Monday, August 31, 2009
When I walked in this morning, I checked my mailbox like I do every morning, and low and behold, yet ANOTHER revised prep schedule!! So, naturally I grab it and say, "What the hell?! It changed AGAIN!?" I then hear New Principal's voice behind me say, "Yes, and it will probably change a few more time til we get it right." I almost peed my pants. But, luckily, she didn't seem offended by my rude comment. As a matter of fact, I was looking at the schedule while standing over near her at the counter and was talking aloud to myself, wondering if any of my preps were changed. She quickly leaned forward and said, with a smile, "Well, yes, you now have 5 preps." I said, "Oh, we're back to 5 preps!" to which she replied, "Oh, no. YOU have 5 preps. You're the only one. But, you're also the only one with 37 kindergartners. So, if anyone has a problem with that, tell them to come see ME." HOLY CRAP!!!! I said, "Well I'M not going to say anything to anyone!" Woo-freakin'-hoo! Way to go, New Principal!
I hit the trifecta today. After I got home from school, I decided I would try accessing the code for my radio online again. Again, I got the error message. I figured, what the hell, I'll try the 1-800 number. I got this awesome guy named Michael on the line, who talked me through how to find my serial number. He was then able to give me the code, and after just a very few minutes, BOOM! I had a radio!! Yay!!!!! I immediately went in the house and grabbed a stack of my favorite CDs. :)
After Stud went with his dad, I hit Wal-Mart, my home away from home, and while I was shopping, my sister called from Italy (Did I mention that she left last Friday to visit my mom for a couple weeks?) and we talked for almost an hour. I ended up losing almost 3 hours at Wal-Mart (not the first time, won't be the last...). I decided to drive past my dad's on the way home, and I was surprised to see my favorite uncle's car in his driveway. Naturally, I had to stop in and say hi. He stopped there on his way home from Michigan. He'll be going back, though, on Thursday, so he'll be there with us over the weekend. Now, I'm even more excited about going. The fact that I'll be driving my new ride is the cherry on the top!! (Oh, and I came home with a bag of yummy peaches that my uncle brought home from peach picking in Michigan. I'll be enjoying those for breakfast the rest of the week!)
Last little thing, since I'm on a roll here with the great things about today. The weather here has been in the 60 for about a week now. Tonight, it's in the 50s. I'm happier than a pig in shit, that's for sure!!! I wish it were like this ALL YEAR!!! It's supposed to hit almost 80 by the weekend, but we won't even be here. I'm going to have to see what the weather is going to be in Saugatuck. I'm afraid that the boys won't be able to hit the beach. :( Although, they're so crazy, they probably wouldn't care if was only in the 70s. I hope the boys have a good time this weekend. I just hope I have a restful weekend. :)
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I told you already that my car's been in the shop. I hadn't heard from Billy, my Mechanic from Heaven, yet about what was wrong with it, so I called him Wednesday afternoon. He apologized for not getting back to me, but he had been swamped, and didn't even look at it yet. Usually, that's not a big deal because I have my mom's car and he knows that, so I'm sure that's why he didn't rush. Well, by now you know my mom's car bit it, too! He promised he would look at it first thing in the morning.
When I came out of school, I saw that Billy had left me a voicemail. I called him and he said, "The news isn't good." In a nutshell, the car needed about $1,500 worth of work. That's about 15 times what the car is worth!! I literally started crying in the car. In the meantime, I was on my way to pick up Stud Muffin. (Little side note here - there was also a text message from Stud on my phone when I came out of school. It said, "call me," so I did. He told me he was across the street from school (at a little take-out place) hanging out with his two best buds. As I started questioning him about why he was out so early, and did he ditch last period, blah, blah, blah, he said, "Did you forget it's Thursday?" Why, yes, yes I did! Thursday is an early dismissal day at his school. DUH!! He had been out of school for over an hour already! I felt terrible. Eh, but he didn't care, so it was all good!)
Ok, get a load of this!!! There is a removable picnic table in the back!! This is what sealed the deal for us. tee hee! Hmmm....maybe I should start tailgating now.... How cute is this thing?!
I spent quite a bit of time in tears this week, and the stress nearly did me in. I don't want to car shop again for a very long time. I miss my Malibu already, but I'm sure I'll warm up to the new car soon enough.
I'll try to come back later and catch you up on school, since I think that's what I'm supposed to be doing here, right? Now, if someone out there knows of a fourth job I could pick up to pay for this new ride, let me know, ok?
OMFG!!!! I don't know what the frik is wrong with frikin blogger, but it keeps deleting the damn spaces between my paragraphs!!!! ARGH!!!! I'm going to separate them a different way I think...
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Anyway, I went home, and stayed there last night. Then, this morning I got in the car to leave for work (CSJ drove Stud again) and the car started beeping at me like crazy. There were two separate lights flashing "low brake fluid." I didn't know what the hell to do. On top of the blaring alarm, it was pouring rain this morning. I had no freakin' idea how to work the windshield wipers in this car, and no matter what the hell I did, the damn washer fluid kept spraying on the already soaking wet window! I thought I was going to cry. I called my dad from the car to see if he could drive me to school, because there was no way I was driving into the ghetto in that car. Luckily, he was almost ready for work, so I drove to his house. The funny thing is, the brakes actually worked better this morning than they did last night. I parked the car, waited for my dad to finish getting dressed, and off we were.
My parents have been telling (or is that yelling at?) me for YEARS to get the hell out of Englewood. Every time a murder, or some other crime, in Englewood is reported on the news (which is fairly often) they go off. Well, I knew this ride was NOT going to be pleasant. About half-way there, my dad started. "What the hell happened to this neighborhood?" "Why the hell do you have to come here everyday?" "Why don't you get a new job at a new school?" And, that was when we were in a fairly decent neighborhood still. He was amazed at how it's changed from when we lived in "the old neighborhood," and he used to drive through the same area. It only got worse from there. When we actually turned into the neighborhood where the Hell-Hole is, I though he was going to blow a gasket. When we approached the block the school actually on, the shit really hit the fan. Naturally the buildings directly behind and next to the school are all boarded up, the property is not taken care of, etc. I mean, come on, it IS the ghetto after all. I don't even notice it anymore. He, however, was losing it. I seriously didn't think he was going to let me out of the car. My daddy is so cute. I'm sure I'm never going to hear the end of this now.
