Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Okay, so I haven't posted in almost a month. I was thinking it was about time that I gave y'all an update. (for "y'all" you should read "nobody"...who the hell reads my shit?)
I just read my last post, wondering how long it's been. It may as well have been yesterday. All I have to say is the same old shit. I am just becoming more and more exhausted as each day passes. Last week, I had to take a day off from work, simply because I couldn't hold my head up anymore. Seriously. I called in while in a prone position; it was all I could manage.
And today, I got my period. I know, I know, nobody wants to hear about that, but it's important because I just had one 14 days ago. For those of you who are men or are completely on drugs, that's 2 whole weeks too early. What the hell?
I'm worried about my husband's surgery, which they can't seem to schedule. I think the doctors would rather he died, because it would free up their schedule. He also went to a sleep apnea clinic the other day. I'm worried about his health, and who is going to watch our baby while he is recovering. I found someone for one week, but that's it, and that's all we can afford, anyway.
Furthermore, I am being worked to death at school. I take every planning period and lunch period to write IEPs and deal with other paperwork. Every year, more and more layers of paperwork crap are piled on us. I am running from the minute I get there until the minute I leave.
Big surprise I'm exhausted.
How is it possible, then, that I have nothing to show for all of this work?
--groovygrrl, queen of nothing
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
I've been getting enough sleep. I sleep like the dead! It's not that.
I've been eating a balanced diet. In fact, I've changed my diet to be healthier. It's not that.
I've been walking 2.5 miles, at least 5 days per week. That's only good for energy and stamina, right? So it's not that.
It's gotta be the teaching, man. It's gotta be the teaching.
Public school teaching is exhausting. I am going, going, going, every minute of every day. I am typing this at home, in the evening, before collapsing in bed. I am impressed that my fingers can move enough to type this. Voice recognition software is looking pretty good right now.
Steve and I were talking today about our exhaustion. He's exhausted, too, and he teaches at the same school as I do. We compared the factors I listed above, and came to the conlusion that we work our asses off. For some reason, while we're in it, it doesn't feel like that. But once we sit our asses down to relax, we want to fall asleep, immediately! What the hell?
We're all glad that we have two days off next week. "Fall Break," they call it. I think it should be called "October Mental Health Break for Teachers."
We might go bowling.
--groovygrrl, queen of finally posting, once
Monday, September 27, 2004
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
I have voted FOR the proposed salary agreement for Big School District. Yes, it sucks that we did not get a raise last year. Yes, it sucks that the district did not automatically make up the difference for increased insurance costs. Yeah, it sucks that we had to rally with signs and snarkiness to get the district to notice that, yes, teachers actually EXIST, and teachers actually do have bills to pay and families to feed, and that we are NOT volunteers.
In any case, I looked at the proposed salary schedule. Including the increase in pay and the fact that we get a step raise, I should receive $3,000 more per year. I've got to take it. I can't turn that down. It will be about $180.00 per month more, after taxes, etc. That goes a long way toward paying for our living expenses every month. At this point, we are going into debt a small amount each month.
TEACHING PAY SUCKS!
I would like some responses to this one. I want to hear from someone who has been working in the same career for 12 years, AND who has 84 graduate credit hours (a Master's degree is included). I want to know what you get paid.
--groovygrrl, queen of financial creativity
Friday, August 27, 2004
My friend Steve sent me an email, giving details about the place where he will be attending a conference today. As the "Literacy Coach" for our school, he has to attend all sorts of meetings. To that, I say, "Ha-ha!"
So, he knows that I hate how Our School District has no money to pay us, but finds all sorts of money for irrelevant things. He therefore looked up a review of the inn where his conference will be held. Yes, the name of the place is, in fact, "The Lumber Baron." Yes, we both had pornographic thoughts when we saw this name. Yes, we joked about it heartily. Yes, you will read his email.........now.
i will be attending an ELA conference today at an establishment known as "the lumber baron." incredulous, i looked it up and saw this description:
DENVER'S MOST ROMANTIC INN.
i did further research and found this review of the most romantic bed & breakfast in denver:
Our formal, evening wedding was ruined by the lack of customer service at the Lumber Baron Inn. For starters, the Innkeeper was on vacation and left an incompetent replacement who demaded I remove the previous wedding's decorations. I had mistaken her for the cleaning staff, as she was dressed in shorts and a wrinkled short-sleeved shirt. No attempt was made to provide hand towels in the back garden after it rained lightly before the ceremony, and she spent most of the evening making personal calls from the back office or setting up for another event scheduled for the next morning. After discovering that the air conditioners in three of the five rooms were not working, the Innkeeper (with whom we spoke on the phone) did not apologize and made no suggestions of what to. In fact, he seemed annoyed that we disturbed him on his vacation. So, at 1:30am, we were searching the house for the circut breaker box. The replacement staff member locked up the house and left the property for the evening and the morning breakfast was inedible. We still have not received an apology from the Innkeeper for ruining our wedding day.
put that in your blog and smoke it.
Done and done, Steve. Thanks for your contribution. Don't forget your knee pads, today, at Denver's Most Romantic Inn, where teachers congregate for "educational purposes."
--groovygrrl, queen of friendship
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
It's been bugging the shit out of me. I've got this idea for a novel, an adolescent novel, the next Harry Potter really, if you want to know the truth, but for the life of me it wasn't working.
I mean, I had it, the idea, some of the story, a few characters, and then they started talking in my head even, but when I tried to write it down, it wouldn't work. It would be stilted, boring, annoying and cliche´d. It was awful.
Not totally awful, though. The kids liked it, last year. The intro was all wrong, and the protagonist shouldn't be a girl, he should be a boy;that way he can be more of an observer. All of the elements are falling into place.
Now, when am I going to write this down? It's just floating around in my head all the time.
--groovygrrl, queen of novel ideas
Friday, August 20, 2004
The rally was to support the mediation team for the teachers' union. The district wouldn't work anything out so that we could have a pay raise. We didn't get our raise last year, and it appeared as if we wouldn't get one this year, either. I just read on a press release from the district that "mediation is over," so something has happened. Is it good? Is it bad? I don't know.
What I do know is I am on a personal boycott of extracurricular activities, meetings, etc. I will "work to the rule," and nothing more. If my work doesn't get done in 8 hours, then it doesn't get done. Not only did we not get a raise, but I am not paid equally for someone with my number of graduate credit hours.
For those of you who think I'm whiny, please realize that the demands being placed on public school teachers increase every year, while our compensation does not. The media derides public education, and everyone seems to have an opinion about our job, and how we should do it. However, few of these people have an idea of what it's like to teach in a public school. As it is right now, I have to work a part-time job (freelance teaching at the University) just so we don't have to go into debt every month.
Don't worry. I'm still working toward self-employment. I'm still writing and working on things that will give me my own raise. Nobody else is going to do it.
--groovygrrl, queen of malcontent
Monday, August 16, 2004
The school year is starting, and already the deluge of crap has begun. I was going to share S's room; now I have to set up my own room, with no advance notice. S was going to be able to support me with all my sped kids in one room; now he will not be able to support me at all, because of scheduling conflicts. I don't know all of the needs of my kids, because I haven't had time to find their paperwork. The kids show up tomorrow, and I have a room without a computer, overhead projector, or even enough chairs.
I'm just giving it up to the kids. They are going to take ownership of setting up the room. With me as supervisor, of course.
gotta go walk home. This is a bunch of crap. Gotta let go.
--groovygrrl, queen of problem-solving
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
I'm back at work today, albeit on my own time. I thought to myself, "Self, you can get a lot of work done in your office, instead of facing the pleasant distractions at home, i.e. your precious daughter that says, "hey, baybeh," in the cutest little manner. Go to work and get something done!"
Yeah, yeah, here I am. I entered my office, pushed the button on my computer, pushed the button on my stereo, and got confused. My stereo did not turn on. I checked the computer: nope. The outlet obviously didn't work. My new furniture arrangement is beautiful, yes; technologically helpful, no.
