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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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26 – The Fast Track to Nowhere

Okay…I’m a glutton for punishment…I’m watching Hard Times at Douglass High again (Ahhh! The joy of HBO re-runs).

“No teacher will receive a proficient evaluation as long as there are a high number of failing students in their class. Whose fault is it? Certainly not the student’s.”

These words were spoken (almost verbatim) by an Assistant Principal at Douglass during a Department Head’s meeting. I don’t know how I missed that segment the first time around…maybe that was when I took the dog outside or answered a phone call.

Oh the temerity! In fact, now that I am watching this documentary for the second time, I recall hearing that very sentiment echoed by the Principal during a faculty meeting. Are these people for real?

How can a teacher be blamed for what ails each and every student…because that’s what it boils down to…she’s (the Principal) asking teachers to be responsible for students who do not attend school on a regular basis, for the parents who are unable to get their children to school on a regular basis, for students who decide to hang out in the hallway instead of come to class, for students who refuse to do their work, for students who are more concerned with gangs/drugs/the opposite sex/crime/pregnancy (take your pick)…WOW! Or more like…HELL NO! Really?

I don’t buy it. I don’t buy her concerned act anymore. The first time I watched the documentary, I was too busy “watching”…not analyzing. Anyone who says, “Grades and making up assignments are up to the teacher, but I don’t change grades…” Is announcing to me that YES, YOU DO CHANGE GRADES! In every other “normal” school I have worked, there has been a solid grading policy in place…and not even the principal adulterated that system. After I put a grade in…it was in! If you (the student) did not find my work important enough to do, then you failed and you repeated…or you PAID FOR SUMMER SCHOOL! It’s called being held ACCOUNTABLE!

Anyone ever wonder how that Fast Track deal works? What kind of message does that send, anyway? There is no Fast Track program or Blaming System in the “real world”…not for people like me. I am a law abiding, hard working, tax payer who NEVER received any Fast Track or Blaming System benefits!

My students learned how to work the system at an early age, and they will continue to work it at my expense! Whenever I have attempted to explain the importance of timeliness, integrity, responsibility…many of them remind me that they will receive a “check” and that Section 8 will cover them. They did not need to hear me extolling the importance of paying mortgage on time, a car note on time, a phone bill on time, ANYTHING on time…because it did not apply to them…they don’t see that at home…apparently, where they live, no one is being made to be held accountable for much of anything.

So, somewhere along the line the government said, “Hey, these people over here aren’t ever going to really do anything with themselves…so let’s just continue to support them (minimally)…and then maybe they will just kill each other off.” But HA! Fuck you government and taxpayers…they figured out a decade’s worth of lifetimes to live and create their own alternate reality within the current existence that the rest of the world embraces as “reality.”

Now, the government wants to penalize ALL of us by: (a) including their test tube children in the scores along with the rest of ours (NCLB), (b) doing nothing to eradicate the giant crutch they have created, (c) scaring GOOD teachers into submission of the Stepford Wives Fast Track program…everybody’s doing it…just change the grade…no one will know…who cares if those kids only read on a ninth or tenth grade level upon graduation…

I wish I had a magic wand filled with all the answers…I don’t (obviously)…but I do know crap when I see it…and I’m seeing it! I believe our education issue supersedes the realm of actual education and begins in the home and the community/society in which children are reared…maybe we do need NCLB…but for parents!

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Posted by on June 29, 2008 in Work

 

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20 – Trash, Guns, Idiot Grams, and Phucktards…Oh My!

So…this is the last week of school! YEAH! Woo-Hoo! Last week was…well…let’s just say I’m glad it’s part of the past.

1) Monday – I drove past this trash heap and watched as all my students walked past it in order to get to school…That was last week…it’s STILL THERE one week later! If that trash heap were in a suburban neighborhood, the community would be all over it! If I called and said anything about it…I would put my job on the line…but, the GOOD NEWS is that I won’t be returning so if the crap is still there tomorrow I’m going to call!

2) Wednesday – The natives began to get restless…students were walking, aimlessly, throughout the halls instead of going to class (hall monitors and our ONE Assistant Principal were trying to herd students back into classrooms). Stink bombs were detonated in various areas of the school, however, no motions were made by the administration to discover the culprit(s).

After school is when all the fun and fireworks occurred. Two male students engaged in a gun fight that is said to have been gang related. When the two young men caught wind of the fact that the “po-po” were on the way, they hopped in their respective cars and fled the scene. One of the young men was in such a hurry to escape that, in his haste, his car struck the car of a student’s parent. Realizing that he was stuck, the young man fled the scene on foot, and thereby abandoned the car.