Well, like I said yesterday, today we had open house. It was supposed to go from 3-5. I forgot to mention that before I called my dad this morning, I tried calling CSJ, hoping he was still near Stud's school, and maybe he'd be able to drive me to work. But, I couldn't get through on his phone. He ended up calling me back while I was driving to my dad's. I told him what was going on, and he asked how I was getting home. I told him that I could probably get a ride, "unless you want to come to Englewood at 5:00 and get me." I was joking, but he said, "Well, let me see where I am at 5." Hmmm, ok....Again, weirdly nice, right? I wasn't going to bother him, but by the time open house rolled around, I was so freakin' exhausted from herding cats all day, that I figured, what the hell! If he can come, great. If not, I'll go home with my girlfriend. I figured I could weasel my way out of staying for the whole open house if he came because then I could tell New Principal that I had to go because he was my only ride. (She already knew about what happened in the morning, because I immediately called school to let them know what happened and that I would probably be late, etc. She actually came to me later to say "I see you made it. Glad you're here!" And, no, she WASN'T being sarcastic. How refreshing!)
Anyway, I sent CSJ a text around 3:30 saying, "Any chance you'd be able to pick me up?" He got back to me about a half-hour later, saying simply, "When?" I replied, "Any time that works for you. I'll leave whenever you get here." "OK, I'm leaving Ma's right now." Well, hell's bells, he wasn't even working! He was with Stud over at his mom's. Now, I actually felt bad. He certainly wasn't close, plus he never gets time to visit with his mom. Especially WITH Stud! But, at that point, I just wanted to get the hell out of Dodge.
I found New Principal and told her that I may have to leave a little early because I had a ride coming. She couldn't have been nicer. In the windup, CSJ got to school about 4:45, so I didn't even feel bad about leaving. I went to find New Principal to let her know I was leaving, and I apologized for having to leave early. She told me not to give it another thought, and then thanked me profusely for staying as long as I did. I'm sure part of that is because we stayed today on our own time. There's no money budgeted to pay us for any after school time. Earlier, when I first told her I was going to have to leave when me ride got there, she and I talked about a couple other things, and then she suddenly looked at me and said, "How are you doing? Are you feeling alright?" I was a bit confused, but said, "Yeah, I'm ok, just a bit stressed by the sheer number of babies I'm dealing with." While I was talking, she just kept looking at me, then she said, "Are you sure you're ok, you look wiped out, and your eyes are red." I wonder if she thought I had been crying or something. Truthfully, it's just my contacts irritating me. But, it was kind of touching that she even noticed. I guess that's a woman thing, huh? Jeez, I hope it wasn't because she thought I was on drugs or something! haha!
I assured her it was just the stress, but that I was plugging along. She then asked about how DIBELS was going, and I just happened to have in my hand a copy of my results. I was actually on my way to the office to put it in her mailbox. I'M FINISHED!!!! (All except one little boy who has been out for almost a week.) She was thoroughly impressed. I did admit to having to put on Sesame Street for part of the time I tested, expecting to get a look at the very least. Instead, she said, "You show them that Sesame Street, Girl! These babies need it!" I was floored!!! Hell, that was probably NOT the thing to tell me right now. I'm afraid we're going to end up having Sesame Street time every day until this class size problem is fixed. Still no word from central office, BTW.
CSJ surprised me by showing up with Stud. That was a nice surprise since I didn't think I'd be seeing my baby tonight. I suppose I may have to stop using "CSJ" if he keeps being so nice to me. Things that make you go hmmmm...... Things have been very pleasant between us lately. It's nice not always screaming and fighting with each other. On that note, it's time to change the subject, lest I jinx myself.... ;-)
All in all, open house was a giant waste of my time. I had all of TWO parents come to my room!! I was able to take care of a few housekeeping chores, so at least that's something. I also did a major clean-up this morning to prepare for open house, and that felt great. I finally got all the old reading materials out of my room, and the new materials put away. I cleaned out the coat closet, and cleared off two table. Woo hoo!! The reading coach came in and was impressed. I also got both my carpets back down on the floor, which was quite a task. The big carpet in the front was on the floor in the back when I got to school, so I had to roll it up and drag it to the other side of the room. That wouldn't have been so bad if the room wasn't already filled with nearly 30-something little baby bodies! When I put my other carpet down in the back of the room, I ended up changing its position to make it a better set up for doing calendar and the other things we do back there. It worked out great this afternoon. Luckily, 4 kids were absent today, so I was able to move the table that was sitting in that spot, and I shoved it in a corner for the day.
Let me tell you, having those 4 out made a big difference. Oo, another bad parent story to share! I've had a sweet little girl sitting in my room since the very first day of school. However, her name was never on my list in the computer. Every day I attached a note to my attendance sheet to tell them she needed to be put in the system (along with about 4 other kids.) Well, I come to find out Monday afternoon from Mrs. J. in the office what the deal was. Get this!! She attended pre-k at the Hell-Hole, but then Mom transferred her out to another school for this year. Mrs. J. found her name in the system with the new school's name. So she called Mom, who claimed she never transferred her. Huh? Well, then who the hell did? Mrs. J. told her that if she wanted to continue sending her here, she needed to transfer her back. Mom kept saying it wasn't her that transferred, etc., but then says, "Well, I can't get the paper work until they open the office next week." Hmmm, how do you know when that school opens if you didn't transfer your kid there?! Can you believe how slick she was?! Gee, let me get a whole MONTH of FREE BABYSITTING over at the Hell-Hole, then I'll take my kid out when her real school starts. WTF?! I was fit to be tied!!! So, at least that's one less baby in my room. And, I was actually a little bummed because this little girl was very sweet, smart and well-behaved. Poor thing. I hope her mother's sneaky ways don't rub off on her!