Off, in search of extension cords, and my friend A. was available to rescue me. Thank god I'm friends with the school accountant. Of course, I get all the cords I want, because I'm working 10 days ahead of schedule. You snooze, you lose.
Isn't it sick that I think extension cords are some sort of bonus in my life?
The cord situation worked. I started up the computer, and was faced with logging on. My other very good friend, M., is the tech person here. (I choose my friends wisely.) She set up my computer, with accounts and passwords, and other such gloivin. The password didn't work, of course! It took me a few minutes to figure one out, on one of the accounts.
The emails I sent myself, with attachments of documents that I need, didn't all show up. I couldnt' do the writing work that I wanted. I forgot other documents at home.
So, I've been setting stuff up on the computer, and enjoying some time to myself. Tomorrow the real work will start. I have to scrub out the mold that formed on the inside of my personal refrigerator. *cringes*
--groovygrrl, queen of getting stuff done eventually
Monday, August 02, 2004
Yep! This is the second year in a row that we teachers in Big School District have received no cost of living adjustment (i.e. a teeny weeny raise). Second year in a row! Thanks for valuing me, Big School District.
Furthermore, to add insult to injury, to pour salt on a gaping, festering wound, Big School District is not making up the difference for the raise in health insurance premiums. Therefore, our current paycheck reflects a pay CUT. On my check, this means $64.84 less than last month. Over the whole year, it means $778.08 has been cut from my salary.
Thanks, Big School District. I can't wait to run back to school in the fall, to bust my ass in a non-air-conditioned building, smelling the sweat from the newly-hairy armpits of 13-year olds.
--groovygrrl, queen of poverty
That, and I am a KICK-ASS WRITER! Please read the letter I finally sent them, after the dishwasher was NOT DELIVERED on the specified day:
Ms. Alex Mastro
Store Manager, Sears
2375 E. 1st Ave.
Denver, CO 80206
Dear Ms. Mastro:
I have an unfortunate story for you. I hope you have time to read it, because it is about my experience with Sears, and your store in particular. I suggest you sit down.
On July 7, 2004, I went to Sears to purchase a dishwasher. I had visited before to find the one I wanted, and I had saved enough money so that I could purchase it outright, instead of relying on credit. A sales associate helped me with the purchase, but during the course of the transaction, we had to switch computers/cash machines. She swiped my debit card once on one machine, and once on the other.
“Please don’t charge my card twice,” I said to her.
“Oh, no, ma’am, it didn’t even go through at all. I voided it out,” she replied to me.
Alas, as you may be able to guess, this was not the case. My card was, indeed, charged twice. The void did not go through for several days. During this time, I was charged an overdraft fee by my bank, which was deleted after I traveled to the bank myself, to at least correct that error.
You can imagine my dismay when I saw that my card had been charged twice. Perhaps you can imagine my despair, when I realized that I was unable to use my debit card until these charges were actually voided. At this point, my bank balance was $0.00. I talked with Heather, in your Human Resources department, and she was very pleasant to me, and attempted to help. Of course, nothing could be done. (This will be a theme, here; stay tuned.)
Heather had told me to wait until Saturday, (I purchased the dishwasher on Wednesday), to see if the charges righted themselves. In my unwavering hope that there is something good happening in the universe, I checked my bank account on Friday. Can you guess what I found? No need; I’ll tell you. I had been charged yet again, for the dishwasher. This time, the charge came from a Sears store in Cadillac, Michigan. (Cadillac, Michigan? Why?) At this point, my bank account was at negative $400.00.
At the point that I discovered the third charge on my checking account, I was almost out of my mind. I am the only person supporting my family financially, you see. All of the money that we had to live on for the rest of the month was in my checking account. I could not use the account, because Sears had hijacked it. Since it was 10pm on a Friday, I did what any woman would do, who had been driven insane by Sears: I went out back and hand-watered my lawn, while crying my eyes out.
“How will I feed my family? What am I going to do? What did I do to deserve this?” These and other desperate questions went through my mind, until the lawn was sufficiently soaked, and I had rid myself of the massive amounts of adrenaline shooting through my veins, induced from the shock of my bank account balance.
Having been driven insane, I tried yet again to get someone to help me. The folks in your human resources department, while pleasant, could do nothing, of course (I told you there was a theme, here). Did they offer to make it better? Did they offer to do something monetarily, so I could at least cover my baby’s butt with a clean diaper? No, they couldn’t, you see. I was told repeatedly that there was “nothing they could do.” This is, apparently, the mantra of the “Customer Service” department at Sears.
Are you still seated? I hope so, because this story gets quite riveting. And you thought it was over! Alas, no. There are more problems to report. The delivery time for my alleged dishwasher (I now have doubts of its very existence) was for today, July 19, 2004. I called the company to confirm the delivery, and they did so, telling me the alleged dishwasher would arrive and be installed between 2pm and 5pm.
Ms. Mastro, please tell me that you can guess what happened. If you can’t, I really need to work on my foreshadowing skills. Of course, the dishwasher was not delivered. I called the company, and the woman told me that she had called me back, and didn’t I get her message? No, I did not.
Best Yet Lady: “But ma’am, I called you back about an hour after you confirmed. I left you a message letting you know that the dishwasher was backordered until July 23.”
Maligned Customer: “I have received no phone calls on my phone. It lets me know if I have missed a call, and if I have any messages. I have no messages, and no calls.”
Best Yet Lady: “Oh, well, I left a message on someone’s phone. It was kind of a generic message, saying something like, ‘you know what to do.’”
Maligned Customer: “That is not my voice mail. I have my name on my voice mail.”
Best Yet Lady: “Oh, ma’am, I am so sorry. I must have mis-dialed.”
Maligned Customer: “Yes, well, we have been waiting here all day for this delivery.”
Best Yet Lady: “Well, ma’am, I am sorry for that. Our drivers went to the warehouse and they were informed that model has been backordered.”
I’ll leave you with that short version of the conversation. Can you guess what that woman could do about the situation? Of course: nothing.
I have had nothing but grief in my life since I walked into your Sears store at 2375 E. 1st Ave. in Denver. I have had overdraft charges on my checking account, which were unwarranted. I have had my checking account held hostage, because Sears charged it 3 times. I have had to wait for 7 days total before my account was back to “normal,” and I could actually purchase things with cash. (My cash! Not Sears’.) I have received an insufficient funds notice from my bank. Furthermore, and most importantly, I have wasted my time. I have spent countless hours worrying about how I was going to feed my family. I have spent hours in the Human Resources department of your store, crying because I had a negative account balance. I have spent hours crying in my backyard, desperate for answers.
Of course, I know the answer, and so do you. The only answer that I have received, from anyone, is this: “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing we can do.”
Ms. Mastro, is this true? Because if it is, then Sears is telling a loyal customer that my time is worth nothing. Furthermore, I am being told the same by companies that Sears hires to deliver appliances. I have wasted my time, my energy, and my sanity dealing with Sears. This is the worst customer service experience I have ever had. My money has been held hostage, my dishwasher has been backordered with no notice to me, and my time is supposedly worth nothing.
Oh, I’m sorry. Not “nothing!” Your associate in Human Resources (I don’t remember his name; he did not give me his card), told me that I might be offered 10% off my purchase, IF the charges didn’t clear from my account and I had to go back there again. Oh, I see. Only if MORE of my time is wasted will a scrap be thrown from the corporate table that is Sears.
If I added up all of the actual hours I have spent on this problem, including going to the bank several times, going to Sears several times, waiting for a non-existent delivery, and typing this tome, the cost is far more than I paid for the dishwasher. This is not an exaggeration. I multiplied it out, using my hourly rate of pay as the base. A bargain isn’t a bargain, if I have to sacrifice my sanity and hours and hours of time to receive the appliance.
