Monday, July 30, 2007

The Great Cockroach Chase

Alternative title – How Exactly Am I Supposed To Get To Math?

Yet another alternative title – How Is This My Job?

So if you haven’t gathered already, the following little tidbit is going to outline “one of those days” when I wonder what I am doing and how this wasn’t included in my job description. But I guess if we just stuck to our job descriptions, nothing would get done!!

Picture it. It’s morning meeting. One of my favorite times during the school day. Frequently I am a bitch in the morning. I get up at 5a.m. (which should be illegal), shower and get dressed in the dark (I am the best wife ever), and then drive 45 minutes to work while simultaneously snarfing down an egg and cheese sandwich (my reward for getting up so early and simultaneously my personal downfall) and coffee (elixir of the gods). Therefore, by the time I roll up to school, am barked at by the secretary (I like to imagine it’s her special way of greeting me since I have never been ANYTHING BUT NICE to her), and climb the flight of stairs up to my classroom, I’m a feeling a bit unfriendly. Thank goodness my little friends come in each morning and dutifully form a circle on the carpet and shake hands, saying “good morning” to one another. Seriously, there have been moments where I feel tears welling up (I know, terribly uncool but true. I am not all badass).

Anyway, we are passing around our morning greeting as I sip on my lovely and warm Chai Tea Latte when I notice that W. is leaning so far into his neighbor that he is practically in her lap. Small shrieks of fear erupt from the corner of the rug.

Me: What’s going on? W. what are you doing? (inner monologue: dude, do not interrupt the latte and adorable hand shaking…I will rain all over your parade)

W: Um, there’s a bug.

Me: Oh, well that’s not a big deal, it’s not going to bother you. It’s probably more afraid of you than you are of it.

As I utter these words of age old wisdom (that I totally recognize as absolute bullshit), I notice that the “bug” to which W. refers is actually a three inch massive COCKROACH.

W: Ok, Mrs. Mimi.

And bless his heart, my little friend turns, shakes his neighbor’s hand and in a quavering voice stammers, “Good morning, B.”

W. and B. then proceed to glance at the COCKROACH about three hundred times in 2 minutes all the while maintaining a look of barely contained panic. I watch as the bug in question scampers (those suckers move fast!!) over toward the group and then dances away, almost teasing us with his presence. W. and B. are desperately inching their way farther onto the carpet while I think to myself – what am I doing to these poor boys? I mean, if it were me, I would be OUT OF HERE!! So I quickly rally and say:

“Ok, bring it in. We’ve got to take care of our visitor.”

Now that I have brilliantly drawn everyone’s attention to our guest, general terror sets in as children scramble in my direction. Clearly, I have remained as far from the COCKROACH as possible and intend to continue to do so.

Me: Ok W., why don’t you save the day. I want you to be our exterminator and kill the bug.

W: Really? I get to step on it?

Me: Please do. Knock yourself out sweets.

W. then springs to life and begins to run in circles around the group of desks nearest to the carpet in hot pursuit of the COCKROACH. There is general cheering from the class and I start to think that maybe I can turn this into a morale boosting/team building moment. Leave it to the inner-city schoolteacher to try to turn our infestation into a teachable moment. As I turn my attention back to the scene at hand, I notice that the bug is still alive and W. is still running in circles. Damn, I had no idea cockroaches could run so fast.

And then the moment comes. In a move of sheer athleticism, W. leaps over the leg of a chair and corners the COCKROACH. He raises his foot. The cheers of the classroom reach an insanely inappropriate decibel. W. begins to lower his foot and a hush falls over the room, anxiously awaiting the impending crunch of exoskeleton. But…

W. (who is a boy) screams like a girl and runs the other way at the last second.

Crap.

Me: (over the cries and jeers of several children) B!! Go help him!! Get the bug!!

B. leaps up and within moments the COCKROACH is dead.

Phew. As I create a chalk-outline around the carcass (because I am clearly not going to dispose of it and don’t want everyone trying to step on it all day), I begin to wonder exactly how I am putting my master’s degree to use…Hmmm.

Anyone for math?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ahhhh, the morning announcements...

Great things ARE happening…

For the sake of argument and anonymity, let’s just say that I work at P.S. 1046. Get that in your mind now, because it will be important later. If you mix up the number…you’re not going to get the big joke…Got it? Super.

Ok, so each and every morning of my teaching career has begun by meeting my students in the cafeteria, walking them upstairs and getting them focused on their morning work. We do morning work to make time for everyone to get themselves together and keep us busy while we wait for late students to show up. Hold up, wait a minute! Let’s stop right there for a moment and ruminate on this idea of LATE students. I commute about an hour each way to school in the morning, yet have only been late three times due to traffic accidents (not mine, some other poor shlep). My students, on the other hand, live either ACROSS THE STREET or, at most, about five blocks away. It blows me away that they have the balls to be late. And not like ten or fifteen minutes late. I’m talkin’ hour, hour and a half at the earliest. Good luck learning how to read sweets, because you routinely miss our ENTIRE reader’s workshop!! Maybe their parents feel like I do a repeat performance in the afternoon…I hate to burst their bubble but I do an original routine every day, all day.
Welcome and don’t forget to tip your waitress…

Anyhoo, my friends and I are diligently working away one morning (at P.S. 1046…don’t forget that number!!) awaiting the daily morning announcements. Ah, the morning announcements. Either an opportunity for one of our vice principals (remember Ms. Weavealicious??) to use her best porno voice to announce our daily activities OR a venue for the OTHER vice principal to attempt to read her own handwriting after embibing several early morning cocktails. At least, I hope she’s drunk, otherwise she has a whole other set of issues. Sometimes in the morning I play a little game with myself trying to guess which vice-principal-train-wreck it’s gonna be. And on this glorious morning, we got our friendly neighborhood drunken VP…we’ll just call her Ms. Cocktails Before Noon.

