Tag Archives: Education

Snow Day


Technically, we aren’t getting a snow day here in Alabama because if there was snow, it came in the middle of the night in the form of flurries and none of it accumulated. However, we are getting the day out of school because of extremely cold (at least for Alabama) temperatures and icy roads. Since we rarely have these conditions, it is advisable that people only get on the roads if it is absolutely necessary. I will not be getting on the roads today. The school is closed and since we are expecting even colder temperatures tomorrow, with a possible windchill of below 0 degrees, we may not have school tomorrow either (I’m keeping my fingers crossed).

Instead of going out, I actually have a lot I need to get done today. I need to do some laundry, especially some of my summer clothes. Summer clothes? You ask. Yes, summer clothes. I will be needing them next week. I’m going on a seven day cruise to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. Because I’m a poor teacher, I would not normally be going on a cruise; however, a close friend of mine and her family are going and they invited me. Since there was an odd number of them and my friend’s sister would have a room to herself and it was a mere $100 to add another person, they asked if I wanted to go. I hesitated at first because of finances, because I really didn’t have even $100 to spare. They said that if I would go, they’d take care of the $100 and the cruise would be free. Honestly, how could I pass it up? So I didn’t. I’ve saved up some money and receive some at Christmas to help pay for the incidentals (HRH’s healthcare costs have cut into that), but all in all, I think I will be okay. From what I have been told, there are three main extra costs to going on a cruise: 1) the excursions at the various ports, 2) alcoholic beverages, which I expect to consume copious amounts, and 3) souvenirs. I hope I have enough to cover these.

Anyway, there’s a lot to do to get ready before I leave. First of all, I need to get packed and make sure I don’t forget anything. Second, having a substitute for a week at school is more work than being there. Luckily, I have it worked out that I have reached a particular part in my curriculum for each of my classes to be able to show a movie in nearly all of them, and if I can be creative then I will be able to find a movie for all of them. However, in my class, watching a movie is never enough. Assignments have to be made for follow ups. I will have worksheets and essays for students to work on when the movies have finished. Third, I need to schedule blog posts for each day I will be at sea. Next week will probably be a few itinerary items, mixed in with some of my usual posts, but I’m sure most of it will be cruise or travel related. I have some ideas, so I hope that even though I will be gone and will not be able to respond to comments, you will tune in each day to see what I have in store for you. I promise I will do my best to make it fun. If nothing else, I know you will enjoy the pictures.

So it’s actually a good thing that it’s too cold to do anything today, I have a lot to get started on this week, and all of it will have to be finished by Friday.



Yesterday, I said that “my second resolution is to be more proactive in making myself happier. Which means, I am going to live each day to the fullest, and not shy away from opportunities. It also means that I am going to be more outgoing and build my self esteem. My second resolution means that I am going to work on personal growth, and this may be the most difficult of them all.

RB (I Just Wanna Be Happy) commented:

“Being more proactive about making myself happier”

This is an great resolution and something I am keenly interested in. The key question is “how.” How do you do this? The answer is surely different for every person, but I’d like to understand what you will do to accomplish this resolution. I think we could all learn from sharing on this topic.

I wanted to write more about this because it really made me think. I was purposely vague because I’m still considering the “the key question” of HOW? First of all, I have a major flaw I want to work on. I get very excited about things, and then, I stop and think about them and end up talking myself out of it. Grand ideas, but not so grand follow throughs. I hate this part of myself. A prime example, I will see a job announcement and get excited about the opportunity to find something better. I know I don’t always want to teach where I am teaching now: the pay is low, the kids are snobbish and rude, and there is rarely any rewards because the kids just have no ambition. So I’m always looking for a job teaching college, which I much prefer to middle and high school. The problem is, I get excited about a job announcement, but then I start to think about it more and more, until I talk myself out of applying. This is one of the things I want to change, if I am qualified, or mostly qualified, I’m going to try for the job. I may not get it, but if I don’t try, then I most certainly never will. Besides, if I don’t, it won’t be the first rejection letter that I’ve received from a job posting. So I am going to put myself out there more.

When there is an opportunity in front of me, I am going to try for it. If it’s a job, a man, a chance to get in better shape, whatever the opportunity is, when it knocks, I’m going to answer the door. I am tired of backing down. I am tired of not going after what I want. I am tired of not being more proactive in making myself happier.

I have self esteem issues. I never think I’m smart enough, or well spoken enough, or that I write very well. Being in graduate school beat me down a lot, in many ways. In some ways it was great, but I had an advisor who became the greatest hindrance to my education. He constantly told me that what I turned into him was crap. I’d take his suggestions to heart, fix everything he thought was wrong, then turn it back into him. He’d rip on that too, though I followed his advice to the letter. This would go on and on through numerous drafts until eventually, I would end up with something almost identical to the first draft. Only after all of that, would he finally sign off on something. I had a department chair that was the same way with my teaching. The thing is, and I don’t want to sound conceited here, but I am a good writer and teacher. I may not be great, but I am a succinct writer who doesn’t beat around the bush and end up with some esoteric bullshit that no one can understand. Most professors hate that I am concise and straightforward, and I don’t know why.

