I need a nap!

As Lili von Shtupp said in Blazing Saddles “I’m tired”.  It is only week 2 and a half and I am beat.  I only have three courses to teach but all will require attention.  I also do all the IT work.  The beginning of the school year is always a mess IT-wise.  New teachers, new kids, and new hardware.  Is there some law of nature that ensures all the hardware ordered over the summer shows up the first week of school?

I did not teach the Senior Stats or Programming I last year and the Programming with Java is a first time offer.  The Stats has been up graded to an honors course so I have to redo the course plan I did have from previous years pretty much from scratch.

The Programming I is always work.  Keeping the geek kids happy is easy.  Keeping the kids that are in it because they could not find something else in the time slot happy is work.  They are all good kids but I have to do quite a bit of “dog and pony show” to keep some focused.  For example today we did the peanut butter and jelly exercise.  I bring in a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly and a loaf of bread and they have to write a “program” to build a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I then have a kid build the sandwich while I read what is written.  The builder can only do what the directions tell them to do.  The Mr. Literal kind of thing.  The results are very entertaining.  “But that is not what I meant” is the usual comment.  “Pick up peanut butter jar.  Remove lid. Pick up knife.  Scoop out some peanut butter. Smear peanut butter on bread.”  Really hard to do with the peanut butter jar and lid still in the hands.

The Programming with Java should be fine once we start actually programming.  It is all the setup that is work.  Heck, picking an IDE to use is turning into a pain.  The University uses Eclipse but I am finding that is not so hot for beginners.  Too much too soon.  I did manage to find a textbook.  Since this is a dual credit course the University wanted me to use the text they were using.  The $100+ price tag would have killed that plan.  Amazon sells an earlier edition for $6.99.  The difference seems to be cover art, font and rewording of some of the problems.

I am also helping coach girls soccer.  The new coach has never coached before so I figured she might need a hand.  That is good for a couple hours a day.  I have already pulled a ham string trying to run with them.  Mountain biking is not good sprint training.  I used to be able to sprint with anybody on the field.  I still can but for only 25 yards then I limp for the rest of the week.  My wife suggests I slow down because I am getting old.  Silly girl.

Next Wednesday I am heading to North Dakota for a 3 day mountain bike ride with three friends.  We are going to do the Maah-Da-Hey trail.  It is a 96 mile trail that is the longest continuous single track mountain biking trail in the US.  The un-fun part is the 12-13 hour drive to get there.  I am also not too crazy about the fact we are camping out.  We have a company hauling our gear from camp site to camp site which makes that part easy.  Thanks to the US Military I am just not a camping kind of person any more.  I did too much “camping” with them to make it something I do regularly on purpose.  Oh well, it will be a male bonding experience.  And three days of cool trails can fix all sorts of issues.

All things considered this job is still more fun than a box full of puppies.  I get to play with computers, I get to play games with kids, I get to show kids cool stuff, I get to let kids show me cool stuff and I get paid to do it.  What more could anyone ask for in life?

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3 Responses to “I need a nap!”

  1. Bri Morrison Says:

    For your java environment, I suggest NetBeans (netbeans.org). It’s free and pretty straight forward for novices. It also gets them (gently) used to projects and debuggers. But it has all the great auto-complete features as well as collapse/expand which I love when demo-ing and explaining code. Have fun on the trail ride….come back safe!

  2. gflint Says:

    Thanks. I was going to look at BlueJ but it seems almost too simple. I should have had this all sorted out this summer but there is always something else more important to take care of.

  3. Mike Zamansky Says:

    I didn’t like BlueJ because it’s a one trick pony (or at least was when I introduced it) – good for introducing Java in a certain way but you’re not going to use it again.

    While I’m an Emacs guy and I have my classes use it if you’re looking for a less bloated IDE, I like IntelliJ. For simple, low cost of entry and good for kids, I like Dr.Java

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