For realsies

La Cucaracha en La Clase April 30, 2012

So, I made sure that every kid turned in his or her cell phone.  I made sure that I turned mine off, having been warned against taking pictures of the test. I made sure that each and every student had their chance at the bathroom since I had no intention of sending anyone to the bathroom during the test. Because of all of the academic content recorded on the stalls in the bathroom, you know.

But what is the regulation involving infiltration by vermin? Here’s the scenario: a girl raises her hand, and I tiptoe over to her, so as not to disturb the cathedral-like silence that befalls the classroom during this one time of year, under threat of nuclear annihilation and zero score if they talk. She says, “I don’t feel very good. There’s a cockroach in Ruby’s desk.” She is seated at that very desk.  I ask her if she would like to change her seat; since I can only send someone who is “not feeling good” to the nurse if there is a large amount of blood or a Joe Theisman compound fracture.  Thankfully, she agrees, and finishes her test.

Let’s face it; the cockroach probably did photograph the test, and by the time we (read: student) had flushed it out and killed it, the little spy had probably leaked it to cockroaches all over the world, who are poised to exceed our school’s scores when they have to take the same test in a couple of weeks.  It will all be traced back to me and my lackadaisical security measures, and I will be deemed an ineffective and dangerous teacher, losing my position, putting our nation’s competitiveness at even greater peril, and seeking work at Orkin.




Lettuce Pray April 28, 2012

This is a lettuce garden that is growing in my home.  It lives in a Clementine box.  I love the lettuce garden, but I don’t expect it to be able to read graphs or do 3-digit by 3-digit multiplication, even if I taught it in every way possible, many, many times. I do, on the other hand, expect my classroom students to have more success than salad greens would.

The good news is that, in our urban “failing” school (that’s the affectionate nickname folks like to call it), a few of my students show evidence of these kinds of skills that I have been diligently teaching for months.  But the majority seem to suffer from the “Men In Black” syndrome.  One of my astute colleagues detected this phenomenon as we noticed some of the appalling responses to math questions on the state tests.  It was as if, she noticed, they came to school on the first day of the test, and they all received the “flashy thing” treatment. You know, when the Men In Black agents put on the Ray Bans and held up the wand whose flash removed all memory of what had gone before.  Indeed, upon reflection, we notice this on a pretty regular basis: we teach them, they get it, they go home, and— Flashy Thing— set to the time when they learned to add.  The next day, we (and by “we” I mean the state OR some publishing company’s lucrative collection of work that mirrors the state test) hit ’em with a word problem like this:

” There were 75 students who wanted to raise money for a field trip to Zippy Ha Ha Town (not a real destination).  If each student raised 120 dollars, and they needed a total of 775 dollars, would they have raised enough money to take the field trip to Zippy Ha Ha Town? Explain how you got your answer and show your work. “

Answer: Yes. They could go to Zip Town. I know because I plussed 775 and 75 and 120 and got 970. 

775+120+75 =970

This was actually a stronger-than-many answer, what with the accurate addition and all! They recognize that there are numbers in the word pile, and then they start seeing plus signs. And using the word “plus” as a verb. Yeah, we totally taught them that 735 times.  And we totally didn’t say to them 970 times (strange numeric coincidence there) that almost NEVER would they see a word problem at their grade level that would be asking them to just add whatever numbers happen to show up somewhere in the word pile. 

I am considering bringing my lettuce box to school and teaching math to the lettuce box.  Maybe the students would remember a tiny bit more? Perhaps they will be inspired by the way the lettuce doesn’t interrupt me to tell another lettuce box to stop looking at them.

Or, it is possible that it would be best if someone would just break out the Flashy Thing and take me back to a time when I felt that working in an urban school was an honorable calling, when I was respected for working with these incredibly challenging children from unthinkable backgrounds; before that choice meant I could lose my job if my students didn’t pass the state test.  I’ll just pack up my lettuce box and head on over to Zippy Ha Ha Land.


Betty Crocker is Like Lassie April 24, 2012

Betty and I collaborated again this evening; we made the “healthy” cake mix concoction where you add a can of pumpkin and none of the oil and eggs that the box calls for.  This time, I tried something loosely named “Carrot Cake.”  Except that the fine print under “Carrot Cake” said “with carrot flavored pieces.”  This should have read, “with no carrot whatsoever,” but someone (I presume Betty herself) thought these carrot flavored pieces would be a better selling point. Damn it, Betty!

Naturally, I decided to have a heart-to-heart with BC herself, so I went looking on the box for Betty.  Remember how Betty has calmly walked with you through your baking-from-a-box development, shifting and changing, getting older, then younger, then older again? Just like the many collies who became Lassie for a few years, then disappeared, making room for a newer, fresher, puppier Lassie? Well, let me save you seven seconds out of your life.  Betty is gone.  The only humanoids on that box are a Mister Mom and Daughter on the back. Yes, they ARE wearing matching pale blue button down shirts! As if that is going to make you forget to put out an APB on Betty.

I went to, where there was a prominent feature on rhubarb (fine), but no sign of Betty, except for a teeny little tab on the left that said, “Follow Betty.” Even on Facebook, she is nothing more than a red spoon.  Not even an I- don’t-have-a-profile-picture-yet silhouette. Oh, Betty.

General Freaking Mills needs to be court martialed.

P.S. Betty, if you are reading this, please post a photo of how you look now so that we can all make copies and paste them onto our cake mixes.


