Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blah with a Side of Blah

I have the perfect husband and a fairy tale life, yet here I am, depressed. What is my issue? I'm just sitting here with this gloom hanging over me, and I don't know why. To make matters worse, I'm still not sleeping at night. I know, I know; I've said these words so many times before that they have just about lost all meaning. But this insomnia has drastically impaired my quality of life these last few months, and I just feel this desperation to conquer whatever sleep-deprivation demon is tormenting me. I feel such anxiety every time I try to sleep, which makes no sense because I really have nothing drastic enough in my life right now to be anxious about. I'm just too damn spoiled. I've said this before, but I really need to go to a third world country where I can see first hand real problems, that way I can gain a little perspective and quit stressing out over whatever pitiful issues are keeping me up at night.

This is such a cliche, but I'm just so tired of being tired. I was a ball of energy last year--I miss that.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Today Clint swung by my work after school was over to fix my broken printer (which turned out to have a metal clip from a pen jammed inside of it). I was in a meeting with my "buddy teacher" in a different classroom when he arrived on campus, so I just gave him my classroom keys, and he went to work on my printer.

After about 15 minutes, Clint came back into the room where I was having my meeting, and he told me that we might need to run to the computer lab really quick. I asked him, "Why?" He explained to me that once he pulled out the jammed metal clip, he created a quick word document to test the printer out and make sure it was working properly. Here's an approximate version of the document he created:

Mrs. P has a great body
Mrs. P has a great body
Mrs. P has a great body
Mrs. P has a great body
I say "approximate version," because the real version actually continues that phrase about twenty more times, but instead of saying "Mrs. P.," it actually uses my full last name. He did this as a joke just to test out the printer and make me laugh. And I did get a good laugh out of it, until I realized that he had mentioned something about running to the computer lab.

"So why do we need to run to the computer lab again?" I asked him.

That's when he told me that my laptop automatically sent the word document to the last printer I used, which was the wireless printer in our computer lab. So, to make a long story short, a document with the phrase "Mrs. P has a great body" (repeated over and OVER again) was now sitting in our school's computer lab!  You know, the lab that STUDENTS use?

We never were able to retrieve that document. Since it was after 4:00, the computer lab was already closed and locked for the evening. So it's still sitting there, waiting to be found. I'm thinking maybe I can get a janitor to let me in tomorrow morning before anyone sees it?* I don't know. If not, our computer lab teacher, Mr. C., is going to have an interesting message waiting for him tomorrow morning.
*Follow-Up:  I did NOT make it to the computer lab in time to retrieve the document, and it was read by the computer lab teacher and one other teacher on campus before making its way back to me.  The former of the two was NOT amused, but the latter was in hysterics.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Destination: Spain!

I just finished my last post, but I wanted to keep this one separate. Clinton and I are going to Spain this summer! We're going from June 23rd to July 3rd. I would have mentioned it earlier (we've been contemplating this for awhile now), but I wanted to wait until it was a for sure thing. This afternoon we turned in our nonrefundable deposit, so at this point I think it's safe to say that it's for sure.

This trip to Spain is NOT a vacation, although we will get to spend one full day sight-seeing in Madrid. This is actually a service-oriented mission's trip. We're going to be staying at an English camp on the outskirts of Madrid, where we will be working on construction projects and teaching the kids at the camp English.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about all of this later, but right now I'm just letting it settle in that I'm actually going somewhere further than Mexico. Now I need to go find Spain on the globe so I know where the heck it is, cuz I really suck at geography.

Mosh Pit 101

Last night was definitely an interesting evening! As I mentioned earlier, we had decided to go see our friend Dan perform at the Angel's Roadhouse, where he is the drummer for Mad Marge and the Stonecutters. They had a total of five bands play last night, and Dan's was the last one to perform.

I should start off by saying that this was NOT my preferred type of music, although Dan's band did a great job and was honestly the lesser of the evils. But the rest of the bands...Holy geez. I don't want to sound like an old grannie, but 90% of it sounded like nothing more than shrieking. This one band, for example, so very creatively named "KIL," played a song called "Fast Food," followed by a song titled "You," followed by a song called "I hate something or another" (can't remember what they hated), and they all sounded like the same exact song. Every now and then you could catch the F-word, but that was about it.

