Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Books and Report Cards

The books I had shipped from Israel prior to leaving Jerusalem finally arrived, somewhat earlier than expected. Most of them arrived on September 10, and the last two boxes arrived yesterday. The books are stacked by the wall of my living room awaiting the bookshelf. I returned the bookcase that I had bought with the desk because it turned out to require drilling a support strap into the wall, and I have no desire to drill into my walls. So now I have a desk that won't match any bookcase I buy. Whatever. It's really not a big deal. Every Sunday I read the flyers, and there's always some store that has bookcases on sale.

Nutrition has been ok by virtue of the giant lunchbox which keeps me from eating stupid things during the day. (I told my students that if they spot a soda can on my desk they get an automatic 5 point bonus. Since the only thing I allow them to drink in my class is water, I figure that's fair.) But, if I finish everything in the lunch box and then stay late at work and then drive home hungry, I find myself stopping for a coffee (with milk) and three donut holes on my way home. I've been doing that far too frequently lately. I'm working very long hours: 12 hour days are not uncommon. I went in on Sunday to familiarize myself with the grade tracking system and ended up staying all day. I discovered that my school does report cards eight times a year, and since we are in the middle of the 1st quarter, it is report card time, so I have to enter my grades and write a comment about each of my students.

Today was the first day since I started work that I've worked less than 10 hours. I came in at 7:00am and left at 4:15pm. I'm not saying that this is a good thing; it emphatically is not. It's just my current reality and I need to change it by putting in some routines and improving my organizational skills. One of my colleagues suggested that I give less homework. The consensus among veteran teachers I've met over the past two years is that homework is no longer reflective of students' abilities. Too many students have parents that will do the homework for them rather than deal with a bad grade. The solution seems to be to assign more reading assignments followed by in-class quizzes and grading more of the students' in-class work. In any case I am not assigning any homework between now and October 15. The Jewish high holiday season is upon us, starting with New Year this weekend, and I want my students to focus on spending time with their families and attending services without having to worry about schoolwork.

My social security number finally arrived, so if there are no hiccups, I will finally see a paycheck in about a week and a half.

The Russian-owned gym I was looking for seems to have vanished. I went to the address I was given, and it was an abandoned storefront. Through the dusty glass I could see a sign that said "weightlifter parking". Should have called first, obviously. :-)

But there are good gym tidings on the horizon. More about that tomorrow. In the meantime, all my clothes fit fine. I'm disappointed I didn't get to go to LA for the strength seminar, but there will be other opportunities.


At 8:17 PM , Blogger JuliaMazal said...

Now you know what to ask in future job interviews:
"How many times a year do you issue report cards?"


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