Thursday, January 25, 2007

Is it 4:00 Yet?

I was dizzy from no sleep, and anxious for vacation to arrive, so I didn't even put on makeup for school today.

I went to school just to wait out the afternoon till it was over.

I gave tests in both classes, and enjoyed my free afternoon.

The 8th grade scored beautifully on the tests, but the seventh not so much. I even gave the seventh graders a plus one if they wrote on their tests what they planned on doing for vacation. Even with the plus, the average ain't so great.

I handed in the sheets that I had worked on till the wee hours, and I hoped and prayed it would be approved.

The principal came to talk to me during the seventh grade tests about the papers for the literature novel. She liked what I had done, but was still nervous about teaching it.

She was very nice about it all, and told me that if she chose in the end not to do the novel, she'd do all the preparation on a new one; she'd never ask me to do another entire novel after I had worked so hard.

While this is such an improvement over my last school, it still upsets me that I might have worked so hard for nothing. I'm happy that the principal took full responsibility here. I dread to think of what it could've been like last year.

The principal also told me then not to come back after vacation, regardless of if I'd had the baby yet. She told me that I was not to fool around with my baby's health. She wanted me to stay home and rest and call her with the good news. She said that I was more than prepared with my sub, and that I deserved to haev this baby without pressure.

What a change! I could've used a principal like this a year ago!

I stayed a bit late in school to finish marking the tests. I refused to go home and do any work. I was on vacation, and I wanted to go home free and clear.

I felt free as I got a ride with a teacher going in my direction, but when I came home I found a note that I had forgotten about, to call S.N.K.'s father.

The guy is a creep and quite weird if I may say so, and I was not going to call him now that I was on vacation. Come to think of it, I'm not going to call him if I can get out of it. I wont be back in school for quite a while, so hopefully I can avoid the guy for about 2 months now.

4 pm- Ahhh vacation!

Free and clear!

Not a Snowball's Chance

Just an update on last night's celebration.

I had expected my husband to wave his magic bag of peanut butter to bribe me out of going to a restaurant and so I was ready not to break no matter how much PB he offered me. I was determined that no amount of peanut butter and no amount of chocolate would get me to give up on this night out.

I hadn't counted on the grilled cheese.

He got me to stay home for 2 grilled cheese sandwiches. I can kick myself.

Anyway, today in school the principal came over to talk to me about my literature sheets.

Yesterday she had been all amazed at all the work I had put in to preparing the sub, but today it turned around.

She was actually very nice about it as she told me that as she had been reading over the novel last night, she started thinking that it was G-dless and that it should not be taught in a Jewish classroom. I thought I was dying.

She felt bad having even given me the novel to begin with, and asked me to please consider doing another one instead.

She can't understand that I can't just do that. My aim was to do it all now; before vacation, so that my sub could have what to start with. I also wanted her to have it all over vacation so that she could begin preparing.

...And just to be selfish here; I don't want to work over vacation either!

I told the principal there was not a snowball's chance in hell I was even going to think of doing another book.

Instead, I offered to make this book kosher. I told her I'd find a way to put G0d in there and teach it from a Jewish perspective. And I did it.

The principal approved of it, and I just spent all night redoing all the essay questions. I'm utterly drained. As you can see from the time on this post; it's already way into the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

8th grade took their maps test today, but there is no way they are getting marked tonight. If I manage to wake up in time tomorrow, maybe I'll do them then.

I want to get all my marking in before vacation as well, so I'm going to push myself to the limit till 4 tomorrow.

After that, I sure could use the break!

7th grade learned current events and then played a history review game for their test tomorrow.

I have a feeling both classes are going to do poorly.

Oh bum. I could not care less. I just want vacation!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I am not making supper tonight.

Actually, I'm not doing anything tonight.

I am all done preparing for my sub! The last two weeks have been crazy and I've been up all hours of the night lately trying to get her as prepared as possible, and now its done! I worked all last night and this morning to prepare an entire novel and I did it!

The principal is going crazy over how conscientious I am about all this. She is so impressed at the binder I put together for the sub.

I'm impressed with myself too! - I even called my husband this morning telling him that he's taking me out for supper tonight, I deserve this break!

I still have to give her a class list with a bit of info about each girl, but that shouldn't take more than 30 minutes for all the students put together. No big.

My sister came to school today to do yearbook for the last time until her wedding. Of course, photography left all their pictures at home so they couldn't do much more than just plan a spread, but layout and my sister got the dividers done on Microsoft publisher and they are beautiful! The layout girls took pictures of an American Girl doll all dressed up in different costumes and each picture represented one divider. It came out so professional.

After she left, I put the girls into groups for their biography projects. Its amazing how different these classes are from my classes last year. Last year every project was a pressure. This year, the girls look forward to them. The quality of what they end up with might not be a perfectionistic as the ones last year, but I don't care. The attitude the girls have now is so much more pleasant to work with. That's all that matters to me.

D.Z. gets on my nerves all day. All week really. She has this attitude that she is failing at everything and is a huge complainer. Of course she's the top student in the class, but she needs to complain all the time....argh.

I gave back the map tests the girls took yesterday. They pretty much did well, but R.A. got in the 80's. She must be devastated.

C.K. failed (so did A.S.) and she asked me to retake it. I usually don't let, but I told her OK. I would let A.S. retake it too, but I forgot to talk to her about it.

