28 February 2006

the randomness of suite 213

thanks to the prompting of rachel and 8th grade lesson plans, the suite just participated in an interactive sing-along of "fifteen miles on the erie canal" complete with megan's heel-clicking dance and rachel's jazz hands.

i think i'm going to bring in rachel to my history class tomorrow morning as my anticipatory set. then she can stay to be a case study in psychology.

26 February 2006

childhood hero

don knotts died yesterday. this makes me extremely sad. watching deputy barney fife blunder his way through the streets of mayberry was an integral part of my childhood. i understand what it means to be a standby cymbalist when there isn't a regular one, can give a detailed account of how he got himself locked in the jail cell numerous times, and know why he had to keep his bullet in his pocket. i remember checkpoint chickie, his stint as a real estate agent, and his inability to commit to thelma lou. and did count des vandeleki really exist?

"Dogs, the whole lot of them, dogs. Fly a quail through here and every one of 'em would point."

"Man gets his best suit spotted and pressed, spends two hours polishing his hat, and for what? Heartaches!"

"Now here at the Rock we have two rules. Memorize them until you can say them in your sleep. Rule number one: obey all rules. Rule number two: no writing on the walls."

"It's a mark of us Fifes. Everything we eat goes to muscle."

"Nip it in the bud."

"Now Andy, if you give 'em thirty, they'll take thirty-five. If you give 'em thirty-five, they'll take forty. If you give 'em forty, they'll take forty-five. If you..."

"If there's anything that upsets me, it's having people say I'm sensitive."

"I'm gonna' go home, have me a little nap, and then go over to Thelma Lou's and watch a little TV."

sigh...another american icon gone.

22 February 2006

in response

dear anonymous,

1) you couldn't have been a teacher. if you had, you wouldn't say things like this, because despite your best efforts, you would have grown to like at least some of them. also, you would know that teaching is a hard enough job as it is, without negative attitudes coming from somewhere else.

2) i do not give up. on anything. ever. never have, never will. in fact, the more people tell me to quit something, the more i'm driven to do it, just to prove them wrong. it's the stubborn, bitchy side of me coming out.

3) if you think that i'm going to take advice from someone who leaves bitter comments on blogs, yet doesn't have the balls to admit to them, then you obviously don't know me very well.

so in conclusion...kiss my ass.

(my apologies if you meant this as a joke...four weeks of sleep-deprived student teachering has made my sense of humor null and void in most situations.)

for those of you confused by all of this, take a moment to review the comments on my last post.

21 February 2006

why we do it

today i had one of those "this is why i teach" moments. one of the ones that makes all the hassles, lesson plans, high heels, early mornings, behavior problems, and whiny teenagers worth it. i had given a chapter test in the form of journal entries to my 8th graders. one little girl, who when i came in had about a 45% in the class, had worked her tail off to do a good job on them. she worked hard in class and at home, she had her dad look over them, she drew really detailed pictures, the whole nine yards. for about a week, she would come up to me at the beginning of class and ask if i had graded them yet. finally, i got them done, and she got a 94%. this, combined with some other work, had raised her grade to a 77%. i hadn't put the papers back in their folders yet, but i pulled hers out of the pile and handed it to her when she came in the room. she stared at it, uncomprehending for a moment, then her eyes lit up when she realized what it was. she got this huge grin on her face, and kept saying over and over again, "i got an A. i never get A's on tests." it made me so happy to see the effect that one good grade had on her. giving her that paper made my day. (well, that, and when her baseball-playing older brother fast-pitched an egg rolled up in bubble wrap at the wall during 11th period.)

19 February 2006

just because

i have accomplished nothing this weekend. so instead of a) writing lesson plans, b) correcting papers, c) sorting through the large cardboard box of papers taking up room on the floor, i'm going to write. i've seen this on multiple blogs. i think these types of things are fun.

4 jobs i've had:
1.) intern at the Marine Corps Archives (a.k.a. "person who gets paid to talk to adorable old men")
2.) summer camp counselor (isn't spending rainy nights in the woods with 15 year old girls so much fun?)
3.) intern at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution (adventures in commuting)
4.) wardrobe department supervisor (this isn't so much a job as a soul-sucking obsession)

4 movies i could watch over and over:
1.) animal house (always makes me laugh)
2.) when harry met sally (how many relationships have i had like this?)
3.) singin' in the rain (or: how gene kelly sparked my love for all things musical)
4.) top gun (dress whites, fighter pilots, southern california, tom cruise, val kilmer, no shirts...sigh...)

4 places i've lived:
1.) monterey, california (where i first learned that mountains can meet the sea)
2.) idaho falls, idaho (where i first saw a volcano)
3.) newport, rhode island (where i first rode a bike)
4.) norfolk, virginia (where i first realized boys don't have cooties)
is it sad that this is the seriously abridged list?

