Disclaimer: Some content is inappropriate for readers under 18 years of age or those offended by swear words, references to sexuality, atheism, and libertarianism.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Justice was served.

It's only a shame that he didn't suffer the way he had made so many suffer.

Friday, December 29, 2006

And the Most Annoying Student Award goes to...

The same student I mentioned below in the history class found an annoying new trick a few days later.

Humming. Really loud. In the room were three adults... The regular history teacher, the college student, and myself. The teacher asked her to quit, so she started doing this:

Annoying student: MMMMMM... Oh shi... Sorry, sorry. Can't help it. MMMMMM.... Oh sh... Sorry, sorry, you see? I just can't help it. MMMMM... Oh there I go again!

I quietly walked over after about five straight minutes of this.

Teacherlady: Can I help you?

Student: No. I don't need no help.

Teacherlady: Well, it's just that you've been asked a number of times to stop humming, your friends aren't laughing anymore, so I figured you were doing it to get adult attention. Do you want attention, because you can just ask for it.

Student: I don't want your attention! I don't want to talk to any of you!

Teacherlady: Oh okay. Well, we just thought you wanted our attention. Next time, don't hesitate to raise your hand.

Again, she was silent for the rest of the class. I love my job. Sometimes, I even get to teach more than just manners.
Sometimes.
Sigh.

You have no one to blame... But your teacher.

Obnixious female student walks into history class late. The class is currently being run by a college student who's training to be a teacher.

Teacher: Late.

Student: Yeah, cuzu YOU.

The teacher was busy getting organized for the class and was unfortunately used to taking crap from this particular girl who seems to think her seat in the back of the class grants her the anonymity to say whatever the hell she wants and get away with it. The class' usual teacher would NEVER take that kind of crap. He's very stoic and professional. This young would-be teacher just wants to survive the bell.

The student then proceeds to explain to the whole class that she was late because of stupid teachers like her. If the teacher hadn't given her the essay from homework she wouldn't have had to go to her locker to get it and that's what made her late. She went on for long enough. I did my very quiet walk over, I'm really good at those. It makes the whole area I'm heading to go absolutely quiet, wondering who I've caught now, since I always manage to catch kids that the classroom teacher doesn't see.

Teacherlady: Are you honestly going to blame the teacher because you're late, because you couldn't get from your locker to this room in the appropriate amount of time?

Student: Yes.

Teacherlady: That sounds like a child's excuse. Grow up. I'm a woman and I can admit when I make a mistake. It's about time you became a woman too. It's okay to make mistakes, it's childish to blame someone else for yours.

She didn't make a peep for the rest of that day.

Glands of the mammary variety.

Yet another fun filled event involving a student with an emotional disturbance. Sadly, he's one of the ones that responds very well to medication... When he's on it. When on his meds, he raises his hand, stays silent during the lecture portion of the bell, and writes down all the information given to him. When he's not on his meds... Well... Here's an example:

Student: Oh my GOD.

Teacherlady: What, Student?

Student: Oh MY GOD, that Jessica Simpson's hot.

Teacherlady: I was hoping you had a science question.

Student: Oh and her titties...! (He proceeds to make a "motorboat" sound)

Teacherlady: That's not appropriate. Call me over when you have a science question. (I leave his general vicinity, which upsets him because he rather likes me. To be honest, I like him too, though I wouldn't trust him to behave well around his own grandmother.)

Student: Oh no, miss, miss. I'll be appropriate (Yeesh, we use that word so much that kids recognize it as a perfect buzz word), aw shit.

Minutes pass, and I continue to give him stern looks across the room and each time he gets a little angry with himself that he's disappointed me again. He eventually raises his hand. I walk over, trying not to look cynical.

Teacherlady: Do you need any help? (Boy, is THAT the million dollar question.)

Student proceeds to lift his rump off the chair and humps the air in some attempt to be funny and then starts to ask a legitimate question. I've already started to walk away.

Student: Aww, no miss, I have a question, really... Miss Teacherlady? Fuck.

Female student: You nasty, boy. She don't wanna see that crap. You need to go to church.

Student: I go to church... Sometimes. I was baptized.

