Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Controlled Chaos

I find myself giving my students meaningless assignments just to keep them under control. I hate that. I feel like I am being a terrible teacher, and that I am failing them.

Today I assigned an in class DBQ. Its about the civil rights movement, the KKK, the treatment of African Americans in the United ties in to the novel we are reading (To Kill a Mockingbird)in theory it sounds great. In reality though it was simply to give them something to do so that I can grade papers.

Are all my students going to be unprepared to go off to college?

Do I suck?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January Sucks

Last year while teaching I got to miss January. I did a long term placement from September to December. Then I started another long term placement the second week in Feb. that lasted until the end of the school year. I now realize that I was really, really lucky..... because January and school: together, they blow.

That is all.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Schoooooool supplies

So the head of my department told us that we have between $30 and $40 to spend, per teacher in the department, on next year's supplies. I have so many things I want and so many things I truly need that thirty-dollars sounds the same as if he had said zero-dollars.

For instance, I do some mini lessons on listening and note-taking. As the NYS regents has a listening requirement. I would love to have a class set of highlighters for these activities. Nothing special or extravagant, (although a class set of mini white boards would be great too)yet for a 24-pack of highlighters that will cost me $13.99---practically half of my budget.

I really wanted the chart paper that post-it makes, that is already sticky on one side so you can pull it off and slap it on any available wall....but those pads are TWENTY-FOUR dollars.

How can I be creative and interesting if I have to teach with nothing? I am not that good.

I want my kids to be able to create diaramas, and posters. I want to be able to take pictures of them, and develop the film. I want to be able to let them read great, contemporary literature. We have no money for books.

3 packages of construction paper, one package of 5x7 index cards, and the highlighters consume my entire budget. Anything else I want I will have to buy myself.

This isn't fair. Where does all the money for the school district go?

This year, its going into the building of a new lounge for the seniors. Something is not right.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Remember when...

I can clearly remember our first kiss. I was dating Mr. Wrong who had told me he loved me after only dating for 3 weeks and when I didn't reply with "I love you too" he had pushed me backwards over my mom's coffee table. I had crashed to the ground, breaking a picture frame and smashed my arm on the rocking chair. Mr. Wrong had yanked me to my feet, apologized profusely, and gripped my shoulders so hard I couldn't stop crying even if I had tried. He apologized with rubies and diamonds. He scared the crap out of me. I was 16. What was love anyway? I didn't have to tell you the story, you saw the bruises on my arms. I'd never seen you mad before that. You and I had only known each other a month even if we had moved in the same circles our whole lives.

You drove me home from work in your red jeep with the broken heat and it snowed so hard that night. The kind of big, fluffy flakes that make you dizzy when you drive. I was nervous that you wouldn't make it back to your home safe. I was nervous anyway, being alone with you for the first time. I almost made an excuse to not have you drive me, but I had no other way home.

For a while I thought I might throw-up and my hands were shaking so hard I had to sit on them while you drove, you thought I was cold and kept apologizing for the lack of heat. You even tossed your jacket over my lap. My throat was dry and my lips were chapped and we were listening to Shaggy's stupid "Angel" song on the radio. I caught you singing along. Twice.

It took us nearly 30 minutes to drive the 10 miles to my house because of the snow. It took 30 minutes longer on my momma's front porch to say good night.

You were a jock, and popular. I was a nerd, and part of the drama club. I had just started wearing make up, you had friends who looked like Barbie. My first relationship was just getting started. (As I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16.) You had just broken up with your amazing girlfriend who was IN COLLEGE. You had the bluest eyes I had ever seen.

You finally reached down to kiss me and my heart stopped beating. It was slow and gentle and chick-flick-perfect. I melted into you. I didn't stop smiling for hours. I couldn't sleep. I was one cliche after another.

That was January 22nd. Ten years ago. I can't believe its been so long, it feels like yesterday. I love you.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mighty big lice....

There are curtains in my classroom. The same curtains that someone tried to light on fire a few weeks ago. They're cream and blue and smell like must, mothballs, and pickles (!?). They're probably 50 years old, and if you move them from one part of the track to the other the whole room smells for days. I had to move them yesterday to block out the light so that my kids could clearly see the TV. The principal was giving a "State of the School" address via our linked TV broadcasting system.

