Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Fun" stuff.

During seventh period yesterday, I spent some time working in the book room, tidying and organizing. The 'highlight' was surely finding a condom wrapper on top of the file cabinets in the back of the room. And, it was not covered in asbestos dust like everything else around it, so...


A few weeks ago we put another lock on the door, but last week that had also disappeared, and every time I go there, the door is wide open. I close the door when I leave, so draw your own conclusions about that.

Oh, but see, the door doesn't actually shut. At the beginning of the year, somehow the door was locked closed, so after a week or two, the custodians opened the room. Apparently they decided to just remove the whole doorknob. And not replace it.

Yep, surrounded by winners here.

Speaking of winners, older readers may remember that my first year I taught an inclusion class. So it may surprise you to learn that today I attended an IEP meeting for the very first time ever. Doubly surprise, really, because I got the notice last week that the meeting was today, mid-morning. I rolled my eyes and sighed and put the note away. Hello, teaching day, etc. But then yesterday, the scheduler guy told me they scheduled a coverer for that period! Look at that!

Now of course I left class promptly to get to the meeting right on time, but I ended up sitting in the library for the rest of the period, waiting for another meeting to end. Once it was into my lunch period, then the meeting was ready to begin.

Oh, here's another fun thing. Some of you have made nice suggestions or recommendations about the ESL kid, but I'm sad to inform you that you are vastly overestimating the communication in my school. All those things you said, all those people you mentioned? I do not know any of it. Nobody tells us ANYTHING in my school.

Here's an excellent case to prove that:
Last week a memo was given to the students with information about days off and such, including parent teacher conferences.

To this day, TEACHERS have never received official notice with the dates or times of conferences.

We are so unimportant and unrespected by this new administration--they make us fill out paperwork for copies that never arrive; they give out student notices at all hours of the day, not during homeroom like they're supposed to; they refuse to support the policies they spout; they don't inform us of anything except what we must do in order to avoid trouble.

Man, I'm tired.

Good thing tomorrow's my birthday! I'm having secret parties with my classes, but don't tell anyone--wouldn't want to get in trouble. After all, my students have been working hard and mostly behaving well. God forbid we have a good time to celebrate...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Last week the children wrote essays about their goals for the future. Most students want to be doctors or lawyers (and I won't say anything about that at all. Right now, at least.).
Many students also are interested in going to Harvard University.

However, not a SINGLE student could spell Harvard correctly.

I told at least one kid, "They won't let you in if you can't spell their name right."

Mean, but come ON!

Why I Love My Middle of the Day Class

Yesterday I told them, "So your favorite teacher is having a birthday on Thursday...."

They immediately perked up and some clapped, oohing and aahing. I added, for my own benefit, "That's me, by the way," but I love that they were right there with me. :)

I told them we can have food and fun but not a "party." So if anyone asks, no party. But really? We'll be having a good time. Shh.

Since the next two months are supposed to be just test prep, I'm looking at it as a school year Mardi Gras. You know, celebrate and get out all the loud fun before the quiet seriousness begins.

What shall I call this class? They are small, cute, kind of goofy and fairly quick. Hm. X, I need your naming expertise!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Food!

From yesterday's Broadway photo walk.

The food and I are happy because today after school I've been so productive! Stopped at the 99 cent store to pick up some activity books for the new student who speaks no English (isn't someone supposed to tell me what to do with a child like that? Shouldn't he be in ESL?), printed all the documents that were submitted for copies many days ago to no avail, and ALSO worked on entering grades!

Hurrah! Enjoy the pretty colors.
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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Seriously Old.

Back in 2003, I went hiking on the Olympic Peninsula, on a trail that was very steep. The next day, my right knee seized up and it would not, could not bend at all. I went to see a doctor as soon as I could and ended up getting physical therapy for it. I think it was something like tendonitis maybe, beneath the patella.

In August, a group of us hiked a short section of the AT, and I couldn't walk down stairs for several days afterward. (Strangely, walking up stairs did not hurt.)

A couple weeks ago, we were out wandering the city for three hours, and my knee started to hurt. I actually forgot why; just thought I was wimpy. But lo and behold, it was two days before walking stairs normally.

Today I joined a fun photo walk with a couple folks, walking all of Broadway in Manhattan. I joined them at 125th at 3pm, and we made it to Times Square at 6pm. It was really fun and I think I got a few decent photos, but oh, my knee, it hurts really bad. Bad enough that I can't go up the stairs either, but have to do a sad little limp/hop instead.

