Thursday, February 28, 2013

Do Not Disturb

Disney's Sleeping Beauty
This morning when I was getting ready for work I put nail cuticle cream under my eyes instead of my fancy eye cream. How did this happen?

A) BC (Before Coffee).
B) I didn’t have my contacts or glasses on.
C) I was exhausted.

If my husband had a say, he’d add D) There was too much junk on the bathroom counter, but I can assure you that had nothing to do with it.

If you guessed C, you’re right. Last night my Husky had a lacrosse game. We returned home after 10:00 p.m. and after setting the coffee maker, petting the animals, some kitchen KP and the usual bedtime routine, I found myself in bed at 10:45 with a book in hand. I read for about fifteen minutes before shutting off the lights.

That’s when I did the math- my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m.- I’d be lucky to get a full five and a half hours of sleep. I could hear my Husky mulling around the house after my light went off. Teens’ circadian rhythms get reset at puberty for later bedtimes, usually just past 11:00 p.m. According to the Mayo Clinic, my Husky needed nine hours of sleep and I needed seven to nine for optimum health.

We’re falling short. Given that I work at here at Horizon, we are on nearly the same schedule. We both leave the house at 6:40 a.m. I arrive at 7 a.m. and open the library. The school day runs from 7:25-2:20, with me staying until 3:00.

Factor in homework, sports or school activities and perhaps a part time job and the average teen is pretty busy. The average teen parent has a full time job, dinner and household duties and either volunteering for their child’s activities or viewing them. I’m not talking about being over-scheduled either. One activity, like a sport, can take up an enormous chunk of time for the teen and the adults in his life. All those after school obligations go late into the night, often past 9 p.m. not including travel time. That’s not going to change.

Years ago the district queried parents about switching start times- having the younger students start earlier, the older kids later, as is done in other Valley schools, but the notion never took off. I keep hoping it will get revisited.

Now I know I could get up later than 4:30 a.m. to add some much needed sleep to my schedule and if I had one of those post-apocalypse pixie cuts like Carol on the Walking Dead I’d consider it. The only thing worse than feeling exhausted is feeling rushed, and my early rising affords me a full thirty minutes to sip my morning coffee and prepare for the day. Priceless! (That’s what concealer is for anyway.)

After nearly two years of working on a high school campus no one knows better how snarky, temperamental and moody teens can be. But keep in mind that there’s nothing beautiful about being exhausted and most teens are exactly that.

I’m going to soldier on and get through the day with a Starbuck’s elixir or two.

It’s a pity youth is wasted on the young because I’m not sure they have the time to fully enjoy and appreciate it anymore.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Updates? More Like Ugh-dates!

My grandma never bonded with the microwave my mother bought her. It drove us crazy, but in the end Gram still manged to heat up her food just fine using the stove or oven with no difference in outcome.

There was a time when a person could hide behind the technology he or she used forever and still function in the world.

I believe those days are numbered, if not gone already.

System updates aren't anything new, but their frequency and ability to disrupt has increased over the last year. So much so that we're seeing updates effect outcomes more and more. Older browsers can't support certain plug-ins. Older operating systems can't update to a newer browser. And some places (Google) refuse to play nice anymore with old Office software.

For those who have successfully avoided digital literacy, there's nowhere to hide anymore. For those of us who are regular, if not confident, users there's a fatigue settling in as we constantly adjust to new settings or windows to perform functions we've been doing for years.

It's a mixed blessing of sorts because while updates are meant to solve problems, they often cause new ones.

Here in the LMC, we try and stay on top of the changes as best we can.  For all their DI (digital intelligence) students struggle with changes as much as we do. Sometimes we figure out a problem together, sometimes the kids tip us off and other times we scramble for a fix in the eye of a storm (always it seems on a day an English class has a paper due).

Here are some tips for taking the Ugh out and being Up for updates-
  • Adjusting to new software changes is a bit like a brain teaser, so your exercising your mind!
  • Synonyms for up- well-versed, cognizant, informed and my favorite- savvy. See how smart you sound already?
  • Think about the movie Up- doesn't it put a smile on your face? (Except for that lovely montage in the beginning that makes people cry- don't think about that!)
  • Up is higher- as in higher learning, higher capacity and high-end user- you're practically a pro! 
Up, up, updates aren't going away folks!