Okay, I can do this

I have a day of professional development on Wednesday, so this is how the next couple of weeks are going to go:

  • Two days of work, one of which was today and is therefore done
  • A day at home on Zoom, away from children
  • Two days of work; the second day is payday
  • A weekend
  • Three days of work, one of which is the PSAT and then “Shut up, leave me alone, and finish your missing work”
  • A teacher record day
  • Our four-day Fall Break

That should be manageable, right? I make it through tomorrow and, no matter what happens tomorrow, I don’t have to see any of the kids on Wednesday– not the ones I like or the ones I don’t. Sure.

In other news, I spent the day being smug about having nuked my presence on Facebook while everyone else freaked out about the outage, and … well, everything else is misery and despair, mostly.

Okay, maybe not everything. I like this video game a lot, and it looks like a Pixar movie, so you should go watch me play it:

That’s what I’ve got. Gonna go curl up with a cat and a book.

On scheduling and mental health

Have I mentioned how much I love my schedule this year? My district changed the timing of our day again this year, moving the start of the school day to an obscenely late 9:30 AM and the end of the day until 4:30, which … okay, I know lots of people work later than that, and I know about the research suggesting that a later start time is better for adolescent kids, but what I can also tell you is that still being in school at 4:30 is pretty clearly not an ideal situation for these kids. The middle schools have the latest schedule, which has led to some problems lately as the high school students have time to leave school and make it to the middle schools to start trouble before we dismiss our kids.

I have kids with me straight from 9:30 until 3:00, excepting only my half hour for lunch, which is more like 20 minutes once I get the kids there and wait for the cafeteria to be open and get my food and get back upstairs and maybe get a bathroom break, which … well, isn’t that bad, actually, as two groups and then lunch is perfectly manageable and after 18 years of teaching I’m used to eating lunch with a quickness. But that’s not why I bring this up; I bring this up because being done with teaching two class periods before the end of the day means that whatever bullshit I have to deal with is dealt with before I get home. Any frustration and stress that accumulates through the day has more than enough time to bleed off– most of the time, at least– before I go home. I have a team meeting 8th hour every day, which gives me 7th to get my head back on straight so that I can be useful during our meeting.

It’s great. It’s amazing how much less visibly exhausted I am than the other teachers at the end of the day, and it’s not because of my sunny fuckin’ disposition or my can-do attitude, it’s because I’m missing the students when they’re collectively at their worst and I have time to decompress and become human again before I go home and lock myself in my office to play video games interact with my wife and son. This has not been a bad year so far, all told, although it’s had its moments so far– more on that later this weekend, maybe– and part of that is that I’m not bringing it home. And all of that is based basically on a roll of the dice, since it’s not like the counselor consulted with me before she set everything up.

In which I need to make “tired” a category

I am a vile, achy mess today, and I don’t know what I did to deserve it. Last night was all stress dreams, and I woke up with a headache; all day I’ve been having to remind myself to relax my jaw. Other than … y’know … all this (waves vaguely) I don’t have anything in particular to be stressed about, like, nothing’s happened, and there’s no reason for me to be trying to break my damn teeth.

There was about a 10-minute break after the word happened just then, where I just sort of stared off into space, not doing anything.

I would like my shots now. I have to get out of this house. Fucking Indiana.

Forget it, Jake, it’s 2020

Enjoy the pretty flower; it’s likely to be the only pleasant thing in this post.

We went out and bought pumpkins and got the boy’s Halloween costume earlier today, and at some point during the trip I sighed, and my wife asked me why. My answer was that she should assume that if at any point between now and, oh, two or three weeks from now, she hears me sigh, it’s because I’m under an absolutely immense amount of stress basically all the time and I’m trying to discharge some of that.

Not that that’s specific to me, mind you; we’re all neck-deep in bullshit right now. We went to Target after the pumpkins because the boy needed new shoes and I got an email from a student apologizing for not turning in any work this week. She’d been in a mental hospital.

