Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Fun with Lists (Part Seis) 3/08/06

What a long day. I had a former student of mine visit again today. Every single time I feel like I am a totally worthless teacher, I'm going to start remembering my first class. Those kids kicked serious ass and reaffirmed my love for this profession. There was an interesting op/ed piece in USA Today about how the teacher cannot be blamed for everything. The students have to meet us halfway. We can only present the information, we can't make them take it. One point the author makes is about how students try to take the easy way out. I see that with many of my freshman. My classes grew in the first week, because many students in the Pre-IB classes decided the class would be too hard. I say "would be" because the students looked at the syllabus, panicked, and got their parents to move them down. The question becomes: Is a B in a regular class better than a C+ in a more difficult class? Only colleges know for sure.
I know some of the seniors read this blog. Let me make two things clear:
1. Do NOT put in my name to speak at graduation. I have heard murmurings, and I HIGHLY recommend you don't ask for me. You will be disappointed.
That being said....
2. If you want to talk smack about me, I don't care. If you want to make fun of me, I don't care. However, you cannot step up to me, talk about how much I don't help you and that I'm useless to you...then come to me for help. When you shut the door, boys and girls, that door is closed. You don't get to tell me how much you don't need me in one breath and then beg for help in the next. We're not in an abusive relationship here. You don't get to give me a black eye and then tell me you love me.
How do I know what you're saying? Easy. You never check (or in certain cases think) before talking. I just might be in the hall nearby, in the room, or even right behind you.
Many of you have come to me for advice, counseling, whatever. You don't get to beg for help and then bitch about what you're getting. You don't like it? Don't ask me then.
Now that I have that out of the way, I have a list that I, uh, procured this from the lovely, talented, and currently needing illumination
Michele. Enjoy.
9 Lasts:
Last ball to the face: Last summer. I was playing in a tennis league and played an OVERLY competitive opponent. As we warmed up, the gentleman decided to test me, so he smashed an easy lob at me and hit me in my face. I ended up beating him...though I didn't get to hit him back.
Last cheer: Uh...does imitating the Spartan Cheerleaders from Saturday Night Live count? Otherwise, gosh, uh, I don't remember ever cheering in the sense of cheerleaders.
Last kiss: twenty-seven minutes ago (as I write this. I mean I am married, folks).
Last movie seen: In general? I watched The Seventh Seal last weekend. Still a brilliant film.
Last phone call: As I write this, I'm talking to my sister in Seattle.
Last CD played: Peter Gabriel, Hit
Last bubble bath: I was 11.
Last time you cried: When my grandmother died. So, three years ago.
Last beverage: Water, baby, water.

8 Have You Evers:
Have you ever dated one of your best friends: Dated her? I married her. (Air five.)
Have you ever skinny dipped: Ha ha ha... yes. Sigh.
Have you ever kissed somebody and regretted it: Yup.
Have you ever fallen in love: Yup, three times. Married the last one.
Have you ever lost someone you loved: By death? Yes. By her cheating one me? Yes.
Have you ever been depressed: Sure.
Have you ever been drunk and thrown up: Yup. I call it college.
Have you ever been in a fight: Yup. Thrown haymakers and all.

7 States You've Been To:
I'll discount where I live and where I have lived (so MN, NY, CT, MO, and MI are out).
1. California
2. Washington
3. Vermont
4. Illinois
5. Florida
6. Georgia
7. Texas

6 Things You've Done Today:
1. Organized paper work (including tests)
2. Built a railing for a scaffolding (in order to help someone conquer a fear of heights)
3. Made dinner for my wife and myself
4. Taught three classes
5. Laughed with my wife about our days
6. Cleaned my bathroom

5 Things in No Order:
1. Hockey
2. Theatre
3. Cooking
4. Felines
5. Caroline

4 People You can tell [Almost] Anything To:
1. My sister
2. My sister
3. My mother and father (yes, I'm cheating)
4. My lovely wife

3 Wishes:
1. Happiness and prosperity for the people in my life (whether you like me or not).
2. (Slightly selfish, but) To one day bankroll a critcally acclaimed and financially prosperous movie.
3. A true understanding of who I am.

2 Things You Want To Do Before You Die:
1. To scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef
2. To take my mother to the French Open.

1 Thing You Regret:
Not listening to EVERYONE around me when they warned me about my Ex.

So there you go. A little more insight into who Leab is.
Tomorrow... I don't know. Maybe some slander, maybe just ramblings. I'm not sure. I need to look at my court order.
Best to you all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Mail Mondays (03/06/06)

Sadly, as I write this post, I have been informed that Kirby Puckett has died. Though I don't really care about Minnesota sports (yeah, I'm from New York, folks), it is quite depressing to see a man at die at 44. So young.
I have some mail, so let's get to it.
Mail time.
How's your sister?
A Nosy Reader.

