Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Come Back You Cowardly Rascals!

So I walk my tutoring kids up to the office for dismissal this afternoon and see Mrs. Talladega, the Guidance Goober, and a few others who are walking their students up as well. Someone asks The Secretary where The Principal is...her van was parked out back but she's not to be found.

"Oh, she's chasing skateboarders," says The Secretary.

"Oh foot?" Mrs. Tallaedga asks.

"Oh yes! She saw them out front, called the police, and went out to talk to them and they took off. She took off after them. Mr. Enforcer hopped in his van and took off as well."

We stand there with our mouths hanging open.

The Principal is out there running after a bunch of twerps on skateboards?

Now to put this in proper perspective...The Principal is always, but always, dressed perfectly. Even when I've seen her in jeans and a sweatshirt she manages to look elegant and refined like Southern ladies are supposed to look. She looks more put together in her grubbies than I can manage to look when I try to get all dolled up for a wedding or a banquet.

So, to picture her running after a bunch of boys on skateboards is just almost beyond imagining. However, they've been wrecking the planters in front of our building, destroyed some concrete benches and planters all around the school, and damaged one of our storage buildings by their stunts. Not to mention skating all over our human-sized chessboard out back so it will need to be repainted - yet again. The Principal, in short, has had it with these kids.

So she took out after them.

A few minutes later she comes back in, a broad smile across her face, her hair barely out of place.

"Did you get them?" we ask.

"Oh yes," she says. "They weren't very smart. They never scattered the whole time, they just kept running in a pack so it was easy to track them down. Mr. Enforcer even got ahead of them and turned and blocked them in. And the police gave them all citations.'

She pumps her fist in the air and walks back to her office.

You know, there's some days you just need a brisk run to relieve the stress. Even if it means you're chasing skaters.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Something to Think About, or, Are We Creating Monsters?

In a conversation with Mrs. Eagle, who is in charge of the committee for our school improvement plan that comes up with our school goals, it came to light that our discipline referrals have jumped 85% this year.

Yup....Eighty-five percent.

That is simply unreal, and, as you can imagine, unacceptable. Obviously something needs to be done about this. The question arises, however, on what is causing this huge increase. Two-thirds of our student body, more or less, were here last year, so it's not like we have a huge turnover in our student population - we lost the eighth graders and gained sixth graders as we always do. The huge number of referrals are spread fairly evening through the grade levels, so it isn't one grade level causing the problems. We have most of the same teachers (although the 8th grade has suffered some changes due to some illnesses and resignations due to spousal transfers). The administration is the same. And I checked with the Guidance Goddess and she said most of the referrals were pretty significant, for things like disruption, and weren't just a whole bunch of referrals for tardies sliding in. So what is causing this?

Mrs. Talladega, who's taught both 6th and 8th grade math over the years along with the tech class (and who has two middle schoolers at home) was of the opinion that, in a previous year's attempt to lower the number of referrals, we let the little things slide. We were encouraged not to slap a referral on a kid but to do a lot more counseling and mentoring in the hopes to discourage the unacceptable behavior before it reached referral status. (In other words, more warm fuzzy stuff.) As she put it, murderers don't start off murdering people, they usually start off with little crimes like robbery, aggravated assault, domestic assault, and so on. She does have a point. Perhaps this group of kids realized that they got away with the small stuff and have moved on to bigger things. Something to consider.

I'm wondering, however, if all the emphasis on high-stakes testing is playing a role. In my readings through the blogosphere I've come across comments from some teachers who indicate that they've changed their style of teaching (usually at district demand) in order to do more worksheets, sample tests, and so forth. I remember reading (somewhere, I wish I could credit the source but I can't remember) that a high school reading teacher was lamenting the fact that she was only able to fit in less than half the novels she usually covered due to demands to do more "testing" type instruction. We all know that kids act up a lot when they're bored, and frankly, I can't think of anything more boring than doing worksheets and drills day in and day out.

