Tuesday, August 31, 2004


The main thing that struck me today was that 70 adolescents passed through my classroom and at the end of the day there was not a single piece of trash on the floor or anywhere in the room except in the trash can. And this has been so for two and half weeks. These are respectful people. They take nothing and no one for granted.
I feel honored.

Disposed of: two pairs of shoes. It almost embarrasses me to say so.

Melanie Plesh

Monday, August 30, 2004

send the clowns away

A great thing happened today.
Our school is infamous for its hallwalkers during classes. How they get there, where they're supposed to be, all those questions, we don't know the answers to. They just exist. And they roam in packs and make terrible noise and come to our classroom doors and try to distract the students inside and if your door is unlocked, as I've written in this blog before, they just walk in. It really is a phenomenon and utterly irrational. (Tim, my son, says they're like the brigands of the 1600's). However, today, after I'd just given a class the spiel about journal keeping and the time is theirs and here's a chance to think their own thoughts, etc., we were writing in our journals. The word was "identity." The clowns came to the door and made all their noise, including trying to get someone inside to open the door. A few of us looked up but then went back to our writing. WE IGNORED THEM AND THEY WENT AWAY! After we finished writing I congratulated those people in class for not letting the clowns steal them away from their thoughts. They understood.

Disposed of: a roll of Nascar wrapping paper and a six-pack of curlable ribbon.

Melanie Plesh

Sunday, August 29, 2004

I have teacher-type questions (to help keep the dreams from being deferred)

The past two mornings I have been awakened by ideas I dream up for language lessons for my students, specifically about their writing, and I can't get back to sleep until I write them down. And then when I do sleep again, I dream up some more. I feel haunted. Intense. Obsessed.
There are some specific issues in their writing to address. About 25% of my 11th and 12th graders have failed or not taken the English part of the LEAP. And they have all these hopes -- to be nurses, choreographers, successes in the business world, lawyers -- but where they stand right now as writers will not get them there. They won't even graduate.
Since this blog has become so interactive, I'm including a few anonymous, out of context examples of their writings. These are all first lines of paragraphs taken from second drafts of essays they wrote. Maybe you have some words of wisdom about how I can help:

1. "How our country does not allow gays to marry. I think it is wronge because people lover there partner, and they want a commitment of marry. So why can the state approved."

2. "Money is power and respect, evil some people get all that money and change. They start to at like the shit don't stake. Rich people start big happis that they can efford."

3. "What make me, when I am around alot of people that I know I get very happy. When am around my family not very shy to talked to others people, I get very shy. I love enjoy outside because it a beautiful."

Of course, these are the most glaring of the problems. But make no mistake; there are also many excellent writers. I'll write about them later, though. There's a LEAP retake in October and that's the most pressing thing right now.

Thank you.

Recycled: two old bottles that our neighborhood person of interest found under a house.

Melanie Plesh

Saturday, August 28, 2004

dreams deferred

It was a beautiful day. During first period had one of those inspired class conversations that can never be planned but that just spontaneously erupts, this time after a reading of Zora Neale Hurtson's story, "John Redding Goes To Sea," and then Langston Hughes's poem, "What happens to a dream deferred?" We wrote in our journals. Four of us read aloud. The story that inspired us was about hungry young John Redding, dying to travel, to take the river to the end of the world, but his mother wouldn't ever approve, even cursed him and said if he leaves he should never come back, even to her grave. I wrote:

"S. made the connection by saying his father was like John Redding's mother, that he kept him back from life, and when his father did that, S. started being bad. Those were his words. How smart of him. I remember being 18 years old and leaving home. I remember standing in my driveway and I felt a breeze, I remember it, and the sun was bright, welcoming, inviting. I remember it. And mother was standing by the front door, and I was about to get in my car and drive away to my new apartment, free at last, and in her weeping she said, 'Why?' and I said because I have to live. And it was exactly like John Redding. I was like a stagnant pool, dead or dying. What blows my mind is that I knew to get out. I was not like John. I went anyway, even with my mother's curse on me. John could have, too. Should have. Why didn't he? Maybe a mother's curse on her son is worse than on a daughter. But still, what's the real power of a curse? and also, John said he didn't want to hurt his mother's feelings. But that's not his responsibility in this world, to protect his mother's feelings. He needs to run his own life."

