14 October 2007

New Beginnings?

Maybe I do still need my blog. I'm not entirely convinced, but sometimes I miss writing. So maybe I'll lower my expectations and start again. At least, password protected, I'll be sure that I won't be baring my soul (or morally questionable deeds) to students.

18 June 2007

The end

I'm shutting down the blog.

Besides the fact that I'm not really keeping it up, I recently discovered that it can be found by searching my name on Google, which is not cool when you're a teacher who would like to keep her private life private.

So, down it goes.

03 June 2007

Making Friends

Admittedly, it took a while.

I now have a group of friends at work. Like, real friends!

I've been chatting to a few people now and then; I would sometimes give people a drive home, but I finally feel like I have a support network.

I said, "I didn't become a teacher to make friends," and I meant it. Early in the year, when students initially hated me, and would tell me so in no uncertain terms, I would repeat that line. It was my mantra. I had friends and support at home. I didn't need 12-year-olds to be my friends. It didn't take them long to realize that I meant it, and they mostly backed off.

But still, it's nice to have colleagues you can talk to and have fun with. Especially when they're colleagues who have the same challenges as you and can sympathize with the bullshit you put up with.

So when I realized that I clicked with a couple of people, it made me feel better. If nothing else, I know that when I go to school, I have some people who get it. I get to talk about my frustration and they can offer advice knowing the people I'm dealing with and vice versa.

Before, I couldn't talk about my situation at all because it would have been inappropriate (as the owner's daughter). And it spares my non-work friends from some of the anger and frustration that they can't only guess at. Now I can turn it into horror stories or amusing anecdotes. Most of the time.

01 June 2007

Welcome to June

Four weeks from today is the last day of school. The last day of my first school year. I'm not quite ready to pass judgement on the year, but I'm formulating and compiling my opinions.

Life has been busy, hence the lack of bloging. I don't even remember the fun stories I wanted to tell.

But 4 weeks from now, I will officially be on summer vacation. Life is good.

13 March 2007

Women's Day, take two

Last year, for International Women's Day, I tried to celebrate some wonderful, well-known women who have made a difference in our world. People weren't overly enthusiastic about it.

This year, I was too busy with an event with AI to really mark the occasion here, but it's still been on my mind.

Today, CBC (in the form of their daily new highlights) gave me a launching pad.

In their article titled "Where the equality gaps still exist" they talk about what women have gained over the last 100 years (when the first International Women's Day was celebrated), and they also talk about where we lag. Some of the gaps are pretty disgusting.

So, while you might not want to call yourself a feminist (I'm oh, so tired of that discussion), don't think that we have anything that even approaches equality. When the majority sex is considered a minority group, we have problems.

12 March 2007

March Break

I am celebrating March break for the 1st time in 10 years. The last time I celebrated, I went to the Dominican Republic with my parents. This time, I'm not so lucky; I have sinus issues, a sore throat, and moderately severe menstrual cramps. Not even prescription-strength ibuprofen is working. That's 600 mg, people!

I have always had a battle with menstrual cramps. Except for most of the last 7 years. In fact, I've really gone much longer in my life without than with. But they are that bad. The memory of them is enough to make me want to cry.

Years ago, my doctor put me on Depo-Provera. I was a lover from the start. It didn't take long for my periods to become a not-so-beautiful memory. And I have enjoyed it. At the end of January, my relationship with Depo ended. It was abusive, it turned out. I was gaining weight, and gaining it fast. 25 pounds in 12 months, 15 of that in only 5 months. That's a lot. It's not healthy.

There were other factors in the weight gain. My job (when I worked for my dad) was mostly sedentary, my car accident left me doing virtually no physical activity, and living on one ground floor of a moderately-sized condo has meant a lot less up and down.

But when I talked to my doctor, and other people who were on Depo, it seemed that all that previous stuff may have contributed to the gain, but the Depo is what was holding on to it. Depo makes your body think that it's pregnant. That's good if you don't want to have babies or periods. But part of being pregnant is a natural weight gain. Depo accomplishes this in part by storing the hormones in your fat cells. In actuality, you can't successfully lose all the fat without it affecting how the Depo works, and your body won't let you. You will lose muscle mass and bone density before you shed the fat.

