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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Joint Venture in Space... But Keep Your Ass Off Our Toilets.

Politicians ruin everything... Even poor astronauts trying to use the loo. Next I fully expect the suits to force them to draw lines over which the other countries' cosmonauts are not permitted to float.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Extras



(Note: If you don't know who Sir Trevor McDonald is, he's a news presenter on British television. And not really hot.)

I love the show Extras. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are a comedic duo who will go down in history alongside the likes of Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen, and Federline and Spears. Well, you know... We laugh at most of those.






Kate Winslet was absolutely hilarious and charming in the pilot episode. Here she is, following up after giving advice on how to talk dirty over the phone.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Kama Sutra isn't the Only Hot Thing to Come Out of India

Ladies and gents, I give you the gratuitous booby jiggling of the lovely ladies of Mangal Pandey: The Rising. There are much classier bits in the film, but I think we can all appreciate something in this scene:

Minty Fresh!

Whenever we've got kids failing a whole quarter, we have them fill out a form that asks them why they think they're failing and what they might do or need to remedy that... In response to why this one particular student may be failing, he responded that he "wasn't doing his assmints".

I'm suddenly reminded of the frequently used fake swear word on B3ta... "Cuntymints". What a great expletive. I must start using it in casual conversation with friends and strangers alike.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cakes I DON'T Want to See at My Baby Shower...


Thanks to Cake Wrecks I now know exactly what I don't want to see at my baby shower... The top one just looks a little creepy... Is the baby going to burst out of my belly button like something out of Alien? Since this is my second baby, I've asked my friends not to make a big deal... I just want an excuse for us all to eat sweet things. It amuses me to give my fetus a sugar rush and feel her jostle around in there.
I'm ashamed to say I'm still struggling for a name for my second daughter. My main criteria is that she be named after a powerful female, either fictional/mythological/literary, or historical... I just don't want to give birth before I even know what to name this poor child... If you have any suggestions, feel free.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Making My Brain Hurt.

As I mentioned in my last post, they've begun Shakespeare in English class and I've already heard a quote that would make the bard weep and forced me to try to not choke on my own vomit...

"What language do they be usin'?"

Faaantastic.

Also making me want to stab my brain with a sharpened Q-tip are some of the inane comments I get about the fact that I look like I'm concealing a small country under my shirt. My "favorite" comes from The Little House on the Prairie Lady (I swear to God, this woman is unreal... She looks like she's out of another freaking time period and well past her sell-by date at that). This is what she feels she has to say every time she sees me:

"Haven't you had that baby yet?"

The last time she said this, I decided to change my response from a polite, smiling "not yet!" to "Actually, I DID have the baby, this is all me now. Got to lay off those donuts." Another teacher nearby snorted and I went on my merry way.

I've stopped being polite altogether when my one student keeps asking over and over to "touch the baby". I've told him to stop asking to touch me because it's getting kinda creepy. I'm not crossing a line in sensitivity... This kid tries to smell teachers' hair and clothing. I've tried many, many times to approach the subject carefully so as not to hurt his feelings, but at the end of the day, maybe it just takes a little tough love to get this kid to avoid being arrested some day in the future.

Speaking of which, a colleague of mine saved a newspaper clipping reporting the arrest of a student I used to have. I don't read the small local papers, so I've probably missed plenty of others like it. At least he wasn't one that I felt I had "saved", which would have depressed me even more. It was an article that was a few months old, so he's already back in school (he's 19 and still hasn't got all his credits, but at least he hasn't given up!!)

I often think about the ones who were removed from school or dropped out and wonder how they're doing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Moment to Pause...

Holy moly. Okay. So I've almost finished all my paperwork so I don't have to dump any of it on my poor substitute teacher, I've finished the two online classes I was taking, I'm working on making my pathetic contribution to cleaning out the basement before it gets refinished, I'm suffering even worse pain than I thought I would experience before the day I actually squeeze this little one out into the world... And my next college class starts in two weeks. I've come to the conclusion that deep down, I must really hate myself. I have my reasons for starting another college class that will clearly be interrupted by my giving birth to my second daughter, but they seem kinda stupid right now.

Thankfully, two things gave me a hearty laugh this past week to alleviate some of the self-imposed stresses. One was this, which I found through List of the Day (One of my absolute favorite blogs out there, you MUST check out the other posts, though some are NSFW). I was tired at the time I found it, so that only made me laugh even harder. Ever tried laughing really hard when your lungs and diaphragm are being squashed by an enormous fetus-filled uterus? I ended up sounding like an asthmatic walrus. A crying asthmatic walrus.

The second thing happened in science. Out of the blue, during a lecture on ionic bonds, a student asked my science teacher if he had a girlfriend. Thrown off by the sudden change in course, he paused, responded that he hasn't had a girlfriend since the start of the school year, then foolishly tried to get back to the lesson. You can't throw a tidbit like that out to these kids and expect it to end there! One student offered up her mother as a potential date (not the first time I've heard of this happening), another remarked that the science teacher's step-sister is cute and that he should date her.

Science Teacher: But... She's my step-sister!!

Student in the Back: "Step" don't count.

