Category: work (page 2 of 2)


That’s me, the one in the black.

Yes, I know it’s fuzzy; I was running. More specifically, I was trying to get around #4 so I could get the ball. I was unsuccessful.

Today was the annual teacher-student basketball game. I have been at the school for 13 years, and this is the first time I’ve played in it. We (the teachers) lost, 42-16, which was ok because the students were members of the senior team who came this -> <- close to winning the Championship again this year. I can’t speak for the other teachers, but I was kinda expecting to get schooled.

I joked with some of the seniors afterward that the last time I played basketball was when I was in high school, in 1977 (actually, was using that as my excuse for my blatant rule-breaking. Shh…don’t tell them). I had a blast, and rode those exercise endorphins all day. I wore braces on both knees and while they are sore here at the end of the day, it’s just the ache of muscles that had to work more than they are used to.

Honestly, sometimes I think breaking my knee might have been the best thing to happen to me at this stage of my life. It’s forced me to lose weight, to be more active, to take a few risks.



It’s a rare day indeed when I leave work and don’t feel like somehow, somewhere, I made a mess of it.  It’s usually as I walk out the building that some words come back to me, and I see them in a different light and wonder who might have interpreted them other than how I meant them. We have all had that teacher who, with a flippant comment heard at a wrong moment, has inflicted some damage completely unknowingly, but deep enough to leave a mark.

Today was a rare day. I walked to the bus and thought, yeah, that went well. I was helpful, and kind and laughed with, not at. It was a good teaching day.

Which of course means that it likely wasn’t. Teaching teenage girls is like that.

Sometimes I think that going skipping through a mine field would be easier, less fraught with disaster.

Sundays really are tedious

The list of things I was supposed to accomplish today wasn't that long. I could have gotten through them, or at least some of them. But I didn't.

I did the usual Sunday stuff; did laundry, made soup, got some writing done, practiced guitar. I should have made cookies though since I promised the grade 9's that if I didn't have their marks ready for Monday that I would give them cookies. Their marks are not ready and I guess I need to stop for cookies on the way in to work.

Me and my big mouth.

I did play around with Processing a bit and explored the Media Computation website from Georgia Tech that one of the presenters from yesterday suggested. It has potential, and works with the Python lessons I was planning for second term. So today wasn't a total wash.


Stepped on the scales today, and the number no longer starts with a 2, which makes me quite happy.


FIve more days until the NaBloPoMo is over. I've mostly liked this, but after 25 days have come to the conclusion that my life is not nearly interesting enough for daily updates. Maybe not even weekly for that matter.



7:00am: the cat meows by my ear. I ignore her. She is old, and like all old ladies she really hates it when the routine is disrupted. She does this for a few seconds, realizes me getting up is not going to happen, then turns to lay down. In so doing she flicks her tail over my face. Again and again.

7:15 am: move the cat by a series of increasingly forceful shoves. Funny how a 13 lb cat can suddenly take on the density of a small black hole. Tail no longer in my face. We both go back to sleep.

8:00 am: I should get up. I have a computer teachers conference to go to. I see the sun peeking in around the edges of the blind and decide that if it's going to be sunny, I'm going to stay home and enjoy the day. I go back to dozing.

8:45 am: Remember the two seminars that I really wanted to see at the conference, a workshop on processing.js and a session on getting more girls in computer sciences. Merde. I get up. I stagger around slowly until I see the clock and realize that I have only 45 minutes to shower, get dressed and transit down there.

9:10 am: out the door. I run for the bus, and the driver actually stops and waits for me. Realizing that there is no way I can make the opening keynote. Since I don't remember who that is, I'm not stressing over it.

9:30 am: transit luck continues; westbound subway arrives just as I get on platform

9:40 am: southbound subway arrives at St. George just as I go up the stairs. The degree of transit luck on a morning when I am late is freaking me out a little.

9:50 am: arrive at the ACSE conference just as the keynote is finishing. Still 10 minutes before the Processing ,js session, I have time for a strawberry muffin (yum) and a coffee from the urn (not so yum)

10:00-12:20: Processing.js session is plagued with technical difficulties. Bad USB keys, sketchy wireless, faulty projector cable have got the presenter slightly frazzled and most of the attendees a bit confused. Do I click here all the time? How do I find the files on the USB? I grab the files and evernote all off the links – I'll have to play with this on my own.

12:20 – 1:00 pm: lunch. I sit at a table with three men I have never met before and listen to them talk about how to get more girls interested in Computer Science classes. Kudos to them for addressing the issue, but their ideas come from a middle-aged geek guy mindset. We spend the rest of lunch talking about how to change girls' perception of CS – a girls tech club, be transparent ask them what they want to learn, use creative, open-ended & self-directed projects. I tell them what I've used successfully: Alice, Lilypad Arduino & soft circuits, game development, app development, cross-curricular projects with art & science.

