Tuesday, May 31, 2011

5/31/11

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What classic film have you never seen?

I should be too embarrassed to even answer this one. There are SO many, I don't even know where to start. A Streetcar Named Desire, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Gone with the Wind...can I just stop now? Maybe you should just ask me if I've seen ANY classic films.

This is the last prompt for the May NaBloPoMo. Too bad I blew it this past weekend. Oh, well. It was so worth it.

I had a whole bunch of stuff I wanted to tell you about tonight, but right now, I'm so freakin' tired, I can't remember any of it. It's about 11:30, which is WAY past my bedtime. I just got home from my niece's 8th grade graduation. We went to Culver's for a little celebration afterward (she'll be having a party at the end of June) and it was hard to break up the little party we had going on there. I'm gonna pay for it tomorrow, though. As much as I LOVED this past weekend, it left me feeling exhausted, and today was hard. Tomorrow is going to be even worse, I'm afraid. Oh, and did I mention it was in the flippin' 90s today?! Yeah....good times, good times.... Nothing like a little heat and humidity to make you feel like a limp dishrag. I think I'm going to go get an ice pack to put on my head so maybe I can get to sleep. Nighty night!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Just when I thought I was out....

...they pull me back in.

For a while now, I've been reading Jody's blog, Littlest Learners/Clutter-free Classroom. She's been on my teacher list for quite some time. I love to see how she runs her ship, and she has such great ideas. Although sometimes, (and I mean absolutely NO offense here, Jody, if you're reading this!!) I find myself talking to my computer, and saying mean things like, "Yeah, right! Who the hell has the time to do that!?" or "Do you know how long that would last in MY classroom? About 2 minutes, before one of my monsters destroys it." Or, even worse, "Hell, I'VE been doing that for years already!" I know, bitchy, right? Truth is, I'm a little in awe of Jody, and teacher like her, because they're who I USED to be, before the Hell-Hole killed my spirit.

I promise, this isn't going to be a bitch-fest about the Hell-Hole. I just wanted to share with you that, as I was reading through my blog lists this afternoon, I got to Littlest Learners, and read today's announcement about Jody starting a 'new' blog. I clicked over and found this:
Go, check it out, I'll wait.

Naturally, I clicked on the video, and read all the posts (although some of them I had already read when she posted them on her other blog) and it happened. I started crying. Yep, crying.

I don't want to leave teaching!!!! I say I do, but I really don't. I just can't keep doing it where and how I have been for well over a decade now. I need to get back to my roots, to the whole reason I became a teacher, the reason I KNEW in Kindergarten that I wanted to be a teacher. I'm not saying that's gonna happen, as there is a serious shortage of teaching positions here, but I can't see myself walking away, either. However, I know one thing for damn sure - I'm walking away from the Hell-Hole, and I'm not looking back.

****
I know I missed a couple of posts this weekend, so I guess I REALLY blew NaBloPoMo, huh? Oh well, I'll get over it. I was far too busy enjoying the hell out of my long weekend! It's gonna make it that much harder to go to work tomorrow. ~sigh~

Friday, May 27, 2011

The LONG holiday weekend has me feeling giddy...

Ok, if you've been reading here for any length of time, you know that I think cats serve absolutely no purpose on this Earth (sorry Smiley and Karen, and any other of my Bloggy Buddies who are cat people!) That being said, Jorge Garcia (formally of Lost fame) posted this on his blog today, and I was compelled to share it with you. I know, I can't believe myself, either. Like I said, it must be the loonnngggg holiday weekend. :) Enjoy!


On to today's NaBloPoMo prompt.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What was the last song you listened to?

Does the McDonald's jingle count as a song? No? Ok, well then I don't remember the exact song, but it was something on my Santana CD that I was listening to on my drive home.

Have I mentioned that I have a LONG weekend coming? I'm so happy to be away from the Hell-Hole for 3 glorious days!

I'm at the point where I'm about 95% certain that I will not be returning to the Hell-Hole in August. At this point, I don't care if I don't find another job, I just can't go back. I know I've been keeping mum about a LOT of stuff that's been going on in the Casa de ChiTown lately, but this is NOT a decision that I've arrived at lightly. On my first day of spring break, I had an appointment with a financial adviser (isn't that 'advisor'? Spellcheck changed it, but it doesn't look right. God, I'm such a teacher!), who is also a great friend of mine, to discuss my financial situation. He helped me see that I have more options than I previously thought, and I left there feeling like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Not that this is one of my top 5 choices, or even top 10, but if it came down to it, I know I could not work and live off my savings for well over a year. Sure, I'd blow through most of my savings, but it can be done. I won't lose my house, I could keep food on the table, etc. It also took me well over a decade to accumulate what little I've saved, so like I said, NOT my first choice. But, it's nice to know it's an option. I don't feel as trapped as I did before.

I've been to a couple of graduations already this year, and listening to these kids talk about their future has made me re-examine mine. The valedictorian who spoke at Bestest Friend's son's graduation seriously got me going with his speech. He was encouraging his classmates to go for it, and do what they're passionate about, and to never let go of their dreams, etc. I sat there thinking, "You know what, this kid is so right. I need to be doing what my passion is, and killing myself at the Hell-Hole just ain't it!"

