Wednesday, March 31, 2004

My principal doesn't know my name. In the last day, he has called me
- Michelle
- Ms. Cole
- Ms. Lady
none of which are my name.
today i lost my shit and cried and cried...
luckily, not in front of my students. and to someone who really listened and helped.
i am certainly feeling like i'm at a breaking point. i know i've joked about my classroom being a closet and all, but it's really not a joke. it's a windowless closet filled with defiant 14-year-old boys and it sucks. and i've been trying all year to just suck it up, but i think i'm done. i'm also split between two schools, every day going between them. i don't feel like i've connected with anyone at either school, because i'm never there. you need support from adults after being with teenagers all day, and i just don't have it. i don't know how to get out of this rut, but i have to find a way. next year will be better for so many reasons, but i still have 2 1/2 months left of this year and i don't know how i'll make it. heeeeelllpppp....

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

all i can say today is...
what the fuck was i thinking when i decided teaching was a good idea?

Monday, March 29, 2004

my hometown now boasts a restaurant called Tex Wasabi's-- mixing southern-style bbq and california-style sushi.
i have never been so humiliated in my whole life.
ms. brown has a big case of the blues today.
thinking about teaching and what my students have actually learned this year.
did i make significant gains? no.
did i motivate students? no.
did i give them resources? no.
i feel like i've really failed and that i've somehow drifted away from being student-centered because i've been so upset about so many aspects of my job and also so unsure of what to fight and what not to fight within my job. as a teacher, you blame yourself for everything, which is hard because sometimes you think "he could do it if he tried", but that is not a consideration. if your students fail, it is viewed (both by yourself and your school) as you failing.
anyway, big changes on the horizon soon for phc. you will learn in time...


Saturday, March 27, 2004

::you can't write poems about the trees when the woods are filled with policemen::

last night i went and heard an amazing teen poetry slam. it was hot and exciting and these kids were saying amazing things. i need to learn how to get my students to speak like that. i can't even imagine... they are so caught in such an insular little world. they don't think outside the local amusement park and mall.
i could go on and on about school things, but since the lovely beau is my real-life indicator of how interesting my school stories are, i will just tell you his eyes glazed over a few times this week as i shared with him my diatrabes.
we are once again in woodside for the weekend, enjoying all the perks of country living and good friends.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004


This is one of the most disturbing things I've seen in awhile (Jennifer, if you're reading, you will be particularly interested).

Although I usually use my girly honey mango shaving cream, running out has reminded me how much I love the smell of men's shaving cream.

35,600 children worldwide died of starvation on September 11, 2001. I can't get that out of my head.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

have i ever mentioned how much i HATE lesson planning?
i don't think i would feel the same way if i wasn't using a scriped program. but to waste time writing down exactly what the book tells me to do makes me **crazy**. and tomorrow our district is coming to school to observe the whole school, so everything needs to be perfect. ugh. everything is not perfect.

high and low lights of the weekend:
*woke up at 5 a.m. on saturday, convinced bella was standing on the desk (it was a blanket) and couldn't go back to sleep
*had a really delicious brunch on saturday
*came up to woodside to enjoy the remainder of the weekend
*bella learned to drink from a hose, which might just be the cutest thing ever
*now, must lesson plan. how long until spring break?

Friday, March 19, 2004

today i managed to resolve the situation with the boy and girl mentioned below. i had talked to her extensively about it, and the principal, and they both agreed it could be handled by a discussion without further consequences. so i talked to the boy today, who was horrifically upset by everything and really felt sorry for what he had done, then i talked to both of them together. it was made awkward by the fact that they are 13 and don't actually speak about these issues. i made it very clear to her that she had done the right thing by telling an adult and also very clear to him that the consequences for this sort of behavior is extremely serious. he was in tears and appeared to be extremely sorry for it. i think he learned his lesson- he is not at all an aggressive boy, is actually very open and pretty innocent. i sometimes forget that they are kids and that they still are learning appropriate behavior.

