For realsies

Finger on the Pulse of Pop Culture-Three Boys October 29, 2012

Filed under: education,humor,school,teaching,television — peachyteachy @ 8:09 pm
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One of the deeply awesome things about teaching fifth graders is that they all watch the same things that my younger son watches.  As long as you don’t count the graphic horror films that they apparently watch as a matter of course, and which my son states that, if elected, he would abolish.  I’m with him.  I am a wuss who finds real life horrifying enough without watching stuff intended to raise your stress level.  Honey, my stress level is high enough without biting my knuckles while awaiting a fount of blood to erupt from a stupid girl’s sternum. My son also does not view the items that enable our students to compose extended essays regarding oral sex, whilst they remain incapable of writing a paragraph that includes details from a text that they have read. Go figure!

Aside from those notable exceptions, I am on top of much of their media-inspired drivel.  “Regular Show?” I watch it. “Yaaay-uhh!” Shut it. I only wish that they were sharp enough to appreciate the nuances of “Adventure Time” and “Gravity Falls.”  See, kid’s TV right now actually has some pretty awesome, funny, and creative stuff.  So don’t try to quote crap from kiddie pop culture to me.

Here’s the dilemma: I can track certain trends to pop culture.  But where do they develop the tendency to write the following: “I saw 3 boys and the three boys the three boys?”  I grew up on “My Three Sons.” There were triplets and shit happening there. Is this some obscure 3-ism of which I am unaware? I heard from some wise, unidentified sage, that  humor was often delineated in the arena of 3. Obviously, I have yet to master this elevated skill, although my student has some inkling.  Clearly, I must continue to study the ways.

But what would Fred MacMurray’s response have been if little Ernie had brought home some garbage like that? I think that there would have been an emotional heart-to-heart in which Ernie would have been gently acquainted with the prospects of a life of flipping burgers, where he could repeat things in threes to his heart’s content.  And then, Chip would have piped in about his childhood friend, Skip, who had not only found himself sauteing the patties of the beuf, but later found himself dismissed from said job due to his limited mathematical capabilities, after which he had wound up bunking in the Stevens’ garage.  Shame, all around.  The good old days.

Meanwhile, the child who wrote about three boys three times in three seconds—she will have to take a test in which she is asked to describe how a character changes throughout a story based on the challenges the character faces, and providing text evidence to support her answer.

Or, three boys.



Thank You For Not Gluing October 25, 2012

When I was in grad school, pursuing my teaching certification as a “non-traditional” student, there was this one woman in my classes who was also “non-traditional.”  She was kind of wishy-washy, in addition to being very nice.  I think that she used to work in the entertainment industry with something having to do with cameras.  Yeah, that career.  I am not sure if she left it to have kids, or if they moved, or what.  I was working full-time, had a teenager and a toddler, and had worked for quite some time with kids with Emotional/Behavioral disorders.  Or whatever is PC at any given time.  The angry whack jobs. I had a different perspective from my classmate. Let’s call her Wynonna.

When we had to design a “Literacy Center,” Wynonna went ape-shit with the Michaels craft-o-rama, and the hot glue gun.  I have no recollection of what she was trying to teach using this center, but I vividly remember that the display included a mini-picket fence, and a bunch of other miniature, doll-house size items.  It was cute as hell, and earned Wynonna the disdain of everyone who had invested exactly $2 on one piece of poster board and one pack of index cards at the Dollar Store.

My perspective sprang from experiences that resulted in bruises. On me.  I have seen good guinea pigs fall at the hands of enraged 8-year-olds trashing a classroom.  And when I say fall, I mean, literally fall, within their crashing cages, and die.  One of the lessons I learned during my first year of teaching in a combat zone was to view each and every item used for learning as a potential projectile.  I also learned that one does not give students any materials until the final nanosecond when they are expected to use said material, lest it similarly become a projectile or weapon of some sort.

As you can imagine, when I see a potential teacher break out the mini-zen garden rakes, my mind turns to visions of horrible facial injuries inflicted upon a student who makes the mistake of looking at a rake-wielding student  the wrong way.  Different strokes for different folks; this is just the scenario that pops up for me.

I don’t know whether Wynonna ever got a teaching job.  Maybe, at some district where they needed an extra mild-mannered first grade teacher, and where all the children know things like their name when they enter kindergarten. I hope not, though.  Not because I harbor any animosity toward Wynonna–although, COME ON with the potpourri manipulatives for the five senses lesson.

