Tuesday, December 18, 2012


It's been a year so far.  And I'm the lucky one.  Mrs. Angora and Mrs. Eagle have absolutely horrid kids when it comes to behavior, and mine are, in comparison, pretty good.

Or so we thought.

Firecracker Boy is smart as a whip, but has issues with behavior.  He's new to The School, being one of the kids that was rezoned from another school into ours when The Powers That Be redrew all the lines.  The first nine weeks he was awesome - polite, hard-working, a great student.  It sort of surprised us, based on what his file said.  And then the second nine weeks shows up, he's now comfortable in his new school and has figured out his circumstances, and the "real" Firecracker Boy appears.  It was like two different kids.  Disrespect, disobedience, slapping other kids, threatening kids, you name it.  Dad has a meeting with us to ask us about moving him to 8th grade (as that's where he should be) because he feels that he's acting immature because he's around younger kids.  That didn't go anywhere, simply because of his behavior (and that group of 8th graders aren't all that swift either.)  What we didn't know at the time, because Dad didn't bother to share it, is that Dad calls the authorities on Firecracker Boy quite frequently when he gets out of control with his behavior.

So, a few weeks ago, I write Firecracker Boy a referral after I had him sent out of class, basically for disruption and disrespect, and he gets one day in In School Suspension.  I also noticed that on the bottom of his discipline slip, after it is worked and a copy is put in my mailbox, is the note that he has 100 points and the next infraction will earn him a trip to the alternative school.  So, he spends his day in In School Suspension, comes back, then is absent for two days, supposedly (according to his sister) because Dad caught him smoking weed, called the cops and he spent two days in a juvenile detention facility.  Okay, so he's back, and he takes his test and all is well and good.

Until 5th period when Mr. Math emails me to let me know that Firecracker Boy has just been escorted from his room by the Enforcer because he apparently threw a firecracker down a toilet in the boys' restroom, thereby busting the toilet and flooding the bathroom.

I guess he really didn't want to stay here much longer.

Needless to say, he's gone for a while, and even better, has a $500 repair attached to his name.


One and a half days.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Drama, Drama, Darama

It's that time of year.

No, not the holidays.  It's the time of year when the kids decide they are all Sick And Tired of Each Other and the Drama starts.  The nitpicking.  The name-calling.  The arguing.  It's like being on one hell of a long car ride with six kids who can't get along.

We have two types of drama - boy drama (rare, but I have it going on in my homeroom) and girl drama (every freaking where).

Now, I rarely see boy drama because boys just don't go into this sort of thing - usually.  This year, however, I have several boys who just can't stop talking and messing with each other.  It usually revolves around disparaging comments regarding athletic ability and the ability to keep girlfriends.  I have one kid, Whiner Boy, who is constantly wanting to go to guidance to talk with a counselor because someone said he was a lame football player.


I can't wait until this kid hits the real world and a boss yells at him for doing something stupid.  He'll be on the floor in a puddle of tears.

And then of course I had the two boys get in a tussle over their STEM project because Boy One accused Boy Two of being lazy and Boy Two accused Boy One of not doing his share of the work.  Next thing I knew, they were slapping each other.  (That earned them a two day stint in ISS, plus Mrs. Sparrow had to eat her words about how the kids would love doing STEM so much they'd behave like angels.)

That's just a taste of the boy drama in my homeroom.

As for the girl drama...there's too much to even go into here.  I do know that the Guidance Goddess and the Guidance Diva are so fed up with Girl Drama that if one more girl walks through the doors wanting to write a statement or complain about another girl talking trash, that they just might hurl a book at her and shove her out the door.  Or, better yet, let the two girls get into a tangle so they can both be suspended, hopefully until January.

One thing about Girl Drama...the girls aren't too bright about who they stir up trouble with.  Mrs. Eagle has one little, and I mean little, girl who's a complete pest and who wants to talk trash and stir up trouble wherever she goes.  I have a girl on my team, Amazon Girl who is, easily, about 5' 10" tall and very big-boned.  She's not fat, she's just big and solid - and bigger than most of the boys and nearly all the girls.  In any case the Pest has been bothering Amazon Girl for well over a month and Amazon Girl has been doing the right thing, going to guidance, writing statements, walking away, and generally ignoring the little brat that's 1/3 her size.  Finally, on Friday, the Pest walked up to Amazon Girl at a dance, started messing with her and then slapped her in the face.  Amazon Girl had had enough, grabbed the Pest by the hair and just beat the snot out of her.  The result?  Amazon got one day suspension, but the Pest, who had thrown the first punch and who had been bothering Amazon for a month, got three days.  (Good thing there was all that documentation that Amazon Girl had done in guidance about the bullying she was getting via the pest.)

It's never boring.

Five and a Half Days.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kissing Pigs

My home room kids sold 98 tubs of cookie dough.

As a reward, someone (a certain silly bookkeeper), got the idea that we should borrow one of Mrs. Angora's baby pigs and those of us who had classes that sold the most got to kiss the pig.

The kids loved the idea. Some of us, not so much. I actually didn't mind because there's not much that can go through a nice red layer of Avon lipstick.

In truth, I felt a bit sorry for the pig as he was obviously overwhelmed by the screaming kids. He was kind of cute, even if a bit smelly.

Kind of like a typical seventh grader, come to think of it.

What we do.....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Most Popular Kid in Middle School

A few weeks ago we had our annual Veterans Day Assembly at The School. Every year we do a very impressive assembly honoring our Veterans, many of whom are parents, teachers, and support staff at The School. We live in a military community so Veterans Day is a very big deal.

We have the band play a patriotic medley, the JROTC color guard comes over from the high school to present the colors, we have a guest speaker from the community, and we have soldiers from the local military installation come as well. It's moving, it's patriotic, the kids get into it, and usually the guidance department is overwhelmed with kids who get teary eyed about the whole thing. Those of us on the committee that puts it together stress out a bit but usually every thing goes as planned,


Every year we ask the soldiers if they would recite The Soldier's Creed to open up the assembly. Every year they agree. Sometimes they do it as a group, but lately they have given the honor to the lowest ranking guy there. This kid, because that's what he is, has to stand up in front of 1,000 kids and recite The Soldiers Creed, and unfortunately, it can be a bit nerve-wracking. We always ask if they need a copy of the words, because we have one handy, and every year they decline.

This year Corporal Creed stood up, began the Creed, and halfway through, he freezes. His mind goes blank. He pauses. He pauses some more. There is silent, dead space throughout the gym. You could hear a pin drop as he struggles for the words.

"Oh s$&?," he finally says. Into the microphone.

The kids go wild. They cheer! They applaud! And Cpl. Creed remembers the words and finishes the Creed and sits down.

I look over at The Principal and she is trying very hard not to smile, so that was a good thing. After that, the rest of the Assembly went off without a hitch, until of course the emcee introduces all our guests, including Cpl. Creed.

Guess who got the largest round of applause?

After the assembly Mrs. Eagle and I were shaking hands with our visitors and thanking them for coming. When we got to Cpl. Creed, I mentioned that he was the most popular kid in middle school. He looked embarrassed, but agreed.

Interestingly enough, that bit of levity may have done some good. Guidance reported no crying kids for the first time ever.

The story doesn't end there.

The following week, The Principal was getting ready to do our afternoon announcements and said she had a special announcement. Onto the loud speaker comes Cpl. Creed! He aplogized for what he had said at the ceremony and said he wanted to do it correctly this time. And he did. And better yet, the kids, in each and every room, gave him a huge round of applause. I wish they could have seen him as I heard that he, and the rest of the soldiers that were there with him, came in their dress uniforms and were quite a impressive.

And if that wasn't enough, he, and the rest of the guys were back that Friday evening for the Fall Festival where they set up a display and were giving the kids samples of MRE's.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dog and Pony Show

There just are not enough hours in the day this year.

As part of the new STEM initiative in our district, we have to do at least four STEM challenges per year. The challenges have a lot of value as they are really good exercises in problem-solving learning. They are, however, completely built from scratch and are a lot of work, both in creating them, having the kids do them, and then grading them. We worked for about two months to get the last one designed and created, even including meeting over fall break.

Anyhow in the midst of all this (and the regular teaching stuff we do) we were informed that the school district was sponsoring a STEM open house and we were supposed to put together an exhibit for the big event. It was at the local high school that our school feeds into and would feature the schools on our side of town - elementary, us, and the high school.

Oh yeah. One more thing to do.

So we spent several weeks on this, getting the student presenters picked out, coached and trained. Mr. Math had his wife, who is working as a sub, put together three science fair boards for our exhibit which was HUGE as we were swamped with parent meetings and some of us were also working on the Veterans Day Assembly that, of course, was scheduled for the morning after our big event. We had a lab for the visitors to do, plus the kids brought their engineering notebooks to show off. Is it any wonder that we were all getting frazzled and some of us hadn't seen our spouses or family for supper for weeks as we've been so busy doing all our regular teaching stuff and then THIS?


When the evening finally arrived, the kids were great. They got there on time - hey, free pizza - were dressed nicely, and were well-spoken. The crowd, which was huge, seemed to really enjoy it and our Director of Schools gave us a thumbs up.

The really amazing thing is that Mrs, Standard, who is now in charge of STEM, actually said we did a good job. This from a woman who never, ever can say anything nice about anything we do. It's to the point that we hate to see her show up anywhere because we know it will be nothing but criticism and complaints. We couldn't believe it. (She did scare our kids when she showed up to watch them practice. They wanted to know who the mean, grumpy lady was.)