The most enlightening part of the evening was the mosh pit. I have apparently lived WAY too sheltered of a life, because I always thought a mosh pit was when a bunch of people got into a group and started head banging at the same time. You know, like when Bohemian Rhapsody gets to the climax of the song (right after "for me....for me....for ME...!") and everyone starts jiggling their heads and bodies aound like crazy...I thought THAT was moshing. So when a real-life mosh pit broke out about four feet from the table we were sitting at, I was looking around for security to show up to break up the "fight." It took a few moments for me to realize that these people weren't fighting, they were actually laughing and having a good time. They looked pretty silly, skipping around in circles and shoving anyone who came near them, but from a sociological standpoint, it was actually really fascinating to watch. I can see how for some people, participating in a mosh pit could be pretty cathartic.

Matt and Alana sat with us, and between sets Alana and I were able to have some really good "mini" conversations. I just love Alana--conversations between us come so easily. Felisa was with us most of the time as well, and I loved being able to hang out with her outside of our normal small group setting, although she did seem a bit edgy about being in that particular environment.  I think she associates this type of stuff with a lifestyle that she wants nothing to do with anymore, hence her discomfort.

Matt and I wound up sharing a pitcher of beer, but after eating a plate of hot wings and drinking some water, I felt pretty close to normal. Matt, on the other hand, had begun drinking much earlier in the night, and did wind up "under the influence." He jumped into the mosh pit for the last two or three songs sang by the Stonecutters, which was fun to watch, but he seemed unstable and I was worried that he was going to fall.  Next time our Bible study gets together, maybe we should go on a picnic or something instead. =)

Something else happened during the evening, and it's killing me because I can't talk about it. I replayed the incident in my head until nearly 3:00 a.m., thinking, "No, I must be wrong. This couldn't have actually happened...I must be misinterpreting it."  But it did happen, and now for the sake of that person, I will forget about it and move on.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Goodbye Toddler Room

Today was probably the busiest day I've had during my otherwise lazy spring break. This morning we took the kids to the movies to see How to Train Your Dragon, which turned out to be VERY cute. The only downfall was we thought we were taking them to the 3-D version, but it turned out that we accidentally went to the 2-D showing. In the long run the movie wasn't one of those that rely on the 3-D element; it was perfectly entertaining in its own right, but it would still have been cool to see it with its full scope of special effects.

After the movies and some Chinese food, we went home and swapped out Elijah's bed. Elijah has had this cheap, metal framed loft bed since he was a baby (it used to be Trin's). It's bright yellow, red, and blue, and comes equipped with a slide so the kid can "slide out of bed" in the morning. It's definitely a fun bed for a small child, but the problem is the thing is enormous and has pretty much encompassed the majority of his room for several years now. Plus Elijah has had this bed for so many years that the novelty of it has long worn off. Luckily, a friend of ours recently moved into a new house, and she was getting rid of a twin-size sleigh bed. It's in dark wood and in beautiful condition. Also, as luck would have it, her brother was looking for a new bed for his little boy, so we decided to swap beds.

Of course, swapping out Elijah's bed for the new one was only the beginning. For some reason I can't stand bringing something "new" into the house without creating perfect conditions around that new item, so I had to completely take on Elijah's entire room. It took hours. I wound up getting rid of a full bag of toys (those are going to the thrift store) and three full bags of trash. I also rearranged his furniture and brought in a new dresser that used to belong to Trin. I didn't finish until almost 10:30 tonight, so now I'm feeling really ragged, but happy. I LOVE his new room. It's the first time he's ever had what looks like a nice boy's room (as opposed to a toddler's room), and it is so bright and comfortable. Taking the loft bed out really opened up his room, and it feels much bigger. Once the room was finished, the kids tried to play in it for a few minutes before bedtime, and I shouted "No! No playing in this room! You can tip-toe through it and ooh and aww, but that's it." I'm sure I'll get over this soon.

