Saturday, February 17, 2024

Testing, this thing on??

February 17, 2024 My students had to transition this week to a new platform for submitting their work. They are dual enrollment students, so they had to interact with and submit an essay to the community college platform, instead of the usual Google Classroom platform. After my first few students came in and reported issues with logging in and 'finding' the right place to go, I decided I needed to devote class time to ensuring students could navigate the site. Mind you, we already did a trial run a couple of weeks ago and I made sure everyone could access Canvas. Nevertheless, students were struggling, so I scrapped part of my planned lesson and backtracked to offer support. In addition to devoting classtime, I also published a flier of Google Classroom with step-by-step instructions, and gave them reminders about how to navigate regular issues students were having. In class, I projected the flier and talked them through the steps. Still, I had students with issues. --Ms. L, it still won't let me login. It says I don't have permission. Me: Are you going to the webiste address on the flier, or another address? (She was not going to the website on the flier.) --Ms. L, it says it doesn't recognize my user name! But I'm using my I.D. number! Me: Which I.D. number? Remember that I said you needed to use your college I.D., not your high school one, since this is the college platform? (He was, in fact, using his high school I.D.) --Ms. L, when I log in, it takes me to a page that's not our class! Me: So, when I said when you log in it will ask you to update your communication preferences before you move on, this is that page. (It literally says, "Please update communication preferences before advancing to the next screen.") --Ms. L, I have to put in all that information?? It takes so much time! Me: It's verifying your name and email contact information. You can handle that. --Ms. L, now that I logged in nothing happens! Me: See the icon that says 'Canvas'? The one the flier tells you to click on? Click on it! (The icon wasn't even hiding from her; it was right out there in the open, just patiently waiting for her to click.) --Ms. L, can I just email you my essay instead? I tried to upload it, but it says it doesn't recongize the file. Me: I told you you can't share from your Google Drive, because this platform doesn't talk to Google Drive. Did you download the file as a doc or a docx so that you can upload it to the site? (No, he hadn't.) --Ms. L, I DID download it, but it says it won't accept it! Me: What kind of file? Is it a pdf? (Yes, it was.) Remember how I said NOT to download it as a pdf, because it would only accept doc or docx files? (She did remember. She just didn't think I meant it.) Most of the time, the intelligent, diligence, and knowledge of these kids is impressive. On a day like this, however, it's a little less so. This is not to say I don't have those days myself--we all do. But the collective troubleshooting ability was definitely not functioning at its highest level. My only saving grace is I am sure it saved me from about 90% of the panicked emails I would have gotten this weekend without taking that time in class.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Leslie Leaves

January 14
For the past several weeks, Brianna and Leslie have been staying with me while Bree had the opportunity to work remotely. Of course I was thrilled with the idea of getting to have Bree with me, but I had my reservations about Leslie. She is the happiest, friendliest little dog, but also pretty needy and occasionally anxious and nervous. And the hair! Let me tell you, one thing I have not missed about having a pet of my own is the hair everywhere. (Truth be told, I shed hair constantly. There is hair at my house. But at least I know it's mine when I'm living alone and I only have myself to blame for it.) But Leslie? That sweet puppy is a hair-making factory! Once she got here, though, she just endeared herself to me even more than she normally does. She's a cuddler and super playful, and I enjoyed having her here more than I knew I would. She mostly had the run of the house, but my room was my oasis, so at least I could have one space that was (mostly) pet hair-free. That was enough of a boundary for me. Leslie and I bonded quite a bit on her visit--she loves me and I love her. Today, as her mom wraps up her time her with me, so does Leslie. She has her own personal driver to take her back to Seattle--Leslie doesn't do well with flying, so she will not be airport-bound like her mom. This is our goodbye-for-now, but I will definitely miss her sweet happy greeting at the end of my workday each day. It's going to be an adjustment for me for sure!

