Friday, December 21, 2007

A Quick Meme...my mind is blank

My friend over at Have a Gneiss Day just tagged me for a meme. Ah, I feel the holiday love. The rules are that I have to give seven random facts about myself and then tag seven random blog-friends to share in the love too.

Random tidbit #1:
Apples make me burp. Loudly.

Random tidbit #2:
I heart the Golden Girls and Wheel Of Fortune...I TiVo them everyday. Seriously. EVERY DAY. I'm still waiting for Pat to call me Wheel Watcher ID...

Random tidbit #3:
I know everything there is to know about Lucille Ball.

Random tidbit #4:
One of my dreams is to open an animal refuge for older (or baby) animals that are unwanted, injured and abandoned. Right now, in my mind, it's mostly cats and dogs but I'm open to suggestions...except guinea pigs. They freak me out. Is that a random fact in and of itself?

Random tidbit #5:
I am half freaked out/half can't-wait to turn 30.

Random tidbit #6:
I met my husband while studying abroad ten years ago. We had a "no strings attached" kind of thing (if you know what I mean...wink, wink) that somehow, ended up with some serious strings. And I couldn't be happier.

Random tidbit #7:
I am afraid to wash my face when I am home alone...something about someone sneaking up behind me that I just can't get past...

So there you are. Do you feel closer to me than ever?? I feel closer to myself...and I'm stoked that I don't have to craft a horribly clever post (I have a doozy coming friends) because I am sick as a dog on the first official night of vacation. In my world, kids SUCK right now.

I tag....Ok...I tag no one (sorry!!) because I have to catch a flight to see the in-laws. Have a great holiday everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Not a sub for as far as the eye can see....

Or...Why Don't I Make Up My Damn Mind - Do I Want PD Or Not??

Last alternative title for this post: The Last Minute Adventures of The Weave

Today I had yet another professional development session scheduled for this morning. Again, I would be missing two periods of instruction (which makes a total of 38 missed periods in the month of December alone). I dutifully create sub plans and prep my kids for the impending sub who is due to arrive at 8:45 a.m.

8:40 - I explain to the kids about the bullshit worksheets they will be doing while the sub is there (oh, let's be real about it, while she reads her newspaper and ignores them...)

8:45 - Despite being frustrated about the countless meetings I have been to, my little friends go back to their seats and begin working. I hear a few "I wish she was going to stay" and "aw mans" which, of course, I love.

8:50 - waiting for the sub...

8:55 - still waiting...

9:00- still waiting...

9:05 - yup, still waiting...

9:10 - do I even need to say it???

9:15 - The Weave walks in, looking very haggard. You would to if you had spent the morning sipping coffee and doing absolutely nothing while the professional development schedule goes up in flames around you. She saunters in and sits down next to a kid. (WTF????)

9:20 - "Yea, so there aren't enough subs today. You can't go to the meeting. But you'll work it out."

Of course I can't.

So while I would normally LOVE a nice, long, uninterrupted morning with my friends....I would also LOVE the opportunity to PLAN something worth all of our time rather than continuously pulling ideas out of my you know what.

If you regularly read my blog, you know how tired my behind must be.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Just Say No...

The other day, we were in curriculum planning committee meetings when I learned a new trick to add to my bag. It is serious genius. I think it is the sheer simplicity of it all that really blows my mind...like, how did I not think of this before??

So we're in this meeting working on re-working the ENTIRE social studies curriculum. It's a TON of work, but very exciting work. The classroom teachers dive right in and get to work. Out of the classroom teachers are sitting around and have just about perfected that "we're-definitely-not-busy-but-in-reality-are-completely-useless-so-don't-bother-us" look.

That's not fair. There are a few (the proud, the brave) who actually bust their behinds. So to you, fine friends, I am sorry, but you are lumped in with a bunch of dead weight.

The chair of our committee turns and asks one of the do-nothings to please make a copy of a specific document so we can all look it over and continue. Mind you, we are mandated to be in this meeting until 3:00. It is 1:35 (we had a half day...).

She looks right at the committee chair and says, "no."

Just "no."

That's it, no explanation.

WHY HAVEN'T I THOUGHT OF THAT???

The committee chair was so shocked that she just turned and asked a teacher, who had to leave her work, to go do it while this do-nothing (who frankly doesn't even deserve a nick name... I refuse to waste my mental energy thinking of something quirky and humorous for this dope) sat and continued to stare blankly.

The saddest part is that she has been in the system for so long, that she makes more than all of us combined.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snooz-a-palooz-a

Have you ever been in the middle of a lesson and thought, "I am so incredibly bored I could cry"?

And no, I'm not bored because of the kids...I'm boring MYSELF by mindlessly plowing through content in an effort to just get it all covered. Bogged down with assessment deadlines, insane amounts of professional development that takes me out of my classroom, and two units that were supposed to be finished yesterday, I have become the world's most boring teacher.

And then I think, "I am so tired, I can't possibly say another word."

Today I was in the middle of a read aloud when I started thinking that I couldn't stand the story, really had no idea what I was saying and was only reading the book because it had been suggested to me and was written in my plan book. God forbid I stray from the PLAN BOOK (ooooo!!)

Then I realized...NO ONE ELSE is sticking to the plan.

Since when was it part of the plan to dump two extra kids in my class because there isn't a sub?

Since when was it part of the plan for an administrator to say, "I can't be bothered with that" when asked for a copy of the absent teacher's emergency work packet?

Since when was it part of the plan for another administrator to troop through my classroom, poking in cabinets and rifling through student work?

Since when was it part of the plan for an administrator to casually read the newspaper and sip coffee while parents drop off their children in the morning?

Since when was it part of the plan for the gym teacher to sit in a shady corner of the play yard listening to her iPod and thumbing through a magazine while forty children roll around unsupervised on scooters?

I'm fairly certain that these actions were never part of the plan. In fact, I'm also fairly certain that they are all in blatant disregard of the plan.

So in a move of sheer rebellion, I said "Screw you, plan!!" (words I don't take lightly because I loves me some organizational tools and a nice, busy looking week filled with post it notes and multiple ink colors) and led my class in the most amazing and exciting round of oral story telling ever!

And guess what?? They loved it and were engaged in a way that reminded me why I got into teaching in the first place. I love making kids laugh and I love making them excited about school.

I feel like I've just burned my bra and rediscovered who I really am.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Do I Have A "Kick Me" Sign On My Back??

Because if I do...please take it off. It's killing me.

As many of you who read regularly know, I have had some issues with The Field Trip this year. There have been some administrative "snafus" to put it mildly. I, personally, do not like to put things mildly and therefore, simply put, have been clusterf*cked by field trip slip ups.

Today we were supposed to go on a trip that was planned by Mr. Big White Guitar. Do I even need to finish the story?? I think you can already tell that we did NOT go to the field trip. Instead, we had a lovely adventure waiting outside in 32 degree weather for busses that were never ordered to show up. Then we sat in the lobby for 30 more minutes waiting for the Fied Trip Coordinator to help us.

What's a Field Trip Coordinator you ask?

Hmmmm, where to start....

Well, friends, a Field Trip Coordinator is someone very "special" who, despite being a "teacher" has endless amounts of free time all masked under the guise of Administrative Assistance periods. You say Administrative Assistance period, I say free time to shop on line with your door locked. Tomatoe, tomato.

Moving right along, as we waited for The Field Trip Coordinator to help us, I was already mentally pulling together a full day of instruction out of my, ahem, behind.

Enter The Field Trip Coordinator and Mr. Big White Guitar.

TFTC: So, there aren't any busses.
Me: No busses? Why not? I thought this was planned months ago??
Mr. BWG: It was.
Me: So where are the busses? Who was supposed to get the?
TFTC: He was (pointing at Mr. BWG).
Mr. BWG: He was (pointing at TFTC).
Me: Are you two serious?
Mr. BWG: It's your fault Field Trip Coordinator.
TFTC: No, it's your fault Mr. Big White Guitar.
Mr. BWG: No, yours.
TFTC: Yours.

As you can read, the situation rapidly deteriorated.

And I just walked away with my class, popped in the emergency movie I keep in my classroom andd then went outside with my class to play in the snow.

All in all, we had a lovely day. I don't think the kids left feeling like they were cheated out of a fun experience. Actually, we had a pretty damn good time.

Thanks to me.

You can remove the sign now.

Friday, November 30, 2007

And Then There Were 21....

I was already fantasizing about all the wine I was going to drink as I caught up on all my fave TIVOed shows (I feel close enough to you all at this point to admit that Golden Girls is one of my all time favorite shows and guilty pleasures) on my way out of the building today when the school secretary abruptly burst my bubble.

Her: Mrs. Mimi...I'm so glad I saw you. You are getting a new student on Monday.

Me: What??

Her: Yea, a little boy from Kenya. He's arriving in New York on Saturday and he should be here sometime on Monday morning.

Me: He's just getting to the United States on Saturday and will be here on Monday? Yikes. Does he speak English?

Her: No.

Me: Was Ms. Weavalicious planning on telling me about this before Monday?

Her: No, she left for the day and said that you could work it out. Actually, we've known about this little boy since Tuesday. But I thought you should know.

Me: Thanks.

Ok. So multiple issues are at play here.

First of all, I'm beginning to feel as if Ms. Weavalicious is just out to get me. Seriously, somedays I feel as if I should just bend over on my way by her office door. (I know, gross visual, but it had to be said...you know I don't have a reputation for tip-toeing around an issue).

Secondly, they were just planning on dumping this little boy in my class with no warning??!? How horrifying is that? Welcome to America little friend!

Me on this little boy's first day:
Oh, um, we don't have desk for you or anything because I didn't know you were coming...so um, here, you can sit in that extra chair in the corner of the classroom. It's all we have. Where should you put your coat...well, there aren't any more hooks, so I guess the floor of the closet? You need a pencil? A book? Maybe a math workbook? Ooo...sorry, I was only given 20 and no one told me you were coming. I'm so sorry sweetheart. What? You don't understand what I'm saying? You don't speak English? Oh ok (big smile) (gesture to sit). Welcome.

And no one was planning on warning me? So who is it really all about here? Because it certainly is not about the child, or even me for that manner.