Second and third periods weren't as turned on, which is okay. They wrote on looseleaf about dreams and how they often get deferred, and what we can do to protect them.
This year's theme that's emerging is about the American dream. It occurs to me that the natives of this land had their lives and dreams taken from them as did the Africans who became slaves. All so there could be an American dream.

Disposed of: an electric fryer and all its accessories

Melanie Plesh

Thursday, August 26, 2004

# 9

It's interesting that something like a blog, which ostensibly is about the blogger, turns out not to really about the blogger after all. There's now dialogue occurring. Marsha in her comment reminded me why I took this work on. Tami wonders if one has to be brought up hard to be real. If you're brought up soft are you less real?
This morning when I made the right on Pauline Street off St Claude Avenue and saw the horde of students I wondered if that girl, that 5'10" STRONG rapping girl, was watching for me. But nothing happened. I parked and was a little nervous crossing the street, through the crowd, into the school. But nothing happened. Finally, I saw her circling between classes and we exchanged a completely passionless look, and she circled on. Later, two boys from yesterday who were particularly difficult came to make it up with me. One actually said he was sorry. The other, while circling the second time, looked at me and waved. That was a guy (not my student, someone I'd never seen before) who came in my room yesterday and wouldn't leave (and this in a very threatening way). Incredibly, in a pretty hard to believe series of "coincidences," his mother, he, the disciplinarian, and I were in the hallway at the same moment after school and when I saw him I said, "You!" and his mother asked me what that was about and I told her and she took care of business right then and there. That's the guy who waved to me in his second circling. A guy who brought out drumsticks yesterday came to hang around in my room today. (I had to raise my voice to make him leave.) It's crazy, but I learned something, or was reminded of something. Group mentality may currently trump individual mentality. But not when you're a writer.
I love the faculty for a lot of reasons. But one precious thing is that we all call each other by our last names.
One more thing about yesterday. I told a girl (a different girl, but one no less STRONG) that I'm not the enemy. And though she kept her radio plugged into her ear and kept her back to me, she got off my case.
This is a long blog.
When it was time today to stop the circlers and shut the doors after third period, a boy got in my face when I told him to go to class. (I mean it literally when I say he got in my face.) He said, "You're trippin', I'm chillin'. And I, in a brilliant retort, said, "No. You're trippin'. I'm chillin." However puny white and old I am, he did go away.
Today I asked my students to answer ten questions for me (in writing). Question #9 was me asking them to tell me about their lives. One guy told me he wears the shoes his uncle (his best friend, closer to him than his mother, he said) was shot to death in last year. 50% of the students left #9 blank.
One more thing. When I say I dispose of things, I'm not throwing them away. I'm moving them here and there. Upon Shirley's suggestion, I'm bringing most of them to school. Except the brassieres, of course.
Three people came into class today and asked me what we were going to write about.

Recycled: a cactus and a cassette of Appalachian Waltzes

Melanie Plesh

what you gonna do about it?

I'm sitting here, night, talking out loud to myself, trying to explain to myself why I took this job. Today the office called me on the intercom and asked me to "cover" a class during my planning period for an absent teacher. I didn't know I could say no so I said all I could say.
It was bizarre. They came in my room and took over, first with their bodies, then with their voices, then on their feet. I didn't know any of them and so was powerless. The only thing from me that got their attention was when I literally shouted. A girl who was rapping (I must admit, she was good) got too loud and I asked her to keep her voice down and she gave me the look, from my head to my feet, with an attitude, and I took a step forward and said, "What you looking at?" I omitted the word that belonged at the end, but she got it. (I also left out "are" that would have made it grammatically correct. What am I coming to?) It was almost like I was calling her out. Little puny old white me.
I can't write about this right now. Tomorrow.

Disposed of: an extra tape measure and an extra hammer.

Melanie Plesh

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

it makes you speak from the heart and keep it real

During first period we were trying to come up with subjects for essays and the conversation turned to the police. Suffice it to say, the upshot of the conversation wasn't flattering. In the heat of it, there was a knock on my door and it was, yes, a policeman, with an errant student of mine in tow. Silence ensued.
During third period a boy I didn't know walked into my class and started ranting and bellowing. I stood up and walked toward him and he backed out and away down the hall. Then he screamed into the hole in my other door where a dead bolt lock had been removed. It was bizarre.
At least he didn't threaten to fire me.
All the administrators and security guards and police were out in full force today trying to get students into their classes. The students circle. I'm trying to get a fix on a few faces to see how many times they do it. One kid I recognized today circled 3 times during one break between classes. But, as I said, administration was out, trying. There was a lot of yelling from both sides.
Here are the last two sentences of an essay a student, R.M., wrote today: "One thing I can say about growing up hard is that the problems make you smarter, on different aspects, than the average person. It makes you speak from the heart and keep it real."
It's a good place for me to be.

