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: