Fundraising for Turkey

One of my oldest and dearest friends, a Real Live Archaeologist, has been spending her summers for the last many years at a dig site at Zincirli Höyük, located in southern Turkey not far from the Syrian border. The site, as well as the village of Zincirli itself and the nearby town of Fevzipasa, is located about eight miles from the epicenter of one of the earthquakes that struck the area yesterday. The dig has operated there since 2006, and over the years she has gotten to know nearly everyone in Zincirli Village and half of Fevzipasa, which is where she stayed during her visits. The building where they lived collapsed in the earthquake, and she was in contact with friends over there as recently as Sunday night. Her daughter, now almost a teenager, took her first steps in Fevzipasa. There is, understandably, no clear word on just how hard the area was hit as of yet, but they have already heard about casualties among people affiliated with the dig.

The co-director of the dig has started a GoFundMe which has, as of this writing, raised over $20,000 in the short time since the quake hit. The funds raised are to be directed straight to residents of Zincirli Village and Fevzipasa. I donated just now, and if any of you happen to have any spare funds and were looking for a way to make an impact, this will be direct relief to people impacted by this tragedy. There are more details on the GoFundMe site, and I would encourage everyone reading this to take a look and consider donating. Thank you.

Just stay home

I came very close to losing my patience today with my small number of students who simply refuse to do anything at all. I don’t get this and I really never will; I could simply not tolerate the idea of being in a place every single day while simultaneously refusing to participate in any aspect of that place’s mission— imagine going to church, but, like, refusing to ever sit in a pew, or look at a Bible, or pray, or listen to anything the pastor says, and then doing that every day— and I’ve found myself back in just let them drop out mode. Now, again, I’m in a better place and I know it; the “do nothing” students are four or five in every class (well, they’re not evenly distributed, but whatever) as opposed to 2/3 of every class, but shit, if you want to go through life with the mathematical understanding of a second grader, who the fuck am I to stop you? They’ll tell you with a quickness that they’re in school because their parents make them; I’d still be willing to bet that those same parents maybe want you to pass something while you’re there. Just stay home so I don’t have to devote energy to trying to motivate your ass. I’ll let society do that instead and focus on the kids who want to be there.

Blech. I’m venting to clear my system; I don’t like to be this guy and I particularly don’t want to be this guy here, but this is two rough days in a row, and with a full moon happening right now and Valentine’s Day coming next week, this is going to be a shitty time to be a middle school teacher no matter what. For that matter, it’s worth pointing out that February is always the worst month to be a teacher, and if this is as bad as it gets? I’m fine.

And now that I’ve typed those words where Jesus and everybody can see them, I’mma go crawl under my desk and hide from whatever little bit of bullshit I just activated.

Get me the manager

I remain not in the mood for any of this, where “any of this” can be understood to mean “anything other than sleep,” although apparently I have a job or something that will require me to do some work tonight of some sort or another. I managed to get scammed at a car wash earlier today, discovering that what had been described as a month of car washes for a buck extra than what I was going to spend anyway was actually a monthly subscription to what appears to be their highest tier of car washes. If I hadn’t looked at my receipt I’d have had no damn idea that I’d been signed up for something monthly. I may go back tomorrow and firebomb the place; as it is, my receipt is displayed prominently on my desk so that I remember to cancel this bullshit as soon as it hits their computers. I tried already but they’re claiming the membership doesn’t exist, which I’m choosing to believe is legitimate since it’s literally only a couple of hours old at the moment.

I went the whole weekend without any real social media presence; I didn’t upload anything to the YouTube channel and I didn’t really post here. It floated through my head earlier to just turn everything off, which is a sign of where my head has been at lately. There’s no real worry at the moment about me doing that, but one thing I underestimated about switching jobs is just how much rewriting of absolutely everything I was going to have to do now that I’m at a new district that uses an LMS (Learning Management System) that I’m unfamiliar with. I’m spending more time planning right now than I have had to in years, and it’s meaning hours at the computer after work every day. I shouldn’t have to put this time in next year, or at least not nearly as much of it, but right now it’s hitting me harder than I really thought it was going to. I need to get more efficient about using my prep period at work, which can cut back on some of this, but half the time I’m covering classes during that time so I’d have to do the extra work at home anyway.

