
So I've decided to get back to a project I've been distracted from for too long. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] paperdol for providing inspiration through her own stellar example.

I have a whole book's worth of essays about life as a teacher. The only problem is that they are all in my head. So. It is time to get them on paper...or, screen...or...whatever. You get the idea.

My goal is to write at least one essay every other week--two a month. I want to start with modest goals so I don't get frustrated if I fall behind. If I get inspired and write more, fabulous.

Eventually, I want to find an agent who might be interested in looking at these as a book...working title: My Dog Ate Your Homework (yes, true story).

I can do this, right?
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Default)
I've started a new community for teachers. It's called "teacher_oasis". The profile description is as follows:

--------------

Teacher Oasis
Our own private island to talk shop.

About: What happens when a group of teachers starts talking at a party? Do we talk about current events or television or our new pedicures? Maybe at first...but inevitably, the conversation turns to the job that eats us alive ten months of the year. Teachers love to talk about teaching. We commiserate and compare notes. We give each other book suggestions and analyze the mysteries of student behavior. We also tend to drive every non-educator around us screaming from the room.

I've created this community to be a teacher oasis: a place for educators to discuss issues, strategies, and content relevant to life in their classes. You can ask questions or look for suggestions, and I encourage you to do so. One of the best things about this career is that we are never alone. Someone out there has had the same problem or designed the same unit, and all of our classrooms benefit when we freely share ideas and information.

At times, this forum may also be a place to vent about situations you're facing at work: administration, students, parents, etc. If you choose do so, please remember that this is a public forum with no assurance of privacy--you should always use pseudonyms for your school, your colleagues and bosses, and especially your students and their families. It is my hope that venting does not become the focus of this community unless you are actively seeking solutions to the problem you are facing. We are certainly here to support each other, but we are primarily here as a group of professionals pooling our experience and knowledge to improve our practices. I encourage a comfortable and informal tone to this community, but please do keep your posts and comments professional and collegial at all times.

Some people may join because they are considering entering the profession or because education fascinates them, and we welcome you as well.

Personally, I am beginning my ninth year as a high school teacher of English. I have taught on both US coasts and in public and private schools, and even when my job is making me insane, I have an incredible passion for it. I come from a long line of teachers: both of my parents were in teaching for 37 years before they retired, and my grandparents taught for years as well. My great-grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse in rural New England. My father claims that this is a sign of a troubling genetic flaw, this tendency to be drawn to dealing with all the stresses of teaching. I think he's joking. Mostly. We all sometimes wonder why exactly we do this.

I have also been through the National Board Certification process and became an NBCT in 2002, so I'll happily share my experiences with it, especially if you are considering becoming one yourself.

So...all that said, welcome to the teacher oasis! Sit back, sip a Mai Tai, and let's talk shop.

----------------

If you are a teacher or interested in education, please join!
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (technically)
I am the Queen of Bureaucracy! I have completed the six billion contradictory forms necessary to transfer my Connecticut teaching certification to California, gotten myself fingerprinted and included two fingerprinting cards, made copies of both my CT and my National Board Certification, included sealed copies of official transcripts from the three colleges I attended, and--of course--written a hefty $138 official bank check for California to verify I am who I say I am and that, yes, I really can teach.

I feel a little triumphant. How much you want to bet they return it to me because I didn't write in block letters or forgot to dot an "i" somewhere?

November 2010

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