I exercised and did homework by day; in the evening, I went to my “slam dunk” class.

Now truthfully, when the testing starts next week, it won’t be so slam dunk.  There is a lot of information to memorize and internalize.  For now though, the in-class work and discussions are very easy because I’m covering material that I am intimately familiar with.  The class will get more difficult as we progress.

Hey, one week down and I’m already 1/6th of the way through these two classes – hurray!  Of course, I have at least 5 – 6 more six week modules to go (minimum, @ 4 nights a week), and student teaching, and a whole lot of major requirements to accomplish before I graduate, but for now, I’ll celebrate the small stuff rather than dwell on the big picture.  A nibble at a time works best.

Wow, big kitchen

I started doing homework for the first time in more than a decade this morning.  It felt weird.  I pretty much did the minimum required because based on the initial class, it appeared that we would be revisiting everything in group discussions.  I was right – we did.  Still, the teacher told us that we will soon have a test on the information we covered in class and on the material we read for homework.  In the interest of getting a good grade, perhaps I should re-read the articles and actually dig into the classroom requirements/standards for health.  Those standards are several pages long.  The test will be sometime next week.

In the afternoon today, I walked to my wife’s classroom so we could then drive together to Mission College.  For some reason, I thought that her school was only half a mile away.  It is 0.8 of a mile.  A subtle difference I know, but I had only given myself 10 minutes to get there (I walk a 21 minute mile typically).  I had to walk pretty fast just to get there only a little late.  My legs didn’t work anymore by the time I got there.

We drove to Mission with another teacher, and we took a brief tour of the place.  While there, I also talked to my professor again and filled-out paperwork so I could get paid for my lecture.  The new buildings on campus are stunning, especially the Hospitality Management wing.  Their large teaching kitchen had me drooling.  I want to take a class there!  When I got home and told my son about the room, he said the same thing.  Heck, he’s willing to take a class now, even before getting out of High School!

I’m totally getting an A in this class!

Today’s class was even more packed, if that can be possible.  We had 29 in a class that comfortably seats 20 (same room as yesterday).  We had three Brians in the room (yesterday’s class too).  Unlike yesterday’s class though, most of the students were going for a Multiple Subject Credential (K-6 grades).

There were still a few of us going for higher grade levels (grades 8-12), and we all seemed to sit at two tables.  I sat at a table with some really smart folks (3 Masters, 1 PhD).  The other 8-12 grade table had at least two Masters level people as well.  Wow, smart group.  I also found out that one of the Brians has headed the advice from our mutual adviser, John, and has picked up a second credential: he is going for both Social Studies and English.  I probably need to do the same, especially since the trend seems to be moving more towards integrating English and History.  Art, Computers, Technology and Business are other possibilities for additional single subject credentials.

Our teacher for this class on “inclusion” was a retired Vice Principal who fell in love with teaching teachers at NHU.  The class started slow, but once she started lecturing, it was like jumping to light speed.  Everyone was taking notes furiously and most had these shocked faces – too much information too fast!  Being married to a teacher and all (and having a kid with a modified education plan), I already knew much of the information that was presented.  I’m so totally going to get an A in this class! (no curve in this class BTW, strictly based on achievement)

Oh ya, the highway route took only 15 minutes – half the time of yesterday’s route.  I guess I should take the highway.  The thing is, today seemed awfully light.  Often, it’s stop-and-go this time of day.  I think the highway is going to be vastly unpredictable.  I’ll take the highway, but I should also know how to get to school from any off-ramp.

Big Day: the classes begin

Over the weekend, I presented my long version Northern Renaissance Symbols class at church.  It was very successful.  I already have people requesting that I teach it again.

Today, I (humbly feel) that I totally nailed my Mission College short version of the same material.  True, I did deliver it in my usual frenetic style so as to keep it within the 20-30 minute time frame (25 minutes!), but I felt that it was easy enough to understand, and yet still “meaty.”  My college professor may have a different opinion.  I’ll see her on Wednesday and ask for her critique.  So far, it still looks like I’m on for guest lecturing in another class in November, so I must not have done all that poorly.

When I got home, I sort of collapsed after my “high” from teaching.  I did some reading and watched a little TV.  Before you knew it, it was time for my first class at NHU.  Ugh, the start of a year (or more) of four nights a week in the classroom.  This is going to be a major adjustment in my life.

I tried to drive the non-highway route to school and I took a wrong turn.  It still worked out OK, so now I have a third route I can take.  This third route took 30 minutes.  I’ll try the other two routes this week and see how they time out.

We had a substitute our first day, but what a substitute!  Our sub was the head of the student teacher program at NHU.  It was really good to meet her.  We really seemed to hit it off.  She now knows that I have a Masters and that I actually seek a position at a Community College.  I also found out that her son is taking an Art History class at SJSU and is struggling.  I may become a tutor for him.

She also knows that I applied to NHU.  I got the impression from her that because I lack a PhD, I will not be considered for the position (which now shows as closed on the job website – Oh ya, I also applied to be a substitute teacher today).  NHU is trying to become a 100% PhD school to gain credibility.