At a meeting this past year Mrs. Standard, our science consulting teacher, told us that we should go over sample test questions every day in class so the kids are prepared for their Big Deal State Tests in April. Mrs. Eagle and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes. Our kids see enough tests, and test questions, all year long and quite frankly, we're not wasting our time doing more of it when we can do some hands on cool things (like make chia pets for our plant unit). The fact that our scores are high means that everyone pretty much leaves us alone and lets us do what we want in the classroom, a luxury a lot of teachers don't have. What we do, for the most part, is lots of cooperative work and lots of hands on stuff. Interestingly enough, both of us are on pace with previous years in terms of handing out discipline referrals - we don't hand out many and you really have to screw up to get one.

So...it's your turn. What do you think? Are behavior problems increasing due to the way some teachers are having to restructure their teaching to satisfy demands on high stakes testing? Or are we letting little things slide a bit too much and the big things rear their ugly heads later? Or is it a combination of both? Or is it something else? Let me know.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

When Squirrels Lose Their Minds...and Their Nuts

A few years ago when our previous social studies teacher decided that middle schoolers had







and went to teach at the high school level, our principal asked those of us on the team what we would like in a social studies teacher. We all chorused, "a man" because we all knew that the boys in our school really need good strong male role models. And, there are times where just having a guy around comes in handy.

Case in point.

This morning during homeroom, when the kids are slowly trickling in from the buses and parent drop-off, Mr. Social Studies and I are just outside our rooms (our doors are practically next to each other) discussing something, most likely one of the girls in his homeroom who I need to talk to nearly every day about revealing clothing, when we see Mrs. Language come around the corner, leading about eight of our boys with her. She looked, for all the world, like one very annoyed Momma Duck with her little flock trailing behind in a desperate bid to keep up with her.

In fact, one of her flock, Tall Gangly Boy, was actually walking somewhat like a duck, hunched over in a half-crouch, and walking somewhat gingerly. Upon a second look it became apparent that he was also holding his private area.

"Stay here!" Mrs. Language barks, and her ducklings huddle in a mob near the lockers, their eyes downcast, toes kicking at the tiles. Tall Gangly Boy leans against the lockers, his face a rather odd shade of green.

She strides up to Mr. Social Studies. "You need to talk to them," she hisses, inclining her head towards her flock, "about why it's a damn stupid idea to do nut checking in the classroom."

Mr. Social Studies sighs, walks over to them and begins his lecture, hands on hips. It is his most imposing stance.

Nut checking, apparently, is the latest rage among our middle schoolers and consists of silly boys hitting each other - and hard - in the privates. Mrs. Language apparently heard a ruckus in one corner of her room, discovered three of her boys rolling on the floor in agony, grabbed them and the offenders gathered around them, and marched them over to us.

By the time Mr. Social Studies finishes his lecture the boys are looking even gloomier, although Tall Gangly Boy is looking a lot less green. He strides back over to us, shaking his head. "Morons." he says.

"Thanks," says Mrs. Language. "I figured you owed it to us."

"How's that?" Mr. Social Studies asks.

"Well," she replies, "We take care of the girls with boobies hanging out so you can take care of the boys and their balls."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Carnival Time! Fifty Rides with No Lines!

It's time for the Education Carnival hosted this week by everyone's favorite Georgian, The elementary History Teacher at History is Elementary. She's rounded up over 50 great exhibits from all over the world of education - funny, sad, thought-provoking, maddening, you name it! Be sure to Check It Out!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Wow! I'm a Thinking Blogger (And All This Time I Thought I Was Just Whining in Cyberspace!)

First off, I'm just astounded that anyone actually reads this blog outside of the few friends who suggested I start one because my emails about life in public education were, in their words, so amusing. However, one of the bloggers that makes me think, Mrs. T over at La Chucheria, nominated me as a Blogger that Makes You Think. This just blows my mind because I just get out there and ramble with no purpose outside of perhaps keeping my sanity. I'm glad that others out there in cyberspace find it food for thought, so to speak.