Dear NR,
My sister's fine, thank you. Her surgery went well. She's in pain, and what's worse...she cannot pick up her daughter for about a month. When you have a two year old, that's tough. Any well wishes can be commented here, and she will see it later.
Why did you go into teaching?
I read your previous entries, and I get the sense that you're not happy teaching.
Am I wrong?
A Possible Teacher

You're wrong. Sorry, but there's no other way to put it. I love teaching. Are there days when I get frustrated and I want to put a kid through the wall? Sure. Everyone has days like that. Every job, no matter what it is, has days where you just get frustrated. My wife, who I believe to be the most even-tempered person I know, has days where she tells me she wants to kill a co-worker. Hell, she tells me I'm lucky because at least the people I work with ARE kids, not just acting like them.
Why did I go into teaching? I always enjoyed it. It's a chance to shape people to create a better future. I always tell the kids that I hope I help them to become rich and famous. Then they'll come back and give me money for all my hard work. Will it happen? No, but it's fun to dream.
In all seriousness, I do it for many reasons. Some are selfish, others are not.
1. I do it to help clear out my head. If you teach, you know what I mean.
2. I do it in the hopes of training a new generation to fix the world.
3. I do it because I love a challenge, and teaching is the ULTIMATE challenge.
4. I do it because, at times, it's the most rewarding job.
5. I do it because I learn as well.
So there you go.
Peace be unto you.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ramblings for the Evening (3/5/06)

Time passes quickly ending my restful weekend and preparing me to run back into the burning building.
Rather than wax poetic, let's just get to the ramblings.
So, without further ado: WILL NOT BREAK...IT BROKE....
Thursday night was Parent/Teacher Conferences (PTCs). Now, I mentioned that my school LOVES me in my teaser (hey, as
DeRusha mentioned, I could always work as a news writer....), and I meant it.
I went through the whole day of teaching, then, after school, I worked for two ho
urs getting the set of West Side Story started (for which I have two weeks left to finish). It was tiring. With seconds to spare, I bolted from the auditorium to the school cafeteria (thereby getting ZERO food in my stomach before hand, which meant for the entire day I had eaten some pretzels and a cereal bar) to meet with parents. As I mentioned before, I had only 8 parents signed up and at the most random times (there were gaps of over an hour). So here's where I discover how much I'm loved. I know which two teachers I am supposed to be between (there are only a few teachers with "L" beginning their last name. I get to the corner and... there's no "Leab". I look around thinking maybe they misspelled my name again or put me in the wrong place. No luck. My administration forgot about me. There was no sign, no sign in sheet for parents, and no place for me to sit. Luckily the other two teachers were able to make a small area for me. I generated my own sign-in sheet by ripping a piece of paper out of my planner, and I used one of my grading sheets for my sign.
Eventually the IT lady saw my predicament and printed a sign for me. That was about it.
The parents? Well, that was even MORE fun.
11 different parents showed up. Most of them asked zero questions, and set of parents showed up at 7:00 (as I was leaving) and BEGGED me to meet with them. The father was drunk, and the mother kept making apologies and asking questions that had nothing to do with me. (Here's a hint: I teach English, so asking me about Chemistry...not my thing.)
Was it the worst experience? No. I didn't have a parent show up and throw all my stuff on the floor and accuse me of hating his or her son (one teacher did have this happen).
The highlight of my night, however, was hanging out with and talking to a teacher's ten year old daughter. I did my impressions of Shaggy, Harry Potter, and more. She just laughed. I taught her new word (Gobo. It's the piece of metal you insert into a light to make shapes and such) and met her imaginary friend.
How sad is it that the highlight of my night wasn't meeting parents or talking to students or fellow teachers? No, the best part was hanging out with a ten year old. I guess it's because she's at my mental speed.
You tell me: Should I be pissed that my school forgot about me?
Imagine you have to present at a conference, and they forget to put you on the agenda. Wouldn't you be hurt just a little?
Friday was my five year anniversary.
I had plans.
Over the course of our entire relationship, I have been able to surprise her at least twice a year by do something for her. This year I had set a plan in motion where I would sneak into her work, and be at her cubicle with flowers and a gift. Two of her co-workers were in on it and were going to distract her while I snuck in to her cubicle. Then, later on, we had reservations at Vincent. I had been planning this for a while. It's what I do. You can call me callous. You can call me a real son of a bitch, but when all is said and done, I love my wife.

So, with all this in mind, my anniversary was horrible. My wife left work early because her back gave out. She sat in her chair wrong and pinched her Sciatic Nerve. This meant she was not at work when I left school, and it meant we were not going to Vincent for dinner.
I spent my anniversary pretty much carrying my wife around the house so she could use the bathroom. Our dinner? Oh, I'm glad you asked. We did what we usually do when we move to a new place: We had Kentucky Fried Chicken. Good stuff.
So, let's review: Thursday was a killer day, and then Friday, which was supposed to be fun...not so much.
Don't get me wrong, I love my wife, and if it wasn't for her, I'm probably dead. That being said, it was not a good anniversary for either of us. She was in pain, which was rough for both of us.
As I write this, her pain has only slightly subsided. This morning, she tried to roll over. The pain overtook her and she shot out her arm. That's how I woke up this morning: my wife punched me in the face.
And finally:
My Family Should Just Buy a Room:
My sister is going in for surgery tomorrow. This is her second surgery in under a year. Now, Since I was a junior in high school, one of us has pretty much been in a hospital for at least a day or two every year. This includes my sister's surgery, the birth of my neice, all of my father's health issues, and more.
I don't know if you'll read this, sis, but I hope your surgery goes well and you're back on your feet in no time.
As to the rest of you, my dear readers, I wish you health, wealth, and better days.
Tomorrow, I have mail for you.