Sunday, August 30, 2009

Does this mean I am losing it?

Last night, I cooked dinner for Mr. Strong's birthday. While I was getting the salad ready, I looked and looked for the big salad bowl we have. After looking in all the cabinets, I gave up and put the salad in a smaller bowl.

This morning, I was playing around with my camera and my new lens. Mr. Strong often puts funny messages on the chalkboard. This one says, "For Sale Children - Slightly Used" in case you can't ready his elementary handwriting. He is this funny everyday and I never want to stuff a sock in it.

Suddenly, I noticed a large bowl beside the pig.

Dang it! There was the bowl I was looking for the night before. How could I have missed that?

It has been holding our hodge podge of fruit now for about 6 months.

Maybe I should put Miss Poopy in charge of the kitchen. Does anyone have any good recipes for backyard birds?

Friday, August 28, 2009

And why would you want me to do that?

As Mr. School Stinks was sitting at the lunch table with the other first graders, he suddenly sneezed so forcefully, we had to replace two of the meals for the unlucky students showered sitting across from him.

After the hysteria had died down, I gently reminded Mr. School Stinks to use his hands or the crook of his arm the next time he felt a sneeze coming. Mr. School Stinks gave me one of his infamous puppy dog head tilted confused looks.

Me (trying to explain): "If you cover your nose and mouth, all that stuff won't blow everywhere."

Mr. School Stinks (who earned that name for a reason): "But then my arm will get all wet." Bada bing!

I honestly didn't know what else to say.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And just how high was that bar?

This afternoon, I had a meeting with Mr. Funny and one of the assistant principals at the small town they call a school his high school. Since this is Mr. Funny's senior year, we were making plans to send him to a college as far away from Georgia as possible to apply to quite a few schools. Feel sorry for me now. I'm about to be broke. Mr. Funny has worked hard to earn good grades and to score well on his ACT and SAT tests and I am proud of him.

As I was driving away from the school, I had a flashback of the last time I'd had to meet with someone at Mr. Funny's school. That had been a fun emotional scary little meeting with Mr. Funny and the middle school principal.

It seemed that Mr. Funny had photoshopped a picture of the principal's face onto a picture of Hitler with an outstretched arm. To the side was the caption, "We raise the bar this high."

Actually, I thought it was rather creative. And funny.

As the principal threw around words like "expel" and "suspension", I realized he failed to see the humor in the situation. In the end, it turned out that Mr. Funny had not done any of the crime altering of the photo while at school. The principal had found out about the picture from other students which revealed the REAL stupidity in his actions. He had emailed the picture to some friends! Idiot!.

It was up to me to punish him. And punish him I did.

That event was event was almost 5 years ago. Do you think it might be time to lift the photo shop restriction?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It pays not to be Goaty

Yesterday, we had a rodeo come to our school to kick off our Accelerated Reader program. The kids were super excited and as a result were LOUD in the lunchroom could hardly wait for the horses to arrive.

As I was out in the back field helping to set up, I saw the cutest goat.

A little girl who belonged to one of the rodeo hands was dancing around and playing with the goat.

Me: "What is the goat's name?"

Dancing Girl: "He don't gots no name."

Me: "Awww. Poor goat. Everyone deserves a name."

Dancing Girl: "Well, I call him Goaty. You can call him Goaty, too."

During the rodeo, the trainer explained specifics about rodeo life. Suddenly, I noticed someone running to poor Goaty.

I watched in horror and mild amusement as the goat was plopped to the ground and a rope was quickly wrapped around his little legs.

Holy Goat Roping! I think I would be scared to death if someone four times bigger than me were running up to me (while I was already tied to a tether) to flip me to the ground and tie my legs together. Several thoughts went rolling through my head.

Who would want that job of getting tied up? Did Goaty audition for the part? Does Goaty get *special* feed to compensate for the humiliation??

I'm going to put a picture of Goaty in my office to remind me to be thankful of everything my job has to offer. At least no one is knocking me to the ground with a rope clenched between their teeth.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Build a bridge and get over it

Something you may or may not know about me is that I am a people pleaser. I despise controversy and will work hard to keep the peace.

This past spring, some anonymous teachers at my school almost made me want to dig ditches for a living really hurt my feelings. They are apparently at it again. Another teacher on my faculty came to me yesterday afternoon upset about something going on. It seems that a group of teachers who play bridge together are secretly meeting with a school board member to complain.

What a kick in the bleeping gut! I thought this year had started off so smoothly.

I asked the informant teacher what they might be complaining about and she had no idea. She had gotten the feeling they thought I was asking them to do too much.

I am only asking them to do their job. Teach the curriculum to their students. Be kind to their students and guide them to become better people.

Work is a funny thing. I've never worked in a place where everyone was happy. While I know that each person is responsible for their own happiness, I never realized how cutting mean comments can be.

You need to have thicker skin. Really? Is that a marketable skill? I've never seen it on a resume.

It comes down to this. Hurtful comments are, well, hurtful. They hurt just as they were intended. I fear if I become immune to the negativity, I could also become immune to the needs of others.

This past summer, I attended a conference where I almost died in running in a lightning storm that suggested each school mentally split their schools into thirds. The first third would be the excited, positive, supportive teachers who will do whatever it takes to help their students succeed. The bottom third are the complainers and the rebels who insist on doing it their way despite the curriculum changes because the earth might tilt on it's axis if someone didn't get to teach the butterfly life cycle even if it is no longer a standard for that grade level or die doing it. The middle third are middle of the road teachers who could be swayed to either the top or bottom third. The speaker gave us a few minutes to rank our teachers.

