Sunday, March 8, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Forward, Looking out, Looking in (shorter).

Looking back:

This weekend I stayed home…did not do much…and it was amazing. It is so nice to finally get things accomplished and not have to plan lessons the night before I leave or the night that I get back.

On Wednesday I went to Romeo and Juliet in Cambridge. It was great. Shakespearian language spoken in the English proper tongue. I had only read parts of the play and maybe seen the DiCaprio version of the film a while ago. I am glad that I finally got to see this play in its entirety in the author’s original words. My favorite character was Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend.
Before we saw the play, we ate at a famous pub in Cambridge call “The Eagle.” Apparently the double helix of DNA was developed in this pub (actually at the University, but all of the scientists talked about it after work each day here…we all know how much can get accomplished in a talk over beers). I ate Bangers and Mash for the first time. The sausage was great! I will try it again.

On Friday I went out for a beer with Colin and his cooperating teacher. Afterwards we went to the dog races in nearby Mildenhall (see “Rose of the week” below for elaboration).

Yesterday I went to Bury St Edmunds and went to the Saturday market. I bought the following:

2 mangos for 1 pound (about $1.40!)
A pair of glasses (no prescription…I know its weird, but I have always wanted glasses)
Some leather repair and protector for my beloved Clark’s ® shoes.
A stretchy tight shirt (like what Simon Cowell wears…but not half as tight, actually loose like a normal shirt) for 1 pound 50 pence.
And 4 types of cheeses. The flavors are cheddar and sage, cheddar and port wine, a cranberry type of cheese, and some sort of vegemite-type flavored cheese. I plan to eat them tonight with a little wine. They were 60 pence each! So cheap.

In Bury we also saw some really old ruins from about 1000 years ago, a beautiful park, and an enormous cathedral.

It was a great little week.

Looking Forward:

This week is Terra Nova testing. The DODDs version of standardized testing. Let me ask you this: How is it STANDARDIZED testing if the test is vastly different from last years test? Also next years Terra Nova is also going to be Vastly different then this years test. What are they comparing these numbers to if each year measures different things? What is the point? Also there is such a large exchange of student in military schooling that you never have the same populations of students. Ludicrous, it’s all ludicrous and is causing most of my classes to be shortened and therefore less successful this week.

Next week my supervising teacher is coming to our school to observe Colin and I for a couple of days. I have decided that I am not going to rush through this week’s material just so I can fall on the exact lesson that I want to teach in front of her. I will teach whatever lesson we fall on that week and I will do it well. Do you think that’s a good idea? Or should I set it up so that I have a super beefy lesson planned that is going to blow her away? I don’t know….comment.
Dublin in 3 weeks!

Looking out:

It has been gorgeous here! Sunny most all of last week, which put me in a great mood. The days are getting longer too. Spring forward in England is on March 29th. I think April will be absolutely green and amazing here.

I am going to start to periodically include my glasses into my life…I don’t know why I have always wanted to wear glasses, but I have. My vision is 20/20 so I don’t need them. These ones don’t have a prescription and are 100% for aesthetic reasons. Does that make me weird? Why do you wear your hair a certain way? Why do you wear the clothes that you do? Why did you choose that particular watch, bracelet, bag, earring, shoes, etc to wear for the day? I see no reason why I can’t wear eyeglasses for style reasons. What do you think?

Looking in:

I am happy to report that the overwhelming great feelings and positivity have not yet left. Life is still good and I still take time each day to appreciate my life. Do you think its possible to live your entire life this way? I do. I am reading a great book that was mailed to me in a care package (thanks les!) called Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. It is stimulation some very introspective thoughts about my outlook on life and the possibilities that the world has to offer. In only a couple of days of very casual reading, I am almost done with it. Check it out….or I may just mail it to you!

