Idiotsville

So, today was probably the weirdest day on record for me in the world of education. It began with a Tornado Warning that put all of us in the "Shelter" area at school for about 45 minutes. In the end, nothing happened in my little corner of the world, and we all went back to class. Life went on.

But, in the world of "weirdness," today I have a story that needs to be shared.

One of the MANY things that they didn't teach me in college was how to deal with idiotic parents. Now mind you, I'm not referring to my own. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know that I lived in the IDEAL world as a kid. It's not my parents that I am frustrated with. It's the parents of my students.

I had two IEP meetings slated for this morning. I had the paperwork ready to go (I did it over Spring Break!) and was ready to meet with the parents. One of the meetings was already re-scheduled due to them just not showing up last week for the first attempt at a meeting. The second meeting, I really expected the parent to show.

And of course, neither one did. This is a continual frustration to me as an educator. It is a continual thing for me to have parents skip meetings. And, the even more frustrating part is the phone call that has to be made after the meeting has been skipped.

Today was a call I will never forget. Here's what happened:

Me: Hi, yes, is this the home of joeshmoe's parents?
Parent: yes, who is this?
Me: Well, I'm your child's Special Education Teacher, Ms. Shortone, and we had a meeting scheduled for today that you didn't attend.
Parent: Well, I hurt my foot.
Me: Well, we need to reschedule the meeting so I can keep teaching Joeshmoe.
Parent: Well, see, I hurt my foot...
Me: Well, how about we meet one week from today at 9:30?
Parent: (in a high-pitched, whiney tone) I HURT MY FOOT REALLY REALLY BADLY.
Me: So will Monday at 9:30 work for you?
Parent: No, I have a doctor's appointment about my foot.
Me: Okay, so how about this Thursday at 9:30?
Parent: Well, my husband will need to come because I have to work that day.
Me: Okay, great, I'll send a reminder notice out to you. Thanks.
Parent: Uh, huh.
Me: Bye, have a great day.
Parent: okay.

Now, that really was the conversation. When the parent kicked into her whiney tone I thought, "You would probably be in my class if you were your child's age, wouldn't you?"

My other thought was the fact that a hurt foot shouldn't keep you from your child's educational program. A hurt foot doesn't affect your hand to sign papers. It doesn't affect your ability to pick up a phone and say, "Sorry, I can't make it today, can we please re-schedule?"

Welcome to Idiotsville.

I find myself scratching my head a lot lately wondering who the adults are in these homes. And I also wonder how in the world God entrusted children to these people. In the past 3 weeks I've heard of 3 different young ladies who have had kids in their teens and early twenties, and they have no idea what that truly means. What it means to raise a kid right. None.

I had a different parent write me a note today wanting a meeting tomorrow. I already have two others so I called to see if we could move it. I tried three separate numbers and they were all disconnected. Idiots.

I called the other parent to hold them accountable too. He didn't care. He told me to put the papers through and he'd look at them later. Idiot.

I had another parent tell me that they can't come in during school hours, so to send the papers home and he would sign them. Idiot.

It's not as if I require much out of them. They come in for one meeting per year. That's it.

Let's just hope tomorrow I don't have to walk into Idiotsville again.

I'm not sure I could handle another phone call like today so soon.

Stay tuned for more "Idiotsville" Drama.

It's only March 31, there's still a lot of school year left this year...

Later!

The problem with a rumor...

So, I have another story to share with you from my little world of short people. On Thursday I was standing outside one of the fifth grade regular education classes, swapping stories with one of the teachers when all the kids came in from recess. We were all laughing at the time about a story that had happened in one of the big classrooms this week. Then I saw one of my kids come in PISSED!

Goofball, who is typically a bundle of laughter and joy was pretty angry. At that moment one of the kids came up to us and said, "There was another fight on the playground today."

I knew immediately that it was something to do with Goofball. Which isn't a good thing. Truth be told, Goofball has been one of my favorites and I HATE having to get onto him. I do, trust me, I spend a fair amount of time holding him accountable each day, but I don't enjoy it. But, it's 5th grade, in the Spring, I know this time of year well.

So I caught the duty teacher, who was a regular sub, and he filled me in. Apparently Goofball got mad at another goofychild who had said that Crutchboy had cheated on the mile run that morning by using his crutches. I need to mention here that the ONLY way Crutchboy can walk is by using his crutches.

So, Goofball went to stand up to him, and he started pushing the kid. Fortunately, that's all Goofball did was push, but it was still physical contact. In our school, that's not tolerated.

So, I said, "Thanks, I'll take it from here" to the duty teacher. First off, Goofball is mine, and second of all, I was scared that Goofball was going to do something else to dig his hole even deeper. Typically, when he is made he'll keep going until he's calm.

So I went into his regular class, and he was explaining to the teacher what had happened. She looked at me and said, "Ms. Spring, I think a referral needs to be written, you want to take it from here?"

I said, "Sure."

So, I told Goofball to get his stuff together, and I would walk him to the bus. It was time for bus riders to leave and I didn't want him to miss the bus due to the drama. Especially since a referral at that moment wouldn't have been productive since Mrs. AP is on bus duty at that time.

So, we walked. Here's what transpired:

Me: Okay, so tell me what happened.
GB: Well, Goofykid said that Crutchboy was cheating on the mile today by using his crutches, and that's not right because Crutchboy can't walk without them.
Me: Yeah, then what happened?
GB: He got in my face, made a motion saying my breath stinks, so I pushed him.
Me: And?
GB: And he said he never said that and I was lying, so I kept pushing.
Me: And?
GB: I just got madder and madder and kept pushing until Mr. E. split us up.
Me: You know a referral needs to happen, right?
GB: Yeah.
Me: You know I'll be calling Dad tonight, right?
GB: Yeah.
Me: K, I'll meet with you first thing in the morning.
GB: K.

I walked back in the building and put on my detective hat, again. As it turns out, Goofykid has had a history of behavior issues. I didn't know that. Thankfully, I can say I've never dealt with Goofykid. I didn't even know what he looked like.

So, I called Goofball's Dad Thursday night, and we discussed the events of the day. He stated that Goofykid has been picking on several of my students saying that they are stupid and retarded because they come to my class. I NEVER knew that! How can I fix something if I don't know about it? Goofball's Dad was okay with me doing a referral, and agreed that the physical contact wouldn't be tolerated. I told him I would call him the next day and tell him what his punishment would be. Thankfully, he is a supportive parent, and is okay with most of what I take to him.

So, first thing Friday morning I was met by Goofball. I asked Goofball about the past month of Goofykid's bullying, and he basically told me the same thing his Dad had told me the night before. I told him I would talk to Goofykid, and then get back to him.

Mrs. AP happened to be walking by at the time, and I pulled her in and we had the "Come to Jesus" chat with Goofball about physical contact. He got the message loud and clear. Mrs. AP turned to me and said, "I want the referral form this morning." I said, "Okay." She left.

So, I let Goofball go back to class, and proceeded to the classroom that Goofykid is in. I'll be honest, I didn't even know what he looked like. So, I had to have the teacher point him out to me.

