Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Ok, I was probably tempting the fates by declaring that things were good. My dad had a heart attack the day after I posted the previous entry. Sigh. After my initial shock and an unfortunate drop of a fairly bad expletive in front of my kid's grandmother, we've found out that it was a mild one and he was probably lucky to have it. Sounds a bit strange, but it revealed some underlying problems that last month's battery of tests did not reveal. Don't even get me started about the validity of those tests. So, with another crisis under our belt, I toast the completion of this helluva year(not to be confused with last school year's helluva year) and wish all a much better new year. And on a final note: if any one locates last year's end of semester final, please forward it to me. I don't feel like starting out my new year by writing a new one. Salud!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's good

Someone asked me to describe myself the other day and I kinda drew a blank. I actually went and stared at myself in the mirror trying to put adjectives to the person that I feel like I am right now. There is so much flux in my life right now, that I'm not sure if I could even pin myself down so definitively. School is good. Kids are good. I am good. Where will I be in six months? That's a good question. Wish I could answer it. I've never been that great at changing my plans. I get an idea in my head and tend to attack that course of action until it's completed. I've always thought that might have been my saving grace because I have made up my mind to do something and just done it. As a 2nd grader, I would have told you that I wanted to be a teacher. College was never a negotiable despite all my life's twists and turns because I was going to be a teacher. I just did it. And here I am today. Recently though I've found myself letting go of more and more plans. While my family might be laughing at me right now, I'm kinda enjoying not being in control of everything. I am pretty sure I'd like to move. I'm pretty sure I'd like to be at a smaller school. I'd like to be taller but no making plans for that. Looking in the mirror, I see a lot of change happening with the person that I planned. But I'm not feeling like I have to map out the changes right now. I think I'm enjoying the scenery more and not staring at the map. It's all good.

Friday, December 12, 2008

To Bee-otch or not to Bee-otch

A certain someone called my writing whining the other day and I took a little offense to it. I guess I am a bit sensitive about the subject. My brother and sister's favorite joke is about my mom's bee-otching disease. When does relating an incident or telling about something cross the line into whining? When I'm in front of the class and am giving instructions and my students' heads go down on their desks and they start moaning complaints about how much work I'm giving, I know that its just whining. When the junior 100Farmer stomps around the house and slams the door on the way out to clean the cat box, I know its just whining. Standing in the hallway between classes talking to other teachers about students is definitely jumping aboard the whining train. If I am unhappy with someone's rude behavior to me and I tell someone else about it, is that whining? Is it whining because I didn't correct the rude behavior or try to fix the problem? Maybe its harder to judge whining when you can't actually hear the tone of someone's voice and have to rely upon typed interpretation. I don't know. When does whining morph into dumping on someone? When is it just crying on someone's shoulder? When do you pull out the "world's smallest violin" emoticon and tell someone to just deal with it? It leaves a person afraid to share anything because you dont want to be that whiny person. Especially if it makes you sound like your mother....shudder....

Friday, December 05, 2008

A Tale of Two Lunches

My school has over 3200 students and only 3 lunches. The lunchroom resembles a concert hallway rather than an actual eating area. The crescendo of shrieking females also makes it seem more like a Jonas Brothers concert rather than actual lunchtime. I am one of the fortunate teachers to be assigned to A and C lunch duty. You know I'm being facetious here, right? Hey, lets pick one of the shortest teachers on campus and put her in the middle of Bedlam. Where are all the coaches who have traditionally pulled cafeteria duty? Hey, they all have 4th period and all three lunches off together and sit down in the coach's office watching TV. Now, A lunch is fine because I'm actually stationed in the cafeteria next to the coke machines. I get to glad-hand the students, chat up the cute Campus cop and watch my kids acting goofy with their friends. C lunch is a bit different. I get to stand in the dark hallway leading from the cafeteria to the parking lot away from the eyes of all the other teachers and principals. I am blocking the greatest prize available to students: access to freedom from school. It is not a happy place and definitely keeps me out of my own happy place. Everyday I get snarled responses, muttered obscenities and crudely organized attempts at escape from the inmates..uh..students. I don't want to be mean. I want to walk out that door myself. I hate that stupid hallway. The jingle of keys being pulled from pockets must sound like the doors of prison sliding open to these kids. Until they turn the corner and there stand Ms. 100Farmers. I don't want to be the warden. If someone really pushed the issue, I'd probably suggest that they bring me back a Slurpee and just step aside for them. On the other hand, we haven't had a food fight yet and I've got my escape route planned perfectly for C lunch: out that door to the parking lot with my car keys happily jingling.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I am a level 72 Lock

