Saturday, March 31, 2007
"This is one incident and everyone is making a big deal out of it," Futch said. "I never had a teacher complain to me, but I have heard them complain to each other."
First of all, it IS a big fucking deal (no pun intended) and he should at least pretend to be outraged and concerned about the emotional well being of kids that young engaging in sexual activity.
Secondly, it doesn't matter HOW the idiot hears of complaints, whether directly or indirectly, he should take them into consideration if they are supported by evidence in the number of incidences that take place in the school in any given week. One thing I can't stand in a school is a princpal who keeps his head in the sand or shove serious incidents under a rug rather than deal with the situation to the best interests of the students. If it weren't for the complaints and outrage of other adults, a lot of administrators would be so quick to bury crap like this faster than you can say smaller scale conspiracy theory.
Friday, March 30, 2007
"Is this in space?"
"Is this back in slavery?"
I claim absolutely no responsibility.
My husband is a letter carrier/mail man, and so if I'm able to give him a call during the day, he often chats with me using a Bluetooth ear piece. I would never be able to use that because I'd constantly feel the urge to draw attention to it so people didn't think I was a maniac gibbering to herself.
Anyway, I get to hear him on his rounds and occasionally hear people talking to him- "Hot enough for ya?" and "Oh ho ho, you can keep the bills, I don't want those!" or nonsensical ramblings of one of the neighborhood crackheads running a daycare out of her apartment are the most common things I tend to overhear.
What I often like to do is say completely obscene things to him while he's politely interacting with whomever has just approached him or else make remarks about specific things the person says, especially if they say something stupid.
One day, while I was chatting to my darling, I heard him ring a doorbell, so I said:
"Hello! I've got a big package... Just for you!" and laughed. I heard the door open and my sweetheart said, in his most cheery tone said:
"Hello! I've got a big package for you!" and I heard some excited woman's squeals follow. I'm such a dirty-minded perv, had my mailman said that, I wouldn't have missed a beat in responding with:
"That's what HE said."
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
I’d never really noticed her because she’s one of the few independent students who keeps to herself and never asks for help and pretty much has straight A’s in all classes. I was in her history class in the morning and was going over a study guide with one of my students who was seated right next to her when she started inching her desk towards us and seemed to be listening in, so I turned to accommodate her.
She inched away again.
Then back to us.
Then away again.
She wandered over to the window and the history teacher had to tell her to return to her seat. I didn’t think anything of this because I didn’t know her at all, and I thought the cute pajama pants she had around her neck were just an expression of some charming personality quirk.
Later on, I saw a locker that could have easily been the victim of an internal explosion with most of its contents spewed out onto the floor. It was hers.
After the kids were all gone, I was chatting to one of our security guards and she described a girl who was moving from seat to seat in the cafeteria. When asked what she was doing, the girl responded that she was going to class. She then wandered into the gym and started walking around it. The security guard followed her and asked what her name was. She looked at the security guard, then looked at the bottle of water in her hand, then answered in a voice that lacked any hint of a smart ass:
“Fuji.” She then slowly poured the contents of the bottle onto the floor.
She has yet to return to school, and I really do worry about the poor thing. I can’t imagine what kind of event would cause her to snap like that. I guess my day will come once I’ve been doing this job long enough…
MLP quickly learned that I was on his side, and I was delighted to see him begin to greet me openly in the hallways before I even got a "hello" and a wave out to him first. In class, if another student misbehaves, he looks at me, rolls his eyes, and we share a moment of calm amid the storm. I have always been curious about his home life, but never asked, preferring to maintain our subdued relationship as it was. I should have guessed I'd learn something about it now that I've requested to have him assessed by the school psychologist.
His father tried to shoot his mother while she was pregnant with him, he didn't succeed. His father then tried to shoot himself, botched the job, and gave himself a permenant speech impediment. MLP's mother tried to get him to open communications with his father again so MLP flew into a rage and threw his own X-Box out the window in protest. I can understand his reservations. People always seem to assume that bonding with family members is really important regardless of how horrific they are. I don't always agree. Family is NOT always best. In my own case, I should have given my father a second chance, but I would have a hard time convincing MLP to do just that.
