Monday, September 03, 2007


So, since I have two accounts on blogger, I can't seem to leave comments as jhsteacher on other blogger blogs. I've tried, but my other blogger name comes up, one that isn't anonymous. I started this blog so I could write about school and what goes on there without worrying about being found out, but I also like reading the other edublogs out there.

Hmmm... just tried to leave a comment on Shrewdness of Apes (I knew a quote from the movie) but couldn't do it.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Friday, August 31, 2007

A record

Today, whilst my darling new students in fifth period English were presenting their "Where He's/She's From" poems (ones they wrote about a classmate they interviewed), one of the students in the class was screwing around. I told Stewie (not his real name, of course) to knock it off, but he just kept making faces and shadow puppets with his hands instead of paying attention to the students at the front of the class.

Then, as a boy was reading his rather good poem to the class, and everyone was listening, Stewie ripped off a fart that could be heard bouncing off the foothills behind our school.

He then acted shocked that I would send him outside for a natural action such as his.

And so, the referrals have begun.

Yeah, I know, I'll laugh about it later. But dang... if he's doing this five days into the school year, what's he going to get up to by Christmas?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Last Day of Freedom

So, tomorrow? Back to school.

On the 21st of August? On the frickin' 21st of August?

You have got to be kidding me.

Remember when school started after Labor day? Well, we're having none of that any more.

Of course, the weather's just heated up beyond comprehension. My classroom gets sun on two exposed walls, so that causes... um... parboiling to begin happening in the early afternoon. After a few days of it, it's unbearable. At home, we leave our windows open at night, so it can cool down the house; not at school. Of course we can't do that.

So the heat-sink that are my classroom walls just grab hold of that solar energy and wait to release it on my students each day.

A few years ago, I complained that the fan system (we have no AC) in my room wasn't working. Or that it was working, but only when I turned on the heat. That wasn't going to do. I brought in fans from home, but still, my room was in the low 90's for three days in a row.

They finally came to address the problem.

And removed the thermostat.

Yeah. That's how my district runs.

I'm going to go take my dog to the beach.

Happy new school year folks.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I missed a month!

I don't even know the last time I checked in. I've been out of town for a few weeks now, and you know... I'm having a hard time keeping this updated, let alone checking in on everyone else's blog. What a lazy bum I've been.

However, 100 Farmers has tagged me (even though I'm two weeks late to the party), so it's easy for me to get back into the swing.

Eight Random Facts about Me:

1. Potatoes are my favorite food. What? Okay, probably it’s the cheese and butter and other artery clogging items put atop or in which they are fried, but still.

2. In the first presidential election in which I was old enough to vote, I walked to my former elementary school with my mother and father and voted for Reagan. My politics have changed since then.

3. I have many, many shades of eye shadow, lipstick and lip gloss, but rarely wear any of it.

4. Cathy Brown hit me full-on in the mouth and chipped my front tooth at sixth grade camp. Good times.

5. I don’t like anything but bodies, pajamas or books on my sheets. No food, and no street clothes.

6. My toes are ridiculously short.

7. I never chew gum (it hurts my jaw).

8. Sappy romances or romantic comedies are still my favorite kind of movies.

The rules are
1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged (since I'm so late to this, everyone I could think of to tag already had been. So, if you are reading this and would like to do it yourself, consider this a blanket tag to all readers).

Saturday, May 26, 2007

So, at least once a month

I've got a post.

Three weeks left and counting.

I gave a test to my students yesterday. I told them they could earn 50 bonus points if they could think of three jobs in which it is acceptable to be late.

Definitely made my point.

Monday, April 02, 2007


As anyone who has checked in the last month, I've not written.

Am I going to keep this blog or not? That's the question. I don't know.

See, I started this blog to have a safe place to say what I needed to, without anyone knowing who I was. Teachers are not safe. I actually do have a regular blog, one with my picture, and one which any student who really wanted to, could find. I avoid speaking of school over there.

So, this blog.

At first, it was wonderful. A whole bunch of teachers were just like me, needing a place to talk or rant or recount the day.

Now, my life's become crazy busy. As I mentioned a month ago, a friend's cancer, my sister's new baby (I'm now an Aunt!), the extra class I'm teaching this year (so no prep period), and my Fulbright application have taken all my time and energy.

Oh yeah, about the Fulbright? I got my exchange packet 10 days ago.

I applied to the UK.

My exchange is in Hungary.

I'm not going.

My administration won't approve it because my exchange partner can't teach the same English classes I teach. Of course, it's more detailed than that, but basically, she majored in Theology and American Studies, and they want a degree in English, minimum.

So poo.

I will apply again next year, and make sure this time NOT to mark that little box "yes" that asks, "Would you be willing to consider other countries than the ones you have indicated?"

She's going to be let down too. I feel rotten, but I also question the Fulbright administrators. There is a lot of hoo ha about how they work so hard to make a good match, and yet nothing about this woman and I seem to be a good match.

She teaches at a very orthodox Catholic boarding school and I don't even go to church. Some of what she teaches is religion (not something I'd be able to do... I can just see it now..."well, what do you think? You know, the bible was written by men, and men make mistakes right? Don't think your religion is more important than someone else's..."

Yeah, wouldn't go over too well.

Plus, she has a husband and three kids, which means I'd have to give up my apartment, find them a place that would be willing to rent to them for only a year, and then find another apartment for myself when I return (since I don't need a place big enough for a family of five). I'd also have to help with the rent, since she makes significantly less than I do, and with the Fulbright, we'd both be collecting our salaries from our respective schools, not the host school.

Rent in my town? I checked yesterday. 3-bedroom apartments are between $2200 and $3000. So, I don't know, if even with my help, they could afford it here.

All of her extra-curricular activities have to do with her church and religion, and even today, although Easter vacation has officially started for them, the teachers are together for a "spiritual retreat."

No. I'm not going.

But still. It feels crummy to know I'm going to let her down.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Anne Frank, Socratic Seminars and an Observation

As a tenured teacher, I'm observed every other year. I've always had good reviews, but I still get nervous. I always feel like I'm going to get found out. About what, I don't know, but the nerves shake me up.

It doesn't help that Ms. Vice Principal who is observing me this year has a reputation for ripping new assholes for people. I've not heard of a single good observation review by her, ever.

That doesn't make me feel too comfortable. She and I are okay with each other, but have a hard time communicating. We just don't... you know... mesh. I don't get her, she doesn't get me.

She comes from an elementary background and refers back to it quite often. I don't believe she's gotten the hang just yet of developing junior high curriculum. Or discipline.

I like to take care of my own problems, know what I mean? I don't send kids to the office unless they've come to blows, and I don't write referrals unless it's the last option. Mr. Principal and Mr. Vice Principal both know this, and respect this fact. If I do send a kid up, it's serious.

Ms. Principal doesn't quite get it. She will have a "talk" with a boy who has thrown a lemon at a girl's head in the middle of my class. She will give one day of trash-pick-up (a lunchtime consequence; it comes before detention) for a student's seventh time of taking another's pencil/backpack/eraser... you get it.


So, tonight, in the next few hours, I need to have the next two weeks of The Diary of Anne Frank planned out, set up the Socratic Seminar for the day of observation, write up a lesson plan (what the hell is that any more?) listing each California State English Standard I'm addressing, and how it will be measured for assessment, and oh yeah, finish grading about 30 essays.