D’s Wayback Machine part ][

So, you wanted some more pics, particularly pics of me?  Well, I’ll meet you partway- here are some pics, most with me in them, but you have to figure out which of those younguns is my younger self. 😈

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Oh, most them are clickable for larger versions.  Maybe I’ll go back and rescan some of the other ones in larger versions later. (done)

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Let’s start with extracurricular activities.  Outside of band, this was something I generally had nothing to do with, even in high school for the most part, but way back in 6th grade I seem to have partaken in one, though I have no memory of it.  And I only did it for that year apparently, perhaps because my aforementioned nemesis was also in the club.  Which club?  Well, it wasn’t a sport- shame on you if you know me and thought that! 😀 )It wasn’t drama as I wouldn’t take an interest until my final year of high school.  It wasn’t choir as that interest came even later.  It wasn’t backgammon, debate, french, leathercraft, comic books, D&D, or CO2 cars.  Wait- the school had backgammon and D&D clubs??  I think you might be able to guess it, it was none other than the beginning computer club.  Here is a picture- at least I’m 90% sure it is me in the photo- the 6th grade yearbook doesn’t give names under the photos for these group pictures.  The geeks among you might make a connection from this photo with the title of this post.

Beginning Computer Club

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The next several are of the one extracurricular activity that I was a part of for eight years.  Once I failed to make the army band, and then proceeded to fail an army physical (don’t ask, but- phew!) I quit altogether.  That was okay, I picked up singing a short time later when I became interested in musical theatre.  The first three are the normal concert bands.  In 6th I was in the lower band of course, strangely called “intermediate” as if there was another, lower band.  I suppose if you counted 5th grade band as the lowest instead, then I guess intermediate worked.  In 7th and 8th grades I was in the top band (symphonic), a trend that would not necessarily continue in high school.  The last two photos were from jazz band, which I was a part of in 7th and 8th grades.

6th Intermediate Band

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7th Symphonic Band

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8th Symphonic Band

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7th Jazz Band

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8th Jazz Band.

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No, I don’t remember why I put a big X through the saxophonist in the last photo.  I guess I didn’t like him.  I believe I had something nasty written on his other photo too.  I do remember he introduced me to the handheld Donkey Kong game & watch from Nintendo which he brought back from Japan.  When I discovered it was being sold on this side of the Pacific too, I obtained one for myself using the tried and true method every young income-free person uses at one time or another (“Can I have it Mom? Pleeeeeeze?”) 🙂

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The next few photos are just some random photos without me:

Gym

Just a photo to show what our gym uniforms looked like. Check out those socks we once wore!
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Wrestling

Urg- one of the two intramurals I have vivid recollections of. One was floor hockey when I didn’t understand what an “assist” was and tried to enter my name as one who assisted a goal which I did not. In one of the grades, I don’t remember which, I remember I truly stunk at wrestling and won the first game not because I actually remembered how to do the wrestling moves, but because my opponent was even worse. The next game saw me pinned within seconds.  And those socks again…  Nowadays intramurals are optional, but not in the early 80s.
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Check out those pants...

Even worse than the socks were the trousers on that teacher! 😛
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ArcheryCross-country skiing

Two gym activities I know for a fact the school doesn’t do anymore- too bad. Current kids do get ping-pong instead though…

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My school

A photo of the old junior high building. I think someone had said it was built in the 1920s, but I may be remembering wrong. It was replaced by a new one in the last 10 years or so.

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Couldn’t figure out which one was me in each photo, maybe because you never met me? Okay, okay- here’s a little help from the lunchroom:

Eating lunch

Life Update

Whew. Okay, I have now gone through my junior high yearbooks and will soon have a post or two on that topic. Several memories, some forgotten mysteries, and general strangeness. More on that to come. I still have four high school band yearbooks (yes, the band had its own yearbook) and my one surviving yearbrickbook from my freshman year, but I won’t wait on those books- they will be a post or two all by themselves.

