Monday, April 28, 2014

I'm a terrible Blogger

Things have been so busy that I haven't had any time to blog, which is horrible for an English teacher to confess.

However, now that I have my braided essays graded and returned to my students, my part in a UND panel on Teacher preparation and transition that presented at their Professional Capital conference last week, and my AWE presentation finished (which I didn't even get to present since we had sump pump problems that evening), I can devote a few minutes to something else.

The braided essays were great.  I was very pleasantly surprised by them.  Some were exceptional, some more were very good, and many were good.  I was quite proud of the work my College Comp students poured into them.

Here is the one I just finished, a 93 pager on Teen Wolf.

I always used to brag how the record was 78 pages.  Well, now the record stands at 93!  This paper actually makes me want to watch the series now.

The UND panel was a culmination of about two months worth of meetings at UND.  Our panel was comprised of two education professors from UND, a doctoral student from UND, a principal from Devil's Lake, and me.  

We titled our session Relevance, Relationships, (R)evolution 

Here is the intro video that I created for our session -

Our focus was on - as the title of our session suggests - helping teachers transition from college to the actual classrooms in which they will be teaching and how colleges can best prepare young teachers for this.

We had excellent feedback from our audience.  The key issue that arose was teacher retention.  How do small schools in isolated rural areas keep young teachers?  These small rural schools are facing a dilemma: they don't necessarily have trouble getting teachers, but they certainly have trouble keeping them as young teachers who are hard up for experience use these small schools to establish themselves for a year or two before leaving for larger schools.

And this is a serious issue.  Simply being a first year teacher is hard enough as you devote insane hours to first learning the material, then actually being effective at teaching at, and then trying to have some form of order in your classroom.  This is a task that can easily consume a young teacher.  But when you don't have any outlets in a rural environment where many towns - in the words of our audience members - "don't even have grocery stores and the nearest Wal-Mart is 45 minutes to an hour and a half away" - it can be a recipe for isolation and burnout.

Finally, my AWE presentation was to be a 25 minute (or so) keynote on how I use technology in my classes.  

I didn't get to actually present on this however.  I was set to and ready to; however, when I got home after school with the kids, I heard our sump pump kick in.  It usually never runs, so I thought I better see how much water we were getting.

When I opened the door to the "Cat room," which is a cement storage room in our basement where the sump pump is located, I saw water all over the floor.

I thought maybe it was seeping in through the walls.  Then I heard the sump kick in and saw that the PVC pipe leading out of the basement had broken loose.  The water would be pumped up and then shoot back out . . . all over our stuff (luckily most of it was sealed safely in plastic bins).  I saw our two cats huddled in the one dry corner with a look of "It's about damn time you check on us!" on their faces.

I tried to push the pipe back in to the slop that led out of the house, but the force of the water caused it to discharge and nearly hit me.  And then before I knew it the water seeped from the floor and back into the pump and it shot off again, this time drenching my pants.

I did the only thing I could . . . I called Bieto plumbing.  Todd, our former neighbor/savior answered right away and said he'd be right over.

Turns out our existing outside sump pump line was jammed with ice.  When the water was pumped up and out of our house, it hit solid ice and came rushing back.  It was this force that caused the PVC pipe to disjoint.

Todd brought a new pump and new piping.  He cut the frozen line and attached a new line above ground to get out any extra water.

We quickly hauled all of the storage bins out and dried them.  Then we spent about five hours on Sunday cleaning out the room, going through the storage bins to check for damage, and then re-organized the storage area.

Needless to say, I had to call the AWE president and cancel my appearance.

But the "Cat room" did finally get a much needed cleaning. 

Now that all of that is done, I now turn to our mini research papers and film reviews in College Comp and the final Linchpin papers and projects in College Comp II, as well as the honors banquet speech.

1 comment:

Dark Humor said...

Now tell me that paper was on the Teen Wolf series and not the movies...I'd hate to lose all respect I once had for you by finding out you've never seen Michael J at his finest?!