Everyday I grow more comfortable with my decision to just leave the Hell-Hole. This doesn't necessarily mean I'm leaving teaching, however, that, too, is an option. I think that's all I want to say about this subject for now, lest I jinx myself with the universe. Just to be safe, maybe all my Bloggy Buddies could send some positive energy my way. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

5/26/11

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What was the last thing you lost?

My mind. Have you seen it? I really need it back. :(

So much for my big plans for the day. It hasn't stopped raining/storming since last night. It's freezing outside (feels like about 27) which is all great for me, but I don't really want Stud Muffin taking his driving test in weather like this. He's already nervous enough. Maybe the rain will stop by the time his final exam is over. Keep your fingers crossed.


**update** 4:00pm

The weather is STILL kinda rainy/drizzly/yucky, so Stud didn't want to go to the DMV. Guess we'll have to try again tomorrow. The good news is - HE'S ON SUMMER VACATION!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shhh...don't tell...

I don't like today's prompt for NaBloPoMo, so I'm not gonna do it.

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. I don't have to go to work tomorrow. The current temperature is 48. There's a storm rolling in and can hear thunder in the distance. I have a 3-day weekend coming up. The rain just started pounding against my window. The 1 hour season finale of Cougar Town is on right now.

And that concluded the (partial) list of things that made me happy today. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

OK, I give up

I have been trying to access the freakin' NaBloPoMo site since I walked in the door this afternoon, and I keep getting some error message. So, I have no prompt for today! However, the fact that I'm typing this drivel right now fulfills my NaBloPoMo obligation for the day. :)

Despite the fact that today (like just about EVERYDAY) at the Hell-Hole sucked great, big, giant, hairy donkey balls, once I arrived home, I was able to leave that crap in the car, right along with my school bag. Stud has finals today through Thursday, so I didn't have to pick him up, which means I arrived home about 20-30 minutes earlier than usual. That also means 20-30 minutes less of being stuck in traffic, so it's a win-win.

The way Stud's school does their final exam schedule is that the boys have 3 periods on the first day, but not Periods 1-3. Today they had 5th, 2nd and 3rd periods. Tomorrow will be 4th, 1st and 8th. Thursday will be 6th and 7th. The periods last for 1 1/2 hours. For the periods that you have lunch, gym or study hall, you don't have to attend. Not a bad deal.

Today, Stud only had exams for the first two periods, because he normally has lunch during 3rd period, so he was free to leave by 11. However, he stuck around for the extra period and went to the art room to work on a project until his buddy was finished with his exam. Then, he and his buddy were treated to lunch by my mother-in-law.

On Thursday, Stud doesn't have to attend the first period, because that's his art class, and they took their finals already. There were seniors in the class who needed to take them early because they graduated a week and half ago. So, that means he doesn't have to be at school until 9:30, then he only has one final, so he'll be finished by 11:00.

SO, I'll be taking a personal day on Thursday! Can you see my GIANT smile through the screen? We can both sleep in if we want, since he doesn't have to be at school at his usual 7:30, plus he'll be done so quickly, I plan to spend the rest of the day celebrating the end of his school year. We're going to lunch, and then to the DMV to (hopefully!!) get Stud's driver's license. Feel free to say a prayer or two for him. I don't think I shared the fact that he's already taken the test once back in November and he, obviously, didn't pass. :( He's been too gun-shy to take it again, but now his girlfriend (yeah, girlfriend. That's another post...) is begging him to get his license, cuz I guess it's not cool to have your mom drive you on dates. Sheesh....she's awfully demanding, isn't she? I'm hoping to God he passes this time!

Yikes! I've been sitting here for almost an hour, typing a few words at a time and now, it's time to watch The Biggest Loser Finale! Gotta run!

Monday, May 23, 2011

5/23/11

Monday, May 23, 2011

What is your favourite anniversary to celebrate?

The anniversary of Stud Muffin's birth.

I'm completely EXHAUSTED, so that's all you get tonight. Lots going on here. Maybe I'll fill you in later.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I suck

I guess I blew NaBloPoMo for May. I completely forgot to post yesterday. Poop. But, you know what? I'm totally ok with it cuz yesterday was one of the most WONDERFUL days I've had in longer than I can remember. I had a great time from start to finish. The fun continued this morning, as a matter of fact. This was a glorious weekend. It's exactly what I needed after the week from absolute HELL I had at work. I just hope I can hang on to the joy once school starts tomorrow.

I actually pulled out the computer to make a game for the babies. I thought I had posted about it when I originally made it, but I couldn't find it anywhere in my archives, so if DID post it before, sorry for the repeat.

I can't take all the credit for this, as it's a variation of an idea that I found on another teacher blog. (I'm so sorry, I don't remember which one.) We call it Scrambled Words. I took some left-over plastic Easter eggs, and numbered them 1-10, for the 10 words on our weekly spelling list.
I then made a table with all the letters in the words, times 2, so I can make 2 sets. Then I cut all the letters apart. I coded the back of the letters (green for one set, red for the other) with a number that corresponded to which word on the list it was. I then put one word in each egg. I put the eggs into empty egg cartons that I had at school. I made a recording sheet (sorry, don't know how to share it here) that's basically just 10 lines, going down a half-sheet of paper, numbered 1-10. The babies pick an egg, open it, then try to figure out which spelling word the letters make. When they figure it out, they record it on the sheet on the line that has the same number as whatever egg they picked. Easy peasy, right?When I originally made this, I made the letters for the next 3 lesson. I realized at the last minute last Monday that I didn't have the letters for last week, so I attempted to make them using index cards. They were not nearly as nice as the letters I printed on my computer on cardstock, but they worked. There are only 3 lessons left in our reading book, so tonight I will make the remaining letters for the rest of the year.

