I’m OK

My last post, or perhaps a combination of the last several, appears to have unintentionally set several of you to worrying about me. I’m fine, I promise, or at least I’m as close to fine as I’ve been at any other point during the last few years. I’m “fine” by post-2016 standards, whatever that means.

And, honestly, there was no good reason to be secretive about what I needed luck for other than pure superstition, so: despite having made the decision to stay at my current school back in early June, now that we’ve got a principal and assistant principal named, along with a couple of articles in the local paper about recent school board meetings, I have become fully convinced that the district has entirely given up on our school and that we are being set up to continue to fail. I do not know my new principal very well but what I have witnessed thus far has not been good, and while I haven’t even met the new AP yet he has “pushover” tattooed on his forehead. We have a new dean of students as well. None of the three have any experience in their jobs. Our principal has never been a principal and has never been a middle school administrator at all; our new AP has never been an administrator, and our new Dean has not only never held that job she’s never worked in a middle school.

Oh, and I found out that literally two 8th graders passed the math ILEARN. Two. One point five percent. I don’t know which two. I suspect I can guess on at least one of them, but I don’t have names yet. So, I dunno, probably I suck at my job or something.

Anyway. Long story short, based on all that, despite my promise in May, I’ve applied for a few jobs at another district and if I get a chance I’m splitting.. One particular school has four jobs open and I’m qualified for three of them. I formally applied for two of the three (I really don’t want to be a Language Arts teacher despite technically being certified for it) and sent the principal an email with my resume attached as well. I was hoping, what with school starting in 2 1/2 weeks, that I’d hear from the principal yesterday or today; that has not happened.

I can think of a hundred thousand reasons why no one has called me yet; I am, nonetheless, assuming that I am blacklisted for some reason. At this point I have been applying for jobs since March and have not received a single call-back from anything other than a couple of purely lateral moves within the same organization. It’s not like these folks have access to my current test scores or anything, but … fuck, people, school starts August 17. I’m perfectly fucking willing and ready to move over to your building. What the fuck are you waiting for?

Hm. This post may not have done quite the job I wanted in reassuring people that I’m all right.

Oh, okay, this again

I have said this so many times that even I am bored with it, so feel free to ignore this post as you see fit: my inability to “relax” amazes me, and the surest way to guarantee that I’m going to be in a shitty mood is to put me in a situation where I’m not “getting anything done.” I did basically nothing over the last couple of days other than marinate in front of Twitter and fall into bleak fucking despair at the fact that literally everything gets worse every single day.

Today, I have done the following:

  • Successfully sold the 3D printer
  • Deposited a bunch of change at the bank
  • Contested the $100 bill I got from a lab for a Covid test; those motherfuckers had better go talk to my fucking insurance because there’s no universe where they’re getting $100 from me for a test that I had no choice in taking
  • Paid my car registration and remembered to put the receipt in my car, and did it early enough that I probably won’t even get pulled over and need the receipt
  • Mowed the fucking lawn
  • Murdered weeds
  • Went swimming (this counts!)
  • Went to the comic shop and engaged in capitalism
  • Bought my wife a present
  • Some light cleaning and organization

And I am in a much better mood than I have been for several days now, simply by virtue of having kept busy today. I mean, if I get stupid and start paying attention to the news again I’m sure I’ll go right back to being fucked, but at least I feel like I did something today. And my wife is about to leave town for a week, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be busy for the next several days. Maybe I’ll even write a compelling blog post sometime between now and then! The possibilities are endless.

In search of serotonin

I want a Goddamn flumph.

Please understand the following about my relationship with Dungeons & Dragons:

  • That, first of all, I have never been the type to use miniatures when playing D&D. I started playing 35 years ago, so this is a well-ingrained habit by now.
  • That, second, I have nowhere to put a collection of D&D miniatures.
  • That, third, I have played D&D maybe twice in the last year and while I think about it a lot it has not become something that I do a lot recently. If it did, I would talk about it more!

Now understand something about how WizKids does their miniature booster packs:

  • They’re blind boxes, so you have no idea what is inside other than that there are going to be four things, and therefore the more you purchase the more you are guaranteed to have repeats of some figures while you are still missing others, and that short of buying them on eBay or some shit there is no way to ensure that anything in particular is in the box.
  • That they are fucking expensive. Like, $5 a figure unless you get them at a steep discount. Some of them are pretty large, so it evens out, but some of them are tiny. Witness the little frog-thing on the right side of the box there.
  • That they are not generally packaged well, and lots of times things like weapons are bent or broken out of the box. This is just … tolerated, apparently.