I couldn't believe it. This kid fits the name Goofykid perfectly. I took one look at him and thought, "This is the bully?" So, I pulled Goofykid out in the hall and played the role of mean teacher:

Me: So, GK, what do you think was reported to me about you?
(You always lead with a question, just to see what the kid knows already)
GK: Um...I don't know... Then he started looking around...
Me: Um, try again. Your name has come up in several conversations I've had in the past 2 days.
GK: Um...I don't know know what ya mean.
Now, I'll be the first to admit, this kid probably didn't remember. The more I watched him the more I thought that maybe he should be in my classroom. Sad to say, but true. So, I followed with:
Me: Tell me about recess yesterday afternoon.
GK: Oh yeah, well, Goofball got mad at me and said I made a comment about Crutchboy and I never said it.
Me: Really? I've had Goofball in my class for a year and a half and he's never lied to me. Try again.
GK: Really, Miss, I never said it. Goofball and Cruchboy are my friends, I wouldn't say that. All I said was the Crutchboy must be really strong to do the mile on his crutches.
Me: Really? That wasn't reported to me.
GK: Miss, I'm not lying.
And, my gut told me to believe him. But, I felt stuck between a rock and hard place because Goofball had never lied to me. He's messed up, but he's always fessed up.
Me: Okay, who else was a witness?
At that moment, Crutchboy entered the building on his crutches. So, I stopped him.
Me: CB, what did Goofykid say yesterday at recess?
CB: Um, I don't know. Someone said that he said that I was cheating yesterday on the mile.
Me: So you never heard Goofykid say it?
CB: No.
Me: Okay, go to class, Thank You.
Then I turned to Goofykid, and said, "Did anyone else witness it?"
GK: Yeah, BigBoy was there.
Me: Go get BigBoy.
I stood there. I felt like I was interrogating all these kids to get to the bottom of it. He returned with BigBoy.
Me: BigBoy, were you involved in the events yesterday at recess?
BB: No.
Me: Okay, can you please send Goofball to see me?
BB: Yeah.
We stood there. At that moment, I had a parent walk up who needed me for a separate issue altogether. I just asked the parent to wait a moment. I was almost done.
Me: Goofball, what did you say yesterday?
GB: That Goofykid said that Crutchboy cheated on the mile.
I paused.
I had to be very careful with what I followed with...
Me: Did you actually hear that from Goofykid's mouth?
GB: No.

And that, my friends, was about a 30 minute drama, and it all came down to a rumor. Goofball never heard it, he was going off of what he heard from another kid. Rumor mill drama.

I looked at Goofykid, and told him he was excused.

I turned to Goofball and he knew. He knew he had made a mistake. He knew I was now pissed. All of the drama over a rumor.

I looked at him and calmly said, "Go to PE. I'll get with you later."

Now, I'll be the first to admit, it wasn't true anger. I've seen anger in teachers, and I wasn't there. I was just drained and frustrated.

I met with the parent, dealt with that drama, and it was about an hour later when I turned in the referral. Mrs. AP told me it was up to me what his punishment was because I knew him better.

So, in the end, he missed his recesses, had to write a letter of apology, and said, "Sorry" to me for the drama. I called his Dad, who was okay with all of it. But, I was blunt with his Dad. Goofykid is a goofykid who isn't to be feared. Goofball's Dad was okay with it.

Now, what have I learned from all this? Well, first off, I have learned to begin each drama with "Did you actually hear the person say it?" And, two, I have learned that the Rumor Mill begins a whole lot earlier than I expected.

It's only March.

Say a prayer for me!

Later!

I believe...

This week has had many interesting little stories I could share. In debating what to share tonight, because there are three stories I could share with you, I think I'll share the one that has brought about some deep pondering.

There's a kid in Mr. H's class that has worn him out. I have watched this amazing teacher be challenged this year in a way I haven't seen in several years. A few years back he had a behavior-challenged class, but that was nothing in comparison to this group.

And within this group is a LostBoy that has captured my heart. Now, I realize it is easy for me to have a heart for him, I don't have him 35 hours a week in my classroom. If you're not a teacher, you really won't get the true depth of this story, but please bear with me.

This kid is from a messed up family. I use that term in G rating terms because I don't want to offend anyone who reads this, but I tell ya, the longer I talk to this kid, the more I realize how whack his version of his homelife really is. I've only had one interaction with the parent and that was enough for me.

So, LostBoy was shipped off a little while back to a hospital for Psychiatric Treatment. I'll be blunt here, my opinion is that the parents didn't want him and they shipped him off for a break. Yeah, talk about a loving homelife...NOT... Truth be told he needs good counseling, but not to be shipped off, alone for 2 weeks!

I had tried to reach out to him a few months back. I was blessed because Mr. H. let me try some informal interventions with him. Yeah, well, it lasted about 2 days and that was it.

It was then that I started praying off and on for him.

He can't be good.
He doesn't want to be good.
He has put up so many walls that in some respects he is considered "out of reach."

So he left for about 2 weeks. To a nearby facility.

In fact, the day he left for the hospital we were going to meet with his parents/casemanagers/outside agencies...all of the above. Only person not on school staff to arrive was the caseworker who wasn't surprised the parent didn't show up.

Are you getting the picture here? A fourth grader with a home, but without a home all at the same time.

So he has been back for a little while. And I'll be honest, this has been a long week back. We all seemed to enjoy vacation too much! :-)

So yesterday Mr. H. was giving me the rundown on the kid. On Monday he was caught trying to stab a pencil through his eye, and choking himself. On Tuesday or Wednesday I found out the kid was chewing on his pencil lead.

And I stopped.

I have talked to his kid a lot. Most of it has gone in one ear and out the other. I had quit a little while back. He would still come up to me and say, "If I'm good, can I come to you at the end of the day?" I would reply with "sure". But of course, he didn't earn that. I never saw him.

So yesterday I pulled him one-on-one while his class went back to class after their recess. Truth be told, I think Mr. H. likes the fact that I give him a bit of a break. It was short, but I wanted to see what I could get out of him.

Here's what followed:

Me:So, I hear you're eating pencil lead now. Is that true?
LB: Yea.
Me: Why?
LB: Because I can.
Me: Does it taste good?
LB: No.
Me: Then why do it?
LB: Because I can.

At this point, you can see the lead marks around his mouth.

Me: Do you realize that's not good for you?
LB: Yeah.
Me: I mean, you realize you could do some serious damage to yourself?
LB: Yeah.

I looked at his pencil. It was eaten to the core.

Me: So, you know that you can talk to me if you ever need to.
LB: Yeah.
Me: I realize that what I'm saying to you at this moment is probably going in one ear and out the other, but I'm still here.
LB: Yeah.
Me: I want you to be okay.
LB: I know.
Me: I go home at night and worry about you.
LB: You do?
Me: Yep. (Then I paused for a brief moment) And I now say a prayer for you each night before I go to sleep.
LB: I used to pray.
Me: You did? When?
LB: When I was at the hospital the first time a few years back.
Me: Really? That's cool.
LB: But I don't pray anymore.
Me: You don't? Why not?
LB: There's no point.

