Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Where Does the Time Go?!

A weekday in the life of me:
Rise and shine, shower and dress, prepare for the day

Coax the little one out of bed, make sure she dresses, ply her with apple juice, a granola bar and a cheese stick.

Out the door, on the way to her school and then my work
Work! I could give you the details of my day as a middle school educator, but then you, too, would be utterly and completely exhausted.

Gas up the car, hit the bank, pick up groceries (thank you for online grocery shopping!)

Pickup the kid from the bus stop, head home, start laundry, read and play with child, cook supper

Eat supper, clean kitchen, run bath for kid

Check Facebook, email, play letters in Words with Friends games

Help kid with homework (yes, kindergartners have homework!), read with kid, say prayers and sing

Watch the last 15 minutes of Big Bang Theory rerun, pack lunches for the next day, finish cleaning kitchen, fold laundry, call mom, think about all the great blog ideas that I have

Watch Glee! or Law and Order SVU or read one of the twenty books that are stacked next to the bed

Get ready for bed, check on child, speak to husband, kiss him goodnight

It's 10:30 p.m., and I'm wondering where my day went. How can I manage to make it through a 24 hour period and feel like there is so much more to do, need to do, want to do?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why One Good Teacher Quit Teaching or Is Money Really the Issue

No, dear readers. I have not resigned from my teaching position. But one good teacher in Florida decided to quit teaching at the end of the 2011-12 school year. You can read and watch about Linda DeRegnaucourt and her decision to end her 13 year teaching career on the CNN website.
DeRagnaucourt says she's quitting teaching because of the low pay and the way teachers are treated:

...I came to the realization that the money I make isn't enough. It isn't enough to live alone. As educators we make what we make, nothing more, nothing less. In industry, if I'm valuable, the company can keep me by making the package they offer me more attractive. In education, the principal's hands are tied.

There has been a lot of debate lately over merit pay and pay for performance, ways to increase salaries for those that "perform", mostly based on test scores. There are some valid points on both sides of the debate.

But ultimately for me, it comes down to whether teachers are making a livable income, especially single teachers.

I had a conversation with a colleague, a teacher in her early thirties, who is delaying seeking medical treatment for her health issues due to the cost: it was two weeks until pay day and she did not have the money for the co-pay. Yet, this same teacher spent a weekend at an amusement park a few weeks earlier. I'll bet the co-pay and the admission to the park are equal amounts of money.

I'm not saying folks should deprive themselves, but even DeRegnaucourt talks about putting herself on a budget. If one's basic living expense aren't being met, then we have a problem. But the next question has to be, are we living beyond our means?

And DeRegnaucourt says she'll make $20,000 more a year moving from the teaching profession into the nursing field. She'll also be working two more months, right? How come no one every mentions that we are not comparing apples to apples? Even I can do that math:

If the average teacher in XYZ state makes $40,000 per year as a teacher and the average nurse in XYZ state makes $60,000 per year , then the teacher makes $4000 per month and the nurse makes $5000 per month. While that's still $1000 a month more, the nurse also gets paid 12 times a year instead of 10 times! Ultimately that's only a $10,000 yearly salary difference when you compare apples to apples and not to oranges.

I'm wondering if the move from education to nursing has been worth it for her.  Hoping to find a follow-up story.

100 Books in 2012: Junie B., First Grader

Book 31: Junie B., First Grader: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff) by Barbara Park

Over the past week, I have read this book aloud to my daughter, a chapter or two each night, and we have laughed our way through Junie B.'s ridiculous shenanigans, mispronunciations, and just all around silliness as her class comes up with their Thankful List:  not what the teacher expected, but an honest first grader attempt at truly being thankful for stuff.

At her school's book fair, we chose this book to purchase and donate to her school library.  Once it was processed and cataloged, she got to be the first student to check it out.  That was certainly a thrill for her! And she enjoyed my reading it with her each night.  On to the next one!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Running Red Lights

We used to have a number of red light cameras in our city, those cameras that would take a picture of your automobile when the light turned red and then another picture as you crossed through the intersection while the light was still red.  Many of those have been removed now.  Perhaps they weren't cost effective, or maybe they didn't provide the best photographs of offenders' license plates, or maybe they were just downright a pain to support.

Either way, I can tell you an intersection that could use a red light camera or better yet a full-time traffic cop monitoring the roads: the intersection nearest my daughter's school.

No less than at least three out of five days a week, either in the morning or the afternoon, somebody blows through the red light at that intersection.  We've witnessed private school transportation vehicles zooming right on through the red light.  We've seen school buses fail to stop.  We've been frightened for at least two high school students who cross at that intersection to get to their bus stop near my daughter's school.  We've seen cars turn left on red because they refuse to wait for the light to change.

It's a dangerous intersection.  I'm thinking about contacting the city.  Wonder if it'll do any good?

100 Books in 2012: Creating Your Library Brand

Book 30:  Creating Your Library Brand: Communicating Your Relevance and Value to Your Patrons by Elisabeth Doucett

I checked out this professional book from our district office, hoping to get a few more ideas about building my influence and program recognition with my students, staff, and parents.  While this book is geared more toward public library, there are some take-aways for school libraries.

The idea that you have a brand logo that identifies your program makes sense.  Since most schools already have a mascot, I could see modifying that mascot to include a book, laptop/device, something that tags it as a more information and technology icon. 

I like the push that libraries need to create a presence in which people think of them first, as a preferred provider of information.  Schools can take some of the ideas here and tweak them to work for our communities and stakeholders.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Carving Out Time to Write

NaNoWriMo starts on Thursday.  That's the National Novel Writing Month, held in November, when folks try to write a novel, approximately 50,000 words, in one month.  I've attempted it 2, maybe 3 times, but I don't think I've never gotten passed about 6,000 words.

Last April I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, which I managed to keep up with within a day or two of the actual alphabet letter and day postings.  I focused on my bucket list, and I enjoyed writing about my possible excursions, endeavors and life dreams.

I've attempted to read 100 Books in 2012 and 2011 and 2010 with a group of mommy friends, but I've fallen short there, getting only half way there one year, and barely keeping up with my blogging and posting in Goodreads.

Once again I'm hoping to start some sort of writing schedule.  I was overcome with topics just the other day, pulling out my notebook and jotting down the ideas, while driving on a fairly busy highway no less.  Probably not the best time to write, but I had to get those ideas on paper.

I've been trying to figure out what's not right with my psyche for the past few years, and I've decided that it's because I'm not journaling, blogging, writing on a regular basis.

So here's to November and carving out some time to get back to writing!