Teaching means I move more, which is good. I have a stationary bike now (which I actually use!), and the weather is improving so I'll start going outside more. But what really had to change was the Depo. I tried this once before. It didn't go well. But, I'm more concerned about my long-term health this time, so I'm going to try to tough it out somehow.

My first switch is to NuvaRing. It's different. And it's okay. I don't think it's a long-term solution for me because I don't think I'm using it properly. When I talked to my GP about all this she gave me two prescriptions at the same time; the ring, and the patch. OrthoEvra (patch) is my next attempt.

Neither of these things is going to make the pain going away. It seems that Depo and hysterectomy are the only two things that could accomplish that. I'm hoping that I won't have to resort to the latter, but right now, I'm not ruling anything out.

04 March 2007

Blog Hiatus

I guess I took a bit of a break from blogging. Okay, truth be told, I haven't really been into it for a while. I got out of the habit when my computer fell down go boom.

Also, I hate February. If there's a time of year that I'm absolutely uninspired and blasé about everything, it's February. The only redeeming quality that February has is that it is the shortest month of the year. I wonder if February is as hated in other climates as it is here. Even November can't touch February.

So, what now that it's no longer February? Well, nothing. Life is pretty even-keeled lately and I guess I should be happy about that. The only abberation is that my sleep is so rare and unsatisfying that I broke down and asked the doctor for sleeping pills. She gave me Imovane. We're hoping that it's something less serious like my brain forgetting how to stay asleep, as opposed to the more dangerous problems.

My big problem is that I'm always tired. I've always been on the lethargic side, but I don't think I've ever wanted to spend so much time in bed. Asleep. "Could it be anemia?" you may ask. It's unlikely, because I would probably sleeping more than anyone could imagine and still feeling tired. I wake up 2, 3, 6, 7 times a night. Sleep apnea has been bandied about (mostly by me), and so my GP has thoughtfully refered me to a ororhino-laryngologist, aka an Ear-Nose-Throat doctor. Said specialist will look around for loose pieces of whatever that shouldn't be there and (hopefully) refer me to a sleep clinic where they will determine what kind of sleeper I am, what my problems actually are, and what fixes there may be. My biggest fear is that it will be nothing with an easy fix like "Get out of your sometimes-mouldy condo" or "switch to latex bedsheets", but rather something biological or chemical that will require long-term medication. If there's anything I find frightening in a very real sense, it's the idea (or reality) of becoming dependent on pharmaceuticals for a good 8 hours. What would happen if/when I get pregnant and then am nursing? Not sleep for the better part of two years? That doesn't sound like a good way to start motherhood. I mean, I know that having a baby intrudes on regular sleep patterns, but not being able to sleep at all sounds like a gourmet recipe for post-partum depression and Brittney Spears-esque antics. (It's my belief that she's suffering from severe PPD and if people would stop making fun of her long enough for her to have some privacy, someone might be able to figure that out. And it is possible that she would be driven to go commando or stay out all night partying -- remember the mother who killed her 5 children?)

Anyway, that's a little large to be worrying about. After two nights of pills, I've had one great sleep and one not-so-great sleep. The not-so-great sleep was due to being cold. Unfortunately I was too doped up to be aware of what was wrong, so it wasn't until about 7:30 am when the drug wore off and I thought, "Gee, I'm cold." I'm planning some fail-safes for tonight.

The good news is that it's March. I only have 5 teaching days left until March Break and, although I'm not going to the Mayan Riviera like some people (I hate you), I do get to sit around and do nothing (except clean) and relax (and do lesson planning). I'd like to do something more exciting (and warmer) but I can't afford it this year. And probably not next year. But I will at some point.

And then I will write a blog to gloat.

31 January 2007

I love sushi!

I had sushi for supper. It was great.

27 January 2007

I'm a Teacher!

Yesterday, I had an awesome teaching day. I stood at the front of the class for an hour and taught while the students listened (for the most part).

We had a deal, see. I'm doing a media literacy unit with them, and it could be a lot of fun. We'll watch TV shows and movies and commercials; we'll read magazines and look at pictures; we'll get to tear apart things we don't like. It's a lot different than reading Freak the Mighty. I told them up front that there's a lot of theory and stuff to learn up front, and that we'll have to do stuff like that occasionally. The big thing they needed to understand was that it has to be educational in some way, because I need to be able to justify its content to my boss, if I'm ever asked (which I probably will be).

