Thursday, August 23, 2007

(Not) Winning the Powerball

I was disappointed this morning to learn that I didn't win the Powerball.

I woke this morning to a dog's face. Most mornings my wife gets up a few minutes before I do. Our dog follows her around until she shuts the bathroom door. Then the dog comes and jumps up on the bed and sticks its nose up against mine in an effort to determine whether I am awake yet - and, if not, determine why not.

I sat on the edge of the bed and dressed myself, felt my way along the familiar walls of our home down the stairs from the bedroom, pushed the button on the front of my computer that turns it on as I passed by it, continued on to the kitchen where the coffee was waiting, poured myself a cup, and returned to the computer to check my email and, on this particular day of the week, look to see if I'd won the Powerball. I had not...

It was a pity. I had good plans for the money. The three or four most immediate tasks on my agenda (should I actually win) are relatively easy and, put into perspective, of no great consequence.
  • I would get rid of the French roast I drink now and buy Sumatran coffee to keep around.
  • I would replace my relatively mediocre rum with better quality liquor. Some Cointreau would be nice. Definitely a bottle of Drambuie. Perhaps a bottle of Dewars. Some better rum and a stash of mint leaves...
  • I would apply for passports so that Cheryl and I could travel a little, eventually.

I suspect the first few days after you actually get the money would be busy ones. There are at least a dozen people I'd have to buy new cars for (or something like that). I'd want to put a Smartboard, and Elmo, and a good air conditioner in every classroom at the school where I now teach. I'm sure other things would come to mind.

Deciding where to go once the passports came would be hard. I've never seen Tibet. But then, I've never been to Greece, either. Tahiti would be nice. I'm sure Europe has changed a lot since I left Germany in the mid-1970's...

Eventually I would probably take a large portion of the money and create a foundation of some type - and then hire myself as director of the foundation. If it was managed well, I could spend the rest of my working life giving away money to good causes. I think I could enjoy that.

Maybe I'll win Saturday night...

Monday, August 20, 2007

School Starts Again

After 10 weeks away from school, the normal work day starts again on Wednesday for me. Along with every other teacher in my county, I report to Mount View School on Wednesday to hear a message from the superintendent. My afternoon will be spent in a special education meeting there. Most other teachers will spend the afternoon at their own schools. On Thursday Cheryl and I go together for a follow up on training in the Orton-Gillingham method of reading instruction. During the afternoon I go to a workshop on DIBELS - a testing system, the letters stand for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills.

Friday I get to see my old school for the first time. We'll have a faculty senate meeting and probably a curriculum team meeting. Then teacher schedule for the start of the year will get finalized. Monday the kids arrive...

After three summers of full time graduate work I managed to escape that grind this year. That's not to say I did nothing. I read our new 180-page state policy on special education. I attended a week long training academy the last week of July that trained elementary school teachers to use our new reading curriculum. I went to a two day workshop on co-teaching. I traveled to Georgia twice to take certification tests there. And I read Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, Steinbeck's East of Eden, and For Whom the Bells Toll by Hemingway.

The first few days will be a challenge. After 10 weeks without much of a schedule I have misplaced my body clock. Going to bed and getting up seem irrelevant at the moment - it's what you get done while you're awake that matters. My responsibilities will change somewhat; at the moment it looks as though I will not be involved in math instruction this year, but I'll be more involved in reading. And I look set to have some added responsibility in the area of technology for students. Ask me about the details after I go to the school on Friday.

Hopefully it will be a good year...