Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Up to my neck in paperwork

Today was a horrible day. What's with the kids lately? No one wants to do anything. Everyone wants to fight. The whole school is like this.

On days like this I wish one of the many morons who like to kick teachers could teach science to my kids.

I'll smile as they eat you alive.

I need a smile but will settle for a beer.

My headache is raging and it's been hours since I was locked inside my roasting hot classroom.

I want to do something else. I want to go watch tv and relax. Instead, I'm up to my neck in paperwork and grades and report cards.

Tomorrow three of my worst kids are getting suspended. It will be like Christmas, Woodstock, and a trip to the liquor store all rolled into one.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Black History Month

I've been teaching all day and it's been frustrating. We're in the midst of Black History Month or African-American History Month or whatever you want to call it. My kids are learning about famous African Americans from all walks of life and time periods. My frustration is you'd think the kids might be respectful since we're learning about people who are like them. People who have similar backgrounds. People who look and feel like them. You'd think this would make a difference. It doesn't. I might as well be teaching about ancient Roman cisterns or slime molds or the devaluation of the Rupee. They don't give a damn about anything I have to say.

Who cares about Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, Malcolm X, or Marcus Garvey? Obviously, none of this stuff is important to anyone but the Rookie Schoolteacher himself. "Mr.? We got to know this?"
"This stuff is whack! I know this stuff. I learned it already."
"Yes, we need to learn and know this stuff."
"Ahhhh man.... I ain't learning this...."
"Why can't we learn about Michael Jordan?"
"He's on the list."
"Ahhhh... I don't... I ain't...I...."
"I ain't doing any of this sh&%!"

And so it goes. It gets to me how everything is so negative in the environment where I teach. Seemingly, no one wants to know a goddamn thing. No one cares about anything. I'm a spaceman come to impart knowledge but no one heeds it. At the end of the day I blast off in my spaceship and go back to my home planet. The metaphor is me. I really am a friggin' spaceman. I live on what is effectively another planet.

These kids don't even give a crap about Barack Obama. How sad is that? How do I reach them?

I'm really hoping Barack wins, by the way. I love the guy and he will finish once and for all one of the gripes my students love to throw at me and all teachers - "No one is going to elect a black president." I can see it now. Barack takes the oath. A silly student says "They ain't going to let a black man do anything so I don't have to do this sh$% either!" "What are you talking about. We have a black president. Get out your pencil and notebook and GET TO WORK!!!!!!!!!!!"

I really love Black History Month. You know The Autobiography of Malcolm X is my favorite book? I love history. Ask my wife. When she leaves the room I switch to the History Channel. It bugs me that the kids take no joy in it. What do they take joy in?

I really have to get out of the inner city, someday.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Low reserves

This past week was tough. I'm not sure what's been eating me but my reservoir of patience is running low. I'll admit that some of my week's difficulties came from my lack of patience. The climate of the school is changing too. I notice less and less energy from my students. The energy has been replaced with smoldering anger. My students and the students in the general population from K-8 are beginning to go. We're all starting to lose them. Rookie schoolteachers and vets are all starting to see slippage. They are realizing spring means school's almost done. Voices are speaking deep inside saying "Stop listening! It's almost done!"

Say a prayer for all those people shot in Illinois. Classrooms shouldn't be shooting galleries. Enough said.

I'm going to enjoy my Presidents Day Weekend. Hope you enjoy yours. Think about Polk or Chester A. Arthur. They never get any play. Send one out to Benjamin Harrison or William Henry Harrison. Think about Tippicanoe and Tyler too. Party like a rockstar or even better like Andrew Jackson. Look it up.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Just another day filled with fluids.

I have a real problem with my kids and trips to the nurse. They literally pull out their teeth. I teach young ones and losing teeth is natural. It isn't natural to pull out a tooth that's kind of loose so you can take a trip to the nurse and get out of class for a while. A student this week said "Mr. my tooth is hurtin'." She went to the bathroom. Five minutes later she's back and there's blood everywhere. It's all over her blouse, it's on the door handle, it's everywhere! Ugh!!!!!!

In this day and age you can't be too careful. I have a thing about bodily fluids. I already put myself in jeopardy just to get to work. I don't want any of your goo on me. (That doesn't sound very teacher nurturing touchy feelie hippie dippy does it? Blow it out your pencil sharpener if it bothers you. I'm afraid of Hepatitis, HIV, Christian Conservatism, anything that's communicable.) I put on my school issued rubber gloves, the kids laugh, and I send this young lady to the nurse. I wash everything down with cleaner. I seethe inside because this didn't have to happen. That tooth wasn't that loose if all that blood came too. Just another thing we like to do in my room.

I think I could write a novella about the things the children do to get to go to the nurse/bathroom/front desk/water fountain.

A friend of mine has a student that poops his pants two times a day. Things could always be worse. They ought to carve that phrase on my teacher tombstone someday, that or "Wu Tang Forever."

I'm writing from deep inside my hazmat suit. Good day.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Keeping the maniacs at bay.

Wow, I didn't realize until logging in that my last post was my 222nd on January 22nd. Cool. The posts do accumulate over time.

I should have gone up to the Meadowlands to see Barack Obama today. The afternoon was very difficult. I don't like having extra kids in my room and that's what happened to me today. Many, many teachers were out and we can't get any subs in the inner city and that leaves us teachers on the hook with extra beligerent kids. Try doing your job when you have kids actively trying to undermine everything you are doing at every step of the way.

I ponder my life at these points. How in the Hell did I get into a career where I have to yell at people and fight with them all the time? Sure, I reason and use my smarts and my teacher training but sometimes you just have to go toe to toe. I fight with no one in my personal life and I love that about my life. I don't want to fight. Something is wrong here.

I used to have an office with a door and I could close that door. Oh, the sweet feeling of closing that door and getting my work done in peace. Now, my door is closed but it's closed out of concern for my safety. I'd rather be locked in with my students than be open and exposed to the other maniacs, uh, I mean students and parents and members of the general public who seem to be able to wander in at will.

I should have gone to see Obama. I would have been having fun. Instead I got a wicked headache from calming down insane children.

A shout out to all the good teachers that came to work today. Thank you! The rest of you slackers need to drag your sorry asses in to work tomorrow. I'm tired of holding your jock.


A tip of the Rookie Schoolteacher chapeau to my friend Darcy, owner and operator of Darx Unplugged. She's got it going on in Ohio. I predict she'll be knitting a yellow Devo jumpsuit soon in celebration of Mark Mothersbaugh's honorary doctorate at Kent State. Anyway, check her out at the link over there on the side margin. You see it over there. Give it a click for delightful banter about living off the grid, crockpot cookery, knitting needles, and delightful movie and book reviews. I've known her for about 18 years now more or less. You'll be in good hands.