August 29, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 8.29

This weeks entry for Candid Carries Fx4 comes from a phone conversation I had earlier this week about a book  she wanted to borrow.

The funny part about this is not the title of the book, or how awesome the book is.  The authors are Harry and Rosemary Wong.  

Do you know how hard it is not to laugh when your mom calls you up and asks "Can I borrow your harry wong?"  I still giggle a little inside.  If you are interested in the whole phone conversation, click here.

August 26, 2008

Harry Wong

So, last night I got a phone call from my mom. It went something like this:

Mom: Hi Jen, do you have Harry Wong?

Me: Yes, I actually have two, why?

Mom: Can I borrow Harry Wong?

Me: Sure, why do you need Harry Wong?

Mom: Someone at work want to borrow it. I only need one, not both.

Me: OK, I'll drop off The Harry Wong sometime this weekend.

This was followed by some small talk and chats about how the week is going so far and how life is going with the students. Much better than I anticipated, I must say!

I am sure you are wondering about this elusive Harry Wong. Harry Wong is the author of a fantasitic book called The First Days Of School. Now don't you feel like a pervert?!? It's OK, I giggle every time I look at the front cover!

August 21, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 8.22

Is it Friday already?  Man, my first week back at work went pretty fast.  Today's photo for Candid Carries Fx4 is a picture of my reading area I have set up in my classroom.
This is my favorite by far because it turned out so nicely.  I have had the comfy chair now for two years.  The carpet is new as are the awesomely fuzzy pillows (which I made).  I had to beg borrow and steal for the nice bookshelf on the left.  I am really proud of the area, and it is stocked full of brand new books.  The students get to rotate through the chairs on a daily basis when we have our SSR time.  And yes, I did include myself in the rotation.  That chair is awesome!

Thanks for stopping by!

August 17, 2008

Getting Ready

This is in response to the Bitch Badge post earlier this week.  

As I am mentally preparing for full time life starting tomorrow, I have been looking back at some of the memorable things that have happened during my 4 years teaching High School and 6, starting my 7th year in middle school. 

Names I have been called:
F*cking B*tch ~ When I told a student he couldn't have free time because of his behavior.
Homeskillet ~ Because apparently that sounded like my maiden name.  Not even close.  I still remember his name though!
Mrs. Gay ~ Ha, ha they left our the 'r'  and if you didn't know already, my name is Jennifer 'nobody puts baby in the corner' Gray.  I made my husband stop saying that.
C*nt ~ Oh yeah!  A high schooler said that one when I told him he failed a test.
B*tch ~ because it is an easy one to use to hurt some one's feelings with that word.

I am sure there are others.  If I think of them, I will update the list.

Bad things that happen to good people at work aka me:
~two words: Ranch Pants
~been stepped on by a heavy set student who messed up my ankle to the point I had to go to physical therapy.
~physically assulted by a student (pushed; also needed physical therapy for my shoulder.  Good thing I do yoga) and said student was back in my classroom the next day with NO CONSEQUENCES!!!!!
~caught a kid HUMPING a stool while I was out in the hall.  Yes, I said humping!
~had a desk thrown at me by a student.  OK, this is a good one.  He threw it at me because I fell backwards out of his chair.  What had I just asked him to do for the hundredth time?!?  Stop rocking in his chair.  He missed.  He was also jailed soon after for selling crack to an undercover cop.  He also called me "Teach" in a creepy voice that still gives me nightmares.
~witnessed way too many adolescent boners.  
~completely lost my sense of smell.  I slowly got it back.  Lets just say the smell of stale cigarettes, unwashed clothes and cat pee can kill any one's sense of smell when you have that student in class 4 hours a day.

