Me, Me, Me and More About Me

Tagged by Jim, I respond...

10 Years Ago:Second year of teaching. I was teaching Drama at my alma mater and was working to build a program after the school’s reopening. We barely got two shows up that year but I managed to have a kid qualify for State in monologue. Took 70 kids to KC Worlds of Fun for an insane afterprom. Although I was just sure I would soon get an MFA and be a “real live director”, I couldn’t see my life changing at all.

5 Years Ago:Third year at my present school. Took my first hardcore computer class for teachers. After a very rough couple of years, finally started reaching out and making friends at work.

1 Year Ago:Plan to increase mojo by 30% going swimmingly. First date in who knows how many years. Had just met blogfriends in real life for the first time .

Yesterday:Lovely evening with Billy Joel’s Movin’ Out, a bottle of wine, and friends. Car blew a tire on the way home. Temporarily stranded in an unsavory area, was nearly confronted by a man violently waving a stick and yelling “fuck” with no context and at no one in particular. Realized that although disabled dad isn’t much physical help, his presence in the face of a fuck-yelling stick waver is most comforting.

5 Snacks I Enjoy:Popcorn, dark chocolate, ice cream, cheese, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies


5 Songs I Know All the Words To:
”Have You Never Been Mellow” by Olivia Newton John
Every Invitation Hymn in the 1975 Baptist Hymnal
“Tempted” by Squeeze
My High School fight song
The first four Indigo Girl albums. All the songs.

5 Things I’d Do with 100 Million Dollars:
Give
Set up comfortable lives for myself and my family
Invest
Travel
Get some sort of advanced degree

5 Places I’d Run Away To:
Ashville, NC
McCarty Porch
1988
London
Funkytown

5 Things I’d Never Wear:
Rocky Jeans
Ropers
Tube Top
Olympic Gold Medal
Fubu

5 Favorite TV Shows:
King Of The Hill
My Name Is Earl
The Biggest Loser
Mary Tyler Moore
Old, NBC Letterman

5 Biggest Joys:
Seeing a life begin to find purpose
Sleep
Old Friends
A good story
Forgiveness

5 Favorite Toys:
This laptop I’m typing on
Whatever Knitting needles I am using
The Yarn that goes with it
A really good pen
Other People’s Children

5 Fine Folks Who Can Now Consider Themselves Tagged:
Karina
Cheryl
Susan
And…I dunno, you. Yes, you. Have fun.

Doing Our Part

I have a new student now, a Hurricane Rita evacuee. I am eager to help him, to talk with him, and to help him make this transition in his life.
 
So what class does he end up in?
 
Last period English. Home of Rico, the Chihuahua, Cleavage, gang fights, and farts.
 
Hasn't this poor kid suffered enough?
 
More later, must work football game tonight.

Pimpdaddy and Dang Give A Real Life Account Of The Day With A Sub

...now with no attempts to correct their spelling, Notes from my class.
 
From Pimpdaddy--
 
Yesterday was an omonous day, full of triumphs and failures. Who am I kiding well 'I' was good, in fact alot of people were acting bad but evil was at work as this girl from a class far, far, down the hall came in and made a disturbence. As in 'disturbence' I mean she was cusing, yellingm and turning off the lights. Plus Dang just kept laughing which got anoying.
 
How do I know Pimpdaddy was right?
 
Quoth Dang--
 
It was my favorite day in here by far. It was a wonderful day. Kids got their work done. We talked a lil bit and had a blast.
 

Fame! I'm Gonne Live Til Tuesday!!

I was quoted in NEA Today about this silly thing.

...and she called me young!

A Tale Of Hot Teacher On Office Supply Love

Before I had a blog and only launched into righteous fits of anger to friends, family, and co workers; I had a retail manager refer to how easy it is to take a day off from teaching. "After all," she said, "I can't just call up a sub.".

It's better for the whole of society that I didn't have a blog that night.

I stayed at work til about eight last night getting ready to be at a workshop today and when I came back in the afternoon for my afterschool tutoring job, I was treated to a scathing narrative of my kid's indiscretions. Here's what's odd, I wasn't much worried about crazy children today.

Here is what I found myself worrying about today....

