Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The parents at our school are quality...
One of my students just got an inhaler. She was talking to her friends about how she was having trouble learning how to use it.
"My mom said 'you've just got to hold it in, like when you take a hit off a joint.'"
Monday, January 30, 2012
Some background info: "Orals" is short for "oral commentaries," which is part of the IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum. [Our friend] was doing one-on-one consults about the rubric.
Teacher: Just remember to look really hard at Criterion B on the rubric, because that's the hardest. Don't just talk about what's being said, talk about how it's being said.
Boy: Criterion B, huh?
Boy: I will fight it with the force of a thousand eagles.
Teacher (barely keeping it together): Eagles?
He goes back to his seat.
Girl, to boy: So, what did you say?
Boy: We pretty much just talked about birds.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
It's Saturday. I'm at school running the SATs and wearing the shoes I bought to make myself feel better two Fridays ago (did you think they were going to be red strappy stilettos or something?). Barring any major disaster, I'm getting payed ridiculous money to grade research papers, read a terrible (free!) chick lit novel on my Kindle (have I yet discussed the deep and abiding love I feel for my Kindle? I'll get to it eventually), and drink coffee. Sounds like not a terrible Saturday, if you ask me.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Discussing Jacques Chirac, former French President:
Thursday, January 26, 2012
This was posted on my favorite tumblr yesterday and I thought maybe it was time for sharing blog post.
Two weeks ago I had a meltdown. This isn't entirely unusual, as I'm prone to meltdowns, albeit small ones. This meltdown was like no other. It lead to a panic attack, crying, and a general loss of nerves and ability to do this job I love. It was at this point that I realized I had two options: 1) I could continue this path of panic attacks, crying, hating myself, my job, and everyone around me, which would result in me not coming back next year to this job I used to love so much, or 2) I could get help. I'd moved beyond the point where I could just go home and talk to some Whole Food sweet potato and corn chowder about it, and besides, thanks to Stanley Tucci, I know that cellulite is the main ingredient in corn chowder, so that's not helping anyone.
So the day after this incident, I called my healthcare provider and looked into what my coverage for therapy was. When I got my answers, I called a therapist and booked an appointment.
Therapy is awkward. I don't like to talk about myself. I know I have this whole blog thing, which is only sort of about me, and then people who know me are going to be all "whatever, you talk about how awesome you are all the time!". But seriously, I don't. Here's a fact about me: I'm a fixer. I want to fix other people. I want to make sure other people are OK. Me, on the other hand, I don't know how to fix me. And I don't want to. I don't like people doting on me. I don't like to be the center of attention. I know it's kind of crazy, but that's just me. I'm trying, I really am. I'm trying to discuss my issues and come to terms with the ridiculousness that is this year and my life.
People in my life have been supportive. I've told the co-workers I'm closest to about it and they seem to think I'm doing the right thing. I told R, about it yesterday. Immediately after I did, some kids informed me they weren't ready for a presentation that day that I'd assigned two weeks ago. R asked, "Why are your kids so shitty?!", and my response was, "I have no idea! What's why I'm in therapy! See, we can laugh about it, you know."
I think it's going to be OK, I really do. This year has been shit, don't get me wrong, but I think it's going to be OK.
(P.S. Thank you, whoever you are reading this, for continuing to read, despite me going a little bit crazy this year.)
(Image from: http://www.frkncngz.com/post/16454020473)
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
When a particularly dancey song came on (OK, it was Beyonce's "Crazy in Love". I love her.) a kid looked at me with an eyebrow raised and a "Really?" on his face. I immediately replied, "If after two years in my class you don't know I'm the kind of girl who listens to ridiculous dancey pop music and dances around my kitchen, then you don't know me at all."
Yesterday was kind of fantastic.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Barista: You're so happy in the morning!
Me: Well, I've been up for like an hour and a half. I've had time to wake up.
Barista: I think you're just an optimist. A glass half full person.
Me: If the glass is half full of coffee or beer, I'm Mary effing Sunshine.
Barista, pausing: You're sort of my hero.