Ok, you might have been wondering where I've been. Mostly in Azeroth or Stormwind and lately in the Borean Tundra. I've been playing World of Warcraft. Ok, playing a lot of Warcraft. I don't watch TV anymore and my book reading has dropped off but I can say I've really been enjoying myself. I'm in a guild with people I respect and like and love playing with people all over the country. A huge society of geeks. The drama with the ins and outs of personalities in the guild can be annoying but I'm also amazed by the simple kindnesses that I see from strangers. It's probably kept me from going absolutely crazy while trying to get through another year at my school. Yes, my name is Greatlady and I'm a level 72 Warlock. Until Thanksgiving break that is, when I hope to get to level 75.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Grades-to D or Not to D

Received a phone call from my favorite AP yesterday about 3 of my students who averaged out to 69's for the year. Kinda embarrassed about it because I thought I had double-checked that. He was actually apologetic because some glitch in the grading system did not average out the final grades for us. Pretty sure I can add multiples and divide by two however. Obviously I can't since I missed these kids' grades. See, we are highly discouraged from giving a 69 or even a 68. In all honesty, I typically bump the kids up that one point. One kid is Sped and I am OK with moving her up because I've seen progress from her. The other two have gone from pretty decent B/C students to failing this past semester. They are both in the same class and so hormonally driven to aggravate each other that they managed to antagonize the whole class. Both turned in their last project a week late which I reluctantly gave a 50 instead of a zero because it was a week until school got out. Both were given chances to do extra credit. Both were given study packets for their final exam which they both bombed. I don't know what other classes they failed or what good repeating the semester will do them but I just couldn't tell my AP to give them the point. He has been an extremely supportive AP and altogether nice dude. The fact that he called me to ask about it speaks volumes about some of the differences between suburbia-land ISD and Dallas ISD. He may even have to catch from flak from some parents who were duly notified with three progress reports and a phone call. Sometimes parents are quite civil and understanding until they actually see the grade on the report card. Hearing the word, Failing, on the phone seems to have less of an impact than seeing the grade on paper. My emotional "Love the Sinner not the Sin" part was saying that the easy thing would have been to just give them the point. My critical-thinking "Thou Shalt Not" part was saying that they didn't work for it or even learned the material enough to earn the point. I am second guessing myself today but I guess when I sub for summer school in July I might find out for sure if I made the right decision. Won't they be happy to see me.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Swan song for a Helluva Year

My family refers to the past year as "a helluva year". My whole focus the past couple of months had just been to get through the school year w/o committing myself into the Parkland psych ward. Yesterday the last exam ended at 1:00 with grades due by 4:30. Hope everyone showed up, hope the front office didn't send out multiple emailing about how this kid or that kid should be marked failing because of absences, then NO, never mind, he has suddenly made up all 2,065 absences he had by sitting in the front office for two hours making up his exam he missed while being suspended for throwing food during the three lunch period long food fight.....If that made no sense then imagine trying to finish grades while being bombarded with contradicting emails. Anyway, I walk my paper grade validation sheets down to the office even though our grades are on-line and just as I hand them over everything goes kinda gray and fuzzy and I am suddenly sitting on the floor just as light-headed as can be. Well that was interesting. The school nurse asked me about my stress levels. Hee hee. I think my teacher fuse just couldn't handle the relief and just clicked off. My swan song for the school year: sitting on the floor of the office laughing like a loon. Put a fork in me, my room is packed up, my cabinets are bursting with things I really don't want to see for several months, and I am so glad this "helluva year" is over.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pearl Story