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI have waited since the first week of school for my office supply order. I have fought with manual staplers for a year or so and decided to spend most of my room allowance and treat myself to this beauty. They finally delivered it on Monday (Nevermind why it took over a month to deliver, it's a tale of office incompetence that isn't as important now), and my kids started finding things to staple where there had been none. Never had so many papers needed to be attached to so many other papers. Staplestar did quite a bit of work and I feared that in my absence, they might attempt to staple that which should not be stapled.

Staplestar was safe. It turns out that I am presently fighting a battle with admin regarding punishment for those who offended in my absence. Testify for me, reader-friend, when a child who plays the fool in my classroom is sent to our school's in house pokey--but only during my class, what is the message that it sent? Seriously, throw out your best guess. I have sent my thoughts to the administrator in question (Lover not Fighter, I have spoken of him before) and am awaiting his response. Tomorrow shall be a new day and we shall frolic among the vocabulary words. And when life gets me down, I shall staple.

The More I Type Deportee, The Less It Looks Like A Word

I used a Woody Guthrie song in class last week. I did it with a warning that we don't mock art and that Woody Guthrie is not only art, but the music of my people (blue collar Okies). So we carefully waded in, reading Geraldo No Last Name (a chapter of The House On Mango Street that our Lit book uses as a short story). I love both the book and this chapter.

So after we read the story, we talked a bit about it. Not many of the kids are yet able to get Geraldo's anonymity until I tell them the story of the wreck over Los Gatos Canyon that inspired the Woody Guthrie song Deportee. I am always careful to speak of how we should avoid (as the kids would say) sipping the haterade or eating of the hater tots because, like I said, art and Okies.

I played them my Nancy Griffith version this year. I think it goes over better than my Judy Collins version. I like her, but I am aware that Judy gets a bit warbly. It worked! You wouldn't believe how it worked!! Kids listened silently, some got misty, and some wanted to sing along at the end.

But I didn't know how well it truly went until just now. Suitcase Boy came in today with a CD for me. He told me he found me some other versions of Deportee, and then just burned some Duran Duran for me to fill up the rest of the disc (did I mention Duran Duran to him? This reminds me of The Crib Chick's comment that my ideal concert must be Waylon Jennings and Squeeze). I just popped it in and I now have Deportee as performed by Springsteen, Hoyt Axton, The Highwaymen, and Arlo Guthrie along with about half a CD of the best truly bad techno that my youth had to offer.

Someone Here Lives In A Totally Different World

...And it might be me.

I set out this morning on my weekly laundry odyssey. I loaded up a basket and trudged across the parking lot. Dressed in whatever was still clean (High School activity t shirt #539), with grooming only dictated by standards of modesty.

I met a friendly man there who greeted me, asked how I was, and talked to me about the state of the laundry room in general. I worked with my back to him for a moment and he noticed the back of my leadership retreat shirt. "Do not follow where others may lead, instead go where there is no path and Make one." (bear in mind that I have no idea what I am wearing at that moment).

"Hey, now! You into 4x4?"

"Huh? Uh, nnnooooo."

"Ain't your shirt about offroading?"

"Oh! No, it was from a High School leadership retreat."


We both made some sort of noise, realizing that both of us were clueless to a whole subset of society.

Mating Patterns

There is a fascinating love triangle in my last class of the day.
 
Rico Suave owns a couple of the ladies, for he is a pimp like that.
 
Witness the contenders. One young lady is busty with long flaxen locks. Her prized possession, sadly, is her cleavage. She may forget books, assignments, writing utensils, but the cleavage she brings every day. Prominently displayed.
 
The other young lady, you have to admire her energy. She is the size of a saint bernard with the temperament of a wet chihuahua on crack. Rico Suave owns her. You hear me? He owns her. She is on time every day, waiting, waiting for Rico. She doesn't really exist until he enters the room. She waits quietly until he makes his usual late entrance and then she's ON! She hits Rico! The laughs at his jokes! She squeals with delight with his every effort to dismantle learning! I am sure he finds her witty and charming.
 
But how can the poor Chihuahua compete with Cleavage? She doesn't have to do anything. She's just--or they're just---there. In class. Rico hits and teases Chihuahua, he speaks to Cleavage in his smoovest Barry White impression.
 
I feel a teeney bit sorry for the Chihuahua. Just a bit. When I called her to the hall on some minor offense, I asked her why she allows Rico to control her, she is outraged, but in a giggly way.
 
I am moving them apart, but it fascinates me. Like National Geographic it fascinates me.

With Thanks To Tyra Banks. Now I Have A Whole New Sense Of Self Confidence

Here.

