Saturday, November 04, 2006

This past week was somewhat rollercoasterish. Thursday I had to deal with a parent who...well I don't like to say too much on this blog about negative things that happen but let's say that this parent had some unusual ideas about how his or her child should be taught and treated at school and some unusual expectations on what the teacher should be doing. I got pretty worked up about it and it ruined my entire day.

Friday was Teacher Appreciation Day. This is the day when some PTA mothers come and take over my class for an hour and a half and give the teachers an extended lunch break. While we're gone the teachers have the kids do something special for us. You may remember this day from last year in which young Theach declared me a god. This year the parents had the kids make a poster with me on which they wrote things and glued outlines of their hands. I didn't have anything so unusual as Theach but one girl did write "Dear Mr. ______, You're a fun nerd!"

Wow...I've got 4th graders labeling me a nerd. That can't be good. After that I mentioned something about being "white and nerdy" which comes from Weird Al's latest hit. The kids, including that girl, knew exactly what I was talking about so I started that song playing on my computer (from the link above) just for a few they could hear the beginning of it. Several of them were impressed that I knew that song. A couple of girls were a little too impressed. One girl said "Mr. Cook, I'm going to tell me mom that you like that kind of music." I was puzzled by that and said "Ok." Then I realized that this girl probably thought the song I was playing to the class was the song "Ridin' Dirty" which "White and Nerdy" is a parody of. That would NOT be a good song to play to a 4th grade class so I immediately clarified with her that it was not the song that she thought it was. Just when I thought that was all cleared up I had an almost identical interaction with another really didn't work out well. Hopefully no kids will go home and tell their parents that I'm playing them dirty rap songs in class.

Anyway, when I came into the classroom after looking at the poster out in the hallway my kids swarmed me with hugs and if I'd been gone for months. That was kind of out of control but it felt good to know they were glad to see me. Then I went to my desk and on my desk was a little "tree" in a vase that the mothers had made that had several gift cards hanging from it. The gift cards were to McD's, Wal-Mart, Starbucks and Chik-Fil-A. Being a total coffee snob I don't really go to Starbuck's so I gave that one to my wife. I'm not really a chicken snob or a burger snob so I'll use the others. Also, I'm not a "stuff that's made in China" snob either so I'll use the Wal-Mart card too.

I'm making jokes but I was really surprised and greatful to the kids and parents for that stuff. Oh, also yesterday another one of my students gave me a $15 gift card to a local deli that's a couple of blocks from my house. I'm feeling the love from the kids this week! It definitely made up for the phone call on Thursday.

Also this week was Halloween. The kids were completely amped up on the day before, the day of and the day after about that. The same girl who gave me the deli gift card brought me a gift on Halloween day too. I don't know that I've ever received a Halloween Gift. It was a candle and some candy. That was sweet of her.

I had three of my kids come trick-or-treating to my house. I thought I would have more.. I gave them my address so they could come. :( I did get two kids who looked like they could be linemen on the local high school football team (one of which had an enormous afro that did not appear to be part of a costume), two skinny white boys wearing hula skirts and coconut bras and a couple of kids wearing black overcoats who said, "We're school shooters!" Real funny, kid. How about dressing up as a terrorist next halloween. Maybe a shoebomber...or hey...go for broke and just be Bin Laden.

Halloween Night was an adventure too. At about 10pm I heard a crash outside. I ran out and saw that a car had wrecked into something in front of my neighbor's house and there were teenagers running away from it. I called the police and then went out to check on everything. Apparently they had hit a parked car and knocked it through a yard and up into another person's driveay. The people behind them saw teens run away and one of them grabbed a liquor bottle out of the car. The driver actually stayed. So...then the story really began. We were standing around looking at the car waiting for the cops when this white car full of people comes speeding up. As the car is still moving someone throws a door open and the door of the moving car slams into my neighbor. The car was full of friends and family of someone who was in the accident apparently. My neighbor goes ballistic and starts yelling at some of the women who poured out of the car who start yelling back at her and then basically the car-women attacked my neighbor. My neighbor's husband then jumps in and punching these chicks in the face. I'm not normally a proponent of men fighting women but these women were asking for it and I can't say I wouldn't do the same thing if my wife was attacked like that. Also, they were all bigger than his wife. Some of them were pretty burly.

Anyway, that kind of died down and the people all pile back into the white car and start to drive off as this 12-year-old girl is hanging out the window yelling F-words at everyone in sight. At that point I looked at my neighbor and said "When did our neighborhood become a trailer park?" (no offense to residents of trailer parks, but you know it's true!) So finally the police showed up after all that. They did a sobriety test on the 16-year-old driver and then cuffed him and put him in the car. They took some statements and were not at ALL interested in the fight. They were only taking statements on the wreck and the teens involved.

So there you go...the highlights from my crazy week.

I'll leave you with this image in honor of a bizarre week:


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The other day the mother of one of my kids emailed me and said "Jacob really looks up to you. The other day he asked me if we win the lottery can we buy you a present."

