Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Softer Side of the Weave

Alternative Title - "Dropping the F Bomb"

Today the phone rang mid-math lesson (of course).

Me: Hello?
The Weave: I'm sending up a sub...let's talk about your possible hold-over students in my office.
Me: Now?
The Weave: Yes. See you in 10. I'm just finishing up reading The Newspaper.

(She's reading the F'ing newspaper?? At 9:30 in the morning when she should be working? And admitting to it??)

And, like the magician I am, I miraculously pulled fifty minutes worth of lesson plans out of my a*s, uh..hat, in those brief ten minutes.

I went downstairs mentally reviewing my short list of friends-I-am-concerned-about. I hate holding kids over (making them repeat a grade) and welcome the opportunity to discuss my decision with anyone who will listen...even The Weave.

I get into her office and we actually have a fairly productive conversation in which she successfully plays devil's advocate and pushes my thinking.

Yes, you read correctly. It was almost a full-on compliment for The Weave. I'm not ALL snark you know.

We're discussing one of my long-time friends who happens to have an I.E.P. (For those of you outside of the world of education, that means an Individualized Education Plan. It is written for students who have diagnosed learning issues...yet, in my school the I.E.P. remains this mythical document that the teacher is never provided a copy of, because, really, why would it be beneficial for the teacher, of all people, to have access to a list of goals created for that particular student? ...hello? Please tell me you are picking up on the sarcasm here). As a result of my friend's I.E.P. she is entitled to receive special services from "experts" in the field of special education.

Notice my use of quotations with the word "expert." It is all intentional, baby. I rank our "expert" to be as effective and knowledge as say, a turnip. Yes, sit a large turnip in a chair in my classroom, and our "expert" in another chair. My friend will get just about the same amount of academic help from both.

I'm not kidding.

Needless to say, I am frustrated by this individual's (let's just call her The Turnip, shall we?) lack of sense of responsibility toward children. In other words, I think she sucks the fat one.

I decide to express these frustrations to The Weave, because all too often, The Turnip flies under the radar and the administration simply looks the other way as she consistently screws up her schedule, demonstrates a blatant lack of knowledge about anything, and offends everyone with her lack of style. Or maybe that's just me who is offended by her insistence on mixing a loud paisley blouse (I mean it's 2008...PAISLEY??!?!) with checkered capris. Just because everything is red, doesn't mean it matches, sister.

Getting back on track -
I vent my opinions to The Weave.

Me: I just think it stinks that my friend isn't receiving ANY of the services she is entitled to. I'm busting my butt for her, but I still carry around all this guilt that she isn't doing well. And The Turnip has been very inconsistent this year. I see her wandering around the building with children, but never actually working with any students. (I'm stumbling as to how to best express my opinions in a professional manner. I'm not THIS in-your-face at work...)

The Weave: Yeah, she's a F***ing mess.

(What?? Did she just drop the F bomb??)

Me: Um, yea?

The Weave: I think she sucks, but she's been walking around this place, taking up space for 20 years trying to get her shit together. I don't think it's gonna happen, so now we just have to wait her out.

Me: Hm.

The Weave: She's just a F***ing mess. And she's so slippery...she spends all her time creating this illusion that she's actually working...if only she put that much effort into the kids.

Me: Right.

And although I am intensely uncomfortable with my administrator's liberal use of the word f*ck in a professional setting, I have a new found respect for The Weave. It's like, on this level, we are kindred spirits....or bitchy spirits. However you want to look at it. In some very strange way (that probably needs the attention of a therapist), I find comfort in the fact that she can acknowledge the train wreck that is The Turnip and, on some level, feels my pain.

However, I also know her well enough to NOT expect her to do anything proactive about it either.

I mean, she DOES have to read the paper.

Tune in for tomorrow....it's the big Sex Talk Day! Yikes!


Em said...

Geez! An f-bomb right there in the school? Woah!

Nice to hear that The Weave was at least sympathetic about The Turnip, even if she isn't going to do anything about it. It seems like tenure is a terrible thing...

Laurie said...

I have spent the last hour, when I should be sleeping, reading your blog and laughing SO hard!! I found you through another blogger, and I am going to SO enjoy reading your posts. You are hysterical!!!

Mary Louise Brooks said...

We have one of those SPED people that I affectionately call part of the LA Crew or the Lazy Ass Crew. I'm so sick of people not doing their job. Also a member ... the Literacy Coach. Gotta love the system! Good luck tomorrow!

Carah said...

I'm just a recent college grad... but... there's a huge red flag here...

IEP = The Law. You NEED a copy of it. Maybe you could get the Turnip into some kind of lawsuit, thus finishing her off? Hmmm...

I love how you make nick names for people. You could be in any school. It's awesome.

17 (really 15) more years said...

