Whew!

It has been a really long week. I’d been going through school pretty well, feeling good and like nothing was too challenging. Then I made a point of looking through my education block class, and it looked something like:

Next week:

Monday – assignment due

Wednesday – reading due

Friday – assignment due

And then the same thing for about 6 weeks. The sudden shock of “oh! Right! I actually have some rather large assignments!” has added a bit of extra stress, as has trying to sneak in 45 hours of school placement. Ten hours down! My first two days were honestly kind of depressing, but my couple hours this morning went much better. I’m glad to see not all days are that bad.

The only really unfortunate part of this weekend is that I’m sick now. I’m having trouble getting to sleep, so I’m letting myself be on my computer after 7:00 so I can atleast get some work done and get rid of some stress. I also need to think of something to do for youth group this week since Joshua is out of town. I’m pretty solidly drawing a blank.

I just keep reminding myself what my Christmas present to myself, or rather reward for getting through this semester is going to be:

iPod touch (if Heather and I haven’t worked out our deal for me to buy her iPod so she can get an iPod nano). Regardless, I will be getting some sort of portable music device (though admittedly, I’m kinda hoping for the touch – costs more, but has much more use to me).

I can get through the next 11 eleven weeks. iPod. I can do it. iPod touch.

That always seems to help =)

My school placement, computer issues, and quilt

Tomorrow starts my placement at Citrus Elementary helping in a 3rd grade class. I’m excited, but also really nervous. Wish me luck!

Last weekend was an interesting experience – I know I’m coming late to the party here, since there were pictures and blogs up within an hour of us leaving – when I went with a group to Concow to help work on a cob house. I had no idea what cob was, but it’s a mixture of straw, clay, sand, and water, that can either be made into bricks and stacked or smushed freeform into straw bales. It was a good day, not only because I got to get muddy and wield a machete (okay, a mostly dull machete) as well as hang out and work with people that I enjoy being around, and don’t always get to see often.

Also last weekend, my computer suddenly stopped working and wouldn’t even turn on. It regenerated itself midweek, but over the course of those several days I realized two things. 1) While it was annoying to have to use Kenny’s computer or one at school just to get a map somewhere or other basic information, I don’t actually need a computer for most of my day-to-day work. 2) I spend far too much time on my laptop, and with it out of commission I wasn’t particularly sure what to do with my time.

Also, once it was working again I noticed that I didn’t sleep as well. I think it’s partially because I lose track of time on the computer and am apt to stay up later, but it may also just keep my mind whirring. In an attempt to at least move in the right direction, I’m no longer using my computer after 7:00 pm. Unless I have some massive essay that is due the next morning or something (a situation which hopefully I won’t procrastinate my way into) I should be able to stick with it.

I started it two days ago, and last night as I got home from work I wasn’t thinking about it; I pulled out the seat in front of my computer and was halfway sitting down before I paused, got back up, pushed the seat in, and went to work on my quilt. I still stayed up late, but I got to sleep almost instantaneously instead of tossing and turning like I do if I’ve been using my computer right before I go to bed.

Speaking of my quilt, it’s coming along nicely. I’m almost done with the front! That’s pretty much the hardest part…I hope. I’m going to try to sew together some of the rows to show my mom today, so I should probably get to work on patching together the last few squares (running out of a fabric right before the end makes life so much more interesting).

Homework status: complete (well, mostly)

I have determined several things today.

SUC50004

Garlic cheese biscuits. Cheese - not biscuit warts. I promise.

– Homemade biscuits with squirt is a really nice fall snack, probably because it still feels like summer.

– Spaghetti and meatballs is always better when made by someone else.

– My math homework was designed to ruin my good mood after finishing all my other homework fairly easily. Not all of my math homework is malicious, just the last problem. So close…so close. It will bother me until we have class again that I can’t think of a way to algebraically prove that the difference between two perfect squares is always an odd number.

That is all.

Furlough Day

Conveniently, my long weekend is extra long. Granted, to me it feels like an eternity – slowly, my “list” for this weekend has crashed and burned, and my mostly – but not completely – self-imposed quarantine has had me at home all weekend. By the end of Saturday, just about all of the fun things I had planned to counterbalance cleaning and homework had hit a snag, and I was left with a list of chores and annoyance.

