Friday, May 01, 2009

When Thoughts of Wine and Bailey's Get You Through the Day

The. Absolute. Freaking. Day. From. Hell.

Coming back from three days away from the classroom just is not a good thing. At all. Coming back on a day when chaos reins sucks even more. It's 5th grade orientation where they bus the 5th graders over and show them all the glory that is middle school and you hope like hell they aren't in the hallways when two hormonal bitchy 8th grade girls get into a girlfight and try to beat the snot out of each other. This means the band kids are out, the club kids are out, the good kids who are doing the tours for the little cherubs are out, and then they come strolling back at various times. Whatever. That I could deal with.

What I could not deal with is that Someone Messed Up My Computer And I Wasn't Able to Get My PowerPoint Jeopardy Game To Show On the Screen.

This is seriously bad.

First off, I noticed that everything on my desktop was smaller. Hell, I could barely read my email! Good gracious I'm in my late 40's with glasses and I need all the help I can get to see what the heck is going on and now I was practically putting my nose to the screen to see what was there. Not good. Then I put together my morning homeroom PowerPoint, and went to put it up on the screen, and noticed the document reader was dead. Not off, but dead. Holy Crap. I ran over to the tech Geek's office and grabbed him (who, of course is in charge of 5th grade orientation and had a zillion other things to do), and he managed to wiggle some wires, found a short and got the document reader working.

But the PowerPoint wasn't showing up. I was getting, at first, no signal, then a signal, but it was showing a different desktop than I had, and all sorts of weird stuff. Tech Geek comes back fiddles with it and then becomes obsessed. He can't figure it out and he thinks some kid or someone messed with my computer big time. By this time my homeroom kids are wandering in, I end up having to do paper attendance, and then we had a meeting about the camping trip, an IEP meeting, and finally I come back to see if it's fixed...and the Tech Geek has put in a work order for the Big Deal Tech Geeks to come fix it. Maybe the Aide who covered for my classes did something but the general consensus was if she did, she didn't do it on purpose because she's, well, just not that bright.

And I have 20 minutes before class starts to figure out what in the hell I'm going to do since my lessons just went out the window.

Finally, little Miss Reading, bless her heart, suggests that perhaps we can do a system restore back to Monday when I knew everything worked. Praise the Lord! It worked, and I was ready to go 1 minute before the kids came in.

And they were awful. Awful beyond belief. So awful that I almost wanted to leave and go back to The Rich School Across Town.

Third period wasn't too horribly bad. We got through two rounds of the game and they did pretty well. The Fourth Period Class From The Very Depths of Hell Itself was another story. Not only could they not decide what damn question they wanted to answer (I swear, they were arguing over whether or not they wanted Igneous Rocks for 15 or Metamorphic Rocks for 20!) but when it came time to answer, they couldn't get a single one of them right. I think after the entire game was done (and I let them have 90 seconds to decide what the answer was which was a minute more than any other class), we had three questions right out of 25.

Their test is Tuesday. The questions came from their homework packets.

Which this class, for the most part, refuses to do.

Two kids from Fifth Period got into a screaming fit along the lines of "He touched my stuff! No I didn't! Yes you did!" I separated them, blasted the class and said they had a choice, they could all get along and we'd do the game, or I'd just print out a copy of their test and give it to them right then and there. They decided they could behave and we did the game.

By the time seventh period rolled around, I was so ready to be away from kids it wasn't funny.

Interestingly, the classes all wanted to know what happened over at The Rich School Across Town.

And I told them.

In three days only one kid asked for a pencil. (I have probably 2-5 kids per class who never have something to write with; I can give a pencil out to a kid at the beginning of class and they'll lose it before the class is over.)

In three days no kid asked to go to the bathroom. (My kids can only go if they have a pass, which they all used up the first week of the semester, and now they whine and fuss that they have to go although they spent the entire time between classes goofing off in the hallway.)

In three days I didn't have to move a single kid to a different seat. (I must move kids daily as they can't get along with each other.)

I did a project that involved coloring some cell pictures on Wednesday, bringing the pictures back on Thursday and then assembling the project. Not one kid left his pictures at home, in his locker, on the floor, in his book, etc. They all had their work from the day before. (I have kids who constantly lose work. They are usually the same kids who won't put their names on their work so we can get it back to them when we find it on the floor in the hallway.)

Every kid had their agenda opened and was filling it out when I walked in the room. (My kids need a personal invitation each and every day to do this, and then they sigh and fuss and act like I'm asking the impossible.)

I gave these sixth graders (and there were a lot of sped kids on this team) the same assignment my seventh graders took two and a half days to do. These kids did the project, and did it well, in one and a half days.

I told my seventh graders that I was stunned - stunned - that these little sixth graders could, quite honestly, Kick Their Butts, when it came to doing school.

And why did these kids do so much better? They listened. They followed directions. And they Shut The Hell Up and didn't talk constantly.

My seventh graders were, for once, silent. It sucks when sixth graders are better than you are.

Of course, I had to have at least one who whined, "But they're always better than us, they have money."

"Yeah, they do," I replied, "But having money doesn't mean anything when it comes to listening, following directions, and doing your job. Poor people can listen just as well as rich people. You could all do just as well, and as better, if you so much as tried."

But they'd rather just talk than try.

Fourteen and a half days with this bunch.


Elizabeth said...

If it makes you feel any better, my 7th grade Language Arts kids couldn't handle Jeopardy either this week. :) Enjoy your well-earned weekend! said...

And, if it makes you feel any better, my high school kids (especially freshmen and sophomores and even a few seniors) sound just like your kids. They don't get any better as they get older.

Ann aka ButDoctorIHatePink said...

And, if it makes you feel any better - grouchy teachers during testing don't do much better either. :)

The Bus Driver said...

i'm counting the days too!... even at the bus shop everyone is getting snippy with each other.

HappyChyck said...

Wow! Reality check. Personal discipline is a powerful thing that anyone can have. I wish they could grasp that concept, too.

W.R. Chandler said...

As radio host Neal Boortz often says, the rich keep getting richer because they keep making responsible decisions that make them rich; the poor keep getting poorer because they keep making irresponsible decisions that keep them poor.

You just saw a good example of both sides of the issue.