Not Much to Talk About When You're Not at School Everyday

As it turns out, Michigan isn't so bad in the summer, especially when the temperature has dropped to the mid-seventies and the humidity has disappeared! It's downright nice out! Wow!
For those of you dying to know, I have been spending my lazy days reading, making cards, and playing with our new kittens. Our two kitties have yet to be named. It's become a real conundrum, and I'm afraid that Max will forever refer to them as "cat" and "other cat". We've gone through several possibilities, but none seem to stick (suggestions? anyone?). So for now, we just watch them tackle each other, chase golf balls, chase birds, and rest in our laps. I've waited twenty-five years to own a real pet (our bird Gaby doesn't count--she didn't enjoy being petted), and I can't believe the day is finally here!

Job Hunt/Haunt

I'm having recurring nightmares. In these nightmares, I've been hired as a special ed teacher a month into the school year. Nothing is prepared. There are usually between forty and fifty kids, spanning four grade levels, who all need my individual attention. Since there is nothing planned, I fly by the seat of my pants. Oh, and the aide they give me is incompetent.

It's usually a relief to wake up...

We Made It!

Well, we've Arrived. After thirty-six hours in the car, we've officially moved to Michigan (though we are hanging out with the in-laws until we find a place of our own). The drive was largely uneventful: we drove through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas (hi Sandi!), Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and finally Michigan. Missouri wins as the state with the lowest gas prices ($2.69 I think). Aside from one horror-movie-like encounter with a Motel 6, we got here safely. On the agenda for the next few weeks: 1) find a job, 2) find a house, 3) help my sister plan her wedding, 4) get to know our two new kittens!

I'll keep you posted.

The Last Day

Some thoughts on the Last Day:
  • You know you're moving when you end up eating ice cream straight out of the carton.... with a long wooden spoon.
  • Field Day goes much smoother when you recruit a fifth grade class to be in charge of everything.
  • If the school rule is "no backpacks" on the last day, then why even send the kids?
  • We're having a DHH party at a local Mexican restaurant after the last school bell rings. I'm going to feel guilty for partying when Max is home packing and cleaning. I owe him!
  • I am really, really, really, really, really going to miss everyone here!

Happy Summer Everyone! Tomorrow, we're off to Michigan! Thirty-six hours of carsickness.... yea!

I Would Like Some Cheese with this Whine

I feel sick.

I don't know if it's the stress of cleaning/packing/organizing my classroom, or if it's the taquitos/sprite/strawberry shortcake I had for lunch, or if it's the impending goodbyes coming up tomorrow.... But, I keep thinking any minute now I'm going to explode. Plus, I am very sore from lugging around thirty pounds of Mexican food for our all-staff party yesterday (which was a lot of fun, by the way, even if the pinto bean sauce did drip all down the side of my shirt and in the trunk of my car). I am just not cut out for all of this manual labor :).

In any case, there has been much merriment, and much work. I'm looking forward to going to the Pizza Bakery for the last time tonight!!

Sweet Dreams

Quick update before I head off to bed:
  • We are getting closer and closer to having everything ready by Saturday morning for our move, though it still feels like there are a million details to take care of.
  • Today was the Talent Show--at three separate performance times, my whole class sang (and danced) a rousing "Here come the monkeys" (aka: the Banana song). This was our speech therapist's idea, so I just got to relax and watch! They did great, the parents loved it, and I will have the Banana Song stuck in my head for the rest of the summer. Guaranteed.
  • This evening, my wonderful colleagues threw me a goodbye party at a local Mexican eatery. I got to see a colleague who has been on maternity leave for the past month, and I got to see my wonderful aide again (who's been out on disability since April!). The food was great, the company was fantastic, and they even rewrote the words to "Why do fools fall in love" (Elvis) in my honor--and serenaded me in the restaurant! I've been so blessed by them all.... I will really miss everyone!

Glorified Babysitter

When I was little, I used to get really upset with my parents if they took me out of school a few days early in June. There was no reason for this, as I now understand that there is no academic learning which occurs in the last week. So I'm filling my days with special "end-of-the-year activities" and "language games".

This afternoon was particularly easy because it was the last day that my volunteer was coming in and we just had to throw her a party (I will take any excuse for a party). The kids made her thank-you cards and everything. When she showed up, she surprised us all with twelve large chocolate milkshakes from TK Burgers. (Did I mention that I absolutely LOVE her?). And when the kids were all hyped up from the sugar (new vocab word: "brain freeze"--see?? It is a learning experience!), they opened up a good-bye gift from her: a decent-sized water gun. Well, now, I know where to draw the line, and instead of letting them try it out immediately, they all had to put the toys in their backpacks and run two laps around the track.

