Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cursing Third Graders

I have never seen such blatant, blase cursing. Especially among third graders.

Evidently, my little third grade math girl is very down in the dumps. She "s$#%* at math." "D#$%! This math is hard." Sigh.

So I'm teaching her some big words. Impressive words. Words like horrendous, horrid, putrid. Good words. Until she decides to say that the sub is .... you guessed it, horrendous. Better than what she could have said, I guess.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Strange To Do List

I have a strange To Do List. To start with, it involves applying to be a nanny in Washington, D.C., and an English teacher in a primary school in China. It then lists "Wash cloth wipes"---yes, the bathroom kind. It ends with a plea to pick up everything bagels and vegetarian "Italian Sausage."

It's still better than tomorrow's To Do List. I need to inventory books for RIF and Dibels five kindergarteners. Who thinks up these acronyms?

What's the strangest item on your To Do List?

Friday, March 26, 2010

An Anthropologist Should Dig Through My Purse

I have the strangest things in my purse. I unearthed a quarter loaf of bread (perfect for making meals on the go!), a hairbrush, two change purses, the address of a friend in Nicaragua, a grocery store ad, a sock (why?), and a full size tube of deodorant.

Perhaps this isn't so strange (please tell me it isn't!). Aren't women notorious for having an entire closet worth of stuff in their purses? The things they could unearth!

I forgot to mention my library book, two library cards, and, sadly, only one pen. An anthropologist would have a field day here!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Insurance and Clinical Trials

My health insurance might lapse soon with all of the school closures due to the recent education reform. I'm currently covered under my mom's insurance (luckily, until I'm 25). This is a blessing, as the medications I'm on for OCD and depression cost $300 a month before insurance.

Barring me finding a nice paying job with full health benefits after my term with AmeriCorps ends, I'm going to have to turn to clinical trials. There are a few good ones in Washington state. There are some that just act as an adjunct to your current medication (which makes it less risky if you get the placebo rather than the drug that they are testing). Those wouldn't be too bad.

If that fails, I'll have to look into selling my plasma again to pay for my medicine. When I was in college, I donated my plasma twice a week, every other week, for $120 a month. This was my grocery and gas money. It bought me vitamins, fresh fruit, and enough gas to get to my internship and back every day. It wasn't too painful or risky; plasma is replenished in the body every 24 hours. As long as you made sure that the nurse wore clean gloves every time he/she checked up on you, you were okay. If I were desperate, I could donate up to eight times a month, for a grand total of $240. That almost pays for my medications!

How do you pay for health care?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Setting Up a Retirement Account

I really want to set up a target date retirement account with Vanguard, but I'm a long ways away from the $3,000 minimum. I have a little over $1,000 in an ING account for travel and emergencies, but it took me nearly six months to build that up. I wish I could find a good account that allows a meager start-up amount.

I checked with my bank, and their interest rate is nowhere near ING's. From my talk, I gleaned that I would be far better off leaving my money in ING until I have enough to put it into a Target Date IRA. This might be another year or two, with moving expenses and student loan payments.

It was definitely worth going into the bank to talk it over. I found out about a new savings plan which yields a high rate of interest, but is way too accessible for my needs.

So talk to your banker today!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Saturday

I look a little rough today. I have a knee brace on (from my adventure pushing a stranger's car and then giving it a jumpstart), and a bloody lip. The story behind the bloody lip is pretty simple, if humiliating: hot cheese burned it when I was eating my (supposedly cool) pizza, and it blistered. The blister soon burst, leaving my lip bloody and oh, so appealing.

I slept in until noon, and then hightailed it over to the next town's large public library and the discount grocery store. I need to stock up on more snacks for my morning group. One of the boys is always so hungry, begging food off of the others. One day I found him even going through the garbage for food. Luckily my food stamps will cover a fair deal of crackers, granola bars, and cereal. Maybe I can even toss in a little fruit.

