peachyteachy

For realsies

Mice, Lice, and Everything Nice October 22, 2016

Filed under: humor,school,teaching,Uncategorized,urban schools — peachyteachy @ 9:37 pm
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Peachy, end of June:

School is still in session.

We’re hard core. We like our students pissed off and confused. The lunch menu is “Chef’s Choice.” Come on!

Peachy, mid/early/late October:

School is in session, again, and this year is clearly slated to consist of 472 days rather than the customary 180. Some things cannot be altered or resolved by upping one’s coconut oil consumption.

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the iconic image of the traditional teacher, hair pulled back and up in a severe bun, cloudy spectacles perched on face? It’s not rocket science.

The bun goes up right around mid-September, at the exact moment when teacher spots tiny and tenacious members of the animal kingdom creeping up her students hair.  It used to be that school nurses would advise parents that their kid would have to be cleared before returning to school, and the remainder of the class would be lined up for the “head check.” No more.  These days, I send a kid who is visibly crawling with critters, along with a note to the nurse: “Head check?”  Six minutes later, the kid comes back with the scrawled reply: “Yes,” and a letter to take home.  Most parents in my school do a less-than-thorough treatment, supporting record levels of lice at any time of the school year.

It’s even worse when one is ambushed at head level by several kids a day, sweetly bestowing hugs before a teacher can establish a safe distance from hairdos.  At this point, teacher scalps feel perpetual itch until the end of the school year.

Let us not overlook our furry friends, the mice of the urban school.  We are provided with sticky traps, which are gory gadgets that can trap a family of mice who are out for a stroll, at which point they usually tear themselves apart in the attempt to escape. Urgent calls to the custodian result in less-than-urgent responses.  In one classroom, a teacher confiscated a note being passed from one student to another, after the entire class had been whipped into a frenzy by the squeaks of trapped rodentia .  The note read, “I tuched the mouse.”

Oh—and the glasses? That teacher’s got pink-eye.

 

 

 

My Role in the Revolution May 5, 2016

Filed under: education,humor,school,teaching,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 8:04 pm
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Where’s Peachy and what’s she doing? She’s busy doing her best to single-handedly dismantle our educational system, that’s what.

Exhaustive data analysis reveals that, if I administer what we call a pre-test, run detailed genetic error analysis of the test, teach for a few weeks,  then have the cherubs take it again after this period of targeted, data-driven instruction, the scores generally support the following:

A. My instruction sucks all knowledge out of the brains of children.

B. My instruction  makes children believe that they are track stars and champions of English as a Second Language (their first language: profanity).

I live to serve.  You’re welcome.

 

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

Image: brothersoft.com

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:

  Boy: “I CAN’T GO UNDERWATER!!!!!! NOOOOOO!!!!”

 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.

 

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

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

Image:  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/66/86/de/6686deed228ee06b46540fb210b68b20.jpg

 

Surviving a Fire Safety Assembly December 6, 2014

Recently, our school hosted a Fire Safety Assembly.  The second and third graders—all 200+ of them—filed in, sat down, and behaved themselves while the blockbuster DVD, Hector the Smoke Detector, was projected in all its splendor.  A few  years ago, the fire department had abandoned the live mascot in costume, presumably due to the fact that the costume had become increasingly grimy and flaccid. I guess they didn’t want to give kids the impression that smoke detectors were constructed of giant flour tortillas.

The gentleman who presented this year was energetic.  Fervently so, really.  I knew that something was awry, though, when he called on a student to demonstrate how to “Stop, drop, and roll,” THEN proceeded to bring each of the nine classes to the front of the auditorium, where the kids lined up, enchilada style, on the floor in glaring violation of the gospel of personal space that we preach day in and day out.  It is a miracle that no one dislocated a clavicle.

This was, however, a mere preview of the ultimate evidence of divine intervention witnessed that day. For when the youngsters had returned to the upholstered seats, bouncy and kicky as all hell, Reverend Firefighter called upon each and every child to pray to be rescued if they were ever trapped in a fire!

The final act involved having every student drop to the ground as if crawling below the smoke, then complete the enormous square of auditorium aisles on  hands and knees.  My students were now not only prepared to respond to a fire emergency, but to a European soccer riot as well!

Did I mention that I had a new student that day? He channeled James Brown in the aisle of the auditorium.

Safety first!

 

 

Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/29/97364215_6f82a4b257_z.jpg?

 

 

Teaching for College and Career Readiness? Yup! November 15, 2014

Filed under: education,humor,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 2:17 pm
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One of the things they tell teachers is that one should not use sarcasm in the classroom.  Anyone who has read a few of my blog posts knows that if I took one of those moronic Facebook quizzes that ask “How sarcastic are you?” I would fall somewhere between “80 and 97 percent sarcastic”. On a good day.  That’s right, I embrace sarcasm as a trusty lifeskill, and I am proud to share that skill with my beloved students.  Without sarcasm, most teachers would be found collapsed in a pool of their own tears by the end of any given day.

Case in point: one teacher was attempting to teach a math lesson on a recent Friday afternoon. She was holding the promise of the weekly prize drawing over the students, in the hopes that this might inspire some shut up reduced volume in the room.  One student in particular was yukking it up as if the expanded form of 768 was as entertaining as an episode of Sponge Bob.  Also, she was repeatedly sticking her ample booty above the desk.  As a holder of an advanced degree, I can categorically assure you that sticking  your ass in the air is not conducive to learning, at least not in math.  Look it up. In my archives.

