Thursday, December 15, 2005

Countdown

One more get up and then I'm on break. WhEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Three weeks of vacation and I'll tell you now, no posting either. See ya in January!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Growing up WAY too fast

I'm just about used to 12 year-olds who wear more makeup than I do. I rarely flinch at mini skirts that show a little cheek and visible thongs. I still break up embracing couples when I happen upon them, but I don't shake my head at it anymore. I'm becoming jaded, I guess. Teaching middle school in an affluent area has shown me a side of the teenage wasteland that makes me want to lock my children away from the world.

Today didn't help much. I went to investigate some reported sobbing in the bathroom that adjoins my classroom. As it happens, the young women in question was not sobbing but giving herself a rather noisy (word deleted- think Clairol commercial.). She was a bit embarrassed but saw very little wrong with it. The suggestion that she keep that activity at home was met with a blank stare.

Okay. I do NOT get paid enough.

Better yet, she's been busted for this before! She's an 8th grader, for Pete's sake. I knew stuff when I was that age, but not THAT stuff. Sheesh.

I'm going to talk to my daughter about you-know-what today. She's only eleven and I had planned on waiting a year or two, but recent events make me think I better address it now. Ugh.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The perils of pregnancy

WARNING

This post contains various episodes of pregnancy induced vomiting and humiliation (almost) beyond bearing.

I finally did it. I have embarrased my child so completely, she may never recover. I will be paying mental
health professionals for the rest of her life. I'm considering setting up a trust fund for just that purpose.

While prenant with DQ, I was sick. Really sick. So sick, I dry heaved my way through my second and third trimester. I carried Ziploc bags in my purse and used them with alarming regularity. My OB/GYN was so worried, he gave me Fenergan suppositories. Those are FUN!

Missy HooHaw was considerably easier on me. I laid on the couch after work every night and let my doting husband pamper me, while I laid around feeling pretty ooky. Minimal upchuck, though. I still carried Ziplocs. Just in case.

Bundle o' Joy 3 has involved a constant but low grade ooky feeling, but only a single episode of actual upchuck. I've been pretty stoked so far. I even put away the Ziplocs. Maybe a bit to soon. Maybe I just got cocky.

Last night, we went to (another) orientation for the IB program Drama Queen will be starting next year. This is the third I've been to, but the first that allowed us to see actual classes in progress and talk to current students. I was pretty excited. Drama Queen was raring to go. She was SO excited to see actual dissection in the science class and is praying she passes the algebra placement exam. My little geek. Oh, how I love her!

Afterward, we attended a meet and greet with the principal and various teachers. After a bit, the principal made her way over to our corner, where we were talking to the band teacher about jazz band. Yes, she plays the clarinet. I told you. The principal is an older woman, dressed in a lovely black suit with sensible Ferragamo pumps; lizard, I think.

She talked to DQ for a bit and then turned to me and said, "I hear a rumor you teach special education. Did you know we're looking for a resource teacher?"
I replied that I wasn't planning on working for the next few years, since I was expecting a baby in July. She smiled and congratulated me, then turned to ask DQ how she felt about becoming a big sister. It was then that a sudden wave of nausea overtook me. I opened my mouth to excuse myself and threw up all over the lovely, expensive shoes of DQ's new principal.

Oh. my. god.

To her credit, she did not scream at me or in any way act upset/grossed out/disgusted. She actually asked me if I was okay and escorted me to the nurses office, where I laid down and tried to curl up and die. I apologized profusely and offered to pay for the shoes. (yeah, like I could afford them...but I had to offer.) She refused graciously and went to change. DQ sat silent in the corner with her face in her hands.

"Did you have to do that?" she mumbled

I apologized and explained as best I could, but she remains convinced that I did it out of reckless disregard for her middle school reputation.

"I am always going to be the girl whose mom threw up on the principal. I'll NEVER have friends. They'll be too afraid to come to my house because you might PUKE on them!"

Fun ride home. Real fun. Bring on the therapy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Teacher's Pet

Yes. We have favorites. It's true. And I'm utterly unapologetic about it. There are students I connect with, that I enjoy talking to and that stir my maternal feelings. They are not always the brightest, most personable children. Usually, they are the ones who struggle, who have behavior issues, who in some small way, remind me of myself.

One of my favorite students is a young man who was in 6th grade my rookie year. He is small for his age. He struggles a bit socially, but has few issues that handicap him in that area. Schoolwork is monumentally hard. He suffers from fits of depression so black that I weep for him. Without his medication, he is intractable and violent.

On the other hand, hearing him describe playing basketball with his dad is like hearing poetry. The joy and radiance in his face when he talks about his bike are contagious and heartwarming. The small smile on his face when he talks about his mom, and the way he leans his head onto her shoulder while they stand together give me pang of envy (no son of my own, yet.) And when he comes into class every morning and tells me about his evening, it starts the day off with a smile.

I live for the times when his face lights up and he says, "Oh! I get it now." It reminds me of why I chose to teach. Perhaps it means more from him because it happens so infrequently. I don't know why he touches me, but he does.

He graduates this year. In June, he'll move on to high school and leave me behind. I will always remember him. And, I think, he will always remember me. Pass the tissue.

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Very MEAN Teacher

I was a mean teacher today. And you know what? It felt good. Not just good but GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD! Let me explain.

I teach SDC, which means I have to be fairly flexible in my grading and grade on what I think kids can do, not necessarily the exact right answers all the time. But lately, a few of my seventh graders have begun to suffer from the "whatevers." Oh, how I hate the "whatevers."

I gave a science test on Friday and today my wonderful, brave, valiant teaching associate graded them. She cleared her throat and said to me, "You probably want to look at these."

Oh, the trepidation.

They all failed. Not by a little either. It was a spectacular, mass, "lemmings of the cliff" sort of failure. I feel myself turning green and stretching my clothes as we speak.

We read the chapter together. They do numerous vocabulary exercises. I even pulled several dichotomous key worksheets off the internet and did them as a group in an effort to help them understand classification. Thank you, biologyspot.com. We classified shoes, wacky people and norns. They get to use all materials, including the book, to help them with the test. It is as easy as I can possibly make it. And still, they failed.

So I, being merciful and kind of heart, gave them the class period today to correct the quizzes. Two of students spent 3 minutes on their tests and then asked if they could draw. DRAW? Excuse me? I asked if they had finished correcting their tests. They said "yeah, we turned them in."

It is here that I morphed into VERY SCARY TEACHER. Seriously, I could have scared Viola Swamp.

"I just want you all to understand that you all FAILED this test. This is the only time you will have to improve your grades on this test and if you choose not to use that time, I give up. I cannot make you want to succeed or value an education. That is your parents job. If failing is okay with you, I will fail you. "

I wasn't screaming, but I wasn't talking calmly either. Some part of me takes it personally, I guess. I put a lot of effort into their success and I want them to care. I invest in them. I work to give them a feeling of ownership in their education. Ironic that behavior issues don't phase me a bit, but this drives me to the bad "Hulky" place. Hhmmmnngghh. That was my Hulk imitation. Whatever.