All that being said, I'd better get the hell off here, and get to work!! I've actually been working on a little project for the bar for well over two hours now, and I'm going to have stop and do some school stuff. We had new menus made (again!) and we decided to laminate the pages this time. There are 6 pages in the menu (Yes, we make THAT many martinis!) and there are 30 of each page that needs to be laminated. Oy! I got pages 1-3 laminated, but not trimmed, and I'm going to have to do the other half tomorrow. After all, my babies need their game!

I hope you enjoyed your weekend at least half as much as I did. :)

[And, yes, C, I will email you about the weekend! ;-) ]

*ok, I guess I never did post about this. While looking for the pictures I KNEW I took, I found them in a folder that was from a camera dump I did a while ago, with a bunch of things I had planned to post about, including some awesome art that Stud created. I'll be back with it later this week.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Oops...

Apparently, I don't know my days of the week. Somehow, I skipped Wednesday's prompt, then I did Thursday's on Wednesday, and Friday's on Thursday, so I'm going to do Wednesday's today!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What is the best part about travel?

Wow, really!? The traveling itself usually sucks. Dragging luggage, carrying bags, going through scanners, taking off your shoes, squeezing into tiny airplane seats, need I go on? However, depending on why and where you're traveling, arriving at your destination is usually worth it. My last trip was our mini-vacation in Michigan. Despite all the driving, it was TOTALLY worth it. Seriously one of my BEST trips EVER! Before that, my last trip on a plane was when I went to visit my Tiffany. Again, awesome trip!

You can NOT imagine how happy I am that this week is over. Now, if I can just get through the rest of the friggin' school year without a) bitch-slappin' New Principal, b) getting fired (ha! I wish!!) or c) ending up on the evening news, that would be great. I'd love to say I'm going to sleep in tomorrow, however Stud Muffin went and got himself a flimmin' flammin' Saturday detention, which means his MOTHER has to get up early and drive him there!!! Argh!!! Guess I'd better hit the sack then...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

5/20/11

Friday, May 20, 2011

What was your biggest regret this week?

Not getting off my big ass and finding a new job yet. If only I had time to fill you in on what happened today. But, it's almost midnight, my sister and sister-in-law just left, and I'm exhausted. I was awesome to hang out with them tonight, and it's exactly what I needed after the kind of day I had today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5/19/11

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What song reminds you of childhood?

Wow, I don't even know where to start. Music has always been a HUGE part of my life, and my family's lives. There was ALWAYS music playing in our house, and the houses of all our relatives. My daddy is a musician and there's NOTHING better than to sit around listening to him play his guitar and sing for us.

There are so many songs that instantly take me back to my childhood. Many of them are traditional Italian songs, so I won't even list them, as I don't think anyone else would know them.

"Oldies" make me flashback to being in one of my relatives' basements, dancing like maniacs. My mom, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, everybody. One song that I specifically remember getting down to with my cousins in Rockin' Robin. My oldest cousin and I had a whole dance routine that we did to this song.

Another one I loved was Witch Doctor. OMG, I actually had the album pictured in this video! I LOVED that record! I used to play it over and over and over on my record player. Another favorite from that album was One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eater.

I was lucky enough to grow up in the 70s, so there are SO many great songs that remind me of being a kid. And don't get me started on disco. I think I was the original Dancing Queen. Again, my cousin and I came up with elaborate dance routines to go with our favorite songs. We LOVED to do The Hustle.

I was also a fan of rock back in the day. KISS was hugely popular, and all the boys in our grade school used try and emulate them. Pink Floyd was another favorite.

I've always been a huge fan of 'soft rock.' Christopher Cross, James Taylor, Carole King, I could go on and on.

Wow, I warned you that music was a huge part of my life. I could probably keep writing for days about this topic, so to spare you a painful death by boredom, I'm going to call it a night.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Random crap...

...to make up for the fact that I'm such a screw up.

This post is LONG overdue. My sweet friend, Tiffany, sent me an awesome package a while back, and I had intended to share it with you all.

Look what was inside!!
Tiffany's mother-in-law has a hand-made soap business, and she and her hubby sent me a HUGE box of goodies! I can't believe their generosity.
I had to take some close-up photos so you could see what the various scents (or as my sister says - flavors!)



How cute are these 'fancy' soaps?

I wish there was some kind of "smell technology" that would allow you to smell these awesome soaps!! Tiffany had gifted me with a bar of this fantastic soap when I was a guest in her home last fall. Imagine my delight at receiving an entire box of these beauties. Thanks, Tiffany and Ben!!! (I'm sure if anyone is interesting in gifting their friends and/or family with these awesome soaps, Tiffany can hook you up. Click over to her place!)

Things at the Hell-Hole have been just awful lately. I've made a concerted effort to not come here and bitch every day, like I have in the past. Truthfully, that's really how this moved from being a "teacher blog" to just a "random ramblings of a crazy lady" blog. I didn't want to come here every single day and complain. I certainly didn't want to focus on all the negativity, or give it any more of my time and energy. I really just wanted to try and forget about it, and writing here became my escape.