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So what have I been up to?  More of the same, really.  A couple days a week are dedicated to just looking at and fixing photos online, usually adjusting the color when they are too blue or brightening dim or dark photos.  I also report photo problems I cannot fix like photos taken at bad angles or ones so dark (or bright) that they can’t be properly fixed.  The other days I am still out in the field taking pictures at my own stores (soon to be given away so I can be free to fly out at any time) or helping another photographer who has been inundated as of late.  Just Tuesday, she did over 50 cars with the assistance of the co-owner.  She wants to give up some of the stores, but the owners like her too much apparently- for good reason as she is a very good photographer.

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Besides that I have been rehearsing for Easter choir.  I finally got the music I need to practice at home.  For some reason they thought it would be a great idea to distribute the private link to the music over facebook instead of just emailing it to everyone, so when I realized an email was not forthcoming, I had to finally ask someone in the choir for the music.  No, not everyone uses facebook and I have no intentions of ever signing up, especially after hearing about what’s happening with Myspace and a company called Infochimps right now.

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As for now, it’s a weekend of rest.  Two days off from work, no choir until next week, and no 4th/5th grade ministry.  I do enjoy what I do most of the time (even if fixing photos is a bit tedious), but it’s nice to have a rest now and then.

Time to close this blog?

Seeing that today is the one month anniversary of my last blog post about my life, that is a valid question.  The filler is interesting, but what about my two jobs, one of which was once the emphasis of this blog?  This week was actually a milestone for my new job.  For the first time my commission exceeds the $50/day they have been paying me since the start of training last June.  It’s still not much, but the job promises to pay more eventually.  And what about the camera training the owners have asked me to take charge of?  One of them has plugged me as the national camera trainer to one of the clients after they noticed my pictures are pretty good.  Great- a standard to live up to! 😛 .I still wonder how much I will be paid for this training whenever it happens.

At the moment I am subbing, or trying to, for two full days a week plus mornings five days every two weeks (every other week I go to two places on Friday so I can’t sub that day).  I am signed up in three districts this year but so far have only worked in two.  What?  Yes I did say two before, but then the third sent me a welcome note without my having signed up again so I stuck with it.  Since they were the source of some of my jobs so far, it looks like I made the right choice there.  I have subbed for one (half) day of middle school so far- the rest have been in elementary schools.  I actually took a bilingual first grade job- something I try to avoid during the main part of the year.  I also just took a job for a kindergarten morning Monday at the very school I went to for K through most of 2.  Oddly enough, while I can remember the names of all my other elementary teachers, I can’t for this school.  I wonder if I will be in the same classroom I was in for my own kindergarten?  I wonder if I will even recognize anything at the school.  I am pretty sure I took no assignments there last year.

Let’s see what I can say about the jobs I’ve taken so far.  The first-grade bilingual class was a little rough as the plans the teacher left were not very detailed, often requiring me or one of the assistants who were in and out of the room throughout the day to find the required materials.  The kids were also not very good listeners, but whether that was because of limited English skills or other reasons I couldn’t say.  Another couple of days I was in a position where there were no plans.  These were for special-ed teachers who didn’t even have set schedules yet being the beginning of the year so I ended up helping out in different classrooms throughout the day.  I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if I found out that they came in the next day and said, “I had a sub?”  I don’t think I was expected…  The junior high job was a teacher who had both 7th and 8th grade classes, and all I did was supervise as they used computers to work on projects.  I was worried when not just my classes, but others as well used the laptops throughout the morning with little time to charge them, but according to one teacher the batteries actually hold out for some six hours or so, something I have never heard of in laptops.  My own computer lasts for three or less, but with with its specs I am not surprised.

So why have I not been keeping up on my friend’s blogs even if I couldn’t be bothered to update my own?  I don’t know.  If you want refrain from posting commenting in return I will understand.

While I’m waiting…

I wrote a post two days ago, but because it involves a video I need permission to link to and the ones I asked have yet to respond.  Well, I don’t really know if I’ve asked them yet or not- if I send an email asking a question, is it asked when I hit the send button or when they read the email?  Apparently they are swamped at work right now.  Sigh.

