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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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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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34 – Ms. Friendly’s Back…and Hey, Why Don’t You Work Here Anymore?!

No!  Don’t panic!  I didn’t ask for my old job back, but it did ask for me…(kind of)…

 

This week, my school system had two days off in the name of “Teachers-please-don’t- murder- your –students-Day”…okay…so maybe it’s not REALLY called  “Teachers-please-don’t- murder- your –students-Day”…maybe more like Fall Break.  But, whatever, it’s all the same to me!  Anywho, I had some business to attend to and that business happened to include my Fearless Leader from Ye Olde Ghetto Asylum in the inner-city.  Meaning…I would have to return to my old stomping grounds.  Whew!  My stomach was grumbling like two cats and a hyena stuck in a bag.

 

Two of my former students spotted me in the hallway, before I could even make it to the front office.  They both started giggling uncontrollably.  I gave them a hug and inquired as to what was so funny.  They shook their heads vigorously and were not able to produce a coherent response.  I made it to the office and Fearless Leader was not there; he was somewhere else in the building (apparently he leaves his office during work and walks about the school now…who knew?).  I sat in the office while I waited for him, and the word spread like wildfire…Ms. Friendly’s back!  Students were flooding the office to see me.  They came bearing hugs, smiles, and questions such as “Why did you leave us?  Are you coming back?  Where’s saneandsingle?”  I answered their questions and sent them on their way.  I was beginning to get a warm feeling inside after the welcome I received from my former students…after conducting my business with my former Fearless Leader, I decided to take the “long way out of the school.”  I ran into more students, and the reception from them was identical to the prior reactions of their peers.  “Why did you leave us?  Are you coming back?  Where’s saneandsingle?”  Then…more hugging…more squealing (OMG!  Ms. Friendly!)…more hugging.  It was like a family reunion.

 

I was nonplussed! 

 

Me: But you did everything humanly possible to place me in an insane asylum!  You barely listened to me when I was here.

 

Them: But the teachers here are boring.   Please come back!  Why did you leave?

 

Me: I don’t know…we’ll see…(Read: Fat chance!  Not as long as that man is the principal!)

 

Needless to say, I left feeling full of love and appreciation.  I think about those kids often…they have so much personality.  I wish I had a more experienced “leader” because the students suffered from the lack of administrative discipline and the eventual loss of two extremely talented teachers.  I can honestly say that I miss them because I know that they need me…however, I have teaching long enough to know that sacrificing values and personal health for others will only send one to the grave that much more quickly.   

 

Apparently I did make a difference.  Too bad the administration did not recognize my worth.

 

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2008 in Work

 

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27 – Why Mechanics Should Not Perform Heart Surgery

Okay…so Tom, a reader of mine, posted the following comments (he’s always finding/asking the good stuff):

There’s an interesting discussion on Hard Times at an education blog here. Teachers who have actually been in an urban classroom were not impressed with the bloggers National Review article. (I responded to this one first)

The ed. blogger makes a poor argument which needs to be ‘unpacked’ as he so condescendingly and wonkishly put it. (I responded to this one second)

The “wonkishness” that Tom refers to is an education blogger/researcher (probably twelve years old) who writes for the National Review Online. This blogger has taken his pre-pubescent thoughts concerning Hard Times at Douglass High, and created a dismissive, snobbish, condescending, and judgmental evaluation of the teachers/administration at Douglass High. Needless to say, our Little Blogger Boy did NOT receive a warm reception from any of the commenting educators or people with the ability to think rationally (myself included).

Liam Julian, bless his heart (A Southern phrase I learned from my aunts which really translates into: What a horse’s ass), feels that the teacher’s at Douglass High just “weren’t cutting it” (Yes, I am quoting Julian). Julian goes on to lambast the lesson plan of Mr.McDermott, the 9th Grade English teacher (whom of which posts a direct response to Our Little Blogger Boy)…claiming that his writing topic was inappropriate (paraphrase). Please feast on a few more written gems from Our Little Blogger Boy taken directly from his article Liam Julian on Hard Times at Douglass High on National Review Online:

Yet this film makes clear that kindness and devotion do not great teachers and administrators make, and despite their intentions, the staff members at Douglass aren’t cutting it.”

“But some of Douglass’s staff members actually heighten the discord of their pupils’ already discordant lives. The film shows an English teacher who asks his class about people they know who have screwed up or failed. Thus, instead of having a valuable conversation about Nick Carraway’s flaws, say, or the mistakes of old men who fish for marlin, the students tell stories about relatives who are pregnant, in prison, or dead.”