And I only had one kid get sick.

Ode to Dad

It has recently come to my attention that 1) it's Father's Day, and 2) I didn't send my dad a card, not even an e-card. I know, I'm a terrible daughter! I was much too busy planning crafts for my students to make to give to their fathers than to think about my own.

So, in an effort to correct this most grievous mistake, I will use this venue to honor my dad as well as make him famous among my millions upon millions of readers. I want to say thank you for all those times when I was so ungrateful as a kid....

  • Remember that time when I was nine and it was the weekend or a school break or something and I sat on the couch and whined and whined about how bored I was? You decided to pack the whole family into the car, bring some food and some floaty toys and drive out to the lake for a fun-filled day. I had a great time. And when we got home that evening and I started to whine about how bored I was again, you only yelled at me a little bit. It was the first time I really started to think about the feelings of others. Thank you for that.

  • Remember all of those times when we were all in the car and I would complain about how hot I was, so you would turn on the AC, and then two minutes later I would complain about how cold I was so you would turn on the heat? And how I would repeat the whole cycle again and again throughout the whole trip? Thank you for being patient with me.

  • Remember when you were in language school that first year in France and it was so hard and so frustrating? Thank you for not giving up on God's call.

  • Remember when you yelled at that awful second grade teacher who slapped me in the face for not correcting my paper in the right color? Thank you for standing up for me.

  • Remember when we were in the states for furlough and you made us visit all those churches with you and listen to your same sermon every Sunday? Thank you for not ever making me sing a French song in front of all those people.

  • Remember when you and mom sent me to BFA a whole year early? Thank you for making that sacrifice.

  • Remember when you wore those outrageous 2000 glasses at my high school graduation because you thought they were so cool even though they weren't? Thank you for teaching me to always be myself.

  • Remember when you never gave me a curfew time in high school, but only insisted that I brush my teeth before I left the house? Thank you for trusting me. And for setting a good example for my oral hygiene.

  • Remember when I had you for my biology teacher and you insisted on not giving me any special treatment, yet looked the other way when I sat in the back of your class and knitted a scarf? Thank you for your special treatment.

  • Remember when you and mom were so supportive of Max and I getting married so early? Thank you for giving our marriage a great start.

  • Remember when you wanted me to buy the more expensive wedding dress because it made me feel prettier? Thank you for spoiling me.

  • Remember all those times throughout my life when you and mom prayed for me, and I didn't know it? Thank you for that.

And, to properly repay you for all that you've done for me, I've decided that we're finally going to buy you that car you've always wanted:

I love you dad!

Next Job, Please

Well.... I didn't get the job. It was VERY considerate of them to tell me today instead of making me wait for three weeks as they had originally indicated. They decided to go with two people they knew, even though I was an "outstanding candidate" and it was a "very difficult decision".

This new development means that next year I will not be a teacher of the deaf/hard-of-hearing. Although I know that the Lord has a plan in all of this, it still does funny things in my mind to think of myself teaching any other population. For some reason, I was pretty convinced it was my destiny. My only other options are general ed, or a different branch of special ed. Or not teach at all (YIKES!). I'm really looking forward to see how the Lord will provide in this situation.... I just need to be patient (ha!).

Next Question, Please

I had an over-the-phone interview this morning at 7. I was anxious to do well, as this district is offering the only two oral deaf positions in the state. Yes, in the state. I was also aware that they had been interviewing all day yesterday and will still be continuing the interview process tomorrow (and I'm pretty sure most of their applicants are new graduates from a certain college nearby). 

I am pretty confident about my job skills (hopefully not too confident), so my immediate thought upon waking this morning was "bring it on". When they finally called (three people were listening in and asking questions), we talked for about an hour. I expected some of their questions, such as: "discuss the process involved for a MET and an IEP" and "what do you do to ensure that all hearing aids are working properly?". But some questions were a bit vague, like "describe how you foster students' cognitive development". 

And a small series of questions almost made me gasp from holding back the giggles.... They asked me to define what a compound sentence was, what a complex sentence was, what an adjective and an adverb were, and what an indirect object and direct object were! I realize that they were trying to gauge my understanding of language structures, but Max (who was listening from the other room) wondered if I was actually auditioning for Jeopardy instead of interviewing for a potential job.

By the way, the two openings are for junior high and for preschool. I'll let you guess which one I'm really gunning for. :)

A Warm Welcome

Yesterday, I took the day off so I could work on some projects at home. Yesterday was also my new substitute-aide's first day. This is how my kids welcomed her according to her report:

"Our teacher is 25"
"How old are you?"