Holy crap, I think this is my longest post ever! And, I didn't even tell you everything I wanted to tell you. If you're still here, thanks for hanging in there! I'll save the rest for tomorrow. You're welcome!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Then, this afternoon, it was a Sesame Street afternoon so I could try and squeeze in a few more babies. Since it was technically math time, we watched one of the number videos. I'm so annoyed that I couldn't enjoy and embrace the way they were enjoying the video. They actually wanted to sing along, and talk back to the characters when they asked questions. But, of course, they couldn't because I WAS TESTING!! Ugh!! I had to keep asking them to keep it down, which really made me sad. Normally, I would encourage that kind of interaction with the video. We will definitely watch that one again when we can all sing along and enjoy it.
Ideally, I would be able to leave the room, even if it's just to sit in the hallway, and test the children in quiet. If I had an actual assitant (and not just a wonderful parent volunteer!) I'd be able to do that. But, I obviously can't leave 37 of them alone in the room while I go out in the hall with one. Ms. H. isn't even with me enough for me to leave her with the kids in the room. Plus, I'm not really comfortable with that, as that's just far too much responsibility (and headache!!) for a volunteer. So, instead, they watch Sesame Street and Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom! Sue me!
I had to call a couple mommies today. One of my little PITAs* decided he would give some other kids the finger. I caught him red-handed. After I called his mom, his behavior just continued to go downhill. He spent a good chunk of time across the hall in Mrs. M.'s room, to ensure I didn't "bust my foot off in his ass!" (Surely one of my favorite Englewood-isms!)
I didn't hear anything from New Principal today about the half-day situation. She was actually out most of the day for a principals' meeting. I saw her for about a second in the hall, but didn't speak to her. Then, at the end of the day, I had to skedaddle, since today was Stud's first full day of school, and I had to pick him up. (In the windup, CSJ called just as I was pulling out the lot to tell me he was in the area, so he would pick him up for me, and meet me at the house. Like I said, he's been nice lately. Weird, huh? But, I digress...)
Thanks to CSJ, I actually was home just a few minutes after 3! I can't even remember the last time that happened. He just brought Stud home for a minute so I could see him, kiss him, hug him, then send him on his way. He stayed at his dad's last night, too. CSJ will probably take him as many nights as he can this week because he didn't see him over the weekend (Stud went to Michigan with a friend, remember?) and Stud will be going to Michigan again this weekend with the same friend. Then, the following weekend is Labor Day weekend, and in keeping with tradition, I'll be taking all my boys to Saugatuck. This year we'll be adding the "new" friend to our group, and I'm really excited, as is Stud Muffin, of course! Anyway, the point is, CSJ is feeling a little gypped, so he's going to take Stud as often as possible during the week.
So, tomorrow night is our open house. Um...yeah...I kind of forgot all about that. We haven't spoken about it since that first week of meetings. I voted to have it during the school day, but obviously I was outvoted. But, I was far from the only one who wanted that time! I HATE having to stay in Englewood past 3:00. It's simply not safe. Anyhoo, I'm not the least bit prepared for this. I didn't have my kids make anything cutesy to hang up, I have nothing to display, my room is still a hot mess, my carpets were taken out last week to be cleaned and haven't been put back yet (mostly because I have freakin' tables where the one used to go!!!), I'm simply NOT ready. But, my main focus tomorrow is going to be to tell the parents that they need to let all their friends/neighbors with kdg. age children know that school started 3 weeks ago, and they need to get them in NOW. They can't wait til after Labor Day, which is the tradition in this neighborhood. I'm going to let them know that half-day kdg. is a very real possibility to relieve the overcrowding, but if we get enough new kdg. students, we will be able to open a second room, and I can babysit ALL DAY. I mean, their kids can learn all day, yeah, that's what I meant... I just hope it makes a difference. But, I've been thinking about this a lot, and I'm starting to think getting the OK for half-day will sort of be a win-win for me. At the very least, I'll only have to deal with half the kids at a time, even though it'll SUCK to still have to deal with 40 sets of parents, do 40 report cards, keep 40 sets of records, etc. Then again, once we go half-day, I guarantee many parents will pull their kids out (like I explained yesterday) and my class will just get that much smaller. OK, I'm not going to stress about it anymore. I'm just going to let it go...
I think I may just embrace the fact that I'm home all alone, and take a nice, relaxing bath. I haven't done THAT in ages. I'm off to light a candle right now....
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. ~Harold HulbertThis is definitely one of my FAVORITE quotes (I've shared it before) and it hangs in my room. I've been trying to keep this in the forefront of my mind lately, for obvious reasons!
*Pain In The Ass -- I know, I'm mean. Get over it!
VERY inappropriate for children!! Those easily offended by raunchy humor should definitely skip this video. My perverted friends, however, should simply click and enjoy!!
Now this one offers something to offend everyone, and drops the "F-bomb" almost as much as I do! tee hee! There were a couple of moments that made me laugh out loud. Again, if you're easily offended, please skip it.
Thanks, Bro! (Who the hell else would send me stuff like this?!)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Yeah, so much for ending the bitching! Just like Mrs. F. told me, I'm up to 38 little darlings. Like I predicted, the 4 days away was good for me and helped me find a little patience. At least enough to get me to lunch. It was kind of downhill from there. Really, I know I'm being too hard on them. But, the reading coach (or whatever the hell her title is!) came to me this morning and asked how my DIBELS testing was going. After I stopped laughing, I let her know I hadn't even started yet. I thought I was going to have to pick her eyeballs up off the ground. I now have nearly 40 kids to test this week, which is going to be very difficult. However, I was able to get 10 of them done today. Yup, even she was impressed!
The problem is, I need a very quiet room so that I can hear the responses of the child I'm testing, seeing as this is an oral test. Yeah, try keeping 37 kids quiet while you test that 1. Good freakin' luck!!! So, I spent a LOT of time today telling them to be quiet, which then changed to "put your heads down!" That made me feel bad, so we put on our favorite DVD - Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom! There wasn't a whole lot of work done today in our room. I'm just going to have to let that go, and not feel guilty about it. That's probably how the rest of the week is going to have to go. At least until DIBELS is finished.
