For those of you who could not see the photos in my last post. My apologies!
For those of you who could not see the photos in my last post. My apologies!
Despite evidence to the contrary, I am not entirely cynical. If I were, I would not need the outlet of snark that is my blog.
On days like today, I make every effort to find ways to feed my soul and to balance things out. This one does not involve the healing power of chocolate, but rather the way I like to get the most bang for my buck out of a single bunch of tulips.
Blue stuff and purple stuff speak to me. Not literally.
This makes me ridiculously happy. These are all strewn about in little groups, on various surfaces in my house, but they came together for one little photo shoot on the porch floor. Because I said so.
Flowers are often much more obedient than children.
Yup! Another marking period has screeched to an underachieving halt! Time to candy coat the truth.
Of course, I never bore you with the comments about the kids who are actually trying most of the time–that’s just the apex of yawner blogging.
Here’s a pearl of report card writing wisdom:
Douchebags first. If you write the comments for the really tough ones first, you will be fresh and more likely to be able to spin something positive out of their ability to crease paper by licking it first. Some things, on the other hand, are better left alone. Sometimes one just needs to wait for the police to step in and communicate to the parent that their kid is both a pathological liar and a kleptomaniac.
On to the nitty-gritty.
De’nice (pronounced “Dee-Nice” -see What Makes Teachers Laugh) has shown an interest in writing independently.
Denice wrote “Bitch Ass Teacher” on a math poster in the classroom–independently.
Scooter has expressed an interest in the performing arts.
Scooter lives his every waking moment in school as if he is auditioning for the Three Stooges.
I continue encouraging Reggie to make mature choices in his response when he receives a consequence in the classroom.
We have an agreement that if he has another whining baby fit over changing his daily “score,” he will watch the same episode of “Teletubbies” for the remainder of the school day. This could backfire, but only once.
De’nice claims to have used up all of her school supplies.
The notebooks you sent with her are filled with obscenities and anatomically accurate diagrams of reproductive “tools.” Also, the markers, crayons, pencils, Liquid Paper, tape, cardstock, candy, dice, dry erase markers, glue sticks, scissors, and fancy hand lotion were not obtained through legit trips to the class “prize box.” De’nice has stolen me blind and I am the one who is out of school supplies.
One of the reasons that I appreciate good waitstaff is the memory of how very much it sucked when I tried it. In retrospect, I probably have a legit waitressing disability that may have qualified me for a special training program, right?
It was summer, and I was nineteen or twenty, when I took this god-forsaken part-time waitressing job at an outfit called “Smokehouse Sally’s.” You may have deduced that their specialty was barbecue. This was before barbecue was all chic, and I don’t know that these folks had any particular barbecuing experience or ability, but what did I care?
Also, I never met this alleged Sally person. More on that later.
The guy who hired and trained me was a dick. I’m sure he blamed Sally. He scheduled me for these short shifts about a week apart, a strategy taken directly from Chapter One of Moronic Strategies For Training Waitstaff. My disability, or perhaps my standing as a human being, dictated that if I was shown 37 seemingly unrelated procedures on one day, then didn’t get a chance to practice until a week later, I forgot at least half of them. I felt pretty confident about swirling salt and ice in the coffee carafes.
The customers were fine, unless you expected good tips. When Dick let me go after three weeks and three shifts, I was only too happy to check waitressing off my summer job list. No need to seek a restraining order to keep this chick out of the smokehouse!
It wasn’t long after that when I read a blurb in the paper that told of the demise of the Smokehouse Sally’s owners, due to some messy cocaine dealings. I didn’t cheer, but I didn’t shed a tear, either.
I did take away my lifelong respect for the challenges faced by waitstaff, and my commitment to tip twenty percent unless there is a big reason not to.
My early experience may have, however, contributed to the irritation I feel when my students ask for ranch dressing when I hand out their daily free healthy snack. And they make it abundantly clear that twenty percent of nothing is nothing. That’s some high level math.
My job can be mildly-to-unspeakably stressful.
Music helps. Sometimes I forget to use it, though. I don’t know why.