So the dog and pony show is done. Let us hope there isn't another one for a few more years.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Magic Number is?

Mrs. Eagle and I often get concerned that we obsess too much over school and tend to let it take over our lives.  It's hard to escape.  School doesn't end when the bell rings, but often continues after supper and until we go to bed in the form of grading papers, updating grades, working on ideas for projects, researching labs, whatever.  And to make it worse, Mrs. Eagle and I spend a lot of non-school time together and even then we tend to start "talking shop' when we should really just let it go.

The challenge is finding something that will force us to stop thinking about school and starting relaxing a bit.  I'm back trying to run (or plod as the case may be) and that's helping some.  And I'm trying not to take too much home in the evenings, but that's a challenge as well.

In any case, Mrs. Eagle, back in September, calls me up and asks if I'd like be the fourth person on her bowling team for a winter league.  She bowls along with her daughter and son-in-law, both delightful young people, in the Old-Timers League at one of the local bowling alleys.  (I guess as long as you have someone over the age of 50 on your team, you can be an Old-Timer.)  For them, it's kind of a date-night where they drop the little one off with her grandfather and go out and have some fun.

"You do realize," I said, "that I haven't bowled in 35 years?"

"Yes," she said.

"And I sucked then," I said.

"That's okay," she said.  "Come on, it would be fun, and besides the kids suggested you."

Fine.  She talked me into it.  Well, maybe I should have said she bribed me into it when she went and bought me an early Christmas present in the form of bowling shoes.

So anyhow, I'm now in a bowling league on Monday nights.  And yes, I still suck.  But gosh, I'm having fun.  And Mrs. Eagle's daughter is enjoying it because, as she said, "I'm no longer the worst one on the team."  What's neat is that everyone, all the other players, are so nice and helpful and it's just a fun atmosphere.  We get out there, we play, we talk, we relax.  It's awesome.

And my average is 74.


Told you I sucked.

But I'm hoping to break 100 one of these days.    And I want a bowling ball for Christmas.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Motor Skills? String? What?

There are days when I think of something amusing, or witty, or interesting to write about but then, I get home, I grade papers, I work on stuff for school and I'm just so damn tired, I don't even bother to turn on the computer and blog.

I hang my head in shame.  I have become a slacker blogger.

Things are chaotic, mainly due to STEM and having 152 students this year.   This week, for the first time since school started, I actually had a complete planning period.  And I almost didn't know what to do with myself.  It was amazing.  It was surreal.  And it won't happen again for a while.

We're embarking on our second STEM challenge next week.  The same challenge that we worked on over fall break (we being the 7th grade math and science teachers), that we've spent time shopping and scrounging for supplies, and that we've been preparing the kids for for ages.

I hope the kids are ready.

We do have a concern.  One thing we've noticed, and actually have been noticing for a few years now, is that there is an amazing number of kids who have very little common sense when it comes to building or doing things with their hands.  It's like they can do a whole lot of texting with their thumbs, but give them a chance to actually do something with all ten digits and they're lost.

We did a scaffolding activity called balloon racers a few weeks ago which is a lesson on Newton's third law (for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction).  Basically the kids had to design a balloon racer which is a balloon, which has fins and a straw taped to it.  You put the balloon on a long piece of string stretched across the room, let it go, and off it goes.

Our kids had a dickens of a time figuring out how to get the string through the straw.


You would have thought we'd asked them to do brain surgery.  Fortunately, most of them figured out which direction they had to put it on so it didn't blow up in their faces (although some did have the balloon take off towards them which was a scene of my hilarity for all).

And it wasn't just my kids.  Mrs. Eagle, and Mrs. Angora had the same problem.  And Mr. Math said the kids in the Lego Robotics club actually were having issues putting the pieces together.  And it got us to thinking.    These kids play differently than we did.  We used to play outside, tear apart things, build things, make go-carts, and boats, and fortresses out of boxes and gosh knows what else.  These kids play with a controller or a mouse or they text, text, text.  They don't get the experience of going, "hum, wonder what would happen if I did this?" to a real object.

Now, I do have kids who do have this kind of experiences - mostly my kids from the more rural area of my zone.  But the numbers are getting smaller and smaller every year.

Are we creating a generation of kids who can't do things with their hands?

Friday, October 19, 2012

These Aren't Yearbook Photos...

I've been teaching at The School for ten (10!  Can you freaking believe it!?) years now, so it's safe to say that some of the kids I had during my first few years are now adults.  I do run into them quite a bit when I'm out and about, to the point that my father teases me when we don't run into a former student.

For the record, the girls are easier to recognize - their facial features don't change as much.  Boys, however, are a different story.  They get way taller, talk differently and their facial features change dramatically.  Believe me, there is a big difference from a 4'6" twelve year old and a twenty-two year old who's 6'2" and has a beard.   I get a kick out of talking with them and finding out what they're doing.  Fortunately, the ones I tend to run into are working and usually going to college.  (They must be employed at every restaurant in town.)

Lately, however, I've been spotting quite a few of my former students on-line courtesy of the local law enforcement's collection of mug shots.  The Guidance Goddess used to check the bookings log to see if any of our parents or caregivers had been arrested - obviously something like that affects are kids and, in fact, causes many of them to want to visit the guidance department in the first place.  Believe me, when a kid is worried or embarrassed about the fact that dad got picked up for drunk driving and is sitting in jail, doing science homework is not a priority.

In any case, these booking photos got so much traffic that they are now featured on not one, but two, on line newspaper websites.   And, not surprisingly, they are even more popular.  We're just a bunch of nosy folks at heart.

Sad to say, however, that the past week I have seen not one, not two, but three former students picked up and arrested.  One, in fact, made the local news (which is where I saw it first) and I about fell out of my chair when his name and face splashed across the screen.  Then Mr. Social Studies (who taught on my team for a few years before he got moved to Mrs. Eagle's team) ran into me and mentioned two other students of ours that had shown up on the website.

Sad.  Of the three, two of them didn't surprise me.  They didn't make good choices in seventh grade and they obviously aren't making good choices now.  (Running over a police officer is not a good thing.)  The other one...well, he was a bit scatter-brained, but smart, and had potential.  However, it looks like he took a wrong turn somewhere.

So sad.

Update:  As luck would have it, another one showed up this weekend as an accessory to murder.  Can't say I'm even remotely surprised.

Monday, October 08, 2012

When All Else Fails...Punt

I'm the first to admit that I really enjoy, and utilize heavily, all the technology in my room.  I know some teachers do a lot of PowerPoints (I don't) and they love that, but my favorite is my document reader.  It's amazing what you can do with that thing.  I've dissected a flower on there, zoomed in to look at the different parts, and gosh knows what else.  It's easy and convenient to slap up an example of something and work through it so the kids can see what's going on (talk about modeling).  I probably use that thing more than anything else in my room.

So, when it blinked on and off orange three times and then went off completely IN THE MIDDLE OF A LESSON on Friday I knew I was in for an interesting afternoon.  No matter what I tried to do, it would not come back on.  Tested wires, turned things on and off, rebooted my ancient computer.  No luck.


My lesson was about doing formulas for speed, distance and time.  Let's be honest, our kids feel that they can't do math without a calculator and really have no clue what they are doing when they press buttons on the stupid things.  So this was one lesson where they really needed to see examples.  Except now they weren't going to see them.

So, I grabbed the bottle of white board cleaner, my cleaning mitt, a basket of markers and proceeded to do the lesson by moving from the three little (and I mean little) white boards scattered across the room.  I'd write some notes and examples on one board, explain it, the kids would work on it, and I'd move to another board and repeat.

I forgot how short I am compared to these boards.  And I was having to write REALLY BIG because it seems that half my kids can't see anything if it's not in really big letters.

Thank goodness we only had two periods left.  By the end of the day a tech guy had shown up, found a problem with a wire in the wall, and fixed it.  Yeah.

What a way to kick off fall break, eh?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fixing Other People's Kids

As I've mentioned earlier, we're getting a lot of new kids in the building this year, including a lot from out of state.  The Guidance Goddess has been swamped with new registrations, contacting previous schools for records, and just processing all these new kids.

Busy as she is, she knew something was amiss when she called a school in a Northern State to request records for two girls who had landed in our building and they laughed at her.  "Oh dear!" was the hysterical response, "They ended up with you!  Good Luck!! You'll need it!"  Hysterical laughing all around in the background.

This is not a good sign.

The younger sister was on Mrs. Eagle's team and on the first full Monday of school, essentially our 3rd day, she asked permission to go to the bathroom and then didn't come back.  Her teacher did an APB (we send out these emails all day long to the school at large looking for kids who should be with us but aren't, and aren't on the absence list) and she was found in one of the bathrooms with her sister, an 8th grader.  Back to class she was sent where she stomped in, threw her notebook on the ground, and shoved a kid.  When her teacher picked up the notebook to give it back, she realized that it was full of a lot of really inappropriate comments and writing and turned that over to the administration along with the write up for the skipping, and shoving.

Giving the young lady, who we'll call Skipper Girl, the benefit of a doubt, I was informed by Mrs. Sparrow that they wanted to give her a fresh start so she was moving to my team and my homeroom.  She had to, however, finish a stint in in-school suspension first.

