Friday, February 25, 2005


The Cussing King (see Daddy) dropped by today. He and my aide (a former student from the same period) and I talked about my classes last year. Ohmigod. I had forgotten how chaotic things were for me, especially in the first semester. I was at the disposal of my kids. I had no behavior management plan and my heart was bleeding all over the place. I was way too nice.
We all shared a good laugh and in that moment I realized that the Predictors and Advice Givers were right. Things do get easier as you become more comfortable with the environment and develop your flow. It only took me two years to understand this. If if I become more comfortable each year, well, it's gonna be ON! (as my students would say)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005



this semester i have a new batch of kids and one of them is weirding me out. during a side conversation we discovered that we both like aesop rock and, since that fateful day, homeboy has been making inappropriate remarks. like asking me out.

the first time he suggested we go to a hip-hop show together and i just looked at him cross-eyed. i mean, i've had kids make nasty comments to me but they were purposely derogatory and meant to take power away from me. and those perps always ended up in the office. and kids have tried to "get me to go to a rave" but we all knew they were kidding. but homeboy asked me out in a really mild manner, like he was asking for a piece of paper, and it sort of shocked me.

the next time he asked me if i wanted to hang out and get some dinner. i'm like, what the hell are you talking about? in fact, i blurted out, "homeboy, why do think we're friends? i'm your teacher. i'm not your friend. i have friends my own age." he laughed. "i know. but come on, we can be friends." i just stared at him. and then i said, "we're not friends. we're not equals. you are my student." i wanted to say, and why the hell would i hang out with you? you're 17. and my student.

so today, during class, i made a sarcastic remark about golf and he says, "hey do you like golf? we should go play sometime." and the kids are looking at me like, what the hell is he talking about? and i'm looking at him like, what the hell are you talking about? i didn't know what to do. he's a really nice kid and i don't want to hurt his feelings. but shit. i think i'm going to have to sit him down and set him straight. which will be incredibly awkward.

i just don't understand why this kid feels free to make these inappropriate advances. i've heard another adult describe him as "creepy" before. i wouldn't say that. he just doesn't seem to understand boundaries.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

note to self

i was talking to a blogger friend who remarked that she has no memory and her blog helps her remember how she feels throughout the year. and i remembered one reason i originally started this blog, to record my experiences and share them with my friends (and concerned citizens :). SO, in my own self-interest i will proceed:

it's mid feb. and here are some definite changes that will be made next year:

1. i instituted folder checks this year. folders as in a spiral notebook. but next year i want them to be ringed. because the kids are losing hand-outs i give them. also, i'm debating whether i should let the kids keep their journals in class. i know i need to teach them responsibility (did you all enjoy that round of laughter?) but man. 50% will bring them everyday. at most.

2. maps. i want more maps in my class. maps and outlines. i need more structure. i've begun to give my kids more maps this semester, but they're losing them. refer to number 1. also, keep up the mental mapping as a medium for note taking.

3. journal entries. these are lots of work and i didn't do them this year. but i kind of miss them. it was a really sly, manipulative way to get kids to think about character and their life as a whole. journal entries created great discussions. and got them writing, which they absolutely abhor!

blah. i need some direction. i want to throw everything out and start fresh. i'm never satisfied! or am i a glutton for punishment?

Ruby Payne, I'm gonna read your book from start to finish!

Thanks to a friend, I've finally gotten my hands on Ruby Payne's Framework for Understanding Poverty. I've read various chapters and attended lectures about her work, but her book is really hard to find. Alll of the local bookstores are out and I swear that five months ago Amazon said the book was out of print. (I just clicked over to Amazon and found it back on the market). And after that, I became too lazy to search further. Luckily, over corn dogs, cokes, and good discussion, I realized my friend has a copy of the book. I wish she's write about her experiences. She teaches Life Skills kids and has the best stories. Anyways, this blog was to express my supreme excitement. Weeeeee!

ps. on a totally different matter, testing = <5 hours = brain dead kids = tired teachers

Monday, February 21, 2005

the smell of silence

this morning i arrived at school an hour earlier than usual. it was dark and quiet. the halls smelled like a school, rather than the wafts of heavy cologne, perfume, and sweat that permeate the air during school hours. the whole scene reminded me of my mother. she used to get up at 5 30am so that she could sit alone and drink her coffee before anyone else in the house got up. she always said it was her only time of peace. now i understand.