Monday, September 29, 2008

Strange Existence

Alice dropping in to let you know that she hasn't been hit by a bus or had her classroom dictatorship overthrown by a student coup. Oh, I'm a dictator alright. But a kindly one. With a big stick and a wicked backhand to the side of the head.

Not only do I not have a blog life anymore, but my real life is almost entirely school-centric. Every last minute is sucked up with lesson-plans and grading and bribing kids with the Jumbo Bag-o-Jolly Ranchers.

The straight up scoop is: I love the kids.

I hate the paperwork.

My strange existence starts far too early in the morning. I wake up and can only gulp down one cup of coffee before I pray that something ironed has magically appeared in my closet. I simply don't put on anything without a camisole or slip because there is far too much reaching in my day and I'll be damned if those kids will ever catch a glimpse of my pasty white belly.

I also realized last Friday that I hadn't shaved for at least 10 days and hoped the kids wouldn't start calling me 'Cactus' when they caught sight of my legs. They really were a travesty. I didn't even let the hair get that long in Africa in the middle of the bush.

I usually arrive in the dark at the same time as the physics teacher across the hall. We've decided to form our own bi-umvirate. Is that a word? Sort of like a triumvirate. But with two people. Instead of three.

He's cool in a completely geeky way. Here's how we work:

PhysicsMan: Hey, what math do you teach?

Me: I have all algebra.

PhysicsMan: The kids in my class stink with formulas, could you work them into your class?

Me: Sure, just slide them my way.

Now does everyone see that that exchange took no paperwork AND was completed in under 20 seconds?

We should be co-dictators of the school.

Anyhoo...I'm in the midst of filling out interim reports for the kids and there is a pull-down menu of comments that you can insert into the report. They've got everything from 'excessive absences' to 'needs to review for tests.'

For my favorite class entertainer, I've already included the comments 'has a good sense of humor' and 'needs to improve posture.' I hope his parents have a good sense of humor. Or I suspect I'll be called in soon for adding stupid comments to interim reports for a math class.

Missing you all - I suspect I won't be back into any regular blog action until next summer. It's all just too much right now. I use my 10 free minutes of me-time for a good cry and something with the word 'tequila shooter' in it. I think my interim reports could be even MORE interesting after that. Hmmmm....

Joe Blow - C - 'whines more than my kids'
Amy Smamy - B - 'no one gives a shit about your Hollister shirt'
Pat Smat - A - 'lighten up geek, it's Algebra 1'
Ted Smed - F - 'hope you can work a spatula'

Alice signing off.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Head Bangers Ball

How do you kick your own daughter out of the band?

Seriously... her drumming skills keep getting us boo-ed off the stage. She's all show with her main stick-trick being the drumsticks wedged between her headband and her ears.

In an attempt to keep up with the times, Babycakes got me the much coveted Wii for my birthday and I promptly went out to purchase Rock Band for it. I'd been dying to play Guitar Hero but I guess the times they are a-movin' too fast for me and I'll need to look for it elsewhere.

And so I walked into the house with the mammoth box of instruments in an attempt to avoid lesson planning for the weekend and we immediately formed the lamest sounding band named SuperRoq. I was rooting for SuperBad (because we are) but I couldn't convince my bandmates. I play guitar, BoyChild sings and GirlChild drums (or more accurately, bangs randomly near the color she's supposed to be hitting while stomping around for the foot pedal and trying not to fall off the chair.)

BoyChild's affair with the drums ended when BabyCakes moved the chair he was sitting on during a moment of standing drum performance. Of course BoyChild went to sit back down and hit carpet. Jeez... nice move on your own son...

It appears that SuperRoq's forte is "Blitzkrieg Bop" - the only song we can make it through completely without the crowd calling for our slow death.

And there is something just wrong about BoyChild singing along to "Roxanne" - him crooning " don't have to sell your body to the night..." At least he's not asking questions about the deeper meaning.

In case you didn't think SuperRoq was punk enough to cover The Ramones, here's a picture of how we got crazy in the days before school started.


Hey Ho...Let's go...

Monday, September 1, 2008

...A Good Blaster At Your Side, Kid

I think Dr. Nick Riviera said it best..."Hi Everybody!"

I'm one day ahead of the game in the world of teaching thanks to a long Labor Day weekend and thought I'd bring you news from the land of Honey Pie.

It's been a grueling few weeks attempting to figure out all the new-fangled things happening in education since I was teaching in the land of chalk and log tables. Now parents want the grades on the Internet, kids want problems on the SmartBoard and the head honchos want to keep tabs on the football players.

I decided that having my own personal desk at home was the way to go for organization and paid a visit to the local Office Depot last week. While considering my choices, I pulled up a chair to a modest Christopher Lowell edition desk and thought, "Damn, this chair is comfortable. In's so comfortable I could probably just sit here at the back of Office Depot for the next half-hour and not move."

"Ma'am...can I help you?"

"No. It's going to take me at LEAST 30 minutes to determine if this is the desk I want. Now go away."

I immediately entered a trance-like state, enjoying the silent surroundings of office desks and filing cabinets.

The kids are kids. I keep my special pets close by, within arms reach. I'm not sure if they appreciate the "NO WHINING" sign I put up, but I think it's helping. I've got Darth Vader pics by the sign as if to indicate that I have the power to silently choke whiners.

I plan on wearing all-black and my Vader mask for Halloween. I'll gladly take any Jedi/Sith training on choking techniques.

I've found that listening to Metallica gets me in the mood in the mornings now and mellow music just doesn't cut it on the commute. I've become the annoying driver with the bass thumping through the floorboards. The purpose of the war cry/chant prior to battle has been made even more clear. If you don't get your mojo going by the time the buses unload, you're dead meat. iTunes has seen a dramatic increase in my downloading of Rap and Heavy Metal. And I will continue to endorse the soundtrack to "300" as really good mojo music.

Off to prepare lesson plans for battle - welcome to my new world.

Hoping to make the rounds today and click on some smiley-s for Humor-Bloggers. If I'm even still on their site, go ahead and click for me too.

ps. Thank you ALL for the kind words and support. I have been sad that I'm not able to respond to you each individually, but know that I read all the comments and it makes me HAPPY.