Ms. Mastro, what is Sears prepared to do to make me satisfied that I made the right decision to purchase an appliance from Sears? As you can imagine, I am thinking quite the opposite right now. Before you answer, please know that I am a loyal Sears customer. I purchased a washer and dryer and a lawnmower there a few years ago. I did not look anywhere else when I was looking for a dishwasher.
Ms. Mastro, I would appreciate an answer to one more question. I think I’ve earned it. My question is: What did I do to deserve this?
Well, Ms. Alex Mastro gave me a call, and offered to give me 50% back on my purchase. She complimented me no less than 4 times on my "well-written" letter, and apologized for everything that happened. She even sent me the receipt of the money she returned to me (electronically, of course. I was skeptical, but ready to hire a lawyer if they took any more money). The deposit went through. It was a nice gesture, I guess. I'm still leery of shopping at Sears again.
Therefore, the above letter is a sample for my writing portfolio. I can honestly claim that it was effective.
--groovygrrl, queen of snarky letter-writing
Friday, July 16, 2004
It's been going on for over a week now. The bizarre-ass crap. The crackheads were trying to steal my money. That got worked out, thank god. I still couldn't access my bank account for 5 days, though. Bastards.
My baby hasn't been taking a regular nap. This led to her crying non-stop for an hour on the day that I had planned an outing with friends. Had to cancel. Felt like I was abusing my baby. Cried.
I can't motivate myself to clean anything, sew anything, or do anything productive besides read. I feel like I want to get something done, I'll get up to do it, and then I'll say to myself, "Screw it. I'll do it later."
Oh, and I haven't been sleeping, either.
So, to fix all of this, I went to get my feet done. The best foot girl in the business worked on me, and she even painted flowers on my big toes. Flowers! I feel so much better, but I still need a nap.
--groovygrrl, queen of depressive states
Friday, July 09, 2004
Whatever! This is part of the reason I haven't been writing: the crackheads who work at Sears Roebuck keep charging me, over and over, for the 1 (one) dishwasher I purchased. I have spent many hours in anguish, talking to the bank, and screaming at the crackheads, to no avail.
"You just have to wait," they say.
"But don't you see this?" I shriek, "My bank account had zero (0) dollars in it yesterday! Now, it has NEGATIVE 400 dollars! Why are you people stealing my money? How am I going to feed my family?"
Sears crackhead says, "Yes, I know, it sucks, but there's nothing we can do but wait."
After all that, and not being able to access my bank account, they tell me "it sucks." This is why I try to avoid crackheads.
I guess I'll go check my bank statement online; not that it will matter.
--groovygrrl, queen of purchasing dishwashers
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Well, maybe not. Let's see:
5:24am: I get up. Girlie gets up. I get her some milk. She plays in her crib while I read.
7am: water flowers. Weed small flower bed.
7:30am: Take Girlie to park for walk. Walk 2.something miles.
9am: return home. Put Girlie in bed for first nap of the day.
9:30am: run errands. Bank. Go to library. Get pulled over by cop because I turned right when I shouldn't have (the road had a little "jog" in it...I didn't know...he only warned me..hooray).
11:00am: have coffee with girlfriend. Talk for ever. Happy happy.
1pm: go home for lunch.
Well...maybe not as much as the Army.
--groovygrrl, queen of balance
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Iowa is great this time of year. The river is flooding the fields, the deer are overpopulated and wander very close to the highways, and the mosquito population has increased by a power of 10, just from yesterday!
It's not that bad, actually. The sun came out today, after 4 days of rain, and it really felt nice. Last night there was a full moon shining down on us, and there were all sorts of crickets and frogs singing about it. I have been sleeping more this week than I have in the past 10 months. It's been very relaxing.
However, we must STOP EATING. All my parents do is cook us dinner or take us out to dinner. Of course, we feel compelled to eat what is put in front of us. As a result, we will be able to roll home to Denver under our own steam. It's getting desperate. I think a fast is in order.
As much as I am enjoying myself, I am starting to look forward to going home. Well, not going home, but being home. We still have to drive across Iowa and Nebraska and 1/3 of Colorado, with a toddler in the back seat.
At least we will be refreshed for the trip.
--groovygrrl, queen of holidays
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
There is one, and only one question on your exam. Please remember to get enough sleep and eat a healthy breakfast before taking this exam. I will not be held responsible for those who do not follow the directions.
Directions: Answer the question in complete sentences. Extra points will be awarded for sarcasm.
1. Which morning is better than THIS morning?
Go ahead....take your time....think about it.....
...you can do it.....no pressure.....
Ok, time's up! And the answer is:
Tomorrow morning! That's because TODAY WAS THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, AND TOMORROW IS THE BEGINNING OF VACATION! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!
So? How did you do on your exam? Don't worry if you didn't get the answer right. That just means you don't work in public school. :)
--groovygrrl, queen of vacation
p.s. I have changed my voice mail in honor of summer vacation. In a nutshell, it tells people that if they are calling me from work, about work, not to bother to leave a message, because I won't answer it. If you want to call to invite me to summer fun times, then go right ahead. :)
Monday, May 24, 2004
Yes folks, today is the best Monday EVER, because it is the last Monday of the year. When I was leaving the house today, I said to my wee daughter, "Only 3 more days of work, honey! Then mama will be home!" It was so refreshing to realize that. I suppose it is somewhat refreshing to know that I will actually make it to the end of the year, and not collapse in a puddle of rage and uncertainty. It's been known to happen.
I am still in a bit of a frenzy, however. End of the school year and all that, y'know. Perhaps you don't know. Perhaps you have to work through the summer, while I get to sleep late (a lie), take long walks in the park (a truth), and spend the whole summer gardening (also a truth).
Whoever made the first kitschy thing at a craft fair that said, "What are the best three things about teaching? June, July, and August!" was not only being very cheesy, but very truthful. I can't believe I'm ending today's blog with a quote from a craft fair tchotchke. good lord.
You see? The children steal my brain!
--groovygrrl, queen of craft fairs
Thursday, May 20, 2004
I am participating in a rally today, outside of the administration offices for Big School District. We are attempting to make the school board aware of our dissatisfaction with the budget decisions which do not make teacher pay and professional judgment a priority.
My husband and daughter will march with me! My sign says:
Big School District $elling my
The media have been alerted. With my husband and baby, and this sign, I'm thinking the front page of tomorrow's paper is possible. Stay tuned!
--groovygrrl, queen of stickin'-it'-to-the-man!
Monday, May 17, 2004
I wanted some soda for yesterday (we've been off soda in our house...trying to cut down), so I strolled down the aisle at our local Safeway. I picked up some Safeway brand, diet Black Cherry soda (75 cents for a six-pack), and saw, DIET CHERRY LEMON-LIME SODA!
They sell Cherry Lime Rickeys! In the store! FOR CHEAP!
I was in heaven. I drank two of them with dinner.
--groovygrrl, queen of limey bargains
Thursday, May 13, 2004
I appealed to the principal of our school today. Yesterday, when 4 teachers had to restrain a student from kicking another student's ass, and then neither of the students get suspended, I've had it. After we had a general outcry of harumphing about this, both boys were suspended. But it took a lot of harumphing.
Why? Why the hell is there a question about whether or not to suspend a kid? It is May 13, for gods' sake! If they don't know how to behave by now, they aren't going to get it! Get them out of here!
Callous, you say? Bad teacher I am, you say? Talking like Yoda I am, you say?
To that I say, "Tough cookies! You come teach them! You come try to teach a group of kids who actually WANT to learn, but can't, because I have to deal with passive-agressive bullshit when a kid won't even leave the class when she's kicked out!" (She actually started arguing with the principal, when I called him up to escort her out. He got my point.)
We have 8 1/2 days of school left . Somebody mix me a martini, quick. I may not make it.
--groovygrrl, queen of self-medication
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
At the end of the school year, (read: right now) the teachers start to get antsy. They are short-tempered, often off-task, and they go out to lunch a lot more than they used to. They also might have to double their doses of Prozac, as I'm sure you can all imagine.