This job has added years to my teaching career, I really don’t doubt that, and I’m still enormously better off than I was at the other school, but … God, I’m tired.

Ugh

I am too tired and annoyed to do much of anything today, and have utterly wasted my Saturday. Hopefully tomorrow will be better?

The pink panties story

I have been reminded that I owe you a story, and now that I’ve totally fucked up the SEO for my site for the rest of time I may as well tell it. I have two Honors Algebra classes, one first thing in the morning and one in the afternoon. This is a high school class that they’re getting actual high school credits for. My morning class is quite possibly the most chill group of kids I have ever encountered. I’ve never seen anything like them. No drama. They come in, they do their work, they ask questions if they have them, and when they’re done they just sit and relax and chat. They’re one of those classes where if I needed to I could just leave and everybody would still be in their seats doing whatever they were doing when I left when I came back. I love them.

I’m at my desk doing something or another and the kids are working at their seats. The word panties floats into my ears, and I hear what sounds like vaguely horrified noises and some relatively uncharacteristic teenage giggling. I look up.

Now, I am perhaps twenty feet away, but it is still fairly clear that there is a pair of pink panties on the floor next to one of my boys.

“Please do not tell me there is underwear on the floor in my classroom right now,” I say.

“There’s underwear on the floor, Mr. Siler,” they say.

I stand up to go look closer. There is indeed a pair of lace pink panties on the fucking floor in my fucking middle school math classroom. There should not be panties on the floor. I take a moment to regret every decision that I have ever made in my life that led me to the point where I had to ask a room of thirteen- and fourteen-year-old children “Does anyone want to claim the mystery underwear before I throw it away?”

(Fun fact about me: I detest the word “panties” for no reason I have ever been able to enunciate, and I have already used it far too many times in this post. I do not say it out loud unless I absolutely have to, and that is not a condition that occurs often.)

I look around at my girls. Roughly half of the kids in the room, maybe a little bit more. I note two things: first, they are all wearing pants, and second, none of them appears to suddenly be having the worst day of her entire life. Most of them appear entertained; a couple look scandalized, but not in an oh my god those are mine sort of way.

No one wants to claim the underwear. Someone suggests that the boy it is sitting next to is responsible for them. This would not be enormously surprising, to be honest. I give him my firmest Teacher Look, and he fails to wither under my glare. I think there’s no earthly way he could keep a straight face right now and go to get a pencil, which I use to pick up the underwear.

At which point something equally horrible becomes clear: there is not just a pair of lacy pink women’s underwear on the floor in my classroom. There is a pair of lacy pink women’s underwear on the floor in my classroom and it has been worn. Several days in a row, from the look of it. Soiled would perhaps give the wrong impression, but crusty? We can go with crusty. There are no obvious signs of blood on them; with girls this age the immediate suspicion would be some sort of menstrual disaster but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

I look around again. Each of my girls makes eye contact. There’s no way they would be willing to make eye contact with a male teacher holding their underwear by a pencil in the middle of math class. There’s just no way, right? That’s a literal nightmare.

I throw the underwear in the trash and forbid any of my students to ever speak of this again, a promise that all of them make and I’m absolutely certain that not one of them intends to keep. Two minutes later, my boss wanders by, because of course she does, and I tell her the story, mostly to gauge her reaction. She is horrified but thinks it’s hilarious, and having been a middle school principal for more than ten minutes, volunteers to take my trash bag out of my room so that the boys in the next class don’t go digging to find anything, no doubt to start throwing them around the room.

As of this moment, several days later, I still have no suspects.

It was a weird day.