Monday, February 04, 2008

Career Day

. Monday, February 04, 2008

I volunteered at my son's school to present for Career Day. I signed up for it way back in December. Being that I already did a mini-career day presentation for my son's Kindergarten class back in the fall, I signed up to give my presentation to the 4th and 5th graders (elementary school is K - 5). The kids of a list of occupations to choose from and rank their preferences for those they wish to attend.

I've been super-busy at work so I didn't have much time to put together a presentation or otherwise prepare. I used a lot of the Power Point presentation I had used last year for the Explorer's presentation (high school kids). I modified a number of slides to make them more age appropriate (simpler vocabulary). I jazzed up some of the other slides by adding some pictures. My ace in the hole was the game show equipment that I had. My job let me borrow the buzzers that we use during training at work. I was also able to use a Jeopardy-style template for setting up the questions and answers. My plan was to present for 15 minutes and do the game show for the last 15 minutes.

As I was making my way to the school, I noticed a helicopter flying low in the air. I was thinking, "Wow, that helicopter is flying pretty low." And then, "I wonder what that helicopter is up to?" And finally, "Holy shit! The helicopter is landing at the school!" I felt a little deflated thinking, "How can I compete with a Black Hawk helicopter with game show buzzers?" I was checking out all the other presenters as we waited in the Library before embarking to our assigned classrooms. There was a doctor with a skull. Other occupations has boxes of stuff for their presentations as well. The school had a nice continental breakfast for us while we waited for school to start.

There were about 30 presenters in total, and all of the grades participated in Career Day. We had two 30 minute presentations, had a half hour break, and then had two more presentations. All of mine went well. The main problem with the first presentation was how I divided up the teams for the game show. I had marked colored Xs on the back of my business cards. The idea was to have the red team go to this corner and the blue team go this corner, etc. But there were more kids than I expected so that threw the color distribution off. It wasted time getting the kids to cooperate so I could move the kids around and get an equal number on each team. We were able to get through only about half of the Jeopardy round before the bell rang to move on to the next session. I adapted my tactic during the next sessions and simply assigned teams by where they sat to start with. The kids did really well answering the questions. Many of the questions and answers came directly from the presentation so they had to pay attention. The competition between teams really made for a fun time. I got better with my presentation as well as the progressed. I didn't really have any time to prepare and just winged it.

The kids had some pretty good questions too. It was really rewarding doing the presentation for these kids. I really wanted to explain what engineering is all about. Most kids think that engineers build things and have to know all about gears and stuff. I put a heavy emphasis about how engineers can help save the environment and that we don't sit in front of a computer all day. I'll definitely sign up again to do this next year.


Anonymous said...

So, did you get to check out the helicopter? ;-)

Anonymous said...

so was that a privately-owned blackhawk helicopter ... or one that used my $$ to operate?


The Thrifty Blogger said...

I rode in a helicopter once, it was really cool! Scary, but cool. It wasn't a military one.

I don't like the idea of the military at a school, period. Gives me the creeps.

Anonymous said...

gwen how did you end up in a helicopter?! My pumpkin rode in a helicopter once ... the night he was born ... it was a medevac though, not a whole lot of fun =(

he loves to tell the story now, though!


Anonymous said...

I rode in a helicopter once when I was about 6 or 7. They were giving rides for $5.00 at the 4th of July celebration at the town park, and my father and I took a ride. It was neat...I remember flying over the house and being amazed.

The Thrifty Blogger said...

newt, it was at a county fair, like 20 years ago, they were giving rides for 20 bucks each person. It was neat! I probably would never do it now, but back then I was a little braver. lol :)

Kim-5 dollars a ride?? That's pretty darn cheap! Even for back then! Good deal.

The Thrifty Blogger said...

newt, omg, I just reread that post and realized what you wrote, now I remember you saying he was 3 months early! Wow, that must have been scary, thank God everything came out ok. You're very lucky!

I was 3 months early for my first, taken by ambulance, (placenta previa-emergency c-section) but she only lived a half hour. I got an infection and came close to dying (bleeding). She weighed 3lb 6oz and her name was....Gwendolyn. For real.

They had to hold up the funeral until I was released from the hospital. It was a shocking and very sad time. :(

I went to a high risk clinic the 2nd time. All went well the 2nd time. Except, they said they would not be my Dr. if I had any more pregnancies. The 2nd c-section was like cutting through wood (scar tissue from 1st time). (probably more info than you wanted to know lol) Thank God all was ok that time! That's the reason I only have one.