Not unlike the lovely xylophone chimes of Rydell High (liked that Grease reference didn’t you?), our announcements begin on this particular day with Ms. Cocktails Before Noon breathing heavily into the microphone.

L (one of my little friends): What’s that??
Me: Um, that’s Ms. C.
L: Oh, is she sick?
Me: (thinking to myself…maybe after her next shot…) No sweetie, she’s just testing the microphone.

Ms. C-B-N: Good morrrrrning little tigerssssssss! (Oh, by the way, the tiger is our school mascot. Not sure why we need one, but there you go). Please stand for the pledge of allegiance. (insert sound of heavy, ragged breathing here).

Ms. Cocktails Before Noon then proceeds to invite some three year old pre-K student who can barely manage to not regularly pee in their pants to say the pledge. Needless to say, it takes about twenty minutes and is completely unintelligible. Then…she gave us this lovely little nugget.

Ms. C-B-N: Let me tell you, you little tigers are lucky to come to P.S. 1046! We have got trombooooonnnne! We have got ball room dancin’!! We have got a socca’ team!

Me (in my head of course): Are you f’ing serious? Isn’t someone going to take the martini out of her hand and turn off the microphone?

Ms. C-B-N-: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blaaaaaaaaaa….Yes boyssss and girlsss…there are great things happening at P.S. six – (pause)- oh – (pause)- four - (pause) - one!

What? Did she just say P.S. 6041? No, I must have heard wrong. Right? I mean, being aware of and being able to correctly refer to our school number MUST be a job requirement for a vice principal, right? I immediately scribble several notes ripping Ms. C-B-N a new one and promptly dispatch students to ferry my professional thoughts to my friends all over the building.

LATER THAT DAY IN THE OFFICE:

I have the following conversation with our principal:

Him: Hey, how’s the year going? Is there anything else we can do to support you?
Me: Well, now that you mention it…
Him: What?
Me: I would like to do an inter-visitation. You know, get some fresh ideas from another school? I heard there were great things happening at P.S. 6041.
Him: You are terrible. (He was totally cracking up on the inside though, believe me.)

You can’t make this stuff up.

Monday, July 2, 2007

What you got in that Fanny Pack??

What you got in that fanny pack??

So many teachers at my school ROCK and work so hard it’s ridiculous. I am constantly impressed and amazed by what my colleagues are able to do with children and learn so much from the creative ways they work with their students. HOWEVER, (and you knew this was coming) there remain the few, lazy SOBs who make me want to scream regularly into my pillow. You don’t have to be a teacher to know what I’m talking about. You can picture that idiot who does absolutely nothing, makes no effort and somehow still has a job. Just take a moment…got them in your head?? Mmmmm, me too. Kind of makes you want to poke yourself in the eye, doesn’t it?

There’s this woman that I “work” with at school. I put work in quotations because allegedly she is supposed to push into classrooms and work with children who need extra support. However, after interacting with her for the last three years, I am not convinced that she actually does this. I believe that after three long years, she is still looking for the chapstick that she clearly has misplaced (dude, nobody’s lips should look like that) and may be potentially lost. There is NO WAY that she could be a real teacher. But I digress…

Seriously, you need to be able to picture this person before I continue. First off, she has some SERIOUSLY chapped lips, I mean the kind that actually make your lips hurt when you look at her. And she always has this very confused expression on her face like she’s not quite sure what she’s doing in a school building either. There is much hair tossing (don’t get me wrong friends, this is not a young woman by any stretch of the imagination…mom, I know you said respect my elders but c’mon, she’s a trainwreck!!!). Finally, we have the fanny pack. Fanny pack ?? Yes, I said fanny pack. And not a I’m-trying-to-make-a-functional-fashion-statement fanny packs. A hideous primary colored nylon fanny pack with the oh-so-sexy black plastic clippy thing. Need I say more? Let’s call her Ms. Chapped Ass Fanny Pack, shall we? Has a nice ring to it…

Last year I had the “pleasure” (again, notice the quotations…they are NO accident friends) of having this woman “work” with my students in my classroom. Kind of a tandem-teaching situation. In reality, it was one huge cluster fuck (pardon my French…)

Ok, so every painful afternoon she comes skulking into my classroom, at least ten minutes late. I am guessing that her lateness stems from the fact that despite my name being posted in eight inch high black letters outside my classroom door (I just got married and changed my name…just learn it people!!), she remains confused as to where she I actually am between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Oh, and may I also note here that EVERY OTHER teacher in the hallway has her name posted outside of her door in similar large letters. Yes, I can see how that might be confusing.

Anyhoo, day after day, she sits in the back of my classroom, still unable to confidently identify the twelve children she is supposed to work with (seriously, I only have 18 students, it’s like fish in a barrel sister!!) As she stumbles from desk to desk diligently undoing the teaching I have done that day, I become increasingly aware of the Fanny Pack sitting on my back table. Hmmmmm, I think, it’s just sitting there…just open it. Don’t be such a pussy!! What is in that thing anyway? It’s definitely not chapstick. Mints? Maybe something random like a coconut? Or a whole bunch of condoms….ewwwwwww!!!! I just totally grossed myself out. I hate to admit it, but I’m DYING to know what she keeps in that thing.

Well mom, you’ll be happy to know that I have yet to rip open the Fanny Pack and sneak a peek. But next year is a new year and I’ll have 180 fine opportunities to solve the mystery. That is, if she can find my classroom next year…

I’ll keep you posted.

Who's Peeking?