I need a little footstool by my computer so I can play with the pics while I elevate and ice the knee. Being old and decrepit sucks.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hey, guess what?

It's Friday!!

That means we can all stay up late and sleep in late too!

Whee! How cool is that? I love weekends!


This afternoon, I stayed after school for a few minutes to finish grading a quiz from today.

There was a knock at the door, and a kid entered. It took me a moment to figure out that I knew the kid--one of my students from my first year!

Little C was one of the 'troublesome' boys in my biggest, worst class that year. He was a kid who wasn't much for bs, and who was smart enough but usually distracted or not caring enough to do much. I always tried to encourage him to do better because he had so much potential. A month or two into the year, Little C and Tall N and another kid would stay in my room at lunch to help clean up and hang out.

Little C and Little K were buddies and twin pains in my ass, but they were actually pretty good kids. They were annoying and mischievous at times, but in innocent, goofy ways; they weren't malicious like some of the other boys in that class. They're the ones that I once kept at lunch to lecture, and I got about halfway through, when one of the boys interrupted me. The other one shushed him, saying "She's trying to give us a lecture!" I had to turn around and stifle a laugh.

What I'm saying is that I tried to hide it, but I actually liked both of them and it turned out they liked me too. Little K's dad told me at conferences that I was one of Little K's favorite teachers! This was November of my first year, when I really and truly sucked.

Anyway, so Little C came to say hi today! He was a little taller, wearing a hoodie and black hipster glasses. He didn't say too much, but he seemed glad enough to see me. Gave me a hug and stuff. He's in one of the special tech high schools now.

This is the first time someone has come back to see me! It's especially gratifying because of the horrors of that year, and I was always upset that I wasn't doing better, that I wasn't able to help the kids more.

But I think I did right by Little C. He didn't end up getting great grades, but he seemed to understand the need for doing the right thing. I'm definitely proud of him!

To Err is Hilarious

Some recent student writing bloopers:

--"onomatopoeia birds"

--"I like to verse professionals"

--"Pedestrians laying in hamicks"

--which turned into "People relinquishing in hamicks"

--"I spent my summer in Vag!na."
(I was really proud of myself for keeping a straight face on that one.)

--On today's quiz, they had to identify parts of speech in sentences. One kid added an extra letter which made one of the sentences completely different: "The beige breast crushed its prey."


Thursday, October 25, 2007

November is Next Thursday!

Which is AWESOME, because next Thursday is my BIRTHDAY!


I will be twenty-eight. That sounds like a grown-up age, doesn't it? Much more mature than twenty-seven.

Additionally, November is National Blog Posting Month, which I just joined for the first time. You may notice I've been posting more regular-like, and I would like to keep it going. Perhaps challenge myself to do some actual writing. Although I'm sure there will be plenty of photo or meme posts when I'm particularly uninspired.

This means Halloween is now less than a week away too. Anyone have any fun costumes and/or plans?

Bonus! Here's an excerpt from the Scorpio 'profile' from MSN. It's not 100%, but much of it is accurate:

Beneath a controlled, cool exterior beats the heart of the deeply intense Scorpion. Passionate, penetrating, and determined, this sign will probe until they reach the truth. The Scorpion may not speak volumes or show their emotions readily, yet rest assured there's an enormous amount of activity happening beneath the surface. Excellent leaders, the Scorpion is always aware. When it comes to resourcefulness, this sign comes out ahead.

Friends and Family

Sincerity and truth are strong components of the Scorpion's friends. It can take some time before really close bonds are formed, but once done, the Scorpion will remain dedicated and loyal. Witty and intellectual, they prefer companions who are humorous and easygoing. Full of surprises, this sign will give you the shirt off their backs if that's what you need; yet, once they are crossed, there's no turning back. They feel deeply, and once hurt, it can be impossible to turn things around. Commitment to family is strong and consistent with the Scorpion. They are exceptionally helpful in managing affairs, and they are excellent advocates when one is needed.

Career and Money

"I desire" is the key phrase for the Scorpion. They are fantastic at managing, solving, or creating. Once the Scorpion sets their sights on a goal, there's no deterring this sign. Tasks that require a scientific, penetrating approach are always best done by the Scorpion, as they will delve deeply into the materials they have. Their ability to focus, coupled with determination, makes for strong management skills. They're not ones to worry about making friends on the job scene; rather, they prefer to see the task accomplished well.

