For realsies

Bribery: Still and Always, Moral Imperative November 15, 2015


I wrote the following more than three years ago. I found it because I am a one trick pony who wanted to write again about bribery as a moral imperative.  It is clear that this deeply held belief has come to be held more deeply than ever. I have been buying record numbers of  “treats” to hand out like so many little placebos as I convince the youngsters that every sweet  is an indicator that they are achieving like Einstein. Truly, it usually buys me a few minutes of reduced decibel level. As a matter of fact, I was working with a colleague a few days ago when she erupted with candy from God-knows-where, proclaiming herself  a human pinata! Bribery is alive and well and living in school, my friends! That deserves a treat!

Do I want my kids to do the right things for the right reasons? Sure!

Do I tell my students that they should behave as if their grandmother is watching them at all times? Yup. God knows I shouldn’t be the only one carrying that macabre little thought around the world of the living.

Is there a little Lego set in my closet, awaiting my son’s completion of swimming lessons without melting down and leaving the premises once? Um, why, yes, there is.

Hey, I have never paid money for good grades! That is my ex’s job.

The kid is older than most of the other “Goldfish,” loves the water, but has remained absolutely terrified of going underwater.  Water in his nose, eyes, ears or mouth is reason for extreme distress.  He’s a tiny bit high maintenance. Previous attempts at swimming lessons have gone terribly wrong.  It hasn’t helped that the teachers have had exactly one strategy in their “toolkit” when it comes to getting kids “used to” going underwater. It goes something like this:


 Aquatics Instructor: “You have to.”

 Boy: (climbing instructor like a tree, screaming) “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!”

 Aquatics Instructor: “Okay, okay, you don’t have to go underwater.” Dunks him under.

 Boy: Comes up sobbing and doesn’t stop until class ends and we can leave the Satanic waterpark, having learned the invaluable life lesson: Never trust your swimming instructor. Sweet.

This display would, of course, be followed by the natural born swimmer kid who is next in line executing a back flip with a half twist into the water.  I am looking around as if to figure out which parent goes with that screaming, flailing child.  Which works for exactly ten minutes, after which we are greeted daily with whispered “Here they come”s.

You get the idea, and surely understand why part of my preparation for this swimming session was calculated bribery.  I didn’t tell him that he couldn’t cry, because I am not super pumped to shoot myself in the foot on any given day, but I did say that he would need to stay with the class for the whole time every day.  This, he did.  The first two days were painful, and did involve screaming, crying, and, yes, being forced underwater after being told he would not be.  While this does not synchronize with my personal philosophy, we managed to make it out of there mostly intact (remember, the bribe requires not melting down AND leaving the premises).  “Keep your eyes on the prize!” I said brightly.  This referred to the unknown surprise bribe awaiting him, should he complete the session.  Let’s face it, he won’t be getting a certificate for passing Goldfish!  My bribe is kind of like the “Participation” ribbon that is so coveted by the mediocre athletes of the world.  Only cooler.

The happy ending is that he turned a corner somewhere around the third day.  Strangely, this coincided with the fact that he had a substitute instructor that day who was actually skilled and was able to give him some baby steps to take to help him move in the direction of surviving wetness of face.  We call this Divine Intervention, and I am appropriately thanking the Universe.  He WILL cry today because it is the last day, and he’s like that.

Sometimes the bribery thing works, sometimes not.  I don’t honestly think that it made much difference with the swimming thing; he gets credit for making the progress that he made (as do all of the angelic host that helped him).  He also gets a prize. If folks are really up in arms about this bribery thing, tell it to the Olympic committee.


Feels like Sunday November 11, 2015

Filed under: humor — peachyteachy @ 7:53 pm
Tags: ,

I did a fair amount of school work today, while Facebook wondered whether I really cared about or honored our veterans enough to re-post. Sorry, fb. That’s my beeswax.

it is almost like the dreaded Sunday night, except for no mass weekly staff email to mess with my innards. That, and only two more days until a real weekend.

