Saturday, October 2, 2010

Slogging On

It was a calmer week than the last one.  I'm keeping my nose to the grindstone, hand to the plow,  feet on the path,  etc. etc.  I'm trying to do what several mentors have told me in the past: "Sometimes all you can do is close your door, and do what you do best -- teach."  Next week should also be somewhat low-key.  It's a four day week for us, and we have 3 days of state testing.  So while the testing is high-stakes, there's not much preparation to do, since for much of the day, it's proctoring the tests.  We have Friday off for the state teachers' conference, so that's why it's a 4 day week.  I do have a lot of work to do -- a major social studies  project is due Monday so I will have 40 of those to assess, and I need to decide what's next.

Our teachers association has a project to work on also.  Our contract did not pass last March.  It's been renegotiated, and the vote on that is coming up.  We need to work on getting out the positive vote on that.  We are working without a contract, and the new one needs to pass. The proposed contract freezes our current salaries for another year, and then in the second year, the only raises are "step" increases - the increases in salary that we have traditionally gotten for experiences.  It's highly probable that those increases will be eaten up entirely by our increased health insurance contributions, at least for most of the teachers.  Many teachers will go "backwards".  Nobody is thrilled with it, but we also don't want to be without a contract.  And most of us are happy that we have jobs with decent health insurance.  What makes me a little annoyed is that many people forget that many of the teachers in our district live in our district and are taxpayers too.  We are VERY conscious of how school costs impact our property taxes since we pay them too.  In our state, the local school budgets are almost entirely funded by local property taxes.  It's a pretty uneven distribution of burden across the state.  Our state does not have an income tax or a sales tax so property owners and business owners bear the brunt of paying for services.


Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a FarmFifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm by Jeanne Marie Laskas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this saga of how a city-bred woman fulfilled her dream of moving to the country and living on a farm. Jeanne Marie Laskas, a columnist for the Washington Post, takes a humorous look at how she and her boyfriend Alex other bought a fifty acres of farmland in Pennsylvania, about an hour from Pittsburgh, based on the fact that it had a perfect view.   In a collection of beautifully breezily written essays she chronicles the purchase of the land, the gradual move from city to country, their wedding,  and their adaptation to country life.  Along the way her deep faith in God is also revealed as she shares her hopes and fears.  I especially loved how Marly, the poodle, becomes the symbol for how her world view changes. I'm looking forward to reading more of her story in the subsequent chronicles.

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My knitting has slowed to a standstill, as has my reading.  Most nights I'm in bed by 8:30 pm which has put a huge damper on both activities.

I did finally finish 2 books - #89 and #90 for the year:


One Virgin Too Many (Marcus Didius Falco, #11)One Virgin Too Many by Lindsey Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Marcus Didius Falco has finally been rewarded for his continually outstanding service to Vespasian.  He's been raised to equestrian status and had been named Procurator of the Sacred Poultry.  This has put him in a bit of quandary as his higher social standing precludes his work as a lowly informer.   Or does it?  In this installment, Falco is asked to assist in the sensitive case of the missing 6 year granddaughter of a retired priest. The missing girl is a potential Vestal Virgin and she must be found before the lottery for the appointment is held. And Helena's brother (the one who doesn't like Falco) needs his help when he stumbles across the corpse of another priest.  Lindsey Davis explores the world of Roman religion in this installment, and it's a fascinating world as usual.

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1 comment:

Panhandle Jane said...

I hope the testing goes well. I know it's a low prep week, but, at least in Texas, we were always so tense lest we make a little mistake and call the testing police down on our heads. Our certificates are on the line.