You wouldn't like my AP much- she has a mouth like a sailor. Her most famous comment is "I don't give a shit". She says it constantly- so what you're saying doesn't surprise me much.

Anonymous said...

i love your blog!!!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Our principal, durring a teacher evaluation, broke down about his divorce and ended up hugging and crying all over a teacher who had just started at our school. I hope she got an outstanding on her evaluation. Our vice principal told the entire senior population that "recreational drugs have a place in our society, just not in our classrooms" during a school rules assembly. I actually said "what?" loud enough that he looked at me. He chose to repeat himself. It wasn't that I didn't hear him, I just wanted to think he messed up his speach. Guess not.

Jennifer said...

Totally agreeing with Carah up there--kinda the law--like a Federal Law.

I have a kid in SPED and if I even had an inkling that her IEP wasn't being followed, oh there would be hell to pay. I think part of the problem is that the kid's parents have no idea that the IEP isn't being followed. That is where you come in my friend.

The parents need somehow be told (quietly and under the table)that the IEP isn't being followed, they need to complain IN WRITING to The Weave and the the SPED department at the district level.

At the minimum, you need to have a copy of the IEP because if there are accomodations that you are supposed to be providing and you are not, you can be in just as much trouble as The Turnip.

Too bad my kid doesn't go to your school, I'd have the woman workin' her tail off to take care of my kid and she'd quit or she'd be fired because she wasn't doing her job.

Hearing stuff like this makes me CRAZY! I want to report this woman and I don't even know her!

That is all...rant over...Sorry.

Anonymous said...

wow, I'm intrigued by the fact that you don't have to write your own IEP. I'm gathering things are different here in Canada...but we have to make our own IEPs for our students, meet with out SPED, meet with the parents, update our goals, etc.
I also find it hilarious that The Weave is calling out The Turnip for being a F*ing Mess. Hmmm, isn't that like the pot calling the kettle black?? From what I understand, The Weave seems pretty useless herself. Just a little observation.
Love the blog!!! Thanks for sharing all of your stories with us!

Mary Louise Brooks said...

Jen, to add-on to your rant ... I actually got into an argument with a member of the LA Crew regarding SPED services. She was complaining that she serviced 8 kids. EIGHT! I know, so taxing and draining. Poor baby! I told her there was nothing she could do because it the IEP is a legal document and the parents have every right to decide what services their child should get. She said (and I quote), "They have no say! We decide what's best for the students. The parents have nothing to do with it!" No one defended me even though they knew she was wrong. Kind of sucks.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog!!! I laugh out loud everytime I read it.

However, I am a SPEDie (teacher, not student) myself and man, I wish I had teachers LIKE YOU that actually cared about their kids with the IEP's.

Please don't let the turnip or LA Crew reflect all of us. Because, seriously, we're not all like that.

Oh yeah, you SHOULD have at a minimum the goals and accommodations. Can you just sneak a copy from her cume file? I'm sure it says in there that you are partially responsible for seeing that her goals are being met.

Love that the Weave came around... at least in a small way. Thank goodness summer is just around the corner. Hells yeah!

Jennifer said...

MLB...I would crush the LA Crew. They wouldn't even know what hit them!

All of my daughters SPED teachers have ROCKED!!! I have not one complaint. Good SPED teachers deserve Sainthood.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog!
I used to work in a school where IEPs were not followed, and we didn't get copies. Unfortunatly I was a very new teaher and didn't know my way around things. I couldn't even look in a cume file because they were not kept in there, they stayed in the locked SPED files for "safe keeping". After many requests and no meetings to actaully talk about my SPED kids I just sort of gave up and tried to do what I thought was best for those kids. I wish I had pushed harder.
When I got to my new school and I actually got to meet with the SPED teachers and help grade the IEPs I was flabbergasted!

Em said...

So...how was "the talk"??

rockin'thesuburbs said...

I dont even know what to say. I am also a teacher. First off, I am pretty sure that if there was a lawsuit over the IEP, you would be named in it as well. Don't you love the need for liability insurance just to step in a classroom? Second, I am guessing that if your school is retaining kids there is not a set protocol of retention. My son is dyslexic, and his teacher and her "mentor" told me in 1st grade he needed to be retained. IN FEBRUARY. I asked what he would do for the rest of the year. They told me he could take it easy for the next four months because he was just going to do it over next year. He had not one minute of evaluation for learning disabilities at this point. Really? Aaagh. Sorry to rant, retention talk makes me crazy.

Anonymous said...


Renate Yarborough Sanders said...

Wow. I've only read two if your posts, but I LOVE your blog, already. It sounds like you are the voice that's shouting from inside me! I'm a veteran teacher (27+ years), and a GOOD one, too. I've been wanting to find a way to write about what's really going on in our schools, but of course it's too risky to do so, without being anonymous. Kudos to you! Your humor and creativity in writing are just the right blend to do the job!

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