So, how about this week then?  Well, on Monday I drove to Crystal Lake to observe a job photographing cars for online/magazine classifieds.  While this sort of job is done by one person at any given dealership (or rather, group of dealerships) there were two there I was able to observe and question since one was in training.  Training?  I wasn’t told about that, or the meager $250/week during such training, but hey- it’s $250/week more than what I made over the last several summers.  I guess it’s roughly equivalent to an $8/hr fulltime job, but only when training.  After that, it’s $7/car commission.  The ones I observed do around 100 cars a week, so that’s $700 per week right there.  I called the owner back Wednesday and said I was still interested, and will meet with him next week.

Tuesday I felt like I was in uniform with the rest of the kids as I subbed in 4th grade.  You see, the school I was at has a dress code (the only one in any of the districts I’m in as far as I know, well besides the standard stuff like no exposed midriffs, no beer t-shirts, etc).  They can wear red or blue polo shirts with I suppose certain pants or shorts (not sure of the exact code on the legwear), and I just happened to wear a red polo shirt that day so I ended up matching a third of the class 😀 .At one point during the day all the red-shirts were grouped together in the same general area doing partner work and I just had to comment on it.  And for the Trekkie readers, yes we all survived as we weren’t on an away mission 😛 .It was a pretty enjoyable day.

Wednesday I was in another elementary school subbing for an MI (mentally impaired) teacher.  He had eight kids, mostly 6th grade, so they were in their last days at this school.  So was the teacher apparently as he will be retiring after this year.  In fact, there seem to be half a dozen retirees-to-be at this supersized district school- When parking that morning I saw no less than six reserved spots for retiring teachers, including the teacher I subbed for.  I didn’t park in his spot, but I wonder if I should have?  Back to the class, Ironically, the largest student there was one of the 5th grade girls.  It was mostly a day of simple things like alphabetizing words, identifying letters and coins, and reading a simple book with them.  The end of the day had the students making predictions on how many blocks the kids could stack in a minute, then seeing how good their predictions were.  There was one who liked making predictions of forty-something or seventy-something, even after seeing the last student stack less than 20.  Well, I said what sort of class this is.  Theu also made cards for the teacher which is how I really discovered he was retiring since I had mostly ignored the names on the reserved parking signs on the way in.

Today saw me back in supersized district for 7th grade language arts.  For the first time in a long time, I saw one of my former students from church in one of the three block periods I had.  This school apparently has an abundance of teachers as the average class size was only 15 students.  In junior high.  This would seem to me to be the probably first place for cutbacks if they have any for next year from our sagging economy.  The students listened to a reading of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling, which I just now discovered while finding these Wikipedia links is actually a short story in The Jungle Book, which likewise I never knew until now is a short story collection rather than a full novel.  I knew the movies were based on the book of course, I just always thought it was a novel- you learn something new every day!  Of course, never having read the book this was the first time reading this story for me as well.

So that catches me up for now.  Hopefully I can move that one post from drafts tomorrow, just as soon as I get the permission I’m sure they’ll give once they have a chance to respond to my email.

And so it begins…

The first job I selected for the fourth district I am now in may still be coming, but the second job was a two-day job for 8th grade language arts.  It was at the school where I know a few of the kids from my church.  As it turns out the school is only about a half mile from my church too.  I noticed on the map that this school was comprised of two buildings: an elementary and a junior high school.  As such, I did not expect to run into them since they are in elementary.  As it turns out, the schools were connected and there is some shared space such as the cafeteria.  I still didn’t run into them on the first day though.  It was actually the second day when I was entering the building that I saw two of them.  They were early because they were doing broadcasting, which is becoming increasingly common in schools these days.  At this school I would guess the elementary and junior high sides share this as well, with the elementary using it in the morning and the junior high in the afternoon during their homeroom.

This day was divided into two-period blocks again, another common thing in junior high/middle school that I did not have when I was in junior high.  Reading and other english classes were separate.  Would you believe I had a dedicated spelling class in 6th grade?  “What class do you have next- math?  Gym?  Social studies?”  “No, I have spelling.”  I don’t even recall what we did all week outside of the pre- and post-tests.  I do remember some of the tests were verbal though, and not a fun game like sparkle either.  There was one time they gave me the word “anxiety” and I mumbled something like “angziety” but when asked to repeat myself louder I changed my answer and got it right- total luck.

