Goal Achieved!

OK, it’s official! I’ve signed the documents: so at least for one school year, I’m an official temporary contract employee! As of 11/17, I also get paid like a teacher, and I get benefits. If the other teacher doesn’t come back next year, I get to stay in this classroom for life. Even if she does come back, I’m in pretty good shape to land a job somewhere in the High School. Life is good!

… and thus endith this blog – goal achieved!

A positive direction

Hi all,

You may have noticed that I haven’t written for months.  This is because, frankly, I haven’t had the time.  I’ve been putting in 13 – 16 hours a day, every day including weekends, since this semester began to create lesson plans for three different classes.  As the weeks went on (creating curriculum one week at a time), I began to get more efficient in my lesson planning.  I now work only 12-13 hour days and I even, “gasp,” had a day off last week.  I am now cruising along with this teaching thing, but I’m still working every day and not for much money.

This may change soon.

The teacher I’m subbing for has just announced that she will take another semester off. It looks like I will soon get a temporary teaching contract, which has been my goal since taking this position. Nothing is real though until I sign the contract, so I’ll reserve my enthusiasm until then.

Of course, my second thought was: “great, now I have to spend another semester working 13-16 hours a day,” but that’s the price of becoming a new teacher, and I’ll take that over not working.

Exhausted… and now sick

I spent all last week just trying to keep up with my presentations. It was a challenge, and I put in at least 13 hours a day every day last week. The thing is, up until Saturday, I didn’t really present much in the realm of Social Studies, and much of what I did present was common to all classes. As of now, I’m doing three separate curricula EVERY DAY. It’s like taking a full load in college. Over the weekend, I also caught a cold, so now I’m exhausted and sick. I just can’t keep this pace up – I need help. I’m going to have to greatly reduce my own expectations or I’m going to have to get more support from other teachers, and probably both. Over the weekend, I was able to block out my entire week for all three classes, but I only have prepared powerpoints for two days. Since I’m sick, I decided to lean on videos to do some of the teaching. Fortunately, Barb and I were able to make copies of all the printed material for the week (two reams!) over the weekend.

Today went well… mostly. My first two periods have some students who are beginning to cause me trouble. I almost wrote one person up today, and that’s a rare occurrence for me. After second period though, the classes were great, and I was able to find materials for two of my three classes in a hidden space during lunch. Yeah! During my prep, I created most of a lesson for one of my classes, so at least for that class, I’m close to being ready for Wednesday. The other two classes are good ‘til Tuesday, and so Tuesday night is going to be busy.

First Day of School

I spent my Saturday doing Kyrgyzstan training and curriculum for half the day; the other half was creating curriculum for three Social Studies classes (World History, U.S. History & American Government). This week, much of the teaching is common to all three classes because it’s all about rules and procedures.

On Sunday, I cleaned up the rest of the “construction” in my room and set up the technology and tested it. While I was there, one of the vice principals stopped in with a table for me. She was surprised that I was there, but I’ve pretty much lived in this classroom for the better part of a week now. When I got home, I made a “quick” powerpoint for tomorrow’s class. This powerpoint took me three hours to do, so it was near bedtime when I finished. Again, I was completely exhausted. I’m going to have to do less if I’m going to survive this teaching thing. Based on last years’ experience, I can – after a month or so, I’ll be in a routine that works.

Today was the first day of school. It went well enough, but I have maybe three classes that could give me trouble, and two classes that probably won’t. In almost every class I had some former student of some type. It was good to see them all again. All day, I kept running into freshmen from my wife’s school who were excited to see me on campus. All in all, it was a good day. I only got through half of my powerpoint today, which means I can coast a little this evening. I’ll simply show the second half tomorrow. My voice is also almost completely gone. I talked too much and I’m not used to that. I’ll have to talk less tomorrow.


I’d like to say that after three days my room is ready to go, but it is not. There have been so many mandatory meetings this week that I’ve been given little time to do anything in the classroom. For the last few days, I’ve been working 13ish hour days simply to get my classroom in some sort of shape (so much to clean!). I do not, as of yet, have any curriculum built up so that’s something I’ll have to do on the weekend.