Kid: Why is it so hot in here?
Me: Well, maybe because my heart is so full of love for you all that it's heating up the room.
Me: But it's more likely that the heat of my wrath and students' insufferable stupidity are heating up this room and making us all miserable.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Me, pulling up Amazon.com, loudly, exasperated: I'M BUYING SHOES.
Me: I'M BUYING SHOES. THAT'S HOW I'M DEALING WITH THIS FUCKERY.
B: Oh, oh, OK.
Me: AND WHEN I GET HOME, I'M EATING ALL THE CHOCOLATE AND DRINKING ALL THE BEER.
B: You don't have, like, firearms and sleeping pills at home, right?
Me: No. Although I do have some of the cough syrup that Lil Wayne drinks to get high from when I had bronchitis last year. Sizzurp, I believe it's called.
B: Hmmm, me too, since the wife, kid, and I have been sick lately. Cough syrup party!!
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Go over and take a look!
T: So you want to hear something devastating?
T: The freshmen don't know that Britney and Justin dated.
Me: What?! How is that possible? That's, like, history.
T: I know! It should be taught in every history class.
Me: How did you figure this out?
T: Well, on my vocab sentences, I usually put examples with celebrities [this just endears T more to me] and I had an example about them. They kids were just all "Uh, Britney and Justin who?" and I said, "Uh, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake?!". How can they not know? So of course I pull up a photo of them.
Me: And obviously it was the one of them wearing matching denim outfits at the MTV Movie Awards, right?
Oh, we use "obvi" ironically to mock, and pay tribute to, the illustrious Rachael Zoe. Yeah, we're word hipsters. Clearly we need to revisit the Common Core standards and start working in more Britney Spears history. Duh.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
"OK, today I'm giving you all a choice. I can either a) give you busy work that will take you the whole hour and keep you occupied, or b) I can give you the hour to finish your book and work on the read questions, which will keep you from having any homework tonight."
Obviously they choose option b, as it keeps them from doing extra work and frees them from having homework that evening. What they may not have figured out though, is that option b is what I want them to choose, as it keeps me from having to grade more AND it keeps them quiet and working.
Tricksy, I know.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Me: Uh, it's not her job to remind you. You're nearly an adult. In 8 months you'll be off at college and you'll have to be responsible for yourself. You'll do your own laundry and wake yourself up for class.
Boy, looking panicked: Wait, I don't know HOW to do laundry!!
Me: It's pretty easy.
Me: Yes, just remember: 1. Separate your loads into darks and lights, and 2. Detergent and fabric softener aren't the same thing.
Boy #2: But what makes darks and lights?!
Me: Dark stuff is dark and light stuff is light?
Boy: OK, what about grey?
Me: It depends on the shade. [I point out the different greys kids are wearing and categorize darks and lights.] The important thing is to not throw a red shirt into a light load, or everything you own will be pink. That's a rookie mistake.
Boy #2: So I wash it all on hot?
Me: No, you're a novice laundry-doer, so wash everything on cold.
Boy: So why do they have hot?!
Boy #2: Will you make a youtube video for us to watch when we go to college?
Me: No, just google it. [I google it.] See? There's lots of help. How to do laundry, how to wash by hand, how to do delicates.
Boy: Wait, so what are delicates?!
Me: You're a boy, you don't have delicates, don't worry about it.
Boy #2: What about how to do dishes? How do you do dishes?!
Me: That is an entirely different conversation and one for another day. Time to learn English stuff now.
As the tag states, I couldn't possibly make this stuff up.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Chuck Palahniuk shared an article about the pros and cons of required reading on his Facebook page yesterday. I think it's a really interesting article and I agree with a lot of the points. While The Great Gatsby is my favorite book, it's an incredibly hard book for high school kids to teach. On the other hand, I love attempting to discuss it with kids. To make the kids think about their futures and how they'll look back on their pasts later in life.
The following excerpt, which comes at the end of the article, is my favorite part. Really the whole thing is worth a read!
