Friday, June 17, 2005


I'm savoring my first day of vacation. I read a couple of stories to my daughter's pre-k class. Fun to be with my daughter and her smart friends. I realize how much I've missed my old life as a stay at home Dad after a morning of stories, styling Fairytopia Barbie's hair, and eating cupcakes. It's nice to reconnect and unwind with her.

This is going to be it for me for a little while. Rookie Schoolteacher is taking some time off. I will check in from time to time with education and personal life stuff. I'll be on everyday status again once my summer recess is over. Until then I'm going to live life slowly. Enjoy your summer everyone and thanks for reading. I would never have made it through the last months without this outlet for my frustrations.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Let the games begin!

It's officially over. I did the last of my paperwork and now it's time to relax. I'm a bit misty eyed over the whole thing. Relieved. Exhausted. I've made a lot of friends and come a long way. I'm going to relax and enjoy a fabulous rookie schoolteacher summer. I think the first thing to do is play some electric guitar. I don't know quite how to do that and it's about time to learn. Teachers are always learning and learning is good.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The kids are gone!

The kids are gone! The kids are gone! Sing with me now, the kids are gone!

A lot of the kids came back today. Almost all the horrible ones came for the last day. I'm pretty sure they came to start a foodfight in the cafeteria. I foiled their evil plot by eating lunch with them. In your face! Anyway we got through it. Now there's just some paperwork tomorrow and then we're done for the summer.

I survived although it was a constant battle to the end. I'm going to put this in the win column. This was the hardest year of my life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Lots of cleaning up today. Lots of wasting time. About the same amount of kids. Just one more day with the kids. ONE! Oh, it will be freakin' sweet when it's over.

I'm already preparing for the next school year. I'm reflecting on what's worked and hasn't. I'm getting ready for my summer courses. I'm thinking about new things to try and buy for the room. A rookie schoolteacher's work is never ever done.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Waiting for the bell

A half decent day today. About half the class showed up. Hopefully more students will drop off tomorrow. We aren't doing anything but putting things away, cleaning up, and waiting for the bell to ring. It's so nice and warm and sunny outside. I'm taking my daughter for a bicycle ride.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


My rookie schoolteacher diploma arrived from the School District of Philadelphia in yesterday's mail. I can update my credentials! I can make more money! Soon my masters will be done and I'll jump up the payscale again. I can then funnel that extra cash into paying my student loans and regain some budget equilibrium.

Finishing some odds and ends. Listening to some Car Talk on the computer. Took a trip to the dollar store. They undercharged me. I have the feeling the dollar police might come and cart me away. Eating a Quarter Pounder now. Hope you are enjoying yourself out in the Blogosphere. I sure am.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Delightful Trash

My daughter went to Grandma's house and my wife and I just completed a bike ride. Such a beautiful sunny day outside. Hope you faithful readers are enjoying yourselves. I've started to unwind from the stress early. I'm worthless as a rookie schoolteacher and as a parent, husband, and friend if I don't take care of myself.

I just started reading a fun book, Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami. The premise is a group of junior high school students is selected to participate in the "program". They must fight to the death on a deserted island. The last student standing will receive a million dollars and a signed photo of the dictator. The action takes place in a futuristic facist Japanese alternate universe. So far it's just what I needed. A little fun pulp trash to unwind my unhinged brain.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Coloring is not a contact sport

I'm so relieved that this solid week is over. I felt horrible yesterday when I got home from school. I feel better today mostly because the week is done. Just three half days left. I've been told by more experienced teachers that lots of kids don't show for the last days because they think the half days don't matter. I'm holding my breath on that one. Every bit of advice concerning the children not showing for various reasons doesn't apply to my kids. My kids are so friggin' punctual. They come to school even when they're suspended. If they're true to form every one of them will be here for all three days.

They weren't as horrible today as they were yesterday but they are still infuriating. I guess this sounds horrible but a good many of my kids are smart enough academically but they're just morons when it comes to social development. There I said it. Education doublespeak be damned. They're morons, plain and simple. Coloring pages from a coloring book is not a contact sport. Everything turns into a contact sport in my classroom and I'm tired of it.

I'm signing off to find solace in a Klondike bar. It's muggy tonight. What'll you do for a Klondike bar? Play hooky from school??? I'll give you two.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

It doesn't matter.

