Tuesday, September 02, 2008

School, You Love School

School is where you wanna be and it's very plain to see you love school!

I wish I could find that Sesame Street clip on YouTube, but I came up empty.

September after Labor Day marks the return to school. And just as my mother sang us that song to annoy the piss outta us that we had to go back to school for another 9 months, I've been singing it to Chunky all week.

Ugh. Such vivid childhood memories of Mom bounding into our bedrooms to flick on the switch and cry out "Time to get up girlies!"

Or, if we were lucky--she'd hit my brothers' room first and you'd have approximately 10 seconds to enjoy the wonderful comfort of your bed from the time she'd yell out "Time to get up boylies!" in their room to busting through your door.

Needless to say, I don't do that to my boys. I usually just open Chunky's door (if he doesn't beat us awake--he must have inherited Grandma's early-morning gene) or I'll threaten to throw a cat on Dr. Mad Scientist if he's dragging ass in the morning.

Nothing like the threat of flying felines to get you moving in the morning.

But where was I?

Ah yes, the first day of school.

Wednesday marked Chunky's foray into first grade, and more importantly, the public school system.

Ah, the white picket fences of New Jersey. I feel like a schmoe driving him to school it's so close to where we live--but until the office moves to Newark, I'm getting into work on time by the skin of my teeth.

Ha ha, I love the look on his face here. Never mind the snaggle tooth (it's really loose and about to fall out) nor the toothpaste goatee!

Please Mom! Enough pictures!"

And away he went into school! The lady in the brown dress holding the paper is his new teacher. I want to say she's pregnant--say a solid Palin-five-months perhaps? If she is that will make her due right around the turn of the year. I find this amusing because Chunky's kindergarten teacher was fired right before they went on Christmas break last year. At the rate this kid is going, he'll think it's the norm to have two teachers each school year!

What happened to my baby??

But Chunky's not the only one going back to school this week.

After a lot of thought and going against one of the major tenets of AA ("No big changes the first year of sobriety." Apparently they don't even like you to get a cat that first year...) Dr. Mad Scientist will be matriculating at Montclair State University this semester. Well he'll be going to classes part time and working full time at least until next semester (the working that is).

Because seriously, you can't just go to one MSU in your lifetime.

He will be studying towards his Masters of Arts in Teaching.

He's come to the conclusion that research isn't something he sees himself growing old and doing.

Quite honestly, I don't blame him. The more I view (from my sidelines vantage point) people in research, I don't think he's got the right kind of personality.

No offense to anyone reading this who might be in research, but I think you have to have a dash of craziness to be successful in it.

Now I'm not talking tin-hat-talk-to-aliens crazy...I mean a more frenetic craziness. More of an insane drive/ambition to go after your final research goal (of which there really is none but you don't let that stop you!) at a breakneck speed and with an obsessive quality.

Dr. Mad Scientist just isn't like that.

He's often tossed around the idea of teaching--even way back in the days when he attended his first MSU. And he quite enjoyed his time spent teaching undergrads as part of his requirements for grad school.

Therefore, he decided to jump in and go for getting his certification to teach high school biology (with a later emphasis in chemistry).

Now you might be wondering how the fudge we're going to pay for all of this. And so was I, at first, I figured we'd have to take out student loans (because you know we've finally gotten his Bachelor's student loans down to $7000 left to pay)--and maybe we will.

But when he was interviewing with the Education Department before they accepted him, they turned him on to this program.

Basically there is this large insurance company here in New Jersey that will pay all tuition and fees for graduate students pursuing an MAT in science education on the promise that they will teach high school in Newark for three years.

Of that three years, half a year is your student teaching and for the rest of the two and a half years you have a mentor that observes you in the classroom and guides you.

Being simple Alaskan people, we don't have the preconceived notions about Newark that a native Jersinian might. And trust me, they do. (If I have to hear one more fucking woman at the office complain that they're going to get raped on the way to their car/train station when we move the office to Newark--I'm going to smack them.) Call me naive, but if you think like a victim, chances are you are going to be victimized.

So it's very exciting. It will mean about 5 years guaranteed here in Jersey, but that's OK. We did more than that in Michigan.

The best part of all of this? If he gets his teaching certificate this opens us up to travel anywhere in the world!

We could finally return back to our homeland! The land of pregnant teenagers, secessionists, marijuana smokers, and 20+ year old DUIs! Oh wait, that's not right...

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Blogger Zonda said...

Aww..he looks so big! Yay for Chunky's first day o'school! Good for Dr. MS and you! That's wonderful news they'll pay it all and etc..Sounds like you and me both have to wait 5 yrs to go "home" :)

6:49 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Chunky looks oh so happy, LOL. Pi started today too and wasn't too thrilled in the morning but she came home happy.

Congrats to Dr. MS on going back to school! I dream about going into teaching too. You know, cuz being a paralegal is so friggin wonderful.