What's The Difference?

Sometimes, just for kicks, I listen to conservative talk radio. I like to test my reflexes and see where I fall on the "moderate to liberal" scale.

Today, they were all a-flutter about the Hurricane Rita evacuation. I am following the story. My Aunt and Cousin left Houston yesterday while my Uncle, a Houston police officer, has to stay behind. So a man called in from Houston (never caught how, I think he moved to Houston and feels a strong enough tie to the station that he'd call in? I dunno.). He couldn't get out and the host was nothing but sympathetic. "Oh, traffic is horrible, of course you can't leave!"

On my way home today, the station was carrying a feed from a network affiliate in Houston. Make no mistake, the traffic and weather were fascinating. I breathed a prayer for my Uncle and was grateful that my Aunt and Cousin were safe.

But I can't help but contrast the coverage to that of Hurricane Katrina. Wasn't this the self same station that was outraged at the sense of entitlement to the folks at the Superdome? Were these the same people who chastised the people of New Orleans who remained in town on the Monday after the storm. "Why didn't they just leave?", they exclaimed.

What's the difference? I can't come up with much but racism tied up in class-ism. I am willing to stand corrected, what have I missed?

The Teacher, Grasshopper, Has Become The Student

Not a bit of this is made up, friends. It's a Hallmark movie of the week, and it's in my classroom.

We are discussing The Constitution in Debate class right now. The kids are starting to watch the news and beginning to relate current events to our Constitution.

The other day, the topic of immigration came up. The camp was pretty divided among the group. All points of the spectrum were heard. After class, a girl pulled me aside.

I had already decided to love this girl, she has been asking a friend and I to start a Philosophy club at school and she is President of the Model UN. The kids really look up to her, but she hadn't been particularly outspoken about anything until immigration.

"I'm going to get very emotional when we talk about immigration, Ms. Educat."

"Well, you know it's my goal that we always speak respectfully. Tell me how you might be offended."

Her eyes shift around a bit and she sighs

"I'm illegal, Ms. Educat. I really want to be a citizen and as soon as my dad can be a citizen, I will be a legal alien. That's the first step."

"Help me out, I am afraid I might be kind of ignorant here. How hard is the process of gaining legal status?"

Her eyes get big and start to water

"It's hard, it's really been hard for us. We've been here ten years and it costs a lot of money, but my dad has a good lawyer and we're getting close. I hear my parents talking sometimes about how hard this process is and if it's worth it. We have more in America than we would in Mexico..."

I hold onto her hands and ask her if she thinks it's worth it.

"It is. That's what I want to say when I hear people talking about how we should all go home."

I promise aloud to her the chance to be heard and promise myself that I will learn more about immigration.

I feel like I can never know enough.

WTF?! A Rant ....

Okay. So.
I keep a webpage of homework assignments for the specific purpose of having kids LOOK AT IT TO KEEP UP. I also hand out a hardcopy of the very same information. So why do students come to class claiming they didn't know what was due? Why do they even attempt to gain my sympathy when they're too lazy to look at the hardcopy I MADE FOR THEM, or look it up on the FREAKIN' INTERNET?!
Every year, I hear the same crap from dumbass 9th graders who were spoon fed at middle school by dumbass teachers. I hate middle school. Dumbasses!

Yes. I know I've been watching too much of "That 70's Show" - I sound like Red Foreman.

When A Blurb Is Not Just A Blurb

It's now my brain dead part of the day and at this exact moment I was asked to give the school paper a quote in response to the question, "How do you feel about the State of California ruling that 'One Nation Under God" is unconstitutional?"

So I've been thinking about what to say to this eager young cub reporter. It's so hard to give so much nuance to something that will probably just be a sentence blurb.

How do you communicate that I am a Christian, but as a citizen I know that other citizens, citizens who are just as much a part of that country don't claim that label? And how do I take it a step further to communicate that claiming that label just isn't enough? But that it's not about "getting saved"? That it's more about how I choose to live my life after the pledge? So many times our culture (and especially the simplified, kid version of our culture that I live in) just wants a talley mark. "If you are on our team, God's team, check yes. Check no for the Devil.". I have no box to check and I want my students to see that. I want to live in America as a Christian but I don't so much want to be an American Christian. Now, say that in two sentences or less.

I am sure I shall be sharper when I actually give this child my answer but since we had all that fun with my open letter, what would you say if given the chance to answer the question for a High School paper?

