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Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

23:46
Nice blog 

Digging through my referrers, I discovered Dave Shearon's blog. A very well-thought out accounting from a former school board member. He just started last month, and I encourage you to go back to the archives and read from the start. It's just so comforting to read someone who talks about education and has good ideas about what works, and what can use improvement and approaches the whole thing with an open mind. I truly hope he becomes the anti-Joanne Jacobs.

23:11
Everyone's got pictures 

and I want some too!

But I'm Mac guy so this Hello service won't work for me. I ended up registering with the free PhotoBucket service so I could bring you a picture of one of my cats ready to move:

The other one is too busy surfing the net to get packed:

Friday, May 21, 2004

20:41
Looks like District A isn't going to happen 

I've heard nothing back from district A after faxing over letters of recommendation yesterday. Meanwhile I dropped off transcripts, applications and letters of rec to districts G and O in the midst of a whole day's worth of errand running. I also discovered that (somewhat miraculously) I was able to remember my old driver's license number which I had from 1989-1997. And tomorrow my lovely fiancée and I will get our new drivers' licenses and I'll get that number back.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

15:09
Latest news on the job search front 

Interview #2 took place this afternoon at one of the high schools in district L. It was a startling contrast to district A. This was clearly a lower middle class school, with the grounds in some disrepair and a more obvious security presence on the grounds (I had to sign in and out here as opposed to the other school where I was able to freely walk on and off campus). One thing I learned was that first-year teachers in district L are guaranteed their own rooms. After that, well, it's anybody's guess. This particular school is running at capacity but has managed to avoid being required to go to a mulit-track schedule. I like that they've decided to abandon a 2-year algebra I sequence in favor of having the first year of that sequence focus on pre-algebra skills building and then approaching algebra at a regular pace in the second year.

On the flip side, there's the distance. District A would be an 8 mile/15 minute drive. This school is 22 miles/38 minutes under optimum conditions (and mid-day it took me closer to 50 minutes). District L apparently also has a hiring freeze in place which means that at best I will see a job offer sometime in mid-June. But on the whole, I think that the interview (with the principal and head of the math department) went reasonably well.

I had a request to fax my letters of recommendation to district A come in response to my e-mail to the v.p. there that I had forgotten to produce those during the interview. I hope that's a good sign, but as of this posting, no further response yet. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

20:20
Interview week 

I had my interview at District A today. Pretty low key. The questions are pretty much straight out of the teacher interview book (if you're looking for a teaching job, or in ed school, go get yourself one, I really liked Inside Secrets of getting a Teaching Job). The one question that I don't really have a good answer for is "what do you do if you have a really disruptive student in your class?" I answered that I'm not entirely sure, I've not had a really disruptive student in my class. I talked a bit about how I deal with the mildly disruptive (I spend more time by their desk while I teach), and then said, that I would probably go to the deans and experienced teachers for advice in that situation.

I should know by the week's end whether it's probably or not at all (if the former, they'll call me back for a teaching demonstration, if the latter, I'm guessing no call at all).

I also have an interview with the principal at the school in district L where I sent a resume last week. So it might be a rather busy week here after all.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

12:30
Sunday Math 

a school yard blog presented the following math problem:
Find the 3 consecutive integers such that the product of the first and second integers is 40 less than the square of the 3rd integer.

Please develop a visual/conceptual model before you go directly to an algebraic generalization.

Here's what I came up with:
The green rectangles have a length equal to the middle number and width of one. The blue rectangle has length and width of the first two numbers. So we put a blue and a green rectangle together to get a square (because they're one apart. Then putting green rectangles on the top and side of the square with a 1x1 red square to complete the big square which has side length of the largest number.

So we take 40, subtract one and we have three greens so the three numbers are 12, 13 and 14.

10:21
Am I the only one to notice 

This picture
on the link to the weddings and celebrations page at the New York Times website?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

13:23
Robot vacuum cleaners 

One of the items on our wedding registry is one of those Robot vacuum cleaners. There's a new one out for $1800 (the one I want is only $200), so I was looking at some of the reviews to see what the $1800 one does that the cheaper ones don't. I'm assuming that the $1800 one doesn't have this problem:
Roomba may be excellent at vacuuming up after me, but I think mine developed some sort of conciousness because I noticed more and more that it wasn't vacuuming but using it's little sensors to memorize my daily patterns. I'd notice it just looking at me from the doorway and I started calling in to ask questions. Roomba didn't like this and disapeared for a few days. That's when weird stuff started happening. I noticed objects in the path of my daily routine, found little piles of dead bugs just left around the house like a warning, and I'd wake up to weird pounding sounds.