Needless to say the knot in my stomach is only getting worse. On Monday morning I have to somehow get a desk to materialize, dig up an extra set of every book that my children have (because I was only issued 20...I don't even have a copy for myself of any of their books!) and get my class ready to welcome this addition to our class.

...and for my next trick, I will pull a rabbit directly out of my a*s.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Toasty Story to Warm Your Heart?

I've taken a bit of a break from the blogging and I'm sorry if anyone has felt disappointed. I know I am always sad when my regular blogs do not post regularly (in all honesty, sometimes, I'm just downright P.O.ed when it's been awhile)...so I'm sorry.

I have a doozy.

My close friend is a third grade teacher upstairs. She is an amazing teacher and hysterically funny. We'll call her Lola (she was a show girl....).

Lola has always had a hamster in her room. Personally, I think classroom pets are a NIGHTMARE. Years ago Ms. Weavalicious, in her typical on-the-ball fashion (please pick up on my heavily sarcastic tone here) dumped a gerbil in my room one day, telling me to "work it out." And if you've been reading my more recent posts, yes, this has been a favorite phrase of her for a long time. Long story short, the gerbil bit every kid that tried to hold it and smelled like woodsy poo.

Lola is a bigger person than I. She has endured/enjoyed this hamster for two years. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, she asked a responsible child to take the hamster over the short break (with a parent's permission of course). One sweet child volunteers. Lola doesn't think much of the whole situation because really, she just doesn't want to have to take the damn thing home.

Today she received the following note:

"Dear Ms. Lola,
I am so sorry about our hamster. He died this weekend in the sleeping position. I think he froze because it was so cold. My mother and I tried to defrost him in the oven, but it didn't work. She says we will go get another one that looks the same."

If you didn't notice it the first time, let me draw your attention to the following sentence.

"MY MOTHER AND I TRIED TO DEFROST HIM IN THE OVEN..."

WHAT?!?!?

I can't even really begin to imagine the train of thought that led to this horrifying conclusion.

Possible Thought Process 1 - "Oh no! Your poor hamster. The class is going to be so disappointed. Hmmmm....what can we do....I know! Let's defrost him like a turkey!"

Possible Thought Process 2 - "What can I do to help this poor cold hamster? Where is the warmest place in the house? Oh, I know, I'll turn on the oven and try to cook him back to life..."

Possible Thought Process 3 - "He looks so cold. And tasty...maybe we can feed him to the cat...Honey, turn on the oven!!"

Possible Thought Process 4 - "I need to start the turkey. I wonder if the oven is warm enough? What can I put in there to test the oven temperature? I know....Sweetie!! Go get the hamster!!!"

Does that warm your heart or what!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Am I On Candid Camera?

Because, seriously? This is ridiculous. Someone MUST be filming this...

For the last few days (which have also been peppered with late night conferences, professional development sessions/time wasters so as you can assume, I'm in a fab state of mind)I have been relentlessly hounding my students to turn in their damn permission slips for a trip we had scheduled for today. Just to add another straw to the camel's back, it is interesting to note that this is a field trip planned by Ms. Weavalicious. It's like I should have seen it coming...

I mean, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...just shoot me. Really.

It's 7:45 a.m. I have been at school for about thirty minutes putting the finishing touches on some amazing sktech pads and materials I have put together so that my students can record their own inspirations as we tour the museum. I am mentally preparing myself for the joys of field trips...the bathroom visits, lost seat belts...

It is now 7:55 a.m. I am on my way out the door to fill up my water bottle and pick up my class.

The phone rings.

Again, I should have seen it coming.

Ms. Weavalicious: Mrs. Mimi?

Me: Hi.

Ms. Weavalicious: Were you planning on going on the trip today?

Me: Um, yes.

Ms. Weavalicious: Because it was cancelled. Didn't I tell you that?

Me: Um, no. (These are the moments when I think I should take deep breathing or yoga classes to re-center myself because honestly, I just want to go postal on her right about now).

Ms. Weavalicious: Yea, they cancelled on Friday. It must have slipped my mind.
Sorry. But you'll work it out.

Me: Um....

Ms. Weavalicous: Don't you have anything else planned?? I'm sure you can work something else out.

Me: Um, no. I was planning on being gone from 9 to 1. Can I have a sub for just half an hour or something so I can pull something together?? I have to go pick my class up.

Ms. Weavalcious: Sorry. No. I'm sure you'll find a minute to pull something together. You'll work it out.

Me: (You are lucky that we are surrounded by witnesses.) Ok...well, I have two chaperones coming. I think they took the day off work. Can you call them and explain? I don't want them to come all the way back to school.

Ms.Weavalcious: Why can't you do it? I think you could work that out.

Me: (If she tells me to "work it out" one more time, I just might scream something I regret into the phone...) Because I'll be teaching and desperately scraping together a coherent day of instruction at the last minute???

Ms. Weavalicous: Don't you have a cell phone?

Me: Yes...

Ms. Weavalcious: So you do it. You can work it out.

Me: While I'm supposed to be teaching and lesson planning?

Ms. Weavalicious: I'm sure you'll work it out.

Later, when I sent a child with a note to her office, they reported back that she was busy reading the paper.

And while I pulled a fairly rocking day out of my a*s, I fantasized about bad things happening to Ms. Weavalcious. Not massive physical harm or anything...more like that she would get her wallet stolen, or her side view mirror ripped off in a drive-by...something annoying enough to ruin HER day. After all, I'm sure she'd work it out.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

Alternative Title - Stop Encouraging Your Son To Be Such A Lazy S.O.B.

This year, I have several parents who are professional Excuse Makers. You know, I contact them about something their child has done and without fail, that parent will give me an excuse as to why it was not their precious baby's fault.

Excuse Maker: "It was MY fault that Little Angel didn't do their homework. Not his. (But he's in second grade and should be able to do it independently.) Plus, I think the directions were unclear (Yes they were.) And you forgot to remind him to do his homework before he left that day." (They have homework every night, you want me to remind him every freaking night?)

Excuse Maker: "How dare you allow Little Angel to have a bathroom accident!!! (He never asked to go to the bathroom.) It was not his fault that he held it all day and didn't ask. You should've asked HIM if he needed to go every hour so something like this could have been prevented!!" (Um, ask him every hour? Sweetie, do you need to pee pee? Yea, not going to happen. Tell him to raise his hand...he doesn't seem to have a problem asking for a drink of water every fifteen minutes."

Excuse Maker: "My little Little Angel would never take something from another child's desk!!! How dare you!?!? (But I saw her do it with my own eyes and then she lied about it....I'm concerned that...) No! No! She did not take it. I do not care what you saw! I know someone must have TOLD her to do it."

(sigh)

When I was little, the teacher was almost always right. In fact, I can only remember one occassion in which I got to be right. When I was in first grade (and second grade, we looped with this Nut), my teacher was a trainwreck. She called my mom one day and told her that I had been talking too much in class. Ok, so maybe I was. But so was everyone else. AND....she neglected to mention that while we were all talking, she was standing outside our classroom SMOKING and watching us through the window!!!! True story.

So, I am not chainsmoking outside my classroom. And I'm not making it up for my own sick personal benefit. I'm telling you about your child so that maybe, just maybe, you can do some parenting and help your child progress and mature. Just a thought.

I have one Little Angel who does NOT like math...or working hard for that matter. He's the type of child that will do ANYTHING to look busy when in reality, he is doing absolutely nothing productive. You know the type.

We're working with coins and the children have to come up with two ways to show a given amount using quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. This is something that they have all done before, today is simply a refresher so that we can move on to more difficult concepts. I know they've done it before because I taught first grade last year and WE DID IT TOGETHER!!!

You can then imagine my surprise when Little Angel had done absolutely NOTHING in twenty minutes.

Me: Little Angel, what's going on? You haven't even started your work.
L.A.: I don't know.
Me: You don't know what? Do you understand what you have to do?
L.A.: I have to show 42 cents two different ways.
Me: Yes, so what's up?
L.A.: I used 42 pennies.
Me: Great! But let's think of another way, because I know that people don't usually have all those pennies in their pockets. What other coins could you use?
L.A.: I don't know.
Me: You don't know?
L.A.: I'm confused.
Me: Ok...well what other coins have we talked about?
L.A.: I don't know any other coins.
Me: You don't know any other coins!?!?
L.A.: No.
Me: Nickels?
L.A.: No.
Me: But we talked about them all last year. And yesterday. And they're on the wall. Come on, I know you can do it!
L.A.: I'm just really confused and this is hard. My father says that the cashier will make change so all I have to do is give them dollars. And my mom says when things are hard, I shouldn't let myself feel frustrated, I should just stop.
Me: (Your dad is a raging idiot...what is he doing?!? And I think I want to hit your mom right now.) Oh, but you want to know things for yourself. It's OK if this is hard, but I need to you to try a little harder. Now, let's think. How much is a nickel worth? (Remind yourself that I teach SECOND grade).
L.A.: I don't know.
Me: Do you mind if I write this all down Little Angel? Because I think your mom might be interested in all this and maybe she can help you at home too.

Conferences are Tuesday and Wednesday. I wonder what she is going to say about this one. It should be Excuse Extraordinaire!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Correct Me If I'm Wrong, But I Thought That Teachers Actually Spent Time With Children...

Maybe it's my misunderstanding, but I thought that TEACHERS spent time working with CHILDREN. I know that sometimes we are also required to meet with parents, colleagues and administrators...but in general, we spend our days with the KIDS. TEACHING. CHILDREN.

Let me explain why I'm confused. Today I sat down to work on finalizing my plans for next week. I have a little system...I sketch out the week roughly on Tuesday and on Thursday, I finalize everything so that Friday (afterschool of course) can be spent getting everything together. Brilliant, I know. I can almost smell the glue sticks now...

(I know I am implying here that I love working with my little friends, but don't get me wrong, I also love some alone time with my planner, a big stack of post-its, a clicky pencil and, on a crazy day, a Sharpie. You know what I'm talkin' about.)

(I loves me some organizational tools).

(I am completely aware that this makes me slightly less than cool).