Pursuing such careers as a scientist, doctor, investigator, navigator, detective, researcher, police officer, business manager, and psychologist all suit the mighty Scorpion. Respect is an essential aspect of working for this sign. They need to respect their coworkers, while also feeling a sense of being respected by others.

Disciplined enough to stick to a budget and unafraid of working as hard and as long as it takes puts the Scorpion in a good financial position. Many are fortunate and inherit money. Whatever the case - and regardless of the balance - they are great managers of their dollars and are not apt to overspend at all. Money means security and a sense of control, which is important to the Scorpion. Therefore, they're going to hang onto the majority of the cash, making decisions carefully before turning any of it over.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Look! Still posting!

First, thank you guys so much for commenting and leaving feedback! I'm really enjoying it, so thank you for reading and sharing.

When I moved to New York four years ago, I figured I'd do my two years and move on. Once the teaching actually started, it was a good thing I have a strong sense of responsibility and stubbornness, otherwise I would have moved away the day school ended. Of course my second year went a billion times better than the first, and so I was looking forward to staying for a third year to get tenure, to get better, to get more money, to stay with friends, to have another good year.

I should have known.

Um, what was I saying?

Right. Moving.

Four years in one place, four years with the same job, four years with any job--all of this is unheard of. I've got a fatal case of wanderlust, and it's starting to chafe.

(Ooh, I like that line. It should be in a song. Anyone?)

Anyway, my recent reading of National Geographic Adventures is fueling this yearning to see new places. I presume I would find a teaching job, and I know other places won't be perfect. Believe me, after growing up around teachers, I don't really expect to be truly happy at any given school. However, I do expect that other places will have better conditions and resources. And in other places I might fit in with the faculty a bit more.

So yeah, things to think about. I definitely like the charter school idea. Maybe someday soon I'll start investigating other states' salaries and housing prices and charter schools.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Blood?

We have a ton of new people in the building this year. New admin, new office folk, new teachers.

Normally, I suppose it's kind of exciting to get new staff members. You know, lots of potential for friends and great teachers.

However, the turnover this summer was too big for that. Instead of looking forward to meeting new folks, I dreaded it. There were too many of them, I had lost too many friends and trusted colleagues, and the thought of learning new faces and names (of grownups) was tiring. Would I like them? Would they like me? Would they be good teachers? Friendly additions to the school community? Would we even have a community with so many different faces?

I am the only returning member of my grade department. One person is basically brand new, two have some experience but not at this level, and the other one is out injured or sick right now. They're all nice enough women, but I don't feel any kind of connection with them. Zero cohesiveness as a department. I'm hearing and seeing things from students and other teachers that make me a little skeptical about what's going on.

The worst part is the not-PD, not common planning. There's never been any actual planning in the last couple years, but I had foolishly hoped that might change. Silly me! Who says English teachers should work together on units and lessons? It's not like we have textbooks or real curricula or anything structural like that. Instead of meeting as professionals, our meetings consist of getting a memo of things we have to do, or things we're not supposed to do, or things we'll be doing soon.

However, unbelievably, the meetings this year have been even worse and more ridiculous. Since everyone is new, we now get the memos and talk about HOW to do things. Like what kinds of testing to do, what report cards will require, stupid shit like that.
(Oh, and this week, only two of us were present.)

I remain optimistic about the potential of professional development and common planning; I know that it CAN work and it CAN help people grow. However, I have not participated in any helpful activities in many many months. I am now completely extraneous in my own department. There is zero reason for me to be at these meetings. I have learned nothing, I really don't need memos explained to me (seeing as how I am an intelligent and responsible adult), and I don't feel a kinship with my colleagues. I sit at the table, silent, trying not to look sullen or impatient. Even though I am.

This is my fourth year teaching. I should still be a newbie. I should definitely still be learning. I should NOT be the senior member of my grade and one of the senior members of my whole department. I find it ridiculous that my needs as a professional are being completely ignored, even more than normal. Instead of growing and further improving as a teacher, I am stagnating.

This year I have retreated into my own world. If my room is empty, I'm in it. When another teacher has my room, I put on my iPod and grade my papers in the faculty room. It's quite relaxing, because I can drown out the complainy whiny people (I'm sure that sounds ironic, but it's not) and relax a bit while I get my work done. (The couches are quite certainly older than I am, but covered with new sofa covers that feel kind of suedy, with matching soft pillows. Also they are out of the path of the AC that the militantly overheated people insist on running all day.) Then I go right back to my classroom.