Sometimes I wish I didn't know so much about my "little" guys.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Maybe this would be a good time to install metal detectors? I've seen enough kids freak out when they see what they think is a metal detector in the library (it detects smuggled books) and refuse to go through it to know that maybe it would be a good idea.
Further Update: A fight in the cafeteria and one of my favorite students balled up his fist and threatened to punch the math teacher I work with. He arrived late to class and the math teacher's abrupt attitude with him set him off. Sigh.
"A man got to protect his nuggets..." a passerby commented eloquently.
The history teacher I work with was already all over the situation and rather than waste time asking if the guy was okay, or even what had happened, he stood over him grimly to make sure none of the kids stepped on him.
I've always noted that nothing can bring together two or more men in empathy, solidarity, and support than when one of them gets hit in the testicles. Their faces adopt the look of men who have seen a buddy take a bullet in 'Nam.
When I later found out it was a student who towers over me, I considered suggesting to him that he join the circus, but I doubt he'd fully appreciate my reasoning.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Apparently, that's too difficult for people who are paid to be bus monitors in New York City. Little kids are being raped on the backs of buses and apparently a large number of these substantiated complaints have also gone missing. When did schools stop caring about the safety of kids?
My own place of work has documented that 13 doors are left unlocked for most of each day through which any angry parent, enraged child, or random loony could walk in off the street, guns blazing. I also know damn well that they won't do a thing until something actually happens. I'm sure they'll put on a great show of sympathy for the families involved and generate a lot of money for the relatives of the deceased, but God forbid they should preempt something like that even when they've got the facts staring them in the face.
I have to feel a little nervous when I heard that the one armed guy (um, he has two arms, I mean he's packing) in our building is thinking of looking for work elsewhere because he says he knows of things- threats, events, weapons being found- that we teachers have no idea about and HE'S SCARED! Dude! You're the guy with the taser and gun!
There's little I despise more than people who bitch about a system then don't offer a solution, so that's not what I'm trying to do. I know we can't stop the spread of the philosophy of violence from generation to generation but I KNOW we are capable of stopping a lot of this before it even starts. I KNOW teachers are doing their part because I hear of, see, and occasionally assist in many heroic moments where a situation is diffused or a child is dragged off before any more blood can be spilled...
As I was typing the last sentence above, I just got another e-mail that yet another fight has broken out and another kid we teach got beaten up pretty badly.
Something more HAS to be done. Beyond all the basics of better security measures and harsh punishments, right from the start we need to stop creating confident idiots with all ego and no skills and start prioritizing independence. If we have kids who are expected to be more responsible, they will develop more well-founded confidence in their abilities then these dolts who are frustrated by their own limitations and have a false sense of confidence built up over years of being applauded every time they showed up to school at all, didn't beat the shit out of someone and snored more quietly than usual in class. If we set the expectations higher, they CAN reach them. We just need to abandon our fear of hurting their poor little egos for the sake of fostering a sense of independence and achievement they can be proud of.
I'm not saying this will cure all ills, but it'll sure knock out a few of them. We can't change their home environment, but we can certainly set our school environment to not take this kind of crap. On the other side:
- Counselors need to teach coping strategies to all age groups since they don't learn this at home.
- Teachers need to make sure they're doing all they can do to establish the kind of environment where the kids know that they'll get into deep shit if they dare get into a fight and establish a sense of safety in their own rooms. Also, I know of teachers who (either accidentally or purposefully) set kids off and promote an aggressive mood. Those teachers need to stop fueling the fire. (Thankfully, I don't know many of these types of teachers.)
- Administrators need to stop hiding their heads in the sand until something dreadful happens and only THEN take action.
- Getting a little vacation from school should not be the consequence of getting into a fight. Community service and then far more serious consequences for repeat offenders should be established. As funny as it would be to try to fine the families of kids who fight, that would only exacerbate things further, I imagine. But damn, think of all the money you'd make for the school at first!
We're not doing enough to make these kids feel safe and it makes me sick to my stomach.