And that my friends, is where this kid truly is. He's a lost child in a lost system in a lost world.

He's rough. Not a kid you look at and think, "Oh, he's cute." He's rough around the edges.

He has dark circles under his eyes. In a sense, he looks old.

I looked at him after his last comment and said, "Well, I still believe that there's a reason to pray, and I want you to know I am praying for you every night."

He just smiled.

Unfortunately it wasn't a happy smile. It was a skeptical, harsh smile.

Over Spring Break I got a new necklace that has a cross on it, with a little circle over the cross with the word "Believe" on it. It has now taken on new meaning for me.

This kid doesn't believe anymore.

He doesn't think God can save him.

He doesn't think God is even real.

While I don't know if my 10 minutes each day is really gonna change much, I am still going to take 10 minutes each day for this kid. I am going to believe that LostBoy is one of "The Least of these" talked about in Scripture.

And each night I will go to bed believing that it will make a difference...someday...

Not to preach at him.
Not to force squat on him.

But my goal is to just love him.

My goal is to make him see that one person believes in him and wants to see the best in him. Somewhere deep inside this kid is just a lost kid wanting someone to think he matters.

So while I don't know the outcome for LostBoy, I know that I'm going to BELIEVE that something is better than nothing...

Thoughts Turn Lightly

This is just the kind of hard hitting news we've needed.

"Look, Martha, says here that kids don't like a-comin' to schoo when it's all
nice out! Don't that beat all!"

Ms Educat's after school club for kids who don't read good is struggling. Imagine a group of kids where all have failed some kind of English. Then sit them in a room in front of a computer from 4pm til 5:30pm. Than make it 80 degrees outside. Then add me. And don't stir. I force cheer--ffoorrccee it!

Threepete is late every day. It's hard for him to maintain a committed, loving relationship with his truck when Ms Educat is making him read Last of the Mohecians and answer gay questions (yes, somehow these questions love other questions). When he comes in late, I dare to ask him what could have happened. He glowers at me and says something like "Mmrgh mrrgh mrrgh truck, man, lea me alone!"

The Prince of Darkness isn't doing well either. He's chosen Left Behind for his free reading (and yes, I asked him why, and if he was a Kirk Cameron fan...). He gazes up into the flourescent lighting to see if he can shine light from his pentagram and burn a hole in the ceiling. He can't. I remind him that he would probably read faster if his eyes were somewhere near the book and with a look of scorn unfitting to one reading such a holy missive exclaimed,

"SSShhhhha! I've read, like, 116 pages!".

"So you're done? Ready to do the
write up?"


I'm pretty sure he just tried to burn my face with his pentagram.

The good news?

I made this one kid laugh so hard today that he got a nose bleed.

Awesome. My work is done.

Elementary School Drama

I tell ya, Spring has arrived at my little school. You can always tell what Spring is here because it seems as if students are up for Oscar Performances for their acting skills! Unfortunately, some of them aren't acting, they are just downright rude or don't care. I was amazed today at what I had to deal with. Not because it was bad for me, it just seems it's too early to have drama.

So, we had picture day and it threw our entire schedules off. The kids were off, I was off, it was a weird day. No doubt about it. Just plain weird.

So, due to the change in schedule, recess was off schedule.

I went out and did an easy 20 minutes of duty during my regularly scheduled time. I usually do recess for 4th and 5th grades, but today I did it for 3rd. It was easy. No drama. I thought life was good.

Then about 1:15 I had a student come down and ask me if I'd be willing to take 5th grade out for a recess. They hadn't had a recess yet. I am a good team player, and I had just picked up my students and honestly didn't have enough chairs for them, so it was sort of a good answer to the problem.

So, we went out. I was blessed as I stood there with a friend during the recess and we told our Spring Break Events with one another. It was great. Slow. As we talked, we watched the kids. Everything was great.

Then a kid came up to me and said, "There's a fight, we need you!"

Sure enough, I looked over and saw one kid going after another kid.

The other kid was defending himself, not throwing punches.

I ran over. (Yes, the gal with a limp ran!)

The aide that was there split them up, and I took the kid that was throwing the punches as she took the other two kids.

I had my arm on Angerissueboy's shoulder because I wasn't sure if he was going to throw another punch.

He was okay with it at first.

The outta nowhere he said, "Get your arm off me, you freak!" And pushed my arm off his shoulder.

I stood there. Never, in my eight years of teaching, had I been called a freak.

I looked at him and said, "You know, all you had to say was, Please let go of me, and I would have done it. You don't talk to me like that!"

He didn't look at me.

The kicker of it was that he's a third grader, so I didn't know who's class he's in or anything.

So I asked him, "Who's class are you in?"

He said, "I'm not telling you! You're so smart, figure it out for yourself!"

I've never had the either. Every other fight I've dealt with, after they're calm, they realize what they've done and will answer whatever I ask. I just stared at him. And silently prayed.

I turned to the other two students who were involved and just as I did that, someone came yelling at me, "Someone's hurt!"

Snap!

The aide went to deal with it, while I dealt with the fight.

After playing detective, I discovered that Angerissueboy started the whole thing by throwing a ball and hurting the girl. The other boy stood up for her using words, not fists, and Angerissueboy went off on him hitting, kicking, and punching.

I was proud of the kids who just stood up for what was right and didn't fight back.

Both the girl and boy were in tears as they were complimented on how they handled it.

It was a good moment.

Well, I still had to deal with it all, get kids lined up, and back in the building.

Just then a kid ran up and said a 5th grader had been scratched by a third grader.

Welcome to Spring!

I said, "Okay, tell the kids to come to me."

I blew the whistle for 5th grade to line up.

Turned to Angerissueboy and said, "YOU'RE COMING WITH ME TO THE OFFICE."

He walked with me.

That shocked me. I figured I'd have to call the office on my handy dandy little walkie talkie I had in my hands, but I didn't. (Thank God!)

I got the kids lined up and in. Then I turned to all the drama queen performers and said, "Okay, let's go."

Then I looked over.

I still had my students waiting for me that were in fourth grade standing there.

I looked at them and said, "Can you guys do me a favor and go back to class while I deal with this?"

They said "Sure."

I love my kids!

I took the drama performers into the office, and everything was explained to Ms. AP, and she sent the good kids back to class.

Angerissueboy still had issues, and was still putting on quite the performance. Talking back. Being disrespectful.

I looked at him and said, "Never, in my eight years of teaching have I had a kid call me freak. You have no idea the hole you're digging."

His response: "I don't care."

Wow. Amazing.

Upon further investigation with his teacher, it turns out this isn't a new thing. It was new to me just because I never do third grade duty.

Ah yes, it is Spring. Stay tuned for more "Elementary School Drama" performances.

There will be MANY more to come.

Later!

The Spelling Card Game winner is...

...me!

Every Tuesday in my class we do Spelling Word Card Games. And, I will be the first to admit, I stink at it. I also stink at the game Concentration, which is basically what we play with our spelling cards.

