Bring Me a Stick

I’ve read most of The Collected Tales of Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand. These stories were the basis of the movies Nanny McPhee and Nanny McPhee Returns starring Emma Thompson. I wish I had a stick like Nurse Matilda. I would bang it and make some of my students behave properly. Oh well, it is fiction, and I do believe in giving students the choice to do good or evil. I encourage them to do good as they go along this life. Sigh. I still want that stick.

RLT

Settling In

I have begun settling in to my summer routine. I have a thick book to read, and my trips to Race Trac for a Sodapalooza have increased to a nearly daily level. I have announced funny holidays to my forever and former students via Remind. I have enjoyed seeing my college student son around my home again and cooking for a gargantuan appetite. It’s been nice. Taking walks several times a week does my mind good. I have some clutter to evict this summer and lots of time to get it packed up and out of my home and out of my mind.

RLT

See Ya!

This little picture means I am on my own schedule doing what I want when I want, for the most point. I took a walk, drank my coffee, ate my breakfast at home in the kitchen nook, and worked on laundry.

RLT

Completed.

The school year ended today. My being a teacher of record concluded as well. Next year will bring new faces to my classroom. 

My sick young lady was able to go to school and finish the school year with her classmates. I am glad.

Papi gave me another goodbye hug and consented to take a picture with me. I’ll include all three takes. 

I cried saying goodbye to my former students who were ending their eighth grade year and making a final walk through the school. I will probably cry a bit tomorrow at the last staff meeting because some will not return for one reason or another. My prayer is that their new endeavors bring them joy and a satisfying sense of a job well done.

RLT

What a Day!

One of my students collapsed in the hallway and was lying on the floor. I saw her feet and thought she was faking it. She was clammy and sweaty with an elevated blood pressure reading. I dropped to my knees and saw some girls in the hallway. I yelled at them to get the nurse. Track Star hit the bricks! Several adult ladies including our fabulous school nurse gathered to get my girl into an office out of sight of prying eyes. She just looked terrible. Just terrible!!! She went to the doctor, so I am praying for a complete recovery.

Due to the medical emergency, I was late to a second day of Japanese school lunch: kids eat lunch in the classroom. They were thrilled to sit in my room and enjoy fellowship. Seeing their smiling faces elevated my spirits although my mind was still on my sick little girl. Here are my lunch lambs.



At the end of the day, I caught up with Papi. He was in a different classroom all day long. Grrr! I looked at him and right there in the hallway I said, “Do you know how much I love you?” He hugged me, and I hugged him back. He said, “Don’t worry, Mrs. Johnson, it’ll be all right. Thanks for the year.” I let him go and had to walk away blinking back the tears that would not stop. I know that he cares for me and cares about my opinion. I know it. I know it. I know it. Here is the picture I snapped of him last week.


RLT

Dare Me?

I really need to buy this t-shirt and then wear it on the last day of school. Dare me to do it? 😜

I do my best to enjoy my lambs the last few days of the school year, and my goal is to leave work on that final day with happy tears only. I want the kids to have happy tears, too. Some will. Others will choose to be miserable and then try to spread their misery around. Nope! Slap a smile on your face, and get glad!! 😎 

A few may find out my actual opinion that I have held in. All. Of. This. Time. “I’m sorry you decided to be hateful and rude to me and to your fellow students. I’m sorry you were a liar and lost your parents’ trust. I’m sorry you are so angry with anyone who dares to correct you that you behave poorly as a result. I’m sorry you frustrate your parents’ best efforts to help you be a better person. I’m sorry you did not feel homework was important enough to complete or that it was worth it to fail tests and quizzes, repeatedly. Enjoy your existence.” Anyone who remains hard-hearted and hard-headed will eventually face an obstacle that cannot be moved. I have no plans to witness their comeuppance.

RLT

Papi Papi Papi

“What is your son’s name.” I stared at him. “How long have you lived here?” Crickets. Mind you, he was supposed to be completing some work for my class that he said was all in his head after school. During class, I told him I wanted to get the words out. It would hurt to get them. I’ll call mom. “No, Mrs. Johnson. Don’t do that.” Okay, how about tomorrow? “Sure thing. Tomorrow.” Nah. I called his mom ten minutes before school let out just to show him that I could. And I would. Call his mom. Even with less than ten days of school left.

