Friday, June 27, 2008

Sippin' On Gin and Juice...

....or I guess Malibu and juice would be more accurate...well, if I'm really honest, probably just Malibu.

First of all, I AM OFFICALLY ON SUMMER VACATION!!!! And what am I doing first? Blogging. I'm not sure what that says about me. OK, well the first thing I did was make coffee, and then blog. But I am excited to be in control of my own time all day today...what will I do with all my time??? I mean, just the idea of being able to pee when I want to is exciting...how sad is that?

Yesterday wasn't easy though. The kids were pumped, and I was ready to be done, but we had to endure another useless half day in which no learning took place at all. Add to that the lack of structure that permiates the school on the last day, combine that with some donut holes and you have a recipe for a super head ache. I was sad to see many of them go (actually teared up a bit), but there's something about that last day and all the chaos surrounding putting one's classroom to bed that makes it much easier to say goodbye (and don't let the door hit you on the....).

I don't expect many gifts. My students can't afford them, but occassionally families get creative. Some of you may remember my heart warming tale of Christmas Joy in which I recieved an actual G-string from a student. (So serious...although, to be totally truthful, it was for me AND Mr. Mimi - or at least that's what the kid told me.) I did get some very sweet cards this year, and a few overly shiny necklaces lovingly selected from the Dollar Store. All very thoughtful. And then...

I had a parent (who I really like) come up to me with a real winner.

Parent:"Here you go, girl. I know you can use this!!" (She hands me a brown paper bag) "Sorry I didn't get a chance to wrap it."

Me: "Don't worry. You didn't have to do this. Thank you so much for thinking of me."

I take the bag and peek inside to find...

...a bottle of Malibu rum.

Yes, booze.

Now, I do happen to enjoy the fruity cocktail topped off with a bit of alcholic coconut-flavored love, but...we are in a school. And I work inside that school. I do NOT sit outside the school sipping on a little gin and juice. Or at least, I don't yet.

I thank the parent (isn't it the thought that counts?) and quickly fold over the top of the bag, trying desperately to hide the fact that now I am leading my class upstairs holding a bottle of booze.

Fast foward to last night. I am home from work (and offically on vacation!). Clearly, I'm slightly drunk. No, no, not off the Malibu. But I did go have one or two (or five) beers with the girls to celebrate the end of the year.

Mr. Mimi comes home and congratulates me on finishing the year in one piece. I tell him to reach into my bag to see the thoughtful gift that I had receieved. I am literally dying for him to see it...I mean, it's just too good.

He pulls out the bottle of Malibu. " Get out!!" he shouts, "A PARENT gave you this? Which one?"

As I begin to tell him the story, he holds up the bottle to the light (why do people do that?) and interrupts me saying,

"This bottle is open."

"What?!?"

"It's open. Did you have any?"

"Uh, no."

"So they gave you an open bottle of rum? And look, there's some missing."

He holds up the bottle again, and we notice that it isn't full. Someone has defintely taken a sip or two (or five).

Hmmmmm.....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Think I May Have Super Powers...

Because yesterday I leaped across several desks in a single bound. Call me crazy, but I think that counts.

I am literally counting the hours to the end of the school year. This time of year there is absolutely NO TEACHING going on whatsoever. Everybody starts stripping their rooms and packing everything away. Kids lay around the classroom, doing what they please. It is impossible to teach until the end in this environment. So, being the control freak that I am, I have attempted to give my friends SOMETHING to do everyday. Today they were scrap booking. I printed out multiple copies of all the pictures we've taken this year and they go nuts collaging pages to take home filled with memories. They're actually kind of cute.

We had been in the classroom for an hour. An hour. And somehow I missed the mouse carcass in the back of the room.

Yes, you heard me correctly.

I was busy organizing some files when a friend came over to me.

Friend: Mrs. Mimi? Can I go to the bathroom?
Me: Sure sweetheart.
Friend: Um, and I wanted to tell you privately, but there's a dead rat by my desk.
Me: WHAT?
Friend: There's a dead rat near my desk.
Me: Um, oh, OK....well, thank you for keeping it between you and me. Um, go ahead to the bathroom and when you come back, come sit over here by me. I'll get someone to take care of it. Do you think you can keep it a secret? (I practically am begging as visions of screaming children danced in my head)
Friend: Sure, Mrs. Mimi.

