Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Spread the Word, Please...

It's been like 3 weeks since I last sat down to write.  It's because my job kicks ass. 

Literally, it's kicking my ass.

The first part of this post is probably going to be sort of whiny and "Holy geez, I'm beyond tired", so if you want to scan ahead to the other way that my job kicks ass, feel free.  I'll even bold and subtitle the part that is at least slightly funny.  Hopefully, funny.  Well... it's funny to me.

For real.  The new schedule (from 11 years on block scheduling -- 4 classes for 80 minutes each + a 45 minute end o' day class -- to 6 classes at 51 minutes each) is killing me.  The pace is unreal.  I feel like I never sit down from 7:30 AM until my conference period at 3:00.  And even then, I don't just sit down, I melt into my chair and proceed to rest my head on my desk for 10 solid minutes.  How did all of my former teachers do this for basically their entire careers?  They were OLD when they were my teachers.

Oh, wait.  Now I'm OLD.  Ahhh... THIS is how you get to be OLD.  No wonder.  I apologize to all my teachers. 

Don't get me wrong.  I love seeing my kids each day now.  I feel like I know them so much better, and they know and remember me (and my expectations) day-to-day.  But daaannnngggg.... there's a lot to do in that day.  Then, between 7th grade volleyball and lesson planning and grading, I have been working 60+ hours each week.  If I was the super-politico type, I'd insert some rhetoric about my paycheck here.  Luckily for you, I'm not.


But in case you think I've fallen out of love with my job, you'd be wrong.  I've known my students for just under a month, but they've already doled out 2 months worth of whacked-out good times.  My theory is: if you teach 12 and 13 year old kids and they don't make you bite the inside of your mouth to keep from laughing on a daily basis... you're not doin' it right.  Mind you, we get LOTS done in my class.  It's just that stuff isn't always very funny.

Case in point:

1.  I have a student.  His name is very different.  When I called roll and asked that students tell me what they'd like to be called (you know... like "Bob" instead of "Robert"), he replied with "Boosie".  Now, I'm no old, unhip white lady like some might suspect.  I do happen to know who Lil Boosie is.  And normally, I'd refuse this request, but I was feelin' sassy this particular day.  I agreed.  It's "Boosie" as long as you're doing your work and staying out of trouble.  He knows when he hears his real name, the show's over.  I do, however, call him "Bootsy" just to eff with him though and let him do the "crazy ol', unhip white lady slow head shake" at me.  It also makes my co-worker laugh because it reminds him of Bootsy Collins and the Parliament Funkadelic.

2.  Today, while learning about appositive phrases, another of my students wanted to write about another rapper, Wiz Khalifa (and I fully admit I did not know this one).  When I asked him to give me some extra info to rename/describe him, the student hesitated.  So, I clarified by saying, "Give me a school-appropriate noun to rename/describe him".  To which he replied, "Wiz Khalifa, a P-O-T-head, is my favorite rapper".  And, yes, he did spell out the P-O-T in "pot head".

Cut to me, biting the inside of my cheek and reminding him that just spelling something out does not, in fact, make it school appropriate. But way to go with the appropriate punctuation of your appositive phrase.  Both of those stories are from the same class.  Tomorrow we're going to talk about how to pick role models.

3.  One of my students announced that her parent is a manager for my all-time favorite store, Target.  I replied with a bewildered face.  When she asked if I was okay, I replied, "This is a miracle.  Seriously.  It's like seeing Jesus's image in my morning waffle."  Her reply?  "You're weird, Naz.  Funny.  But Weird."

4.  In my Pre-AP class, we were working on a lesson about inferencing and developing a theme.  We used some of Norman Rockwell's paintings which are abundant in detail that help tell a story.  In one painting, one of my student's announced that the woman looked "bougie".  To which, 70% of my class went, "uh... what?" while the other 30% nodded their heads furiously.  It made me deliriously happy to hear her describe, accurately I might add, all the text evidence that supported her claim that this woman was uppity.  It also gave me the chance to explain how "bougie" is derived from "bourgeois" and what that means.  It didn't matter.  By the end of class, I overheard some skinny white kid throwing down that "So-and-So has a real bougie attitude".  

5.  Actual conversation:
Student:  Can I draw a picture of a woman giving birth for the vocab word "neonatal"?
Me:  *seven solid seconds of cold staring*
Student:  Because I wasn't sure if it would be school appropriate.
Me:  *seven more seconds of deadpan staring*
Student:  How about I just draw the baby... you know... afterward?
Me:  *seven more seconds of staring.  And a deep sigh.*
Student:  Or just a picture of, like, the cutest baby ever.  No mom.  Anywhere.
Me:  Good idea.

6.  When teaching kids to serve a volleyball, it's important for them to step with their left foot (as most serve with their right hand and this is BASIC SCIENCE, and EVEN I understand BASIC SCIENCE) in order to avoid shoulder strain as well as avoiding looking cray-cray.  I say the phrase, "Step with your left foot" approximately 53 times per practice.  So, today, while the kids worked on serving, things went like so:
Kid:  *serve out of bounds*
Me:  Step with your left foot.
Kid:  *serves into the net*
Me:  Step with your left foot.
Kid:  *serves into the back of someone else's head* and then complains, "My arm hurts.  Can I stop?"
Me:  For the love of all that is good and holy in this world, when will you believe me when I say that you should STEP. WITH. YOUR. LEFT. FOOT?  For real.  Not to brag or anything, but I'm like a genius at this stuff.  After 12 years, I'm practically the Mother Teresa of B-team volleyball serving.  I'm pretty sure there's, someday, going to be a scientific study about how much more awesome you will become when you STEP WITH YOUR LEFT FOOT.
Kid:  *steps with the left foot and serves it over the net, in-bounds, center of the court.*
Me:  *deep sigh*
Kid:  I think you really might be a genius.
Me:  Spread the word, please.


  1. In case you were wondering, I don't know either of the rappers mentioned and had never heard the word bougie before.. . . and you know I never learned to step with my left foot. Glad to know you're still alive.

  2. I educate the masses. But as a lefty, you need to STEP WITH YOUR RIGHT!