To wit (about the lunch, not the Prozac): S. told me he was going to Sonic for his lunch today, and did I want a cherry limeade? Of course, I said, "...huuuyeah!" I said this because I love that cherry limeade.
And here he is, even as I write this: he enters my classroom, bearing the aforementioned cherry limeade, which will henceforth be referred to as the "cherry lime rickey."
Where the hell did that title for a drink come from? What makes something a "rickey?" Is it the carbonation? The combination of flavors? Or is it a rickey, as Descartes might observe, simply because I say so?
All I know is, this cherry lime rickey is delicious. It is also the envy of the students, who are all begging me to have some. To them, I say, "Nay!" and slurp away.
Payback for all the crap I've been taking from them this year.
--groovygrrl, queen of *ssslllllluuuuuurrrrrp!*
Monday, May 03, 2004
So I discovered that there are positions open at the alternative high school where I had the best teaching experience of my life. I checked into it, and if they place me on the salary schedule where I think I deserve to be, I'll be making a lot more money than I am now.
"But!" I thought to myself, "this is the same district that let you go 6 years ago. Perhaps you should hold on to your grudge?"
"No," I replied to myself, " I should let the grudge go. I loved teaching at that school. Just because the people running the district are short-sighted doesn't mean I shouldn't go back. That teaching position is just too awesome. Plus, are you going to turn down money in your pocket because of some stupid feelings?"
And to that, I replied, as any "good American" would: "Of course not."
Therefore, I'm goin' on a fishin' expedition. I'm going to apply for the position, and see what happens. If nothing happens, I still have my current job.
Added benefit: It will annoy my current principal. Hee.
--groovygrrl, queen of money management
Monday, April 19, 2004
My dog, Lusa, has problems with her eyes. She has this weird gunk creeping up over it. We've been to the vet 3 times in 5 months, and have been giving her eyedrops (as best we can...she is squirmy), and eye ointment, and it's just been getting worse.
Now, I have to take her to an animal opthomalogist. No kidding. I'm glad such a person exists, because I just want my dog to be able to see. I believe she has no vision in her right eye right now, and her left eye is clouding up quickly. If they can get the gunk off her eyes, tell me what it is, and give me something to help prevent it, I swear I'll figure out a way to pay for it.
I feel so bad.
--groovygrrl, queen of sadness
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Ok, Paula. I'm posting.
Paula chastised me for not writing. This is warranted; I have been ignoring my chance to blog and blog some more!
Since my last blog, things have been interesting. On April 2, we had another Middle School social. Instead of selling pizza and pop, I got to do face painting. Much more fun! I discovered that I am pretty good at it, and now I'm thinking I should park my ass at some farmer's markets or seek out some other, low-level festivals, and do some cheapo face-painting with watercolors, to make a buck or two. We'll see.
After the social, we had Spring Break! Hooray! We traveled to sunny St. George, Utah, otherwise known as "The Desert Retirement Community that Desperately Wants to Be the Next Miami." In a few years, it could be. Why are they developing all these homes, and then plunking palm trees down, in the desert? They look stupid. There are lots of other developments out there that are all in desert colors and decor, that don't have palm trees. Nice tile, rust or brown, or gray colors. They look ok.
Zion National Park is gorgeous! Driving through Utah is gorgeous! It's all so pretty! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I am tanned, rested, and ready.
Ok, not ready. Yesterday, for our "staff development" we went up to Balarat Outdoor Environmental Whatever, and did a ropes course. This is a huge structure where you walk on ropes, while someone supports you from the ground on a tether. I was walking on a rope about 30 feet in the air. It was frightening and fun at the same time. My face is now sunburned, and my muscles are screaming at me. My jeans are also covered in mud on the butt area, where I fell in the mud when I jumped off the truck. It completed the experience of the day.
Now I am sitting at school, blogging instead of working. It's ok. I did real paperwork during my lunch hour. We have 6 1/2 weeks left of school.
I'll make it.
--groovygrrl, queen of perseverance
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Monday, March 22, 2004
Aaah. Monday morning. The guy on the radio just said, "Mostly sunny and 70 today." Eat your heart out, Iowans. I drove as far as Broadway today, when I realized that I forgot my office keys at home. Good thing I left early. I walked to work 4 days last week, so my keys were still in my backpack. Since I drove today, I took my purse. I still don't have my rhythm down for transferring keys. Go figure. It's Monday.
This weather has me longing for summer break. I get to have one, this year, because of the wisdom of my advisor/professor at the University. She brought up, in their weekly faculty meeting, that she thought I had enough internship hours, and why were they making me do another one? They all agreed that I have spent more than enough time and money convincing them that I can teach, and they waived the elementary internship for me. That means I don't have to do it this summer. Whee!
That doesn't get me out of the class I'm taking now. It is both stupid and brutal. It has a ton of work each week, and much of it is repeated from my previous years in graduate school. I have to finish it, however, because it means another endorsement to my teaching license. I still have a few more years to teach before I can quit, therefore I need this endorsement. *sigh*
On a lighter note, my baby has started saying actual words. They aren't perfectly formed, but she knows what she is saying. Her words? "Brush" and "bye-bye." She says "bsh" for brush, and makes a movement to brush her hair. If I then give her the brush, she says "bsh!" and actually brushes her hair. So cute! My mom taught her to say "bye-bye" and wave, just this weekend! She has been clapping a lot, too. She is just a precious little monkey.
One more item of note for today: I am sitting in for our student advisor at school today. She needed a paperwork day, so they asked me to fill in. That means I will be the one to deal with all the kids who are sent out of class for disruptions and general tomfoolery. As Homer Simpson once said, "I got a hankerin' for some spankerin'!" No, no. We don't spank the children. Much. :)
--groovygrrl, queen of starbucks
Monday, March 15, 2004
So I was talking to my girlfriend, S. the other day. She was telling me this small story about her crazy sister. This sister is a quite intolerant sort, and happens to be an evangelical Christain, to boot. She is a self-professed homophobe, among other things. Just a short history, for reference.
The big point that made me put my head in my hands was this: The sister, B. said to S., "Have you gone to see The Passion of the Christ yet?"
S. replied, "No, I don't think I want to. It looks pretty gruesome."
Then B. said, (I am not kidding)" S., it is your moral obligation to God to see this movie!"
S. was a bit shocked by this statement, since she didn't generally rely on her sister for moral or spiritual guidance. S. replied to her sister, "Well, that may be, but I don't know if I want to support a film that is potentially Anti-Semitic."
Now, here's the "head in her hands" moment. B. replied,"What does that mean?"
S. said, "What? What does what mean?"
B. said, "Anti-Semitic. What is that?"
*big open eyes from me...shaking my head...putting my head in my hands*
Yep. That does it. If you are smart, and want to proselytize, go for it. I'll probably not talk to you, anyway, but at least you'll understand the word "proselytize," and will probably be gracious about it when I tell you I would rather not discuss your issues.
If you are and evangelical Christian, and do not know what the term "Anti-Semitism" means, then your moral obligation to society is to shut the hell up.
Does this make me appear intolerant? Perhaps. However, I would like to state that B. has every right to follow whatever spiritual path she wants. My point is, if you are stupid, then perhaps you shouldn't follow a spiritual path that demands you recruit for your cause, because you are going to end up looking stupider than you are.
Of course, if you have read this far and are actually stupid, then I bet you have a puzzled look on your face. No problem. I'll fix it for you:
Hey! Stupid people! Zip it!
--groovygrrl, queen of intolerant rants
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
So I get this email from my friend A. "It's time to register for summer softball!" Good grief! I'm still recovering from last year's softball season. Granted, it was only a few months after I had my baby, and I probably had no business out on the field. It was fun while it lasted, but my muscles were so sore the next day!
So! I have decided, because I am a lunatic, to train for softball this year. My plan? Walking to school at least 4 days per week, lots of gardening (some in the evenings and some on the weekends), and Tae Bo whenever I can. Yeah. That oughta do it.