3) Thursday – More stink bombs…A news crew came by, however, they were meet with the stony silence and solidarity that stinks of “cover-up.” No one in the front office seemed to take any of the students’ threats/plans for the last week of school seriously.“Oh, they’re not going to do anything,” or “They’re just all talk” were the responses I was met with when I named three teachers who have been targeted by my students. Where are they drawing this false sense of security from? Did they forget about Wednesday that quickly?

4) Friday – I was absent. I was experiencing breathing problems due to my asthma.

The disturbing thing about it is that one of my students had just confessed to me how her peers had been spraying perfume in my class ON PURPOSE (even after I had asked them not to BECAUSE it is harmful to people with asthma) because they thought it was funny. So…Thursday night, I was not surprised when I had, yet another, asthma attack. I immediately called for a substitute and emailed my principal (standard procedures for my school).

A colleague of mine sent me a text on Friday stating that I did not have a sub the entire day, and NO ONE in the office did anything about it!!!!! WTF? In fact, my colleague said (according to one of the students we share), the counselor came in and asked, “Where’s your teacher?” (um…HELLO…shouldn’t the principal already know the answer to that question…from his email AND the subfinder system)…the kids told the counselor, “She’s not here!” So, the counselor says, “Oh! We will have to do something about that.” Then she never returned…which meant that my classes matriculated, throughout an entire school day, in and out of my classroom with NO SUPERVISION! Students could have used my room for conception, child-birthing, drug-dealing, gambling, prostitution, personal gratification, oral sex, and a host of other things I don’t want to think of! I am glad that the education of the students mean so much to my fearless leader…his actions certainly correspond with the barrage of Idiot Grams he floods our emails with…like this one sent on 5/1/08 (an excerpt):

Also, relaxing on instruction and classroom management could make the last four weeks extremely difficult in maintaining appropriate behavior. If staff show (it should say “shows”) an indifferent attitude then we can expect some of our students to act in a similar manner. The tone you display will determine how we end this year and impact the culture next school year. If unwelcome incidents arise with students in a classroom where it is obvious there was not an attempt by staff to plan instructional activities; I will view the incident as being a result of the staff member’s lack of instructional focus and/or abandonment of expectations for classroom management. The student(s) and staff member(s) will then have to be reprimanded.

HA! HA! HA! O the irony and multiple grammatical errors …Seems like the INDIFFERENT phucktard who wrote this should follow his own advice 🙂

* See Post #3

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2008 in Work

 

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19 -Idiocracy

MY students are the people who travel to the rich people malls and steal from them. I’m hearing their stories now and I’m incredulous and disgusted. Why am I so surprised? …Damn…I think I’m even hurt a little bit…WTFrench Toast? Maybe I wouldn’t feel so “betrayed” if it weren’t my “good” girls talking about doing it…okay…I am just going to have to focus on the end-of-the-school-year-no-more-Junkies-R-Us-High-School countdown. I have to get out of here. Coming here was a mistake. I can’t believe I actually thought I could make a difference.

There is way too much dysfunction in one place! This school should be given the title of a functional and operational Idiocracy…I swear…teaching here (and in general) has been a living testament of birth control for me…I want NO children of my own! You know, the irony is that the very people who have no business with children are the very people who end up with a gaggle of them (see the movie Idiocracy). My cousin and I were having this discussion the other day…

Although neither one of us are parents, both of us parent on a frequent basis; she is a social worker and I, a teacher. Both of us usually encounter the young, acquiescent, and self-absorbed parent who has no clue as to what DISCIPLINE looks like. Often times, the parents I encounter do not know how to be RESPONSIBLE for their child…and by responsible I mean making them come to school on time, complete their homework/projects, tell parents who their friends are, adhere to a curfew, revere adults and address them with respect, remain in “a child’s place” regardless of their age, maintain good grades and behavior, expect a post-secondary education…

I’m talking about the making of a fully functional and productive American citizen!