New Principal approached me today and very briefly asked what my feelings were about going to half-day. Um...HELLO!!! Even though my preference would be to have 2 kindergarten classes, half-day would be 100% better than what my situation is now. I'm just afraid that once we tell the parents about going half-day, many of them will pull their kids out (because their free all-day daycare will be cut to half-day!) which will make our numbers go down instead of up. That would subsequently mean no second class, since there won't be enough students. OK, I'm not going to get ahead of myself. New Principal said she was waiting for central office to call her back.
I'm too tired to write much more, despite wanting to share some details about today. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow. I need to go sleepy now....
Friday, August 21, 2009
OK, on to school news. Mrs. F. sent text messages several times yesterday and today to let me know how things were going, and to let me know everytime a NEW STUDENT arrived! Oh, no, I'm NOT kidding!!! As of the last text, I'm up to 38. 38 freakin' students!! That has GOT to be enough to open the other kdg. back up, don't you think? Either that, or New Principal is going to HAVE to let me switch to half-day. There's no way I can have 38 babies in that tiny room all freakin' day, especially without any real help. Believe me, I appreciate every moment I get with Ms. H., but it's only been about an hour in the am and an hour in the pm. She didn't even come to school on Wednesday. I have no idea if she was there Thur. and Fri. to help Mrs. F. (Good God, I hope so!)
I'm just gonna let this go. My weekend has begun and I don't want to devote any more energy to the stress this is causing me. I'm going to kick back and relax, and enjoy the beautiful weather we're having. It's only in the high 60s right now (WOO HOO!) and the rest of the weekend is supposed to be just as pleasant. As much as I LOVE this weather, I'm afraid it might put a damper on Stud's weekend. He went away to Michigan for the weekend with a friend. The friend's family has a house on the lake, so I know they plan to do lots of swimming. Oh, well, kids don't care how cold it is, right? Let's hope so! Have a great weekend, all my Bloggy Buddies!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Very politically INcorrect post coming...
High School Math Proficiency Exam
1. DeShaun has an AK-47 with a 40-round clip. If he misses 6 out of 10 shots and shoots 13 times at each drive-by shooting, how many drive-by shootings can he attend before he has to reload?
2. Jose has 2 ounces of cocaine, and he sells an 8-ball to Jackson for $320 and 2 grams to Diego for $85 per gram. What is the street value of the balance of the cocaine if he doesn't cut it?
3. Rufus is pimping for 3 girls. If the price is $65 for each trick, how many tricks will each have to turn so Rufus can pay for his $800 per day crack habit?
4. Jerome wants to cut his 1/2 pound of heroin to make 20% more profit. How many ounces of cut will he need?
5. Juwan gets $200 for stealing a BMW, $50 for a Chevy, and $100 for a 4x4. If he has stolen two BMWs and three 4x4s, how many Chevys will he have to steal to make $950?
6. Miguel is in prison for 6 years for murder. He got $10,000 for the hit. If his common-law wife is spending $100 per month, how much money will be left when he gets out of prison Extra credit: How many years will he get for killing the bitch that spent all his money?
7. If the average spray can covers 22 square feet and the average letter is 8 square feet, how many letters can a tagger spray with 3 cans of paint?
8. Hector knocked up 6 girls in his gang. There are 27 girls in the gang. What percentage of the girls in the gang has Hector knocked up? Extra credit: Determine the expected ratio of boys to girls of Hector's offspring.
9. Kelvyn shoots into a crowd of people at a block party because he was disrespected 2 hours earlier. What is the percentage of likelihood that he will hit his intended target? Given that number, what is the percentage of likelihood that he will hit a 9 year old in his bedroom on the next block?
10. Riding in a car stolen and driven at a high rate of speed by her Boo, LaQuiSha is hurt when Boo runs into one of Mayor Daley's flower-filled medians. How soon, in days, will LaQuiSha's mama file a lawsuit against the City of Chicago? Extra credit: Estimate, to the nearest $1,000, the amount the city will grant in their settlement to LaQuiSha's mama.
...didn't spend her day 'waiting for quiet'?
...didn't spend her day saying, "Please stay on your own square."?
...didn't spend her day saying, "Are you listening?"?
...didn't spend her day unbuttoning, unbuckling and unzipping, just to rezip, rebuckle and rebutton?
...didn't spend her day tying shoes?
...didn't spend her day saying, "Please stop digging in your nose and get a tissue."?
...didn't spend her day trying to simultaniously help 25 babies write their names?
...didn't spend her day saying, "Stay behind the person in front of you."?
...didn't spend her day getting her arm banged on for attention?
...didn't spend her day saying, "Keep your hands/feet to yourself, please!"?
...didn't spend the day with rivers of sweat running between her breasts? (I know, eewww!)
...didn't spend the day having any fun?
Yeah, yeah, ok, I missed some of the babies a little bit. So sue me!! Believe me, I wasn't at all wishing I was at school. I'm not that crazy! But, the PD was just so completely boring and worthless, that my mind wandered a couple times to my babies, and I was trying to think of something positive about each of them. How great is it that I get to do that again tomorrow? I think 4 days away from them will help me find some patience and help me regroup. I really want to like this group, I swear. I'm just so frustrated right now with the outrageous number of babies squeezed into my tiny room, that it's hard to find that soft spot in my heart. I know it'll happen, though. Let's just hope it's sooner rather than later.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I may or may not have mentioned that this new series is practically identical to the series we've been using for the past couple of years. I'm hoping that the first day they will let us know what actually comes with the program, so that I can look for it when I get back to school. I don't necessarily need any information on how to use the program, which is why I'm thinking I may just skip Friday. Like I said, I'll have to see how it goes.
I can't tell you how thrilled I am that I don't have to go to school for FOUR WHOLE DAYS!!! And, thankfully, a friend of mine will be subbing for me these next two days, which meant I didn't have to do a fraction of the crap I usually do to prepare for a sub. I've actually been meaning to post about this friend for a week or so, and I just haven't had the energy to do it. (You know, cuz I've been too busy bitching about things!)