1:10 – 2:10 pm: session on getting girls in CS. The statistics are good to know and I got some great links for contests and the like, but there's not much in this one I can use. I realize about 20 minutes in that I should have gone to the App Inventor workshop instead.

2:10 pm: Bailed on the last session and the closing. I'm not willing to miss the last of a sunny afternoon so I pack up and walk through the U of T campus and Kensington Market to Queen Street West. Am amused by this sign in the window of a used record store. I pop into Romni Wools on Queen Street to get more yarn for my Christmas present knitting. Guess I should really start on that.

3:30 pm: get sidetracked on way to transit by the way the sun fell in an alley off Bathurst. Spend a half hour walking along Graffiti Alley and taking photos with the crappy iPhone.

4:00 pm: apparently I used all transit luck this morning. Waited for 25 minutes for the 504 King car while I realized that perhaps bringing a scarf & mitts might have been a good idea. Was rewarded for my discomfort by a sunset view of the city as the streetcar went along Broadview past Riverdale park.

5:00 pm: Home. Stopped at the grocery store which was not a good idea as I found myself paying for a bag of Miss Vickie's chips and a container of onion dip. While my dinner did not comprise solely of chis & dip, it was pretty close. Calorie overage ensues.

5:30 – 9:30 pm: watched many episodes of Doctor Who on Netflix US while finishing a scarf for a friend. While watching the Journey's End episode, I decide that “Playthings of Davros” will be my band's name which gives me added incentive to learn the guitar since I can't get drunk enough to sing in front of people.

9:30 – 10:00 pm: bubble bath and book. Finished both books by David Wong, John Dies At The End and This Book is Full of Spiders; liked them both in a did-drugs-been-there-saw-that kind of way. Started reading Enders Game by Orson Scott Card, one of science fiction books from the list. I would have sworn I've read this before, but nothing looks familiar in the first 4 chapters.

10:00 – bedtime: bored. The cat is bad company and there are only so many times one can hit Refresh on Twitter and Facebook. Played some Rush poker on Full Tilt, netting an increase to my bankroll of about $85. ABC poker > Eurodonk stupidity.


And today, the opposite

So yesterday, I loved my job. Today not so much.

Of course, when an estimated 2 tech hour job stretches to over 6 it does tend to dim one's enthusiasm for a profession that utilizes said tech. Toss in a stubborn headache that starts between your eyes and ends somewhere between your shoulder blades and you've got a day that's begging to be finished early with a wobbly pop and a book.

So that's what I'm doing. Just as soon as I hit Publish.

Why I love where I work

Today was our Social Justice Data Fair. The math teachers have been organizing this for the last five or six years. They encourage the students to form a hypothesis based on a social issue and use readily available data to prove or disprove it. The girls have been working like mad the last few weeks doing web research, analyzing the data and creating charts and presentations.

I was only able to see a few of the presentations, one by two grade 8 students who wanted to see if there was a correlation between child mortality and the number of doctors per thousand citizens as compared across countries in the first and third worlds. The grade 6 students did a group submission on a comparison of gender portrayal in six local/national newspapers. They looked at quantity and quality; their infographics took up the back part of the gym.

I think this was my favourite though, done by some grade 8's. And yes, they did find a connection. Along with their data was this great photos for comparison; one group looks healthy and happy. The other looks like hungry, cranky supermodels.

And it's lessons like this that are chief among the reasons why I work where do, and why I've stayed for 13 years.


This is the picture I couldn’t take of a gaggle of 10- and 11-year-old girls dressed in their pajamas, running around the gym shrieking as if the hounds of hell were after them. FYI, there were no hell hounds. They just get like that when 1) they are in a gaggle and 2) they have had too much sugar.

It’s the annual Grade 5/6 Space Sleepover at the school, and yes I volunteered to be the extra adult in the room even though I’ve done it before. They are making me laugh, which is good after the day I’ve had with the Grade 7’s.



The school’s Science & Technology Fair was last night; what you’re looking at is the tech part of the evening, the grade 8 robotics demonstration.

today’s writing

I woke up this morning wanting to write. I left for work with ideas for lyrics, a way through a tricky situation between my heroine, her beloved and his car, and a 50 before 50 story I’d almost forgotten about.

However, I find myself writing professional paragraphs like this:

Whenever appropriate, students are encouraged to to use information communication technologies (ICT) to support and communicate their learning. Freely-available,  multi-platform software applications (cloud -based or installed) are used wherever possible to ensure students have access to the tools necessary for technological success. Students are also encouraged to use their own devices in class so that learning opportunities can extend into other technologies. Safety, privacy, responsible use and awareness of ICT issues are on-going themes.
Have I mentioned how much I dislike paperwork?


Sometimes work means getting to play with some really cool stuff, like sewable, wearable electronics. Every student I showed this to, from grades 4 through 12, immediately saw the possibilities.


This is just a little test kit with a watch battery and a simple on/off switch. I also bought an expanded set with a programmable controller, lights and 3 sensors (light, vibration, temperature).

I think we are going to have some fun with this!

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