Thursday, June 21, 2007

School's out!

Okay, I know ive been terrible about posting, but I gotta get at least this one in for those of you still keeping up.

Graduation was so moving and after that the principal told me she had no one to take me over for next year.

The next day, she called me in to her office and offered me 2,000 more to come back.

Today I called her to tell her that I'd love to be a teacher in her school next year. She shrieked with happiness.

She offered me $500 to do a full friday like ive been doing till now but instead of doing half 8th half seventh, id do 7th a full day cos my co is not coming in fridays anymore.

So I'm getting $2500 more to do exactly what I did this year.

I'm also planning to start college at night so I 'know I'm going to be very stressed next year. The principal also offered to give me free subbing days where another teacher would take over my class so that I could do my marking in school without wasting time at home.

I think I have it good.

I cried when I walked into my classrooms today to pick up my books. I guess I didn't realize how much I loved teaching.

I realized today that teaching is not about making a difference in others lives as much as its about making a difference in your own life.

It definitley has changed my life. And though I know I have my down days and that next year is going to be very hard, teaching is what I love to do. I'm adjusting to mommyhood and I think that as JB grows I can learn to be there for him and for myself.

Next year will tell me more.

I know I didn't make a mistake, and I hope I don't regret this.

If I have the time I'll go back and post what stuff is missing. Right now I'm enjoying summer.

I'm not going to blog next year- I'll be too busy with a million other things, but up till here, it was great- thanks for coming along for the ride!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Catching Up!

The 8th grade began learning the Holocaust on Monday. They loved their books and kept flipping ahead as I was teaching. I'm so happy it worked out well even though I wished I had more time to spend on it. Right now I'm pretty much flying through, hoping to get it all done before the end of the week.

The 8th grade and 7th grade are having a joint party on Friday where the 7th grade will say goodbye to the 8th, and the 8th will "hand over" the seniority.

The class had to come up with something cute to give out to the 7th grade so of course, it fell on my shoulders.

I walked across Boro Park in the rain last night to put together an adorable mug filled with little prizes that all had something to do with the 7th graders taking the 8th grader's places.

The 8th graders were thrilled with it, especially because it only cost about a dollar apiece LOL.

I worked like mad the last few days trying to cram everything in before school ends. Report cards, rating sheets, comments, progress reports, last minute marks, finishing the curriculum, and 1000 other things that came up.

I think I'm finally getting somewhere although my blogs are definitely falling behind.

The 7th grade got on my nerves last Wednesday when I walked into class and no one had done the sheet I had given them on Tuck Everlasting right. I was so upset about it. They had all day to do it, and they didn't.

Not only that, but some girls claimed they didn't understand the book- ITS ON A 4TH GRADE LEVEL!!!

Love the kids.

I was angry with NN and DA and SE and CSS for not even bothering to have handed in the sheets they were supposed to have given in to the sub, and then RA piped up and said that I wasn't to blame NN for anything because she finished first in the class.

If looks could kill.... I glared at RA and almost shouted, "Did I ASK you??" She kept quiet for the next 15 minutes. 15 minutes of pure bliss.

Today the 7th grade was hilarious. They were begging me to stay for the next year. They claimed that I knew them well and that I would be the best to work with them than another stuffy teacher who didn't know them. And besides, I was interesting.

They asked me why I was leaving, and I told them that not everything I decided was for them to know. RB then wrote me a persuasive essay so that I should stay in school for 8th grade.

DA and CK were going to the principal to beg her to do something to make me stay. I love them too LOL.

I finally finished the 7th grade curriculum in history and now all I have to do is finish Tuck Everlasting, and then I can feel accomplished.

Now DH is asking me if I really want to stay in school for next year. Oh boy.

MB was at my friends house for Shabbos two weeks ago and saw my little JB there when I popped by for a visit. I had hinted to her that on Friday there would be a surprise, and she told the class about it.

Today she wanted to know what the surprise was, and I told her it was the party that they were doing for the 8th grade. I think she was a little disappointed; as if she was expecting more.

I am going to call her Thursday night and tell her to wait outside school for me Friday morning for another surprise- I plan on bringing JB into school (already got permission) and I'll ask her to help me get his carriage up the stairs. She'll be thrilled.

I thought I had so much more to write, but I cant remember what. That's what happens when I let my blog slip for a week. :(

Oh well.

6 more days to school!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Rhode Island

I started off my week with a history test in the 8th grade- last one for the year.

