Sunday, March 29, 2009

Last day of spring break

Sad but true. I wrote a list today of things I love about my work; otherwise, the end of break would just be too depressing. Rather than describe the adventures had, I'll just give the link to the photos. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Yes, I know, it's been over a month since I last posted anything here. Life is busy. I come home exhausted every day from work, and there's always more work to be done or fun to be had. This week is finally spring break for Denver Public Schools, so I'm getting to catch up on a lot of things that have gotten put on hold during the craziness. Here are a few highlights from past weeks:

The middle-school play. I wrote about this once before, after our first rehearsal. I had hoped things would calm down significantly after that rough start. Who was I kidding? I think we had at least one lead quit (and usually come back) at every single rehearsal, including the one just hours before the show. Pure insanity, I tell you. But they pulled it off, miracle of miracles, and were so proud of themselves. And I of them. So now the after-school program director asked me and Abby to direct another play immediately after that one ended. Next performance: three weeks from today.

Young adult retreat at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp. A fabulously fun weekend out of the city with a bunch of people from all over Colorado, New Mexico, and Kansas, complete with hiking, hymn-singing, ping pong, Dutch Blitz, and many hours of broomball.

Standardized testing. Somehow this has come to be my main responsibility as a paraprofessional. Such is the state of education these days. First the CO English Language Acquisition test for all students whose families speak a language other than English at home (which happens to be most of the kids at my school), then benchmark testing to practice for CSAP, then CSAP itself, the high-stakes state standardized assessment that everyone agonizes over. My jobs: to administer the test with my group of students; to track down and test any students who were absent on testing days; to darken bubbles and erase stray pencil marks in every test booklet; and to recopy, by hand, every 87-page test booklet that had a tear bigger than 1/16th of an inch on any page. Seriously.

Job searching. These days, a rather depressing pursuit. There are a total of two Spanish teaching positions open in the district of over 150 schools. I've labored over cover letters, applied for a bunch of jobs, interviewed for several, and finally was offered one of the said Spanish teaching positions--only to be called back the next week and told that no new teachers can be hired until all the current tenured teachers in the district whose positions have been cut have been placed in the openings. Back to square one for me.

English teaching licensure exam. Since Spanish and ESL teaching positions are few and far between, I spent a week cramming American and Brit Lit, the history of the English language, and literary theory to take Colorado's English licensure test, which went very well for me. Hopefully this will open up a few more job possibilities.

Quartet rehearsals. I've gotten to spend a good amount of time violining recently with a fun quartet of people from church. I also took my violin in for a checkup last week and found out she needs major surgery. If it ever stops snowing here, I'll take her in.

Fun in the parks. Hooray for Daylight Savings Time. Football and Frisbee and soccer and croquet, and the occasional grilling of bratwurst and veggieburgers. Beautiful.

Visits from (and to) a number of friends. This is what keeps me going. People coming from near and far, joining us for suppers, sleeping on the couches, keeping life interesting.

That's it for now. I posted a number of pictures of these and other events in a new Picasa album, so check them out if you so desire. I'll try to add some more from spring break before I go back to school on Monday and the craziness starts again.