Thursday, March 30, 2006

Spring Break

It is so nice to have a co you can rely on. I called her emergency this morning to take over for me today. She had no problem.
I had a dentist appointment this morning, and instead of the cavity they were supposed to fill, they discovered that I had 4 more. 4 cavities, and one possible root canal. I flipped. I wanted them to fill them all and get it over with so that the numbness would go away in time for school, but there was a problem.
I had chemotherapy a few years ago, and it left a minor amount of scarring on my heart. It doesn't affect me at all, except for when I go to the dentist. Supposedly, I have to warn them that I have something with my heart.
Today I found out why. If it comes a time when they have to expose me to chemicals or touch a nerve, I need to take meds an hour before. This would only be a problem if I were to go have a cleaning/bleaching or a root canal.
I wanted to take care of it, and right away, so I got the prescription and ran to the pharmacy. I knew though, that if I had to wait an hour after taking meds to do the procedure, and I still had to have a root canal done, I would never make it in time for school.
I called my co frantically, and she was a doll. She agreed to take over for me no problem.
I ran around trying to get food to take my 4 pills of amoxycilin with. That was a long story. I took the pills at 11, and I had to wait until 12 to have anything done. Turns out that my co lives across the street from the dentist, and I spent the hour at her house going over some papers I had typed up for a friend in seminary. She had given me questions that she needed two teachers to answer. Her 8 questions took 4 pages for me to answer. I know, I know, I talk too much. LOL
I finally went back to dentist and guess what? I didn't even need a root canal in the end. I spent my month's paycheck paying for the cavities they filled, and I was out of there by 12:30. The truth is, I could've gone to school, but I was terribly numb.
I decided to enjoy my day off.
2:30 I was speaking fine again, and I debated going to school and taking over for the hour and half after recess, but my husband convinced me otherwise.
It was a good thing, because then the pain hit. Advil didn't kick in until about 4:30.
During the time I was in agony, L.K. called me on my cellphone to ask what to do about her cover for the ET newspaper. I decided to go over to school and help out.
I ran over after school was over, and got the papers. I guess I'll take care of it, and then fax it to L.K. to give in to print tomorrow.
While I was in school, I spent time talking to my co. She was supposed to go tutor C.O. right after school, but when she told the principal about it, the principal insisted that she back out of it until after Pesach. She wanted time to asses the S.G.L. and C.O. situation. She feared that the tutoring business was becoming a "shtick" between the girls. She also didn't want my co to be put in between the triangle of S.G.L, C.O., and M.R. My co and I had to agree with her. For once LOL!
I'll be subbing in another school tomorrow. I'm taking over my niece's class. I really don't want to waste my Friday, but I do want to get a job in that school, so it's worth a try.
Keeping my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Scrapbooking and a Nice Day

I decided to take my husband's advice and just chill. This morning I didn't get out of bed until it was almost 11. I was so calm, it scared me. Then, when I finally got dressed and spent a couple of minutes on schoolwork, we decided to go out for "brunch".
My husband and I celebrated his birthday by getting iced coffee and driving around the neighborhood.
I made it to school at a quarter past 12 and I was still cool. I got things done once there, and then I went down to monitor lunch. Half of the grade was not there because my co had taken the 7b class to the roof for finally winning their clean up contest. It was a pleasure.
I got a message that the principal wanted to see me, but then she told me to come to her recess time.
Believe it or not, I was still calm as anything.
I took the 7a first because 7b was still on the roof. We did a spelling test, and then the secretary came in to ask me if now was a good time for the art teacher to take over for 45 minutes and do scrapbooking with the girls.
I was so thrilled at the unexpected surprise.
I used the time to mark spelling tests and then after the class, I managed to teach an entire history aim in 15 minutes.
The same thing happened in the other class.
Turns out the principal also changed her mind about needing me so that was good too. Also, the secretary arranged for me to get paid for my ink cartridge.
My day was just great.
I spoke with my co after school, and she told me about G.S. Two girls in 7b, I believe it was C.C.K. and C.S.A., came over to tell my co that they thought that we were being too hard on G.S. They said that G.S. never really meant to do things to annoy the teachers, she was just naturally curious and that got her in trouble. When she got in trouble, she would do something else to prove that it didn't bother her when it actually did bother her very much. And that led to a cycle of misbehaviors.
I didn't mind going easy on her, but I thought that it was awful cute of those two girls to take responsibility for G.S.'s well being. Very cute.
S.G.L. and M.R. broke up and now C.O. became S.G.L.'s new friend. We are all against this friendship, but we agree to give it time to play out.
M.R. was the one who dumped S.G.L. I think she was right in doing so, even though it was probably her mother behind it all.
Problem is, now C.O. and S.G.L. are really antagonizing M.R. and turning the situation into big politics. My co is caught in the middle of all this.
My co tutors S.G.L. and recently began doing M.R. Tonight, Mrs. O. called my co to ask her to tutor C.O. My co was not happy, but agreed to do it once on a trial basis.
We have a huge feeling that C.O. is only doing this because of S.G.L. She is not a stable girls and tends to copy her friends. Her problem is that she has a new friend every 6 weeks.
We spoke to the principal, and my co brought up that S.G.L. was only hooking onto C.O. so that she could get close to C.O.'s friend M.L. who is part of the g.o. and a wonderful girl in general. The principal was not for the friendship, but agreed to let it ride for a bit.
She asked us to keep an eye on what was going on as well as the situation we had with the crushes girls were having on boys. C.O. was in the middle of all of it, she crushed a boy in a well known choir, and it became a class joke. The principal didn't want to make an issue because the thrill had died down a bit. She preferred to have us keep an eye out for it.
All in all, I had a cool, calm, and collected day.
Looking forward to many more!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ink, Approvals, and Two Weeks Notice

I spoke to the principal about getting paid for the ink cartridges I used for the newspaper, and surprisingly, she agreed with me completely.
While she was in a good mood, I spoke with her about S.G.L. and her test and the letter I was giving her. She gave me her two cents, and then, as I was about to leave, she asked me what my plans were for next year.
To tell the truth, I was unprepared to answer her. I knew what the answer would be, but I didn't know how to say it.
"The truth is," I told her, "the sixth grade only has one class. That means that I'll be teaching only for an hour and half a day next year. I do have to begin looking around for a job that would fill the other part of my day."
She nodded and told me that she didn't expect anything else. I told her that I didn't know whether I'd be able to find a job for just an hour and a half or if I would maybe find a full day job. The principal said that she understood and asked if she had permission to begin looking for a replacement just in case.
I'm planning to leave no matter what, and I think she knows it, even though I didn't say it. I said that she had every right to go out and look for someone for next year.
It's a relief to know that I got that over with. I had worried about what it would be like to tell her that I was looking for another job, and it turned out quite well.
The day itself was pretty decent, the newspaper was copied, and now I'm back home typing.
It's actually my husband's Hebrew birthday tonight, and I'm really taking the night off!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Meetings and Messes part 2

I'm back, and I'm so upset at S.G.L. I had given her a chance to retake a test she had failed, and after spending an hour outside of my classroom today, she handed in an empty paper.
I didn't look at it until now, and I'm shocked. I honestly thought that she would do well. She wrote a long note about how she called her parents from school and that they told her not to take the test. I have no choice but to fail her, and her parents are encouraging it.
I wrote her a letter telling her that I am disappointed because I knew she could do well. I hope it gets to her. She wanted to know how upset I was about her not retaking the test, so I wrote in the letter that she had missed the point.
I can't believe that S.G.L. is so out of touch with reality that she thinks I wanted to give her this test. I explained to her that I only let her retake because I wanted her to do well.
I'm taking the night off because my husband yelled at me for killing myself over school. He wants me to chill out a bit and leave all the unimportant things for later.
I believe he's right. I must learn to "chill out" a little. I haven't been taking much time for myself lately. I'm going to take a break.

