Monday, November 08, 2004

My Job

Today I cruised by my desk on my way to read with a group of kids and the subject line "bathroom antics" happened to catch my eye. Now, last year our school was threatened by a fecal bandit who would leave cryptic messages on the walls in feces. A few covert operations and some heavy reconnaissance led us to our Dookie Delinquent, a fourth grader of course. So for this to be starting up again was quite a surprise. I suspect that few other people receive emails like this one...
We have begun to see restroom antics (number two:)) artistsas of date, but other things....grafitti, broken objects, general unkemptness...and then we did have a report of a pair of male underwear being seen and flushed down the toilet....that's a scary thought I imagine how they got there, but..............Bottom line.....please monitor the use of the restrooms as much as possible.
Now, I realize that it's hard to ignore the overuse of elipses that my principal enjoys, but the essence of the message is really quite entertaining.
There are some advantages to my job, despite the many disadvantages.
  • It's never boring
  • Summer
  • Spring Break
  • Thanksgiving Break
  • Christmas Break
  • Teacher presents
  • Hugs all day long
  • Don't have to sit in a cube or in front of a computer
  • Kids are funny and good material for stories


  • Can't pee all day
  • 25 minutes for lunch, no going out
  • Tutoring before or after work without pay
  • Buying many of your own materials
  • Kids and parents have no accountability
  • State tests/district assessments all the time
  • Have to deal with things like the Superflously Hormoned One (see previous story: Whack A Mole) stage whispering things to me all day like, "I need a PAD! Oooops!" while she points to her chair.
  • Full time perky expectation from 8-4
  • Can't run errands or go to doctor's appointments during day. Must take half day.
  • Can't just take a day off - must write out instructions for sub to carry out entire day in your absence, then do clean up for half a day when you return.


Eddie said...

What previous story about WhackAMole? Man am I off tonight.

Pigs said...

Okay, so Steph is troubled because she claims she doesn't remember this story. It was one from the beginning of this school year that I emailed out.


Several people have inquired as to the whereabouts of my beginning of the school year story. The answer is that I can’t bring myself to write about these people in my free time because that’s when I’m trying to escape them. I have had the … privilege of meeting the most unusual collection of little people in the business over the last three weeks. Individually, they are sweet, dynamic, creative, and loveable. As a group, they are ten year old masochistic terrorists of the classroom.