(I know this because of the look I receive when I admit this to non-educators, like my husband, whose eyes just kind of glaze over and I can almost hear him mentally reminding himself that he loves me despite this Staples-related obsession).

But on this sad Thursday I stared at my planner in disbelief. First, I have math professional development meetings all morning tomorrow, so no teaching. Then, there is no school on Monday (whoo-hoo!! I didn't say I loved kids EVERYday), so no teaching. On Tuesday we have art related professional development all morning, so no teaching. On Wednesday, we have a half day and a concert in the morning, so no teaching. On Thursday, we're going on a random field trip with no connection to any sort of theme we are studying in school- planned by Ms. Weavalicious-, so no teaching. Oh, but I do get to teach next Friday. And I'm sure the kids will be at their best after a totally unstructured week full of substitutes and bullshit work to pass the time until I come back from where-ever I am.

You can see where my confusion is. You see, out of a possible 35 periods of instruction next week, I will only be teaching for 17 of those blocks. That is less than 50%.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Paper Capers

We have been driven to steal. It is a sad day. Particularly because I often find myself saying to people "I am a teacher, I don't lie."

Like when I'm in a store trying to return something but I've misplaced the receipt, I might say, "I promise that this was NOT on sale when I bought it...I'm a teacher, you can trust me."

Seriously, teachers are pretty honest people.

But we can be driven to steal.

(sigh)

Let me break it down. In one of my last posts I told you all that my principal recently informed us that we will not be given any paper this year. None. We are teaching sans paper. Nada.

I know, it doesn't make sense to me either.

Does anyone say "Hey there Doctor, just FYI, no bandages this year...not in the budget. Just imagine the bandages or something." The answer is no. No. No one says that. Because it is ridiculous.

Anyway, today was a "Professional Development" day (a.k.a. "Catch Up On Your TV Related Gossip But Secretly Look Like You Are Bubbling In Report Cards Day" or "Sit And Make To Do Lists While Some Random Talks AT You About Your Job Day"). What I am saying is, that we had some free time.

And that's when we mobilized.

When the administration was busy organizing the Worst Free Lunch Ever (seriously, macaroni salad should NOT resemble a soup because of a horrifying amount of mayonaise), three of us ducked down to the basement.

(insert ominous music here)

It was brilliant. Just like Charlie's Angels...except dustier. We skanked around abandoned furniture and slinked around ancient text books until....

JACKPOT!!

Forgotten boxes of paper. As we filled our arms with the precious booty, we considered spreading the word to our other colleagues, but then, as we remembered dirty looks, hallway snubs and the general laziness of some...decided it would be our little secret.

Mmmwwaaaa hahahahahaaaaaa!

Suckers.

Maybe I don't feel too bad about the Great Paper Capers after all.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I Guess I'm the Mama Bear

I've heard that the mama bear is very protective of her little cubs...and today I realized that I am totally the mama bear (if the mama bear is also anal-retentive, slightly sarcastic and wears fabulous shoes).

Today we had to go to a workshop where two Teaching Artists taught us about Mariachi music. Next week, we are going to see them in concert. Cool concept, right? Totally.

We're in the auditorium and my little cubs were all lined up and listening attentively. It was one of those moments when you look at them and are insanely proud and get a little misty (then you remember where you are and feel super lame?).

The Teaching Artist (after talking for 30 solid minutes without involving the children in any way...clearly we are using the term "teaching" loosely here because no one in their right mind would do that to 20 7-year olds right after recess...it's almost like a ticking time bomb) then asked my children to get on stage to try dancing but requested that "the teacher stay seated".

Um, ok. Sister friend, this is my world and I can make decisions for myself...but I remained quiet and did what I was told. After all, it's about the kids and the music, right?

They get themselves all organized on stage and are looking particularly precious. The "Teaching" Artist then gave the following directions (in broken English I might add, but will not attempt to imitate here because I don't want to offend anyone but really, it just made following these directions that much harder):

"Walk on stage like a performer. NO! Not like that...like this...no no no!! You look lazy...like this!!

My little cubs get on stage but aren't sure where to stand (because of no direction) and are doing their best.

Um...(deep breath)...so she's almost yelling at them...(deep breath)...she gave them no clear directions...(deep breath)...she told me to stay down here...(deep breath)...I'm going to let this go...but WATCH OUT friend.

"Boys and girls we are going to try this dance. Boys stand this way (She demonstrates). Girls, stand this way (she demonstrates). Ok, then we are all going to start on the right foot and stamp eight times. Rest for eight beats. Then stamp your left foot eight times. Wait for eight beats. Stamp your right foot four times, four beats, left for four, four beats. Right for two, beat beat, left for two beat beat. Right one, wait one, left one, wait one, right, left, right, left, right, left...then we're marching, we'll speed it up and stop. OK?"

WTF???

At this point, my precious bear cubs eyes are totally glazed over, people are picking their noses, adjusting socks and tying shoes. Yea, this is going to be interesting.

The music starts and people just start dancing. There is random stamping, attempts at counting to themselves, and for some reason, a lot of snapping.

The "Teaching Artist" then begins to SCREAM: "NO NO NO! You are not listening at all...hellOOOOOO...what grade are you supposed to be in? You can't even count to eight?!?! What are your teachers teaching you??"

OK, bee-atch, it's ON!!! I quickly leave my place in the seats, jump up on stage and set her straight. Then I calmly model the dance for the students. We practice it slowly and then practice it slowly and SURPRISE!! they can do it (within reason).

And that's when I realized that NO ONE talks to my little cubs like that...I am the mama bear so watch out!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Land of the Free, and the Home of the Ridiculous

Sometimes when I'm having a particularly irrational moment, I worry about the most insane things. For example, once last year, I left my fabulous tweed pumps on the carpet in my classroom (I am a commuter, so I have the cutest little Keds to walk in and save the ROCOing heels for work...I know, heels to teach elementary school sounds crazy but I heart me some great shoes and no, I haven't felt my feet in years.) I became obsessed with the idea that the mice who inhabit my classroom in the evenings were going to eat my shoes.

It had been a long day.

When I told my husband what I was worried about, he calmly asked me to just say my concern outloud.

"I'm afraid that mice will come and eat my shoes in the night."

That does sound crazy, doesn't it??

There's a reason we are together.

So earlier today when my principal informed me that we would NOT be receiving any paper in our classrooms this year, I employed a similar strategy.

Me: Hey Dr. Man, are we getting our annual box of paper soon?
Dr. Man: We already ran out of money, so no, sorry.
Me: We're not being given ANY paper this year? (insert incredulous tone here)
Dr. Man: Nope.
Me: So, let me get this straight...not only have I NEVER been provided with a pencil for my students, but this year, to top it all off, we are expected to provide our own PAPER?
Dr. Man: Yes.
Me: Just repeat that sentence for me..."This year I expect my teachers to achieve great things despite that fact that they have been given neither paper nor pencil."
Dr. Man: Very funny.

"Funny", eh?

I guess I will be laughing all the way to Staples.

I am such a sucker.

And if you are feeling like a sucker for not pursuing your education, it's not too late! Start on your degree in Elementary & Secondary Education today!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

If Teachers Ruled The World

Sometimes I think the world should be run by teachers. And then I think, that maybe I should be careful what I wish for and qualify that statement. I think the world should be run by a hard-working, kick ass teacher, and NOT just some loser with a credential.

Speaking of losers with a credential, it's been awhile since I updated you on the shenanigans of Mr. Big White Guitar.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I have had two hellatious days of field trips in a row. There just aren't enough hours in the night to sleep that off!!

And, LUCKY ME, one of them was arranged and "organized" by Mr. BWG himself. Weeee!!!

We are supposed to go to a concert that is about a mile away...too far to walk with 80 children...but it's quick hop, skip and a jump on a school bus. So, you might wonder why Mr. BWG wrote on the permission slip that we would be leaving an entire hour early. Hmmm....a whole hour to go one mile. Huh.

Since we were all away yesterday and Mr. BWG wasn't here Monday, no one has recently discussed details. Silly us to think that they were taken care of. I mean, this is the same man who can't manage to tune his guitar prior to a performance and insists on doing it during the perfomance, a man who speaks so slowly that you want to reach out and slap the sentence out of him, a man who NEVER picks classes up on time. F*ck me over once, shame on me. F*ck me over twice, why do you still have a job??

So, we tried to track down Mr. BWG to get some detes (that's short for "details"...I am ultrahip, I know). But, suprise suprise, he isn't at school yet, despite the school day being five minutes from officially starting.

At 8:15, still no Mr. BWG.

Soon, it's 9:00, a mere thirty minutes before we are supposed to leave that we finally track Mr. BWG down. Gee, I hope he got enough sleep and lingered over his morning coffee!

It is now 9:05. My class is doing some independent reading an I'm ON THE PHONE trying to get some information out of this dweeb!

Me: So, are we really leaving at 9:30??
Him: That's what I wrote on the permission slip.
Me: (Thanks, loser). Yes, but what are we going to do there for a whole hour.
Him: Oh, well leave later.
Me: But there are eight classes going...when do you want us all to line up.
Him: I mean, I don't know, um, how about when you're ready?
Me: Okaaaaay, but there's already one class lined up and the rest don't know what to do. How are we all supposed to get on the busses together? Can you just pick a time?
Him: You know, just, um, I don't know, the show starts at 10:30, so be there before then.
Me: (fantasizing strangling him with a rogue guitar wire)(deep breath) (I hate you!!!) Are the busses here? When are you leaving?
Him: Um, I don't really know...I
Me: LISTEN! Just pick a time so we can all share the busses and go.
Him: Why don't you just go when you are ready?
Me: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN (WTF?!?!?!?)??? How are eight classes going to just get there when they feel like it?? The busses are waiting. We need to get two classes on each bus. We need to get there together to check in and pay...
Him: Oh...could you work it out with everyone.
Me: Hey, I'd love to do that for you but I'M TEACHING RIGHT NOW!!!! (my fantasy has now upgraded to smashing that big white guitar right up his....)
Him: Oh, I mean, um, we could....
Me: (click)

I then took over the situation, made a command decision and sent seven of my students off with notes.