"Pearl" cheats. It doesn't matter what we are working on, I can say with certainty that she has never done anything w/o copying some portion from someone else. At first I believed that she was trying to cover up reading difficulties or was just really lost but over time I realized that my Pearl is just a scammer. One of the first things you pick up as a teacher is the "Lingo": Scammer, Dude, Trippin', my personal favorite, "Eskippiando". Pearl has taken scamming to a artistic level. Cell phone cheating, little scraps of notes cheating, have to move all students away from her during tests cheating, paper on the floor cheating, writing on leg cheating, you always lose my paper scamming, tapping answer on desk cheating, copying from papers taken from my inbox, taking papers from other kid's binders, someone stole my paper scamming, emergency in the bathroom cheating. The best was the surprise visit before school to say hello and then taking a test off my desk to fill out and pass off as her own later in the day. Too bad she grabbed one of my SPED modified tests for my Foundations kids. That incident was actually kind of amusing. Pearl is not a morning person and she had to get up early for that. She probably spent more time trying to scam than it would have taken her to actually do the work or study. Pearl's many scams did make me realize several things about myself.
1.) Despite it all, I still trust my kids. I do believe that the majority of my kids will do the right thing.
2.) I am not stupid. I do have to do a little more work like multiple tests to prevent cheating. I have also moved my in-boxes next to my desk.
3.) The best thing to do is monitor my kids constantly. Not just in case of cheating. In case they need help, in case they don't get it, in case they just need a little attention, in case they don't believe they can do it on their own w/o cheating, in case they don't how to do anything w/o cheating.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Whiffle this year

I would personally like to find the Texas State Legislator who proposed the school year change that pushed us past Memorial Day and beat him/her silly with a whiffle bat. I feel like I am torturing these kids and myself. They are so far gone right now that I am just a glorified babysitter. Final Exam? Hee hee hee. I swear I am dumbing it down on a daily basis. My kids are losing brain cells by the class period. Whiffle, whiffle, whiffle!!! Whap! Whap! Whap!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wonder where your students will be in 10 years?

My sister had to go to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled for her cat. When she gave the young woman at the counter the presciption, she was asked for the patient's birthdate. My sister explained that she didn't know because it was for her cat. The woman looked at her quizzically and asked her if her cat had ever filled her presciptions there before. At that moment my sister couldn't hold it together any longer and started laughing. When the poor girl started to ask for the cat's phone number, she collapsed in hysterics. My sister felt really bad for laughing but I am just a little concerned that this person is working in a pharmacy.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Next Year

Middle ground. I can survive without constant peaks and I know the pitfalls of this profession are the unavoidable valleys you run into working with kids. But why can't I achieve a middle ground? Had several weeks of real excitement about next year because I had been told that I could teach a history class and probably some AP classes. This week, belated news that they really wanted me to stay with the 9th graders. Didn't tell me until I had heard it from several other people who had seen the master schedule already. It felt like damage control to me. It probably would have stung less if I hadn't been told from another teacher that they'd just hired a teacher for that position from our feeder middle school. Sigh. OK, I can understand. I am good with ESL and SPED kids. I also know that I tend to get certain kids because I have a good reputation with handling some of the more difficult kids. But come on. Throw me a bone. Throw me some nerds. Please rescue me from freshmen. They are really different now and as any teacher knows, they are "YOUR KIDS" this time of year. But I keep thinking back to October when I had over 170 "STUDENTS" and would have walked out the door if the opportunity had presented itself. Opportunity meaning the ability to survive w/o living out of my car of course. I know I can go home for the summer, take some good classes and recharge those educational batteries. I just don't know if I have the edumacational battery life to put up with another first 6 weeks like I had last year. Too many days of Death Valley. How about a few more days of Hill Country?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Zen and the Art of Biting your Tongue

Designer Jane started telling me about her vacation plans today as if she had never attempted to bite my head off the other day. In the middle of all her jet-setting info, she drops the bomb that her mother is pregnant and that Jane is devastated. Besides the fact that Jane's a freshman in high school and she's probably horrified by the idea that her mother might be having sex, Jane is suddenly confronted with competition. My little Jane has been an only child up until now. Things are gonna change. I sympathized nicely with her and she wished me a good weekend as she walked out the door. Oh well, at least I am a favored chew toy. Glad I was able to not say what I really wanted to say the other day. Just keep chanting, "Summer, summer, summer."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Uncomfortable silence