The Sanctity of the Spud April 22, 2012

Filed under: humor,potato,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 11:04 am
Tags: , ,

No, this is not going to be a lush photo montage of the up-close and earthy beauty of the humble potato.  God knows there are a thousand more talented photo-bloggers out there who are setting up that very photo shoot right now.  I, on the other hand, am more concerned about the enduring humor of the potato.

Remember the Dan Quayle spelling debacle? No? You are such a whipper snapper.  Back in the Bush Sr. years (cue inspiring patriotic music), his VP was a youngster named Dan Quayle, who famously misspelled the word “potato” by adding an “e” at the end.  To make things worse (or better, if you were not a Bush/Quayle fan), he was flexing his spelling muscles in an elementary classroom at the time.  Funny stuff!

But my favorite Funny Potato event hearkens back to my teenage years, in a small town in Northern Michigan, where there were strictly limited pathways toward earning the acceptance of one’s peers.  You could be a jock, a cheerleader, a slut/suspected slut, or a burnout (please view the TV series “Freaks and Geeks” to witness the carnage).  I was smart, and did things like performing in plays. Basically the kiss of death, socially.

At any rate, my tiny peer group included a handful of us who founded an organization called the Committee to Stop Discrimination Against Crazy People, better known to us and no one else as the CSDACP.  Yes, there were membership cards.  Of course, we had staff sponsors, because teachers love weird kids.  We planned events.  Christmas caroling in October, that sort of thing. We tried to put on a dance, but my passionate pleas fell on deaf ears at the student council meetings, so we had to scale back the grandeur of our ventures.

Predictably, I suggested the natural next alternative after a dance: Spud Day! The object? To get folks to bring a potato to class and simply have it out on one’s desk during each period.  It showed my lack of fundraising expertise, I admit, but my heart still swells with pride when I recall the joy of seeing a random potato here and there on desks that day.  No one really got it, of course, but that was part of the beauty of it.

Many years have passed since those halcyon days of the early CSDACP.  I am not a 12th-grade caliber basketball player, and neither are the guys who were back then.  My IQ is still hanging in there, though.  And I continue to revere the potato as one of our inherently humorous national treasures (simmer down, Ireland–if I recall correctly, the o’spud originated on this side of the Atlantic).

Watch “Freaks and Geeks.” Really.


Curl Your Lashes and Hop on a Log! April 18, 2012

Filed under: humor,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 5:22 pm
Tags: ,

Apparently, there is a sale on lash curlers at Lancome online, so many of you readers may want to abandon ship here and hop on over there, because it is a FLASH sale.  I don’t know how Lancome figured out that I should know about each and every Flash Lash Curler sale (Hey! Maybe “Flash” stands for f—ing lash curler! That would make way more sense).

But that’s not why I came here today—not to discuss the overwhelming crapitude of the overwhelming majority of my inbox. I came to share inspiration from the mouths of babes.

When things get super explosive in the classroom, I like to take out one of my favorite missives ever received.  It goes something like this: “Dear Ms. Peachy and Ms. Teachy, Y’all is some nice teachers. I don’t care what those other people say.” You can see why I am on such an ego trip.

Let’s look at another example of the result of my outstanding instruction.  In this case, the student was responding to a written prompt: “Write a travel log about a trip you would like to take.”  Her response? “If I had to travel on a log, I would go to Washington.” She does not specify whether she would be logging to Washington state or Washington, DC.  I like to think she meant the latter. I wish that I had the photoshopping abilities to create some nice snapshots of her at the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, all with her trusty log.  I’m getting a little misty just imagining it.  But then I just got less misty when I imagined her being detained for violating the log ban imposed on the city.  They had to, after one too many battering ram incidents with ten-year-old travelers like my articulate young lady.  At some point, I know, I will have to come to terms with the fact that her dream must be deferred.  She’ll probably be just as happy with an f—ing lash curler.


Fantastic Cheating Strategies OR Never, Ever Cheat April 17, 2012

Filed under: humor,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 8:12 pm
Tags: , ,

If you want to cheat at video games and the like, that’s actually pretty cool, right? I mean, I am pretty sure that an opponent of mine in Words with Friends is running some kind of fishy word generator, because his vocabulary has developed dramatically since I have been playing the game with him.That’s okay, I cheerfully meet his “vext” with “tan.”

Spring is in the air, after all, and along with it, the sweet aroma of tests, tests, and more tests–college finals, standardized exams, you name it. Like so many of us, I am catching the spirit of the creative cheatmasters of ages past! As an homage to the cheaters, I am offering a limited edition selection of what may be the two best cheat gadgets ever!

Cheat Genius #1: Silly Putty. Discreetly flatten Silly Putty or generic equivalent to your palm, then press it into the test document, thus recording the image of the question into the putty. Then, roll it up, scroll style, and slide it into your sleeve. Sell to your friends or to investigative journalists.  Preferably, for more than the cost of the putty.

Cheat Genius #2: Super Hard Tracing/Allergy Attack. Studiously “underline” passages from the test, pressing extra hard with your number two pencil, so as to make an imprint in the paper. Next, feign a sneezy, snotty allergy attack. Raise your hand and ask for tissues. Secretly suck up the snot into your brain instead of blowing your nose. Then, gently rub the newly dull pencil over the tissue, much like a leaf rubbing, creating an image of the text on the tissue. Casually wad up the tissue and tuck it into your pocket for future reproductions, which you will sell to your friends or to investigative journalists.

Just remember, cheaters never win. And winners never cheat. Happy testing!!


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