So, I guess if Mr. Big White Guitar was running the country we'd all be left waiting for him to tune his guitar and finish his sentence. My wish stands ammended.

I Know I Shouldn't Have Faves....

I have had two hellatious days of field trips in a row. Usually, I'm fine in the morning. On the trip, I am downright happy to be there. But in the afternoon, oh the afternoon! I find that I often turn into the least patient bitch ever. It's really awful. And then something like this happens.

Picture it. My classroom. 2:00. (Can you tell that I am semi-addicted to Golden Girls re-runs?? Sophia cracks me up...sad, I know).

Everyone is working away. Honestly, they are very dilligent writers, I am a proud mama.

I sit with Curly to conference. Have I mentioned recently how much I love this kid?? Seriously, I heart Curly.

We chat about his recent work. He nods, inserts an occassional "mmm-hmmm", and makes eye contact the entire time. It's almost like talking to an adult.

When we finish the conference, he picks up his pencil and gets back to work.

Later, as we clean up, he raises his hand and says, "Mrs. Mimi, thanks a lot for helping me today."

All together now: awwwwwwwwww!! (sigh) I guess I'll go back tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Why Do I Have To Be The Adult?

Alternative Title – Farts Still Make Me Laugh

I think that all of us who work in the public school system are familiar with the phenomenon of post-lunch gas. Particularly from those friends who eat the free and reduced “lunch”. In my situation, that would be the whole class. Some days, it’s just downright toxic on the carpet.

(Just to clarify here, I’m not talking about the elusive but ever present Teacher Fart because that could be a whole post in and of itself…don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about either.)

Today must have been an unusually potent day in the cafeteria because we had an “incident” after lunch.

To catch you up to speed, we recently planted grass seed in three different soil samples to determine the type of soil that is best for plant growth. Pretty gnarly, I know, but my kids are rockstars if I do say so myself…and I do…often. On Friday, the grass was about half an inch high. Today it was three inches tall and darn impressive. Again, rockstars.

Most of the kids noticed the grass as soon as they walked in the room. (Seriously, have you ever noticed the radar on some kids…you move a certain poster half an inch to the left and they notice AND comment on it…profusely…to the point where sometimes adding new stuff to the classroom is just annoying because you know it will result in some high drama the next morning.) Remember, I said MOST.

I have one little friend who has not made the blog yet. He’s a pudgy guy with big eyes and the longest eye lashes you’ve ever seen. Really, he’s very cute except he is INSANELY SLOW TO FOLLOW SIMPLE DIRECTIONS. Honestly, he’s lucky he has those eyelashes…

Anyway, we’re had just gotten back from lunch when I address the grass samples. I take them down from the bookshelf and rocked Luscious Lashes’ world.

He got so excited about the grass that he exclaimed, “Wow!!” and evidently all the excitement and force he used to exclaim “wow” coincided with a raging gas attack because he practically blew two of my girls off the rug!!

It was like it ripped time and space in half. Afterwards, a silence filled the room. Children’s eyes darted madly around the room, hands covered mouths in desperate attempts to not laugh. After all, we have had the “Everybody Farts” talk multiple times.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold it together. Me. The grownup.

I laughed. And that was it. I’m glad Luscious Lashes has a good sense of humor.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nabbed!

Sorry it took so long to get back to everyone, but yes, I did indeed nab the little foker who was writing profanity on my beautiful word wall table tents. And it only took 45 minutes of me analyzing handwriting samples, 20 minutes of debate with my colleagues over the correct path to take, 25 minutes of classtime for our emergency class meeting, 10 minutes to write the letter home to parents, and 30 minutes first thing the next morning to speak with the parent of the guilty party once they had come foward. So...a grand total of 2 hours and 10 minutes to deal with a crime that was committed in oh, say about 1 minute. What a foking waste!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Liar, liar, pants on fire…

So someone is lying to me. I’m not entirely sure who it is yet, but I have my suspicions. And believe me, you are NOT going to be happy when I find you…and the longer it takes and the more time I waste…the LESS happy you are going to be.

Oh my, that sounds down right threatening.

Well, IT’S SUPPOSED TO!!!!

Let me just throw down the big disclaimer and remind you that I absolutely love my class this year. Seriously. Love love love them. I honestly look forward to the day more than I have in a long time. I have some fabulously quirky kids (which is how I like ‘em) and we just have this thing going. Like Curly said, “We have an understanding.”

With that in mind, imagine how I felt when one of my girls showed me the word wall table tent at her table. (You all have to try word wall table tents for Writer’s by the by. Just take a manilla folder, paste a sheet with half the alphabet on one side and half on the other and add the words as you go. I heart them.)

In fairly large letters it says “Foke you.”

“Foke you”????

Yea, it means what you think.

We had to leave for lunch right away so I kept it private at first. But I had several immediate thoughts as I brought my friends downstairs to the cafeteria.

Thought #1:
Whoever it was spelled the “F word” with a sneaky e!!! I mean, do you hear the long o sound in “f*ck” friends? No, you do not. And we have been talking about long and short vowels for the last few weeks. WTF??? (And I would spell it correctly…so there!). I was seriously disappointed…how screwed up is that?

Thought #2:
I am so annoyed that this is what I have to deal with this afternoon because we are having a great day. I hate those moments when I have to choose the battle and deal…

Thought #3:
Or, maybe I can relish the gnarly guilt trip I’m about to lay on them….hmmm…this could get juicy.

Thought #4:
You know what? Foke you too. Those table tents took a long time for me to make.

So they get back from lunch and we have our emergency class meeting. I lay it on thick. It was genius. The TONY people totally should have been there. It went a little something like this.

Me: (blah blah blah, this is what happened, I am so disappointed, blah blah blah…). I know who did this (I totally don’t). And I could just punish that person. But I want them to learn something about responsibility. We are all responsible for making this classroom a place we all look forward coming to. Today someone decided not to hold up their end of the deal and did not take care of us. I’m going to give everyone a slip of paper. If you have a clear heart and conscience, you can just write me a quick hello on your paper. If you have a sad heart and know you need to be a responsible citizen of our class, you can privately tell me what you’ve done.

No one fessed up. FOKE!!!

It was worth a try. I’m not done yet either. A note went home to all the parents and I’m expecting a tearful confession in the a.m.

Hopefully this is the last time my mystery friend will foke around in class!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Respect My Authori-tay

Now I don’t want the following post to cause you to doubt my authority (or “authori-tay if you prefer). Because really, I can lay it down…the law, lay down the LAW. Sheesh…dirty birds.

Today I felt like I was at a crossroads. Not the Brittney-Spears-teen-movie-do-I-smoke-a-joint-and-make-out-with-my-girlfriends type of crossroads. A literal crossroads. Today I found myself standing on the street corner with twenty children, twelve rain appropriate coats and nine umbrellas. Already you can see that the odds were not stacked in my favor. How did I end up in this precarious position? Funny you should ask…

We were supposed to take a walking trip to the local fire station today and check out the fire fighters. I mean, check out the fire engines, fire ENGINES. Engines, yes. We were going to check out the fire engines and get a tour of the station in honor of Fire Safety Prevention Week (or whatever).

The kids are pumped. We have been having a great week (which on an average of five hours of sleep a night is nothing short of a miracle), so they totally deserved a fun morning out. I was thinking leisurely walk to the station, take the tour and then a leisurely walk back through the park with maybe some play time. All in all, a rad morning. And then it decided to rain. Or rather, this morning, it decided to mist. That mist where it feels more like you’re just get peed on than rain? You step outside and think, “this isn’t so bad” but then in ten minutes you are soaked and your hair is a frizzy mess.

But I will not be deterred!! We are going!! Rain never killed anyone! Besides, I hate being the bitch that canceled the field trip. So we line up, twelve of us in rain-appropriate coats and eight of use wearing just a T-shirt. Seriously people, turn on the news in the morning or just look out the freaking window! It is no longer send-my-kid-to-school-in-a-ratty-t-shirt-weather. Duh.

With nine umbrellas between us we march outside. We get about ten feet from the building when I realize how hard it is “misting”. I see my little friends huddled together under umbrellas, still getting wet and walking at an excruciatingly slow pace.

Shit.

I start fantasizing about the phone calls potentially coming my way should I decide to walk in the drizzle….

Angry Parent Who Sent Their Kid To School In A T-Shirt On A Rainy Day:
What were you thinking walking my child six blocks in the rain??!?!? Are you crazy??

Me: (Ummm…I was probably thinking the same thing you were when you walked your kid six blocks to school in the same outfit…take that!!) Well, it really wasn’t raining that hard when we left and I thought it would be fine. We were sharing umbrellas.

APWSTKTSIATOARD (look up top, the initials are all right!): I want to talk to your principal…my poor baby!!!

Me : (Your poor baby? You mean the child you routinely send to school without breakfast?) Again, I apologize, but….

APWSTKTSIATOARD: I didn’t even know you had a trip today! How was I supposed to know that I should have sent a coat to school???!?!?

Me: Ok…seriously?? #1. It is RAINING…that’s how you’re supposed to know that you should have sent your child to school in a coat. #2. You signed a freaking permission slip that was clearly dated for today!! #3 You also might have picked up the little tidbit about our trip in the two letters I sent home or the reminder printed on the homework packet for this week and last week. So really, you had about four to five opportunities to write this down on your calendar. I'm just saying.

We all know I would never say that. But it sure felt good to say it here….

So after standing in the rain for ten minutes, I made the command decision to turn around and troop back inside.

Stupid rain.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Looks Like Somebody’s Got A Case of the Mondays…but it’s Tuesday…

(sigh)

After a very rejuvenating and well-deserved long weekend, I returned to work today ready to go!! My classroom was ready, thanks to a late night on Friday (I know, I’m the coolest on a Friday night) and I felt remotely rested.

At our team planning meeting, we talked about our next unit in science. After developing ideas about living vs. non-living things, we are going to start working with soil The kids need to classify different types of soil, examine what is in the soil and begin to think about water retention in soil (I could tell them a thing or two about water retention … but that’s for another day).

