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Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

– Tonight, I have a raging headache that I have been fighting for days. I am now drugged up on Benadryl and Dalmane, hoping for some sleep.

– I have had a roller coaster week, and right now I am on a down slope. I can see a little curve up ahead, but I don’t know if that’s going to take me back up or further down.  I’m not sad, so don’t be sending me all these little pity comments. I am just frustrated, confused, broke and ready for good things to happen on a regular basis.

– It has been a shitty year, and I am ready for the next six months to be awesome. The first six have sucked in a major way.   If there was just one area of my life that was AMAZING, the mediocre parts wouldn’t be as oppressive.

– Really, the problem is I am not used to failing at things I attempt.  (Except Algebra)  Somehow, a specific area of my life has proven time and again to be a failure. Please no homey epithets or clichés.  I am NOT a fatalist.  I am realistic and pragmatic.  I am also about ready to throw in the proverbial towel.

– I have always worried about meat going bad in the fridge, but after hours of watching Food Network, and watching them let meat sit in a marinade for 3 and 4 days, I am rethinking this.

– I was a late bloomer, and did not date a lot in high school.  I didn’t for a while, but this year I tried to be more proactive, but I have at least been going on dates pretty regularly this year. I pretty much hate it. I like being in a relationship, but I hate the dating process.  I hate all that wondering and doubting and insecurity.  This is why it’s just easier to be single.

– I am really baffled by people who still vote for bad politicians. I don’t mean bad as in “evil”, I mean they suck at their jobs.  I am not going to continue to vote for someone who is doing a shitty job just because they have a D beside their name.

– As a child and well into adulthood, I was obsessed with bubblegum and blowing bubbles. I have spent thousands of dollars on Bubble Yum, Hubba Bubba, Fortune gum, Bubblicious, Super Bubble.  Once, I start chewing it, it is almost physically impossible to stop myself.

– I need to find some duck fat and cook something in it. It is apparently the culinary shit.

– I also am beginning to think I need to move to a new state or city.   I don’t think I’m a suitable Southern Girl, which has resulted in my chronic singular status.  Although, on occasion I meet someone who makes me think, maybe…. I am looking at options for relocation within the year. Shhh, don’t tell my friends.

– Parents, you should go ahead and tell kids now that life is going to be hard and nothing will go according to plan.  Right now, my godmother is struggling financially, and I think she’s a bit lonely.  When I was younger money never seemed to strap her like it does now, but she was ill and had to quit working for a while. Now she’s trying to find work, but it’s not easy for a women in her 60s to obtain gainful employment, although she is VERY skilled. I am sure this is not how she planned her twilight years to be. I can guarantee that this is not the adulthood I thought I’d have.

– I wish bacon was low fat and healthy.  I’d be in tip top shape.

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I was recently talking to a new friend, and I got the impression he didn’t fully understand the love I have for my students. To me, teaching is a calling, much like to the priesthood or convent. I don’t make a lot of money; I don’t get much respect. It is my fault if your child is unsuccessful in school. But there is NO other job I can think of that makes me prouder to claim as my profession.  I adore my students – good and bad, smart and simple.  They are just as snarky as I am.  Many of them overcome huge disadvantages just to come to my classroom every day.  I love my students.  When I am at school, I think of your child as being my child. I want only the best for them.  I want success in whatever form they can achieve it. I have had students go on to be successful in a huge variety of ways, professionally and personally.  I love seeing former students.   I have cried for them, laughed with them, been angry with them, been proud of them, but above all I have loved them.  I may be unhappy with the interactions I have with their parents.  I may be disappointed in their performance in my class or other classes.

I  want there to be no doubts about how I feel about my job and my children.  I may complain about certain aspects of my job, but who doesn’t?  When one of my students asked me what I would do if i won a big lottery amount, and my answer is the same. Start my own school.  My standards would be high, but my students would reach, and surpass my ideals for them.

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If you find yourself wondering why you have to interact with stupid, uneducated, ignorant, and otherwise useless people, please blame school boards, school administrations and parents.  Yes, I said it. PARENTS.  Not all parents, but enough of them.   As a teacher, I have been told to give a student a packet of work and if he/she completes it, give him/her a passing grade. I have refused stating that I have allowed this same student the chance to make up work, re-do work, re-take tests, turn in late assignments. I have stayed after school, given up lunches and come in early.  Yet, I have not once gotten a parent to call me back, attend a conference, email me or otherwise contact me. The school board threatens NO SUMMER SCHOOL every year.  Every year, the students can attend 16 4 hour days and that is supposed to make up for the class they failed. They can do this for up to two classes. I promise you I have seen the worksheets they do, and there is no way they learn anything other than “Hey, I don’t have to do shit all year, and I can come get a free lunch, and they’ll pass me”. Then they get to high school and don’t know shit.

