Tag Archives: notitle

Golden 8all

In a sense, this day should not be any more1 important than the previous one hundred seventy.

Ideally, one should treat this day like any other. They importance of each should be equivalent.

The fact that they’re not to students can frustrate many a teacher.

The fact that they’re not to teachers can frustrate… teachers.23

Now that I’m on my eighth go-around, this much I know: This one day need not define me.4 I have always told my students on the previous 8 opening days that one number5 in the absence of additional context should not mean much. It wasn’t until recent campaigns that my mind fully accepted the same should be true for us teachers.6

There are personal and professional circumstances that I will not discuss here, but I have come to understand that sometimes, it is not until faced with the possibility of losing that which one is most insecure of losing does one allow themselves to face up to the reality there might be something more… something greater… something grandiose out there.

Earlier this Spring I went for a scramble down to Abiqua Falls in Oregon that could have ended me.7 Yet I felt an uncanny peace in my heart, knowing that should this ride come to an end later this Spring,89 that I would be able to walk away, knowing that it was a journey that I didn’t nearly deserve.

Yet in the back of my mind, one fear of insecurity rings out: That my fine-wine index may vary inversely with my ability to relate to my clientele. I have long told myself that I’ll continue on this ride for as long as I can do it well.10 This campaign11 has at least shown me that that golden balloon has not yet hit that line.

  1. nor any less []
  2. To clarify: I mean that we can frustrate ourselves. []
  3. Also, depending on the school or district for which one works: the fact that they’re not to administrators frustrates teachers. Basically, teachers are a shafted people group. []
  4. Because I know there have been seasons earlier in my journey when I allowed it to. []
  5. and as a corollary, one day, or one test score, et al. []
  6. See: “Things that go through my head before the AP Exam (May 6, 2014)” []
  7. No exaggeration. There are multiple paths down the ravine and let’s just say I took the worst one down… []
  8. As of now, for the record: It is not. []
  9. I’m talking about my professional journey — I was scared as heck for my personal safety while hanging by a rope down the near-vertical decline []
  10. Which… sometimes I wonder. How do we even know… []
  11. in which I have been blessed with some of the most wonderful students []

World Four One

Eleven years ago today, Google introduced the world to Gmail, with an unbelievable 1GB of free storage.1 Like everyone else in 2004, I thought it had to be an April Fool’s joke. 2

Say what you will about Google as a company3 — they have had some GREAT April Fool’s jokes4 — their Animal Translator will always be one of my all-time faves. 5

I’ve always wanted to incorporate a crazy April Fool’s joke in my class, but I could never get around to planning anything that was worthy. In fact, the only prank I’ve ever really planned that might have been a decent one, I didn’t actually have the nerve to pull off:

It involved teaching the first day of class of the year with a really bad asian accent6 for the entire class period. 7 The rub would be that I would only do that for ONE class period, and not the other two8 so that when those kids would talk to people in my other classes, their friends would be like, “What the heck are you talking about? I understood him just fine!” Ahhh… if only I’d had the nerve.9 10

Asian Accent

Incidentally, tomorrow is April 1st, and we are STAAR testing tomorrow…

  1. Hotmail was the king of the hill for webmail in the day, and they offered a measly 2 megabytes. If you’re tech-illit, 1GB is a thousand megabytes. []
  2. Ah… 2004. That’s the year the Lakers had Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Along with Shaq, and rape-trial Kobe. A couple of months after Google introduced Gmail, while I was overseas, the Lakers traded Shaq. I wished that was an April Fool’s joke… []
  3. hint: I don’t trust them. []
  4. One of these years on April 1st, Google will announce that they’re changing their name to “Skynet”… only it won’t be a joke. []
  5. Perhaps my favorite April Fool’s joke ever, however, was the EGM Street Fighter II “Sheng Long” dig. You’d have to be my particular generation of vino to appreciate that one… []
  6. you know, the kind that you get with those college TA’s that makes you fear for the future of your academic well being… []
  7. Intended effect: Kids would walk out of class saying things like “oh $#!& I gotta drop this class, I can’t understand a think he’s saying []
  8. since we teach on a block schedule, we teach 3 classes a day with one planning period []
  9. Or the ability to actually fake a really bad asian accent. That’s actually really difficult to do for 90 minutes… []
  10. As it is, this was a prank I could never pull off back at McNeil since everyone knew who I was already — and similarly I won’t be able to do it next year at Round Rock — so the boat has sailed on this one. []

FiveThirtyEight.com: How The Academy Chooses The Best Picture

FiveThirtyEight.com: How The Academy Chooses The Best Picture

Eye opening. Not necessarily an indicator of what actually happened this past weekend1 but eye opening, nonetheless.

If you’re too lazy to read, here’s the infographic for you TL;DR’ers:2


  1. Although I did see “Birdman” and most people I talk to agree: it was “out there”… I suppose we’re not like most people on the Academy. []
  2. It’s worth noting that the process described only applies to the award for “Best Picture” – not for the rest of the awards. []

Five Blocks


We don’t have any major exams or group quizzes in my Stat classes this week.

We didn’t have any last week, either.

And sometime around lunch today, that struck me as quite odd.

Given our current six-weeks grading system, a major exam date — each of which is immediately preceded by a “group quiz” review day — needs to be scheduled about every two-and-half weeks. Since these “group quiz / test” dates don’t involve actively teaching all day, they’re about as close as we get to a break in the schedule.1

And because of the A-B block schedule on which our high schools operate, it is incredibly rare to hit a two-week stretch of classes completely devoid of these cadences.

This is the first time this school year that I’ve had two full work weeks2 of teaching without a major quiz or test.3


But being that teachers are creatures of rhythm and habit, it felt so strange to me that I had to go back and look up previous years’ calendars to figure out the last time this has happened.

It never happened last year.4

Nor did it happen the year before that.

In fact, I haven’t had two straight weeks of actual teaching since three years ago5 at this same spot in the campaign.

And THAT is about the extent of the news-worthiness of week number twenty one.

We are now almost done with inference with proportions, which means we’ve made it through the turbulence, and the rest of the ride is relatively downhill.6

  1. And if you know the type of chaos that can ensue in tutorials on these days — never mind the grading — you know that it’s not actually a “break” []
  2. as in, 5-day work weeks []
  3. Due to the brisk pace of the Fall semester, this is really the first time in the calendar that such a stretch is even possible. []
  4. Thanks in part to the ice days. []
  5. Season 5, back when I was still using Arial on my calendars []
  6. Knock on wood. []