Meetings and Messes

The first thing I had to do this morning was call the reading specialist. I left a message for her on her cellphone and prayed she wouldn't call me back, but she did.
Then I had to call the principal so that we could give my class computers when I met with the specialist. My day was already a mess.
In school, I rushed around, doing a millon things before class. I had to prepare a lesson, fill in my plansheets, and I also had to put a question in the newspaper "question box." Really, students are supposed to put their questions in there for the Editors to answer, but for some reason, no one wants to volunteer. I had to do it instead.
I wrote a note telling the Editors that my teachers hated me and I didn't know what to do about it.
When the Editors came to tell me that they got a note, they told me it was about a girl trying to get on the honor roll, and she thought her teacher didn't notice. Funny, how creative these girls can get when it comes to hiding the truth from a teacher.
The 7b class drove me nuts today with all their questions. No matter what I said or did, they refused to understand the Marbury vs. Madison courtcase. I was ready to bang my head into the wall.
L.K. was talking again. New seat didn't do anything. L.O. is also giving me problems. I need to go back to Florida.
We sped through some literature, and then I realized that the girls didn't understand a word I said. I asked them why they didn't ask me questions and they told me that they were embarrassed to. One smart aleck told me that all their teachers told them that they ask too many questions. I need to explain to them that constantly asking me to leave the classroom ro when their picture books were due, were not the kind of questions I meant.
Seventh graders!!!!
I sent my newspaper pages to print, and then I got two of them back with mistakes. Yay.
After recess, I taught history, and then I shipped the girls off to computers where they were able to use Print Shop to look for pictures for their picture books. The girls were fuming! They were so angry at the school for only letting them work in school and then still having them have it done before Pesach. I'm angry too, but I can't vent my frustrations on the principal the way they vented on me.
During computers I met with the reading specialist. It was nothing new, but it was good to hear some strategies anyway. It was such a pleasure meeting with a person who ended punctually. The principal could definitely take a lesson.
I gave the classes history questions for homework, and dismissed them.
At home I typed for newspaper again, and now that my husband walked in, I think I'll sign off and go make supper.
Don't go anywhere, there's more to my day.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Seating Change, Gym, and Other Headaches

The first thing I had to take care of as soon as I walked into class, was a seating change. Usually, my co and I will wait until after class to put one up so that we don't have to deal with complaints, but this was an emergency. The 7b class was so unbearable, that we had to sit down Thursday night to make up a new chart.
I gave them a speech the first thing in the morning, even before davening. I told them that of course, there would be no complaints until after Pesach, and that the seats were not up to them, it was something that both teachers had come up with. I made sure they understood that the next seating change for a girl would be for her to spend a day in the 5th grade.
I didn't really have the permission to say that I would punish someone in a another grade., I had to ask the principal first.
I caught hold of her in the hallways while my class was still davening. I told her that I had made a seating change because some girls were acting out.
She immediately accused me of not having a handle on things. "Why didn't you come to me when you were having the problem? Why do you only wait until you're at the end of your rope?"
I was surprised and said, "I've been speaking to you about these girls since September! I'm not at the 'end of my rope' but a seating change was due anyway, so we did it now instead of later, and we're hoping that it'll help the situation here."
She kept going for a while, and then I asked her permission to punish girls in other classes. She didn't like the idea. She has two methods that she sticks to. Either she takes the girl into her office and psychologizes her, or she has the girls move her desk all the way to the blackboard and isolate her from the rest of the class.
I was more than just familiar with the first method, and I hated to shatter her beliefs, but they did not do a thing. The girls would always come back into class laughing, and they were misbehaving again within a matter of minutes.
As for the second of her strategies, I was disgusted. In a school where they catered so much to students how could they even think of doing something that could literally shatter a girl? Going into another class is embarrassing, but to be punished in the front of all your friends? That's terrible for a child's emotional well-being!
I insisted on my form of punishment, even though she kept saying it wouldn't be that effective, and eventually I got the permission. That If I should have to punish any student, I could send her to the 5th grade next door.
I liked the new seating plan a lot. We really managed to isolate the girls we needed to. I took L.K. away from the wall so that she'd be forced to sit straight. T.K., to her horror, was put in the front.
T.K. has been making a big show of sulking during my classes. My co says that she's a doll by her. I'm pretending I don't care. I can't run after her every time she needs attention. I also think that by ignoring her "kvetchyness" it drives her even more nuts. LOL
R.H. is all the way in the back, and G.S. as well. It's hard to keep my fingers crossed while I'm typing, but I'm hoping for it to work out.
It worked nicely in school today, but that could just be because they were getting used to their surroundings. My co said that after recess they were a bit more hyper.
My lesson went so smoothly, I was pleasantly surprised. It hasn't been so easy to deal with this class in a long time.
After recess both classes had gym. I kept busy taking care of newspaper things, but then my co and I joined the game. I gave a plus one to C.O. for getting my co out, and then another plus to C.C.K. for getting me out. It was fun to play with them.
The second class went by ok, even though by that time I was starving. I hadn't had breakfast and by that time I thought I was going to eat some of my students.
I ran to the teacher's room, but they had no food, so I drank water and went to the principal to approve the newspaper writings.
She had something to say about everything. When I say "something to say" I think it's self understood that she didn't always have good things to say.
I got out of there, ran home, and spent the entire afternoon typing and formatting the paper. By the entire afternoon, I mean from 1-5:30 pm. I didn't even get up from my chair in the middle.
At 5:30 I had a phone conversation with my co for about half an hour, and then I continued typing until 7.
Besides for having no life, I also have no ink left in my printer. I replaced the cartridge last Tuesday. I'm not getting paid for this job, the least they could do is compensate me for my ink. These things cost about $30 a cartridge!
Back to my co, she told me that the girls in 7b stayed after school to talk to her about how she and I treated their class. Now I was added to their list of class haters. Seventh grade minds... My co promised to talk with me about it. So we did. But I don't really believe that these girls would recognize that we liked them if we waved it in front of their noses. I can't knock myself out trying to please everyone.
I'm far from laid back about this issue, but to kill myself trying to please 16 seventh graders when I am already giving up shopping in Manhattan to type their paper...Please. When my husband heard that I was giving up buying new shoes for the paper he was fuming. I would document this even if I weren't doing a blog, my husband would rather go shopping for shoes in Macy's with me than watch me get carpal tunnel syndrome typing. Awwww.
I thought my school day was over when I left the house to go to a wedding, but when I got back, there was a message on my machine from the principal. She wanted me to call the reading specialist in school so that she could teach me techniques that I would be able to use with S.G.L. I am miserable.
I called my co, but she hadn't gotten a call. This was a special form of torture meant just for me.
So in addition to making Pesach, typing the newspaper, teaching, my nephew's wedding, and just plain dealing with school, I also have to do reading lessons.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Spring Fever