Good things happen to good people:
~Students come back from high school to visit you because you made an impact on their lives.
~Getting invited to birthday parties and graduations.
~Presents on teacher appreciation days.
~Random cookies/bagels/donuts/candy/etc.  
~Great colleagues who will listen and lend a hand when needed.
~Hugs.  I usually don't hug a student, but won't say its never happened.  I am called 'Tree Hugger' at work.
~Seeing the eager look in a student's eyes when teaching a lesson they are invested in.
~Getting to know your children.  There are some truly great kids out there, each with their own unique features.  It is cool that I get to share that too.  However, I probably see a completely different side of them than you do.

That list could go on and on.

I have a few other goodies to add for later posts.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my job.  I am good at my job.  Heck, I somehow got to be a big wig at school and have since been put on way too many committees. I am a techie, a comic book junkie, a pop culture freak, a yogi, a belly dancer, an artist, a reader, a crafter, a beader, a foodie, and I teach your kids. Well, if they are in special education I do.  I hope you don't mind.  I am good at my job.

August 15, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 8.15

I drive past a sign that reads this at least once a day.  It is at the entrance to our subdivision.  I laugh a little every time I pass it.
I love this one.  I had to recreate it due to the phone number directly underneath & the fact that it is such a busy intersection I couldn't stop and actually photo it.  It is on my to do list though.  

But the sign poses some questions.
1. How much is a dirts?
2.  How many dirts does he need?
3.  Is three dirts = to a wheel barrel full of dirt?
4.  What does he need dirts for?
5.  How long is he going the keep that sign up?  Its been there for almost a year.  (He actually has one further back on his property the reads "Needs Dirt".)
6.  Can I drop off 4 dirts on my way home?

The list goes on and on.

Don't forget to check out the Friday Foto Finish Feista over at Candid Carrie!

August 13, 2008

Bitch Badge

I need a badge to wear on my arm for the next three weeks that simply says "BITCH". Here's why:

I go back to work next Monday as a 7th grade special education teacher. That alone should send shutters of fear down your back. It should. It sends them down my spine whenever I think about it.

I learned a long time ago the dos and don't of teaching, and how I have earned the honor of needing a Bitch Badge. Here are some bits of wisdom for you.
  1. Don't try to be their friend. In the end, they will own you for the WHOLE year and never respect you or what you are trying to teach them.
  2. Routines are a good thing. Without a daily routine, they have no idea how to enter a classroom and get focused on the activities for the day.
  3. Structure, structure, structure! Know what you are going to do and have 5 ways to get it done.
  4. Don't let them get you off focus. They love this one. Good conversations are ok every once in a while, but if they know how to get your focus off, they will use and abuse it. I am very guilty of this one!
  5. Discipline or How I earn the Bitch Badge. Have rules, stick to them. You commit an offense, you pay the price. Have your rules posted and go through them every day for a week at the start of class. It sounds redundant, but it works when they say "I didn't know the rules"
I am sure there are more, but I am going to focus on #5 for a minute. I am just going to get it out of the way and say it. I am a bitch for the first three weeks of school. I am tired, I am not in my routine sleeping pattern, I am cranky, possibly hung over and just a plain old bitch. I don't let the kids get away with ANYTHING! I call them out on their behaviors, and make them pay the consequences. It lets the bad ones know right away whose the boss and the on the fence ones appreciate you more when you let up.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a complete bitch, just very strict and press on the rules. You have to be nice some of the time, right? When they have a good grasp on the rules and runnings of the classroom, I let up and let them see the real me. The non-bitchy, fun loving, weird, humorous me. Every year I get at least one student who says "Your mean on purpose during the first week of school, aren't you?" I say, "No, not mean. Just making sure you know the rules and how seventh grade works".

*I am really not a bitch. Only the ones who try to break the rules end up calling you that because you made them suffer the consequences of their actions. I am actually a really nice person. They just don't see it that way.

**Would you be interested in a post that goes over all of the lovely names I have been called throughout my 11 years of teaching? Some of them are pretty good**

Gun shots.... Must be Tuesday

Have you ever been sitting on you couch, hear several gunshots and think to yourself "Oh yeah, its Tuesday"?  Well, thats exactly what I was thinking yesterday afternoon.  The only reason I thought of it is because they started up again today, which is rare.