The seventh grade finished learning about what makes a person a citizen of the US and then they learned about their rights and responsibilities. I taught them that part of their responsibilities were to stay in formed (current events) so then I had them shut their books and we learned some current events.

They were so excited. D.A. is a riot. She has no idea who the vice president is in our country, and she had to open her history book to look it up. As she was busy with that, someone mentioned that Dick Cheney was our VP, and then D.A. piped up and said, "No! in the book it says his name is Richard!" She fought with me for a full 5 minutes that it was Richard and not Dick. Kid makes me laugh.

After class I was watching them pack up and my friend called in on my cell phone. She was the one the girls had been davening for, and I put her on speaker so that she could tell them hi. They kids were in 7th heaven.

I do have some small schoolwork to do tonight, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow morning. I want a real break.

Awright, I'm gone now...going to celebrate my free night!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Utter Exhaustion

Late last night, about 12:30, I suddenly remembered that two people who usually grab a ride with me on Fridays had no idea that I did not have the car. It was too late to call them, and I worried that they'd be left ringing my doorbell at 8:20 the next morning when I'd already taken the 7:45 bus to school.

My husband is really coming around; he offered to drive me to school in the morning, and so that meant I got to sleep for an extra hour cause I didn't have to make the bus.

So this morning, we teachers were driven to school in this huge ugly white Dodge we got as a rental. One of the teachers put it very nicely; it looked like a funeral hearse.

Oh well, as long as it got us to school....

My aim today was to get away with as little teaching as possible.

In the 8th grade it worked beautifully. They took ELAs and I sat quietly and prepared for my sub.

The seventh grade was a little harder, but I finally got them writing literature response essays on their books, and while they tired me out with questions, at least I wasn't teaching.

I grabbed a ride home with one of the teachers who drives this outmoded station wagon that usually takes about 6 tries to get the engine running. There were so many teachers piled into that car; out rear bumper was scratching the gutter all the way home LOL.

Now that Shabbos is all done, I plan on getting a bit of a rest before I think of something else that needs my urgent attention.

Don't wake me up till Monday please!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Free Period

I took the bus to school today. It took an hour of sitting amongst the filthiest, loudest, low down dregs of the society until I got to school. It usually takes us 20 minutes in the car. :(

School passed so quickly today.

I only taught seventh grade today as the 8th grade had a mini convention and got dismissed early. Usually that would still mean that I had to teach till 4 as I teach the 7th grade from 2:30 till 4, but today my co was so nice and switched so that I got the free period.

I taught them about state and local governments and what each of them do. I explained to them that the Fire Department is a state organization but that we have local fire houses to deal with local emergencies.

So when you call 911, u reach a state dispatcher who sends you the most local fire company.

They wanted to know how I knew all this, and so I had to tell them about my escapades last night when I called the fire department to get some delivery guy out of the elevator. LOL.

Poor guy was stuck crying (yes, crying!) in the stupid shaft, and he was using his cellphone to call his wife and kids and lawyer with his last will and testament.

What I can't figure out is, if his cell was working in the shaft, why didn't he use it to call the fire dept? He waited 20 minutes for me to hear him ringing the bell frantically and for me to hear his crying so that I could think of calling 911.

I had 30 firemen in my building getting this poor delivery man out of the stuck elevator. There were three fire trucks blodking my street and about 5 police cars.

Must have been a slow night at the dispatch. I felt like such a stinker to have caused all this. :)

My class thought it was hilarious.

I dismissed them early because they had gym, so I only taught for an hour today.

So then I had to spend another hour on the bus again.

This time I was stuck with all the delinquents getting out of public school. It was a looong ride home.

Of course, I didn't get to do much last night. I made up two tests and marked the biographies, but other than that I am way behind.

Hopefully I can catch up tonight.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Ok, in response to some curious anonymous posters who insist on driving me nuts.... I was the one driving the car. The other guy was driving a black car on a dark road without headlights. I wanted to make a left turn at a stop sign and I didn't see him, and he was going too fast to stop for me so he rammed into the driver's side of my jeep.

My bumper was sprayed across the road and my huge jeep was hit with such force that even though I was trying to turn left, my car ended up facing right. The other passenger in my car and myself were not hurt, just shaken (and terrified of calling my husband.. LOL) and the guy in the other car was fine too.

He was actually very nice about the whole thing, and waited for my husband to come all the way out to Staten Island (where we had crashed) to deal with the insurance and stuff.

I was not hurt from the accident, but I did go into labor because of it. They managed to stop it; though I'm still having contractions from then. I've been on pain meds all week, and that's why I titled this post "Butterfingers."

Pain meds and teaching should not mix. Although I hold off on the meds till late at night, the effect of it lasts through the day, and teaching while your head feels like it's underwater is not a good idea.

My head is fuzzy and my words are slurred, and I feel like my classes are slipping through my fingers. I can't hold their attention very well now. I'm so sluggish and not on the ball. Hence the title "Butterfingers."

I gave the ELA in 8th grade today, so I had free time to organize my life. All I really wanted to do was put my head down on the desk and sleep, but no such luck.

I was busy instead organizing sheets for my sub, and preparing a bunch of things I needed. I had to make a million to do lists of things that still needed to get done before Jellybean arrived. I'm so overwhelmed....

7th grade was torture. I bored myself to tears teaching about the Bill of Rights. I hurried through it and then taught them a song to help them memorize it. I put the song to the tune Yankee Doodle, so I didn't have to sing along much with them, because they were able to put the words to the tune fairly easily.