In the seventh grade, I pretty much prepped them for what they had to do the next day when I was going to be away with the 8th grade on their graduation trip.

I got some free time when the 7th grade had a model lesson. The girl was trying out for my job. I heard she wasn't really what the school was looking for. When I came back into class at the end of the day, the girls were busy telling me all the mistakes she had made.

RA was absent by the way, and it made the day so much better. :)

I was up at 4:30 Tuesday morning and was in school by 5:30. I was there before any of the students and even the principal. Felt kind of awkward to be there alone with the bus driver and his huge coach bus. Especially because the pig was checking me out from head to toe and winking every time he opened his mouth to tell me anything.

Finally, the girls started showing up- some were late. We ended up leaving 20 minutes after we had planned to.

As we were all getting on the bus,. CFC decided she needed the bathroom. So we had to unlock the school building and everything for her. Grrr.

DSW wasn't feeling well and ended up missing the trip. Poor girl. But the principal and I both suspected that it had nothing to do with how she felt. DSW has a certain lazy streak to her that makes her very hesitant to leave her comfort zone- specially at 5 am.

The 20 minutes off our schedule made all the difference. We got stuck in traffic. By the time we got to the rest stop we had planned for, we didn't have as much time to spend there as we would have liked.

It didn't matter anyway. The girls took a lot of pictures, used the bathrooms, the driver flirted with me some more, and we were on our way.

CFC is such a nut. She brought a cooler on the trip, stocked with food as if she were going away for a year. She even brought a container of milk for her cereal. So did TG.

Finally, we made it to Rhode Island (after a lot of insanely loud cheering by the girls and a big headache by me). I had spend a good portion in the back of the bus with the girls teaching them stupid songs and taking pictures with them.

Our first stop was a boat ride in the Nantucket harbor. The girls were pretty immature and took pictures the entire time the tour guide was talking. I thought it was a chillul Hashem.

They were obsessed with grabbing snapshots of my sheitel flying in the breeze and of me chewing on my lunch. Yech.

There was a UPS guy waiting on line for tickets that kept making moves on me. My students noticed and politely informed him I was married with a baby. :) What is it about me that attract all these weirdos????

After the boat, we walked to the Touro Synagogue, where we had to sit out on the lawn for a while until our group was allowed in.

BK took a picture of me a second before I discovered I was sitting in dog poop. What a great look on my face. Lucky I was wearing a slinky skirt that washed everything off easily.

The synagogue was nice, but the speaker there was Conservative and I wasn't that impressed.

We took the girls souvenir shopping later, and they all had a good time. DZ found me a sweatshirt for JB that said "Its my smile that keeps me out of trouble". It was slightly faded, so it was on sale for 50 cents. I was thrilled.

We skipped the cliff walk we had planned and went straight to the bus instead. Of course I got lost with a couple of girls, trying to find the bus, but we got there before the rest of the class did anyway.

Of course, this was an ideal opportunity for the bus driver to make another move.

He was wearing jeans and a colored shirt and a baseball cap and had the whole get-up, and then when he opened his mouth to talk, it was with a Satmar accent. I was nauseated. Typical bum.

He asked me for my number. I showed him my diamond ring and told him that I only gave my number to men I thought could top what I already had. He shut up. :)

On the way to the topiary gardens, I had all the students dead quiet while I told them the stories of Rumpelstiltskin and Rapunzel. This generation gets all their stories from movies, so the old fairy tales are new to them. They were spellbound.

After I had finished both of the stories, the bus driver raised his hand and asked to hear the Three Little Pigs.

Finally, we got to the topiary garden, where the girls were spending more time taking pictures than actually looking at the stuff.

Later, they all rolled down this huge hill and I took some random candid shots that came out adorable. I emailed them to the school the next morning and there are some pictures hanging in the office.

We then went go-carting, and the girls were going crazy, bumping into each other and wreaking havoc. CFC got really mad at TG for cutting her off. She threw this whole tantrum that TG was ruining her trip because she cut her off in her go-cart. Baby.

Of course three of the guys working there had what to say to me too.

I called my husband and told him he had to count his blessings that I was coming home to him after all the offers I had gotten that day.

I think I'm going to become a nun.

