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Showing posts from November, 2007

Seriously?

I can't believe I haven't included this in the blog before! This is one of my favorite stories about the district. I thought I had written it but I just searched the blog...

When I started in my district, the schools had just been converted from K-6 elementary schools and 7-8 junior high schools. The elementary schools were overcrowded, so they became K-5, and the junior high schools were changed to middle schools, 6th-8th grade.

A junior high school next to the school I worked at was one of these. Let's say it was called "Gecko" Junior High School. Well, this district, always willing and able to do a bad job of things, decided to save money and not replace all the metal letters. Instead, they made a sign that said "Middle School" and nailed it up over the "Junior High" portion of the sign. So, now you have a sign that is partly in old metal capital letters and partly in a newer wooden or something sign, reading:

GECKO Middle SchoolSCHOO…

No News and No Clothes

I've asked a couple of teachers at my old school about the missing administrator and there continues to be no news. One teacher hypothesizes that it is part of the conspiracy to privatize schooling. I think it's part of the conspiracy to keep poor black and Latino kids lacking in education.

No, I'm not kidding.

Anyway, in thinking about the lack of information in regards to the disappeared administrator, I was reminded of the story The Emperor's New Clothes. The district seems to like that approach - pretend nothing's wrong and it won't be! The clothes are lovely! What incredible tailors!

The Emperor's New Clothes is, incidentally, a part of the third grade reading curriculum. If you have read the story, you may agree with me that this was a silly choice for third grade. What is the outcome of the story? The emperor gets scammed because he wants to believe that he's special, and no one wants to be the voice of opposition, so he ends up walking nake…

Dreaming of Teaching

No, I wasn't dreaming that I wanted to be teaching again! I had a dream in which I was counting the days until summer vacation and then I woke up and started trying to count... thinking to myself that at least I got Christmas break soon... then I realized I wasn't teaching! It was a huge relief, even though I had to work sooner that way... nothing is as emotionally exhausting as teaching.

Oh, and my hair is bright blue now - I'm happy with this color and will post pictures soon.

Purple Hair

Oh yes, and I have purple hair right now. It's lovely what you can do when you are not teaching.

How Many Feet Do Chickens Have?

I substituted for a friend last week. It was a really good class and I enjoyed it, although there were definitely reminders about why I am done with this district. (For example, they don't seem to want to pay me for subbing, which is a problem!

The school is very similar to my old school. The kids are absolutely city kids. There was a word problem that asked if a farmer had five chickens, how many chicken feet were there? (It's second grade, so it's not too complex). The problem was not the addition but the chickens. No one seemed to know how many feet a chicken has! The overwhelming consensus was that a chicken has four feet. There were some odd pictures of four-footed chickens.

I was also reminded that kids bleed a lot. There was a bloody nose, teeth coming out, scabs coming off, scraped knees... all sorts of blood! And pee. There was an accident - a girl that just used the bathroom had an amazing amount of pee that ended up all over her chair and the floor. I…

Halloween

I'm a little late - I forgot to talk about Halloween.

I just have this to say. There are not words to express how relieved I was on Halloween. Why, you might ask? Because I did not have to endure children on sugar, children trying to surreptitiously put on their costumes, or children who have stayed up all night on Halloween, then come to school the next day simultaneously exhausted and totally wired on sugar.

Instead, I got to carve pumpkins myself!

For those who aren't aware, Halloween is one of the two most difficult days for an elementary school teacher, in my opinion. The other is Valentine's Day. Combine sugar, artificially created holidays and school parties and, wow...

I'm glad I'm working at home on the computer right now instead of teaching!

Literally Unbelievable

First, an intro from Lindsay:
Before I started teaching at B's school, I would listen to the stories that B told about her experiences there, and I would find that they put the listener into a very awkward situation.

She would tell these stories that were literally unbelievable. Rats running through classrooms? Kids peeing in sinks during lockdowns? Verbally abusive administrators? You can't believe that that's actually happening. Here. In this country, which we all had a much higher opinion of ten years ago, when this was happening. The stories were so unbelievable, in fact, that you sort of had to do a gut-check: Is B lying about this? Logic kicks in, and you realize, either B is lying or this stuff is true.Lindsay is not the only one who has mentioned that. I've had several friends say the same sort of thing, "You know, until I saw where you teach, I really thought you must have been exaggerating." "I wasn't sure you weren't lying.&quo…

Stephanie Update

Stephanie's dad called me yesterday to let me know that she got a 4.0 in her first trimester of 7th grade and to thank everyone who is helping her get to the leadership forum in Europe by donating... specific thanks to Doug, Lindsay, Chris, Lynn, Carrie & Jason, Laura, and Alex (and some others who wish to remain anonymous. You guys are awesome and every little bit helps! This is a girl who will NOT waste the experience - she's amazing. One person expressed concern that the organization does not set up an easy tax-deductible way to fundraise - I think, honestly, it's because most of the kids don't have to raise funds. I think the fast majority of them just have their parents write a $4500 check and they're off. Stephanie's dad is taking extra fights (professional boxer) and working tons of extra shifts to try to pay for this, which is why I'm trying to get people to help.

If you are someone who has always wanted to help public education and doesn&#…

No Wonder I'm Still Tired!

I've been really frustrated that I don't seem to be getting untired - I've been not teaching for 4 months and I think I should be back to "normal" by now, but I'm still exhausted!

Then this conversation with Warren helped me remember what the last few years have been like. We were talking about "Alex," an extremely disturbed child I had two years ago whose dad threatened to set him on fire once (it even shocked the woman working at Social Services when I called). Somehow, the conversation went to "Rick," a kid who flat-out refused to do anything - and when his parents came on a field trip, they were more trouble than he was. I said something along the lines of "Thank God I didn't have those kids the same year," and then I realized... I did! I not only had the two of them but I had 13 others - yes THIRTEEN OTHERS - who were behavior problems and probably should have been in a special day class/group home/intensive counselin…

They Can't Keep Employees? Really? What a Surprise!

I am so done with this district. Even just in subbing for them, they are still doing their best in guilt-tripping and devaluing me. The guilt-trips just don't work for me. Apparently the district personnel believes they will, though, or they would stop...

I agreed to sub for a former colleague today. No problem. I wanted to sub for her, was going to bring the gecko, of course, get to see my old students... then yesterday, I woke up and couldn't get out of bed. I had that slightly run over by a train feeling and couldn't stop being exhausted. I wasn't able to get out of bed until 3 pm, at which point I canceled my subbing job. I left a message with the person I was subbing for and canceled the job, figuring that if I couldn't get out of bed, I wasn't really able to safely supervise 2nd graders, and oh yeah, I had a FEVER. Not making this up.

So, feeling slightly guilty - because the field of education has sort of beat into me that I should feel guilty - I…

A Brief Political Note

I'm trying to keep this blog about school, and I will be writing about Halloween at school later on today. But once again, one of the presidential candidates has astounded me, and not in a good way.

Rudy Giuliani (and I really believe that if he had just let his NYC mayorship be his swan song, he would be remembered lovingly by America... now he's just starting to make himself look like a...well, a jackass, really) talked about torture. Oh, he's against torture, just like everyone is, but it's all in the semantics.

For example, he's not sure that waterboarding is torture. He says that just because the "liberal media" describes it as such, he isn't sure that they are accurate. Really? If it's not torture, why doesn't he volunteer to try it so he can tell us firsthand how not torturous it is. John McCain points out that Pol Pot used waterboarding during his genocide in Cambodia, and it was also used in the Spanish inquisition. He (McCain) …