Biggest mistake with that tune is that it tends to get on your nerves. And when your nerves are as frayed as mine are, and your mind is as waterlogged as mine is, the tune gets to you much quicker.

The seventh grade informed me that Hebco had scheduled two tests for the very two days I had reserved for my tests next week. I am so upset. I have no energy to confront her, and yet I feel bad giving my students the tests the same day. I think I'm going to have to be the good one here and push off one test till after vacation. I'm not happy about it though.

Thank goodness class was over soon. I just dumped a load of homework on them, and ran to the office to find a ride home. My husband has been so amazing with this car crash and everything, and he offered to come and pick me up from school; which is at least a 30 minute drive from where he works. I felt bad making him come out all the way to me, and I managed to find a ride with another teacher.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to take the bus to and from work and see how it goes. I feel so lonely and helpless without the car....Whaaa!

Tonight I have to make up three history tests (starting to go ahead to be prepared for the sub) and prepare the first part of the literature book for 8th grade, and I also have to mark their biographies....HELP.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I Need a New Car

In response to the comment I got on the previous post, yeah, the car was totaled. The front axle was snapped; the entire front of the car is gone, and its a huge mess that will take about 4 weeks to fix.

So today the teachers took a car service to work, and I just can't see myself doing this for the next 4 weeks.

Well actually, its just another 7 school days till vacation, and after that, I doubt I'll be needing the car to go to school for a while, so I just have to get through the next two weeks.

In school, I started making copies of all my history notes for the next three chapters in each grade. I realized that this baby might not be very considerate of the timing I'd like, and if it decides to make its appearance a bit early, I will be in a mess.

So I made a million copies and I began working on typing worksheets for the 8th grade on the new book I want the sub to start with the girls.

I want them to read "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. It needs to be censored, but I think it has a lot they could learn in it. The sheets I began working on are pretty detailed; I asked very intense questions and I plan on including essays and summaries as well. The sub will have more than enough work to do with them.

For the 7th grade, the sub will do her own short stories from the literature book, and she'll use the teacher's edition for any work she needs to give them.

I still need writings for each class to do, and I have to make up a song for all the countries and capitals in Europe, as they have finally finished learning the map of America.

I have a loaaaad of work to do for that.

The yearbook girls gave in about a million ads for me to type up, and I think I'm just going to dump it all on my sister. I don't care if her wedding is in a couple of days....she's the one getting paid for this job...not me. I don't mind formatting, but let her type it all.

8th grade was so rowdy today, I got dizzy 5 minutes into the lesson and didn't think I'd make it through the day. I had spoken to the doctor this morning, and while she didn't insist on bedrest, she didn't want me to be teaching either..... I'm not going to say anything...LOL

I almost did an entire aim with them, but I stopped early to review maps with them, and to talk to them about the second part of the ELA. The principal had actually prepared them for me to give today, but she had forgotten to leave me the article that the entire thing is based on, so that was out LOL.

The yearbook committees were all behind on their due dates for their spreads, and I'm hating this yearbook more and more every day.... :(

The teachers were all into why I was absent yesterday, and they told me that the 7th grade was convinced I had had my baby already. When the school told them that I had not had the baby, they all decided that I was in labor and that's why I was not there.... Boy, were they surprised to see me in school today!

I could tell they didn't think I'd be in school today, because no one knew what was flying during review. I'm sick of the kids in this class who are so learning disabled, all they can manage to do with my lesson is crumple it and use it as a pillow.

I was pretty harsh with some girls today who kept disrupting and who were just fidgeting to the point that I was distracted myself.

I know history is not the most interesting of subjects, but when they students manage to distract even the teacher, something is wrong....but I don't think it was with my lesson.

I marked a bunch of journals at the end of the day, and of course N.N. was there to disturb me with the important information that her father voted Republican and that her mother voted Democrat in the last election. It's all I can do to keep from screaming when that kid comes near my desk.

I missed a ride home, and my husband almost came to pick me up, but then another teacher went out of her way to give a pregnant lady a ride.... I feel like such a loser....I so need my car back!

Unplanned Vacation

I got into a car accident this Motzai Shabbos (why I was in a car when I'm supposed to be on bedrest is another story) and that ended up putting me into labor.
I spent the entire day Sunday in the Hospital, where they managed to stop the contractions, and where they made me spend the whole time in bed.
They only released me on the condition I'd stay in bed for at least another day.
So I took off from school.
The school was so nice about it, and I even found a good sub!
Not that I stayed in bed at all over the day...I went to file the insurance claim on the car and then rent a new one, and then I even snuck into the mall for a bit LOL.
I suffered from that later when I felt pains again, so this morning I'm all dressed and ready for school, but waiting for the doctor to call and tell me to get my behind into the delivery ward asap. LOL
I don't want to take another day off from school, as I have not yet begun to prepare for a sub. I need to start doing lesson plans for when I have the baby. If things keep going the way they are now, I might need them early...yipes!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