Disposed of: one painted egg.

Melanie Plesh

Monday, August 23, 2004

wishing for a point

Three of us used the wishing well pencil sharpener today. It's a little bitty brass wishing well, has a moveable crank (which is attached to nothing), and it makes everyone who uses it laugh. Why, I wonder, would anyone have ever made a pencil sharpener in the shape of a wishing well? Maybe it's about wishing for something fine to come out of the pencil. Like a point.
It was a good day. These people in my classes are so willing to do what I ask. That's probably because I'm asking them to write. They want to. Because of the 90 minute classes and the block schedule I had time in all 3 classes today to have an individual conference with each student about her/his writing from Friday. The Barack Obama-inspired writings. It's going to make all the difference, this time to talk individually with each person. I cannot yet say what I recognize about their writing. It's too soon. One thing I see a lot of is creative formations and uses of "to be." Also see that they often don't make plurals and they don't make possessives. My baby daddy. I think there's something interesting in this, speaking socialogically (is that a word?), which I'll have to run by my linguist friend. I can see more now how linguistics and anthropology are linked.
What I also see is that these people are smart and that they're thinkers. It's a rich and ripe environment.
Today two girls I don't know got in my face. One, who isn't even a student here, opened my door and came halfway in and talked in a real loud voice to a girl in my class. (The girl in class wasn't particularly interested.) The girl at the door completely ignored me until I stood up and walked toward her. Then she backed out (thank g-d), talking bullshit, and when she was well into the hall and walking away, her back to me, she said, "I'm going to have you fired."
During my next class, another girl was at the closed door, talking through the glass, bothering someone else in the room (who also wasn't particularly interested). (I hate it that my students have to put up with such crap.) When I went to her she flashed her hand in my face, got her 'tude on, and said she wasn't messing with me, she was messing with one of my students, and then was gone. Too late it occurred to me to say, if you're messing with my student you are messing with me. I'm so strong and clever in retrospect. (Though it's probably just as well that I didn't think of that little retort in time. I realized a long time ago that power is an illusion, that I only get respected or listened to because my students choose to listen to and respect me. Here, the sense of violence very nearby humbles me and reminds me how fleeting the state of order really is, how close is chaos, and how lucky I am to have what I have.)

Disposed of: yet another shirt and a ceramic dish with painted gold angels on a maroon background. I'm bringing that to school. It's pretty.

Melanie Plesh

Friday, August 20, 2004

Barack Obama

Today I read Barack Obama's democratic national convention keynote speech aloud to my classes. They loved it. Some of them even applauded. Obama is the African-American man who is running for senator in Illinois. And he's getting a lot of media attention. His speech is beautiful. He addresses racial issues. I told the students, or rather, Melanie Anne Plesh told the students, that Obama might be our first African-American president. One girl said maybe he'd be the vice president to Hillary Clinton, president.
While I was reading my eyes teared up. Already. Second day and I'm already crying in front of them. They'll get used to it. Almost every day something does that to me.
Anyway, they were really attentive. Then we wrote a first draft on something about the speech that particularly moved us and they cooperated completely. They wanted to. It's not a fight. They have a lot to say (as I always say about adolescents, THEY HAVE A LOT TO SAY!)
The speech and the writing turned out so well that I'm afraid I've begun with my best thing. Where do I go from here? And it's not like I dug in my bag and pulled out my best trick. I just decided to do this last night. Hope I can keep it up. Starting out with the bar set pretty damned high though. Monday I'm going to let them read essays from my Copenhagen box, only the essays that strike them as interesting, while I confer with each student about the two writings they've already done. My first impression of them and their writing is that they're smart. Sharp. Aware. Thinkers. But their writing doesn't show it. Some of their writing is almost like another language that they're laboring over.
By the way, the classes are small. Of course, that will probably change come Labor Day. However, I think they will remain relatively small, like 22 in each class. Very manageable.
One kid, J, came in tardy and looks desperately worried. I'm afraid for him. A girl, G, slept the whole class. When I spoke with her she said she didn't sleep last night. I didn't ask why. Too soon for that. I just gave her a blanket to put around her shoulders.
At the end of the day, both yesterday and today, our principal, got on the intercom and thanked the teachers for being there and for all that we do. And it was heartfelt.
I love this school.

