Sunday, February 23, 2014


Nothing like looking through some old posts and then realizing I have broken off yet another attempt at writing. Apparently, I started a "Write 300 words" each day, and then up the word count by one each day. Two years later... I'm on post 7 or 8! Whoop!

I could write 300 (307) words about a lot of things, but if I know myself, I want to go the easiest route, and that subject today is teaching. Not just teaching, but a conversation I had with a father at ultimate frisbee practice today. I attended a masters and grandmasters practice/pickup game this morning, and it was a lot of fun. It wasn't only fun because I was younger than everyone there (masters you have to be 33 and grandmasters you have to be 40), and actually made some plays on defense, it was mostly fun for the community. I ran into a few friends from Tacoma ultimate, and a few other guys who have been around for a long time playing in Seattle.

A new guy (well, new to me) and I talked after playing ultimate for a few hours about education. He has a son who is in 6th grade, and just finished the APP program that's interim location is the same location my school is moving to next year. I had some questions for him about logistics of that move, but to make a long conversation short, the discussion turned into an APP discussion.

He was very happy with his son's progress through the APP curriculum, and as a sixth grader he is now taking algebra (which is normally a 9th grade class).

As a teacher at a title 1 school, I have mixed feelings about APP programs.

great for challenging kids
good for putting kids in situations where their entire existence is "the smart kid" in a regular-paced classroom

A very homogeneous group. The kids are all smart, and the vast majority are white kids of privilege.
I wonder how these kids interact with students and people later in their schooling and life, can they act appropriately and respectfully around students in a regular paced class? What about people with learning disabilities?

I don't mean to group all APP students into one basket, I know there are plenty of differences between individuals within the program, but it seems like education and learning really isn't going to be difficult for this group of students, so instead of challenging them with harder classes and at a faster pace, why not put the primary focus on team work and building social skills and leadership?

PS: it is okay to go over 307 words!

Labels: ,

Fastest months ever

I've been aware of the phenomena: "time speeds up as one ages" for the last ten years or so, but it continues to amaze me. These last two months have flown by. I was busy coaching basketball every day after school, and busier with teaching and my master's program. I can't really tell if the time speeding up thing has to do with age or being busy, but it is probably both, and we tend to get busier and have more responsibilities as we age.

Spring should fly by as well, as it always does, which has me eager to start planning hiking trips for summer now. I'd love to get into the Enchantments, a place I haven't been, and need to win a lottery to have an overnight pass. I entered the lottery, wish me luck!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Time flies

A wee 14 month blog break. I'm almost halfway through my fifth year of teaching in Seattle, and winter break just began, giving me some time to check up on this blog and other things that have accumulated dust.

Oregon relationship petered out shortly after the last blog post. I still think about her every now and then, wondering what could have happened differently. Probably not much.

I joined a lifelong friend for a section on the Pacific Crest Trail this summer. He and another friend did the whole hike, from Mexico to Canada. I joined them in Central Oregon for 96 miles in 92 hours, or thereabouts. The pace was a little ridiculous, but the terrain wasn't too bad--mostly flat. We had a lot of time to talk on the trail, and the topic of relationships came up. He is married with no kids at the moment. We talked about what we look for in a partner, and he brought up something that I had never really considered. My things were pretty straightforward: good sense of humor, nice, attractive, smart, sporty (and I think in that order, for me).

He mentioned "an adventuresome spirit" is something that he really enjoys that his wife has. That kind of blew me away, because I hadn't considered that a trait, and it absolutely is, and a very important one at that.

Everyone has their own goals and values and priorities and all that. Right now I am up to my neck in teaching and coaching, and I am loving it. I'm loving it to the point that I don't really have time for a relationship, or at least the kind of relationship I'd like to have (where I can spend meaningful time with the person). I know the draw of a relationship will intensify with time, but regardless of how busy I am, I always like the idea of an adventure--whether it is a long travel, a quick bike ride around Greenlake, or a day hike. I think I'll always find time to fit those adventures in.

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 08, 2012

Where'd Summer Go?

Summer didn't necessarily go by fast for me this year.  It seems like it did now, but that's only because teaching has started up again and that first month of teaching freaking flew by.  Honestly can't believe it has already been a month.

I thought I would probably be down in Oregon this summer, living with the girlfriend, but that didn't quite work out.  No good story to tell really, other than we weren't ready for the jump.  I thought I was, which made things, and continue to make things, a bit strained between us, but we're still trying to figure things out.  We're at a very interesting point right now, where it would be easiest to just part ways and call our situations too difficult to make compatible--but we're also in love, so we don't really want to give that up.  Love hurts? Long distance sucks?  We'll see.

Motivation is a big part of teaching, and it seems to be an equally large part of me writing.  I had the entire summer to write and maybe wrote two pages worth.  I was just watching the below video and felt incredibly motivated to write.  I really love it when, well, anybody really, but more so when masters of their craft are genuinely excited and performing at 100% and impressing one another.  It can be music, it can be other forms of entertainment, or even a parent.  I don't think giving 100% is really feasible, that is what leads to burnout, unhealthiness, accidents and injuries.  But those uncommon moments when people do give 100% can be truly remarkable, like beginning at 3:20 in the below video.  I wouldn't recommend skipping any of the video, but Clapton's solo, followed by the pianist, and their accompanying smiles makes my day.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 08, 2012


This is my second summer break with no real obligations since the summer of maybe sophomore or junior year in high school.  I've had a job or classes every summer since, which seems a bit weird as a teacher.  I've only been teaching for 3 years now, but contrary to popular belief, we have a lot going on in the summer most years.  Last summer I took a class every week day in July, and the summer before I was working as a substitute teacher.  This summer I have it pretty easy, and although I've already spent a handful of days in my classroom, and most days I think about how I could improve my students' learning, I have already felt the boredom of having too much time.

Griping about having too much free time isn't going to win me much pity, but having too much time is an interesting thing to me.  All school year I am slammed with obligations right and left, and I have to make time for myself, at the cost of other, possibly more important, things.  And then summer hits, and time slows to a crawl.  The problem isn't really the free time, it is more that I have free time and nobody else does.  Girlfriend is working and busy with rec. soccer and other things.  Housemates are busy working.  I find myself doing things by myself a lot, learning guitar, taking photos, jogging and biking--which are fun, but I am realizing again that I am a social animal, and I wish I had more events during the week that I am doing with others.

Having nothing planned for this day and the next few is also a bit of a bummer.  I like free time, but I think having at least one or two things a day to look forward to makes life much less lonely.  That said, I didn't have anything planned yesterday, which turned into a few hours of pickup ultimate and then going to an amazing Sounders game with my housemates who had an extra ticket--which broke me out of my loneliness slump pretty quickly!

I'm planning on biking out to Mercer Island today, which is about 20-25 miles round trip (my longest bike ride ever?), and then dinner with the folks.