Time to go find some "Queen of Babble" and "Little Lady Agency" books. I'm so looking forward to some light reading!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I have discovered the greatest hidden teaching tool known to man: bribery. Instead of dispensing with a snack, have them earn it piece by piece as they do their work. This has worked wonders with my ADHD kindergartener. He will spell any word for two pretzel sticks. He stays focused, and gets his work done. Otherwise, it's like pulling teeth.

In other news: a strange, sticky brown substance is covering several of my library books (on the laminated dust jackets, thank goodness). Given as they've been exposed to numerous first and second graders, I really do not want to know what this substance is. It's brown. That's enough for me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Just a Little Too Tough

I've always been a little too tough on my body. I expect it to do so much---to function seamlessly from day to day, to put up with endless beatings from a tough lifestyle.

Is it any wonder that I can be sick for months at a time? I never let myself rest up. When most of the world would take a few days off of work to recover, I never do. At least not until I'm really sick (bronchitis, sinus infection mixed with an ear infection, or worse).

I need to be a little easier on my body. No more rollerblading when I have a sprained knee. No more cartwheeling while in a walking cast. No more mountain climbing with broken fingers or toes.

Some day I'll learn, I'm sure.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Earthquake Drills

Today we had our first earthquake drill. Imagine corraling four hundred K-6th graders outside in straight lines for half an hour, after having them hide under their desks. They were so wound up! I spent the whole time patrolling and ordering little kids sternly to "Stop kicking!"

After all of those earthquakes in Guatemala, I think this was my first earthquake drill. We never ducked and covered there---I think people were much more blase and resigned. The building has never collapsed before, so why would it now? is the thought. With monthly earthquakes, it was just a part of everyday life.

Volcano drills, however, they did have. Unfortunately, I was in El Salvador when the school practiced that one. What can you do, though, I wonder? Run? Cover your face with a cloth so you don't breathe in the ash?

Life is never dull.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kids Say the Oddest Things

I have the funniest first graders. Today we were reading through a book called "Who's Faster?" One little girl suddenly announced, "My sister can run faster than a tortoise or a squirrel!" When I asked her how old her sister was, she said, "Eleven."

One of my other little girls was reading "I Can Help." When she hit the part saying "I can help make the bed," she said baby instead. Oh, my.

Aren't little kids great? (If you doubt this, see my previous post on "I have to fart!")

Monday, March 8, 2010

Things to Do Today

Today I absolutely must:
1) Mail my students' pen-pal letters
2) Get my H1N1 shot (I'm finally not sick anymore!)
3) Do a load of laundry (my two pairs of good school pants desperately need washing)
4) Pick up my prescription at Walgreens
5) Return "The Lost Symbol" to the library (for some reason, I absolutely couldn't finish this book. Usually I'm a huge fan of Dan Brown.)

What's on your To Do list?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Favorite Vegan Foods

1) Follow Your Heart soy cheese
2) Spaghetti with olives and "Italian Sausage"
3) Guacamole and Guiltless Gourmet Spicy Black Bean Chips
4) Everything bagels
5) Tofu Stirfry with green peppers, broccoli, onions, garlic, and soy sauce
6) Bean Curd Family Style (when eating out at my favorite Chinese restaurant)

Food has never tasted so good!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Perks of Being a Teacher

I just discovered that I have the run of the school gym on weekends! There are perks to be a teacher!

Of course this knowledge will only be used for good, never for evil....

"I want to run down the halls of my (elementary) school! I want to scream at the top of my lungs!"


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's Been a Good Week

"So far, it's been a good week. I haven't been pooped on yet."

It's a sad, sad day when a good week (or day, for that matter) is judged as one without poop. What have I gotten myself into?

Today I busted a kindergartener who was digging a huge hole and tunnel. I know it's just a phase of life, but man! That thing was way too unstable to survive without crashing down on the little guy.

I also broke up a scissors fight, reminded four kids to wash their hands, broke up two fights, and read three stories. The life of a reading tutor.