I can promise you when we get them from elementary school, they are already two, three, four years behind. I have had students who are reading on a 1st and 2nd grade level. You can only hold that struggling child back so many times in elementary school before you have to socially promote him.   The same goes for middle school. You can fail them once.  After, they get socially promoted.  For the kids who are “too old”, we now have a computerized program that students take a year or less to complete.  The district and the administration determines which lessons they must complete. NO, it’s NOT all of them. They are taught no research skills, which are higher level, critical thinking skills.  Mind you, if I am evaluated and found to NOT be teaching this skills, I can at the least be chastised and at the most be written up or fired.  Teachers are NOT failing your kids. The “powers that be” are.

I am teaching high school summer school this year.  It is all on the computer. Basically, I, and another teacher, re-mediate as needed.  Otherwise the students are on their own. they must complete a mere 50% with a 70 or better and they can be finished. If they do that in a week, they’re done. If thy do it in five weeks, they’re done. The group we have consists of 9th, 10th, and 11th grades.  The DISTRICT (which I will be happy to remind you is made up primarily of men and women who have not sat in a classroom in YEARS), determined the content.  It is maybe half, MAYBE, of what they should be learning for the year.   I do think it will take most of the students the entire time to accomplish their 50/70 goal, but then what? Next year they’ll be sitting in their next English class completely unprepared.

School boards need to quit letting a handful of high-maintenance parents control them.  They should also be made up of a broader range of stakeholders.  We have a school board member who was a clerk of court for her entire life.  WHAT does she bring to the educational table?  People voted for her, a familiar name, so we’re stuck. There are no teachers on the school board in my district, and it is my understanding that this is how it is in most school districts.  If you think this is only done in my district, you are SORELY mistaken. It is an epidemic in America.   It is why we have fallen behind “lesser” nations.  Our entire school system needs to be scrapped and revamped. I have no problem with computer learning, virtual classrooms, etc. What I do have a problem with is the dumbing down of a curriculum by the district and administration, but when test scores roll in, it will be teachers to blame.  If my students who are with me every day don’t do well on the PASS test or if i taught high school the HSAP and EOC, it will be unspoken that it is MY fault.  So, who is at fault when the student who did NOT pass MY standards in my class is passed along?

Know thine enemy.  Teachers and most parents are the only people looking out for your  children and their education.

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In January of 1986, I was in the 11th grade at Dreher High School in Columbia, SC.  I was a library aide for one of my periods.  It was during this period that I was in the library when the Challenger Space Shuttle was scheduled to lift off. In 1986, there wasn’t cable television in every classroom to watch important events like this.  Our special education teacher brought her classroom to the library to watch.  This wasn’t a classroom of children with normal learning abilities, but behavioral disorders.  It was a class with lower IQs and some other disorders.  I remember one little girl in the class was very excited to be watching the take off. With those students, their teacher and aides, the library staff and me, there were less that 20 people in the library, which was very large.  We were all sitting and standing around the television to watch the Challenger take off.

A little over a minute later, what we thought was part of the normal procedure was actually the malfunction and explosion of the shuttle.  A couple of minutes later, the announcer – I don’t recall if it was a reporter or an actual NASA employee – reveals to the spectators on site and the television viewing audience reveals that there has been a “major malfunction” and the shuttle has exploded.

I remember being shocked and sad for the people who were killed. The thing I remember most, however, is this little girl in the class that was watching becoming hysterical and inconsolable.  She just kept yelling, “No, that can’t happen. There is a teacher on that shuttle!”  That’s all she kept saying.  She was crying and yelling. The other kids were being really sweet and trying to calm her down while the teacher was doing the same thing.  The aides took the class back to their room, but the teacher had to take the girl to the office to the nurse so her parents could come get her. That stuck with me more than the image of those curling plumes of smoke I saw on TV.

A few years later, after I was out of college, I saw this girl with her parents at a baseball game I had take my grandma to.  Immediately, I was taken back to that day in the library and wondered if she ever thought about that day, if she ever got sad thinking about it, how it effected her over the years since I’d seen her.  I spoke to her because we had known each other in high school.  She remembered me, and seemed happy. To me her reaction was so pure and raw, so genuine because she didn’t have the constraints and reservations placed on us by how society expects us to act and react.  There have been plenty of times in my life where I wanted to yell “No! That can’t happen like that!”  Unfortunately, I have to hold that in and do my yelling later into my pillow or in the privacy of my house.

