Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Job Hunt

So on my last post I had been waiting to confirm the teaching position that I was offered while on vacation in California. (PS go visit the Charles Schultz Museum!) The bad news is that I didn't get that job. The good news is that on the way home from California I got a call from an assistant principal asking me if I would be interested in teaching High School English so I made an appointment to interview while on the road home. The interview went very well and after the interview at a third school fell through I felt that it was time to pull the trigger. My next chore (pun intended) was to turn in my application for my license.

Easy right?

Not so fast... I needed a couple of things first before I could go down to the office and make everything official. I needed to get fingerprinted and I needed to get a money order for $161.00 for the license or so I thought. I also needed my transcripts of which I have plenty and I was off to the races. Now because I am cheap I went to one of those payday loan places that does not charge for money orders. There was one literally 3 minutes from my house so that's where I went first. Of course they moved their location down the street, about five miles from one end of Rancho to the other. So I track them down and then find out that you can no longer use your debit card for money orders so I head up the street to the bank pull out $180.00 and get my money order.

Only when she is counting the change that I realize that I should have pulled out $200.00 because the fee for the license is $161.00 so I am short a dollar for my fingerprinting. (which is why I teach English and not math) So I then head across town to the fingerprinting place aiming to hit the bank along the way to put in the $19.00 I have and withdraw $20.00 for the finger prints. Mind you the fingerprinting place is across the town from where I am and it's already 100 outside. I make my way across town find a bank and then get the proper amount for the fingerprints. Then I realize that I need gas and detour to make sure I don't have to spend the rest of the day walking. I finally (90 minutes later) hit the fingerprinting place and while waiting for my number to be called my daughter calls me up. Mind you she is watching my son so you can just imagine what's going through my mind when I see my home number pop up. I tell her I will call her back and when I finish my two sets of prints I call her back and breathe a sigh of relief when she wants to know how long to nuke a corn dog for my son.

So fingerprints in hand so to speak I hop into the mom-mobile (aka minivan) to drive across the valley again to the licensing office to get my license. I arrive at the location listed and don't see the office anywhere. After searching for a good 10 minutes I call them and find out they are on the second floor of the realty building (No there was no sign anywhere on the outside) park the mom-mobile and head up the stairs to the office. After a 20 minute wait it's my turn and I hand the clerk my paperwork, money order etc. She starts to type in my name and then stops when she sees that I still have a valid substitute license. She tells me that because I already have a license all I need to do is add the endorsement to that one and I am good to go. This was good news and bad news. The good news is that an additional endorsement costs a mere $50 and not $161. The bad news is that I have to get a money order for $50 not to mention the $20 I didn't need to spend on the fingerprinting. At that point I had already been on the road for 3 hours and I was at least 30 minutes from home so I decided to go home and finish up the next day.

So the next morning my son and I hop in the mom-mobile and drive to the bank for the cash (and deposit the $161 back in the bank) so we could then go get the money order so we could get my endorsement added to the license. That took about 2 hours so as a reward I took him to McDonald's for lunch.

Thank God that's over with!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Distance Blogging

This week my family and I are in Northern California visiting my in laws and getting a few days of time with just my wife. The kids are really enjoying themselves and it's nice to see the color green as in green grass, green trees etc. The kids get to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and spend the night at the Asilomar Campgrounds on the beach. My wife and I get to go to wine country and will probably visit the Peanuts Museum as well. If you ever visit that part of California make sure you visit the aquarium because it's an all day event.

On the job front I left a message for the principal of the middle school to call me back so I can tell her that I really want the job. I knew I would take the job because I had started to think about lessons and how to take advantage of the technology at the school while driving from Lost Wages to the Bay Area. The clincher was when I did some research on the school and found out it was a 2008 Title 1 Distinguished School in the State of Nevada as well as getting recognized as a high achieving school for closing the achievement gap.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Wild Morning

So today started out as a normal day. My son and I were relaxing by playing Lego Star Wars II (OK I was playing and he was watching, the game was his idea) and my daughter was still sleeping. The only irritating thing was the phone would not stop ringing! My wife called which was cool, her and my son talked on the phone and put a smile on both of their faces, then it was call after call. Needless to say I was getting irritated and I was tempted to let the answering machine do it's thing, but I decided to answer it one last time. Good thing I did because it was a middle school principal asking if I was interested in an open position this fall and when could I come in for an interview. Now the interview part was the tricky part since I was the one staying at home. I relayed this to the principal who replied that it would be fine to bring them along, that this was an informal interview. So I then had 45 minutes to shower, get two kids dressed and get the three of us down to the school for this 'informal interview'.

Somehow I managed to arrive on campus right on time, kids dressed and on their best behavior even. The position is for 8th grade English at a Title 1 school in a mainly hispanic area of North Town. The school itself is old and has heating and A/C issues (what school does not?) but it also has plenty of technology and the class sizes will still be in the 30s because of it's Title 1 status (literally 99% of the school is on free and reduced lunch). I also got so see what a classroom looks like and I got to meet the librarian who was very nice and kept the library in very nice shape.

As far as the Title 1 goes, that does not bother me I spent the last quarter last school year subbing at a Title 1 school and really enjoyed it. The school is not too far away which is nice and I like the fact that they have ELMOs and Smartboards as well as LCD projectors. Plus the principal hates weekly spelling words. It's one thing to have a vocab list that is specific to your lesson etc., but another entirely to simply have them memorize 20 more words. Total waste of time if you ask me. What I might do is to see if there is a montage of Bill O Riley's word of the day and use that as a bell ringer of some sort since his words are fairly uncommon and it would certainly be a change of pace for them.

I must have said something right to her because she offered me the job at the end of the interview. She told me to think about it and to get back to her next week, she is going to be out of town on Friday for a long weekend. Looks like I may have a job in the fall after all.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


One of the benefits of being at home is getting to read more than usual and I have taken advantage of that by finishing up four books in the last few days. Two of them were historical and the other two were political.

As for the histories, I read Patton a short but interesting biography of the colorful and brilliant general from WWII and I also read The Coldest Winter the story about The Battle of The Bulge from the point of a platoon that bought the allies precious time and surrendered only after they ran out of ammunition. Both books were surprisingly good and easy to read. They were not my first choices to read because they were checked out but I was glad I took a chance on them.

On the political front, I finally got to read Bamboozled and Arrogance, two books that had been on my reading list for many a moon but had not been able to get to for various reasons. Both books were well researched and very informative to read. When I get the money I will add them both to my collection.

That leaves just one book that I checked out from the library that I have not finished. It's from Ray Bradbury and it's called From The Dust Returned and if it's half as good as Something Wicked This Way Comes it should be a really good book.

Tomorrow it's back to the library to return books and get some more. My daughter blew through most of the 13 books she checked out and I need to return mine as well.

I could get used to summers off...