We are ready to go.. psyched to plan….pens are out and poised anxiously above the page waiting for genius to issue forth from our lips. And then:

Me: Uh, (Yes, I started with “uh”. You know I’m bound to be brilliant when I start with “uh”) so, do we have any soil to use?

Team mate: Uh (equally brilliant), no.

Me: Hm. Interesting.

Team mate: I guess we could go to the park and dig some up.

Me: That’s sad.

In walks Ms. Weavilicious, vice-principal du jour. Awesome. We’ll ask her.

Me: So, is there any soil for us to use in the science lab for our new unit?

Ms. W: No.

Me: Super.

Team mate: We’re struggling with how to get through this next series of lessons on soil without any, um, soil.

Ms. W.: You can work it out.

Team mate: Do you have any ideas for us?

Ms. W.: I’m sure you can find pictures of dirt somewhere. Just have them imagine the dirt.

Ah, yes! Why didn’t we think of that? Imagine the dirt boys and girls. Oh, boys and girls, did you know that sometimes scientists sit quietly in a room and imagine the thing they want to study. Then they write down what they learned by using their imagination. Science is all make believe! We can all really fly! The Tooth Fairy is real! When a bell rings, an angel gets its wings!

As you can see, the bullshit is so deep that I’m starting to lose my grip on reality. I guess I’m off to the garden center.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Whoops!

Alternative title: Why Having A Secretly Favorite Student May Not Be Such A Secret

So Curly (So I left the paper downstairs that reminds me how to link. For now, just check out Say My Name if you want to read more about my cutie. It’s too early for stairs) is fast becoming one of my little faves. Yes, I know. We saint-like teachers are not supposed to have faves, but please…some of them rock WAY MORE than others. And some of them just don’t rock at all. You know who I’m talking about…those kids that are sometimes absent for a day or two and while you hope they’re OK, in the back of your head you think that it wouldn’t be so bad if it was a touch of the flu that lasted a few days longer? Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m saying.

Anywho. I heart Curly. He is saucy, but definitely has a super sense of humor and yes, is damn funny. So I probably let him get away with a bit more than I should. And while I know that children are ultra perceptive, I didn’t think that the young ones were quite so good at articulating it. Check this out.

I have someone from a nearby university who comes in to help out twice a week. She gets paid like $14 an hour or something and is seriously like a little present from Heaven. She’s quiet, works really hard, is easy to talk to, and genuinely loves my kids. I love her. Sometimes she sits at the back of the rug when I’m teaching and tries to help out with the less attentive friends in the back.

I don’t think she quite understands my daily mantra: Choose your battles. But whatever, she’s still fab.

Everyone is on the carpet listening as we read from our first published pieces of the year. It’s very exciting and within reason, they are being a very good audience. Curly is super into the story that is currently being read and can’t help himself. He shouts out:

“Wait, I don’t get it. Can you tell me more about that part?”

Ok. So he shouldn’t be shouting out. But he had a point. The story WAS pretty damn confusing and the author in question did not seem to mind. She looked up, answered him back and then continued reading. No harm, no foul.

Evidently my University Volunteer/Savior chose this moment to pitch in.

UV/S: Curly, you shouldn’t shout out like that when someone is sharing their writing.

Curly: Oh, it’s ok Ms. UV/S. Mrs. Mimi and I have an understanding. It’s OK for me.

WHOAH!!

We have an understanding????

Well, I guess we do....

(I wish I could post his picture though…then you’d totally get it.)

(But still…maybe I need to rein that in a bit, yes?)

Sigh

The other day we were going over the calendar during morning meeting. We were putting up important dates…or at least dates that are important in the eyes of seven year olds – birthdays, days off, half days and Halloween. You know, the good stuff.

Of course, everyone had to tell me when their brother or sister’s birthdays were as well. Seriously, like I care. But I put on my best teacher face (even though, for some reason, this behavior really bugs) and smiled.

Then I thought, what the hell? And I mentioned that MY sister’s birthday was on Halloween.

Eyes wide, one friend asked:

“Is it on Halloween every year?”

(sigh)

Perhaps we DO need to spend more time on the calendar.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Plugging things in IS hard.

Our technology guy sucks. There is just no other way to put it. He suckety suck sucks and from now on we shall call him He-Who-Has-Too-Much-Free-Time Not only does he spend 80% of his time talking to his wife on the phone or IMing his son in college (that’s in addition to teaching no classes, friends), he is repeatedly unavailable to help teachers who want to integrate technology into their classroom. Boo. (The worst part is, outside of the “not doing his job stuff”, he’s a really nice guy so it’s hard for me to work up my usual venom. I will try my hardest just for my friends in cyber space and to honor the rage I honestly felt earlier last week).

Monday’s email:
Dear He-Who-Has-Too-Much-Free-Time,
Can my class please have five digital cameras charged and ready to go on Wed afternoon…we have an exciting project we’re working on.
Thanks,
Mrs. Mimi

Tuesday’s email:
Hey He-Who-Has-Too-Much-Free-Time,
Just a reminder that I will be picking up those five digital cameras charged and ready to go around 1:00 on Wed.
Thanks again,
Mrs. Mimi

Wednesday – a lovely note stuck to his door with a candy attached (I work it good!)
Good morning He-Who-Has-Too-Much-Free-Time!
P. will be by about 1:00 for those five cameras. Thanks for having them charged and ready to go!
Have a great day,
Mrs. Mimi

Wednesday at 12:45

Picture it: Twenty excited young friends sit on the carpet, all their eyes eagerly listening to their teacher as she explains their next big project.

Me: All right guys, we’ve been learning all about our urban community. Now it’s time to take our community walk. Remember, we’re going to be working in teams with the digital cameras. Each group has their lists of what photos we plan on taking. Are you guys ready?

The Class: YES!!!

We troop out into the hall, everyone buzzing. It was my personal goal to integrate more technology into my teaching this year and as our culminating project for this portion of our work on urban community, my kids were going to narrate photos of their community, discussing the elements that make it distinctly urban and/or the things that they love about living there. I was going to stream the photos and voices together and burn it on to a DVD to be played during lunch on the gor-juice new plasma TVs our principal got installed. (The man is a miracle worker…seriously, we have everything.)

P runs to get the cameras. He returns. With one. One camera. One camera and a note that said He-Who-Has-Too-Much-Free-Time did not have the free time to plug in cameras. In the last three days. Not enough time. Three days. One camera. Insert your favorite slanderous phrase here.

And, just to put the cherry on my sundae, the lone camera that I received only had enough memory space for four pictures. FOUR!!!!

Then the battery died. As did my faith in other adults.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just smile, nod, and tell me I’m fabulous.

When I tell people what I do for a living, I usually get one of three reactions.

Reaction #1: “Oooooo…little kids are sooooo cuuuuuute!!! I am so jealous!! It must be so fun to color and sing all day.” This reaction tends to send me into a bit of a rage and compels me to regale these individuals with the insanely long laundry list of roles that teachers must balance, inform them of the incredible amount of planning and thought that goes into our days and point out that, unlike those who work in an office, I must complete all my daily tasks while simultaneously holding my own pee for eight hours at a time.

Reaction #2: “If I could spend some time volunteering, I would definitely work with children like you.” Ummmm, moron, teachers get PAID because we work INSANELY HARD. But that’s cool, I know you’re really on-line shopping all day in your air conditioned cubicle and are just feeling incredibly unfulfilled and worthless.

Reaction #3: “Wow!! You work there?!? You’re totally like Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds!!” Ok. First of all, no…just no. Second of all, I do not routinely wear leather to work. And lastly, I would not touch high school students with a pole. You idiot.

I won’t even respond to those who immediately point out that it must be nice to have my summers off. I feel as if they should just be shot.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stop the insanity...again

Is your school office the most chaotic, loud, semi-unprofessional space in the building?? Seriously, in the middle of the day, it’s a calm, air-conditioned utopia…free of crying children, without constant interruptions and there are no small puddles of pee in the corner. But after school, after school my friends, it is like that place explodes into a frenzy of everything awful about the education system. Angry parents, confused children, lost lunch boxes, ringing phones…AAAAAAA!!!! Sometimes, at the height of the pandemonium, there will be free pastries or chocolates on the office counter. On those days, it’s swim-at-your-own-risk-no-life-guard-on-duty nuts!! People I’ve never seen before shove their way past the mailboxes and make their way back out with pockets bulging.

Today there were free brownies. That’s right, free…

Unfortunately, I HAD to get to my mailbox. So, I threw some elbows and made my way inside. I was almost out of there when I heard one of the secretaries calling my name.

“Mrs. Mimi, you have a phone call.”

At that moment, two other secretaries and a school aide also started yelling at me about the phone call…yeah, I don’t get that one either. Long story short, there was lots of yelling and it was at me.

I get to the phone and it was the Cambridge Who’s Who of Education. Have you heard of this operation?? My apologies in advance to anyone who already belongs or aspires to belong because I am about to rip this whole operation a new one.

After telling me that I have been nominated for a prestigious place in their most recent publication, a very lovely woman begins to interview in order to sketch a quick biography of my career. She pumps me full of compliments and sweet nothings…it was like she was hitting on me or something.

Then she tells me that they’re going to send me a plaque…all fancy with my middle name all spelled out and everything. I’m practically decorating my future office in the still-to-be-determined college I plan on working for. I think a light grayish blue might look great with some off white, chocolatey brown and gold accents might be fabulous.

Then she tells me that I am going to receive two round trip air fare tickets to anywhere in the U.S….even Hawaii. Um, I heart Hawaii.

I’m all “What the deuce? Is this for real? Because my day kind of blew and this would totally turn it around.”

And then…

Lady on the phone: Ok Mrs. Mimi, we are so impressed with your success that we want to get a bio out to you a.s.a.p. for your approval.

Me: Super, I’m so flattered.

Lady: Great, so I just need to start with your expiration date.

Me: Huh? (Yes, it was just that articulate.)

Lady: We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa…

Me: Hold on, I have to pay you something because I won an award?

Lady: Most members choose the platinum option which is a lifetime membership for just $799 right now and three subsequent payments of $129 each.

Me: What?

Lady: Or, you can be a gold member (hee hee) for a one-time payment of $599 and three subsequent payments of $129 each.

