Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Morning Boredom

I'm stuck in this class still.
Currently I am sitting in the back of the library of the school at which this class is being held.
I'm bored. Not a little "I have to cover my mouth when I yawn occasionally" bored, but full on, "I can feel my body begging me to beat the crap out of the girl who keeps stopping our class to ask stupid questions" bored.
There is absolutely nothing new being taught. I am the only teacher here who has a Master's Degree. That's odd, at least to me. The problem is that everything being taught, not unlike the class in June, is part of the beginning of the St. Thomas program.
How to take notes? Did it.
How do you get your kids to read in your content area? Um, I give them the book (this is why English teachers are not supposed to be here).
How do I get kids to ask questions? Siiiiiigggghhhh!
Look, I'm glad that I get credit for taking the class, it means that I will, if things keep going they way they are, have enough credits to renew my licensure almost two years before it's up (that means I can start working on getting credits to make more money).
Because the lecture is covering what I know, I've started people watching. Here's what I've noticed over the course of the morning:
1. We're missing six people. A few math teachers and two "coaches" who are there to help us (my coach didn't show up today, which means I will have nothing to do all afternoon).
Though we are missing people, everyone has signed in. You know what that means....
2. People and their cell phones. Almost everyone here has a cell phone. Now, the second I go into class, I turn my ringer to vibrate. Why? Because I don't want to interrupt the class. My hope is that we'll go faster...and get out faster. My colleagues here don't feel that way.
First, there was the woman with the ringer screaming, "The Bitch is Back." She looks at her phone and says, "'s my mom. Excuse me."
That, on the surface, tells you something about how she feels about her mom.
Next, we got to hear "Tricky" by Run DMC for a few seconds. The guy whose phone it was said, "Hi, Honey," before leaving the room. Is his significant other a "trick?"
Other songs?
"Hero" by Enrique Iglesias and "Country Boy" by John Denver.
Oh, and one guy has a Family Guy ringer (Stewie screaming, "Victory is mine," over and over again.)
I'm just shocked how many phones I'm hearing. If this were my class, I'd be collecting phones left and right.
3. The storm last night was fascinating. I'm starting to really believe in Karma again. The guy down the block from me bought a new BMW. He made sure to strut around the neighborhood telling all of us, "I've got a new BMW. You still drive that (fill-in-the-blank-supposedly-inferior-car)?
Well, he, like an idiot, parked his car next to the tree on his lot. The storm came through the neighborhood, and the wind had perfect aim. The tree was blown over...on top of his car. We could hear him last night screaming. He even cursed God. I went out for a walk with my son and passed by his house.
I admit, I fired the first salvo this time.
"'s that new car treating you...oh my...what happened?"
His face twisted, and a tear rolled down his face.
"Damn tree. Goddamn TREE!"
I proceeded to keep on walking.
The other odd side last night was watching a squirrel float. Never seen that before, but a squirrel got caught in a huge wave of water and floated past my house. I kept thinking about that water-skiing squirrel and wondering if it got started that way.
That's all I got right now. I have to go and do "homework."
What a horrible post....Sorry.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

An Open Letter to the Gods of Education

Dear Gods of Education,
Why do you taunt and hate me so?
Over the last few months you've been taunting me and toying with me as if you enjoy watching me suffer.
Let's look at the facts:
1. First there was the class in June that was required and almost made me miss the birth of my son. That class offered up nothing new.
2. There is my new schedule for the upcoming school year. 53 students in one class? Is this a joke? I don't mind that I'm teaching three different classes (English 9, English 9 IB, and English 12), but 53 in one class is going to be really difficult. I can't imagine trying to grade those papers. Even's the first class of the day. 7:30 in the morning? You really don't like me.
However, the third fact is almost pure proof.
3. My summer was cut short (sure it's only a few days, but it's short) by this next class I was told, "You must take, if you want to keep your job!"
With that little nugget in mind, I changed my trip to Missouri to a week earlier. I was forced to tell my wife that she would have to go to down there without me if she wanted to attend her cousin's baby shower.
Oh, but you Gods had a fantastic sense of humor. You decided it would be hysterical to totally screw with me.
The class is not for me. Out of 30 people...I am the only English teacher. The ONLY one. I sit alone at my table as the groups are split up by subject. The Math teachers who sit near me stare at me in disbelief. The "Tech" teachers keep asking me if I'm lonely.
