Because it’s still true

This picture is very old– almost exactly fourteen years, in fact– but was taken under the precise circumstances and in the same mood that I am in now; that being the end of the first semester of school, and the beginning of a glorious two weeks in which I am not responsible for anyone else’s children.

So yeah. Let’s use it again.

In which I didn’t have to use my AK

stressed-teacherIt actually wasn’t a bad day at all; I just really wanted to use that picture.  I have officially survived the first day back without, really, anything of note to gripe about; anytime I get through a day with no disciplinary intervention more serious than having to swap a couple of seats, it was a good day.

Sadly, I had to watch my third and fourth hour class pull their “We’re brainless!” move, which is absolutely my favorite thing as a teacher; we got through the first class period okay and then I just-about-literally watched their brains leak out of their headholes as we moved from basic geometry (areas of circles, triangles, rectangles, parallelograms, and trapezoids) to composite shapes.  Composite shapes are, just for example, an arrow or “house” shape, where there’s a triangle sitting on top of a square or rectangle, or an L shape composed of two rectangles.  The idea, basically, is that the kids take basic planar geometry and extend it by recognizing simpler shapes inside of a complex one and know to add them together, or sometimes subtract out a shape that is designated as a “hole,” along with sometimes having to reason out what the length of an initially unknown side is.

My kids– especially my special ed ones– are generally not very good at this, and they’re sure as hell not going to be good at it on the first day back from winter break, and they’re surer as hell not going to be good at it when the first day back from winter break is the first day I cover the material.  But third and fourth hour, particularly, were playing the Moron Game, where we pretend that we don’t understand shit that we literally just did three minutes ago, and where we can’t find an answer that is on the board and I’m pointing at, because we don’t want to think and we think if we filibuster long enough the teacher will give up and call on someone else.

This strategy never, ever, ever works on me– believe it or not, after twelve goddamn years of working with recalcitrant middle schoolers I can tell the difference between a kid who legitimately doesn’t understand what I’m talking about and a kid who is being lazy.  It’s a real good way to get my dander up if dander is what you’re looking for, though; the good news is that they pulled it during the ten minutes before lunch and managed to pull their shit together before they came back into my room.  So, yeah.  If tomorrow is as good as today I’ll call the week a win, I think.

Sidenote: On the “more good news” front: You can imagine that demolishing my bathroom created a lot of garbage last week, and there was more than a bit of negotiation with the city over how said garbage was to be packaged and hauled away from my house, negotiations that got a bit more complicated once the blizzard destroyed the ability of streets & san to actually get around to everyone in a timely fashion.  There are a lot of things about my town that I’m not terribly fond of, but I’m happy to report that other than one board with a bunch of nails in it that I was thinking about keeping for zombie duty in case of TEOTWAWKI every last scrap of drywall and tile disappeared from my driveway this morning.  Yay!

Speaking of scary old men…

BbvcZAIIEAA-tzLTomorrow is the last day before Winter Break.  I let my kids know on Tuesday that there were two ways Friday could go; they could behave well (or at least reasonably) throughout the week and we could watch a movie while I did one-on-one test talks in the back of the room, or I could give them an enormous stack of worksheets that they could do in silence while I did one-on-one test talks in the back of the room and periodically sent someone to ISS for catching my attention at the wrong moment.

My seventh graders chose… poorly.  They will not be enjoying tomorrow very much.  My 8th graders will be watching The Avengers during fifth and sixth hour.  They’ll likely be obnoxious about it but at least that group is fun.  It should go fine.

Then it becomes Actually Time to Deal with the Bathroom Time, which is redundant on purpose because Yes Really Dammit It’s Time Now.  Which is its own entire set of things and by the way I still have no damn idea what the hell I’m doing.


So, remember when Jihad got expelled and I was down to one of the Kids Who Are Always Suspended left in my room?   The end of the day Monday featured a gym-clearing brawl that I’m half-convinced wouldn’t have happened had I been there, and now both of them are expelled.  You would think that this would lead to my classroom becoming functional; evidence from the rest of this week suggests that to not be the case, but the week before Winter Break is always gonna be more chaotic than usual, so we’ll see if they’ve settled down at all once we get back in January.

Jihad, surprisingly, decided to go the Defiant Asshole route at his expulsion hearing, which was this week– I figured he’d go for Poor Maligned Misunderstood Little Boy– and while we only asked for a semester away they may actually expel him for the entire school year based on his attitude at the hearing, or at least mandate that he attend another school when he’s allowed to return.  Apparently the reading of my statement was a high point of the hearing; the chair of the committee was my principal in fourth grade, and apparently told Jihad that if he’d pissed me off that much there wasn’t any way she was taking anything he said seriously after that.  What makes me especially awesome is that I actually predicted in my statement the exact line of defense that he would attempt at the hearing and stomped it to rubble.  There was apparently laughter among the committee members when they got to the “Jihad will probably insist that…” portion of the statement.  I’d nailed it, practically word-for-word.

Which kinda entertains me.

One more day.  I can do this.  Honest.