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another day of sub. teaching...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
...that seemed like a good idea when I got home last night. This one is at a school fairly close to home, and I am hoping it will be a relatively placid experience. It is a newer school, and would draw students from a totally different socio-economic area than most of the ones I have been in since jumping into subbing in January. That is of course, no guarantee that it will not be a crazy day with a classroom run amuck. But I am pretty sure I have already had  my worst day, so nearly certain that will not happen again.... stay tuned!

'reading' while driving...

Monday, February 1, 2016
... really means listening while driving, as I always have a talking book available in my car, especially when I plan to be on the road for several hours. The most recent one was a very interesting story about a woman who grew up in the southwest in the late 1800's and into the twentieth century. It was written as a 'true-life novel', by her granddaughter.

Lily's earliest years were spent on a ranch in west Texas, helping her dad in the family business. Her father trained carriage horses, and she worked with him, helping to break the horses and provide the training of paired animals the family raised and sold. As she reached adulthood and wanted employment outside the family, she was hired as a school teacher in the area, working in a small one room building, with students of varying ages., With a limited education (having only finished the eight grade herself) she was none-the-less a dedicated teacher to youngsters of severely limited resources.

As a young adult, wanting to see the world, she moved to Chicago, and worked as a domestic for some years, realizing that more education would be the only way she could improve her circumstances. And over time did eventually get a degree. Working as a housekeeper during the day and going to school in the evenings.

She got married, had two children, and lived a long, full life with her family relocating a number of times in Arizona and New Mexico, as jobs/work situations changed. Often employed as a teacher, and often raising livestock, when her husband would take work as a ranch manager for absentee landowners. The book, written after many hours of talking with her mother and other family members was a marvelous story. And being from the perspective of a female, quite unusual as a retelling of life and experiences in the southwest when those areas were becoming populated by settlers moving from back east. "Half-broke Horses": was well written, and a fascinating tale about American history from the view point of one who lived it.

I will occasionally check out a book or set of CDs that will not grab my attention and cause me to return it without being completely consumed. In recent years, coming to realize there is no 'test', and I will not be expected to give a report to prove I actually completed the assignment. Therefore if the book is not one that holds my interest after a reasonable amount of time, I am more than willing to return it to the library largely unread. With no worries about bringing home a poor grade due to failure to complete my work.

on the ride home...

...from the concert last night, I was listening to the radio and found the 'Car Talk' show. Those guys amuse themselves so well, they don't really need an audience! I know it was a replay, and expect that they will continue to be a source of entertainment and education for years to come. Thoroughly entertaining even if no one is listening: as in - does the tree falling in the forest make a sound if no on is there?

And a weather report telling me to expect rain this morning, and wet for the rest of the day. Which I took as good news, since I had planned to go to help tidy up/pull weeds at the Botanical Gardens this morning, as part of the once-a-month ground crew. When I got the email reminder last week, I'd made a note on my calendar, with a distinct lack of enthusiasm, but willing to devote an hour or so to the project. Then, with the prospect of a steady drizzle all day, optimistically sent an email to the organizer, hoping it would postponed for another day.

No such luck: And though it is completely overcast, dull and gray here this morning, there is no rain. I walked around the yard at my house yesterday, looking for signs of spring, and see lots of the bulbs, especially hyacinths, that are starting to peek up out of the ground, after lots of rain and a little sunshine. As well as lots of early spring weeds that were shouting for attention. I pulled a few, and hope to get out there to do some more before the undesirables bloom and have an opportunity spread seeds/reproduce. Demonstrating, I guess, the truth in the obscure saying I heard from my mother: 'It rains on the just and the unjust'....meaning, I suppose, that the weeds grow faster than the things we plant and desire to flourish?

"Peter and the Wolf"...

...was the performance at the RiverCenter when I was volunteering on Sunday night. I was reminded that it was written to help schoolchildren better understand and appreciate concert music. Last night it was performed by members of the Columbus Symphony and a group of young students from the Columbus Ballet. The youngest children in the dancing troupe were cute little girls of elementary age, with quite a few little round bellies from girls who have yet to shed their baby fat. Wearing leotards and butterfly wings, ballet slippers, seriously prancing around on the stage in the proper order.

The director of the symphony explained to a fairly small audience before the performance started that the different instruments were 'playing the part' of each character, as that character stepped forth for an introduction. Many young children in the audience, some of who had taken the opportunity to attend the pre-show 'petting zoo' and become acquainted with the woodwinds, brass, percussion and other instruments. Then the show began, telling of young Peter, living with his crochety grandfather, and the animals: bird, cat, duck, and wolf creeping in from the forest. With the different instruments performing as various characters took part in dancing on stage. Of course, in a children's tale, everyone lives happily ever after, so the wolf was captured and taken to the zoo, rather than facing a bad end. It was not a long concert/event: over in less than forty five minutes from when the orchestra began, so a pretty short event. But hopefully giving families with young children an opportunity for a positive experience to classical music and introduction to the workings of symphony experience.