What's sweet, sad, and amusing is that this student was saying that in a well-meaning way. He sincerely wanted to hook up my colleague to his own step-sister. He saw nothing wrong with getting it on with your own step-sister. This isn't Virginia Andrews, people.


On another note, my English teacher had to leave the room to take an important call, so she left me to teach the introduction to Romeo and Juliet. I was in heaven. The kids were interested, participated, and I flatter myself that I did a fine job of bullshitting my way through the lesson given only one piece of paper I had only just been given with the characters of the play all listed along with some little tidbit facts I expanded upon. I had them predict the role of each character based on the one sentence description of each... I gave vivid descriptions of what it must have felt like to be in the audience of the Globe and the sort of clientele it attracted...

I miss teaching. I really do. My role as a special ed. teacher who supports kids in regular classrooms has reduced me to the role of a glorified nanny- making sure they're behaving themselves, that they're getting their homework done, retaking or correcting tests... If I do teach them something, it's based specifically on bits and pieces they didn't quite get in class, so it's more like tutoring than creating an expansive lesson with a beginning, middle and end and presenting it with all the gusto and enthusiasm of an actor on stage... After it was over, I had to return to job I do, and it made me a little sad. Back to spending all of my time chasing after the kid caught smoking, being his lawyer and parole officer, back to the other kid who can't be near "that teacher" so I'm his babysitter when he fears he may lose his temper and hit him... And these are the kids who just have ADHD... I hardly even get to actually address the identified disabilities of my kids because I'm too busy busting them for buying or selling stolen goods or pot, beating up other kids, cussing out teachers, telling them to put away cell phones and mp3 players, etc. I really hope a building-wide movement towards co-teaching happens so I can have a chance to do this again.

For a moment today, I really felt like a teacher, and it felt good.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

South Park Tribute to Monty Python.



I saw this ages ago and then totally forgot about it until my husband reminded me of its existence.

Happy Steak and BJ Day!

Come on ladies, giving goes in both directions. Steak and BJ day doesn't have to be a chore if you've got good meat on hand. And a nice steak helps too. Badoom tsh. Thank you. Don't forget to tip your waitress, I'm here every Saturday night...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Subs.

I pity substitute teachers, I really do. I think my job's hard but I have a chance to build a rapport with my little devils to the point that some of them may be slightly less inclined to make my life a living hell... Subs don't usually get that opportunity. But then there are subs who, I feel, have more than earned their fair share of shitty behavior from the kids. Let us consider Crazy Vietnam Guy. He once told a class he could take any one of them on in hand to hand combat because he survived the Vietnam war. He wasn't saying this to be entertaining or interesting, he was threatening them. They don't take kindly to that approach, so they gave him more hell after that. I hadn't seen him for a while and had hoped that maybe the powers that be figured out he was as nutty as squirrel poo and fired the bugger, but there he was last week substituting for my science teacher.

Out of pity, I've made sure to be in the room whenever there's a sub on duty in any of my kids' classes... Also for selfish reasons so my kids don't get written up for inevitably cussing the sub out, getting written up, getting suspended and so giving me the extra work of sorting out their learning what they miss in the mean time and getting missed assignments done. So I go in there and give evil eyes, call names out really loudly to remind them that someone who knows damn well who they are is in the room, that sort of thing... 

So I walked in and hoped that my momentary hesitation and consideration of turning tail and running out wasn't that obvious. There he was in all his rotund  glory. Crazy Vietnam Guy. He started off the period by complaining  very loudly to me that he told them not to call him in to sub for anyone today because he was very tired and couldn't stand to deal with the kids today. I could see the kids glance up and harden their looks at him. I was in the midst of helping some kids out when I hear him start in on one of my most challenging kids... 

Crazy Vietnam Guy: So you're going to be a smart ass too?

Oh damn it. He's not only messing with one of my worst kids, he swore too. Shit, shit, shit. My kid may very well have done something wrong, but now the sub has thrown all credibility out the window by lowering himself to their level.  

After all the kids leave, he picked up where he left off complaining about these kids. I tried to be polite and smile and nod but then the conversation took a turn I wasn't expecting.

Crazy Vietnam Guy: I know it's a cultural thing, that they're loud and all that... And I'm not racist (you always know sentences that start that way never end well), I've got half black grandbabies, but I can't stand that sense of entitlement...

Now, I notice a general sense of entitlement amongst today's youth, but it transcends race from what I can tell. He went on...

Crazy Vietnam Guy:... When they walk down the middle of the street, I have seriously considered just stepping on the pedal.

I laughed politely. This was a joke, correct? Oh no... It wasn't.

Crazy Vietnam Guy: No, I'm not joking. I really have thought about it. No one would think I did wrong. But I care more about damage to my Jeep than some black kids.

Oh and we have a winner. Holy jumping Jehoshaphat. Why do people like that work in public schools with high percentages of African Americans if they can't fucking stand them?! Good grief. I dashed out at that point, went straight to my boss and told him to expect a referral on my chap but that he may want to take into consideration the sub's handling of my delicate student and would he please, please, please, please never let that sub work with our kids again because he's a racist. He pursed his lips and nodded silently. He'll be back. We needs subs too badly. Dammit.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Simpsons in the Flesh



I saw this a while ago and periodically go back to it to watch it again and admire the effort put into a commercial. It was done by the British TV channel Sky TV.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Back Us Up, Already!

