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, December 28, 2010

Ah, Parenthood...

At times parenting brings to mind imagery of Ancient Roman society... Occasional random nudity, belching, only not quite as much violence... Being at home with my little ones for the "winter break" is an absolute delight, despite this horrendous flu I STILL haven't overcome yet. I can't help feeling quite lucky, though, especially when the leak we feared would result in our house being torn apart to discover the source of the problem, ended up being a really simple fix with a handyman I might actually trust enough to hire again for future repairs we've been ignoring.

What has been a little unsettling, though, about my time at home is the sheer number of times my kids scare the absolute living hell out of me.

My 20 month old absolutely refuses to sit in her high chair anymore, and must sit alongside her 4 year old sister at the dining room table. That brings with it all sorts of fun times with trying to prevent her from pulling off the table cloth, falling off her chair, spilling her sister's drink, dropping her food to the floor more easily as this table has no lip... Any instance which requires me to look away from them for any second of time brings with it unlimited opportunities for them to damage our things or themselves and produce yet more gray hairs on my head. The sofa, once a safe haven for my lazy ass, is now a site of death-defying feats for both of them as they launch themselves from it... I suppose in the express hope of their bashing their heads on the coffee table, the sideboard, or even a passing pet.

The only reason I can type this right now without fear of having to drive anyone to the emergency room is that my four year old is at my knee watching an old Disney movie and my toddler is napping... Either that or she has sneaked out her bedroom window and is about to make a surprise appearance at my own window before attempting to do a double back flip into the hot tub below.

Anyway, I hope you're all having a lovely holiday too, with fewer heart attacks... May the next year bring you stories to tell for years to come!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wishery



Sorry I have no time to post anymore. Not long now before I'm done with my masters, free time which will no doubt be filled with many other things along with the occasional blog post too... I find that the things in my life tend to expand to fill any space provided, no matter the size. That's what she said.

Enjoy the video above. I had seen it a while ago and forgotten about it until now. I really envy people who have not only the talent, but the time to do something like that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Smart Ass Comments That Make Me Smile

Okay, so they may not be very "smart" or even creative, per se, but they made me laugh... Scroll down to read the comments posted by readers beneath an article about a woman who assaulted a police officer by hitting him with a dildo.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Holy Hormones, Batman...

This happens every time I quit taking The Pill to give my body a break from its effects... A few days later, I get... Well- to put it mildly- a bit randy. It's quite a pleasant side effect to quitting The Pill but it's also quite awkward. Thankfully, I'm too busy at work to be distracted by it much and frankly the presence of smelly, obnoxious teenagers has the same impact as a freezing cold shower, but given any moment of free thought and time away from stinky kids, my mind strays to thoughts of naughtiness and the ache can be quite consuming.

Example: I was driving home from work yesterday and saw a guy was driving behind me... Mmm. Man behind me, I thought for a moment before I realized how pathetic and skanky that was.

What intrigues me is this... Is there any truth to the whole pheromones thing? If I made sure nothing I said was suggestive and I didn't show off cleavage or anything like that, would a man be able to detect my current state? I've often wondered that, because I feel like a blazing beacon, but my guess is the guys can't tell. If it's not a pheromones thing, do I have any tells? Do I put my pen in my mouth more? Twirl my hair more? Stare more? Cross my legs a little too tightly?

I guess one man can certainly tell if I'm horny or not: Mr. TeacherLady... As pathetic as it is at the end of a long day when I'm barely awake enough to lift a leg to climb the stair, never mind lift a leg to get one over. All revved up and no energy to go... How sad.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

You Say Sweater Puppies, I Say Blouse Bunnies.


Image: Selma Hayek and her fantastic knockers.

Biology always offers a wealth of quotes to illustrate the mindset of the young adults we endeavor to educate. Last week, the biology teacher went into a brief side discussion about the effect of hormones on human males and females. He explained how menopause may cause some older women to have excessive facial hair and went on to bring up the serious matter of "moobs".

BioTeacher: ... So if men take steroids then stop taking them suddenly, their hormones get thrown off and their oestrogen levels may be temporarily quite high and cause men to grow...

Here he made the grave mistake of hesitating, gesturing vaguely at his chest and looking generally quite awkward. To me, that was just cute. To the class, it was the ideal opportunity to offer up the missing term.

"Helpful"Student: Tits.

BioTeacher: Hey now...

"Helpful"Student: Titties. Boobs. Boobs. I said boobs.

BioTeacher: Okay, that's a little better...

Another"Helpful"Student: Funbags.

YetAnother"Helpful"Student: Yabbos.

BioTeacher: Okay. Tha...

CreativeStudent: Sugar Licks.

BioTeacher: OKAY. Thank you. We get the picture.

I tried so hard to hide behind my hair so the kids wouldn't see I was tearing up with laughter. I think I failed.

Sugar Licks. Heh.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Psychoville Halloween Special





Rather like a Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors episode, this special takes the lead characters of a great series and inserts them into horrific short tales that fall outside of the continuum of the regular series. I adore the Psychoville series and this served the dual purposes of creeping me out AND getting me all tingly and excited for the second season. Oh, and I always appreciate their little nods to other series/directors/movies. All I can say is Mr. Jelly had better not be killed off because he's it's thanks to him that I've discovered a secret fetish I have for creepy clowns.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

Courtesy of The Distorted View podcast:

“Religion is like a penis. It is great if you have one. It is fine to be proud of it, but don’t pull it out and wave it around in public and don’t try to force it down everyone’s throat.”

Mad Men and Nature Boy



Videos Performed Live play their own rendition of the Mad Med theme A Beautiful Mine by RJD2 entwined beautifully with Nature Boy. More of this, please?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Does Everyone Have Their Pencils, Pens, Paper, and... Prophylactic?

So I now have the answer as to why a few of the custodians have been giving me rather generous grins lately. One of them approached me the other day and asked me if I knew that a custodian had found a box of condoms open and strewn across the floor in my classroom one night. (The box was open, not the individual condom wrappers)

I share the classroom with another teacher (a male one), but apparently it was a lot funnier to spread the joke around that they were mine. I don't think they're his, so I naturally assume the condoms belong to a student. This led to my realization that my room may be used after hours by some amorous teens. Which made me a little sick in my mouth... Then gave me the desire to Lysol my room... Then boil it... Then burn it down.

I often mutter the mantra "may I never walk in on students doing it" and hope I never find out what my reaction would be to discover two kids trying to do the nasty anywhere near me.

I shuddered just now. I'm not kidding. I think I'm going to get back to my grad school assignment before I vomit all over this nice keyboard.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Not a Question I Wanted to Hear...

My priority is to let my students know that there is no question they can't ask me, that they should never fear looking stupid because my goal is to always expand their learning and understanding of the world around them or the feeling and thoughts within them... But I really didn't want to be asked:

"Ms. TeacherLady... Is this a bed bug?"

She had bolted, without a word, from her history class and came straight to me. I felt kind of touched for one short moment before I saw the small brown bug crawling on her left sleeve and then I made damn sure to rush her across the hall to an equally horrified nurse.

