Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Enfin, la fin!

At last, the end!

J'ai oublie trop de francais; donc il n'ya pas beaucoup je peux ecrire ici. Mais aujourd'hui, c'est la dernier jour d'ecole! Je suis tres heureuse et pourtant, je suis peur d'ennui de l'ete.

I have forgotten too much French; alas, there's not much I can write here. But today is the last day of school! I am very happy and yet, I fear the boredom of summer.

It is such a relief for this year to be over. That one class fairly ruined my experience this year; the last few months have felt like a daily battle. Or at least I lived in anxiety of a possible battle, which is just as bad.

Thanks be to the school gods, I did not have to see that class today. Except, amazingly, for most of the students who had borrowed books many moons ago either returned them or paid for them (I make them pay $5 and then I will use that for buying new books for the class, as well as to make them accountable).

I saw the good class today. We played some games and they goofed around. Some of the boys were interested in watching Indiana Jones. I also visited the afternoon class, the sweet but low and noisy bunch. I took pictures of both classes and generally there was no point to today.

Some of the students did give me hugs. One of my favorite girls from the afternoon class gave me a big hug and said, "Aw, I'll miss you a lot!" I said, "I'll miss you too!" This one boy came to say goodbye, a kid who switched from the bad class to the afternoon class, a kid who can be sweet but too often falls into the the badboy attitudes, yet when I scold him he gives a big grin and says, "I love you, miss!" Even some of the sweeter kids from the bad class said an excited goodbye with hugs before leaving, which was a nice way to leave it. A few of our favorite girls from last year came to visit and say hi/bye too.

I did not cry this year. Of course, I am still in denial/surprise/shock that the year is over, so it's possible that later I may shed some tears of happiness. But last year, I had a good year and a lot of really wonderful kids. This year, I had a tough year and not as many wonderful kids. More pain in my ass kids and more crazy parents, more unreachable parents, and, it felt like, more unreachable students. The year ends with me feeling unsure of my management, not to mention frazzled and afraid for next year, when the level of kids will go down (according to test score, at least)(this year I had one real high level class and one class that was supposed to be high level, but oh my GOD there is no way)(next year I will have some resource-level classes, oh my goodness).

Anyway, back to the here and now. After the kids were all gone, Mr Principal announced and awarded those who are leaving and/or retiring, as well as those of us who earned our tenure. There was a catered lunch after that, but I didn't stay. There are lots of friendly people on the staff, but for some reason, I never have a real place to sit with friends. So instead of feeling lonely and/or headbutting into other people's conversations, I said quick goodbyes to a few people and took off.

Oh, and then I went to the DMV and registered my car! It went quickly and easily, and I got new plates right on the spot. Sweet! Now I just need to get the car inspected, which I'll do tomorrow, and I'm all set.

So now I'm an official New York resident, an official New York driver, and an officially certified and tenured New York City teacher.

I sound way too much like a grown up.

Um, PS? This thunder keeps suddenly cracking REALLY loudly RIGHT over my head and startling the crap out of me. How's that for grown up?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's a Miracle!

We were watching a movie last night, and y'all, I fell asleep! All by myself! Before 11pm! And I stayed asleep all night!

In case you have forgotten, this hasn't happened for nearly three weeks, so it was pretty damn cool. :)

Language Week

Thanks for the link, Ms M! Je vais penser, je promis. :) Si je peux.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Good news

1--In one week from today, I (and all you other NYC teachers out there) will be FREEEEEE for two whole months. Hallefreakinglujah.

2--I slept well for the second night in a row! Let's celebrate...with pajamas.

3--Thursdays are always good (well, decent, at least) days with the Evil class, because I get them the two periods before lunch.

4--Today I kicked this one asshole out of the Evil class (for the first time all year!) and it made such a difference. (Don't judge. The rest of the troublesome kids are pretty sweet at heart and as individuals, and even though I don't bother remembering it often, I do know it. This one, however, is NOT a nice person, is a liar and an instigator. His crazy parent is also a liar and not a nice person, so even if technically it's not the child's fault, I still cannot stand him. And the math teacher feels the same way, and she's so much nicer than I am and he's not as bad in her class.)

5--I taught an actual lesson today, and it went well. I handed out sentence strips (they always love using those, so it was a clever ploy on my part to get them participating and interested) and dictated dialogue. They had to punctuate it correctly. I gave several examples of each type (speaker tags before and after), verifying as they held up the sentence strips, and having a student tell me how to write it correctly on the board. They did very well and I was proud of them. Even the Evil class got into it and did well. Still a bit loud and rowdy, but participating.