I hope that Wynonna hasn’t had to wind up where we are now.  I knew how crazy classrooms could be when I went for it.  But there was no way that I could have predicted how crazy the educational system was going to become.  How a willingness to teach urban, at-risk kids would become a liability and a place where numbers are the only thing that matters. Wynonna would have folded like a house of cards.  I want to fold like a house of cards.  Wait, cards could be a weapon. Guess I’ll have to stick it out.


Report Card Comments, Volume Three October 23, 2012

Filed under: education,humor,teaching — peachyteachy @ 9:07 pm
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Yes, Pinterest fans, it’s time once again to blindly pin any and all “report card comment” related items.  Sorry that this might not be what you’re looking for.

Actual comment: 

Vidalia will need to work hard to improve her writing skills this school year.

Unwritten comment:

Vidalia’s writing was mistaken for an obscure hieroglyph, until she read the piece aloud: “how I know is I know because of theres is no chacartures in the story and so I nose it.”


Actual comment:

Vidalia has shown an ability to focus on a number of tasks.

Unwritten comment:

Vidalia distracts the class during instruction by turning her eyelids inside out.  When questioned, her response: “You mean eyebrows?”


Actual comment:

Zorkonoman has lost some instructional time due to his interest in pursuing other activities.

Unwritten comment:

On his bathroom breaks, Zorkonoman spends approximately the same amount of time required to get a shellac mani-pedi.


Actual comment:

Zorkonoman needs to take responsibility for some inappropriate behaviors.

Unwritten comment:

When told, “You must not throw water at people! And it is not okay to grab him around the neck!” Zorkonoman cannot make it all better by grinning, nodding vigorously,  saying, “Okay! Sorry!” and giving a thumbs-up.


Actual comment:

Euripedes must remember to practice his artistic interests outside the classroom and during non-instructional time.

Unwritten comment:

Euripedes folded an origami “End of the World” airplane and fortune teller. The ensuing argument included threats to end people’s worlds by punching them in the face.





Dylan vs. Lash Extensions October 20, 2012

Filed under: humor,music — peachyteachy @ 1:42 pm
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Bob Dylan Subterranean Homesick Blues

Why does this song comfort me after a hellish week? I know that there are many who can’t tolerate Dylan.  I can’t imagine life without Dylan.  Dylan makes me feel better when I see an add for a discount coupon for “lash services,” including full lash extensions. Dylan=real. Lash extensions=fake and deserving of ridicule.  Even if you don’t like Dylan, I hope that you are not considering lash extensions.  You look good without them.  And you don’t want to wear something hanging off your eyelids that is the equivalent of one of the Dylan cue cards that says, “I measure my worth by the length of my lashes.” Get real, and go listen to “Blood On the Tracks.”


I Make My Hair! October 17, 2012

Filed under: humor,teaching — peachyteachy @ 8:14 pm
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Bathroom going is one of the pain-in-the-ass aspects of teaching.  There is the well-known fact that teachers must be able to hold it for Herculean periods of time.  But that’s the least of my worries.  Students and the bathroom—that’s hell on wheels.  Do you take the whole class, standing in the hall for a solid fifteen while the entire class cycles through the ordeal, while the rest of them wait calmly and angelically in a perfect line outside the bathroom? Maybe, in the Vatican. In my school, there will likely be blood spilled.  Or at least shins kicked.

As a result, I have bathroom passes and let kids go with a hand signal and the admonition that they have two minutes.  I have a naughty little English Language Learner who blithely pretends that he is not privy to our concepts of time, and regularly disappears for twenty minutes at a time, while scores more wait at their desks, waving their bathroom signals aloft while clutching at their crotches.  It makes for some super-effective teaching, I assure you.  I ask a question, call on a kid, only to realize that he is not volunteering an answer, but is waving a bathroom signal.  In fact, you realize, no one knows anything, and they each have the bladder control of a three-year-old.  Tony Robbins would crumple in the face of this crowd.

Today, Naughty Boy goes AWOL as usual.  Upon his return, I sternly remind him that he was gone for far too long.  He smiles, rubs his head, and says, “I make my hair.” His hair is exactly one millimeter long, and does not require any water application to “make.”

Jaws clenched, I tell him that “You don’t make your hair! That is not okay; you go for two minutes! There’s no making hair!”

Heartwarming and whimsical, you think to yourself.  Whatever. I continue with whatever it was that I was teaching; by now, any momentum is pretty much grinding to a screeching halt and I have to tap dance to get them to focus back on my compelling show.

Naughty Boy raises his hand.  “Can I go to the nurse to get a shirt? Mine is wet.”

Dying a little bit inside, I calmly respond that NO, he can’t go to the nurse to get a shirt! He MADE HIS HAIR and now he has to deal with the consequences! He repeated his request at least three more times, while distracting everyone further by squeezing, wringing and and waving the front of his shirt in the air.