I try to keep this short. This friend of mine, Mrs. F., has worked at the Hell-Hole for a few years now. At the end of last school year, Big Cheese told her that he lost her position, and told her she'd have to start looking for another job. He even offered to get her a sub one day so that she could attend a job fair. Since she knew her position was being eliminated, she signed up to work summer school, just in case she didn't find a position right away. This way, she'd at least have some money coming in. Well, we all know that Big Cheese got canned over the summer (she's actually the one who immediately called me!) and that New Principal took over a few days later. Mrs. F. spoke to her that day, and they talked about her situation. New Principal told her not to worry about anything because she's not letting a good teacher get away (she said she observed her teaching summer school) and she'll figure out a way to get her a position. Mrs. F. didn't completely buy into this, and kept attending job fairs. On the last day of summer school, Mrs. F. handed in her keys and said good bye, but New Principal said, "Oh, no, I'm not losing a good teacher. I'll have a position for you." Mrs. F. asked several times if she was sure, and was told yes. Around the middle to end of July, Mrs. F. actually received calls from 4 different schools offering her a position, but she told them all "Thanks anyway, but I have a position."
Jump to the first week of work. We had those 3 days without kids to set up and attend meetings. (Remember? Those horrid days when I could get in my damn room? But, I digress....)She spent those days hauling her stuff from her former 2nd floor classroom on one end of the school to her 1st floor classroom, literally on the OTHER side of the building. Oh, I'm sorry, did I forget to mention that Mrs. F. is pregnant?! Yeah....good times, good times.... So, the next week, the kids start school, and on Tuesday, the 2nd day we had kids, New Principal proceeds to tell her that she may have to close her position. WTF?!?! Naturally, Mrs. F. was not happy. But, she kept working hard with her students, and hoped for the best. Well, come Friday afternoon, at 2:00, Mrs. F. was called into the office and told her position had been eliminated and she didn't have to return on Monday. I was shocked, as was Mrs. F., to say the least. But, New Principal seems to be talking out of both sides of her mouth, because as she told her she didn't have to come back Monday, she also told her she didn't have to take her stuff because she will probably be able to hire her back. Are you kidding me?
I've been so upset for Mrs. F. She let at least 4 other jobs go because she was PROMISED a position at the Hell-Hole. She asked New Principal 100 times if she was sure she could keep her, and she was assured that she had a job. Now, those other 4 positions are surely closed, and seeing as she's going to be giving birth in about 9 weeks, it's going to be almost impossible for her to find another job right now. I'm just sick for her.
She actually has subbed everyday this week so far, thankfully. And, she was told that they would call her as often as possible. But, that still screws her in many ways. First of all, she no longer will be making a teacher's salary. And, unless she's a permanently assigned substitute at our school (known as a cadre) she won't get benefits. Plus, she just told me this afternoon that she's going to get screwed out of all the sick days that she's banked, and that she planned to use to help cover her maternity leave. Now, that's just bullshit. CPS should at least have to give her a payout for those, wouldn't you think? Again, I'm just sick about this.
Now, luckily, Mrs. F. and her husband are both in the military, so her medical expenses should be covered at least. And, they'll still have her husband's salary, but I don't know if that's going to be enough to live on. I don't know much about the military. She and her husband are both in the reserves. As a matter of fact, her husband just returned from Afghanistan about a month ago after being gone for two tours. (Obviously, he got a short leave about...oh...I don't know...8 months ago!) I don't know if she even draws any kind of salary because she still only does the two weeks a year, one weekend a month kind of thing. Thank God she's never had to go overseas. Unfortunately, her husband has. As a matter of fact, he was shot right after the holidays. He was literally patched up, and within two weeks, he was back on the front lines. OK, I surely don't want to start on this rant, so let me get back to Mrs. F.
I hope and pray that everything works out for her. Feel free to say a prayer or two for her, too. She needs them!
I realize I didn't write about how today went yet, but I've got to run. I'm taking Stud to get a haircut. He goes back to school tomorrow!!! Yeah, he's thrilled, too.... I'll try to come back later.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Today, while talking to my boyfriend, I was frantically searching for my cell phone. He was curious as to what I was doing so I told him. There was long silence followed by laughter. He could hardly breathe as he told me, "Honey you're on your phone talking to me." FML
I couldn't help thinking, "That's EXACTLY something I would do!!" (Suz, it also made me think of you because it could be Blonde Moment #254!)
I really needed to start with something amusing, because I have nothing nice to say about school. I'm trying really hard not to sound like a whiny little bitch all the time, which is why it's been so hard to force myself to post everyday. I'm really not this Negative Nancy (Debbie Downer?) all the time, I swear. Those of you that actually know me, I hope you would agree!
That being said, at the same time, one of the great things about blogging is that it gives you a place to vent and say what's really on your mind. And, hell, it's WAY cheaper than therapy! So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, I hope I don't offend anyone, or turn anyone off, with my seemingly negative attitude. At the end of the day, I really, truly love what I do.
About an hour before school ended today, one of the ladies from the office told me that 3 more children had registered for kdg. They're coming tomorrow. So, I will have 33 freakin' kids, in a room designed to hold 24. As it is, I'm using the 6 seats at my group table to hold kids. Now, I will literally have 3 children without seats. There are simply no more seats available. I'm going to have to go in and talk to New Principal tomorrow about this situation. Unfortunately, there aren't enough kids to open a second kdg. yet. However, I think the solution is to change our kdg. program to half-day. I could then have 16-17 in each class. And, maybe we could breathe!!
I have absolutely no idea what New Principal is going to say when I ask about going half-day. But, I hope all of you will join me in saying a prayer or two (or a hundred!!) that she'll say yes.
Here's my positive for the day - My BFF has very generously volunteered to come to school with me tomorrow and help out. You may remember that she came to school with me the Saturday before the kids started, and we had talked then about her coming and helping me organize my classroom library. (Did I mentioned that she's a school librarian in a CPS school?) She still has two weeks before she has to go back to work (the rest of the CPS school teachers start work Sept. 2, the kids start Sept. 8) and she said she's looking for something to do during the day. I just hope my kids don't wear her out tomorrow. She's already worried about the heat getting to her, and rightfully so. After sitting in my room for at least 9 hours a day since school started with NO air-conditioning, then driving up to 30 minutes to get home with NO air-conditioning in my piece of crap car, I've been feeling like a beat up rag doll by the time I get home. I hope she'll be ok. I'm just so excited that she's coming!