6--Thanks again for the supportive comments, guys. :)

7--The other day I remembered that it was the time for awards, so last night I made some certificates on PrintShop (it cost fifty bucks back in 2004! I still lived in Brooklyn and I hadn't even started teaching yet! Weird.) Today I made the lists of who will get what. There are several 'good job' ones I will hand out so that all the hardworking kids will get some validation and have something to bring home to parents. I'm also giving out a Most Improved and a Most Potential, for the students who have worked hard but aren't necessarily on grade level, and the kids who are smart but aren't applying themselves, respectively. This is in hope to give them all some positive reinforcement for this year and next year.
Last night I printed out three copies of each certificate on my own printer, but my lists are more than ten each. After school, I drove to a nearby Office Max and made some color copies, so I feel all prepared and satisfied now. Also, for eight freaking dollars, I bought a ream of 100% recycled copy paper. Made me feel proud for another moment. :)

8--Three and a half school days, y'all. God.

9--The itinerary for our Aussie trip is out now and I'm still not positive I'll get to go. But it's exciting to see the places on the list. For now I'm pretending it's not happening (denial is always fun, people), so that I won't be too disappointed when it doesn't happen. It's kind of an unreal thing anyway, flying for an entire day to the other side of the planet. Think good thoughts for me.

10--On my last trip to the neighborhood C-Town I randomly got an Entenmenn's cinnamon danish, heated it for twenty seconds, and holy CRAP it was heavenly. This afternoon I picked up another one and I'm going to eat it soon and I'm really excited.

Hey look, ten things on my lame list. Nice even numbers are our friends!

PS--Three and a half days!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I hate today

and there's one, two, three, four, five todays left.

Oh, god.

By the end of the day today, I hated my job. I felt incompetent, sick to my stomach (though that was not from the teaching or students), irritated and beyond frustrated.

It's not only today, either. All week I've been dreading two of my classes. I've sort of lucked out; I had the extra-bad class for one instead of two periods the last two days. But tomorrow is another double and I just can't stand them. They can't stand me, either.

My good teacher friend is moving to Texas. My other good teacher friend is moving to New Orleans. My one other school friend will be at home with her baby. We're getting an AP who is...not as awesome as our current one (but at least the good one will still be our EL @ supervisor).

Is it me or does it sound like I need a new job? If I had the energy, I'd cry.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Double vision


After the long doctor visit on Saturday, I walked a couple blocks to a CVS to get my new prescriptions: Claritex or something, plus an antibiotic, and, finally, Ambien. The antibiotics will kill off bad guys living in my sinus passages, and the Ambien (well, the five dollar generic version) will make me fall asleep and stay asleep.

Except that it DOESN'T! I took it on Saturday night to see how I would react to it. It didn't make me tired and I didn't sleep very much.

Regardless, on Sunday, I felt pretty good--closest to normal that I've felt in awhile. That's good, right?

I took the fambien at 9pm, giving it time to kick in and knock me out. At 10.30, feeling no different, I went to bed anyway.

And I'm not sure if I slept at all.

The alarm went at 6.30 and I groaned, "FUUUUUCCKK MEEEEEE."

But of course I made it to school. This time my body's feeling pretty normal and strongish, rather than weak. But my head is just gone.

I made it through the day pretty fine, though I teetered over once or twice. Made it home to relax and rest. Felt ready to crash around 6, but I didn't. I hope that doesn't come back to haunt me.

Half an hour ago, I took all three pills at once: decongestant/allergy med, antibiotic, and sleeping pill. I began watching Friends, which took on a much more interesting twist when I saw two of everyone.

I lurched up and wobbled to the computer, where my arms don't seem to work too well and my tummy feels icky.

I need to brush my teeth. I hope I can do it without falling over and knocking myself unconscious on something porcelain. Pray for me, people,

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Originally uploaded by susiejulie
Well folks, I'm glad I'm not the only one who wrestles with the calling-in dilemma.

On Thursday night, I went to bed at 10pm, after reading in bed for an hour. I felt tired and hoped for some good rest. I began to drift off, but was jolted back to awareness by a fucking police siren.