Tomorrow we have belt promotions at the dojo, and then tomorrow night I'm going to our friend Dan's concert. Dan is in our small group, and he's part of a punk rock band called Mad Marge and the Stonecutters. His band is finally playing in our neck of the woods, so he invited Clint and I to attend, but Clint might not be able to go because him and my brother-in-law are going to an MMA fight tomorrow afternoon. If he's not back in time, then I'm going to ride down with Dan and his wife Felisa (same couple who gave us the bed), and Clint should be able to join us later. Matt and Alana are also going, so I'm pretty excited.

I better go so I can beat Clint to bed this time (I'll have to explain that one later)--goodnight!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

WARNING: Very Shallow Post!

I bought this dress! I found it on e-bay. I was looking for a little cocktail dress to wear to a cigar dinner that Clint and I are attending in April, and I just fell head-over-heels for this one. Luckily Clint took one look at it and said "That's really cute," so I officially got his blessing to bid on it. It's kind of funny, because Clint has always been somewhat of a Bible thumper (one might say), yet he's never had a problem with his wife showing a little leg.

The dress retails for $90, but when everything was said and done, I wound up getting it for $40...this included the tax and the shipping. What a steal! It's been ages since I've dressed up, so I'm really excited. There's no way I'm going to look like the blond bombshell in this picture, but that's okay, I can live with that. I'm just crossing my fingers that it fits.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break Sluggard

I've been negligent in writing in my blog this week. Part of the problem is I'm on spring break, and I tend to become a slacker when I'm on break. One thing that I learned during my GATE training is that "the busier you are, the more you're able to do." Ironic, huh? In a sensical world the opposite should be true. But I definitely feel this in my own life. When I'm working full time (which is about nine months out of the year), I tend to get caught up in the routine of work, after school activities, small group, grading, homework, etc., and actually find myself setting aside time to do special activities such as playing games with the kids (we still do Monopoly Wednesdays) or hanging out with a friend. But when I'm on break, time just spans expansively in front of me, and I slow down to the pace of a sluggard.

Today Clint and I went "disc golfing." Disc golfing follows the same rules as regular golf, except for instead of smacking a golf ball with a club, you're throwing a special frisbee, aiming for a "disc catcher." The disc catcher looks like a basket made from chains and is above the ground at about waist level. Everything else is pretty much the same as golf; you have nine so-called holes, and each "hole" has a par that you are trying to make. And, similar to golf, you have a driver disc and a putter disc. The driver is for long distance, and the putter is for accuracy. Clint played this game when he was in Rancho Sordo Mudo, and he was eager to try it out with me and the kids. He was happy to learn that we actually have a disc golf course about 15 minutes from our house. The park we went to was HUGE, and their disc golf course was awesome, although I don't have much basis for comparison. The game was a lot of fun, even though I just watched for the first half (I was fighting a headache).

After disc golfing, I was on the hunt for a new swimsuit. The weather here is already beginning to get warm, so me and my friend Sarah decided that we might take the kids to the beach this Friday before we're back to work. The "might" is because she just had her gallbladder removed yesterday, so we're not sure yet if she's going to feel up to a beach trip by this Friday. Anyway, I've had the same bathing suits for the last couple of years, so I decided it was time to treat myself to a new one. Unfortunately my shopping venture produced nothing--I didn't even try a single one on, because they were all just "blah." It's okay though...I've already worn the same bikini for years now; what's one more day?

Clint bought a waffle maker today and made us the thickest, most delicious waffles for a "breakfast dinner." I hope this purchase isn't just a novelty thing, because I love these waffles!

Time to play Monopoly. By the way, we're still on the same game that we began last month, and the current stats of our game are as follows: Clint and I are getting the crap kicked out of us. Trinity has one hotel and three houses on the remainder of her properties, and Elijah has three houses on all of his properties. Hopefully this next round will put us out of our misery.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Today's Special: Unleavened Bread with a Side of Parsley

We just came home from our Seder Dinner. It was really interesting, although most of the time I was distracted by my nephew Lucas, who was screeching like a chimpanzee, blowing bubbles, devouring the chair, and laughing. He was great comic relief.