You can cyber smack me, but Newark is no joke! I wouldn't assume I'd be raped on the way to work, but I wouldn't hesitate to carry mace around either.

7:34 PM  
Blogger T. Budnik said...

Huzzah for school! (Huzzah, that is, because I'm no longer in it!)

Congrats to Chunky and Dr. MS on their new school beginnings!


8:00 PM  
Blogger janna said...

I think that's a great decision on Dr. MS's part. And you're right about research - I think you really have to be driven, and willing to go after grants and learn to play all sorts of funding games. Although teaching high school wouldn't be without stress, I think it's a more "real life" stress than the stress in doing research.

8:18 PM  
Blogger LilKnitter said...

Congratulations to the Chunkster! I'm sure he absolutely charmed his teachers today. :)

Such super news for Dr. MS! He can be the fun and cool hs science teacher whom everyone loves!

8:24 PM  
Blogger weezalana said...

Well you know, it's not the first day of school until your mom embarrasses the crap outta you with the camera. It's tradition.

Good for Dr. MS on going for a new career! Sounds like it'll work out fab!

8:30 PM  
Blogger Sssarahevt said...

I love the school pics, he's still cute and not toooo embarassed. The world needs more teachers, congrats on the new adventure!!

8:59 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

That is some snaggletooth! Willow hasn't lost any teeth yet (and probably won't anytime soon since I didn't lose my first until I was in 3rd grade) but her class is full of kids with smiles like Chunky's ;)

9:02 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

That sounds great for Mr. Meandering. And for Bezzie!

9:09 PM  
Anonymous HappyPiranha said...

I have to say, yay for teaching high school biology. I just started my 4th year of it after a 13-year career of practicing law, and a few years at home with the preteen kids. I love teaching. The kids are great, and I haven't looked back. I did an alternate certification program that also required 3 years teaching in a high-need school. Somehow I ended up in a suburban school in the sixth borough (Boca Raton hahahaha)

9:29 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Awww, first grade! The time will just zoom by now. About driving him to school, at least you have an excuse, because you're on your way to work. My daughter's school has a lot of stay at home moms, and it never fails to astound me how many live within just a few blocks of the school, but still drive to pick up/drop off their kids every day. And what's worse is the school had to set up special drop off/pick up procedures (complete with specially marked driving lines) to combat the number of parents that would fly through the parking lot nearly running down other people's kids. Seriously. I've personally seen it happen, and it's pretty darn sad. The driving parents have to wait in line to drive through a specially marked zone, let their kids out, and the kids go straight into the school - there's no hanging around outside before school starts.

Good for Dr. MS. There's a HUGE shortage in most states for science teachers. I think with a teaching certification in it, he'd be pretty much guaranteed a job. And if he can go to school for free, all the better! If he has to take out any loans, keep in mind that there's a new federal program allowing people who work in nonprofit, education, and government for 10 years (and make 120 on-time payments) after graduation can have all of their student loans discharged (every penny).

Even a Clevelander like me has heard how bad Newark is. Then again, many parts of Cleveland are pretty horrible too. I can't pick up the paper or turn on the news anymore without hearing about another carjacking, or murder or robbery. One of my sisters got robbed (by a guy with a butcher knife) and beat up downtown about 5 or 6 years ago.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooray for Chunkie and DrMS!!! Where are the pictures of Dr MS going to school??? Did he get a cool backpack like Chunkie?

I have read/heard that the trick to not being a victim is to act self assured.

Oh! and before I forget....Time to get up Girlies!!! Dang I almost for got that I use to get you all up that way!! It has been a long time. Love, Mom

11:16 PM  
Blogger IrishgirlieKnits said...

Yay for Chunky!! And super big yay for Dr. MS!! Good for him!

1:33 AM  
Blogger Kay aka dkswife said...

Congratulations to both going to school. Free schooling for your husband -- That rocks!! I love going to college. I call myself a professional college student with no degree. hee hee

I grew up in Dallas and have lived to tell about it. Hee hee, but you know, Springfield, the town in which I work and live very close to, was voted the 10th most dangerous city in the nation per capita? No shit. Tell the ladies at work about that. That'll shut them up. :) Well, probably not, they're from Jersey ;p Just joking Jersey people.

6:04 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

YAY! First grade! And a seriously loose tooth! He's going to give you hell for those pics later on. :)

And congrats to Dr. MS! Teaching is not easy.

And Newark? I'm with Christina...I wouldn't think I'd be raped/stabbed, but I definitely would be very cautious. That whole story about the shootings a few months ago in Newark made me ill. But you can get raped/stabbed/shot anywhere, even in the nice parts of NY/NJ.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Ina said...

Hooray for Chunky's first day of school! I hope he likes his lessons and makes lots of friends.

Hooray for DMS's first day of school! There's so much need for math and science teachers. When he's teaching biology, I hope he doesn't run into any creationism silliness, not that there is much in NJ.