The driver was very familiar with Rhode Island, and he took us to a nearby park where we ate supper and the girls made me eat some hot peppers to see if I'd choke. :)

The girls, led by DZ and BK, were horrors on the way back. They were cheering loudly until the bus driver threatened to stop the bus and let them find their own way home. :) I was so grateful for the peace and quiet after that.

The principal is a cutie who was fun to shmooze with during the trip. She was telling me that no one she had interviewed for my job was any good, and she would really like to have me back.

I dunno... ya think keeping thins blog open another year is worth my salary?

We got home at about 10:30 and I fell into bed right away, drained. The 8th grade didn't have school the next day, so I got to sleep late in the morning.

I love my bed!!!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I so Cannot Wait For Summer Vacation

I had to be in school early on Tuesday because I had a meeting set up with Mr SNK about his daughter's retarded behavior.

Poor guy. He looked so lost and confused about what to do with her. I think we ended the meeting with the agreement of sending her to a psychologist.

The kids were nuts and I had no patience teaching, so my co and I decided to take them to the park. I asked RS to bring a note to my co asking her, and the notes went back and forth between us and we fought over whose turn it was to ask the principal for permission.

I won.

RS was being a cute brat, refusing to let me read the notes, making me chase her around the classroom to get at it.

I had to tape it ans taple it shut so that she couldn't read it before it got to my co. Stinker. I have no idea how she was chosen for G.O.

Then the class became OBSESSED with asking me a zillion questions about my clothes, baby, deoderant I used. OMG, it was nuts. But I didn't care. There are less than 13 days left to school, then these kids graduate, and I move on. What the heck. I'm going to have fun.

The park was fun, but RA was a pest, acting like the boss of everyone, telling us teachers to get our butts off the benches and make the 8th grade play ball with the 7th grade.


7th grade is going to fail their final on the Civil War, because there is so much material on it and they are so stupid.

Yesterday CFC got on my nerves all day asking if she could put on the air conditioner. I happened to have been cold and I decided that because they had not taken care of putting it on recess time, I was not going to waste class time putting it on and off every 5 minutes.

Then she got all sticky about her hand hurting cause she was writing so much notes.

Finally, I exploded, and asked the class, "and what happens if I tell you that we have ten more pages to write?? What are you going to do then? You have to either learn to keep up and keep your mouth shut about it, or stop taking notes and photocopy someone elses!"

I sat them down for a long talk about high school, where going out to the bathroom ten times during a class was not going to be accepted and where they would be writing notes all day long without a break.

I told them that they had to grow up, this was what life was all about from now on.

CFC then raised her hand to ask me what would happen when she got her period during class, would a teacher allow her to leave.

I cracked up.

I explained to them that high school gave them enough breaks to take care of teir needs, but that they had to utilize the breaks, and not wait until class started to remember they had needs.

During recess I sat with the principals on the yearbook (which, by the way, had been UPSd to my sister who is now in Israel, so no one was home to take it, so it laid on the hallway floor for a week until I went there to look and see if it had come.)

There were mistakes, but nothing for my sister to do, it was all the yearbook company's mistakes. Yay.

Seventh grade was okay. I had a long discussion with the girls about first impressions and how they were going to be jusged going into high school by the averages on their report card, whether they thought it was fair or not.

CK was livid about it all. No wonder. The kid hasnt passed a test all term.

I warned them that I was going to quiz them today. Lets see how they do....

I got a note in school that they are looking for blood donors that are A+ for FE's sister, so I called this morning to offer my A+ blood. I still am waiting to hear from them if it's okay to give even though I had transfusions before. I'm not going to tell them that I don't match the weight requirement. I figure ten lbs up or down don't make that much of a difference.

We'll see soon.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

The 8th grade has been down my back for ages to find out my nickname.

I promised them that if they scored a 93% average on their history test today I would tell them.

Well guess what? They studied their brains out and got a class average of 92.6. The girls all started adding their points from all the boxtops they had collected and the ones I had promised them... They ended at 92.99. I had to tell them.

My nickname is Twinkle.

They are still singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". I don't think I will ever live it down.

I was about to go into the seventh grade when AS came to tell me that she couldn't take the test because her grandfather had passed away that week and she couldn't study. I was upset, because I had told them about this test two weeks ago, but her grandpa died, so what could I do?

Then EMB gives me a note signed by her mother no less, that because she was helping all day for Shavuous, she couldn't take the test.

I ran to the office to scream. I was not going to let EMB get away with it. She knew about the test and she knew about Shavuous. Neither was a surprise to her, and if she thought that a note from her mom was going to get me to let her off she was WRONG.