And wanted to keep your job there?

When He Starts Therapy, He Will Be Glad This Story Is On The Internet So He Can Just Hand His Shrink The Link

I am walking up the stairs of my classroom (half a lecture hall with student desks on three levels and my desk at the bottom) to the door when a normally quiet kid looks at me with big shiny eyes and a sugar stained mouth.

"Ms. Educat, guess what!? I discovered taffy this weekend at the
Fair!!"

"It's lifechanging, isn't it? I know, I've traveled the Ozarks."

(Seriously huge, infectious smile on the kid) "Yeah."


Welcome to serious food problems, darling boy.

An Open Letter To The Person Who Sent Me The Petition To Reinstate Prayer In Public Schools

When I knit, part of my brain is occupied, thus allowing me to go to lofty thoughts. As luck would have it, I began this shrug on the same day that I received an email petition from a friend. Although this blog is not Federally funded, consider it my entry for Constitution Day (which was actually yesterday, but since it occurs on a weekend, I have some extra time). With any luck, I can create a series: "Deep Thoughts Whilst Knitting".

Dear Friend,

My disbelief of your email exists on several levels. While I am aware of your theory that leading children in daily compulsory prayer would somehow lead them to a Christian life, simply sending a petition to the President is an ineffective means to such an end for several reasons.

To begin, such a petition shows an ignorance of the workings of the United States Government. To reintroduce compulsory daily prayer in schools, a petition to the President is not going to do the job. Witness the recent court rulings on the Pledge of Allegiance. If the practice is to change, it would do so through the courts. A case would be brought before the courts wherein a teacher led students in prayer and required them to participate. The ruling of the courts, either through an initial ruling or through appeals, would declare such prayer Constitutional.

And let's just pretend for the sake of argument that such a thing happened...

Now the argument of whose faith is to be represented must be considered. Are minority faiths to be represented? Am I as a public school teacher going to be required to lead a separate prayer for students of other faiths? Will the children of my Christian friend in Salt Lake City be required to participate in Mormon prayer? What about the children of my Jewish friends here in Oklahoma? Or Christian children in Jewish communities? Perhaps the solution here is to form the Anti Federalist ideal of small, homogeneous communities so the need for such "equal time" will no longer be a problem. Of course, this means that there will have to be quite a bit of shuffling of folks from place to place, and those without a faith or in search of one will have a hard time, but let's say that it happens.

So, children will pray every morning in school, then they will live Christian lives.

Which brings me to my third and final point, compulsory prayer does not make one faithful. I have recently reunited with a former classmate from my Christian school days. He teaches at my school now. He graduated from XYZ Christian Academy, I transferred out in 10th grade. With nearly every new classmate's name that is mentioned, a new sordid tale is revealed. This one had a drug problem; another was exorcized of a demon one summer at youth camp only to get knocked up the following school year; another engaged in various untoward acts to "preserve her virginity" (a young lady ahead of her time); with just as many drunken parties per capita as my public HS. All of these kids prayed every day. They prayed at the beginning of every class, aloud before every test, and attended chapel every week. Sure, there were kids who lived the Christian life they were expected to live, but prayer in school made little or no change in the lives of those who didn't. By that same token, there were Christian kids down the street at my public High School who lived a chemical free, True Love Waits (before the line of jewelry) life. All this to say, prayer in school is not the deciding factor to Christian behavior.

And so, well meaning friend, I ask of you a few things:

  • Examine your logic.
  • Find ways to live and communicate your faith and don't expect the Government to do it for you.

or at least..

  • Remove me from your list for future mailings.

I've Lived My Life From Both Sides Now...

...and the fact that I am using a Judy Collins song to write about the Beastie Boys may prove that point.

This weekend's yard sale was a raging success for my parents. We sold most everything we set out to ditch, and were able to donate our unsold goods quickly and easily.

But not until I was able to rescue a couple of memories. Among them was my cassette copy of The Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill album. How shocked I was to discover I still knew most of the words (I can't find my keys most mornings and it takes me three weeks to learn the names of my students, but I have entire albums from the '80's memorized. Go ahead, analyze.)!

One of the advantages to knowing so many lyrics is being able to conduct a conversation with a musical artist during a song. Observe...

"You miss two classes and no home-work!"
"Are you sure?", I think? "You probably didn't check."
"But your teacher teaches class like you're some kind of
jerk!!"
"Yeeeaaah, I bet you earned that."