I have no friends at school, I have no trusted colleagues to talk to about my teaching, I don't feel like I'm a valued member of the department, I don't feel like I am an important part of the school community. Oh, except for when people want things from the book room.

I've been pondering next year for weeks already. This good year with the kids is encouraging, but I'm exhausted by all the internal change at my school--everything has changed, yet things remain the same. And I think it's going to be time for me to be the new blood. The West is calling...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Writing Success!

The week before last, my classes began doing some 4squares about summer vacations. Last week we learned some strategies for good leads. The first day I did the song lesson, which the kids really enjoyed. This year the kids all sang along with Downtown; I think it was featured on a credit card commercial a few months ago.

The second day we focused on the snapshot lead. I gave some examples (including one I had found that day in a Smithsonian article) and had them try. The third day the students worked on incorporating their lead and other descriptive language in completing a first draft.

In the morning class, there's a boy who's pretty low-level but sweet (well, there are a few of those, actually), and his first attempt went, "My vacation to Florida was on an airplane. It was kind of scary." I said, "Blah! Boring!" Next time I came around I took a look to see what he had done. His new lead read, "Zoom! The plane took off with [a] speed. It was freezing in the plane. I was sitting three rows away and could hear my sister's teeth shiver."

I exclaimed in bursts of surprised sentence fragments. "Oh my--!" "P, this is--!" "Wow, this is so--" "This is a million billion times--!" "Wow!"

I got the class's attention (although frankly, after all that exclaiming, most of the class was already looking at me) and read them both versions. They were also very impressed and clapped for him.

I was so happy and so proud!

The same thing happened in my midmorning class. Yay!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Permittable Hermitness?

I did not leave my apartment today. All day. In fact, not since about 8pm last night.

I feel a little bad about it. But really...kind of not.

Today was the fourth day in a row that I woke with a nasty headache. It also made appearances the previous week, though not this much or to this extent. I had to take migraine meds on Thursday and Friday, but I didn't this weekend. Because I'm kind of stupid, really. But mostly because I feel like something's not right if I have to do that.

Anyway, so that is why I feel kind of okay about laying around all day watching television. I caught up on last week's shows and watched a bunch of episodes of The Office.

Some questions

1. What is the name of that thing? The line that goes over a vowel to show it's a long vowel?

2. Why why WHY isn't there an adjectival form of 'integrity'? I always find myself trying to say 'integritous' and then feeling stupid.

3. Why does the annoying narrator on Pushing Daisies insist on reminding us every two minutes that the dude can touch people to bring them to life or kill them? WE KNOW THAT ALREADY BECAUSE YOU TOLD US IN THE PILOT. WE GET IT NOW.

4. Also, where can I get the dresses that Chuck the girl wears in that show? They are awesomely adorable.

5. Speaking of Chuck and adorable, can Chuck from Chuck and Jim from The Office just be in every show? They are my tv boyfriends and I need to see more of them. Thanks.


A couple weeks ago, I dreamt about my teammates. I was meeting up with several of them here, even though in real life none of them live here. They were nice to me and seemed happy enough to see me.

The next night, I had another dream. I drove to some other state to meet Boyfriend's teammates. But for some reason there were two teams. One team was very friendly, but the other one was immediately extremely rude and assholish. I was shocked.

When I woke up I realized that a couple of my teammates have ignored me for years. In real life. Cards, emails, voice mails--all unresponded to and ignored. (I'm talking about things like birthdays and holidays, not everyday stalking or anything, obviously.) It's been five years since AmeriCorps and it's been at least three years--four?--since I've talked to one in particular. This girl was a good friend, too. I really liked and respected her, and we always got along and were friendly. It suddenly hit me that mayhap she hates me. Perhaps I've been being obtuse and obnoxious and blind to the fact that she just cannot stand me.

A week later she commented on a photo on myspace.

I don't know what that means.

In other, happier news, another teammate, one who I was closer to, is moving to the Empire State! Unfortunately, she'll be as far away from NYC as possible while still being in the state. But it's certainly much closer than the southern border state she's from. I'm really excited to see her soon. Plus she's engaged! Yay.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm here!

Wow, guess I've neglected this for a bit. Oops. Gotten lazy. Big shock, I know.