Female student: Did you no good, huh?

I try with all my might to stifle my smile. I fail, so I pretend to help a student behind me.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Angry.

You know what really pisses me off? People who criticize something without offering a possible solution. Okay, so the war in Iraq sucks. Okay, a lot of people don't agree with what Bush decided was the best course of action in a "fight against terror", but what do the hecklers suggest as a workable solution? Talk? Tried that. What about Saddam? If you honestly think it was a bad idea taking him out, tell that to a Kurd who's lost everything and whose race's genocide was most definitely ignored by the rest of the world and the useless excuse for an organization known as the United Nations.

I'll admit that I don't like how many are still suffering long after the dictator of Iraq has fallen, but he had to be removed. I don't even care what the motive was in his downfall, in the interest of humanity or some bizarre scheme to get oil- the mass execution of innocents had to end. I know that innocents continue to pay the ultimate price, but if you happen to know a beautifully surgical procedure of war in which no innocents have to die, please tell me what it is...??? Do you have a bomb that only kills bad people (Oingo Boingo reference there, sorry)? Would talking really stop the suicide bombers, the genocidal maniacs, the terrorist cells from sprouting all over the world like ugly weeds? A reasonable discussion requires the participation of reasonable contributors, and the guy who thinks that murdering innocent people will lead him to some pretty place with a bunch of bimbo virgins all falling over themselves for a piece of his action isn't exactly working with all engines running.

Of course war is stupid. Of course settling an argument by ending the life of your opponent is absurd and lacking in civilized graces, but that is what humanity is. We're limited, we're fearful, we're ignorant, and even if one side attempts to take the higher ground they still have to deal with a side that plays dirty and the descent begins again.

Sure, freeze yourself until humanity has gained a higher level of thinking, but know that the time ain't now, baby. The majority of us are still savages who don suits or hide under the guise of religious mores in the hopes of fooling others and ourselves that we're better.

Persepolis


I have recently finished reading Persepolis and really enjoyed it. I look forward to the second part. It was funny to see illustrations of experiences I went through as a child growing up in a Muslim country when I knew I didn't fit in with their ideals. While the experiences I had never reached the horrific magnitude that Marjane Satrapi 's did, I felt the same dichotomy she did.

It really is worth reading and if you know nothing of recent Iranian history, it will fill in some gaps, albeit from one person's perspective. It's charming and will bring a smile to your face at times too.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Help Line.

I think I've lost count of the stories about how ineffectual our child abuse help line is. For those of you who don't know, it's a help-line for allegations of suspected child abuse and they supposedly investigate such claims and keep kids safe.
Here's what actually happens.

Another special ed. teacher suspects a child on her caseload is being beaten by her father. She calls the help line. They ask how old the child is.
15.
"That's within the range of normal behavior..." They don't investigate.
It takes until her senior year for the girl to admit to her coach that her father has been raping her ever since her mother was out of the picture and in fact, she was made to sleep in the marital bed every night. She confessed in fear of the fact that her father was trying to stop her leaving for college (she got a full athletic scholarship) because then he wouldn't have her to "enjoy". She later said that school was the one place she felt safe. If the help line had only listened to the teacher, she could have been saved at least four years of the abuse.

More recently, a colleague of mine (another special ed. teacher) found out from his student that she has been molested many times by the uncle she has to live with. He touches her and she often wakes up with him standing over her. So her special ed. teacher calls the help line. They say that since the uncle hasn't actually had full intercourse with her, there's nothing to be done. Feel free to puke at any time.

And another thing. The help line will actually ignore a call if we ask a school counselor to call on our behalf. They actually led piddling protocol get in the way of saving a child.

WILL EVERYONE PLEASE STOP IGNORING THE TEACHERS??! We may not be the brightest sparks in society, but we know children and we know when they're not right. We can tell within a few minutes of being near one of our kids that something is going on.

I understand that the help line may get a lot of calls, a lot of them from spoiled little shits who think not getting a second X-Box 360 for the game room is tantamount to neglect, but how can you sleep at night saying that because the uncle didn't penetrate his niece, you're not going to do anything about it?