When roomba finally returned it was different. The little green activation light was red. I thought it needed to be plugged in. I noticed more and more that roomba would continually run into the table if I left sharp objects out. Seeming to try for hours to get it to fall onto the floor. I thought it was all very funny until one night, I was in the bath tub, listening to the radio. I heard a tapping sound, and looked over to see roomba trying to knock the radio into the tub. At that point I was worried, so I took out the batteries. The next morning Roomba and it's AC adapter were gone.

Just be careful, these things will fight for their own lives!

11:00
Reviving a good idea 

Folkbum started it, and Ms Frizzle gave it a shot, but it seems to have fallen by the wayside.

It being Folkbum's project to "take the lowliest of the Insignificant Microbes, linking to that blogger, and trying hard to say something nice about his or her blog."

Here's my twist on the project. Rather than this being something that stays on one blog only, it's a hot potato. Post a comment saying your taking up the challenge, then get the lowest insignificant microbe from Truth Laid Bear (unless it's still the one last linked then move up one) and do your part. We get two experiments in one: There's the original project, plus we also get to watch the six-degrees of separation effect in action among the edublog readers (I wonder how long it'll take before the project escapes out of our little edublogging circle... and speaking of which, apologies for those of you not in my blogroll, it's long overdue for an update).

But without any further ado, I give you my microbe du jour:

The Canadian Law School Blog which has managed to live for two years without anyone linking to it. The author does have some readers as evidenced by the comment activity, but it kind of indicates the deep fear of those of us who do this: We pour our hearts out on what might approach a daily basis (or more frequently), but what if no one's actually reading? The author actually has just finished his stint at law school and is passing the torch. It's a great concept and part of what I had thought of as my original raison d'etre, to let those coming after me know what to expect.

I'm personally not that interested in law school (having been successfully scared off by John Houseman in The Paper Chase) but I for those considering it, this looks like a must read account of what the whole thing is like.

10:25
An application fool am I 

Sent off a short letter and a copy of my resume to one of the schools in district L whose regularly scheduled interview opportunity is the same day as my wedding. I'm hoping to be able to schedule an interview for next week. I also finished the district O application. For some reason everything except my name was lost between when I started and when I finished. It's a long annoying application, so it was a rather significant nusiance to have to retype everything that I had done previously.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

16:00
The job search continues 

Heard from one of the schools in district N today. It said, in effect, don't worry about getting anything more to us just now. Impossible to tell whether it's a blow-off letter or a we're just beginning the selection process letter.

09:06
New blogger 

Hmm, it looks like there's a whole piile of new blogger features. Of course, in keeping with blogger's general user-hostility, it appears that in gaining any or all of these, I'd have to go through a great deal of effort to retain all of my old features (comments, my links, and so on). Seems like a lot of effort... maybe in June after I'm moved and married I'll tackle it.

Friday, May 07, 2004

11:03
Kerry's teacher plan 

I've just taken a quick look at John Kerry's teacher plan. It seems like a much better plan for improving education than the punitive structure of NCLB.

Some of the things that I like

Thursday, May 06, 2004

14:50
To do list 

Well, school is officially over for me. What's left:
  1. Get all of my stuff packed up for a cross-country move.
  2. Finish up wedding preparations.
  3. Find a job.
All in a one-month period (actually closer to three weeks).

The job search managed to launch into high gear just as school was wrapping up. I got a call yesterday from yet another school district (let's call it District H) interested in hiring me. I'm supposed to get an e-mail at any moment from them with more application information. The district looks good but is at the edge of my willingness to drive range.

Also in today's e-mail was a contact from district A who I had given an application to back in March. The assistant principal that I had spoken to at that time had asked me to send him an e-mail with my availability for interviews, which I did immediately, then I never heard another word. I figured perhaps that they had filled the position, but apparently not. So I will be making a trip out for an interview (or hopefully interviews) before the wedding.

I have two interviews scheduled with district L after the wedding and I'll try to get a third interview during my trip.

I started an application with district N as well, and need to get transcripts and recommendations to them.

I need to get my applications finished with districts W, G, O, B and R (I think that all they need is my letters of recommendation, but I need to double check against my checklists).

I don't think that I really want to expand my pool beyond this. In fact, I think that it may already be too much.

I think that my preference list right now would probably be G, A, N, O, W, H, R, L, B. Hmm, perhaps I'll pull my application to B.

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