No More Easy Tests

Hebco came to talk to me during lunch today.
Don’t get excited; she came to give me a test she had confiscated from C.S.S. I had given her the test to study from last night, but she was showing it to other girls during class, and Hebco took it away and warned me that other girls had seen it.
I’m upset with C.S.S. It’s not like I trusted her at all, but I’m trying to help her and she’s throwing it back in my face.
I called her out of class to talk to her, and she lied through the whole thing. She made it sound like she had no idea why Hebco took the test away. She tried to tell me that Hebco just walked over to her and took it for no reason. ARGH.
During recess, she asked for it back to study from, but I didn’t give it to her. I’m seriously rethinking this whole giving the tests in advance thing.
The 8th grade took the last part of their ELA practices today. They did moderately better on these than the ones I marked yesterday. I’m happy.
While they took the test, I relaxed and read a novel. After they handed them in, I debated doing some history, but instead, settled for some more quiet time and had them revise their summaries for the biography project while I read some more.
As they were revising, R.S. wanted to know what the abbreviation was for yemach shemo. I told her that it was Yud Shin Vav. I then told them that that’s why Jesus is called Yushka, because in the Gemara, he is referred to as Yasho- Yud Shin Vav.
That sparked a lively debate about Christianity. I’m going to be getting calls from parents I’m sure. LOL
Recess time C.F.C. came over to me to ask me some stupid question about where American Express credit cards were located. The entire 8th grade was outside waiting for the answer as if it were some kind of joke. I just told her I had no idea and ignored her.
Then the 8th grade sent her sister in to ask me the same question. I didn’t make an issue of it, but I was kinda annoyed.
The seventh grade did miserably on their tests. The class average was in the 70’s.
All the girls on the special test did terribly. I’m deciding not to give the tests in advance because their all failing anyway…S.G. got a 77. I hope her mother will be ok with that. She sounded so sad on the phone last night. I have to figure out a way to help this kid do well.
M.B. got an 80, and N.N. got a similar mark. F.E. got a 67 and H.B. scored a 47. I had warned the class that this was a hard chapter and that in order to pass they needed to study hard every night. Seems like no one cared enough to try and pass.
My 8th graders are taking yearbook pictures tomorrow, but I wasn’t told anything about it, so I have no idea if I’m supposed to dress up or anything. I’ll prolly end up looking like my fat hoggy self no matter what I do anyway…..*sigh*

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Video Day

I had completely forgotten that it was video day in school today. Had I remembered that Jim the video man was coming around to record the classes for the PTA dinner, I would not have dressed in a slinky skirt and huge sweater that made me look 14 month pregnant.
Oh well.
The biggest comfort I can give myeslf now is that by the time this video is shown in March, I'll be a size 0 again, and the parents won't even recognize the fat slob onscreen.
The 8th graders were amazing during history today. They were quiet and they participated so nicely the whole time. They were especially conscientious when Jim the video man came in and had the camera focus on each of their desks.
I had not preapred my lesson in advance, and I was skimming the book and bluffing as the girls were writing notes.
Then Jim focused the stupid camera on me, so I couldn't even cheat. Instead, I asked the girls if they had any questions...
After Jim left, the girls all breathed a sigh of relief and then I had to reteach everything they had been too nervous to write down when he was in the room. LOL
I told them that I wanted to give them a history test and a maps test before their midwinter vacation in two weeks. They were ok with it.
I just hope that with the ELA's taking up so much of my time next week, that I'll be able to finish all that material. I still have to get moving on their biographies too.
Seventh grade did the rest of my day for me. I had planned on skimming through my notes with them as a review for their test tomorrow.
Instead, the girls begged me to play conductor with them.
I handn't prepared any questions, so I told each girl to take out a paper and write down a couple of questions for me to test them with.
While they were writing, R.B. asked me if when I was a kid, did I ever say, "I'll never do that as a teacher!!"
I answered her on the spot that I had indeed said it a lot as a kid, and that now as a teacher I have not done a single one of those things I said I never would.
I got into teaching because I was determined to change the school system I went through. I know I'll never change it all, but at least my students get to have a year in a decent setting.
We played conductor for the rest of the day, and S.E. got a plus one for winning and D.A. and E.L. got a plus half for being the runners up.
R.B. got a plus half for answering a question of mine yesterday.
So they were all happy.
At the end of the day I read them again from the read aloud, and they took the climax very well. They had learned about a kosher get in navi, so they were able to follow me. The only thing I had to teach them was that a non-kosher Jew could not convert and become ok. He was still a Jew, but he had special laws about whom he could marry etc.
After class, C.S.S. came over to me to ask me why I hadn't come to their Shabbaton, and I told her that I had already discussed it with the class yesterday. She told me that the class didn't believe that I had a bar mitzvah that night. She said that they knew for a fact that I had never called Hebco.
I dunno where they picked that up from, unless Hebco told them something or they made it up. I looked at C.S.S. and told her to mind whom she was speaking to. I was her teacher and I did not need to defend my reasons for anything or my life to them. I told her that it hurt me terribly that any girl in the class should think for even a minute that I would lie to them just to get out of coming to their Shabbaton.
I'm pretty bothered by this, and I wish I knew where it was coming from.
Later at night, S.G.'s mother called me to cry about how hard S.G. was trying to pass history and about how she had so much to juggle right now as they were still learning to be frum, and having classes every night with a Hebrew tutor.
I told her that for tomorrow, I'd only test her daughter on what she had studied. She was so thankful.
I told her that from now on it was more important for S.G. to focus on the Hebrew stuff and that I would give her the shorter tests on less material.
She cried; she was so happy.
I marked the second part of the ELA practices my girls did, and they were quite the letdown. Oh well. Their ELA is next week, and they aint getting any better than this.....
I wonder if when the parents will watch the school video at the PTA they'll have any idea what goes on behind the scenes of every lesson I teach. I think Jim the video man should follow me around for a day or two. I'd like for the parents to get to know the other side of us. The side that works 24 hours a day to cater to their kid.
But alas, the only thing they're gonna see on the video is my big fat belly bluffing through yet another boring history lesson.....

