Sunday, October 19, 2008

Good golly, Ms. Collie

Greetings after another extended absence. Just thought I'd check in and let you all know that it's status quo here in Charlotte.

School has become routine. The kids are finally learning what to expect day to day, and while they're still incredibly talkative and prone to being CRAZY, I think we're making some progress. We've been working on a class story about Heritage (it being the first theme in our reading program) and they are really into it. I'm letting them write everything--literally every word--so we get some pretty creative sentence constructions. I think our final paragraph goes something like, "Thank you for reading our story today, our story about heritage from all over the world. From Africa to South America to Antarctica, our story about traditions and heritage passed down through generations. Thank you for getting to the end of our story, and if you just skipped to the end, go back and read the whole thing because it is awesome. Peace out." Budding Hemingways, all... Also, they are *fascinated* by how fast I type. I'm a pretty good typist--Mavis Beacon and I spent a lot of quality time together when I was young--and these kids are just so impressed. They make me close my eyes and then they dictate and watch as I type their words as they say them. It's so funny to watch. Oh, you went to Harvard? Big whoop. WAIT, you can type 100 wpm??? Ms. Collie, that's so cool!!!

You're perhaps wondering now who this Ms. Collie person is. That would be me. Apparently that "Mc" is just too hard to handle, so a significant portion of my students have dropped it altogether. Oh well. It's kind of cute, and I like it better than them pronouncing McCallie wrong (Mick-Caaaaallie, that would be).

Let's see... There are plenty of negative things I could write about. I wrote my first office referral the other day, for instance, and I have at least one student that I have absolutely no idea what to do with, but I really like to leave all those problems in my trailer, and that's probably good for all of us. Instead, I'll tell you that I went to see James Taylor for free today. Wow! He's doing a mini-tour in five North Carolina cities stumping for Barack Obama. It was an incredible show--short, but packed with his greatest hits. And he did some rallying/commentary in between the songs, so I now know that James Taylor is a) passionate about Barack Obama, and b) a little bit crazy. But so funny. It would be awesome to be his friend.

I'm sitting here now watching Game 7 of the ACLS, finding myself amazed that the Sox are here. What the heck! Don't they ever get tired of incredible comebacks? I mean, it's great, but stil... way to mess with our nerves. Also, as I typed "Game 7 of the ACLS," the commentator said the exact same thing. Creepy. Watching the game and realizing that it's 9 pm and we're only in the third inning makes me remember one of the things I don't like about teaching: there's no way I will be able to stay up to watch this whole game. I've come to feel like 10:30 pm is waaaay past my bedtime, which is so sad. But I guess when you're waking up at 5:30 am, it's pretty foolish to stay up too late, even if it is to see your team (hopefully) make it to the World Series...

Well, I've zoned out and it's 9:10 now, so we're getting dangerously close to bedtime, and I still have some spelling tests to grade. So I'll sign off now. But, just because it's been awhile, I'll leave you with some gnfabs: Conspicuous Indicator of Silence, The Meat Thieves, and Static Cling.

Go Sox,
--Ms. M. Or Ms. C, depending on who you are...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sick Day

Well, I'm home sick today with vaguely flu-like symptoms. All yesterday I was feeling nauseous--I even threatened to throw up on my kids if they didn't behave. Too much? Probably. But it made them laugh (little did they know I was serious). Anyway, as soon as school ended, I felt like, in the words of Miranda Priestly, "an incubus of viral plague." So I figured out the substitute system, called in a sick day, and am now at home recuperating.

I felt really bad calling in sick. It just really makes me realize how high the stakes are in this job. OK, I'm working a nine-to-five and I get sick; what's the worst that could happen? I miss a meeting and someone fills me in about it the next day. With teaching, if I call in sick, my kids basically miss a day of instruction, because there's only so much a sub can do. Thankfully Friday is test day, so a good chunk of the day is pretty easy for the sub to implement, but I had such bigger things to do with the kids today which just won't get done. Plus, if my kids are monsters to the sub (a definite possibility), it reflects very badly on me. AND it's picture day, so I guess I'm out of the yearbook. Sad panda. Oh well. It had to be done.

So sick days aside, how's it going? Well... it has its ups and downs, like anything. Sometimes I feel like it's a world full of downs, but then the kids will do something that just cracks me up, and anytime they hug me, my anger just completely dissipates. Damn manipulative children...

I don't really know what to say. My weeks are pretty much identical--the nature of this reading program is that we do the same thing every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc., just with a different story each week. We're about to wrap up our "Heritage" theme and move on to "Energy at Work." I can't decide if that's going to be better or worse. It's really amazing, though, how little my kids know about the world. I've had so many comments like, "So is Asia next to North Carolina?" and "They wanted to leave Alaska and go to America." They don't know the difference between a country, a city, a state, a region. They think that African is a language and that Chinese and Japanese people are the same. They understand racism and get really fired up over the civil rights movement, but then don't get why I'm upset at them for saying that all Chinese people talk like "Ching chong ding dong." It's just kind of mind-boggling, and I can't figure out how much of this ignorance is just because they're in fifth grade and how much is brought on by the complete failure of their schooling up to now. Meanwhile, I have very little time to actually correct these misapprehensions, as all our waking minutes are supposed to be used prepping them for the End of Grade tests (EOGs), something I feel I am not doing a very good job at so far...

The good news (?) is that I think we're all pretty much in the same boat. I mean all the TFA people. Sure, some people are doing better and some are definitely doing worse, but overall, we're united in our seeming incompetence. But I think it's getting better, day by day. So, we'll see.

As usual, I'm sure there's more to say and more you want to know about, but I'm at a loss for words. My bed is calling me, so there I shall return.

Hope all is well with all of you...