For the teachers who do their part (you know who you are) : well done. You make me proud. But without support from everyone else, you're going to be breaking up fight after fight and risk getting seriously hurt in the process of holding back the tide. We have no idea how many knives are found on students. We only get told about the ones that teachers already know/hear about and so the administration is forced to admit it and not sweep the situations under the rug, which they are so wont to do. I know of plenty of things that they have swept under the rug and it really disappointed me. I was even asked to spill my guts to a news station once, but in fidelity I joined in the cover-up.
I'm going to keep an eye on our armed guy. As soon as he jumps ship, I'm going to look into getting a bulletproof blouse.
UPDATE: Two more fights broke out since I wrote this post. One was bloody enough to close down a hallway.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I'm just sorry I didn't get to see it...
"Ain't Juliet the one with the long hair? You know, and the dude climbed her hair?"
You can rest assured, tax-paying citizens of the United States, that we will set them straight.
Anyway, thankfully those days are gone, but they're not forgotten as you can see with this heat sensitive paint. They also make a wall paint, which would look vile if you had kids putting their warm paw and butt prints all over the living-room. Guests would think you've got brats running rampant with paint.
And you know damn well if you had a car painted with their heat sensitive paint that some joker in the neighborhood would be sure to make a rude impression just before you leave the house for work and you'll be praying the air is warm enough to erase all evidence of the penis-shaped mark on your door. Or is that just something I would do?
Class. Pure class.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
Why is everyone fumbling around like the Three Stooges over this one? Why are we using words like "outrage" and "condemn" when we should be carrying out strategies and plans?
The UN has to be one of the most ineffectual organizations I've ever seen in the face of enormous crimes committed against humanity.
"Reports say he was able to identify himself to police only after a rubber ball had been removed from his mouth."
It's that kind of writing that makes for great journalism!
Friday, March 09, 2007
I don't even get why number 7 is in there.
1. Smoked pot -- $10
2.Did acid -- $5
3. Ever had sex at church -- $25
4.Woke up in the morning and did not know the person who was next to you -- $40
5.Had sex with someone on MySpace -- $25
6.Had sex for money -- $100
7.Ever had sex with the a Puerto Rican -- $20
8.Vandalized something -- $20
9.Had sex on your parents' bed -- $10
10.Beat up someone -- $20
11.Been jumped -- $10
12.Crossed dressed -- $10
13.Given money to stripper -- $25
14.Been in love with a stripper -- $20
15.Kissed some one who's name you didn't know -- $0.10
16.Hit on some one of the same sex while at work -- $15
17.Ever drive drunk -- $20
18.Ever got drunk at work, or went to work while still drunk -- $50
19.Used toys while having sex -- $30
20.Got drunk, passed out and don't remember the night before -- $20
21.Went skinny dipping -- $5
22.Had sex in a pool -- $20
23. Kissed someone of the same sex -- $10
24. Had sex with someone of the same sex -- $20
25. Cheated on your significant other -- $10
26. Masturbated -- $10
27. Cheated on your significant other with their relative or close friend -- $20
28. Done oral -- $5
29. Got oral -- $5
30. Done / got oral in a car while it was moving -- $25
31. Stole something -- $10
32. Had sex with someone in jail -- $25
33. Made a nasty home video -- $15
34. Had a threesome -- $50
35. Had sex in the wild -- $20
36. Been in the same room while someone was having sex -- $25
37. Stole something worth over more than a hundred dollars -- $20
38. Had sex with someone 10 years older -- $20
39. Had sex with someone under 21 and you are over 27 -- $25
40. Been in love with two people or more at the same time -- $50
41. Said you love someone but didn't mean it -- $25
42. Went streaking -- $5
43. Went streaking in broad daylight -- $15
44. Been arrested -- $5
45. Spent time in jail -- $15
46. Peed in the pool -- $0.50
47. Played spin the bottle -- $5
48. Done something you regret -- $20
49. Had sex with your best friend -- $20
50. Had sex with someone you work with at work -- $25
51. Had anal sex -- $80
52. Lied to your mate -- $5
53. Lied to your mate a bout the sex being good -- $25
I also fondly remember (remember fondly? Boldly go... Go boldly... Hmmm) the time my huge brother, who has served in Afghanistan, (AGAINST the terrorists, in case you were wondering) came out of the bathroom with the first towel he could find wrapped around his waist (pink, frilly, one of mum's) with a look of sheer terror on his face. Then this man who knew various ways to end a person's life quickly and quietly stared past me and said:
"A six foot cockroach just landed on my head. In the shower."