Some quiet rumors had been floating around that we would have a new department head next year and that the announcement would be made during out meeting today. With the arrival of both our regular AP and the "never seen before in our meeting" principal, we figured some news was about to be broken. Nice nice was made, congrats on the hard work preparing for TAKS were showered and then our dept. head announced she was leaving the school completely because she had decided in Oct. that she could no longer work under the current administration. Silence. Silence. Silence. Introduction of new dept. head. Nice, nice, nice. Everyone have a good day. A massive rush by some befuddled teachers out the door. Boy, I can't wait to see how the next few weeks play out.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Four more weeks to go

Yesterday one of my favorite trust-funded, designer-clothed students was in quite a funk. You could tell just by looking that something was wrong with her. I asked her to come outside and asked if she was okay because I was a little worried about her. Her so lovely response, " Why should you care? I don't care about you. I don't care about any teachers. In fact, I hate all teachers. All I care about is the grade." Well now. That's quite a verbally aggressive tantrum for first period on a Tuesday. I backed up several feet, put my hands up in surrender and told her, "Well I apologize if I am invading your personal space here but I will not apologize for caring about my students." "I guess we're done with this conversation." Today I didn't make eye contact or even look in her direction. Maybe I'll surrepticiously check on her tomorrow. I know it's not proper monitoring of my kids but it's too late in this year of years to get chewed on again. Call me the dog toy of freshmen.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's Friday Night and I am bored Tag

