shut up shut up shutupSHUT UP

On the heels of last night’s admission that spending half an hour talking about education with a couple of very talented teachers made me actually miss teaching, I woke up at an indecent hour last night to an email from my boss warning me that I was likely to have to spend a good portion of today and Monday covering classes, specifically 7th grade math, which you may remember was my major subject during the last year where I was actually a full-time, entire-year teacher.

This ended up not working out because of several preexisting commitments, but I did teach math during sixth, seventh, and eighth hour today. And I’ll admit it: I had fun. It was nice.

(I didn’t do any lesson planning or grading or really have to deal with any discipline issues. I shut them up at the beginning of class, let them know that if they were silent and respectful while I explained my rules I’d give them a generous leash during class, and then went from table to table checking in and answering questions during class. In other words, I only did the fun part of the job. Hell, I didn’t even have to do any whole-group shit! That might have required classroom management!)

I am not going back into the classroom next year, Goddammit. I’m not. No. And I’d appreciate it if the universe would quit trying to contrive situations where it pretends that thinking about returning to the classroom is anything other than a cataclysmically bad life decision.

In other news, it has been a solid four days since I’ve had a decent night’s sleep, despite sleeping for about 20 hours on Wednesday, and I’d appreciate it if that could happen tonight. I’m mostly over the cold, which is now only manifesting itself in occasional acute and intense bouts of dry throat, but I’m surprised at how functional I am given how little useful sleep I’ve had lately.

In which I leave the house

We just got back from Doing a Thing, the annual Science Alive! event at the main branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library in downtown South Bend. This is the third year my wife has taken my son; I didn’t go the last two years because I was working every Saturday. It’s an interesting event; they basically take over the library with tons of booths and exhibits (too many, honestly; there’s stuff everywhere you turn, and tons of people, and I was stressed out from trying to keep from bumping into people or knocking little kids over) and most of them are hands-on in some way or another, which is pretty cool.

The ground floor was basically a mini-4H fair, with a lot of vaguely bemused-looking farm kids letting the terrified city folk do stuff like pet chickens, with the occasional pig or snake thrown in for good measure.

The upper floors were more … science-fair-ish, I guess? Not in the sense of people showing off experiments, but more like lots of table staffed by local college kids demonstrating some aspect of SCIENCE! to the kids. The weird thing was a lot of the time the science they were wanting to talk about was miles beyond the comprehension level of the small kids (my son is 7, and he was about average for the crowd, and there were a lot of kids way younger) who were there. I spent a couple of minutes watching some poor woman who is probably an excellent teacher when she’s surrounded by college students who want doctorates gamely struggling to relate square dancing and mathematics and fractions to each other … somehow? She literally had a whiteboard covered with equations next to her and I had to keep myself from bursting out laughing when she, entirely seriously, asked the group of elementary-age kids in front of her who wanted to square dance what the negative reciprocal of 1/2 was.

I would wager that, if you threw out the actual scientists, no more than 10% of the adults in the building could tell you what a negative reciprocal is. I mean, it’s not a difficult concept, but it’s not one of those things that most folk need to worry about, y’know? Then there was an entire room full of particle physics folks and one lonely astronomer. And, like, okay, radiation’s cool, and particle accelerators are cool, and whatever the spinny ball-balancy thing that my son was so enthralled with was neat, but I found myself wondering if anybody at all was thinking about age-appropriateness when they put this all together. Waving a hand-made Giger counter at a piece of Fiestaware is pretty neat, but I’m pretty certain that despite a valiant effort at explaining radioactivity by the two Ph.D candidates behind the table, it really didn’t get anywhere with my kid.

So. Yeah. Interesting event, but they maybe need to think a bit harder about the age group they’re pitching to and how they’re going to do that in the future.

In which I level up

Well, at least I can’t claim that I didn’t get anything accomplished over my Winter Break. You may possibly recall– I’d forgive you if you didn’t, but you might– that I took a three-hour test in September to gain Level One Google Certified Educator status, which signifies that I understand The Googles, The Internets, and The Tubes. Well, as of this morning, I have taken another three-hour test, and now I am Level 2 certified, which signifies that I understand … well, The Googles, The Internets, and The Tubes. I’m really not sure what the hell the difference is between Level 1 and Level 2 certification other than that 2 is a bigger number than 1 and the Level 2 test cost more money to take. As far as I can tell the test was exactly the same kinds of questions and I don’t feel like I needed any deeper understanding of anything to pass this one than I did the first one.

The punchline: they “give” you, as in they actually email it to you, that .png file up there so that you can put it in your email signature file to show off your new fancy-schmancy Level 2 certification. They did the same thing at Level 1, and I dutifully dumped it into my (otherwise quite minimal) .sig file for my work email.

I just spent half a Goddamned hour trying to add the Level 2 image next to the Level 1 one, and I can’t get it to work. I can get a little box with a question mark in it to show up, and that’s it– nothing I can do can get this image to show up in my signature file despite the fact that I have done this before with the first image. And, for that matter, I don’t remember any trouble doing it the first time. I can only assume that something is actually wrong with the functionality right now, because I’m not doing this wrong. It’s just not working. I just love that I want to show off my literal certification in Knowing How to Gmail and I can’t figure out how to do it.

EDIT: After typing this, I tried the exact same thing I’d been doing, and when I did it this time the interface that popped up when I clicked the “Add Image” button was completely different, featuring two tabs that weren’t there before. And despite that, it still didn’t work. Then I tried to do the exact same thing I’d been doing all along, only in Chrome instead of Safari, and it worked fine. So I’m not taking the blame for this, Goddammit.

What we need … is a video

This is probably the single most self-indulgent thing I’ve ever done in this space, so please, forgive me, but: we’re vlogging tonight.

I’m so very sorry.

View from my hotel window: Noblesville, IN

Rainy, but the room is nice! And the first day of the conference was not a waste of my time. I’ll take it.