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41 – We Love You, Friendly!

This past week has been full of surprises. Some have been like “Yayyy! A surprise!”  Then others were like, “Yeah, bitch, surprise…suck it.”

Yayyy! A surprise!
1. My first period class threw me a birthday party Friday. I was all like “Awww! For me?” And they were like, “We love you, Friendly…oh yes we do! We love you Friendly, and we’ll be true.” You have to sing it to the tune of “We Love You, Conrad,” from the musical Bye, Bye, Birdie (random, I know).

2. I was offered a teaching contract for the 2010-2011 school year.

3. I finally received that fucking paper from Sallie Mae stating that I was no longer in default of my loans…meaning I am now eligible to jump in the fryer (again) and accrue more debt in the name of education.

“Yeah, bitch, surprise…suck it.”
1. I sent an email to my adviser of the PhD program I am to begin in the Fall. I was following up to an email correspondence we had in March. See, in March, she told me that there was a possibility that I would not be offered the fellowship I was offered the year before. I, RESPECTFULLY (Girl Scout promise, made with REAL Girl Scouts), went ham on her ass and explained how surprised I was at the possibility of the fellowship not being extended to me.  I ended the March letter by asking her what all I needed to do to ensure that the fellowship happened.  Yeah…I didn’t receive a response to that question.  Now, in May, I’m still being given the slip.  Thanks Dr. Douchebag!

2. MANY of my colleagues were not offered contracts for the 2010-2011 school year.  Learning that information made my stomach hurt.  Two of those three teachers are terrific teachers.  I personally know seven teachers who will not have a job next year, and that’s seven teachers too many.

3. The signing of my 2010-2011 contract and the unresponsiveness of my graduate admissions adviser, has placed me back into make-a-plan mode.  I thought I had a plan…

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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40 – Assistant Principal Ass Clown*

*Photo taken from http://www.sinnir.wordpress.com

Dear Assistant Principal Assclown,

It has recently come to my attention that men in their 40s undergo symptoms of hormonal flux.  Have you ever considered hypogonadism[1] as the culprit?  Please take this situation seriously, because I am extremely concerned about your safety.  Mainly because it is highly plausible that I may (a)knock the shit out of you, (b) stomp you to sleep, (c) slash your tires and smear elephant turds onto the hood of your car, or (d)ALL of the above if you continue to chew me out in front of my students.

If you are promptly treated, then the students and faculty will no longer be subjected to your:

  • Bitchassedness
  • Emotional tirades
  • Annoying nagging voice
  • Chronic confusion (Read: LIES)
  • Penchant for embarrassing teachers in front of their students (what I really dislike)

Furthermore, I would like to point out to you that there are REAL issues for you to address within this school; Issues more important than what TYPE of paper I may have happened to use to write a pass for a student[2].  For example, I would like you to address the fact that I have been cursed out by a student who is a doppelganger for Sasquatch/Bigfoot/Snufflelufagus, repeatedly, for the past week.  I have written him/it up…and NOTHING!  This “kid ”sells drugs in the boys’ bathroom between class changes, gets to say “fuck,” “hell,” and “damn” to me…walk out of class…never follow the rules…yet you are all over my ass?

…And people wonder why the good teachers never stay…

Yours in Education,

Ms. Friendly :-)


[1] Adult men may experience diminished libido, erectile dysfunction, muscle weakness, loss of body hair, depression, and other mood disorders. Recent research has shown that about 30% of men who are diagnosed with depression may actually have hypogonadism. http://www.urologychannel.com/testosteronedeficiency/symptoms.shtml

[2] The school does not have any more toner or paper to give to teachers as it is!  I am already funding paper and toner for my classroom, so if you think that I’m going to add printing-out-special-passes-for-assistant-principal-assclown to my list…then you are stupider than you look!

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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39 – WTFFF?*

I can’t seem to have ONE complete thought in this joint!  My name is constantly being called, someone always asking me to give answers to questions I have already covered…wanting, wanting, wanting something!  By the time I get home, I have nothing left.  I feel like a victim of some sort of elaborate government mind control program.  I remember nothing.  I know nothing.  I am nothing.