I once had a parent/teacher meeting…many years ago…with the parent of teen who was just beginning high school. This “young man,” within the first three months of school, had found and befriended THE WORST students of the school (gang members and overall generic brand delinquents)! I told the parent as much…in fact, I told his mother, “If you do not watch your son and the company he keeps, he will end up in jail! It’s not too late to save him!” She cried and made excuses for him. The counselor looked at me as though I had grown a third head (I guess I wasn’t supposed to be THAT honest). I call them as I see them, and my first and foremost concern is the welfare of the student…I could really give a damn about proper politics if those politics do not serve the student first! By the time I left that school, his behavior had become worse…and now, of course, I don’t know what has become of him. Patrick Welch, the young man in the following article, reminds me of the student I once taught…

Forest Hill Academy: The Children Left Behind

How can education thrive when students like him exist…but more importantly…how is a child expected to learn without the proper encouragement from his parents/guardians?

A teacher cannot be mother, father, administrator, counselor, and still have the where-with-all to teach a course subject!

A judge in Cincinnati jailed a father for not following court orders to see that his daughter attained her General Equivalency Diploma (GED). There are many people who disagree with the judge’s decision…I am not one of those people. More court judges are needed to send the message to parents that their children’s education is just THAT important! Perhaps if parents knew the possibility of imprisonment existed for poor parenting, then they would be more vigilant (and take their role more seriously) from the onset…maybe then, there would be no need for alternative schools.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2008 in Work

 

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18 – “D-Day” is Near!!!

There are two more weeks left in the hole and I can’t believe that I have survived…however it seems as though the REAL test will be surviving the last week of school! Apparently, the students at this school have a tradition of waging war by use of “weapons of mass destruction”…Clorox-filled water guns, paint-filled balloons, and water balloons…they are also planning to fight, fight, fight!

According to Upperclassmen, this day is real and this day should be taken seriously! A few concerned seniors have told me that they plan on wearing hobo-esque clothes, plastic bags over THOSE clothes, shower caps over their hair, and goggles over their eyes…WOW! They said that last year’s principal ate a “paint-balloon sandwich” and was WEARING the paint that one of the student culprits threw. OMG!

“Were these students reprimanded?” I asked.

The seniors laughed, “Ms. Friendly, please! Remember where we are? NOBODY is EVER reprimanded! The principal just went home and changed his clothes.

“So…nobody stopped the children from destroying the school?”

“Yeah, they turned the water off to the school and banned students from going to the bathroom so that they would not be able to put anymore water in the balloons or guns…but some parents called and complained and they had to turn the water back on.”

HA! Parents called and complained about the water but completely ignored the fact that their kids were fucking up the school! …Typical…Ignoring the more poignant issue at hand. And the school…why weren’t the campus police notified? Why were students allowed to create total anarchy on campus?

…So, needless to say, I am REALLY looking forward to the upcoming last week of school. However, most students say to me, “Ms. Friendly, you ain’t got to worry cuz you cool…but Mr. Bite-Sized Teacher (he’s REALLY short)…yeah…we gone git dat ass so he best not come to work.”

…So this should make me feel better…right…?

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2008 in Work

 

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15 – A Piece of Humble Pie

I almost walked out yesterday.

I have never taught somewhere and felt the urge to just grab my belongings and leave…I am not a quitter, but I am not a masochist either!

I looked around the pandemonium of what was doubling as a “class” and “students”…and I just could not take any more of the loud noise (louder than a seven-year-old’s birthday party at ChuckE Cheese), I could not take anymore of the “chemical warfare” (students repeatedly spraying perfume in the air), I could not take any more of the extreme disruptive behavior (students yelling obscenities, hitting each other, mocking each other, the extreme horseplay, and NEVER doing any work)…everything is a joke to them!

I hated them ALL! Then…I went by the Spanish teacher’s room; there’s something about that woman that always puts me in a better mood…she has a wonderful way with the kids and her humor is as dry as the Sahara (my kinda gal)…so I went by for a little escapism. We discussed the ins-and-outs of making churros (very intellectual) until a former student of hers stopped by to visit.

I had never noticed her before; she was one of our school’s up and coming 2008 graduates…she looked twelve! I mean…seriously! Sometimes, the seniors don a superficial “look” of maturity, but this young lady did not.

“I don’t think I’m going to be able to go to prom,” she stated rather matter-of-factly to La Professora. She didn’t sound all angsty like most teens would. It was a statement. In fact, it was the un-angsty-ness of her voice that made me look at her…REALLY look at her. She was wise beyond her years and she wore all of her wisdom in the deep, mysterious onyx pools of her eyes. Her eyes told the tale of a girl far older than the age of eighteen. She began to weave her tale as to why she may be missing prom and why she had missed the last three weeks of school.

