Saturday, February 12, 2005

update

after i spoke with eddie's oh-so-charming step-dad, i was hoping he'd come to class. i kind of thought (from experiences last year) it wouldn't make much of a difference, but i had hope in my heart. alas, eddie has not come back to class.

i saw eddie in the hall on friday. "eddie!" i exclaimed. and then suddenly it hit me. i've been going about this all wrong. eddie is oppositional deviant. so why bug him to come to class? i've earned a reputation of being slightly crazy (madhatterish), so hey, why not embrace my stereotype?
"ohmigosh. eddie. i've been going about this all wrong. i know this now."
"what, ms?"
"you're going to do the opposite of what i tell you to do. it's like a perpetual Opposite Day. sooo, eddie. please don't come to class. please."
eddie's eyes widen and he looks at me as though i've got a few screws loose.
"huh?" he says.
"i mean, eddie, whatever you do: do not come to class. please do not help yourself, or your grade for that matter. please. i beg of you. do not come to class. walk the halls! skip!" i exclaimed.
eddie began to laugh. "ms., you are crazy."

no, i'm desperate.

Friday, February 11, 2005

"Man, you're always hurting yourself Ms.!"

This February has been especially funky for me. I've been getting pretty burnt out and I decided to do the unthinkable: take a day off. gasp. I know. I was feeling sorta guilty. But I've missed one day this entire year and that was for professional development. And I've got my hands on lots of projects for the district and my school and, well, I was beginning to go a little crazy. For example, the other day I taught the wrong chapter to my sociology classes. This was a new low in my career. I explained to my students that I am slowly going insane and that particular incident was part of the early stages of insanity. So, yesterday was to be my mental health day.

Well, Wednesday night I decided that I, being 25, would stay out past 10 pm. That's right people, I was going to have a life. Unfortunately, I slipped on the bathroom floor and strained my ankle. So my mental health day was not spent outside or exercising or changing the oil in my car. It was spent on the couch with my leg propped up, eating Oreos and feeling sorry for myself.

I have to say, I've been surprised by my student's reactions to my crutches. They're faces literally fall and they exclaim, "What happened!" They've given me advice and offered to help me around the classroom. They want to know the story and we all share a laugh about how clumsy I am.

Today has been filled with feelings of comradery and warmth. It makes me feel not so burnt out and irritated. It's a nice contrast to the little Mardi Gras hellions from earlier this week.

But...I'm secretly wondering if my foot injury is pay-back for actually taking a day off.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

An Announcement

Mardi Gras is a pain in my ass. I'd forgotten about this from last year. Maybe I just blocked it out.

I live in an urban area and thus there is a large downtown where people party. Which apparently includes my students. On Tuesday (Fat Tuesday), 40 of my students received tickets and one of my darlings decided to punch a cop and was thrown in jail. This prompted a mini-lecture from Yours Truly about the futility of screaming, fighting, or sarcasm when involved in a discussion with a police man. Yes, he will pat you down. You're 15 and it's 1 am downtown. He's going through your pockets because he's looking for drugs. So don't bring joints downtown (the D.A.R.E. speech embodies the meaning of futility). Be polite. I don't get into the politics of the popo and civil liberties. That's saved for my sociology class and the deviance chapter. But anyway, I learned a new word: faded.

Back to the classroom. The reason Mardi Gras is annoying is because they won't shut the hell up about it. Inappropriate comments circulate my room. Sexual tension and anxiety permeates my lessons like never before. It's gross.

And the beads. Beads are a sign of pimpness. Sharing the beads is for the weak. Stealing the beads will get you beat. I now hate beads. I hate the flashing medallions and the bright ugly colors. I hate it when they break and roll across my floor. I hate the status associated with those filthy plastic things.

I've never been a Mardi Gras goer. It was just there. Now it's here. A pain. In my ass.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

coping mechanisms

all day kids stream in and out of my room. i don't get a second alone. is it me, or are they getting needier? my grading is piling up. i've got my hands in too many pots. i'm emotionally exhausted. i'm physically exhausted. to find sanity i:

1. Rekindle my love for Badly Drawn Boy. I'd put a fancy picture on this blog but I can't figure out how to do it.
2. Consume a monumental amount of chocolate. My intake is amazing.
3. Refuse to grade after 9 00 pm.
4. Stare out the window. Think about the career I should have had as a Fly Girl.
5. Stroke my cats. Talk to my cats. Wish I were a cat.
6. Imitate my students. Create facial expressions and gestures to go along with the voices.
7. Procrastinate by blogging and reading blogs. It's sad, really.


Monday, February 07, 2005

busted

I finally got them. I got tha digits. I finally got the number of the happy home of Eddie, the perpetual skipper, Crip lover, player, and a third time freshman. I previously had three wrong numbers for Eddie; one number was the State Lottery Commission.
Eddie used to come to my class every day last semester. This was when he was dating Cassandra, who tried to keep Eddie on track. Apparently she found out that Eddie was cheating on her and their torrid love affair went down the drain. This semester Eddie has been M.I.A. On tha real. I see him in the hallway and I beg and plead and pester him to come to class. He came by one afternoon to get make-up work and took a book with him. I'm starting to wonder whether I'm going to see that book again (which I end up paying for if he loses).
Why would I want Eddie to come to class? He's totally not a behavior problem. He never talks to other students, never talks back. In fact, he's sort of charming in a "I'm a really big loser" kind of way. I feel like everyone has given up on Eddie (including Eddie) and I want him to have one person who doggedly cares about him and urges him to help himself.
But back to today. Eddie has a friend/girl-friend in my class and I think he has finally dicked over the wrong person. Today I asked her about Eddie's presence and she blurted out, "Do you want his number?" I could tell that she regretted her statement as soon as it slipped from her lips. So I played it cool.
"Eddie? Sure. I mean, I want the book back." After some manipulation she gave me the number with the promise I would not tell Eddie who gave it to me. Would I bite the hand that feeds me?

A muffled, gruff voice answered on the first ring.
"Yeah?"
I blinked and then rattled off my official phone call greeting in a cheery voice.
"Huh?"
"I said that I'm Eddie's history teacher and I would like to speak with a guardian if that is possible."
"I'm his step-dad. What do you want?"
"Well, you see sir, I'm calling about Eddie's absences. He has a zero in my class because he refuses to come to class. He's a great kid but he can't seem to make it to school."
"Oh yeah?"---long, muffled sigh--
"Yes. He also has a textbook that I need him to return. I gave it to him about three weeks ago and I don't want him to pay 70 dollars for a lost book."
"Oh shit. No, he needs to return that book. He's got a lot of them around here." (Great. He's an obligation list nightmare).
"Yes, I know. I would hate for you to pay for that. If he brings the book back he won't pay anything."
"Oh he's bringing that fucking thing back."
"Great. Well, if you'd like to schedule a parent conference I'd be happy to talk with you. I'm really worried about Eddie--"
"Ya well, his mom aint home. And he isn't my kid so I don't know. I'll tell her you called."
"Wonderful. Thank you very much." Thanks for caring.
"You got it lady."

I also went to the 9th grade office and handed the Team Leader the slip with his name and number.
"How do you know this one is real?" she asked.
"Because I just talked to his step-dad," I bragged.
Her eyes wide, she exclaimed, "How did you get this?!"
"I think Eddie finally cheated on the wrong girl."
"Don't you love that?"

Now I know this phone number is unlikely to change Eddie's behavior. But there is a chance it will. And equally important (to me), Eddie's number symbolizes victory in my on-going battle to get in touch with parents. I mean, if I can get Eddie's number than I have hope for future numbers. Right?