Now my job is to list five blogs that make me think, which really would be quite easy except many of them have already been tagged. For example, the Education Wonks never fail to give me something worth reading and is also the home of the Education Carnival. Then there's Happy Chyck Wonders, with her absolutely fantastic writing, Elementary History Teacher (and I thought I knew history until I started reading her blog and learned a lot more), and, of course, A Shrewdness of Apes who has written posts that made me want to cheer she hits the nail on the head so often. And then there's California Teacher Guy who reminds me, often, about why we do this. And besides, I grew up in California so he reminds me of home.

That being said, here are five that I adore to read and who make me think (and who haven't, I hope, been tagged yet).

1. Leesapea at But Wait, There's More, is one of my all time favorite blogs and it's not just because she's a fellow middle school teacher. Anyone who can quote song lyrics and titles like she does is just plain amazing in my book. Besides, you can actually see her "squirrels", she describes them so vividly. She gives me ideas all the time on things I may want to try with my own squirrels.

2. Epiphany in Baltimore is another blog that makes me think. High School English teacher, single guy, and misguided Detroit Tigers fan (just had to get that dig in there), his blog makes me think, partially because he's on the opposite side of the political spectrum from me, and he works with the at-risk kids that I see more and more of.

3. Darren at Right on the Left Coast never, ever fails to give me information (and links to more information) about politics, education, and just plain crazy stuff. He updates frequently (bless is heart) and is one of bloggers I love to read. He also reminds me why I left the Left Coast.

4. The Science Goddess at What It's Like on the Inside, is another must read blog. She amuses, educates and entertains all at once. One day it's a funny story about her classroom, the next she's musing about educational strategies. It's worth reading.

5. Christopher over at Death By Children isn't a teacher, but a stay-at-home Dad and his posts are the kind that can leave you doubling over in laughter and at the same time thinking about just what happens to all our squirrels and critters when they leave our classrooms at the end of the day and go home. Honestly, I wish there were more Dads out there like Chris! He makes me realize that the craziness our kids exhibit in our classrooms continues right on home!

Congratulations all of you! And thanks, Mrs. T!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Keeping the Real World At Bay

As usual we received a number of new students after the holidays. One of these students was Ponytail Girl. Ponytail Girl was very quiet, and she apparently attended our school for a period of time last year so she fit in rather easily for someone who appeared to be so shy. It didn't take me long to figure out that this kid had some real problems when it came to reading, study skills, and basic comprehension. It also didn't help that she was absent a lot and never made up her work. In a month, even with modified tests and assignments, she'd made a 43% in science; her grades in other classes were just as bad. Miss Reading suspected she was reading at about a 2nd or 3rd grade level.

I added her to our latest support team list and presented her case at our meeting on Monday. We didn't have a whole lot to go on with this kid - no state test results, no grades from last year, no previous indications of special education testing, nothing. What I did find out was that her mother yanked both her and a sister out last year around the same time to home school them as they were "learning too much from the other students". Interesting. We decided to make some more modifications, such as having tests read to her, and review her case again after a month.

Interestingly enough I intercepted a note being written between her and another girl in my class the next day. They weren't being very smart about it as they sit at a table right smack in front, so I casually did my stroll around the room as they were labeling their flower picture and picked it up. Ponytail Girl had a death grip on the note, but released it as soon as I gave her That Look. I tucked it into my pocket and didn't have time to read it until classes changed.

Oh my.

Let's just say that it had to do with boyfriends, grown up activities, and protection. Things 12-year olds probably shouldn't be writing about, let alone doing.

I hightailed that note over to guidance where the Guidance Mom took one look at it and blinked several times. "Good gracious, this is exactly the kind of stuff her mom pulled her out of school for last year!"

Guidance Mom really had no choice but to call these girls in and call their families. The next day Ponytail Girl came around with a withdrawal form. Her mom was pulling her out - again - and sending her to a church-based home school group in the area (apparently the same one she went to before) which did not thrill Ponytail Girl. She told me she really enjoyed having teachers teach her things no one had taught her before - she specifically mentioned Mr. Social Studies and his PowerPoint on Egypt. She was not, she said, looking forward to doing nothing but workbooks.