without segue, i would also like to mention how completely different it is to be a woman with a big, potentially threatening dog. when i walk down the street with bella and the men stay far away, making room for me on the sidewalk, keeping their eyes down. i lived 27 years before having a dog, and this is not "typical" male behavior. for some really annoying reason, however, the junkies in the neighborhood are constantly freaking out about her. today i was walking down the street with the belle on leash and one of our local junkies informed me that i needed to "keep her on leash". when i pointed out that she WAS on leash, and also like 8 feet away from him doing nothing, he told me she needed a muzzle. hey jackass- you need a fucking muzzle. he is part of a crew of guys who are constantly partying ON THE STREET, loitering in our driveway, doing doughnuts with their cars, and being observed by the police for their heroin dealing. this is the same crew who yelled to me from their porch as i was walking bella by a few months ago (again, quietly and ON LEASH) that "my dog better not pee on the sidewalk". seriously? can you take your fucking keg inside and stop hanging out on my stairs smoking pot? i mean, it's one thing to be an addict and crazy and keep it to yourself. i will not mind you much as a neighbor at all. but this "advice" has really got to end.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

i had a very troubling incident at school today (i might as well make that my tag line)
but really, i did.
i wasn't teaching, but rather "prepping" today (due to a long story involving not having a prep period all year, my union representitive, and various other circumstances). i happened to walk by one of my classes while it was in session and one of my girl students was sitting outside. i asked her why she was there (consequences are much more brutal for misbehaving with a sub), and she said she wouldn't be in the classroom with "juan". i asked why and she said he was throwing things at her. throwing things in my class, while frowned upon, is certainly no reason not to attend. then she told me that yesterday he had done something else. of course, i persisted with my questioning as to what exactly he had done. she said he had touched her. i asked where. after a rather long and uncomfortable questioning session, it turns out he had been trying to put his hand down her pants. she did everything right- didn't let him, got up, moved her desk, and eventually, told me. i, of course, had to report this to the administration. the problem here is that these kids are friends- have been for years- and actually "went out" last year and the beginning of this year. NOT that it condones the behavior, i was just really, really surprised. they are also not behavior problems for the most part, both have their moments, but that's to be expected. i really love "juan"- he is smart and funny and plays soccer and is really, really sweet. i also love the girl- who is troubled and a bad-ass and really sweet. he will most likely get suspended and be kicked off the soccer team, which is one of the big joys and successes he has in his life.
i never expected to have these sorts of complexities in a situation like this. i aslways assumed- boy touches girl and she says no- he's in the wrong, end of story. and i still do think this, it's just that all of this is tainted with the fact that i love him, too. i'm trying to seperate the person from the behavior, but i fear what he will go through emotionally if he gets in serious trouble.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

bella has now successfully cleared us out of house and home of remote controls. she has eaten each and every last one. as the lovely beau said, you'd think it would make us watch less tv, but instead our standards have just gone terribly down.

we are still baking in the heat over here. it went from winter to summer without a chance for spring to show it's lovely head. my kids are going crazy in the heat, especially in the little closet, where there is no ac or windows. just lots of sweaty 14-year-old boys.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

the last two nights i've had dreams i've had a baby.

two nights ago, i dreamt that i was pregnant with gavin newsom's baby, but gavin newsom was the lovely beau.
last night, i dreamt that my old roomie was the surrogate mother for my child, who was born on a friday the 13th, at the same time bella had three little puppies, one of whom was bright red.

anybody out there interpret dreams?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

not a single comment on my new, amazing shoes? readers, i am disappointed in your taste!

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

yes, these are my new *prize* possessions.
yes, they do say 'pink bitches'.
no, i cannot wear them to school.
yes, i do want to sleep with them on.
today i confiscated a note that read:

i talked to my 10-year old friend last night and SHE lost her virginity to a 14-year old boy. how sad that i am 13 and haven't even lost it yet!
(note: nothing was actually spelled correctly in the note but i wanted to save my dear readers the deciphering hassles)

what am i supposed to do with that?

