In which no, you cannot

I discovered earlier today that this had happened– read the first couple of paragraphs if you don’t immediately see why I’m linking to it. The lady who wrote it sent me a very nice email about it, which I think deserves a response, if only to point out that I haven’t thrown myself down a hole or anything since I wrote that post. I was fascinated enough by it that I actually outed myself to the rest of the math team this afternoon so that I could share the article with them, so if any of my co-workers abruptly stop talking to me in the next few days I guess I know why.

I’m not quite sure what the hell happened today. My observing student taught his first lesson today, to my first and second hour, who were absolutely perfect for him, a feat that led to me spending $20 on candy this afternoon on the way home, and I intend to distribute every single piece tomorrow. Then third and fourth hours showed their asses in a big way; I had to put three kids out, and then the class period ended abruptly when the entire 8th grade got called downstairs for a meeting on no notice at all.

Oh, and Hosea asked four different girls to either be his girlfriend or to let him kiss them today, so I had to deal with that. One of them brought me a note he had written her. Check this out:

She has declined his offer to be her pudding.

I am not currently aware of whether the same poem was also used for the other girls, or whether those requests were in person.

God, I need tomorrow to be quiet.

In which it is time to be done now

I need y’all to understand that, with five days of school and only three days of instruction left, I am doing literally third grade material with my students right now. We’re doing area of 2-dimensional shapes, something my son, who is in third grade, was doing earlier this year. And they can’t do it, and I’m well beyond the point where I’m particularly concerned about whether it’s an issue of ability or volition, because this shit is too fucking simple for you to be failing even if you don’t give a shit any longer.

Those are actually the first five questions on my assignment for tomorrow. The last, if you don’t recognize it, is a TikTok reference. It is a meme referencing someone who has had something simple explained to them and they somehow still do not understand it. They’ll get it.

In which I know nothing and neither do you

The one thing I’m fairly certain about tomorrow is that I’m going to go to bed not knowing much, and I suspect a fair amount of what I will know is going to be disappointing. I haven’t seen much polling, and any that I might have seen is probably fairly well invalidated by Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropping out and endorsing Biden in the last 24 hours. I was kind of hoping that Biden would announce Kamala Harris as his running mate this weekend; the rumors were flying around (and this would be one thing that would definitely cause me to move toward a full-throated endorsement of him) but nothing has come of it as of yet. I still intend to vote for Warren if it’s still possible when Indiana votes in fucking May, but I suspect by tomorrow the math for her gaining the nomination without convention shenanigans is going to be … ugly. I’d love to be wrong, but I don’t think I live in that country. And, honestly, I’d prefer to avoid convention shenanigans one way or another, even if it leads to someone I don’t really want getting the nomination on the first ballot. Hopefully somebody ends up locking up a majority. We’ll have a better idea of who that might be come Wednesday; if any candidate emerges from Super Tuesday with a sizable delegate lead, the Democratic proportional-allocation rules mean that a lead is going to be very difficult to eradicate.


Random, small anecdote, preserved here because sometimes I use my blog as an external memory card: 8th grade boys are not exactly well-known for being accepting when it comes to homosexuality, right? My current building is far ahead of the curve on that particular front for some reason but the f-word is still a go-to insult far more often than I want it to be and regardless of my personal attempts to stamp out its use at least when they’re around me. So I was fascinated last week to watch five or six of my boys during advisory period the other day, all clustered in a corner around one of them and working carefully at … brushing his hair. Like, trading off the brush and everything. I don’t get these kids sometimes; I work really hard at wiping out my own prejudices and internalized homophobia and I gotta admit I’d feel funny just randomly brushing some male friend’s hair. And here there are five or six of them just making a huge production of it, when ordinarily accidentally brushing up against each other is enough to get “You gay!” tossed around.

(No, I don’t think male barbers or hairstylists are gay. But I’m not a barber, and neither are any of these kids. The word “randomly” is kind of important in that sentence.)

In case you’ve ever wondered…

farts1Here is what teaching 8th grade boys is like.

Yesterday’s classes were pretty simple: one period of instruction and one period of guided free time; in other words, “so long as you’re working I’m going to leave you alone,” and oh by the way all late work for the quarter is due by the end of the period or you get to keep those zeroes in my grade book.

So the kids are chatting, right?  My 8th graders (also known as my honors Algebra group) are actually a pretty pleasant group most of the time, and I’m rarely the type of teacher to insist on absolute quiet unless I’m directly instructing the class.  I’m at my desk, intermittently helping kids who need it and working on some grading and lesson planning and email and whatever else it strikes my mind to get accomplished while I actually have some time.

The phrase “hydraulic butt” floats into my ears. 

I have a brief moment of no, you did not hear that, and even if you did hear that, you didn’t hear that, and you don’t care.  Keep your head down and keep doing whatever you’re doing.

I ignore my brain and look up.  There’s a table of four kids sitting near me.  Three of them are staring at me with horrified looks on their faces.  The fourth is doing his damnedest not to make eye contact, but has perhaps the largest shit-eating grin on his face I’ve ever seen.

A brief note on this kid:  I love the hell out of him.  Smart as hell, funny, athletic (wrestling, football, and I think whatever running sport– track or cross-country– doesn’t interfere with the other two), polite, and– not for nothin’– a bit of a heartthrob as well.  I’d let my daughter date the kid, if I had one.  

He goes, again, without looking at me, “Pzzzzzzhooooooooop!” and quite deliberately raises the right half of his body, butt-cheek first, off of his chair.  

He goes “Pzzzzzhooooooop!” again, and the other half of his body raises out of his chair.  At this point, for no clear reason, the room has fallen completely quiet and everyone is staring at him.  He is, at this point, balancing in what looks like a seated position but he’s actually got his ass hovering about an inch above his chair, which I imagine involves rather impressive control of his leg muscles.

I do not speak.  Neither does anyone else.

He goes “Psssssssssss…..” and slowly lowers himself back into his chair.  

And, on cue, the boy sitting across from him farts.  Explosively.  Like, loudly enough that we’d have heard it even if the room hadn’t been utterly quiet.

I want to teach at an all-girls’ school.