I swear... If I bring bed bugs home from work, the school had better pay for the fumigation or at least the therapy I'd need from feeling the need to scratch all the damn time since I saw that blasted thing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cuteness

Prepare to puke at the pure saccharine nature of the following video. It combines a number of my unashamed loves... A kid, dancing, rock 'n' roll, and a flash mob type of dance routine. Cute idea and well executed. Sorry if this is a really old viral. I'm slow to pick up on things nowadays with how rarely I can just surf the 'net in between the millions of other things I should be doing...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Battles of the Sexes

I'm quite a polite person, by nature, so it takes a lot before I raise a complaint to someone directly... Piss on the floor is apparently a big enough issue to me that I decided to address my concern to the suspected piss-artists, so to speak.

This year, I was moved to an entirely different part of the building, and my new room contains its very own staff toilet. Sharing the room with a guy, and sharing said toilet with three additional guys who all work in the same hallway, I realized this was going to be an experiment in sociology that could either go completely wrong, or be a delightful contradiction to what I feel to be an archaic practice of gender segregation. The result? Piss on the floor. And on the seat. Stinking up the place.

It wasn't until one of my students ventured into the bathroom to get some toilet paper to blow his nose (okay, okay, I'll remember to take in some tissues at some point) and he said "I bet you hate sharing a restroom with some dudes because it stinks of pee in there" that I decided it was time I said something. My resolve was fortified by the fact that I later went in for a pee and found myself staring down at the ground between my legs and seeing an enormous puddle of urine... I then stood up and felt the cool air reveal the pee I had sat on and hadn't even realized until I stood up, making me feel even more eager to voice my concern to said parties.

I wrote them an e-mail. In it, I apologized for being the clich├ęd complaining female but that the enormous puddle of pee which I managed to have absorbed by our normally nonabsorbent paper towels just didn't sit well with me and wondered if they could improve their aim and leave the seat up.

The next day, the gent I had always suspected of being the phantom puddle depositor came in and as he passed me swiftly announced "I've figured out what your problem is... You need to learn to pee standing up." He went in, and slammed the seat up. Upon leaving, he said he was "just kidding". When he came in later in the day and my roomie was also present, he decided to repeat his fantastic gag and then went on to ask how I cope with my husband.

"He sits down, actually."

"What? What's wrong with him? Does he have a va-jay-jay?"

"Nope. My step-son sits too."

"Man, it's just like my wife... She's always complaining about how I get it all over too..."

I didn't go on to say what I was thinking which was "Wow, doesn't that give you a clue that the problem doesn't lie in the women around you, but in your shitty pissing skills?" Heh. Shitty pissing.

There are still puddles, but at least the seat it up every time I go in there. Now I'm just patiently waiting for my period to start again so I can leave used tampon applicators in the garbage can. Last time, I wrapped them up neatly. This time, I'll make sure they're highly visible, because as the great Bugs Bunny said "This means war."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Idiot Abroad

I've been waiting for this... I watched the preview below and laughed until I cried more than once... I love Karl. He's so honest, so witty (intentionally or otherwise), and so... Round-headed...






Saturday, September 04, 2010

Nothing but Class at the House of TeacherLady

My 4 year old decided to give her own rendition of "You Can Fly" from Disney's Peter Pan, only she replaced the word "fly" with "fart". My husband and I gave a brave attempt at not smiling noticeably or laughing out loud, but failed miserably when tears came to our eyes.

The 1 year old is also learning the basic undeniable fact that flatulence is funny too. Every time she does it, she gives a startled "oh!", grabs her diaper with one hand, and then starts to giggle.

I need to preoccupy myself with such trivialities, otherwise I'll start thinking about the Democratic Republic of the Congo again and thus feel the urge to kill someone. If you'd like to offer a helping hand to the horrifically abused female population of the country, please stop by Women for Women International and donate some money to help a woman help herself and her family to rise above the atrocities of war. Some of the money is also be used to education the men in the region, as so many of them abandon their wives out of disgust that other men had "used" their wives or shame that they couldn't prevent it from happening.

I look at my kids and my heart breaks thinking of women who can't even protect their own from the vile behaviors of man, all over the world... I hear my kids laugh and I wish I could bottle that up and share it with every mother and child who was cheated out of that joy.

I love my kids with all my being. It makes me wish I believed in a hell because all those sick bastards would have a special level all to themselves.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"The Perfect Husband"



Um. I'd argue that the scenario depicts the perfect income, not so much the perfect husband!

Tragedy Beyond the Frame

No school is perfect. It counts for a LOT that our district is fighting past mistakes tooth and nail, but I can't help but regret the enormous implications of what has already been done, or not done, as the case may be.

Our kids can't fucking read. Okay? Yet somehow, they graduate. Through years of learning tricks to test-taking, these intelligent young men and women mastered the art of rephrasing the question, looking for key words in both the question and the passage provided, and scraping by with passing grades on the state graduation test, without ever really understanding most of the content involved. Then we hand them their diploma which may as well have an enormous middle finger printed on to it as we send them out into the big wide world with the reading and math abilities of the average 4th grader at the most. Obviously, not all of our kids function at that level, but more than you'd care to imagine, take it from me.

They also have minimal skills in many social areas, as their over-inflated egos are the result- not of hard work and dedication to their goals- but of our fear to allow anyone not to "win", our reluctance to hold them to true deadlines, and to the higher standards I know them to be capable of. We need no longer patronize them with a round of applause merely for showing up to school at all. They don't need that and they don't want it. It's akin to pity, and that serves no purpose other than to indulge the adults in that warm fuzzy feeling that they do what they can for these poor kids.

A couple of years ago, I got a call from an ex-student. He had come to me as a sixth grader who read at the second grade level. He was very sweet and temperamental, and I did what I could to drill him on simple words he failed to recognize and encouraged him to enjoy the novels I had selected for the class to read (depending on their reading level), but I knew our one class a day wasn't enough to remedy the enormous gap that lay between him and the norms. He left our school district and I never heard from him again until his call. He was 19 by then and I hardly recognized his deep, manly voice! He sounded so excited that it really was me and that I still worked for the same district, though I had moved to the high school since I had last taught him. He was wondering if he could ask something of me. He asked me if I had any possible way of meeting up with him out side of school to teach him to read. Do you know how heart breaking that was for me to hear? How it brought to home the fact that we FAILED that kid. And I don't mean that we gave him an F, I mean we EPICALLY FAILED that child. We passed him on, and passed him on, which was easier to do since he had a learning disability... "You can't let these kids fail"... That would be cruel, wouldn't it?

Wouldn't it?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Winning Responses...

I often get sent funny kids' responses to test questions, and I often wonder how genuine they are. I get sent them over and over and my laughter gives way to smiles then are then replaced by indifference... Many of them are found here, at Funnyexam.com. Nothing can compare to the ones I get to see at work as I'm certain of their authenticity.

One that comes to mind was a response a little lad gave to a question that went along the lines of "Your friend Tom answered the following math problem this way... If he were to ask you how to do it, what would your answer be?" or something along those lines. His answer was as follows (and I'm sorry to say that I'm paraphrasing as I don't have the original paper, but trust me, I capture the essence of it!) : "I would tell him not ask me because I'm terrible at math. Seriously, I have no idea what's going on in this class." It went on a little longer and actually started to sound a bit sad and self-pitying. Needless to say, we laughed.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oreo-Dusted Marshmallow


A lovely colleague shared this simple recipe and I can't wait to try it with the kids!

You get some marshmallows, Oreo cookies, a little melted butter, and a food processor. You process the Oreos until you get fine crumbs. Brush the marshmallows very lightly with the melted butter and then roll the marshmallows onto the crumbs. Viola! The taste of Oreo combined with the flavor and texture of the marshmallow. Genius.


It's Been a Hard Day's... Day.