I spent the morning applying to other schools. I faxed my resume to any school that would take it. I got a comment from a friend of mine, N.Y.F., about my first post on this blog. My friend was saying how my views had changed so much since the beginning of this year. At first I was all idealistic, I was teaching for heart and not for money, and now all I talk about is how little I get paid LOL. N.Y.F. is right. My ideals have changed. But not all the way.
I still believe that teaching is all about heart, and not about the amount you get paid. But now the issue that I'm really angry about is the respect we teachers get. Or maybe 'don't' get' is more correct.
You would think that parents would respect the people who mold their kids' minds just a bit more. We have to put up with so much today that teachers didn't have to in the past. The attitudes of the kids and parents, the idea that teachers are disposable... The money was never an issue until I realized that for everything I go through for these kids, I deserve a little more recognition.
I have a huge feeling that it has a lot to do with the school I'm teaching in.
Of the schools I applied to today, when I asked about salary, the lowest quote I got was $15,ooo. That's more than double the amount I make now. This is not to say that $15,000 is a lot, but it's better than $6,000. The people I spoke to were also so much nicer than anyone I've heard for the past couple of months.
Lately, I've been a lot more anxious about this whole school situation. I even convinced my co to begin applying to other schools. Maybe it's just spring fever.
Talking about spring fever, my students have it bad.
The 7a class had won a clean-up contest with my co, so she bought them pizza and they had lunch on the roof. The 7b class was out to kill.
Just my luck, I had them first today. They were so jumpy and annoying, it was a wonder I kept my cool. R.H. took her time distracting the class by calling out during literature about newspaper things she had to do. I sent her out to take care of them.
When she came back into class, she made a huge deal about having missed 3 lines in her notes. What did she think? I was going to wait for her? She then spent a nice portion of time cutting out circles of purple paper for my co's class. I stopped the entire lesson to put her in her place.
Then L.K. started up. At least twice a week L.K. tells me as soon as I walk into class about something hurting her. Usually not something can do anything about. Recently, I began asking her if a kiss would make it go away. It works like a charm on my 4 year old brother. She turned red and since then she's slowly stopping to to interrupt my class with all her stories.
But today was a nightmare. She got up in the middle of class to get something from R.H.'s desk. R.H. sits 3 seats behind her. She's always turning around to talk to M.P. or someone, and I can't stand it. I really gave it to her.
T.K. was bothering me so much today. She also has this thing everyday when I come into class, she complains at how cold it is. It could be 100 degrees outside, but she'll need to put up this show of being cold. It kills me.
She also has to go out of my class about 4 times every day.
Today I refused to let her out of class during literature. I didn't let anyone go out of class during literature today. In two minutes she raised her hand 4 times. "Can I go out now?" Ohhhh, if looks could kill...
I let only the newspaper girls out. When I sent L.K. out to finish her covers for newspaper, T.K. asked if she could join her. I put my book down for a minute and looked at her. Then I said quietly, "There is a difference between leaving class, and being made to leave. Don't make me teach you the difference."
After literature, when I began writing, I started letting girls out. T.K. refused to raise her hand. She just whispered loudly to the girls around her, "She's ignoring me on purpose... She knows I want to go out!"
I ignored her until she raised her hand.
It was such a relief to get out of there.
I gave out the finally developed Purim pictures to the girls. They were all thrilled with them, but it really added to the spring fever mood.
The other class was quieter, yet, they're also "spring fevering." C.O. was not sitting still all day. Lately, she's becoming friends with S.G.L. and they've taken to whispering across the classroom. My nerves are fraying little by little.
At the end of the day, the girls showed me a bunch of baby pictures they'd brought in and made me guess who was who. I'm terrible at this, but I looked at them anyway. I had actually brought in my own baby picture for my co so that she could play this game with the girls during their special lunch. She said that they really enjoyed it.
The twelfth grade was so immature. I can't believe that they're only a year younger than I am. I was showing them a presntation called Inspired and there were some girls who were giggling at one part. They make me feel so much older than 18 and a half.
Ok, I'm almost 19 by now. Two months left to go. But still, there's no reason 18 year olds should be acting so immature.
I spent a lot of time typing for newspaper. There are no articles coming in, and I have a feeling that this paper will be a disappointment to the girls. They thought that just because they were able to get a paper done in a week, having three weeks would be a breeze. But quite the contrary, it's far from it!
Especially, when I'm left doing all the work.
But at least it looked good on my resume. I made sure to write that I took care of publishing the school newspaper.
I also enrolled in a college course for creative writing. That's one thing I'm excited for.
The other thing I'm excited for is going to bed. It's about 1:30 am.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Picture Books, Attitudes, and Voicemail Systems

Today I spent the entire day on the revision of the girls' picture books. I taught them the 5 questions of revision, (Who, What they want, But, So, and Then what?) and I gave back their drafts so that they could revise.
7a were dolls about the whole thing. We had such cute discussions about different books that were written terribly. E.F.G. was especially interested here. She had a ton to offer on the topic.
The girls were on the edge of seats, waiting to get their drafts back, but I refused to give them back until the end of the lesson. I basically remembered the different plots of the girls, and the were thrilled whenever I made a reference to their books.
When I gave the drafts back, the girls began working on them right away.
In the 7b class, all I got was opposition. They kept interrupting my lesson, and when I finally gave the papers back, you had to hear the commotion going on as the girls began complaining about the amount of work they'd now have to put into revising their books.
L.K. especially, had such an attitude, that I was horrified. She began yelling at me about how her mother was going to call the principal to complain.
I lost it then. I got up and told them that if I had to keep dealing with this type of attitude, I was going to give them the entire thing to do for homework. I didn't come to school every day to deal with this.
I told them that if they thought calling the principal was the right thing to do, they were more than welcome to do so. Not that they needed my permission, they did it anyway. I asked L.K. if she thought she was threatening me by telling me this. I asked her if she thought I still had no clue that her mother called school on almost a daily basis.
She tried to have a staring contest with me, but I was the founder of the "staring teachers down" idea, so she didn't get anywhere far.
The class was shocked at my speech.
R.H. said that it wasn't fair that they weren't given all the lessons at once. They kept hearing things in bits and pieces. I told them honestly that I got the lessons in pieces and that I was just as confused as they were. I was honest, I told them that I didn't have all the answers all the time, and that if they had a question that I couldn't answer, they should take it to the principal. The girls were so shocked that I was so calm about them going to the principal. They were totally caught off guard.
They quickly turned the complaint into, " but we can never get through to the principal! She's always so busy!"
They got into the talk of having a voicemail system to get through to all the important people out there. I explained to the girls how a voicemail system worked.
When they asked how I knew so much on the topic, I told them that that's what my father did for a living and that my parents had one in their home.
They asked for the number so that they could call. I refused to give it to them, but I promised that if they would work on revising now, I would show it to them after class.
As soon as 4:15 came, I took out my cell-phone and called. The girls got a big kick out of it.
Now I'm waiting for the calls from the parents to come.

