In which I shouldn’t post this

The last couple of days have been … well, downright pleasant at work, with no particular episodes of bullshit worth passing on. I took a video today of one of my more generally troublesome kids doing something both entertaining and mysterious; he appears to have the ability to blow smoke (well, water vapor, but it looks like smoke) out of his mouth more or less at will, and I recorded him doing it so that I can show it to my wife and have her science it and tell me what the hell he’s actually doing. I’d post it, but it’s somebody else’s kid, and the parent doesn’t know, and … eh, nah.

(Goes on YouTube)

Oh, here’s what he’s doing. I still want to know more about the science:

Anyway, yeah, it’s just like my life for me to decide I need to go on antidepressants again and then have two genuinely good days at work. Tomorrow, no doubt, will be a hell-nightmare, because I’ve posted this.

OH YEAH SURE UNIVERSE

It is Saturday. I need to emphasize this– Saturday. And I am, in midafternoon, getting grading done. This is bloody unprecedented. It is Staying On Task to an unreal degree.

So naturally the God damn entire grading system has just gone down midway through me grading an assignment that a hundred students turned in, and it doesn’t appear to be interested in coming back up.

For fuck’s sake, universe.

On priorities

I got home late from a deeply shitty day at work, a day whose highlight was a kid looking me square in the eye and telling me I shouldn’t be a teacher, spent an hour or so cleaning, and I’m now deciding between either watching the debate or this copy of Gideon the Ninth that showed up yesterday, and y’all, the debate ain’t got a chance.

See you tomorrow.

On actual helpful ed tech

I am tired– okay, that’s always true, but it’s basically bedtime and I just wanted to take a moment for this– and so this will be a brief piece, but: my lesson for my 8th graders today involved something that I don’t do a lot in my classes: note-taking. I defined and provided a bunch of examples of rational numbers and irrational numbers, mostly me talking and writing on the board and the kids being surprisingly dutiful about writing it all down.

I have a student in one of my classes who speaks basically no English at all. She is– there is some debate about this, and every time I remember to just cut to the chase and ask her about it, she’s not in the room– either from Mexico or Guatemala, or possibly Guatemala via Mexico, I’m not sure, and she only speaks Spanish.

She uses Google Translate to get by in my classroom. I’ve got her paired with another kid who speaks a moderate amount of Spanish and they have their Chromebooks out at all times and the one kid will translate anything important I say into Spanish for her. Unfortunately, this wasn’t working very well today, since I was writing quite a bit and the other girl had to take her own notes as we were going.

She came up to me and told me (in English, which I was impressed by) that she didn’t understand what I’d said after the lecture, and the amazing thing is that between my own limited-but-not-nonexistent Spanish abilities and the translation software I was able to translate all of the notes for her in maybe an extra five or six minutes. At which point she happily– and, I noted, accurately– did her assignment.

I am very old-school in my teaching despite having spent last year literally working as an ed tech advocate. It’s nice when something works like it’s supposed to and actually makes my job easier.

In which it’s not just the legg

You may remember that I picked my current classroom at least in part because I was told that the other room frequently was prone to heating and cooling issues. I am therefore just a little pissed to let you know that it was approximately a hundred and forty degrees and infinite fucking humidity in my room all day today, and by the time sixth and seventh hour– so far, my favorite and least-favorite group, back-to-back– rolled into my room, I was utterly and completely without a single iota of patience after five hours of being sweaty and putting up with the funk of dozens of fourteen-year-olds, some of whom were, incomprehensibly, wearing sweaters.

Sixth and seventh hour didn’t go well. I will take some– perhaps a majority– of the blame, because by that point I was just completely beaten to death by the heat and the humidity and it kills me. But one way or another they didn’t go well.

Anyway. That’s not the story. Here’s the story: during my prep period I walked into the office to check my mailbox, and I happened to walk behind my assistant principal and another teacher, who were standing at a counter in the office. The office staff were also in place. I nodded and didn’t say anything and walked back to where the mailboxes were, and then heard my name over my shoulder.

“Yeah,” someone was saying. “I think it’s Siler.”

I am not joking when I say I had been sweating for four straight hours at that point, so my initial reaction was basically pure terror.

“Christ,” I said, recovering the contents of my mailbox and walking back into the office. “I’ve been sweating like a pig all day. Do I smell that bad?”

I hear my principal laugh and realize he’s in the room as well. Dandy.

“No,” my AP says. “You smell good! There’s something–” and here she takes a deep breath– “kind of floral that just wafted past us.”

I take a whiff. I can’t smell anything Goddamn floral. All I can smell is axe body spray and funk, which is how I know I’m in a middle school.

“I promise it’s not me, then,” I say. “I don’t wear cologne and I promise you any odors wafting off of me right now are not floral. It’s a hundred and forty in my room. That might actually be the smell of death.”

I’m not certain my bosses know if I’m a good teacher or not yet, but at least they think I’m funny?