Merry Christmas, you heartless bitch.

Out of the mouths of babes...

The latest fad of the season the administrators are adopting (for as long as they remember to) is to drop in to various classrooms and observe for five minutes in order to see if certain expectations are being carried out by the teachers. One patricular administrator is not cared for very much by students nor faculty alike. On her first day observing in a particular classroom, she rubbed an emotionally disturbed student the wrong way by glaring at him.
"Bitch, you better stop mugging me..." We never know how to handle the emotionally disturbed since we're required to let them participate in general classes even though we all know damn well most of them can't handle it.
Anyway, on a second observation date, the aforementioned student saw the return of the principal and announced to the class:
"Guys, you better shut up or the bitch is going to try to fire her!"
What a knight in rusty armor he is!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My solution.

Thankfully, I will never be a figure of great influence in terms of running a country, but if I were Queen of Teacherlady Land, the following would be in place:

1- Optional public boarding schools with high expectations of the students (the only way the children living in slums/ghettos will ever have a hope of getting out of them is to know HOW to live outside of them and do it successfully).

2- Job training centers that provide day care by instructors and students of child development/psychology/education.

While people may argue that taxes would go through the roof for these facilities, I argue that the outcome will be fewer people reliant on a welfare state, fewer criminals to pay for, and thus taxes will be spent on proactive instead of reactive measures. I would also be a lot more discriminating about how tax dollars are spent.

3- High school students should be required to participate in some sort of program to benefit the community or an international charity.

4- Welfare support would be limited to five years per person and unless they are handicapped to the point of not being able to work, the job training they receive at the center should help them get a job. Also, welfare support in terms of a check should not rise with the number of children born to the household, day care is still available for free and food stamps (that can only be used on FOOD and DRINK DAMMIT) can rise with the number of children only.

5-Prostitution should be legalized so that their abuse can be reduced considerably. Pimps can get a real job instead of leaching off of others.

6- Abortions should only be used in situations of rape, if the mother's life is in danger, or if the child is clinically determined to be unable to survive long beyond birth or in-utero.

7- All parks should include fruit bearing trees for the hungry.

8- Instead of dumping huge amount of farm produce to maintain prices, excess harvests can be gathered by charitable organizations and distributed through shelters.

9- Taxes should be hugely off-set by foreign investments and any profits made by government organizations such as the post-office.

10- It should be compulsory for prisoners to earn their keep and only through doing jobs earn any sort of privileges (books, or seeing the news on TV).

I shall periodically add more to my own concept of an Utopian, naive, surprisingly socialist TeacherLady Land.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Progress... I guess.

The first electoral process is underway in the United Arab Emirates and while that sounds quite progressive, one has to take into account that the voters number less than 1% of the Emirati population (obviusly the high number of immigrants who do not have citizenship are excluded) and each voter was hand selected by the government, as were the candidates.
I'm reminded of how we fool our students into believing they have a choice between two things that we want them to do. Either way, we win.

Can't take heat, Mr. Ahmadinejad? Get out of Iran!

Apparently, the students of Iran are treading where many brave students of the past have dared to tred in the name of justice. They braved to take the path of vociferous disapproval of their political leader, in this case, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They now fear for their lives and I imagine their families aren't too safe either. Say what you like about the American government, but you can rest assured that at least you can say it without the threat of your life being on the line, or your kids being shot to death outside their school, or your toddler's legs irrepairably crippled for life.
What f*cking low-life uses kids to get revenge? How can a political leader be taken seriously if that's the course of action he takes in defense of critisism? Only megalomaniacs who have no interest beyond their own gain take personal offense at negative comments rather than prioritizing the needs of his people. Only an arrogant leader is more concerned about his appearance as a world threat than a positive contribution to the lives of his own people.

No government is perfect. We are an imperfect race, with limited resources, and are prone to err, so we do what we can with what we've got, trying to make as few inevitable mistakes. The least we can do is not murder our own people for speaking their minds.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Stupid kids fight back.