Pay Raise

I got to thinking. I'm working really hard, and to tell you the truth, half of what I'm doing wasn't even outlined in my contract. For example, the newspaper.
My contract was exactly two lines long. It said nothing about newspaper, nothing about dress code, and nothing about dealing with an idiot of a principal. I really have every right to demand a pay raise.
But I have no guts. And besides, what'll I get anyways, an extra $25 a month? For that kind of money, I'm not going to bother asking. But then again, do I want to keep working like this for nothing?
I spoke to the other teachers about this and they all agreed that I better ask for a raise.
But don't be fooled by the title. I'm not getting a raise any time soon. I still have to work up the nerve to ask.
I had an amazing lesson in the 7a class. I flew through history, and I got half of chapter eight done in the novel we're reading.
I was worried about getting it all done in 7b, but I did it. Whew. But I don't think I'll get my hopes up for tomorrow.
Tomorrow I plan on doing writing all day. Between a minilesson on revising and having them actually revise, I think it'll take up a lot of time. Whatever time I have left, I figure I'll do a history review.
The newspaper girls are hard at work on their next issue. I'm already dreading all the typing. But slowly I'm learning that I can't control everything and everyone. The girls will hand in the articles next Tuesday, and until then, worrying won't get me anywhere.
"Worry is like a rocking chair; it keeps you going, but gets you nowhere."
I need to put that in big, bold letters in every room of my flat. I should listen to my own advice once in a while. LOL
I haven't had a moment to breathe ever since I got home today. Between preparing new lessons, making up the "easy" history test, making supper, running out to a wedding, helping out another teacher, and blogging, I'm starting to feel just a tiny bit drained.
Having my first cousin's wedding tomorrow, an all night affair, doesn't make things any easier for me.
I think I need to take a lesson from my computer.
It's 12:30 am now, I'm gonna crash.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Newspaper Again

We had a meeting this morning about whether or not the girls should put out another newspaper for this month.
It's quite a busy time now with Pesach coming up and everything, and I wanted to give them the choice of putting it out, rather than pressuring them into it.
The girls were told to daven at home, and we had a meeting while the rest of the grade was davening.
The girls all voted to make the newspaper.
One the one hand, I'm proud that they're so determined to make this work, but on the other hand, I'm worried that it will be a pressure. I guess the only way to find out is to do it.
I told the girls that I would have to push back their deadline for articles because I had two weddings the week our paper went to print, so it would have to get typed earlier.
Still, the girls voted to do the paper. C.S. and R.S. who are in charge of the Pesach section seemed a little concerned about having enough time, but then they realized that most of their work was simple enough to be done in school.
Even T.K. wanted to print! She won't be here for our next issue, so she wanted to make one now. I'm surprised.
I assigned jobs to the girls and we agreed to send the reporters around tomorrow.
I have a feeling I'm in for a big headache.
Class time was great. My co and I decided to switch classes for the week. I took the 7a class first, instead of the 7b. It worked out so well. From now on we'll be switching for the week beginning every Sunday.
I had less time in the 7a class, which is perfect, because I always get done there very soon.
In the 7b I had ages more time, and I just managed to cover the work by the skin of my teeth. Yep, welcome to 7b. ...And then they still want to know why my co enjoys the other class more.
I began rushing through the book we're doing in literature. I finished chapter 7. We're now halfway thought the book. I need to finish it already, it's taking way too long.
History chapters are going really fast too. I'll be finishing chapter 9 tomorrow. I scheduled a test for Wednesday.
I spoke to the principal after school to explain to her that the girls voted for the doing the paper. I was worried that she'd have parents calling up to complain about the added pressure before Pesach, and I wanted her to be able to tell the parents that it was their daughter's decision.
I also told her that I scheduled a test. She sat me down and explained to me that I had to make my tests harder because on the rating sheets I gave in, the girls were doing extremely well.
The problem is, when my tests were harder, she told me to make them easier. Personally, I don't believe that my tests are that easy. Has it never even occurred to her that I might be a good teacher? LOL
I got home with the intention of quickly making up a test and then getting a room cleaned for Pesach.
At 5pm I had just finished the test. It took 4 hours. ...And I still wasn't satisfied. I printed it anyway, and refused to look at it again.
I can't be perfect all the time. And for this time, I think 4 hours is all I'm ready to give.
It is now close to 1. I had a cleaning lady over and between us, we got two rooms done for Pesach. I also got a lesson planned.
And now that I am nearly dead with exhaustion, I think I deserve a little break.
Good night!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

What a Drag

Back to school after three days of vacation is a drag. Especially if it's also the last day of the week for me. Blah.
My co was in a Board of Jewish Education meeting in Manhattan, so I had to take both classes for the first part of the day.
Surprisingly enough, they were very well behaved and I got an entire aim in history done with them. I was thrilled.
I was about to start literature, when my co walked in. We agreed to split the classes now for the 45 minutes left until recess. I would take the 7b until recess, and then after recess I would take the 7a for literature for 45 minutes. For the remaining 45 minutes of the day, my co was to put them together for math.
It was a great plan for me because I got 45 minutes free.
I walked into the 7b class, and before I could even say, "Open you books", they bombarded me with questions about my family. They wanted to know who was who when they had come on Purim.
Some girls were shocked to find out that my brother was actually a boy, they just thought he was one of my sisters.
We got off topic in literature as well. H.W. somehow got me telling them how all young married couples end up having more junk than actual food.
It was a fun class, but I was dreading getting way ahead in the 7a class.
I didn't have to worry. I had less time there anyway, and all they wanted to talk about was how they hated being put together with the other class, even during Hebrew.
Interesting discussion, that was.
I used my 45 minutes free to watch a DVD I was planning to show to my public speaking class.
12th grade was so excited when I walked in with a laptop. They were like little kids, scrambling to find a spot on the floor. I sounded like my mother trying to tell them to move back or they'd ruin their eyesight.
I heard that one of my 12th grade "kallahs" had broken their engagement. I couldn't stop thinking about it. She was even sitting in class with everyone else as if life was completely normal. I was so hurt for her.
By getting engaged she had taken a step further than the rest of the girls in her class. That in itself was hard enough. But to then have a broken engagement on top of all that? I don't know how she's managing.
When the last bell finally rang I was so relieved. I've only been back one day, but I've been looking forward to the weekend just as much as any other week.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