Some parts of Newark are nice, some are not, and some are OK by day and nervous at night. Do take care if you have to work late.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

Not all of Newark is a mess, just like not all of Camden is a mess. You just have to be yuor usual careful self. I used to get the girls up by singing to them, too. My personal favorites were "rise and shine" and "they're coming to take me away". Sure to bring a groan especially early in the morning.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Rosi G. said...

I want to know what part of Jersey you live in that doesn't have the pregnant teens, 20+ DUI's, etc. Every city/town has those!

Chunky looks great on his first day of school. :o) Time flies, lady! Enjoy him while he's small and still lets you give him kisses and hugs and take pictures in front of his friends. Cuz then they won't let you do that and you end up having MORE kids cuz you miss all of that too much. AMHIK!

8:48 AM  
OpenID bonne-amie said...

The start of the school year is a time for new beginnings of all sorts. I'm thinking of some for myself (but I'm slow; probably next fall for me).
And, I agree about the victim mentality. Shit can happen anywhere, but just be careful and you'll be alright. I should know, I live and work in the city of Detroit.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

So what is Sarah's accent? Sounds like Minnesota to me...is it Alaskan? do y'all have accents? I know everyone does if they aren't from where you are...just wondered what hers was

9:19 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Wow! Cool scholarship! I wish I could find something like that here for my hubby, BUT that would probably mean moving up to BFE ... er, the county, and, um, yeah, no, although I hear they have lots of land ... hmm??

Congratulations on your back-to-school fun.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

They pay for it? Now that sounds like something that would really help. They help you, you help them and it all comes out in the wash. Fab.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Magatha said...

He is the tallest, yet again. Think he'll top out over 6'? I do. :-)

1:28 PM  
Blogger Mother Necessity said...

What a lot of changes all at once. Good luck to all the students (and to you!). I changed careers and went back to school for teaching. Best move I ever made, and there are lots of career changers in the teaching field.

6:49 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

Eee! First day of school! Go, Chunky, Go! Lookin' good!

I used to think I wanted to do research and find the cure to cancer, but yeah, I don't have the personality to do that. I'm glad to see that Dr. MS has decided to teach. If I had any confidence in my teaching ability, I could have gone that same way. But all it would take is on student asking the same wacked out questions that I did to make me not wanna try and answer questions on the fly.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Batty said...

Congratulations, Chunky! OMG, look, he's all growed up!

7:30 PM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

Hurray Chunky's first day of public school! Good bye tuition...my mom felt such monetary relief when my little brother opted for public HS (well, like he really had a choice...)

Are teaching certs in NJ that subject specific? Or is that what DMS wants to teach? Coming from the ranks of former school teacher I wish him lots of luck..and if he can, stick a supplemental Math credential on his Science Cred, it will take you ANYWHERE.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I know what you mean about research: not everyone is cut out for it.

I hope this new career path works out well for him.

I keep thinking Newark is due for a massive revitalization. After all, real estate in the greater NY area is so expensive, how can they leave such a big area (still with a lot of potentially nice old houses) just rot? And there are neighborhoods there that are stable working class areas.

I hope Chunky is liking school. We've had a few protests from the Little Emperor, but they're mostly pro-forma.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Linnea said...

School is indeed cool, all around. Congratulations to all of you - sounds very positive! I'm planning on doing it, too, as soon as The Economist retires. Five years is relatively small change in the big scheme of things, right?

8:27 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Chunky is so cute :)
Sounds like Dr MS has a great plan.
I know what you mean... yes you can get killed in New Orleans, but it would be way the hell out of the way to do that if you are a tourist...

3:57 PM  
Blogger Rebel said...

hmmm... quite a post. yay for sending Chunky off to school, he looks adorable. I never thought I'd say this, but I miss waking up to a cat in my face. The alarm clock is so much less furry.

As for Dr. MS - I hope it goes well for him. I'm really enjoying teaching and have added "get a masters in teaching" to my list of things to do someday. I hope that he's able to stay on the wagon through it though... learning new stuff is stressful.

As for the ladies afraid of walking to their car. I don't think that 'thinking like a victim' makes you any more or less likely to actually be a victim... but I do know that statistically they are vastly more likely to be raped or murdered by a boyfriend or husband than by a complete stranger in the parking lot. so instead of smacking them... just share that comforting bit of news with them.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Alisha said...

All grown up he is going into school...love the photos!

Good luck to this new endeavor for Dr.M!!

12:17 PM  
Blogger Macoco said...

Sounds like a lot of exciting news in your household! I used to travel to Newark for work and it really was not quite as bad as people would say.

The stories of your mom waking you up reminded me of our dad rousing the house when I was a kid. At one point I lived in the hall at the top of the stairs (lots of kids - not enough bedrooms!). My father would stand at the bottom of the stairs flicking the lights on and off yelling "outta the rack and onto the track!" or "on the road toad!"

Torturous but funny.

9:28 PM  

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