Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Fashion Sense

My mom has great fashion sense.  She always looks so put together, so well done, so perfect.  I did not inherit this ability.  I pretty much stick to basics (I swear my wardrobe is so black, navy and white it's ridiculous).  And honestly, if I could, I'd wear jeans or capris and sweatshirts forever.

So when I'm walking through the building today, in khakis, tennis shoes, and a pinkish-red top (really a glorified t-shirt with a lace neckline) and a teeny tiny (and I mean really little) sixth grader I have never seen before stops and says, "I really like that color on you," I was a little stunned.

"Oh really?  Thank you," I said.

"You have fantastic fashion sense," she says, as she turns a corner.

I about died laughing.  That was the last thing I ever expected to hear from a kid, especially a tiny little one who looks like her fashion sense might be from the movie Frozen.

Cracked me up.

There Won't Be Any Kids, They Said. It Will be Quiet, They Said

Before school started I was trying to get my ducks in a row and get my ISS room organized, my procedures down, schedules created, and so on.  And when I asked the Enforcer to go over my proposed student schedule his comment was, "Yeah, I'll get to it.  You won't have any kids for a couple of weeks anyway."

Yeah.  Right.

Since Day One, when our little Dress Code Violator showed's been steady.  Granted, there are days there's only one kid in there, but now we're up to three and it's just going to keep growing from here.  

So that schedule I wanted approved?  I just went with it and did what I wanted.  So far no one has complained so I'm going with it.

The Principal said, "take it and make it yours," so that's what I'm doing.

So there.  If they don't like it, oh well.

Oh and Dress Code Violator?  She's baaaaccckkk....

Friday, August 14, 2015

And Visitor Number One Is....

A seventh grade girl who didn't believe in dress codes.  Or more to the point, it was her birthday, dammit, and she wanted to wear what she wanted to wear.  Even though what she wore might have gotten her arrested if she was walking a street in the wrong part of town.

It was that bad.

And it was two hours into the first full day of school.  So much for not getting anyone for at least a week.

Not a good impression to make on your teachers, kiddo.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Maintenance, We Have a Problem

The first half day of school has come and gone and so's been calm.  Really calm.  The kind of calm where you keep waiting for something to happen because it's just going so damn well.  All the kids had schedules, most of the kids knew their bus numbers although it took them some time to find them, and no one had a melt-down.  It was scary.

Seeing as I didn't have any students - yet - in my little world of ISS, I helped out in Guidance.  I was supposed to be there to help print schedules, look up bus numbers, and that sort of thing.  However, after about two hours of nothing, because no one needed my help, I wandered back out to my portable to work on stuff out there.  (I actually am working although I have no students right now, basically going through all the procedures for how ISS runs and streamlining the process.)

And then I found a really glaring problem with my portable.

I have a wasp problem.

A few weeks ago Baseball Boy was working in my room, helping me get it organized and unpacked.  His little brother was at the Sixth Grade Jump Start and Mom brought Baseball Boy along so he could help me out.  Thank goodness, because he saved me about four hours of labor.  We listened to the Cubs baseball game and worked and had a great time.

Until we discovered a wasp flying around. 

Seriously, I'm not afraid of them, and neither is Baseball Boy, but it was a bit annoying until we managed to smack him with a rolled up magazine.  And then I didn't really think much of it until school started.  And then I realized that I was seeing wasps every single time I was walking up the ramp to my portable.

Every single time.  And often more than one.  

This was not good.  

So I did a work order for maintenance to come out and spray/check for wasps.  I think they're living under the wooden ramp, because that seems to be where I see them the most.  

Until they fly into the portable.

I really, really don't need a kid out there who's already on edge because he/she has been assigned to In School Suspension to have a major freak out meltdown when wasps start buzzing around.

They better come fix this problem fast.  In the meantime, I bought a fly swatter.


Monday, August 03, 2015

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Last year I had a student, Baseball Boy, who one day, in the middle of class and out of the blue asked me, "Mrs. Bluebird, do you like paintball?"

And oddly enough, one of my Chosens is an obsessive paintball player so I do know quite a lot about the sport - I even have my own mask and I've played a tiny bit.  So my answer was, "Well, yeah, I do."

