Tuesday, April 22, 2008


My friend Darcy wrote about the Dead Milkmen and it brought this video to mind. Thanks YouTube. A nice time capsule of things that don't exist anymore in Philly, including the Dead Milkmen. Here's a link to Gnarls Barkley. My students don't know who they are. "Gnarls Barkley? Who that?"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Groove back?

It's been all out of control at Rookie schoolteacher central. The warm air has turned my students from surly punks to almost uncontrollable surly punks. At least some of them. I'm adrift in a sea of detention slips and suspension notices. It's so unnecessary. The kids that I teach are so ridiculously unsocialized. The heating of the Earth that makes Spring a flowerfilled adventure turns my children into frenzied bolts of hormone-fried lightning. They can't sit still, they can't stop moving, they can't stop talking, they can't stop fighting, and they don't feel like learning. Spring is so nice.

How do I deal with this, you might ask? Well, not very well so far these couple of weeks. Spring may have excited my little ones but it has yet to wake me from my winter lethargy. I have no energy to grade or discipline or anything else. I would like to watch a movie or something.

Still, the year is on its way to being over. It's almost May. Soon the kids will be moving on and summer will be in full effect.

I hope I get my groove back. Teaching is like the long baseball season. You get in the doldrums sometimes and it takes a while to get your swing back. Perhaps the new Gnarls Barkley record will help. I bought it yesterday and it is so very good.

Yes, I am a Gnarls Barkley aficionado. Aficionado was one of our vocabulary words today. I love those guys! If they didn't say the f word in one of the songs I might bring it in and play it for the kids. I should bring some of the clean stuff in. Maybe some Dead Milkmen too. Perhaps some Motorhead. "Ace of Spades" would be wonderful. "And don't forget the joker."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Just 6 more years to proficiency!

I've been doing this blog since April 2005. It's April 2008. What a long strange trip it's been and yet I still feel like a Rookie Schoolteacher at this. Much wiser teachers than me have said it takes 10 years to really get this job down. I would agree. Here's to another 6 years of working to basic proficiency level.

I'm patting myself on the back.

Monday, April 07, 2008


So I'm walking out of the building and step into the stairwell with my class. Something squishy is under my heel. I look down and wonder of wonders, I'm stepping in human sh$t! Fu#%ing excellent! What a way to finish off a horrible Monday with my wonderful students. It's been a fun day of "I have a headache! I have to see the nurse! I have a stomachache! I have to see the nurse! I have a fingerache! I have to see the nurse! I have to blow my nose. I need to use the bathroom! I have to go to the bathroom! I have to go to the office to call my house I didn't tell my mom I have flugelhorn practice!" Everything at "I have to!" No. Actually, you don't have to do anything. And stop blowing your nose in your hand and wiping it all over your face. You're a big boy now.

Who is taking a dump in the goddamn stairwell? WTF? More likely someone is moving the poop from somewhere and dumping it in the stairwell. Again, WTF?

Maybe the stairwell dumper has a blog? I'll google it. Disgruntled teachers have blogs. Disgusting stairwell poopers probably have them too. Probably like this...

I was at school today and I got that urge. The urge to heh, heh, heh you know... That's right. I popped one out on the third floor landing. LOL! I was almost caught though. Why do people have to use the stairs for walking. WTF? I mean what do people even have to have feet for? Why walk on beautiful stairs with your cruddy feet? All you need is a set of well washed stairs and an excretory system.

I can only imagine the blogs. We teachers have it easy though. What's a little poop. I get the summers off, what am I complaining about?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April Fools

Ah, it's been such a great April so far and we're only on day 2. Many students are ready to finish out the end of the year strong. They are focused. Major tests will happen soon and they will do fine. These students are in the minority in my class and school. I have quite a few students that are completely "off the chain" since returning from Spring break.

Some recent moments have included a student threatening to beat me up because I made the mistake of asking him for his homework papers. A student screaming at me at the top of his lungs because I asked him to get out his Science book and stop talking. The same student throwing his desk and books on the floor and then storming out of the classroom. Of course he slammed the door as hard as he could. (The company that makes the safety glass with the wire inside sure makes it strong. That classroom window never cracked.) Lots of rolling of the eyes. Lots of not listening to anything. Lots of huffing and puffing. Lots of tears. Lots of anger.

It's frustrating.

The other day I stopped my science lesson and said "Thank you to those who are listening and taking part. The rest of you... how can I interest you? I mean this is our planet we're learning about. We only live here. I'm not teaching you about something that doesn't matter. How can I interest you...?" It makes me sad and mad, too. My students have so much against them. Many will succumb to the madness that surrounds us in the inner city. Less than 50% of Philadelphia public school kids will graduate from high school. This is very sad but many of these students sink themselves. Perhaps they will get it on their own with a GED in the future?

It's frustrating.

On a lighter note, I intercepted this love note the other day.

Is he very very very cute if he go out with he



What kind of response will this girl get? "If he go out with he?" Is she interested in a boy that likes boys? "If he go out with she?" He is going out with another girl? "Is he very very very cute if he go out with he?" He's really cute when he goes out with boys on a date? Kinky.

It makes me laugh but in a bittersweet kind of way when I read these love notes. They make no sense as letters. What have they done with all the letter writing practice we've done? How are they ever to fall in love if their letters can't be understood? There's always lots of fighting along with the courtship in the schools. Perhaps it's all due to written misunderstandings? Or maybe he is very cute when he dates a boy?

I got an advanced degree for this. Yeah!

Not one kid had any interest in April Fools Day. What's up with that?