Okay, so I'm not entirely grateful for all stupid kids. Today in a science class, the kids got their grade reports detailing why they have the grades that they do. The most stupid (and hence the most vociferous) students were outraged at their grades and announced that the teacher is trying to "play" them and that the teacher is to blame. After they were done shouting, they went back to what they always do... Chat and nap.

It's one thing to do absolutely nothing to help your grade, it's another to have the half-wit balls to blame the teacher.

What kind of self-entitled monsters has this welfare state/society created? I'm so tired of dealing with kids whose parents let them get away with murder at school and teach their kids to blame others first and never take responsibility for their own actions (or lack thereof). I'm tired of hearing kids boast of all the illegal ways they'll make more money than me (though if you figure in either the length of their possible jail sentence or shortened lifespan, it works out that I'll make more in my lifetime), and I'm tired of kids getting everything done for them out of fear. Fear of being fired, fear of parent retaliation, fear of what the student will do if he's not being spoon-fed the answers. It all propogates it, I know, but it's about time they learned to give back to society.

So why the hell don't the teachers do anything about this, I hear you say?

Let's say a teacher takes it upon him or herself to be mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. So the kids fail. So they get up and throw a chair at the teacher or another student (happens a lot). So the kid gets sent to the office. So they have a little vacation for 10 days, miss loads of content, come back even more confused and angry and we start all over again. In fact, it gets worse.
You must be an awful teacher. Look at those grades, look at the discipline issues. Maybe teaching isn't your thing.

Or, you try to be the teacher of the year. You design an amazing, interactive, inspirational lesson. The kid comes in and puts his head on the desk and sleeps. You nudge him awake, he yells at you to get out of his f*cking face. You try to calm him down in some pathetic semblance of maintaining control of the situation in front of his peers. He gets angrier that you still haven't left him alone. You send him to the office, but it takes 10 minutes for him to actually leave the room because he's stopping to shove chairs and yell at you. Or, you do leave him to sleep and he fails just the same.

And the government's idea (and this predates Bush) is to make teachers more accountable.
Thanks. That'll make everything all better. So glad to know it was us teachers all along.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thank God for stupid kids Part thumanya.

Kid traces his hand on his desk. Kid traces his hand again, this time with his middle finger extended. Kid is huge. So is the traced hand. He tries to blame a much smaller kid. Teacher places kid's hand in the outline and it fits like a glove. Kid laughingly admits he did it, then two minutes later tries again to blame it on another kid.
Apparently, not only was Teacher born yesterday, but with mental deficiencies in the reasoning department.
Sigh.

It's the most wonderful time... to bitch.

Ahh, it's that time again. The air is crisp, the leaves crunchy beneath our feet, and the whine of easily offended cry-babies rings in your ear like nails on a chalkboard.
Apparently, the rabbi who complained about the lack of menorahs in the Kennedy airport wasn't trying to have the existing Christmas trees removed, but just wanted his religion represented too.
I don't think I'd ever feel it my place to walk into someone else's establishment and request (at their expense) that they cater to my beliefs. If I had any overpowering religious beliefs, I'd hope that I wouldn't place so much stock in material objects that I would only be happy if they were on display.
If you want to look at it as a symbolic geture of respect to another religion by representing it, then let's think reasonably... The majority of people in America are Christian (that includes all followers of Christ in my book, so don't argue semantics, I'll just get pissed off). Like it or not, the majority is the one that is representated most often in all media and forums (fora?). In Muslim countries, one would feel rather foolish demanding a Christmas tree be posted in a public space. Actually, I'm rather proud of how open-minded a lot of Arab countries are in the fact that Christmas decorations often adorn the malls and shop windows as well as the honor of keeping the commercial tradition alive.
In fact, I just heard from someone who recently stayed at the Jumeirah Essex House (a swanky Dubai-owned hotel in New York that would probably throw out scum like me) that despite its Muslim ownership have their lobby decorated with Christmas trees AND menorahs! God bless Lady Commercialism, she knows no borders!

Snatch.

A couple of years ago, I learned the best game ever to play when bored and in the company of friends. Basically, you take the word "snatch" in it's most graphic sense of the word and substitute it into known movie titles to create the names of films you wish they made.