I'm so tired and beat up. The kids were just horrible today. No prep. No recess. No breaks. I've had it with them. I feel like someone beat the Hell out of me.

I'm full of ibuprofen and beer. An icepack is soothing the tension in my neck. At least my worst boy got himself suspended. I'll take it any way I can get it.

Why don't they stay home? I guess some are afraid Mom and Dad will go to jail because of truancy. It could be a twofer though. Most of them hate school and hate their parents. No school and no parents would be an awesome summer break!

Please don't come. No one in my school is teaching anything. If you miss a game of hangman IT DOESN'T MATTER!!! Just get away from me. Your grades are in. It's over!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Pretty please?

I haven't had a prep period in weeks. My pain translates into real cash money to the tune of $600! Thank God we have a union, otherwise all this extra work would translate into zilch. Those Republicans have a hard on for unions and they're likely coming for mine but until they do fair play is forced to rule the day! Fair play equals money for people who aren't rich (e.g. me)! Kiss it, Republicans!

Some extra money over the summer will come in handy for soccer shoes, tap dancing lessons, rollerskates, and Fairytopia Barbies. Little daughters have expensive needs.

Five more days. I can sure as Hell do it. They don't make it easy, though. One of my boys has a real need for mood-leavening medication. His Mom conveniently forgets to get it for him (along with forgetting to feed, clothe, and bathe him). Consequently, he is literally bouncing off the walls in the classroom. He would eat the friggin' desk if I didn't keep an eye on him. Couldn't he just cut? Please? Pretty please with sugar on top? I know, I know he deserves his God given right to an American public education. The thing is he's not learning anything anyhow. He's out of his gourd, not getting his services because there aren't any, and he's beating the crap out of innocent kids who are unlucky enough to get in his way. He needs to cut. To quote the great Alice Cooper: school's out for summer.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bush League

"One reason I like to highlight reading is, reading is the beginnings of the ability to be a good student. And if you can't read, it's going to be hard to realize dreams; it's going to be hard to go to college. So when your teachers say, read - you ought to listen to her." George W. Bush, Nalle Elementary School, Washington, D.C., February 9, 2001.

Exactly, I couldn't have said it better myself my superduper President.

I'm writing from the dumbass evaluation section of Rookie Schoolteacher Central. I figured I couldn't miss with a quote from one of the true dumbasses of our time. Let's get to my beef. I have a problem student, she won't come into my room anymore. She roams the halls. When she is in the room she starts fights. Today she's delivered by the school police officer. Barely a minute passes before she's out of the room again. This is 8:45 a.m. The girl roams the halls all day long. Nothing is done although I call security. After lunch I get a call on the classroom phone. It's our dean of discipline.
"Tell me the problem with this student."
"She refuses to come into the room."
"Hang on, you're on speakerphone. I've got Montel from your room here with me. Tell me what happened."
(Steam is coming out of my ears at this point. I'm on the goddamn speaker phone? At least a dozen poorly behaved students are in the discipline room along with her. The worst behaved student is going to corroborate my testimony?)
"She came in with the school police officer. She left the room immediately. She wasn't even here a minute."
"Wait... Hmm... OK... Montel says she came in and then left the room."
"That's what I just said."
"Mmm... Wait... Montel says she was there with the school police officer."
"That's what I said."
(She's calling balls and strikes with me with the worst kid in my class!)
"Hmm. Well, she needs to stay in your room."
"How am I supposed to do that? She won't sit in a seat and she leaves immediately."

So that's the end of that one but let's recap. This woman puts me on speaker phone and second guesses me with the worst student in my class. I think I have a right to be pissed. I'm sick of this bush league s*&%. I've had enough. WHAT HAS THIS WOMAN DONE FOR ME? WHAT DOES SHE DO? NOTHING! NOTHING BUT CONSISTENTLY MAKE ME LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT IN FRONT OF MY KIDS!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Stay Home!

Today one of my girls asked if she could talk to me. I said ok and we stepped into the hallway. "Mr. Over the weekend my Mom, sister, and I went over to my Dad's house. We tried to get our stuff out of the house and he wouldn't let my Mom have it. He wouldn't even let my Mom have the stuff my Grandfather gave her before he died. All our stuff is down in his basement."

