Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas is coming and my brain is too full. Maybe I can give some away...

I've just finished a pile of marking - mostly writing assignments. I have a facebook friend, Rory, who often complains about his marking. He is marking university level stuff, and while it doesn't seem to meet his standards, I say it's time to stop complaining. Try marking writing from Essential Level high school students! Is it even "writing"? Is it actually meant as communication? Who knows? I certainly don't. And then there is the problem of penmanship: It's no longer taught. My grade 11's were complaining today because they want me to print on the board because they can't read cursive.They also can't write cursive and their printing is darn iffy. I dream of having a job where assignments are typed! (Except I love the job I have!)

Report cards a couple weeks back. "Miss! I can't believe you passed me!" and just as likely, "Miss! I can't believe you failed me!" The kids fascinate me with their feelings that they have zero agency in the matter. I didn't pass or fail anyone. I simply wrote down the grade they earned. But they genuine seem to believe that I'm the one who decides who passes and who fails. They seem to have a mental block around the idea they decide for themselves. I need to work on this with them.

I have PTA tonight. We call it something else, but that's what it is. I find it really fun. Our parents are fantastic. Since our kids are all special needs kids, their parents are concerned about how to best make them successful. They particpate, they add value, and they are nice people. They don't complain that Susie won't get into medical school if she only gets an 89 in English! I'm looking forward to the meeting.

Parent/Teacher Night
Speaking of parents.... Parent/teacher night was an absolute blast. I got to rat out all the kids that are driving me crazy and praise the ones that are working hard. I got most of the parents' email addresses, so now I can send them the homework. Lots more of the homework is now, magically, getting done. The kids both hate it and seem to like it that I know their parents.

Unit Tests
Three weeks ago, I wrote the date of the unit test on the board in the "permanent" area. I pointed it out every single day for two weeks plus. Then, on Friday last week, we did a practice test and I  reminded them that the test would be today. Monday we spent a whole period taking up the practice test in detail. And I reminded them the test would be today. Yesterday, we spent a whole period doing test prep, since from the practice test, they knew what they should study. And of course they were reminded that the test would be today.

I walked into the classroom today to be greeted by a scene of utter panic and mayhem. "Are you sure the test is today?" "What do you mean there is a test today?" "There can't be a test today!" "Oh my GOD!!!! There's a test today!" "There's Miss! Miss, Miss! is the test today?"

Bang head against desk.

I have a tree. A nice tree. I've had it since Saturday and it remains greenly naked. But in my mind, it is covered in lights and decorations. Maybe this weekend.

Christmas Baking
I haven't done any. And I'm starting to (slowly and reluctantly) come to the conclusion that I may not be doing any. Here's the problem: since going back to work, I've fallen in love with the idea of resting on the weekends. I know it's radical. But the lure of the crackling fireplace, a glass of wine, my beloved's company and perhaps a good book is simply too extreme to ignore. But it won't feel like Christmas if I don't fit in at least a minor frenzy, so maybe I'll get in the spirit a bit more once my Christmas holidays start. At the end of next week. Thank you OSSTF!

Christmas Shopping
Thanks to the miracle of the internet, this is actually going a bit better than my tree and baking. I don't have to leave the comfort of my fireplace, wine and man to shop. I just pull out the iPad and away I don't go.  I have just four gifts left. Two to order and two I have to physically go looking for.

Christmas Eve Dinner
We are having it at Laura's since my house is too far away. I think it should be good as usual. This year we are having fish for the main, which is a bit of a departure, but every year the meal gets lighter. Well, except for last year, but that was because of an unfortunate calculation error with the amount of beef short rib I cooked. At least it was fabulous, if a little "in excess" of what was needed.

The Shortbread Adventure
A couple weeks ago I was driving down Carlaw and saw a little tent sign at the entrance to an alley for what appeared to be a shortbread store. On Saturday, I mentioned it yet again to Jeff, who suggested we stop. We pulled into the alley, which was indeed alley-ish and not very promising as a source of shortbread. I got out fo the car and look around, and through a rather grimy basement window, I saw what appears to be someone in a baking hat. I spotted a fire door, so I went into the building, down a flight of concrete stairs, and I did indeed find a bakeshop. A marvellous bakeshop where they make the most wonderful shortbread! The retail space consists of a basket with shortbread in it, but the smells are terrific and the shortbread is to die for. One thing I love is savoury shortbread. I bought some of the Stilton and Rosemary flavour and it was great. I plan to use it as a base for my Savoury Shortbread with Carmelized Onion and Creme Fraiche hors d'oeuvres on Christmas Eve. This is one reason I think I may not bake. Solutions are being provided! Hello Coach House Short Bread Company!

I'm not really done, but I have to go. I will try to post more often!