Rose of the week:

So we were at the dog races (I kept calling them horse races all night). We all put 10 pound into a pot and were betting out of that pot for the entire night. We were not doing so well…mostly betting on clever names. We won one race and scored 10 pounds. It came down to the last race and we had 7 pounds left in the pot. Colin’s cooperating teacher was going to put 6 pounds down on a “trio” (like a trifecta in the states where you bet on the order of the top 3 dogs). He boxed it. With the extra pound I bet a “reverse Forecast” (same as a boxed exacta in the states) on the two horses with the worst odds. By post time (start of race) it was 33 to 1 that these two horses would finish 1st and 2nd (dogs #2 and 6). Colin’s teacher picked the dogs by picking the exact opposite horses of what Colin suggested (2, 4, 6 instead of 1,3,5) as more of a joke than anything else. Sure as shit the dogs came around that final turn in the exact order of both bets: 2, 6, 4. We had won both bets. The trio cam out to be 216 pounds and the exacta was about 35 pounds. That’s 250 pounds total split between 3 people…about 85 pounds or $120 each! What a great end to the night. A great rose for the week.

Thorn of the week:

This took a bit to think of something “thorn worthy” but I am just going to say my to-do list. Lesson plans for this week and next week along with prep for my supervising instructor next week. Planning for spring break. Planning for summer travels with brother. Clean room. Ask for letters of rec. Start to apply for jobs. Catch up emails for neglected family and friends. Transcript from U of I (still…sorry mom). Live. Eat. Sleep. Read.

My next blog will give some much deserving shout outs to a select few individuals who have sent me great care packages lately (within the past 2 weeks and a few this upcoming week).
Much love to you all AND shame on you if you read this blog….have a thought or idea and then don’t comment….shame on you :)


Mr. Kale Iverson said...

I always like to take the opportunity of a supervisor observation to prep my kids for a good week:

"Okay you little buggers, my boss could be coming in at any time this week. When that happens you will know by this eyebrow raise and wink of the eye. That means that until they leave the room you all have to act and pretend to be perfect, enthusiastic, amazing students. If you complete this mission and make me look like a bad ass, then I will give you a movie day."

It puts them on good mode all week.

And it shows them that you're human.

Hope it goes well!

ms. cugno to some said...

Hal- I just got real excited reading about your glasses purchase. Every time I see a rack of reading glasses I hope in my heart of hearts for a non prescription pair and scour the rack; so, I'll admit it now, I have been harboring this same desire to wear glasses (odd or not) for some time now, in spite of being cursed with spectacular vision. Alas I have not been so lucky as you to actually happen upon a pair, but just know, I'm all for it.

also, good luck with the observation, I know they're nerve racking. just be yourself, be prepped, and you'll do swell.

Heidi said...

Hey Hal,
Your blog has been great entertainment! :-) Regarding the upcoming visit...I say just go with the flow, be prepared with a good lesson and let your style shine. She will leave you with "what you need to work on" and as simple as that...It's all good. :-) Anything specific you desire from Pullman?

Susan Iverson said...

My friend at work says you look like a teacher with those glasses. I like it! The more photos of you the better as far as I am concerned, in case you wanted input on what I would like to see on your blog. Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

The glasses thing....its funny to watch people's reactions with glasses. If I wear them on a regular basis (and hello, we all know I need them), the kids will ask for a few days and then it just becomes a part of me. When I stop wearing them and wear my contacts, they freak out a bit and want to know why I don't have my glasses on....People seem to treat you different if you wear glasses. As if suddenly you have become smarter.....odd

The whole lesson thing. I guess if this is the first time the person has seen you teach, you want it to go as well as possible. Be completely comfortable with the lesson...depending on the magnitude of it,you may want to teach a 'pre' lesson....I would also say you would want a lesson that thoroughly engages the kids on all levels. Word of we observe teachers, etc... we look for one key component....did they state the expectations clearly in the beginning of the lesson?!? Was it also posted and did you use an example??? This way it very clear as to what you want, what it should look like and what the overall outcome of the lesson is or should be.... I took an amazing class where it was put very simply...your overall outcome shouldn't be a surprise, shouldn't be something students have to guess at. If they do, they will more than likely be dis-engaged it what they are truly suppose to be doing and learning....Telling them what you want them to learn allows all other pressures to go down and they can arrive faster at the destination....

Good luck,
lots of love we miss you!!!!
C, J, A and M Wicks =o)

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