That being said, let me just share a teeny bit of what's been going on here in ChiTown recently. Some of you may know that we had a new mayor take office yesterday. He's bringing in a new superintendent of schools and a new superintendent of police. Like I said, I don't want to use this place as a outlet to bitch, but let me just say, I know LOTS of unhappy teachers and police officers.

One of the things we just found out about yesterday is that there is going to big changes to the length of our school day and year. We were told that our school day is going to be increased by 2 hours, and our school year by 2 weeks, all without ONE CENT of an increase in our salary. Nice, right? There has also been a bill passed making it nearly impossible for us to strike, as we would need a 75% majority vote. Convenient how this was passed right before we were told about all the extra UNPAID time we're going to be expected to work. Some of my other friends who are teachers have told me that their union reps have already told them to prepare for a strike. Once we were told about all this added, UNPAID time, it didn't seem so impossible to get 75% of the group to vote to strike.

I can feel my blood pressure rising, and I think I should just stop now. Let me end on a positive note. There are only 19 days of school left for the kids. Woo hoo! The teachers have 21 days, but that's a post for another day. I'm trying not to stroke out tonight. :(

5/17/11 (again?)

Monday, May 16, 2011

What would you like to forget?

That I wrote about the May 17th prompt YESTERDAY on May 16th, and have now checked NaBloPoMo at least 8 times (no exaggeration!) for today's prompt. It just hit me that the prompt said the 17th, and that TODAY is the freakin' 17th!!! So, here's YESTERDAY'S prompt! DUH!

Monday, May 16, 2011

5/17/11

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What is the most important thing that has ever happened to you in the month of May (of any year)?

Well, DUH! I was born!

Short post tonight. I'm exhausted. Had a bunch of girls from school over for dinner tonight. Got to meet the new baby of one of them who was born a month ago. Great night with great friend!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

'Nuf said...


(I picked this little beauty up over at Pissed Off's place, who got it from Etc. Thanks to both of you for sharing this!)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Email of the Day

A Little Christian Humor
This is one of the best clean jokes I've seen in a while!
Jesus and Satan were having an on-going argument about who was better on the computer. They had been going at it for days, and frankly God was tired of hearing all the bickering.
Finally fed up, God said, 'THAT'S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours, and from those results, I will judge who does the better job.'
So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away.
They moused.
They faxed.
They e-mailed.
They e-mailed with attachments.
They downloaded..
They did spreadsheets!

They wrote reports.
They created labels and cards..
They created charts and graphs..
They did some genealogy reports .
They did every job known to man.

Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than hell.
Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off..
Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld.
Jesus just sighed..
Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically, screaming:
'It's gone! It's all GONE! 'I lost everything when the power went out!'

Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work.
Satan observed this and became irate. 'Wait!' he screamed. 'That's not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don't have any?'

God just shrugged and said,
JESUS SAVES....

This little giggle-inducer was sent to me by one of my friends who happens to be married to a Greek Orthodox priest. She's so silly.

Need a little more silly? My good friend Jo posted this today, and it made my day. I truthfully had the same post formulated in my head for quite a while now, but just never got around to searching for the necessary images.

Friday, May 13, 2011

5/13/11

Friday, May 13, 2011

Talk about the last time you were frustrated.

Ummm...right now!? Blogger has been on the fritz, and won't let me leave comment, or post anything!!! Argh!

Also, true to the Friday the 13th superstition, today has been a cluster-fucky kinda day. It started with New Principal being at school (I think I mentioned that she was out Mon-Thur, right?) which put a damper on what I thought was going to be a nice end to my week. It just continued from there. I don't want to bore you with details, but I will tell you that I was supposed to have a Pampered Chef party today, which I ended up canceling at about 2 this afternoon.

I've been trying to maintain a positive attitude lately, so I'm not going to dwell on what went wrong today. I'm going to focus on the fact that a few of my friends are going to come over anyway, and we're going to put a dent in the margarita fixin's I bought for the Cinco de Mayo party I had to cancel last week because of Bestest Friend's sister's wake. My sister and "pretend" sister-in-law will be coming later, and I think it's going to be a fun night.

Oh, and one more positive - the temps have dropped back down to the 50s. Wahoo!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

5/12/11

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Talk about your favourite place to sit.

I have a couple of favorite places to sit. One of them is exactly where I am right now - on my bed, under my covers, propped up with lots of pillows, laptop on my lap.

Another is on my deck, on a beautiful summer evening, with a cool breeze gently blowing.

Yet another is in the driver's seat of my car. Yes, really. I LOVE to drive. I've always loved to take long drives, enjoying the beautiful scenery, with my favorite music playing. Having a passenger is a bonus, but I don't mind being alone, either. Now that I'm old, and miserably out of shape, I still love the driving, but once I get to my destination, I have a little trouble getting out and moving around, as I'm usually very stiff in the legs, hips and feet. But, it's totally worth it for a good drive.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5/11/11

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What is your favourite thing to cook?

Sheesh, where do I start? My favorite crock pot dish is this Mexican chicken thing that I make pretty frequently. It's SO easy and SO good!

One of my favorite dinners to make is pasta with broccoli along side lemon-pepper salmon. Mmmm, just thinking about it is making my mouth water. A tossed salad is usually also on the table. Or, even better, a caprese salad. Ok, now my mouth is REALLY watering!