The kids love to play me because they win. Legitimately. Not because I throw the game, but because I can't remember where cards are fast enough to win.

And, Laughingboy is pretty much the Champ in my class. It's a good thing too. The kid has horrible handwriting, but can spell pretty well. I'm thankful. If he can spell outloud that will help down the road as he improves in his writing skills.

So, today FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, I WON!

I beat Laughingboy.

And of course, the best part was at the end where he was laughing so hard that I got to laughing so hard that it hurt. I love that.

Laughing is so much fun.

So, I'll admit that we played two more games. Afterall, Laughingboy wasn't going to let me win without a re-match. And, I lost one game, and we tied the other. That's still the best I've done against him.

So for today, I'm a winner...

sort of.

Later!

There Are Many Ways To Say I Love You

It seems a Google Search for "Story about a cat's fur that says 'I love you mom'" will take you here.

I cannot imagine a situation in which cat fur would ever say "I love you, mom".

Aboard, About, Above, Across, After, Against, Along

For years, I've defined a preposition to children as "anywhere a squirrel can go". It works, they remember it, and it brings me great joy to watch them later as we work through our daily grammar muttering "the squirrel can go..." as they work.

And now, two weeks later, I can tell you why I might stop using this trick because it may both creep me out and cause me to convulse in laughter.

I will tell you the story and since this is an edu-blog, prepositions will be in boldface.

So the Widdah Educat (she's a widdah, but a young and vibrant one) calls me at 1:45 one morning near tears.

"I need you, I need your help!'

"mgrgh...huh?"

"I need you, There's a squirrel in my bedroom and itranacrossmybedandwokemeupandIneedhelpchasingitOUT!!!"

I gather myself and go to her house to find her standing on her bed with a broom, poised for battle. It took an hour of coaxing and crouching in wait, followed by manic screaming and chasing (at one point he jumped on her--she did quite a dance) to get him out the door.

We stood silently panting in fear after he left. I seriously waited for a second with the very sleepy misguided thought of giving him a head start. I honestly believed he'd be waiting in the dark by my car to finish inflicting the terror he had started.

...and now, I'll stop with the prepositions and reflect.

So today, I found myself explaining prepositions to one of my afterschool tutoring kids and couldn't stop laughing. I had to tell her the story and we found ourselves testing the theory and laughing...

"The squirrel woke my mother up when he ran across the bed!!!!"
"He hid in the corner behind the footstool!"
"He jumped off the TV cabinet and onto my mother!!!"


Since the night of the living squirrel, I've been regaled with more stories that I can shake a stick at. I was reminded of Senora Crib's brush with a raccoon (we share the broom as a weapon of choice) and another co worker/blog reader shared her deep dark fear that she shares her home with a raccoon (Hi, M! How's the crawl space?). It was the courage of these story tellers along with a post by Dooce that finally gave me the strength to tell my story.

I'm Educat. I've chased a squirrel with a broom in the middle of the night and I teach prepositions.

Things that make me go hmmmmmmm........

Years ago there was a song that I hated. I don't know the title, but part of it was "Things that make ya go Hmmmm." And then this annoying little high pitched sound followed. I thought it was annoying, especially since it was one of those songs that got stuck in your head and was hard to get out of your head. Or at least that was true of me...

So today, as my day progressed, I thought of the song because I had many moments that made me stop and go, "Hm...."

I stopped on each one.

Paused.

Then went on.

Some were good moments, and others left me scratching my head going..."What in the World?"

You ready for my list of Hm's for today?

1. I started the day with giving GigglyGal some KU pencils that I bought over break and she was so touched she hugged me. They were just pencils to me, but she was blessed by it. Hm...seems like a little thing to me, but maybe it was bigger than that. Maybe that one little act of kindness was special to her. Hm....

2. The next moment came as I was getting ready for my first class, and I was told that we're not having our first small group sessions of the day to prepare for our upcoming State Assessments. Yippee! Hm...that shouldn't bring so much happiness to this short little gal, but it did!

3. The third moment of the day came when I was preparing to move to the Art Room that I've taken over for my classroom, only to remember that the book fair was going on for the last day today. I was stretched the whole week before break and taught up on the stage to make room for the book fair. While this wasn't a big deal in the big grand scheme of things, it was a bit of a schedule switcharoo. Not to mention Mr. P. had the LCD projector, so I couldn't teach my scheduled lesson for the day. Hm.... (For the record, Mr. P. apologized, so it was okay)

4. Bananas! Everyday at lunch we play a game called Banangrams. It's basically scrabble without a board. I have never won at the game. This game was new to us this year as Mrs. Smiles always wins at Snatch, so we needed a new game. So, today, for the first time ever at school, I WON! :-) Hm...another little thing that sort of made my day. Go figure.

5. Ralph challenged me today as he was by me EVERY TIME I turned around in class today. At one point I literally said to him, "Ralph, I was just thinking it had been two minutes since you came up to see me. I was missing you already!" It went right over his head. Hm....

6. Sadfaceboy couldn't sit still to save his life today. I literally had to stand by him to get him to do his stuff. At the end of the day I made him sit down one-on-one with me and see what was up. He went on to tell me about his sad little homelife. It made me feel bad for this kid, who has no control over his homelife. Then it made me (once again) pause and silently Thank God for what I had and still have. Hm....

7. And, the big "Hm" Moment of the day came at the end of the day. I was finishing up with my last group of the day, when Mrs. Bosslady came in to see me. She works out of another building, so I don't see her more than about twice a week. I was on the stage teaching, and she came in to me and here's what followed:

Mrs. Bosslady: "Hi, Ms. Spring. Is this your new classroom?"
Me: "Well, just for today. The book fair will be over today so I'll be back in the Art room tomorrow."
Mrs. Bosslady: "Oh. Why did you change rooms? You still have the little room. Why don't you use it?"
Blink.
Blink.
(This isn't news to her, we've had this chat numerous times before...)
Me. "Because at this point, I'm out of chairs. I'm up to 25 on my caseload right now."
Mrs. Bosslady: "Oh. Okay. Well, here's the paperwork I need you to fix..."

HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM..............

A little friend missed me!

So, I am back at home. It feels odd that Spring Break is over. It seems as if it just started.

So, I awoke to a little white dog on my arm. She was asleep, sprawled out over me. I tell ya, it felt good to be loved so well before my day even started! When I awoke, she went NUTS! All day long she has been glued to my side. I think she missed me while I was away!

I will give a bit of a confession here though, I tortured her this afternoon. Yes, I was really quite mean. See, Sophie HATES the vacuum cleaner. I mean, she goes CRAZY when I get it out. And, well, the house needed some cleaning, so I cleaned a while, and then got out the dreadded vacuum. She started barking like the house was on fire. She barked the entire time I vacuumed. I must admit, it drives me a bit crazy to have her barking, but I do it anyway. And, I'll be glad to report that she survived...and so did I!

At church today, the kids ran up and hugged me. I was gone the past two Sundays, so I had been missed. :-) It felt good.

