peachyteachy

For realsies

I inspire hypochondria April 4, 2014

Filed under: education,humor,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 8:23 pm
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Reasons to send kids to nurse’s office include the following:

Kid stayed home yesterday because he was sick and got his ear pierced and it hurt so he took it out so it hurts.

“My gut hurts real bad where he kicked it in gym.”

He  stole my pencil my stomach hurts real bad.

My grateful perspective is that no one made themselves puke on the floor to get out of work. Search the archives. It happened.

 

If We Had Taken Three Days of Tests in Third Grade March 30, 2014

Filed under: education,parenting,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 1:06 pm

When I was in third grade, I was dwelling on the outskirts of what might be deemed “painfully shy.” I lived in fear of being called to the Principal’s office.  This was ridiculous, because I never stepped out of line at that point of my life.

As children prepare for the ordeal that is state testing, I considered that little girl, who she was, and how she would have handled this level of demand at the age of eight or nine.  I realized that a large chunk of my self-esteem was built upon the fact that I was successful academically.  In short, I was a good reader, writer, and student in general.  As a smart, shy kid, I also experienced some painful times at the hands of the pack.  In many ways, I was fragile.  How many of us are solid at the age of eight?

I am not sure that the little girl that I was at eight would have handled the “higher” standards and the curriculum that teachers must slam young learners with today.  The one area where I had succeeded would have been threatened.  Would I have risen to the occasion, embracing the challenges of abstract, dense, no break for play, programming that is today cloaked by words like “best practice” and “data driven instruction?”  In high school, perhaps.  In elementary school, I fear that it would have broken me.  And I was a “smart kid.” I later proved to be a sort of natural test-taker, a fact that I consider pure luck of the draw in brain wiring.  Had I taken these lengthy, impossibly rigorous tests when I was so young, would I have followed that trajectory, or would I have experienced failure after failure until I was turned off from learning altogether?

It is said that children are resilient, and in many ways this is true.  That principle is being tested (no pun intended) as never before. As we continue to hold our most at-risk populations to the same measure of success as those who enjoy far greater privilege, we claim to be creating a system where graduation rates will increase.  I am not so sure.  I have watched fifth graders who went all year without passing a unit test in math or reading.  These students made growth, became better readers, learned mathematical concepts they had not before.  But it wasn’t enough for them to feel any measure of success.  The gap we claim to wish to close has been made intentionally wider.  As a teacher, I have feared for my career and felt frustration with the students when they could not somehow write something that, up until last  year, was included in the curriculum for two or three grades later.

I have students who have lived their lives in refugee camps, and students who live in dangerous conditions with parents who have their own negative history in education.  Our school is in a neighborhood where bad headlines are made regularly, where it isn’t safe to walk at night. We need to examine what we are creating for these huge numbers of at-risk kids.  Do we want them to feel like they belong out there, or in here?  Or worse, nowhere?

I didn’t grow up with money, but my parents were educated, and I was safe.  Even children of relatively stable situations are feeling levels of stress that we have no business inflicting on our  younger citizens.  My hat is off to the parents who have chosen to act on their convictions that something needs to change.  I encourage any adult to reflect and recall the experience of being a child in school–and then imagine adding in this factor that colors every day of instruction.  A useful exercise, if nothing else.

 

I Love Hand-Me-Downs! March 12, 2014

Filed under: cooking,food,humor,life — peachyteachy @ 10:03 am
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This is my “newer” slow cooker! Okay, it’s my slow cooker’s identical twin.  You’ll notice that it lacks a touchscreen—that just means that it will last for another thirty years, all the while retaining its ability to tenderize a side of beef, given enough unattended hours.

The best thing about this baby is that it was free.  My older slow cooker was a yellow/greenish gingham number without a removable crock. We’re talking Flintstones era.

Yes, I am blessed to have a Kitchen Stuff Benefactor—it’s my friend Shazam, who lives in another state, and whom I visit on an annual basis.  When Shazam gets a new small appliance or kitchen item, I am pretty sure that she pops it into a box with my name on it.  If there are any other names on the box, Shazam, I don’t want to know.  This item, which is working on some corned beef as I write, was from several years ago.  Last year, I scored Shazam’s “extra” popover pan—her dinner parties’ loss was my gain! I am in love with popovers.

I do stroll down the slow cooker aisle at Target once in awhile.  Those snappy chevron stripe models are so seductive.  But if I bought a new one, I would probably end up with it hidden under a gingham crock cozy when I’m eighty.  And I wouldn’t think of my friend Shazam whenever I cook slowly.  Our arrangement is so much better.

Of course, I have to balance this generosity with a fair amount of Salvation Army donation on my part.  That’s what summer is for.