At 12 noon I went over to my parents' house to wait for my students. I was dressed up as a gas station attendant, and my family had even bought this Little Tykes gas pump to sit by our door.
One by one the students began to come.
Or should I say two by threes? No girl wanted to walk in herself. The students all came in with a couple of friends.
C.O., M.L., H.W., and G.S. all walked in together. They each gave me their mishloach manos, we took some pictures, and then they ran out laughing.
M.L. was a chessboard and her brothers were chess pieces. They were adorable!
C.O, had given me a very cute picture frame that said "Super Teacher", with a nice poem in it.
G.S. had given me a small thing in school, and she had just come 'cause she has a crush on me. LOL
H.W. gave me a small bag with apples and apple cookies inside. Nothing special.
The next ones to come were S.F.F. and T.J. They were dressed up very cute, and brought yummy goodies with them.
S.F.F. had a tray of chocolate covered rice crispies smeared with marshmallow fluff. My family loves that stuff. It was gone in a matter of minutes.
Next, S.G.L. walked in, all by herself. My family thought she was adorable. She handed me a stunning mishloach manos made especially for me. It had a "teachers are a class act" mug, and a cake, as well as a cutting board. Her mother had written a nice note about how I was a "cut" above the rest.
A while later R.S. came by. Her parents gave me an envelope with $20.
L.K. and M.P. came together looking very cute. Our picture came out blurry, but it'll have to do. My camera was giving me problems all day. My 17 year old sister was my photographer, and she couldn't figure the camera out. So L.K. and M.P. will be getting blurry pictures.
L.K.'s mishloach manos was stunning! It was a potpourri theme and it smelled up the entire room. LOL. Her parents had given me an $18 check.
M.P. looked adorable. Her costume matched her mishloach manos. She was dressed in green stripes. Everything in her striped basked was green.
My family could not get over the girls. They kept pointing out that my students were all taller than I was. -Sadly, it's all true. :)
C.S. and her sister came together. C.S. wasn't dressed up, but her little sister was a "Molly" doll, form the American Girls Collection.
Her parents wrote such a nice card and they bought me a hand blender for being the "perfect blend" of a teacher.
My parents had to agree that C.S. was the cutest so far.
When C.C.K. came, my siblings disagreed. They said she was the cutest.
She came together with L.O. At that time, my 12 year old brother (who had dressed up as a very convincing girl) was in the middle of changing in to a t-shirt of my sister's. In the middle of the dining room he took off his shirt. I was so embarrassed. My students couldn't stop laughing. I have a feeling that the entire school is going to know about this soon.
L.O.'s package had a really nice poem thanking me for all my hard work.
M.L. in 7b came over very excitedly. This girl would sleep over at my house if I'd let her. She gave me a nice basket that my 5 year old sister wanted to keep, and she was thrilled to be able to take a picture with me.
The next three to come were B.G., A.L., and R.R.
B.G. had given me a very nice heart shaped glass bowl, and chocolates that said, "#1 teacher."
R.R. brought over a home made potato kugel. (My brother claimed it all for himself!)
D.T. and E.F.G came together, and I was not surprised!
D.T.'s parents sent me an $18 check.
E.F.G. was dressed as a cowgirl and looked very cute.
E.S. came herself looking adorable, She brought along a nice thank you note and $25.
She definitely is in the running between C.C.K. and C.S.
C.S.A.'s picture also came out blurry. She ran in pretty quickly. I saw her 12th grader sister waiting outside for her.
Her mother had written a beautiful poem and given me an Artscroll interlinear Tehillim.
B.E.D. was dressed as a Victorian lady. She was so precious. She smiled a huge smile for the camera, and she got put into the running too.
M.R. turned up wearing huge eyelashes. I didn't let her leave until everyone saw her. Her mother, the cutest lady, sent me a nice picture frame.
S.J. and T.K. came together as usual. S.J. was a stewardess, and T.K. was Pippi Longstockings. T.K. even had a little stuffed monkey (Mr. Nillson) pinned to her shoulder.
T.K. had gotten her hair to stand up using a hanger. My sisters couldn't stop examining her head.
S.J.'s family had send their mishloach manos in a tiny suitcase that turned out to be an airplane meal. That was so cute!
It was already 3 pm and my students had stopped coming. I had 6 mishloach manos left over.
The twins, E.T. and Y.T. hadn't come, and neither had C.K., T.K., R.H., F.G., and F.F.
F.F. had given me an $18 gift certificate in school Sunday, so I didn't expect her to come.
R.H. and T.K. I wasn't expecting either.
C.K. lived far, and F.G. was the type not to show.
At 4 pm, I was getting ready to leave, T.K. came over. I think she was shocked to see me still there, but she gave me her bag, and even smiled for the camera.
Her parents also wrote a nice card and sent over a decorative perfume bottle.
I was surprised she came.
At the end of the day I had gotten some nice things, but that wasn't the point. The parents didn't spend a lot of money, but it was nice to see that they appreciated at least a little bit of what I do. It's the thought that counts.
So now I have on more day off before school on Thursday.
I plan on enjoying to the fullest.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

From the Uniform of a Student

Today was the last day in school before Purim and this meant major fun. I was actually excited to go to school today. ...And it' s Sunday!
I dressed up in a uniform, wore a ponytail, and brought my 5 year old sister along to school. I even found a uniform to fit her.
The students went wild. They were so excited with my sister, and of course with how I looked dressed up.
Usually, there's so much going on the day before Purim, that no classes end up learning much. I really didn't mind a day off from teaching, but we had the matter of collating the newspaper to attend to.
I had all the newspaper girls come to the copy room to help collate. It took until recess. We were cramped from working on the floor and black from all the newspaper ink.
The rest of the grade went down to the carnival that the 6th grade was taking care of while we continued working. The girls took my sister down as well. She was having a great time.
We finally got all the papers done, and I sent the girls down to carnival.
When I finally got down to the carnival, the principal made a huge deal over how she didn't recognize me in uniform etc. etc. blah blah. She made my sister feel special by saying how big she looked in her uniform jumper, blah blah.
I was starving, so I grabbed some ice cream without checking to see if it had milk in it.
Of course, it did have milk, and I had to escape from the carnival for a couple of minutes to be sick.
Coming back down, I was pushed into the bird show, where they hired a man to come down and perform with his parrots.
It was nice, but then my co and I were called up to the front to act as perches for the birds. I had 5 birds on my arms and 2 on the sides of my glasses (which soon hopped onto my head).
What a wonderful day!
After the show we had a balloon dance; teachers against students. It was hysterical. My co was a bigger child than any of the kids there. She was skipping away like a preschooler.
Anyway, we got some order later, enough to get everyone into one classroom where I read a poem about the Purim story.
I knew that one class had planned to do some shtick. C.O. had gone over to my mother's house to get some pictures of me as a child and they were going to surprise me with it.
The reason I knew was because my 9 year old sister cannot keep a secret.
But the students didn't tell me anything in school. They just pretended that they hadn't planned anything. I made no mention of it either.
Apparently, my sister went and told C.O. that she told me. C.O. was devastated. I have to have a talk with this sister. I'm pretty upset at her.
I gave the girls my parents' address so that on Purim they could come over and give me mishloach manos.
The principal came into my classroom to praise me for getting the paper done.
She's so slow. It's not like I doubted my abilities to have a paper done in a week. I just didn't want to do it under her pressure.
I had to get home quickly because I had a friend's bridal shower that I had to get to, and because the ice cream I'd had was really killing me.
Nice end to a short day.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Courtcase

