02 September 2010

unexpected day home

So, I'm not supposed to be home today. In fact, I was at work a bit early, tracked down some information I needed to resolve an important question, met with another faculty member and fixed a technology issues I've been having, and began prepping my classes. I was getting ready to pull down a tenor sax and start figuring out how to fix its poorly-sealing octave key when I got the text messages from the kids' babysitter saying that Porter had not only had a blowout diaper this morning, but he'd also thrown up twice within an hour.

I quickly checked with JoElle and we determined that I could get out of work easier than she could (she's hourly, whereas I have a few days of leave built up already). I then hurried over to the office, where it was determined that one of our AmeriCorps volunteers would be able to cover things for me today (fortunately, he was once the drum major of his high school band, so he has a musical background and won't be completely lost). Following that, I rushed out a set of sub plans and got on the road. Both kids are now home with me (turns out that Porter had puked a third time before I got there) and Seren's working her way through a bowl of the soup that I made for Porter (chicken broth with brown rice, carrots, and celery, of which he ate about six spoonfuls) while Porter naps in her bed because his room needs fumigated from the aforementioned blowout.

So, since I'm home and have some time on my hands with the sick one napping and the other watching Toy Story, here's a bit of an update on what I've been doing these past two weeks.

Last Monday, I got to meet the MEHS students for the first time. We have students from as far away as the International Date Line and Barrow, so Sitka is an experience for some of them. There are also some locals and a good number from the Anchorage area.

We spent the first two and a half days of last week doing an activity known as Edgecamp. This is intended as a combination of orientation, icebreaker for new students (and faculty), and pep rally for the school year. It succeeded to some degree on all of those counts. I was heading up one of the hikes that half of the students did (in 50-student groups), hoping to be able to meet a bunch of kids and convince them to join my music classes. I don't know how many were converted by our conversations, but I had a great time hiking about ten miles in two days and seeing some awesome sights (everything from starfish to hermit crabs to spawning salmon).

I've been riding my bike to work every day, which means that I cross the O'Connell Bridge (right) twice each day. It's a lot taller than it looks in that picture, which is nice for my thighs.

I love working where I do. I'm only teaching three classes right now due to scheduling arrangements (and I want to move one of those classes to a different period next semester). We're on a semesterly block schedule, so most teachers only teach four classes and most students only take four classes (much like being in college). I have 19 kids in the choir, 6 in my general music class, and 6 in the pep band. If I can resolve the scheduling issue for the pep band, that number should double at least.

The priorities of the faculty and administration are in the right place. I don't know how many times my principal has told me so far that "family comes first." I really appreciate knowing that he means that (in fact, he repeated it to me again this morning when I was requesting time to take care of the sick kid). He expanded on that thought once by explaining that "if your family isn't happy, you won't stay here, and we want you to stay." If all administrators learned that on the first day of their Educational Administration MA, 80% of faculty problems would disappear. As far as the teachers go, there's a small amount of cynicism (you always have that when you ask a bunch of intelligent and highly-trained people to work together and follow one or two people's leadership), but a remarkable amount of energy and enthusiasm for each other and for the kids. I look forward to working with my colleagues and to being on teams with them because I know that I'm going to come away charged up.

Sitka is still treating us and the kids well. Seren loves going to the babysitter and getting out around town. Porter is still at the heavy lump of constant trouble stage of development, but enjoying himself a lot as well. JoElle is tired of working (retail is rough on her), but is still seeming happier and healthier than I've seen her in a while. It may be that having somewhat regular hours and needing to put on work clothes helps (those of you familiar with depression will know that such things help). The stupid dog has learned a new trick, too. Porter loves to throw his food when he's full, bored, overwhelmed by the amount of food in front of him, feeling contrary, awake, etc. Invariably, we yell at him and usually give him a slap on the hand, which is followed by him hollering for a few seconds. Nika has learned that this combination of noises ("Porter!!" *slap* "AAAAAA") means that she needs to come over and clean up the noodles or carrots or kale or meat that has been thrown on the floor. As long as it came from him, she'll eat anything except cabbage.

Later today, we'll be going to the school (if the kids aren't too sick) to have dinner with our "extended family," which is somewhat like the advisee group that we had at Orme. I'll be working this Saturday, because MEHS does Saturday school once a month in an effort to both speed the school year and increase the number of class meeting times.

We'll try to not wait so long before posting again, but it's really easy to get into a routine and forget that there's a lot of stuff we're doing that might be interesting to family and friends.

1 comment:

  1. of course, for those who really care, there's the outmoded email, snail mail, facebook, twitter, or, god forbid, telephone, though i'm reasonably certain you have other technology with which i am not familiar that could be added to the list.

    hope porter's doing better and that you are not always leaving disasters for jo to clean up. didn't realize there were issues that should have been more or less clear to me. glad to hear that she's happy and hale, as it sounds you are.

    i am curious about the school...with this multiday program, are your kids all day students? could you tell me, at least, more? email or facebook...whatever.

    i'm up to my eyebrows in stuff at the moment, hence the distraction of finally getting to read this.

    i, for one, shall strive to endeavor to be a better correspondent.

    love to all and be well.