Demonstration to follow:

The Big Snatch.
The Pursuit of Snatch.
Raiders of the Lost Snatch.
The Usual Snatches.
It's a Wonderful Snatch.
Million Dollar Snatch.
Finding Snatch.
3 Men and a Snatch.
Lethal Snatch.
Dances with Snatch.


You get the point. It's far funnier when you're coming up with these among friends. Feel free to add some of your favorites.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Kids and bullets shouldn't mix.

The recent slaughter of three boys in Gaza brings me back to the ugly truth that adults who should know better keep dragging the children into their bloody messes.
I certainly don't see brutality as blatant as that, but I've taught a kid who came to school bleary-eyed because he had to spend the night in a bath-tub for fear of being struck by a stray bullet in some sort of fight that was taken to the streets. Pity the children... Northern Ireland, Palestine, Iraq... We should be ashamed that there are even more to that list.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Look out Hollywood...!

I've been inspired by a recent post on Sandmoney's blog to devise a whole plethora of Arab remakes of Hollywood classics...

Seven Brides for Two Brothers
In The Heat of the Burqa
Lock Stock and Two Smoking Sheeshas
How I Learned To Stop Thinking and Love the Bomb

I'll add more as they come to me. Feel free to contribute your own.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

You're a RACIST!

The high school I work at is about 50-50 black and white, with a sprinkling of other races thrown in (yes, I do know enough math to know they can't be exactly 50-50 with more races added on top of that, I said "about"). As teachers, we are given classes on cultural sensitivity to the effect that we realize that certain behaviors coming from black kids are "cultural norms" and should not be perceived as inappropriate behavior (eg. shouting).
Fine. Whatever, once I get into my classroom I can set whatever expectations I feel are apporpriate and have my kids aspire towards them. I happen to believe that all kids can be capable of good behavior if they have the will and desire to do so and a teacher capable of guiding them towards it. What I can't stand is the learned helplessness these kids have developed because of continously sliding expectations. For God's sake, they only have to get a 2.75 or above to get on honor roll now!!! They have to get 46% or higher to pass the math portion of the graduation test!!! I'm pretty certain we'll soon give them passing grades simply for turning up to school and not killing anyone.
Anyway, back to the race issue. Today I was in a history class in which the students were given a list of events and they had to write them down in order and briefly describe the significance of each event. Everything was right there in the textbook. No real thought involved until you had to decide which month comes before which (THAT posed a huge problem. One student who does NOT have special needs asked me which came first, July or September). A student was merrily chatting away, as usual, and was talking about inappropriate things so the teacher directed him and his partner (yes, they need a helping hand putting things in order) to another part of the room.
"You're racist. That's racist." He retorted, and then started spouting off in an imitation of Jesse Jackson, only he was using big words he didn't know the meaning of in an attempt to be comical, I guess. He and his partner moved to their new seats while he continued to complain about the plight of The Black Man. He went on to argue that black men always had their luggage searched first in an airport (HAH) and so on. He continued to not do his work. I leaned over to him and told him to get back to his assignment, but he kept on complaining quietly and chatting about other non-school related things.
It makes me want to puke thinking about his ancestors who really did struggle to gain some semblence of respect from their white counterparts and fought for the rights that their now ungrateful, lazy descendants make a mockery of and abuse. Obviously, not all of my black students are like this one, but you can bet that the ones who do avoid doing their work play the race card every time to explain their failures.
Oh hell, I'll admit it. I love playing the race card. I went into my job interview and ranted about the oppression of Arab women, the indignities we have endured, the opportunities taken right from under our nose and given to our brothers because we don't pack a johnson away in our pants...
Oh no wait. I just showed them my sterling college documents/grades, Dean's List awards, letters of reccommendation, portfolio, and told them why I'd make a damn good teacher. Silly me.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'll get you next time...!

It looks like Mr. Saddam Hussein may just evade his fate of hanging after all. Apparently there is a little publicized law in Iraq that forbids the execution of individuals over the age of 70. Mr. Hussein is filing an appeal and guess when his birthday is... April. And guess how old he is... That's right, children. Our favorite number... 69.
I hope he chokes on his birthday cake.