And that was it.  I was suddenly the Best Teacher in The World, and then when Baseball Boy discovered that I am also a huge Chicago Cubs fan, I became "Aunt Bluebird".  In fact, he told all the other kids that I was really his aunt (and they believed him).  Over the course of the school year, I got to know Baseball Boy's parents and entire family pretty well.  I got invited to his little brother's birthday party at the paintball field, I ended up watching three of the kids while mom and dad took the other one on a "date" one evening, and I spent a lot of my summer watching Baseball Boy play ball.  So, I guess I really did become Aunt Bluebird in some respects.

Baseball Boy's parents, every year, allow each of their four kids to have an adventure with just mom and dad.  They're really good about making sure each of their four kids gets individual attention and time, and they're lucky that they have both sets of grandparents close by to watch the other kids when they do this.  Baseball Boy wanted to see the Chicago Cubs play ball, and they ended up buying a family four-pack of tickets (which was quite a deal) and told him he could invite a friend to go with them to Atlanta where the Cubs were playing the Braves

I was the friend he invited.

So bright and early one Sunday morning the four of us left for the five hour drive to Atlanta, of which Baseball Boy did not stop talking except for one half hour nap.  We checked into our hotel, got to the stadium and had the best time.  It was so much fun seeing Baseball Boy witness his first Major League Baseball Game (and the Cubs won which was even better).  We stayed overnight, ate at a really cool diner on the way home, stopped at Cabella's, and got home Monday afternoon.  It was a great road trip and the four of us had the most wonderful time.

Now, I asked Baseball Boy about what he was going to tell his friends.  I mean, really?  You take your old teacher on a road trip to see the Cubs?  And his response was priceless.  He shrugged.  "I really don't care what they think."

Bless this kid.  As I told his Mom, it's really nice to have someone else to talk baseball with (Mr. Bluebird is not a fan).  My dad was a huge Cubs fan and I grew up going to California Angels games when we lived out there.  So, I've missed that since Daddy passed away.  Honestly, baseball is more fun when you can share it with someone.

And when you get to share a kid's first Major League Baseball game?  Well, that's a memory that's priceless.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

On Losing One You Love

Every time about this year, as we get back into our classrooms and start getting ready for the new school year, people start asking me, "Well, how was your summer?"

And usually I don't have a problem answering.

This year, however, I'm a bit stumped.  It was, for the most part, a pretty good summer.  I only had about five days of in-service training since I'm no longer teaching science, so I had a lot more free time than I've had since STEM was implemented a number of years ago.  I got to spend a lot of time with my hubby, which is always good.  Mrs. Eagle and I did some quick day trips and had some fun doing girl stuff.  And I got to spend quite a bit of time with some of my grown up former students who consider Hubs and I to be family.  So that was all good.  

However.  One Really Bad Horrible Thing happened this summer and I am still reeling from it.

My Red Headed Fireball passed away in late June and it has truly broken my heart.  He called me Momma, and we both cried when he moved away to another Southern State in February.  His Uncle was being deployed, his Aunt had just had a baby, and she wanted to be by family.  Fireball was going to be coming back here for high school and was looking forward to it.  I gave him my number and told him if he needed anything to contact me and I'd see what I could do.  He never called, so I assumed all was well.

And then, in June, he apparently took his own life.   

We go through state-mandated suicide training every single year, but in the 13 years I've been teaching both of my students who committed suicide did it during the summer.  It's like they know we aren't around to stop them.  And I've wondered if there was anything any of us could have done.  There's that little thread of guilt that makes me wonder if I did enough to help him.  Did he know how much he was loved?  

It wasn't until a number of us from The School attended a balloon release in his memory that I had a little bit of closure.  The parent organizing it, whom I did not know, asked if I was in attendance.  I answered and then he said that he'd spent a lot of time with the family during the past week and my name came up.  A lot.  Apparently Fireball talked a lot about me, and how much I helped him and loved him, and he shared a lot of stories about some of the silly things we'd done in class with his family.  

That made me feel better.  At least he knew I loved him.  And that was something.

So this past week, when I was unpacking my boxes to set up my new classroom, I found a letter he wrote and left on my desk last year.  It was so touching that I had it framed and it sat on a bookshelf behind my desk the remainder of the year.  I never thought how much more I would value that letter today, now that he is gone.  It is on my desk.  It will be staying there.

Bless you Fireball.  You have no idea how much I miss you.