No. Really. 130.

The school year has started, of course, so it's no surprise that I'm too busy to futz around with hobbies like blogging. But this year is different.
This year, I have 5 sections of English. Each section has 26 students for a grand total of 130. That's thirty more than the good for nothing superintendent promised when he first got the job here. Ha. Some promise.
I don't have any earthly idea how I'm going to manage that paper load, or the helicopter parents of honors and college prep kids. I've already put on weight by stress-eating and I don't have time for exercise or weight watchers.
I love teaching and I want to be a good teacher - and I think I even could be a good teacher if I had enough time to actually think about what I'm doing. I want my students to learn something about themselves through the literature we read in my class. I want them to have fun with language and learn to think about how language works in the process. I really really really want to teach them how to write, but there's no way I can help 130 kids do any of that well.
The reason so many people leave the teaching profession is that it's a job that demands too much. Yeah, the pay isn't comparable to the amount of work any of us do, and it would be great to be paid more - but honestly, it's not the pay (or lack thereof) that really makes me want to leave. It's the overwhelming demands. In addition to teaching kids to be literate and thoughtful, I'm supposed to earn recertification points, collaborate in "learning communities" during one of my planning periods, and cover study hall during the second of my two planning periods. I'm supposed to meet with struggling students during the lunch break, except when I have to walk the halls for lunch duty, or meet with the special ed department for a lunch time child study meeting.

Ah, Yes, I Remember It Well

I am mostly not a person with a Theatre degree these days.

It's been so long since I have referred to a room with seats and a stage as a "space" that it just can't be there. I haven't threatened another human being with a promise to reveal their measurements, nor have I stopped myself from trimming up layers in my hair because it might hurt my versatility. It can't be there anymore.

While I still use the word "juxtapose", I also rattle off phrases like "engaging the reluctant reader" or "data driven lesson plans" so easily that I wonder who I am.

I just remembered.

Just now, when I gasped like a twelve year old girl upon seeing that Uta Hagen was a guest voice on King Of The Hill, I remembered.

You don't have to get it, just know that I remembered.

What Sounds Like A Good Idea First Thing In The Morning, Review Of A Classroom Technique

Right now, this sounds like a good idea.

Right now, I think I am using my children's energy for good and not evil.

After a quick review of some literary elements, they get a handout. On one side, there are fold lines to make the paper into an airplane. On the other side are questions. Find a page number from the book that gives an example of such-and-such.

Give one answer, fold your airplane...

Now Throw!!!!

Catch an airplane, any airplane, do another answer...

Now Throw!!!

When the handout is filled in, check the answers. Change them if you need to, now turn it in.

Hello, I might be a fool, and I shall report back.

***Hours Later***

You just can't ever pick what part of a lesson will fail, do you?

You'd have picked the throwing of airplanes, no?

No.

We can't fold airplanes. They asked if they could just throw the paper.

In the end, probably worth the trouble, just be ready to teach an airplane fold.

Because I Am Sure You Were Wondering, Here Is Sort Of How It Works

Educat: "After you finish the Afterword, let's start working on the setting handout."
 
Quiet rules for about 20 sec.
 
Dang: "Ms. Educat, how long have you been teaching?"
 
Educat:"Twelve years, Dang, let's work on setting OK?"
 
Dang: "Daaaaaaaaaaaang!"
 
Ritalin Boy (he's a new character, I need a better name for him, give me time): "Man, you been teaching longer than my brother been born!"
 
Dang: "Daaaaaaaaaaaang! (then sensing he might be in trouble [which he isn't]) Cause you look young, Ms. Educat!"
 
Educat:"It's fine, guys, but we have something cool to do soon, so really let's get to work."
 
Ritalin Boy stares at Educat, which frankly, creeps her out a bit.
 
Educat: "Seriously, Ritalin Boy, get to work."
 
Dang: "Daaaaaaaaaaaang!"

You Got To Know When To Own Them, Know When To Fold Them

Isn't it funny that no matter how kids never remember the difference between compound and complex sentences, teachers have the strangest ways of owning their students?

This article from the LA Daily News talks about reactions to a teacher showing the documentary Outfoxed in class. The class was AP US History and the teacher was trying to teach about media bias and the 9-11 attacks.

I admire this Teacher's willingness to pull the video in the name of what's really important. Where I agree with the premise that Fox falls far short of its claim toward "fair and balanced" news, I don't want children agreeing blindly with me anymore than I want them agreeing blindly with Fox.