How do you answer that? God, I felt awful for her.

Only seven more days! I'm going to make it. If only the truly incorrigible students would get the message and stay home. I flat out told them "There's not that much going on guys. You can stay home. We aren't teaching anything and you know it." My wife thinks I'm crazy for saying stuff like this but damn it they aren't learning anything and they are getting into trouble in school. One of these hammerheads in my classroom is going to end up putting someone in the hospital. They should just stay home and avoid the problems. Some of them are so out of their minds they don't even know what they are doing. The administration has been slowly winding down on supporting us with discipline. They threw in the towel early today. All students were sent back to class instead of meeting with counselors. All students were excused from detention. Discipline is over. So all knuckleheads within the sound of my voice STAY HOME!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Deep Throat

Neat that Mark Felt announced that he was Deep Throat. I can't get enough of Watergate and Nixon. I hope that a lot more stuff comes out about it. Sad though that all this press attention is directed at Nixon and stuff that happened 30 years ago. The Bush White House is doing stuff that Nixon would never do and nothing is happening. The press is too busy kissing ass. Hell, even Bob Woodward wrote a book about Bush. Why is it that the British papers reported that the Iraq war was a go whether or not there was a justification and our press has nothing? I'll just set it on the tee for the U.S. press to hit one out. Click here for the secret Downing Street memo.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

A time for all things

Lots of cleaning and throwing out to do today. Things that have piled up for months are going to go. I finally have a little time. Eight more days to go!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Thrown to the wolves

My neck hurts. I would guess it's the tension. There's only eight more days. Three of them are half days.

Each day the kids who are nuts become just a little more nuts. There's no reaching them. I don't have the skills. I'm becoming more and more convinced that most humans don't have the skills. Your level of training can't cut any ice with this.

I know I'm way outmatched here. I feel no shame in saying this. I haven't got the skills to deal with many of the problems that face me. Most teachers don't. Most wouldn't come here on a bet.

This is one of the dirty truths about the U.S. school system. All that NCLB bulls#*% means nothing. Rookie teachers are routinely given the classrooms with the worst students. We are given the most students. Classrooms with 38 or 40 students. Do you have any idea how hard it is to control 40 people? Do you know how hard it is to keep track of a week's academic production from 40 people? An expert teacher would be up against it with these kinds of odds. Do you think much learning is happening in a classroom like this? It's the norm and not the exception. Throw the rookies to the wolves.

I'm going to survive my first year and I'm coming back for more. I need my head examined.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Unabated Frustration

One of my boys told me he was going to kill my family. Nice. I threw his butt out of class and 20 minutes later he's back. "I'm sorry, Mr."

Another boy sticks his tongue out and waggles it all day long.

Another talks about farting and makes noises.

Another describes how "easy" Josephine is.

Another breaks his pens and smears ink all over his face, hands, neck, chest, desk, and chair.

I swear one ate most of a plastic pencil sharpener.

Do they have to keep coming? The grades are in. They all passed. Can they just go away? They can be belligerent out in the street. They can be destructive out in the street. They can do whatever they want out there.

Oh great and powerful School District of Philadelphia, I implore you. Please end the charade now. Just lock the doors and send them home. Summer is here.

It's so frustrating. The same kids do the exact same things they came in doing. The same kids begin or end every social interaction with a foul remark and a headslap. The same kids destroy everything they come in contact with. The same kids insult everyone. The same kids do the same everything. They don't learn and they don't care. How can anyone be so self-destructive? How can anyone so young be so messed up?

Down is up, up is down. The school is a nuthouse.

I'll be there next year. Got my grade assignment. Moving to a different one. Not sure if that's good or bad. There are no easy grades in my school. A kindergartener would smoke you. Doesn't matter.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


We turn in things every day. By next week we will have nothing in our classrooms. An entire school without books, curriculums, or equipment of any kind. Everything locked up. I guess we are going to do worksheets. We are going to babysit.

Sorry to be so down about stuff lately but I really don't give a s&%$ anymore. I want the year to be over. I fight with the students in my room from the moment we get there until we go home and for what? The students run the place. They know how empty we are at the core. How powerless we are. Someone likes it like this....

There was one bright spot. One of my girls came up and silently dropped a dandelion blossom on my desk as I was working. She will never know how much that meant.