The Cast of Characters:
• (4) Gifted students: one perfect child, one disorganized disaster, one excitable whirling dervish with a 9.5 reading level, and one brilliant, but socially and physically inept character, said character will probably be a mad scientist who may someday figure out how to blow up the world just to see what will happen.
• (3) Special education students: one on a first grade reading level, two on a second grade reading level. One of said students is a 71/250/ superfluously-hormoned number. Another is a 125/75/unmedicated ADHD. Conversion key: (IQ/weight/issue) All will take the end of year test.
• (1) Student from the behaviorally/emotionally impaired classroom. He has “earned” his way out, despite the harness he wears on the bus and the fact that he has attacked teachers. Fortunately, he comes with a point sheet for me to mark. (Whew! Read my sarcasm here.)
• (1) New student who moved away for the summer, only to return one week after school started. He is your classic classroom bully that we all remember. All bullying behind the teacher’s back. Winks seductively at me when I glare at his suspect activity. He’s a 90/150/unmedicated ADHD.
• (1) Student who believes that she is a cat. She purrs and nuzzles. She licks the back of her hand and washes her ears. Oddly, she’s likeable and a good student – just mildly distracting. Responds well if you pat her on the head.
• (1) Sneak – must watch at all times. Portrays self as Goody Two Shoes.
• (2) Students with severe diarrhea of the mouth. Has never occurred to them to raise a hand or close a mouth. Cannot sit near other people.
• (1) Extremely low and sweet student who did not qualify for Special Ed because his IQ is too low. Sigh.
• (1) Actual cool, mature kid. Far beyond this classroom. Gets my jokes, appreciates sarcasm. Was mortified to be selected this week’s Mighty Mustang award winner in front of the whole school.
• (6) Normal people who are a pleasure to be around, but must endure my frustration at their peers. Several of them have mild trouble with listening and following directions, but are trainable.
I will provide a ten minute sample from an afternoon in my classroom.
We were about to begin an independent writing assignment continued from the day before, during which I was going to check their reading logs to make sure they had read their 20 pages the night before.
“When you finish editing and revising with your buddy, go get final copy paper from the Self Serve. When you are finished with your final copy, turn it into the basket and you may start reading workshop,” I instructed. Twenty-two pairs of eyes stared back at me, no one moved to begin the assignment. “Go?” I tried. Chaos erupted as twenty-two questions were fired at me at once and bodies began making their way to me. This group has the mistaken belief that when I address the group, I am not actually talking to them, the individual. I will surely retell them later, personally, so there is really no need to listen the first time.
“What if we aren’t done with our rough copy yet? What if I can’t find my pencil? What if I’m not ready for final copy?” Hands began to tap on my arms.
“We do not play ‘What if’ in this classroom,” I reminded them firmly, “Get back to your seat and get to work.” I bent over to check my first reading log trying to send out mental ‘Get off me’ vibes. I felt a nuzzling and heard purring at my elbow. I absentmindedly patted the red head and she padded back to her seat to work. I checked off my first reading log from my list and went to the next person.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a line forming to my right and saw a skirmish in the corner of the room. A quick scan told me that Bully was back there. “Back to your seat,” I ordered him. I eyed the line suspiciously. “Please return to your table and ask someone who was listening,” I figured that would get rid of most of them and sure enough the guilty line began to dissipate and wander back to seats. One remained. “Yes?” I asked wearily.
“Can I go to the bathroom?” it asked. I sighed. We do not ask to go to the bathroom. We raise a hand calmly with two fingers crossed. This is the non-disruptive sign to which I will nod or shake my head. I reminded the student of this and sent them to their seat to practice. Said student sat down, crossed fingers, raised hand and bounced, with the other hand desperately grasping their crotch. This apparently would convey to me the severity of the situation. I nodded and moved on. Reading Log #2, check.
Tapping at my arm, the Sneak feels it is her duty to let me know that the Superfluously-hormoned One was staring out the window with her mouth hanging open. I sighed and walked over to her. “Where’s your rough draft?” I asked kindly.
“Huh?” she pushed her dirty glasses up her face. Her desk is covered in about 40 used Kleenex and I notice she has actually misappropriated the class tissue box to her desk.
“Rough draft,” I said pointedly. “Where is it?”
“I can’t find it.” She pulls on her Tweety Bird shirt that says, “Hot Chick.” It doesn’t quite cover her belly. “Can I go to the library?” I stare at her through half closed eyes. Is she serious? I can’t do this. I get another student to help her get going on her writing. There is a possibility I might snap if I stay here any longer.
Back to Reading Log #3, I look it over and check them off my list. I feel a presence behind me. Turning around slowly, I am greeted by two kids proudly holding out their completed final copies. “Do I look like a wire basket?” I ask them sweetly with a wink. Two furrowed brows and confused faces stare at me.
“Not….not really,” one said. Oh, I can’t wait until January when they understand sarcasm, I thought to myself, pointing to the basket in question. “Oh!” the other exclaimed, light bulb going on. “I forgot.” On the way to the basket, one muttered, “She’s weird, really weird,” to the other.
I get to the next table to find the gifted-to-the-point-of -insanity kid (GPI) reading the dictionary under his desk. I pat his back, take the dictionary, and ask where his rough draft is. Instead of answering, he shuffles off to his locker, grunting cave man style. I quickly finish Reading Log #4 and #5 before anyone can stop me. I’m on a roll!
I’m so pleased with myself that I look up. GPI now has his entire head in his locker, where he is reading in peace. Hormones has sneezed all over most of her table (“OOPS, sorry” she says loudly as she looks at the snot rocket she shot onto an innocent student’s desk, making no move to clean it up despite her exclusive custody of the class tissues). Harness Kid is playing with my car keys. Bully is drawing a line as hard as he can over and over and over on his rough draft to see if he can break through the paper. I, on the other hand, am finished. After checking a grand total of 5 reading logs in 10 minutes, I stand up, assume the position at the front of the room and begin counting. My teammate across the hall shakes her head at me sympathetically. When I start counting, the game is over, boot camp commences.
“You will put your pencil down in 5…4…3…2…1…0. Place your hands on your head and listen to the words that I say. They are meant for all of you.” Small hands travel slowly to the tops of small heads and they wait for what is coming. Just then, my one life-saving cool kid flashes the bathroom signal to me gang style. It looked just as cool as a rapper flashing the “West Coast” or “Crips” sign, but it was the correct 4th grade bathroom signal. Amen! I thought! There’s one I can relate to! I nodded at him regally, he had won my trust, and he pushed his chair under and left for the bathroom.
I relaxed in that small victory that my job just got 1/22 easier. I would now only be playing Classroom Whack-a-Mole with 21 people. Things are looking up!

trn219 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
trn219 said...

Hi Ginny, I'm Steph's friend Tina. We've never met but I've heard a lot about you :)

After reading your "whack a mole" story, I feel guilty for bitching and moaning about the college freshmen I'm teaching. Don't get me wrong, they are certainly annoying and irresponsible. But, now I will be grateful that I only have to deal with their excuses for absences and missed exams and NOT bodily fluids!!!

Pigs said...

Ha, ha! But Steph had some stories that rivaled mine when she taught at Everest!