The best way I have found of dealing with the problem of teaching bias is to focus on ideas so far away from our present consciousness that few can argue with its insanity. We are looking at propaganda from the Jim Crow era to simply study the effects of bad logic--it's easier to look at the means when the message isn't so controversial.

A fellow English teacher echoes my thoughts as she describes a Math teacher at one of our feeder middle schools. Somehow in Math class, this teacher finds the time to express his feelings on the book The Grapes of Wrath. He tells his students flatly that it's "the worst book ever written" so that by the time these kids get to High School English, they are prone to chant all slackjawed, "Mr. Roboto says that The Grapes of Wrath is the worst book ever written.".

It's all a matter of knowing when to own your students.

Walk A Mile and A Yard Sale

Our local NPR station ran a story today on the Walk a Mile program. The idea is that a local policy maker (in this case, it was a State legislator---my Representative, in fact) pairs up with a low income citizen and each walks through the other's life for a day.

I listened to the whole audio field trip. A single mother of three children (all preschool age!) takes her first trip to the State Capitol. She took the tour, had the photo ops, blah blah blah. The only part worth recounting was when he tried to register her to vote. The Representative made the assumption that she wasn't registered, but the woman spoke right up, "Oh, I'm registered, sir. I voted for you!". He chuckled so uncomfortably that I felt it through the radio.

When the Representative's day came to live his partner's life, she took him to the local DHS office to apply for food stamps. She had to take all three of her girls, they waited an hour to get the right paperwork, took another hour to fill it out, and an hour to see a caseworker. After those three hours, she discovered that she made $100 a month too little to get $45 worth of food stamps. If she chose to go back to school, she would be eligible to send her children to day care with a $215 a month copay.

In the end, I know her life could be worse. She works from her home as a seamstress now and within a few years, her children will be in school and child care would run her much less. Perhaps she could get a few more customers and make a few more dresses to come out better every month, but I wonder now how many hours she already spends sewing everyday. The whole program left me with more questions than outrage.

In other news, I spent the evening helping my parents prepare for a yard sale. Over twenty years of crap will be set up in their yard for visitors to peruse. They needed desperately to do this.

Now help me list potential advertisements--

  • If you pick through this now, we won't have to do it when they die!
  • Come back to the mid eighties, one more time
  • We stockpiled crap with you in mind
  • Two childhoods, billions of crap, piled into one yard

Thanks For Noticing

Why yes, that is a new banner. Thank you for asking. Who and how, you ask? Karina. And as for how, if I knew, I’d have done it myself. It involved coffee, and wifi, and photoshop and probably fairies.

But it’s here.

Why I Had The Best Ticket Booth Sales Partner Ever Last Night

Two Exchanges...

First:
Child arrives at game during 3rd quarter. His hair is artfully shaggy and shellacked. He is in two layered polo shirts and both collars are up. It is all arranged to inform you that he is cool. He is on his cell phone.

Child: Uhhh...Can't you get into the game for free at halftime?
Sales Partner: No, sorry, you can't.
Child: Last year we could.
Partner: No, I don't think you could.
Child: Uh, yeah! I think I did.
Partner: No, you didn't, and don't be a smart ass.

Second:
I am out getting popcorn. It is halfway through the 3rd quarter. Young lady comes to window.

Young Lady: Do you take debit cards?
Sales Partner: No, sorry, we only take cash or a check in a pinch.
Young Lady: You're not serious!?!
Sales Partner:Sorry, we can't take debit cards.
Young Lady: This is ridiculous! At my High School, we don't even have to pay to go to games!!
Sales Partner: Maybe you should go to that game, then.

This Entry Brought To You By The National Bookmark Council

I have found a new currency. I have a new way to buy and sell these children. I can get them to read aloud, quiet down, and show facination with the reading of their peers.

You would think it was crack.

It's not, it's bookmarks. It's a cute plastic bookmark with a tassell. They read at least a chapter aloud, they get a bookmark. And I become Queen of the World.

Thank you, thank you, plastic bookmarks.

Know At The Onset: I Too Am Laughing

Behold the danger that ensues when grading is mostly caught up.