Well, I have work to get done.

Not to mention a little while furball that I need to cuddle with!

Later!

The Best Parental Unit Ever!

So, this past week has been such an incredible blessing, and I sit here in awe of the coolest parental unit on the planet. I know, you're thinking you have the best parents ever, and that's okay that you think that. Go right ahead. But, I happen to believe that my parents are the best ever.

The whole time I was growing up, I was an incredibly blessed little girl. Both my parents played the role of PARENTS and raised my brother and I in an incredibly healthy home. Of course, the whole time I was growing up I thought everyone had what I had. Afterall, all I knew was a happy, loving home. I don't look back and remember any fights. But I do remember gobs of laughter, joy, and love. That was all I knew, and so that was "normal" to me.

So, this past week I went home for the entire Spring Break. And, I found that things are the same at home. We laughed, played with the pups, ate meals together, talked, played on Dad's new computer, and just plain loved each other. I have said for a long time that I wish my students had what I had, and this week showed me (once again) how blessed I really am.

So, while there may not be an Oscar Award show for parents, I would nominate and give my parents the "Best Parental Unit Ever" Award.

Besides, they have the two coolest dogs on the planet. What more can you ask for?

Later!

Love is not a feeling...

...it is an ability.

Thanks to my younger brother (and I use the term younger because he is taller than me!) sent me an email the other day recommending the movie "Dan in Real Life." (Thanks ScienceGuy for the recommendation!) I must admit, it was a movie I had seen the previews for and thought, "That's a stupid, funny kind of movie and not my sort of movie."

I was so wrong.

While this movie isn't one that you will see up for any awards, it is actually a touching comedy about love and life and everything in between. No, I didn't laugh out loud or anything, but it had my attention the whole way through, and I must admit I wasn't sure how it was going to end. I liked that too...movies are too predictable these days.

And in the midst of the movie, one character said, "Love is not a feeling, it is an ability."

That caught me.

God tends to do that. I''ll be watching a movie and BAMMO, something will get me. Grab me. Stop me.

I have always thought of love as a feeling. Afterall, it is emotions that motivate our hearts. You feel attracted to someone because of how they make you FEEL. Whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual, it is typically a feeling.

I FEEL emotion towards my students. And my friends. And my family.

But the more I've pondered this quote (And I sat and thought for quite a while after the movie was over.) the more I also think it is an ability.

Not everyone has the ability to love in the same capacity.

Some have been hurt by family members, friends, co-workers, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends...well, my list could go on and on.

And due to those hurts, some people can't let others in.

Or they can't be kind to others in a way they used to be able to because of their "stuff."

Love is an ability...

I want to be able to love those around me TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY.

There are SO MANY scriptures that talk about love. God knew before there was time that we would have trouble loving one another.

And really, it doesn't HAVE TO be that hard.

I look at my students and they love me unconditionally, no questions asked. I get a hug everyday from just about each one of them. I don't go looking for it, they WANT to do that. They have been through heartbreak that I can't even imagine, yet they truly love me to the best of their ability. I want to love like that.

I awoke this morning to Roxie wanting to be with me. Then I moved into the kitchen and Rudy sat on my lap and cuddled with me. No question about it, those dogs love me and I love them. I want to love like that.

My parents have let me come and go to IHOP this week as much as I want to, eat their food, rented me movies, bought me clothes, and talked to me and given me some incredible words of encouragement. I want to love like that.

I went to IHOP today and felt God's love upon my heart. I want to love like that.

I went to see an old friend and his fiancee today, and someday I want to love like that too.

Love is not a feeling, it is an ability...

Just like the ability to play bongos, teach kids, or encourage others, it takes practice to build one's ability in something.

My goal in life is to love like my students, Roxie and Rudy, and God...TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY.

Joy

If there's one thing I have discovered a lot recently, it's the Joy of the Lord. I have considered myself a pretty happy person recently, but not JOYFUL. I have had some challenges recently that have made me do a lot of reflecting upon myself, who I am, and who I want to be.

And I have found myself in two sessions at IHOP where the Joy of the Lord has come forth, and I hear myself laughing, really laughing again.

Laughing to the point I couldn't stop.

I have missed that feeling.

And you know what?

I wasn't walking around "down."

I wasn't thinking, poor me.

I was just being me.

But, I tell ya, tonight as I was in a set where Misty led and the JOY fell, I felt blessed in a way I can't even express.

And I sit here amazed at how God always gives us exactly what we need, and when we need it.

I didn't know why I felt led to stay until Misty came out, I just knew I was supposed to.

What an awesome evening.

Spring Break continues to be GREAT!

LATER!

Fulfillment Of My Dreams

I just heard about Duran Duran's North American Tour and had a brief, fleeting dream of cutting up a sweatshirt and hitting the road with Crib Chick to catch a show. It probably won't happen (the nearest show to me, however, is the day before my birthday in one of my favorite cities...), but wouldn't it be glorious to see all those flabby, middle aged woman arms raised with cell phones a-glowin' during "Save A Prayer"? Just imagine.

Spring Break is GREAT!

I find it amazing that I am an adult and I still get Spring Break. What other job can you have and get a week off in March to do whatever you want to do? Seriously? I have said for a long time that I have the best job on the planet, and this is just one of the perks! hehehe

You want to know what I've done?

I started the break over at Toolman's house. He and his wife have adopted a new puppy named Meg, and I had a great time playing with the pup, as well as their grandson. I am now nicknamed, "Aunt Spring" which made me smile wide on the inside. I didn't want to come across as the weird one that had never been called an aunt. Honestly, this is the second person to call me an aunt, but it still made my heart sing. At the end of the evening the grandson had left and the puppy was asleep in my arms and Toolman and I had a great conversation about life. We're great at solving the world's problems from a little living room in podunk Missouri.

Saturday Austin visited us, and I played with him for about an hour before I headed to IHOP. The weekend before when I was there I had some really cool encounters with God and wondered what was in store for me this weekend, as well as this upcoming week. It was a very deep evening at IHOP and it was clear I was supposed to be there. It was a wonderful way to begin this break. Following IHOP I came home to the parental's house. I was greeted by Roxie and Rudy, the two coolest dogs on the planet. Then I crashed and went to sleep.

Sunday I woke up and was a bum. I played with the puppies, watched KU beat Texas in the Big 12 Tournament, and watched DeJaVu. It's a movie with Denzel Washington. I am blessed, as my parents have a room down in the basement with a TV and DVD player, so I don't have to interrupt their TV viewing to see the movies I have on my "To See" list. As for the movie, it was good, but nothing like "Gone Baby Gone." You have to suspend a lot of reality in DeJaVu, and I wasn't quite as caught up in it. Any other recommendations from my loyal readers? If you have some, please pass them along. I still have 6 days of break left. :-)

Monday I woke up and it was raining. It was great, I slept in really late. I never do that. However, that would explain why it's 1:34am and I'm blogging. :-) I love break! Anyway, my Mom and I went shopping at a mall nearby and had a fun time. I got some good deals and we had some good chat time. It was time well spent.