Impressed with my friend's adult behvior in this situation, I glance over to the area in question. And yes, there is a dead mouse. (Not a rat...they always say rat...no idea why.) It's on it's sad with it's little paw curled up. It's almost like a cartoon. But it's real. And in my room. And gross.

I think to myself, "Why did I wear open toe shoes to work today?" as I get that creepy feeling you get when you walk past a hill of ants in flip flops.

Luckily, no one else seems to have noticed our "visitor."

I call the office and request a custodian to come deal with the carcass.

20 minutes go by.

I call back, as a little reminder and mention that there are twenty children in the room and could they please hurry?

20 more minutes go by.

I wonder what they are doing since my garbage hasn't been emptied and my classroom hasn't been swept in about a week.

10 more minutes.

However, no one other than my friend has noticed, so I consider myself fortunate.

And then....

A voice literally thunders, "WHERE'S THE DEAD RAT??!?!" from the doorway. You can almost hear brakes squealing the background as all the children freeze and then simultaneously look to me to gauge how they should react (isn't it weird how kids do that?)

I literally leapt across an arrangement of four desks while simultaneously shooting my kids my super hero silencing glare. KA-ZAM! And then I whisk the custodian into the hallway and explain the need to be discreet.

In the end, the dead mouse was removed, the kids kept scrapbooking and Super Mimi saved the day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Circus Monkeys

Although perhaps the saddest realization I've had since titling this post is...I'm not sure if I work with circus monkeys or I am one of the circus monkeys.

Let me explain my thinking. The following little scenario should explain why I think I work with circus monkeys.

Last night, before leaving school, I placed my carefully completed report cards in a folder on the table in the front of my room. Don't be fooled, completing report cards is no small feat. First, I must convince myself that someone is actually going to look at them and give them thoughtful pause. Then, I must convince myself that despite the fact that the report cards aren't actually aligned with anything we do during the year, that they can somehow be manipulated to accurately reflect each child's progress. And lastly, after thirty minutes of relentless bubbling (yes, they are scan tron) I must convince myself to not give in to the temptation to just make up a little pattern and bubble at will. You know, a little 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 3. (In case you're wondering, we no longer give the traditional A B C D and F letter grades. Someone downtown was "thinking outside the box" and revolutionized teaching by switching those little letters to numbers. Groundbreaking, I know.)

So I do the report cards. And then I relish picking up a new, blue Sharpie and boldly crossing "report cards" off my colossal To-Do List. At the end of the year, my To-Do List has birthed little baby to-do lists and it feels like everything is spiraling out of control. So you can imagine my nerdy-nerds-a-lot satisfaction. Ah, I can almost smell the Sharpie now....

Anyway, I put the report cards on the table, lock my door and skip home.

OK. I didn't skip. But I did have a smile on my face as I carefully stepped over chicken bones and made my way to the bus.

Fast forward to this morning. I drag myself out of bed (not so smiley), and get my behind to work. I open the door to my room and....

...all the chairs in the front of the classroom are knocked over...

...there are huge black boot prints on the desks....and....

NO REPORT CARDS.

They are gone.

But, in my zen state of calm that only comes when your professional life is in such utter disarray that you internally just give up, I decide not to panic and ask around. After being repeatedly told that "I don't know nothing but you should ask so-and-so", I begin to realize that they might truly be gone. A.K.A. someone stole them or threw them out. I can't quite wrap my head around why anyone would want to steal scan tron report cards, so I now believe that they have been thrown out.

I go downstairs to talk to our custodian. (Have I mentioned that I have a billion other things to do?? Yes? No? Well, I do...and those things do NOT include solving the Great Report Card Mystery). The custodian tells me that she didn't sweep my room or vacuum yesterday (sweet, right?), but she did take away my trash and no she did not throw anything out. She also is unable to explain the big, black boot prints.

I may sound calm now, but at the time, I was literally seething. Who are these circus monkeys dancing around my room and stealing report cards?!?!?!???? WTF?

And now, why I think I might BE one of the circus monkeys....