There comes a point when all you can do as a teacher is throw up your hands. The aim of the game is to nurture the minds and foster the attitudes that guarantee the highest level of success for each and every student who crosses our threshold. So, we have a curriculum, we know what we have to teach, so we teach. Or try to. We then realize that not an awful lot of teaching or learning can go on when the kids are up out of their seats, listening to mp3 players, texting friends, talking, shouting, laughing, singing, and/or fighting. So we have to address the attitude side of their education. We’re preparing them for life beyond the school walls, right? So they have to know how to behave to be able to hold down any sort of job and be successful in interactions with other human beings. To do this, we have to lay down expectations, rules, rewards, and consequences. We reward them when they do the right thing, and remind, warn, then punish the ones who don’t. Makes sense, right?

So you’ve got this student... You tell him to get back to his seat and begin the assignment, but he doesn’t want to. He’s over chatting to his friends and only acknowledges you’ve said anything at all by rolling his eyes. You prompt him again, and he tells you he hasn’t finished his story to his friends, who then laugh before he carries on with his anecdote. Everyone looks at you. You’ve been forced into the position of telling them who’s the boss, or they’ll walk all over you. So you tell him he has one more chance to sit down before you’re forced to write up the behavior. He responds by saying it’s a fucking lame class, all teachers are fucking lame, and everyone needs to get off his fucking back. He starts to go back to his desk as slow as possible and grins at his peers to remind them who really is the boss. (This is a hypothetical scenario based on actual events. I have seen these things happen, but I’m not thinking of a specific student or event at this time.) So you pull out the referral and start writing. The student gets even louder now, angry with you. It wasn’t that serious, why do teachers be makin’ such a big deal out of little things? Got nothin’ better to do, that’s why… etc. The entire class is still watching you, looking at the kid once in a while and laughing at his profanity. Some of the nicer kids are staring at the floor, silent.

So the referral goes to the administrator. He reads it and calls the student in. This may happen days later, during which time, the kid continues to return to your class and causing problems. The rest of the class continues to look at you and wonder why you’re taking that kind of crap. They even say so out loud. Finally, he gets called in to the principal’s office. You breath a sigh of relief. He may not listen to you, but he may listen to someone who actually has the power to make his life a little miserable. The next day, the kid is back in your class and boasting that he didn’t get any consequence. The next time it gets bad enough to have to write him up, he says he doesn’t care because nothing is going to happen. You find out later that the principal felt he had a great discussion with the kid. They’ve developed a rapport. A relationship. In fact, the kid likes the principal so much, he asks to go to him any time he’s starting to get himself in trouble or if something is just on his mind. This translates to his leaving some class or another a few times a week at least. He tells all his teachers that at least that administrator is on his side, even though all the teachers are out to get him.

At some point, that administrator starts to notice that this kid is getting more and more referrals from all his teachers. He’s getting worse in his classes. So he tries to step down from the “buddy” role and into the role of disciplinarian by trying to call the kid over to talk to him. The kid now realizes he’s lost his one “ally” and gets angry again. He walks away from the principal who is trying to talk to him and even goes so far as to slam a classroom door in the principal’s face. The principal unlocks the door, stands in the doorway and repeatedly asks the kid to come with him. The kid continues to refuse. Security has to be called and the kid is carted off to the office. HE STILL GETS NO CONSEQUENCE. Perhaps the principal doesn’t want to ruin the “rapport” they’ve built up. No one’s really sure and no one wants to ask. The kid continues to run the hallway here, doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants. (I remind you, these are all events that really took place, I’m just mixing together circumstances of three kids together).

So… Can proper teaching take place? Nope. Can a rapport be built up between the teacher and the student when it appears to the student that the teacher is unfair and “out to get him”, because the principal obviously doesn’t have a problem with the behaviors, so the fault must lie with the teacher. Now, we are held accountable for the scores this kid, and all the others, get when the graduation test rolls around. We also have to accept the grey hairs we get from being forced to put up with this crap on a daily basis. We have to deal with the monster they created. The parents already think we’re just out to hate their kids, do we really need the same attitude from our administrators? Does no one have our backs but us?

This past week, a kid came to school with a knife. He was “talked to” and wasn’t given any consequence. One of my guys skipped a class ten times. He got one day of in-school suspension for it. That same kid stole a phone from another student and the principal wondered if it really was “theft” per se, because it was on the floor when my student found it, pocketed it, and sold it and even CONFESSED to all of that. He was given no consequence for this because he had to be removed from the building for fighting and so that time out was kinda good enough to cover this little problem too. And now you want me to get this kid to pass? I’m sorry, I must have left my magic wand in my other pair of bloody uncomfortable maternity jeans. I don't have any personal problem with our principals, we just need to take a step back and examine this situation TOGETHER.

I don’t work miracles. Stop complaining when I don’t.