Monday 2 September 2013

TCH: Summer's End 2013

I'm heading back to school tomorrow. It's that time of year, more so than January 1st, when I look back... and think about all the stuff I failed to accomplish over the summer. Along with some of the stuff I did manage to do, with an eye to wondering whether it was worth it in the end.

This strikes me as painfully silly. I shouldn't be so focused on the teaching aspect of my life that I neglect my other achievements. Therefore, I'm creating this post to remind myself of what I DID manage to do during Summer 2013. Why post it up? I suppose for your amusement.

Well, okay, this will also remind me what to consider going forwards - and perhaps remind you to remind me. Plus, it helps to close things off, and (one can hope) make me as ready for the return as some of my colleagues. Perhaps by the end of the post, I'll even have no regrets, as Lois posted up here.


Let's get this out of the way first, I went to France. Now that any traces of sympathy for me are gone, I'll clarify - that's where most of my in-laws live. I even got married there. We make this trip every couple years, and this year it was to see my brother-in-law get married. So that was something! Of course, we left Canada before July 1st (National Holiday) and left France before July 14th (National Holiday), thus did it completely backwards. But I like being unconventional.

A rare picture of me!
I also went to Philadelphia, for "Twitter Math Camp", where I blogged daily. It was my first time flying into the United States in... I'm not even sure. On years when we haven't gone to France I've sometimes driven through bits of Maine or New York state, but I've never been a huge fan of flying. Anyway, the camp itself was... a bit of a game changer. A lot that I'm still thinking about. Not only professionally, but also personally. In the end, it's a large community, which troubles me, but it's full of amazing people, so on balance I'm coming out ahead.

In between those two events, I was part of a video shoot for Dream Weaver Communications' HormonesTV series; working title "Rainbow Warriors". The company is owned by a (now retired) teacher from our school, as well as some former students, and the cast for this shoot (featuring a story about a closeted gay teen) is comprised of students from all over the area. Before you get too impressed, my role was merely to memorize some dialogue and then be available for the two days when they were shooting the teacher scenes. Kerry Chalmers had the unenviable task of dealing with scheduling throughout the whole summer. Well, maybe you can be a bit impressed - it's not my first time doing video, you can spot me (at 1:41) in the Alex Lacasse song "Like This Like That", shot at our school some years ago.

So that was July. I also put up 13 blog posts, in part because I could craft them while I was away from home.


August was the month where I had NOTHING planned, and thus I could devote time to the more miscellaneous things in life. I'm going to start with what I DIDN'T accomplish, so that I can build up to a better ending:

1) Fiction Writing. Didn't happen. This is the one I kind of hate myself for, because I really wanted to get to it. I have this whole idea for a continuation of "Time Trippers", but it's contingent on going back and revisiting Season 2, and I just... DIDN'T. Unless there's cause, I'm not going to get to it during the school year either, which is a shame. Last year I wrote 50,000 words during JulNoWriMo (while maintaining my web serial!), this year, blah, epic fail.

2) Roleplay. Didn't really happen. My online groups went on hiatus, and every Saturday that my regular gaming group got together, there was something else going on in my life. But I could have been more proactive if it was a real sore point, and I did meet with a friend to do some chargen. So there.

3) Home Improvement. Problematic. There's fewer weeds on the lawn, but something is infesting a couple of my trees, and I still have no idea what, or what to do about it. I also need to get a clue about my property lines; why did I want to own a house again? There's plumbing issues too, but they're only periodically annoying, thus status quo. My visions of an herb garden remain a pipe dream, but I knew that going into July. I remain an unhandy man.

4) You know when you have that one thing you really NEED to do, so you couple it with something you really WANT to do, figuring that way you'll get both things done? But then neither happens? It's only about sifting through some boxes to find some information too. I WILL do this within the next week, damn it.

