Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tip Toe Through the Tulips...

Tip toe through the tulips…

Setting: A busy city street outside of the subway entrance. Two teachers walk the few blocks from the subway to work. 7:15 a.m.

I felt lucky because I ran into my girlfriend and co-worker on the subway today. It always makes the commute easier when I have someone to chat with…you, know the death march I usually hear playing inside my head gets somewhat muffled when I can walk with a friend. Although, to be fair, sometimes it’s not the death march but rather Gangster’s Paradise or even Ludacris’Runaway Love. On those days I feel all Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds and I strut down the street. But most days, let’s be real, it’s damn early.

As we step carefully over the discarded chicken bones and old hair extensions that litter the streets, we chat about what we did the night before. Now that I think about it, why don’t we ever question the chicken bones OR the hair extensions. I mean, that is not normal. Who is so desperate for a wing that they have to suck it down right there on the sidewalk and then throw it to the ground with a satisfied belch? Don’t get me wrong, I loves me a good buffalo wing BUT….I usually like to wolf them down while sitting in some fab bar with my big old beer all the while pretending that I’m really more into the veggies.

And the whole extension thing I can’t even begin to understand because 1. I don’t have them and 2. I do feel sorry for women with feminine balding. However, for some reason we step over all of this every morning without question as if we were tip toeing through the tulips or something.

BUT. Then today it all changed. We are about three blocks from school sipping on our hot bodega coffees when a plastic bag comes floating through the air. Initially, we ignore it, chalking it up to the charm of our surroundings. But then, as if it is possessed, the bag follows us and my girlfriend is forced to bat it out of her face. And that my friends, is one gnarly, very un-Michelle Pfeiffer way to start the day.

Monday, June 25, 2007

She showed you her what??

She showed you her WHAT??!?

My kids came back from recess today and one of my girls was conspicuously missing from my line. I say conspicuously because she NEVER STOPS TALKING and therefore is hard to miss. It is common practice for our vice principal to lash out sporadically (meaning they have no system…watch out my little friends, you never know when it’s coming!!) at students for relatively minor infractions (i.e. She is pissed that she didn’t get enough sleep last night, woke up with her weave horribly askew again, and has been too tired to sit in her office and read the NY Post cover to cover like she usually does…) and send them to a kindergarten classroom and then conveniently fail to inform the teacher (I mean, who am I? Why would I need to know where my class is?). So, I didn’t think much of it. After all, A. didn’t get lost on my watch.

So my little cherubs dutifully file back to their seats and wait quietly for their tables to be called for a water break before we continue on with our day. I’m getting some paper ready for my poetry lesson (which of course was brilliant!!) when J. comes up to me, looking wide eyed and oddly shell shocked. I’m thinking, “what the hell happened at recess??” Normally my little J-dog is a super cute little thing with big brown eyes. He is NAUGHTY AS HELL outside of the classroom (seriously, he kicked the vice principal – Ms. Weavalicious- in the shins one day and told her to F*** off. Good boy!! I mean, how terrible…) but I have a soft spot for him and we have an understanding. He understands I think he is fabulous and therefore he is an angel for me. (I love you J!!)

J: A is in the office.

Me: Really? What did she do? (In my head: you are so cute!!)

J: She…she…um, showed her (Jonathan’s eyes are darting around)

Me: Her bottom? (Are you jealous? I mean, can you say “bottom” at work with a
completely straight face??)

J: No

Me: Did she…pull up her shirt?

J: No.

I start to think that maybe Ms. Weavalicious might have actually had just cause to keep my friend A. Just what did she show? OH. NO. Not her… Really?

Me: J, did she show her privates?

J: (looking thoroughly horrified that he just heard me refer to “privates”): Yes.
She pulled her panties over.

EEEEEWWWWWWWWW!!! She did WHAT? Who does that?? She pulled her underpants over and showed little boys her vag?? They SO did not show me how to handle this when I was getting certified. Where was the chapter called What To Do When Children Expose Themselves Indecently On the Jungle Gym?? Did I miss that reading?

J: It was gross.

Me: Yea. (Well done!! You handled that beautifully!! IDIOT, you need to say something
to this poor boy!! I take a deep breath, summon up the courage and say…)
Why don’t you get some water, sweetie?

Bravo.

Friday, June 15, 2007

That's funny...you don't look like a teacher...

This blog is dedicated to all the ass-kicking teachers out there (especially those in public elementary schools- holla)!! I have taught in the public system myself for many years and am currently pursuing my second advanced degree in education. Teaching is my passion and I love nothing more than being with my students. However...teaching isn't all rainbows and kittens...there's a whole other side to teaching which makes it one of the most difficult, mind-bending excercises in patience ever!!! I whole heartedly believe that teachers demand a million times more respect and consideration than they currently recieve. Who else could shape the future of education better?

Just FYI for those of you who don't know a teacher personally...it's not all half glasses, flat behinds and thematic sweaters. The teachers I have met are some of the smartest, funniest most amazing people ever and they shatter the stereotype most of you have in your mind. We're not Michelle Pheiffer in Dangerous Minds, but we're also not up-tight b*tches with meter sticks.

Basically, there are two types of peoples working in schools....my fellow rockstars and a bunch of IDIOTS who have no business near a school. And these are the monkeys who are dragging the rest of us down. Seriously, it sounds harsh, but there are some real losers out there who really did take the job for the few days we have off in the summer (please, don't even start with me with the whole "must be nice to have summers off" crap because it's NOT the whole summer, it's about 7 weeks, and it's long overdue since I hold my urine for eight hours a day, five days a week, 180 days a year).

These people are the ones who can't master the photo copier, feel it is beneath them to work a full day and insist on leaving before the children do. Come on teachers, you know who I'm talking about. That lazy moron who shows up in the middle of your math lesson and wants you to chat, or that lazy staff developer who spends her morning reading the newspaper while you are running morning meeting....do I need to continue?

Well, this blog is ABOUT them and DEDICATED to YOU!! (because you ROCK!!!!) This is my attempt to not let those jerkoffs get to me, to make me laugh at their ridiculousness and to keep me focused on what really is important....the kids.

Just trying to do my job...

In the grand effort to reform schools, a new and trendy idea has been to hire adults to work with the teachers rather than the children, a.k.a. a staff developer. In theory, it sounds like a great premise in which teachers are able to stay current on their practice and learn exciting methods of pedagogy. Ah, but there is the rub my friends…don’t let the title “staff developer” fool you. There is no development going on, at least not where I teach. Unless you consider the possibility that these individuals are hired to develop into a HUGE pain in the arse for teachers. Then yes, they are definitely development going on in that sense.

My favorite staff developer (and I use the term loosely) happens to “specialize” in math. Please note that I placed specialize in quotes…pick up what I’m putting down…and read the following with a very sarcastic tone in mind. I find it ironic that this is the area in which she was chosen to specialize because she has NEVER taught math using the mathematics program that we currently use. And during our mandated weekly meetings, she can barely hold her eyes open long enough to bark orders at us and painfully demonstrate her lack of understanding. Maybe I’m not cutting her enough slack. After all, it must be terribly difficult to place long and complicated breakfast orders each and every morning from 8 to 8:45 while the rest of us are teaching. And then you have to wait for the order, count out money and figure out a tip…yea, I’m a b*tch…of course she’s tired and good at math.

So we were recently sent a fairly obnoxious email that reeked of I’m-going-to-pretend-that-I-actually-do-something from our favorite staff developer (Or is she really in charge of ordering everyone breakfast in the morning?? This is the source of many heated lunchtime debates among teachers…). This lovely and thoughtful email detailed the process by which the teachers are to return ALL of their math supplies prior to Friday June 15th which is exactly eight school days before the last day (God forbid that she put in a full day or –gasp- stayed late to do her job!!). This sucks for several reasons:
1. Aren’t we supposed to be (dare I say it?) teaching until June 25th??

2. It assumes that I intend to walk off with pockets full of Base 10 blocks. Really? As if I’m preparing for an impending place value emergency? Well, maybe my sister will totally flip at the grocery store over the cost of meat for our summer BBQ and I’ll need to whip out some flats and longs so that we can divide the burden into equal shares….hmmm, I guess that could happen…Regardless, I’m totally not going to steal any cubes.

Oooo…wait a minute. My husband always says I make the mistake of assuming that everyone is a teacher and understands “the teacher talk”. For those of you not lucky enough to spend your day with children, Base 10 blocks are tools we use to teach basic place value to children (you know, the hundreds place, tens place and ones place??). Ok, now go back and re-read number 2….we’re pausing….and you’re laughing. Onto number 3!!

3. It’s amazing to me that so many people who sit around all day get to order me around as if I’m the low man on the totem pole. When did teachers get to be the LEAST important people in schools?

4. Did I mention that this particular staff developer totally SUCKS????


However, because I ROCK and always do what I’m told (thanks mom!!), I load up my oh-so-handy overhead projector cart with massive piles of mathematics manuals, manipulatives and more. In my typical anal-retentive fashion, I check off each of the items on my perfectly crisp and freshly printed checklist and head for the elevator. When I arrive at the unofficial breakfast lounge (excuse me) I mean….when I arrive at the staff developers’ office, I become a part of the following scene:

ME: Hey, where would you like all this math stuff?

HER: (while totally slumped over her desk, seriously cheek in FULL CONTACT with the desk.) What?

ME: I brought up most of the math supplies you asked for. Today is the half-day and I had time to do it so I thought I would get it out of the way.

HER: (insert sound of teeth sucking) Well they can’t come in here.

ME: Wait, so the supplies YOU requested be returned to YOU in a timely manner can’t be
put in YOUR office?

HER: No.

ME: Well, they are not going back in my classroom. Where do you suggest they go? Hey, could you pick your head up off your desk or something?

HER (more teeth sucking) They can go in the closet.

ME: On the second floor? Across the hall from my room where I came from? (internal monologue: I hate you I hate you I hate you….DO SOMETHING!!!!)

HER: Yea (head returns to original position, slumped over…maybe there’s bacon hiding somewhere on the desk and tempting her??)

ME: (huge sigh) Ok, is it unlocked? (internal monologue: I hate you I hate you I hate you…get up get up GET UP!! If there is bacon there, it’s cold by now!!!)

HER: I’m not going in there without a mask or something…it’s nasty.

ME: Um, yes, but is it unlocked because I have other things to do….(OH MY GOD…DO
SOMETHING!!!!)

OK…I’ll stop there because the scene then deteriorates into more teeth sucking and bacon hunting. I give up and push my cart full of mathematical fun back down the hall to the elevator. And no, the closet was NOT unlocked when I got there. Figures.

Who's Peeking?