This site promises to show you your celebrity lookalikes. Did I ever really buy it? No, I did not, but as I am a sucker for internet fun, I posted this...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Note the results and wonder if analogia was trying to sell me something...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Catherine Bell, Actress

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Ana Beatriz Barros, Model

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Amelia Vega, Miss Universe 2003

Please send money

I've been riveted to the television ever since Katrina hit. The devastation is unfathomable and my soul aches for the people who've been affected by the hurricane. I wish there were more I could do than just send money.

Things I Am Wondering (Or, Don't Ever Come To Me For Your News)...

  • Have any of the teachers within the sound of my keyboard gotten refugee students? Wanna tell us about it?
  • How will their test scores count? A teacher friend of mine told me about a nightmare she had where we all had an extra thirty kids in our classrooms when we go back on Tuesday. I suppose their scores would be disaggregated as transient, but I just wonder...
  • A few thousand refugees are being transported to Falls Creek, the gigantor Baptist youth camp. I attended an SBC Church this morning, and was moved by the speed with which arrangements were made, but I wonder: will mass be held in addition to the worship services?
  • The pastor this morning didn't say Kat-rina, but Kat-a-rina. It made her sound like a Russian gymnast, maybe that's not so bad...
  • Will Justice Rehnquist's replacement also wear the stripes?

Confession

Forgive me for this thought, God. Bring peace to the Gulf Coast and to those who are working to bring comfort to the region.
 
Ok, that said.
 
Word has come that one of our counselors is being deployed to New Orleans. This is a woman whose professional greatest hits include...
 
  • putting 38 children in one section of Debate
  • scheduling an English II class with fourteen kids who've already failed the course and nine special ed kids besides
...and now she'll be working to evacuate the City?
 
I have a feeling she will send refugees straight to my 4th hour.

Wait, I Will Get Even Less Depressing! Now With New Entries!!!


It's spirit week at school, and what does that mean? I have spent the whole week looking like a fool in the name of community.

Monday (appropriately enough for the fourth block fights)--I was dressed in Camoflauge
Tuesday brought Twin Day when much of the faculty dressed alike--we all dressed like the one Math teacher who wears khakis and a short sleeved blue oxford every day of the year. He rolls his eyes and is silently charmed, especially when we all show up at the door of his classroom for a photo shoot.
Wednesday--I don't like Hawaiian shirts, but I did it.
Today was Sports day and tomorrow school colors.

Bless my friend the Student Council Advisor for seeing the foolishness of it all and proposing a list. I give you---

Bad Ideas for Spirit Week
1. (and this was really suggested) Dress like your favorite Bible character day! Could this bleed, I wonder, into a day wherein we dressed like our favorite character from the Koran? I'll bring this up soon.
2.Dress as fruit!
3. Book Character Day! My friend brought this up, and I don't think it's that bad. Instead, I offer an extension: Dress like your favorite book! Like with pages! and endpapers!! Look, no one can fit in the desks!!!
4. Martyr Monday!! Carry your biggest cross around so we can crucify the Pirates!!! If you have a wheel, you don't have spirit!
5. Deadly Disease Dress Up!!!
***These Spirit Days Just In!!!***
First, a couple from an email conversation with an old friend from my Christian School days...
6. Fallen Televangelist Tuesday!--Rat up your hair and dress as your favorite televangelist!
7. Slain in the Spirit Day--No dress requirement, but at a preappointed time, show your school spirit by just falling over!!
8. Dress Like The STD You Are Most Likely To Catch!! (everyone should have at least one teacher who has worked Juvie. They cut right to the heart of things.)
...and my favorite after a week of fights, worrying, and general mayhem...
9. Fetal Position Friday--Curl up under your desk and rest for everyone's benefit.
Alas, our real jobs didn't allow us to brainstorm more than five ideas. Help me out and share your ideas for Spirit Week Gone Wrong.

Examining National Events With The Future Of Our Nation...

It seems I would be downright irrelevant as an educator if we continued to read about New Orleans for an entire afternoon and didn't speak of Katrina. So I let them talk. I let them tell the stories they have heard and ask questions. We talk about the donation drive here at school and other efforts.
 
So they start telling stories...
 
"I heard a man stabbed his sister in the head for a bag of ice"
 
(talking over bag of ice boy)"I heard someone got killed for a pork chop"
 
(trying to get it all straight) "You mean people dying for a pork chop and a bagga ice?..."
 
And then, child becomes prophet and the truth of the day is known...
 
"A pork chop is reasonable. I would kill my momma for a pork chop. But a bag of ice!"