Oh, that’s why it’s so similar

My weekend didn’t start off too well – it sort of struck me as odd that TPA#3 would be so similar to TPA#2.  At least for the first quarter of the write-up, which I had done on Thursday, they were identical.  I even asked my teacher if it was considered bad form to copy much of the information from TPA#2 to TPA#3.  I decided to go to the official California teacher website and look at an original TPA#3 form.  Good thing I did!  It turned out that I had copied the TPA#2 from the website and had labeled it TPA#3.  I copied TPA#3 and began the laborious transfer of data from my “fake” TPA#3 form to the real TPA#3 form.  It took all morning.  Fortunately, I was able to use about 80% of what I had done.  If I had gone any further on Thursday, it would have been bad news because only the first section had any meaningful crossover.  Good thing I had subb’d on Friday!

Right around lunch, I spent some time with my (sick) wife showing her how to work the new technology I had purchased and the Netflix account.  Later, I discovered that a new Social Studies position had opened up in Mt. View, so I applied.  My wife and I went to a nice Chinese dinner before picking up the kids at their all day youth event.  When the kids got home, I showed them how to work the new Netflix account.  And that was pretty much my Saturday.

Sunday, it was just me and the kids at church.  My wife was still sick and unable to talk.  Our new pastor absolutely hit it out of the park – great sermon and great Bible Study!  After church was over, I worked on the “real” TPA#3 until around six, then played tennis with my son and then we went grocery shopping.  My daughter has started watching Being Human from episode #1 (me too!).  I recently turned her on to the show and she loved it.  My son has started watching Walking Dead and Breaking Bad – two friend recommendations for TV series.  I haven’t had a chance to watch more than one episode of Breaking Bad with him.  Maybe when I’m done typing, I’ll be able to.  I have also reserved Battlestar Galactica and the original Star Trek for my son because I think he will enjoy those series.

Another week of TPAs

So, a recap of this week – TPAs a lot of the time.  I was able to get TPA#4 turned in on Tuesday night, though I don’t know how good the reflection and summation at the end was because I never went back to review or edit it.  I just typed furiously right up until it was time to go to class, and then I turned it in.  Hopefully, the other 30 pages that I did edit will be plenty strong for any weaknesses that the last two pages may hold.

On Wednesday, I took a break and did some house chores.  I also got some new tech gadgets, so I set them all up.  I got an iPad3, a Bluetooth keyboard and an Apple TV module.  And because I got these items, and plan to use them when I teach, I also signed-up with Netflix.  This was a recommendation of various teacher websites.  Now, I can stream appropriate documentaries in the classroom… and I can also watch movies and TV shows at home.  The latter part of my Wednesday was spent going through the Netflix libraries to see what I wanted to watch when I was free.  I found about a dozen movies and about a dozen TV series that I had never watched, or didn’t watch from the beginning.  When my family got home, they too found things they wanted to watch.

On Thursday, I spent all day working on TPA#3, my last TPA assignment.  Friday was supposed to be another TPA day but my wife was sick, so I subbed in her classroom.  It actually turned out to be the best sub day ever.  It was the last day of STAR testing.  I am not qualified to administer STAR testing, so my job was to be a “runner” who would go to various classrooms and give teachers a five minute break, or take kids to the bathroom.  I spent a lot of time just sitting in the quad with a radio by my side, talking to the school’s favorite substitute (husband of the secretary), who is quickly becoming a good friend of mine.  Later, I had to babysit seventh graders who were done with their testing, while the eighth graders finished their test.  We watched a movie and a couple episodes of Ned’s Declassified.  After lunch, when STAR testing was over for everyone, the whole school went out to the fields and played basketball, flag football (students against teachers) and Frisbee.  I played Frisbee with about a dozen others.

After school, I had to pick up my son to take him to the Air Force recruiter to fill out paperwork.  Next week, my son goes for his all day physical.  If he gets sworn in at the end of the physical, then there’s a pretty reasonable expectation that he will get in to the Air Force.

Later that evening, we had lifegroup at my house (a Bible Study).  Right now, we’re going through the first 300 years of the church.

What a week for the U.S.