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Social Butterfly: Is he slow?
The class collectively groan and roll their eyes. My eyes go right along with theirs. Social Butterfly looks annoyed.
Social Butterfly: Well, how was I supposed to know? I didn't read it.
TeacherLady: I know. You had it read to you.
The class chuckles. I won that pointless battle.
I'd rather it be read to them and allow them the opportunity to be exposed to beautiful literature rather than what they would do if we dared leave them to read it themselves. Obviously, I wish we could raise the standards and expectations to the point that ninth graders would actually read at least part of the book themselves along with teacher guidance, but eh...
Monday, March 05, 2007
I plan on drawing my beautiful daughter some time before she's one, so I'd better do it soon because the way she's going she'll be in college next week.
"Ohhh." Pause. "You must be very patient. I couldn't do it."
Usually, I'm quite a patient person who only tends to appear frazzled when I fear I may forget something, but this gig has made me grow some major gray hairs.
Here's an example. I have a student who is very capable but is unmedicated for his inability to focus. I can sit two inches from him and look him in the eye and ask him if he understands the assignment and he'll still be miles away and not really see me. At first, I was concerned he was having minor seizures, but apparently not.
We've had a conference with his mother about his laziness coupled with his inability to focus and it's driving us all insane. I watched him today in math class and was glad that I was never like him because I would never have survived in my own school.
The students were told which assignment to do, he had the paper in front of him, he had a sharpened pencil in his hand (not a frequent occurrence), he was ready. He stared at the clean blackboard for about two minutes. He then looked down at his paper. Oh good, I thought. His eyes then dropped lower to the tag hanging off his jeans. He fumbled with it for a little while. He looked at his paper again and put his pencil to it. Yes! I thought. He picked the pencil back up again and inspected the point. He then pulled out a notebook and tore out a page. He pinched it in half and then slowly pressed along the crease. He set it down below his assignment. He looked at it again and moved his pencil to the notebook paper, looking at the first question. He heard a noise behind him and turned around. Bear in mind that he did this all at about the speed of an emaciated sloth with only one arm stuck to a very sticky pole. A good 8 minutes has passed and he'd done fuck all. I began to realize my morbid curiosity wasn't helping.
TeacherLady: Spaceman! You know how to do these, I've already helped you on them. Get started, PLEASE!
Spaceman: Wha..? Oh. Yeah, yeah, I know how to do these.
It usually takes at least four of these prompts to get him to actually start. He always needs more to keep going. I look at my calendar again to see how long until spring break. To heck with spring break, when does the summer holiday start???
I-Don't-Need-No Stinkin-Meds-Kid: I broke my knuckle. Look at it, it's busted.
TeacherLady: You look fine.
IDNNSMK: No, look, see? It's bleeding.
TeacherLady (squinting): I'd need a microscope to see any blood. Anyway, you'd be in a lot more pain if it were broken.
IDNNSMK: Nah, I've been knocked out and didn't feel nothin' (I bet you didn't). I would't cry or nothin' if I broke it.
TeacherLady: Well then just go sit down. Get out of the hallway or someone might bump into it.
IDNNSMK: If that happened, I'd just give him a swing on the right.
TeacherLady: Uhu. Only that was your LEFT.
He laughs and it makes me smile because it's the first time he's ever acknowledged the possibility of being wrong. Finally!
I was reminded of the times my uncle and I used to laugh about the silliest things as we drove across the British landscape, stopping whenever we felt like it and roaming around some charming historical site. Once, we imagined Chicken Kievs in their natural habitats, nibbling on garlic cloves. Another time, we giggled about hamsters in their natural environment of the great plains of Africa, taking down their prey: the antelope. And then there was the soup. If there was primordial soup, there must have been primordial croutons.