Disposed of: a pencil sharpener which is shaped like a wishing well and an empty Mozart candy box from Germany which is shaped like a cello. I'm bringing those to school.

Melanie Plesh

Thursday, August 19, 2004

the children arrive

I still don't have a key and when the office called the head custodian to open my room he stood next to me and said, "She gonna have to wait," like I wasn't even standing there. My blood boiled. All I want is to get into my classroom so I can start being a teacher. That's all. And if they can't get it together to get me a key then they'll have to put up with me asking every flipping day. But it's a very bad way to start the year, getting the head custodian mad at me. Oh well. As I keep saying, I'm not there to make friends.
A cop strolling the hall stopped by my room and introduced himself and shook my hand. Between classes it's raucous. Kids circle the entire second floor, looking for friends, over and over. I get it. Boys wear their shirts out until a teacher says to tuck it in, which he does until he moves away down the hall, then he pulls it out again. Same song, different verse. Just like MHS.
We're on the 4 by 4 block schedule so I have only 3 classes (the fourth is planning), each 90 minutes long. I think it's a great arrangement. During first period a girl, B.J., tried to get in my face a little. I can see that she's one of those people who will either get my back or stab me in it. It'll be okay.
I'm teaching American literature and writing. I think I'll have students add words that are regularly used in writing about America to a list on the board and after we get a bunch of them use the words to write poems. Like found poetry. I started the list with the word hubris.
The kids are kids. Precious. Willing. Curious about me. Whenever I make a comment that is strictly my opinion I preface it with, "this is Melanie Anne Plesh speaking," and that absolutely cracked up the girls in third period. Now they're calling me Melanie Anne Plesh, even in the hall. I love it.

Disposed of: a salt shaker and a paintbrush

Melanie Plesh

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

rallying the troops on the penultimate day

Mr Amato gathered virtually every Orleans Parish school system employee -- 10,000 of us -- for a rally in the UNO arena. Each school had an assigned area. We all wore our colors. There were gold, silver, black, and white balloons arranged in twisted arches on the stage. A lot of speakers, mostly speaking that empty rhetoric people with doctorate degrees in education speak. But when Mr Amato took the podium it was different. He was wonderful. He said, "Everywhere we look we are shining." At the end of his speech about a third of the audience gave him a standing ovation, including me. I think I was the only one from my school to do so. I think all the rhetoric of the past has embittered teachers in Orleans. It's completely understandable. They've heard it before. All we can do is give it a chance and wait, and see, and hope, for the sake of the children, that things work out.
I was disgusted with the rudeness and disrespect among the teachers when the all star concert band played. Teachers. They demand to be listened to but they don't listen. It really gets me, especially that they don't listen to the children.
Back at school in the afternoon. A movie called Glory Road is being filmed here. The guy who played Antwone Fischer is the star, and he was wandering around school in 60's clothes. We teachers had to work around the film crews and their equipment and hundreds of men with Brill Creme in their hair and women with teased up beehives and sweater twinsets. I asked one of the crew members who was directing the film and he said, "I don't know. Some asshole."
One of the English teachers told me she already loves me! Then an assistant principal came to my room and told me I had to have my rules and consequences posted! I told him I don't have rules and consequences, that I just request respect among us. He looked doubtful. Strike one. Then he said I needed a bulletin board. I told him I don't do bulletin boards. Strike two. Then he asked me what I teach and I said English and he said that with all the maps it looks like I'm a geography teacher. I tried to explain that I think maps are always relevant and got another doubtful look. But it'll be okay. He'll see. (Unless that was strike three.)
The children are coming tomorrow, looking to be raised. What an awesome thing it is to be in a position to help the youth of the human race, to know that they still believe in us, and to be given the chance to facilitate their rising.