After we got back I escaped back down to the basement. I was on the phone with Ms. H. in Texas and we had a great time getting caught up. She's on break too, so it was fun to just spend some good time chit chatting on the phone. Then I caught Toolman online and we got caught up as well. I must say, it felt great to spend some more time with people I love. Very cool.

Then I watched two movies. Yes, I know, it's late, I should be asleep, but it's break. :-)

The first movie I watched was "Bee Movie". It was pretty good. I must say I was a bit disappointed, I think I expected more out of it than it delivered. However, with that being said, it was a rental, so I can't complain too much.

The second movie I watched was "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium." I enjoyed it a lot. I have to admit, it was a typical motivational, sappy, believe in yourself, movie, but it was exactly what I enjoy. If you're in the mood to be lifted up, it's one you should see. I plan on adding it to my video library.

So now it's late and I am going to crash. I plan on spending most of the day at IHOP tomorrow. I can't wait to see what's in store for me the rest of the break. It's already going by way too fast.

Have a great day, whatever you may be doing.

Later!

Max

I went to high school in Kansas. At the time, it was the largest high school in the state. In the town I lived in, we had about 1,800 kids in my school. And, I graduated in a class of about 600. Yeah, needless to say, I had my little circle of friends of about 10 and outside of that I knew who people were, but I didn't know a lot of people in a close relationship.

The high school had a really cool staff of teachers. I'll be honest, there were a couple that put me to sleep, and some that made me not like the subject they were teaching, but overall, I was a happy person in high school. And, overall, I liked the teachers and staff.

While I was in school, I was a member of the Student Council. I didn't hold any sort of office other than, "Student Council Representative" but I was a part of the club and did the stuff that the council did. Our sponsor, Max, was a really neat guy. He was older, and retired the year after I graduated, but everyone liked Max and Max liked most of us. There were some on the council that I imagine he liked more than others, but that's true of all of us, I think.

Yesterday I made the trip home to my parent's house. It is Spring Break, and so I am playing the role of a bum this week. (Yippee skippee!)

The last time I saw Max was at my ten year reunion, which was held seven years ago. And, he remembered me then.

Today I was walking in the store I used to check groceries at when I was in college and I saw him. I hesitated at first because it looked like him, but I wasn't 100% sure it was him. And, as it turned out, it was him.

He recognized me, but he couldn't remember my name. That's okay though, with as many kids as there were that went through my school, I wouldn't remember all of us either. Especially now that we're grown up and don't look like the little high schoolers that we once were. I am still short, yes, but my hair and other features have changed a bit.

At any rate, it was neat to talk to him. He was happy I had become a teacher and wanted to know about my job and where I teach. It was really, really neat. I'll be the first to admit, he wasn't the main person that pushed me to be a teacher, but I remember really liking Max. He made us all laugh a lot.

I heard a quote once that said, "It doesn't matter how you teach the content, it's how you make the kids feel that makes a difference." I think about that quote a lot and try to make my kids feel special and important. I remember Max made me feel like that.

What a special thing.

I hope I leave my students with that feeling.

Seventeen years ago I graduated high school and today I was able to tell Max how much I appreciated him.

Makes me wonder who will be seeing me in seventeen years...

Kinda cool if you ask me...

Later!

We're all in this together...

In the world I teach in, I am bombarded with High School Musical Music. For those of you without kids, it's a movie on Disney Channel that has taken over the Elementary School I teach at. Last year we even had a High School Musical Fifth Grade program. It was a hoot.

So, within the High School Musical Movie and Soundtrack is a song titled, "We're All In this Together." I love the song. It is a motivational, pop, happy kind of song. Typically I listen to Christian music, but this song has gripped me.

And the more I've pondered it, the more I realize it has taken on more of a part of me than a song. I've come to realize that I love the song because it reminds me that we are all on this planet TOGETHER. Not one of us was fashioned to walk out our existence here on Earth alone.

Most of you are probably thinking that I'm referring to God, and while He is the primary focus of my life, I am beginning to understand the impact PEOPLE have made on my life, and continue to make on my life. In the past week I have been challenged in ways I can't even begin to explain in words, but I have been inspired by the people in my life who see me as God does and push me forward with words of encouragement and kindness. And even as I have shared my weaknesses that I'm not proud of, I have been in awe of how others have helped me to see the good in me and helped me to focus on what's important.

I am so very thankful for each person who has prayed for me this week and has shown me that we really are in this together.

What a great way to start Spring Break...

WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER...

Later!

Damn You, Knitty!!

You and all your infernal new issues!! I'll never have time to knit it all!!!

Now I want this...



I want it both to knit and to wear. I could wear it all long and drapy this time of year when it's not exactly clear for what season we should dress.




But I also want to sit and just watch this flow off my needles


(and by flow, I mean trickle. Seriously, I'm not that fast and this isn't that easy).
Dang it, into the queue you go.

ED in '08: The State of America's Schools

I'm pondering this. Researching it, even. My kneejerk response, however, is that it's impossible for me to fight the anti-intellectual, anti-school attitudes that my kids bring to school daily.

More on this later, like I said, I'm thinking...

If You've Said Seven, You've Said Too Much

Chitarita has me fascinated with the Six Word Memoir. I spent my whole drive home thinking of how I could summarize my life in six words.



It's hard to do, summarizing the state of your life thus far in six words. Although it was my first thought, I shied away from my first idea, "Can I wear capri pants yet?". My disdain for long pants weather is great, but it doesn't define me.



Then I started playing with something to illustrate the happy accident this ride has been so far. I never thought I'd be happy after I transferred to a new high school. I ended up at a University I'd tried to avoid, and I always thought I'd be something more glamorous than an English teacher.



So I tried on, "Huh, never thought I'd love this". Almost works, but I'd like perhaps to allow that my future could be something I'd dreamed. Maybe I'd even release this idea that I could plan my entire life and enjoy the chaos. So I dropped that idea.



If I were to find one quality that's been with me as long as I can remember and I'd keep for the rest of my life, it's my sense of humor. It came from my family and might be the best gift they've given me. So I have my six words. At age 36 and a half, I'd characterize my life with the six words



"Just me, or is this funny?"



Enjoy other people's memoirs and share your own!



Six-Word Memoir book preview from SMITHmag on Vimeo.

Long Trip In A Short Bus


I followed this real live bus home on Friday after a looong week. Someday, I'd like to imagine myself and some friends riding into the sunset in one of these babies...

Make it a great day!

I am blessed to have two of the coolest uncles on the planet.

I say that, and I'll be the first to admit that honestly I don't know either of them very well. While I was growing up, we moved a lot and seeing my uncles was typically once or twice a year when we loaded up in the car for the yearly road trip to see family. I didn't mind the car ride. I'm a book junkie, so it was never torture for me to be in a car for hours on end to get somewhere. (It honestly it breaks my heart that kids now have DVD players and Gameboys for car rides. Books have lost their appeal to the current generation, but that's a whole other blog post entirely!)

So, back to my uncles. As an adult, I am reminded now of what each of them taught me.

