Archive | May, 2015

ESL unspiked

23 May

Sheesh is what I have to say about that.   At the downtown school I have been subbing at for six weeks in a blessed row, the work has abruptly stopped.  Many teachers returning from vacation and so I am bumped out.  Annoyingly, the other subs were not bumped out – mainly scheduling I think although I am not sure how this school does that.  I think some returning teacher wanted my level or something, not sure.  I am getting an hour and a half! early Monday to do intake testing.

SHEESH.  It is summer and being unemployed for even a week should not in any way be an issue.  But here it is.  No word on when/if things will pick up.  My morning class students, who I have taught for six weeks, were understandably flummoxed when I told them.  I couldn’t really explain why, either.  Oh, teachers coming back from vacation I said.  Even if they get more students on Monday, they have no classroom space so I am out of luck on that front. Ugh.  I know, I know, I have to get out – this remains unsustainable.  My idea of earning enough in three months to survive nine months didn’t make any sense really.

I am teaching two evenings a week for another six weeks at Langara College so that is good, that is a tiny something.

We struggle on.

On a positive note, I will return to my weekday evening things I have been not doing – writers’ group, home group, maybe a little Scrabble.  I could have done a few fun things tonight with a meetup group or two but I didn’t.  I’ve taken to not liking schlepping across the city.  But then I sit around and don’t schlepp and wish I had.

What have I become.

Drama.

On another note,   I did a collage for the first time in my life the other day – some paper, some glue and some random pictures/postcards that I like.  Vaguely pleased with it -although I note that the glue eventually makes the pictures pucker a bit.  Peter piper picked a pack of puckers or something like that.

I also quite love a dark blue tempera paint I have.  I want everything to be in this blue – maybe a connection to the ocean or some such.

I shall collage again – pictures, words (er, typed, not handwritten), ideas, things that hold me back.

Teaching ESL in this stop start stop stop stop fashion holds me back.  Another sub, who got to keep his classes and more (life is unfair or something) spent the winter in Russia and a few other places teaching.  Didn’t save money but enjoyed it.  He is a mix of nice and also kind of a bit edgy or so he presents in the workplace.  Of course, aren’t many of us.

I’m a lonely soul – my friends are busy with their busy lives and I don’t schlepp places to meet new people.  Time goes on.  Oy.  Violins playing somewhere.

I tried a bit earlier to pop popcorn in a paper bag in the microwave but instead started a small fire, the residue of which I can still smell.  I smelled it heating up in the microwave but really really wanted the popcorn.  Crisis averted, phew.  Nice that water put out the wee fire.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow is a book sale at the downtown library and I went down there AFTER MY LAST DAY  AT THE SUBBING JOB ENDED AT NOON OH MY GOD OBSESSING IS NOT HELPING HOW DOES ONE NOT OBSESS.  I got a couple of magazines, a book called, “The Bible as History” (apparently a classic and at $2, really, who gets hurt) and then popped into the library part of the library and picked up a couple of new magazines.  Then I cycled home the long way, around the seawall.  I have been cycling quite a lot and swimming in the blessed (bless – ed) Kitsilano Pool that opened last Saturday and will remain open until mid-September.  After quite persistently advocating for myself, I got a free pass for the summer.  Nice nice.  My hope is to get in shape and lost some weight that I have dramatically put on due to sitting around eight months of the year, stress, and middle age I guess.  Middle age sneaks up like a turkey waddle or something like that.  I’m getting a bit of a tan as I do rather quickly – looks healthy, but really isn’t.

Tomorrow, G, back from Europe and Hornby Island, is picking me up and we are going to get a Costco hotdog.  This excites me more than one would think it would.  Maybe a bit of the library sale again since it is in the area.  G. is super busy in retirement – playing bridge, teaching bridge, travelling, babysitting her soon to be two grandchildren.    We used to swim together a lot at the pool – she with her snorkel and mask and me with my not great but serviceable swimming style.

“I can’t lie around on the grass of the pool for hours like I used to,” I noted to A.T. this afternoon, “Hurts my back.”  She nodded.  She gets it, we are of the same vintage, although she is a couple of years (almost exactly) younger than I am.  I painted clay blue and shared some thoughts with her this afternoon.  Her place, where she does her A.T.ing, is only a 10 minute walk from my abode so that is good.