But what has changed my mind is this: I am a fantastic teacher and lecturer. I connect well with my students, and whether they want to or not, they leave my class with knowledge and usually with the desire to take my class again. Not because it is easy, but because they were challenged, and they learned in an entertaining way. Students learn from the first week of class that they’d better pay attention and take notes. Most importantly though, pay attention because you never know what I’m going to say next. Sometimes I get on a roll, the words are coming fast and furious (students often bring recorders or laptops so that they don’t miss anything), they leave there with a wow factor. I’ve had class go over ten or fifteen minutes past the end and the students nor I ever realize it. The point is, I am good at what I do, and from this point forward, I’m not going to let anyone get me down.

Like it or not, I’m a force to be reckoned with when I want to be, but most often I am shy and back down. No more am I going to let this happen. You may be reading this and thinking, “Joe has self esteem issues? He sounds pretty arrogant to me!” The fact is I’m not. For the most part I am the least arrogant and most humble self-deprecating person you will meet, but I know when I am good at something. I’m good at lecturing, and I’m good at cooking. Yet, I always want to seek approval for what I do well. However, what I want to change is to quit seeking approval and realizing that yes, I really am good at these things. I want to keep a journal (I’ve never been good at this, so who knows how long this will work). Each week, I want to write down something that I have done that week to be more assertive. You know what, I said I’m not good at journals, but I’ve posted daily to this blog for several years now, so maybe I’m not that bad at it. In fact, I’d love it if my readers will help me with being more assertive and positive about myself. From this point forward, at the bottom of my “Moment of Zen” posts on Saturday, I will write what I did that week to fulfill this resolution. If I don’t, call me out on it in the comments section. I am always much better when I am held accountable, because no matter how tired or sick I am, I have always posted each day (except when my grandmama was dying and I just didn’t have access to the internet enough to post). I post because I know it is expected, and if my readers expect me to fulfill my resolutions, I will do so.

So, will you guys help me with this? I’d greatly appreciate it.



I’m still aggravated with my students, but mainly because of their apathy. I just don’t understand it. Why wouldn’t someone want to learn? There is so much on this world to know, and ignorance is just not an excuse for me. I have always loved learning new things. I’ve always been one of those people (before the Internet age) who would look something up in the encyclopedia, find something else interesting along the way, read both, and then end up finding something else. I could spend hours perusing the encyclopedia. (Maybe I had a bit of ADD, LOL.) I’m the same way with Wikipedia and other information sources on the Internet. The difference now is that I can open a new tab instead of having three or four fingers holding my place for the next thing I wanted to read about.

I realize that this makes me a complete nerd. Then again it also makes me a great partner for Trivial Pursuit. I’m full of useless knowledge; some not so useless. Sometimes it just comes spilling out, and I have the fear that I’m a complete bore. I try to guard against that. A bore, a nerd, or whatever you would want to call me, I’ve always loved adding to my knowledge and reading new things. My love of learning is why student apathy frustrates me so much. I think it is something all teachers have to deal with at some point. It’s one of the reasons I loved teaching at the college where I was an adjunct. A lot of my students were older and had tried college once before but left because of apathy, then they realized what they were missing and were back to really learn this time around. Middle and high school students just don’t have that life experience yet to realize what they are missing. And it’s not just with my teaching because that would sound incredibly arrogant of me, but it is with nearly all teachers (many coaches are the exception). We have so much to give, and it gets frustrating when students don’t care.



Between students lying, coaches thinking winning is more important than a test, and my dogs getting out and running around the neighborhood, I had a very aggravating day yesterday.

First of all, a student told his parents that I am never in my classroom during class. That just pisses me off, since I am probably one of only teachers who never leaves their students in the classroom by themselves. If I have to go to the restroom, I wait until we are between classes. Once I get into my room in the morning, I rarely leave it except for break and lunch. The only time that I am not in my room is during my planning period because I am usually running off tests or other such errands.

The next thing was that one of our coaches took nearly half of my class to “practice” before they left for their game. Who has practice before leaving for an away game? I wouldn’t have minded as much, if I was not giving a major test. Was I asked if I had something important going on? No! Did I complain to our principal? Yes! Did anything get done about it? No! All of the students in the class got a reprieve and the test will be today because I did not want the students who did take the test to be able to tell those not there what was on it. They think they got an advantage, but they’re not smarter than me, no matter what they think. Since most of them weren’t listening when I was lecturing, an extra day will not do them any good. There is no way to pass this test if you had not listened in class.

The last thing was the dogs. I have a large fenced in backyard. For some reason the dogs decided to break through the fence. I spent nearly three hours fixing fences and corralling dogs back through the gate. Four times they got out, four times they found a new way out. Finally, I fixed all of the escape routes (fingers crossed, anyway). I was ready to kill them before it was over. Poor dogs, they had no idea how aggravated I already was today.

Sorry, but sometimes I just feel the need to bitch and gripe. I hope you guys don’t mind too much.

The End of Summer


Today is my last day of summer vacation. I go back to school tomorrow. We have teacher workdays Thursday and Friday, then the students come back on Monday. Where has my summer gone? It really feels like the school year just ended last week. I always think of summer as being three months off, but we really only got two months off. I am not ready for school to start back. Smart-mouthed kids, lazy students, and early mornings…YUCK!

I’m going to spend my last day of freedom reading. This hasn’t been the best summer; it’s actually been pretty stressful. However, some of my stresses have recently been relieved, and I was just starting to recover and relax some. Now it all comes to an end.

My hope is that this will be a great school year, and that the students that I am dreading dealing with this year won’t be as bad as I expect.