So, I went through a bunch of theory with them yesterday, and it was amazing! There were plenty of interruptions, sure, but for the most part they let me talk. They seemed to get it: we can't watch TV until I say this, so listen or it'll take forever.

I also informed them that the unit requires maturity and responsibility because it's so different from what they normally do; and that they would be required to think sometimes.

I also told them that a lack of maturity would result in me shutting the unit down immediately and resorting to grammar sheets to get us through the next couple of months.

It's the same speech I gave the other class on Wednesday in a LOUD, ANGRY voice because they were acting like idiots and I had to send 5 of them to the office. If I'd had my druthers, I told them, I would take 5 or 6 people into another room to do the unit and the rest of them I'd leave with the grammar sheets.

It was so nice to not have to go through that with yesterday's class. For the first time in a while, I felt like a competent teacher.


20 January 2007

Spitting mad

I don't think I've ever been so wholly disgusted in a long, long time.

Spitting is something that I generally think should be a social faux pas. No one needs to walk by gobs of someone else's mucous. Even worse, watching someone in the act of expectorating. It's vile. It's illegal in some countries. Singapore is one of those countries.

The reasoning behind such a law is hygiene. Mucous is a major factor in the spread of germs. If you were to cough or sneeze into the air without covering your mouth, the germs would dissipate relatively quickly because they need a moist environment to survive. If you spit on the sidewalk, the germs would live longer because they would have a cozy pool of phlegm to play in for quite a while. I read something about how long germs can survive in spit, and I think it's up to 3 days.

Imagine if you dropped your keys on the sidewalk, right in someone's slowly evaporating gob of spit. Now the spitter's germ are all over your keys. And I bet you touched your eyes, nose, or mouth without even thinking about it!

During the SARS scare a few years ago, China instituted a spitting ban. Hong Kong increased their fines. If you put "SARS" and "spitting" into a Google search, you come up with almost 61,000 articles. They took it seriously.

I'm not suggesting that we become paranoid about it. But there's something wrong with spitting in public. Very, very wrong.

This afternoon Andrew and I were at the mall. He bought a watch and then we went to visit Jenni at the store where she works part-time. As we rounded the corner of the corridor, a man walking in the opposite direction turned his head and spat. Indoors. On the floor. Of the mall. Indoors. With people. Everywhere. Indoors. Not very far from the coffee shop kiosk. And he was indoors!

And he kept walking!

I stopped. My mouth dropped open. My lip curled. My nose wrinkled. I was just about ready to puke (which would have been worse). Andrew saw it too. We remarked on the grossness of it. I momentarily considered turning around and berating this man for his poor manners and lack of hygiene. Andrew was still walking forward, so I followed. The look of disgust stayed on my face for quite a while.

02 January 2007

Crippled with anxiety

I go back to work tomorrow after what seems like a really long and simultaneously way too short break.

Apart from having persistent minor cold symptoms that will not leave me alone, I'm just not ready. The next major break is the 3rd week in March.

For those of you who may think that teachers are "lucky" to get as many breaks as they do, I'd like to point out that your job isn't so bad. I've worked in the corporate world. You may get run down, but there's (technically) nothing stopping you from taking a week in February, or a vacation day now and then. Teachers are limited to certain days/times of the year. And while there are plenty of workoholics and thoguhtful/diligent workers in the corporate world, most can still say that they have their free time to themselves. When I started this job, I was at the school every day until 6 or 6:30 (arriving brfore 8:30 and working through lunch), and when I got home, I'd shove food in me and work some more. I don't know how teachers with families do it; I only have to worry about Andrew!

What I'm driving at in the above paragraph is that teachers do need their breaks. I invite anyone who disagrees to deal with my grade 7s for a day. Scratch that; a week. Anyone could do it for a day.

I like my job. I may even "love" my job. But today I am tired and feeling worn down and like there's far too much to do. And that stretch beween January 3rd and March 9th seems so interminably long that I am having slight panic thinking about it.