The first two blocks were 8th grade as the job description promised.  On Thursday they had a test which followed the daily “caught ya”  sentence correction.  Easy enough for me.  Following that we started an Edger Allan Poe story in their books.  Rather than reading it together there was a CD recording.  Unfortunately this was so soft the room had to be absolutely silent in order to hear the reader.  We only got through a few pages of this.  I tried to play it on the DVD player and see if it came out any louder through the TV than the portable CD player, but oddly enough the DVD player didn’t recognize the CD.  Did it only play DVDs?  First time I’ve ever encountered a DVD player that didn’t play CDs, unless it was just this one for some reason.

The last block was 7th grade.  They started the same way, with a daily sentence and a test.  The same test in fact as eighth grade.  Huh?  She gives the same lesson to both grades?  Well, not in every case as it turns out.  Following the test we did vocabulary and were supposed to do a worksheet on symbolism in poetry afterward, though we ran out of time before finishing the vocabulary.

Between these blocks was the 4th period lunch, starting at 10:07.  I guess I should really say breakfast.  Remember I mentioned the two schools sharing some space?  Well this early lunch was a consequence of that.  I am pleased to say I didn’t truly get a chance to eat until 1:30.  The teacher I was subbing for only had the first and last periods of (not counting homeroom, which follows the last period).  She apparently has lunch duty during 4th.  As the general rule goes, if the teacher has a job (s)he gets paid extra for, the sub doesn’t do it.  If it’s part of the regular duties, the sub has to do it too.  Some schools pay a stipend for lunch duty, some don’t.  This one does, so even though I didn’t get to eat until late I was quite happy because this school is an exception to the rule and gives subs a chance to earn stipend pay in cases like this, so I did! 🙂

The last ten minutes of the day was homeroom.  That’s right, ten minutes.  Well, they had to fit in the broadcast announcements some time, and elementary uses the room at the start of the day, so enter homeroom period.  There is not enough time to work on homework in the last few minutes following announcements, so the kids get to chat.

Friday was similar to Thursday, except the plans were different.  8th grade watched a video, again on Edgar Allan Poe, and 7th grade finally got to work on POEtry (sorry, my bad attempt at a pun) once they finished vocabulary.  Following homeroom, I got a surprise: another student from my church.  He’s in 7th grade now, but when he was in 4th grade I had him on the weekends.  He should have been with me for 5th grade too, except he was allowed to start going to the church’s junior high program for some reason I never fathomed.  Ironic, considering as far as school is concerned this district doesn’t start junior high until 7th grade.  I was going to mention this to his dad since I volunteer with him, but he wasn’t there this weekend.

So, how was your week? 🙂

First full week, finally

Did I really not post about my teaching for the last week?  Well, let’s see what I can remember.  Monday I worked as a special ed teacher at a junior high.  The teacher I subbed for I remember used to work in the district’s therapeutic day school program which is a program for students with particularly strong behavioral problems.  They even had large people specifically trained to restrain problem students and bring them to a cooling-off room when required.  I actually subbed for him in that position a couple of years ago.  These days he has moved to those with lesser, but still behavioral, problems.  Much of the day was quite simple with either team teaching (read “sub acts as teaching assistant”) or resource periods where students would work on homework.  He did have a language arts block at the end of the day though.  I did have an assistant to help as I worked with a group at a time so it wasn’t too bad.  We read a story about grey wolves.  The fun began last period, which was a study hall.  That’s when a lot of the behavior problems came out.  No, that’s not true- the last group of language arts was a struggle as well.  They were pretty much the same students in both cases in any event.

Tuesday I worked in grade 1. And 2.  And 3.  And 4.  And 5.  And- no, I’m finished…  I was in fact a floater.  I took over classes for an hour at a time.  I do wish they had organized the meetings a little more in my favor though.  I actually had to go from one end of the school to the other end at one point, a few minute walk due to the design of the building when I had to be in the next room right away.  Fortunately in that case the kids in the second class had been sent out to recess so the teacher was able to go to her meeting though I had not yet arrived.  It was overall an easy day and I was mostly able to talk directly with the teachers before and after meaning no written notes.