 

 

Peachy’s Inferno March 9, 2014

Filed under: cooking,food,humor — peachyteachy @ 3:39 pm
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Some folks prefer to check their smoke detectors the bland, spring-ahead-with- batteries way.

I, on the other hand, chose to get a bit more creative, and set the toaster on fire! I sacrificed some nice multi-grain bread to do it, too.

My son happened to stroll into the kitchen, noticed the bonfire behind glass and softly billowing cloud of smoke, and made a beeline past his former firefighter dad, upstairs to me, where he casually informed me that something was on fire in the toaster.

Fortunately, the fire did not get too worked up before dad pulled the slightly melting plug from the wall, declaring that we would be needing a new toaster.  This was long overdue, as this appliance offered all the convenience of sitting around a campfire cookin’ some toast, as one (obviously) needed to monitor that mother far beyond what should be required by an appliance with a timer involved. I don’t remember it ever really cooperating that well.  God knows that I never tried to pull off the six stuffed pepper trick  in there, which seems to be the stock ad photo when the toaster barons want to extol the virtues of their burny machines. Apparently, however, asking it to toast some bread was a request too full of hubris.

When I started looking into all of the old school toaster ovens, I was delighted to find that I paid exactly the same today that a happy homemaker would have paid back in the day for a versatile toaster oven: $29.95.

What I love about the YouTube spot is that the commenters are so earnestly in love with their original ovens.  Since I burned my last one (NOT an original, by a long shot), I will never know that passion for a life-long toaster friend.

One little disclaimer: I should not have called it a “fire,” nor referred to it as “setting my toaster on fire.” In polite Toaster-speak, that’s called “having a flare-up.”, which I thought had to do with herpes. I stand corrected, Black and Decker.

Also, our smoke detectors do not work.  Add to list.

 

Normal is Overrated February 26, 2014

Filed under: family,life,music — peachyteachy @ 9:00 pm
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When emotions are high, or raw, or low—this is when music is most essential.

I sometimes fall into a feeling of normalcy over some things.  That my parents are no longer walking around in the world.  That my only sibling is mentally ill.  That they were, we were, once, a little family with little kids and dreams for the future.

The crashing of the dreams is the most haunting part.

Tonight I am reminded and it doesn’t feel normal (although that state may be a delusional one, at best).

So I landed on the song. I had to listen so hard to hear the story. But it was worth sticking around for.

 

 

 

 

Battle of the Brow Furrow February 19, 2014

Like me, you have probably spent hours pondering the qualities you share with Robert Downey, Jr., Hugh Jackman, and George Clooney.  Unlike me, you may not be a woman who has compared brow furrows with these giants of the silver screen, and won.

I’m hardly proud of this fact, but why not? I have not weathered heroin addiction, but I have compulsively raised an eyebrow throughout my adult life.   For this, I wear the battle scars.  For this, I must view ads for the likes of something called “Miracle Blur,” and wonder just exactly what would be blurred upon application. The post-40 eyesight decline provides the same luxury, if only for me.

Truth be told, I do harbor some resentment that guys with real foreheads are perceived as looking sexier and more interesting with their lines, while women run to shoot up some paralysis juice, or at least Miracle Blur themselves to near invisibility.  The eighties female rock stars that “look great” have been stretched and they look good to us because we can’t deal with our own aging and what it actually looks like.  Is looking like we looked in the 80′s really the process we should be undertaking?

We have this huge expanding force of older people, yet we remain youth obsessed.  Oh yeah.  The Fountain of Youth.  Even back when life expectancy was, I don’t know, 35– that quest was worth taking out a few native people along the way.

Excuse me while I order my free Lifestyle Lift brochure.

 

 

Something New Every Day: Elephant February 15, 2014

Filed under: education,humor,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 8:00 am
Tags: , ,

I am pretty sure that the school nurse does not have this one in her records.

During the course of a classroom discussion about a field trip to the zoo, one of my students casually informed me that he cannot go near  the elephants.   One would suppose that he was afraid of elephants, right? They are extra large.

Nope.

“I’m allergic to elephants.”

In a suburban school, a teacher might suspect that the boy was pulling her leg or being a smart aleck.

However, if you work in a school that is a veritable casting call for the “Small World” ride at Disneylandworld, you tend to not bat an eye at such a statement.  I have many students who hail from environs that could support elephant interaction as an everyday occurrence, along with goat roasting and violent insurgencies.

Peachy: “Okay, no problem.”

AND, this is my disclaimer, that of course, elephant allergy is real and is no laughing matter.  And just to take it to the universal level, let it be stated that everything allergy is real and is no laughing matter.

image: http://www.acuteaday.com

 

 
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