1. The Godfather (1972)-I am more impressed by this every time I see it.
2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)It's my ring tone.
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
6. Schindler’s List (1993)
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) It makes me sad.
8.The Empire Strikes Back (1980) I have never seen all of Star Wars however.
9. Casablanca (1942)
10. Seven Samurai (1954)
11. Star Wars (1977)
12. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) I am addicted to the extended version. Hello Viggo.
13. 12 Angry Men (1957)
14. Rear Window (1954)
15. Goodfellas (1990)
16. Cidade de Deus (2002)
17. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Rember when Harrison Ford was likeable? Sigh.
18. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
19. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
20. The Usual Suspects (1995)
21. Psycho (1960) Still freaks me out.
22. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
23. Fight Club (1999) Dark but actually amusing.
24. Citizen Kane (1941)
25. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Scary, scary, scary
26. North by Northwest (1959)
27. Memento (2000)
28. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
29. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
30. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
31. The Matrix (1999)
32. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
33. There Will Be Blood (2007)Uh no. Look at title.
34. Se7en (1995) EEWWWW
35. Apocalypse Now (1979) I don't get it.
36.Taxi Driver (1976)
37. American Beauty (1999)
38. Léon (1994)
39. Vertigo (1958) Youngd Jimmy Stewart gives the heebie jeebies
40. Amelie (2001)-I love this movie.
41. American History X (1998)
42. No Country for Old Men (2007)
43. The Departed (2006)
44. Paths of Glory (1957)
45. M (1931)
46. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) It is incredible.
47. Chinatown (1974)
48. The Third Man (1949)
49. Leben der Anderen, Das (2006)
50. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind(2004)
51. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
52. Alien (1979)
53. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
54. Laberinto del fauno, El (2006)
55. The Shining (1980) -scary, scary, scary
56. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)
57. The Pianist (2002)
58. Double Indemnity (1944)
59. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Niiii
60. Forrest Gump (1994)
61. Saving Private Ryan (1998)-kinda wish I hadn't, still unsettled by opening scenes
.62. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) rr rrrr
63. L.A. Confidential (1997)-messy but good
64. Boot, Das (1981)
65. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
66. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
67. Untergang, Der (2004)
68. Aliens (1986)
69. The Maltese Falcon (1941)-he's such a bad boy
70. Raging Bull (1980)
71. Metropolis (1927)
72. Rashômon (1950)
73. Terminator 2: Judgment Day(1991)-Too scary!!!
74. Modern Times (1936)
75. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
.76. Singin’ in the Rain (1952) ok but I've enjoyed other musicals better
77. Sin City (2005)-eewww
78. Rebecca (1940)-7th grade honors English requirement. Thanks Mrs. Peters.
79. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
80. Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957)
81. All About Eve (1950)
82. Some Like It Hot (1959)
83. City Lights (1931)
84. Amadeus (1984)-Oh god, it was also our Senior play. Gag!!!Rock me Amadeus.
85. Vita è bella, La (1997)
86. On the Waterfront (1954)
87. The Great Escape (1963)-my Dad's favorite.
88. Touch of Evil (1958)
89. The Prestige (2006)-book was better though I like me some Hugh Jackman. Yo Wolverine.
90. The Elephant Man (1980)
91. Jaws (1975)-I had nightmare's and I was 9.
92. Full Metal Jacket (1987)-my brother's favorite. Another I don't get it.
93. The Sting (1973)-charming
94. Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1988)
95. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
96. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
97. The Apartment (1960)
98. Braveheart (1995)-I can't handle his macho blather.
99. Blade Runner (1982)
100. The Great Dictator (1940)
101. Strangers on a Train (1951)
102. Batman Begins (2005)
103. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
104. Ladri di biciclette (1948)
105. Salaire de la peur, Le (1953) Wages of Fear
106. High Noon (1952)
107. Ran (1985)
108. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)Ewoks?
109. The Big Sleep (1946)
110. The Wizard of Oz (1939) My favorite next to #4
111. Notorious (1946)
112. Back to the Future (1985)
113. Fargo (1996)-Don't normally do edgy but I laughed at the woodchipper scene.
114. Oldboy (2003)
115. Unforgiven (1992)-Another wish I hadn;t seen though I love Morgan Freeman and Clint.
116. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
117. Donnie Darko (2001)Why?
118. Ratatouille (2007) Not worth the hype.
119. Mononoke-hime (1997)
120. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
121. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
122. Yojimbo (1961)
123. Per qualche dollaro in più (1965)
124. The Green Mile (1999)
125. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
126. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
127. Notti di Cabiria, Le (1957)
128. Gladiator (2000)
129. Battaglia di Algeri, La (1966) The Battle of Algiers.
130. Annie Hall (1977)
131. Die Hard (1988) -I admit it.
132. Into the Wild (2007)
133. Ben-Hur (1959)
134. The Deer Hunter (1978)
135. The Sixth Sense (1999) Still spooky.
136. It Happened One Night (1934)-This is so sweet.
137. The General (1927)-I had a crush on Buster Keaton until I realized he was my probably older than my grandfather.
138. Platoon (1986)
139. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
140. Life of Brian (1979) I'm Brian! No, I'm Brian.
141. The Killing (1956)
142. Smultronstället (1957)
143. Amores perros (2000)
144. Finding Nemo (2003)
145. Diaboliques, Les (1955)
146. The Incredibles (2004) I think I like this more every time I see it.
147. V for Vendetta (2005)
148. The Wild Bunch (1969)
149. Heat (1995)
150. Children of Men (2006)
151. Brief Encounter (1945)
152. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
153. Juno (2007)
154. The Princess Bride (1987)-Inconceivable!
155. 8½ (1963)
156. The Graduate (1967)
157. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
158. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
59. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
160. The Big Lebowski (1998)
161. Crash (2004/I)
162. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
163. Stand by Me (1986)-river Phoenix mso young makes me sad.
164. Gandhi (1982)
165. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
166. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
167. Snatch. (2000)
168. Harvey (1950)I do like this one.
169. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
170. The African Queen (1951) They did a great job together.
171. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
172. The Thing (1982)
173. Trainspotting (1996)
174. Gone with the Wind (1939) -The book, the movie.. divine...
175. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)=liked the book better.
176. Wo hu cang long (2000)
177. Belle et la bête, La (1946)
178. The Gold Rush (1925)
179. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) surprising movie
180. Groundhog Day (1993) Hello Mr. Tobolosky!!!
181. The Conversation (1974)
182. American Gangster (2007)
183. Scarface (1983)-only because my students were so enamored. Yuck!!!
184. Patton (1970)
185. Duck Soup (1933)
186. Toy Story (1995)
187. Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
188. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
189. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
190. The Terminator (1984)
191. Cabinet des Dr. Caligari., Das (1920)
192. Sleuth (1972)
193. The Hustler (1961)
194. Umberto D. (1952)
195. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
196. Stalker (1979)
197. Glory (1989)-I did teach 8th grade US History.
198. Ed Wood (1994)
199. King Kong (1933)
200. Grindhouse (2007)
201. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
202. The Exorcist (1973)bad teenage mistake.
203. The Lion King (1994) 1 1/2 is better.
204. Hotaru no haka (1988)
205. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
206. Spartacus (1960)
207. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)-really affected me as a 9th grader.
208. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
209. The Lost Weekend (1945)
210. Stalag 17 (1953)
211. Magnolia (1999)
212. The Lady Vanishes (1938)
213. Lola rennt (1998) Run Lola Run
214. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
215. The Philadelphia Story (1940)-another favorite
216. Frankenstein (1931)
217. Out of the Past (1947)
218. Big Fish (2003)-I own it but have never seen it. lol.
219. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
220. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
221. Casino (1995)
222. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
223. Toy Story 2 (1999)-better than the first
224. Mystic River (2003)-no bad things to kids movies
225. Du rififi chez les hommes (1955)
226. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
227. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
228. Hot Fuzz (2007)
229. A Christmas Story (1983)
230. Ikiru (1952)
231. Mou gaan dou (2002)
232. Manhattan (1979)_I love the soundtrack better than the movie.
233. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
234. Young Frankenstein (1974)-"Blue car!" Sound of horses neighing.... A private joke.
235. Dial M for Murder (1954)
236. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
237. Rope (1948)238. Once (2006)2
39. Roman Holiday (1953)
240. Quatre cents coups, Les (1959) The 400 Blows
241. The Searchers (1956)
242. In Cold Blood (1967)
243. Ying xiong (2002)
244. His Girl Friday (1940)
245. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
246. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
247. Samouraï, Le (1967)
248. Strada, La (1954)
249. Harold and Maude (1971)