The class, by the way, was absolutely packed.  The teaching credential program is definitely the most popular thing on campus.  It was also a very ethnically diverse class, so I felt right at home.  Out of the 24 in the class, 7 (including me) are going for a credential in HS Social Studies – slightly more than one quarter of the class!  This got me a little depressed – there might be only one job in any given year in the Bay Area for a history teacher, and I am one of seven in this single class (not to mention all the other classes in all the other colleges) who will be vying for that single position when we graduate.  My adviser John was absolutely correct when he said: “Try for something else, everyone wants to be a Social Studies teacher.”  His graduating class had three; it looks like mine will have seven (and John is going for his PhD right now in part because he couldn’t get a job).  For the next year or so, I’ll try my best to treat my history classmates as friends and colleagues.  At SJSU, everything was graded on a curve and I wanted the “A” so I got a little competitive.  I’m not sure if NHU grades on a curve, but even if it does, teaching is about collaboration, not competition.

Space Shuttle

The CLC video projector was only slightly better.  I could use it in a pinch, but it wasn’t entirely focused, and I wanted absolute clarity for the minute details in this art presentation.  I had Connie help me get the camera in focus (she near the screen, and me 40 feet away at the projector), but it wouldn’t focus.  I suspect it’s a resolution thing.  As with the projectors in the sanctuary, the resolution is way too small, and the distance is far too great.  The result is visible square pixels.  I needed better, so I was about to drag out the portable projector when Connie told me that there was a newer, better one that had just been purchased.  I tried that one, since I knew that the old one was not so bright, and the resolution was only slightly better.  The new one was awesome!  It had HD resolution.  I am now looking forward to my presentation.

Next stop was to find a hillside so I could watch the Space Shuttle (mounted on a 747) fly by.  It was on its way to its final destination in LA.  When I got to the hill, I was not alone; others had had the same thought.  I stood next to an old Navy guy and his wife.  He had binoculars and was on constant vigil to try to find the plane in the smoggy, overcast sky.  I had something better: my iPhone.  I hooked up with NASA’s twitter on the flight and (much like with bicycle racing) “fans” told of its location as it was going along.  I also got on a webcam of Moffett Field (with audio!) and saw thousands of people lining the runway.  Between the two, I had no doubt as to where the Shuttle was.

The Shuttle did three loops around the Golden Gate Bridge for photo ops, then around Coit Tower, and then it headed south to us.  The plane was hard to see, since it was white, and the fog/smog was also white.  Alas, my camera decided to run out of batteries, so I could get no shots, and the plane was too far away for my iPhone, so I simply watched it fly by.  Apparently, it was supposed to make a loop around NASA Ames, but it did not.  It also didn’t fly down the runway, but behind the three massive hangers.  Those who were at Moffett Field were somewhat disappointed by this.  There was also a collective cry of despair on the video feed as the announcer told the people to drive safely on their way home (in other words, the Shuttle was not doing its loop).  And just like that, the event was over.  All of us on our hill got in our cars and headed off.

Since today was my “day of rest,” I decided to watch a movie rather than do any computer work.  By the end of the movie, the kids were home from school.  I had promised Connie earlier in the day that we would help her husband set up for a craft fair so my son and I headed back to church to help set up.

A plan

I had this great idea this morning: Why not give my presentation at church this Sunday?  It is a Christian subject, and it will serve as practice for Monday.  I set the plan in motion, got the room scheduled and promoted it.  Problem is, when I got to church (band practice night) to check out the video projectors, they were simply terrible!  Really, I don’t know how we’re able to use them now; I certainly can’t use them on Sunday.  I need an alternative solution.  Tomorrow, I’ll try the video projector in the CLC (the big gym) to see if that’s any better.  If it’s not, then I’ll use the church’s portable one.  It’s not that bright, but I know it works.


Good thing I went to Mission College today.  The slides looked fine, but what was immensely helpful was going through the slides with my teacher.  She gave me pointers about what was too much information and what needed more explanation.  We also discovered that my presentation was way too long.  This is not unusual for me, but it was a concern for my teacher.  As per usual, she’s running late on her class presentations, so she cut me down from 30-45 to 20-30.  We decided to limit the entire presentation to before the Reformation… which cut out about 15-20 minutes of my lecture.  Even so, I bet that with questions, I’ll be in the 30 minute range.

This evening was back to school night at the High School.  I would follow my son’s track, and my wife would follow my daughter’s.  Wherever there was PE class or a teacher we’ve seen before, we would jump to the other person’s schedule.  I saw two of Courtney’s teachers (and four of Jeffrey’s), and Barb saw one of Jeffrey’s (and five of Courtney’s) as a result.  Jeffrey has a good mix of teachers for his senior year; I was really impressed with all the teachers.  When we got home, the first thing the kids asked was how we viewed each teacher.  Jeffrey had a differing opinion about one of the teachers (my favorite of the group!), stating that what he said is not what he actually does, but aside from that, we pretty much agreed.

A push on the presentation

I did nothing but work on my presentation today until I was well past the point of exhaustion.  The result is that I have a 70 slide presentation that I could teach from tomorrow if need be.  I’ll go to Mission College tomorrow to see how the slides look in the room.

The start of the Northern Ren lecture

I actually started my presentation today, though I started late; I had about two hours of (paying) chip work to do first.  As per usual, until I’m right up at the deadline, I really have no motivation to get this thing done.  Yes, I’m definitely prone to procrastination, but I also perform better under pressure and right now, the pressure is off.  Instead of blazing through the presentation, I spent the afternoon watching video lectures on Northern Renaissance, looking for additional ideas and insights.  Alas, the lecturer was both boring and also didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.  I guess I’ll make due with what I’ve amassed so far.

Distorted “truth” irks me

I guess I should do more in the way of preparation, but instead, I spent much of my morning searching for the historical accuracy of a popular presenter.  The guy comes off as a genuine historian, but he’s actually more like a cult leader.