The girls asked me today if they could put me on trial. I knew they were planning it, and I was prepared. I told them it was ok. They also wanted to put my co on trial, but we said that if they were to do that they would have to combine classes and have the cases together. At first they were upset, but they had to agree.
We went down to lunch a little late and we found utter chaos. There were no teachers there, and the lunch monitor, (happens to be a cousin of mine,) was almost in tears. It was the entire school, but my students were acting terribly.
I felt terrible, but this isn't the first time we've spoken to them about the issue. I'm at the end of my rope here.
I knew that I had to get permission from the principal in order to go through with the courtcase, so I went upstairs to wait for her. When I finally got in to her, I told her that the girls had come up with a great idea for history, and I wanted her permission. I asked her if they could do a courtcase like in the supreme court and believe it or not she agreed to it.
I took it a step further then by telling her that the classes wanted to put my co on trial as well, and because we didn't want to waste class time, we wanted to combine the classes and do both cases at once.
She agreed to that as well. She was even excited about it.
My co and I both taught each class for 45 minutes and recess time the classes were to combine.
Recess time we ran into a little disaster.
The 7a class, the usually good class, went on strike. They refused to join for the case claiming that they had no part in making it up and they didn't want to feel left out.
Now I knew there was "sibling rivalry" between the classes, but I had no idea it was this bad.
I refused to walk into any classroom until the issue was resolved.
The girls were making a racket in the halls and we couldn't find the principal. Turns out she was in the 8th grade class, and we waited for her to come out.
In the meantime I walked into the 7a class, made them all take out their history books, and prepare a paragraph in history. They were fuming, but I was not going to give in.
At last, the principal joined us, but it was to yell at me.
I got to her first.
I told her that I was upset at this, I had no idea that one class had nothing to do with it, and when I asked her for permission I told her whatever I knew.
I had no idea that the 7b class were going to put on costumes for this and rearrange the classroom. I honestly had no idea that they would take it so far.
I think I appeased the principal, because she didn't look so mad, and she actually got both classes into 7b's classroom.
Our courtcase began.
It began rather cute. They accused my co of ringing bugs into the classroom and not taking care of them. She had brought the bugs as a project and the girls had loved them.
As her lawyer I answered by saying that the bugs were part of state curriculum and that when she had brought them in, she had given them as a gift to the students. Part of accepting a gift was taking care of it. It had nothing to do with my client.
I also proved that the classes had enjoyed it and that they had disobeyed rules about touching the bugs enough times to maybe suggest that the bugs' escaping their boxes may have been their faults.
As many witnesses as they brought, they couldn't outdo my mouth.
The classes/jury voted in favor of my client.
The second charge they brought against my co was the charge of her liking one class more than the other.
I was upset, because this was borderline fresh, but I agreed to defend my co. I had one girl tell me specifically what was making her think that my co treated her class differently, but she wasn't very clear.
I answered the class by telling them that this question did not deserve an answer because a teacher is allowed to act any way she pleases and a student may not question. But, I did give in to them to the point of telling them about the man who kept going to the doctor complaining that drinking coffee made his eye hurt. Usually, that shouldn't happen, and the doctor figured out that the man had left his spoon in his cup by mistake.
The girls got the message. I then refused to let the girls say another word on the subject. It was not a subject they had any right to question.
G.S. the judge, was cute when she banged her gavel, announcing the court decision. The first thing she said was that girls their age should not be drinking coffee. And whatever they were going to drink, should be with a straw.
I was put on the stand next, and they questioned me about certain things I had promised to bring in Purim time. I had two of them with me. ( I had not forgotten either!) I passed around perfume and I played a tape for them.
I still owe them my little sister and a picture of some sort, but those will come on Sunday.
My little sister had her masquerade today, she wouldn't have missed that for the world.
Before the trials began, I made sure to put the girls on trial.
I was so upset with them for the way they had acted lunchtime that I made them pick representatives to defend the class.
I think they missed the point. They thought they deserved to have the privilege of not eating lunch in the lunchroom.
I asked them if they thought this was the way to go about asking for the privilege, by showing how immature and irresponsible they could be in the dining room.
They had no answer.
I promised to go and talk to the principal about it, but only if they could prove to me that they deserved the privilege.
And then I added that the principal was the "Supreme Law of the Land." They had to promise to do whatever she said, even if they didn't like her verdict. There would be absolutely perfect behavior, and no appeals.
I hope this works.
The high school computer teacher, (also the 5th grade English teacher,) had gotten a high school uniform to wear to class today.
I didn't think about it, so I ran to get an elementary school uniform to wear to my class.
It looked adorable. I put my wig into a ponytail, and most of my makeup was gone by this time of the day. I looked like an 8th grader.
The 12th grade had a good laugh, and then we finished listening to a speech we started last week.
After class they invited me to their school shabbos. I hope to be able to come, but I'll see.
And now.....Thank goodness for the weekend!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Open Notes Test

I was running around school having to get things done, when I bumped into the secretary. She stopped me and asked me what I was doing next year.
I asked her in regard to what.
She answered, "Well, next year there will only be one seventh grade class, so you'll only be teaching for an hour and a half a day. Why don't you begin calling other schools to see if you can find another job?"
I laughed and asked her if she was trying to fire me.
"No, I'm only asking you because I want your good."
Uh huh.
I told her that I hadn't begun thinking of next year, and I wasn't going to worry about it yet.
Everyone knows that the secretary is the principal's spy, but to make it so obvious?
My co said that she does this every year so that they can get a feel for what the teachers are thinking.
I asked why the principal didn't ask the teachers, why'd she send the secretary.
My co told me that I could answer that for myself. I knew what she meant. If the principal would've asked me I would've lied. (O.k, I lied to the secretary too, but I would've trusted her 100x faster than the principal.)
If the principal in this school knows what the feeling is about her to the extent that she had to send the secretary to spy for her, why am I working for such a jerk?
Actually, the question is, why is she still the principal?
I met with the principal for a couple of minutes about the newspaper. I had given her all the typed articles, and she read them over. The only thing she censored was one of my poems because it said something about blood boiling. Whatever.
She approved the paper, and then she asked me what I learned from all this. I gave her the answer she wanted...That a newspaper can be done in one week.
Yeah, one week of killing myself.
I also handed her S.G.L.'s report card. The principal had driven me nuts about the comment I planned to write, so I told her, "Here, write your own comment." She was more than happy to show me how to do what I couldn't do.
My open notes test worked very well. Most of the girls were finished within 45 minutes. I marked the tests on the spot, and the girls all did fantastically. Even the special girls. They all took the regular test and still impressed me.
The 7b class was a disaster. The girls all had questions and they drove me nuts. The 7a class had absolutely no problems but when I walked out of 7b I had a splitting headache.
T.K. drove me insane. She had a ton of questions, finished last, and scored a 79%. All she wanted to know was if she could retake the test. I absolutely refused.
She said that she would have her mother call the school.
If I wouldn't be a teacher I'd have a nice word to put in here.
Let her mother call. I couldn't care less. I will not let her retake an open notes test. Let her get a tutor.
Report cards were given out today and a ton of girls had questions for me about certain marks they'd gotten. This, mind you, was after the principal had come in to give a speech about not opening the report cards in school.
I was upset, and refused to answer any questions. If they had a problem let their mothers call me. But coming over to me in school, showing that they had blatantly disregarded what the principal had said? I was not going to stand for that.
O.k., I must admit that I am being more than a little hypocritical about listening to authority here, but I will say this in my defense: I have never disrespected authority and been so proud of it as to show my teacher to her face that I didn't care. Or even the principal. As much as I hate her, I'm still respectful to her, and I will never do something to spiteful to her face. What I do behind her back is my business, but to her face is absolutely wrong.
It hurt to see that my students are this way.
Of course, I had to type tonight as well. Newspaper has to get to print by tomorrow, and even that's late. We still need time to collate. I guess the collating will be done on Sunday morning, but I wonder if it will be enough time.
Tonight I'm taking some personal time off to speak to my husband. He misses me. And also, it's his birthday.
No job, no matter how important or time consuming, is going to keep me working on my husband's birthday.
See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bill of Rights