Her mother had been very ill and she was responsible for taking care of her mother, Sara* continued…she said her mother had Cervical Cancer, Bells Palsey, and Rheumatoid Arthritis…and her mother is only thirty-six! WOW! Then Sara said that due to the severity of her illnesses, her mother has been preparing her and her two younger sisters for her possible, impending death.

Oh…but WAIT…it gets worse!

Sara has to move out of the three-bedroom apartment she shares with her mother, step-father, two younger sisters, a dog, and a cat…their rent is subsidized so they only pay $87.00…and Sara says that the Section 8 Housing reps make regular check-ups to ensure that no one eighteen or older is living in the apartment while not either in school or employed. Currently, Sara is neither of the two.

After that, my ears were lit with information I never knew any eighteen-year-old to know of…Sara’s biological father is in jail, soon to be released – he was incarcerated because he snapped the neck of a man who was in the act of attempting rape on Sara. Sara said that her father will be released within one month. Sara spoke very strongly of taking care of her family and assuming her mother’s role as caretaker…she admitted that she has already stepped in several times (unbeknownst to her mother) and provided monetary largesse. Sara said that between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, she sold drugs and would place a large percentage of her earnings in her mother’s purse when her mother was not paying attention…Sara said that it was easy for her to get away with selling drugs when she was younger because police officers never took her seriously…she said she looked nine or ten when she was thirteen.

As the tales of her enthralling life began to wind down, and the time for the end school approached, I asked Sara the one question that was burning within me.

“In retrospect of everything you have said here today about your life…How does education fit onto your list of things-that-are-important?”

She did not hesitate to answer, “Education is my only way out. I will be the only person in my family, except for my younger sisters, to graduate from high school and get a diploma…And I don’t plan on stopping with that! After getting my diploma, I want to go to massage therapy school, and then to college to get my degree.”

I nodded my head in silence. I was humbled by the tone of motivation I detected in her voice…she reminded me of WHY I wanted to work in the inner-city. I wanted/expected to meet students like her…people who WANTED help to help themselves. Sara is the anomaly.

…And to think I thought I had it bad…

*Names have been changed to protect identity.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2008 in Work

 

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8 – Demoralization is a Hot Mess!

flava flav

*Crittle73 said in response to7- Life During Wartime (Removing Our Heads from the Inside of Our Asses)”:

This system is set up so that these “students” fail! There are no consequences for anything they do. They aren’t held up to expectations, but the teachers better get those test scores up! Who cares if the kids come to class 30 mins late and leave 10 mins early? Who cares that fights are breaking out in the classroom? Who cares if “students” are cursing out the teacher? Just don’t send them to the office!! It’s your job as a teacher to break up fights, stop constant name-calling, bullying, and cursing, AND to produce a 70% pass rate on the state test!

Ms. Friendly says:

This particular system IS constructed so that these children will fail…and they do! The verdict of DEMORALIZATION has been bothering me…still! I know it shouldn’t because the person who made the decree has no idea of what he’s talking about. It is easy to dish out judgment from the “cushy,” comfy, and cozy side of the fence. It is more difficult to come away with rose-colored glasses still intact when the shit is all up in your face on a daily basis…when the stench follows you home like a lost puppy (but less cute)…when the ailment of the machine grips you and infects you even in the hours you are away from the building.

A failing system is one of smoke and mirrors…everything looks to be in place from the outside. However, if you scratch the shiny surface…you will recognize the veneer to be yellow plastic and never gold.

During the first week of school, we had no schedules, no text books, no copy machines, or printers. For those of you who are NOT educators…I will translate. A HOT MESS! We had students in rooms doing absolutely NOTHING for an entire school day! This continued for three full days until they were given a quasi-schedule (meaning it would change yet AGAIN)…WTF? And while I had said “students” in my care, serving their quasi-student-tude, I was to provide them with “QUALITY” TEACHING! (bite me). How? How? and…How? I had no text and no way of copying or printing anything to assign to my quasi-students! What did I do? I’m sure you’re asking that question…I did what any seasoned teacher does…I improvised. I used my PERSONAL money to make copies at Kinko’s (class sets)…that’s sooooooo fucking demoralizing isn’t it?

I did not understand why I was using my HARD earned money to fund the FREE and PUBLIC education of my students when a well-known philanthropist just donated $3 billion dollars to our school system in the name of school reform…WTF? Can I get a copier, printer, and some texts please?

Guess what? I STILL DON’T HAVE TEXT BOOKS FOR ONE OF MY CLASSES! The school year will be over in a few months.

*To read crittle73’s full comment, please refer to Post #7

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2008 in Work

 

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