Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

German Class lately

This year I'm teaching German III for the first time in several years.  I've been slowly building my German program for years now, but the humanities based curriculum at my high school does not allow for many upper division language credits (ironic I know.)  I really enjoy the challenge of teaching German III.  I have six students in my class.  We are doing some grammar this first semester but soon I hope to start reading any of the following German Novels:

Emil und die Detektive
Das doppelte Lottchen both by Erich K√§stner

Teaching German III is a challenge.  My students are sharp.  I'm fairly certain a few of them are much smarter than I am. I can't make up words on the spot...they remember every single word I tell them.  In my defense I'm almost certain that the word for impale is aufspeisen or something like unto it.  Who knows that kind of vocab?
This is what happens when I'm still talking to another teacher in the hall when German III class is supposed to start.   They all just stood in the door way with their backs to me until I apologized for being late (2 min!) to class.  Look at 'em all clamoring to conjugate verbs.  I do realize this is not normal.  I'm just very lucky to have such teenagers!

Here are a few funny stories from this year and last year.

I'd taught the word damit meaning 'their with' but used much in the same way we use 'with it' in English.  It sounds a lot like damn it.  Which is always very exciting for the students as is ass: the past tense of ate, dick: fat and hell: light.

I'd handed out quizzes and was eager to have them returned and move on to some other task.  I asked "Seid Ihr fertig damit?" "Are you finished with it -the quizzes?" one too many times.  One of my quietest most humble students piped up and said "NO DAMIT!"  The entire class erupted in laughter.  I sent her to the office...just kidding.

"My student named Porker"
I had a student in my German II class named Parker and another in the same class named Porter.  Both were males, about 6'1 and a little quiet.  If you say Porter, Parker,Porter, Parker, Porter, Parker about five times fast you will get Porker.  sigh.  Neither of them thought it was very funny, but try as I might I asked "Porker" to volunteer several times over the course of last year.  Eventually my students made me this sign.
Porter is on the left.
Parker is on the right.
Their is no Porker. 
And in case you forgot about the duct tape incidents of years past.

  For my own German studies I've been enjoying the Tintenherz (Inkheart) trilogy which I listen to on my commute to work every morning.  It is young adult fiction and right about my comfort zone.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Baby's First Slot Canyon revisited.

This summer Baby G and I did lots and lots of hiking/camping/swimming.  Mostly with Hannah and sweet baby James.  (occasionally Spencer would take a break from his intense biking training schedule and join us.)

One of our best trips was 4th of July in Escalate.  Long time blog readers will remember Baby G's first slot canyons: Spooky and Peek-a-boo.  She got much more out of it this time.

 Baby G July 2011 with her Daddy in Spooky

The quality of life really improves when you can run down the slot canyon for your self.  

Or maybe she just liked chasing after this hunky guy. 

She does come on strong sometimes. you can read about her forward ways here.

Hannah and I just as happy as larks with our babies who just didn't feel like smiling. 

This last gem of a pic (both kids smiling) was right after I told Hannah that we had enough pictures and she needed to chill out.  My bad! You were right doc.  It  is totally worth it to pose and pose until you get a perfect one.  But it bugs the heck out of everyone in the world but me and you.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bugs in the Baby's bottle.

Spencer took an anthropology class last semester and bug catching became serious business.  We had bugs stored in all kinds of containers and stashed away on Spencer's dresser, in the freezer etc.

Over Easter weekend with the family in St. George Spencer stalked the elusive black bumblebee from Snow Canyon to Zion.  I'm proud to say it was yours truly who finally nailed the poor fellow (in the name of science and good grades.)  We were elated with our prize but realized we had no place to store the poor Bee in it's final hours.

An empty baby bottle seemed the perfect solution!  We put the bee inside and hurried up to the rest of the group.  Everyone clapped and cheered!  Everyone that is except for Baby Geneva who at only 8 months was cognizant enough that their was something very bad in her bottle.  Very bad indeed.  She instantly burst into tears.  

her inital reaction when she saw the bee
 Now, we'd been hauling around all kinds of centipedes, dragon flies, big mama beetles.   Geneva had been witness to the capture, kill and storage of many a creepy and crawlie.  The bugs in the glass flasks from the U didn't bother her at all.  But she had to put her foot down when we used her bottle.
Proud of my prize!