Now, I don't know how soon all of this can be phased in. I mean, I'm a busy person. However, my husband was looking at some photos the other day, and commented about his own appearance, saying, "Man. I've gotta lose weight." So, I have someone that I can encourage along with me. We'll see. I hope all of you who know me now have a mental image of me with my husband, fake-kickboxing in the basement, along with Billy Blanks. Yes, you should be laughing.
Perhaps I'll get him to help with the gardening, first.
--groovygrrl, queen of fitness
Friday, March 05, 2004
And here we are, at Friday, and I finally have one minute (literally) to spend on blogging. Such is the life of a teacher, and I hate it more and more each day. The stupid politics. The incessant gossip. The ridiculous requirements for employment, either initial or continued.
Every day, I am closer and closer to chucking it all.
I think my posts make me appear manic-depressive (bipolar?). Unfortunately, that is not the case. If I were bipolar, I could take medication to help me get through this. Unfortunately, if I were to do that right now, it would not be considered "helping, it would be considered "drinking on the job."
I'm not at that point. :)
--groovygrrl, queen of ribaldry
Monday, March 01, 2004
This Friday night, I am going to a class for my sewing machine. The class came free with the purchase (It should be free! This thing is expensive!). I am looking forward to it for a couple of reasons:
a) It' free
b) It has nothing to do with my job.
I will miss my baby for a bit, but I am excited to learn all the things this machine can do. I'm almost done with the quilt for Baby Girl. I know this class is going to be fun.
So I've got that on my mind, and I was watching HGTV the other day, when this woman starts showing how to use copper tubing to create a trellis for the garden. It is so easy! I mean, the soldering might put some people off, but because I am skilled with stained glass work, it appears very very easy. I then got the idea to make some triangle/tipi/pyramid shaped flower trellises, with straight sides, and one snaky spiral of some skinny copper tubing wrapping around it, up to the top. Plant some morning glories, moonflowers, or other climby-viney things (clematis!), then sit back and watch the fireworks. I like it!
So. When will I find the time to do this? It is very much like taking a day off from school: I need a day off from my life, to do this! I am plagued with cool ideas, and no time in which to bring them to fruition. *sigh*
--groovygrrl, queen of unfinished projects
What follows are the emails (names omitted) that went back-and-forth from me to the teacher who completely lost all decorum and freaked out while I was teaching. I don't know if it will be clear to all what happened, or not. To teachers, it will be clear and appalling. To the rest of you, it goes like this: there is an unwritten rule of classroom management, in which if one teacher/administrator tells a student to do something, any other teacher just butts out and lets that person handle it. That way, the students get a clear idea that the adults have solidarity, and they can't play one off the other. It is very important to be this way in a middle school.
*sigh* Anyway, here are the emails, in order. I wrote the first one, and she wrote me back. Then I wrote one more, and that's been it so far. Please note the dearth of apology on her part.
I had asked to speak with you privately, because what I had to say was not appropriate to say in front of the children. Therefore, I will tell you via email.
1. I was beginning the class, and you were not there. Therefore, I had to make decisions about how the class was going to move forward. I had asked Raysha to leave, because she had said, "F---you," to another student. I told her to wait for me. I was going to deal with her when I got a minute.
2. I then asked N----- to join her, because she called M------ a "stupid retard." I was going to deal with her when I got a minute.
3. That is the way I work, when I am running a class. You made it very clear to me, and to the whole class, that you feel I cannot control the class, and that you would rather they answer to you. You made this clear by bringing those children back in, and dressing me down in front of the class, after I had asked them to stay out and wait for me. You made it even more clear when you began to lecture them about wasting time, and asking them to apologize to me. You also made it clear, to the class and to me, that you do not think I am capable of teaching the class, because you came back in and started dictating what we were going to do.
4. When I tried to talk with you about this, you indicated that you did not want to talk about it. This tells me that you did not approve of the way I was doing things.
5. I had previously received E----'s email about students in the hall. However, I was about to proceed with the lesson in such a way that I could go deal with the situation. I was handling it in my way.
6. My conclusions, after this interaction are that you:
a. think I have no control over the class.
b. are not comfortable with me teaching your class.
and c. would rather I wasn't there.
I would like to conclude by letting you know that I feel insulted by your actions today.
Her response to me is as follows (please note that her first comment about mediation came from her conversation with the principal. I had gone to him, letting him know that I might need mediation in this matter):
I do not think mediation is necessary. I do, however, think it is important that are methods of resolution are similar. I do not think it is ever appropriate to have students out of the hall without being supervised. I usually send them to Mr. H----, our student advisor, or remove them from the group. We can discuss if this is okay with you, but is important that we are on the same page. I also think it would be good for you to have more opportunities for instruction, so the students will become accustomed to your teaching style. I address issue to build communication/relationship; not to demean anyone.
As far as the two situations, M------ admitted to the fact that he started the whole incident between he and N-----. N----- was merely repeating what he said. M------ apologized to N-----, and they worked it out.
R----- did admit to saying profanity and she apologize to A------ for saying that to her. She also wrote a letter of apology to me for being disruptive in class. She remained with Mr. H---- for the remaining of the period.
Hopefully this experience will allow an opportunity for us to collaborate and figure out ways to resolve issues, which are similar, regardless of whether both of us are in the room or not.
Have a good day,
*fuming, even as I am reading this again*
Ok, and my most current response:
I do not think mediation is necessary. I do, however, think it is important that are methods of resolution are similar. I do not think it is ever appropriate to have students out of the hall without being supervised.I usually send them to Mr. H----, our student advisor, or remove them from the group. We can discuss if this is okay with you, but is important that we are on the same page.
Since you do not think it is "ever appropriate" to have students in the hall without being supervised, then I don't think we will come to an agreement on that. However, when there are two of us in the room, then there is never a need to have a student alone in the hallway, is there? I made a decision as the only teacher in the room at the time. I am not complaining about that, I am just stating it as a fact that pertains to my issue.
When I am the only teacher, and someone needs to be removed, I either send them to the office, or send them to the hall to wait for me to conference with them. They were not sent to the hall indefinitely. I sent them there to wait for me, so I could talk with them privately, and to send the message to the students that a person may not remain in the room if they are behaving badly. That is how I usually do things, when I am the only teacher in the room, making the decisions. I did not have the chance to handle that situation today, because you took over.
That is my issue here: that you took over the situation when I was teaching. I had made a decision, and you swooped in and usurped it. That sends the message to the children that they don't have to follow my directions.
I also think it would be good for you to have more opportunities for instruction, so the students will become accustomed to your teaching style.
Many of these students experience my teaching style during other classes. Others know my teaching style because I am the teacher during period 3, when you have a sub. They know how I work, because they have had that experience several times. Each time, they behaved differently, but each time I handled it.
I address issue to build communication/relationship; not to demean anyone.
I felt demeaned when you addressed this issue in front of the children,and in the middle of instruction.
As far as the two situations, M------ admitted to the fact that he started the whole incident between he and N-----. N----- was merely repeating what he said. M------apologized to N-----, and they worked it out.
R----- did admit to saying profanity and she apologize to A------ for saying that to her. She also wrote a letter of apology to me for being disruptive in class. She remained with Mr. H---- for the remaining of the period.
I would have found out what actually happened, had I been allowed to handle the situation myself. As it stands, I did not have the chance. Can you imagine my frustration, when a student who had just said the "f" word was led back into class, and you then told me that she "needed to be there?" What was I supposed to do? Question your authority in front of the students? I will not do that, to any teacher.
Hopefully this experience will allow an opportunity for us to collaborate and figure out ways to resolve issues, which are similar, regardless of whether both of us are in the room or not.
I suspect that we do not see the situation the same way, since your email did not address my issues, which I thought were very clear. Perhaps not. I'll be more explicit:
I feel incredibly insulted by the entire experience, because my authority as the teacher was usurped in the middle of instruction, and I was belittled in front of the children. That is my issue.
