Get back in the game

Shirking responsibility

There is so much work that I should be doing but I feel like I deserve a day off once in a while. My student teaching is quickly approaching the finish line which means I have all kinds of assignments and reports to complete. Everything needs to be done this week, I think. Officially, the course ends on Tuesday, May 11th even though I’ll still be teaching at the high school until June. When in June? I don’t know yet. I will satisfy the requirements for the state on or around May 26th. I have developed an attachment with my teacher and the students, so I might want to stay through June. In any case, I want to tell my landlady that I’ll be out by July 1st and have a place lined up in Vermont by then.

Looking for an apartment is always a stressful enterprise. There is a huge gulf between where I wish I could live and what I can realistically afford. My teaching assistant salary is only about $30K. Plus, I have car payments, insurance, credit cards, and who knows what else will come up in the next year. While I would love to get a one bedroom or studio apartment, the truth is that I will almost certainly be sharing a house or apartment with others. Once I have established myself in Burlington, I can spend the time to find a more permanent housing situation.

New vices

I had a productive Saturday for a change. Well, I got a bunch of errands done, if that counts for being productive. My pass for the Bridgewater Transfer Stations (aka the town dump) is worth its weight in gold! They’ll take anything there; garbage, cardboard, cans and bottles, sinks, tires, … . I also went to the post office and filled my car up with gas, my tank holds over 15 gallons so that was expensive. Then, finally, I was off to Brockton to the weed store, seriously. There’s a dispensary nearby, in Brockton, where I can buy edible marijuana treats. This was only my second time going there and it’s really easy. The best part of the story is my interesting drive to the pot store. I had to stop for both a funeral procession and a train crossing. I was waiting for the parade of baby ducks to go by next.

For a long time since I got sober, I was extremely nervous about trying any kind of drug. Of course, I have been taking prescription medications for anxiety since then, too. Over a year ago, I began adding CBD to my daily regimen of vitamins and medications. It’s hard to know if the effect was real but I seriously believe that my mood has been more stable and I am generally less anxious about things since I started taking CBD. As more and more time passed, I began thinking that if CBD, which is from pot, was making me feel better without getting high, then maybe I could try some real weed.

A long time ago, in a land far away, I used to smoke pot daily. Things changed as I became more and more of an alcoholic. At some point, smoking pot when I was out drinking became uncomfortable for me. In order to continue drinking to my full potential, I stuck with booze and cocaine and then, later, something stronger to knock me out and dull the pain. Smoking weed went by the wayside. When I quit drinking, it seemed natural to just quit doing anything influenced my mindstate. Like I said before, I’ve been taking antidepressants and antianxiety medication since rehab, so I’ve been on mind (or mood)-altering drugs for years.

Back to work

It’s Sunday now and I have to start finalizing my lessons for the next couple of days. This week, we’ll be doing a sort of mini-lesson on Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation. The problem I face is that this is usually talked about in concert with angular motion, or rotational dynamics. However, that is too much for these students so we teach Newton’s law in a vacuum. My program supervisor is scheduled to observe two of my lessons this week so I need to be prepared. Ideally, we would spend two to three days discussing and practicing this equation and then have a quiz on Friday. I’m not sure how this will play out, but that’s how I’m going to plan it out for now.

Two big assignments remain for my student teaching as a university course. There is something called a Student Teaching Narrative which is a broad overview of the experience, but it has to be tailored to address specific aspects of the program. The other is the Measure of Student Learning which requires a unit plan with both pre- and post-assessments as well as all the appropriate “adjustments to practice”. These assignments are wearing me down because they involve using a language including all the education jargon that I’m not comfortable with and are so broad and encompassing that I can’t figure out how to start.

A glimpse of the future

Turning to something that’s a lot more fun, I registered for fall classes yesterday. Statistical Mechanics, Computational Physics, and Quantum Mechanics, plus a one-credit course on teaching college physics. These are going to be very challenging courses – I hope I’m ready. This is going to be one hell of an adventure.

Descriptions

  • Students will gain experience in using the Schrӧdinger equation in quantitative problem-solving
  • Following a review of thermodynamics, we study the fundamentals of classical and quantum statistical mechanics including ensembles, identical particles, Bose and Fermi statistics, phase-transitions and critical phenomena, renormalization group, irreversible processes and fluctuations.
  • Advanced computational physics methods including classical and ab-initio molecular dynamics, classical and quantum Monte Carlo, variational methods, density functional theory, and others. May also include other topics such as high-performance computing and parallelization with MPI/OpenMP and GPUs.
  • Instructional strategies and techniques with application to the teaching of laboratories and recitations.

Author: earthling75

I'm a student and teacher of physics. This site began in 2018 as part of my recovery, but I keep it around for some reason still.

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