Still, I’ve done most of it. Just a little bit more homework and I’m set (okay, fine, yes, I’ve only done a single piece of my homework. I’m a slacker, mkay?)

But other than that, I wanted to make a point that goes against most of what I’ve been hearing lately. Maybe it’s just because I’m in teacher education classes, but everyone seems to be up in arms about furlough days. I can’t say that my experience with the whole situation is the same for everyone in a college of 15,000, but here’s my perspective on it.

A little background: because the state budget slashed its funding of all CSUs, Chico State had to make a lot of cuts. This included reducing the numbers of classes, upping class sizes, hiking tuition, and creating mandatory furlough days. There are 3 campus-wide furlough days, where all parts of the campus shut down completely, and each professor chooses 6 “floating” furlough days when they may not hold class, be in their office, answer emails, or work in any way.

I’d like to point out that a lot of the complaints that I have, and have heard from others, is that there is a lot of busywork in classes. It seems like a lot of the fat has been trimmed from my classes, and that instead of lots of random “why are we even doing this?” projects, the professors have been forced to narrow down more of what the core of what they’re trying to teach us is. I’m sure there are some classes where this is not the case, where the professor had to cut out some things that would be beneficial for the students, but what I’m trying to point out is that losing days from a class doesn’t mean that we suddenly don’t get anything from the class anymore.

A big part of my annoyance with this is how it’s been handled. As a teacher education student, and future teacher, I think the whole situation sets a dangerous precedent for public education as a whole; I certainly don’t want to see this sort of thing trickle down into primary education. But I don’t try to mask that as my opinion as a student, it’s a concern I have about my profession, and it is very self-interested. Listening to my peers and professors rally against furlough days with their sole expressed concern as that for the students, it seems like there’s a huge elephant in the room.

Maybe if in my education classes we talked about what the ramifications might be if we had to work in a situation like this and what we could do to make our classrooms better, or if professors at least admitted “Yes, this is a paycut to me. But it’s more than that…” I would feel more comfortable with it. But as it is I just find it annoying and self-serving.

My last reason is the biggest one for me. The Orion posted a pie chart showing where the money to make up the CSUC deficit came from – all of the actions I listed at the beginning. Almost half of that pie was in furlough days, and only a quarter or less was from tuition increases (I looked for the graph on the website to post, but couldn’t find it). So if it’s a choice between taking some days off, or having had my fees go up another $1200 on top of the $600 fee hikes, I’ll take furloughs any day. It’s stereotypical, but true – a lot of us college kids are just making it. An increase like that would boot a lot of people out, or cause us to go into much more debt.

I’m okay having a couple more days to sleep in and write annoyingly long blogs, thank you.

At least swine flu would’ve been more interesting.

The second week of school is coming to a close, and I’m starting to get more into the rhythm. I’m finding I actually quite enjoy this semester, between the classes and how my schedule worked out, it’s turning out quite nice. I’ve been trying to mix up some of the routines I’ve established over the last year or so, finding new places to hang out and thus meeting different people than I would normally run into.

Unfortunately, I’ll have to abstain from some of that for about a week. For one of my classes I have to work in an elementary classroom, and to do that I had to get a TB test – which came out positive. I’m not superbly worried about it, it’s fairly easy to get a false positive, but I won’t find out for sure for a week.  For the people I’m with the most (Alex, the Abbey, and the people I hang out with most in class) if I have it, they already have it, so I won’t be bowing out of classes or Abbey functions.

Just to be safe, I’ve called in to work to let them know about it and they decided I won’t be working for about a week and a half. I’m not sure yet if this is a blessing or a curse; on the one hand, it means I’ll have plenty of time to do my homework and have crafty pursuits, but on the other it’ll mean my next paycheck will be heinously thin. I’m leaning towards the former; I have a roof over my head, more than enough money to take care of food, and even a job to come back to when my tests are done. Compared to a lot of people in this area that is an upgrade, so how can I complain?

As a fair warning though, I’m fairly certain that if Kenny finds out he has TB he’ll do his best to become a walking WMD and infect as many people as possible. I’m pretty sure you need to worry about him more than me!