Wednesday, August 31, 2005

api scores came out today, and for 79% of california, the news was good: scores went up! but for my lowly middle school, the other 21% is staring us in the face. we went down by 9 points, enough for the county to come in in one of their famous takeovers. needless to say, this is not good news and only means more tedious work for us teachers. i have been at a school that had the county take it over, and the only thing that changed was that teachers had to give even MORE assessments, and write MORE lesson plans, and go to MORE meetings. it is a complete headache. the problem is, of course, that since the test scores have been released, we have lost 8 of our teachers and our principal and vp, so you're working with a totally different bank this year. it's comparing apples to oranges. one of our biggest feeder elementary schools also went down by 29 points, which is not great news about our new 6th graders, but i'll take them at face value and not try to analzye the scores of students i didn't even know last year. let's hope next year brings some better news.

Monday, August 29, 2005


isn't it so nice how you're all filled up with warmth for the little devils on the first day of school? there is still so much hope and expectation and fear and everyone is so polite and quiet and scared and it's just a beautiful thing.
thus began year 3- two groups of 8th graders, and a group of 6th graders. i've never taught 6th graders and they are just the littlest. they seriously come up to my hip. and they wiggle. and you feel bad being bitch teacher to them, but oh well. i'm sure they'll live. i was also sure to ask them about rumors they heard about middle school and confirm that no, nobody was thrown in a garbage can (incidentally, this exact same rumor circulated posthipchick's world prior to starting junior high).
the 8th graders were their typical selves... half smart-alecky and half wanting to do really well. i went over expectations and procedures until i was blue in the face, and had 35 yawning faces starting back at me. more tomorrow! until they know EXACTLY how to behave, we're not moving on.
i used to try and be all democratic, sympathetic teacher but no more. it doesn't work with middle schoolers, or at least with my middle schoolers. i'd rather be mean and have them learn something.
the day ended with two of my girls from last year, nightmares both, coming in to visit me and acting like i was their favorite person on earth. which is nice, since they spent most of last year cussing me out. they looked really mature, and the whole thing was a little freaky, but in the best way.
rambling? Incoherent? i can't do much else tonight, sorry.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

for the last three days, a noise has emitted from the apartment building next to ours. it's difficult to translate into writing what this noise sounds like, but i can say with certainty, it sounds like an animal is dying. for THREE days. day and night (mostly early mornings, joy), this howling death noise will filter into our house and alarm all of us, including the belle.
finally today, when it started up again, a woman was walking by our house and turned back to it and said "don't worry, i'll be back tomorrow".

i walked outside and said "is that your dog?"
"no, i'm just dogsitting."
"well, it's been howling and carrying on night and day for three days."
"yeah, she seems really upset. i've had to clean up diarrhea every time i go. the owner is coming back tomorrow, but ruby gets so emotional. so this is better than a kennel."

my question: better for who?!?! the dog is traumatized, you are cleaning up diarrhea daily, and i get woken up all night. who is benefited by this scheme?

gonna slip this lady a card for bella's doggie daycare when she returns.

oh, and pigs. it's a beagle.
24 hour countdown:

in 24 hours from now, i will be back in school.
i'm having a hard time believing it.
i've spent the last three days prepping my room- making bulletin boards, arranging desks, cleaning, posting posters, etc. today i need to get my flip-chart of procedures ready, as well as buy dresses and shoes for the two upcoming weddings i am in in the next two consecutive weekends. and figure out what i'm going to wear tomorrow, to really dazzle the 13-year olds.
get ready.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


first day back for a teacher workday today, and i realized at about 6:00 p.m. that i had my underwear on not only inside out, but backwards all day.
i hope this isn't an omen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

teacher workdays begin tomorrow, and i am sick. i need to go back and get my classroom in order, and it doesn't seem really acceptable to miss the first days of school, but i am on-the-couch-feeling-like-absolute-dogshit sick.
how does one get enthusiastic about borders and grading programs when one is so miserable?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

note to self: it is TOTALLY acceptable to rummage through the dirty laundry and get out your favorite comfy pants to wear.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

extra frosting:

for reasons we need not explore further, i am left with one of the world's best substances in the kitchen: cream cheese frosting. a perfect blend of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla.
but! i have nothing on which to put the blend! the cupcakes are frosted within an inch of their lives, and there is plenty to spare. now i'm not above just eating it straight out of the bowl for the next few days, but i'm sure there's something else i can do with it. right? right? what?

