Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Retainers and Recommendations

Eighth grade today drove me nuts about their pictures. They are taking their group photos Thursday but they have to wait for their individual photos because the photographer doing the group photos does not give a proof package of pictures for the graduation photos.
The girls asked me theses questions already, but they ask them again every day when I come into class. It's so annoying.
I finally blew up today at T.B.N. when she asked me some dumb question. I looked at her and said pretty harshly, "Did I just say that I cannot answer any questions on this topic? Should I interpret your question as chutzpah or just plain stupidity?"
I felt bad, but I was really annoyed. I promised the class that I wasn't hiding anything from them and that as soon as I had answers I would give it to them.
R.S. asked me why I was lisping a little and I blushed and said that I was wearing a retainer. That got the girls talking about braces and reatiners.
After a while they begged me to take mine out and show it to them. It was kind of gross and unprofessional, but I did anyway. I'm the biggest baby to ever teach!
We didn't do history today, just spent a lot of time on literature. We began discussing the Open Window by Saki, and we got into a big discussion about what was creepy in the story and in life in general. The girls got really into it and it was kind of funny hearing what creeped them out.
Then we discussed a nervous character in the story names Mr. Nuttel. We talked about how that was a play on words, and then we went through some names and how it turned out funny that certain people were what their names were.
I gave them my maiden name which in translation meant something like "to talk." They laughed at that because I do talk a lot. Then we spoke about short people who are named Klein and other things like that.
We also discussed people who give waaaay too much info right away. Like the people who feel the need to talk about their ingrown toenails on the first night of camp. The girls got real busy with this one!
Then we spoke about a character who seemed to have lost her mind after the trauma of losing her husband. We spoke about the different ways people's minds reacted to stress. That was a nice discussion too.
You can imagine that we didn't get much done.
During recess my co, the principal, C.S.S., and I met.
We had to talk to C.S.S. about her behavior and what to do about it.
C.S.S. was cooperative and spoke to us and admitted to us what she knew she was doing wrong, and then we told her some more things we noticed in class.
She spoke to us about some girls who didn't like her and I was amazed at how nicely the principal dealt with her. This principal must have nerves of steel. She looked like she really cared about the kid, and C.S.S. felt it too because she spoke to her and seemed to be responsive to what we were saying.
We devised a system where she would get two warnings before getting a consequence. I asked her to come up with a consequence we could give her when she misbehaved, and we still have to finish that up. Right now I think we left off in a good place, because she was well behaved in my class.
During one part of the day the class got a little rowdy, and I had to shush them. R.A. shushed right with me and kept going for long after I stopped.
I glared at her and said coldly, "R.A., I am more than capable of shushing the class myself. When I need your help I will ask for it." I am ready to slap the kid sometimes.
I started making the girls memorize the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, and while they were a little scared off at first, I think they're getting more into it now. It might just end up being fun. :)
I split them into reading groups after all that, and worked with the two highest groups to finish up where we left off last time.
I almost have to begin looking for a new novel for them. They're moving quickly!
The other groups are a little slower, but I'll try and meet with them tomorrow. I hope I can fit that in with all the history I want to finish.
S.N.K. began participating more today, I think her father must've come down on her to raise her hand so that I would give her better marks. Arggghhhh.
These parents are such idiots. I had nothing against their daughter until I met them. Now, every time I look at her, the image of her mother yelling at me comes to mind. They totally ruined her chances in my class....
I came home today and had to deal with a phone call from D.F.'s mother. She was hysterical about the way she was treated at some of the high school interviews she had been to with her daughter.
Her daughter has mild focus issues that come through in her reading and writing. I had been warned of this at the beginning of the year, but to tell the truth, I never would have known anything was wrong with her had I not been told.
D.F. participates well in class and has a great attitude about everything. I offered her oral testing, but she insisted on getting a lower mark and doing her own reading rather than having someone help her and get a higher mark.
I am more than impressed with the kid, and I was shocked to hear that high schools (my alma mater included!) didn't want to take her because of her disability...which is barely even an issue!!
The mother begged me to write a letter of recommendation for her daughter, describing how motivated she was and what an asset to the class I found her to be.
I gladly obliged, as I feel for this girl and see no reason any school should reject her.
Now I just have to sit down and write this....

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