Basically, I do all kinds of shit that I'm told to do that has absolutely no educational (or rational) purpose. I told one of my friends what happened and she said, "Are you going to have to do them again?"

And I thought, "Um, Hell no!"

I went to the computer guy (who scans the scan tron) and he said, "No problem, we'll just print you out some more."

Just like that. "No problem, we'll print you out some more." Like I was some kind of circus monkey that would nod my head, scratch my pits, dutifully grab a pencil and get ready to bubble.

But why wouldn't he think that? I get told to do all kinds of crap without any reason or purpose. And the saddest thing is, I DO IT. Out of guilt, out of obligation, out of responsibility, and out of a perverse need to prove to everyone that I can do it all (dammit) and better than anyone else. (Are you secretly thinking that I deserved to get my report cards stolen....?)

So there it is. I am one of the circus monkeys who was screwed by a fellow circus monkey.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It's A Boy!!

I walked into the cafeteria to pick up my class today.

"Mrs. Mimi!", shouted Curly, "It's a boy!!!"

Now, many of you may remember that he made a similar early morning announcement about his mother "peeing on a stick". Well, it's a boy...and although he was hoping for a girl, Curly seems pumped. He already has an older brother (who I taught years ago) and is excited for a younger brother. I know that he used to give his older brother a very hard time...I reminded him of this, warning him that maybe his NEW little brother would give HIM a hard time. He smiled, nodded and said, "I was a pain....(sigh)...good times."

No lie! This kid is phenomenal.

And while it is very cute, let this serve as a warning to you parents out there....I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR FAMILY.

Let me say that again. YOUR CHILD REPEATS EVERYTHING YOU SAY AND DO ONCE THEY ARE AT SCHOOL. And clearly, using Curly as an example, no event or room of your home is off limits...not even the bathroom.

Now, I know to many of us, this seems like common sense. But then why do I get daily reports of fathers in weight watchers (or as my students call it "fat class") who later hit the drive thru at McDonalds, stories about parents who went on successful dates and brought someone home (one child actually used the words "booty call" with me), and, my personal favorite, tales of that "special cigarette" that mommy smokes with daddy sometimes. Um, sweetheart? I think that is called a doobie.

And I know it goes both ways, parents. I have taught your children to say "fabulous" at potentially very inconvenient times (I take no responsibility if they get the crap beat out of them on the playground for liberally using this word). I am also aware that "Mrs. Mimi says" is probably one of your least favorite phrases, because I say a lot.

But please, let's try to keep the porn to a minimum because it's very awkward during morning meeting when one of my friends shares that mommy and/or daddy were watching a "naked people movie" with lots of "screaming" and "bumping into each other."

That New-Fangled Technology....

...The Calendar

(sigh)

Granted, it is a dry-erase calendar and although I am comfortable with my dry-erase abilities, perhaps others feel less confident with that technology. I am trying to be more understanding and accepting- I've heard I can be (brace yourself)....judgemental. I know, I know...I don't see it either. I mean everyone is entitled to doing things their own way....and some of those ways are different and others are just, well, wrong.

Over a week ago, I added my class' Writer's Workshop Celebration to the calendar. Yes, I marched right up to it, chose a color and just went for it. I then proceeded to put invitations (lovingly created by my friends) in everyone's mailbox. And then, just to show off, I added the date and time to the Outlook calendar set up for internal purposes. I am a fancy pants.

And everyday, it is encouraged that people actually LOOK at the calendar first thing in the morning before they go up to their classrooms. You would think that people would actually WANT to be informed...but again, I'm trying not to judge.

So, I promised my friends that we would bake for today's celebration. So last night, I packed up my bowls, cupcake mix, eggs, etc and trucked it in to work. We spent part of our morning mixing, measuring and sampling...it was a pretty good time. No where near the sticky, egg shelled mess I thought it would be. I had planned on using my lunch and free period ( which are back to back) to actually put our goodies in the oven.

I had a million things to do...vacuum to get my class ready for the parents that would be our guests. I'm running around, baking mitt on, vacuum in tow when...

I run into my class.

In the hall.

When they are supposed to be in computer class.

And I am supposed to be baking.

Who's Peeking?