That day he brought me a golf ball as a present. It was a Titleist that had a "1" on it and he said he was giving it to me because "it says 'number one' on it." Ironically this is the kid who gets in trouble and doesn't have his homework the most. I like him though and I wish we could get him on track with his behavior and work. It's pretty humbling as a teacher to realize that there are kids who look up to you to the extent that some of them do.

At that point you just have to remind yourself that there are others who hate your guts.


Monday, October 09, 2006

School has been going pretty well and it continues to be a good year. I lose track of any stories I would normally tell here though...I have the worst memory for stuff like that.

The other day though in our morning assembly the principal was giving away reading awards. This one 3rd grade girl gets an award and she's standing up there in front of everyone. I look at her shirt and it's a takeoff of the popular "I ♥ NY" shirts except it's from Kentucky and it says "I ♥ KY." At least I ASSUME it was from Kentucky...could be that she's just a fan of lubricants.

We went to our yearly high school pep rally not too long ago too. It was so freaking disorganized. Just random people standing out there doing random things. There's this one group of kids who are not pep squad and not cheerleaders and group but they seem to be some sort of spirit based group except they seemed to be focused on expressing their spirit by doing weird things. Two of them came up to pump up the kids. One was walking around with a stickhorse between his legs the entire time. The other had a cane and one blue sock. How wacky! No one really got too pumped up.

At one point this group did some kind of skit out on the floor. Only, no one really thought to use microphones so you couldn't hear anything so people just kept talking. Finally halfway through they got a mic and it turned out that they'd written a song about football based on "The 12 Days of Christmas." Also at that point everyone realized we would have been better off if they had not found the mic.

Before the pep rally some of the high school kids took some of the 4th graders down on the gym floor. They were having them dance. Some of these kids were doing some pretty funny dances. One of them was standing out there doing violent and enthusiastic pelvic pumps. Then I looked over at one point and one of the high school cheerleaders was down there teaching another 4th grader how to do this incredibly inappropriate ghetto booty dance that looked...well...just wrong for anyone to be doing in public, much less a 4th grader. Idiots.

Ah yes...the cheerleaders. I'm told that at some point cheerleaders may have served some purpose. Their only purpose now seems to be to stretch out very seriously on the gym floor for 20 minutes before the pep rally. They must stretch because it's very easy to pull something when you are making the signal for "LOOK AT ME!!" Apparently the Look-at-me signal involves lots of jumping and your hands extended over your head. Occasionally the Look-at-me signal is transformed into a group "LOOK AT HER!!" signal which is performed by several others holding one up in the air while she signals "LOOK AT ME!!" It's all very complicated.

The cheerleaders came to our school and performed in morning assembly the next week. I don't know what the deal is...last year our kids were really pumped up when the cheerleaders came but this year's bunch seems to be some kind of vampire cheerleaders. They came in and sucked the spirit out of the kids in the gym. It was baaaad.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ok, so I didn't really get it updated last week...maybe I'll try to get it done THIS week. No really.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I should really update this thing. Maybe I'll try to do that this week.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Crickets. I'm getting pretty ticked off at crickets.

The crickets are swarming now..everywhere, including in my classroom. Every time one crawls out it seems that I lose the attention of the whole class. It's really annoying. The reactions range from curious staring to screams of terror. Dang crickets.

The other day we were reviewing the 4 natural regions of our state. One of the regions is the High Plains. I was writing them on the board. I wrote them up there and turned around. When I turned back around to look I realized I'd written "High Plains Drifter" on the board and was completely unaware of it. I guess I've seen too many Clint Eastwood movies.

This morning during reading time someone was passing gas the whole time I was reading to them. Silent but deadly. The whole reading area just reeked. These kids are little fart machines.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tonight was parents night. Last year this lasted one hour total. It's supposed to go from 6:30 to 7:30. This year they kept the parents down in the cafeteria being talked to by the principal, the music teacher, the PE teacher and the PTA president so that they didn't even get up to our rooms (where they're supposed to endure another meeting, which is supposed to be the focus of the whole night) until after 7:30. So that really stunk for those that had only booked babysitters until 7:30 as well as for those of us who had dinner and spouses waiting at home (just to clarify, I only have one spouse).

This afternoon I started feeling really light-headed for some reason. I started walking down the hallway to go get my class from PE and suddenly the hallway started moving and I had to lean against a wall. I don't know what the deal was. I was able to go get my class and stay with them until the dismissal bell but I continued to feel like that for an hour and a half. I had my blood pressure and blood sugar checked and they were both fine. It was weird..that's never happened before. I think it might possibly be due to fatigue.

This morning I had the kids reading out loud out of their social studies book. This one kid started reading and he just went nonstop, zooming through periods and all. So I stopped him and said "I need to hear the punctuation when you read!" meaning he needs to pause with periods etc... So he started back up again, got to the end of the sentence and said "period." I laughed but he seemed kind of embarrassed. Ok, I need to go address that fatigue I mentioned right now.

Good night.