Several years ago, I was lucky enough to see an amazing documentary that followed Dave Matthews and Trey Anastasio on a journey to make music with the legendary Orchestra Baobab in Senegal. It is moving and lovely and full of incredibly different people coming together. The clip I’ve shared here is of the song “So Damn Lucky” from Dave’s “Some Devil.” I’m not a crazy Dave Matthews fan, but he has made plenty of music that I super love. This one just fills me up.
What is wrong with this picture? Nothing, if you are okay with getting fired and working ten-year-olds into a foaming fury of too many chicken nugget hormones!
Yeah, man, we’re awesome educators! We are making poetry come alive by using contemporary song lyrics. If we made the assignment “Find the hidden f-bomb,” that would be our number one engaging lesson of the school year; the one that students would talk about fondly in the future (seeing as how we don’t have field trips anymore). “Remember when Ms. Peachy had us read the song lyrics that said ‘f—ed up?’ That was the best day ever.” Alas, not today, young Turk. Not today. Because, by the grace of God, Ms. Peachy read the words before you had a chance to.
I have never personally heard the song, “Gym Class Heroes,” but you can bet I’m going to be looking it up real soon now. The title alone, for me, is hilarious, as our gym is host, primarily, to impressive brawls, second only to the cafeteria, where one needs only to whisper the words, “You’re dirty,” to set off a virtual West Side Story scene, sans pretty music and dancing. Heroes abound.
Amidst the knock-down drag outs and the descriptive language exploration, my most velcro-like student asked me, over and over, to send him to the nurse because his lips hurt. Just in case you don’t know, we teachers do try to stick to a blood/puke policy when it comes to the nurse (although we cave when we are really really tired of a certain kid’s pleading. “Just go!”). Rarely do we send a lip-related emergency, especially an invisible one. “Feel it!” he implores. ”
“I am not going to feel your lip!”
“No, it is below my lip!” Excellent use of the concept of “below” for our English language learner.
“I am not going to feel below your lip. Stop asking me. Tell your family you need some chap stick.” This is a risky proposition when you take into account the fact that this student questioned me when he saw me putting on lipstick one day.
My expert explanation: “It’s lipstick. So my lips don’t fall off.”
“But you are a MOTHER!” He was sort of perplexed in a horrified way. Apparently, in his culture, one’s lipstick years are behind one when childbearing sets in.
Still, when he left school at the end of the day, he assured me that he would be getting some lipstick. I gently reminded him that he would prefer chap stick. Thumbs up all around.
Thank you for your interest in Uplifting University! Here at Uplifting U, we pride ourselves on turning out some of today’s best, brightest, and most motivating of the I-Know-and-Eat-Better-Than-You-AND-I- Do-Yoga professionals.
To find out if Uplifting U is right for you, we suggest you begin by completing the following brief questionnaire.
1) Do you begin and end every conversation with reminders of your belief in the shortcomings of the person with whom you are conversing?
A. Only 75% of the time.
B. Never! That would be abusive and discouraging!
C. Of course! How else will they remember how much their way sucks and how critical it is that they do it your way?
2) When someone shares an idea with you, you
A. Smack yourself in the head to keep from rolling your eyes.
B. Listen intently, then thank them and comment on something positive in what they shared.
C. Become tense, then say, “Wellllllllll, no.”
3) When someone describes an emotional family crisis, you
A. Check your i-Phone frequently to be sure you are not missing important spreadsheets from work.
B. Sit quietly with them, assuring them that you want to do whatever you can to help them to make it through their tough time.
C. Relate a story about the time you found out that your purebred show dog could not reproduce its champion blood line.
If you chose two or three “B” answers, you may be Uplifting U material! Go to our website and download the full application!
If you chose two or three “A” answers, you may want to consult a life coach, rather than become one. . .We suggest you do this sooner rather than later, as it is our experience that these questionnaire responses may indicate an asshole condition.
If you chose two or three “C” answers, please go to the Never Be a Life Coach! registry and enter your name immediately. Next, follow the instructions for “A” answers—quickly.
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Life as a sandwich generation x’er, stacked with irony. As a ‘normal’ person peering out from the boundaries of suburbia, as a transplant from another state, maybe another planet. As a mother of teenage boys and freelance working writer balancing parenting with helping to care for my mother. And now as an only child of a mother with Alzheimer’s (which sucks).