My punishment was to endure grilling by a thirteen year old. He observed that my mood could quickly change and wanted to give me his descriptive word. Something in my eyes gave him pause. “The word you want is ‘mercurial,'” I smiled in a rather sharklike manner–all teeth. He worked as slowly as molasses in a blue northern blizzard. I kept my eyeballs from rolling as he feigned helplessness to get his work completed. This kid is smart as a whip, and he frustrates my good intentions to make him behave properly. I think he accidentally saw the journal of motherly advice I have been writing to him. I won’t let him read it (if he does) until after the school year is over. It was left in my reading lab class after his schedule changed for a few weeks. I began writing in it periodocially just to advise him about things like self-esteem, his potential, taking care of himself by sleeping proper hours, etc. I know I am not cool in his mind; yet, I know in my heart that he does like me. Nah, he loves me. I sound like his mom when I get on his case, yet he is too stubborn to tell me he cares. I might get too much satisfaction out of it and embarrass him by crying (or gloating that I told you so! about the silly stunts you’ve pulled) all at the same time. He may be right that I softened towards him six months ago. He may move away one day, he may forget his battle of the wills with a crazy teacher who loved him like a son, but he will always be my one and only Papi.

RLT

P. S. That dust in this room  is really making my eyes water.

No Spinning!

Those horn-blasted spinners are the current bane of teachers’ existence. We have signs up around our campus as reminders to not bring toys to school. Here is one I took up on Monday and did not give back until the end of the school day. 

This meme sums up my opinion. I have trolls who will not bring their pencils to class. I am letting them suffer natural consequences: more homework, wasted work time, and some much-needed time to reflect on personal decisions about preparation for their one job. Going. To. School.


RLT

Freak Out!

No, do not cue up C’est Chic’s “Le Freak” that was parodied in that adult beverage commercial featuring a captain’s face as a mask for all of the partiers on board singing karaoke in what I believe was Cantonese. Ahem. We started the last six weeks today, and I think this snippet of cartoon captures how teachers feel. Why?

1. Students who don’t care about keeping up their grades, bringing their supplies, and minding their manners.

2. Students who have torn their pants (crossed behavioral lines by acting like twerps) with multiple teachers with varying personalities. When the mildest teacher on my hallway sighs after certain names are mentioned, that is bad.

3. The number of students this school year who are failing multiple classes is more than the three or four previous years combined.

4. Parents who claim, “There is not enough communication.” We post information on our Learning Hub (website), send out a weekly newsletter, write our agendas on the board, and email regularly. I also personally send out classroom news  Tweets and texts via Remind. Really?! If the students don’t bother to write down information or recall simple facts when questioned, that is home training failure.

Example conversation with the Mumbler.

Me during an afternoon class: “Where is your pencil?” (Blank stare)

Mumbler: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Have you been to math?”

Mumbler: (Unintelligible response)

Me: “How did you get through math without a pencil?”

Mumbler: (Silence)

At this point of the school year , I may walk away shaking my head.

Pardon me while I also do the Bugs Bunny freak out.

RLT

It’s Okay to Say “No” to Sharing!

I just read an article about a mother who received dirty looks when her son did not share his toys with some perfect strangers at a playground. They ran back to their mommies and told how the Toy Man wouldn’t share. Toy Man brought his toys to share with his friend, not a pack of other kids. Tsk! That struck a chord with me. I have demanded that other students share with those who chose not to come to class prepared. No longer. I will have to learn to let it go and not seethe with rage when I see an apathetic middle school student sit there and do nothing. For forty-two to forty-five minutes. If they don’t have a pencil in their lockers, then that is what they will do. If they have supplies and don’t bring them, it will be a disciplinary issue. Three strikes means you serve a consequence.

Personally speaking, I paid money for my son’s supplies. I did not buy them to be shared. Other parents pay money for their own children, not some punk who won’t bother to bring his supplies. I am not speaking out against those who have an economic need. I take care of them with school supplies I buy with my dwindling budget. I try to plan ahead for the next year each spring. It is an expectation to have pencils, paper, colored pencils, rulers, etc. because “not every child has them.” When we use technology, I have to reserve enough devices or I am not allowing everyone equal access. That is a rant for another day. I am not advocating selfishness to one’s fellow man. Each student should be able to say “No” at the appropriate time. They should not be expected to give their prized pencils and/or erasers to someone who does not care and/or would not reciprocate. Mama bought me personalized pencils. That meant they were mine. All mine to use. Mine. The change begins the next time my class starts on Tuesday morning. Believe it.

RLT

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