There were also four serials/webcomics I wanted to get completely caught up on. I managed only most of one. I also feel I should have done more with Nix the Tricks - only tossed in a thing here and there. My email didn't get organized, and I still haven't figured out HootSuite, which is a problem as Twitter is now DYING every time I load it on my laptop computer. Finally, I only went biking four times.

So, crud. Now I need to try to redeem myself.

From "Being Parabola"
1) Web Serial. In a sense, I'm no further ahead - I had two weeks worth of material in the buffer to start the summer, and I have two weeks worth of material there now. But of course, I was publishing all through, and damned if I didn't get more comments than I remember. I also have a really good plan for Series 6 now that Series 5 is done - it may require a bit of a hiatus as I get my head into it, that's the only problem. The drawing slows me down.

2) Giving Feedback. I wanted to post comments on more blogs... I did, if not to the extent I'd hoped. However, I also read through the second volume of an entire story by a friend, offering some commentary. He agreed to the extent of even tweaking the climax of his book, so that felt helpful. (His first volume can be found here, if you're interested in reading about vampires and religion.) I also offered feedback through the one (of four) web serials that I was trying to catch up on. So while I never picked up a new book, I suppose I managed more recreational reading than I credit myself for.

3) Videos. I put together six videos: One song parody video, and five related to my web serial. The former (which took a couple days) managed over a dozen views in a month, the others (about a day each) as a collective garnered the same number of hits last week. So I've amused 30 people once, or one person 30 times, or something in between. But more to the point, I'm feeling a lot better about using FinalCut Express.

I've also increased my online presence. On the blog, 20 posts (the 13 for July and 7 for August), I made it out to three Global Math sessions (for a total of five all-time), and for the first time, I have more Twitter followers than people I'm following. I've now gone over 4,625 tweets which is something like 4,500 more than this time last year.

Beyond the MTBoS, I participated in a Skype chat with people from "MuseHack" (formerly FanToPro) and kept up to date with Linkara's "Atop the Fourth Wall" (he even tweeted a response at me). That hits my three key Notoriety places, which I've blogged about before. I also helped the environment in that I only had to fill my car with gas once, managed to do at least a bit of unpacking and reorganization in my home workspace, and was paid a visit by my in-laws, my parents, and my aunt.

So, okay. Fail on the writing, but things got done. In the end, I think I'm satisfied after all.


Now, where is this going as a trajectory? On her blog, Tina Cardone mentioned that some of us are mandated to have at least a couple teaching goals in mind. Plus this year is an evaluation year for me, so I should probably get on that sooner as opposed to later.

However, my first goal (after that #4 above!) is unrelated. I want to try to maintain updates for my web serial through the launch of Series 6. That's going to be tricky. Still, I didn't participate in Web Serial Writing Month because I knew I wouldn't have the time for it, while - I think this is doable? My plan is to use song parodies and a couple other items to bridge, but... euh, even Twitter might get thrown under the bus for this one. It means that much to me, even if it's incomprehensible to so many others.

Anyway, back to teaching. I resolve to attend at least one Global Math session per month. I know, sounds weak, and hopefully I'll attend more, but Wednesdays tend to be very heavy days. I can easily see myself writing off the night before, saying that I'll go back over the GM recordings on the weekend - nope, gonna be there. At least once.

I'd like to say my other goal is to hammer the "Functions" course into something a little less Unitized, but I didn't do much thinking for it over the summer, and I have a new prep. Ergo! Second goal is to get that course, or at least a set of notes for it, up and running on my course website too... moreover, to try and do a better job with it than I did with my new prep last year. >.<

I also want to fix the issues I was having with my math club and marking schemes, as blogged about in July. I'm also trying something new, a seating arrangement of threes, as I'm not actually sharing my room. And I should turn an eye towards helping with details related to the school trip to the Edinburgh Fringe next August.

Before all that though, LOTS of administration ahead. Time to turn on the A.C.S. Driver - Strike Flame. Raising Heart, Cartridge Load!

1 comment:

  1. Found the information! Sometimes, one uses a blog in order to hold oneself accountable. Now to figure out the rest of that stuff...