Now understand the following about my social media habit:

  • I follow two– two!!— different TikTok accounts whose main function appears to be to open one of these fucking blind boxes every day, searching for a specific figure. One account has gone through thirty boxes looking for a goblin cart. $400 is not an unreasonable estimate for what those boxes cost. In fact, it’s probably low. Another lady is looking for a tyrannosaurus zombie– which, okay, who can blame her– and she’s on, like, box #21.
  • That the main reason I put TikTok back on my phone was because I wanted to know if that lady had found the goblin cart yet.

Understand also that:

  • I understand that all of this makes purchasing these Goddamned things a terrible fucking idea.
  • That nonetheless I have a brick– a fucking brick, eight Goddamned boxes– showing up at my house tomorrow, because I want a fucking flumph.
  • That despite the flumph being listed as a “common” figure, there isn’t going to be a fucking flumph in the boxes.

My ability to adult is simply gone this week, and I don’t know what the fuck to do about it.


Nope, not tonight

There is a post coming about this week, one that isn’t a movie review, a picture of a bookshelf, or a single sentence, but I just don’t have the emotional energy for it right now. I have to write lesson plans for tomorrow and I think I’d rather throw myself off a bridge; dealing with that and a blog post is simply too goddamn much. I’ll come out of the hole in the ground I’ve dug myself sooner or later but it’s not gonna be tonight.

In which I inspire

This was a really fucking rough day. I got through my third and fourth hour basically by deciding that I was blind on the left side of my body. I have been keeping track of the swear words I hear for the last few days, and I’m averaging around fifty a day, and generally half of those or so will be the N-word. It’s still not impossible that I end up back in a classroom again next year, but it’s getting less and less likely with every passing day. I’m just completely exhausted with all of them at this point, and I don’t want to do this any longer. If that means I need to ignore fully half of one of my classes so that I can concentrate on the group of them who still have a modicum of interest in receiving an education, well, fuck it, that’s what I’m going to do, and I’m well beyond feeling bad about it.

And then as I was walking out of the building, our social studies teacher stopped me and asked me how one of our … more troublesome students had done in my room today, and by “troublesome,” I mean “has 74 office referrals so far this year, and is somehow still allowed to be attending school despite having not the slightest shred of an academic agenda.” I thought about it for a moment and realized that not only had I not had to put him out– I’d had to speak to him a couple of times, but not especially seriously– and that he’d actually turned in his work, which given his current 11% class average (and that’s his third-highest grade) is not a common occurence.

She has a student teacher this semester– and, God, of all the years to be student teaching, you couldn’t have chosen a worse one than this one– and he’d had to put this kid out of class himself today, and he was having a really hard time with it. Ed school fills your head with all sorts of nonsense about how it’s always the teacher’s fault if you can’t “reach” any of your students, and the notion that for one reason or another certain students might be unreachable is simply treated as heresy. I don’t even know this guy all that well and I could tell he was beating himself up over it.

And fuck me dead if I didn’t spend the next fifteen minutes talking this poor guy off of a ledge and trying to make him feel better about himself and his future as a teacher. He was always going to have a hard time with middle school– he’s got a prominent lisp among a couple of other, uh, prominent physical characteristics– and he was one of those guys where it’s difficult for one’s first impression to not be “the kids are going to eat you alive.” But he’s putting in the work and he’s doing his Goddamned best and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a kid who easily ranks in the bottom five percent of students I’ve taught in my career fuck up this guy’s day. And I think by the time I left I had him feeling better, and on the one hand, yay me, and on the other hand I really don’t think anyone should be going into teaching until we have a serious societal reckoning with what we actually want our teachers to be and what we want from our schools, and that reckoning needs to firmly eliminate the word “babysitter” from our job descriptions. Because that’s what we’re doing with this kid, and with a higher percentage of my students this year than I’ve ever seen before. These kids have no interest and no business being in school other than fucking up the educations of the kids who want to be there, and any vestiges of patience I might have ever had with it are simply gone at this point. A completely honest accounting would have involved telling this guy that things weren’t going to get better because in the last twenty years nothing has ever gotten better in education. That trend isn’t reversing anytime soon.

But hey, I got him off the ledge. And if I go to work tomorrow, it’ll be five days in a row. Baby steps, I guess.