Remind me to pick up a blow dryer to add to my classroom supplies.  Don’t even ask about the soul-crushing properties of pencils.  That saga continues.


Sloth: Deadly Sin or Redemption? October 11, 2012

Filed under: education,humor,teaching — peachyteachy @ 8:22 pm
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I am considering a slight shift in occupation. I think that I should apply to be an entry level zoo keeper.

My son is making whale noises.  My students make cat meows.  Animals also make animal noises.  None of them stop at my request.  Are you starting to see my point?

Perhaps my peace of mind would be less disturbed by an actual sloth than by the sloth impersonations I witness on a daily basis.  A real sloth isn’t expected to be able to walk in a line at a common speed, or to be able to articulate a single cohesive sentence.  In addition, I am willing to bet that it would be the very rare sloth indeed that would spend hours on end trying to refill a “lead pencil.” That is what kids call mechanical pencils.  Don’t bother explaining about lead, or graphite, or anything else, really, because it will land on sloth ears.

I wouldn’t be bothered by the fact that students spell the word “I” with a lower case letter. Over. And. Over. Again. If a true sloth did that, I would be on the phone to Jack Hanna, booking my sloth a spot on the Tonight Show.

I probably would feel far less stress at the realization that I could lose my job when my students don’t get a certain percent higher score on their state tests.  Or when an evaluator slams me for the fact that my sloth doesn’t respond to “higher order” questions with “higher order” answers (and persists in spelling the word “I” with a lower case letter).  Too often, when I ask a fabulous question, one can hear crickets chirping. . .until someone takes this as a cue to launch their own side conversation about lead pencils and gum.  Christ, I could bring out the ghost of freaking Carl Sagan and the real live Neil deGrasse Tyson, and the pattern would hold.  Just a non-issue with sloths.

And don’t even try to play the doo-doo card.  The statistical probability of my encountering more of that in a zoo job than where I am now is exactly zippity-doo-dah.  I’m a gardener, for God’s sake—manure doesn’t scare me.


Columbus Day Ode to the Stink Bug October 7, 2012

As if there aren’t enough odors to track down in a house that a dog, cat, fish and guys call home, now my first-born has introduced the stink bug to our abode.  Apparently, his university is situated adjacent to the international headquarters of the stink bug.

I did some hard and heavy research on Wikipedia, where I discovered that the scent of the stink resembles cilantro.  Another article, however, likens the smell to dirty feet.  Reportedly, they only release the odor if they are threatened, injured, or irritated.  My son claims that he has never smelled one, despite the proximity to Stinkbug International offices.  Judging by the potency of his laundry, however, I question his ability to discern nuances of such emissions.

So, the upshot is, don’t piss off a stink bug, or it might make a stinky at you.  It will behave like a tiny Pepe Le Pew.  Or like some of my students, who respond to many challenging situations with fart noises.  This inspires me to pioneer a new and improved aromatherapy application, where the feedback I give in the classroom might include “pretty smell” AND “stinky smell!” I wouldn’t have to say a word; I would just spritz my way into Teacher of the Year.

Oh, in addition, the stink bug will stink if you squish it.  Well, duh.  It’s just a matter of time ’til any of us will stink after being squished.  It strikes me as rather microcosmic of the larger truth: there are certain rather global expectations that one (or big, powerful more-than-ones) should be able to squish things, and not have to deal with any messy, smelly aftermath.

As for OUR stink bug, we had an understanding–I have a knack for sweet talking bugs into strategically placed juice glasses, and the little fella toddled right on in there.  I released him into the wild, thus amplifying the invasion of this non-native critter that hitched a ride from Asia in some container.. .

I wonder: what stinky, non-native creatures hitched a ride on those vessels that lost their way five hundred twenty years ago?


Credit Cards: Prophylaxis against Boringness October 5, 2012


Wait.  What is up with the TV commercial where the guy has the chick break up with him (telling him he’s boring); then he gets the credit card that enables him to become un-boring—which means he goes to a gallery with a picture of Marilyn Monroe, has Giada DeLaurentiis feed him a bite of food, and goes to an Alicia Keys concert where he has his picture taken with what one must assume is a cardboard cutout of Ms. K?

What a playah!  When relating to actual humans doesn’t work out, chasing celebrities may indeed provide a less risky path. Although a guy might  manage to draw an order of protection or two, if the trend holds.

Arguably, credit cards do change lives.

This may be why I am so fond of old-school advertising.

See? They’re not boring.

Still, lest we forget. . .