Monday, January 08, 2007

Not Bad for a Monday

C.F.C. managed to annoy me before I even put my briefcase down in the office today. :) She came into the office to ask me if the history test was easy. I told her "no" with a real snobby look on my face, and then turned around to talk to some of the teachers.
I think I hurt her feelings a little, but she is a royal pest.
The test actually went pretty well. C.F.C. got on my NERVES. Every two minutes she kept raising her hand to ask one dumb question after another. She kept tellimg me to give her the answers and she got mad at me when I couldn't help her more than a bit. And then she still got a 92....
The girls kept asking the same questions over and over again. I finally banged the desk in frustration and yelled at the kids to listen to each other!
C.S.P. kept asking quesitons, and that surprised me, as she is such a bright girl. She did nicely on the test, but I was a bit surprised at the questions.
D.Z. is trying my patience with her "I'm for sure going to fail this test whaaaaaaaa!" act. She got 101 today, but gave her test in last. Ew.
D.S.W. was in tears today. She became very frustrated with a couple of examples. I told her to ocome up and I helped her out. She was so relived when I went through some of it with her. She got 100 in the end, but I didn't mind giving her the help. She hadn't been feeling well today and I think all that frustration was because of that.
M.S. panicked when she couldn't remember something for the essay, but I let her do it orally, and I gave her a 90%.
T.B.N. failed as usual, but when I marked her based only on what she filled in, she got a 77% with a star (for modified marks) of course.
I showed it to the principal and we both agreed that there wasn't really anything to do for her anymore. I think next test I'll let her do with open notes.
The seventh grade was a dream today. 4 girls were absent and it made my life so much easier. C.S.S., C.K., E.M.B. and N.N. were all out. My class was so peaceful. :)
The first thing I had to deal with when I got in was a barrage of questions about why I didn't come to their Shabbaton.
I was furious at Hebco. I had deliberately called her that night to ask her to tell the girls that I really wanted to come and explain to them that I couldn't make it. She never told them a word.
I told them that.
I told the girls to ask their Hebrew teacher why she didn't tell them that I was trying to come to their thing.
I know that Hebco will never tell this to the girls even if they ask, and it'll be her word against mine and I'm going to come out the lser here, but I was so mad, I didn't care.
Anyway, I got the last aim in history done for their test, and without C.S.S.'s constant interruptions, it went well.
After class I read to them from the read aloud, and R.B. told me that her mother had told her that the rest of the book was not appropriate.
I saw what she meant, as the book talks about a boy who almost could not get married because he didn't know if his mother had gotten a Get from her first husband before she had married his father. But the principal had apporved it, and I had spoken with her about it, so let these mothers call up if they want to...
EArlier in the day, I had a note in my box to call T.B.N.'s mother about a website. The principal was livid at this, and she came to tell me that she had spoken to me about the Internet already, so why was this happening.
I was so upset and hurt. I had no idea what website T.B.N.'s mother was talking about. Only after the principal went of for a while did I remember that some mothers had wanted my email address so that they could email me the text for their daughter's yearbook ads.
T.B.N.'s ad had been sent to me that morning, and I figured that her mother wanted to make sure I had gotten it.
I still have to call her, but I finally got the principal to get off my case.
Why is it that no matter how hard I try, somthing always manages to come up and make me look bad?
To end happily, my 7th grader's photo essays are nice. I'm pretty happy with the job they did this time.
C.K. wrote the most retartded story about a lady who was so busy she forgot her husband was sick and he almost died cause she forgot about him.
I'm cracking up.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

What is She; G-d?

I refused to go to school Friday morning. I was upset all of Thursday night about what's been happening this week, and I didn't want to go to school.
I went anyway. :)
The 8th grade had an entire day for yearbook, and my sister basically took care of all that. I'm just a little upset that I'm gonna end up doing the entire thing.
I had to talk to the principal about the money for the yearbook ads and about another printing company I wanted to look into, and I could see that she had the whole telling off thing still on her mind.
I got out of there before she could find something else to tell me off about.
7th grade was a little shock.
R.A. got a haircut!!!! It must have been the first one she got in her life! Her hair before was always in a long braid reaching her behind ;). Today she had her hair cut short to her shoulders with a lot of layers and angles. I made sure to compliment her on her new look.
I had to talk to the class about their Shabbaton a bit, and I told them that I hoped to make it, but as I'm typing this, I'm getting ready to go to a bar mitzvah, and there's no way in the world I'm gonna make it over there tonight.
I did literature groups with the 2 slower groups in the class, and barely managed to get through the session without slapping C.S.S. She was so disruptive all day.
She kept interrupting with irrelevant comments all the time, and she did a wonderful job confusing everyone around her.
She decided to get everyone talking about dinosaurs when I taught them what the word excavation meant, and then things got really weird.
One girl piped up that there were real dinosaurs once upon a time. She claimed that Morah Hebco had taught the class that there were huge dinosaurs roaming around before the mabul.
I told the class that I don't know what they had learned, but this was a very disputed medrash, and should not be taken as fact.
D.A. got all angry with me. All she could keep saying was that "Morah Hebco said it, so it's true."
Ewwww. I hate when kids get so hung up on a teacher that they don't even realize how stupid they look.
Then, someone else piped up that Hebco had told them that in the times of the Beis Hamikdash there were centaurs and unicorns and all sorts of mythical animals.
What bothered me so much was that the girls were taking everything she had told them and treating it as if it were Toras Moshe Misinai. They literally think Hebco is a saint. And she is really being irresponsible by teaching them all these shaky stories and passing them off as the truth.
For the rest of the day, all I heard from the students was Hebco this and Hebco that.
I'm starting to have doubts that Hebco was behind anything happening this week. She only gets on your case if she thinks you may be a threat to her.
The way the kids make it sound, I'm not nearly a threat. I'm way out of the game.
My co was asked by the principal if she was planning on coming in for the Shabbaton, but my co gave it to the principal.
She said that it was all done behind our backs and over our heads, and anything done in such a manner was not something she wanted to get involved in.
I hope I won't get it on Monday for not showing up to the melaveh malka tonight.
Know what? I think I'm going to save my hopes for something realistic. This doesn't look like it'll be over anytime soon.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