Turns out that AS got a 96% and HB needs to retake it, and CSS and EMB both failed. The principal backed me up 100%.

SE and EL asked me on their index cards when my birthday is. I told them they missed it by a day. They were in 7th heaven that I finally told them.

And now, a well deserves Shavuous break!

Seat Change

Hebco made a seat change without telling the other teachers. I hate her guts sometimes.

I came in to the 7th grade and the class was a mess because some of the girls wanted to sit in their old seats while some were sitting in the new ones.

I made every girl sit in her new seat.

SNK refused.

She sat in her old seat because her new one was right in front of my desk and she didn't want to be there. HB used to sit there and SNK used the excuse that HB had gone home sick that day and she didn't want to catch germs from her desk.

CSS was sitting in that desk instead.

I had CSS move her desk to touch the side of my desk (it worked out so well, it's a shame we didn't do it earlier on in the year). SNK still refused to come up.

I folded my hands and told her it was not up for discussion; I wanted her here N.O.W.

She stomped her foot. (!)

I told her that we were not going to start class until she got her books and got herself into that new seat of hers.

She stomped around, picked up her books and told EL that I was DISGUSTING. I don't know if I was meant to hear that but I did.

I was in no mood for power plays with little babies so I told her to just forget the seat change and ask the principal for a note to come back into class.

She refused to leave, claiming she didn't know what she did.

I told her that if I had to tell the principal what she had done, I would not be very lenient. Rather she should be the one to tell the principal the story in the way she wanted it told.

She went.

She came back 30 minutes later with a note saying that she would sit in her new seat.

That day I got into a long discussion with the girls about acknowledging their talents and then using them in the right way; not rubbing them in everyone else;s face.

I was hoping RA would get the hint about how crazy she drove us all. She didn't.

At the end of the day I gave out their history tests and RA fought with me over 2 points that I gave her off because her handwriting sucked.

She told me it was not possible to have gotten it wrong because her mother was a history major. I wanted to tell her to have her mother teach it all to her and for her to keep out of my life.

Friday, SNK was sitting in her old seat again with her head down on her desk. I walked in, told her she had ten seconds to get to her new seat or else she was out for good.

She came to her new seat, turned the desk around to face the back of the class, and put her head down.

If she were my kid, I would have smacked her.

I stopped talking until she looked up to see why and when she saw the look on my face, she turned the desk back around and put her head down for the rest of the class.

Shame, she missed a good lesson. I didn't teach. Instead, we continued the discussion from the day before.

RA still didn't get it.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Catching up on the Last Few Days

Again, long time no post.

Monday I come to school to find DA waiting for me.

She decided she wasn't going to take my history test that day because she didn't study. She wanted to take it Tuesday.

I asked her why she didn't study as I had told them about the test a week in advance and finished the material with enough days to study well for it. She told me she forgot there was a test.

I refuse to let a girl push off taking a test because she "forgot". There is no such thing in 7th grade. When I was that age I would never have the chutzpah to ask a teacher to excuse me for forgetting. I'd be cramming the material in hard and writing answers on my hand and hoping to scrape a pass....

Well she did pass. Barely. She got a 67.

15 minutes to the end of the day, the principals both came in to my class to make my girls redo their tzniyus fair project because the pictures they used were....not tzniyus.

I had to take 4 girls out to the staircase and had them finish their tests there.

CSS took her test home to finish and she gave it back to me the next day, but I have no heart to mark it now. HB and SS both got no mar because they scored so low and I had a few kids in the 60's and this was NOT a hard test.

Spring Fever.

Tuesday I could not teach. I was dead tired as Jellybean had been up the whole night alternating between giggling and crying for his dummy. I got through an aim in history (Korean war) and then had the girls daven mincha and then we discussed the Wave a little bit (we finished reading it the day before) and then I took the girls to the park with the 7th grade from 2-3.

My co is pregnant now and she is spring fevering too.

When we got back to teaching, within one hour I finished two aims in 7th grade. Felt good.

Today was cute.

In the 8th grade I explained to them why the Vietnam war was so hard psychologically- because Americans could not tell the difference between the Vietcong and the civilians and they had no idea if they were killing innocent people.

I explained it to them with the example that to an outsider; chassidim and litvaks may look the same.. (okay, we know that's not true, but whatever)

The girls started fighting with me and saying that chassididm looked weird and had curly peyos and were very obviously different.

