Friday, August 05, 2011

Where have I been?

I've been putting off writing this for a long while, but it's finally time.  Since January of 2010, I have gone through some life-changing experiences.  I posted already about my sister's death last February; that, plus some difficult health issues (mine and other people's) have made for an extremely trying time.  While many things about me have remained the same, overall, I feel like a different person now.

For the past eleven years, I have worked full-throttle at DCP, at a minimum of 50 hours per week, but often more like 60 or 70.  I poured all of my energy into improving my curriculum and instruction, providing extra support to my students and their families, and basically eating, sleeping, and breathing school.  Doing this was entirely my decision, though the realities we face at the school (students' low skill levels, ever increasing demands for success on testing, fewer and fewer spaces in the CSU system, and continually decreasing state funding that whittles away our program) create an environment in which the passionate teacher feels that working like this is necessary.  I've lasted longer than any other teacher there (I was awarded the Lobo of the Decade award!) but I realized earlier this year that I needed to make some changes and run my life differently.  I love teaching, and I did not want to leave the classroom, but I needed a new environment where I could finally have some balance.

This past year has not been all bad.  In fact, my girlfriend and I decided to get married last fall, and we ended up having the ceremony on July 3rd in Sunnyvale.  It was a beautiful wedding - we had a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony as the foundation, but we personalized it to make it fully egalitarian (as opposed to the traditional man's acquisition of the woman), and lots of our friends helped out to make the day amazing.  The wedding canopy was designed by two of our friends (one is the art teacher at DCP) - they presented us with an amazing quilted canopy covered in pictures of our family members.

The cake was created in our own kitchen by my wife's friend.  The kitchen was a disaster at the end, but the cake came out really well.  It fit right in with our rainbow theme.  And the cake topper was created by another friend of ours - based off of some pictures of Jen and me!

Besides the Chuppah and the cake, we had lots of other friends help with running all the details of the day. We had a fantastic time, and the whole weekend flew by incredibly quickly.  We just got back from our honeymoon in Mendocino - neither of us had been there before, and we really loved it.  Very peaceful and beautiful, just what we needed.

My wife Jen is a teacher also, and she started work at a school in San Bruno (near the San Francisco airport) last year.  She loves it there, and they had a position open for this year, which I was hired for.  I'll be teaching IB Math Studies, a CAHSEE prep class, and Intensive Algebra 1.  I think this is a school environment in which I can do a good job for my students, but still be able to pursue outside interests, exercise, and take care of my health.  I've met most of the math department there, and they are all nice people, so I am looking forward to starting this new stage in my career.

I don't yet know what I'll do with this blog.  I need to find out if there are any school or district policies against blogging.  I don't intend to blog under a pseudonym.  Which reminds me - instead of my wife taking my last name, we combined our two names (Greene and Wekselbaum), and we've both legally changed our names.  So you can now call me Dan Wekselgreene.

In any case, I will leave this blog up indefinitely, since I know people are still finding it and downloading resources.  I enjoyed being part of the virtual math blogging community, and I've pretty much lost contact with everyone.  Hopefully, I will be able to post more in the future, and also find my way back into the fold (though not too far in - balance is the new name of the game!).  Good luck to everyone with the new school year, and may you also seek and find balance, so that you can stay strong both in and out of your classroom.