Now, as far as resolving issues when both of us are in the room, I can answer that one for you: I am there to serve my students with special needs. When problems arise, I'm happy to help with them. When shared reading time comes, I'm happy to read. I am also happy to simply assist the students with special needs, and remain otherwise silent, if you would prefer.
Right now, I cannot get over my anger at being belittled in front of children. Since you did not apologize for it before, I presume you don't think you did anything wrong. The fact remains that I feel insulted, no matter how you perceived the situation.
E---- has informed me that he would like to observe me during period 3 on Monday. I don't have time today to have a face-to-face conversation with you, because my schedule is tight, as usual. At this point, I guess I'll just have to roll with whatever comes my way on Monday. I feel this is still unresolved.
And THAT is why I couldn't write about it last week. Now, I did have my observation today, after talking with E----, the principal. You won't believe what happened: During the lesson that we had agreed I would teach, she interrupts, saying, "I've been trying to remain silent, but..." and then proceeds to teach for the next 5 minutes. The content she was teaching was what I was just going to say, to boot. After the class, in the hallway, the principal said to me," That was nice of her, to interject and then teach for 5 minutes, wasn't it?" being sarcastic. I am so glad he was there to see it.
*sigh* *rolls eyes*
Do you people now see why I have to get out of here?
--groovygrrl, queen of cranky emails
Friday, February 27, 2004
I started to post the event that happened to me today, but deleted it. I just can't live through it again. I'm still stunned, and somewhat reeling. It wasn't a good kind of stunned, either.
So, instead of reliving the horrifying events of today, I am going to make a list of...
Things I Would Rather Do Than Teach In That Woman's Class Again
1. Watch "Survivor."
2. Get a bikini waxing.
3. Watch anything on Fox. (Actually, I am into the "Celebrity Spelling Bee." Fox got a word wrong! "Supersede." Carol Liefer spelled it "supercede" and they said she was right! WRONG! Check the dictionary, Fox! I already emailed them a letter. Yes, I am a geek.)
4. Drive through Nebraska.
5. Drive through Houston during rush hour.
6. Milk a goat.
7. Bite myself.
8. Stub all my toes at once.
9. Get a UTI.
10. Gouge out my eyes with a white-hot poker covered in fire ants.
--groovygrrl, queen of clarity
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Last night, I googled a friend, to see if there were any photos of him on the web. He's an actor, and I am out of contact with him. I was hoping to see if he had been doing anything important enough to be photographed.
I found some imgaes of him! However, the photos were from many years ago, in college. It was from this theatre group we had at the University of Iowa, called No Shame Theatre. Every Friday night, at 11:00pm, we would pack ourselves into Theatre B, paying $1.00 for the pleasure of actors trying out their personal works. Most of these pieces we viewed were funny. Some were dramatic, some were meant to provoke thought. The pieces performed were submitted at 10:30pm, and there were largely no rules about who could perform. You just couldn't mess up the theatre.
In any case, I was looking through the No Shame (Iowa City) website, and found their archives. This surprised me , because when I was doing the No Shame thing, the internet was just beginning to be a reality (1988-1992). Most of their archives are just notes from the order of the performances. Very few scripts exist from back then; if they do, it is because the writer/actor submitted them within the last few years.
I was intrigued by all of this, and set out to find my name. I performed a few times in No Shame Theatre, and wondered if it was logged. I couldn't believe what I found.
In some notes that a woman took from back then, were these words:
"...wonderfully enticing limericks from a beautiful young woman...who is that woman in blue??? (sounds like A-- H---)."
She was talking about me. I was the one with the limericks. I had this schtick where I would pretend to give a poetry lesson, and then completely botch whatever form of poetry it was. The people found it funny, I remember that. It worked at the time.
What I didn't know was some woman I had never met thought I was a beautiful young woman. She also thought enough of me to add my name (spelled incorrectly, but she had only heard it, not read it), and ask herself who I might be, in her journal that she kept of the performances.
I am stunned and happy. My heart is 3 times the size it was yesterday.
Someone thought I was the beautiful young woman in blue.
Someone thought I was funny and intriguing.
Someone thought I was important enough to literally take note.
And I never knew it.
--groovygrrl, queen of nostalgia
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
So I'm in class today, teaching with S., who loves puns. I generally don't. Generally, I find them eyeroll-worthy. However, today he made one that made me laugh out loud.
We were discussing myths and mythology with our 7th grade students. S. says to the class, but I know he's really talking to me, "So! Why was Medusa really hip?"
And the kids responded, "Huh?"
And S. said, "Medusa. You know, monster in Greek mythology, snakes for hair. Why was she hip?"
And the kids responded, "I don't know." ..and their eyes glazed over.
And then S. said, "...because she got her Gorgon."
And I busted out laughing.
--groovygrrl, queen of tomfoolery
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
I think it will be hard for me to explain the unfettered joy I felt when I learned that my Baby Girl was eating again. Unless you have a child, or are particularly attached to an animal who has been ill, you might not get it.
My baby was ill, as I had written before. We took her to the doctor on Friday, and he said she had a run-of-the-mill bug, and we needed to just wait it out. We were doing everything right: lots of fluids, the B.R.A.T. diet, etc. She just wasn't eating much at all. She would have 3 bites at breakfast, and the rest of the day, she would drink apple juice.
I really started to worry when I picked her up from her nap on Saturday, and she felt cold. Last week a fever, and this week? 95.7 degrees. She was scaring me.
Therefore, I was completely rejuvenated yesterday morning, when she had a huge poopy diaper that was semi-solid, for once! Woo hoo! I thought she might be recovering, and she was. Papa reported to me that she had been hungry all day, and was eating a lot at each meal. She even sat with me in the evening, and had a snack after her dinner, while I ate mine.
I've never been so happy to see another person eat.
--groovygrrl, queen of motherhood
Sunday, February 22, 2004
I think I am going to have a serious problem going to school tomorrow. Getting there physically isn't the problem, I mean mentally and emotionally it will be difficult. More and more, I hate the job.
So jaded! So cynical I am! So talking like Yoda I am! See? See what public schools do to a person?
Seriously...to get myself through, I am going to focus on subversion. I will have to subvert the act of teaching into something meaningful. I believe I will start with a moderately-sized, handmade sign, taped to the wall above my computer. It will read, "Do you care?" To others, it will appear that I am an advocacy zealot, constantly reminding myself that I am a teacher because I care.
Of course, I will know, and now you know, I will post it there so I can remind myself, "No, I do not care, and I don't have to care. I just have to do a good job and go home." Which is what I will tell myself everytime I look at it.
"So sad, Amy! That is such a sad story!" you opine.
"Zip it, Freakshow!" I reply. "I care about my family! I have cared about everybody else's family for my entire career! Doesn't my family deserve my care?"
"Well, jeezy creezy, when you put it that way, I kinda feel like an ass," you say to me.
"Well, you should," I say back. Then I stomp off, trying to shake off the guilt that years of indentured servitude have impressed upon me. Then I grumble, "Sorry. You are not an ass."
I am trying not to feel like one, myself. THIS is what public school does to a person. It makes a person feel bad for wanting to take care of her own family.
--groovygrrl, queen of free agency
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Most days, that's how it goes. I wonder if my day seems normal to anyone. So, here goes:
A Day In The Life of Amy, Teacher/Public Servant
4:45am: Alarm rings. This is the alarm on my cell phone, as Baby Girl smashed my wonderful Zen alarm clock that woke me with a gentle *ding! .......ding!* each morning. She didn't know any better....'twas my own fault.
4:50am: I shut off the snooze feature, and get up. Pee. Brush teeth. Et cetera.
5:15am: Breakfast. Sometimes.
5:40am: Breastfeed Baby Girl. This part of the plan is slowly receding. Some days she wants to, and some days she wants to sit in her crib and talk to Monkey. Whatever, Girly!
6:00am: Leave house to either a) catch the bus or b) walk to work. Either way, I get there on time. It pretty much depends on how cold it is. Cold=bus.
6:45-6:50am: Arrive at school.