Hard Times at Douglass High shows that troubled urban schools can succeed only if they’re staffed by competent people. In urban education, good intentions alone will not yield good results.”

If this is who we have to count on to forge the way for educational research, then we REALLY ARE in trouble!

***UPDATE:  This is for my disgruntled Wednesday (wdnsday) commenter! 🙂  This is my posted response to Liam Julian (click the first link to see full information).

Mr. Julian,

“Hard Times at Douglass High shows that troubled urban schools can succeed only if they’re staffed by competent people. In urban education, good intentions alone will not yield good results.”

There is nothing more unnerving than the mechanic who attempts to perform heart-surgery. As a seventh-year teacher in the public school system, I must say that I find your irreverence for the scope of my profession quite offensive. This is not a game, Mr. Julian! American education is in trouble; suburban and urban. NCLB has been fuel to the fire because our POLICY MAKERS are not educators! For you to condense the culpability of this massive issue down to one minuscule group of people shows your lack of preparedness. You should not have written your article without further research…you deserve to be torn a fresh asshole due to your pompous oversight.

There is a recipe that one should follow when engaging in the proper education of a child: parents, community, school, and policy makers. Please notice that I listed four components…four…like the number of tires it takes to support a car. It’s a machine. What would happen to your journey if one or more of those components were faulty?

I viewed that documentary, and I saw a lot more than good intentions in the works. There were plenty of competent educators who were featured on Hard Times. As an individual who has never taught, I find it rather presumptuous of you to evaluate something you know nothing of. Please keep in mind that we need solutions in order to fix this mess…people who are able to view the “big picture,” and that picture boils down to this…policy, policy, and MORE policy; after policy…parents, parents, and MORE parents; after parents…environment…THEN, maybe THEN are we able to look at what I am able to offer in the classroom.

Sincerely,
Ms. Friendly
http://www.msfriendly.wordpress.com

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2008 in Work

 

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2-Zombies Phone Home

Zombies

I can’t believe this! This week is starting to turn into a rendition of Shaun of the Dead (sans the humor)…students who were kicked out, arrested, or suggested to withdraw are now returning. WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! If I disconnect the head from the body do you think it will hold the “zombies” back?

Student #1…let’s call him…”Blow em up!” At the beginning of the semester last year, he threatened to blow the school up, had marijuana in his locker (yes, an entrepreneur in our midst!), AND was hauled off of school property wearing designer handcuffs 😮 “Blow em up!” is back now and I’m wondering how his presence will affect the disorder of my classroom.

Student #2…let’s call him…”Nightmare.” He began the school year by sexually harassing me and another teacher. Some of “Nightmare’s” most memorable quotes during his tenure at It’s the Students’ World High School are as follows:

1) “Ms. ***, why you ain’t answer the phone when I called you this morning?” This question was shouted loudly in the hallway during class change. Several students looked at him and at me as if to ask…He has your phone number? Embarrassing!
2) “I’m going to come over to your house later tonight and knock that out.”
3) “You miss me last night?”
4) “Yes, Baby.” As a response whenever I asked him to STOP walking around the room while I was teaching, to STOP talking to other students while I was teaching, to STOP harassing other students with put-downs while I was teaching, OR to actually DO his work, WAKE UP, etc.!
5) During one class period (not his), he stormed into my classroom while I was teaching. I was sitting on the top of a desk with my back slightly turned to the door. Our principal did not understand the importance of enabling teachers to lock their own classrooms, so I did not have a key…my room was Grand Central Station…anyone could walk in at will and THEY DID! On this particular day, “Nightmare” walked in and placed his hands on my shoulders and proceeded to massage my shoulders. I jumped and turned quickly. I ordered him out immediately, but I felt VIOLATED because he said “What? It’s me, Baby!”
6) Oh…and don’t forget about the pelvic gyrations, directed at me, while he was standing in the doorway of my classroom. Atrocious!

The BEST part is once all of this inappropriate behavior was called to the attention of my fearless leader, the other teacher and I were instructed to “Call home.” Call home? Call home? Are you serious?!!!! I tell you that a STUDENT has been sexually harassing me and all you can up with is “call home?” I was under the impression that ANY form of sexual harassment was REQUIRED to be reported. It WAS NOT reported. My fearless leader was not the least bit interested in the situation. The other teacher and I called “Nightmare’s” mother and the behavior stopped for a while, and then returned in small spurts before he completely withdrew from the school. However, my fearless leader (let me repeat) did not follow up with the event, did not speak to “Nightmare” about the importance of respecting teachers, did not bother to DO anything other than say “Call home.”

I am hoping that there will be no more resurrection of zombies…I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2008 in Work

 

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