This last week we've been working on reading H-tchet, which the kids seem to be into. Especially my small class, they go, "Yes!!" when I tell them it's time to get reading. They're making quick progress because they have double periods four times a week. We've discussed point of view, types of conflict (I gave some examples as I went through, and they kept raising their hands to add more examples or ask about examples), setting, and beginnings of plot. Since they've got so much time, I've been having them do some fun writing activities. The other day, they wrote a short letter to Brian about his situation, giving advice and asking questions. I then told them to read their letters to their neighbors, and then the neighbor had to respond to the letter AS Brian. And then switch. I'm not sure they really did much, but it was interesting. Also, we did a fishbowl group discussion and then they did their own. A lot of retelling instead of analysis or connection in most tables, but one table had a great talk, where they mentioned previous events and clues in the story, even referencing the graphics on the cover, making inferences and predictions. I think we'll use some of our extra time to do more of those, and get better at thinking and talking about the book.

In writing, we've been doing four squares. At the end of last week, they began to do one of my favorite activities. I took a bunch of sentences of a four square and wrote them on the erasable sentence strips, then posted them out of order. The groups had to analyze and synthesize the sentences to group them into appropriate topics and fill in the four square. Overall, it went better than last year; just about all the groups successfully found the thesis within the first five or ten minutes.

This week, once we finished putting one together, we began writing our own. I modeled a complete four square based on my Australia trip, and they began writing their own summer four squares. Some kids are great and already half done with the essay, while others still haven't correctly began the four square. I'm still able to circulate pretty well, but I don't have much time because I've got to keep moving around. So there are a couple kids that I keep asking to come at lunch or after school, but they haven't yet.

Speaking of after school, this week my new program kicked off. The ymc* doesn't do a program in our school anymore, so I started a homework center for our grade. It's two days a week, open to whoever wants to come. I'm even offering make up credit for homework zeroes. Fortunately, another teacher is supervising with me, and this week only her students showed up. But we got to help with several subjects of work, and it's nice working with kids in such a small group.

On Thursday, after I helped them understand and complete their complete/simple subjects worksheet, the kids turned to their science homework. It was questions about mass and volume and calculating density.
I asked them, "Where's your density formula?"
They looked up at me, wide eyed. "You know science too?!"
I replied, "I know *everything.*"
"Are you an eighth grade teacher?" they asked.
"No, I just know everything."

Heh. I amuse myself. Also, I think most kids don't see many teachers talking about other subjects. I remember a couple years ago, when the entire staff had to do after school work in math, most of them were like, "eh! I don't know math! so I'm not helping them!" and further, didn't seem to care. I hadn't divided fractions in easily ten years, but glancing at the workbooks, it came back to me and I was able to help the students.

And maybe I'm a hippie liberal freak, but I did go to a liberal arts school, where everyone was required to take many different courses to become well-rounded. And I took full advantage of that and at least some of that information is still lodged in my dusty attic of a brain, so I like being a good example to the kids and being able to converse in all subjects.

(Except, apparently, the Civil War. I swear, none of my social studies classes covered that when I was in school. So when one of my former students IMed me to ask if Ulysses Grant was for the North or South, I was like, umm....I'm supposed to know that, right? But I totally didn't. Bad job, me. I should do some reading and catch up on those kinds of details. I do know the big points though.)

Guess what? My birthday is in less than three weeks! Get ready to party!

Sorry this post was so rambly and random...I've been coming down with a sinus cold thing. I can use that as an excuse, right?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Broadway Flatiron

Broadway Flatiron
Originally uploaded by susiejulie

I can't even tell you how much I love this picture.

(I took this one.)

Eugene de Salignac

Eugene de Salignac
Originally uploaded by susiejulie
Eugene de Salignac was a key photographer in NYC in the first half of the 20th century, but no one really knows much about him. Someone in the city archives recently unearthed all these negatives of amazing photographs of important New York buildings and bridges.

Remembering the good days

Since I've been bad at the blogging and my memory ain't so good.

Thursday was one of my best days so far, I think. It was a really long day, but there were many good things.

I had to give our first assessment, so I gave my little spiel about the scantron and reading questions first, and then, since I had classical music playing already, asked, "Okay, now do you want to keep the soft music or have silence?" And the whole class chorused, "Soft music!"

I was astounded and said, "Wow, cool! That was the right answer, good job!" Heh. For the first few weeks, I didn't play any music and so when the kids would get to work quietly, I always got a bit antsy at the silence. So a couple weeks ago, I just let the music keep playing when the kids came into the room. They've never really said much about it; I wasn't sure how much they noticed or minded, but now I know they appreciate it!