So I learned tonight that a Seder Dinner is a Passover celebration. The menu for tonight's dinner included:
  • One sprig of parsley dipped in salt water
  • One quarter-size piece of unleavened bread (aka: a cracker) with straight horse radish
  • One quarter-size piece of unleavened bread (again, a cracker) with some sort of apple/granola type goo
  • One roasted chicken bone (just the bone)
  • One roasted egg
  • Four sips of grape juice
We didn't get to eat the egg or the bone; these were simply there for symbolic purposes. So that basically left us with what amounted to a cracker and a sprig of parsley. The brochure wasn't kidding when it said that "This is NOT a meal."

At the end of the Seder Dinner, we all got up and did this fun dance that involves kicking your legs forward and spinning in circles.

Now that I have finished my incredibly satisfying Passover meal, I think I'm going to go in the kitchen and make myself a hamburger.

Seder Dinner

Clint's parents invited us earlier this week us to attend a "seder dinner" (pronounced 'sayder') with them tonight at their church, in lieu of our normal family dinner we usually do on Sunday nights. Of course we enthusiastically agreed to go. exactly is a seder dinner? I think it has something to do with the Passover, but that's about as far as I can figure. The brochure for the dinner emphasized the fact that this particular meal "is NOT a meal," so I'm confused, because to me, meals are meals. Maybe it's a bunch of appetizers? At any rate, I'm looking forward to a new, interesting experience. I'll try to report back later and clarify what the heck a satyr dinner is all about.

I just noticed that I spelled the word "satyr" the second time around. That's from reading too much of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I hope we're not having a satyr dinner, cuz frankly, that's just a disturbing entree.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flashback Friday: The Germ-X Fiasco

It was my very first time calling out for a sub, and I was extremely nervous. I wasn't sure exactly how thorough the lesson plans needed to be, I didn't know how my students would react to a sub, and a big part of me felt guilty for calling in sick. Nonetheless, I scheduled a sub to take over my classroom for the day, telling myself that my feelings of anxiety were ridiculous, and I just needed to break my perfect attendance virginity this one time so I could relax for the rest of the year and be over it.

The whole day I was out, I fretted about my classroom. I hoped that the sub understood my lesson plans, and wasn't feeling too overwhelmed by my rowdy kids. I continued to remind myself that everything was fine, and to quit being such a control freak.

When I came into work the next day, I expected to find a messy, unorganized classroom. I expected to find long notes from the sub with lists of students' names who had misbehaved. What I didn't expect to find were eight return call-slips on my desk; evidence that eight of my students, all from the same period, had been sent to the vice-principal's office. I mean, eight?! All I could think was, What the hell happened in my classroom yesterday that resulted in eight students being sent to the principal's office?When I went to go check my staff mailbox, there was a note from the vice-principal saying, "Mrs. P, see me right away about what happened in your room yesterday."

Again, what the hell?

I went into the vp's office, where I finally got the whole story. My classroom contains a sink, and on the sink was a bottle of Germ-X Hand Sanitizer. One of my insane little cherubs decided to add a bunch of Germ-X into a bottle of Powerade, and proceeded to trick three other students into drinking it. Soon after, these three students got stomach aches because...well, hello, they were poisoned. Once at the nurse's office, it didn't take long for administration to piece together what had happened, and other students were called out of the classroom one by one to testify as to what they saw.

Administration wound up banning hand sanitizer from our classrooms for the next two years. It wasn't until the Swine Flu made an appearance that we were encouraged to keep hand sanitizer in our classrooms again. And needless to say, I became a "born again" perfect attendance took many, many months before I was again willing to brave a sub.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Let the Sunshine In

I've always loved the color yellow. It's so bright and cheerful, and it makes any color you place next to it look vibrant and beautiful. My second favorite color is orange. Similar to yellow, I just find orange to be a warm, happy color--although it doesn't compliment other colors the way that yellow does. Despite my love for these two colors, I'm slowly discovering that they are pretty unpopular color choices for others. Most of my students wrinkle their noses when I tell them my favorite colors are "orange and yellow." During projects, whenever I offer them choices of colored construction paper, or anything else involving colors, purple is always the first to be whisked up, followed shortly by blue, red, and green.
So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I am down to nothing but orange and yellow markers in my classroom. I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm guessing that the kids used the appealing colors so much that those ones have just finally dried up, or gotten lost. Thus I told the kids yesterday that all future projects will now be completed with the colors orange and yellow.