When I started this blog two years ago, I used to end every post with a quote. I'm going to try and do that again. (I say try because most nights, I'm so aggravated when I'm posting that I'm not in the proper mindset to search the web for quotes.) There will probably be some repeats of previously posted quotes. Sorry. Here goes...
You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance. ~Franklin P. Jones
Monday, August 17, 2009
I forgot to mention something that happened last week. My little darling, A.G., of The G Family, was moved to 1st Grade. Yay! You may remember that she and another little boy were in my class last year for half the day. They both spent their mornings with me in kdg., and then went to pre-school in the afternoon. They both have late birthdays, so they technically weren't old enough to be in kindergarten. However, D.F.'s grandma, who is our security guard, arranged for D.F. to be placed in a 1st grade class this year (with my approval). I thought A's mom was going to do the same, but she never talked to anyone in the office. I ended up going to the office for her, and was able to get her moved. As much as I'm going to miss her, I was glad to have one less baby.
I also found out that one of the boys who had been sitting in my room for 3 days was also supposed to be in 1st grade. The 1st grade teacher had been listing him as a "no show." That's 2 babies in one day! Woo hoo!
But, that excitement was short-lived. I immediately got 2 more babies the next day, so I was back to 29. Then, this morning, when I went out to pick up my class, a woman walked up to me and essentially handed me her child, saying that she was going to be in my room. Yep, the 30th baby had arrived.
On an up note, preps started today. My babies went to computers today. Yay! And, Ms. H., my parent volunteer, stayed with them and brought them back down for me. She's awesome!
OK, time to bitch about a stupid parent...
One of my babies was still standing outside with me at 3:00. He was the last one, and was waiting for his brother. Turns out the brother's teacher had kept them late, and I obviously missed them coming out, since I was already on my way to the office. I HUGE thunder shower hit as I was walking back into the building, so apparently the brother just went home instead of looking for his baby brother. I sat with him for a while, and finally at about 3:25, I called his house. I was surprised when his mother answered the phone. I identified myself, and told her that T was still sitting at school, despite school ending nearly 45 minutes ago. She goes, "Oh, I didn't even know." WHAT?!?! I mean, seriously, WTF? How do you NOT know that your 5 YEAR OLD still isn't home 45-freakin'-minutes after school got out!? THEN, she has the balls to tell me, "well, he can just walk home by himself." I wanted to reach through the phone and slap a bitch!! What part of HE'S FIVE YEARS OLD did that moron not understand!!?? Argh!!! Ok, I feel my blood pressure rising, so time to move on...
In my never-ending quest to end on a positive note, let me just say again how nice it is to have Ms. H. helping out. It's been working out to about an hour in the morning and about an hour in the afternoon, which doesn't sound like much, but it makes a world of difference, trust me! And, the best part is that she told me she doesn't mind taking my class to their prep and bringing them back when it's over. Woo hoo! You have no idea how wonderful that is for me!! That means I will truly get a 40 minute prep!! Normally, by the time I get the babies together enough to walk, then get them up (to either the 3rd or 4th floor!) to the prep, and come back down, anywhere from 10-15 minutes of my prep is gone. God forbid I have to do something crazy, like pee (!), I end up with about 20 minutes to actually do some work. This is going to almost double the amount of time I have to get things done. THANK YOU, Ms. H!!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I started to reply in the comments section of that post, but then decided to do it here, in case anyone else shared Anonymous' thoughts/opinions.
I agree with you 100%!! I long for the days when kdg. was about socialization and BEGINNING to develop the skills needed to succeed in school. Sadly, it's not like that anymore. I don't know where you live, but check out http://www.isbe.net/earlychi/pdf/iel_standards.pdf
to see the kdg. standards for Illinois. The book is 118 pages long!! If my children don't meet these standards, I'M held accountable, not their parents, not their preschool teacher, ME! And, if Obama gets his way, I'll make less money (to support my own child with!) thanks to this deficit, paired with the lack of support from my students' parents. The whole (merit pay) situation is ludicrous!
The preschool program here in IL supposedly has an academic curriculum, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what it is exactly. However, knowing that kdg. is the new 1st grade, shouldn't pre-k then be the new kdg.? Some children spend 2 years in our pre-school program. Is it too much to ask that they learn a letter or a number or a color? Hell, you can learn that by watching Sesame Street, for God's sake!
As professional educators, we both know that at 3 and 4 years old, children are not developmentally ready for a formal curriculum, but unfortunately, we don't have much of a say-so about it here. It is dictated to us that we do it, so we do it. It's not like I don't know these things, but when I have to deal with it on a daily basis, it becomes incredibly frustrating. Especially given that the parents in our community provide almost nothing when it comes to school-readiness. Most of my students don't have any books in their homes, no one is reading to them, no one is actively teaching them their numbers, letters or colors as part of their daily routine (bring mommy the blue dish, let's count how many cookies, your name starts with an R, etc. Things that you and I probably take for granted.) Most of my students don't even know what the hell their real name is because they've been called Little Man, or Boo Boo for the past 5 years. I'm not trying to be funny, it's a fact. A sad, sad fact.
Whew, sorry, let me climb down from my soapbox before I hurt myself...
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I did, however, force myself to do my Wii when I got home. I just kept reminding myself that as soon as I did it, I could relax for the rest of the night. I barely made it home before Stud's friends started coming over. I told him he could invite a bunch of guys over to hang out on Friday night. It was mostly a ruse to get him to stay home. He finally came home Thursday after almost 2 weeks at his father's. He came home to cut the grass, but his father wanted to pick him up when he was done. Um...I don't think so! So, I convinced him to invite the guys over, guaranteeing that I'd get to see him another night.
