I have a really good excuse for neglecting this blog. I am currently taking a mandatory class that is as close to torture as the Geneva Convention will allow. Seven hours a day, for seven days, ostensibly to teach me and my twenty-four fellow captives how to properly teach students who are not native English speakers.

Many of us go years without having any such students, many of us have taught for over thirty years and have figured out very successful ways to teach almost anyone who shows up in our classroom, but noooo. That's not relevant. They have to TEACH us.

Like most inane schemes dreampt up by professional academics, there are acronyms. LOTS of acronyms. And buzz words. Oh how they love coining new words. For example, instead of the very servicable, 'visual aids' and 'props,' there is now the preferred term, 'realia.' and instead of 'conversational English' we now say BICS. And instead of academic language we now say, 'CULP.' And this is worth almost fifty hours of my life, to learn things like this, from a well-meaning woman who has been teaching elementary school for way too long, so that she has really, really cute terms for things, like 'popcorn' for when one person reads a paragraph, and then picks the next person to read, or 'carrousel' for some shared learning activity. Favorite obfuscation so far? Affective Domain, their hi-falutin' term for making a warm, safe, welcoming classroom. Yeah, welcome to my affective domain, kids.... Oops, gotta run so I won't be late to day six of torture-by-teaching. I already have two passive-agressive tardies, and I've been spoken to.


The puppy who ate my life

OK, here (just click on the headline above) at last are photos of the all-consuming little black hole of adorableness who now has a name. Her name is Bruno, and her last name is being refined. At the moment it's Bierbaum, but that may change.

Eat a shoe, eat a book
Pee pee's everywhere I look.

Chew and pee, nip and play
bite the couch and run away.

Eat a snail, chase your tail
poop on the floor and maul the mail

Bark at cat, growl and whine
hey, what's that? Is it feeding time?


she's right here, snoring

I have a theory that Some time ago, the big Head Honcho of Life looked down, saw I didn't have kids, wasn't likely to have them, and said, "Hey, wait just a minute. There's been a mistake here. You don't get off that easy! Thought you could sneak by me, eh? Well watch THIS!"

And poof, as quickly as you can say acne medicine, I had 65 teenagers as I suddenly found myself teaching high school.

But recently, apparently this same Grand Poobah of All decided that this just wasn't enough penance for trying to slip through the radar, because now, suddenly, through no volition on my part, I have a newborn. Puppy, that is. OK, well about two months old. It started innocently enough:

Last week I was walking my dogs on Monterey beach, when one of the other regular dog people came running up and said, 'You're just the person I'm looking for!' Seems his neighbors had a puppy, and it got Parvo, so they just left it out in their yard to die, and he finally couldn't stand it, so he took her from them and got her to the vet. Her chances of recovery were iffy.

She looked a lot like one of my dogs, so he wondered if I might give her foster care until she could be adopted. I kinda sorta said maybe. Turns out she was at my regular vet, and today I just happened to go by, just to see how she was coming along, and they just happened to have left a phone message on my machine telling me to come and get her. She's sleeping on my lap as I type this, her little pink spotted belly filled with food. No name yet. Zelda, and June Cleaver are possibilities, but so is Dweezle. Jury's still out and may be for some time. The inevitable puppy photos will follow soon.

can you say 'video fiasco' ten times really fast?

The last two weeks of school nine teachers at last count have assigned video projects, all due next week. Unfortunately, most are not thought out at all as far as anyone can tell.

The librarians, computer lab teacher and I have all been beseiged with clueless students wanting to borrow equipment they have no idea how to use, to do they-don't-know-what. It's a fiasco of the first water.

As a result of our frustration, we're in the process of making a video to be shown at the faculty meeting next week, showing dozens of students asking to use the $3000 video production cameras they have no idea how to operate, lining up in the library around the building and out the door to borrow/use their equipment, and dozens more clamoring for editing help in the lab until the lab teacher goes berserk and has to be led out of the room by a colleague, while she mumbles and drools.

I fear that just as in the early days of Powerpoint, they will be too easily influenced by the bells and whistles, and not notice a distinct lack of content. Like the math video I watched two students working on last week. They did manage to incorporate a large red truck, a fatal accident, and lots of cool music, none of which had anything to do with math, and when they got to the math part, they just read the book out loud and showed one of the boys writing out the problems. Two weeks of video production class down the tubes.

One person suggested putting a notice in the daily staff bulletin, announcing that each teacher had to do a brief video project before picking up our June paychecks...