I worry about this girl on a number of levels. One, the fact that she may have a learning disability is definitely not being addressed. There are a lot of good church-based schools, private schools, and home school groups in our area, but the one this child will be going to does not have a good reputation, compared to the others, some of which are excellent. Two, I think her mom
is a bit naive in thinking that she can protect her daughter from the real world. From all appearances the genie is already out of the bottle. In addition, how many stories have we all heard about kids with parents who protect them so extensively that they become wild when they finally get a little freedom? Perhaps instead of hiding her from the real world, she should be giving her lessons on how to deal with it.

But hey, it's not my kid. I just hope it doesn't end up being a tragic story.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Little Mommy Goes a Long Way

I'm not a huge fan of Valentines Day.

Let me rephrase that...I'm not a huge fan of Valentines Day when it comes to school. I have nothing against buying Mr. Bluebird a card and going out to dinner. Sometimes we'll even splurge and catch a movie (although lately nothing interesting is even showing nearby). However, Valentines Day at school is just a step below the Day After Halloween.

In short, it's a day where the kids have lost their minds and are all hopped up on sugar.

First, they get candygrams delivered by the Jr. Civitan club, which was kind of amusing as three of my boys, instead of buying candygrams for their sweethearts, bought them for themselves! Then we get kids who bring in cookies and cupcakes for their classes to share. Fortunately for me, one of my mothers decided they didn't need the sugar and bought sausage biscuits from Hardees for the entire homeroom. They arrived toasty hot and the kids wolfed them down. Follow that with candy gifts from their friends, more lollipops, chocolate covered cherries from the Valentines store, you name it.

Secondly, Valentines Day, for some of my kids who've been whomped upside the head by the hormone hammer, is a big deal. Although they're only 12 and 13, some of them have "boyfriends" and "girlfriends" and "go out". This is, most likely, their first Valentines Day with romance in their lives so they're just all a twitter over that. (On an aside, I'm still trying to get one of them to give me a satisfactory explanation on how you can "go out" when you don't have a car.)

I can't wait until they're old and boring like Mr. Bluebird and I whose idea of a fun night out is catching dinner at Raffertys or Old Chicago and then hanging out at Borders and Best Buy perusing books and DVD's. We are excitement personified.

In any case, I did score some sweet Valentines from the kids which always make my day (and are now taped on my wall behind my desk). I even got two roses from one of my students who is also in my Title I tutoring class as well.

The best Valentine, however, came from one of the girls in my homeroom, one who arrived just before Christmas from somewhere Up North. Twiggy Girl is a tiny, tiny slip of a thing who struggles in school. Now some of this may have to do with her family situation. She apparently moved here with Mom, and two siblings and now they're living, in a trailer, with her cousin and her family. It's crowded, to say the least. She has, at best, maybe three different outfits. Right now we have temperatures around 20 degrees in the morning and I have yet to see her in any jeans that go down to her ankles; all her jeans are capri styled (or she's just outgrown them lengthwise). She originally showed up with a gigantic chip on her shoulder, but since then has softened a bit and realized that we aren't out to get her, and, in fact, are here to help her.

I started giving her a little "mommy time", making it a point of asking her about her day, seeing if she's got her work down for all her classes, helping her with her Science, and generally just giving her some attention. It has worked miracles with her. She's volunteering questions in class (and getting them right), she passed her last test, and she's doing all her work. Her grade is rapidly rising. It's still not easy for her, but it's better.

So last week when the PTO gave me two coupons for $3 to spend at the Valentines Store, I gave one to her. I told her how proud I was of her and how delighted I was that she was working so hard to bring her grades up. You would have thought I'd handed this kid a hundred dollar bill. Her eyes got huge, and she just blinked and blinked at me, as if she couldn't believe her good fortune.

On Wednesday there was an envelope in my box from the PTO which contained handmade Valentines cards that the kids made at the Valentines Store (thanks to the wonderful lady who donated all the cool scrapbooking supplies). I handed them out to the kids in class and got to the last one which was absolutely covered with foam hearts of every size and color. Whomever made this card certainly wanted to make a statement! I couldn't find a name for who it went to until I opened it up and discovered it was for me!

All it said was "I love you, from Twiggy Girl".

