You know, I have been writing for Blogcritics for a little over a week. I thought the idea had some merit: a forum for your above-average writer to express his or her opinion about media, music, books, and video. It has become clear to me that the editors will tolerate any sort of poor writing and immature posturing on the part of their writers. I doubt many visitors to the site can possibly take our opinions seriously, considering the writing is rife with grammar/usage/mechanical errors and expletives. It reminds me some days of a drunken frat party, laden with testosterone, and stinking of… well, shit.

A Crisis

After working in a private school for just two weeks, it has become painfully obvious to me that we have a crisis in public education. It is something I wanted to deny while I was part of public education. That was before I had the first-hand opportunity to compare and contrast.

My personal observations, having been employed for six years in Georgia public schools, are as follows:

  • Administrators are afraid of punishing students.
  • Parents don’t generally care, until their child really screws up (by which time, it’s too late), and then they bully the schools.
  • Teachers and students live in fear of violence in many schools.
  • Students are not properly tracked.
  • Not enough teaching and learning is taking place.

Continue reading “A Crisis”

I Have the Worst News

I suppose I should thank God I am still alive. Steve’s cousin died. They say where there is life there is hope.

I don’t know why, but the job I thought I had has fallen through. The principal called and told me so tonight. I was stunned. I expected to hear perhaps I needed to come in and sign a contract. I didn’t expect the whole thing to be pulled out from under my feet.

I wanted this so badly, and I don’t understand what happened.

I feel so much anger. At this point, the jobs are dwindling. I am very scared I won’t find one. What on earth am I going to do? I have three children and a husband to support. I am, after all, the main breadwinner. We need medical insurance.

I have dissolved into tears. Depression. I don’t know what I will do. All I want is for all of this new worry to disappear.

Why did this happen?

Thank God It’s Friday?

I had one of the most bizarre days I’ve ever had in my life. It was almost like fiction, it was so horrendous. I couldn’t imagine all this could happen to a real person. After a certain point, I couldn’t do anything but laugh and wonder what would happen next.

To start with, I had an e-mail exchange with a parent who insisted her daughter was the only person who worked on a group project in my class (and must have thought I was lying when I stated my observations that all four girls were working). Her daughter got a 93 on her presentation, but some of the other girls scored higher because they projected and spoke with more poise. I wound up re-evaluating the grade to shut the mom up. To be honest, I think she was incredibly rude to me, though I was very nice to her. I expect an apology will NOT be forthcoming, though.

Next. I got an e-mail from my principal at 8:40 that stated she wanted to meet with me at 8:45. Oh great. Yes, she’d sent it the evening before. She’s really bad about pulling short-notice meetings. Anyway, I walked down the hall. Needed to set a letter of resignation in stone was all. Well, that I can handle. Every time I get a short e-mail from her requesting a meeting, my anxiety shoots through the roof.

Okay. Lunch. We collectively groused about life at our fair school. It feels good to know I’m not the only person feeling disgruntled.

Whoops. Our water at home was cut off, and I had to try to take care of that. The guy I needed to talk to was very hard to get on the phone.

The 7th graders came to class. High spirits abounded. Who knew so many 7th grade boys at my school were pro paper ball/trash can basketball players. If I never see another paper ball again, it will be too soon.

Then they came in my room. The 6th graders. I detest teaching 6th grade. They are immature and irresponsible. This particular class is so unruly. I praised God today was the last day I’d spend with them. Boy did they make it memorable. For crying out loud, they were supposed to be taking a test. I had to constantly shush them. Even the kids who were normally good were partying like it was the last day of school rather than the last day of the quarter. Then. Then. Then. The two boys got into a fight. One pummeled the other in the face repeatedly. He is going to be all kinds of shades of purple, green, and blue. To his credit, he kept calm and did not retaliate. I actually tore them apart. Yes. Me. I swore I’d never get in the middle of two kids fighting, but good God. I couldn’t let that boy savage the other guy. And it was getting bad. I hope the little guy is okay. After I got them separated, I called for their assistant principal, told her what happened, and wrote referrals. Then I called home. I hated having to call a mom and tell her that her son was pounded in my classroom. I kept thinking if it happened to Dylan, I’d be out for blood. What on earth am I going to do if he ever gets in a fight? Anyway, I just don’t get it. The aggressor has always been an angel, and his mom works at the school in the cafeteria. She said I sure was brave getting between those boys considering my size. I replied that I didn’t think about it until later. My heart didn’t settle down for an hour.

I went to talk to the art teacher, and she said one of the other teachers had been the recipient of a written threat to “slit her throat” earlier this year. What happened to the student? Nothing. He was “new” and “didn’t know the rules yet.” Is there a school where slitting teachers’ throats is okay? I guess you learn something new every day.

Yesterday, a couple of boys stole money from the cafeteria cash register. I guess we know who did it. What happened? They were told to return the money by next Wednesday, when the students return to school. They were not arrested. They only had school consequences. I know this because I overheard one of our frequent residents of ISS telling another student. He knows all the crooks.

I cannot believe the state of discipline in my school right now. It’s appalling.