His one friend arrived about 5 minutes before I finished the Wii. His other best friend was supposed to be coming with another boy, but when he showed up, he was alone. (He couldn't find the other boy.) When I realized it was going to just be "my 3 sons," I was thrilled because I realized after my shower, I could just put on my pajamas, and relax. The other boy did end up coming at about 9:30, and by then, I was already settled into bed! The boys moved down to the basement just as I was passing out, and I never heard a peep. Stud and his late-arriving buddy were both up by 7 this morning, which is unbelievable! The other little darling is still asleep.
Oh, wait, I was supposed to be writing about school, wasn't I? I can NOT wait for preps to start this week. I'm hoping it makes a difference in my exhaustion level. I have about 7 days worth of work to do this weekend, and unfortunately, I have to work tonight. I'm starting to get a little panicky. I'm probably already on New Principal's shit list because I never did turn in any lesson plans this week. I HAVE to turn them in on Monday. I'm really a little freaked out about doing them. I know that sounds crazy coming from someone who's been teaching for a couple of decades now, but let me tell you, I've gotten really lazy and out of practice after so many years of working for the Big Cheese. I always did my lesson plans (which was not the norm around that place!) but for the past 4 years, I've only had to do half the work. I decided years ago that it made more sense for me and my partner to do our plans together, with my partner doing the math and science plans and me doing the reading/language arts plans. (And, truthfully,after saving them on my computer, all I've had to do the past year was change the date!) Now, since I have NO partner, I've got to do them all by myself again. And, I can't even use the plans I have saved because we're switching to a new reading series. God, just thinking about how much work this is going to be makes me want to cry. I don't want to go back to those days when my entire Sunday was spent working on lesson plans!! And, now that I work Saturdays at our bar, I don't know how the hell I'm going to be able to do that, since most Sundays I don't get home until 5 or 6 am! OK, I'm starting to feel my chest tighten again....
This group of babies, for the most part, are just that - babies!! This is one of the most immature groups I've ever had. It says a LOT about what the hell must be going on in our preschool program. Um...that would be...NOTHING! These kids can't even write their names, nor write their letters. They think the whole day is for playing. I keep trying to tell myself it'll get better. It's only their first week, it's got to get better.
ALL of them except 1 showed up yesterday. Yikes! I had to put 5 of them at my group table, since it's the only other table I have. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do next week when I actually start doing small group instruction. I'm going to have to have a lot of movement to keep shifting them from table to table.
The pep rally was WAY too long yesterday. My babies were amazing, though. Hey, wow, did I just say that?! I going to try and focus on that fact next week. I was really impressed with how quietly they were able to sit for well over an hour. That's a long time for 5 year-olds to sit. At least without a cartoon on for them to watch! :) We ended up having to leave before it ended because we needed to start getting ready for dismissal. We should have started about 30 minutes earlier.
New Principal introduced the entire staff, and had us come up on stage, while the kids cheered us on. I have to say, I was really touched by the reaction I got when my name was called. The whole auditorium erupted! It was really cool, and reminded me that I really do make a difference in the lives of some of these kids. (My first class at the Hell-Hole is now in 7th grade, so pretty much the entire school knows me.)
After the staff introductions, New Principal and our AP, Mr. H., went over the rules and expectations for this year. We talked about the uniform policy, and each teacher was asked to send 2 students up on the stage to show the proper uniform. My 2 did a great job, but they didn't take their eyes off me for even a second. It's a little scary to stand up on stage in front of the entire school!
When all the talk about rules, etc., was finished, each class then came up on stage and did their little presentation. We were first, of course, and the kids actually did a great job. We kept if very short and sweet. I "borrowed" a line for the pledge our kids are expected to say every morning. They loudly, and proudly, said, "I am in Room XXX. I am talented, smart and capable of success!" Thankfully, I had Ms. H. to help me again yesterday. She helped get them back in their seats as I got them off the stage. Then, they were forced to sit there while the rest of the school gave their performances. We only made it to the 4th grade performances, then we had to go. Unfortunately, because the upper grades still had to perform, that meant most of the students were dismissed late, which then meant that I was stuck outside on the playground, in the blinding sun (!) waiting for big brothers and sisters to pick up my babies.
OK, I've procrastinated long enough. I'd better start working on these lesson plans. I hope you all have a great weekend. Think of me slaving away while you're doing something fun and relaxing!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Ms. H., spent some time with us in the morning, but she left after lunch, so I was on my own this afternoon. I'm trying to tell myself that things will be better next week once our preps start. Sheesh, they couldn't be any worse!
Let me tell you a little something about one of the new boys I got today. His mother actually stopped me in the hall Tuesday as we were on our way to lunch. She says, "My son, A., is going to be in your class. He'll be starting tomorrow. Now, tomorrow is his birthday, so I'd like to bring cake and ice cream." So, of course, I have to immediately say, "Oh, no. That's not going to work. If you want to send a little treat, it has to be something that the kids can have during their short 20 minute lunch." She says, "Oh....ok....well....then I'll just bring him on Thursday." WTF?!?!?! It's great to see where her priorities are, huh? Then you wonder why our babies are as screwed up as they are!
Apparently, we're having a pep rally tomorrow. There was a note about it hanging by the time clock this morning, but naturally, I didn't really read it. That's mostly because kdg. isn't usually included in those kinds of things, but I suppose I should have actually read it. At the end of the day, one of the teachers came up and asked me about what she needed to do for the rally, and of course, I had no clue! I checked my mailbox and found a copy of the same note that was hanging on the time clock. It seems that each class is expected to do a 5 minute presentation, complete with a slogan and a sign. I don't even know what the hell that means!! Now, I have to figure out what the hell I'm going to do with these kids, who can't follow a simple direction yet, that will be acceptable to New Principal. Oh, lovely! We're having a staff meeting in the morning about the rally, so hopefully that will answer any questions. However, we had a staff meeting yesterday, so giving up 2 mornings this week is going to suck! It's bad enough we aren't getting preps this week, now we lost 2 of the 5 morning prep times we had. Ugh!