Monday, August 15, 2005

lots and lots ventured, nothing gained:

star test results
came out today for california. i have to say, i am disappointed with the results for my students. let me show you the little table i've put together and you will see why:

8th 2004 8th 2005 7th 2004 (to show growth of class)
Advanced 5% 6% 5%
Proficient 18% 21% 21%
Basic 41% 36% 37%
Below Basic 23% 27% 22%
Far Below Basic 13% 10% 16%

so we pulled up 6% of students from FBB to BB, and everything else is negligible, and even that 6% feels pretty scant. does all of this hard work make absolutely no difference? keeping things status quo, when status quo is low, doesn't quite feel like success to me. the numbers are so similar year-to-year that it's almost eerie. maybe i should feel better that there were no significant losses (as there were in other subjects at my school), but i can't quite pat myself on the back for that.
tv shows you might have thought were off the air unless you stayed home all day:

- who's the boss?
- grace under fire
- roseanne
- growing pains
- the brady bunch
- highway to heaven
after the days of summer are gone:

there are 10 days left of summer vacation here and i am down to relishing each and every one. and by relishing, i do mean sleeping until 8:00, lying around on the couch for hours every day with no pressing concerns, eating and peeing at my every whim, actually getting to have conversations with friends, keeping up on my appearance, reading blogs, napping, and ensuring both the lovely beausband and the belle are getting their required amount of attention.
usually, after this long of a stretch of nothing days, i get a little antsy and anxious and become ready for school to begin again. not this year! i could go with a few more months of summer and be perfectly content. i know how insane this year is going to be, and a little pit of fear sits in my stomach whenever i think about it.
i found out i may also be teaching a section of 6th grade, along with 8th grade. i am not opposed to that, as 6th graders still like their teachers. however, i wish i knew for sure! my school doesn't officially tell us until 3 days before school begins. is this normal? it makes me sort of crazy, as i like to both mentally and academically begin preparations way before that.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

things that have made me paranoid since finding out i was pregnant:

- laptop
- cell phone
- tv
- electricity
- sex
- using the bathroom
- cats
- heat
- fish
- nuts
- secondhand smoke
- cleaning solutions
- busses

Friday, August 12, 2005

someone needs a lesson in letter writing:

i got a letter in the mail today from my district, inviting me to a school year kick-off breakfast with keynote 'dignitaries' and possible 'teacher gifts'. the letter tells me the times of each speaker, and when breakfast will be served, but fails to provide an address OR a date of the event. i welcome anyone who wants to attend my lesson on letter writing to come on down.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


very, very occasionally, bella will let out an actual fart, noise and all, and when she does, she turns around with a look of pure shock and horror in her face and stares at her backside like 'dude, did you just DO that?'.
clearly i need something to do.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

about all i can muster up today:


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

go 2005-2006:

my assignment for this year remains the same, thank you jesus: 8th grade language arts and reading. they will not yet tell me what my prep period is (an important factor to the ever-burdened teacher), though i hope for a 1st (get to school later), 4th or 5th (extended lunch) or 6th (day ends early). i should find out on the 25th, our first day back at school. i will go in starting next week, though, to get things organized and whatnot. i am so relieved to be teaching the same thing- it means a lot less prepping. i also know where things went wrong last year, and can fix them this year. this is the one time that 20/20 hindsight works to our advantage.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

i am surprised (i shouldn't be, i'm sure, given the state of our state) that teaching credential programs don't include a class on the ethical dilemas in education. although i don't have any illusions that one would leave this class feeling any clearer than before, it seems to me that so much of my job includes ethical/ moral dilemas that i haven't ever considered before. it would be an opportunity for new teachers to discuss situations BEFORE they arise- the whole class format could be philosophy readings and discussions/ papers around them. ah, the lightbulb just went off. this is far too high-brow for credentialing programs. they do not want to waste time with this sort of thinking when there is that great opportunity to watch your classmates perform yet another lesson plan to the same group of adults.

perhaps this is why i blog about teaching so much. perhaps my readers are my 'class', and when faced with all of the dilemas that surely come down the pipe each year, you are my discussion group.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

reasons not to wait until you're 35 to get married:

all your girlfriends will be pregnant or nursing and spend your bachelorette party sober and going to the bathroom to pump.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

google searches i did in the first 24 hours of discovering i was pregnant:

"best pregnancy test"
"best pregnancy body products"
"body changes pregnancy"
"c section"
"dog knows you're pregnant"
"dog sensitive to pregnancy"
"faint line pregnancy test"
"fetal development"
"first trimester tips"
"ovulation calendar"
"pregnancy dry eyes"
"pregnancy health"
"what to expect when you're pregnant"

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

august and everything after:

it is august. do you know what that means? it means this is the month i return to school. already (whine, bitch, moan, whine).

i cannot believe this summer is flying by so quickly- i'm sure it didn't help that i spent the first month of it in summer school. i left a message for my new principal today to ask what i'm slated to teach. being that we have 7 openings at my school right now, i hope i'll get my first pick- 8th grade language arts and reading, the same as last year. i have yet to teach the same thing for two years, something i REALLY want to do and something i think would help me immensely as a teacher. we also have a new principal and vice-principal this year, so i imagine it will be a fairly chaotic year. oh, joy of all joys, chaos!

all of the whining aside, i am ready to start prepping. i really want to do a long-term plan for this year and i need to get started on it pretty soon. ms. frizzle makes me jealous when she says she's planned through november.

but, not knowing what i'm teaching yet means i can't really start planning, but instead will commence summer 2005 napfest: resting up for the next year. g'night.
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