So the good news is, not quite so clinical depression-y as a real Sunday!

Gratitude in your face.


From the Folks Who Brought You Alarmist Vein Girl November 10, 2015

Filed under: humor,vein girl needs gasoline — peachyteachy @ 7:03 pm
Tags: ,

Alarmist Vein Girl:

“I need to go to the nurse.  My lips hurt real bad. I need to get some gasoline for my lips.”


Douche of the Day November 6, 2015

Filed under: humor — peachyteachy @ 7:44 pm
Tags: ,

Tragically, there are some very young candidates for this title:

The third grader who, when asked to complete a worksheet, states, “I’m not doing this. I need to save my brain for video games.”

The child who runs the halls, terrorizing anyone younger or with a limited understanding of English. He goes all stealth, squishing himself into a corner of the hallway that, while obscuring him from one side of the hall, is in full view of my classroom door.  “You do know that you are not invisible, right?” I ask. He says nothing.


It’s All in How You Look At It November 1, 2015

Filed under: humor,nurse,school — peachyteachy @ 1:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

Consider my colleague, who teaches some youngsters who tend to see things from a different point of view.  On top of the usual requests to go see the nurse because “My finger hurts,” or “I have bumps on my face,” she found out last week that one of her kids (we’ll call her Princess I’m Telling) suffers from an even more serious condition.

This affliction is characterized, according to the student, by the presence of “blue marks all over my arms.”

Markers! If you guessed that markers played a role in the onset, you would get a sticker for good thinking, but you would have missed it by just a smidge.

Upon closer inspection, it became apparent that PIT was suffering from circulation.  Which is to say that the telltale blue marks turned out to be none other than the veins in her arms.  It would seem that she had not detected their presence in her previous eight years of life. Neither, I guess, had she noticed these strange markings on others of her species.

Suffice it to say that we are quite prepared to put money on the odds of her nailing the state tests in the spring. It’s right in step with the odds of winning the MegaMillions.

Because, hey, you never know.


Charity Begins at School? October 21, 2015

Filed under: education,humor,school — peachyteachy @ 6:18 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’ve missed you too.

Inertia is a powerful force.

The world keeps spinning, I keep teaching, and my students keep it weird.

This fall, I decided to launch a charity drive with my kids; one that would serve as an “informed action.” Action, we got. Not sure about the information translation.  We made posters! Yaay, posters!

Today I reviewed the posters!

My sample poster said something about “As Seen on. . .” and I referred to a well-known YouTuber.  So, of course, many of my darlings felt compelled to copy that—or to try to copy it.

Least Publishable Poster Copy award: instead of “As Seen On,” the poster reads, “Ass semen.”

Back when I used to blog about the horrors of urban fifth grade, that would have been intentional, and misspelled. Now, it’s just an adorable error, and a strangely missing poster.

In other news, one of my most challenging students—a gentleman who is training to clock some 300+ miles by lapping the school—did an impressive impersonation of Marty Feldman in “Young Frankenstein,” dramatically limping his way toward his favorite destination: HALLWAY! USA! USA!

Yup, some things never change.



The Peachy Urban Education Awards June 21, 2015

Filed under: education,humor — peachyteachy @ 11:19 am


It’s that time of year. . .

Originally posted on peachyteachy:

Snarky In The Suburbs has inspired me many times, and never more than with her divine end-of-year awards to all of the special lovelies that  infest grace her favorite suburban institution.

Of course, urban schools do some damned honoring of their own, thank you very much; so how you feelin’?  I don’t understand that either.  My students recently began to use that expression, “So how you feelin?'” to follow up some razor witty jab like, “Really? Say it to my face. That’s what I thought. So how you feelin’?” I rank it up there with the thinking man’s retort: “Duh” — also a popular morsel of repartee that is parleyed about within the walls of my language-rich classroom environment.

I asked Seth McFarlane to host this year, but Mr. McRudeface has not returned my emails.  So I went ahead and asked my room mother to do it! Remember the Room…

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