One uncle lives nearby in the town I teach in, and I am constantly inspired by him. He's always there for me when my car dies, or whatever may happen to this single gal that doesn't have a lick of "handy woman" in her. And, the thing that gets me, REALLY GETS ME, is that he whistles all the time while he works. I'm not overexaggerating. Once when I was riding with him, and the weather was yucky, a guy had driven his car off the side of the road, my uncle stopped, got out his tools, and we pulled him out of the ditch. The entire time, he whistled and joked with the guy. I want to be as happy and free as my uncle. I can't whistle, but I wish I could. I find myself singing little ditties lately and thinking of him. I want to be like him when I grow up.

My other uncle lives out in Western Kansas. I rarely ever see him. My aunt had a stroke a few years back and so it's hard for them to travel. I have never been close to him. But, I do remember a quote he would always say that has stuck with me over the years. He even put it on his answering machine. His quote was "MAKE it a great day!"

I have thought a lot about that statement over the years. The older I get, the more I see how easy it is to be negative rather than positive. And, I'll be the first to admit, I fight negative thoughts a lot. Sure, some days are better than others, but I find it's a choice.

Some days it bothers me:
1. That one of our teachers at school never teaches she just roams the halls.
2. That my kids are from such crappy homelives that I can't believe they function well enough to get to school.
3. That I can't fix the home situations that my students are in.
4. That at times I feel as if I'm on an island at the end of the day because I'm single.
5. That at times I feel alone even with two roommates.
6. That my bank account is lower than I want it to be.
7. That I now have medical bills that I have never had before.
8. That I'm still single in my mid-thirties...finding Mr. Right shouldn't be this hard...seriously...
9. That I have a limp.
10. That I have to take pills with every meal.

I'm just being real here. Come on...am I the only one? Am I the only one who battles negativity?

It takes effort. MAKE it a great day.

That means:
1. Letting go of the fact we have a wandering teacher in the hall avoiding her job. Not my responsibilty.
2. Remembering that I'm loving these kids to the best of my ability, something is better than nothing.
3. Each day my kids are my family. I can't fix their homelife, but I can make their daily life, happy and loving.
4. Remembering that I have friends who count as family, so I'm not as alone as I feel at times.
5. Remembering that my roommates are doing the best they know how. I'm only as alone as I choose to be.
6. Knowing that even though my account is lower than I want, I still have enough to pay bills.
7. Remembering that I have insurance...it could be a WHOLE lot worse.
8. Believing that Mr. Right is there, and remembering that the wait will be worth it.
9. Remembering that I can walk. I might get stared at, but I can walk without assistance. PRAISE GOD!
10. I can still eat. I'm alive. Pills are easy.

So while my uncles don't really know how cool they are, I do. And, without them even knowing it, they have impacted my life. That is HUGE.

Makes me wonder who is watching me.

I want to be the most positive person I know. And, I know that takes effort. Being positive doesn't come without cost.

Nothing worthwile is ever easy...so...

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

IHOP Retreat Weekend

I took a personal day today. I slept in, got up, showered, packed, and came to IHOP-KC. Right now I'm sitting in the Prayer Room enjoying myself. In the district where I teach we're allowed one day off from school that isn't planned or scheduled. Typically I take it in the fall for a conference weekend here at IHOP. But, that didn't happen. Last week I received word that we had to use our days by May 1 or they are rolled over into sick days for the following year. That wouldn't be a bad gig, more sick days, but I have to admit, I was in need of a break.

With all the snow days, this year has been weird. And, I have learned this year how much kids crave structure. One day off here, back in school there, with weather changes daily, this year has built my character. I'm glad we're down to 9 weeks. It will probably feel like a long nine weeks...so I took my day.

I also remembered that I had Reward Points saved up for free hotel nights. Thanks to my proud sponsorship of this hotel, I have saved enough points for 2 free nights. So, I am using them this weekend. Granted, it has taken me about 2.5 years to save up enough points, but I don't care. I need a retreat away from life.

So, here I sit. Yes, I was just here last Saturday, but it feels great to be back.

I can't wait to see what's going to happen this weekend.

It's going to be great.

I'm in denial of the fact my kids were probably a handful today and I'll probably have some kids to kick back into shape on Monday. hehehe

:-) Later!

Sing Danke Schoen To Me


There aren't even words to tell you how incredibly hard it was going back to school after the flu. There aren't pictures, even. There's probably a sound for it, it's a gutteral sort of moan-ey groan.


I've been feeling all day like Cameron Frye. Like somehow there's a parade going on and I'm the kid who still hasn't seen anything good. I've wondered today, however, if people are supposed to see something good every day. Maybe there's supposed to be a certain hamster wheel quality to life--at least sometimes.


I'm working to shake off the funk and hear my friends singing Danke Schoen to me. Maybe somehow my cup of coffee tomorrow will somehow contain enough pimp juice to bring me out. Maybe the Friday routines of diagramming sentences or morning department meetings will be funny enough.


Meanwhile, enjoy this real live exerpt from a confiscated note that can partially explain this burning ring of funk.


Prom To-Do List
1. Practice Safe Sex
2. Get Dress

I only wonder how much safe sex lil' kitten will have to practice before she can consider it done and get herself a dress.

An unexpected twist...

So, some days I come home and think, "What in the world was that all about?" Today was one of those days.

It was a good day, don't get me wrong. For the most part, the kids were great. However, I had one who caught me off-guard today.

Thursdays are our weekly Spelling Pre-Test Day. And this week we had compound words, popcorn, anybody, everything, just to list some examples. My morning group did a FABULOUS job. I think only one has to take the test again tomorrow, which is a rarity in my classroom.

So this afternoon I expected the same thing. I will admit, my afternoon group has some of my lower functioning kids, in terms of academics, but they are good kids. They are sweet kids. No behavior problems whatsoever. Sure, I've got the poster child for ADHD, but overall, it's a low-key group.

So, I was on number five of the test this afternoon, and I looked over, and Silentboy was cheating! He had his planner out and he was copying out of his planner!

I stopped.

I just looked for a second to make sure I saw what I thought I did.

Yep, Silentboy was copying from the planner!

Snap!

First off, this kid has NEVER caused any problems for me. He's a neat, neat kid. Second of all, this kid doesn't talk. I mean, he does, but it's very very very limited speech.

And honestly, he's become a favorite of mine. I know, I know, we're not supposed to have them, but we do. Granted, I have about 23 favorites, but he's still at the top of my list.

So I paused and prayed. Not outloud of course, but I prayed.

This kid cries if you look at him crosseyed. He's so sensitive. So special.

I walked over and looked at him. Unfortunately it was in front of the whole group, but I didn't have a choice because the whole group was going to figure it out anyway.

I said, "Silentboy, you can't use your planner during the test."

Immediately tears began to flow.

Now, I've taught long enough that I can pretty much figure out when tears are real and when they're a manipulative ploy. And, these were real tears.

I quietly said, "Okay, I am going to take this planner away and I want you to finish the test."

