Friday, February 29, 2008

Not a Taylor appropriate Blog Entry

Just in case you thought I was exaggerating in my last blog, here is one of three pages left to me by Mr. Farmer, the teacher who covered for my 6th period class when I was out on Wednesday (because I collided with the YW 1st Counselor at bball practice at mutual on Tuesday night). He's not a sub, he's a regular teacher in the building. And this is how they behaved! I can't include pages 2 and 3 because the language he quotes is just toooo much for one blog... Thursday I had to write 8 administrative referrals, and call each of their parents. Then today I had to escort a girl to the office because she got into it with me before class even started. It was a really ugly scene and I was literally venting anger when I returned to the room. The rest of my students were so scared I was going to freak out that they didn't even say a peep. And that is DEFINITELY the first time that has ever happened with that class. I know I said before I was generally non-confrontational, but this girl got into my face and went to push me... and I just lost it. And then I spent most of the period crying after I just gave up and put a video in the vcr. Argh.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Am I living in a perpetual nightmare?

Did you ever see that movie Groundhog's Day? Where poor Bill Murray is forced to live the same day over and over again until he gets it right? If you haven't seen it, you should, because it's a good movie. But that's not the point of this... my point is that right now, my work week just seems like the same day, over and over and over again. I'm wondering if I just have to keep trudging through until I get it right. At this current moment, I feel as though I'm in the part of the movie where I'm kidnapping the ground hog and driving off a cliff. Or at least I wish I was...

Let me break it down for you. My first period class is huge, 30 kids which is the max allowed by law. And my room is tiny. I only have 30 desks, and on top of the kids, I have a special ed. aide who comes into my room every other day and the poor woman just has to hover over the kids, because there's literally no where for her to sit. And the kids will not talk. Ever. I never thought I could feel this way, but I just WISH they would open their stinkin' mouths! No one will ever volunteer to answer questions. No one will come up with an answer if I call on them spontaneously. No one will speak to each other when we do group work. I am being very serious here, no exaggerations. It's so frustrating. I thought my dream was to have a quiet class, but it's just as difficult to get things accomplished when they won't speak, as it is when they won't shut up! So, they never talk to me or each other. And it's just every day, 90 minutes of being able to hear a pin drop. I know it sounds weird, but it drives me crazy because they're just like little zombies and I get no feedback whatsoever.

Then there's period 2. Nice kids, but way, WAY hyper. They're not rude to me, but there are several boys in the class who can't stop wailing on each other. They're friends and it's all jokes, but legally were they to get into a real fight, I would be liable. So I'm like a referee most days. I also have a student who likes to inflict pain on himself. For example, the other day I noticed he was sharpening his pencil for an awfully long time. I thought perhaps he was just zoning out. Then about 30 seconds later I hear an audible yelp. Apparently he thought it would be funny and cool if he used a huge rubber band as a sling shot to shoot his incredibly sharp pencil into his own thigh. I kid you not. And then when he got up and the pencil was still hanging from his leg... he cheered, as did about 5 other boys in the class. The nurse was not amused when she found out why he was sent to her. And then there's this other boy who just had a baby (could it be more depressing for me???) and all the girls can't shut up about it. Everyday they just ooooh and aaaaaah over him and want to see pictures and pass him notes. I now understand why guys think having a baby makes them a chick magnet. It's because apparently it's true. Even in 9th Grade. This is also the class with my severe Asperger's student who can't stop blurting out things like, "I would give my shirt to get a big stick and beat him over and over and over and over and over and over and over again". That is a direct quote from class last Thursday. He also picks at his face mercilessly, and I am often sending him to the nurse, and then getting out my sanitation kit to clean the blood off his desk. I know he can't help it, but it makes me sick to my stomach. And it makes me have to bring class to a halt to take care of it. So after 90 minutes of silence first period, I have a zoo for 2nd period.

And then there's 6th period (block schedule, which means period 3 is 45 minutes for plan, period 4 is 30 minutes of lunch duty in the cafeteria, and period 5 is 40 minutes for lunch). I can't describe to you how painful my 6th period class is. They have had me on the verge of tears numerous times, and I've gotten various comments from the librarian, guidance counselors and principals about how incredibly insane my class is, and how they haven't seen anything like it before. Well let me just tell you that I was also told that this lot of students ended up with me, because the guidance counselors thought of all the World History teachers, I worked best with students with special needs. So, they decided to give me 7 special ed students, 2 emotional support students, 3 504 students, 1 kid who failed my class last year, 2 kids who failed World History with a different teacher last semester, and now 1 kid from Liberia who doesn't speak English. Gee, how honored I am. Did they maybe think to mix them up a little? I do teach 3 classes, why put all the kids who need special help in the same class? The result is me wanting to rip my own hair out, or stab myself in the back of the knee with a staple remover. Painful. That's what it is.