I've taken on more responsibilities at work. Lots more. I want to develop my skills not only as a teacher, but as a person... As a leader, a thinker, a DOER because I'm a tired little person who needs to get up off her arse a bit more. Sad thing is, I just feel even more tired. And then my next grad class starts in October. I'm probably going to be crying at that point.

So I sized up my new bunch of students. One looked suspiciously pudgy round the middle. Please, oh please, let that be the result of summer laziness and over-indulgence at the dinner table... Nope. That ain't baby fat. It's a baby. So I will be lending my bum pillow to a fourth pregnant student. It's certainly been handy over the past four years!

Imagine being fifteen years younger than your own mum. Yeesh. It could go really Jerry Springer and they could end up fighting over the same man... I just hope she finishes school. It may not really impact what comes after high school as much as I'd like, but at least it gives her a little more time that she can be treated like a child.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vacation Snaps

Clown fish at the Atlantis Hotel's Lost Chambers aquarium exhibit. (I love the "authentic" sunken, technologically-advanced looking city look they gave the whole exhibit. Very eerie.)

The view from our room.

Part of our hotel room (the attention to detail in the decor was astounding. I loved it.)

Lobby of the Atlantis Hotel, Dubai

Gelato in Dubai's Ibn Battuta Mall

Mumbles, Swansea, Wales

A sea star my daughter found in Swansea, Wales

My husband and daughter, Swansea, Wales

Swansea, Wales

Swansea, Wales

Dan-yr-Ogoff Show Caves' dinosaur park, Wales

A formation in one of the caves

My piggies above part of the Dubai Aquarium

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Delta Can Bite Me.

Is there a requirement for all long-haul flight attendants on Delta to be complete bitches? If not, then their HR people just really seem to value bitchiness as a key component of a good Delta employee.

Granted, I flew with a one year old and a four year old, but by the 8th and final flight (yes, we had a lot of connections to and from our various destinations), I was becoming a dab hand at entertaining the little ones and they were growing a lot more accustomed to being cooped up in those vile things and so were coping REALLY well. I say this with as much modesty as I can muster, but these two little munchkins were damned amazing by that last long flight. Any time one of them started to cry about anything, I ran through all my options with impressive speed until I successfully calmed them down. Passengers around us commented on how well behaved they were and how patient and resourceful I was in making sure they were happy. At one point, they started a game of "pass the seat belt back and forth" and were giggling charmingly while I sat on the floor in front of them...

So imagine my surprise when a petite flight attendant flew out from behind the 1st class curtain, abruptly pausing a conversation she'd been having with a first class passenger pretty much since we had departed four hours earlier, and grabbed the seat belt from my four year old daughter's hand and proceeded to point her finger inches away from my daughter's face and hissed:
"You will NOT do that. There are crew members trying to get some sleep over there and you can NOT make such noise."

Her tone and body language was as though my kids had been making noise for hours and she'd tried to get them to be quiet time and again, when in fact they'd been astonishingly quiet and she'd never indicated that she'd had any prior complaint about them.

My four year old turned and curled up in a ball, face down, upset at being yelled at by a stranger. I sat in shock for a moment. Had she not seen me sat on the floor at the bulkhead? Was the laughter of children so offensive? And why the fuck don't those crew members use ear plugs? They fly often enough and it was a day flight, so they couldn't have expected everyone to be asleep, did they? I picked up my one year old and left my older daughter with my mum while I poked past the 1st class curtains.

Irate TeacherLady (trying not to lose her cool and get thrown off the plane as a rabid terrorist): If you wanted my daughter to be quiet, you should have asked me nicely and not snatch.....

Bitchy Delta Flight Attendant: Is there anything I can get you? Some water, juice, a snack?

I rolled my eyes in disgust and said "no", when I really should have said "excuse me, let me finish what I was saying" as she was obviously embarrassed that her male companion was hearing part of my complaint and she hadn't wanted him to hear the rest. I should have humiliated her, but I was exhausted after hours of trying to keep my kids happy that I didn't bother to fight it. It's a good thing I didn't, because it seems Delta really is fucked up.

It was the only flight service that didn't provide me with an infant seat belt or infant life jacket. This particular flight didn't check to make sure all passengers had belts on when they should have, they didn't help with my bags, despite seeing I was obviously overburdened with the kids, my bags, their bags, and poor mum struggling to help me and KLM had leapt to offer such help. They didn't press passengers to clear the space at their feet (I'll openly admit I was an offender here, as I had my stash of snacks, toys, books, etc at my feet, ready to whip them out as needed, but while the KLM crew had reminded me to keep it as clear as possible, the Delta crew didn't seem to give a shit.) One similarity between all Delta flights is the apparently huge inconvenience it is to ask them for a damn drink. I went to the back to ask for water for my daughter's bottle and these two flight attendants saw me, continued their conversation until finished, THEN turned to ask me what I wanted. When they did get the water, it was like I had asked them to turn the plane around and get me only the water from melting glaciers in the Arctic because anything less wouldn't do.

I'm going to send a letter of complaint, which I'm sure they'll dismiss as swiftly as that woman did, but at least I'll have had my say.

Damn, Delta, you REALLY suck.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Watch This Space.


I'm transitioning between vacation recovery and already scheduling meetings for work, so things are going to be quiet around here a little while longer. I really had no idea how impossibly difficult it is to try to sit at a computer and NOT have my two little ones put themselves in mortal danger... So I don't get much time for work or pleasure at my 'puter.

I've entered myself into a competition, the prize of which is a walk on role in Mad Men. I would ask for your votes, but then that would defeat the whole "anonymous" thing. Ah well. I'm not doing TOO badly. In a few days, I've managed to go from page 250 to about page 50 in order of number of votes. The competition is poorly designed, though, in the fact that the pictures posted early are able to accumulate votes such that later entries have little to no chance of being able to catch up. Not very scientific. Bastards.

Is it wrong that I'd probably find myself staring more at Joan than Don?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

And I thought Arabs Were Late for Stuff...

... It seems I've found yet another similarity between Arabs and Jewish folk. We're all late for stuff. Even Ringo's birthday... Oy vey, Ray.

Anyway, I'm hoping to snatch some time soon to share with you all my utter rage towards Delta Airlines. Give me the blonde Amazon women of KLM any day. Those women know how to run an airline. Hope you're all enjoying your summers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lin Yu Chun



Get to the singing bit. You won't be disappointed.

Sorry for the extremely lazy posting. I'm on vacation at the moment with family, so I'm rarely at the 'puter at all. I look forward to catching up with your blogs too, once I get half a mo'.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Ida Saki



It's a shame this number is interrupted by cuts to the judges and their obnoxious verbal outbursts, but it's far superior to her previous performance when she was a year younger, also available on youtube. She's gained so much maturity in technique, in her expression and movement. I also love the delicious irony of an Iranian girl dancing to the soundtrack of Schindler's List. LOVE it. She's beautiful. I only wish I had half that command of my own body. Or an eighth. Or a seventeenth. And John Williams is a god.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Summer Time, and the Living is Easy... Or Not...

So summer time has come around, and I'm doing my best to let work go, because there's enough waiting for me when I get back to make me apprehensive this whole summer long. I'll be taking on more responsibilities than ever before and I continue to be wary of my administrators. It feels sort of like being a member of the historic band on the Titanic... I can do my job, but that's worth fuck all if the whole place is collapsing around my ears! Anyway, I am still holding out some hope, so because there is a drive to move forward, and that's got to be better than lounging in the past.

