02 February, 2007

Went To Work On My Off-day

i'm going to preface this with, be on the lookout for stream of consciousness bits. today was a comp day for one of our parent teacher conferences. it was also the day after an arctic cold front visited colorado. the low last night was -9 and we're going to be in a cold snap til tuesday. i'm taking the kids to school today but it was so ungodly cold, i took melissa's suggestion to sleep in a bit and wait til traffic settles down. being stationed in germany made me somewhat used to driving in black ice but here? you'd like to think that seasoned coloradoans can drive but law of averages says different. the mountain folk here are pretty mellow in snow and ice. they definitely follow the rule of slower traffice best be in the left lane. almost nascar like when the weather gets better...
i made plans to meet my colleagues (one, nicknamed lawrencium after the element and chris) at work to construct a common assessment for our evolution unit (that's right, take that kansas board of education). my kids ask when i talk about evolution, "what do you believe in?" i tell them i like the buddhist way of thinking. this elicits more questions and i tell them get this: your version of truth might not be everybody else's version of the truth and you have to be tolerant of other peoples beliefs. then i tell them i'm going to test you all on this material so we might as well make it a pleasant experience for all. i also tell them, "yes it's a theory but it's a theory you can take to the bank, or credit union if you're a public employee." at worst, they try to play stump the chump with me and i avert a theological battle in the classroom by crushing them morally (not really).
before i arrive to work i check out the local music place with plans on purchasing the arctic monkeys latest cd. for grins and giggles i check out the used section and score: i see beth orton's central reservation (she's a brit you know) and neko case's fox confessor brings the flood. if you haven't heard these cd's the music is amazing. beth orton's like an english rickie lee jones whose music is layered and slightly bluesy and neko case has this am radio sounding version reminiscent of june carter cash in her heyday.
i dig my colleagues. before our latest incarnation of the science department there was one acquaintance who was poison. being a great teacher doesn't make you socially adroit. for her, these two qualities were inversely proportionate. in fact when she wasn't teaching masterfully she was sabotaging somebody else's good name (or ratting them out to administration if they rubbed her wrong). what a toxic combination she was in our mix. i'm glad she left. she didn't retire, but if she came back i'd like to be on the hiring committee to wholeheartedly not recommend her. what a backstabbing, duplicitous person she was.
my goal in the office was to knock out this common assessment on scientific method and to finish grading my test. did both and enjoyed their company over lunch. over time you get know your colleagues. for instance, you know which ones to treat professionally versus friendly and which ones are as tilted as you. teachers are predominantly women but our department is mostly men so our manners sometimes are lacking (and/or amplified). larry's as tilted as me and he's a science geek too. our whole department takes pride in being geeks. chris is a newbie and he's teacher of the year material as well as being an all-around good guy. we finish our assessment and it's a creative, skills based activity with a CSAP-style response. as teachers we have our own personality and it's that that drives our teaching style and work ethic. some have no personal life. some have no kids so they work and make people feel guilty when they bellyache about going in during the weekend. i feel sorry for the ones with kids and work like indentured servants. it's wrong to treat your clients better than your own kin. i have a family, so, when i work my 9-hour day, i leave or else it's hell to pay on my 53 mile commute to pick up my kids and head home. on the way in that morning, i use my ninja like skills to check out the front office to see if they have any doughnuts from their morning pow-wow. no luck, so i fill up my water bottle. i see the principal (who's the shizzle) and for talk sake i ask her if i can do doughnuts in the staff parking lot. she says, "sure". so when i leave i hit the skinny pedal and turn my wheels. i suck at doughnuts. need more practice. chris saw me and we both weren't impressed.
i arrive home and this is what i saw on my thermometer. the top number's the interior and the bottom number's for outside. yup. gotta start that fireplace and cook dinner. tonight we have home made french fries and egg salad on english muffins.

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