Turns out the woman across the alley does eyebrow waxing and such.  My building mate (we had a barbecue on Monday evening to all actually hang out, something that hasn’t happened in my nearly eight years of living here.  Most are new-ish to the building) is going to get a Brazilian.  She is 32, blonde, has a PhD from Oxford and is teaching engineering at UBC.  All of that made me insecure and socially awkward (er).  “A Brazilian,” I said, “Hmmm, seems a bit anti feminist.”

That did not go as well as I would have hoped.  Funny that.

But I mean there I am almost 20 years older – single and unemployed and blah blah and quack quack so I’m insecure and out comes statements like that.  Uh well.  She has a great bicycle she keeps in the bike room – and another $5000 in her storage locker.  Something about having been a bike racer at one time.

The other evening I read a piece by a fellow who has OCD and I totally got his struggles – omg I am obsessive.  And I obsess about being obsessive.  Random negative and devastating thoughts flowing through my brain at all times.

“What helps with that,” asked A.T. today.  She herself spent years learning how to meditate and seems to have achieved some balance in her life.

“Um, um, distraction,” I said. And also dancing to Dancing Queen I realize now.  The blue paint is vaguely helpful as well.  A.T. has a much more robust friendship life than I do, which of course drives me nuts.  Thus, she avoids bringing up her various and sundry social activities lest I guess I shout out “I am so jealous I want to scream inappropriately and throw clay at the wall like I did that one time which I enjoyed.”

Oh!  I will be able to see S.T. once a week starting mid-June.  That will be difficult but good really.  A bit hard to work around any work schedule as her only time available is 3 pm on Thursday afternoons.  But I worked hard to get that going.  I can be a good advocate for myself when needed me thinks.

Uh well, the weather is turning cooler here after a brilliant few days of sunshine and heat and bobbing in a pool.  I’m trying to plan my day for Monday after I finish the 1.5 hours at work at 10 am.  Hmmm.  Writing group at 7 so only nine hours to kill.  Swimming, might pop into the (less than helpful) WorkBC office.

I apparently have a myriad of things to say about the Josh Duggar situation but really, who cares what I think and why does anyone have to think anything about it.  I will and have to say that the massive downplaying of what happened by some is concerning.  Not surprising, but concerning.

I shall try to blog more regularly for my fan base of three – if I’m not schlepping, at least I can be writing.

K things I like:  cycling, swimming outdoors, blue coloured paint, collaging (egads where did that come from), reading, sexting (ha, just seeing if you are paying attention, wee wee wee fanbase), a regular schedule, noting that I really taste how way too salty processed food is now because I have been eating more salads, rootbeer and ice, Costco hotdogs, people that I know, not being trapped in a terrible job, the word cozy, and the word evening.

What I don’t like:  the fact that no one actually is going to rescue me and my subsequent denial and insistence that I need to be rescued.

Oh and I liked the students I am no longer teaching – except for the new fellow who decided to come after days of skipping. He would be a challenge.

I’m thinking that some people turn lemons into lemonade, which I enjoy (especially the lemonade/passion fruit iced tea mix at Starbucks which comes with ice!).  I think I take oranges at times and turn them into lemons and then freak out and throw it all into the air and then the people around me are like, whoa, what is up with all of the oranges in the air.  And I’m like, no, those are lemons.  And they are like, well, one might be a lemon but the others are definitely oranges.

And we schlepp on.

Interesting spike and summer ESLing

3 May

Hadn’t checked on the blog in awhile – smoking cow of all holiness the stats spiked yesterday to more people than have ever looked at my blog in one day except for that weird spike one day in January 2012.

I think it is as a result of the teenage guest poster.  That must be it.

Whatever it was, my excitement is downright uncontainable.

Well, not really.

