Some updates

The YouTube channel is dead; long live the YouTube channel.

I’m not deleting it, mind you, but after a couple of weeks of not updating, initially caused by Covid and then a couple of very busy weeks at home, I find that I don’t miss having to spend an hour or more every single day playing video games in a room by myself where no one is allowed to talk to me and where any noise or, God forbid, a bathroom break meant that I was going to have to spend more time after the video was done editing it. I want to spend some time just playing games when I want to and not worrying about some sort of schedule.

I’m not abandoning the idea altogether, mind you, and in fact I still have a couple of games I want to record. But I can tell already that Horizon: Forbidden West is, of all the games I’ve done Let’s Plays on, the one least amenable to the format I’ve chosen, and I want to just play it without having to worry about breaking it up into digestible chunks. The channel wasn’t making me any money and I was probably years away from enough subs to be able to make any money off of it, so I’m going to shove it back into the realm of “hobby” and stop taking it nearly as seriously.

Today was the first day of summer vacation, and speaking as someone who Does Not Know How To Relax, I feel like I used it pretty well. The front lawn is mowed, some cleaning was accomplished, weeds have been whacked, and I delivered some things to Goodwill that have been sitting around the house for a while. We need to finish clearing out my father-in-law’s apartment before June 1, so I’ll likely be up there tomorrow for a while, and then … well, who knows after that.

Playing around with the 3D printer continues apace; I have made five useless objects, one of which broke while trying to remove it from the print bed and another of which broke because of what I’m pretty sure was a design flaw in the model and not actually either user error or the printer being weird. This little axolotl I printed is pretty cool, though, and right now I’ve got it working on what will be a fourteen-hour, high-detail print of a hook horror from Dungeons & Dragons. The boy has announced that he wants a 3d print of every final-evolution Pokémon from Generation 1. There are, apparently, 81 of them. No word on whether he plans to pay for the filament, and I have to admit I’m also wondering what keeping this little nozzle at 200 degrees Celsius and the bed at 90 degrees Celsius for hours at a time is going to do to my electric bill.

This one’s a big deal: I had an interview scheduled at another school Friday afternoon, and was setting one up at another school for next week, and then had a long talk with the remaining members of my team Friday morning about next year. It is rumored that we’ve finally got a principal (and, to be clear, we have a name, not just a “they have found a warm body” rumor) and it’s amazing just what a difference the simple rumor that they’d named someone actually made. At any rate, after that conversation, I went back to my classroom, looked around, reflected on the fact that I’d been up very late Thursday night thinking about this interview, and emailed both the principals involved and cancelled. I will, for better or for worse, be returning to my current job again this fall, and I have closed out all of my various job-seekery accounts again for the time being. I’m about to go into year 19 of teaching. There is, unfortunately, a strong likelihood that my school will be closing at either the end of this year or the end of next year, and there is also a rumor that the middle school math teacher at Hogwarts will be retiring at the end of this year. If that happens, I plan to do everything in my power to get that job. But that’s a year away, if in fact it actually happens, and you best believe I’ll be keeping a close eye on it. But for now? I’m coming back.

I expect to regret this decision by September. We’ll see.

My favorite teacher present ever

I meant to mention this yesterday, but I forgot to bring this home and it fell out of my head, so enjoy this early-morning post. One of my kids came up to me with her parents after the 8th grade recognition yesterday and said she had a present for me. Then she handed me this roll of toilet paper.

“It’s for putting up with my crap all year,” she said. I made her sign it.

Ah, teaching.

Some recent developments

I listened to Down With the Sickness and Fuck Dying on the way home from work two different days this week.

We have recently discovered that not only is Fatima deaf, or at least very close to it (at least one ear appears to be completely bollixed, which I’m pretty sure is the medical term) but she may have been so for her entire life. How no one appears to have noticed this until now is left as an exercise for the viewer. How this will affect her ability to learn English, however, remains my problem for at least eight more days. I would love to say that I’ve been able to help these kids adapt to living in America, but … not so much, I think. If I stay in education, I do plan to spend some time this summer learning at least a little bit of Pashto, because I don’t think these families are going to stop coming anytime soon.