So RS piped up and said "Nuh uh! Mrs. (ME) is chassidish and she's so normal! She doesn't look weird! I would never know she's not normal like us if she didn't tell us!"

Gee thanks RS.

TG decided she was sick today and put down her head in my class. She glared at me when I made her daven mincha and right after mincha she took out a Hershey bar and started munching. I need to have a talk with her.

Seventh grade today finished half a chapter in history again. DA was behaving a bit better- but that's because she has no idea what she scored on that test...

DA was being "big sistered" by Hebco. I have a feeling that's where some of her attitude is coming from... Hebco lets her get away with MURDER.

I marked the essays this morning and I didn't have the heart to take the mark off the girls who had not handed in their drafts. They had all done so well and I didn't want to do it before asking the principal again.

I got the yearbook proofs now and they need soooo much work! My sister is leaving to Israel Sunday and I have no idea how it will get done.

To make matters worse, this is an English Friday, so my week is dragging on forever.....

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Reaction

Because it's hard to keep on top of posting every day I tend to forget a lot of what happened in school that I wanted to blog. So bear with me if I sound a little jumbled.

The preparing thing worked SO well in 8th grade. The aim took less than 20 minutes. Right then and there I scheduled a test for next Monday; I'm so confident I can finish the chapter by then.

I spent a lot of the period reading The Wave- and I'm sure I'll be done that by next reading or the one after that.

After that, I still had 20 minutes left to the lesson so I did maps with the class and scheduled a quiz for this coming Monday.

OMG, that reminds me that I had better make up that quiz!

Recess time a bunch of teachers were in the office making fun of stupid names, we had a great time but got a bit rowdy LOL. Spring fever I guess.

Before I walked into 7th grade I had a word with the principal about the general attitude there. I had marked the drafts of their editorials and noticed that 5 of them were missing- and this was 4 days after they were due.

The principal and I agreed to lower each girl by one full grade for this. There was no reason that in May this kind of behavior should still be going on.

The missing essays were from FE, AS, DA, SNK, and CSS. The only one who surprised me was DA. Like I have mentioned in previous posts; she had changed drastically since the beginning of the year.

I refused to help the 5 girls who hadn't handed in their drafts during the rewriting time. I said that they had lost their privilege for me to help them. I told CSS who was being stubborn that my help time had come the night before. Her writing was not on my pile so she lost out.

She offered to hand it her writing then, but I insisted that I would not touch it. She was angry; as were the other girls who had missed out, but they knew I was fair.

MB had brought in a book she wanted me to read to the class, but I thought it was too long to finish before the end of the year.

CK told me to start it now and finish it next year. I told her there would be no next year.

The class started yelling and I could not calm them down. About 6 or 7 kids started crying. I thought I was going to embarrass myself too. :(

I can't tell them why I am leaving but they kept asking me questions and made me promise 1000 times that it wasn't because I hated them. I told them that I was not leaving them for another school or anything, just had to leave teaching for a while.

I told them that they'd all be more than welcome to call me or anything once the year was over, and knowing these girls, I don't doubt they will.

MB, RB, SE, CSS, SG, and some others were really upset. I felt terrible.

I told the girls about three of my students who had dropped in on me earlier in the week (CK, MP, and CO) so that I could paint two sweatshirt for them for theri color war. It was actually quite funny that my old students were hanging around my flat- taking care of JB while I was painting, but I liked the feeling that my old kids still remembered me.

I promised my new kids that I'd be there for them the same way.

Later that night CSS's mom called me screaming that I hadn't called her back about a note she had given for me to call her.

JB was coughing in the background and acting really bratty and I apologized to her for having a life that demanded some of my time.

She went off about how CSS was on meds now and that it was irresponsible for me not to have called her about noticing a change in her behavior (Ah! So that's why she's been so calm lately!)

I called her on that and asked her if maybe she wasn't the irresponsible one for not telling me her kid was on drugs.

She shut up after that. We spoke for a while, and all the while I heard her yelling at CSS in the background. No wonder that kid is so messed up. She gets treated so strangely at home.

Her parents waited years to have her, and then she turned out not to be the perfect child they dreamed of. The way they treat her reflects all that. It's so sad.

I wish I could be there for her to help her through next year. I'm so sad to be leaving these girls that I've become so attached to.

Someone please keep reminding me that this is the right thing to do.