My assistant principal and I could not figure out who was in the bottom third.

But now I have a feeling the bottom third is a bridge playing group. Maybe I should take up cards and beat them at their own game.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We're going to need a bigger island

This past weekend, Mr. Strong and I went to the beach along with Mr. Funny and some of our friends. It was a much needed break and I enjoyed walking on the beach with my sweet husband then swimming in the ocean with my youngest son. The weather was just perfect!

As we were galavanting on the beach on Sunday, we noticed some fish jumping out of the water. Then we noticed this.

Yes! That is a SHARK! The Jaws music didn't even play in the background.

Next time, I'm not hanging out on the beach with my lawyer friend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Free advice to parents who think their kid is the cutest, bestest, and/or smartest kid in the whole wide world

Are you sitting down? If not, where the heck do you keep your computer because who works on a computer while standing up? I have some news I'd like to share with you.

The world does not revolve around your child and there will be times when your child will have to face disappointment.

There. I said it.

I work with children. It's what I do. And I find them all charming in their unique little ways. But not so charming as to think that one child is better or more important than the other. Or that one child should be protected at all costs of ever knowing any disappointment.

So when your child has to be moved to another class due to overcrowding, it really doesn't help for you "give me permission to pick another child." That is akin to wishing bad luck on someone else. Your child was selected. It is time for you to deal help your child learn to see the positives in the situation.

Furthermore, when your child has to be torn away from your legs screaming, "I want my Mommy!" separation anxiety, he/she is often doing that for your benefit. I don't want to hurt your feelings when I tell you most children stop crying within three minutes. It takes me longer than three minutes to get over having to wake up so early in the morning. So when you shout out "Are you happy now?" after I have worked up a sweat carried your darling child to his class, I have just learned to feel sorry for you. It must suck to be stuck with middle school emotions be hard to see your child that upset.

While I believe most parents have good intentions for their children, there are many, many parents who want to protect their child from any and all disappointment. I wish they would realize that the best lesson they could learn from "bad" situations is a positive attitude and the ability to problem solve ways to make it better.

I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of disappointed adults in about 15 years.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Aligning the Stars

Last year, the beginning of the school year had me coming home bruised, exhausted, and crying. I was even bleeding from a bite one day. Suffice it to say the "Tsunami Twins" kicked our tails rocked our world.

But I'm not here to write that story yet. My therapist recommends waiting to tell that story That story can wait for another day.

Possibly, it is the survival of last year that has made this year's beginning feel so good. Let's recap last year's events just for the hell fun of it:

Due to redistricting, more than half my school was new to us at the beginning of last year. Oh. My. God.

Many of the parents liked to tell us all about how they did it at their last school. Yes. I see.

Then there were the aforementioned "Tsunami Twins" who were much like the feral children I've seen in documentaries. I'm not going there (but I am going to say thanks for special schools for the severely emotionally disturbed).

Oh, and our enrollment was down and they moved my two last hires to different schools causing us to restructure several classes. Why is it always the last hires?! Dang it! I hired them to help me with the pissy attitudes of some of the old timers.

Then to add insult to injury, there was the end of the year where they predicted we'd need less teachers and moved ANOTHER of my last hires to a different school. Despite my reprimand by the superintendent begging and pleading to not move another teacher, they insisted I was wrong about our predictions for next year's enrollment. Again, why does it always have to be the last hires?! All my awesome people are slipping away from me...

In the end, I WAS RIGHT! our population has grown even MORE than we predicted.

Our Kindergarten and 1st grade classes have EXPLODED! We've run out of little desks and books causing me to wonder, "What the heck was going on 5 or 6 years ago to have this mini-baby boom?" Regardless, the kids have been fantastic! We had two criers the first day, one the second, and none on the third day - a Personal Best for us! And the parents have been fantastic but as for the criers, I can't count that high! Even ALL well, almost all the teachers have been fantastic despite some of their super crowded rooms!

The beginning of the year, while busy, has more or less been a cake walk. A very busy cake walk. Like one with a super, fast tempo. Like maybe a cake walk to Super Freak. But I digress.

Now for the icing on the cake - the teacher they moved to a different school this past summer is coming home!

I don't even care if I don't get an apology. The fact that they would right this wrong makes it all worthwhile. For the record, it took two and a half days of begging, pleading and making comments to make them feel guilty. Once again, I am reminded of the power of guilt.

Even if it has been exhausting, it has been the BEST beginning of the school year. Ever!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ready, Set, Activate

A few years ago, a friend of mine told me a story about a little girl who had been in her son's class. No, it isn't that little girl to the right. That's my cousin's beautiful child. She will probably be acting out this story in a few years.

My friend, Ms. PTO, was working at the school during Open House when a little girl, Miss Acrobat, came skipping up to her.

Miss Acrobat: "Hey there, Ms. PTO."

Ms. PTO: "Well, hey there Miss Acrobat! Did you have a good summer?"

Miss Acrobat: "Uh huh! I did! But my momma is ready for me to come back to school."

Ms. PTO: "That's because she is ready for you to learn all the stuff you have to learn as a second grader."

Miss Acrobat: "Maybe. She told me that I activate her nerves."

Once again, I think the parents are going to be the ones most excited about school starting on Wednesday. Their nerves have been activated.