I've decided to start a new blog about teaching. In other words, I'm starting to feel safe again -- long story, probably won't blog much about it.

I have taught Computer Science at Hillcrest High School in Dallas for 14 years. It blows me a way every time I think about it -- (okay, I didn't teach it from June 2005 - January 2006 and tried hard not to think about it and miss it, but I'm not counting that). I've been in the same room for about 13 years, counting the fact that I didn't move into this room until about February of the first year, and then was moved out and back in about February again.

I am certified in Computer Science and Mathematics with a "permanent" teaching certificate and received it back in 1992 when you got those things for life. I am certified with a renewal certification in Technology Applications but I keep thinking about letting that silly thing expire. Mainly because I don't like teaching Webmastering much (I actually perfer teaching math), and it will take a gun to get me to teach the other technology applications.

I love computer science and have since I met my first computer, the mainframe at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi when I was a junior in high school. My mother says it was like watching her ugly duckling turn in to a swan (thanks mom, rolling eyes), but it's true. I did find my calling.

I took my first programming class that year at Jackson State, back in 1977. We did BASIC with a terminal. I am pretty sure that I could haven't gotten a full ride scholarship to Jackson State, but it's a traditionally black college and man or man did I want to get away from home and from my dad. Man was driving me nuts as he wanted me to go into real estate -- the fun part is that my sister has fulfilled his dreams.

I went to the University of Southern Mississippi on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. Bit of trivial about me -- at the time I absolutely LOVED the military and wanted nothing more than to be a programmer for a branch of the service and I had been accepted at West Point but chickened out when I realized I would have been in the second class of woman and the Point is notoriously bad to "new people".

I graduated in 1982 but because the Air Force had too many officers and my dad was terminally ill, they opted me out, and I didn't actually serve. Instead they put me on inactive reserve for 8 years.

I went to work for a fertilizer company, called Mississippi Chemical in Yazoo City. We were a COBOL shop busily writing code to move everything from an old computer, I'm thinking an HP, but could be wrong, to an IBM 370 system.

I spent a year and half there letting my family make me nuts, when one of my favorite people from college gave my name and information to a head hunter. He wanted to me move where he lived, but didn't bother to ask me. Stubborn person that I am, I told the head hunter I wanted to move to Dallas. My sister lived in Paris, and I loved Dallas, so he gave my information to TI who recruited me heavily on a Friday. They sent me to every hiring manager, and I had three offers by the end of the day.

I moved to Dallas in 1983 and have been here every since.

I loved working for TI as long as I was working for GSI, but when I got transferred to the main unit up in Spring Creek I hated it. GSI was super informal, jeans and boots were the dress code as we worked with the doodlebuggers -- okay, I worked with accounting but THEY worked with the doodlebuggers, but sometimes they would let me talk to to doodlebuggers. (A doodlebugger is the name for the people who actually LOOK for oil, along with their trucks -- cool trucks by the way).

After about 11 years at TI, and two with a boss I couldn't stand, I called the head hunter and asked them to get me out of there. They did, and I went to work for a jewerly company that will forever remain nameless for 3 months. Here's the deal, I was on call, 24/7 literally before it became a buzz work, when I was working at TI, but married to a programmer that worked 8-5 and spent at least an hour a day playing hangman. I wanted THAT gig, not the one I got. And while he still works at the company, he knows works 24/7 and they stopped playing hangman long ago.

So they gave me a pager and I took a walk, literally. No way, no how was I going to be on call.

Since I never had taken a break, I decided to play for a while -- at least that was my intention, but I'm easly taken advantage of. I wanted to make enough money I could keep showing my dogs and my obedience instructor offered me a job of washing dogs a few days a week. It soon came to my running her shop but making slave wages so I decided THAT was for the birds.

At the time, I decided there were three directions I was interested in. Occupational Therapy and I had been doing pet therapy at Baylor Rehab and had a taste of it. Nursing because that has always been my second choice (and still is today, but only a specific brand of nursing). The choice was teaching high school. You see, I taught basic obedience all over town at the time, and my students all thought I should teach high school.

So I did a lot of research and I figured out that the best way back into the job market, meaing the quickest and cheapest, was to get a teaching certificate. I even figured out that I could teach at a smaller high school if I had both a mathematics and computer science certification and that it would only take a couple of math classes.

In the meantime, Dallas ISD had a school that kept trying to get me alternatively certified. But as my luck goes, I picked the only years that there was a teacher surplus in my lifetime to get into teaching. So I went to Texas Woman's University (yes, spelled right), and got a traditional teaching certificate.

I've taught Algebra II, Geometry, and Algebra I. When I teach Algebra I, like this year, I usually get the bottom of the barrel (but that might be true of all the subjects, but I don't remember because it's been somewhere around 12 years since I taught Geometry. Since only teach a few sections of math, and we have a policy that makes sure that kids don't get the math teacher they flunked before, they usually just give them to me. Occasionally I get a kid twice, but that's okay, because I don't hold grudges.