I'm going to stop with those two, otherwise this post will go on forever.

Today's weather was just as miserable as yesterday's. And, school sucked big giant donkey balls AGAIN! There was one tiny little bright spot, though. One of my biggest PITAs was suspended for the rest of the week. Yep, that's right. A FIRST GRADER suspended for 2 days. I have a feeling there may be an altercation with his mama tomorrow, so I'm preparing myself for the battle. She already called me stupid this week, and her darling little cherub called me a bitch today, so this should be fun.

New Principal hasn't been in all week so far, which is weird. I wonder what's going on with her. One of my coworkers joked that she just might be as sick of the Hell-Hole as we are!!

I'm far too hot and sweaty to type anymore. Even my freakin' fingers are sweating!!! I'm too cheap to turn the air on just yet, but if things don't cool off by tomorrow, I'm gonna suck it up and turn it on. I'll cry about the bill later. I need to go get naked now, and lie on my bed under my ceiling fan.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

Why, why, WHY did the thermometer in my car say 9-freakin'-4 when I came out of school?! WHY?!?! Today was even WORSE than yesterday was at the Hell-Hole, and coming out to the oppressive heat and humidity was just the icing on the cake!!! I'm REALLY cranky right now, so I'll be back for my NaBloPoMo post later when I cool off. Perhaps a margarita will do the trick....

Monday, May 9, 2011

5/9/11

Monday, May 9, 2011

How do you feel about endings?

Well, I'm starting to look forward to the end of May NaBloPoMo, cuz I'm not really diggin' these prompts!

Some endings get me excited, that's for sure. It goes without saying that I can NOT wait for the end of the school year. Today was an especially AWFUL day at the Hell-Hole. I can't say it was completely unexpected, given that I missed 3 days last week. I just can't believe the number of people who made a point of seeking me out to tell me how awful my class was last week. I don't want this to turn into a whiny rant, so I'm gonna just leave it alone.

Hmmm...endings, endings...I can't think of much else I can say on the subject really, so I guess this post is ending. ;-)

A must read

I just HAD to keep sharing this. I found it over at Ricochet's place, and immediately knew I had to share it. She found it over someone else, as well.

------------------------------

Mamacita says it best
This is not mine - I stole it from Coach Brown.His column follows (but you will notice he reposted someone else's.)

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This is from the great Mamacita. It is not my post, but it needs to be said, now more than ever.

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Most teachers who leave the profession leave because almost all of the attention, most of the perks, most of the privileges, and most of the allowances are given to the students who least deserve it: the disruptive kids. In other words, these loud, bratty, obnoxious kids are being rewarded for their disgusting behavior, so why should they clean up their act? I wouldn’t. Not if doing my own thing meant I’d still get to have and do everything little goody two-shoes next to me got to have and do.

Secondly, many of the parents who are involved with the school are the parents of these same brats. School administrators fear negative PR, and to a principal or superintendent, negative PR is when a loud-mouthed parent with a shitty kid calls the newspaper office. Entitlement is the bane of our society’s existence, and it’s alive and well in our public schools.

“You WILL accept my child and you WILL give him/her a special lunch and you WILL treat him/her on a different level than all these other peon kids and you WILL hold his/her hand and you WILL allow him/her to break any rules we as a family do not believe apply to us. . . .” Lovely mentality, yes?

Or this:

“Trailer for sale or rent, or possibly just someone else’s the family is mooching, no phone, no pool, lots of pets, chain smokin’ beer-guzzlin’ shacked-up, in and out of jail, booze, grass, if that damn school tries to call me one more time I’m goin’ down thar and kick me some ass. . .” Lovely mentality, yes?

Or this:

“My kid will play in that basketball game tonight and I don’t CARE that the rules say a kid who’s failing any subject is ineligible. Your rules are stupid, because that game is more important that a stupid subject like English or science, and I’ll go straight to the superintendent and school board if I don’t get my own way with this issue.” Lovely mentality, yes?

What’s even worse is the fact that more often than not, going over the heads of the teacher and principal will all too often give these people their own way.

Me, personally, I think that if there are any perks to be handed out, they should go only to students who have earned them. No earn? No get. Ever.

Why should a student bother to behave himself if he knows he’s going to get a limo ride and a Pizza Hut lunch for bringing a pencil three days in a row? I wouldn’t.

Why would a student exert himself to do any work, or allow anyone else in the classroom to do anything either, if he knows he’s going to be passed to the next grade anyway? Yes, I am a firm believer in holding back any student who can’t do it, won’t do it, or any combination thereof.

I don’t want my tiny second-grade-size daughter seated next to a hulking ballistic cursing disruptive 15-year-old, but if everyone is REQUIRED to behave properly, there wouldn’t be any problems even then, now would there? Because while a student can’t help the “hulking,” there are no viable excuses for being ballistic, cursing, or disruptive. EVER. Any person of any age who behaves in such a way should be removed immediately, not at the end of the day but IMMEDIATELY, escorted out by the police if the parent can’t be reached, and locked away where he/she can no longer deny other children their right to an education. That our schools have lowered themselves to becoming daycare centers for kids who are not required to behave themselves is a national disgrace. The schools who allow it are a disgrace, the parents who allow it are a disgrace, and the kids themselves are a disgrace. That’s right; I’m labeling children. After a certain age, they know how nice people behave. Life is full of choices. CHOICES. Door #1: Thank you for being a nice person who behaves properly. You may stay and be educated, that your life’s choices might increase. Door #2: Are you sure you want this door? Absolutely sure? Very well. Get out and do not set foot near the school grounds ever again. You are bringing down the entire population of students. Good riddance. Billy Madison speech. Door #3: Whine. Scream. Curse. Threaten. Hire a lawyer. Make promises. We don’t care. Get out. And take your obnoxious kid with you.

