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Summer Break

written Tuesday, 8/1/2006

The summer has gone by awfully quickly.

In June, the two-week GEE (Graduate Exit Exam) remediation course at West Jefferson went reasonably well. Considering I was teaching several dozen kids who are not strong in math, and presumably also dislike the subject, most of them endured the three-hour sessions with positive attitudes. I intend to call one of my West Jeff colleagues in a week or so, when the results of the GEE retest should be in.

Immediately following the short summer course, I attended a 4-day workshop on “Cooperative Learning.” I learned new methods for getting students to work together in small groups more effectively. Seemed like some good stuff. I intend to try some of the techniques out in the coming year.

In July, I stopped in Austin, TX for a day to visit my former Geometry teacher. I hadn’t seen Mr. Otis Halliday since I graduated from Lynbrook High School (San Jose, CA) in 1991. He looks just like I remembered him, and stays quite active in his retirement. I, on the other hand, felt quite old when I realized that it’s been 20 years since I entered his class as a freshman. Mr. Halliday and his wife, Carol, made me feel very welcome in their home, and I enjoyed the opportunity for us to catch up on what we’ve been doing over the past two decades.

Back at Lynbrook, a legend persisted that Mr. Halliday could tear a phone book in half. During my visit, I mentioned that I’ve always wondered if the rumors were true. As I prepared to leave for the airport, Mr. Halliday stepped out of his den with Yellow Pages in hand, and proceeded to rip it in half. At 72 years of age, he probably struggled with it a little more than he used to, but the book really never stood a chance. I left for my home state, hoping that forty years from now I’ll at least be able to tear apart a comic book.

I spent much of the following three weeks in California hanging out at Lockheed Martin. I guess that’s natural, given that I had spent 9 years working there. I acquired quite a few friends over that time, and I also acquired quite a few stories to share with them since I left just over a year ago. I started realizing how much I miss my former coworkers, although I thankfully felt no temptation to return to my engineering career. I don’t know if teaching is my calling, but it’s making life interesting for now.

I also enjoyed a three-day family reunion at Lake Tahoe. I either hadn’t met, or didn’t remember half of the two-dozen extended family members who showed up. This was a rare and special opportunity to get acquainted before we all had to return to our homes scattered about the country.

Now back in New Orleans, I’m hoping to get settled into my new apartment before the school year starts in less than two weeks. It’s a cozy 450 square feet or so, but I’m really happy with it so far. I look forward to building on some of the great friendships I gained last year, and my new central location should make it even easier to do so.

At Lusher, it looks like I’ll be teaching three subjects this year. In addition to the Algebra 2 and Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus, apparently an Algebra 1 class has been added to my schedule. Two preparations were tough enough last year, so I guess this is the first unanticipated challenge being thrown my way this year. I’m still optimistic that I’ll enjoy teaching at Lusher. Now if I can only get my hands on some textbooks, I’ll be better able to start preparing!

I’m excited about the adventures to come. With luck, they won’t be quite as dramatic or traumatic as last year’s.

In my Kenner apartment, I found this tiny“Katrina frog” flattened on the dining room floor upon returning from evacuation. I left it there for 9 months until moving out in June.

Occasionally the neighbor’s kitten, Tiger, barges into my new Uptown apartment when I open the back door. He’s much cuter than the Katrina frog, and he knows it. The inside of my Uptown apartment. My Geometry teacher Mr. Otis Halliday and his wife Carol,when we visited scenic Mount Bonnell in Austin, TX.