The address was, if nothing else, midly entertaining. Our fearless leader spoke about sacrifice to the kids, as in sacrifice 30 minutes of TV time and devote that to homework. I got the gist, they did not. In fact, he spoke in such a way that kids related him to The Godfather. They wonderer aloud if he meant "sacrifice your little sister", "sacrifice what? a goat?" or if they were truly going to find five guys in suits with tommy-guns on their front porch later. It was intimidating while it was meant to be movitational and although I know he had good intentions, most kids though it was either laughable or scary. And it took the entirity of homeroom, a time meant to allow them to socialize and catch up on last minute homework. They were not pleased.

My main problem though, is the curtains. In moving them for the address yesterday I now have a wretched stench in my room that will not go away with any amount of relentless fabreezing.

My already pathetic looking classroom now smells like an old lady's attic, and does not make for the best learning environment. On top of all that, there are stink bugs seeking refuge from the snow on my window sills. I didn't know they were there (thus they did not bother me)prior to moving the curtains. Now that I know they exist I can't help but thinking that at anymoment I might find one flying into my hair. Nothing creeps me out more than giant bugs in my hair.

On an up note, I put a visitor counter in the corner of my blog the other day, and its already had almost 90 hits. That makes me feel like I might even have a few people that read about my daily trials and tribulations. You know, ya'll should comment so that I don't think you're all creepy stalkers.

That is all. Watch your backs, those stink bugs are sneaky.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 a failure

kid: Miss W? Have you ever seen The Hangover?
me: yes.
kid: What?!?!
other kid: Holy Shit, Miss W is a real person!


kid: Why do we have to read this stupid book?
(it's To Kill A Mockingbird)
me: because it will inevitably come up in conversation over coffee someday and you will sound smart
kid: I don't like coffee.


kid: I didn't do my homework because it was stupid
me: um.... ok?
kid: Does it matter?
me: if you'd like to pass
kid: oh
other kid: what if i don't care?
me: then you fail at life
other kid: oh
third kid: what if I did half of it?
me: really? Did anyone do their homework?
entire class of 25 kids: **silence**


Next Period:

kid: Miss W, you look beautiful today.
me: Thanks.
kid: Are you dieting?
me: no.
kid: Miss W, can I ask you a serious question?
me: ......
kid: if I complement you daily does that mean you won't mind that I didnt do my work?
me: really? Did anyone do their homework?
entire class of 25 kids: **silence**

I don't know how to teach them if they refuse to help themselves.

Well, I do like coffee and I need a refill......

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

blah blah blah

This week we've bounced checks.

This week we had to buy new tires for the car.

This week I was that person in the grocery store checkout line with a full cart and not enough money.

This week I was on the phone with the bank disputing charges, begging for fines to be taken off, and resorting to tears.

This week I argued the rise in my interest rates.

This week I've driven places just beacuse they were down hill and I could coast there in neutral, rather than to places where the road was flat and I would be wasting gas.

This week I told my student loan rep that "even though this is your job, you're still really, really mean."

This week I put off driving to Rochester to get my mail because toll prices went up.

This week we've been called by debt collectors, paid late fees on several bills, and had a credit card canceled.

Just when I think I might be a responsible adult I am reminded what a horrible failure at life I really am.

all that being said...

This week we begin our new years resolution of being more intellegent with our money. Including finally opening my 403b, putting some money into a rainy-day fund, and advertising more for our photography business.

This week we balance our check book together.

This week we will not be going out to eat or to the movies or anywhere other than home.

This week we will research new venison reciepes so that we can do less grocery shopping.

This week we will roll the coins in our piggy bank.

This week we will take time to enjoy eachother.

This week we will count our blessings as we count our pennies.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Hurray for Homeschool.

I have nothing against the idea of homeschooling your children...except for its ability to create socially inept adults. I'm all for staying in your PJs all day and learing your 3R's. That's totally fine with me.

Today I celebrate homeschooling!One of my biggest problem students has been officially withdrawn by his parents to be, you guessed it, homeschooled. I would be lying to say I was sad to see him go. Having him in class was like having a time bomb strapped to a ADHD spider moneky in the back of the room.

Life is good. Happy Friday.

-I realize this is not very teacher-ish or an all kids can learn attitude yadda yadda yadda of me.....but I'm ok with it.