To make a really long story short, she and her sister (because they are joined at the hip and if one gets in trouble the other one does as well) got suspended from ISS for attempting to flee the building and the school grounds (which sent our Sheriff Reserve Officer and administrators running across the parking lot to catch them).  Then mom said they were both going to be out for ten days due to chicken pox (although their records, which arrived a day later, indicated they'd both already had chicken pox).  Then mom said, no, she didn't say they had chicken pox, but that we'd said they couldn't enroll until their records come.  (Which is funny because I have an email from mom about the chicken pox and we always enroll kids without their records, and when these girl's records came, they were huge!)  Then they came back, had to go to ISS, got suspended again for trying to leave the building and swearing at The Principal, then came back.  In addition for their trying to leave the building and roaming the halls trying to locate each other, Skipper Girl and her sister like to curse and insult the adults, including the administrators, in our building.  The situation is so nuts with these two that the front office has radio codes for each girl so they can let people know when they're on the lose.

Now, keep in mind.  This kid is in my homeroom and I haven't even SEEN her.

After about 4 weeks of this on and off suspension thing I get a call from the front office asking if Skipper Girl is in my classroom.  "Uh, no, I haven't seen her," I said.  "I don't even know what she looks like.  Isn't she supposed to be in in-school suspension?"

"No, they don't want her out there anymore, and she needs to be in class, so she's supposed to be with you," said the Front Office.

At this time, I look at my door and see a skinny little blonde in the hallway.  "Are you Skipper Girl?" I ask her.  She nods, and I wave into the room and sit her down.  "She's here," I tell them.

I get her seated, get her my new student paperwork, and get her caught up, best I can, on the assignment the kids are working on.  She sits down, doesn't make a peep, and gets to work.  A few minutes later the phone rings.  It's the Front Office.  The Attendance Lady from Central Office wants to talk with Skipper Girl.  So, off she goes.  Except she doesn't come back.  She takes herself out to the in-school suspension building.  Mrs. Saint, the teacher out there, calls me and asks me to open my back door and make sure Skipper Girl comes back to class.  (Apparently Skipper Girl doesn't want to be in a classroom with the other kids.)  She comes back, class ends and off she goes.

That day she made it through 3rd period, 4th period, and in 5th had a blow up with another girl and threatened to beat her up.  The other girl is mystified by this because She Was Just Sitting There Minding Her Own Business (for once.)  Mrs. Social Studies called the office, they said to hang on to Skipper Girl until the class change (since Mrs. Social Studies had moved her into a corner away from everyone which seemed to make her happy) and they'd deal with her then.  Off she goes to 6th period except she just kept walking on out of the building, with Mrs. Sparrow and Officer Cool chasing after her.

Suspended.  Again.

At this point, the kid has been here for four weeks and had racked up 110 discipline points.  She was on the fast track to alternative school.

So.  A parent meeting is set up to decide on Skipper Girl's placement.  The entire team is there.  The administrators are there.  The school psychologist is there and there's even a psychologist from Central Office there.  Mom is there, along with her sister and her sister's baby (why, I have no idea except mom wanted them there).  We have people from guidance.  Mom has a government advocate from social services or something.  In short, we have about 20 people at this meeting to decide if Skipper Girl is going to go to alternative school.

The meeting starts late because Mom doesn't show up on time.  Apparently she was downtown enrolling another child, a high school student, in our school for severely emotionally disturbed children, after she had been expelled from the high school.

Really.  You can't make this stuff up.

So we have the meeting.  Mom basically says that Skipper Girl is really bright, has no problems academically, but she needs a special placement due to emotional issues. It is, after all, OUR job, according to mom, to "fix my daughter."  Problem is, we don't have a single piece of documentation from a doctor that says the kid actually has something going on with her emotionally, so we have to treat her as we would any other child.  Mom says that she doesn't understand why her daughter doesn't want to go to school, but school is obviously a trigger, and she also doesn't like the fact that we get our Sheriff to track her down. At this point the principal makes a comment that mom is lucky that we haven't called 911 and had the kids arrested for disturbing the peace based on their behavior.

That shuts mom up for a minute.

The psychologists asks for input from the teachers.  Now keep in mind, this is about 5 weeks into the school year.  We go around the table.  I start.  I mention that I've had Skipper Girl in my room for 20 minutes total so I can't really tell them anything.  Mrs. Social Studies and Mrs. Reading mention that they've had her for one period.  Mr. Math and Mrs. Grammar say they haven't even met the child.

The lady from Central Office, the Psychologist, and the government advocate all seem a bit taken aback by that.  I honestly don't think they really realized how little this kid has been in our classrooms until they actually heard it from us.

At this point, I look at the clock and ask if they really need us anymore as we have classes starting.  The Principal sends us on our way.  Thank Goodness.  Because that meeting lasted for three hours!

I got word later that many of the folks in the meeting felt that mom wasn't being honest with us about her situation and her kids.  She was really vague in areas, kept mentioning that the kids had PTSD, but never would say why, then would claim that all these problems just happened since they'd moved Down South (but the files from the other schools say otherwise.)  The end result was that Skipper Girl got sent to alternative school, and surprisingly, she's actually showed up and registered down there.  Although truth be told, she probably won't last and will get expelled considering her fondness for threatening other kids and skipping out.  She'll threaten the wrong kid.

The older sister was withdrawn from school and mom is going to home school her.

What's really scary is that out of the three kids we know about (there are more, believe it or not), not one of them is a typical, normal kid.  One is obviously very emotionally disturbed to the point that she's in a special school (Skipper Girl and her sister did tell the guidance staff that they had an older sister who was crazy).  The other two can't/won't stay in school.

And mom thinks it's OUR job to fix her kids.

Holy Cow! Where'd The Time Go?

Yesterday Mrs. Eagle and I were working after school getting our lessons done when we looked at the calendar and realized that Fall Break was in TWO FREAKING WEEKS!

We were stunned.  Honestly, it seems as if we've been on a high speed treadmill since the beginning of school in August, and it hasn't let up yet.  With over 400 seventh graders this year, all the seventh grade teachers are exhausted.  Planning time has been chewed up by meetings, meetings, and more meetings, and if we don't have a meeting, we're doing interventions for kids who aren't doing well in school.

For those of us teaching science and math, STEM has been a real kick in the butt.  Don't get me wrong, I think the idea behind STEM is great and actually a better way to teach science and math, but it's a heck of a lot of work.  Basically everything we used to do, we're tweaking and changing.  Throw in the mandatory STEM challenges, and you have a lot of time being spent just prepping for units and grading projects.  And with about 30 more kids than normal, it just takes a lot more time.

So, my house hasn't been really cleaned since school started.  Truly.  And I'm a bit of a neat freak in some respects, so this is making me slightly crazy.  Knitting?  Only managing to get that out for knitting club and when I'm waiting for an allergy shot.  Walking/running?  Trying, trying, trying, to get a walk or a run in about 3 times a week and that's a real challenge.  The ankle I messed up in June is better, not 100%, but I'm thinking it never will be 100%.    And of course, just getting enough sleep isn't happening.

So my plans for Fall Break?  Sleep, knit, clean house, sleep.

Monday, September 10, 2012

And They Think I'll Never Call

It just cracks me up that my students honestly don't think I'll be calling their parents when they're missing, say, a 100 point writing prompt that we worked on in class for four days.

I graded 3rd period's Pet Rock Projects today (combining an assessment to see if they can explain rocks to me with one of our mandatory writing assignments for their portfolio).  We worked on this in class for four days.  That's FOUR.  So when I had eight kids who hadn't bothered to turn anything in, and it was due Friday, I got on the phone.

One dad was incredulous.

"He worked on this in class?"

"Yes," I replied.

"For four days?"

"Yes, from last Tuesday and it was due Friday."

"And you didn't get it turned in?"

"Nope, nothing as of this afternoon."

"That's ridiculous.  There's no reason he shouldn't have turned it in."

"Oh, I agree," I said.

"You'll have it tomorrow."

That one was fun.  However, it wasn't as fun as when I called one of my darlings, who answered the phone and politely asked who should he say was calling, and about choked when he found out it was me.  Mom got on the phone and I informed her of the missing assignment.

"Young man, where on earth is this assignment that you didn't turn in?" she asked.  Then a pause.  "He's holding up his finger asking me to wait a minute."....pause...."He's digging in his backpack."....pause...."He has it and he's turning it in tomorrow and if he doesn't You Call Me and we'll get things fixed."

I wish all my parents were this awesome.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The School of Misfit Toys

Last week Mrs. Eagle and I had our first fundraiser for our Knitting (and now Crochet) Club.  We needed some money to buy more yarn and needles, as well as crochet hooks for our new crocheters.  (One of our fabulous special ed teachers volunteered to teach them how to crochet, bless her, since neither one of us knows how.)

In any case, we were having a hat day which is The Easiest Fundraiser Ever because basically the kids give you a dollar (or in some cases, handfuls of coins) and you give them a sticker to wear on their hat which says that yes, they can wear a hat all day.  It's awesome.  Twenty minutes of work usually nets around $150 which is about all the money we'll need all year.  All we have to do is provide a bunch of stickers, a box to put the money in, and then set up a desk right outside guidance that All The Kids have to funnel through and that's it.

I love simple fundraisers.

In any case, The Enforcer was there right before the kids came in and we got to talking about some of the rather, well, unique, children we have this year.  It's weird, but it's like we have had a huge influx of kids with some serious issues with behavior and emotions and goodness knows what else.  A lot of these kids are coming from out of the area - many from out of state - and that was another thing we noticed.