At the end of the day, I walk to my car…tightly clutching my purse to my chest…attempting to piece together the events of the day and figure out WHAT IN THE HELL JUST HAPPENED???!!!!!!  My non-teacher friends never understand.  They think I am exaggerating.  I say to all of you non-teachers out there…if you have three or more young children at home…think of rainy, Saturday afternoon when no one can go outside.  They are ALL in the house…and they are ALL vying for your attention.  Now, multiply that feeling and imagine a different set of THIRTY people doing that to you every fifty minutes.

Yesterday, during my last period class…I was having one of those moments when I would rather (a) stand in the middle of I-75 and wait for the next barrage of cars to put me out of my misery, or (b) make a run for it, right through the cement walls and all…leaving only an outline of my fleeting figure as evidence of my existence.  I desperately craved a moment of sanity.

It was our first day back after Spring Break…I have Seniors…and they could not give a rat’s ass about learning to wield literary voice, tone, audience, and descriptive/narrative writing.  It was like that scene from Ferris Buellar’s Day Off, “Anyone…Anyone…”  *sigh* At that point, even though I knew I really didn’t have their FULL attention, I only hoped to muddle through it all and get them brainstorming with me.  And just before I reached the center of the Tootsie Roll, a grainy voice interrupts, “Ms. Friendly, do you have a moment to pick up the phone?”  God!?  Is that you? I thought, excitedly…a reprieve to this torture…death! Yayyy!  But, no, it was one of our dearly loved assistant principals, Mr. Tightly Packed Afro.  “Yes, I do.”  Fuckity fuck fuck!  I don’t want to talk to you, fool! I’m…like…TEACHING!

I pick up the phone.

Friendly: Hello

Afro: I have Never Does Shit here in my office with me, and I’m wondering if we can all come up

with a  way for him to graduate.

Yeah!  Come to class and do your fucking work!

Friendly: Well, I sent failure letters home and everyone should have received them during Spring Break (Don’t judge me! LOL!).  I included a list of the assignments I was missing from them, along with the link to our class website.  All the work is uploaded on that site.

Afro: Can we set up a few times for him to come after school so he can get this work from you?

Hell no!  I gave time for doing make-up work, in class, the entire week BEFORE Spring Break!  This is on him!

Friendly: I can send him to the Media Center, tomorrow, when he comes to class.

Afro: No, I don’t want him missing any instructional time for make-up work.

He doesn’t care about missing instructional time!  He NEVER comes to my class on time.  I have him first period, and his mother drops him off to school on time…but he never makes it to class on time.

Friendly: Okay, well, I will come to your office and talk to you about it another time.  I really need to get back to my class.

Liar! Liar!  Pants on fire!  I have absolutely NO intention of doing that.  I will tell Never Does Shit that he will need to do the work.  Period.

Afro: Okay, thank you, Ms. Friendly.

I hung up the phone.  My class was derailed.  All of the pseudo-attention they gave me earlier was lost.  I was furious.  How dare that man interrupt the learning of twenty-eight other people on behalf of ONE person…and one person who repeatedly shows just how much he doesn’t care about his education?  I taught him during his Junior year, and he did the same thing.  I was not impressed…Social graduation dressed in it’s Sunday best!

A teacher’s efforts never go unpunished.

Thank you, No Child Left Behind!

*WTFFF = What the Fuckity Fuck Fuck?

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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38 – She’s Only Seventeen…

Okay…okay…I realize I just showed my age (along with revealing the fact that I once listened to Winger). “Her daddy says she too young, but she’s old enough for me.” (That was for those of you who know the song)…LOL!

But on a more serious note…

I have to tell you about this student of mine…she’s seventeen, a senior.  BOTH of her parents died when she was at an early age, and she now lives with her older brother and his girlfriend.  From what I have gathered…the brother is not extremely stable himself because my student has no personal doctor, medical insurance (no Medicade yet), or personal transportation.

She came in to first period this morning, limping…acting as though it really pained her to walk. After everyone got settled, I asked her if she felt okay. She said she did, but another student said, “No Ms. Friendly! She just left the hospital this morning at 4 a.m. and she should go home!”

The “sick” student protested and said she felt fine. I told her, after looking over her release papers, that I wanted to speak to her in the hallway. I was alarmed because it seemed as though she had a miscarriage. I saw the words “pregnancy terminated by vacuum” written in her diagnosis. My heart immediately went out to her.  She said that she didn’t even know that she was pregnant. She also said that the fetus died while inside of her…she was THREE months pregnant.

