Thursday, October 21, 2004

happy when it's crazy (have I turned?)

I'm especially looking forward to writing this blog tonight.
We are still interminably (it seems) mired in leap re-testing. I am not a tester. I hear things are spectacularly quiet on the second floor where testing is taking place, including in MY room. Instead, I am a sitter, as I have been all week, on the third floor where everyone who isn't testing is sent. This morning I got to school and found out that first period (which this week is lasting two full hours) I was to sit with THREE classes of children in one room, a room which is not my own. I am watching my students (those who are not re-testing), and the students of two other teachers (they have full classes but one of them is in my room testing rather than me testing and him being with his students.) Miraculously, first period was relatively calm. (the word relative has taken on new significance for me lately). No ceiling fans fell. No one rebelled. No one went crazy. No fight took place (though two did in the hall I was sitting in). Much of the thanks for the calmness of first period this morning goes to my sweet student Charles who happened to have a deck of cards in his bag. There were three drummers with drum sticks in the mix. Insane as that became, I let it go because when drummers aren't allowed to drum, things turn crazier. I know drummers. I'm secretly a drummer.
I don't want to admit this, because it almost sounds like a condonement (is that a word?), but today had its lovelinesses. I got to hang around with children I don't know (individuals who were walking the halls and happened into my room, whom I eventually did not send away. One, a stranger named Andrew, asked me if he could play a cd. I got all bitchy and said, in essence, no fucking way [excuse my Spanish, and I didn't say that word, I promise], because one must always be prepared for the unacceptable, and then he told me it was Al Green he wanted to play. How stupid did I feel? Al Green's almost always in my cd player at home.) The great thing is that I got a chance to know children I don't teach, which means that's a few more who won't hassle me in the future. I also got to hang around with my own students in a situation where I'm not hounding them to rise, where we just sat around conversing about things. Chilling out, as it were. For a few minutes I was in the hall talking with the other teachers who were sitting for classes, commiserating, teachers hanging out, bitching and commiserating, and one of my students came into the hall and asked me why I wasn't in the class. I told the lady I was conversing with in the hall that the girl wanted me in there to talk with them, and I returned. When I got back in there she told me I missed a whole conversation. I asked what the conversation was about and they told me it was about pancakes, and whether we like to fry them in butter or oil, and whether we like crunchy edges. I guess this sounds silly, but it was not silly. The conversation led to cooking, which is anything but a silly topic. During this time one of my students advised me not to stand in the hall and force children away (like the principal asks us to do) because they're only mocking the system and laughing at me. This tells me that she does not want to see me laughed at. This tells me that she has my back.
I learned a lot this week. At the end of the day I wrote a note to the coordinator of the leap retesting, asking her to reconfigure my first period and give some of those students to someone else, and now I'm sorry I did that. Maybe it's me recognizing how lessons occur in the most interesting and surpising places, but only to be seen in retrospect.
Or maybe it's the Merlot.
In any case, after looking at this and writing here, I do not feel unfortunate. I believe I must be a crazy broad. But I'm a happy crazy broad. And I felt a lot of love today.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have many friends already. That's not surprising. You are real, and the kids recognize that. But, what I don't understand is that no one mentioned frying pancakes in bacon drippings. What's wrong with those kids?? And definitely, the crunchy edges are the best.
We had gumbo at MHS today. How is the food at Douglass?
You haven't mentioned it. Do you have duty?
I taught the Greek creation story today..the one where Cronus eats his kids and Zeus makes him vomit them all up. Kids love that story. Do your kids know it? I'd love to hear their reaction!
Did you hear about our faculty dance team at MHS? It's called the Ancient Mariners. Isn't that great? I have a solo piece in which I say, "Yo vanilla, kick it one time, Boyzzzzzzzzzzzz." I have no idea what that means. Do you think your kids might translate. Someone told me that "Yo vanilla" refers to a white person. Who knows??
What are your kids saying about the election? Are they interested? We're having a Mock Election on Monday,but it's rather dull at MHS. I hope someone gets wild and votes for the Socialist party!
Thanks again for your lovely blog poetry.
A blog is a blog is a blog is a blog.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I can't believe I'm doing this, but...

"Yo Vanilla" refers to the song artist, Vanilla Ice (responsible for that oh so talented rendition of "Ice, Ice, Baby," that recycled media channels like VH1 and high school dances alike are so fond of), and I believe in most versions of the song the entire phrase "Yo Vanilla, kick it on time boooooy" can be heard in the opening moments.

The phrase "kick it" is sometimes applied in musical situations to mean "to perform especially well", and in some cases this includes improvisation. "Kick it" in other contexts can mean "to relax" or "hang out," or "to (attempt to or actually) keep intimate company with" ("try to get with") someone. However, obviously only the first definition is applicable here.

And "boy" is just a generic term of endearment/alliance/address.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Makenzi said...

Wow. Go Laura.

In any case - What happened up there sounds a lot like Peer. Which, btw, I miss like CRAZY. Oh man. I miss peer so much. I'd give someone's left testicle for a peer class here. But they're called something really degrading here, I'm sure of it. Oh by the by. If I haven't said it a thousand times, I'll make it once more. I miss you.


11:03 PM  
Blogger richierich said...

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8:29 PM  

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