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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Day 3: Licenses

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Day 3: Licensing, Certification

Yes, it took a large part of today.

I found out on Saturday that I passed my re-licensing process! Now, I get to pay the state more money to change my license to a higher level. Glad I can finally count clock-hours, rather than watch them drift by.

But I also have a license in another state, and that one is generally stronger. If my family ever has to move, I want this other license to stay active so that my third license will (hopefully) be of a higher level than the one I just finished for my current state.

Today, I spent chasing down clock-hours for the old state, verifying completion of the re-licensing process for my current state, calling agencies to check on whether license-stuff overlaps between the two states (it mostly doesn’t, but might if the other state says “yes” first… argh), and filling out forms for the renewals. Oh, and writing checks to the clock-hour verification system and both states.

I also registered for field-testing the new National Boards subject tests. But the website wouldn’t let me register for test dates in a coupla weeks. More phone calls tomorrow!

Day 2: In-District Training

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180 blog, Day 2

As part of my 180 days of regeneration, I’d applied to be a substitute teacher in the local school district. Today after laundry and exercise, I went to the in-district training for all new staff members. There was the typical business-setting anti-harassment training, blood-borne pathogen info, district policies, and an additional quick session to learn how to navigate the online sub system. Plus the fun of fingerprinting, with my super dry skin and extra-washed-chemistry-teacher-hands (FYI, corn oil totally wins). I tried to use Evernote to practice taking online notes, but am still having a hard time with my phone out at all, as I’m so used to putting devices away while others are talking.

When I came home, I sat and thought. And thought. And realized that I was jealous. I’ve taught nine years, and I remember feeling this way the year I taught at OMSI. I’m watching all of these teachers on Twitter talking about their new curricula, setting up rooms, getting student lists… and I wish I were doing it too.

I’m now thinking about subbing, and wondering just how you do it. I had good subs and bad subs while classroom teaching. Mostly, the good ones followed my instructions, and the bad ones didn’t. I even had a sub perform a density lab (against my instructions) with my freshmen, and told them that more-dense objects would float because more. Damage control took a while. The good subs also respected my kids (and they respected the sub), and the bad ones didn’t. When my amazing class of 17 kids (as well as the other classes) said a particular sub yelled at them, I made sure to report that person.

It feels weird to not have a classroom of my own for the next year. I won’t get to decide things for myself, and just have to fit into someone else’s structure. And now I have to think about creating a class culture in just a few minutes each period, while respecting the extant atmosphere. And I have to do lots of subjects that I haven’t taught (or learned?) in years, and do it competently. And I have to not step on toes, but be distinct enough so that it can serve as good advertising for myself for the next school year. And I have to carry out lessons the way the teacher intended, hoping my interpretation coincides. And how will kids respond to me and my new-for-the-day rules? Will I be able to keep a classroom in check and engaged in the stuff they’re supposed to be doing? How many names will I botch? Will I pick up on the kids trying to get around me? Will I do a poor job??

So, I’m nervous. But still looking forward to this year.

Day 1: 180 Days of Regeneration — Evernote

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I’ve decided to call this section 180 Days of Regeneration. The 180 part is from the multitude of teaching blogs, reflecting on daily school-day experiences. The regeneration part is what I’m doing this year. My 180 days probably won’t be entirely consecutive, nor entirely reflective, but I at least want to chronicle one hundred and eighty days of new growth in teaching, in skills, and in myself.

So with that lofty goal, here goes.

Day 1.

On The List of Things to Do (that needs a better title, for sure), is figuring out Evernote. As far as I can tell, Evernote is supposed to make all of my Post-It notes and notebooks and scraps of things and merge them into a digital format, along with anything digital that I care to add.


I was watching a digital how-to guide, and practicing with my own stuff. Simple things so far:

Evernote and fig jam

Evernote and fig jam

But I definitely get how powerful it is to stuff everything in one location. I love my Delicious site but it’s sometimes frustrating to not be able to notate things on the page itself or particular minutes in videos, not to mention needing to remember other notes and links that I want associated with those particular links.

As much as I use technology, my first instinct is still to grab pen and paper when I’m about to take notes. This is going to be a steep learning curve for me.

Now I need to figure out things to do with it. I’ve set up pages for digital resources (mostly for blog ideas and resources; I’ll leave Delicious for student-oriented links). My husband shared a notebook with me for home-ish-planning purposes. I need to see what I can do with this for my own school-ish purposes…

Fall Plans

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I love reading about other peoples’ successes.

Sounds kinda weird, but I loved reading about the newest research, and not doing the research while in grad school for chemistry. I’m interested in the reflective-nature of 180 teaching blogs (named for the 180 days in a school year). I love reading about #TMC14 and all of the cool talks and techniques the math Tweeps got to try (as well as dinners and shenanigans).

So here’s my personal proposal for next year (a kind of new year’s resolution, I guess). I’m taking next year off from full-time teaching. However, I’ve signed up to substitute-teach in the local district. I’ll test out the waters here (and they can test me out), and I’ll have my foot in the door of a public district. When I’m not subbing (by coincidence or by choice), I’ll be working on one of a list of things I want to do for my professional life. AND, I intend on doing a 180-type-blog about what’s going on in my head. And because I need to hold myself accountable, I’m posting my intentions here.

Here’s a list of stuff I want to do:

  • SBG — re-write/organize chemistry curriculum
  • SBG — re-write/organize AP chem curriculum
  • SBG — re-write/organize general science curriculum
  • Learn/improve tech knowledge
    • Weebly
    • Canvas
    • gradebook/spreadsheet something for SBG
    • Google for teachers
    • Dropbox
    • Evernote
    • Doctopus
    • video/YouTube/Vine
    • Pear Deck
    • more?
  • More Doing Science With Your Kids
    • more entries
    • research/papers to support
    • start major promotion of site
  • Buff up resume
  • exercise, for the first time in ***years, when I took martial arts.
    • C25K
    • keep going