If only.

In other words, disruptive bratty obnoxious kids are mostly a product of their home.

Teachers who say things like this are few and far between. Not because they aren’t thinking such things 24/7, but because it’s dangerous to speak out. Ethnicity, race, gender, and social levels have nothing whatsoever to do with this issue, but teachers who recognize the actual problem and try to do something about it are often accused of being racist, sexist, un-PC, heartless, “in possession of inappropriate knowledge,” etc. And often the biggest brats belong to the parents with the most political pull. Just as often, the biggest brats belong to. . . . nobody. In either case, brats are brats.

In other words, somebody screams “prejudice,” when the truth is, these teachers are speaking truth.

Until the bullies and the disrupters and the violent and the kids who have no respect for learning are removed from our schools, our schools can not be what the free public schools were meant to be: places where all who wish to learn, may learn all they wish.

It’s hard to learn when 25 of the 38 kids in your classroom have important Letters of the Alphabet in their files, prohibiting the teacher from requiring any work or proper behavior. It’s hard to learn when it’s so loud you can’t hear yourself think, and that awful boy next to you keeps stealing your stuff and hitting you on the arm and laughing. He can’t help it, poor thing, it’s in his IEP that nobody may do anything that would lower his self-esteem. I do not believe that ANY child who is disruptive or violent for any reason should be allowed to prevent other children from learning. Inclusion will only work for students who work at it.

On the first day of school, let the few simple rules be known and let the penalties for disregarding the rules be known. Let there be no exceptions to these penalties. Require a signed document from every family, admitting understanding of these policies. Require an additional signature under the paragraph that spells out the “no exceptions” policy. From Day One, Period One, expect and require good behavior from all students. Instantly remove any kid that chooses to be an ass. Ass-behavior is always a personal choice.

No document from home? No privileges for the kid. Not until it’s signed and filed in the office. Several copies, and one to the superintendent. Why should the child be penalized because the parents can’t get their act together for thirty seconds to sign a damn paper? Because that’s the only way some people can be persuaded to do much of anything. Life is hard. What if some parents don’t LIKE some of these rules? Enroll your over-privileged kid somewhere else then, losers.

Where should these kids be removed to? To be perfectly honest, I don’t care. Just get them away from the good kids. Don’t good kids have rights, too? I’m sick and tired of disruptive kids having the most rights. SICK AND TIRED of it. It’s long past time to give the majority of attention and all things positive to kids who choose to behave properly and kids who want to learn.

This is why most teachers who leave while still young, leave. If you are not a teacher, it’s hard to comprehend the heartbreak these teachers feel: they love their students; they love teaching; they love every single thing about their jobs. . . except for the fact that they are required to endure what nobody else in any other profession would ever consider enduring. They’re required to watch the bright and promising students injured and taunted and threatened by “other kinds” of students, and they’re required to see those “other kinds” of students rewarded for things the nice kids do daily. They’re required to give exceptions to the undeserving and nothing to the deserving. After a while, their nerves are shot and their own self-esteem is in the dirt. Decisions they make are overturned, their authority is questioned and shot full of holes. Daily. They’re not paid enough to put up with this crap. Nobody is. This kind of thing should not even EXIST in our public schools. In the olden days, students were expected to behave and required to behave, and any kid who chose to “act up” got punished at school and punished again at home for disgracing the family. Kids who continued to “act up” were expelled. Life is full of choices.

I taught public school for 26 years and my salary peaked out at 49,300. After 26 years. It became sooo not worth it. A hundred thou a year would not have been worth it. The constant disruptions, the constant expectations that certain kids would not be held accountable, the constant accusations of favoritism and wrongdoing and the 23-minute lunch at 10:30 a.m. and the study hall with 48 non-participatory boys, many of whom had to sit on the floor because the room was too small for that many desks, the indignant parents who demanded. . . actually, demanded ANYTHING. Nice people do not DEMAND. And if someone is DEMANDING an exception, he/she is not a nice person. Teachers don’t leave because of the money. People don’t become teachers for the money. People become teachers because of the dedication and the love, and teachers leave because there is absolutely no support any more.

When teachers walk out the door, they don’t usually do it because they hated teaching. They do it because the peripherals made it impossible to be a teacher. In some schools, administrators don’t even call their instructors “teachers” any more. It’s “facilitators” now. That’s because we are no longer allowed to really teach. We spend most of our time trying to maintain order in overcrowded rooms full of disruptive kids who don’t want to be there and don’t want to learn and don’t intend to allow YOUR child to learn, either. Why do we put up with it? WHY?

I make not quite 16,000 now, and even though we’re one sheet of cardboard away from living in a cardboard box under a bridge, I’m far, far better off. Why is that? Because teaching is what I love, eager students are who I love, and now I can do what I was meant to do without putting up with disruptive students or parents who demand exceptions. And when a student gives us any kind of disruptive behavior at this level and refuses to leave, we call the cops.

