Thursday, July 28, 2011

Teacher Mike up and running
(and jumping through the hoops)

Well, running might be a stretch. But the school year is almost here and I am actually ready to get this thing rolling. It is not that I am so excited about school. That has never happened to me.

My path from AtHomeDaddy to Middle School Teacher has been a fairly straightforward process, but there have been lots of "hoops" to jump through along the way. Since I am going into teaching without a college degree in Education, I am finishing up an Alternative Certification Program (ACP).

ACPs were allowed into Texas back when there was a Teacher shortage. The aim was to recruit degree-holding professionals into public education while giving the background knowledge about curriculum design and classroom management in quick class sessions. Over the years ACP programs, like the one I am enrolled in, moved a significant amount of their coursework to the internet. This was a great way for me to meet all of the program requirements with a minimum of hassle.

Jump forward through my first semester of teaching, and all of the drama that came with being laid off and eventually rehired. Right at the end of the school year, only days after my new contract had been signed, I was asked to switch jobs and to teach Special Education Math classes.

Now anyone who has known me for a long time should let that sink in. Nobody is ever very surprised when I tell them I teach Special Education. But MATH??? REALLY?!?! Yep.

Anyways, the new gig came with new requirements to complete another certification (to go along with my oft used Elementary Teacher and High School Language Arts Teacher certifications). Tomorrow I take my exam. And if all goes as it should, I'll be teaching math in less than a month.

The biggest problem with all of this is that it has left me and several of my friends and co-workers in limbo through the summer. Nobody really wants to jump into setting up a class if we will be shuffling around at the last minute because Teacher Mike didn't pass his certification exam. I REALLY do not want to be the guy who set off any more drama on our campus.

As soon as I signed my contract for the upcoming school year, I started looking forward to a relaxing summer and my first fall semester. Now that this exam is looming. I realize I was really looking forward to an end to all of the "hoops", too. Enough with the surprises, 'mkay?

Assuming all goes well tomorrow, I'll have one more comprehensive exam to get through this fall. But that test is one that I have known about since starting the program. After passing that one, I'll be finished with my teacher's certification program.

But I bet there will be a lot more "hoops" to come.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Might want to take your pills

'cause the insanity that is about to spew forth from this post might make your head spin.

There you have it. Fair warning.

I am a junkie. I don't know if I have admitted it on this blog, but lots of people know. Not the Dr Pepper thing, that is old news. Truth is, I cannot walk past a red tag/clearance sticker at Target without stopping. And frequently buying. Slam a clearance sticker on a 3 day old salami sammich and sell it to me for 80% of it's M.S.R.P. I would probably buy it.

Today is a great example. I had to run to Target for Spray and Wash because I cannot seem to eat dinner out without wearing a little of it home. Pick up $4 of laundry spray and get in and out of the store. 15 minutes. Tops.

Of course, the kids were with me so we detoured through the toy section. "No buying today, just looking" I reminded the herd. Can't blame a guy though, it will probably hit 102 this afternoon, so we might as well soak up some air conditioning at the store. The kids did good and nobody whined when we walked on. Good times!

Since we were close, we walked past the school supply section. Found some lunch boxes that The Boss Lady will hate. But they were "red-stickered" for $4 each AND made in the USA. So they came home with us. One Hello Kitty, one Star Wars Clone Wars. Everybody happy? Yep!

The wine aisle was only a few feet away, but no good deals to be found. So we walked on.

The last time I walked through Target I found some silk ties on clearance for less than $9 each. See, I told you I can't resist... So we cruised over to the Men's Clothes section. No dice.

Walking to the registers The Talker spotted some tennis shoes that he likes. I saw a sticker that I like. The shoes were on clearance for $8 from $35 and they had his size. Sold! The Princess got some new shoes the last time we were shopping, but I couldn't resist searching for clearance stickers in the girly shoes.

When I was a kid, we loved to come to my grandmother's house here in Austin. She had a half dozen huge pecan trees and each fall it was big fun to make huge messes with the leaves and to pick up a few pecans. I have never forgotten that I learned while picking up pecans. Where there is one on the ground, there are several nearby. Bend over to pick up one nut and you might as well take a second to glance around for more. It saves time and you don't have to bend over as many times. Hey, I told you this post was going to be crazy. Nutty, if you will...

That pretty much sums up the way I seek out Target clearance stickers. If there is one nearby, there are always more. You just have to keep looking.

No good deals jumped out at us in the girls shoes. But then we hit the end of the aisle and turned the corner.

There they were, a pair of cool looking Converse All Stars, in my size AND with a beautiful red sticker. $9 instead of $34! I didn't even mind the fact that they only had one lace. For $2, which is full price :( , I could get a new pair of black laces and still be way ahead and looking good in my geek-chic shoes.

But it turns out that I am not cool enough for my new shoes.

The Talker has a pair of shoes like this. Still I didn't notice until we got home and tore into our deals that the one lace was only done up half-way. That is because these shoes are not made to be laced at all. They are slip-ons. The bottom three eyelets don't even have holes though the canvas.

I took out the half lace and tried on the shoes. They are comfy enough, but without laces they are just too cool for me. At almost 41 years old I guess I am proud that I can actually bend over to tie my shoes, so I don't want to give it up yet. Besides, I am pretty sure that the 6th-8th grade set would laugh me out of the classroom if I strolled in without laces.

Like I said, The Talker is cool enough to make the look work. I am not.

Never one to give up on a good deal, I decided to "fix" my new shoes. After all, I own power tools for occasions just like this, right?

I cut out the canvas covering the three lowest eyelets and laced these bad boys up. And NOW I am ready to show off my new kicks to the middle school crowd.

I have a college friend who collects thousands of dollars of basketball and sports shoes each year. The dude is waaaaaaay into Jordans and Nikes. He rolls around Dallas in several pairs that he had custom made. The guy has no kids.

And that probably explains why he has probably never taken a power drill to any of his kicks.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Howdy. It's hot!

25 some odd days in a row of 100 degrees (or more). Yeah, it is one of those summers. It has gotten so hot out there that we hide inside from about 1:30 until about 6pm most days. Not a lot on TV at that time, but it keeps us all from basting in our own juices.

We have extras around here this week. The 12 year old nephew and 10 year old niece are hanging out this week and going to Vacation Bible School with The Princess and The Talker. Three days in and everybody is having a lot of fun.

I have been trying to make sure the kids have a little taste of Austin while they are here. Yesterday I hauled them to the LBJ Library and Museum. The Princess was suitably impressed with the original Hippy clothes they were displaying in the exhibit space dedicated to political movements of the 60's. For the record, and so that my sister does not beat the snot out of me, we did detour past (most) of the exhibit space dedicated to the 1960's Sexual Revolution. They might could have used a larger sign telling that parts of the exhibit were not child-friendly.

After that eye popping museum trip, we stopped at an Austin institution, Toy Joy. Good times! Our kids love to explore the shop. The nephew and niece were a little surprised to find out that this is not a Toys R Us type of store. Still, they all found a few things to buy on a $5 budget.

Tonight we will be downtown to check out the Austin Bat Colony. Thursday afternoon we are going to head back towards the University and we will check out the Blanton Museum of Art. Friday I plan to send everyone away and take a two day nap. Keeping up with this herd has already worn me out.