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 19, 2009

Stuck Looking for Christmas Presents?

If your loved one already has ample supplies of handjobs...

Why not consider a WTF blanket?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Give the Gift that Gives Back

This Christmas, you can honor a loved one by buying a gift in their name or else simply feel like a smug, charitable bugger by just buying it anyway at Women for Women International. With a donation of $50, you can teach a woman to read, for $15 you can buy a woman okra seeds, for $75 you can buy a woman a sewing machine, or if you're rolling in dough you can give $250 to provide a woman with an entrepreneur's starter kit.

Anyway, please consider giving so that a woman may contribute to her society in a war-torn country and rise up from poverty to stand on her own two feet. Here's the direct link.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Christmas Moon.

So we took photos last night to put on our Christmas cards. Thankfully, my husband doesn't expect us to be in the picture because I'm not particularly keen on being photographed and the kids make far better models anyway. Well, except that my three year old only has to look at the dresses I try to put her in for pictures each year before she starts running away naked, yelling "IT'S ITCHY!!" kinda sets the whole mood for the chaos to follow.

Adding a 7 month old into the mix makes for an even more entertaining time. It seemed that every picture I took had one of them blurred in motion while the other sat perfectly poised and motionless. When one had her hands on her lap, the other was sticking them both into her mouth, right up to the wrist.

I realized that ordering my three year old to smile was pretty stupid. I was in a colossally bad mood already, having had the work day from hell and knowing I'd only get more the next day on top of college assignments, simple household stuff that takes more time than effort, car trouble, more doctor's appointments for my youngest to have ear tubes put in, no time to rehearse my belly dancing choreography, no time to do Christmas shopping... Feel free to point out the hypocrisy of an Atheist celebrating a religious holiday. It's an excuse to be nice to others and spend time with family and enormous amounts of food.

Anyway, needless to say that my shortened fuse was not helping the matter so I decided to resort to the lowest common denominator. I told my husband to moon her. My husband is nothing if not accommodating. My daughters both looked in the same direction and beamed with enormous, heart warming, angelic smiles. Click. No one will look at that Christmas card and suspect the truth...

Friday, December 04, 2009

I Thought I'd Quit Breast Feeding, But I Guess Not...

There comes a time during my day in which I'm forced to ask myself the time-honored question: "What the fuck?" This usually occurs on a daily basis, and today was no different.

I've been working with this kid who keeps getting himself into trouble and failing a bunch of classes. He's smart, doesn't have special needs, but has the maturity and sense of responsibility of nine year old. Maybe. (He's a freshman, to clarify). So I invited him to come to me during his study halls, even though it meant he'd have to come to my busiest one, full of other colorful, clashing personalities, so it's a regular bloody Breakfast Club in there.

Today he had a history test and his teacher asked if the kid could come to my room and do it in there. I said sure. I'm already used to seeing the kid at least twice a day as he and his teachers seem to have decided that I'm his mommy and they can send him to me whenever he gets to be too annoying or at risk of getting himself into more trouble. To be honest, I appreciate that because I'd rather that than his getting sent to the office, but anyway... So he came to me today with his history test. I gave him a place to sit and said "Go for it." He whined endlessly, which I ignored. He tried to physically escape a number of times. I stopped him (verbally, I don't wrestle with students). Another teacher came in and decided to try to play good cop for no good reason and take him to his room even though I had everything under control and had started actually working on the test. Needless to say, the kid was promptly sent back to me minutes later. The kid's history teacher then came in and GAVE THE KID THE NOTES WITH ALL THE ANSWERS. I know why he did it... The kid wants to wrestle and his grades threaten that. That didn't even surprise me half as much as what happened next... He kept trying to call me over to help find the answers for him and to check if his answers were correct.

I abandoned all the classroom management warm fuzzy stuff I've been working on recently.

TeacherLady: Seriously? You were given the answers, which I find ridiculous enough, but now you're expecting me to find them for you? No, absolutely not. And you can find out if you got them right when they get graded. This is a test. It's testing what YOU know, not what I know.

I think even he realized how ridiculous this was, but it doesn't help my goal of getting these kids to take on SOME freaking responsibility.

Will someone please end this madness?! Make these kids do SOMETHING to EARN their grades and rewards!!!!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Smart Ass Response of the Week and the Woes of TeacherLady

When told to please stop chatting in class, then later asked why they continued to do so, a student's response was "I'm brushing up on my social skills."

I'm so glad I wasn't the teacher getting that response. I try not to be swayed by student humor, but I've been so slap happy recently, I might have burst out laughing and made things worse.

I wish I could say I was slap happy for good reasons, but sadly not. While examining how things "ought to be" in the education world through my college classes and philosophical discussions with my peers, I am then faced with the chaos that is reality.

In an ideal education world, when a kid qualifies as mentally retarded and the special education teacher working with her (ie. yours truly) has done all she possibly can to get this kid covered legally, it wouldn't take 4 MONTHS with no sign of the paperwork being completed by those responsible (ie. the school psychologist) any time soon.

In an ideal education world, when a teacher asks a student if she is okay with the work she's been assigned and the student responds by yelling and calling the teacher a "ho", or if a teacher is even physically threatened by a student, the administrators and counselors wouldn't then question the teacher in an accusatory tone about what efforts he or she made towards building "good rapport" with that student, or even worse, ask what the teacher did wrong to provoke the student that way, then let the kid off lightly and wonder why the classes are in chaos with the students running the whole show. At what point do we realize we ALL take responsibilities here, that includes the kids, teachers, parents, and administrators. I would never say it's the parent's job alone, nor the administrator's exclusively because that's not what I believe, nor would I blame one group entirely either...

In an ideal education world, ALL the classroom teachers put thought into their lesson plans and not pull things out of their asses last minute, especially when the special education teacher is being expected to co-teach and is being evaluated on her ability to do so... I don't want to be a bitch, but if my evaluations were to come back negative because I'm not co-teaching, it would put me in a hugely awkward situation where I'm tempted to point out some ugly truths. I've not done so yet. This also applies to evaluations of my ability to maintain classroom management when I work in classrooms where the teacher is completely inconsistent with expectations and then I have to tell the kid to put away their mp3 players/phones or not talk while I'm trying to teach the short lecture portion of the lesson and they argue that the other teacher lets them do it all the time. Way to add to the grey hairs I'm already accumulating on my head. Especially when I think how much better these lessons could be...

I have fantasies that these kids receive the education they deserve... Where they learn that a line is drawn at some point, and crossing it out in the "real world" doesn't mean you get an extra chance, and an extra chance, or continuously enjoy the wonderful protection afforded to them in school by the statement "I have anger management issues"... Where they learn, practice, and master the skills necessary to get and keep a job. Where they learn to cope with frustrations and failures with grace, instead of constantly escaping, avoiding, or being given the false belief that we are "all winners" all the time and that if you complain loudly enough or to the right person, you'll be one too regardless of what you did or didn't do. There will be no soft-hearted teacher or administrator or counselor out in the big bad world who will let you seek refuge in their room rather than face the music. Show empathy, by all means, and give them these supports while they're starting to learn to handle life without them, but make the goal for them to eliminate those crutches at SOME point.

One of the reasons I've been blogging less is because my job has expanded to cover more and more responsibilities and I'm determined to do them well. I know I've got a lot of growth ahead of me, but it's frustratingly limited by the crap of which I've only just begun to address in this post.