Disposed of: two items of clothing that I'd gotten from goodwill

Melanie Plesh

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

on today

Today is really today and I have now caught up with my handwritten journal entries. From now on, today will no longer be reported in retrospect. Hmm.
It's a southern thing or maybe a black southern thing when people say something like, "On tomorrow we will..." or, "we had a meeting on last Tuesday..." I need to talk with a linguist about that. Fortunately, I know one.
The FDHS administration asked for us to make nice bulletin boards, oh yeah, my specialty, and so I taped my maps of Spain and the Alps and India and America up on some of the blackboard space (the blackboard space being three whole walls of the room, the fourth whole wall being windows opening onto a gravel and tar roof where the modernization of FD manifests in the form of huge blocks of air conditioning units and simple green-tainted metal tents capped with spinning vents), and also taped up my Tupac photograph with the tattoo PLESH superimposed in an arc across his belly. A gift from a student named Alex. Also taped up the two rabbits. I'll figure out how to add pictures to this blog and then you'll see what I mean. It's probably the funniest thing I've ever seen.
Assistant principals need to be assertive, otherwise they get eaten up by the faculty.
I think any principal who would accept this job must be very brave.
Just as I was about to publish this post my friend Clay telephoned. He told me, among other things, that I should research what's being done to effect change at other school systems in the world, and that I should think of myself as a customer. This is a fat, fruit-bearing seed.
Meanwhile, I continue to fall in love with the faculty.

Disposed of: a blue nylon bag and a broken lamp assembly

Melanie Plesh

Monday, August 16, 2004

chalk boards

# 219 is a beautiful, tall-ceilinged, wooden-floored, airy, well-lit room with black chalk boards. There's much old chalk dust embedded in the chalk trays. A friend of mine graduated from this school in the 60's, when it was called Francis Nichols High School, and I wonder if any of the embedded dust came from erased lessons for her.
It was a good day. This morning we had to endure an inservice on the GLE, the meaning of which I cannot remember, and how to attune our lessons to the standards and benchmarks. I know that what occurs in classes of good teachers almost always automatically addresses the standards, but I don't think the teachers trust themselves that much. They're innocent in this way. They're not innocent in the ways of the world perhaps, but they are in regard to their teaching, which tells me that they want to be good for their students. I fell in love a little bit with them today. I got a glimpse of their sweetness and softness. And I recognize love in them.
The head custodian is a very handsome and clearly a capable man. I asked him if he could think of a place where I could lock my bicycle inside the building and he told me to check with him tomorrow, that he will find a place safe and that I can access.
A pint of Mona's hummus is $5.99 and a bag of pita bread is $.99. I think I will make lunch of this for a week at a time. I think I won't have time for the cafeteria.
I'm thinking that I'll take the doors off my room and have the broken panes re-glazed. Or even cooler, learn how to glaze them myself.
The children come Thursday. I am so happy.

Disposed of: a pirate flag, a kite shaped like a skunk, two cookbooks, three necklaces

Melanie Plesh

Friday, August 13, 2004

how it is

In response to a comment about parent apathy, a fellow English teacher said it may only look like parents are apathetic because those parents aren't acting like we expect them to act. That spoke to me. I'm always quick to believe that parents don't care. I need to rethink this.
It has already happened. A guy asked me where I'd taught before. I told him I didn't want to say because I knew what his reaction would be, but he pushed me and I figured I'd have to contend with something like this sooner or later, so I said, Mandeville High School, and he rolled his eyes. I got a little steely and he said, "I don't mean to be negative, but..." Then another teacher said, "Miss Plesh, soon you'll see how it is." And I now wish I'd said, "I do see how it is," and then changed tables. They just don't know. I guess in any new setting we have to prove ourselves. I'm willing. And anyway, I'm very clear about why I'm at Douglass, and it's not about making friends. Though I'm not averse to making friends.
Orleans is trying to incorporate something called Family Advocacy Groups. Each teacher will have about 15 students for whom she's responsible, children who will come to us as a group only once a week. Still, it could be good. The problem is, not all teachers want to deal with children in this way. Not every teacher wants to be involved personally like that, and I think they're absolutely in their rights in that regard. How many people at Mandeville High, for example, would be interested in facilitating the peer classes? It's not everybody's bag. But with this new program in Orleans, every teacher will be forced to take the bag on, whether she or he wants to or not. This could be a disaster.
Change is hard here, I see. Duh. It's always hard. It's supposed to be. When people have been immersed in a system or a culture or an organization for a long time it's hard to see objectively. Anything can become normal.
This training is mediocre. The workshop facilitators are employees rather than people in love with children. They're doing this for money, not love. The teachers in the audience need first to be appealed to. Too many assumptions have been made. I'll have to talk with Tony about that, haha.