The Enforcer, who has worked at a number of buildings in our town, commented that he thought it was as if word had got out that we do our best to help these types of kids.  "It's like we're the school of misfit toys," he said.  "We're getting all the kids the other schools don't want."

Are we ever.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Just Not Enough of Me to Go Around

Ah, dear reader, I really had much better intentions.

I truly was going to post at least several times a week.  I really was.  But, unfortunately, the beginning of the year reality has pretty much changed that.

With 151 students, a significant increase over previous years, I'm spending a lot more time grading papers.  Consider that it's like having an additional complete class of kids, it's taking way more time than it has in the past.

As for planning...what planning?  We've had this mandatory meeting and that mandatory meeting, and mandatory STEM meetings every Tuesday, and this IEP meeting, and that IEP meeting, and that means that we are doing work after school (or at the ungodly hour of 5:00 am) because that's the only time we have free.

And so, to be honest, I'm just beat.  At school at 6:30, home by 5:00, run or walk after I get home, cook supper, eat, clean up, grade papers, fall into bed by, we hope, 9:30...

I'm truly going to try to be better, I truly am...you're just going to have to be patient.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Piggies Beware!

Some of these new seventh graders are starting to show their true colors lately, and truth be told, some of them are pretty amusing kids.

For example, the second or third day of school the kids at the table in front of my teacher station were having a conversation about their favorite foods before the bell rang.  One of the girls, a thin, pretty little thing mentioned that her absolute favorite food in the world was pork chops.  Now, I've heard kids rhapsodize about pizza, and chocolate, and ice cream, and candy, but never pork chops.  And she doesn't just love pork chops...she LOVES pork chops. Absolutely adores them.  Would probably be happy if she ate them for every single meal, every single day.

Now, I wouldn't have thought much of it, but a few days later the topic of pork chops comes up again and she begins telling the kids at the table about the great dinner she had the other night with her momma's pork chops.  They are all seriously listening to her, which is funny in and of itself.

Okay, this is getting amusing now.  And it wouldn't be nearly so funny but she's not a big kid.  She doesn't look like she could manage one pork chop, let alone two, at a meal, but apparently she polishes them off quite handily.

Yesterday, she asked me how my weekend was after she walked into class.  (This kid, by the way, has apparently adopted me and considers me her school momma, and is checking in every morning to make sure I'm here and it's not a sub.  I'm not sure why this is, but every morning I get a bearhug from her - she's strong for such a tiny kid - and off she goes.)

"I had a pretty good weekend," I tell her.

"Did you have pork chops?" she asks.  Really.  I thought I was going to crack up laughing right then and there.

"No, but I think I'll have to have some this week," I told her.

So last night, I tell Mr. Bluebird this story about my Pork Chop Girl and he thought it was great.  However, he did have something to add.  "You need to ask her how her momma cooks her pork chops.  If they are that awesome, I want the recipe."

So I did.  I pulled her aside this afternoon, and asked her how her momma made her pork chops.

"Well, I honestly don't know," she said.  "Momma gets mad at me for wanting to eat them out of the pan and not waiting to sit at the table so I stay in my room until supper is ready."

Okay, by this point, I'm picturing this girl standing by the stove with a fork in hand reading to spear those chops from the pan into her mouth.  In one bite.

"Well, Mr. Bluebird would really like to know how your momma cooks them, so can you bring me her recipe tomorrow?" I asked.

"Okay," she said, "I'll ask her.  But you know, you're making me hungry."

We'd finished lunch only and hour earlier.

So, we'll see if she shows up with a recipe tomorrow.  Truth be told, I'm intrigued.  Maybe we'll do pork chops this weekend.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Really? A Week Already?

I'm not even remotely surprised that I have not posted this week.  I'm actually wondering just where the week went.  To say it flew by was putting it mildly.

The first full week of school is always like that but this year, in between STEM and the fact that we're bursting at the seams with kids, seems to make it a bit more chaotic.  It's one thing to learn 22 names for a class.  It's quite another to learn 34.  Now multiply that by five class periods and you get a clue how frazzled we all are this year.

Our numbers aren't going down.  The kids are showing up, very few are withdrawing and heading elsewhere and even more new kids are showing up.  If it keeps up like this we'll probably get another teacher or two, but where they'll put them is anybody's guess.  The PE classes are already so large that the gym can't hold all the kids so some of the kids are walking across the parking lot to the city-owned community center to use the gym there.  The electives teachers - music, band, art, PE, and so on - have classes inching up towards 40 in size. Seventh grade doesn't fit in the lunch room so a few groups of kids are eating in what we call the Large Group Instruction classroom right down the hall from the cafeteria.  The Head Janitor put in a request with downtown to provide us with 80 student desks from the warehouse because we'd ran out.

All of which makes me wonder...what were the people that got paid the big bucks thinking when they redrew the zoning maps and said we'd be down - way, way, way down - in enrollment this year?  Last year's sixth grade was big, and all you had to do was drive by our feeder elementaries and see all the portable classrooms they had to realize that there was a population bubble heading our way. I'm wondering if these people even got into the neighborhoods.

So the attendance secretary from the middle school that we rezoned with (we took, supposedly 85 of their kids, but the real number is over 100) is having a freak out because they may lose teachers because their numbers dropped and our attendance secretary is telling her to send them our way because we're about 200 over predictions.  (Some of us have suggested we just send the kids back to their old school, but that would really cause some community melt-downs.)

It's nuts.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Honeymoon

That first day or so of school is sort of a honeymoon period where the kids, for the most part, act pretty well until they figure things out.  After that, it's anyone's guess how it will go.

The first full day went off pretty well.  One of the downsides was that PowerSchool was off line for repairs so we had to use a back up to get kids copies of their schedules because - surprise! - half of them had left them at home.  Yet, for the most part, it went fine.

For the first three days we have a two hour block in the morning where we do "getting the year started" stuff.  So, you get to keep your homeroom, and get to know them pretty well, for quite a bit of time during these days.  Part of that time is used to go over our SWPBS program (School Wide Positive Behavior Support) which isn't too bad because by now most of the kids know the drill and those that are new quickly get filled in my the old-timers.  It's also nice because we're given lessons that we can use to help them re-lean the program.  All in all, pretty easy.

The rest of the time is used to issue text books and do the "boy/girl" talk.  Friday was the seventh graders day for the "boy/girl" talk.

Actually it's a talk about what you can and can't do at The School, but we separate the boys and girls because there's some conversation in there about sexual harassment and dress code that wouldn't go over too well if the opposite sex was in the room.  So, I went with the boys to the theater, where The Enforcer was doing the presentation.  It includes things like bullying, lunch room expectations, write-ups, sagging, etc. and of course, cell phones.  The school board has a policy that the kids can have their phones but they must be off (not just silent) and away.  (Yeah, right).  This is one of the areas where the administrators have no leeway in consequences for being caught with a cell phone - the first offense is two days in ISS.

So any guess on what happened with cell phones in seventh grade on Friday?

First, Mr. Math managed to catch a kid with a cell phone out, googling away, right after The Enforcer finished his presentation (that included the whole "off and put away" message.)  We didn't even leave the room and he had his first cell phone violation of the year!  The second violation was a seventh grade girl later in the day who had her's out during a class.

You have to wonder...the grade level that had the talk about no cell phones was the grade level that got busted for the first two cell phone violations.

Makes you wonder.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

And We're Off!

The first day is over and done with.  And here's the amazing part.

The computers worked.

PowerSchool worked.

The phones worked.

The kids were well-behaved.

They all got on the right bus and went home.

And if you don't work in a school, you don't know how amazing this is.  It went so well, so very well, that some of us were wondering if we'd entered some alternate universe or something.  Even the Goddesses in Guidance were freaking out because no one was there freaking out.

We have had years where the network went down, the phones went down, kids got on the wrong bus, there was no way to print schedules, and any number of minor crises.

But this year...smooth as silk. Kind of makes you nervous.

Enrollment is another story.  We have to count kids who don't show up for about 20 days before we officially drop them off our roll.  We figure if they haven't showed up by then, they probably weren't going to.  Other kids we can drop off because we get requests for records from another school, or the parents actually take the time to notify us.  So, we usually figure that out of every class on the first day we'll have a chunk of kids who aren't going to be here this year because they've moved.  Some years it's been as much as a third of my class.  The past few years, it's been a lot smaller.

Yesterday, out of 30 kids, 27 were there.  And most of us had this experience, so it appears that we have a lot of kids who aren't dropping off our enrollment but who are actually showing up.  And our numbers are a lot higher than forecast, so that's going to be a challenge.  Seventh grade has officially hit 396 last I heard, which is a lot bigger than any grade we've ever had before.  There were so many seventh graders that we ran out of seats for them in the theater on Wednesday morning (where they go to find out what homeroom they are in.)  We have lunch for the first time tomorrow and there are some concerns that we may not have enough room for them in the cafeteria.  It will be interesting to say the least.

As for my homeroom...seems like a fairly decent bunch of kids but we're still in the honeymoon phase.  They have big shoes to fill because last year's kids were absolutely the best homeroom I've ever had.  But they have potential.

And then there's poor Mrs. Eagle and her homeroom...21 boys and 3 girls.  She's considering seeing if she could trade those poor little girls for three more boys and just do an all-boy homeroom.  That might be interesting.

Regardless, it's seventh grade, it's bound to be, at least, entertaining.