So my job shifts from being a teacher to other people's kids to being a parent to my own, full time. It is surprisingly stressful to do this with a four year old and a one year old. Not only am I trying to forge lasting memories and taking every opportunity to expose my children to educational and caring experiences, but I'm also trying to prevent either of them from putting themselves into mortal danger. I find myself chanting bizarre mantras such as "NO nom-nom" (which means "don't eat that!" to my one year old), "Don't hang off of your sister's leg while I'm carrying her", "Just share it, you know she'll get bored of it within a minute", and "Don't moon your sister. She can't fight back, so it's just not fair". My nerves are frazzled with all of my daughters' attempts to thrust themselves into horrific circumstances. I no longer feel heroic diving to catch one of them as they fall, grabbing their hands before they get crunched by closing doors (the side with the hinges... Oh that makes me shudder), rushing towards a closed door when I know it's about to be opened by someone approaching from the other side...

Oh man. I'm feeling exhausted all over again just thinking about it all. I am ever so grateful for the monthly massage my husband has bought me for the year... I am going for one tomorrow and I hope the masseuse can get my shoulders to relax enough that they'll stop blocking my ears.

***********************************

Pilkie Point for Your Perusal: "People who live in a glass house have to answer the door." True enough. There's no chance of your pretending you ain't home. Nor is there any chance of a private wank, so there you go.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Ban Bullfighting!

It's really not necessary. Join me, Ricky Gervais, and thousands of others to petition the
Catalonian regional government to ban bullfighting. Add your petition as soon as possible if you're keen to support.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Discipline


I'm going to seriously disappoint a bunch of people doing a Google search for something that involves spanking, humiliation, and doms. Sorry, people. Not THAT kind of discipline... At least, not today.

After some thought and conversation with one of our administrators, I've come to some more clarified conclusions.

Our system is broken. We're asked to handle fragile kids in a delicate manner but the only tools we've got to handle them with are clumsy and ill-suited. This is the age of cultural responsiveness and awareness of how our students' lives at home may influence their behavior at school. Be it right or wrong, we are all expected (as teachers) to have a bit of a counselor's and psychologist's role in our students' lives: Figure out WHY they're doing what they're doing, empathize, and then problem solve rather than dismiss and punish.

Fine. If that's the case, the procedures need to reflect that, and right now, they don't. We've got detentions and in- and out-of-school suspensions. I think those are still valid courses of action if teachers show evidence of having followed appropriate procedures to try to handle the situation, but we don't really HAVE a set of procedures to guide us through this sort of... Discipline with love... So to speak... Okay, this is sounding dirty now...

So in the meantime, this is what we've got: Teacher writes up the behavior, sends it to the administrator, and due to bias and limited information provided the administrator often assumes the teacher did not do everything they could to prevent the disruption and that he or she may have even willfully provoked it, so gives no consequence to the student, sends the smug kid back to class, repeat step one ad nauseum. I'm not saying it doesn't happen that teachers behave unprofessionally, but for whatever reason administrators all seem to take the route that we're a bunch of cold-hearted bastards who would like nothing more than to teach empty classrooms.

A reworking of our referral document to include a more detailed opportunity for the teacher to describe what steps they've taken to try to prevent the behavior or what they believe led up to the incident is needed to show that teachers DO care and that they're not just writing the kid up for jollies. It might also give the administrators an insight into just how much we bend over backwards to get our kids to be successful. And in the meantime, if I say a kid has been consistently late to class every single day and I don't see a way to walking their ass to class on time every day, don't come back with "and what is it about that class that is making them WANT to be late? Maybe that teacher should re-examine THAT." That's bullshit. It's not always the teacher's fault. Granted, there is one class my guys go to that is so enormously unpleasant that even I shudder at the thought of walking through the door, but that doesn't apply to all teachers. Sometimes, kids skip because they know they can get away with it, and that's something that is rampant right now. Sometimes, the class isn't going to be amazingly exciting with exploding lab exercises or rap performances... Sometimes, it's just not going to be fun... And kids have to learn to deal with that. I KNOW that many classes could do with some sprucing up, but honestly... At some point we have to place a little responsibility in the hands of the next generation so they know what to do with it when there is no safety net made up of caring adults in their lives.

I love my students so very much and that is why I despair at how we let them graduate with a false, over-inflated sense of their true capabilities, mediocre reading and math skills, and no sense of responsibility of their actions and inactions. It's true that we need to shape up with our instruction, raise our expectations to the point that we're not graduating kids who can't read, diversify our instruction so that they have the chance to expand their skill sets in various areas, but when we do all that we're supposed to do and the kid STILL acts up, or comes late, or skips class then the warm fuzzies need to be a little firmer because they'll never learn that fire is hot until they get burned, and I'd rather they learn that now rather than when they're fired from a job or stuffed in jail and they and no one with any power will be willing to advocate for them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ricky, Stephen, and Karl. Oh My!


I can't tell you how much fun I'm having listening to The Ricky Gervais radio show that someone kindly recorded and uploaded to the "Interwebs".

Brief history: It evolved from a radio show to a podcast to a paid podcast to audiobooks and has evolved into an HBO animated series. I'm listening to the ones that include the wonder that is Karl Pilkington. The human oddity of genius, comedian, and philosophical oddball all rolled into one individual with an admirably spherical cranium. (I've seen rounder heads, but I've never seen a more fascinating insight into a man's thoughts before). Ricky Gervais is delightfully obnoxious and is bound to remind you of that one hyper kid in class who was just that much smarter and funnier than the others, but had a tendency to be a tad annoying at times. Stephen Merchant is so painfully (and amusingly) self-deprecating at times, but I must say his new look with the sexy stubble is working for him.

If you've not paid these chaps much attention, you should. I look froward to seeing Stephen and Ricky's Cemetery Junction. So far, I've enjoyed just about everything each of them has been involved in that I've seen/heard/read and it's fun being around to watch their careers grow and evolve. With Karl, it's sort of like watching Ricky's science project grow and evolve... Can he make his shaved chimp famous? (Note: I do not see Karl as a shaved chimp... I think Ricky would treat a shaved chimp with a little more decorum...)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Losing... Faith...

Okay. Here's the deal. My boss has a decision to make today. The outcome of this decision will dictate one of two responses from me... The preferable one is that of hope that there is a glimmer of reason in him and a bearing of SOME standard of expectation of our students. The other is that he'll inspire complete contempt from me and no chance of earning my respect back whatsoever, especially since he seems to be earning a pretty awful track record in terms of behavioral expectations of the kids on a day to day basis.

So. What's it going to be, boy? Yes... Or... No?

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Boat I Don't Want To Be On... The HMS Censorship.


The United Arab Emirates is progressive in many fields, dragging a portion of the Middle East kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but forward nonetheless. However slowly and circumspectly, they are also making (what I perceive to be) progress in the area of the arts and censorship. The subject of censorship is one that sparks something in me, namely: all-consuming rage.

I'm a grown-up, I have free will, and I do not wish to bring harm upon others... So if I want to see something others may consider offensive, that is my choice. I wrote a post about my lovely South Park boys, Matt Stone and Trey Parker and their recent jaunt into controvery, but then chickened out of posting it. If you have the choice to opt out of seeing/hearing/experiencing something, I think you're okay. Now, if you have no choice but to be forced to experience something you find offensive, that's when I have a problem... But I don't recall South Park ever being mandatory.