When I walked into class today, there was a paper waiting on my desk. G.S. and some other students had put together a "Student's Bill of Rights." They wanted me to read it out loud to the class.
It was adorable, but more than a little chutzpahdig. I didn't make any comments though. It mentioned something about their teachers going to Florida over vacation and they made fun of how all their teachers went beserk if they caught a student with gum.
Some of it was stupid, like claiming they had a right to talk and write notes in class. (The First Amendment- freedom of speech and press.)
I read it anyway, and I laughed with them, and then at then end it said; "If teachers try to take away our natural rights, this will institute the beginning of 'shtick.'"
Can't wait to see what they come up with. I think my impeachment is supposed to take place on Thursday.
I had about half my class out for newspaper today. The reporters and the graphics groups were busy gathering articles and designing a cover.
Mostly I think they were wasting class, but what can I do? We have to get this paper out.
With every new article the girls handed in I added another 10 minutes to my night. It seems I'll be typing until 2 am.
After class some teachers stayed in the teacher's room and tried on some elementary uniforms. Surprisingly, most of us fit into them. I didn't think I'd have a problem fitting at all.
I actually found a uniform jumper that fit perfectly except for being a tad short. I took it home with me so that I could adjust it.
The teachers are all planning to wear uniforms to school Sunday. It's such an over used teacher 'shtick' but we still do it anyway.
I got home and began typing. I'm still typing. Newspaper is taking forever.
E.F.G. emailed me the editorial for the paper. If it ever gets out that I have an email address, or even worse, that I gave it to a student, I'll be dead. But at this point, I've got a foot out the door.
If you want me to get a paper out, fine. But don't pry into how I got it done.
I didn't talk to my husband since Sunday. By the time I finish school work he's fast asleep. LOL. This is so pathetic.
I wonder what would happen if I would leave a "Teacher's Bill of Rights" on the principal's desk.
Oh wait, I do know. I'd be fired.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Not a Real Opponent

My co came over early this morning so that we could do our report cards together. We got them done, but we came really late to school.
My entire day was a rushed mess from there on.
History took longer than I had anticipated. I had no idea that bonds would be so hard for my students to learn about. They just didn't understand the idea of an I.O.U.
So I was only able to teach half my lesson today.
Writing was another disaster because their drafts are due next Sunday, and some girls decided today to scratch their projects and begin new ones.
Usually I would just let them do whatever they wanted, but here these girls wanted to catch up to the class by doing part of it at home. The principal yelled at me 100 times to make sure the girls didn't take this home. It seems she got a lot of flack from parents about schoolwork being done at home.
The problem is, she just blames it all on me.
I also was busy with newspaper the entire day. I am so pressured to get this thing to print. The girls started today, and the writings have to be in by tomorrow. I'm only directing the thing, and I'm ready to explode.
I spent hours making up my history test yesterday, and it still isn't in the copy room. If that thing doesn't get approved....
I heard from my co that B.E.D. made a reference to her brother's trachea out loud in front of the entire class today. This girl is really getting somewhere! We're excited!
R.R. is driving me up the wall. She had this great idea for her picture book, and now she dumped it and wants me to think of a new idea for her to write about. She wanted to write something along the lines of the American girls collection, but she wanted to write about an Israeli girl living in the time of the Yom Kippur War.
I thought it was an excellent idea. She however, backed out because she didn't know how to write it, and she didn't want to hand in anything that was less than perfect. I hate when she does this. She is way too wishy-washy for my nerves.
There is only so much complimenting and encouragement I can give. She is pushing the limit.
My co had a miserable day because C.O. went and wrote this whole melodramatic letter to the principal about her. She claimed that y co made her life miserable, and that she needed the principal's help in getting the teacher to treat her better. This fed the principal's ego big time, and she spent a lot of time telling my co off of it.
What a life.
I told my co that I didn't even have to energy to plan revenge. I wouldn't be satisfied with it anyway. Because in a way, I feel sorry for the principal.
She's lacking people skills, and she's so thick, she's not a worthy adversary.
I realized that today.
If she were really bright, fighting with her would be fun, because I enjoy a challenge, even when I don't win. She's not like that. She's thick headed and one sided. She's not interested in me and anything I do will just bounce off her. She's not an opponent worthy of my time and energy.
I'm such a hypocrite. LOL. You wish I'm going to get off this blog and not think about her. But it's nice to say anyway.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Newspaper and Other Annoyances