In other news, I covered for one of the 7th grade teachers yesterday afternoon, and without realizing I was doing it, I did myself a big favor. One of the problems with working in a school where you don’t know all of the kids (and I don’t know any of the kids below 8th grade, nor do I know all of the 8th graders, although I’d bet I’m at 90% or so) is that the only kids who are visible to you are the shitheads. I’m pretty sure I can identify at least half of the 7th grade shitheads at least by their faces, although I don’t know a lot of names. The good kids? They’re invisible, because they don’t fuck up in the hallways (they’re mostly not in the hallways in the first place) and so you never notice them. It was the same thing as when I worked at the grant coordinator at the school before I quit– I was working in the office. Who gets sent to the office? Shitheads! Whose names do you know? Shitheads! So it’s easy to assume they’re all like that.

Well, one way or another, I got lucky and landed on what turned out to be this particular teacher’s favorite class. And they were fun! It’s not like we did a lot of academic stuff or anything like that but I sat and chatted with several of them for a while and just in general interacting with all of them was pleasant. There’s always a lot of trepidation in covering kids you don’t know in a class you don’t know, because who the hell knows what kind of shit you could be getting yourself into, so this was helpful. At least I know a few who might actually be nice to have in class next year.

If, y’know, I lose my mind and come back again.

Holy shit IT WORKED

My student loans have been forgiven. They are gone. They are ex-loans. I am, at 45, done paying for my degrees.

If you work for a school district (even if you don’t teach; literally just if you work for a school district) or are in any way involved in public service at your job and you have existing student loans, click here and check the TEPSLF program out right now. (Note that to the best of my knowledge everything in that piece is still accurate except for the refund check, which I think only applies if you’re still making payments while they’re processing your paperwork; those specific payments will be refunded. I no longer think I get any of my excess payments back, although I’d love to be wrong.)

Close to 70 grand, y’all. Poof.

I’d like to issue a public thank you to the Biden administration.

Happy motherfuckin’ Monday.

Progress, finally

I think that if you had asked me, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that Fatima has been in my class since January. She has since been joined by two more Afghan students, one girl and one boy, and today, finally, we had a part-time interpreter in the room with us, and I have never been more excited to meet someone in my entire life as I was this poor guy. We did some quick diagnostics stuff (a lot easier to have the kids see what math they understand when you can explain to them what you want them to do) and then I just asked him to ask them to tell him about themselves.

Fatima likes grapes. Like, that doesn’t seem like much, but it’s communication. There’s still a few days of Ramadan left but I am absolutely bringing this kid some grapes sometime soon. Two of them are from Kunar province and the third is from Khost province, which means all three of them were right on the border with Pakistan. I asked the translator to reassure them that if they wanted to talk to each other during class, that was absolutely okay– the three of them are as quiet as mice pretty much all the time— and I actually heard the other girl (who needs a code name) laugh for the first time. It was great.

I think it is actually Thursday, which is good, because I’ve thought the week was nearly over all week, and that kept being wrong, and if it’s actually Thursday than that ought to make tomorrow Friday, the actual end of the week. Nineteen days of school left.

Speaking of the end of the week, Wednesday (I think) was my nephew’s first birthday, so we’re going to be out of town all weekend to go to his birthday party in the north Chicago suburbs, so if you follow the YouTube channel, updates are probably going to be light. I didn’t post any new videos today for the first time since I started the channel because yesterday was that busy, and I think my plan right now is to do one video a day for tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday, and then try and resume the normal schedule on Monday. We’ll see if I pull that off or not, but it’s the plan at the moment. At any rate, if I go radio silent over there, don’t panic. I haven’t quit anything, we’ve just hit a scheduling snag.