But gets better. You put us in the library of the building which does not have air conditioning and faces the sun. You made the class 90% lecture, which means we just sit and stare.
You made me the person who the teacher goes to for answers. "What was the name of the guy Romeo kills again?" I'm asked.
"Tybalt is the cousin. Paris the guy in love with Juliet."
But you waited until the end of the class today to drop the ultimate humiliation.
"Leeeeaab," the teacher says in a sympathetic voice. "We need to talk."
Now I'm not dating this woman, but the tone of her voice tells me that I'm either getting dumped or getting bad news.
I could see you, Gods, sitting in the room, eating your popcorn, and waiting on the words.
" can't be mad at us," she starts. "I know we told you that you HAD to take this class."
I could see you snickering. You started this game when you made my co-ordinator wait until the last minute to tell me about these classes. She even got the information wrong. Was that your doing?
"Umm....Most English teachers don't take this class. They're required to take Struggling Readers I. That's the class you have to have in order to work."
At this point, I hear your full-blown laughter. You obviously find it amusing that I now must suffer through this class for the next two days with material I learned three years ago, and that all I get for taking it is...some credit.
"The next class is in October. It's after school for two hours for three weeks. You HAVE to take it in order to keep your job."
Your laughter was so loud, that it caused me to grab my head with my hands.
"I can't believe this happened, but...hey, you have to take the good with the bad," I am told.
I have nothing to say to this. Your brilliant plan worked perfectly. I'm stuck in this class that has nothing to offer me, AND I have to try and take this other class in two months. Add to that I have other classes I will be required to take, and I'm starting to think you really like screwing with me.
St. Thomas lost my records at one point, a new class was created that I wasn't grandfathered into not having to take, and more.
What's left? Are you going to have a chalkboard fall on me? Maybe the ceiling? Maybe have all of the books I saved disappear on me?
You haven't beaten my spirit yet, Gods of Education, but you certainly are annoying me.
Perhaps if I sacrifice some Freshmen to you, you'll be nicer to me?
I await your reply.
Disgruntled Teacher # 3,912,524.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ramblings for the Evening (08/22/06) (Maple Grove Edition)

I start class tomorrow. There are no words to explain how much I really do not want to attend this class. It is the signal for me to return to reality. Class the next three days...then workshops all next week...and
Ok, let's get to it. All of the stories tonight are tied into Maple Grove...sort of.
So, without further ado: YOU'LL HAVE A GRAND OLD TIME!
The Definitionof Irony: Maple Grove Edition:
Shortly before I left for Missouri, my son and I took a ride out to Maple Grove to Babies 'R Us. We had to pick up some supplies for the trip. After a quick jaunt through the store which saw my son grab the attention of a two year old girl ("Baby!" she screamed, "I want to see baby!"), we headed over to Leann Chin to have some mediocre Chinese food.
The restaurant was almost completely empty. I took a table near the door and started to eat. When my son cried a little, I pulled him out and fed him. He was being very good.
In the corner of the restaurant was a woman with her three kids. The woman was on her cell phone yakking away about something. I tried not to listen, but I did catch the part where she mentioned "Jerry," and talked about how she wished, "his balls would fall off."
Her three kids, however, were more the issue.
Kid 1: High school aged. Obviously fees that wearing a Metallica t-shirt and skater shoes makes him either a total rebel or a total skater. He would bitch loudly about the fact that my son squawked shortly before eating.
"GOD! Can't SOMEONE take care of that kid! I'm TRYING to eat here!"
Kid 2: Your typical 12 year old girl. Upset over the fact that her mother was ignoring her, she started walking around the restaurant playing with the tables, and, at one point, went outside and walked off. Mom never even batted an eye. Kid 2 cam over to my table while I was trying to feed my son and started talking to me. Beyond the annoying typical banter ("What are you doing? Why? Why?") Kid 2 frustrated me, because she kept touching stuff without permission. She picked up one of his toys, she grabbed the belts of his car seat, and (most annoying of all) she went INTO my diaper bag. What the hell is that? Can I now open and go into her purse? When she started pulling things out, I finally told her to, "stop and go away please." Then came....