Tomorrow - first full day.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

Tomorrow will be the first day of school we have with the kids.

I've actually been back in my room, on and off, for about two weeks now, getting it set up, going through files on my homeroom, in-service on STEM, and so on.  We actually didn't have to report until yesterday, but I already feel like I've been there for a while.  It really does get easier after you've done it about ten times.

The big news is enrollment.  Remember the big sixth grade class we had last year?  Well, they've rolled into seventh grade.  And, as the Principal put it, it seems as if every seventh grader in town wants to enroll at the school.  Which means that as of this afternoon, we have 400 seventh graders.  So not only did the sixth grade roll up, they brought along a lot more kids with them.

Where we are going to put them all will be interesting.

My classes are all in the low 30's, which is tolerable.  Barely.  Depending on behavior.

But we'll see how many don't show because they've moved and didn't bother to let anyone know.  Could be a bunch, or it could be few.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

At Last...Rain!

Yeah!  After four weeks we finally got some rain, 1.75" to date.  I can't believe the difference it already made in my yard.

The first storm rolled in on Sunday night.  We had a good two hours of thunder and lightning before it finally let loose and rained.  It had been so long since we'd had a gusher like this that we went out on the front porch to watch it rain - and noticed nearly every neighbor on the street was doing the same thing.

Let's hope this continues.  Not only for the farmers, but for Hubby.  It's killing him that we're under a burn ban and he can't use his grill (he refuses to get a gas one.)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Toasty, Toast, Nice and Roasty!

If the local news station is correct, we're heading into day ten of temperatures at 100 or above.

The good news is that it isn't humid.  The bad news is that it's not raining, at least on my little piece of heaven.  We've had pop up thunderstorms for the past few days, which have dropped some rain, but not in my neighborhood.  We had a sprinkle yesterday, but it didn't even make the rain gauge damp.  Some parts of town have had awful winds and damage from fallen trees and power lines (and no power), but I've been lucky.

This, however, is my lawn:

My friend mentioned that her lawn is now the same color as the siding of her house (her house is brown).  Considering that August is usually the hottest and driest month, and we're only in the beginning of July, I hate to imagine what it may look like by then.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


We are here, in my Beloved South, and in particular, in The Volunteer State, suffering through some rather astonishing heat the past few days.  So just how hot is it?

Check out this link from one of the Nashville news stations about a mailbox - yes, a mailbox - that melted in the heat yesterday.

Our average temperatures for this time of year are, oh, 88-89 degrees.  It hit 109 in Nashville yesterday, and here in My Town, there were some reports of 111.  Really.

Hubby and I attended a birthday party for a delightful little two-year-old (granddaughter and daughter of some of our best friends, people we celebrate holidays with) yesterday.  The party was a cook out - at 2:00 pm, easily the hottest part of the day.  Truth be told, it wasn't too bad.  Lots of big umbrellas, one of those temporary canvas canopy things over the little kids' pool, fans, and misters.  As long as you were in the shade, with a cold beverage, and a mister, it was bearable.  The little ones didn't seem to mind as long as they were able to play in the pool.

The birthday cake, however, melted.  Even in the house.  But it still tasted wonderful.

We are also suffering through a drought.  We haven't had rain for several weeks now, the corn in the fields is starting to twist and suffer, the soybeans are limping along, and my lawn looks like it's been scorched.  The county I live in has declared a burn ban - no fireworks, no grills, no open fires, nothing, until further notice.  I'm actually good with this (although the no grill thing has Hubby in a snit), because all it takes is one moron with a firework to set our neighborhood on fire as dry as everyone's lawn is.

We are now on mandatory water restrictions.  I've never watered my lawn - it's just too big and I'm too cheap and lazy - but I do water my flowers and vegetables.  Hubby and I are doing most of our watering at night, and I'm sure the neighbors would be amused watching us water by flashlight if they weren't doing the same thing themselves!  Since I grew up in Southern California where there seems to be a perpetual water shortage, conserving water is something I do out of habit anyway, so the water restrictions at this point aren't an inconvenience for me at all.  I am a bit concerned about some of my trees as they're starting to lose leaves, and my apple tree has a huge crop of apples on it that I don't want to dry up, so I am watering those.

We've even had some brush fires in the area - but nothing like my home state of Colorado.  That is tragic beyond words.

About the only good thing in all of this is that our usual summer humidity is, well, gone.  Today, we only have 29% humidity which makes it feel a lot like out West.  Usually our humidity is up in the 80% and you feel like you're getting smacked by a wet wash cloth when you walk outside.  Granted as soon as we get rain, the humidity will most likely come roaring back, but in the meantime, it's really, really arid.

I'll have to remember this the next time we have a snow day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hobble, Hobble, Hobble

So, it's been an interesting couple of weeks.

First, right after school was out, I promptly went with Mr. Math to a nine-day in service on STEM at the local University.  It was, truth be told, better than most and I'm glad I went.  I didn't get much else accomplished during those two weeks however.  (Gardening?  Weeding?  Cleaning my house?  Nope...)

Then as soon as that was done, Hubby and I headed to Virginia to do some battlefield stomping and had a mini vacation - we did touristy things in the morning and he talked to Civil War groups in the evening.  We went to the new Museum of the Confederacy Museum at Appomattox, then on to Fredricksburg, Mannassas, and the Seven Days Battles around Richmond.  Malvern Hill is a gem.  I got my National Park Passport Book stamped quite a few times and saw some Civil War sites I hadn't seen before.

One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico.  Go.  Whatever you do, just go.  Plan on at least 4 hours, 6 if you can.  It is stunning.  I've been to a lot - and I mean A LOT - of museums in my day (that's what we do - other folks go to theme parks, we go to museums) and this has got to be the BEST museum I've ever been to.  Period.

On the way home, we stopped at Daddy Bird's (just in time for him to get his #1 Dad Cubs t-shirt for Father's Day).  The only down side was I managed to slip somehow and fell off his front step, skinning my left knee and rolling my right ankle.  I did get to my doctor and had it x-rayed - nothing is broken, it's just a bad, bad sprain.  So it's ice, some anti-inflammatory meds, and an ankle wrap.  It hurts but I'm walking better.  The thing that aggravates me the most is I've been actually running (okay, it's more like plodding, but for me, it's running) since this spring with the goal of running a 5K during the year I turn 50.  Now that's obviously going to be on the backburner until this ankle heals and I can start training again.  And I was making huge progress!

Now Momma Bird is here from California so we're running here and there and having some fun.  The weather is better than expected and we're able to spend some time outside.  It's nice having her here.

But I still feel like actually haven't had much of a chance to just chill yet this summer.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Myth of Summers Off

For those of you in the general public who believe that teachers "get three months off every summer!" I have this to say to you.


I have had, counting Memorial Day, three days "off" this summer (I'm not counting weekends).  Tomorrow starts week two of the two week intensive STEM training at the local University.  Now mind you, it's been worth it, but gosh, I haven't been able to catch up on my sleep yet.  I usually end up sleeping about the first week trying to catch up from all the sleep deprivation I've suffered over the past year.

I am tired.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Class that Rocked

I usually make a point of going to graduation at the high school my kids end up going to, but this year, I HAD to go to graduation.  No way was I going to miss this.  Because this, dear friends, was the group of kids that we all fell in love with.  This was the Class that Rocked.

I don't care if you talk to their elementary teachers, their middle school teachers, or their high school teachers, you'll get the same response - "This was the best class I've had in years."  They were.  I think in nine years at The School, this class, easily, was my favorite.  In fact, if I look at the kids who've kept in touch with me through high school (and there are quite a few now that I actually sit down and count), most of them are from this class.  My house and cat sitter, after all, is in this class!

Oh sure they had their pests and troublemakers and thugs and goobers who wouldn't work (and the Third Period Class From the Very Depths of Hell Itself), but overall, they were a great group of kids.  They got along.  They liked each other.  They actually had some ambition.   And they were nice.  And a lot of fun.

Unlike previous years where we all had to find our own seats in the rafters of the University Gym where all the graduations are held, The Principal called Mr. High School Principal and asked if he could arrange for us to sit with the faculty on the floor.  No problem.  When Mrs. Cardinal (8th grade Social Studies) and I showed up on Saturday for the ceremony, Mr. High School Principal was so enthusiastic to see us, it was almost embarrassing.  All in all about six of us went to graduation although a few others were in the rafters with family members because they had kids of their own graduating.  It was fun being close to the action.

This class was impressive, earning over $2 million in scholarships.  Many are going into the military.  A number of mine are going into the sciences - at least two into nursing and one into wildlife biology.  I ran into one of mine and asked if he remembered telling me he was going to get a Nobel Prize for science one day.  He did, he said, and he was still planning on the Nobel.  He got a huge scholarship and is heading to Emory.

I love these kids.

People rarely tell teachers thanks.  But when we see those kids walk across that stage, especially the ones who barely scraped through 7th grade, it is it's own reward.

Bless them all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

And...They're Off!

Today was the last half day of school for the kids.  (We report tomorrow, then we're free for the summer, in-service season).

In nine years at The School, this has been, without a doubt, the best homeroom I've ever had.  They'll be a tough act to follow.  So, while part of me is glad it's summer, in-service season, another part of me was a bit sad to see my homeroom kids leave.