The aforementioned  excellent teacher made a suggestion to the class: “You can thank Ms. Zippity Doo Dah for the fact that we won’t have time for our prize drawing.”

To this, of course, several students complied, saying, “Thank you, Zippity Doo Dah.” *sigh* Clearly, this teacher had not delivered enough instruction in sarcasm. . .

But then, from out of the clear blue sky, another student, in a raspy and disgusted voice, like that of a 40-year-old smoker, yelled out, “You’re not supposed to say ‘THANK YOU!'”

“You’re supposed to just SIT THERE!”

The teacher swelled with pride.  Until the day got even better. The student continued, confirming that the teaching of the higher understanding of the sarcastic remark had been successful after all.

“. . .and FEEL ASHAMED!”

Teachers really do make a difference, after all.

 

 

 

 

Image: https://scontent-b-fra.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/t1.0-9/p552x414/1001966_650113861724104_1868953058799216981_n.jpg

 

 

Box Troll 2.0 On Parade September 25, 2014

Filed under: education,humor,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 7:58 pm
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Common Core in action

Do you know what is awesome?

What’s awesome is having some mysterious muscular pain in one’s glute, but having no memory of having done any deep lunges whatsoever.  Although, upon reflection, I do sit in some tiny ass chairs during the day, and it is entirely possible that I arose from one of them over-eagerly. A colleague suggested that I might be able to call in sick with that one.  I’m not sure that the drop-down menu on the website includes “Ass Injury.” On the other hand, it’s worth a shot.

Those of you who have been reading the Peachy Chronicles for some time are familiar with the fact that, regardless of what grade I teach, I manage to attract a contingent of crazies high needs individuals who are entertaining in writing but beyond challenging in actual practice.

Today, for example, I was required to administer an assessment that has no bearing on student learning, grading, or life.  Rather, it stands as a measure of teacher effectiveness that hinges on growth from the fall to the spring on this one little “task.” It is Keystone Cop-ish on so many levels, and it was rendered even more so by my students’ behavior today.  The Keystone Cops were silent movie police sensations (I have been met with blank stares when making that reference in the past, so there you go). They were clumsy and there were lots of them and they ran to jump on their Keystone Cop cars in a way that people found hilarious. I guess. Like education reform.  That’s my poorly-made point.

I have a couple of students who like to earn attention by flailing about on the floor.  I remind them, in a pastel voice, that this is not safe for them and that I have to keep them safe. Then they put chunks of green or pink erasers into their mouths and laugh at the owners of said erasers. It is spitty and gross.

Today, my room was a veritable revolving door of my two top contenders being removed so that others could complete their high stakes, completely meaningless assessment.  But the best, bestest, bestissimo times three, was when my young mad girl called Finesse (in my mind), decided that the next best thing in her life would be to put a cardboard box on her head.  And walk around the classroom, preferably bumping into someone who a) she didn’t like, or b) was too well-behaved to react.  I think that was her third visit to the office in an hour.

When I walked her and a couple of my other students out to the bus, I privately said to her, “Finesse. You put a box on your head. Do you want to be known as the person with a box on her head?” She said no.  I’m not convinced. But I was impressed with my indisputable skill as a therapist there. She’ll probably remember that conversation as one that turned her life around. . .

Which brings me to the other insight offered by my colleague, during the glute injury discussion: “Maybe you were clenching.”

 

 

Image: http://organisedforyou.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/man-with-box-on-head-300×300.jpg

 

 

 

Windows to the Wacky September 13, 2014

Filed under: humor,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 8:52 pm
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This week, one of my fresh new students told me the following:

“Ms. Peachy, you’re really smart. I can tell by your eyes that you are really smart.  I can tell by my aunt’s eyes that she’s crazy.”

Apparently, that’s this girl’s superpower.

Thank God that I fell on the right side of that fence. The magnitude of this achievement cannot be overstated.

Also occurring this week on the cutting edge education front, a student whose pants didn’t fit properly allowed them to fall around her ankles, and refused to pull them up. Instead, she shuffled along the hall and amongst the desks and chairs of her peers.  Had I asked the rest of the class to illustrate what her underwear looked like, they could have knocked that rigorous assignment out of the park, as we all had plenty of time to take in every detail.

Yes, I sent her to the nurse. Yes, I documented it and notified the appropriate support staff.

This week, we will celebrate the U.S. Constitution. I am open to suggestions to supplement my Schoolhouse Rock “We The People” lesson plan.

Image: http://www.marieclairvoyant.com

 

First Week Of School–Peachy Prevails! September 6, 2014

Am I exhausted? Yup.

Am I already playing catch up? Yeah.

Did a student ask me if I was going to give them the money to buy their supplies? Yes, indeed.

It’s been a loooooooooooooooong week.  I lost a couple of dear friends to other assignments.  Teachers get tight. It’s hard to lose close friends and supports in a building.

We have added an hour and a half to the school day.  Buses are late. Little children are so tired. Conversation with a sweet little guy waiting for a bus reveals that he is from Tanzania, then Congo.  They left because it was dangerous. “All these people were coming.   There were things falling from the sky.” Wow.

While I am responsible for “digging deep” into targeted instruction aligned to the Common Core, I consider the challenge of making a kid like this feel safe more crucial.

Today, my kid (my actual kid) forgot that he was on the phone with me when he “put me down” for a minute to check out at the grocery store. It was hilarious; I don’t take this shit personally.  He had been telling me about his “budget-making” adventure. Part of this included a long-term goal of giving 10% to charity. My son has surpassed my virtue. I’m so cool with that.

 

 
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