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.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
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
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
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
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.