My friend, and loyal reader N.Y.F. has been kind enough to tell me that my blog now is more of a rant than anything else.
I totally see it, but I can't do anything about it. I'm just being honest about how my school days are going.
This week has been getting worse by the day.
I ran late in the morning, and I made it on time to the carpool by the skin of my teeth.
In school, I rushed like mad to print something from my Internet file, and then later got yelled at by the Principal for going online in school. I explained to her that all my files are backed up on the computer and that I left sheets I needed her to approve at home, so I printed them out here.
She told me that although the secretaries were online all day, the school did not like when the teachers went online as it encouraged the idea that using the Internet was OK. They were trying to build the name of the school as being the kind of place where the kids did not see these kids of things.
I hated to do it, but I pointed out to her that all my kids had email addresses and TVs in their homes, so I didn't see why my backing up my files on the Internet was a problem.
She told me that this went back to the regards she had gotten about me earlier this week, and she was concerned about the image I was giving over to the class.
I'm so angry.
I have no idea who is filing these complaints, but I have a strong idea that Hebco is behind some of it. (Tell you more about why I think so in a minute.) I feel it's so unfair that just because one complaint was given, they are getting so uptight and strict with me. I keep wracking my brains to try and see what I'm doing wrong, but I can't seem to figure it out. I don't mean to sound like a 10 year old, but I get the feeling that I'm being picked on.
Now I know that this is not coming from the principal. She is nothing like my old one, and every time she tells me off for something, she apologizes. But I do know that the Hebrew principal doesn't like me, and that Hebco can't take anyone she thinks is a threat to her success.
I don't know who's behind all this, but it's the last thing I need right now.
Anyway, the principal asked me again if I was coming to the Shabaton.
I told her that I had already explained to her earlier that I had a close family simcha that same night, and that there was no way I could make it.
She was upset about that, and told me that Hebco had complained that she was doing all the work.
I gave it to her.
I told her that if it were up to me, there would be no Shabbaton to begin with. But of course, no one had asked me, and they made one anyway.
Not only that; but they didn't approve the dates with either myself or my co. Both of us can't make it this week.
They didn't tell us about the Shabbaton at all, and we had to find out about it from the girls in the class.
Hebco was encouraging the girls to miss my class for their Shabbaton work, and I was not asked for permission or sought after for my approval on anything. No one had asked me to contribute, and no one had even bothered to let me know I was wanted or needed. Until now.
I told her that as much as I would have loved to be a part of this; this was not the way to go about things.
And then the nerve of Hebco to go and complain about me?
I told the principal that I didn't want any of Hebco's credit; she deserved all of it, what I did want was a little respect and consideration.
The principal was at a loss.
I think I got my point across, and then went on to tell her that I was having problems with C.F.C.'s attitude, and T.B.N.'s as well. She explained to me that T.B.N. was emotionally abused at home and that's why her attitude about school was so bad.
That cleared things up for me. The truth though is, that I guessed as much just by meeting her parents at PTA. The way Mrs. N. had washed the floors with me, I could see her doing it 100x more with someone she was more familiar with.
I informed the principal about an inappropriate discussion C.S.S. had begun in my class. I warned her that she might get calls from some parents, but this was the way it came up in my class.
Thankfully, she understood.
I told her that I was concerned about C.S.S. and R.B. starting to become friends. I was sure I was imagining it when I first saw it, but then I kept seeing them pass notes in class and chat after school.
It's odd to me because R.B. of all people is the most fine girl, and her mother was so against C.S.S. in the class.
I am keeping an eye out and I warned the principal as well.
Anyway, I wanted to start Tuck Everlasting with my 8th grade, and turns out that after we had ordered all the books for them, they told me that their teacher last year had done it with them as a read aloud.
The principal is upset, and so am I, but I think I will teach it anyway, and during their ELA prep today, I wrote up a sheet for them to fill out after they had read the first couple of chapters. I plan on doing the book quickly; and then have the sub start something new with them.
The ELA prep today was OK, but the girls got confused a frustrated when I had them highlight all the points in their essays that were required for them to write about.
I did that so that they could make sure at the end of the test that they had included everything they were supposed to. I also did that so that it'd be easier for me to mark. ;) I'm a lazy gal these dayz.
Seventh grade was so good today.
They spent the entire day writing their photo essays, and now I have them all sitting here waiting for me to mark. :(
R.A. gets on my nerves (no kidding). She thinks she is a teacher too, and that she can talk to me as such. She didn't finish rewriting her essay on time and came over to me to tell me that she'd have it for tomorrow. She didn't ask; she told.
She also got a homework mark for not having handed in her journal last week. I felt great giving it to her! LOL
Whatever it is, I'm coming home more and more depressed each day, and today I finally told my husband something.
I waited all week, because I didn't want to complain, but today I just couln't take it. I'd had a rough morning at the doctor's, and there are some personal family things I have to deal with, and I just have too much on my mind to be able to handle school problems normally right now.
Not that talking to my husband got me far LOL, he thinks problems with other teachers can be solved by punching their lights out....Men.
Hope tomorrow goes OK.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Stinkin ELA