Let the sun shine in. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I just got home from work, but I have to leave again soon to go get my taxes done (blech), so I'm going to try to squeeze in a quick post.

This week, my blogging buddy
Kristyn was in town from Texas, and her and I met up for dinner last night. We haven't talked to each other face-to-face for about 11 years, and it was amazing to see her again after all this time. We went to IHOP and wound up just talking and talking for about three hours. Typical girls. ;-) One thing I have to say is that our conversations were definitely not about the weather; we discussed some pretty "deep" stuff pertaining to both the past and the present. My sister doesn't really believe in the concept of closure, but I came out of the whole evening feeling this sense of...well, closure. Overall I really enjoyed our visit.

After visiting with Kristyn, I went home, took a shower, jumped into bed, and for once fell asleep right away. But then Clint woke me up in the middle of the night because he was talking in his sleep--LOUD. It would've been great if he was actually saying something intelligible, but he was sitting up in bed speaking gibberish, so not only was I losing sleep, but his uninteresting monologue was making me wish that I could be asleep that much more.

At school today I was tired but silly. I broke out into dance during 2nd period (don't remember why) and sang a duet with another student during 4th period ("Aww Sugar" -ta da da ta da ta--"Honey honey" ta da da ta da ta "You are my candy girl..."). It's a long story. Well, not really, but I have to sign off now. Tax time (aka: impending doom).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yanked Forward

Don't you love how the word "spring" is such a beautiful, bouncy, positively-charged word, yet springing forward is absolute torture? I don't know what brilliant mind came up with the concept of crudely chopping away an hour of our sleep in the guise of "springing forward," but my body was 100% aware this morning that it was NOT supposed to get up. The alarm may have read "6:00," but that little insomniac within me was railing "6:00 my a$@, it's dark outside!" Really, Americans should call it "yanked" forward, because let's face it--that hour of sleep is yanked away from us, and we're left with nothing but mourning for that little tidbit of slumber that we will never get back.

Much to my physical chagrin, I did eventually drag my weary self out of bed and to work. One nice thing about the first spring-forward work day is that everyone else is tired too, so at least we were able to be crummy educators/students together. At one point I'm pretty sure I told my students that "wake-up murk" (instead of "make-up work") was due this Wednesday. Luckily, their brains, being as scrambled as mine this morning, were too zombified to acknowledge the mistake.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blog Infidelity

I feel like I have been cheating on this blog with my other's like Middle School Dribbles is my new favorite child. I think it's the thrill of creating a new blog--I love that feeling! Getting to choose a new theme, and deciding what kind of "voice" to use for the new blog, and all that other fun stuff. I know after awhile the thrill will wear off, but until I get to that point, I am really enjoying the new site. It feels so great to have a place to record all of the little quotes and antics of my students.

I actually did announce the new blog on facebook, but I don't think that will have much of an effect as far as gaining an audience. Facebookers generally have short attention spans and don't want to read long monologues (who can blame them?). Plus I housecleaned my FB list awhile ago, so I don't have as many friends as I used to. What I need to do is find an audience with other bloggers. I've slowly been discovering that the business of blogging is very much a "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine" industry, so I simply need to find some backs to scratch. Which is fine by me, because I actually find other people's blogs fascinating. The problem is I already have a full-time job, so I have to decide how much time I'm actually willing to commit to all of this. I'm going to give all of this some more thought and decide what I want to do.

If I do decide to get serious about professional blogging, an acquaintance of mine,
Damien, sent me an eBook he created to help get me started. I'm really looking forward to reading it over spring break. He also e-mailed me a few tips and links that have already been very useful. I think it's awesome that he was willing to reach out to a novice blogger and offer his expertise.