It's rare you get a bunch of kids who are, for the most part, nice, eager to please, and able to get along with each other.  I could leave the room to run an errand to the front office or guidance, and they'd behave perfectly, the entire time I was gone.  They were just that good.  (I always had someone keep on eye on them, just in case, but never was there an issue.)  I had other homerooms where it was risky to do hall duty.

I am really, really going to miss those kids.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Entering the Temperate Zone

The past few days the temperature in my room plummeted to a whopping 59 degrees.  It was cold.  I was dealing with it better than the kids because, after all, I knit and I have lots of cardigans to wear when it gets cold.  That is what they're for.  The kids, however, seeing as it is almost summer are wearing shorts, sandals, and t-shirts and are absolutely freezing (and whining) in my room.

So for the past two days I've had the kids come to class, we take attendance, and then we walk down to one of our large group instruction rooms (a room you can pull two classes in at once which is awesome) and we run class there.  The added benefit of this, aside from the lack of whining, is the threat that if they don't behave, we'll go back to my room and freeze to death.

They behaved.  For the most part.

Today John, the repair guy (yes, I know his name now) was back and he replaced the brand new sensor that he put in last week.  For some reason, this sensor was apparently defective from the factory, so he put in another one.  Within minutes the temperate started to climb.  He was finishing up when I had my last class of the day return all our computers and probes we'd used for our lab and they noticed right off.  I doubt that John ever received so much enthusiastic thanks from a bunch of kids before.

Let's hope it's a nice, normal 72 degrees tomorrow morning.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Give Them A Taste of Power

Ah.  Field Day.

For those of you, like me, that didn't have field days when you were a kid they are a day, usually towards the end of school, where the kids get to go outside and do events such as kickball, and tug of war, relay races and the like.  Ours includes a volleyball tournament and speed skating (skating across the gym floor on dust mops) in the gym while we wait for the grass to dry out in the morning, and then a pretty big variety of events outside for the rest of the day.  The PE Department really knocks themselves out with this every year.  The kids usually get a free piece of pizza and a bottle of water, courtesy of the PTO, and then they can spend money and buy snow cones, pixie sticks, more drinks, and other snacks. Beats sitting in a classroom no matter how you slice it.

The kids talk about field day all spring so you think it would be a piece of cake to get enough teams together so we could have a half-way decent competition.


These kids all want to sign up for volleyball, tug of war, and kickball and that's it.  Most of them won't even sign up for those three and simply want to spend the whole time just being outside doing nothing (can't say that I blame them, truth be told).  However, the whole point of field day is to compete against the other 7th grade team (it was more fun when we had three teams, rather than just two), to see who can claim bragging rights as Field Day Champions!  Every year it seems that we try to come up with a different plan in the hopes of generating more sign ups, and every year it's a battle.  It's also a battle, once we're outside, to try to round up kids who signed up for an event and then can't be found.  I absolutely detest trying to find and round up the kids.  I'm not alone.  Most of us can't stand field day for that very reason.

So this year Mrs. Eagle (who's the other 7th grade team leader) and I posted the event lists, with the spaces to sign up in our team hallways and told the kids to sign up.  What ensued was another nightmare.  Kids were crossing out each other's names (nice, aren't they), whiting out other kids' names, not signing up for some events, and then too many signing up for others.


On Monday afternoon Mrs. Eagle and I took the lists down and tried to come up with the team lists for each event.  We were comparing lists and moaning about the fact that the kids weren't signing up and wondering whether or not we could cancel the whole thing due to lack of interest (we actually had the PE coaches tell the kids that it was a possibility which did spur a few more sign ups), when I had an epiphany.

"I don't know about you, but I'm done trying to wrangle these kids into participating," I said.  "And I'm done, trying to round kids up for events once we're out there."

"Agreed," said Mrs. Eagle.

"So what do you think about turning it over to the kids?  Pick a team captain for each team, give them the list, and tell them that they have to fill out the rest of the team and it's their responsibility to get the kids there for the events."

"It's their field day," she said.  "Why not put them a little bit more in charge?"

So that's what we did.  We went through the lists for the various events, selected kids we could trust and who could get the job done, made them captains, and turned it over to them.  I sent out an email to all my teachers requesting to see those kids at the beginning of first period to tell them what was up.  I sat them down, gave them each a copy of their team, told them it was their responsibility to fill up their roster and to get their teammates there for the event.  I told them if they didn't have enough people to field a team, they were encouraged to grab spectators and draft them.

And off they went.

By the end of the day, they'd filled their rosters.  By Wednesday, which was field day, some of my captains reported a waiting list for kids who wanted to be on the teams.  And this for events that no one signed up for!

Field Day was Wednesday.  The weather was PERFECT.  Seriously.  The absolute best weather for a Field Day - ever.  (Some of you may remember the year we had the tornado warning and spent Field Day in a hallway.)  It wasn't too hot.  It wasn't humid.  It wasn't too cold.  It was sunny with fluffy white clouds and it was just perfect.    None of the teachers had to spend a second trying to round up kids for events.  The kids  did it themselves.  We actually got to enjoy the events as spectators for the first time!  Oh, granted, we had a couple of knuckleheads who got into trouble.  (Nothing like Mrs. Angora who confiscated a record nine cell phones during the 8th grade field day, however.)  But all in all, it was just a lot less stressful, and a lot more fun than any we've ever had in the past.

Oh my gosh, why oh why didn't we think of this before?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How About Some Ice Cubes Now?

So remember how my temperature in my room was just amazingly hot?

Well, as luck would have it, the repair guy showed up on Tuesday morning and figured out that somehow the sensor in my room disappeared (yeah, I'd like to know how that happened myself since I didn't even know there was a sensor in my room, let alone where it was or what it looked like).  What this means was that the temperature defaulted to heat.  And when he tested the temperature it was 86.5 degrees.  Fahrenheit.

Of course.

Well, he put in a new sensor, the temperature slowly started to drop and lo and behold we got down to just about normal again.

Except now it's 62 degrees and blasting cold air to the point that it almost sounds like an airplane engine going off below the floor.

So on Monday the kids were whining about the heat and today they had their hoodies up on their heads, arms tucked inside their shirts and were sitting there chattering and shivering.

If it's not one thing it's another.

I did another work order so hopefully they can get it back to a nice 72 degrees which is what it's been pretty much all year.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Wanna Roast a Turkey?

My classroom is in the original part of the building (built in 1966 if that gives you any idea as to the age).  What this means is that I have absolutely no control over the temperature of my classroom.  This just drives my kids nuts because they are usually complaining about how cold it is, and are dismayed when I simply tell them to put on a sweater.  I then explain that we are at the mercy of the air, usually cold, that comes up out of the vents in the floor.  On days when it's particularly cold in my room (and this can be in the winter when the heat is on), the kids will pile their books on the air vents in the hopes to keep it a bit warmer.

Until Friday.

On Friday when I got to my room I noticed it was unusually warm.  Really unusually warm.  I did an email to The Enforcer and the Head Custodian and then pretty much melted through the day.  It was brutally hot outside so I more or less attributed it to that.  The kids were grumpy, and I was grumpy, but hey, we only have about ten days left so EVERYONE is grumpy.

This morning, however, was a different story.

I noticed when I went to open my door that it felt, well, warm.  Warm like the outside of an oven door feels.  This was not good.

And then I opened the door.

And was nearly blasted off my feet by the hot air that blew out.  It was, really, amazing how hot it was.  It truly felt like it does when you open an oven door.  The air was freezing cold in the hall way, but my room felt, literally, like an oven.  The Bantam Rooster popped his head in and immediately stepped back.

"What's wrong with your room?" he asked.  "It's like an oven in here."

"Wish I knew," I told him.  "But for some reason the air conditioner is putting out hot air, in my room only."

The Head Custodian showed up and took a step back when he stepped into the room.  "Wow, this is the worst I've seen in a long time," he said.  We checked both rooms on either side of me and they were nice and cool.  The hallway was cool.  My room, on the other hand, was perfect for roasting a turkey.  Or a teacher.

My homeroom kids walked in an immediately started complaining.  I told them we'd put in a work order, they'd have to just be patient, and we'd deal with it.  I actually decided if I needed to, I could put the kids on the floor in the hallway and they could work on their projects (Element Superhero Comics) and if they acted up, I'd put them back in the room.  However, as luck would have it, we had 8th grade field day today so our kids didn't get their first and second period electives - the elective teachers were running field day.  So, we had reserved the theater and decided to show a movie for the entire 7th grade so they could still have some fun time today, and we could share the duties of watching them and getting some planning.  What that meant was that my room cooled off a bit with the door open for about two hours and by the time 3rd rolled around it was tolerable.  Not great, but bearable.

We made it through today without too much whining about the heat.  I also told my janitor to leave the door open so the heat didn't build up overnight.  Hopefully that will help.  In the meantime I hope someone figures out what's wrong.  With only 10 1/2 days left, I really don't want to spend them melting.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rasping Along

There are times that things just work out PERFECT.

For example, my father visited last week, during the Very Big Deal Government Mandated Tests, and while he was here he had a bit of a relapse on the cold he had the week before.

My sore throat didn't start until the afternoon after our last test was done.  Seriously.  It is like it waited until all that garbage was over with and now it's here.  And lucky me, all my plans are done, all grades entered, I didn't bring home a single piece of school work to do (first time in MONTHS).  So, I'm going to sit here, be lazy, nap, drink lots of tea with lemon and honey and hope this doesn't get too bad.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This Time It Counts

The Volunteer State has put into action a number of education reforms over the past few years, some good, some bad, and some we're still trying to figure out.