She went on to explain to me that she has only had sex twice in her life, and doesn’t see how all those other girls run around doing it without getting “caught.”  She said she had questions when the nurse was talking to her, but her brother was in the room and she didn’t feel she could ask…She was concerned about internal infection, seeing as how the fetus was deceased when born.  I urged her to find a gynecologist.  She said that she would as soon as her brother applied for her Medicaid.

I tried to answer her questions to the best of my ability as well as give her a comforting hug. I felt so sad for her. These kids deal with so much! I just wish that I could save all of them!

Life is just so delicate…

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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37 – The Secret Life of Students

There’s so much I don’t know about my students.  Their lives are so much more complicated than mine could have ever been when I was their age.  It scares me…makes me wonder where we, as adults and a community, have failed them.  Were “we” the ones who failed them?

This year alone I have had five of my Seniors tell me that I am the same age (or OLDER) than their mother…WTF?  Really?  That’s just fucking strange (to me) because I am 34!  34…as in three decades plus four years…not, in my book, old enough to have a SENIOR in high school.  I have four seniors who are now pregnant with her own child (sigh).  I shake my head…It makes me sad.

Whatever happened to being a kid?

Today, I facilitated a discussion activity called a “Fishbowl” in class.  The premise behind the fishbowl was to get the students’ creative juices flowing for our upcoming Canterbury Tales project.  For their project, students are to select a modern-day issue and satirize through the persona of a pilgrim from The Canterbury Tales.  Well, needless to say, when I assigned the project last week Thursday, they acted as if I had asked them to shit down each other’s throats instead of “create an authentic project of your choosing.”

Original thought is not something they offer up willingly…LOL!

So, in the name of provocation, I assigned a journal prompt stating the following:

“Write three modern-day issues/topics and create an open-ended question for each issue/topic.”

I collected their journal prompts and selected some of the more juicy questions in which ask.  There were eight students in the “inner-circle.”  Those kids were the ones who answered the questions.  The “outer-circle” kids remained SILENT and took notes (and this REALLY worked until my last class during 6th period).  Once someone from the “inner-circle” spoke, then a student sitting in the “outer-circle” had the opportunity to switch places and participate in the discussion.

I discovered these key things via the fishbowl discussions in various classes:

  • A majority of my students have sex (more than I do)
  • A major majority of my students have UNPROTECTED sex (I do not do that)
  • I am as old as, or younger, than my students’ parents (I’m 34 and they are 17 or 18)
  • They are homeless
  • They have unconventional families (live with grandparents, siblings, foster parents, etc.)
  • They are parents themselves
  • They don’t believe in conventional relationships (or that they will actually work)
  • Don’t have a reliable adult base of support at home

So now…I have a newfound respect for the efforts my mother and extended family members did to ensure my welfare.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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36 – The Slush Pile ABCs

paper-mtn

I’m trapped in the gym today…it’s club/organization picture day, and I was “suggested” as a candidate for yearbook sponsor in the later part of last school year.  Of course, my initial response when asked was, Hell No! But I never said that aloud…to my boss (yeah, right…I’m snarky…not crazy).

Okay…so…before I start gripping about my newly appointed duties…allow me to (1) apologize for my EXTENDED hiatus, and (2) catch you all up on what’s been going on with me.

A. Not still teaching with Pollyanna Sunshine. I firmly informed my new department head that I’m a one-woman-show…no assistance needed!  In fact, Pollyanna’s “help” crippled me and (more importantly) my class.  I let my department head know that I did not want anymore collaborative teaching situations (whole “My Buddy and Me” thing creeps me out).  I offered to keep the subject I was already teaching (American Literature – 11th), but instead I got British Literature…Seniors!!!! Yayyyyyy!

B. Got stuck with yearbook. I don’t know shit from shinola about a damn yearbook.  The only thing I know about yearbooks is that the guy I had a crush on in high school, drew a picture of a penis in mine…and I had to do everything in my power to keep my very authoritarian mother from seeing that!  Had she seen that, she would have demanded to speak to his parents immediately.  My yearbook staff, while sweet kids, is inexperienced…kinda like having sex with a 40-year-old male virgin (throwing up in my mouth a little bit).  They don’t know shit from shinola, too!  We all make an interesting group.  All I can say is that yearbook is stressful, and I’ve already had to decline a part-time adjunct teaching job I was offered.