Me: I’m sorry…I…

Lady: And we’ll get you a password and get you started networking right away.

Me: Hold on…

Lady: I wouldn’t want you to miss out on this great opportunity…you’re so accomplished!

Me: STOP TALKING!!!!

Already long story made slightly longer…I declined. No trip to Hawaii. No shiny plaque. No prestigious accolades. Just the feeling that I need to shower.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I hope this is up to my standards...

Ok…I am sensing from the response to my last post (or lack thereof) that it was not my best. I’m no dummy – I’m picking up what you’re putting down, cyberspace. So, let me try to remedy the situation with something a little more in line with my usual postings. After all, I’m supposed to be working on my dissertation, but can’t quite motivate. I’ve been trying to get down to business for the last 6 hours. Maybe it’s time to call it a day…

As the start of the school year approached, I thought my new class would be material enough for my blog. However, they’re really awesome. I have no drama. Well, I have a bit of drama. One little boy with the largest front teeth I’ve ever seen is a bit chatty for my taste, but I’ve definitely seen worse. And I have another one, Curly, who can be a bit sassy at times, but he’s so darn cute!! Really, (insert me knocking on wood here) I am loving my new group!! When I think back to past years, the problems I have this year seem insignificant.

Let me regale you with a memory of misbehaviors past…

Two years ago I had a little boy whose glasses were always crooked and behind them, his eyes were always a bit crazed. He was like a little bomb waiting to explode. Super cute, very sweet, totally nuts. One day at the beginning of the year, the class was sitting on the carpet listening to a story. It was the first week of the year, so everyone was still in hardcore angel mode. Except my little friend. As I look up from one of my favorite picture books (I heart Knuffle Bunny…seriously, you need to acquaint yourself with Mo Willems), I catch a glimpse of Little Crooked Glasses in mid backward somersault. He picked up so much momentum that he turned all the way over, and then slid UNDERNEATH the carpet. I wanted to scream but then his little head popped up from the floor, glasses askew with the most thoroughly confused look on his face as if he had never really seen me before. I couldn’t bring myself to yell after that.

Flash forward to the end of the day. Little Crooked Glasses is gyrating in his place, backpack on (remember that detail, it will be important later), ready to go home.

Me: Little Crooked Glasses, please sit down sweetie. School’s not over yet…
Him: I can’t Mrs. Mimi, I can’t find my backpack…
Me: (isn’t he wearing his backpack…WTF? It’s the end of the day…work with me!!) Um, honey, isn’t it, um, on your back??
Him: Huh? (spinning around erratically like my beloved but somewhat dumb cat trying to catch her tail)
Me: Sweetheart. Stop spinning, it’s right there.
Him: I don’t see it.
Me: (Please grant me patience…ten, nine, eight, seven…). Little Crooked Glasses, if you sit down, I promise you that you will find that your backpack is indeed on your back already.
Him: Ok. (Little Crooked Glasses then tries to sit down but after spinning around like a top has virtually no balance and ends up on his ass. And his backpack is right under it.)
Oh! Mrs. Mimi, I found it, don’t worry! It was on the floor.

So, thus far, everyone has remained on top of the carpet and in full possession of their backpacks. I say it’s going to be a banner year (please knock on wood for me right now).

Monday, September 17, 2007

And Now Let's Talk About "Privates"

Thanks to all of you who asked about my long weekend...it was lovely and restorative. Many cocktails with umbrellas in them were embibed and I'm am fabulously tan. All in all...perfect. But now, back to reality.

Isn’t it inevitable that once the school year starts that words such as “privates” and “bottom” will sneak back into our vernacular every so subtly? Well friends, that time is here and boy, it’s back with a vengeance!!

Last week, before our break and my FABULOUS trip to somewhere tropical (I’m am so tan!!) one of my little male friends…we’ll just call him Grabby Hands…patted another little girl’s bottom during a read aloud. We’ll call her The Victim. Of course all of this happens while I’m fully engaged in a rousing rendition of Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny (brilliant!) and goes complete unnoticed. The Victim says nothing and Grabby Hands goes on with his day…clearly the guilt was easy to overcome.

So. The Victim goes home and tells her parents. The Victim’s parents come in a demand a meeting. A bit much in my opinion but I’m just going to go with it…I don’t mess around with this whole “privates” business.

Let’s fast forward to the day of the big Pow Wow.

Scene: Ms. Weavalicious’ office.
Characters: myself, Ms. Weavalicious , The Victim and her parents, Grabby Hands and his parents.

Me: So what have you learned Grabby Hands?

Grabby Hands: I shouldn’t touch anyone during school…especially in their “privates.” (Insert angelic look and some eyelash fluttering here)

Me: The Victim? What did you learn?

The Victim: I learned that I have to tell the teacher when something makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s OK to ask for a private conversation, especially when it’s about my “privates.” (Imagine her young feminist self blossoming during this brief speech…girl power, honey!!)

Me: Super.

Ms. Weavalicious: I’m so proud of you both. I’m glad you learned your lesson Grabby Hands. Remember, you have a lifetime of touching other girls’ privates…you don’t need to start now.

WHOAH!!!! Let me say that again…a little big louder now…

And I quote –

“YOU HAVE A LIFETIME OF TOUCHING OTHER GIRLS’ PRIVATES!!!”

WTF???!? Do you even see the parents sitting in your office?? They are not wearing camouflage. What are you thinking??

Glad you get double my pay. You sure earned that extra cash today.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Adventures In Bacon Hunting – Part Deux

This one will really warm your heart. Really. I think any story of mine that includes the Bacon Hunter is one that is guaranteed to inspire you to do great things. Am I shoveling it fast enough? Are you sensing the sarcasm?

We have to do compile math portfolios for our students each year. Wait, perhaps we should come up with another name for these little tasks because in no way should you be picturing a wonderfully authentic assessment tool in your mind. You should really be imagining a binder filled with pre-determined, mandatory pieces that must be made up for each child even if he/she is absent for weeks at a time despite the fact that the Bacon Hunter is the ONLY OTHER PERSON who looks at these, besides me of course. Yes, from this point forward we will refer to these as Bonfire Material.

So the Bacon Hunter asked us to make sure that we had received the necessary Bonfire Material for each of our new students. If not, we were told we must hunt them down ourselves as she is too busy ordering breakfast. Ok, maybe she didn’t admit to her lazy morning habits quite so overtly, but believe me, that’s what she meant.

I realized that the deadline for having all your Bonfire Material collected was today (forgive me, it wasn’t the first thing on my mind) so I spent 20 minutes of lunch double checking everything. This is key…I did this on my LUNCH. Just like every other day when I choke down a sandwich or lukewarm leftovers as I frantically try to chip away at my to do list even though this is LUNCH. I don’t really mind…I know it comes with the territory, but then this happened…

After all my searching, I am pleased to discover that I only need two new binders to start collecting Bonfire Material for my new students. So I call the Bacon Hunter to let her know. I call. And I call. And I call again. Hmmm, four adults share that room…surely someone is there. I call again. And once more for good luck.

Me: Hi, it’s Mimi. Is the Bacon Hunter there?

Bacon Hunter’s partner in crime (read “lazy friend”): Um, yeah, but it’s lunch…can I take a message?

Me: What?

Bacon Hunter’s buddy: It’s lunch. We’re eating.

Me: (BLTs I presume) Oh. Have you been there the whole time?

Bacon Hunter’s buddy: Was that you calling over and over again?

Me: So you WERE there. (At this point I am fantasizing actually frying both of them like the bacon they love so much…you’ve been ignoring the phone that I MUST answer even if I’m in the middle of a freaking lesson?!?!?!?)

Me: Enjoy your lunch.

I am so glad we have the next two days off…I’m off to somewhere tropical. See you Monday!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Stop the insanity...

During our prep today we had our first meeting with the ELA staff developer at our school. She is lovely and efficient and very knowledgeable. Seriously. No sarcasm here for once. I swear. I know it's rare, but I actually think this woman works hard.

However, she was the bearer or some rather unbearable news…we are now testing the shit out of second graders.

Maybe this isn’t news to many of you. But as a transplant from first grade, I’m not used to such intense amounts of testing and personally think it is heinous.

Here is my checklist for testing this month:
• running record for each child to assess current reading level
• sight word fluency test
• decoding test
• phonemic awareness assessment
• sight word spelling test
• benchmark spelling test
• math pre-test
• math end of unit test
• reading fluency test (separate from the running record)
• standardized reading test complete with a bubble sheet

Is that gross or what? Pretty soon we’re going to be assessing them on how throroughly they wipe after a trip to the bathroom. Or maybe using a rubric to score their ability to open those milk cartons at lunch. Perhaps we should think about attaching a bubble sheet to their recess routine just to make sure that their free play is highly monitored and accounted for.

I keep waiting for their little turkey timers to pop…they have to be done. I am.

Say My Name

So now that my little friends are big time second graders, I insist that they write both their first and last name at the top of their papers. It may not sound like a big deal, but boy did it rock their world!! It was like I asked them to write 500 pages on their summer vacation or something. Evidently, first and last name equals very painful.

However, I don’t care (that’s the caring teacher in me). Personally, I think that they balked at me because many of them don’t know how to spell their last name confidently (a.k.a. without sneaking a peek at the nametag taped to their desk). I figure it is the least I can do for them.

I have just finished my “gentle reminder” to write first and last names before papers are collected when I notice my little friend Curly (you should see his hair!!), who is sitting right in front of me, fails to even make a move for his pencil.

Pardon me? I have spoken friend…

Me: Um, Curly? Last name…I know you heard me…
Him: I only have one name.
Me: What?
Him: I’m not using my last name anymore.
Me: Who are you, Cher?
Him: (blank stare)
Me: (I am so old) What do you mean?
Him: I’m like Fitty (translation: that is Fifty to most of us)
Me: I see. Well even he has a last name.
Him: (blank stare)
Me: Cent (Ha!! What do you say to that little friend?)

It got me thinking though. I recently got married so my last name is currently up for debate. Ok, I legally changed my name but that doesn’t stop everyone from constantly referring to me by my maiden name, a f*cked up version of my married name, or some sort of weird hybrid of the two. But, what if I only had one name? Like Fabulous. Or Oh Wise One (I guess that’s three names). Maybe something one syllable like Star.