My Addictive Blog, OR Dream On, Sister October 2, 2012

Filed under: humor — peachyteachy @ 7:49 pm
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Thanks, Fortyteen Candles, for nominating me for the blog award of my choice! What a cool, creative way to keep the labor to a minimum and the strokes still attractive.  I have chosen

because I like to think that a handful of people might feel that way, and I tend to like addictive people in general.  This fact is so consistent that I can assure  you of this: if I like you a lot, chances are you may want to examine your addictive tendencies to see if you should be checking out a Twelve-Step program.  I don’t like ALL addictive people, but if I do like you, you just might want to check. . .

At any rate, I have managed to reveal one possibly interesting thing about myself. Again. And these blog awards are all about trying to think of things about oneself that have not already been revealed through one’s exhaustive blog coverage of one’s skin conditions. Those are the rules, y’all, in case I nominate you.  Another rule is that you have to conspicuously thank me with some linkage.  But I understand if you are more annoyed than anything and you want to conspicuously curse me and the miniature horse I rode in on.

Thing the second: I will not be joining you in Farmville, even with the promise of a FREE CHICK. That’s just not a draw for me.

Thing the third:  I was the inspiration for a Bob Dylan song.  The lyric goes like this: “She takes me out and leads me among the environments.” Did I say he recorded it? What do you mean, ” In your dreams?”  Are you psychic or something? Okay, that was just a dream I had. Blame the subconscious.

Thing the fourth:  I watched David Letterman before anyone watched David Letterman.  I was David Letterman’s first viewer.  When he had a daytime show.  He was way too random for daytime, but for me it was like meeting a kindred soul. If you know David Letterman, could you please put in a word for me as a possible hire?

Thing the fifth (and I think that the rules say that you must reveal 5-7 things about yourself): Sadly, we are out of lollipops.

Okay, now I am required to nominate people, and this is tough, because I resist following blogs–simply due to the fact that I can’t keep up.  So I will try not to re-nominate folks who are just over being nominated. Some of my newer discoveries:

The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things because I like my interesting to be ridiculous.

tracy fulks She caters to pretty much everyone, and streamlines it all so that you can access the vulgar stuff first.  I know some folks like that.

Fabulously Awkward Girl  is a white chick who lives in NY and who catches some interesting stuff on the subway.

Drinking Tips for Teens is not.  It’s a funny Canadian.  They don’t need any drinking tips!

Valley Girl is another new find for me–a fellow educator in a perfect world.

Finally, the rules strongly suggest that you notify these folks of the overwhelming honor that is being bestowed upon them.  So I have to get to work.

Spread the love around. BTW, you are also supposed to display the lovely graphic above.


Give Them Wings and They Shall Fly October 1, 2012

I was sharing with my colleagues about a former student who rehearsed for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” on a regular basis.  He famously took an “I Believe I Can Fly” leap down a flight of stairs, spraining both ankles.  It was our job to teach this aerodynamic wonder.  You may find it shocking to learn that he did not achieve academic excellence under our tutelage; our professional development in the Cirque de Soleil writing instruction program proved insufficient.  I take full responsibility.  In an effort to expose him (and countless other youngsters who wander into the classroom year after year, with the ability to read the words “cat,” “frog,” and “ugly bitch ass”) to text that is beyond his decoding skills, I have been known to actually read higher level text. Aloud.  *Gasp!*

Any teacher who has taught at-risk, below-level readers knows that this is as necessary as keeping Advil in your desk drawer, if you hope to convey information or interest kids in the wonders of reading.  Not all the time, of course, but while we are learning to read, we have to ACTUALLY read, occasionally.

“Nay! You must give them wings! Let them struggle with the text! And do it in the next seven minutes, after which they shall write a composition that adheres to a seventeen-point rubric! Let them fly, oh lesser, misguided Peachy!”

Always one to obediently follow the wisdom of my superiors, I say unto the fledglings,”You shall read the book about Ellis Island! You shall respond to questions with your partner! The guys from Men In Black shall not come and use the flashy thing upon your brain four seconds after you have read three sentences!”

Time passes; a few days of it.  I ask the question, “Why is Ellis Island important?”

For the first time all day, there is eerie silence in my classroom.  Perhaps I should re-phrase.  “What IS Ellis Island?” No fewer than five children venture into intellectual no-man’s land: “It’s an island.”

Score!  Let’s break out Anna Karenina!

Weirdness Update—In subsequent years, my colleagues or I have wound up teaching  siblings from the aforementioned family (Stair Leaping Boy’s), in a completely different school than when I had the pleasure, initially.  Stair Leaper certainly wins the audition for the “Cuckoo’s Nest” musical revival, but the others have a timeshare at the Zippy Ha-Ha Land Resort also. . .I’ve said it before. It’s a small world, after all.



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