4 shows i love:
1.) M*A*S*H (i want to marry hawkeye pierce)
2.) the andy griffith show (i will forever be indebted to my parents for raising me on this show)
3.) CSI (i've always been hooked on mysteries)
4.) gilmore girls (what can i say? they have a lot of very hot men chasing them)

4 places i've vacationed:
1.) london, england (i can not begin to express how in love with this city i am)
2.) venice, italy (gorgeous men, amazing food, beautiful sunsets)
3.) sunset beach, north carolina (every other childhood memory involves this island)
4.) san francisco, california (the city by the bay...what a place)

4 favorite dishes:
1.) my granddaddy's cornbread (which is not supposed to have sugar, people)
2.) my grandma's coconut cake (the highlight of christmas)
3.) my mama's chicken pie (best food i've ever had)
4.) chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (when you eat as much of this as i do, it is considered a dish)

4 sites i visit daily:
1.) facebook.com (why must i waste so much time on you, why?)
2.) addictinggames.com (the name does not lie)
3.) webmail (the joy of being at a high school all day)
4.) various assorted blogs (isn't stalking fun?)

4 places i'd rather be:
1.) london (see previous mention)
2.) north carolina (yeah, so family is a little important to me)
3.) hollywood, california (here's to living your dreams)
4.) the florida keys (it's warm there. current temperature here is approximately 9 degrees without the wind chill. it's warm there.)

18 February 2006

what are these kids smoking?

question: What was Merriwether Lewis the governor of?

correct answer: the Territory of Upper Louisiana.

answer i received: Jefferson took up Drinking.

this is one of those moments where i feel like everything i say goes in one ear and out the other.

why i like my job

Q. "If you were alive in 1812, would you support the Warhawks or the New Englanders? Why?"

8th grade answers:
"The Warhawks, cause England can't just come up and steel people from you."
"The Warhawks, because they had a good, clean, fare reason for war."
"Warhawks, because I would want to have control of Canada."
"Warhawks, because I don't like James Madison."
"New Englanders, because the Warhawks were selfish and greedy."
"The Warhawks, because Britain had been being a Jerk to America."

17 February 2006

no school

hooray for four-day weekends!!!! today was supposed to be a teacher workday, but my co-op told me not to come because all they were doing was curriculum development and listening to a motivational speaker. (which would involve icebreaker games - which i hate - and him telling everybody to hug all of their students. yeah, right. that's exactly what i need to do - hug the senior boys. because they don't hit on me enough as it is. my co-op said she plans on hiding in the bathroom instead of listening to him.) so, the general conclusion was that it would be a complete waste of time for me to show up today. then monday is president's day. after four years at college, i'd almost forgotten what it's like to get federal holidays off.

yesterday was a fairly easy day at school. we talked about the causes of the war of 1812, and i launched off into this long story about the tripolitan pirates, and that seemed to keep them fairly interested. then a representative for americorps came to talk to the seniors in the afternoon. the problem with this was that the women had a very thick indian accent, so it was hard to understand her, plus she didn't really explain the program well. as a result, we realized early in the morning that she would never survive our seniors. so, my co-op employed a discipline strategy highly advocated by education professors and education textbooks everywhere: she bribed them. (gotta love how real life rarely ever fits in with what you learn in the college classroom.) basically, she gave them 10 extra credit points if they just sat there awake, pretended to pay attention, and didn't do anything obnoxious, and 5 extra credit points if they asked a question. worked pretty well.

during 10th and 11th period i got to go see the junior high boys basketball game. i was really glad i got to go, because a couple of my boys in 1st period had been asking me if i'd come see them play. they were so cute, and a few were actually very good. two of my favorite kids from 1st period, nate (or chipper, as everybody calls him because he talks so much) and don (who has learning disabilities, but who works his butt off because he loves basketball so much, and doesn't want to be ineligible) played the whole time. i also knew brad (quiet kid who sits in the corner), doug (adorable little guy who comes up to about my elbow - no idea how he ended up playing basketball), and another brad, who i refer to as mini-paul due to the fact that he looks exactly like dr. k at age 14 (and jj can back me up on that one). even though i did want to smack the annoying kids at the back of the bleachers who kept yelling obnoxious things at the players and cheerleaders, i really enjoyed the game. this was probably due to the fact that they were playing at a level where i could actually a) see, and b) understand, what was going on.

the goal for the weekend: get the 150+ 8th grade history projects graded. (i can't deal with another day of jessica coming up wanting to know how she did and looking disappointed when i tell her they're not done.)