My knowledge of "Peter and the Wolf" was limited to Music 101, many many years ago, back when I probably listened to it on a cassette tape, so it was pretty vague.  I definitely did not grow up in a home where this type music was present: the kind of stuff you hear in the middle of the day on public radio. But when the music started, I discovered that the tunes identifying the different characters to be quite recognizable. Realizing this is the the background music I hear when I make my annual walk through the Fantasy in Lights Show at Callaway Gardens. I think this music is played when you get to the part of the tour going through the snowflake forest, where strings of clear/white lights are hung by the hundreds, from wires stretched from tree to tree along the roadway. Brilliantly lighting that section of the woodlands as we pass through. So it was quite familiar, and a very pleasant surprise!

traveling on the weekend...

Sunday, January 31, 2016
...visiting my penpal in SC on Saturday. I've been making an effort to look at my calendar and go up to see him once a month in recent years. Thinking of how I still miss my dad, and so often wanting to call and ask for advice or see him, talk about daily happenings.  Knowing with Mr. Homer, that  a man of nearly 93 will not be around forever, for me to see on a whim.

I drove up to Decatur on Friday afternoon, to spend the night, and get up early on Sat. to make the run up I-85 to South Carolina. I veered off the highway at the state line, to loop back to the GA. Welcome Center and request info. they might have on the Georgia Guidestones. The well-informed, friendly state employees there gave me a slick little hand-out, and all the personal knowledge they had, which was nearly nothing.

The more I don't know, the more I am curious, and the greater the 'bizarre' factor is about this construction. Made of Georgia granite, quarried in nearby Elbert County, designed to last a gazillion years, are engraved with writings in a number of different languages, offering wisdom for the ages. The archaic languages engraved on the fours huge stones, facing in the four compass directions, include Sanskrit, Classical Hebrew and Mandarin Chinese.The stones are set up on a hill, near the GA/SC border, out in the middle of a pasture, looking like a modern-day Stonehenge... equally mysterious about origin. My little flyer reports that those wishing more info. should contact the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce, www.elbertga.com.

Then went on to SC to arrive in Greenville about ten a.m. I always stop at a grocery store and buy a breakfast pastry to share. So we ate when I got there, and then immediately started talking about lunch. Went to a little café and had vegetables and rode around town a bit. Then we went to the visit his cronies, and cheerful group of geezers at the American Legion.

Left Greenville about 3:00 to go south and see one of my most favorite cousins. Looked at the latest, cutest photos of sweet, funny grandchildren and had a nice visit, then I got back on the road to get to Decatur before I fell asleep. Due to having slept poorly the night before, I felt compelled to consume some caffeine, hoping to not find myself 'under the influence of drowsy' while driving. Safely back into the city.

fifth subbing job in two weeks...

Friday, January 29, 2016
...had me in a major quandary before I decided this morning. I'd looked last night, wanting to see what was out there, and could not make up my mind about which one was the lesser of the evils. Sad that the process is mostly deciding which one would make the least miserable. And really sad to think that those people who choose to do it for a living could easily feel the same way...what a frustrating experience it must be for someone who feels trapped, and has to do it day after day after day, etc.

Today was in a small neighborhood school on the south side of town. With a teacher I have worked with several times in the past. If memory serves, she spent years working as a para-pro., going to classes at night over years and years to get a degree. Then finally got the position she had been eyeing, with many years of classroom experience under her belt, before she was actually being paid a decent salary. 

She had a couple of problem kids, but nothing she could not handle. The most outstanding one was a kid with a beautiful smile, but practically non-verbal. He apparently goes into a therapeutic situation for several hours early in the day, then into the classroom before lunch. Not so much disruptive, as just unaware, blissfully oblivious, and unable to communicate. What in the world will become of a child like that? He will continue to mature physically, but likely remain in that same state mentally? What in the world will happen when he is physically an adult?

I debated last night when I was perusing the options about a job at a high school. I've already decided it's not in my best interest to take teaching jobs in elementary or middle schools. Not worth the stress and frustration of wrangling stampeding cattle all day. But this school is the highest rated in the county and has a rep. for being so tough, the students don't have time to act up. I'd have been the teacher, in the classroom with two dozen teenagers; paid considerably more than my little para-pro job. As a Latin teacher. Pretty funny, huh?

this sweet little third grade...

guy who signed up for homework help is the person I was working with on Thursday afternoon when I went out to the biiiigggg Baptist church at Ellerslie in Harris County. He was really late, to the point of me thinking: 'hmmm... how many minutes were we required to give the professor before we could  just sign our names on a sheet of paper and leave?' My little guy, AJ, was even later than that. So much that I was dangerously close to taking a nap when he finally arrived.

He had a sheet of math problems to do. If you know me, you will know that any level of math problem is going to be problematic: totally math impaired. But hopefully able to handle the sort of homework assigned to a 9 year old. I did  not embarrass myself yet, as all he was doing was practicing his 3's. With a variety of addition and subtraction facts thrown in and jumbled up on the same page- you really have to pay attention to know whether you are combining or deconstructing.

He came in really late, and had a lot of stuff to do - reviewing for tests that apparently occur each Friday, plus a double fist-full of worksheets his teacher found in his desk that he was trying to avoid.
So we did a couple of the things that he was hoping would disappear into the black hole, and had to quit on the catch up stuff, to start on what was really assigned for him to be ready for the Friday testing. Little guy did not know is spelling words, probably got 6 out of 16 right, so he had to write the missed ones twice for practice. I don't expect he did very well when they were having them called out by the teacher today.