A family emergency kept me up until 4 am last night, and I honestly did not expect to be going to school today. Of course, being the type of person I am, I went anyway.
I scheduled a history review on chapter eight for Wednesday, instead of giving them a test in two weeks. The first available day for me to give a test is in two weeks, (if you can believe how bogged down these kids are,) and so as not to kill them, I figured a quiz would be easier.
They all voted for this instead of a test.
Finishing history, we went on to the picture books. I am coming to hate them more day by day, but I am a nothing in the grand scheme of this retarded school, so I don't really have that much of a say.
And ironically, I just taught the girls about the first amendment that entitles us all to free speech.
In 7a I had much more to time to dwell on the "funner" side of things, and it was a nice lesson.
There was a newspaper meeting scheduled after school, and we tried to get started even without the principal.
Could you believe she wants us to get our first issue out by the end of this week? And could you believe that I'm heading this thing? I know, I talk a lot, huh?
We started the meeting by choosing a name for the paper. We agreed on "The E.T."
Et in Hebrew means pen. In English we made it stand for the "Elementary Times." The symbol of our newspaper is a pen.
I gave the girls an opportunity to suggest more titles, but they all fell in love with this. We had already voted on it and sworn it in by the time the principal joined us. She usually doesn't like including anything Hebrew in our English stuff, but she was too late to object to our decision. She even seemed to like it a bit.
One for me.
We spent an hour getting the jobs divvied up between all the girls and setting a draft deadline for Tuesday so that we could begin typing that night. Surprisingly, the girls were ok with it all.
Even I'm a bit excited over this newspaper. If we get this thing to print on time, I will make sure these kids get a pizza party.
After the meeting, I went to the principal to ask her about a special surprise I had planned for my students, and I was surprised when she agreed, no problem.
My little sister is excited too. She'll be coming to school with me next Sunday.
I also spoke to her about the quiz I had prepared for Wednesday, and she insisted that it be open notes.
I didn't mind at all, quite the contrary, but then she started planning this huge affair out of it. She thinks her BIG plans are fun. But they're far from it. I hated to break it to her, but open notes is as far as I am planning to go. I told her so, and she seemed a bit disgruntled. I told her that the test wouldn't be that easy either...especially not if it was going to be open book.
She closed her office door and had a chat with me about how she couldn't keep defending me anymore.
She claimed that at P.T.A. she had a bunch of mothers complaining about me and that if I wasn't going to begin listening to her, she wouldn't keep defending me to them.
Funny thing, I had gotten very different regards.
She gave me a 500 page looseleaf so that I could look through it for ideas to use on my test.
Yeah right.
It's sitting high on a shelf with a lot of other junk she gave me that I probably will return without ever having used.
She began telling me that I disobeyed her too many times and that if I didn't shape up she'd refuse to work with me or defend me any more. (As if she did in the first place, but whatever.) She basically showed me the door. To her office and to my job.
As I got ready to leave, I told her about S.G.L. She had a little problem thinking of an idea for a picture book so I gave her the idea of writing the Purim story as a picture book for kids.
S.G.L. was thrilled. I'm so happy. I just hope it works out nicely for her. I gave her resources to use that I hoped would help her.
The principal gave me her first real smile that day.
I think I need to explain here that she does smile at me a lot. But I usually don't get to see genuine ones. I'm usually on the receiving end of her 'condescending' smile, or her 'I can't wait ruin your day' smile. A real one is nice to get, although by this time, I really don't care.
When I got home I called my husband and he gave me an interesting idea.
I had decided over the past week that no matter whether I was offered another teaching position or not, I was not going to go back to this school under any circumstances.
My husband figured that I had nothing to lose by calling one or two parents to get the story right.
After all, I am teaching their daughters and I do want the best for them. I'm getting mixed messages, and I would like the mothers to get together and decide what is it they really want. What's really going on here?
At the same time as I would be talking to the mothers, they would get the implied idea that the principal was somehow botching things up for me.
That's all I need.
I'm not doing this for me. I just want the message to get out about the principal. If I go out, I'm going to go out with a bang.
Well, first I have to gather my nerves from where they're huddling in the corner.
I spent all afternoon making up a magnificent test that should be a lot of fun for the girls. I hope it gets approved.
I can tell you one thing, if she doesn't approve this, something will bang.
I did the report cards, and from a teacher's point of view I can tell you they're not worth anything. We teacher's make up marks left and right.
Ok. Well maybe not the marks, (although some of them we do,) but definitely the comments. I was taking a look at the discrepancies there were between our first term comments and now, and I just have to laugh.
And now that I have finished all I had to do for tonight, I think I'll go into the closet and scream.
Nighty night!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Will This Week Never End?!

The first big news of today is that I now have two twelfth grade students who are engaged. The one who got engaged today is M.R.'s sister. The entire school is very excited.
Second big issue of the day.
During literature we read about a man who had lost his wife and gotten remarried. Now seventh graders have a tendency to come up with the weirdest questions, and with R.H. in the class, you are guaranteed to get more than the average share.
She wanted to know if the new wife had been married before.
I told her that I had honestly no idea.
So she continued to ask me why someone who hadn't been married before would want to marry a person who was so to speak, "damaged."
I had the entire class shut their books as I spoke about this issue.
The truth is, it's only an issue in the community where I live. If a man was divorced, or if a girl was sick as a child, they are considered in effect, "damaged." They are classified into their own category, and usually, a "regular" person would never consider marrying in.
Now I consider it a very flawed system, and every time I have the chance I try to speak up against it.
I don't only think it flawed because I happened to have had cancer as a child. I think it's flawed because people's insides are so much more important that what people perceive their "outsides" to be.
Personally, I did not feel I had to compromise when it came to my marriage to my husband. What we had gone through in our lives made us and continues to make us stronger and more special. I feel that I have a soul mate in my husband that I could never have achieved with someone who hasn't experienced the hard side of life.
No one believes that I am only 18 years old. I look act and sound much older than my years. Being sick did that to me.
But that's really too personal for this blog.
I tried to explain to the class, that this unfortunately is the system we live by today. The students in their naive idealism kept saying it was unfair.
I told them that their lives and marriages would probably be ruled by the same social system, but it was up to them to start making the difference.
Of course, it didn't mean that they all had to go out and marry divorcees, but I got them to understand that they had to look at a person a hundred times before they judged their insides.
The messaged was deep, and I hope I don't get into trouble for it, but I am sure that some girls will keep this lesson in mind for the future.
It was actually a teacher of mine who influenced me to think this way. -Before I got sick.
You never know.
The newspaper girls came over to me to ask me when they were supposed to have a newspaper meeting as they were told they had to get an issue in print before Purim.
Purim is 10 days away. They're dreaming.
I went to talk to the principal about scheduling a newspaper meeting for Sunday, and we got into a little conversation, (ok, that's the nice way of putting it) about my job as a mentor for the paper.
I guess I made enough faces for my message to get across. I have no time, nerves, or patience to be on this paper.
She asked me to head it just for this month and then we'll see about going further.
I didn't agree, but I didn't say anything else either, so she took it as a yes. I'll have to give this issue some serious thought.
She spent some time criticizing everything I did for the past 99 years of my life, and then I escaped to class.
I had brought in a really out of style "biz" skirt to illustrate the Elastic Clause to the 7a class. It was a great lesson.
12th grade was on a high because of their "kallah," but I got them settled as we listened to a great speech.
It's not quite finished yet, so I have another couple of speech classes left.
I'm really excited that the weekend is finally here, but I have some matters to attend to first.
The secretary had dumped the task of attendance on my head. I'm behind in my attendance book, so she made me take home the school's records so that I can fill it in.
Their long claws clutch at me even during the weekend.....
My co called me all upset.
She had finally taken my advice to just make the girls make up their own work when they were too rowdy for her to finish her lesson.
She felt bad doing it because the girls took it very hard.
I felt bad too, but I really think the 7b class needed that discipline. They're upset now, but they'll hopefully get the message.
And now let's post and say hello the the weekend!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Red Shoes and Yankee Doodle

The eighth graders have this running joke with me about colorful shoes. I had once commented while they were dressing up to do a skit about a girl's really colorful shoes. I asked her if I could have them for Purim.
The next day the girl handed me a shopping bag with them in it. I told them that those wouldn't really match my Purim costume. I really needed red ones.
Today they brought me red clogs.
They are so funny.
Immature, but funny.
The principal had a meeting today about her precious picture books, but I pretended I didn't notice it and walked out of the teacher's room to go into class. I can't afford to waste any more class time.
She was furious.
7a tried to do some Purim shtick today, but I didn't go for it. They were specifically told that they weren't allowed to do anything until the last day of school before Purim. I really was not expectiong it of them, and I told them that.
They were pretty ashamed.
In class today I taught the girls my song about the Bill of Rights. It was to the tune of Yankee Doodle, and we all felt like we were back in preschool. Lots of fun.
We went on to our picture books later. The girls are really miserable. They all had questions and problems about it, and I was at a loss. I'm confused myself!
C.O. was upset because she hadn't yet started writing. She didn't even have an idea. We spent a while after school thinking of ideas. I think we found one that's perfect for her.
S.G.L. gave me a note telling me that she also didn't have an idea for a picture book. She had a title, but nothing to write. I'll have to go over that with her.
I stayed in school talking to me co until 5. We were both venting about the principal. We are at the end of our ropes.