Well, well, well.  The summer-esque ESL spike is thankfully upon us here in the Pacific north-north west.  At the one downtown school that I sub at (it pays a ‘decent’ wage – about 60% more than any other downtown school) I have been getting more work.  Full time is considered 4.5 hours of paid eyeball to eyeball time but we all know teachers put in a lot more than that.  Nonetheless, there it is.  I have been told that there should be work until the end of May at least, so that is good.  Although one never knows.  It’s not that student numbers have drastically picked up; rather, lots of regular teachers are going on holidays.  As such, I got an actual paycheque yesterday that covered my rent.  That hasn’t happened in about seven months . . . craziness all around.  And my Langara evening course should start in a bit less than two weeks for eight weeks and the other one (that pays a bit more) might run as well but not as certain.  I won’t be making enough to actually save any money but I will hopefully make enough that I don’t have to bleed my savings further for a little while so good and phew.  Come September though . . .

Gack.

The eight months very little work and then four months of more work is a cycle that is for sure that I can only keep up for so long I realize.

What else, what else.

Oh!  Oh!  Oh! and oh – Seems my blood sugar levels are up and I have to cut back on refined sugars – I don’t really ever drink anything but water but the last few days have most definitely been craving (and giving into) soft drink cravings.  Must be because I know I should not.  Apparently I am becoming slightly insulin resistant, and this will be monitored I guess in three months or something.  Fabulous.  I do eat a lot of refined sugars tis true – I’m not a good or patient cook and therefore eat a lot more processed food than is wise.

Weight around the belly, noted the sub. doctor (my doctor is often away), is a contributor.  Should watch that she suggested.  She is about 30 I think and quite skinny.

Oh I’m trying, I tell her.  But yeah, I do note that my belly makes a nice resting place for my hands these days.  Discouraging but that’s what sitting around all the time will do for a person – that and say, mid-life.

Weird.  I fight so hard to be able to continue living in the vast expense of Vancouver and yet I often do so little with my free time.  Hmmm.

The earthquake in Nepal is yet another tragedy that is hard to get my mind around – i know that A.T. has worked for an organization there and I will ask her more about it when I see her on Tuesday evening.  Always weird – a massive natural disaster happens and the world keeps spinning everywhere else.  We all make hay while Rome burns or something.  Doesn’t make much sense really.

I’ve been back to cycling as transportation of late so that is good.  I think someone tried to cut through my lock because part of the rubber bit is gone – I should replace that lock, I keep telling myself.  But really I should replace that lock.

Oh geez this is a rather boring blog entry tonight let us be honest.

Two students were going back to their countries on Friday – G. and R.  R’s girlfriend P., who is also in the class, wanted to get a cake but couldn’t find one in the downtown core.  Instead, she picked up some cupcakes from the massively overpriced but fabulous Cupcakes Etc. I think the place is called.  Candles were put in them although I wouldn’t allow the candles to actually be lit due to probably an irrational fear of massive amounts of paper on fire.  Heck, I ate a small chocolate one, blood sugar levels be damned.  G and R are lovely students and I shall miss them.  They added a certain needed ooomph to the class.  I didn’t realize until last week when I ran into them at Chapters, that R. and P. are actually dating.  Do the other students know, I queried, vaguely flabbergasted.  Of course, they said, did I really not know.  Eight years they have been dating.  Put a ring on it, I suggested, although they are still only in their mid-20s.

The things you learn.

The school (it is part of a multinational conglomerate now) is undergoing a complete curriculum overhaul and the levels being rolled out first include the one I am at the moment teaching.  Uh yes, but of course.  It will be more work (for the minimal amount of time I am actually there) but the Smart Board technological aspect of it all is quite cool.  Very few schools (even universities) have Smart Boards yet and I now don’t mind them.  I can’t do half of what they are capable of but I do know the basics of writing and typing on them as well as accessing the internet. The latter is extremely handy, especially when students can’t figure out the meaning of a word and boom, I can pull up a picture of it.  So yeah, that kind of thing.  The new curriculum has activities imbedded in it that are click-on-able I think.  This rolls out the week after this coming up week and I think there are only five or so classes doing it so soon.  Once it is figured out it will be a huge time saver for sure.  Mind you, I am only there until the end of May and maybe a bit of work afterwards, we shall see.

The weather has turned nice – I tried to sit outside today and it was a bit too windy though.

Anyway, more things later perhaps.  I am now craving a chocolate cupcake as one would expect.  And orange pop of all things.

And and and

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and finally,

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