"I've often wondered how the teachers who suffered with me did it. Teaching a 16-year-old kid about literature might be the worst job in the world, as it's incredibly frustrating, demanding work, and it is perhaps one of the most thankless and poorly compensated jobs available. Was my own high school English teacher resentful after all those years? The answer is no (and I hope it still is after she reads this article):
'That's why you become an English teacher...you say 'I want to share what I know with somebody else'...It would be nice to get [the material] through their skulls, but whether I get it through their skulls or not, I get to read it and enjoy it, and show how excited I am by this book... in high school, who's going to get anything, when it comes right down to it? All you're doing is opening a door.'"
And on the best days, that's exactly what happens.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Kid: I can't find this article on the database!!
Me: OK...and? What do you want me to do about that?
Kid: Find it for me!
Me: Uh, if you can't find it, why would you think that I can? I'm not, like, the master of the internets or something.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Earlier a kid told another kid he looks like Akon. Which he totally does, although he denies it. Apparently he hates Akon because Akon is shorter than he is. Which is a totally legit reason to hate someone, right?
So it turns out that he is actually shorter than Akon. I did some googling and shared it with the class. From there I did some research on average heights for men and women in the US (5'10 for men and 5'4 for women). All of this happened while they were supposed to be working on a writing assignment.
I count it as a good five minutes wasted, or instead a good learning experience.
Monday, January 9, 2012
2. My classroom is freezing.
3. My classroom smells overwhelmingly of gasoline. This concerns me.
4. My first hour is working silently. Like, super silently. This is a bit strange.
5. I'm just counting down to the three-day weekend, which means this week is going to take a thousand years.
It's going to be an interesting day.
I mean how I can not love a Tumblr that is all reasons why people love to read?! My favorite so far...
Friday, January 6, 2012
Kid: I get paid today!
Me: I wish I got paid today!
Kid: Yeah, but you get paid way more than I do.
Me: I'm totally living large on $10 a week.
Kid: Wait, what?
Me: You know, I only make $2 a day, so my paychecks are $20 every two weeks.
Kid, pausing: Are you shitting me?
Me, stopping, laughing: Yes, I'm shitting you. Also, are we using the term "shitting" to teachers now?
Kid: I figured you wouldn't mind.
Me: Good point.
Freshman girl: Well, there's one of you and a lot of us...
[From M: It's OK kid, I don't think before I speak either.]
Thursday, January 5, 2012
* * * * *
Several hours later, I'm now at home, finishing this post while my quiche cooks in the oven. Something happened today that hasn't happened in a long time...I was happy at my job. Really happy. There was a major component that I had forgotten about, which is being really fucking good at my job and being proud of it.
I know it sounds nerdy, but there's something so satisfying about knowing I just taught a lesson incredibly well. Maybe that's how a surgeon feels after a particularly difficult surgery. They just sit back and admire their stitched up incision and think, "Damn, I'm good." That was today. I taught T.S. Eliot like nobody's business. I waxed poetic about J. Alfred Prufrock and his constant indecisiveness. I was funny and personable and smart and, well, me. It's weird, but I haven't been me in my own classroom in quite some time. It was a good reminder of why I've loved this job for so long and what I want to get back to.
Tonight I'm going to have me time. I left essays at school and I'm going to catch up with shows on my DVR. I'm going to eat this delicious quiche and likely have a drink or three.
Things are good.
Me: I should be grading papers.
B: Do it?
Me: I don't want to.
B: So... "Papers:1, M:0"?
Me: No, I already graded three today!
B: Is that a lot?
Me: Well, I said yesterday I wanted to grade five a day from here on out. I graded nothing yesterday. So I feel like grading three is like way more than zero. That makes me ahead of the game, right?
B: If you say so.
Me: Stop judging me. I have to go blog about this.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
She was disgusted at the suggestion and responded in exclamation: "Wait, is this what being an adult is all about?!"
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Readers, meet Tech Deck.
These stupid toys are making my life miserable. They were super popular over 10 years ago when I was in high school, but now they're making a comeback. My junior boys are obsessed with them. It's gotten to the point where I've completely banned them from my classroom. I don't understand kids these days.