I know my last few posts have been really boring...I promise the next post or two will have nothing to do with blogging. :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Smells Like Bacon

It's Saturday and words can never express how much I love Saturdays!  Since I can't really share any student-antics from today (until those antics find their way to my doorstep, which wouldn't altogether shock me since I live two blocks from the school--seriously, it's a friggen' miracle that my house hasn't been TP'd yet), I'm just going to post a quick quote from yesterday morning stated by Lawrence (one of my honor's students):
"Mrs. P, you know those dog treats that look like bacon and smell like bacon?"
"Uh huh?"
"Well, it turns out that they don't taste like bacon."
Perhaps the bar needs to be set a little higher for our honor's classes?  Of course, let's be honest, who hasn't tried doggy treats at least once in their lifetime?  And those bacon strips...they do look unnervingly realistic.  You could slap one of those babies on a burger and never know the difference. 

Lawrence did actually go into a full-fledged description of the treat, describing how disgusting it was in incredible detail.  Maybe that's the difference between an honor's 7th grader and a non-honor's 7th grader: neither one has the sense to NOT eat the doggy treat, but only one is willing to talk about the experience with the beautiful fervor of a poet.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dang Snails...Get a Room!

Here is a conversation (an arguably typical one) that took place at the beginning of fifth period as students entered the classroom:

Brydan: “Oh hey, Mrs. P. I’m so glad fourth period is over! Last period Ms. Tucker made us watch bugs getting it on with each other.”

Tyson (rolling his eyes): “It’s called 'mating rituals.'"

Me: “Well that sounds sort of interesting...."

Brydan: “Yeah, real interesting. You try watching snails making out for twenty minutes. I never thought I’d say this, but I’ll take last week’s pronoun lecture all over again.”

Me: "Gee thanks, Brydan. I'm sincerely flattered."

But seriously, thanks, just gave me today's blog entry!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Professionalism be Damned

Today I had one student burst into tears because she had an agonizing stomach ache, one student who had to go to the nurse's office because he claimed that his right eye was suddenly going blind, and one student who threw a temper tantrum and kicked her science fair project across the floor. It turned out that the stomach ache-student, Rose, was having severe menstrual cramps, so she went home. The second student, good ole' Will (who thinks cantaloupes roam the wild plains of Africa) had a speck stuck in his eye. This was resolved shortly removing the speck from his eye (although I'm sure the nurse felt guilty, because you really aren't supposed to remove the speck from your brother's eye until you remove the log from your own). The third student, Stephi, threw a temper tantrum because she was having a bad day, taking one down, and singing a sad song just to turn it around...wait a sec...there is a very tiny, minute possibility that some of that might have been song lyrics.

So, let's go back to Stephi (and I'll try to keep the rest of this original thoughts). She showed up to class late today, As she came in, her arms were completely loaded down with her ginormous science fair project, and so she used her foot to kick open the door. As she kicked it open, she made this frustrated growling type sound as if she was some kind of amazon woman, and in spite of myself I couldn't resist telling her, "Good job Stephi. You show that door who's boss." The class chuckled, but Stephi stormed to her desk and threw her project on the floor. Then she shouted, "I hate this project!" and proceeded to kick it. The class, myself included, was shocked by this outburst, so I calmly told her to step outside. I told her she wasn't in any trouble, but she needed to calm down.

Now, let me backtrack for a sec and give some quick background about Stephi. Her mom died when she was five years old, and she lives with her dad and her older brother. I met her dad at a parent-teacher conference last month, and he is your typical hard-working, down-to-earth, blue collar sort of guy. He honestly seems like a wholesome person, although I know he is a heavy smoker (or someone in that household is) because Stephi comes to school every morning reeking of cigarettes. Stephi's dad is not a soft person and does not believe in coddling his children. From his perspective, the death of Stephi's mom (and his wife) was a tragic part of their past, but should no longer be used as justification for present behavior. I actually find Stephi's dad to be incredibly likable. You can just tell he's a survivor, and he doesn't attempt to hide his imperfections.

The problem, however, is Stephi's dad is busy providing for his family's basic needs; he simply doesn't have the patience, or the personality, to put up with "girly" stuff. So with an un-mushy dad and an older brother who tends to torment her, Stephi is basically treading water in a sea of testosterone with very little warmth or compassion in her household. This effect is even more amplified by the fact that Stephi is now a hormonal pre-teen. I know this theory sounds cliche, but I often wonder if Stephi's temper tantrums are desperate attempts to get attention, because attention is the closest thing she has to feeling affection from her dad. I also occasionally feel heart-broken that Stephi never feels the loving warmth of a mother's arms wrapped around her, holding her close, stroking her hair, and telling her everything's going to be alright.