I wrote her back and told her she was to do none of the work for my class. I’m going to exempt her from everything she’s missed. I absolutely refuse to let my class be another source of stress for this kid. She doesn’t need it.

(Incidentally, I tweeted out this article about teaching and learning in 2020 earlier today, and I endorse every word of it.)

Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide how vocal I want to be about calling upon a school board member to resign. If you remember my 2020 endorsements post, you may recall a tepid endorsement of current board member Leslie Wesley, who I don’t actually get to vote for or against because she doesn’t represent my district. I was, at the time, less encouraging a vote for her than a vote against her opponent, who is, to put it mildly, a local crank.

Unfortunately, Ms. Wesley got busted today for plagiarizing her candidate statement to the South Bend Tribune more or less in its entirety, basically just changing the city and district names of a 2018 California school board candidate’s essay. She first claimed that she’d written the piece in 2016 and actually accused the other woman of having plagiarized her, then switched her story to blaming a staffer, because people who run for school board need staff members.

Sure.

This is one of those situations where the initial situation is bad and then the lying about the initial situation just makes it even worse; her insistence in that article that nobody running for office ever writes their own articles is horseshit, because she’s not running for President, she’s running for fucking school board, and the initial suggestion that she’d simply just dusted off a statement from four years ago and reused it and slandering the stranger who got dragged into this against her own will is obscene.

There was also apparently a bunch of inflammatory bullshit on Facebook when this initially came out, all of which has been deleted, but including this charmingly inexplicable comment:

Hell, even if she’d written the statement in its entirety this year, any statement by a school board member trying to be reelected to office this year that never once mentions Covid, further not discussing the fact that she voted twice to return us to school, is not acceptable.

She needs to go. I would rather have a crank on the board than a shitty liar, and she’s a shitty liar even if she’s not a plagiarist. Fuck her. She needs to resign, to hell with the election.

So I gotta decide what I’m going to do about that. I considered using her picture on this post and decided against it; I thought about using her name in the headline and decided against that. I’m on Facebook under Luther’s name, not my real one. And my audience here isn’t as locally concentrated as one might thing, because my friends and family are all over the place.

(I wonder if WordPress has a way to do state-by-state traffic tracking? That might be interesting.)

At any rate, I can use my Big Platform, which probably isn’t as Big as I need it to be given how hyper-specific this issue is, or I can begin raising hell on my own, using my real name. It’s not like I haven’t gotten into the habit of emailing the entire board and the superintendent whenever the mood strikes me.

(Some Board members have replied to every message. The superintendent has replied to every message. Several Board members have replied to at least one. I have never heard a single word back from Ms. Wesley. Perhaps she doesn’t have a staffer to check her mail for her.)

Anyway, I gotta think about this. But if you are local, and especially if you’re in the third district for the School Board race, be aware of this, and if you haven’t voted yet, please vote accordingly.

Last night’s anxiety dream

Sunday night’s dream was that I was late to a concert and then when I got there I was the only person in a mask, plus a nice little dab of high school anxiety. Last night, I had a dream where I was the only other person nearby while a cop was being brutal and abusive toward a Black woman at a traffic stop, only I couldn’t figure out how to get my phone to record a video and by the time I managed to parse the UI he already had her in his car and had driven off.

The really ridiculous part is that the dream also included the post-arrest Twitter rant I went on, which was about, not policing, not a description of the arrest … but about how app designer’s obsession with subtle UI elements has led to a world where something simple like “I want to record this thing happening in front of me” requires me to carefully look at every part of the screen in case there’s a tiny, 50% transparency circle in the top right corner that I’m supposed to naturally realize means “record.”

Which, uh, isn’t how my phone works at all— the “record” button is literally giant, centered, and red– but hey, dream.

More later. If nothing else, I know Mark Oshiro put up another video from Remember that I need to watch and post.