Wednesday I was in music.  This was actually the most challenging assignment.  The kids in many of the classes were very talkative.  Grades were mixed here too of course, from second to sixth (not inclusive- I had no third graders).  The older ones were the most challenging.  We did some music games the teacher had left, including instrument bingo (a standard) and a game where they formed musical symbols on the ground with their bodies.  That one was fun.

Thursday- let me look it up.  Ah yes, 5th grade.  Pretty normal though I had one very challenging boy in that class.  I’m not the only one who had problems with him either- I overheard a conversation in the lounge about him.  Apparently when we switched for math (I had the advanced class and did pan balance problems with them- similar to hands on equations I think I mentioned once before) he refused to do any work at all.  Well, with me he worked slowly but he did work.  He got distracted very easily though.  In the end he wasn’t as bad as some students I have had, but still a challenge nonetheless.

Friday I was in another special ed classroom.  The three sixth graders- wow.  Next to ELL a couple of years ago they were the most troublesome.  It was at this same school by the way…   One of the sixth grades is apparently on ADHD medication.  His parents I’m told are quite good at making sure he comes to school ready and medicated.  Guess which day they forgot?  Yep.  Once he had his meds after lunch he was a pleasure to work with.  Of the other two one was got very easily distracted and the other tended to work on only what he wanted to work on and was quite belligerent toward another student.  Two of the three finished their science assignment by the end of the day (worked on during no less than three periods…) and one even finished his math assignment.  There was one seventh grader who mostly worked independently and an eighth grader who wasn’t a problem when working, but he got some bad family news in the middle of the day and he was pretty much done working at that point.

Well, that was how my week went.  Now who would like to join me in subbing?  Come on, there must be one of you… 😛

A new home

Our 4th and 5th grade ministry has been undergoing some changes as of late.  Early this summer the one who headed it up for the last several years passed the reigns over to the one who had been running the younger ages for some time.  His own duties now encompass the entire children’s and student ministries, as well as co-running the church camp.  Anyway, things for the last few months have been running pretty much as before with a few new policies thrown in- things like changing the reward system (for memorizing verses, doing devotions, etc) and having us interact more with the parents.

Well, transition period is over and things are a-changing.  A few weeks ago someone who had been with us a few years ago came back and has been placed in a position organizing the 4th/5th grade ministry as a part of his studies at Moody Bible Institute, and he is full of ideas.  He has made a few changes already and probably the biggest one this weekend is that we are now to call the children who are in our small groups weekly.  We took down their phone numbers and I have a list of about six or seven who I will need to call this week.  Next week some of them will go with one of the new leaders who has sat in the last couple of weeks and will be ready to lead some of the kids next week on his own and so he will become responsible for calling them.  I hope we get more 5th graders next week though as they were pretty much outnumbered by the 4th graders and I would like to have a larger group than three or four after we split.  Unfortunately at least one of them usually attends at a different service so I will lose him for sure.  Oh, another change was to go back to splitting groups by grade as we have been just splitting by gender for the last year.  I will be first to admit that we have been getting lax over the years so changes are refreshing and will hopefully benefit the students.

The biggest change however has nothing to do with the staffing changes.  While this weekend we started with phone lists, we also started in a different room.  The room we are in now was at one time exclusively for junior high school, and on Sat night/Sun morning since junior high didn’t meet (they meet Sunday nights) it was used as a live video feed for those who for some reason weren’t in the regular worship center (parents with crying children who took their children out of the worship center for example).  However, they redid the area in front of the church and that has become the new live video area.  So now we are back in the junior high room.  Wait, did I say back?  Yes, when we started the ministry, breaking it off from the rest of the grade school ministry, it met in this very same room.  I’m not sure why, but at some point they moved us to a different room (maybe this was the start of live video feed?) and we finally ended up in the school library after that wing was remodeled and second floor added.  Now that we’ve outgrown that room we’re back in the original room, only now it is better than before.  We have a full sound and video system including microphones if we need it, we have games like foosball, carpetball, and air hockey that the kids can play before the service starts and while waiting to be picked up, and the room just looks nicer than it did nine years ago.  Yes, I have been doing it for that long.  Who knows, maybe my calling might be to leave this church and organize a similar ministry at a smaller church?  Or maybe just stay here for another nine years.

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