Wait a second, did she say GUN SHOTS?  This is a normal event for Tuesday!!!  That sounded too casual.

OK, so you are probably thinking where in the hell does this girl live?  Is she in a safe neighborhood?  Does she live in a bad part of town?  Does she live in a ghetto?

Nope.  I happen to live near a police firing range.  Every Tuesday they have firing practice.  The first time I heard it, I had no idea what was going on and refused to leave the house.  Now, it is as normal as the weekly emergency siren test (also on Tuesday).  You get used to it after a while.  Weird thought, getting used to the sound of gun fire.  

*Occasionally, on a clear night, you can hear lions too.  There is a zoo 5 miles behind us through the woods.  Man, I love living here.  

August 8, 2008

Friday Foto Finish 8.8

Here is this weeks entry for the friday foto finish fiesta via Candid Carrie

Our nephew has joined the Peace Corps and is shipping off to Morocco next month.  In celebration, I decided to make (from a box) one of the more common staples in Morocco, cous cous.  I thought it sounded great.  My husband however looked at the box and started laughing.
Apparently being Nutted with something is funny to a guy!  I thought the ready in 5 minutes was funnier....  Must be a gender thing.

August 1, 2008

Scars do heal...

But don't become forgotten....  

What are you talking about?!?  Let me explain.

I was driving back from our local grocery store a few minutes ago when my head began to itch just above my left ear.  I reached up to scratch and that's when I realized what it was.  It is the scar I got from a car accident exactly 12 years ago.  By exactly I mean to the hour, even to within a 5 minute window.  I had completely forgotten the scar was there.  Then all the memories rushed back in.

As far as the accident.  Well, I was hit going through an intersection on the side by a woman driving a car she technically stole from her daughter.  Oh yeah, they didn't have insurance either.  It is by far the worst accident I have ever been in, but I am fine and won't go through the details.  Just to say that I got two black eyes, a swollen knee and an 1~1/2" cut on my head which had to have 3 staples.  And I hope that I never have to go through that again.  Staples suck!

But it did happen to me, so there has to be a funny twist.  Oh yeah baby, its a good one.  I had just gotten off of work at the swimming pool where I was teaching lessons.  I only lived a few miles away and I made a habit of wrapping myself in a towel and just driving home.  So, that's what I was wearing.  A swimsuit and a towel (not even shoes).

When the accident occurred it was at one of the busiest intersection in the area where I live.  I made quite the impression on the passersby as I was pulled out of my car in just a swimsuit and getting strapped to a backboard.  I think I backed up traffic for quite a while because I ended in the middle of the cross road.  (Every once in a while I will hear someone tell the story, it made quite an impression, and laugh to myself.  I don't always tell them it was me, depends on how much they have embellished it.)

I remember the EMT who strapped me in ask where my clothes were, did I have shoes, where is my ID, etc.  but couldn't form the words or think straight.  He was nice enough to give me a blanket to keep warm.

I guess a good Samaritan got out of his car and put pressure on my head wound, which they say helped me from getting more damage.  To which I say Thank You!!!

I got a descent settlement out of the whole deal.  The woman who hit me went to jail.  I was harassed by her boyfriend who would call our house trying to get me to stop pressing charges (that was the insurance company, not me.  Oh yeah, and she STOLE the car).  It is the only time in my life that the words restraining order came out of my mouth.

But I am happy to say my scars (both physical and mental) have since healed.  I am a stronger person for it.  And I always change back into my clothes before I drive home.

Friday Foto Finish 8.1

Here's this weeks entry for Carrie's Friday Foto Finish Fiesta.My husband took this foto last Saturday night when we went out to visit our nephew out on the farm. I just love the corn fields on either side of us as we walked down the path to an old bridge that hasn't been used in I'd say close to 100 years. What you don't see in the photo is the next door neighbors dog taking a very steamy, stinky shit about 20 yards ahead of us. Less kibbles more bits for that dog. Pew!