Growing up, I was annoyed by the censorship of kisses from TV shows and equally annoyed by the slightly less strict -but ever present- editing of movies in the cinemas. No sex. No criticisms of any religion. No mention of Judaism. I can respect that some people don't want to see that sort of thing, and nor do they want to miss out on a bunch of movies because they don't want to see those specific scenes so if it were financially and logistically feasible, I'd support the showings of two versions. But my main point is: Give people a CHOICE.

So I found this interesting article on film censorship in the UAE and was delighted to see that film-makers there were pushing the envelope not for the sake of shock value, but for the sake of credibility, realism, and respect for art as being a reflection of humanity; not just in its state of beauty but also in its moment of shame, lustfulness, greed, and general naughtiness. The UAE is often so bent on filtering its image to itself and to the rest of the world when it should simply take pride in the wonder of its many, many accomplishments and reflect upon recognized problems and use that PUBLIC knowledge to move forward. Stop pretending the rich don't get away with murder. Stop pretending no one there has AIDS. Stop pretending the migrant labor's basic human rights aren't being violated. So you've got some skeletons in your closet. What country doesn't? Generally, I don't measure the value of someone in the mistakes they've made as much as I measure them by how they proceed once they've made those mistakes. But at some point, you have to recognize reality- warts and all- and use that knowledge, your own sense of morality, your own free judgment, and decide what kind of person you are and/or want to be. LEARN.

When you start cutting information out of books, out of movies, out of the news, how can you possibly hope to learn and grow as thinking human beings?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rest In Peace, Lena Horne

Lena Horne has passed away. It's strange to think she's gone. She's drooled over in the old Amos and Andy radio shows I used to listen to, as well as many other radio shows, though it was only because Freeman and Charles were playing African American than they could be free to describe their obsession with her delightful frame. She was in movies, on TV shows, on the jazz CDs in my car, on Sesame Street, and in the pages of history as a woman who paved the way as Hollywood's "first black sex symbol" and she took her place in the righteous March on Washington in 1963. There certainly is no sun up in the sky, but there is another bright shining star.

Stormy Weather


It's Not Easy Bein' Green

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Disturbed.

Actually many things disturbed me at work last week, but here are two...

A conversation between two girls in a hallway:

Girl: Don't stress. It's just a test. Either you're pregnant or you're not.

I guess she was comforting her friend that it was either a true or false type of test... Not one of those essay response bastards. Man, that type of pregnancy tests sucks. You have to write a three page report on why you should or shouldn't have a baby, complete with an APA formatted bibliography.

Another was this casual exchange between a myself and college prep. student.

TeacherLady: You know that short story we just read was made into a Twilight Zone episode. (noting the polite yet blank expression on the girl's face) Have you ever heard of The Twilight Zone?

Girl: Oh yeah! Twilight. Yeah.

I was mightily impressed with the fact that I didn't scream at the realization that when this generation hears the word Twilight, a bunch of emo vampires are what come to their minds as opposed to the cynical god in the fantastic skinny tie and a ciggie in his hand. It's not her fault. I'll raise my kids better.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

No Pants Day and Flashing! Well, Flash Mobbing.


Get ready! It's No Pants Day this coming Friday. Wish I could participate, but I'd prefer to keep my job, thank you very much... The first I learned of collective lack of pants-wearing was through Improv Everywhere. What a fun concept. Flash mobs really warm my heart.

Behold Do-Re-Mi" in Belgium



Or Ohio State students


Mob Dancers in LA doing Hammer Time. I especially dig the older gentleman. And the pants.


I'm quite particular about what flash mob performances I enjoy. I don't like the ones that clearly made a performance space such that an audience was already starting to assemble before the dancing or singing has even begun. It should be a surprise, and a pleasant one. The better filming helps for those of us who aren't there to witness the reactions of the confused/delighted audience as well as getting a good view of the performers themselves. The choice of music is hugely important as well as the quality of thee choreography and dance. It should always start with one or two people, then amass to the point of rivaling Busby Berkeley musicals.

It'd be hilarious if a bunch of teachers in our building flash mobbed at school/a game/some sort of huge school event. I bet it would make the students' day. Now all I need are limber/spirited colleagues and boat loads of time I just haven't got...

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Let's Just Give the Inmates the Key.

I know I've complained about this before, but our many principals in our building need to be aware that they're not helping by aiming to be "friends" with every kid in the building, especially those whose behavior are of greatest concern. I entirely believe that we need to build positive relationships with all kids, no matter how much of an asshole they may be... But we're not doing them any favors by letting them get away with behaviors that would get them arrested or fired outside of school grounds. Theft is theft. Tardiness is tardiness. Assault is assault. Sexual harassment is sexual harassment. Turning a blind eye to all of these in some sort of theatrical show of benevolence is HURTING that child, not teaching them and definitely not helping them.

The problem is that I don't feel I can bring that up to our administrators for fear of being one of the teachers they often talk about publicly who "don't understand kids", "don't care about kids", and should "get out of the profession". If I want my student to learn he can't skip classes, come to classes late, and get caught with pot on him over by an elementary school, I'm doing it because I am concerned for his future, not because I hate kids.

I really think they're failing to step back and imagine if that were their own child. Would they want their own flesh and blood to be caught off of school grounds during school hours with pot and NOT get a consequence? I know the administrators think I'm just being passive aggressive when I include comments such as "Student stated 'Go ahead, write me up, I won't get anything...' " in my referrals for misbehavior, but it's all absolutely true. I'm a terrible liar, TERRIBLE... But I guess because I'm a teacher who is writing referrals instead of dishing out hugs for kids who violently knock over furniture, threaten women specifically, etc. then I'm just a bitch.

I don't feel safe to tell my bosses I DON'T FEEL SAFE. The kids know they can get away with everything and they know we teachers are way down on the list of prioritized individuals in the eyes of our own bosses. You can see it in their smug expressions when they return to class with no consequence. You feel it when a student obviously violates school rules in front of a smiling, embracing principal and all the other students look at you like you're a complete fool for having even tried.

One of my students pointed out the micro-skirt another student was wearing. She watched me walk over to that student, but as I approached her the student showed me her pass that informed me that she had just come from the principal's office on an unrelated matter. I thanked her for the note and walked away. My student asked why she wasn't being sent to the office. I told her the truth.

Similarly, my colleague and half the freshman class noticed the hoochie mamma look a 14 year old was sporting in the hallway. She sent the girl to talk to the principal, who told her it was inappropriate, listened to the girl throw a tantrum, then called her back as she was storming away disrespectfully in order to give her a hug and tell her she could wear that for today.

Those are just a few incidents of late. There are so many more, every class I walk in to I feel more hopeless. How can I begin to teach if the students don't respect my role of authority, as one who enforces what I feel to be right? To be honest, I've almost entirely given up. I mutter "put your phone away", "stop swearing at your peers and teachers", "don't raise your hand to a girl like that", and "you've got to start coming to class on time" almost as many times as I sigh throughout the day. I've written all of those behaviors up and not one of them resulted in a consequence. I guess the principals have what they want. Their discipline numbers to go down. Sadly, grades, standards, and morale will following right alongside them.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Best Porn Excuse EVER.

"... 'He explained that these young women are from poor countries and need to make money to help their parents and this site helps them do that,' investigators wrote in a memo."

Source: The Washington Times.

