Saturday, September 15, 2007


What a difference a day makes.

1) After some web surfing and emailing, I found out that our social studies curriculum publisher offers a downloadable Spanish translation of the student book (in PDF format). Needless to say our district did not purchase this component, but I have already sent out emails regarding the legality of this matter and how easily it can be resolved.

2)Despite my tirade, I cooked a big Saturday breakfast; so yes, my kitchen needs cleaning again. This woman's work is never done because she always manages to create more.

3)The cat plan worked -- no surprises in the night.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Between grading papers, planning lessons, meetings, parent contact, dealing with major household tasks (e.g. blind installation and freezer repairs), continuing physical therapy, household cleaning chores, and pet neglect. I have finally seized a moment to enjoy a glass (or two)of wine. As I begin to unwind several thoughts come to mind.

1) Why are stores glad you have career when selling you something, but unwilling to accommodate you work schedule when they have to come out and repair something?

2) Goodbye Sears! Thank you for taking care of me Frigidaire! Hello Pacific Sales! (stems from comment #1)

3) Thank again to the young man (Yes, I am that old.) who installed the blinds that FINALLY arrived. They look great. Dare I say, they were worth the wait?

4) Did anyone think of me when they put an ELD 1 student (Spanish speaking only) in my classroom, a translator every other day, and no curriculum materials in Spanish. Allegedly, I was chosen because I would make a sincere effort to teach her. This child really wants to learn, but the system is doing a mediocre job of helping her. Needless to say, I am scrounging together material for her and we are both frustrated. At least she appreciates my attempts to translate (as time permits) when the aid is not there. She is the only child at our school (currently) who speaks no English, and they cannot create a class for one student. (Creating a nightmare for one teacher, however, is right up their alley.) Part of my plan this weekend is to use my translator software to translate the class notes into Spanish. Hopefully, she understands the dialect my software uses. (I can't figure out if this is a vent or a rant. Let's say both.)

5.Why don't the other adults on campus understand my disdain for classroom interruptions. I thought teaching was the priority, not ASB campaign speeches,dance announcements, constant request for students to come to the counselors office, and phone calls from the office requesting I send students. Apparently, the phone must not be ignored in hopes that they will quietly have a note delivered (which would prevent disturbing the whole class). I have learned that if I do not answer the phone, they make an announcement, asking me to call the office, which disturbs the entire school.

6) Why do parents who admit to only seeing their children during breakfast and on weekends (The rest of their time is spent commuting and working.)insist that I am failing to meet their child's needs.

7) I am considering no longer cooking. Every time I get the kitchen thoroughly cleaned, I cook and have to start all over again. The best solution appears to be no more cooking.

8) My overweight tabby cat has decided the best way get more attention is to wake me up in the middle of the night. I spent time this afternoon playing hide (He tries to hide, I pretend not to see him for a while, and then act surprised when I "find" him. Really!!) in hopes of sleeping through the night tonight.

9) What caused my peaceful life to turn upside down? Could it be #1-8? Oh well, can't answer now, time for that second glass of wine!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Memory Lane

Yesterday, I was listening to a song, Butterfly, by Corinne Bailey Rae. The song lyrics begin, "In my mother's house there's a photograph". These words reminded me of a song by Minnie Riperton, Memory Lane, which contains the words, "Stumbled on a photograph. Kinda made me laugh. It took me way back. Back down memory lane". The year that album came out (I was 13), it was the thing I wanted most for Christmas, and my little brother (who was 10 at the time) saved and bargained to make sure I got it. On his allowance it wasn't cheap.

Today, I took the time to call him, remind him of that Christmas, and thank him for being such a great brother. Amazingly, that is a memory that stands out for him too. Before I could name the song, he named it (and he wasn't that crazy about the album or the artist).

Even though we don't talk as much as we perhaps should or as much as my mother would like, we love each other. The love between siblings is something to be treasured. It is not the kind of treasure that you hide away. It should be dusted and shown off on the mantle or some other place where others can see it.

FYI: It took me all afternoon to get this put together because I stopped to find and buy another copy of the Minnie Riperton LP. Mine was lost during a move.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Restroom Pass

Today, I had a restroom confrontation with a parent. Her child asked for a pass to the restroom at the beginning of the period. He was told no and went back to his seat. During the remainder of that period and the following one, he never mentioned it again. He participated in all classroom activities and laughed at jokes other students and I made. He even stayed after class, asked me about pre-approval of a book for his book report (the due date for book approval is next Wednesday), and discussed the reasons why I should disregard my better judgment (and the time frame for the assignment) and approve his novel. He waited for me to help a student who had to catch the bus and a girl who was in front of him in line. According to his mother, when he got in the car, he told her his stomach was hurting because I would not allow him to go to the restroom. Typically, when a student asks for a pass during that period I initially do not allow them to go because another group is at lunch during that time. (There have been problems with students going to hang out with friends rather than going to the restroom.)However, if they ask later on, or they tell me they really need to go I allow them to. Neither of those things happened today. The parent was livid and did not calm down until I had relayed the course of events twice and made it clear that her child was not being singled out. I also told her that I do allow students to go to the restroom, and her son has been allowed to go.
I have only had this happen one other time during the eleven years I have been teaching. The secretary asked if this was a quiet student that might have afraid to ask again. Considering his defense of his book choice and participation in classroom discussion, the answer is no.

I hope this is not about me not approving the book, or him upsetting her because he asked to stop at a restroom during the drive home.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Sign of the Times? Scary

During my shift to becoming a no sleep person (This is what happens when a night person starts getting up early in hopes of becoming a morning person.), I came across this article about a Swiss deportation proposal. This scares me on many levels beginning with the poster itself, and moving on to the proposal and low level of negative response to it. I understand the need to address problems in society, but generalizations and the racism that results from them are not the appropriate way to bring about positive societal change.