It is 3:00 Saturday and here I sit in front of my computer at school. Powerschool came out with an update that may take as long as 4 hours. I hope not. The weather is crappy outside but it is still good enough to do a mountain bike ride. Since I have been helping coach girl’s varsity soccer I have not been able to get in my usual 2 weekday rides in. I am getting out of shape rapidly. Those weekend rides are important. I would have gone earlier today but I helped with the JV game.
We wrapped up the traffic light program last week. As usual there were mixed results. Two kids walked through it with ease. One kid struggled but succeeded. One kid went down in flames. The flamer absolutely refuses to figure out the logic of the program before trying to type code. He and I will work through most of the logic on the board then when I suggest he finish the logic on paper on his own he tries to coding the incomplete solution we discussed. There seems to be a certain level of mental maturity required to program, he has not reached that level yet. Good kid, not stupid, just not mentally mature. The first two “get it” quickly, can figure the logic in their head on the fly and pretty much code a solution from their head. Number three kid needs help but with very little hand holding gets there. I will have to do more hand holding for number four. He wants it so bad.
I am teaching sophomore Math II again this year for the first time in 4 years. It is not going well. These are the kids that struggle with math. Good kids but just not mature or really sharp. I can tell I have been teaching seniors and computer geeks too long. My ability to handle people, never a real winner, has taken a dive since Iraq. It is a constant struggle to interact with these kids in a way that suites their needs. They are 15 years old, I cannot expect them to act mature or to be self-driven. It does not help that these kids are totally ambivalent to math. They do deserve to get the best and I will have to figure a way to get myself up to their needs. It is a challenge and I do fairly well at challenges. I will sit down with the other Math II teacher next week and get some of her methods. She is much more structured than I am so maybe I will have to adapt to her methods.
Oracle is grinding away at updates as I type. I have a friend that works for Oracle in Bozeman. He is an upper level project manager. He is counting the days to when he can retire. He says the place is full of over driven alpha types doing 70 hour weeks. Not fun. I am planning to move into his house this summer with a bunch of friends so we can ride the Bozeman trails. I am sure his wife will be excited by the opportunity to feed and entertain 5 or 6 visitors. Hopefully he does not mention this plan to her until we show up on the porch.
Oracle is “Executing post-patch SQL”. Whatever that is. I love the little progress reports as this update bubbles along. They have no real meaning to the watcher since it is going to do whatever is has to do and the watcher is not going to mess with it. One of those over driven alpha types at Oracle should rewrite the progress reports as a poem or short story. Be a lot more entertaining.
Oracle is done. 1.5 hours. Not bad. Now I have to do the Powerschool update. PS does not usually take that long, it just crashes for stupid reasons that takes their tech support an hour and several levels to figure out. Working on PS brings a certain anxiety. If something goes wrong (and it has before) there are no attendance, grading, lunch counting or records. It is all backed up but rebuilding the server takes a couple of days. The result is panic in the streets. I had the PS virtual computer go spastic on me last year. Took almost a week to recover and repair the server. There was panic in the streets. Not good. Like I said, a certain anxiety.
Next week we start with Python in the programming class. I like Python. It does so many things. Turtles, Lego Mindstorms, animation, and so on. Very versatile. I require the kids to do the installation. Not trivial. Python 3.5 does not work with the editor we use (PyScripter) and PyScripter is 32 bit. It takes some troubleshooting to get it working. I also have an excellent book, “How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python 3” by Wentworth, et al. If we get bored we can do something new with it. I will tell the kids to use Python to get the Lego robot to go through a maze. I do not give them the add-on module, how to program the robot or how to flash the Lego brick. They are on their own. Google is great.
Hey! PowerSchool is up and working. Only one minor moment of panic but the Retry button worked magic. Time to head home. Maybe dinner and a movie with the wife.