This year, for the first time ever, the Very Big Deal Government Mandated Tests actually Count For a Grade.

Let me say that again in case you just bashed your head onto the keyboard in shock - This Year For The First Time Ever, The Very Big Deal Government Mandated Tests Actually Count for a Grade.

We're not exactly sure how this is all going to play out.  This year the score counts as 15% of the spring semester grade.  Our last test is Friday, and the last day of school is May 22, so that's not a lot of time for the tests to get processed and some scores sent back to us.  The Principal said to "be prepared for anything."  Our traditional promotion and retention meetings are pretty much out the window until the scores come because it probably will make the difference in passing and failing for some kids.  We've been asked to sort of have a list of kids "on the border" to keep an eye on should they either pass or fail once the scores have entered.

Now, we have been telling the kids this (and the parents) over and over and over all year.  No more just sitting there and bubbling in Christmas Tree designs on your form.  It counts.  No more finishing in ten minutes.  It counts.  No more napping during the test.  Because, you see, It Counts.

Amazingly enough, I still received a few parent emails from parents who either don't read the paper, listen to the news, pay attention to The School Newsletter, don't read my emails, or basically have their heads in the sand so deep that it just now dawned on them that their darling may not make it this year due to The Test.  These are, for the most part, parents I've been poking and prodding and cajoling and calling and basically trying to get them to PARENT FOR GOODNESS SAKE! but they just couldn't seem to get it together enough to make a parent meeting, sign an agenda, or return a phone call.

Really.  And now, they're worried?  They should have been worried when I made that first phone call last fall.

Monday, April 23, 2012

It. Is. Here.

We start the Very Big Deal Government Mandated Testing Extravaganza tomorrow.

Oh.  Yay.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mind Your Manners!

At The School we've always had an open door policy when it comes to parents.  If they want to come sit in class and watch their cherub, we're cool with that.  In fact, we often welcome the visit even though the cherub in question often behaves differently when there's a parent in the room.  (My favorite is when they hide out in Guidance and watch their kid's behavior through the glass windows.  It's amazing what these kids will do when they don't think a grown up is watching.)  I've had a number of parents through the years, and even The Dude From the Hood, but the numbers aren't high - maybe a couple a year at most.

In any case, we got a letter in our box the other day outlining a new "Parent Visitation Policy" that parents had to read and sign before they could go sit in a classroom.  In a nutshell it says that they are not allowed to have a cell phone out and text or make calls while they are in their child's classroom and they are in no way allowed to interrupt or interfere with instruction.

My first thought, when I read this, was "Wow, someone must have been doing just this or The Principal wouldn't have come up with this in the first place."

And that just blew my mind.  The parents I've had in my classroom, including the Dude from The Hood, were awesome.  They sat in a seat I'd pointed out for them and were quiet the whole time.  I found out later that day that apparently I was lucky.  Most of our parents, lately, haven't been so quiet.

Mr. Math informed me about one parent he had who texted the whole time she was in his room (which, of course, got the kids more interested in the fact that she had a cell phone out and was using it than what was going on in math class).   Another teacher told me about a parent who would loudly stage whisper to her kid the entire time, to the point that she had to pointedly ask her to be quiet (it didn't work).  And that was just the tip of the iceberg, apparently.

It's sad, really, that this policy has to be put in place.  It just goes to show that manners, even in My Beloved South, are going the way of the dinosaur.  I mean, really?  Texting while you're supposed to be watching your kid?  What kind of message does that send.  (Let me make it easy for you - it means that whatever you're texting about is more important than your kid - and they figure this out really quick.)  Interrupting class because you can't be quiet?  (The apple doesn't fall far, apparently.)

Again, I think a class on manners would be a wonderful thing for kids in elementary and middle school.  And sadly, we need one for the parents as well.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Give Me a Little Space Here...

My sixth period has a total of 31 kids.  Now, that may not seem all that much to some of you, but if you saw how big - rather, how little - my room is, you can see that there may be a bit of a space issue.  I have seven round tables of four, which gives us 28 seats, plus some typical student desks ("Isolation Island"), so I can, barely, cram 33 in there.  That includes every single seat in the room, including one at the PowerSchool computer, occupied. And at that, the kids are practically on top of each other and there's not a whole lot of elbow room or space between seats. (And to make it more fun, there are six special ed kids, two gifted, one with some odd emotional issues, and a lot of just low achievers.  It's a real trip.)

People often walk into my room and go "How on earth do you fit 31 kids in here?"

I'm wondering that myself.

However, what's really odd about this class of 31 is that there are three boys who have decided that they need to Sit As Close To The Teacher As Possible.  This means that there are two boys sitting at my actual desk (one in my chair, another on a stool, they rotate every day), and another sitting on another stool by my computer.

I'm not sure what prompted this or brought it on.  Two of them Are Pains In the Neck (usually) who probably should be close to the teacher anyway.  The other just likes to be up there for some reason.  A few months ago, Bouncy Boy (a little thing wound up like a top with ADHD like you wouldn't believe) asked if he could sit at my desk.  I was at the point where I was willing to try ANYTHING to get him quiet, and to focus, and to get him away from some other low-achievers in the room, so I said that he could as long as he behaved.

He behaved. He did his work.  He handed me things I needed for instruction.  He was an angel.  I don't know if sitting up there has anything to do with it, but he's doing much better now.

Another one decided that he really, really wanted to help me run the computer when I do Brainpop and PowerPoints, and he really, really wanted to sit on my teacher stool (kind of like a barstool, a bit taller than a chair).  Well, it worked for Bouncy Boy so I gave it a try.  Same results.  He's doing better.

And then the third one, who's usually a pretty good kid wanted to sit on the stool by Bouncy Boy.  I was a little hesitant at first, but I said they could as long as they behaved, and they would have to switch back and forth and share the chair and stool, which they've done.  He's doing better now.

So, I'm a bit out of my comfort zone here as I've got one kid on one side of me, and two on the other.  I also tend to walk around the room a lot so now I'm having to squeeze by them every time I move from my document reader out to circulate around the classroom (which they don't seem to mind, we've got a routine down now.)   It must look incredibly odd to see these three kids working at my desk and teacher station, but honestly, as long as I get results out of them, I'm happy.

What has me wondering...why is it so important for these three to be so close to the teacher?  Are they that starved for attention and affection at home that this is the only way they get any?  I know some of them have rather, shall we say, testy relationships with their parents.  (Honestly, find me a parent of a seventh grade boy who isn't frustrated and exasperated...)  But really...does make me wonder.  Are we just raising a generation of kids starved for human contact and attention?

In the meantime, while I ponder these great things, I'll just learn to deal with feeling a little cramped and confined and appreciate that these three young men are finally doing better in science.  Even if it's something as silly as sitting at my desk that's doing it.

Whatever it takes...

Monday, April 02, 2012

When We're Doing a Lesson on Disruption and Disobedience, it's Not a Good Idea to be Disruptive or Disobedient

Really now.

After a week off for Spring Break (spent doing yard work, napping, taxes, napping, reading, napping, knitting and napping), we were back at it today.  We're at the point in the year where it's one big long countdown until the end of the year.  And the fact that it feels like the end of the year - with record-breaking temperatures in the 80's - doesn't help.

So The Principal had the idea, and it's really a good one, to go over and review with our kids the SWPBS expectations and see what we were doing and what needed to be improved upon.  She admitted we probably should have done this right after Christmas, but it sort of got dropped due to a whole number of things (namely, her surgery and a lot of flu, plus the fact that the new teacher evaluation system means you can't find an administrator with a search warrant as they're doing classroom observations every waking hour of the day.)

The lesson and activity were actually quite good, and quite interesting - I think it's important for the kids to see where we are doing well and where we aren't, and to brainstorm and discuss why.  However, doing this for 60 straight minutes was not a good idea.  It's hard to keep 7th graders involved in anything for more than about 20 minutes without having to mix things up.  The hour would perhaps have been better spent broken into three 20 minute blocks rather than one straight hour.


The data shows that the biggest number of discipline referrals, about 50% of our total, come from disruption and disobedience.  (One of the things I liked about this was we discussed what disruptions and disobedience mean when it comes to academics - the kids, some of them, figured out that this hurts everyone's learning when someone is disruptive or disobedient.).

Interestingly, when the seventh grade teachers were at lunch, we all commented on three things than ran through our homerooms this morning while we spent the hour teaching about How Bad Disruptions and Disobedience Are to All of Us.

First, when asked for an example of a disruption, nearly every class had at least several kids who called out - by name! - at least one little pill in each class that is, well, truthfully, a disruptive pain in the neck.  In my homeroom it's Arrogant Boy who thinks He's All It And A Bag of Chips, but who's really starting to annoy the bloody hell out of everyone.  He, however, thinks he's cute and adorable and doesn't see that everyone is starting to get annoyed with him.  At all.  He's completely clueless and thinks we're all just "picking on him".  Right.

Second, in every class there was at least one kid who asked, "why are we taking time to learn this?" and as luck would have it, there was always one little knucklehead doing something he/she wasn't supposed to be doing, and all we had to do was point and say, "Well, see knucklehead over there if you want any further explanations as to why we're doing this."  Oh.  They got that.