Bold for see, Italics for partly seen. Feel free to add or delete.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring Break leftovers

1. A wonderful blogger made mention that there are only ten weeks left in this school year. It was like the clouds opened and the sun shone through.
2. I was casually reading a great blog So You Want to be a Teacher, about 10 reasons to quit and 9 reasons to stick when #2 reached up and slapped me. I hate my subject material. I HATE TEACHING GEOGRAPHY. It's out. I guess I am a historian at heart and physical geography bores me to tears (It could also be freshmen). I feel like I am betraying years of National Geographic subscriberhood.
3. I have found the world's best roast chicken recipe. Today I made a roast turkey with it and can barely keep myself from going back to the fridge for more.
4. I seriously need a poster of this for my classroom.
5. And while having a hot shower, bathroom and kitchen in a cabin does not necessarily qualify me to have "camped", I did make a lovely fire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows and got some much needed get away time here.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Rolling in her grave

In addition to dealing with my grandmother's death, we've also been hit with the vandalism of my other grandmother's grave. Someone in the past week has pried off the brass nameplates on at least 11 different people's headstones. One of them was my Mama Pat's. They tried to pry off my Daddo's military service plaque but it was on there too tight I guess. Who steals something like that? Standing there staring at the broken headstone makes me feel like I've been punched in the chest. It is such a personal violation. It had our nickname for her on it. It listed the kids for crying out loud. I have no way of dealing with this except with a boiling rage.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Moment of Joy

3:00 in the morning. Snow is silently falling. Black Lab is joyously chasing each and every flake around the yard. Potential for school closing in my mind.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Hobbies: Grandkids, gardening and church

My grandmother had a stroke last Monday and after a week in a coma, passed away this Monday. It has been a horrible week. We were told to expect her to die at any moment and then by Friday, we were apologetically told that they didn't know why she was still alive. It is honestly the most surreal feeling to pray for someone to die. I spent so much time watching every single tiny breath at the hospital that I don't think I really processed the fact that she was actually dead until it was time for the last goodbye at the coffin before we headed to the cemetery. My grandmother had bypass surgery a few days before Christmas and it went really well. The whole family postponed our traditional Christmas Eve dinner at her house until she was to get out of the rehab hospital. She was very disappointed that she had not been able to buy the great-grandkids presents before the surgery. We decorated her room though for Christmas and my cousin even bought her some leopard-print pajamas that looked fantastic on my 84 year old grandmother. And now she's gone. It feels like a month of my own life has been torn apart like a page from a calendar. All these things planned and expected are gone. I am so balled up in anger for losing her and heart-sad for the Christmas Eves and Easters that we will not have with her anymore. There's a strange joy attached to all these emotions though because I know that she has missed my Pappy terribly and is finally with him again. I am just having such a hard time with this. I know that I should be learning something about the fleeting nature of life from this but I'm really thinking that this damn school year needs to get over with quickly. It has been a helluva year.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Prime Time Wishes

Received this from our Office Manager today. This woman is so nice. Don't you wish that it really was a series.

Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in a high school classroom for one school year and will be provided with a copy of his/her school district's curriculum, a plan book, a key, and a class of 28-32 students. Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with ADD, one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.Each business person must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in advance with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create materials accordingly and will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences and must stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways plus other duties as assigned by the district, the principal, and the assistant principals. They must attend workshops, faculty meetings, department meetings, campus and off-site staff development, and attend curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their two non-English speaking children proficient enough to take TX tests. Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program, maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times but, if all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible.There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to thirty minutes. They will be permitted to use a student restroom as long as another "survivor" candidate can supervise their class. If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before or after school. They must continually advance their education--at their own expense and on their own time.
P. S. So far, the Survivor show has received no applications for the upcoming season.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

One thing

It's not that I haven't had a lot on my mind to write about, it's just that I can't seem to come up with decent conclusions for my posts. I therefore have a huge plethora of posts waiting in limbo like ripening literary fruit. One thing though that I must report. Something I never imagined saying to my principal: One of my 9th grade boys tried to get into a brawl with my 7 months pregnant student today. Sigh. I'd bet money that the pregnant student could have taken him though.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Arc-en-Ciel: I'll never taste the rainbow again

Change is more psychologically difficult to deal with than many people give it credit. Major life events such as a death in the family, a new job or the birth of a child bring new dynamics into even the most mundane everyday routines. They have been easier for me to deal with because they're so undeniable that you have to know that your life is changed from here out. It's the little changes in routines that give me the most trouble. These little routines provide comfort, stability and keep me sane. Even something small like a road closing forcing a new route to work throws me off. While the brain easily processes the new driving time and direction, I am somehow unsettled and not comfortable in the journey. This major life statement having been made, I am now keening my loss of my favorite Dim Sum restaurant. Arc-en-ciel made me feel cool, urbane and hip and allowed me to stuff myself silly with delicious little dumplings and sticky rice. Every time I drive by the shuttered windows, I sigh in sadness. I am left with a hole in my psyche and my tummy. My favorite restaurant is no more. Next thing you know, they'll be getting rid of Muchacos at Taco Bueno. The horror.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Looking for the magic

I've spent the past week frantically getting grades together to finish out my first semester as a high school teacher. I've also been evaluating the highs and lows of my classroom and the pros/cons of my new school. If I could sum it all up, it comes down to the fact that if I could have quit this semester, I would have. I think so much of my stress and angst could have been handled if I had been assigned an effective mentor. It's not like I didn't go ask for help when I needed something but having someone there to help me evaluate myself and to just figure out who to go to for little issues would have definitely made me feel less isolated. The little email reminders that new teachers received to remind them to ask their mentors first certainly didn't help. It's hard to ask someone scurrying past your door trying to avoid eye contact. My horrible 6th period has been observed three times by our Academic Coordinator and her only suggestion to help with it involved telling me how much she hated one of her classes last year. Veteran teachers tell me to stick it out until I can get Pre-AP classes or can teach a higher grade level. But where does that leave the 9th graders if the experienced teachers always run away as quick as possible? We are all hidden away on the third floor with the rest of the building sighing with relief that they don't have to deal with the Freshmen. Are classes of thirty five with at least 25% inclusions students really expected to meet the needs of students? The Pre-AP classes are running even larger w/o SPED kids of course. On the flip side, I work with some very dedicated professionals. Not that we meet to plan or collaborate but I like what I see when I pass their classroom doors. On the up side, my room is always clean and the our head Custodian is absolutely amazing. I have an up-to- date laptop station with a helpful librarian yet have spent more on classroom supplies from my own pocket than I ever have before. I feel like Peter Pan begging for people to clap for Tinker Bell. I know people are out there but the magic is fading. Is teaching 9th grade always like this?