Disposed of: a cap from the museum of modern art in NYC and a shirt I got from goodwill

Melanie Plesh

Thursday, August 12, 2004

fallacial thinking

I had a conversation with a fellow teacher today about the fallaciousness in thinking that it's enough for a good teacher just to close her door and do her thing, like I do. It's not enough. We have to make noise when we see injustice, too. We have to be children's advocates whenever and wherever it's called for.
We also talked about the slave mentality. Are we all victims of the slave mentality? And who is the master?

Disposed of: three, ahem, undergarments

Melanie Plesh

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

retrieving my things

Tim and I got my 30 boxes of 16 years worth of teaching stuff from MHS. On the way to school I stopped for gas and saw one of the most precious students I've ever known, John Ellis, at the gas station. That seemed like a sign to me. On the way home Tim and I ate at Trey Yuen and the mother of one of my former students saw us eating and paid for our lunch. At my new school, FD, a custodian helped us bring the boxes up the terracotta steps to my room, beautiful room 219. Then another custodian, took me for a tour of the school. One of the science classrooms has glass paned cabinets and a horse skeleton atop a riser in the back of the room. A woman wheeling a cart in with old scientific measuring devices told me a movie was being filmed at the school. I said, "If you need an English teacher in this movie of yours, I'm your gal."
I have a new philosophy: that anything I become part of, my intention will be to try to make it better. I will make that room at FD beautiful. I will help those children who come into my life find their beauty.
The school was buillt in 1939 during Roosevelt's presidency. I think it was a federal works project. Depression era. The decor is art deco, but subtle. I see the occasional detail. It's a gorgeous place that's only slightly crumbling. Nothing serious. Needs some plaster and paint, some glazing, like that. When I said to the custodian that this was a beautiful school she said thank you like she felt in part responsible for its beauty. I loved that. I remember how much I loved it when Eddie told me that he felt it was a joint effort among all of the people who work in a school to make it good for our students. I love Eddie. I wish I could have seen him today.

Disposed of: two belts

Melanie Plesh

Thursday, August 05, 2004

proceeding, part three

2 August
At the first meeting of New Orleans Public School induction week. Started off with a Christian prayer and now Cheryl Mills, president of the school board, is speaking. Hardly anyone applauded her. And her words are empty. Now Dr Rosyln Smith, my specific area superintendent, is speaking, says we have to learn our students' ways and they have to learn ours. That we have to celebrate who the children are.

Now Dr Calvin Mackie, engineer, rags to riches story, product of NO public schools. He's a great speaker. Here are the notes I jotted while he was speaking:

- 80% of slaves in America came from Ghana
- 50-75 million Africans died during slave time
- "You can't get caught up in the foolishness."
- "...their hope, their faith, is tied up in you."
- "If the politicians would do their job...and the police do their job..."
- "All of us were created with different talents."
- when curriculum specialists tell us how to do our jobs every minute, they could just hire robots.
- "This is not job training, this is education."
- he calls it a broken paradigm that going to school to get an education will allow students to make money because there's more money to be had on the street
- he says the purpose of education is not to fill the bucket but to light a fire
- "We have to bring wisdom back to education."
- "People who know better gotta do better."
- "Who pimped your momma?"
- "Challenge them where they are and bring them where we want them to go."
- "Ignorant means you just don't know. Stupid means there's no hope for you."

3 August
Bagels, soft cream cheese, good coffee.
Some workshops are not enough for new teachers but way more than experienced teachers need. They need to find a balance. But I'm impressed by how not shoddy this week has been so far, and very professional. I'm impressed with everything from the Teaching Fellows interview in May to the meeting with the principal of the school at which I hope to teach, to the Fellows training, to this new teacher induction. Hope the quality lasts. I told the lady who did the 504 workshop just where I was hoping to teach and she said the school has a bad reputation but it has some great kids. That's what I gather from everything I come across. I can't wait to get to my room and just sit there and feel it.
Everything has changed.
New workshop on First Things First school reform training. This woman is lecturing and has the attention of about 20% of the audience. She's a teacher. She ought to know better.

Disposed of: rolling pin, pot gripper, three shirts, a small jar of hair, the pile of "important" things on the kitchen chair, a bag of candy

Melanie Plesh