7:00am: Power up computer. Situate my outerwear. Get water. Email S. See that he is coming to my office to talk. Finish my email, anyway. Talk w/S about the movie we are writing. Sometimes we plan for class.
7:25am: Go to 1st period. Stand in hallway and greet students for the morning. Receive varying comments, the range of which is: "Good Morning, Ms. K!" to , "uuuunnngh."
7:30am: Period 1. Math class w/K.
8:15am: Period 2. My planning period. I either a) plan for my day in my office, doing paperwork, emailing folks, creating work for kids, meet w/team members to plan for classes, meet w/parents or b) go to Starbuck's w/S, and plan with him on the way.
9:12am: Head upstairs to...
9:15am: Period 3. Reading class w/A.
10:07am: Stand in hallway and tell the 8th graders to get it together, do they think this behavior will get them anywhere in high school, and would you please pull up your damned pants?
10:11am: Work with kids w/autism on writing and keyboarding skills, until
11:00am: My lunch, during which I am usually a)working. There is no b) eating, unless I am c) apathetic, at which point I will put my feet up and b) along with d) reading a good book.
11:53am: Period 6: My resource class. Work w/7th grade kids on their homework. Tell the 6th graders to shut it. More homework w/7th graders. Tell the two 6th graders to shut it, already, they are on their last warning. More homework, some whining from 7th graders, send one of the 6th graders downstairs, document the action, and then that's about time for...
12:45pm: The bell.
12:49pm: Period 7. Language arts w/S. Teach teach teach. Until...
1:38pm: The bell. My IEP time. Time to write IEPs, meet w/parents, call parents, email parents, email people downtown who are supposed to help me, realize that I have a new kiddo with an IEP, go to the file to get it, but it isn't there because the school hasn't sent it yet, so how am I supposed to teach this new kid, well don't worry about it, Amy, he's suspended already, anyway.
2:30pm: Last bell. School's out. Sit in my office and do work until
3pm: Time to go home. If there isn't a meeting, and there usually is.
Let's assume I do get to leave. Well, I don't go home, now, do I? I either
a) go to a class that I hate, which I have done before, and don't even want
b) go home, feed my baby, then at
4:30pm: run off to
c) my college class that I'm teaching. Teach teach teach. Become exhausted.
8:30pm Arrive home. Collapse.
Now, someone help me. Does everyone do this? That's a Thursday I just described, where I get up at 4:45am and get home at 8:30pm. Does everyone live like this? Is it just me?
Oh, and don't PAY me what I deserve, either!!!
--groovygrrl, queen of crankiness
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
I was out and about today. I had a lot of reading to do (homework for the class I hate, but I can't bring myself to slack off...too much pride, I guess. Nah, stupidity), and sat in Starbucks for a few hours, nursing my Venti-Soy-NoWhip-Mocha. Yum. I was not enjoying the activity, but was thoroughly enjoying my time by myself. I don't often have a moment that is all to myself. It was refreshing.
I finished reading. Got in my car. Drove on down the road and realized: I haven't been to the dentist in a long time! I thought this because I was driving right by the dentist office. So I stopped in and made an appointment. Good for me.
Went to Target after that, and spent some birthday money (thanks, mom) on some coteure (sp?). Clothes, people! I can't spell in French! Mon dieu!
Met w/Sherri after that, for some lunchy lunchy. It was very refreshing (again with the refreshing?) to sit with her and catch up on things. We decided, since she still had some time before going to work, that we would meet at the Apple store, to drool over computers.
No such luck. I checked my voicemail, and Israel had called. My baby had vomited twice, and had an explosive blowout of diarrhea. Eep! I drove to the store for some electrolyte sugar water stuff and popsicles.
My poor baby! She had yet another poopy blowout, vomited again, and has a fever! Don't worry, I have checked with the medical professionals, and I am handling it as best as can be at this moment. Poor little chicken took 3 naps today, and is already in bed. I expect she will wake up tonight, dehydrated. Poor, poor, chicken.
Israel is also feeling ill! Therefore, I am taking tomorrow off from work to care for Baby Girl. I guess Israel is on his own.
--groovygrrl, queen of healing
Monday, February 16, 2004
One of the only benefits of teaching in public schools are the breaks. Today is one of them. We get today off because it is President's Day, and we get tomorrow off because of budget cuts. Whatever. I get a 4-day weekend, during which I can relax, refresh my mind, and spend time with my family.
"Ha!," you shriek, as you point at me, accusingly,"You're full of crapola! I know you are working while you're home! You can't just sit and relax! You teach in public schools! Liar! Liar!"
......oooooh, you're right. I am doing work this weekend. However, my husband is sleeping in at the moment, and I'm spending time with my baby girl, who is currently watching Sesame Street. We both dig on Sesame Street, especially the "Journey to Ernie" segment and, of course, "Elmo's World." Unfortunately, I turned the tv on a little early (I don't know when SS is on! I work all day!), and the Teletubbies were there.
*blinkblink* Ok, folks. Have you seen this show? Frankly, it frightens me. There's this baby face inside the sun, that looks down on the Teletubbies, like some freakish, infantile Big Brother. It laughs at them. I don't like it.
Furthermore, these Teletubbies don't quite speak. They say something that sounds like, "Uh oh!" and "bye bye!" They also said, "Do it again!" when one Teletubbie (named Flippy-dippy, I think) broadcast this little scene of kids doing crafts. Well, Flippy-Dippy actually broadcast it...again! They showed the same little crafty segment twice! Then they danced around and said, "Flippy dippy! Poo! Pee Diaper! Wee Wee!" proclaiming their names, said good-bye, and jumped down their rabbit hole.
Yaaaaaaaah! I cannot deal with this! I can deal with the fact that Flippy-Dippy is gay. I don't care about that. I worry that they are DERANGED! And that damned Baby-sun god freaks me out!
So now, we are groovin' on Sesame Street. They are singing karaoke at Hooper's store today. All together now: "Who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhood? .....we are the people in your neighborhood. We're the people that you meet, when you're walkin' down the street, we're the people that you meeeeet, eeeeach daaaaaaaay!"
Unlike those Teletubbies. *shudder*
--groovygrrl, queen of days off
Friday, February 13, 2004
Yes, you should be cringing by now. Today was the Valentine's Social. 400 12-14-year-olds in a darkened gym, with DJ music blaring, streamers streaming, and teachers "on duty." My duty wasn't too bad: I was helping sell pizza, soda, pickles, and candy, which was in the adjoining gym. Hectic, but not unbearable.
Steve had detention duty. Some students didn't even make it to the social. I would count them among the "lucky few." They got to sit up in the cafeteria and do their homework. Steve got to sit there and watch them. This would be considered the "easy" duty.
Then there are the other teachers who were actually in the dance area of the social. I suppose their duty could be called, "Grope Detail." Not fun. It's hot in there, the kids are all acting like fools, and it's a modern cultural "love day." Please!
It's just grody, you know? All these sweaty, pubescent boys and girls, "dancing" with each other.
EEEeeeeewwww. It's just eew.
I'm glad I'm finally home for a 4-day weekend.
--groovygrrl, queen of valentine's day
I have been informed that Susie Q. has linked to my site. Since she is a teacher, and we folk tend to stick together, even if we don't know each other, I am adding her blog to my links, as well. I hope you enjoy us both.
--groovygrrl, queen of parity
Thursday, February 12, 2004
My favorite quotes from students:
1. (While I was eating chips, after school): Miss! You can't eat with your mouth full!
My response: Really? How do you eat?
2. (After a discussion about whether or not their dad was present when they were born): Yeah, my dad wasn't there when I was born. My mom wasn't there, either.
3. (This is proof that they listen to every word you say...when she was urging a kid to open his book and get started, this student said): Dude, use the two brain cells you have to rub together!
4. (Our perennial annoying favorite, which happens almost every day): Do we have to write this down? Our response, every freaking day: If I write it down, then it's probably important enough for you to write it down.