Okay, so back to my day again. I picked up the kids and my husband without incident. We went for dinner. I don’t know why, because I usually don’t give panhandlers money (you never know what they’re really going to do with it), but I gave a guy five dollars. When we left, I had to take one baby at a time, because I can’t carry both, and we were on a busy road. Maggie runs too fast, and Sarah isn’t really much of a help. So I put Dylan in the car. I felt my pockets. Good. Keys were in there. I locked the doors and went for Maggie. I got back to the car. It wasn’t keys I felt, but change and a housekey a student had turned in to me. FUCK! I just locked my 10-month-old son in the car! I scooped Maggie up and dashed across the street. We were nearly hit by a guy who was too busy talking on his cell phone to pay attention to his driving. I yelled “Watch it!” A tall guy hanging out by his car yelled out “Asshole!” to the guy.

I got across the street and called 911. They dispatched the fire department. Well, one minute later, we heard the siren. They sent the big truck with sirens blaring. Three firefighters disembarked. One had an axe. This was looking bad. The tall guy who yelled Asshole came over to see what the ruckus was. He stated he could get the car unlocked with a screwdriver and a coat hanger. This made me uneasy. He went inside the McDonald’s, but said they didn’t have one. Don’t know why they would… One of the firemen found some screwdrivers. The tall guy who yelled Asshole suddenly remembered there was a cleaners nearby, and he ran across the street to get hangers from them. He came back a few minutes later with two hangers. The firemen pried open the little rubber strip on the bottom of the window and opened the lock with the hanger. Did I mention EVERYONE was staring at us?

Dammit, I went to Borders and bought myself two books after that day. I don’t treat myself often, but for once, I decided I needed a prize for making it through the day with all my hair still attached.

I’m going to bed before something else happens. Hopefully I won’t be struck by lightning or picked up by a tornado while I’m incapacitated in the arms of Morpheus.

This Was My Day

I woke up about fifteen minutes late. I never heard my alarm go off. Maybe it did, and I shut it off in my sleep.

I got dressed. I had trouble finding socks for Maggie and Dylan. Where do all the baby socks go?

I carried my things out to the car. I didn’t have time to mix Dylan’s bottles, so I poured hot water in bottles and took the can of powdered formula with me. I grabbed three Cokes. One for my husband, two for me (so I didn’t have to go to the machine). I dropped one. It exploded all over. I got it on my clothes and the car. I tried to clean it up as best I could, but we were in a hurry and it was a huge mess.

There were three accidents on I-85. If hubby hadn’t agreed to let Sarah and me go to school first, we’d have been about an hour late. He was late himself. I appreciated the sacrifice.

I took Dylan out of the car at day care, while Hubby got Maggie. Dylan spit up on my silk blouse.

I was starting to think the planets were aligned against me. But I just have one more day with my current crop of students before we change classes. One more quarter.

I have been working on job applications. I hope I won’t have difficulty finding another job. I’ve had it. I’m not alone. We all aired our grievances at lunch. Lots of us are looking elsewhere.

I have a new link for you. A small photo album. You can access it with a link under “About” as well. I wasn’t wearing makeup in a couple of them, so don’t give me hard time. I’ve already had one.

Have a good day, all. Someone needs to.

These Kids Today

Oh my God.

Tell me the truth. Those of us over, say 25. Would it EVER, EVER have occurred to you to do something like this at school? What the hell is going on?

I will tell you the truth. When I first started keeping a journal online, I noticed that there were a lot of teenagers journaling or blogging. And a lot of them talked about sex. I can’t read about kids having sex. It makes my skin crawl. Never mind the fact that I did it too. It makes my skin crawl to remember that, to be honest. We’re bombarded with sex from every side, and I can remember feeling intensely curious about what the fuss could possibly be about. But at that age, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to tape myself having sex, or to share my sexual adventures with every creep in the world on the Internet (of course, there was no Internet for the masses back then, but I digress).

What’s behind this trend? Can we truly just point the finger at the Internet and say that the availability of sexual information is much greater? I mean, we all know by know how to find pornography, erotica, even how-to techniques online, and most of the time, we don’t need to prove our ages beyond the “we’re keeping you honest by making you click a button saying you’re over 18” type of proof.

Filters don’t even get it all. Someone at my school was able to look at a picture of a, um, well, festively decorated female crotch. And I know we have filters on our computers, because I was never able to read my former journal from work.

I’m not innocent here. I shared some pretty, let’s say personal adventures in my old journal. I don’t plan to do that here. I feel it was a mistake. But I did it as a grown woman in my thirties. Not a teenage girl.

I don’t think their parents can possibly know they’re doing things like this. And why don’t they? I know everything my daughter does on the computer. It isn’t hard to keep tabs on your children, folks. And it isn’t hard to teach them it isn’t a good idea to make sex tapes at school.

I started to wonder why they were all given permission be out of class and how long they were all gone. I wouldn’t think it would be a short period of time, considering. But I can’t point fingers at their teachers without knowing some more facts. How did they manage to get a camera in school?

Why are we teaching our girls nowadays that in order to be accepted, they must be sexually promiscuous? We even have people grabbing pejoratives like “slut” and “whore” and translating them into badges of some sick, twisted kind of honor. Since when is it a point of pride that you don’t care who you have sex with? Since when does being sexually adventurous at a young age make you somehow cooler than the other kids? It is, in my opinion, a disturbing trend that is making victims of our teenagers and opening them up to dangers they can’t possibly imagine.