Thankfully, she decided to stay with us anyway. :)

The Teacher Learns a Lesson

I've never had my nails professionally done. Not even for my wedding.

So you can imagine my surprise when one of my students' parents handed me a twenty-dollar gift certificate to Happy Nails for Teacher Appreciation Week last month! I finally used it yesterday, when two of my colleagues and I decided to go out for lunch, then get our nails done. I was expecting a very nice, relaxing experience, and I anticipated feeling pampered...

What I got was a hurried, harried experience. I wasn't prepared for two major factors:

1) The two women who worked with my feet and with my hands were Asian, and their accents were so thick that they might as well have been speaking in their native language. Their English was so bad that I'm pretty sure I could have spoken better Spanish... and I don't know any words in Spanish.

2) Apparently, nail salon employees are trained in the very fine art of nickel and dime-ing their customers. It's like going up to the ice cream counter and asking for a free sample of one of the flavors--then, before you know what's happening, the lady is piling five massive scoops into a chocolate covered waffle cone. And all you have is a dollar in your pocket!

Had I known these two facts, I would have been much more prepared, and much more assertive about what I wanted and what I didn't want. And I wouldn't have racked up an extra thirty dollars onto my bill. As it was, my awesome colleagues argued with the people at the cash register (while I cowered in the corner) that I had been taken advantage of, and insisted that all the extra charges for the extra treatments that I "wanted" should be dropped.

They were. And my nails look really, really nice.


Today my kids discovered the noise an empty gatorade bottle makes when you bonk it against your head or your arm. It was truly a novel noise to them.

In related news, I have a headache.


I sometimes marvel at my students' concrete grasp of language. Today, at an assembly, we saw an incredible production of "By the Great Horn Spoon" by a drama company. So many costumes, great folksy music, and hilarious actors. I realized right away that much of the story line was over my kids' heads with sophisticated vocabulary, accents, and whatnot. But that was okay, because the performance was entertaining in so many other ways.

And I was kept entertained by laughing at my students (in a good way, I promise). At one point, the actors were pretending that they were on a boat and landing in San Fransisco. All six actors excitedly pointed to the back of the room and shouted "LOOK!" There were at least one hundred other kids in the auditorium--my kids were the only ones to look behind them, eagerly trying to see what the actors were looking at. Then they looked at me and said "What?" "What is it?".

Later in the program one of the actors was giving a "haircut" to another actor. He had a huge curly black wig, complete with beard. The "barber" cut furiously at the air, threw fake tufts above his head (taken from inside his sleeve, no doubt), then lifted up a towel in front of his hairy customer and gave a couple of shakes. When he lowered the towel, the customer magically had a nice tailored haircut... the difference was huge! It was all quite comical--especially when I heard an audible gasp of shock and awe from one of my girls :)

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

As a teacher of the deaf/hard-of-hearing, one of my pet peeves is when my kids expect me to talk for them when they are perfectly able to talk for themselves...

Today, during a math lesson, one of my students had to go see our on-site audiologist because of a problem with his hearing aid. He missed out on the explanation part of the lesson, and when he got back, the rest of the kids were busily working on their assignment. So he sat down at his desk, looked at his assignment/paper and raised his hand for help. When I got to his desk, he pointed at his paper... Silently. Expectantly. I decided not to say anything and wait him out. It didn't work (turns out, I had used up all of my patience earlier in the morning). So I prompted him: "Use your words to ask me for help". Well, he looked at his paper, then looked up at me, then back down to his paper, and clearly he was struggling to put together a sentence in a question form. He finally said "I don't know how to do it". Being the stickler that I am, I said: "Can you ask me with a question?"

Then, he looked up at me through his white-blond hair with his big blue eyes surrounded by freckles and said: "Can you teach me?"

Thou Shalt Not Covet

Saturday was a Great Day. I recently found out that a friend of mine from church is really into rubber stamping/card-making/altered art, and she invited me to come over and use her stuff (since all of my stuff is sitting in a big box two thousand miles away, and I miss it--desperately). So on Saturday, I came with my own blank cards and some paper and went to town!

She had the sweetest setup--they have a carpeted garage, and she has a customized desk and shelves to hold the thousands and thousands of dollars worth of stamping stuff. It was like walking into heaven! She had over fifty different kinds of ink alone. Then there were at least a hundred rubber stamps to choose from. Then there was all kinds of embellishments like ribbon, buttons, stickers, etc. Oh, and crates full of paper. I could hear the angels singing down from heaven.... The time went by SO fast. She was so nice to let me come over and play--she even invited me back! It's just too bad I have a day job.
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