So, ladies and gents, if you get caught visiting X-Tube or BigBoobs.com a little too often, feel free to quote the above National Science Foundation executive. I think it's a winner.

PS: I've never actually visited BigBoobs.com. nor do I know if it's real... Just making an educated guess.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

In English class, the students are on the home stretch for Romeo and Juliet.

EnglishTeacher: So how did Lord Capulet respond when his daughter refused Paris' proposal?

Student: He said "Bitch, you're gonna marry him."

I'm fairly certain she's pretty accurate with that quote. I love that girl. I'd put money on her being able to punch the lights out of anyone in the building, and I love her.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Now That's What I Call a Sticky Situation.

Science Teacher: You know what glue is made of, don't you?
Student: Sure. Everyone knows.
Science Teacher: Okay, what is it?
Student: Semen.

I imagined every kid who had eaten glue in elementary school paused for a moment when they overheard that conversation.

This science teacher is swift, though. He had the presence of mind to ask the students to "hold on to your spherical objects". You learn that lesson, pretty quickly. However, it does ruin the opportunity for your fellow colleague to utter "that's what she/he said" and so you simply swallow it and make the boss happy... That's what she said.

Friday, April 09, 2010

A Slice of My Life and I'm Pissed Off That It Is.

The bell rings signaling the start of the start of the last period of the day. About 10 upperclassmen come literally screaming, shouting, and running down the stairwell. There's about 9 kids in my little hallway alone, walking very slowly towards their classes (maybe) and 6 more girls in the restroom, talking and looking in the mirror. I tell them it's time to get to class, then move on to run my errand. I come past again and they're still there. I tell them to get moving and they look at me like I'm something that's best scraped off the sole of one's shoe and they continue their conversation. I tell them to get moving now because chances are, their last class of the day isn't held in the girl's restroom. They look at each other with looks like "who is this weirdo?" and ignore me some more. Two more upperclassmen, a boy and a girl walk into our hallway, the girl is wearing sun shades and my colleague tells her to take them off. She and her companion and split up to go into the respective student restrooms. I try again: "Um. You're supposed to be in class right now, the rule is no one is allowed to leave their classes at this time."
The response? "No one's allowed to leave their classes this time NOTHIN'." she says as she struts into the restroom.

I walk over to the grade level office to call security to flush these bastards out and a kid who has been sent there storms in, goes into the staff only area to take a chair and slams it around before setting it down to where he hoped to sit. I let the more than capable secretary handle that one.

This is what the world looks like when, no matter what you do as a teacher, you're impotent as long as the administrators continue to do nothing when you report to them the behaviors you're seeing.

It's embarrassing when you have to share with a parent or someone from central office that a student of yours has skipped class more times than Imelda Marcos has said "Go on, another pair won't do any harm" and when they ask what consequence the kid has received you have to say "Er. None."

We have to have standards. It's getting so low that they're actually making a distinction between a student being found naked and ABOUT to have sex and a student actually caught HAVING sex on school grounds. I'm sorry. Neither is acceptable, and as soon as you say one is not quite so bad as the other, you're saying one is more permissable than the other. They are children. They need firm guidance, higher expectations, and enough respect that we believe them capable of far more than this. What they don't need is some administrators thinking the only problem is that teachers are failing to "build relationships" with the students and that our sole purpose is to "get them". Fluffy hugs are fine, but the moment you think these kids incapable of better behavior than this, then this is all you're going to get.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Culturally Responsive Teaching

It seems pretty obvious that to attract the attention of our students, we must reach them on a personal level and make the learning relevant to them and their lives. This way, they will remember it better. True. But there's a drawback to how we are encouraged to do this.

Here's the thing: There are some concepts that are universal in all cultures, however differently they may be approached or perceived by each. You don't have to explore the concept of struggle by bombarding our black kids with stories set exclusively in the days of slavery or in the murky shadows of a ghetto. Also, it's not "culturally biased", as many teachers complained, to have mention of a "fig tree" in the state graduation test, when contextual clues certainly indicate that figs are edible and a tree is, well, a tree.

The students seem to be so used to our attempts as teachers to make material relevant to them specifically that when it goes beyond the little bubbles of existence they're nestled in, they shut down.

Let's expand our young peoples' minds and THEN facilitate their connections to what they've been exposed to. THAT'S part of culturally responsive teaching. I would be sick and tired if all I was ever given to read were stories about my own culture and no one else's. Sure, it may make other people feel they're being respectful of my own culture, but that's not all I am and that's not all I'm interested in. I ADORE Greek myths, European folklore, Shakespeare, metaphysical poetry, Gothic Victorian English literature, Middle Eastern and African fables, and contemporary fiction from all over the world... Don't patronize me by limiting my education and saying I'll only be motivated by things I can directly connect to my every day life. Show me how to learn universally, and I'll be able to make the connections with or without your help, dammit!

If we limit our students to a small bubble of experience, that defines their comfort zone with very bold lines that they later struggle to cross at all and it eliminates whole worlds of opportunity from their knowledge and futures. It's okay for our black kids to read about Asian kids. It's okay for our Hispanic kids to read about white kids. Really. It's okay. I bet you, if you prick any of them, they'd bleed the same blood, and you may just teach them something new.

In Honor of the Upcoming Holocaust Remembrance Day

It's actually on April 11th, but I had to share this as it just happened... I have a student who never fails to astound me at just how much information she misses with all the sleeping she tries to do in class...

CluelessBint: Can I ask you a question?
TeacherLady: Always.
CluelessBint: Ain't Hitler from Germany?
TeacherLady:Yup.

True, he was born in Austria, but this is far closer than her last stab in the dark on a previous test when she had guessed he was from Britain. I didn't know whether to be pleased she finally got closer to the mark or horrified that it took over a month of discussing WWII and actually moving on to the Cold War before she finally got that.

Victims of the Holocaust: You will not be forgotten. Well. Maybe. Sorry about that. I do try to do my job. Really, I do.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Of Mice. Just Mice.

My relative quiet this past week is attributed to our time spent in the House of Mouse for spring break. Disney World is so much more fun if you make use of the Fast Pass option and it’s even nicer in the spring so you get a little less complaining from your little Maharajah about the heat. I got to see poor Minnie Mouse get sexually harassed by some chap who gave a gallant display to his kids by sweeping her down into a dip and pretend to kiss the surprised rodent on her fixedly open mouth. The “cast member” did a great job of waggling her finger politely and pointing to her nose, indicating that he should kiss her there instead. She deprived YouTube of a juicy video of Minnie throwing off her padded gloves and proceeding to slap the guy silly, so I respect her.

This prompted me to do a quick search to see if any Disney cast members had anonymous blogs so that I could learn some interesting tidbits about what it must be like to work at one of the parks, and not just the darker side of it necessarily… Just a frank description of the day-to-day madness- good and bad… But all I could find is Cast Member Confidential, which is more of a pitch for the guy’s book than a true blog. It's also focused more on the debauched side of working for The Mouse and may very well be made up/exaggerated to add shock value. I know those people are bound by very strict confidentiality clauses in their contracts, but I thought I’d find SOMETHING! Ah well. I guess I should respect their professionalism. After all, there are lines that I have drawn too, no matter how far beyond the acceptable they may seem to others... Ahem.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Praise Be To Spring Break

It's been quite the challenging fortnight.

