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ajoBlog

Working on a new page with nice things people have said about me… for self-preservation reasons, really, at this point. Being unemployed, and interviewing, and getting the “picking the right candidate was difficult, and unfortunately…” email or letter is getting tedious…

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ajoBlog

Chinese Fortune Cookie

“He who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning.” – Chinese Fortune Cookie

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ajoBlog

Swedish Weather System Says – Nice Weather

Yep, the Swedish barometer system at my house reports good weather for the next 12 hours or so… so get ready?

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ajoBlog

Unemployment – Week 4

I’m still looking for stable employment, and so far it’s pretty tough to find a teaching job. It’s funny, when the state of Ohio advises that in order to be considered for unemployment compensation, you have to apply for at least two jobs in your career field. In the teaching field, there aren’t that many available… Especially since we’re not willing to move to southern Ohio, or over to the west. Why? Well, for starters, we own two houses here, have all of our family here, and with the 4-month old, that really helps. So, no move for us.

However, I did find some jobs, and applied. I have an interview this coming week at Summit County ESC, and I’m waiting on another. Then I’m taking the police test at Kent State University, so we’ll see how that goes. Hopefully something happens soon, so we can stop worrying about health insurance, mortgage payments, etc.

FOR AUDIT PURPOSES

Here are the jobs I applied to this week:

  • Resident Hall Director, Kent State University
  • Assistant Director, Center for Student Involvement, Kent State University
  • Coord, Teacher Induction & Prof Devel Pgms, Cleveland State University
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ajoBlog

Unemployment – Week 3

FOR AUDIT PURPOSES

Here are the jobs I applied to:

  • Social Studies at Rootstown High School
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ajoBlog In Review

Unemployment – Week 2

Still unemployed, but some leads on becoming employed! Yeah!

Attended a week-long workshop for a Teaching American History Grant this week, and spent most of the time at the Cuyahoga County ESC and various places in Cleveland, like the Natural History Museum, and the Art Museum. We also took a tour of the Cuyahoga River, and visited the GM Stamping Plant in Parma, OH.

I received notice I would probably get an interview at the Summit County ESC, and at a company called Smart Solutions, so that’s good news. On the job front regarding social studies teachers, it’s pretty thin, unless we’re willing to move to Columbus, or some other location in southern Ohio. Which we’re not.

FOR AUDIT PURPOSES

Here are the jobs I applied to:

  • Long-term sub job at Nordonia Middle School <– was offered, but won’t start until August 2011.
  • Twinsburg High School
  • Police Officer 1 at Kent State University
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ajoBlog

Pictures of the 8 ft Yurt / Ger

Here are some pictures of the 8 ft yurt / ger that I’m working on for this summer’s adventure. Next up is the roof ring, roof slats, and the coverings. I built the door frame out of 2×4 material, and I’ll have the plans and measurements on the web soon, once I make separate pages for it. I’m also working on a 16 ft yurt / ger, and that will be our home this summer during Pennsic XL, in Pennsylvania.

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ajoBlog In Review

Unemployment – Week 1

I became unemployed on June 11th, 2011.

After having worked for the last three years at Nordonia High School teaching U.S. History and Economics, and earning tenure this spring, I was laid off due to levy failures. Fun!

I filed for unemployment online with the state of Ohio, and received bunch of paperwork in the mail a few days later. The PIN code they sent was invalid, of course, and multiple phone calls, faxing (yes, it’s the 1990s!) copies of my social security card and driver’s license to them, we might have rectified the situation. Now, of course, all I’m waiting on is them calling my employer to verify that I actually am unemployed, and not scamming the system.

Some of the week’s conversation highlights:

Me: “The PIN code I was issued doesn’t work, and I can’t file my claim.”
Them: “Oh, all of the PIN codes we send are invalid, so you have to request a new one.”
— —
Me: “I was laid off from teaching at a high school this spring due to levy failures.”
Them: “So when does the new semester or term start?”
Me: “It doesn’t. I was laid off. I am now unemployed.”
— —
Them: “So, what about this job at Kent State University?”
Me: “That was a workshop. Two days. No healthcare, etc.”
Them: “So, when does the new semester or term start?”
Me: “It was a workshop. 16 hours worth of work. No benefits. Not full time employment.”
Them: “Oh, okay. When does the new semester or term start?”
Me: “It doesn’t.”

FOR AUDIT PURPOSES

Here are the jobs I applied to:

  • Portage Lakes Career Center
  • Olmstead Falls Schools
  • Summit County ESC
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ajoBlog Teaching

What if…we designed high school around students’ needs?

What if …

  • Flexible schedules were offered to accommodate working students and to acknowledge brain research that says that teenage brains are wired for late nights and late mornings?
  • Students could test out or graduate early instead of sitting in class bored?
  • Students could earn credit simultaneously in more than one content area through real world projects and problems that they select based on their interests?
  • Students could earn credit for learning experiences that included post-secondary, internships, educational travel, on-line learning and community/social service?
  • Learning experiences nurtured students’ skills in understanding their own strengths, their local and global communities, and their goals and aspirations?

How would this impact overall achievement in our schools?

(from: Flex Credit Report, State of Ohio, 2009)

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ajoBlog Edtech

Why we all “need” our cell phones

Lots of us have cell phones, and for various reasons. Some hayve them to make phone calls only, and others enjoy the ful spectrum of an advanced smart phone, like the iPhone, that let’s you browse the Internet, etc. As a teacher, I know how many of my students have phones, and regardless of school policy, see nothing wrong with using it during class, sending the occasional text message, checking email, or fact checking using Wikipedia. I believe in the good of cell phones, and think they are a great learning tool, especially on the fly, but it wasn’t until this afternoon that I figured out why they are so popular, and so powerful in terms of “everyone’s gotta have one”.

Cell phones (and other smart devices) are powerful because they meet a specific need. No, you can’t eat a phone, and while it may keep you safe (by calling the police), the need that phones meet, is the need to belong. A phone enables you to instantly connect with someone like you, or await their call in return. The need to belong is more powerful than any of the other needs, and explains lots of various types of behavior, and why we do what we do.

In high school specifically, students need to belong to some sort of group in order to function socially, emotionally, and physiologically. Having a phone enables students to keep in touch with their extend network of friends, or people like themselves, and that connection offer students a wireless safety net of sorts.

It used to be that student spent some time in our classes daydreaming, but today, that daydreaming behavior is more likely the student sneaking off a text message to someone. One could argue that texting serves two important functions in our classrooms. One, a quick brain break protecting from overload, in addition to quickly confirming that, yes, someone out there appreciates me, and wants to know how I’m doing! The question is, do we openly allow our students to fill their needs?