So back to the present. I went outside to privately talk to Stephi and find out what was wrong. In between sobs, she told me that her dad had been saying for two weeks that he would buy her glue for her science fair project. As of last night, she still didn't have the glue; so this morning her dad woke her up earlier than normal and told her she was going to have to tape the whole thing together. She was incredibly upset, and to make matters worse, the whole process of taping everything resulted in her being late for class.

At this point, I tried to talk with Stephi in a calm, professional matter. I told her that I could see why she was upset, and I agree that she had a right to feel irritated. But I also told her that her outburst in the classroom did not match up with what prompted it; in other words, she had overreacted. I told her to try to view herself as a heroine in her own movie or book. I asked her, "If everything is going wrong for the heroine in your favorite story, don't you want her to approach all of these problems with an air of humor? Don't you want to see her conquer these obstacles with a light heart, and see her persevere despite her circumstances? I'm sure you don't want to see her throw a temper tantrum and embarrass herself in front of her peers." At this point, I was feeling proud of myself for exercising the perfect combination of good advice and professional detachment.

But not so fast. After lecturing Stephi in my calm, reasonable, and relatively compassionate tone, something suddenly struck a chord in my heart. She just looked so tiny, and wracked with grief, and hopeless. I suddenly realized that whatever she was crying about cut a lot deeper than a mere science project gone awry. Before I could stop myself, I put my arms around her as she cried. She cried and cried. I just held her.

Sometimes a student needs some good advice. Sometimes they need a good lecture. Sometimes they need a good scolding. But sometimes, they just need to feel loved and cared about.

Sometimes, as teachers, we need to just screw professionalism.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bleeding Heart Syndrome

During sixth period, I was on the verge of class-suspending a student, Brydan, due to his nonstop chatter, but he did such a wonderful job of begging and imploring me that I let him off the hook with a time-out (yes, I do realize that I was totally and utterly suckered). I told Brydan that during his time-out, he was to write me an apology letter for his behavior. The following is a word-for-word transcription of his letter:
Dear Mrs. P.,

Thank you for giving me this last and final chance to prove and show how well-behaved I am. I think your deathly case of bleeding-heart syndrome is very kind and forgiving, they should have that going around instead of the Swine Flu. Also, I think you have given me more chances than I deserve and I promise on everything that is good in this world I will show that I can and will do better. Plus, I will seperate myself from a situation that will cause me to talk. I haven't told Mick about talking in class at the time I write this, but the first time I see him I will. I will try to make it so the words "Brydan, one more warning" won't ever have to come out of your mouth.  Also, if you need help with anything, just ask.

Your Remorseful Student,
Damn I hate it when students steal the sting out of my bite.

Pink Slips

It took me six full hours to clean my kitchen on Saturday. I think it was the biggest mess I have ever cleaned! I started at 10:00 in the morning, and finally collapsed in the bathtub at 5:00, having taken only one break to eat lunch and talk to my sis on the phone. Sarah came over at 6:00 that evening, and we watched The Time Traveler's Wife. It was okay. The plot line was actually pretty engaging, but overall the movie was a little too sad for my taste. Sarah and I still had a great visit though. We rambled on and on for two hours straight before even starting the movie.

The kitchen came out great! It looks very cute and charming, in a "it's clear that we did this all ourselves" sort of way. I love it. I'll post pics as soon as I feel energetic enough to take them.

I'm still in insomniac mode this week. I feel so desperate for sleep. I even DVR'd some show (Dr. Oz?) that I've never watched before, just because according to the commercial, Dr. Oz would be talking about insomnia.

Pink slips went out yesterday. Our school is losing nine teachers. Back when I was hired almost four years ago, there were four other teachers who hired out at the same time as me. Yesterday, all four of them were pink-slipped. And three of them have a single-subject credential, just like me. I can't believe it. My job is officially safe now for the next school year, but I have absolutely no bubble left. My best friend at work, Lauren, was pink-slipped yet again. I don't have a lot of energy to say my feelings about all of this, so I'm just going to say that right now I feel a little sad, and leave it at that.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Herd of Cantaloupes

Today as a bellringer activity, I told my students that they were going to write a newspaper article in which they had to include the following words: cantaloupe, toothpaste, guitar, flashlight, and flip-flops.