Saturday, January 13, 2024

First Books of 2024

January 13, 2024
I set my reading goal at 30 books this year, an increase of two books over last year. These were the first two entries for 2024. I enjoyed parts of both books, but didn't fall in love with them. I am also trying to do better about not holding onto to books I don't absolutely love when I read them, so I am currently trying to figure out just who I believe I know who will enjoy these next so that I can pass them on. It it really a lot of fun to play book matchmaker.

Friday, January 12, 2024


January 12, 2024 We went back to school this week after two weeks off. I actually love the first week back in January because I spend time with my students reconnecting and reestablishing community, as well as giving them a workshop on goal-setting, which many of them find really useful, since it focuses on something much more concrete than the 'goals' most people usually create. (For example, instead of saying I want to eat healthier, which is vague and general, saying for the month of January, I want to eat at fast food restaurants only twice a week.) They actually always tell me this whole lesson I give them on goal-setting is really beneficial, plus it's a pretty engaging and low-stakes way to ease back into our school year.

Thursday, January 11, 2024


January 11, 2024
Before break, as I always do every year, I asked how many of my students had families who make tamales at Christmas time. We live in the valley, so I often have several students who make that part of their family tradition. I told them, as I always do, that I would not be sad if someone decided to bring me tamales as a Christmas gift. Sadly, no tamales appeared before the break. After break, however, one of my students brought me some, and I cannot even tell you how excited I was! Lunch that day was delicious, homemade tamales. Thank you, Rebecca!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

One of My Least Favorite Tasks at Work

January 10, 2024

In addition to jumping right back into work with a four hour night class on Tuesday, I also started off my week back with yard duty in the morning and in the afternoons. Nothing like standing out in the cold to supervise students who are too cold to stick around and start any trouble. I do have this pretty view, at least, and I don't think it's supposed to rain until the weekend. It could be worse. (That doesn't mean I don't detest this task.)

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

So Tired

January 9, 2024
First day back to school. I knew it was going to be a long day, but I still don't think I was ready for it. I took on a night class again this semester, but instead of two nights a week for two hours, this class is one a week for a four hour stretch. (This was not my choice; it's the only class that was available this semester.) That makes for a really long day after working my day job all day! Since we have been off for two weeks for Christmas vacation, it really felt like jumping right into the fire the first day back. However, my class size seems reasonable and the students seem like they are going to be a good group. I just hope I can keep up my momentum throughout the semester! Since I'm a silver-linings kind of girl, I can at least look at the bright side and be thankful that I am only giving up one night a week this semester. But today? Y'all, my feet hurt! I have been on them ALL DAY.

Monday, January 8, 2024

A Visit to Sacramento

January 8, 2024
Since Mia was in town on Sunday/Monday, we decided to make an overnight trip up to Sacramento to visit Rafe's brother Josh and his family. We were able to go to a local brewery and listen to some live local bands, and spend time playing, laughing, and talking with Beka, Josh, and the kids. It was a quick turn-around, but totally fun!

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Trying to Get Back in the Writing Groove

January 7, 2024 I love to write--really, I do. When I write something good, that I'm proud of, it gives me such a strong sense of satisfaction. However, I'm not good about carving out time to write. Sometimes I can't figure out what to write about, and sometimes, I feel my writing is only for me, but mostly I struggle with balance--my job, travel, reading, my family, my friends, my boyfriend, exercise, experimenting with cooking--all of these things are important to me and deserve my time and energy. Writing does too. I just need to do a better job of being intentional about how I spend my time to make sure I devote time to all of the things that are important. My goal is to write at least two chapters of a book I'm working on within the first six months of this year, and to write on my blog at least five days a week as well.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

More of this Please

January 6, 2024
We spent New Year's Eve day sitting around a fire, talking and just enjoying the feeling of having no place to be and nothing pressing on our to-do lists. While we can't have that all the time- of course there will be papers to grade and laundry to be done sometimes- I'm striving to carve out more of these days in 2024 for us.