Days 92-95: Forever Ago

This is the last blog post I started writing before everything exploded and my life became overwhelmed with all of the things. So, here’s a report for the first week of February, a brief report of the two months since, and fingers crossed for having the time/energy to get back to this business next week. I genuinely don’t even know what number day we’re on right now.

Monday, Feb 4 – Thursday, Feb 7

Friday is an InService day, so no classes. This weekend was another brutal weather weekend (for this area, anyway) with power outages and shenanigans that significantly reduced robotics productivity on Saturday. I’ve been scrambling since Sunday to catch back up.

Physics: Finished up sound, beginning light and color.

Honors Physics: Review on Monday, midterm on Tuesday, and started modern physics with a viewing of “Frame of Reference” on Wednesday. We watched the first 10 minutes, and I gave them the option of continuing or moving on, and they all wanted to keep watching. It was the first time that had happened, and the first time I’d seen it all the way through. It’s really fantastic, and I highly recommend it. Thursday was a double period, so we had lots more time to think about and confront the mind bending aspects of special relativity. We talked through time dilation, and then I set them lose on the Thought Experiments. Put them in groups and had them talk about it.

AP Physics: Circuits! This week I had them building and measuring circuits so we could use their data to find patterns. It’s so much fun to watch them working together and so focused on the building and measuring. With AP kids it takes about 15 minutes to get them started compared to with 9th graders. It would take me about two full classes (so total of three hours) to get them up to speed on all the aspects of building and measuring. It’s always one of the most fun, because it’s completely hands-on and largely self-correcting because if they do it wrong they don’t get any measurement and then either try something else or ask for help. It also gives them a lot of autonomy to choose which circuit to build from which resistors. I give them a pile of resistors and tell them to go nuts rather than a specific list of circuits to build and measure. There’s no “finishing” because they can just start building more complex circuits and taking more measurements. Once they know the basics of the multimeter, BAM, labs for days.

Since Feb 7: I can barely even think about how these last two months have been. Things got increasingly difficult and overwhelming as we got closer to Bag Day for the robot and the end of the term for classes. That is why this whole thing fell behind along with every other aspect of my life. As of the last day of term, Feb 22, I had worked all but one of the previous 47 days since Jan 7 with an average of 90-100 hours every week. Peak was 120. Minimum was 80. The two week break was nice. It took a week to even begin to recover and feel human again, and then I got the flu. So, lots and lots of resting over break.

After break, since March 11, I have continued to work 100+ hour weeks and have not yet had a day off. I should have next Sunday, April 7, as an actual full day off without any teaching, robotics, interviews, or other requirements. I am looking forward to it greatly.

Our first robotics competition was Monterey Regional March 21-24. We came in 6th of 36 teams at the end of quals. After alliance selection we were the 4th highest alliance. We ended up having to quit our alliance after one game because a motor burned out and we didn’t have the right tools to get it changed quickly, and the rest of the alliance plus a back up bot lost the next quarter final, which meant the end of our participation in that event. I claim that puts us at 5th place, since we were the highest ranked alliance that was eliminated in quarter finals. I don’t think that’s how it actually works, but I like my argument. Also, considering last year we came in basically last at both competitions, whether we are officially 5th or 8th, I don’t even care. We did good this year.

Classes have continued on as expected. AP has finished all of E&M except induction. Honors is in the big middle of Newton’s Laws and motion. Regular is just starting circuits. All fun topics that I am enjoying thoroughly.

I have had a handful of phone interviews, one on-site interview, and two more scheduled over the next two weeks. Still waiting and hoping to hear from a two-year research fellowship position. Need one person to sign two sheets of paper before I can get all the paperwork in for the experienced based credential. Trying to figure out balance between “do not want to move back to Commuting Hell” and “all the jobs that I want require Commuting Hell”. It’s a messy thing.

Yesterday I folded all my clean laundry and put it away, which has not happened since 2018.

And there is your Val Report for March 28, 2019.

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