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Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006

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June 28th is a long time away! [Jan. 14th, 2007|07:09 am]
Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006
Hello out there in live journal land. I am about to embark on the "grading" of my fourth grade students' book reports. Ah, the joy of assessment. Actually, I have realized that I can't really embark on the "grading" as I have left the rubric at school which I haven't actually seen since Wednesday due to inclement weather. Which brings me to the subject at hand.

June 28th! If we miss two more days of school this year (and Fife has already missed six that we have to make up), we'll be there until July! I was not prepared for this. So how do we keep ourselves and our students engaged and excited when we are bombarded by snow days, early release, LIDs, conventions, conferences, etc? I looked back in my calendar and I haven't spent an entire, uninterrupted week in the classroom since the last week of September! I feel like I'm trying to leave the house, but then I have to go back in because I left the coffee pot on, and then I forgot my keys, and then I remember that I forgot to make my lunch, and then I realize that I forgot to get dressed. And so on and so on, and then I stop and think, "Where was I going anyway?"

Here's wishing you inspiration!
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Run Like Hell... [Sep. 9th, 2006|09:08 pm]
Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006
[Current Location |The New Weekend Home (which is school)]

So, I forgot half the stuff I needed for what I was planning for my classes on Thursday (2nd day of school), and I didn't realize this until 20 minutes before class was to begin.

Oh, what would Vavrus do indeed?

Well, being me, I wasted time checking my email for fifteen minutes with an oozing sense of panic building up in the back of my mind. Five minutes before class, I suddenly had inspiration: Baseline Essay!! I apologized to my 1st and 2nd periods about giving them an unexpected essay with a lame, half-true excuse about needing to assess their skills after the summer break, etc, etc. They just glared at me and didn't laugh at any of my lame jokes. So I tried a different approach with my 3rd period. I gave them the essay like I had planned it all along, looked confident and offered no apologies - only more lame jokes. And they were fine, even laughing along and writing more prolifically than my other classes. Teacher attitude really does set a pretty strong foundation to class responses and dynamics.

Of course, nothing prepped them for the lesbian science-fiction story I had them reading to practice Active Reading skills on Friday... that's another story though.
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Primera semana [Sep. 8th, 2006|10:31 pm]
Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006

First week has been a real eye-opener, just like I expected...which means it's kind of not an eye-opener.

I realize that no matter what I do, at least 80% of these kids will not pass the WASL. That's not disconcerting to me at all. I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. It's just kind of cruel that 3rd graders have to be so fucking petrified of a test (and they ARE).

Those Bellevue kids that score so well every year should try taking the test in Spanish...

Anyway, shit's good.
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Running the numbers... [Aug. 29th, 2006|08:44 pm]
Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006
Yo MITers,
I have had this convo with a couple of you so I decided to just put it out there for the whole gang. During the benefits meeting, when faced with the decision of how much of your salary to put in your retirement or 403b versus how much to send each month to whomever holds your student loans, I encourage you to go with 15% or as much as you can possibly manage. A lot of people are saying they want to pay off student loans, I get that compulsion but it is simply not prudent--student loans are "neutral debt" (as compared to credit card debt: "bad debt" or mortgage debt: "good debt"). Student loans have a low and fairly predictable interest rate.

Follow me on this and I try to will show you what I mean...

It is better for us as beginning teachers to invest in a moderate risk fund than to send large chunks of our monthly salary off to Sallie Mae to pay off low interest loans. The average student loan interest rate hovers between 5-9%. Moreover, when I get my paycheck and write a check to the loan company I am writing a check POST-tax. Which means the government got a chunk of it first. Investments in 403bs and other retirement accounts are PRE-tax. That means you are paying yourself first. Therefore $500 dollars in a 403b is actually more like giving yourself $515 (since it's pre-tax) and $500 off to Sallie Mae is more like sending someone else $515 (since it's post-tax). That thirty bucks per month annualized at expected market rates of return means a huge chunk of change when we go to cash out.

I will use the AXA Enterprise Socially Responsible Fund (a fund I have money in from my UPS retirement) as a benchmark. It has seen year to date growth of 5.75% and is up 12.74% over the last 3 years. Neither of those numbers is going to wow anyone. But, the afore mentioned extra $30/month PLUS that rate of return PLUS compound interest is a much better way to spend your money than paying on a 8% loan.

Pardon the capitalist tone of the following, but we all have pay off our loans--but we should pay ourselves off first.
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Arghh... [Aug. 26th, 2006|09:33 am]
Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006
[Current Mood |anxiousanxious]

After a long week of mentor workshops and new employee orientation "training" I am freaking out at the amount of time wasted. How I would have loved to spend nearly 40 hours working on lesson plans, my room, etc. Instead I have learned some other really valuable information (not). Some of this included advice from our mentors: Just get colleagues drunk and steal from them (if you were there you would know what I mean). Other not-so-new info to MITers included that our classrooms should be welcoming and focused on learning/complex thinking (no...really?). I was also shocked (well not really) and frightened at the lack of knowledge regarding issues surrounding ELL and diversity. We (MITers) are needed tremendously and I am excited and ready to start transforming this not so great system. Yeah MIT- it's going to be a good year. Let's stick together... okay?
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Let's get together [Aug. 11th, 2006|03:14 am]
Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006
Hello! I woke up 45 minutes ago in a panic because I realized ... I really don't know anything about teaching!!!!! So would anybody like to come over and hang out with me on Sat the 19th of August and remind me what we learned in the last two years? It all has escaped me in this frantic preparation for being a "teacher." I'm thinking around 5:00 -- we could have some snacks and stuff. Plus, there's bunch of booze left over at my house from earlier this summer, we could drink some of that too, if anyone was interested. Mostly, I think I just need a hug. Bloom's Taxonomy? Critical Thinking? Imperialist Capitalist Patriarchal White Supremacy? What? Let me know if you'd like to ... and pass it on!
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Start of the year handouts [Aug. 7th, 2006|02:09 pm]
Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006

Hello everyone! If anyone has any beginning of the year hand-outs they are going to use, it would great to share them. After all, why reinvent the wheel. I'm thinking of things like syllabuses, information sheets for students and parents, open house handouts, expectations/rules activities, etc. I'm going to be working on mine this week, and I'll post whatever I come up with.
Thanks! Chelsea
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last hiraaa for those leaving [Jul. 21st, 2006|02:42 am]
Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006

so, it would be cool if we had a get together to celebrate current jobs, potential jobs and specifically those who are going to be moving out of this area (like peter lund and a few others).

thoughts anyone?
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Um, hello? [Jul. 12th, 2006|08:25 pm]
Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006
I'm just writing on here to see if anybody is ever looking at this thing. Let me know if I have made contact. If so, can anyone tell me how to put a picture in that little box thing? Hope y'all are having a fantastic summer!
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Calls in class? [Jun. 18th, 2006|04:37 pm]
Evergreen MIT Class of 2004-2006


As we all age, our hearing changes a little. There's now a ring tone for your cell phone that anyone can download but you can only hear if you're under 25.


I gotta say, there's something distinctly brilliant about this.

Thanks for an amazing graduation and past two years everyone!
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