5. (Aaaaand this is probably my personal favorite): Miss! I'm not late, my stuff was here!
Coming Soon: 803 Reasons Why Teaching In Public School Will Kill You Slowly
--groovygrrl, queen of snappy comebacks
While sitting in an all-day math meeting (don't even think about it, folks. Seriously. We don't need any more of us even contemplating it), bored as usual, I began to make a plan. The plan is for me to quit teaching.
"No, Amy! You can't quit!" I heard all of you shouting.
"Shut up!" I shouted back in my head, "I can't make my business plan with all this badgering!"
"But Amy! You can't quit teaching! You are so good at it! And you will miss the kids! Isn't that why you are a teacher? Because of the kids?"
" I thought I told you to SHUT IT!" I shouted back in my head, even louder. And I continued to make my plan.
This plan of action involves me becoming a freelance commercial writer. I want to be paid for something I enjoy. I don't mean paid here-and-there. I mean, paid so that my bills are covered and my baby's butt is covered by some clothes, and I don't have to wonder about where it's coming from. I mean, paid so that we can go out to eat once per month, and not worry that our budget is going to suffer, and on the 30th of the month we'll have to eat rice three times per day. I don't want that. I want real money.
I've read up on it. I recommend a book titled The Well Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman. It is easy to read, and full of practical advice about becoming a writer that actually gets paid. Ok, and thanks to my friend L., who first recommended the book to me, and got me started with blogging. She's part of this insanity, too.
Details on all that, later. So I'm sitting there in the all-day math meeting ("Fun For The Whole Family"), not listening, happy to have a break from school in any form, and making calculations. This is what I came up with:
1. Realistically, I need to make $This Amount per year to pay my bills, feed my family, and have some savings. That's with very little credit card debt, either, folks. And I own my car outright, so no lectures. Thank you.
2. I cut that number in half, to be realistic. That number is $HalfTheAmount. That's the amount of money I want to make by writing, part-time.
3. I multiplied that number by 5 years (my goal for quitting teaching) and got $5xTheAmount. That's the amount of money I can save in 5 years, if I save all my writing money.
4. I multiplied that number by .66, in order to be real about us spending some of the savings. I am now at $5xtimes2/3TheAmount.
When I have that much money saved, I'm quitting teaching. It's possible. For those of you who know me, you know I'm not afraid of hard work. If I bust my rear on getting writing jobs as hard as I bust my rear getting an education I don't even want, imagine how much money I'll make. For those of you who don't know me, then send me a comment! We'll talk.
"But, Amy!" you still cajole me,"Why on earth would you want to quit teaching? It's such a noble profession!"
No. I disagree. Nobility has nothing to do with taking the scraps that are thrown to me from a bureaucrat's table. There is no nobility in enduring the indignity of public school teaching. Nobility does have something to do with taking care of one's family, and raising one's own children with care. I'm tired of taking care of everyone else's children, instead of mine.
"Amy! You are so cranky! What happened to you?" you whine.
I woke up.
--groovygrrl, queen of dignity
1. The constant gossip. Teachers gossiping about other teachers, paraprofessionals gossiping about teachers, children gossiping about other children. If they took all that energy and used it for something productive, we could fix public schools forever.
2. The children who are jerks. Oh, I'm SO SORRY that I called a child a jerk. Too bad that it's true. Some of them use no manners whatsoever, and apparently they show up every day because they enjoy tormenting someone other than their parents.
3. Administrators who lie.
4. My salary is not equitable. Do you really want me to go into this? Perhaps in a separate post, I will. Let it suffice that this annoys me, all day, every day.
5. We are the only profession where we are required to pursue an advanced degree in order to be paid more. I have to PAY for my own raise.
6. The endless BS that we have to do: paperwork, meetings that are endless, interventions for students who couldn't care less, more meetings, oh, and don't forget the extracurricular activities! We need to show up after work, to prove that we really care! My presence and spectacular performance aren't enough.
7 . The beck-and-call attitude that some people have for me. I serve children, not other teachers. I'll help you when I'm done teaching. (Which, considering my crankiness, will be sooner rather than later.)
8. Breakfast duty. Yes, we need people with Master's degrees supervising the children while they eat...or rather, while they purposely break the rules, so they can then yell at me and call me names first thing in the morning, while I correct their behavior. Who needs coffee? :/
9. "Maintaining the Integrity of the 40-Hour Workweek." Please! When was the last time I only worked 40 hours? Are you people insane?
10. Upper-eschelon (sp?) administrators who get a $10,000/year raise during the year when teachers got NOTHING, and then come speak at our meetings and say, "We are going to ask you to work harder." I'll work harder at NOT throwing this stapler at your head, maybe.
--groovygrrl, queen of rants
(don't worry. I'm sure happier blogs are to come)
I want today back.
Unfortunately, time marches on, and I can't have it back. You
can't give it back to me, either. But you can listen to me, if you choose
to do so.
Today, I left the house before my baby woke up. I wanted to get a good
start to my day, which would be spent on Special Education paperwork and
meetings. I would always rather teach my students, but sometimes
we sped teachers get buried in late IEPs, and have to meet with teams
when there is no other time. Today was one of those days. It was busy,
somewhat hectic, and tiring, like most days. It was productive.
After school, I left to go to class. I have to take this class
because I have to get a Moderate Needs endorsement to my license, to keep
my job. This is after a Master's degree that took me 4 years, full-time.
My Master's degree is 72 credits. That's twice what most folks have
for their Master's degrees. After last semester, this semester, and
one more practicum this summer, I will have 88 graduate credit hours.
Someone who got a 30 hour Master's degree in anything, and got 58 more
credits in anything, is getting paid more than I am, while I languish at
the Master's level on the salary schedule. They move ahead, because
they chose a less rigorous program of study. I get penalized
financially for choosing to serve the students who need the most help. This is
what I was thinking about, while I was sitting in class, listening to
the same literacy instruction I heard a few years ago, but hey, the state
says I need the hours.
After that class, I walked through the frigid night to my car,
and drove home. I entered the house, took off my coat and shoes, and went
to the bedroom. There, in her crib, my baby was sleeping.
I attended a class that the state says I have to have, so I can have an
endorsement that I don't even want, for a job that doesn't reward me
equally with my peers. I have to suffer the indignity of being
paid less for a job that is the most difficult to staff, AND I have
to get more education on top of it, for nothing. Nothing! I don't get
paid, I don't get any more knowledge.
Worst of all, I didn't get to talk to my baby today. Not once.
Not one word. I touched her hair when I left the house, and I just
touched her hair when I came home. I got to look at her, like a precious,
fragile object in a museum. I got to wonder what she learned today,
what she discovered, what new things she can do. I got to wonder these
things, not see them.
I want these tears to stop rolling down my face. I want to be
able to withstand this torture for one more day, but frankly, I don't
know if it is possible. Day-to-day, I don't know if I can take it anymore.
I just keep getting up in the morning, somehow.
I want to get paid what I deserve. I realized at the beginning
of this year, when we got no pay raise (while others did get hefty
ones), that it would be up to me to make more money for my family, by
finding extra jobs, doing extra things. Taking this class is throwing money
away, not making it. I do not get compensated for it in any way. Every
day, it makes me more and more disgusted. I feel devalued, every single
I want you to really think about what I'm saying. I want you to
listen to the desperation in my voice. I want you to realize that I am
the only person "supporting" my family financially, at it is a stretch,
because I have to put money out for classes, still! I want you to
understand that I am not asking for a reply that says, "We in the administration
understand that you work very hard, and we appreciate your
efforts." I want a reply that tells me you have thought long and hard about
the implications for my family, because of my absence in order to
serve the children of others' families.
I want many things that I know I will not receive. I will not
receive more pay, because there is no more money left in the budget. I
will not be able to dry my tears, because I still have 12 weeks left of
the class I'm taking: 12 more Wednesdays of coming home to my precious
baby, asleep in her crib, not having seen her mama once that day. Not
I want today back!