I haven't had a nice long drive with my uncle in years.
Friday, March 02, 2007
In reality, I'm just jealous because I haven't picked up one of my drawing pencils and created something in a very long time...
I think Hollywood is going to have such a hard time fighting groups like Pirate Bay in Sweden that the only way they can get the profit margin up would be to pay their actors less... If they were paying them tens of millions because that's what they were worth, and they're no longer worth as many millions because of a drop in sales, then is it naive of me to assume they should lower their pay?
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Serbia- Two elderly women who are the only inhabitants of a remote village have gained cult status after refusing to talk to each other for years, trading insults via the press instead. Ruzica Markovic said of her neighbor ljubica Paunovic: 'I am having the newspaper specially delivered to me just so I can find out what she has been saying about me.'
I can just imagine... "Ruzica is a smelly whore and her goats all have syphilis. Further details in tomorrow's edition."
I'd buy that paper!
Classrooms first held the belief that the less capable kids would either sink or swim in the regular classes. Kids weren't identified as having special needs or disabilities, but were certainly noted as being less than "all there". Then the move involved their being taught in an isolated environment (usually in broom closets or boiler rooms!) and the expectations for them would be all over the place depending on more factors than you can shake a ruler at. Then the move went towards putting them into the regular classes or special ed classes based on their ability, but with individualized attention/support either way. Kids could be included in regular classes whenever the lesson plan involved an activity they'd be capable of participating in, and it made for a nice little outing for them.
Now the move is yet again, to shove them all into regular classes, regardless of whether or not it's the best move in the interests of that specific child. I thought we were arguing that one size did not fit all, and yet the assumption is being made that inclusion works for everyone. The result is a lot of scared, upset kids who can barely write their own names being put into regular science and social studies classes in front of many staring kids, having their anxieties magnified by how uncomfortable everyone feels when they start to get upset. The teachers try desperately to "include" the kids by creating a whole separate curriculum that the kids actually capable of doing and, more often than not, has little to do with what everyone else is doing.
I hate to break it to the world of special ed., but putting a kid in the same geographical vicinity of regular ed. kids is NOT inclusion. If anything, it's a sad example of EXCLUSION whereby they can't participate in most class activities, they have no idea what the classroom teacher is talking about, and the rest of the kids are doing their best to ignore them and are hoping that they haven't been placed in a special ed. class by mistake, because that's what it's starting to look like.
And I'm not talking about kids with dyslexia, or even mild mental retardation... I'm talking about kids who still require toileting skills, kids who will most likely never live an independent life, kids who could benefit far more from learning about the chemicals found in home cleaning solutions than learning about the periodic table of elements. If anything, I feel we're perpetuating a gross disservice to these kids by taking time away from their learning life skills in order to meet some well-meaning but totally baloney political move that makes non-handicapped people feel better about themselves that they're letting those special kids have what everyone else is having.
Here's an example. I have a kid who knows enough about math that he can add, subtract, divide, and multiply with a calculator. His disability is that he is learning disabled, and so based NOT ON HIS ABILITY but on his label, I was told he had to be put into the regular math class in which they would cover solving systems of equations, graphing inequalities, and beginning trigonometric equations. He can't read a clock. He can't calculate change unless you tell him which number to put into the calculator first, but his label and not WHO HE IS determined which class he should be in. I explained all this and was told outright "we are NOT moving backwards. He has to take the state required graduation test and this content will be in that test."
"Er. But he doesn't have to PASS that test. He just has to take it." Politics. I love it.
"Yes, but he still has to take it."
Fine. Whatever. I called the mother of the student and apologized, saying I was unable to move him into a more suitable math class. She complained to the board of education. I got an e-mail from the same lady who had the above conversation with me stating:
"Why isn't he in a special ed. math class? Make the move immediately."
She had forgotten our whole conversation and all my pleading e-mails.
So the lesson is this... It doesn't matter if we don't teach these kids what they need to know in order to build upon skills. It doesn't matter what's best for the child- Just stick the kid in a class he'll never need in order to be better prepared for a test he doesn't even have to pass. Faaantastic.