Monday, March 08, 2004

today we cut open mexican jumping beans and saw the worm inside. it was actually a lot of fun. the kids were so totally entranced with the beans- i had no idea. one of my more, um, intense students, wanted to care for them deeply, wanted to take them home, wanted to have thousands of them. he actually said, and i quote, "i want to swim in them". i think he was stoned.

sometimes i forget to laugh with my kids, and enjoy them. i have such an agenda for them, so tightly packed, that i forget to treat them the way i normally treat children- with love and openness and excitement and interest. it's tough, because there really is an agenda and there really are so many boundries you can't cross as a "professional" teacher. it sort of sucks, because i really do like kids. but as a teacher, teaching to students who hate school and don't want to do jack shit, you feel like you're fighting a war every day to get them to do anything.

i still don't have a cd player in my car, which is just completly inexcusable. as a 2-hour per day commuter, i should have really managed to come up with the $100 bucks sometime in the last year to get a cd player. i must place it a tad higher on my agenda, because i cannot stand the radio and really, really want to rock out to my dreamgirls cd as i drive. what, you don't know dreamgirls? the 1980's musical? it was my first album, and i just got a copy on cd. i haven't heard it in 20 years, and i still know every word.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

the background music of my life is currently mexican jumping beans that haven't made it to my classroom, but instead sit on the kitchen table, jumping in their little case all day and all night. click. click. click. click. click.

i have managed to recover from my drug-induced haze of friday and though i'm feeling very, very guilty for missing work (they didn't find a sub), i am still not ready to go back.
the weekend has been spent walking, walking, walking, hosting, hosting, hosting, meeting, meeting, meeting, shopping, shopping, shopping.
for some reason, probably hormonally related, i am just exhausted.
but today is crazy beautiful, forcing me to have hope again for rejuvination. sometimes i just hate that in a day, but today i'm trying to accept it. i should be outside, but i am in bed, smelling somebody else bbq. i think that is all i need in terms of hope.


Friday, March 05, 2004

this morning, 5 a.m., i woke up with excruciating cramps. i think i might have even howled in pain- it's all sort of unclear now. i fumbled my way through the kitchen and, knowing we didn't have any of my favorite alleve, took some (five) tylenol that was there .
when my alarm went off an hour later, i rose a bit. and when i say a bit, i mean i entered into a state of non-asleepness enough to realize that something was terribly wrong. i was dying. i could not lift my head from the pillow, could not figure out what was going on, and yet somehow managed to call a sub for my class (i have no recollection of actually doing this, but the phone was by the bed, so i can assume i did), and fall back into a deep state of sleep.
at 10 a.m., i finally roused enough to know something was terribly wrong. although i could now lift my head off the pillow, i was in a state of foginess and confusion that i have never before experienced. this must be quite a period, i thought to myself.
i went to go check what i had taken last night, to make sure it wasn't something illegal in most states. that's when i realized i had taken 5 tylenol PM's at 5 a.m., and hour before i was supposed to get up. it is now 2:00 and i still am not with the program.
note to self: CHECK YOUR LABELS!

Tuesday, March 02, 2004


I did not
*get told "I hate you" by a student
*be in a school that went into lockdown (AFTER SCHOOL, WHEN I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HOME!)
*been forced to employ my "barricades 101" training
*say "fuck" in front of my students when "CODE RED" was announced over the loudspeaker
*be in a barricaded, dark room after school with a gaggle of teenagers who thought it was funny that someone was cruising around with a gun and just kept saying "ms. brown, i have to go to the bathroom". "ms. brown, i'm leaving!" "ms. brown, this is LAME".

Monday, March 01, 2004

my normal nightly routine includes washing my hands, putting on some sort of delicious hand lotion and a bit of cuticle oil. an entirely innocent routine, you would think!
however, having a creature around that is even more scent-motivated than i am means that all of that lovely creamy oily goodness gets obsessively licked off my hands by the dog that waits for me to come to bed, staring solely at my lovely smelling hands. inane creatures. i have, once again, proved man is smarter than dogs. now, i just lotion and oil HER paws as well as she can lick to her heart's content and leave my little hands free to type wise words to the world.
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