I had to proctor a graduation test our 10th graders have to take last week. That was one of the most depressing educational experiences of my life. Granted, I was overseeing a bunch of kids with minor special needs so they don’t technically have to pass the test in order to graduate, but I still don’t want to see the poor things try their best while they know it isn’t enough. We purposefully never told them that they didn’t have to pass it, but then our counselors thought it fit to disclose the truth to the entire grade, causing quite a stir and some embarrassment from the kids. Despite that, not one of them seemed to blow it off at all. I was proud.

For some of the days, I was assigned to a lone girl who likes to read out loud, and it was utterly heart-breaking to listen to her during reading portion which cannot be read to her… It stumbled out of her mouth bearing little to no resemblance to the English language whatsoever. I stopped reading the words on her page and just sat and listened to her and thought how sad it was that this was the best she could do in interpreting what was on the page. I thought back to my own experiences in Arabic class. I had teachers who assumed everyone in the room spoke Arabic as a first language and so I was NEVER taught accordingly to my ability level, which didn’t mean I learned just a little bit while others learned a lot… It meant I learned NOTHING. It would have been like teaching advanced calculus to a toddler and assuming that if the rug-rat was in there long enough, he’d pick something up, albeit a little behind everyone else. Doesn’t work like that. The ship had sailed, and I was still at the dock… I was NOT trailing behind in a leaky dingy. Rather than feel sorry for me and offer me assistance, I was ridiculed, bullied, hit, and insulted. I wish I could say that came from the kids, but no, it came from Mrs. Mussurah. (Thanks, lady. By the way, I called you Skelator behind your back.)

As I was thinking of the gaunt, jaundiced face of Mrs. Mussurah, my student decided to skip the first passage and said she’d come back to it. The second passage was no better, so she moved onto the third. This one, by F. Scott Fitzgerald made some sense to her the second time she read it aloud and I was uplifted to hear her slowly making sense of parts of it.

I was also mildly distracted by the pain I was experiencing that week and am still experiencing to a lesser degree right now. I had dismissed shingles thinking I was too young and wasn’t seeing any rash on my body, but shingles it is. The doctor said it could be brought on by stress, so I said (in my best attempt to not sound like Eric Idle one little bit) “say no more”.

Then my phone got stolen... I mean “taken” by a student I don’t know. Thanks to having a connection in the phone company, we were able to get information not normally disclosed to customers, which I then passed on to our campus cop and got the wiener identified. For someone who had just “found” my phone, he certainly went through a lot of trouble by erasing my phone/address book saved not just to the sim card, but to the internal memory too, replacing my wallpaper with a picture of some chick with a baby, adding his own numbers (mostly those of freshmen girls… Ew), and chucking my own sim card away. He told the cop he had no way of identifying who the phone belonged to. It seems calling “Home” was too challenging for him. But it’s okay. He’s one of our “athletes”, so you can rest assured he got justly punished by the school.

PSYCH! He got zilch. I asked for an apology (I’ve not dealt with the kid directly, just though his grade level principal and the cop), and I was told I was going to get one. With how long it’s taking to get it, I’m hoping for a big production number with singing and complex choreography included.

I have thus concluded that the best course of action is to pack up and take the family to Disney World. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m just trading one Mickey Mouse outfit packed with Goofies for another.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pi, Steak, and BJs

Happy early Pi Day to my decent, math minded people, and happy early Steak and a BJ day to my filthy, naughty, debauched people! And for those of you who like a bit of both, have your pi and meat too! (Oh god, that's just awful. Even Sydney James would have been disappointed... I'm sorry.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Comixed

I've just found Comixed, brought to you by the I Can Has Cheezburger and Fail Blog crowd. Great. More fun stuff I have no time to really look at...

The Wonder That Is Shoebox

Otherwise known as Tim Crist, Shoebox of the infamous Worm Quartet (one man electronic band with mullet included) writes some of the funniest songs I know. We bought all of his albums and so should you. He looks terribly uncomfortable performing live, but dammit, he gets all of the words right and given how many words he crams into his lyrics, that's an impressive feat. He writes and performs all of his own original stuff. He also recorded a ballad version of "Great Idea for a Song", but who can resist the throbbing beat of the original version?


My only criticism is that he sometimes sing far too many words at too fast a rate that he's hard to understand which may turn new listeners off. If you read the lyrics and come to understand the songs you really appreciate them a hell of a lot more. ("C is for Lettuce" is a great example that could be easily dismissed if you don't get all of the fantastic words...)

Other great songs of his include "Frank's Not in the Band Anymore" (the tale of a terrible drummer who gets even worse with the gradual loss of each of his limbs... Very touching...), "Dear God" (the rantings of a chronic worrier), and one we can all relate to, "I Don't Give a Shit About Your Website".

Anyway, buy his stuff, he has a wife and son to feed.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Legacy.

Recently, an Internet friend of mine passed away while on vacation in Hawaii. I had never met him, but had the pleasure of a number of online chats with him and his girlfriend, as well as the odd e-mail or two. To describe him as a "free spirit" would be akin to saying Rupaul is "ever so slightly effeminate". His Facebook status constantly made me think that perhaps I wasn't quite making as much of an effort as I should to see the world, experience its wonders, and marvel at creation in general and that I was- in fact- a lame-ass peon servant to a very Arthur Dent-ish existence (prior to the arrival of the Vogons, of course). It was only fitting then, that he should leave this world in one of the most fantastic looking places on Earth, doing something he loved.

Being the free spirit that he was, our topics of conversation ran the gamut of all we felt was important to discuss. Sex obviously came up. A virgin at the time, I was willing to receive some advice as I was soon intending to make a few changes in the hymen department, as it were, with the man who would later become my husband. He told me one of his favorite things was for his partner to do, and I took that advice, stored it somewhere in my mess of a memory bank and left it there untouched for a little while. When I finally remembered it, my man was rather pleased. So was I. I've been doing it ever since.

After my friend died, it was rather depressing to no longer see Facebook statuses such as "motorcycling here", "traveling there" and even more depressing to see the posts of those who knew him better, lamenting his brief 41 years on this planet and the regrets and the haunted memories and restless dreams... But then one night, I was making love to my husband. And I did that thing. And I smiled. In fact, I couldn't stop smiling.

He would have been proud to have left behind a legacy such as this.

If only we could put all these parts of a person that we each receive together to make that person whole again.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Those Bastard Nazi Pachyderms...



For some reason, history class is a veritable Aladdin's cave of glittering overheard comments and conversations illustrating the Herculean challenge laid at the feet of today's educators. Currently, we're in the midst of World War II, which never fails to get me choking back tears with tales of the loss of human dignity, life, and family. Even heroic tales like that of Sobibor has me blinking back tears, so any laugh to come along is truly welcomed. This little gem did not disappoint:

HistoryTeacher gave the students a fun little "Weird Facts about World War II" multiple choice paper to surprise the kids with tidbits such as Hitler's true last name (Schicklgruber... Who knew?) and that top secret code words related to the invasion of Normandy were concealed in a crossword in the London paper...

One question asked who the sole victim of the first Allies' bomb dropped on Berlin was. The answer was an elephant in the zoo. A stunned student interrupted:

StunnedStudent: So... The elephant was a Nazi? Like, it had a swastika on it or something? Like a big jacket or blanket or something?

HistoryTeacher: Er, no. It just happened to be the unfortunate target. The bomber wasn't aiming specifically for the elephant.

StunnedStudent: Oh, I thought maybe it had something on it, like a Swastika...