Good news – the locked cabinet in my room has been opened. All the technology I was missing was in there too, so now I have a laptop, LCD projector and a walkie-talkie. I’m set (once I hook it all up)! Again, this will have to be done on the weekend. I’m exhausted right now.

New Teacher Training

I was sort of hoping that my “New Thing” blog was almost over, but alas, no. On Monday and Tuesday, I attended new teacher training, which I was happy to do. It had a lot of good information (and I love to learn). Today, we had the “welcome back teachers” rally in the large gym. It was a good event, but in the course of the event, I discovered that I had once again missed out on a possible full-time position. Today it became clear that I would be a long-term sub for this semester. Hey, at least I know which classroom I’ll be in so I can now work in earnest on cleaning up the place and making it my own.

But wait — there’s more!

After two weeks of waiting, I sort of figured out that I didn’t get the full-time job, so I emailed the principal to see what I needed to do for the long-term sub job. When she found out that I had not received a phone call, she was quite apologetic – personnel had dropped the ball. We had a nice conversation and I think I’m in good shape for next week’s teacher prep week. There is still a possibility that I can become full-time before this first semester is over (actually a couple of possibilities), so even though I haven’t gotten any of the positions in this district so far (four and counting), it appears that my future is not entirely grim. I sure could use the money though … but I also know that God will provide, and I’m cool with that. It’s all going to work out and I’m going to be in just the best possible position soon enough – I just know it!

Also, this weekend was initial sign-ups for “Footsteps of Paul” and I was delighted to find that more people were signing up than I had anticipated. I still need a lot more people, but things are looking up!

“Footsetps” work

With the very free day I had yesterday (still no call about the job), I upgraded my daughter’s iPhone to an iPhone5c. That took about three hours – much longer than I anticipated. I also spent some time on the phone with a travel agent for the upcoming “Footsteps of Paul” tour that I’m leading. I thought I was late on getting things done, but it turned out that I’m actually ahead of schedule. Whew, that’s a relief! I’m still short on numbers, so my partner in crime and I will need to promote this thing to a much wider audience if we’re going to fill a bus. The trip is great – truly great – but people see the cost and decide not to go. That’s frustrating, but I can certainly understand. I wouldn’t want to spend $4K+ on something I may only be mildly interested in (even though competitor’s price is as high as $7K for the same trip!). I guess we need to promote the trip in a way that makes it much more interesting to folks. I also asked for advice about a possible after trip to Egypt and Jordan for my family. The travel agent said that they are doing trips in Jordan, but they haven’t done anything in Egypt since 2012. To them, Egypt is currently more dangerous than Israel, and Israel is bombing the Gaza Strip right now. The tour company is still doing Israel trips, but not Egypt trips. Hmmm, maybe I should take this as a sign… Still, this is the best chance I’ll likely have to see Egypt, and other brave souls are visiting Egypt on their own right now with success, so maybe…

It’s my birthday

It’s my birthday!  I celebrated it by cooking a complete Indian buffet with my goddaughter Brandi. We had a great time cooking, but after eight hours, we were completely exhausted. Even with 12 people eating, there were still enough leftovers for another buffet. I’m going to really enjoy these leftovers – Indian food gets better with age, hopefully like me!

Still no word on the job: I was told that I would know by the weekend, but the weekend has come and gone. To be fair, they didn’t say which weekend. Hopefully this will be settled sooner rather than later so I know what to study leading up to the first day of school.

Job Interview!

I had my interview this morning. It went well, though I’m sure I could have answered some of the questions better. It was nice to see a collection of people for the interview – the principal, the head of the social studies department, the most experienced vice principal, and the newest vice principal. What a nice, balanced team. The only thing that could have improved this was adding a front office worker in the mix.   Apparently, the guy I might be replacing got a full scholarship to go back to college and get an advanced degree. That’s pretty awesome for him, though I will miss working with him. He seemed like a neat guy.

Well, I guess I should start studying social studies – no matter if I get this job or not, I’ll still be teaching World History and US History, just maybe not American Government now.