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I must have jinxed myself (not the first time)! Unfortunately we enjoyed running water for only about a week before it quit on us. We aren’t sure why – is the cistern out of water (maybe), did some important part freeze in the frigid below zero temperatures we’ve been having? My relative thinks it might be the foot valve inside the cistern but in order to check it out we’d need to excavate the snow and dirt, drain any water in the cistern and climb down inside! Not anyone’s first choice with the current weather so we are back to hauling water. Sigh. I’d just gotten used to being able to flush the toilet again!
On other fronts I’m well into my student teaching time (we just finished week 3 of 10) but due to snow days, and 2-hour delays I haven’t actually done much teaching! Nearly every day is one or the other (the below zero temps and windchill are the cause of the delays). I’ve had my first observation from the IU supervisor and he was kind enough to say the following:
“With time being short because of the two hour delay schedule you did a great job getting the students going on finishing the Test. You used a strong voice throughout the lesson on minerals. The transition from the test to the mineral study was smooth. You set your expectations for the video and your students were on task and engaged with the lesson. Your time management was appropriate with the shorten period. Overall everything went quite well for the first observation. Keep working hard! and keep up the good work!”
I’m enjoying the kids and feel lucky to be working with my mentor teacher – a man who has taught middle school science for 35 years (he is retiring in May). He has been very supportive and helpful and given me some great tips. I do find the days exhausting – with the commute (an hour each way) it is a long day with little ‘down’ time. You are always on and always responding to the unexpected be it small or large. It doesn’t help that the most demanding classes are the last two. It wears me down and unfortunately by the time I get home (I arrive home after the kids) I’m not at my best for parenting. Clearly this is something to which I’ll have to adapt.
I’m also finding it difficult to plan lessons without access to the internet at home – it means putting in a lot of time at the library on the weekend to try and cobble together all the resources (especially images and videos) I might need for the week. That also interferes with family life.
Speaking of family – we are very busy on that end with all the activities the kids are involved in such as scouts (Pinewood derby coming up), 4H, science fairs, fund-raising for the We the People competition in Washington D.C. (my 8th grader’s class won the state competition and will be heading to Washington in early April if we can raise the money), drama, choir, etc. I’m glad the kids are finding so many ways to fit into the community. Our poor old van is taking a beating with all the driving I’m doing. We will hit 200,000 miles in February for sure.
Living without a paycheck is difficult! I do what I can to keep costs low but some pennies are hard to pinch! Driving 70 miles a day costs a lot in gasoline. Our electric bill is still high and propane costs have gone up dramatically due to the high demand and short supply. With the polar vortex camped out at our place and insufficient insulation it is hard to keep warm without burning propane. It is so cold here. Seriously! I made an appointment at Bio-Life to sell plasma again but when I went they said my blood pressure was too high. I won’t be able to get into the health center to deal with that until I’m done with student teaching as they are only open on weekdays during the hours when I’m at school.
So, all in all we are holding our own, making slow progress on some fronts, battling stresses and pressures on others. I don’t ascribe to the ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ philosophy (plenty of things may not kill you but can still leave you weaker than before) so I just concentrate on keeping putting one foot in front of the other and looking down at the path in front of me hoping that eventually I’ll get where I’m going!