I wish I could tell you the kid was trying to funny, or even that he was trying to make a statement about the unfortunate fact that innocents are always lost amid man's madness... But I can't. He was dead serious. (Note: He is not identified as a student with special needs and attends college preparatory classes.)

I'm reminded of the South Park episode "Whale Whores" with dolphins and whales being wrongfully accused of dropping the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It seemed like a way out there plot at the time... Now? Not so much.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Whatever Happened to Class...?

My poor colleague, LogisticsQueen is often plagued with bad luck, and it was with great regret that I had to inform her of the fact that the second semester would give her the chance to get to know one of the most annoying students on my caseload as she would be taking a class with her then. Don't get me wrong, I'd do anything within reason for this kid, as I would anyone's kid and as I'd want others to do for my own kids even if they had the misfortune of being thoroughly irritating... Anyway, this student of mine has a few unfortunate flaws, one of which is the complete inability to shut the hell up and avoid saying things that only ever get her into trouble. Sadly, and quite seriously, this has made her hugely unpopular with her peers which makes me pity her more than dislike her really... So today, when a student took off her shoes in class, prompting another student to complain "It smells like feet in here!" to which my charmer loudly responded with "Nope, it smells like straight up cooch in here..."

Nice. I wish this were a rare occurrence that students would be this obnoxious in school, but this is pretty much a daily thing in my experience. Could you imagine yelling something like that out loud in class when you were 15? I didn't even speak like that with my friends!

Oddly enough, I didn't start swearing casually with friends until about 7 years ago... Which happens to coincide with my start of teaching... Hmmmm....

My feelings summed up here:

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Office Invades the Middle East! Yay!


I love The Office. Both the US and UK versions. I love Ricky Gervais even more. I'm delighted that his and Stephen Merchant's wildly successful show The Office has spawned a new incarnation in the Middle East. I hope that becomes available with subtitles, and I REALLY hope they insert some enormously awkward moments between the Jewish and Arab characters. I'm also looking forward to watching their new animated series, The Ricky Gervais Show (using audio from their podcasts, I'm assuming). I don't have HBO, so shall have to be naughty. Arrgh, me hearties.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Toilet Humor


(Yes, I was lazy: The above photo is kindly on loan from Read, Write, Now which has a fantastic loo-related post here)

Okay, stop me if I've told you this one before (HA! You can't...), but I think I only alluded to it in a much older post and never actually told the full tale...

A few years ago, I was keen to use the use the loo, and the staff toilet I happened to aim for was occupied so I stood and waited in the adjoining staff room. I heard the toilet flush, so I thought "oh good". Then it flushed again. "Oh. Not so good." Then a third time. I decided to dash away before the multiple-flush-offender came out and we'd realize that both of us knew what had just transpired and embarrassment would follow. In my haste to leave, I almost bumped into my boss at the time. We greeted each other and went on our separate ways.

Later that day, I heard my boss say to another teacher "Well, I saw Ms. TeacherLady come out of there... Hey, TeachLady, c'mere a minute..."

Apparently, the Multiple-Flush-Offender was offensive in more ways than one. She had apparently left a deposit of the fecal variety on the floor... Not even on or near the toilet, but half way between the toilet and the door to the bathroom. I can't even begin to imagine how that came about. Did she waddle over to the door, afraid it wasn't locked? Did she do a jig to release the offending particle from her person, and it just landed where it did?

Anyway, my boss had half-entertained the theory that I was the Doodie Depositor as he had seen me leave the vicinity in a bit of a rush.

I still don't really know if he believed my protests. We did have sit-down as well as squat options back home, but I was a firm sitter and not an Arab of the squatting variety. I like my buttocks to be firmly positioned on my Armitage Shanks before doing my duty. So to speak.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Apparently, my husband is into fat chicks because he got me the best collection of chocolates a woman could hope for on Valentine's Day. I'm a happy bint. We helped our three year old make her own Valentine's cards for her friends and after reading a paper on early literacy, we apparently did exactly the right thing... We encouraged her to write her own name on the cards, putting writing into real life context and making literacy fun. I had never thought about the exact moment a child starts to understand that letters represent sounds and vice versa, but I got to see it in our three year old and it's absolutely amazing. It's like watching the creation of life itself. The invention of fire. It was like the day someone realized peanut butter and chocolate tasted pretty darn good together. I wish I could have photographed it, filmed it, wrote down every detail of the moment it seemed to dawn on her... She went all Helen Keller on me, dragging me from word to word, identifying the letters she could and demanding I tell her what it said.

All in all, this has been an amazing February, despite a few crappy bits... My husband, kids, friends/colleagues are just incredible people and really make my life worth living. This night will only be made better by more chocolates, a good movie, and steamy hot love-making with Mr. TeacherLady... Only to be interrupted by the screaming of a cold-suffering, snotty 8 month old, I'm sure.

Happy Valentine's Day, people, and may your wild monkey-sex be interrupted far less than ours...

Shopping List

This is what happens when friends get a hold of your shopping list on your fridge...


They ever so kindly insert the things that totally slipped your mind...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Goals for TeacherLady

1) Learn how to spin and not stagger out of it, clutching my stomach and threatening to "puke all over the place like a freaking frat party after an unfortunate combination of an all-you-can-eat buffet and beer bong challenge." It doesn't make for a good belly dance performance.

2) Remember to take notes on my netbook at restaurants. I can never bloody remember what dishes I was disappointed in and almost always end up re-ordering the same damn thing because it sounded just as good as it did the last time. I've got the memory of a goldfish with Alzheimer's and I need to accept that. And anyway, they might think I'm a food critic and give me free shit.

3) Lengthen that darn fuse I seem to have snipped short on my temper. Work has really worn it down and I hate myself when I've used all my patience up there and then come home and take it out on those who deserve it the least.

4) Okay. So I may have returned to my pre-pregnancy weight, but NOT my pre-pregnancy shape. It's time to lose the little belly I've developed. It's been 8 months. The only excuse I have is that I'm not working out like I used to. Surely I have time to do a little bit each day? Okay, not really, but I can pretend like I do.

Right. That's it for now. Too many goals will just overwhelm me. If anyone has good suggestions for any of these, let me know. And no, killing a school psychologist should NOT be the suggestion for number 3, no matter how true it may be.

Monday, February 01, 2010

A Lesson Before Dying

English teacher: Do you see the irony of how the white Catholics would find it distasteful to execute the man during Lent?

Student: Eeeewww... They gonna eat him during Lent?

It made me smile despite having a colossally sucky start to my Monday. First thing on a Monday morning, I walked into a class to see a substitute behind the desk. I stood next to her to see what the kids were scheduled to do today, told a few kids to put away their MP3 players, then excused myself for a minute to go tell the other special ed. teacher who has kids in that room that a sub was present, because he likes to pull his kids out when there's a sub for a number of reasons. When I came back, imagine my surprise when I see a bunch of kids with MP3 players on.

TeacherLady: Wh... Wh... What're you doing? (I managed to sputter out to one of my kids)

Student: She said I could do it.

TeacherLady: Well, I already had this discussion with you more than once, and I've said you can't.

Student: Well SHE said I can. SHE's the classroom teacher now.

TeacherLady: It's a school rule. I'm sorry if she's not following the school rules, but I am. (I've bitten my tongue too many times in this very same situation, and I finally snapped and decided to call it like I saw it. My student got mad and frustrated, so I decided to abandon things.)

I walked out. I helped out in another class instead. I couldn't do my job in there, so I did it elsewhere.

I'm ready for a change. So very ready.