Something to think about…

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What A Difference A Year Makes

Ha!! That’s the title of Bob Guiney’s book – remember the Bachelor?? Ahhh, the hours of mindlessness…I miss that. Now that school has OFFICIALLY started those hours (and days) are over.

So, you ask, how was the first day of school? As many of you know, this is my first foray into the second grade after many years in first. And every idiot I have come in contact with has promptly congratulated me on “my promotion.” Like we were all waiting for me to master telling time to the quarter hour before allowing me to teach the next grade. But I digress…

Well friends, I can’t tell you how different the first day of second grade is from the first day of first grade. I know that may sound obvious to many of you, and I did realize that on some level, but today was UNREAL!!

Let’s go through the good, the bad and the ugly, shall we?

We’ll start with the good (after all, this is the Year of the Positive Mimi…Ok, maybe the positivity will only last until the end of September, but a girl has to have goals, right?). Back to the good:
1. The kids are still cute. I was afraid they would be kind of big and gnarly since I am so used to the babies.
2. We can move SO MUCH faster. The kids are much more able to be independent. I actually feel like I taught today instead of herding lost sheep.
3. My new room is super clean and beautiful…moving was a b*tch but it forced me re-organize and we all know that I loves me a good organizational tool.

Onto the bad:
1. I AM SO TIRED!
2. I still am not a champion commuter. I don’t know how people do it year after year. All those hours of my life spent on the train when I could be watching the Bachelor or something (sigh).
3. I swear that building just wipes the makeup right off one’s face. How is it possible to look like such crap at the end of the day after such careful outfit planning?

And the ugly:
I only have one…my vice principal was wearing a navel baring shirt. OK, maybe it was created to be navel baring but it certainly bared way too much navel today. The professionalism is just overwhelming. Harsh, yes, but sadly true.

Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow!! Maybe the tides with turned as my new friends adjust to their new schedule…

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just Some Poop and Me...Or So I Thought.

Well, today was my first day in my classroom. I moved rooms at the end of last year. Wait, move is a little strong; I jammed everything I own into the empty spaces in closets and shelves in a desperate June frenzy, anxious to get to the bar and have an end of the year cocktail. Does that paint a better picture of what I came in to today?

I am so exhausted after ten hours of schlepping boxes and such that I’m not even sure that I can write a coherent post. And I think I might still be a little high from all the bleach. Yes, I spent the better part of today bleaching all my classroom furniture because most of it was COVERED in mouse poop and even some pee. The pee was something special…I’ve never had that before. Needless to say, I’m dirty, sore and disgusted. But I think I made some good progress.

Just a quick mouse story before I pass out face down in my wine. I was sitting quietly at a group of desks, making a MASSIVE To Do list (oh, how I love a good list!). Everyone was busy in their own rooms, so it was one of those rare times during those first few days when I get to be all by myself in my classroom. No one dropping off boxes of crap I don’t feel like organizing. No one stopping in to say hi and then talk for an hour as I repeatedly try to sneak looks at the clock. No one coming by to see if whose room is looking farthest along. I was alone. All alone. Or so I thought…

As I was scribbling down a reminder to put new labels on my book baskets, I heard a scratching noise from the back of the room. I quickly looked up only to see a lump under the background paper on one of my bulletin boards. WTF?

I got up to take a closer look as the lump continued to move spastically all over the wall. Seriously, WTF?

As I reached the back wall, the lump rose closer to the edge of the paper and out popped two ears and some paws. Let me say that again. OUT POPPED TWO EARS AND SOME PAWS!!!!! The ears and paws were quickly followed by some eyes and a nose. I’m not sure what my furry friend did next, because I ran screaming down the hall and decided it was time to just go home.

I’ll let you know if he comes back tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How's YOUR Karma??

Alternative title: Playing Nicely In the Sandbox

Today was day two of our in-service. We met in the fancy pants conference center again and dined on stale scones for the second day in a row. Doesn’t take much to impress us. The theme of today was “karma”. Yes, karma.

Ms. Cocktails Before Noon started off the morning by making us interview each other. We had to get up and talk to three people to find out something new about that person to share with the entire staff. Immediately we were all annoyed because we had to stand up and leave our door stoppers/scones. Some of us took the opportunity to chat with friends, others actually humored Ms. CBN and talked to the new people. I will not reveal which group I fell into…I plead the fifth!

We learned that one of our less-productive staff members (who I swear has stock in Dunkin’ Donuts, I mean how else can you explain her dedication to consuming so many each morning? In her world the donuts are a clear priority when compared to the needs of her students) was published. Wow, maybe I was wrong about her…published? That’s impressive. And then the following occurred:

Ms. CBN: Really? Published? That’s fantastic! Where?
Ms. Dunkin’ Donuts: In a poetry magazine.
Ms. CBN: Wow! Can we find it somewhere? When did that happen?
Ms. Dunkin’ Donuts: When I was 8. (Just FYI, Ms. DD is clearly over 50)

Really? If there is such a thing as karma, she is in for it!

We then continued on with Ms. Weavalicious discussing her own career in the classroom and her wonderful ability to use humor to alleviate the stress of teaching. Somehow, that skill has left her since she became our vice-principal. She advised us to make sure that the “karma” of our classroom encourages student learning and exploration.

I may not be a perfect teacher, but I do pride myself on my ability to foster a loving and successful classroom environment. I think children are happy and excited about learning when they are in my room. As a result of my sense of self-efficacy in this particular area of teaching, I may choose not to follow Ms. Weavalicious’ sage-like words of wisdom, but I thought I would share them with you.

• “We have the most smartest staff I’ve ever worked with. You should be confident in how smart you are.” (Ummmm, hi. Yea. We’re confident in our intellectual abilities, but you should really practice sentences in your headfirst…)
• “Make sure that your classroom is relaxed, children can move about freely to get supplies, and that the room is buzzing with discussion. But, don’t forget…we value task on time, quiet children and sticking to the schedule.” (Ok, what? I’m fairly certain that your two sentences cancel each other out friend…)
• “So when I was angry that I wasn’t getting the response I wanted, I just made it into a joke. I said ha ha ha, and then was done with it.” (Yes, you said ha ha ha, then followed up with a nasty letter in my colleague’s file and I’m pretty sure that it was you who took away several of her preps in a row. Some joke! Way to just laugh that one off!)

Maybe her words are an enigma wrapped in a conundrum and I’m just not smart enough (even though yes, I am one of the “most smartest”).

Friday, August 17, 2007

My First Meme Ever (I Feel Cool)

I have arrived!! I got tagged by hipteacher!!! (I wish I could have made her name link to her blog page, but I haven't learned how to do that yet...I'm not THAT cool...anyone care to educate me on that little tidbit?? Anyway, if you don't read it already, you'll love her blog! I'll do it the old school way. It's hipteacher (dot) typepad (dot) com (slash) schoolblog.) Anyway, it made my day!

Teaching Meme

1. I am a good teacher because...(this one is hard) because... because I think I am able to create a classroom community that makes my students excited to come to school. I think they love learning and, even though they are only 7, I encourage them to be reflective about and take control of their own learning, not just do what I tell them to. Oh, and I think they are super cute!

2. If I weren't a teacher, I would be...a photographer, a florist, OOOO!! I would name nail polish colors. Or have a huge ranch for cats (that's a little scary, isn't it?? Hellooooo steretype about teachers and cats!) Maybe we'll stick with naming nail polishes. How 'bout Cinnamon Toast? Or Glass O' Red? Maybe You Rock It Red? No?

3. My teaching style is...like the Energizer Bunny...I bop around, beat my drum, and try to keep everyone going. Although I'm not sure about the pink...

4. My classroom is... cluttered. Whoah! Was that out loud?? I meant filled with photographs and brilliant student art. It's very cozy, yea, we'll call it "cozy".

5. My lesson plans... are flawless!!! Ha ha! Got you! My lesson plans are done almost exclusively on Post It notes...it looks like Office Depot threw up in my planner. But who doesn't love a good stack of Post Its.

6. One of my teaching goals is…to encourage my students' natural talents while also teaching them it's OK to not know everything or have trouble with something.

7. The toughest part of teaching is...reaching every student. I have so many beautiful memories of children who have blossomed in my room, but I also remember those that I don't think I did enough for. Those are the students I keep in my mind to motivate me every day. So, that and having to hold my pee.

8. The thing I love most about teaching is... spending time with kids. I don't think I could work with just adults all day.

9. A common misconception about teaching is...it's easy. You just read what's in the manual and do what your told and poof! kids learn. I think that most people outside of the field of teaching don't know how much creativity and energy it takes to get a group of children to engage with new ideas and learn. Teachers are much more intelligent than we are given credit for...not just anyone can do our job.

10. The most important thing I've learned since I started teaching...to balance. I have learned (or I'm getting closer) how to balance work and personal life and my own schooling (why did I decide to go back for my doctorate again?). When I've let the scales tip more toward one over the others, nothing ends up going well.

There! My first Meme ever!! Ok. I don't really know the etiquette for this. Or how to link stuff. Damn.

I'll tag:
A Teacher's Life (Thanks for reading Jen!)
Tense Teacher
The Coffee Table
But Wait There's More!
The Doc Is In (Thanks for reading dr pezz!!)

Apologies if you've already been tagged or don't want to be. Just know I admire your blogs.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Adventures in planning

Earlier today I was relishing my nothing-to-do-ness by complaining to my husband that we never go anywhere. It’s a favorite past-time of mine although (as he frequently reminds me) complete bullshit (I love you honey). My argument (whining?) was reaching it’s climax when I heard the tinkling sound of a text message.

What the deuce? I was just getting started…

I checked my phone and found a message from my colleague/girlfriend informing me that she had just picked up the new Barnes and Noble planner and had mapped out the whole first week.

AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

She can’t be serious.

Well, she wasn’t. But it was a good one and I totally fell for it and went running down the stairs, grabbed some keys, threw on my new fabulous lime-ish grassy green peep-toe flats and jumped in the car. I’m off to Barnsey!!! (That’s what I like to call it…my husband refers to it as that place where I deposit all our money, but really? I could be doing worse things with my/our/his money.)

