work

bum

Brendan has off today, the bum. His department is moving floors — and today is the start of moving day. Bastard. It’s so nice out today. I thought about taking the day off, but that idea was killed swiftly by a phone call at 4:20pm yesterday. Bah.

[I was already jealous of Mark, and now I am even more.]

state of confusion

Florida is one messed up state.

One of my students this term is originally from Florida. His current employer is asking for proof that he graduated high school. Normally this is no big deal, you show your diploma. Well, his is lost, or destroyed or something, via a hurricane. Not only is his copy gone, but the official copy at the school is gone. The state has no record. The school’s copy was also destroyed in the same hurricane. There is no master record in the state of Florida. How screwed up is that? So this kid, 8 years out of high school has to take the GED. It just doesn’t seem right. What about the "permanent record" that’s always waved about at high school students? Apparently, if you go to school in Florida you’ve got nothing to worry about.

total craziness

Another Saturday, another day at the office. Ugh. That’s the way it’s been — incredibly, insanely busy. Plus, as I’ve mentioned, teaching has started.

This term, we aren’t having any inservices. Instead, we have to go observe another teacher, learn something about teaching and write up a report. I went on Wednesday. It was good. I did learn a little bit about my teaching style, and how I might change a little. Most notably that time limits can be useful. I tend to just let people take as long as they need. Honestly, I’m quite glad that we don’t have any inservices this time around. Teacher-speak is so full of jargon and acronyms. If you think the government is bad, try talking to a teacher about teaching. The whole experience is so "meta". That is, when a teacher tries to teach other teachers, they use whatever method it is they are trying to teach, as they are explaining it to you. It makes my head hurt. I just do. I do whatever it is that helps the learner get the subject. Some people like diagrams, some people just need a hard and fast rule, some people need a ton of examples, and some people just need me to sit there and let them talk through whatever it is they are learning. I don’t need to sit in a room and learn about metacognition and the inquiry process and modeling. Whatever. Just let me do what I have to do.

Things at the office are also a little insane. Like I said, I’m here in my office at the moment; I’ve got a Monday deadline. Plus my other project is in the midst of some serious development work. Good times. Fortunately, I’m going to be getting some help soon. I had to interview a guy not that long ago — talk about stressful, I’ve never done that before. He was super-impressive and seemed just about as perfect for the job as a person can be. Things sometimes move a little slow around here when it comes to hiring, but not this time. Oh no. My boss’ boss knows how much I need help, so he starts on Monday. Thank God.

break over

My job at the Adult High School starts up again tonight. The learners have been back for a while now, but the Learning Labs are just opening. Gives them time to get confused and have questions, I suppose. I’m not expecting a terribly large group tonight. We’ll see.

I got an email today about how the President’s new budget would effect our program. It’s not good:

Virginia is slated for a 74.4% cut. That means that our federal allocation would be reduced from an estimated $11,266,838 in FY 2005 (beginning Oct. 2005) to $2,884,920 in FY 2006 (beginning Oct. 2006).

Isn’t the First Lady supposed to be big on literacy and education? Whatever. I’m too tired to rant about it… I’m not in this to make money; I’d teach if I didn’t get paid. (I was a volunteer at one point.) The extra cash is nice, but it’s not the point. Still, 74.4% is a huge chunk.

a case of the mondays

Someone didn’t think the kitchen upgrade at work through. We have nice new, wood cabinets and a made to look like granite laminate counter; but the coffee machine doesn’t fit. The cabinets are either mounted too low, or are longer than the old ones, so the big coffee machine doesn’t fit underneath. Oops. Coffee is perhaps the most important part of the kitchen. Of the office. A busted ‘fridge people could deal with, but no coffee (on a Monday!) is just cruel. I go out for my coffee. If I drank the office coffee, I’d be wired and shaking all day long because I would keep going back. Making myself spend money and leave the building is good.

clear

Here’s a clear article on Social Security reform. I’d quote it here, but the whole thing is important. Just read it.

And another.

UPDATE: Apparently, it wasn’t so clear

The Washington Post incorrectly reported Thursday that the balance of a worker’s personal account would be reduced by the worker’s total annual contributions plus 3 percent interest. In fact, the balance in the account would belong to the worker upon retirement, White House officials said.

Still, I don’t see how it fixes the "problem" with Social Security. How does this keep the system solvent? Those are the details I’m interested in. What cuts are they planning?

Disclaimer.

Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

And just so everyone is clear, what we say here is not endorsed by either of our employers.