Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top 10 Things HM Hated About School Today

10. Even though my thermostat is set on 72 like a law-abiding faculty member, the temperature goes to 74 without the darn thing kicking on. Unless I open the window for a cool breeze. Then it kicks on, so I have to close the window lest an administrator pop in and bust me for air conditioning with open windows.

9. The worst thing about a conference with a concerned but polite parent is that it happens on plan time (go figure!) which puts me behind 50 minutes in grading, recording scores, looking up work for the slackers, and DUH planning.

8. The ne'er-do-well #1 son had his phone taken away during class this morning. His teacher sent me a heads-up email, which I found by using my psychic abilities, since I usually check my email before school and during my PLAN TIME 6th hour. Funny that a kid doesn't think a phone put on 'silent' will attract attention when his brother The Veteran texts him and sets off that drunken squirrel ring tone at max volume. The boy says it wasn't his fault. He didn't expect anyone to call him. Which is why he left his phone on even though I tell him every morning to turn it off. The requirement for this teacher is that a parent must come to the office to pick it up, even on the first offense. More power to her, I say. Nobody else says anything. She carries a knife. Yep. It's not concealed. It's there for all to see on her belt. But the phone and knife themselves are not the issue here. I went to pick it up, and stopped at the counter. The person filling in for the secretary kept yakkin' on the phone, so #1 and I started around the counter to go to the principal's office, just as we would have done had I still worked in that building. Chatty Cathy suddenly hung up and said snottily, "May I help you?" OK, it's only been a year since I worked in that building, down in Lower Basementia right near this denizen's lair. Don't give me freakin' attitude because you had to hang up your personal call. Anyhoo...I retrieved the phone, stored in the cryptkeeper's vault, and if it happens again, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is going to have an iPhone.

7. There was a new detour on the way home from school. A detour where none had been before. Plus a new detour that we've been warned of by the school my kids should attend in our district. It took me a right, two lefts, and a right to get where one left should have taken me. That plays havoc with my mileage, people.

6. The lunchroom had those spicy potato chunk thingies that I like instead of the fries they advertised. But even though I have paid up my account to $22.75, I have no taste. So what would be the point?

5. The Pony got off the bus at Newmentia with a fundraiser envelope. He whinnied excitedly that if he is in the top three sellers, he gets time in a money booth and can win a $20 bill. Hmpf! I'll give that little guy $20 to keep from spending more than that on the fundraiser junk. He can't compete with kids whose parents take those things to work with them. People need gas money. I don't want to impose on them to buy useless junk. The school needs to stop pimping out my child.

4. When I blew an extra-large economy-sized vat of nasal secretions into a tissue, a boy who has perhaps only ME among the faculty who treats him with respect and even notices that he's alive, said loudly, "That sounded rough!" OK. Enough. I don't call attention to YOU when you blow your nose. I'm not one of those emo people who mince toward the door and hide my face in a corner to take a blow when I need to. It's not like we're dining with the Queen of England. I had to blow my honker, so shut up already. I pointed out the error of his ways, and I think he was truly sorry, since he volunteered to read first during the lesson.

3. A kid who is new and has been smart-alecky in my class since day one was written up by our #1 substitute. The kids told the tale. Mr. Sub asked, "Where do you think you're going, young man?" and Dude told him, "To get my folder." He said it with an attitude, and then he wouldn't stop backtalking. And Mr. Sub wrote him up! Just for getting his folder! I mentioned the attitude part. Well, he only did it to get back at Mr. Sub, because he was taking an attitude with Dude. Yeah, right. So I told them, "I guess Dude really showed Mr. Sub! But I don't think it's hurting Mr. Sub a bit that Dude got ISS."

2. After asking every single class if anybody had to stay after today for the Science afterschool program for failing grades, not one person said they were staying. Yet five minutes after the final bell, there was an urchin begging for his make-up work. An urchin that my buddy Mabel knows from Math slacker class. I have him twice a day. I grilled him on why he didn't speak up earlier. "I didn't hear you. I guess I wasn't listening." So I pulled out his rap sheet, saw two assignments that he could make up for zeroes, and told him one was impossible because it was out of a magazine that I had already passed on. The other was the freakin' notebook assignment that is to be copied down each day. I gave him a copy of notes, and told him that's all he could make up, because we only go two weeks back. Otherwise, a kid can sit on his duff all quarter, and ask for all the work, and pass. Urchin didn't like that. He swore he needed more work. I told him he should have gone during the last two-week session. "But I wasn't failing then." Au contraire. If he had a 52% now, with only two assignments that were zeroes, I guarandarntee that he was failing when the slacker list was run two weeks ago. So I went to the cupboard to show this poor dog his bone. You know, the grade printouts we have to run every week and file in a ring binder. And there it was, in light blue, black and white. A 39% back then. Too bad, so sad. I was NOT going to dig out that old work that he should have come for then. But of course he didn't, because he wasn't failing then. So I chastised him some more for taking up my time instead of telling me when I was prepared to look it up, and sent him on his way. He said, "So I can turn this in tomorrow?" I said 'OK' just to get rid of him. It used to be that the slacker teacher had to give stuff to you in your mailbox, but this year the kids bring it to me. You're not gonna believe what happened next. Hauling the future convict #1 son to get his purloined iPhone, we passed Urchin walking down the road! He did not even go to slacker class! That little snot wanted all his work to take home and do while snacking and texting and music-listening and TV-watching, so he could get credit for doing it in slacker class. No way, no how! Not on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's watch. If he turns that in tomorrow, and tells me he did it in slacker class, he's off to see the wizard...the wonderful wizard of discipline referrals.

1. Everybody knows that Histinex ain't allowed in school.


DeadpanAnn said...

I can't believe they're allowed to go 2 weeks back. That's too much work for ME. My young'uns get ONE DAY for makeup work regardless of the reason it was missed. If they're sick for a long time, they get longer, but they have to come see me for permission. Going back to grade old work is just too much to keep up with, and besides, homework is only worth something if it's done on time-- what's the point in doing a handout on nouns two weeks after we've taken the test?

I put all the handouts in a binder on the back table and they have to get the notes and info from other students. After the one day, a zero is carved in stone. STONE I say.

Except when a parent calls within a reasonable amount of time and makes a polite request. Then I usually let them do it.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Miss Ann,
This is through our after-school program, for which we receive a hefty 21st Century grant.

Once upon a time, at the lunch table, I asked, "So you mean to tell me that we have to look up all of the failed work, and give it to them to do again after they've done nothing for two weeks, and then grade it, and take 80% of the score, and enter it into the computer gradebook?" And I received a very curt reply from somebody who is more important than I: "I would HOPE that we are in education to help kids pass, and not to worry about how much extra work it makes for ourselves."

I did not enjoy that smackdown. I would hope that we are creating young adults who can become contributing members of society, and not think they're going to get a do-over for every bad decision they make along life's rocky road. But what do I know?

Later that week I brought up the case of a regular kid who might want to get an 'A' instead of a 'B' on some assignments. The answer to that was that ANYBODY can redo work at the after school program, but that the highest grade they can receive is 80% of their score. I cry foul for the gifted kids. We are dumbing down the future of our nation.

At least BObama will give everyone a pony.