Anonymous said...

oh gwen, jeez, I'm sorry. What a sweet little thing your gwendolyn must have been. I'm sure it's not easy to "talk" about so thank you for telling me.


I was high-risk the second time too. He was early too but only 7 weeks early, after bedrest & other measures helped him stay put as long as possible. Any subsequent pregnancies would have been even more risky & complicated. Of course the drama & expense & responsibility were way too much for their father to handle, so more children weren't in the cards anyway.


The Thrifty Blogger said...

thanks newt for the nice thoughts-*hugs* back to you. :)

Oh, and one thing, the experience made me really so much more appreciate my (2nd) daughter when she was born! But also worry more too lol.

She ended up developing jaundice, and it got worse the day I was supposed to be discharged. They previously had told me she had a slight case but nothing to worry about. Now, they wanted to send me home without her. I freaked out thinking she was going to die. That they had been lying to me! Or, so I thought.

I couldn't leave again without a baby. She had to be under the lights and they let me stay in the hospital for extra days with her. I wonder if insurance/doctors would do that nowadays?

I could only sit and reach through a hole to touch her inside the thing she was in, for a couple days. It seemed like eternity. I remember sitting in that chair and just watching her sleep.

Well, you know what I'm talking about, having had a premie. It must've been much longer for you. Aww. I'm sure that was extremely hard.

I can't imagine people with babies who are sick for a long time. It has to be so heartbreaking. I'm extremely aware of how harder it would have been the first time had she lived for a long period of time and then died.

The bad thing is that I wanted a picture of her, and no one had a camera anywhere. I begged everyone-nurses, family, to find a camera. There were no stores open at night at that time, (it was after midnight) and I don't even think there were disposable cameras for sale then, like there are now. I was drugged with morphine and have a fuzzy memory of holding her after she had already died, she was so tiny and wrapped in a blanket. I wish I could have gotten a picture. But it was not to be. I never go anywhere without a camera now.

I'm sure you can relate, that when you go through traumatic events where it even comes close to happening, it makes you so much closer to your kids, and so much more aware of how really precious they are. :)

Anonymous said...

Gwen the reason I started calling my pumpkin "pumpkin" was because of his jaundice! Combined with his strawberry blond hair (which he still has) he was just one yellowey-orange mass, like a skinny pumpkin =)

He was in the isolette for a long time (2 months) and I spent a lot of nights at the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore --- they're such an amazing charity, I don't know what I would have done, slept in my car or something (although it was February!) if it wasn't for them.

One thing (out of many) that's positive that came out of that experience was that a nurse taught me infant massage the first night --- I am sure I got as much benefit out of it as he did --- it was a no-brainer for me to become a massage therapist when the opportunity/necessity for a new career path arose.

It may be cold comfort gwen, but if you had a picture of your gwendolyn, you would probably have looked at it countless times over the years, and memories are fluid things, with a picture to focus on you might not still have that "sense memory" of actually holding her. And that's so important, that you were able to hold your baby girl.


The Thrifty Blogger said...

I'm sure you're right about the picture thing. You're so wise. :)

So that's where "pumpkin" came from! That's a great story!

Two months?! That is a very long time, Wow! That must've been so hard for you. I've heard great things about infant massage-and Ronald McDonald house too. Their was an article in the paper about it, it's nice that it is there for people to use.

Just even having to pay parking and travel back and forth is crazy enough. That's why I like the VA hospitals, I've visited a few people there (relatives and friends) and did you know the parking there is absolutely free? I was so shocked the first time I went there, I was looking for a ticket lol. What a small difference it is but it feels so good to not have that burden on you when you go to visit someone.

Your kids are so lucky to have a mom like you, really.

I remember my little sister who is ten years younger than me, when she was 3, she had pneumonia and she was in an Oxygen tent in the hospital. She would cry and want me to take her out and I would feel so bad that I couldn't and I would cry. She used to bite holes in it and they would have to replace it. It's heartbreaking to see kids in the hospital, and especially when they are alone and scared and hurting and crying.

That should have been one of the laws of the universe, that babies and children should never be ill, too little, or too sick and never die early. I sure hope that law is there in the next life!