So far in period 6, I've had three boys in a continual battle to beat the crap out of each other, and not in a friendly way as in my 2nd class. They literally would just destroy each other given the chance. I have two girls who EVERY SINGLE DAY spend the entire period writing long, detailed, gross notes to each other that I ALWAYS intercept and then read. As a result of the disgusting, horrific things they're writing about in 9th grade (drugs, sex, you name it) I've had to give them both referrals to guidance (by law if we know they're doing certain things, we have to report it) and it's obvious to both of them who reported them, and now they hate me and do anything they can to make me miserable. Then I have the poor Liberian girl, who can't speak English, but who I can't really spend any time with one on one, because I have to worry about fights breaking out, or just general chaos and disorder erupting. And if she fails classes, it's common practice in Liberia to get beaten for it. So, just pass her, right? Yeah, that will definitely help this girl. Egads. And then there are the three students who make fun of my poor Liberian girl and have apparently been hurling racial slurs at her during lunch. Unfortunately, the "N word" is the bulk of the English language she's learning from her peers. So sad. And then there's my emotional support student who thinks it's cool and edgy to talk about drugs all the time, and to also talk about how he looks up to and admires people like Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro. And then there are the boys who are just boys and won't stop making sexual innuendos in class. Honestly. Just blurting stuff out in the middle of discussion or lecture. I don't think most of the people in this class have an attention span of more than 5 minutes. And they blurt out really inappropriate things, get sent to the office, tell the principal they don't know why they were sent (even though I've called down to the office to tell them while the students are on the way...) and then get sent right back to my class. And then there are the parents. Half are always on my case and want detailed emails every single day, and put the load of being responsible for work and assignments on ME instead of on their CHILDREN. And the other parents just couldn't care less what's going on in class, or what their kids are doing.

And then there are the absences. This is the 5th week of the semester, and just for fun the other day I was looking through my attendance book and averaged it out that per day, the average number of absent students so far is 13. AVERAGE!! PER DAY!! HOLY CRAP!! The flu is just killing people this year, and you might think, WELL HEY IF KIDS ARE ABSENT, THAT'S FEWER PEOPLE TO WORRY ABOUT, RIGHT?

WRONG! When that many kids are absent, and most of them are absent for several days in a row, or in and out for several days, it just makes my job, and being organized, that much more difficult. So on any given day I'm trying to get 10 or more kids caught up on notes, worksheets, in class projects and assignments, tests and quizzes. And even though the students are supposed to be responsible for getting their makeup work done, they rarely take the initiative, and then I have parents hollering at me for not getting their kid everything they need. Sigh.

Well. What a blog this has been. Sorry for the rant, but I don't have colleagues at work to sympathize with, because most of them are scum and I can't stand socializing with them. And Mike has enough stress at his job that I don't want to bog him down with mine. And I'm a relatively non-confrontational person, so I rarely vent it all out on the kids. I try to keep a level head just for the sake of my well-behaved students. Don't get me wrong, when things get out of control or behavior is an issue, I take care of it, but the stress is just killing me. I've been kept after school day after day just dealing with issues that are ridiculous. And so this blog is my vent. Because if I didn't vent, I'm pretty sure I'd have an aneurysm and my brain would literally explode. Life is stressful. And I'm stressed. And I just want to sit on my couch, and never get up! Wouldn't that just be wonderful!!

Monday through Friday just stinks. And on top of it, I'm now a track widow again, because Mike's track season is rearing up and taking off!! I miss him when he's away all the time:(
Soooooooo I thought that maybe to un-grumpify myself I'd post some really random pictures from really random times and just laugh at them. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Gee, I feel better already:)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

V-Day, Postponed

So, Valentine's Day was a bust. Mike and I had plans to visit our favorite restaurant, Cantone's. That plan was destroyed by about 80 evil 14 year-olds. They are seriously evil. I don't want to get into details, but let's just say it was a day so bad I was contemplating gnawing my own foot off so I'd have an excuse to leave and go home early. I still have two feet, though, which means I suffered through the entire day. And I do mean suffer. And then after the day was over, I spent about an hour and a half in what was supposed to be a "fifteen minute meeting". Then I had to go back to my room and figure out how I was going to rearrange my seating charts for the next day, when all the students were named "Satan", "Lucifer" or "Beelzabub". It gets confusing. Anyway... it was a long day, and I got home waaaaay late. So I was all funky and gross with kid germs, and wasn't gonna have time to shower and get myself cleaned up before our date. Then Mike got home and couldn't stop raving about the horrible day he'd had. Apparently some schlo-mo at the office who's a big screw up and a jerk made a big scene and threatened to quit if he didn't get a raise. So, this big screw up gets a raise! Just like that! Mike had to wait FOR MONTHS to get a promotion and a raise that he DESERVED!! He had just about EVERYBODY in his corner backing him, and at one point the state said that HE WOULD NOT get the promotion and he had to fight so hard for a promotion to a job he was already doing!! Grrrr... so he was livid that this guy got what he wanted just by throwing a temper tantrum. Mike said he was about ready to throw the guy out the window. So we were both in great moods, very romantic, huh? That said, we decided that maybe we should skip Cantone's (I know, I can't believe those words came out of my mouth) and just order in and have dinner on the living room coffee table in our sweats watching re-runs of Seinfeld. So that we did. We decided to postpone Valentine's day until Saturday, and just eat pizza and wings instead.

Sooooo Saturday came and I got my Valentine's present! Mike and I installed my new faucet! Our old one was ugly, gross, and leaking, so I requested a new pretty one! And I got it! And it works! And it's sexy! It gave us some problems, but we had fun installing it together!! It turned out to be a great day, much better than Thursday! And so my four-part gift was complete. Part 1 was the ipod, part two the faucet, part three installing the faucet, and I can't tell you what part 4 was. Use your imagination.

Anyway, we still haven't made it to Cantone's, because they were booked all through the weekend. But we still have our gift certificate from ma and pa Sage, so we can go at just about any time!!