C. Have high blood pressure. I never thought I would admit to having HBP…at 34!  Perhaps the stress of my profession does not agree with me.  Last year, I over did it.  Last year I smoldered from within every time I came to work because I didn’t like co-teaching and I hated my 6th period class (damn delinquents…literally).  I was teaching as an adjunct professor, two nights a week, at the community college in my neighborhood (which added another 15 miles to my already 32-mile-one-way trek to work).  Also, I was pining away over an idiot asshole who did not care for me the way I cared for him.  I could not just wake up and smell the bullshit.

D. Got accepted to the PhD program I applied for. This is a bitter-sweet situation.  My student loans were in default…HEAVY default.  I was under the impression that they were deferred because I filled out loan forgiveness paperwork, but it was for something entirely different than what I thought it was for.  So…to make a long story longer…I had to defer my admission to Fall 2010 in order to fix my financial issues.  Although the university is offering me a stipend ($1100 a month BEFORE taxes), free tuition, and medical…I would still need minimal loans to cover my personal expenses.  However, I’m grateful for the offer and can’t wait to get started!  It’s a PhD in Education (of course).  The goal is to teach other teachers HOW to implement meaningful/authentic/germane teaching strategies in which to teach the new breed of people/situations we are being faced with in our classrooms.

So now we are all caught up!  I look forward to posting my daily goings-on more often!  :-)

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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35-Discipline Starts at Home!

bad-kid

I’m teaching at a new school…but I’m experiencing the same problems. The same apathetic attitudes, unruly teens with no direction (Read: Lord of the Flies), and poor access to educational supplies exist at this school. Just minutes ago, I was verbally attacked by one student for saying that I heard music being played in an area of the room that she happened to be sitting in. I was not directly speaking to that student, however, she responds with, “She don’t hear no music from over here.”

Folks, this is one of my pet peeves, I do not need a pissy-ass teenager telling me what I do or do not hear! I have the hearing of a dog! Unfortunately, I hear most of everything my students say (the “private” things they say to one another especially). Again, addressing the GENERAL vicinity from which the noise came from, I said, “I am aware of what I hear. I do not need someone else telling me what I did or did not hear so, turn it off!” So the Bad Seed responds with, “Just cuz you come in here with a bad attitude everyday don’t mean nothing. I’m sick of all you stupid ass teachers.” My collaborative teacher tells Bad Seed, “That’s enough. Step outside.” Bad Seed replies, “No. I don’t need to go outside.” “Yes you do,” I responded. “I’m straight,” she replies. “No,” I said, “You need to go.”

Now she’s all puffed up and even more pissy (if that’s possible). “I don’t give a shit.” I laugh and say, “Neither do I because the more you say the more you incriminate yourself. I’ve a write-up with your name on.” “Fine,” she responds, “I don’t give a fuck about you. Make sure you put that on the write-up.” …This from an eighteen-year-old girl who is in my 11th Grade Literature class (with sixteen-year-olds) who throws shoes at her peers and curses her teachers out. I am the one with the bad attitude? HA!

Her parents are afraid of her temper. They allow her to do whatever she wants…her father once said to me, “Sometimes she has a bad temper, but you just have to wait it out and let her come around.” What a cop out! She was never disciplined! In my eyes, that’s child abuse…she has no real-world skills! If she goes off on a boss the same way she just did to me, she would lose her job! I would never hire her. She’s a ticking time bomb. She is not used to being held accountable for following rules…that’s the REAL reason why she thinks I “have a bad attitude.” I don’t have a bad attitude, I just expect DISCIPLINED students, and if they are unfamiliar with what DISCIPLINE looks like…I “gently” remind them. While I respect ALL of my students as individuals, I will not allow them to over-step their boundaries without calling it to their attention. I believe that one of the dire issues, widely affecting education and achievement gaps, is the lack of discipline among young adults. All I have to say is that discipline STARTS AT HOME!

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2009 in Uncategorized

 
 
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