Still not back to daily blogging, but my TPA work is going stellar — I’m spending my waking hours typing up my TPA.  In just one week, I have almost completed TPA #4.  I should be able to turn it in tomorrow.  I’ll then have one TPA to go!

I just found out that another job in the district will soon open — an Art job at the Middle School.  I am definitely qualified to teach this class… and yet I’m not because I lack a CSET in Art, which is required by the district even if you have a degree in Art… like a Master’s Degree.  I’m taking the Art CSET two weeks from now.  I’ll know if I passed it in early June.  I hope the job is still available by then, though I sort of doubt it.

If I should happen to teach Art, it could lead me to an eventual teaching position in Art History at a college – my ultimate goal.  If I wind up teaching Social Studies (also very desirable), I would likely stay in the Middle School or High School for the rest of my career, as there is no clear path to teaching Art History at the college level.  I’m quite alright with that too.  If I wind up in Social Studies, I might even eventually go for an administration job where I could then guide teachers.  First I have to learn how to teach however.  I need practical experience that only teaching can give.

Wow, tough week for the U.S. this week.  Last week started off with the Boston Bombing.  The next day, there was a manure plant explosion that wiped-out a small town.  Any other week, and the blast in West, TX would have been big news.  By Thursday, one of the bombing suspects was dead and another one captured.  …And the stock market is beginning to take a nosedive.  We’re way overdue for one.

I hope this week is better.

The “new thing” coming into focus?

OK, so I haven’t gotten back to the daily writing routine as I should.  I’ve been busy doing homework and those TPAs.  On the homework front, I think I’m doing “too good” a job.  My teacher is asking me to rewrite one of my assignments because it is too long and too detailed, but also not in the format he’s seeking.  OK then… I’ll do less rigorous work and I’ll stick to the format.  I have this teacher for my next (and last) two modules, so I’d better learn what he expects so I don’t fail any of his courses.  I would hate for my failure of this current one unit class I’m taking to be the reason why I didn’t get a teaching credential on time!  I need to get the credential on time because I suspect I’ll be employed for next school year.

This week, I just submitted an application for a job that I am qualified for… except for the credential.  The job seems to suit me just fine.  I’m pretty excited about it – it’s in my wife’s district, and the school is close, so no major commute.  Well today, I got even better news!  Two more jobs just opened up today at the local High School (where my kids attend) and Middle School (where my wife works and where I just finished my student teaching assignment).  I just applied to them as well.  Alas, I found out later in the day that due to some regulation, the district must post the jobs, even though those jobs have already been filled.  I’m hoping that the first job I applied to is also not already filled, and that the district was merely fulfilling a regulation   I can only hope I get an interview at that first place.

Back to the blog

Yeah, student teaching is over.  I say “yeah” because it means an end to the crazy schedule I have been maintaining over the last 12 weeks.  I do miss my kids though.  Fortunately, this week has been non-stop substituting at the middle school.  I still see my kids daily.  Today is Friday and a minimum day, so I don’t expect any calls.  This means that for the first time in 13 weeks, I don’t have a structured schedule.

I will need to do a few things during this lull.  I definitely need to finish my California State required “TPAs” — those documents where I detail what I did during my student teaching experience and express what I have learned, in four – 30 page essays.  One essay has been turned in already, a second one is 80% done and two more are untouched.  Since each takes about 40 hours to write, I have something like 90 – 100 hours to go.

Another thing I will need to do is get my financial routine back in place (I missed a credit card payment!) and my Bible routine back in place (read and pray!), and my health routine back in place (walking, biking, playing tennis, eating right), and fix my car (the Porsche is slowly dying due to lack of use).  I think I also have a smog check and a blood check and a dentist visit this month.  My friends have also been asking to see me, so I need to schedule some lunch dates next week.

Hmmm, sounds like my lull will be busy; the hardest part will be setting a pace and being consistent in my work, all while taking the occasional substitute job… and looking for a job.  I tend to do better when I have a deadline, so I guess I’ll need to set some deadlines and achieve some goals.  My first deadline will be to have my weekly school work done (yes, I still have homework and a night class) and TPA#2 done by the end of this weekend.

I’ll also start blogging on  a daily basis again.