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Carnival Time!

Whoo-hoo! It's Carnival time over at the Education Wonks. Check it Out!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I have this habit of playing music during my homeroom primarily because I think my students have an incredibly poor grasp of their Rock 'n Roll cultural heritage. They listen to rap and hip-hop constantly, which drives me crazy, and give me blank stares when I mention names of such luminaries as Jimi Hendrix.

I mean how can you go through life not knowing one of the greatest guitar players of all time? It's a shame, really.

So this month I'm honoring black history month by playing CD's by some of the greatest African-American artists in rock and pop history (which includes Jimi Hendrix). I'm whipping out Otis Redding, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin, to name just a few.

So today I'm playing Aretha, the Queen of Soul, and the kids are milling around, catching up on homework, chatting with their friends, and doing the usual killing time activities until the bell rings and they can go to their lockers. I look up and one of my kids, Smile Boy, is standing up at his desk, working on his grammar, and dancing along to the music. Not just dancing, but really, really dancing, arms swinging, feet moving, he was GROOOVIN....

It's then that I notice that there are about four other kids doing the same thing...they're dancing in their seats, be-bopping around the pencil sharpener, and basically just having the best time listening to Aretha do her thing.

It was heaven.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

See Any Dead People Lately?

We had a meeting with the Mrs. Saint, the teacher in the Emotionally Disturbed unit, about one of our students, Doughboy. It was time for his annual IEP meeting, and although Mom didn't show (no surprise, she's disabled and it's tough for her to get to school), we had the meeting anyway.

I actually didn't even realize that Doughboy was one of Mrs. Saint's kids until I'd had him for a few months and I got some paperwork for him. He's worked his way out of her unit and is in all normal classes at this point. He does pretty well. He's average in intelligence although he talks so fast it's sometimes hard for anyone to understand him. He's goofy and the kids can usually talk him into doing stupid things, which is a problem. He also has some major anger management issues, but so far has been able to control it this year.

So we were somewhat surprised when we asked Mrs. Saint what his actual diagnosis was and she mentioned that he was diagnosed as psychotic and borderline schizophrenic. She mentioned that he's heavily medicated and fortunately that makes him able to function in the normal school population.

She mentioned that last year, when he was a 6th grader and she first came to her unit, she was just getting familiar with him and he seemed to be pretty normal (for her group of kids). She said that one day he was sitting at his desk, working away, while the other kids were having a bit of a conversation around him. The conversation consisted of saying lines from movies and seeing if the other kids could guess what movie it was. Doughboy isn't participating until he hears the line, "I see dead people". At this point Doughboy lifts his head up from his work and says, "I see dead people all the time too, but now I take lots of medication for them and I haven't seen them for a while." At that he turns back to his work and continues.

Mrs. Saint reports that there was complete silence in her room for a few minutes as the kids digested this interesting bit of information. After a few minutes they sort of shifted away and went to work on something else.

Isn't it interesting the kids we get?

The Fine Art of Slam Dancing

Taking a cue from some of the other middle schools in the area, we tried our first afternoon school dance this past Friday.

The idea was that the dance would start after school, thereby saving parents the trip to school to drop their kids off, and then another one to pick their kids up. It also ended at 4:30 so it was still light enough (although colder than all get out) for the walkers to walk home safely. The other idea is that the staff that helped on the dance would get home at a halfway decent hour, not 9:00 pm at night.

The Junior Civitan club sponsored the dance as a fundraiser and even pre-sold tickets Friday morning. Mr. Social Studies is one of the sponsors so he just gave us each 10 tickets and let us sell to our own homerooms - I found out later that over 400 tickets were pre-sold which is usually as many kids as we get to a dance anyway. They sold over a 100 that afternoon, so they did pretty well. They also saved money by not hiring a DJ - instead, one of the teachers hooked up her laptop to the speaker system in the gym and played tunes from there, which worked out great.

The kids were, however, really hyped up so we had our hands full keeping them in control. There were a few characters that Mrs. Language and I had to sit down on the bleachers for slamming into other kids. By the third time we'd had these two twerps on the bleachers, for the same stupid stunts, I'd finally lot my patience, especially when they protested that "we weren't doing anything wrong."