He was crying by this point. Fortunately he was on the front row so the kids didn't see the tears. And, fortunately he wasn't sobbing, tears were just falling.

Normally in this case, I take the paper, the kid gets a zero, and a phone call is made to the parents.

I couldn't do that to this kid. The school he came from was a very negative thing, and I didn't want the kid to re-live the whole thing again.

So we finished the test. And, of course, Silentboy still missed some of the words he had cheated on. I imagine he was so nervous that it made him mess up.

I knew I had to let his Mom know about it though. She trust me COMPLETELY with her kid and often brings him to me to get stuff out of him. It works out well that she picks up the kids after school.

I knew it was going to be rough. Silentboy's whole family is from another country and this sort of stuff brings intense shame upon them. Of course, this isn't put onto them by me, that's just how they feel when their kids make mistakes.

I went down and let Silentboy's Mom know what happened. She was okay with what I had done. In fact, she thought I was too nice to him. This was a shock to me because she had been so vocal about what had happened at the other school. She asked me to go down and talk to Silentboy and find out WHY he had cheated.

So, I walked down and Mr. C. and I talked to him. Of course, Silentboy immediately started crying. I hate that. I mean, this is a kid that doesn't cry much, so it's hard for me to see him cry. But, I knew we had to get to the bottom of it.

We took about 5 minutes and all we could figure out was that he wanted to do well on the test and he didn't study so he thought the only way he could do well was by cheating. Of course, we got that through a guessing game. Silentboy has a really hard time expressing himself vocally, so I wasn't really sure if that was the whole story.

Then Silentboy's Mom came in. It was about another 10 minutes of talking, and finally she left with Silentboy. As she was about to leave though, she apologized for her son's behavior. I felt bad for her. I really did. She put a lot on her, when her kid just made a mistake. I truly believe Silentboy won't ever do that again.

We had a teacher's meeting after school, and I went back to my room and Silentboy and his family were back. They were there for another meeting on one of the other kids in the family, I think, but they stopped by my room.

Silentboy's Mother stated that all she could get out of him was that he was scared of the planner. I sit here now and still don't fully understand that statement. But, I hugged Silentboy, told him I loved him, and tomorrow is a new day.

To me it's over. I don't hold stuff over my student's heads.

I know Silentboy won't do it again.

And it really gave me a perspective of God looking down on us. He forgives us even more perfectly than I can ever forgive Silentboy. And once he forgives us it's over with. Life goes on.

We are loved very well.

Yes, it was a very good day.

I learned something new.

It's not a good day unless you learn something new.

I'll keep ya posted on more of my little life lessons.

Later!

Quotable Quotes

So, I entered the real world again today. I have to say, I enjoyed IHOP more, but hey, IHOP doesn't pay the bills, so I guess I'll join the real world again. :-)

I have a couple quotes I want to share from last week. In the world of teaching, there is always a story to share!

I have a new kid with Autism. He is a jewel. I really like him. He is very soft spoken, and genuinely nice. I am still getting to know him though. Each child with Autism has his or her own little quirks. My new kid, Ralph, takes everything literally. This is something I learned last Thursday during a math lesson.

I was teaching the kids about money, and how to line up decimal points on their papers. So, as I was teaching this skill, I used the kids in each scenario to make it more relevant to him.

So I chose Ralph. And I opened a can of worms by doing so...

Me: Ralph, today is your Birthday and you got $18 from Aunt Susie.
Ralph: But I don't have an Aunt Susie.
Me: It's okay, pretend you do.
Ralph: Ok.
Me: So your Aunt gives you $18, and I give you $12.
(To which Goofball says, will you give me $12? I just gave Goofball the evil stare.)
Me: So how much money do you have now?
The class then all figures the answer. Ralph looks down at his paper, figures it, and looks as me.
Me: So, how much did you get for your Birthday, Ralph?
Ralph: $30
Me: That's right! So, Ralph, what would you buy with $30 of Birthday Money?
Ralph: Well, I would buy something I can't have anymore.
Now at this moment I'm thinking, a Video Game, a movie, something along those lines. His answer caught me off-guard...
Ralph: PEDIASURE!

Welcome to the world of Autism. They definately live in their own little world...
Not to mention that the rest of the day he thought it was his Birthday. Our Autism teacher came down to me and asked me later in the day if it was Ralph's Birthday. Yeah, I just looked at her and said, "Well, you see, I opened that can of worms..." And after I told the story she replied with, "Well, he's telling the teachers and all the kids it's his Birthday today."

All because I wanted to include him in my lesson...

Next time, I'll be a lot more careful with what I ask him.

And, you know what?

I still think I have the best job on the planet.

Go figure...

Humbert

I've got my very own case of the Influenza A and haven't seen much but daytime TV and the inside of my own eyelids. This was just what I needed today. Adorable.

Where, In A Headspinning Move, I Speak Out In Favor Of The Duggars

I am a single, left leaning, non-churchgoing, public schoolteacher. How is it, then, that I find myself in this odd position?





I found myself the other day, defending the Duggar Family.





Lunch conversation the other day was dominated by a woman I'll call Solipsista.





Solipsista is, as her name would indicate, a bit self centered. In her second year of teaching, she's managed to figure out the entire profession--and probably the world. She's seen it all, done it all, and is thrilled to recount the entire journey in a very loud voice.





So the other day, Solipsista (herself an only child) is on some sort of tear about how parenthood should be regulated by the government.




"Can you believe that people so stupid are allowed to breed!? And that they have
more children than anyone!?! It's like those stupid Duggars, how are they allowed to do that!?!?



I normally glaze over when she goes into a rant. Actually, I usually glaze over when she speaks at all. This time, however, I had to respond.




"Allowed?"

"Yes! Someone should stop them!"

"So where do you propose this reproductive line be drawn?"

"Good point," a friend contributes "I'm one of five and my parents are
both
one of nine. Hope we'd all have made the cut."

"B-b-b-but it's just stupid for them to have so many kids, and they homeschool them!!"



Now, I realize that as a single, left leaning, non-churchgoing public schoolteacher, my role is to cringe and vomit. I can't. I don't. I respond to her in a way that defies much of my being as a single, left leaning, non-churchgoing, public school teacher.




"Well, they take care of the kids themselves, they don't have any debt, and they
make their own choices. Kids are born to families, you know. They're not born to
the state."



Now, I stand by that statement, I do. But I have to wonder if, given the chance, the Duggar family would defend my choices.

Granted, the Duggar family doesn't need me to validate their lives. Perhaps it's that belief that separates me from Solipsista. Still, it would gratify me deeply to see a TLC special where the whole clan pitches in to move Jana off the compound into a sweet one bedroom of her own. I'd like to imagine that they'd offer that sort of support.

Home at IHOP-KC

For the first time since OneThing, I am in the Prayer Room. I have REALLY missed this place. I feel at home here, in a way that can't be expressed enough in words. Misty led from 3-4 and I got more outta that hour than I've had since the conference. It's amazing how God can speak to His kids even as they sing out to Him.

It feels good to be home.

Really good.

Later!