Third, the kids were wild.  Absolutely awful.  Here we are, trying to go over the plan, talk about expectations, blah, blah, blah, and they were doing exactly everything we said not to!  To be fair, it wasn't all of them, just a few.  I moved three of mine to isolation seats, and pulled them aside after the others left and asked them why they were moved. (One, of course, was Arrogant Boy.)

"Uh, because we were disruptive and disobedient?" said Arrogant Girl (a good friend of Arrogant Boy - what a pair.)

"Good answer," I said, "What do you think your parents are going to say when I tell them about you being disruptive and disobedient during a lesson on - surprise! - disruptions and disobedience?"

"They're going to be mad," said Arrogant Boy.  He's right his mother was NOT happy.  In fact, none of these parents were happy and all three apologized for their progeny's behavior.

It's going to be a long 34 1/2 days.  Really long.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

When Your Teacher is a Body Snatcher...

We're currently working on our body systems unit which is one of my favorite ones to teach.  It's also kind of scary when you start finding out how little 7th graders know about their own bodies and how they work, but that's another post for another time.

In any case, a few years ago, someone in The Building got the bright idea of ordering some preserved pig lungs to illustrate the dangers of smoking.  However, for various reasons, they had never been used and were stored away in the science lab.  It's actually a real cool set-up - a rack made of tubes, with valves, and a place to attach the lungs (both at the same time even) so you can then attach the bellows and pump them to make the lungs inflate and deflate.  And these damaged lungs look incredibly disgusting, with a tumor or two on them, and they really don't pump well.  The healthy lungs are really nice and healthy and slightly bloody looking and they just pump up like a dream.

If you're a science geek like me, the set-up is really cool.  For some folks, however, it's a bloody mess.

So, Mrs. Angora remembered we had these so we decided to rotate them around and use them in a mini-review of the respiratory system.  Nothing like a little blood and gore to capture a seventh-graders attention.

First off, I had the rack in my room a day before I needed to use it, so I covered it with a sheet and put my "Do Not Touch" sign on it (fat lot of good that does), which prompted a lot of questions.  "What is that?" they'd ask and I'd say something vague like a demo we're going to do tomorrow, or something like that.   I may have even said "body parts" a few times, just to get them guessing and curious.

The next day, when I snapped on my rubber gloves and opened the plastic cases and hung the lungs up on the rack, was, well, priceless.  You can only imagine the comments.


"That's so disgusting!"

"Is it real?"

"What do they feel like?"

And so on...one girl in my 5th period got a little green and asked to go get a drink of water, which may give you some idea of the reaction.  When I started pumping the lungs up, the comments and noise level got even higher.

What's even funnier is that we were a bit vague on exactly what type of lungs they were.  Mrs. Angora had told her kids that they were real lungs so of course, that's what my kids thought.   They kept asking if they were real (they were) but not what species.  I didn't bother to tell them they weren't human, but were pig instead.   Neither did Mrs. Eagle who's kids had the same reaction.  As Mrs. Angora said, "It probably didn't hurt them to think we go around gathering body parts in our spare time.  Keeps them on their toes."

I wonder if they think we're gathering up more body parts over Spring Break?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Her rotors are off a bit...

The Team has a kid this year who is a pretty average student - when he wants to be - and can, at times, actually be a pretty good student - again, when he wants to be.  The problem is his mother is more interested in his school work than he is (and, I suspect, does a bit of it.)

However, Helicopter Mom has a few things just out of whack, or as Mr. Bantam Rooster said, "Her rotors are off a bit."

Instead of making sure that he actually does his assignments, she has him do reams of extra credit.  I only allow 100 points of extra credit a grading period, and she was not happy with that.  (She's lucky I allow any.)  She'll send voluminous emails checking on his grades, questioning this, questioning that, but what she's not questioning is why her kid has zeros for assignments he hasn't turned in.  She also expects us to take any assignment late, and to give full credit for late work.

But what really kills me is her obsession with National Junior Honor Society.

Apparently, as a sixth grader (where, I swear, a kid has to be nearly comatose to fail sixth grade apparently), Helicopter Boy made it into National Junior Honor Society.  This is a very big deal for mom as she reminds us about this fact in Every Freaking Email.  However, Helicopter Boy Could Care Less.

A few weeks ago many of our seventh graders had a letter go home that basically says they were in danger of getting kicked out of NJHS due to either poor grades or behavior.  Now, seventh grade is usually the year that Kids Absolutely Fall Apart, so this wasn't unusual.  We get a lot of kids who were A and AB students in sixth grade who can barely manage a passing grade in seventh.  (I think the hormones hit them right smack between the eyes and knock every lick of sense out of them.)  However, Helicopter Mom nearly lost her mind over this.

The daily emails began - "Can he do more extra credit?" (No).  "How come he only got a 56 on his test, that's so unlike him!" (Because he didn't study and he's tested that low before). "Can you check his extra credit amount again?" (Of course.  For the Fifteenth time he has earned the maximum 100 points).  And so on.  I was not alone.  Every teacher on the team has been receiving these.

He did, miraculously, earn a 93% (A) in my class so, blissfully, I haven't heard from Helicopter Mom since he hit that magic number.


The end of the grading period was Friday.  Today, Mr. Bantam Roster and Mr. Math both get emails from Helicopter Mom wanting to know what she can do to bring his grade up for the past grading period to an A.  Notice it wasn't what he could do, but what she could do. (Hum, need some new school supplies?  Here's your chance.  A mom wanting to give a bribe.)

Mr. Math was aghast.  "This woman actually wants me to change his grade to a 93% so he can stay in National Junior Honor Society!"  

Mr. Bantam Rooster was nearly as horrified.  "There's no way I'm changing his grade.  He had assignments that were not turned in and were incomplete, and he earned the grade he's getting."

Exactly.  He earned the grade he's getting.  And even though Mom is apparently wanting to do something - anything - to convince these two teachers to change grades, it's not going to happen.  As Mr. Math said, "We're getting into a moral issue here and it's not right to do what she's asking."

The fact that she even asked, is what I find the most appalling.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Difference the Weather Makes

The other day The Principal observed that a cool, rainy winter keeps the kids much calmer than a warmer, dryer winter.  As she put it, there's something about the warmer weather that makes them lose their minds.  Considering that she has two middle schooler's of her own at home, as well as the years she's been at our building, she knows what she's talking about.

The last few years we had cold, long, snowy, rainy winters.  Dreadful winters (for My Beloved South, don't get all snarky, those of you in the Great White North.)  And, I think we got a bit spoiled because the kids didn't act really crazy until mid-April.  Of course after that it was absolute madness, but we were braced for it.

This year has been completely crazy.

Aside from having no measurable snow (and having just used one of our three snow days), it has been a rather warm, dry winter.  And this warm, dry winter, has morphed into a very, very early spring.  I have plants blooming about 4-6 weeks early if that gives you any idea of how early.

And the kids are blooming early as well.

The kids began losing their minds towards the end of January, a full two months early, and it hasn't let up since.  Whereas last year we didn't have any fights until April, we've already had quite a few and it's only the first week in March.  We've had kids expelled (and that's rare, even for my building), and so many stupid things happen that I'm starting to think these kids really are possessed.   Some of the fights are just stupid boy things where the kids are horsing around, "having fun", until someone gets annoyed and it gets serious.  And then there are the stupid girl fights that usually begin because girls can't shut up about each other and there's almost always some boy involved.

It's just plain stupid.

And I'm looking forward to the rain tomorrow in the hopes it will calm them down.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Well Why Don't You Do Something!!!?

During the past two weeks I've had some interesting emails from parents regarding the fact that their darling chooses not to do homework.  One parents insisted to know WHY I didn't place her daughter in after school detention because ANYONE KNOWS that if you take something fun away from a kid, they may actually get the message.  The other parent expressed a concern that since he and his wife are both working in the afternoon, and his son chooses to do everything BUT homework, was there anyway I could put him in after school detention so he'll get his homework done?

Well, as I explained, at The School, we only have after school detention for kids with behavior problems, not lazy problems.  Neither of these kids is a trouble maker so they don't qualify for that.  The Administrators decide who's going into after school detention based on the classroom discipline referrals.  I also explained that we are allowed to pull kids from their elective classes on Mondays and Fridays and that serves sort of as a detention where they can get their work done.

However, what I really wanted to say was "Isn't that really YOUR job as a parent?"  We have these kids for about eight hours a day, and then they go home and then, in theory, it's the parent who should check their planner, see what the homework is, and see that it gets done.  My parents even get an email letting them know what the homework is, so they have that to rely on.  But apparently these parents what us to keep their kids even longer, see that their homework is done, and then send them home.  Shouldn't they be the ones "taking away something fun" from the kid because they didn't get their homework done?  Shouldn't they be the parent?

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood were of my parents and I sitting down to go over homework.  It was our time together - no television, no computer (well duh, they didn't exist back then), no interruptions.  These parents apparently don't want to spend time dealing with their kids' academic issues and at the same time are missing out on a really vital part of the parent/child relationship.  

Do you think if we asked these parents to pay more taxes so we can get paid to stay later and parent their kids, they'd go for it? 

Really, I'm getting sick of parents wanting to be pals, not parents.

P.S. Update 3/2/2012

One of these parents requested a form for an after school program we have called homework hour which works with our tutoring program and is funded with a grant.  I sent the form.  The comment he made back was that his son couldn't participate because no one would be able to pick him up.  What?  Who was going to pick him up from after school detention then?  The Tooth Fairy?  Or did he think we ran buses to drop kids that stay late off at their doorsteps?