"Oh get over it!" I barked. "Your first clue you were doing something wrong was the first time we sat you down on the bleachers! But you don't learn from your first mistake, so you keep making it over and over again!"

"But we didn't..." they begin.

"And another thing," I continued. "I was slam dancing in all the punk clubs in L.A. in the late '70s and '80s before you were even born and you aren't even doing it right, for goodness sake! Heck you'd get the snot beaten out of you at a Sex Pistol's concert for out and out rudeness!"

Mrs. Language reported that by the time I'd finished my tirade their eyes had popped out of their heads and their mouths were hanging open.

One of them looks over at Goober Boy, one of my favorite kids from last year. He nods his head. "She's not kidding. She even plays the Ramones and the Clash in class."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rudeboy gets his comeuppance

Rudeboy is most likely one of the rudest, most unlikeable kids we've ever had in our classrooms. He's huge...if you saw him walking in the mall, you'd think he was probably in high school, not seventh grade. He has to be well over 6' tall and he's just turned 13. He has a weight problem as well, and the corresponding health issues. You want to feel sorry for him, but it's nearly impossible to do so.

Sadly, he's also lazy, sneaky, and just plain mean. I've never seen a kid who can blatantly lie like this one. You can watch him walk across a classroom and see him slap a kid on the back of the head and he will deny it until the cows come home, and call you a liar in the meantime. He'll even deny it when the security tape shows him doing it. He will argue, yell out, and generally disrupt your class if he feels like it. His usual tactic will be to scream, "So and So's picking on me!", right in the middle of a lesson. He will run to an administrator every day to complain about a student picking on him, a teacher picking on him, a janitor picking on him, you name it.

However, that being said, this is the same kid who will walk down the hall and yell vulgarities at other students, call them names, threaten them, kick them while they're at their locker, so on and so forth. He's the classic case of the kid who got bullied so much he's turned into the biggest one on the block. I caught him doing it - again - on the way back from lunch on Monday and, amazingly enough he even admitted it. I said, for what seems like the 100th time, that I don't understand why he will complain about people teasing him and then he does the same thing to other kids. He then said he never complained about other students, which was kind of ironic as he'd written another formal complaint against one of them that morning. He is mean, and vicious, and the kids are somewhat intimated by him.

Today he was, as usual, upset with everyone and was running off his mouth, calling names, and being his usual unpleasant self. Mr. Social Studies and I were watching the kids in the hallway in between classes when we noticed an uproar across the circle by a drinking fountain and heard, "fight!". We took off and found Rudeboy sobbing and blubbering in a corner, with a gash across his head. Mr. Social Studies took him to the nurse while I got the name of the other kid from the witnesses, got him out of math, sent him to guidance, and got an administrator. Fortunately Mrs. Language watched my kids as well as Mr. Social Studies' kids while this was going on.

So what happened? (Thank goodness for security cameras.) It appears that Rudeboy mouthed off to the wrong kid, one with a cast on his arm. Rudeboy chases him down, most likely to make more rude and snotty comments, and the other kid got fed up and clocked him with the cast, thereby cutting open Rudeboy's head.

The fact that Castboy is half of Rudeboy's size made it a little more interesting.

Hopefully, Rudeboy will learn something from this, although I doubt it. I'm sure he'll come back from his suspension as rude and mean as he was before.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A day in the life of a middle school

5:45 am...Mrs. Eagle arrives at school and discovers that her snake, a 3 foot plus ball python has escaped over night. The search begins.

7:15 am...We get an email from a parent indicating that she's upset that someone called her husband regarding her son who was getting suspended for 5 days. Apparently there's a nasty divorce pending and we should have known not to call him. News to everyone, especially as the kid was the one who suggested we call dad since no one could find mom, and dad's name is on the emergency card. Dad, by the way, was stunned that kid was being suspended as his soon to be ex-wife and son had informed him that everyone was just peachy this year. He was also apparently in the dark about the five classes son is failing.