Today, on Yahoo!, I saw this link and it reminded me of that girl and made me wonder about her again.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/first-amateur-video-challenger-shuttle-explosion-revealed-185802006.html

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I’ve always eschewed groups that required membership: fan clubs, sororities, etc.   I’m not sure why, I get a physical reaction when I think about some elitist clubs. I don’t WANT to be a part of any club that is that uppity and disdainful of others.  Ok, I lied.  i was a member of the Key and Latin Clubs in high school, but seriously, how popular are those clubs?  I was also a charter member of the Benjamin Franklin Philately Club. Yes, that’s what they called it.  I was 9.  (That’s stamp collecting for you not in the know.) I was also a Les Coquette in high school. That was the high school sorority at Dreher that you could be a member of when you were in 11th grade.  I didn’t do the LTA or LPT sororities because they had actual humiliating initiations and hazing.  Not my speed.

Fast Forward to adulthood and the club that matters. Politics. I don’t have any official affiliations to any specific political parties.  I do see myself as more of a Democrat that any other group, so I guess it’s all a matter of semantics. I can not imagine how I could be a supporter of the Republican party. I realize they are all defective in many ways.  That being said, as a woman whose rights are constantly in jeopardy by the right wing groups, I can’t imagine putting my future solely in their hands.  I can’t imagine how any woman can.  I can’t imagine being black, gay, female or poor and being a supporter of Republicans. At every turn, they are working to undermine those demographics. I wonder at how informed those groups actually are or if they’re just spewing what parents and husbands have told them is “the right way” to think.  I don’t need everyone to comment and try to explain to me your reasoning for allowing old white men to dictate how you live your life, what you do with your uterus, who you marry, all while hording away money in tax shelters and the Caymans as your family loses their home.

I’ll keep my usually open mind and tolerant attitudes closed and intolerant in this one instance.  Thankfully, thinking and voting are illegal yet, so I can denounce who I want when I want.

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So, it’s been a while since I have done shown some love (and some unlove)

Things I am loving right now:

**almond bear claws from Publix

**teen lit

**my new teaching ideas

**snapped

**fresh, new razor cartridges

**the promise of fall in the air some mornings

**the reminder of summer in the air most afternoons

**planning my halloween costume

**playing with Matthew

**my new clinique mascara

**walker’s short bread

**my friends

**all of my dog/house/pool sitting jobs

**tammy’s pimento cheese

**thinking about the SC State Fair in a month!!

**reading my students’ journals (my favorite of which was a funny, cute account of trying to get Justin Beiber’s phone number on Twitter)

**our seventh graders this year

**ginger ale

**goat cheese

**sushi

**orbit spearmint gum

**my kitties

**a certain man who can always make me laugh

**movies

**new tv line ups

**project runway

**tim gunn telling off one of the contestants on PR

**Pinnacle whipped cream vodka with orange juice

**Jon Stewart and The Daily Show

**HeelTastic

**new season of The Amazing Race in two weeks!
Stuff I am not loving….

>>fall allergy season (achoooo)

>>car repairs

>>itchiness

>>being too busy to walk (which will be rectified this week!)

>>my  tan is fading

>>extremists who are intolerant

>>the stinkiness of the river

>>lazy students

>>my messy room

>>judgmental people who don’t know what they’re talking about

>>not being a trustfund baby or lottery winner

>>reruns

>>those ankle boot sandals mutations

>>jelly shoes

>>katy perry songs (all of them)

>>my spilling everything

>>my crappy old ass mattress

>>my crappy ankle

>>white chocolate

>>raspberry anything

>>lemon anything

>>the new cherry 7UP formula

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Did you guys know that in most, if not all states, governments decide how much money to budget in the future for new prisons, prison renovations, enlargements, etc. based on the standardized test scores of their ELEMENTARY students, in some cases starting as early as SECOND GRADE??

Maybe it’s just me, but couldn’t some of that money be redirected to early childhood education programs, parent services and training, access to more books for children, etc.?  I know, I am just a crazy ol’ democratic teacher.  What do I know about middle school kids who didn’t get the early childhood base of education they needed? What do I know about parents who are just as intimidated about school as their kids are because more often than not, school was not a positive experience for them either? What do I know about parents who can barely read so they can’t spread the love of books and reading to their own small children?

Just something to ponder.

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