In which politicians make a good decision, plus a bunch of bullshit

ku-mediumIt has not been a good week.  I’ve been tired, sick, crabby, stressed out, and not reacting to the kids well at all, and the fact that in general they’ve had a bad week themselves has not led to anything good happening in my classroom.  We had school today; I’m still crossing my fingers that we’ll be off tomorrow morning since it’s supposed to be a bazillion below zero again, but we were open today.

A bit of good news I just discovered: the state board of education has voted to extend the testing window for the first ISTEP test by a full week and a half, which is fantastic news.  Means that all the snow/weather delays won’t kill us.  Great news.

Anyway: good news aside, shit like this doesn’t help.  I took my morning class on a bathroom break this morning.  I generally follow the boys into the bathroom because if I don’t they fuck around and make a lot of noise and generally act like assholes; once everyone’s occupied with actually doing what one would expect one to do in the bathroom, I head back into the hallway.

I discovered another student– one of mine, but not in my first and second hour class (so he was out of someone else’s room)– trying his damnedest to climb over the stall door into the handicap-accessible stall.   You read that right.  Climb over.  Which, the way our bathrooms are designed, would have required him to haul himself seven or so feet off the ground.  He is not remotely athletic enough for this task.  He’s hanging by his hands, scrabbling with his feet and trying to get purchase on the door to climb over.

My response was probably not nearly as profane as the situation deserved.  I did not ask him what in the blue fuck he thought he was doing, for example.

“The door’s locked.”

I did not ask him if he had considered that perhaps the fucking door was locked because there was a person taking a fucking shit inside the bathroom stall.  As you would fucking expect there to be if a bathroom stall was closed.  Somehow, I managed to get through that conversation without swearing or using the words “imbecile,” “moron,” “fucknut” or “halfwit.”

I don’t know how.

Later, when he was in my room, we’re going over some simple bell-ringer work.  My kids understand what factors are, and they understand how to do prime factorials, but they frequently forget what they are.  In other words, it’s an annoyingly persistent vocabulary issue and not a math issue per se.  At any rate, they’re supposed to be finding all of the factors of 36 and then doing a prime factorization of 28.  I give them a few minutes to do both, ask a couple of kids to explain what they did, correct a couple of misconceptions, and then work both of the problems on the board in a couple of different ways, emphasizing that they need to show their work for these kinds of things, even if they’re able to rattle off factors of 36 off the tops of their heads, ISTEP scoring demands that they show how they came up with their answers.

I walk past this same kid.  Note that I’ve spent five or ten minutes going over exactly how to do this shit and it’s still on the board.  Note also that the problem is on a Powerpoint projected on the board and is manifestly impossible to miss.

He has written 35 x 28 = 7 on his piece of paper and nothing else.

Again, I do not swear.  I do not ask him what in the merry fuck he is doing.

He says– and I swear to God I’m not making this up– “Oh, was I supposed to divide?”

I could have been a doctor or a lawyer, people.


The other thing that happened today was one of my girls from my second math class being pulled out of class to be told that her house had burned to the ground this morning.  There are three girls from the same family in my building; I’ve had two of them, one this year and last year and the other three years ago.  The fire apparently started in the girls’ room, so everything they own is completely gone; the upper floor is apparently a total loss and most of what was on the bottom floor is thoroughly water-damaged by now.  All of the humans living in the house are uninjured; to the best of my knowledge they have not found the cats.

I can’t even imagine.

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

6 thoughts on “In which politicians make a good decision, plus a bunch of bullshit

  1. I’m going to see what the school does over the next couple of days. It’s entirely possible I may do a little fundraiser here, if I can fool people into sending Paypal money to someone they don’t know based on a story that he won’t verify because of confidentiality issues. 😉


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