Monday, November 11, 2013

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Fixing an error that was 31 years in the making.

Back in 1982, when I was ten years old, I took a hunters safety course, as mandated by the state of California if one wants to go hunting.  I actually had no intention at the time of going hunting; my father wisely thought it would be a good idea for my brother and me to just get the course out of the way so if, one day, we decided we did want to go hunting, we could just go hunting and not have to be under the gun (so to speak) and rush through the necessary hoops before one can obtain a hunters license.

As the years went by, I never did get a hunting license.  Don't get me wrong; anyone who knows me or has seen my video blog post on my gun collection is quite aware that I am quite the fan of firearms and shooting them for target and recreational purposes.  However, when it came to hunting, it just never appealed to me, and no, not because I am against killing the cute little forest animals.  I had no problem with that at all.  It was more the thought of having to get up at Oh-Dark-Thirty and then sit for hours on end, freezing my ass off, as I hoped maybe perhaps a game animal of some sort would come my way- a game animal that I would then have to drag out of the woods and pay an arm and a leg to have a butcher turn it into something edible.

So for literally decades, my little certificate of completion sat in our house somewhere as I graduated from high school, went to college, served in the Army, and started a family and a career in Sacramento.  But then, a year or two ago, I became very interested in hunting wild pigs.  As I considered the idea, I began to wonder what happened to that little hunters course card I received so long ago, as I would need it to obtain a hunting license.  Then, a few weeks ago, I was invited by a friend to participate in a guided hog hunt on California's central coast, which is to take place just two weeks from today.  After talking to my parents, it became quickly apparent that as far as my hunters safety course card from 1982, my proof went poof; we couldn't find it.  In the hopes that some record of the completion might be held by the state of California, I did some digging on the appropriate state government websites and found that that kind of information did not start being kept until 1989.  Bottom line:  I would have to take the California Hunters Safety Course all over again!  My brother-in-law was also invited to participate in this hunt, and he had never taken the course at all, so we did it together.  He and I took a very impressive online course that is endorsed by the state of California, and then this morning, we both attended the required follow-up class that was held at a sportsmen's club in Knights Landing, near Woodland, which is about 10 miles north of Sacramento.  After taking a 100-question test (I got a 93%; my brother-in-law got a 95%) we each walked out the door with an official little card that says we had passed the Hunter Safety Course.

Instead of waiting 31 years like last time, I went immediately to a Big 5 Sporting Goods store, where my brother-in-law and I both bought a hunting license, and a tag for a wild pig.  Now that my name is entered in the system as having purchased a hunting license, I will never have to show any further proof to get a hunting license again.

So to sum up: 31 years ago, my Dad showed a wonderful amount of proactive foresight by having me take the Hunters Safety Course so that I wouldn't have to rush to complete the course should I ever go hunting, especially after a short-notice invitation.  So how did that work out for me?  In the end, 31 years later, I had to rush to complete the Hunters Safety Course after receiving a short notice invitation to go hunting!

May someone read this and learn from my error that was 31 years in the making.

Oh, while at Big 5, I also bought a box of 20 rounds of soft point, 165 grain, 30-06 Winchester.  Hopefully, a couple of those rounds will end up in the vital organs of a California wild pig later this month!

What a school year I am having!

Quite frankly, I am experiencing one of the absolute worst school years of my teaching career.  The administration at my site - presumably on the orders of the uppy-ups at the District Office - have instituted a kinder, gentler discipline policy that is tearing my campus apart by putting the inmates in charge of the asylum.  The discipline policy is called "Restorative Justice," and it involves discouraging us teachers from suspending students from class for mere "chronic talking" and other seemingly small disruptions, and if a student is indeed removed from a classroom, that student is to receive a firm talking-to from our vice principal before being returned to the very same class during the very same period from which that student was removed.

I have six teaching periods in all.  Of those, four of them, I have to admit, are pretty darn good to pleasantly tolerable.  Another is barely tolerable to unbearable, depending on what mood they are in.  Then there is 7th period, which is a zoo full of feral animals.  I have never seen anything like it in my decade of teaching.  There are days where I am unable to actually teach anything until we are 20+ minutes into the period, and even then, I get out about 10 seconds of instruction before I have to stop for 20 seconds as the incessant chatter dies down enough for me to get in another 10 seconds of instruction before the chatter shuts me down for another 20 seconds, and on and on and on.

This has been my daily grind since the middle of August, and I don't see it getting any better all the way to May.

Couple that mess with my administration's enthusiastic embrace of the incoming Common Core standards, a squishy teaching philosophy called Equity and Access, and my school's adoption of the Middle Years Program, which is the middle school/early high school version of the International Baccalaureate program, and I don't know which way is up.

I get home from work every day so exhausted, all I want to do after I eat dinner and help my wife put our kids down for bed is go to sleep myself.  Hence the absolute dearth of blogging so far this fall.  I have so many blogging ideas constantly swimming in my head, and I barely have the energy to sit down and write them down.

This is one of those school years where I find myself wondering what else I could do for a living.