One student, Will, raised his hand and asked, "Mrs. P, when we write this article, which cantaloupe do you want us to include, the fruit or the animal?"

Would this be a good time to remind the public that I teach 7th grade?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dishes in the Bathtub

Tomorrow I am cleaning my house, and I don't think I have ever felt so excited to clean before! The counter tops are finally DONE, and now I can begin the process of putting my house back together. You wouldn't think that the remodeling of one room would turn an entire home upside down, but it does; especially this last week, because we have had no sink or stove. The last ten days have been a combination of microwaved food, Chinese, and Subway. I think I could quite happily live out the rest of my life never laying eyes on a meatball sub again. Thankfully, Clint hooked our stove back up last night. Unfortunately, he didn't have time to install the sink, and now he's gone for three days, so I'm going to have suffer through one more weekend of doing the dishes in the bathtub.

This week has been brutal. The large number of students in my classroom is really beginning to take its toll on me, both with classroom management and grading. Not to mention that I somehow reached a point in the school year where I have after-school obligations every single day of the week, whether it's tutoring or conferences or other stuff that I keep volunteering for.

Yesterday after work I went and marched as part of the "Day of Action" rallies that were taking place all across California. This is my second year participating in this particular demonstration. I might say more about it later, but currently I feel too sleepy. I have been in my normal insomniac mode this week and am seriously hurting for sleep.

Today I came home from work and collapsed on my couch into the deepest nap for about two hours straight. I never intended to take a nap...since Clint's gone for the weekend, I had planned on playing a board game with the kids or purchasing a movie from PPV. But the second I hit the couch, I was out and quite literally unconscious. Completely unrelated, but this reminds me of how much I hate those stories in which the public goes off on some poor mother whose four year old sneaks outside and gets hurt while she's asleep on the couch, calling her a terrible, unfit mother who couldn't even keep an eye on her own child. In reality, she's a mom who desperately loves her baby, but she's human, and her body has limits like everyone else' of those limits being that the body is naturally inclined to succumb to exhaustion. I don't care who you are or how many kids you have; everyone goes into zombie-mode once in awhile. It breaks my heart because you know such mothers are absolutely devastated, crushed, and beating themselves up with guilt over what happened to their child, yet to add insult to injury, they are battered with cruel remarks from a cold, unfeeling public who views them as either a villain, or an idiot, simply for making a very human mistake. Name to me ONE person who hasn't "drifted off to sleep" before at an inopportune time.

Okay, snapping back to attention. I mentioned that Clint is going to be gone for three days; he is actually in Rancho Sordo Mudo, Mexico. Him and about 14 other men from our church decided to go down there and install lighting at a poverty-stricken school for the deaf. Currently the kids' playground has no lighting, nor do the basketball courts, so the guys will be down there resolving this situation, along with taking care of other maintenance issues. I am SO proud of him. Clint has become such a charitable, giving person in the last few years. He doesn't give out of a sense of caring or generosity though--he does it out of a sense of obligation, which is just fine by me. If he is asked for some kind of charitable contribution (and it's a legitimate source doing the asking), you'll never see him get touchy-feely about it, but he doesn't hesitate to deliver.

I'm not bothered by the fact that Clint's gone, although I'm sure I'll miss him to some degree. In all honestly, I rarely get the house to myself, so I'm actually kind of looking forward to enjoying a weekend with just me and the kids. Plus my weekend won't be completely empty; Sarah is coming over tomorrow night to watch a chick-flick with me, and then Sunday evening I'm going to John's Pizza for my niece's and nephew's birthday dinner. I'm really excited to get together with my family (and of course Sarah) on Sunday night--we always have so much silly fun.

I know I'm a whiney little crap right now, but I am sooooooooo tired. I think I'm going to eat a few scoops of peanut butter, throw the spoon in the bathtub, then scootch off to bed.