I continued to lie there, begging my brain to rest. My eyes hurt and I was so frustrated. At 3am I got up, wide awake, and went online for half an hour looking at symptoms and such.

I went back to bed and pretended to sleep. I must have actually drifted off to sleep around 5.30 or 6, because when the alarm went off at 6.30, I was dreaming.

I hit the snooze four times but got up, moaning to myself. I felt sick to my stomach and woozy. Along with the week-old headache, of course.

Thank goodness all I had to do was give a final, which meant that all my classes sat quietly while they worked on the test. Gave me a chance to rest by sitting at my desk and working on papers two weeks old.

In the afternoon, my body perked up and I felt mostly normal for awhile. The headache faded and my energy was closer to normal than it's been for the last week. I even made it to my travel meeting for Australia.

By about nine, though, the headache was creeping back in and my body and energy were fading. I got home at ten, took one tablet of Tylenol PM just in case at eleven, and went to bed at twelve (again, I'm such a nightowl whore, it's ridiculous that even when I'm exhausted and weak, I'll stay up late).

I slept very well all night. The alarm went off at ten thirty and it was a struggle to wake myself. Later I had an appointment for the doctor, and after 'only' waiting an hour I saw him. He told me I had a sinus infection and that was what was causing the headaches. Though I don't have much congestion, my head has feeling lots of pressure, and my ears have been tweaking. So I got some prescriptions for congestion and antibiotics, as well as Ambien.

Oh, and he had someone draw blood for a Lyme titer (sp?) just to be safe. I think the combination of that plus the Tylenol explains why it's now after 2pm and I'm still feeling very sleepy and lightheaded.

I would have loved to stay home yesterday, but with having the final, and already being gone for one day this week, I really couldn't bring myself to call in. Certainly some of it is guilt, and part of it is hoarding--I hate giving things away, even sick days and personal time. Also, sometimes I feel afraid that I'm some kind of hypochondriac and nothing's really wrong with me, I'm just being lazy and whiny. It turned out well this time, because somehow I made it through the day pretty well.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I can't take it anymore

I feel like a zombie. The walking dead. The restless sleep has struck again, and the weeklong headache is still firmly encamped in my cranium. Yesterday I think I forgot to eat much and I haven't been drinking water, and last night it felt like my brain was actively withering inside my skull. So today I ate a little bit more at school (meaning not just a cup of dry cheerios but also cheese and crackers) and drank a half-liter bottle of water. This afternoon the headache has increased, even though I took some migraine medicine about an hour ago.

It's a good thing the final is tomorrow; I won't be good for much else. I've arrived at Desperation and could shortly visit CryingFromFatigueLand. I don't know what to do.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Game Day

Today two classes played Review Jeopardy!

It actually went very well, and I am excited about it. The kids were really excited about answering questions and using their knowledge! I spiced it up by having them using the erasable sentence strips (which they always love to play with).
Second class had some trouble answering the higher-point questions, partly because they didn't listen to the directions. Gah.
Plan for tomorrow--did I talk about this yesterday?--is to give them the questions and have them quiz each other. It won't be as fun, and they most certainly will not be as engaged...oh dear. Maybe we'll just 'play' the whole damn thing over again. Certain questions could be redone fairly easily.
...Wish I remembered some of those questions right now to make this post a little more lively. Yeah, sorry about that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

So So, Meh, Whatever

The Tylenol PM was effective in that it made me sleepy enough to get some real rest last night, which was a huge relief. Unfortunately, I continued feeling drugged and foggy until ten or eleven this morning. And this afternoon and evening, the headache returned.

The return to school was an easy one, much to my relief. My room wasn't messed up, the boards weren't even erased. That's good. It was a half day, which obviously is a great way to come back feeling only half-human.

Upon entering for homeroom this morning, one girl cried out, "Miss! We missed you!"

"Aw," I smiled, then cocked an eyebrow. "Are you lying?"


"Oh, okay. Then thank you, I missed you too." :) Heh.

I decided to give my final on Friday, and to do some review in class. I've heard many teachers who played games with classes to review, but I've never wanted to put in the big effort for it, truthfully. Until this week, that is!

So this morning I simply announced that we would be reviewing for the final by playing Jeopardy; they brainstormed a list of categories (big topics/units that we've covered this year); I gave each table one or two categories and then they got to work creating questions of different monetary values.