It took me almost a full year to ‘catch on’ to the fact that I no longer had to ‘deal’ with that kind of behavior any more. It comes as quite a surprise to some students that after a certain level, disruptive behavior is no longer allowed. After a certain level, the facilitators no longer allow it on the facility.

Perhaps if our students were taught that lesson in fourth grade, we wouldn’t have any obnoxious hoods keeping our good kids from learning in any of the higher grades.

In a perfect world.

Yes, I mean every word of this post. Some of you will find fault with the fact that I do not believe our nation’s schools and our nation’s children should be required to put up with disruptive and violent behaviors. After all, some of those kids can’t help it. And so they can’t. Get them away from the other kids because frankly, anything that prevents the good kids from learning doesn’t belong there. Tolerance? I’m all for it. How about some of that for the good kids, too!

I do not believe that all of the disruptive students are Special Education material, either. Our Special Ed programs are usually excellent, taught by the most dedicated teachers of all, overcrowded, underappreciated, and too full of kids who don’t belong there, which takes those teachers’ time and attention away from the kids who DO belong there.

An IEP does not take the place of discipline. Sure, it’s easier to claim that your child has Authority Defiance Syndrome than to require good behavior and enforce the rules yourself. Quick fix for Mom and Dad, huh. These people are taking time and attention away from kids who genuinely need and deserve special treatment.

We as a nation had better be very, very careful about what kind of behaviors we tolerate and even encourage with stupid reward systems for behaviors that ALL students should be practicing daily, because it’s already happening that many people are trying to enter the workforce without the necessary skills. Some of these people were busy texting and checking their email on their cell phones instead of paying attention, sure; I hate those people, too. But some of these people graduated with good grades that mean almost nothing because their teachers were so busy trying to corral the wild animals in their classrooms and keep them from actually harming the good kids, so busy trying to placate parents who expected the schools to not only feed, clothe, and babysit before and after hours but also to teach the behaviors and manners that are actually the responsibility of the parents, that at the end of the long, long day, there simply wasn’t time to teach anything. The schools should not be responsible for teaching your child to behave properly. If that is what you’re counting on, forget it. It’s not going to happen, parents. That’s YOUR job. I know you’re busy, but if you’re too busy to raise your child, perhaps you’d best be thinking about letting somebody else do it, not the school.

I’ll say this again: If an adult can afford cigarettes and beer and DOG FOOD, that adult should be able to buy socks and jeans and a hot lunch for his child. I’d say, the child should come before ANY of those other things. When those free-lunch, free books, free before-and-after-school-care parents would stand before me, reeking of smoke, whining with their beer-breath that they just plum couldn’t afford no shoes for the child, cough cough cough reek, it was all I could do not to tell them off for being just generally bad, bad people. Bad people who bought cigarettes, beer, dog food, and shoes for themselves instead of taking decent care of their child.

There are no exaggerations in this post. If your child’s classroom is a place of calm, peace, cool, and learning, please fall on your knees and thank God or your lucky stars, whichever one rows your boat, because your child’s school is an exception.

I’m not kidding, either. I only wish I were.

PLEASE do not assume that I am attacking special students here; that is NOT the case at all. I am merely saying that no student who keeps another student from learning should be allowed placement in a regular education classroom. Our public schools, bad as so many of them are, are still one of the main reasons many immigrants come to our country; it’s too late for them, but they have hopes for their children. Without education, there can be no hope. Without education, people are easily fooled, easily led, and somehow less of a person. Educated people are the hope of everyone’s future.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that our public schools are places where students can be educated, without disruption, without fear, without “putting up with” anything that interferes with that education. That so many students fear for their very lives when they go to school is a sad commentary on our society. That those who give other students just cause to be afraid are tolerated is a disgrace. Those who sanction it are the biggest disgrace of all.

Are we really so afraid of harming the self-esteem of a thug, or a bully, or anyone who puts another at risk or in any way prevents another from advancing forward in knowledge, that we have shunted the deserving to the back burner, and expect them to be content with the dregs of our energy and resources?

Apparently we are.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

5/8/11

On this, the anniversary of my birth, I want to celebrate YOU, my Bloggy Buddies!
I hope your day is filled with love and appreciation for all you do.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

5/7/11

Not much to say today. Partially because Bestest Friend's sister's funeral luncheon didn't end until after 10 pm. No, that's NOT a typo. PM. It was a long week, to say the least. Even though I woke up at my usual time this morning, after letting the dog out, going to the bathroom, washing my face & brushing my teeth, then letting the dog back in, I decided to lie down for another minute. I was thinking about all the things I have to do today, and about the surprise party I'll be attending tonight for one of my baby cousins. (side note - this is the 'baby' of my aunt who passed away 9 months ago. It's his 30th birthday, and his first birthday without his mom. I'm not sure what to expect tonight, especially since we ALL will be feeling her absence.)

Next thing I know, I hear my cell phone ringing. By the time I figured out it was my phone, and I sat up, that phone had stopped, and the house phone was ringing. It was CSJ, calling to say hi. When he realized he woke me up, he felt terrible. However, when I realized it was NOON, I felt terrible! What the hell? Noon?! Obviously, my body needed the sleep, as CSJ pointed out. Plus, as my lady friends will understand, I woke up at noon with my period (sorry, boys) which always brings on unbelievable fatigue.