7:25 am...Mrs. Eagle puts out a "lost snake email" to the entire staff. As she hits the send button she happens to look up at the clock and spies a little snakey head peeking out from behind the number three. She promptly sends out a "snake found" email. Many sighs of relief from those who don't like slithery things.

9:30 am...I notice that a student, one of the kids from our Emotionally Disturbed unit who's usually not a problem, has a laser pointer with him. This is absolutely forbidden so I take it from him and tell him that his mom can come pick it up at the front office later today. He goes into melt down, tells me to "eff you", and then demands that I pay him $2 for it. At this point I nearly start laughing because it's so ridiculous (not the response he expected, I'm sure). I end up having to have him removed (which took two people) and Mrs. Squirrel said he went into a complete tailspin and total meltown in her office. Apparently the root of the problem was that he knew his mother wouldn't come pick it up as she had told him he wasn't supposed to have one in the first place. He's suspended now.

10:50 am...Lunch. Our kids nearly drove the cafeteria monitor, Miss Lovely, into a psychotic rage yesterday with accusations of food fights. They were informed that unless they wanted to eat in the classrooms, they better be writing us anonymous notes telling on the kids that were doing the tossing, because "you're just as guilty if you see someone do something wrong and don't tell." Eight names keep popping up and they got to spend lunch with Mr. Enforcer. The others had assigned seating. They whined and whimpered all through lunch. Some of those with Mr. Enforcer cried. It wasn't pleasant, I'm sure.

1:05 pm...The Guidance Goddess does her computer check of the local bookings put out by the sherrif's office and discovered that one of our mothers was arrested last night for violating an order of protection. She was also arrested for same thing and DUI last week. Her son, FluBoy (he loves to borrow all of my books about disease and loved the one on the 1918 flu epidemic) was out today as he was supposed to be at the court date for mom and dad's divorce. Something tells me that it was probably pretty ugly. I hope FluBoy is okay.

1:15 pm....We spot Fabio Boy and Stoopid Boy sitting in guidance. Apparently someone set off a stink bomb in the 8th grade hallway and all fingers pointed to these two critters. Knowing these two from last year...we're guessing Fabio Boy (sneaky little twerp) talked Stoopid Boy into doing it and now he's taking the fall. Regardless, Stoopid Boy stormed out of guidance and had to be fetched by Guidance Goober before he didn't something, well, stupid.

Oh, and we did some teaching here and there as well. I think.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Just a little flake here and there...

On Wednesday the television weathercasters were forecasting snow in epic proportions. (Well, okay, epic for this part of the country means about 2", but still...) And not only snow, but ice, sleet, freezing rain, the entire bag of Mother Nature's tricks. The kids at school that day were just besides themselves with glee because, with a 100% forecast (as per the National Weather Service website), they just knew we wouldn't have school on Thursday. The teachers were pretty gleeful as well because this time of year a snow day really comes in handy.

So we get up on Thursday, eagerly look outside and see...a dusting. Barely.

Counties left and right and north and south of us close for the day but we, sitting in the middle of a weird meterological pocket of nothing, didn't.

The kids came in, scowled, slumped in their seats and whined and whimpered all day about the Snow Day That Wasn't. We did, however, have about 11% absent that day, so it seemed a bit surreal. It's really strange when you're used to a class of 25 and only about 15 show up. The flu and strep has been hitting the area pretty hard and some of the school districts around us have actually closed for illness. We've had kids out sick earlier in the week, come back too early, then out again. The sounds of sniffling and coughing are fairly pronounced in the classroom.

So Thursday rolls by and the weather for Friday predicts a slight chance of flurries and maybe a snow shower or two. Definitely nothing to get excited about. The kids aren't even hoping for a snow day. Why bother?

Friday morning I get up at 4:40 am, look outside and it's white! And still snowing! And the news verifies that yes, we're actually closed for the day!

Mrs. Math calls me to make sure that I knew we were closed and mentions that she wasn't expecting this at all, so she didn't bring anything home with her. Neither did I. I wasn't expecting it either. Probably the first three day weekend I've had where I didn't bring work home. Now that's surreal.