I'm going to keep trying to find, and end, on a positive note, so here's today's. One of my babies (who is just cute as a button!) came to do his assessment with me this afternoon. Before him, I had already tested 4 kids who didn't know a thing. The highest score of that group was a 50 so far. Then, Button Boy comes over, and blows me away! He scored 100%!! I almost feel bad that he's stuck in my room with the rest of the knuckleheads. OK, I know, that's mean. I'm holding out hope that I find a few more shining stars among the group as I continue assessing them. Oh, and did I mention, I was supposed to start DIBELing this week? Yeah, the testing window opened MONDAY! Yes, indeed, that was the FIRST day of school. That's the brilliance of CPS! Holy crap, how did I get to the negative again?! Sorry.....I'll try harder tomorrow....
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Ms. H. was able to help out for about an hour this morning, thank God. I simultaneously felt bad for her, and wanted to laugh out loud. She was trying to help some of the kids write their names, and they were making her crazy. I must have heard her say at least three times, "There's only ONE of me!" I probably say that 100 times a day!
These babies need a LOT of help. I'm trying so hard to not get discouraged. I'm tellin' ya, that last group spoiled me rotten! They were so smart. AND sweet and well behaved (for the most part.) This group, jeezaloo! None of them want to keep their mouths shut, nor keep their hands to themselves. I have at least 3 little Bossy Bessies. Oh, and I'm now up to 29 kids (plus about 15 no shows. Believe it or not, people have been making home visits to find out where these no shows are. I hope they find about 20 more kdg. kids so we can open another room!). Yeah, good times, good times....
Ms. H. also came for about an hour this afternoon, but surprise, surprise, she wanted to help me with something OTHER than the kids. tee hee! She put the labels I made on the mailboxes, then made me folders for all the babies so I can start their portfolios. I'm embarrassed to say I already had to resort to using a video today. I actually was close to wetting my pants over it, since New Principal made it pretty clear that she doesn't want us using our TVs. However, I had an "excuse" all ready to go, on the off-chance that she happened to walk in the room. We've been spending quite a bit of time each day with Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom. Naturally, they love it as much as every other class has. I put the video version on for them so that I could start assessments. It kept them very quiet, which was a nice change! I'm tempted to put it on for about 6 hours tomorrow!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I forgot to mention yesterday that one of the things New Principal told me at the end of the day was that she was going to send one of our parent volunteers to help me out during the day. She's one of my very favorite volunteers, so I'm very excited. She's actually worked for me in my afterschool program for the past couple of years. New Principal mentioned that if I kept getting more kids, she would send another person to help, as well, until she can reopen the other kindergarten. I'm glad she's as hopeful as I am that this is going to happen.
Even with Ms. H. to help me, the babies drove me nuts today. Even she couldn't believe how they were acting. We couldn't keep still, keep our hands to ourselves, or keep our mouths shut, to save our lives today! It was infuriating! I wonder if part of my lack of patience comes from the fact that I was just so very in love with my last class. They were phenomenal!! And, with the very short break that we had, I didn't have a chance to "forget" how wonderful they were. I don't know, whatever it is, I hope I can find some extra patience to deal with this group. The fact that I've been spending my days drenched in sweat is doing nothing to improve my mood, either!
Oo, Big Cheese news! I found out from my favorite mom, Mrs. G., that ever since Big Cheese was "evicted" from our school, he's been over at another school, doing absolutely NOTHING! This particular school isn't actually a functioning school with students. It's used for professional development, and as basically a holding place for displaced principals! His plan is to wait out his time until the end of the month, and then he can officially retire. Hopefully, the board will get their investigation going by then, or he's gonna get off scott free!
Monday, August 10, 2009
For the most part, the day was pretty good. The biggest downside was that we are not getting preps this week, AND we were asked to stay with our kids during lunch for the first day. That means we had NO BREAK for the entire day. I don't understand the "no preps" thing this week. What the hell are the prep teachers doing all freakin' week?! They certainly aren't helping us out in any way. It must be nice to have an entire week to do nothing! Ok, take a deep breath, let it go....
There definitely was a whole new vibe going on at the Hell-Hole today. It was actually quiet practically the entire day. That's not something we're used to around there. Most of the kids were in uniform, and wow, what a visual impact that had! When I went out on the playground to get my kids in the morning, I was blown away by all the kids dressed in their blue and white. And, on top of that, the whole staff was "in uniform." It was kinda cool, I gotta admit.
Being out on the playground in the morning was actually kind of nice, since I got to see all my "old" babies. They look like they've actually grown in the short 6 weeks we were off! Plus, I got to see ALL of my former babies, since the whole school was out on the playground.
I ended up staying until about 5:15, since I had some things I wanted to do during the day, but you know, the whole no break thing... I also got a chance to talk to New Principal for about a half hour about some things I've been wondering/worrying about. I got 3 of the "big" things squared away - graduation, rest time, and snack time. I was afraid she was going to make me start doing graduation again, but after talking it out, she decided we were NOT going to do it. As far as rest time and snack time, she said I could keep them both. Oh, happy day!! She was actually excited to hear that I usually take the babies outside, on the front steps, to eat their snack (because I try to avoid the mess in my classroom). I asked if I could take them out to read to them, which made her even more excited. She then commented on her informal observations from the day. She said, "I really like the way you talk to the babies. I've been listening to you today. I like how you let them know that you are like their mommy while their here, and that you are in charge. You are the queen." I laughed out loud because I said that very thing to my babies today. I tell my babies every year that my classroom is my "castle" and that I am "The Queen." They, in turn, are all my princes and princesses. I wonder if she actually overheard me say that to them, or if we just enjoy using the same analogies.
So, it would seem that I'm starting off on the right foot with New Principal. (I hope that by the end of the week, I can come up with an appropriate nickname for her!) However, I technically am already behind on some things, such as lesson plans. I didn't turn any in on Monday, like she asked us to. There are a few other things that she wants by this Friday (time distribution sheets, class lists, and such) so I'm going to try hard to get them done in time. I'd like to stay on her good side, for sure!
Seeing how I didn't walk in my door til after 7:30, I'm completely exhausted. I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the fact that my room is about 110 degrees. You would think I'd be able to lose a pound of two with as much as I was sweating today! I know, ewwww! It's time to hit the sack. Let's hope tomorrow goes as well as today did!