I actually feel great at the moment. I feel refreshed, and I'm hoping I can hang on to that until tonight. The party doesn't start until 7, my cousin will arrive around 7:30, and after we finish up at the restaurant, we'll all be heading over to the bar to continue the celebration. And, knowing my family, they will mark the midnight hour, which means it will then be my birthday, so I know I'm in for a long night. Maybe I should go take a nap....

Friday, May 6, 2011

5/6/11

Friday, May 6, 2011

Do you like beginnings?

It depends on what it's the beginning of. The beginning of the school day? Love it. (Don't worry, that feeling fades by 9:30) The beginning of a new relationship? LOVE IT!! That 'honeymoon' period is the BEST! The beginning of the day? I'm a little torn on this one. I am NOT a morning person. Let me repeat - I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. However, I adore the morning show I watch in the morning, so it makes the beginning of the day tolerable.

At the moment, I can't think of a beginning that I don't like. I'm gonna quit while I'm ahead. :)

WTF?!

No, really. What the absolute FUCK?! This is from my favorite Friday feature in the Chicago Sun-Times, "Week in WTF?!" It is seriously the WTF-iest one I've ever seen.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

5/5/11

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What is the hardest decision you ever had to make?

Wow, this is a hard one. There have been SO many difficult decisions I've had to make in my life. I'm going to go with my initial gut reaction/answer, which is - throwing CSJ out. Stud Muffin wasn't even 2 years old, we had just bought this house, which meant a $1,200 a month mortgage, and I had just quit my job!!! What the hell was I thinking? Well, I was thinking, "This bastard has to go!"

But, I didn't know how I was going to keep a roof over my and my baby's heads. So much for the game plan I had all worked out. After Stud was born, we agreed I would go back to work, but only long enough to save up a decent down payment for a house. Then, I was going to be able to stay home with my baby. Yeah...not so much... I got to be home for about 3 weeks before the shit hit the fan.

I don't want to dwell on the negative here, especially since things have taken an interesting turn with CSJ in the past year or so. Besides, I haven't done too bad for myself the past 16 years. I managed to keep this roof over our heads (in addition to several remodeling projects), put myself through grad school (1 1/2 times!), put my son through 3 years of private school, and despite how much I bitch and moan about it, I have a respectable career. And, I did it all by my big self!

So, despite it being one of my hardest decisions, it was definitely the right one.

Today was a very long day. I just got home from 6 hours at Bestest Friend's sister's wake. Tomorrow is going to be very difficult, as most funerals are, and I'm a little worried about my Bestest Friend. With that in mind, I'd better get myself to bed, so I have plenty of strength and energy to help her through this difficult day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Can you tell...

...I didn't go to work today? I seem to have a lot of free time on my hands. :)

Need a giggle?

Those crazy kids on my favorite morning news show came through again. They shared this video this morning, and it made me giggle.

5/4/11

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Talk about how you feel about making decisions.

HA! That's pretty hilarious. Lately, I can't make a decision to save my life!! Should I quit my job? Should I look for a new school? Should I look for a new position out of the classroom? Should I leave teaching all together? Should I go back to school? Should I change careers? Should I rent a storage unit for all my crap? Should I just get rid of it instead? Should I set up my hammock? Should I hire a cleaning lady? Should I paint my bedroom? Should I take a trip with CSJ? Should I start planting my flowers? Should I buy a netbook? Should I stop boring you with all this?

I don't know what's happened to me, but I just can't make a decision about anything. Ok, it's mostly because I'm lazy. It's easier to just not do anything. Plus, what if I make the wrong decision? Can I live with the consequences? So, I do nothing. Well, nothing except whine to my Bloggy Buddies about all the things that I should change.

From today's Chicago Sun-Times

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

5/3/11

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Talk about grief. Talk about the opposite of grief.

I almost can't believe this was today's prompt, given the news I shared yesterday. There's not a whole lot more to say about that. As far as the second part of this prompt, the opposite of grief would be joy. I'm not feeling it right now, but some of my friends are, so go see why.

Monday, May 2, 2011

5/2/11

Monday, May 2, 2011

What is/was your favourite subject in school?

Well, since I was a straight up NERD, I'd love to say EVERY subject was my favorite!! If I had to pick just one, I'd have to say math.

Ok, now that I have the NaBloPoMo stuff out of the way, I have a bit of sad news to share. My Bestest Friend called me a couple of hours ago to tell me that her sister had been found dead in her home. I'm still waiting for the details, but in the meantime, please say a prayer for Bestest Friend and her family.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ding, dong the crazy terrorist is dead!

This will just be one more reason I love the month of May. May Day will have a whole new meaning for me from now on.

Happy May Day!


Glitterfy.com - May Day Glitter Graphics

I decided to once again participate in NaBloPoMo for the month of May, in honor of it being my birthday month and all. Plus, the theme for the month is "maybe," which is very apropos of how I've been feeling lately. There are so many things going on in my life that keep making me say 'maybe.' Maybe I'll quit my job, maybe I'll clean out the garage, maybe I'll go back to school, maybe I'll organize the basement, maybe I'll get a great new job, maybe I'll go on a diet, maybe I'll find love again....you get the picture. I'm curious to see what they come up with for prompts.

In the meantime, maybe I'll go outside and set up my hammock. It was 70 and sunny here yesterday, and I think maybe we'll enjoying the same today. Perfect hammock weather, that's for sure.