Please don't feed me that thing.  

The moral is.....always bring extra killing jars.  

The non "punch line" moral is that my Baby was so much more aware of 
her surroundings and possessions than I gave her credit. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Class of 2012. Old and young thoughts.

Friday was High School Graduation.  It happens every year for the teachers and once in a life time for the students.  Despite it's annual occurrence in my life, it is special every time.

Me and Sara B class of 2012
Last year for graduation I was hours away from delivering Baby G.  This year I'm a mother.  I've grown and changed so much since 2011 graduation.  So have my 2012 seniors.  What experiences and opportunities await them?  The patterns of life change drastically after high school.  The new graduates feel "old." I did too back in 1997, but now at 30+ I can't reflect back on High School Graduation with out the opposite feeling of "young."  so young. 

During the ceremony I underlined all of the seniors I've mentored over the years.  I'd taught over half of the graduating class.  It boggles my mind that I have so much power to help young learners.  I respect this power and try to use it for good.  I adore teaching.  I can't imagine any other career.  Back in 2007 as a "young" blogger (and a young teacher) I gushed about the first graduating class of the Charter High School where I teach.  Their were 10 Graduates.  You can read about it here.

My Soapbox of Advice:  The Sunscreen song says "Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, panting over the ugly points and recycling it for more than it is worth."  Acknowledged.  Still, I freely give the following advice to my seniors.  I've added two points since Graduation of 2007.

My College advice

Preface:  Going to college changed my life.  Not everyone needs to go to college.  But in our society most people do.  I'm not sure if I felt more polished when they handed my by bachelors degree or not.  But I know that college refined my mind, provided dicipline and new paradigms.  I loved college.  I encourage my students to study at a university.  Most of this advice is how to have a good college experience:  

  1. Move away from home. Live with other freshman in the dorms.  People who live at home have a different and less full college experience.  Everyone needs to move out and figure out how to pay an electric bill and make a casadia for dinner.  
  2. Have cool summer jobs.  You are going to have to work your entire life.  Working can be fun and but even the best jobs are day in day out.  Before you have to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or an insurance agent every day have a fun job.  Drive buses in Alaska, cut pineapple in Hawaii, be a river guide in Moab.  Have adventures.  Do something that will give you fun stories to tell your friends when you return to school.
  3. Live out side of the United States. During your college years find some way to travel.  Most Universities have college abroad programs. Take advantage of them. Never in your life will it be so easy to spend six months in Paris, or Mongolia, or Morocco.  Read about Rome and then have your own Roman adventure.  Traveling is an important part of education and worth the cost.      
  4. Take from good professors. The relationships you make with your college professors can and do influence the rest of your life.  Most of you will be paying tuition.  It is well worth your time to research professors that will work with your learning style.  Not all professors are created equally.  Most are good. 
  5. Graduate.  I'm alarmed at the amount of people who pay for class after class with out receiving a diploma.  Not that I'm opposed to learning just for learning sake.  I'm a huge fan of that.  But you can learn at a library.  Universities take your money, make sure you receive what they offer in the end.  

A recent wedding reception.

A few weeks ago I attended the wedding reception of one of my students.  He's 21 or 22 and studying German and English at Southern Utah University.

After congratulating the new couple I got a brief update of his life.  Turns out he and the new bride are headed to Alaska for the summer because he "Got a cool summer job every summer like had advised."   Then he and the new wife are headed to Austira because he did a semester abroad in Vienna and loved it.  I got emotional.  I stood thier looking at my former student reciting my advice back to me in the form of adventures he has had.  This is what I wanted to hear.  

You see I teach for selfish reasons.  As a teacher I am constantly learning.  I've learned more from the class of 2012 than they every learned from me.  Congratulations to us all for another year and wisdom gained.