Kid 3: Middle school boy with those damn roller shoes. You know the ones where the wheels can pop in and out of the bottom of the shoe? Yeah, he had on those and was popping around the restaurant. After I finished feeding my son, I burped him and put him to sleep in his car seat. This kid is screwing around, and, while rolling around near my table, he trips and slams into my table, nearly knocking my son off. Of course, like any baby, Poozer wakes up and freaks out. Kid 3, however, does not apologize. Instead, he looks and says, "Your kid is loud."
"You should apologize to him," I tell the kid (and it's probably not my place to do so).
And I get an interesting response: "Fuck you," the kid tells me. "You're not my dad!"
I'm stunned.
A few minutes later, bleached blond mom is leaving with her kids. The phone is off, and she stops at my table.
"You know...I just want you to know that your kid ruined my lunch."
My first thought was, "Hey, screw you," but I didn't say it. I just reveled in the irony. MY kid ruined HER lunch.
Regardless of whether or not she was aware of what her kids were doing, it was incredibly rude of her to tell me off when my kid barely cried. Hell, the gal behind the counter told me later she was sorry for my dining experience.
My kid...the irony is delicious.
Merry Maddenoliday:
Today is the release of
Madden 07. It's a video game, but it has had an impact on the world.
First of all, there's the
Madden Curse. If you're unfamiliar with it, the idea is whoever is on the cover will get hurt or have a bad year. This year, for example, Shaun Alexander is on the cover...and he may have already hurt himself during this preseason (the team is mum right now). If you have a player you love, pray he does not end up on the cover of this game (or Sports Illustrated).
Secondly, men (and a few women) take the day off to play. Seriously. When I was working at the Tobacco Document Depository, I watched two guys plan their day off to play.
I wouldn't be surprised if a bunch of guys were missing from my wife's department at work.
I bring this up, because my wife and I took our son to his two month doctor's appointment today. While there, my son's doctor explained that they were a little short today as three of their nurses (two guys and a girl) called in sick this morning. However, the doctor was, "so sure I saw Jim (one of the nurses) over at Best Buy," that morning.
Five shots (and one totally shocked baby) later, we returned home. Within ten minutes, there was a knock on my door.
"Hey," Mike, the guy who lives three doors down and across the street says, "My buddies and I skipped work to play Madden on my (X-Box) 360. Want to join us?"
My first thought was, "Seriously? You skipped work to play a video game?"
However, my mouth didn't say that. "Sorry, Mike. I can't. I have to run errands." (Sadly, this was true.)
"Duuuuude! You don't know what you're missing! The game rocks!" he yells. (And again, my mind wants me to say something I don't with, "Dude? Rocks? Aren't you 35 or something?")
I admit that I play video games, but I don't think I've ever stood in line overnight, pre-ordered, or skipped work to play a game. Back in November I was the teacher
DeRusha talked about having students plan and skip class to get an X-Box 360. That's insane to me. To skip just to be able to play something that you could just as easily play that night and then all weekend.
And finally:
The Up-To-Date Tally:
My wife and I returned from Missouri. While down there, my wife's health took another turn. Let's go to the board for the up-to-date tally for last nine weeks:
-Son was two weeks late.
-Had a fever during birth and needed antibiotics.
-Had a third degree tear and needed episiotomy.
-Had thrush (because of the antibiotics) which meant her right breast was burning, which lead to...
-Plugged milk duct in right breast. Doctors couldn't agree on how to get it out, which lead to...
-Abscess in right breast. Burning pain and unable to even pickup our son. This lead to...
-Surgery on her breast. Beyond having a hole the size of my pinky in her breast, she also had to take antibiotics for the inflammation which lead to the newest problem...
Let's put it on the board, boys!
- A rash. A lovely, red rash that has spread over a large percentage of her body. The doctors think this is not because she is allergic to the medication, but because they gave her too big a dosage. She now has both armpits, both elbows, chest, and part of her neck covered in a red rash that it itchy and makes it hard to sleep.
So there you have it folks. My wife still isn't healthy nine weeks after the birth of our son. I have no idea what it's going to take to get through the last of this. She's currently weaning as the doctors flat out told her, "Breastfeeding is not a good idea for you...regardless of what the government says."
I just want her healthy so I can focus on my son instead of taking care of both of them.
Tomorrow...I start class, so I hope my wife will be ok without me.
Then again what do I know? I'm uncool, because I won't drop everything to play Madden 07. I could be wrong.