I'm still at home; didn't go to school yet, but I have a P.S. for last night's post.
I marked the ELA part one last night, and my student's average was a 19/26. Not a single girl got a 26, but T.T. came close with a 25, and M.S. and C.S.P. and D.S.W. came close with a 25.
C.F.C. got a 20, but R.S. got something like a 13 or 14.
M.S. and T.B.N. got a 12.
I'm not happy...
I also checked to see which questions were gotten wrong the most frequently, and it turned out that the skills lacking in my class are those of understanding context clues ( determining the meaning of a word based on the sentence around it), and identifying the purpose for reading, and thinking about what they have read.
Know what? I didn't need the ELA evaluation to tell me that.
C.F.C.'s crying yesterday, and the way half the class does on their tests and written work showed me the context thing a long time ago. And propose for reading was blatantly obvious when I had given them passages to read in history (on their tests) and they had no clue what they were saying.
That doorknob mark on my forehead is throbbing.
I forgot t o mention yesterday that C.F.C. came over to me after the practice E.L.A. to tell me that she knew she was bad at this type of testing because when she had been tested by the Board of Ed, they had told her so.
I think she just needs as many excuses as she can get, because she's always coming over to me with excuses like this.
But I think that if this is really true, those people at the Board of Ed deserve to be punched for telling the kid about her issues.
It's not wonder I have kids walking around the halls with big "I have issues" signs around their necks. Our stupid school system advocates it!
Anyway, I'm done typing the yearbook stuff, and I did a word count check for each girl. They were each supposed to write an article of about 150-250 words. They all pretty much accomplished that, though some girls like D.F. just wrote the same word over and over for "poetic effect" ----my foot.
C.F.C. and R.S. wrote a 70 word poem together and that's all they handed in. I divided the word count between them, and I will make them each write another 130 words for this flipping yearbook.
Why am I the one stuck with all this?
I decided that I can get paid a lot more and get a lot more recognition doing private tutoring or doing makeup.
Two things are holding me back.
1. Did I prepare and work so hard to get into this field for nothing? I can't bear to give up everything I just worked so hard for.
2. I do love what I do most of the time. If I quit just to make more money and get some recognition, will I be considered a sell-out?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Taking One Down

I don't know why I feel so down today. The classes were pretty good, and I pretty much managed to accomplish what I planned to teach so far in my week's lesson plans.
I guess it started when my husband decided to take the car from me this morning. He has a day off because of Ford's funeral, and he couldn't bear to be stuck without a car all day.
I generously gave in; even being nice enough not to point fingers at him for the car he has been pushing off leasing since September.
So this morning, after he left me stranded in the house, I sat down at the computer to begin typing up the girls' yearbook entries.
They were hideous. I am so embarrassed to be known as their writing teacher.
I know that really it's not about their writing skills; its about laziness. They could have done a much better job, but I'm refusing to let them redo them. Let these girls read their yearbook in 10 years and die of embarrassment. I'm way too busy with other important things right now to be on top of this yearbook; which, by the way, isn't my job.
I'm just doing my regular thing of being nice, and I'm doing my sister's job for now because she's very busy getting married.
Anyway, I was running late, and by the time I met the other teachers at the car service, I was huffing and puffing.
We had to pay the guy two dollars more because we made a stop to pick up one more teacher on the way.
Getting to school, I had to prepare mentally for the practice ELA test I was planning to give the 8th grade. I had a strong feeling they'd freak out.
I myself was only told about the ELA last week....
True enough, the kids went bananas.
I was very strict and told them that according to the test regulations I was not allowed to answer questions. C.F.C. immediately began crying. Not surprisingly, she also raised her hand about a dozen times during the test to ask me what different words meant. I held firm and insisted I could not answer her.
She almost threw a tantrum, but I refused to give in to her.
R.S. also was a little bit of a pest with her questions. Between her and C.F.C. I was ready to fail someone.
The nice part to the day was that I discovered that my 8th grade class has the ability to be quiet for extended periods of time. For the 45 minutes the test took, there was not a sound in the room, except for C.F.C.'s and R.S.'s constant whining.
After 45 minutes I had them hand in their sheets. I still have to mark them, but the truth is that I don't care very much about how they scored individually. I need to mark them to see where the class needs strengthening.
After part one of the test, I spoke to them and reassured them that they were not being graded as individuals, and that this test was more of a class thing. Even to the government.
After that, we continued with a bit of history, and then I dismissed them.
During recess, my co came over to show me a note she had been given by H.B. in 7th grade.
She hadn't done her homework, and wrote this nasty note to my co about how she didn't read minds and she insisted my co did not tell the class the homework the night before. Funny thing, as the rest of the class had done theirs.
I took the note with her to the principal, and told her that this was the attitude we kept getting from the class. My co also went ahead to say that D.A. and some others were really taking this Shabbaton out of hand. I could have hugged her for coming to my aid in trying to prove how non deserving the girls were of this.
When I had come into school today, Hebco was working with 4 or 5 girls teaching them some dance steps for their Shabbaton on the landing. She made this face like "I'm doing all the work here and you can be sure I'm going to vie for all the credit."
She can have all the credit she wants, but I hate when she pushes it in my face.
Anyway, after we had spoken to the principal, she stopped me and said she had gotten some regards about some things I had said in the 8th grade.
I didn't exactly know what she meant, but I thanked her for bringing it to my attention. She said that the girls were not mature, and that they took things I said out of context sometimes. Oh yay.
That totally made my day. So aside from Hebco getting to stuff her accomplishments in my face, I have to deal with an immature class who twists around what I say.
I will think 100 times from now on before having fun in my classes.
I can't take all this preparing and trying hard and then getting it shoved into my face.
I know this sounds terrible, but I just want to have this baby early so that I can take my maternity leave. I am killing myself trying so hard.
Seventh grade was OK I guess. We continued with the play we had started yesterday, and got it all done. I still have to finish a small part of the aim and then two small aims to the chapter left. I would love to combine the test of chapter 7 & 8, but I doubt I can make them responsible for all that material for one test. I have to go and see.
Getting home was a pain as I didn't have the car and my husband didn't pick up my phone calls.
I got a ride with another teacher in the end, and came home to find that my husband hadn't made the supper he promised to.
I managed to get it together by the time he came home, but now I'm going to lose it again, because I have to mark their ELAs and prepare for tomorrow's lesson....
I don't even know why I named this post this way. If anything, I'm refusing to go down. I keep getting up and then getting slammed in the head. I feel about as high as the doorknob is on my door. And I feel like that door just got banged into my face and I got a big round mark on my forehead from the knob that basically is telling everyone what a loser I feel like....
Ouch. My head hurts.