I enter the store and immediately wander over to see if the new Sophie Kinsella novel is out in paperback. Damn! I stroll to check on the Jodi Picoult hardcover situation. Damn! How long does it take a book to come out in paperback? As I start to peruse the buy-two-get-the-third-free table I wonder, “What am I doing here again? I could swear I came in for something specific.”

Oh!!

Work!!

Starts next week!!

Planner!! That’s right, I’m here for a planner. Yes, buying that planner will get me in the right frame of mind. I’m sure that within moments of purchasing it, I’ll go home and plan brilliant new units, think of engaging new author studies…you name it! I’m psyching myself up and congratulating myself on my teaching prowess when I realize that I can’t find the flippin’ planner anywhere! I’ve been to the “Teacher Reference” section and the “Education” section. Nothing. Maybe it’s a sign. Yes! A SIGN! I should DEFINITELY go work at Papyrus…I’d have such great stationary and no pressure.

But…I do kind of like my job. Most of the time. I like the kids at least. I continue to wander around the children’s section but all of my previously felt bravado is gone. I’m crushed. What kind of teacher am I anyway if I can’t even FIND the planner??

And then it’s like the seas parted. There it was. And in THREE COLORS!! There’s never been a choice before!! I can have it in purple. Life is good again. That’s it, I’ll go back to work. Sorry Papyrus, your loss.

(Heehee...I used the word "tinkling" in my blog.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Why I Stay In Teaching

Or…How One Small Child’s Comment Can Erase All The Complaining

So, I recognize that a majority of my blog content is related to complaining. And I’m OK with that. It is my little way of getting out (my husband says “thank you” to all my readers by the way) and making it funny so I don’t threaten to poke myself in the eye on a regular basis. I am excited about blogging my way through next year…that place is ripe with crazy amounts of material!!!

Despite all my b*tching…this much sweeter moment has always stood out for me.

One day my class was in computer lab (you know, that place with the “teacher” who IMs all day and when you come in with your class at the scheduled time he looks at you like and for a moment you are convinced that he no idea what he is supposed to do next). My little friends were eagerly cutting and pasting away, working on an activity that the computer lab “teacher” designed and was grossly over their heads. I choose my battles.

Anyway, they are doing much better than I thought they would when I walk over to the computer of one small girl I have nicknamed Mi Cacahuate (translation – my little peanut…please excuse any spelling error I may have made with that word). She turns around in her wheely chair and looks at me with big brown eyes. An excited smile is on her face and her little curls are blowing the insanely high air conditioning. She reaches out, grabs my hand and says:

“Look Mrs. Mimi., I’m learning!!”

Then she eagerly turned back to her computer to get back to work.

Is your heart melting too?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Oops I crapped my pants...

Or…Why One Should Avoid Public School Lunch

I have told this story to several friends over cocktails and they never fail to stare at me with an incredulous look and wonder aloud, “ Exactly how did he get the shit on his FACE?” Intrigued? I thought so…why don’t you grab a cocktail yourself and I’ll tell you my little story.

I’m not quite sure how to describe J. to you. He struggled more than most students, had a tough life at home and while I often fantasized about him being absent (yet boyfriend had PERFECT f’ing attendance) there was something about him that was endearing. And no, it was not the shit on his face. If you need a mental picture, picture your typical 7 year old boy…now picture that same boy with teeth pointing in every possible direction and even some directions you would have previously considered to be impossible…got it? Super.

One day while I was teaching word study, J. asked to go to the bathroom. Now usually I don’t allow my friends to go to the bathroom when I am dispensing genius, but this time J. looked particularly desperate and uncomfortable, so I let him go. Nobody wants the old puddle on the floor. We continue on with our game and at least fifteen minutes go by when I start to wonder where the hell J. is. I am mentally writing the scathing note home to his mother in my head when I hear the telltale slam of the boy’s bathroom door.

He’s coming, I think, what am I going to do….hmmmm…how wicked do I feel?

I look over at the woman who “pushes in” to my classroom each day at this time. For those of you who aren’t teachers, “pushing in” means having another adult interrupt your teaching, talk in an inappropriately loud voice at the same time you are, and generally undo all your good work. I’m not sure if that’s the technical definition, but that’s the way it goes down at my school. Basically, I spend the fifty minutes a day shooting the “push in” person dirty looks when she talks over me and muttering under my breath. Very professional, I know.

Anyway, I look over at Ms. Loud Talker When I’m Talking and wonder if she will think I’m a bitch for laying into J. about fucking around in the bathroom while the class is working. I am considering my options when…(insert sound of screeching tires here)…J. walks in and everything stops.

He is literally covered from head to toe in his own shit. It has apparently run down his leg and it is oozing out of his shoes. It is all over his hands. And yes, boys and girls, there is shit on his face. Kind of looked like war paint….

What the hell did they serve for lunch?

Shit!! (No pun intended…ok, maybe a little intended…) I have to think fast!!!

For some reason, the whole class is silent. It’s like time stopped. You think that a group of 7 year olds would lose their minds….I mean, someone COVERED IN SHIT has just walked into the room!!! What??

Me: J., are you OK?

J: Uh, I was trying to clean up.

Me: (to myself) Clean up? Did your ass explode?? How does that happen? And again, what did they serve for lunch?
(outloud) Ok, sweetheart. It’s OK.

J: I don’t feel good.

Me: Uh, Ms. Loud Talker When I’m Talking???? Do you think you could walk J. to the nurse? (I’m still not sure why shit on your face qualifies you for the medical attention of the nurse, but then again that seems to be the place to send most things you don’t want to deal with…although usually they come back with a
cough drop and a completely illegible note. Seriously, you slice your finger open
and that woman would give you a cough drop and send you back to class clutching a paper filled with hieroglyphics in your few remaining fingers…)

Ms. LTWIT: What??

Me: (to myself of course) Ha ha!!! That will teach you to talk when I’m talking sucka!!!
(out loud) Thank you.

Somehow I manage to spin J. around without touching him and go back to my lesson. He squishes out of the room and waits for Ms. LTWIT…what a good boy. I watch as she reluctantly follows his brown trail out the door and down the hall.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Great Cockroach Chase

Alternative title – How Exactly Am I Supposed To Get To Math?

Yet another alternative title – How Is This My Job?

So if you haven’t gathered already, the following little tidbit is going to outline “one of those days” when I wonder what I am doing and how this wasn’t included in my job description. But I guess if we just stuck to our job descriptions, nothing would get done!!

Picture it. It’s morning meeting. One of my favorite times during the school day. Frequently I am a bitch in the morning. I get up at 5a.m. (which should be illegal), shower and get dressed in the dark (I am the best wife ever), and then drive 45 minutes to work while simultaneously snarfing down an egg and cheese sandwich (my reward for getting up so early and simultaneously my personal downfall) and coffee (elixir of the gods). Therefore, by the time I roll up to school, am barked at by the secretary (I like to imagine it’s her special way of greeting me since I have never been ANYTHING BUT NICE to her), and climb the flight of stairs up to my classroom, I’m a feeling a bit unfriendly. Thank goodness my little friends come in each morning and dutifully form a circle on the carpet and shake hands, saying “good morning” to one another. Seriously, there have been moments where I feel tears welling up (I know, terribly uncool but true. I am not all badass).

Anyway, we are passing around our morning greeting as I sip on my lovely and warm Chai Tea Latte when I notice that W. is leaning so far into his neighbor that he is practically in her lap. Small shrieks of fear erupt from the corner of the rug.

Me: What’s going on? W. what are you doing? (inner monologue: dude, do not interrupt the latte and adorable hand shaking…I will rain all over your parade)

W: Um, there’s a bug.

Me: Oh, well that’s not a big deal, it’s not going to bother you. It’s probably more afraid of you than you are of it.

As I utter these words of age old wisdom (that I totally recognize as absolute bullshit), I notice that the “bug” to which W. refers is actually a three inch massive COCKROACH.

W: Ok, Mrs. Mimi.

And bless his heart, my little friend turns, shakes his neighbor’s hand and in a quavering voice stammers, “Good morning, B.”

W. and B. then proceed to glance at the COCKROACH about three hundred times in 2 minutes all the while maintaining a look of barely contained panic. I watch as the bug in question scampers (those suckers move fast!!) over toward the group and then dances away, almost teasing us with his presence. W. and B. are desperately inching their way farther onto the carpet while I think to myself – what am I doing to these poor boys? I mean, if it were me, I would be OUT OF HERE!! So I quickly rally and say:

“Ok, bring it in. We’ve got to take care of our visitor.”

Now that I have brilliantly drawn everyone’s attention to our guest, general terror sets in as children scramble in my direction. Clearly, I have remained as far from the COCKROACH as possible and intend to continue to do so.

Me: Ok W., why don’t you save the day. I want you to be our exterminator and kill the bug.

W: Really? I get to step on it?

Me: Please do. Knock yourself out sweets.

W. then springs to life and begins to run in circles around the group of desks nearest to the carpet in hot pursuit of the COCKROACH. There is general cheering from the class and I start to think that maybe I can turn this into a morale boosting/team building moment. Leave it to the inner-city schoolteacher to try to turn our infestation into a teachable moment. As I turn my attention back to the scene at hand, I notice that the bug is still alive and W. is still running in circles. Damn, I had no idea cockroaches could run so fast.

And then the moment comes. In a move of sheer athleticism, W. leaps over the leg of a chair and corners the COCKROACH. He raises his foot. The cheers of the classroom reach an insanely inappropriate decibel. W. begins to lower his foot and a hush falls over the room, anxiously awaiting the impending crunch of exoskeleton. But…

W. (who is a boy) screams like a girl and runs the other way at the last second.

Crap.

Me: (over the cries and jeers of several children) B!! Go help him!! Get the bug!!

B. leaps up and within moments the COCKROACH is dead.

Phew. As I create a chalk-outline around the carcass (because I am clearly not going to dispose of it and don’t want everyone trying to step on it all day), I begin to wonder exactly how I am putting my master’s degree to use…Hmmm.

Anyone for math?

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