Then this afternoon, I spent a couple hours making a rough game 'board' consisted of construction paper folded in half and taped to make a crude envelope, and then writing the questions. Many of them were questions I'd already had in mind, but the groups did come up with some good tasks and questions that I incorporated.

The plan is to play the game in groups tomorrow, and if there is any time left, do some play reading. I'm toying with the idea of giving them the questions on Thursday and let them quiz each other in tables to see how they do. Who knows, though.

Next week, the students will do some portfolio and reflection/evaluation work, but not a lot, and then get to work on plays. Not sure if there's time for them to write and rehearse their own, so I'll get some ready for them just in case.

Two weeks from tomorrow, baby! Getting down to the small numbers is very exciting!

Monday, June 11, 2007


Day 75: Exhausted
Originally uploaded by susiejulie
For a solid WEEK, I have not gotten sufficient sleep. Mostly, I'll be in bed for the normal amount of time, but not staying asleep. A couple days last week, with the field trip, I didn't get nearly enough time to be asleep.

As a result of this sleep lack, I've had a headache for five DAYS now. I stayed home from school today in order to rest a little. I did sleep pretty well, and woke up headache-free, but alas, it returned as the day wore on. I did get some needed errands done (such as five hundred dollar brake repairs), but it's nine pm and I'm going to take some Tylenol PM in hopes that it will quiet my mind and allow mind and body to relax, rest, and sleep.

Mwah! Birthday shout outs

Mwah! Birthday shout outs
Originally uploaded by susiejulie
Many happy wishes to family and friends:
--my teammate Seth on Thursday
--my boyfriend A. on Saturday
--my birthmom Kelleigh on Sunday
--my good teacher friend Nicola on Monday

Love to you all!
Edit: It was Kelly's birthday yesterday too! Very happy birthday to you out in Turkey!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"Dude, you're not in charge of us!"

This was part of my brief explanation wind-up American Revolution to my students today, and how the colonists felt about unfair British rule.

(It was related to the play we were reading; it was set just before the Revolution. This play is in the one textbook we're 'allowed' to use, and this is really the only time we're 'supposed' to use it, and the intro includes a blurb about the setting, so I wanted to explain it to the kids really quickly.)

Many students have trouble reading fluently and correctly, so 'casting' a read-aloud play is a little difficult, and the read-throughs go a little slowly (especially when all the students are not closely paying attention to where we are on the page). I think I want to do more read-aloud plays, to help with this issue. Good thing, too, because I have like five class sets. We may run out of time for everything, but eh, who cares. I really want to have them read Fools--a word-funny play by Neil Simon that we did in drama class in high school.

In home news, this afternoon I did laundry AND worked out (while laundry was going)! Go me!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dude, long time no posting.

Sigh. I'm not motivated lately, for much of anything, really. Except, as you guessed, pictures.

We have less than one month of school. This is terribly exciting and strange and quite a relief.

Our big trip, that I have been planning ALL.YEAR.LONG is at the end of this week. I am very proud to announce that EVERYTHING is all lined up and ready to go. Again, such a relief. I'm now looking forward to reaping the benefits of my labor and worry--FUN with students and colleagues in a different city.

Today was a half-day. ROCK. That means I only saw one class, and I let them watch Indiana Jones, because they've never even HEARD of it. Can you imagine? On the bright side, many students did vote for the Princess Bride, because they enjoyed it when the grade watched it earlier in the year. Hurrah for giving them 80s movie cultural knowledge! I realized that next on the list must be Goonies, which I don't think I own.

I have owned my new pretty camera for just over two weeks, and I have taken over seven hundred photos already. I showed it off today during a baby shower, and people were very impressed with it, and I got to gush about it. Man, do I love this camera. I bought a spare battery this weekend so I won't have to worry on the field trip. I really do miss the ease of AA batteries and stowability of the old camera, but the niftiness and skill of the new one are worth it.

It's JUNE, people! How did that happen?

This morning one of my students suddenly called out, "Miss! You put 2004!" I looked over at the "Today is" part of my board, and sure enough, I had written, June 4, 2004. I suppose because I have no subconscious and I'd already written a 4. Oops.

This date in 2004, I had not even quit my temp jobs to move to NYC. Weird. And now I've been here three years (officially next Saturday) and am a real teacher and, like, I'm an actual adult and stuff. How time does fly.

Erm. Is it summer yet?

God, I hope the next few weeks aren't too difficult to get through. Give me strength to deal with hyper and obnoxious children.