Monday, January 01, 2007

So Funny

Just a small P.S.
M.B. handed in an index card today saying that her grandmother is a doula.
Hint hint.... LOL
I was tempted to ask for her number!

Happy (?) New Years

If my students made New Year's resolutions, they must have all been broken by the time I walked into class.
I was kind of down because I had to talk to the principal before class. She had called me over to talk to me about Internet usage. She heard from the students that I had mentioned something about a website and she told me that the school took a very strong stand about kids using the Internet and even about parents allowing it into the homes.
I understood her very well, but I also know that every single kid in the class has Internet access and flaunts it. I guess she did not want me advocating it.
I know it's not my fault, but I felt bad about it anyway.
While I was talking to the principal, I told her about the seventh grade and their homework problems last week.
She was very upset.
I made sure to stick in that I was feeling that they Shabbaton was more important than derech eretz to them. I told her that this was one of my concerns when I voted against giving them the Shabbaton. I said that they were not ready to balance fun and school.
I said that I felt so bad for the 5 girls who were on the level the class needed to be on that were being held back by the lazy and dumber kids.
I asked her if I should just forget about teaching on the lower level because those lower girls were not even trying to keep up with that.
She was pretty upset and told me she'd speak with the class.
So back to 8th grade.
They chattered all the way through my class.
I scheduled a test for Monday and I do not think that I'm going to finish the chapter in time. They did not let me get even half the aim done today. I hate the thought of pushing off the test, but I might just have to do that.
We talked about Teddy Roosevelt and the trust busters and then about the Pure Food and Drug Administration.
I got them all scared to use their creams after I went through some that some of the girls used that are known to cause chemical burns. I told them that legally, they had to tell them about it, and that if they looked carefully it was bound to be in fine print there somewhere.
They were horrified, but I'm sure they'll never forget the Pure Food and Drug Act.
I also told them the incident that happened last year where that guy changed the label of some cold cut rolls and had the ingredients read things like "pigs toenails" and "dog's doo". They kids were on the floor.
So while the lesson was fun, it was hard to keep them all in line.
7th grade was utter chaos when I walked in. D.A. had just finished scribbling on the board that C.S.S. was a jerk, when I walked in, followed by the principal.
I saved D.A.'s behind by erasing the message as the principal yelled at the class about transcripts and how they were not going to get into decent high schools.
After she left, I had another 3 girls raise their hands that they didn't do their homework. Again.
I started teaching History, and it went so nicely today.
I had the girls take out their notes and write only occasionally; when I told them to. Instead of teaching, we read a play of the Constitutional Convention, and then we stopped at all important parts to write notes.
I'm glad it worked. It took a boring lesson and made it fun. We will finish that tomorrow.
Tomorrow in the 8th grade we will do ELA practice. I was only told last week that my class was doing the ELA next week, and that leaves me barely any time to teach them what they need to know.
I read over the stuff on Shabbos, and I don't think my kids should have a problem with it, but I do feel that practice would be a nice thing.
I know right now that D.F. and R.Y. will fail the thing, but I'm sure the other girls will do just fine.
To end off on a happy tone, I think I have a substitute. (**fingers crossed**) She is the 2nd grade (? I think) Hebrew teacher in the school and she said she'd do it for me.
Yay. Now I can have this baby in peace.
I'd like to have it tomorrow please- I need this break!