That is one of my quiet goals of teaching, silly as it may seem: to expand the students' musical horizons. I want to say there's no way they listen to classical music on their own time, though obviously I can't be sure. But it's not just classical I play for them; also there is sometimes Celtic/Irish music, folk rock, oldies, or international stuff.

When it was time for my last class of the day, I asked the same question about music or silence. And again, they all wanted music. Well, except for two, who looked skeptical. I told them it was quiet classical music, not loud rock music. One student piped up, "Can you? Play loud rock music?" "Absolutely not," I replied. "This has no lyrics to distract you." Another kid asked, "Can you play the stuff that was on earlier?" I said, "That was French jazz, you liked that?" He nodded vigorously. "Maybe later," I said.

And after they were done with the test stuff, I did put on the French jazz, and told that kid, "Here's your French jazz." He started bopping happily.

The middle class (gah! I must think of names, like X!) didn't do their test that day, since lunch interrupted their time. So instead we began our novel study of Htchet. That is my smallest class and I don't have a full class set of books, so a couple people had to share, but it wasn't a big deal like it was with the bigger classes.

Anyway, so we began by previewing the cover: I told them to write down what they saw and noticed on the front of the book only, and then write their predictions. (One kid was examining the entire book with interest, and asked, "Can I start reading now??" I was like, "we'll get there in a second, hang on!" But how cool!) We shared as a class and then they quickly read the back blurb, which pretty much gives away the story. Don't you hate that?

Then we got into the good stuff. I did a guided, think aloud reading of the first chapter. I read it aloud, they read along, and we stopped to take notes on what was happening, what seemed important, and what we were figuring out about the character and his situation and how he feels. It was so good, they were totally into it and adding on to what I was saying. I was impressed and so happy with them.

When the bell for lunch rang, the class groaned! They didn't want to stop reading. As the class filed out, one girl told me, "Miss, I really like the book we're reading!"

They are the cutest class, and the smallest, and I have been enjoying them a lot. What's even better is that most of the time, I see that they're enjoying class too; they're right along with me.

After school was a movie thing for kids who did well the first month of school. It was kind of loud and crazy a bit, but it went off fairly well.

When I got home, a bunch of prints I'd ordered had arrived, including a ton of new 8x10s of pretty shots from this summer. I love seeing photos printed out!

Then I left again, to go see Brandi Carlile live for the second time this year (Boyfriend and I saw her play here in April, right after her second album came out and way before she was on tv). I had planned on not staying for the whole show, as it was a school night and all, but she was just so good! And I love all her songs, which have so much more energy live, and so I stayed until the end. Meaning I didn't get to bed until 12.30, but it was worth it.

On Friday, I was definitely dragging, but it wasn't too terrible. Instead of working on grading papers and figuring out next week, I had to do the bulletin board, which I wasn't really prepared for. Turns out that I had a great project to put up (book recommendation letters), but they weren't graded. So during lunch, I had to take the existing papers down and hastily put up a title (Read this book!) and objective/standard, and during my other prep, grade the letters. I put them up after school, which went quickly.

It's a three day weekend! It's Monday and I'm not at school! Whee! Woo!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Fairly frequently, I get calls to my room, interrupting my lesson. The calls are often for a kid to come to the office because they're leaving early. Harrumph.

Today, my last class walked in and I noticed one of my girls had red eyes. I beckoned her over and asked what was wrong. Then I noticed that her eyes were like, leaking. I asked if they itched or hurt. She said her eyes hurt, and that every time she blinked, she was crying. You could tell she was kind of wincing just keeping her eyes open and closing them.

I told her first to wash her hands, then go to the nurse, and then call someone to go home. She came back in a couple minutes and said the nurse was not there. I said, then go to the office and get someone to take you home. She came back a minute later, really crying this time, saying they made her come back to class. I think I sent her another time, because hello, she was clearly incapacitated.

Then the dean comes back with her and was like, oh, she can't go home, we have to keep her here until the bell.

WTF? This poor girl can hardly open her eyes without pain and/or discomfort but can't go home? Yet any parent can call and tell the school their kid is leaving early half the days of the week? Dude, it's called priorities!


Also, I've got a big pile of YA books I want to read, and it grew much bigger when the book order came in. But this week I finally started reading the City of Ember, and today at lunch I read that instead of marking papers.

Then the book got really good and the bell rang. I seriously considered telling the kids to just sit quietly so I could finish my good book.

Would that be a problem?