13 February 2006

in which i avoid writing lesson plans

i'm finally taking time to update. i should be writing lesson plans, but i don't care. so...my life as of late:

student teaching is going fabulously (minus the one disaster that was the morning my supervisor came to visit, but that doesn't count). i love my co-op, i've actually become good friends with her. and the little creeps are starting to grow on me. i only have four weeks before i switch co-ops and move across the hall. i don't want to change, especially since i'll mainly have just 9th grade. i'm really going to miss the seniors. they're extremely apathetic, and complain all the time, but at the same time are hilarious. there are two or three in each period that i love. my 11th period is the best - they're all the advanced kids who actually care about work (as much as a second semester senior can...i know the feeling), but are still really goofy. the main thing i like about the seniors is that my sarcasm doesn't go over their heads. i may have a different opinion once i begin teaching them next week. we're doing psychological disorders - at least the topic is somewhat interesting.

the 8th graders are adorable. i feel like i've really connected with a lot of them. my 4th period was a bit of a handful until i had a breakthrough with the ringleader of the pack of about 9 hyperactive boys. i'm not sure what i did to make him decide he liked me, but i haven't had any trouble since. and i really like my 1st period - they're all lower level students, some of whom have learning disabilities. they're very slow, and sometimes it's hard to get them to understand, but for the most part they actually try. i have also come to a big conclusion: i would rather teach boys than girls any day. they aren't catty, they'll tell you if they hate you, and for the most part they seem to be less obnoxious. in fact, i'd rather take a whole class of 14 year old boys than deal with the gaggle of 8th grade cheerleaders that i do have. they are just plain annoying.

my birthday went fine. i spent the whole morning/afternoon fabric shopping in cranberry with marie and meagan. blame it on the musical. and we had the slowest clerk in the history of the world cutting the fabric for us. i wanted to snatch it out of her hands and do it myself. one major surpise, in the fabric store no less, was a phone call from will the hot marine who i worked with at my dad's place last summer. i hadn't heard from him since august, but since we were born on the same day, he called so we could wish each other a mutual happy birthday. he wants to get together when i'm home for easter, but i feel like my dad would frown on that. (actual conversation - will: "so i guess it's not the best idea to date your boss' daughter?" daddy: "i'd shoot the back window out of your truck." will: "haha." daddy: "i'm not kidding.") there's no romance-killer that can compare to an overprotective southern father with a full gun safe.

that night jess, kristin, anne, dave, ian, ryan, and i went to a mexican restaurant. i had some amazing quesadillas (and a huge margarita). keeping with my lifelong neuroses, i absolutely refused to let them get the waiters to sing happy birthday to me. i hate this. more than almost anything. i despise being the center of attention like that. i think it goes back to the time at shoney's when i was in first grade that the waiters came to sing to me and scared the crap out of me. i think i actually started crying after they left. so, as a result, i have spent my entire life (just ask my family if you don't believe me) refusing to be sung to at restaurants. in fact, i've reached the point now that if people tried to do that to me, i'd leave. it's weird, i know, but there are far worse unreasonable fears i could have. later ian, ryan, and i met up with clint and nakis at e&c. nakis had been pregaming, and by the time he got there, he was in a good mood. he is a riot. i love that boy.

theatre-wise, we're in the middle of pirates. we've got a surprising amount done, but still not nearly enough. i'm blaming marie and her brilliant idea to put bustles on the women. all sixteen of them. dr. dixon, i'm never forgiving you for this. i'm going in later this week to start matching pirates up with costumes. i love the pirates. they are a hoot. possibly even a hoot and a half. between them and the policemen, we have somehow managed to get a fairly large number of hot guys in the cast. no idea how we pulled this off and who knows how long it'll take to do it again. maybe it's a three year cycle thing: west side, pirates...

other than this, there's not too much exciting stuff going on in my life. i watched the super bowl in pittsburgh with some lifetime steelers fans. that was an adventure unlike anything i'd ever done before, seeing as the only sporting event my family watches is the army-navy game. ian's friend, steve, kept launching himself out of his chair and halfway across the room, as if he was trying to leap into the television to catch the fumbles. and his mom spent the whole fourth quarter with her sweatshirt pulled over her nose, as if she was trying to hide from bad plays. i'm really glad they won, if for no other reason than i would not have wanted to be with that bunch if it had ended otherwise.

now it is on to lesson plans. tomorrow i'm teaching about proper care and display of the american flag. (we're doing the star-spangled banner next week, so it sort-of fits.) this is good, because it is one of my biggest pet peeves when people either a) leave the flag up in the rain, or b) hang it backwards (which happens all the time). it's a little odd, i know. blame it on growing up on military bases.

05 February 2006

birthday greetings from my family

"so it's your birthday, go wild (though please contain yourself while doing so. if we have to come up there and bail you out of jail, I, personally, will disown you)."

in an email from my youngest sister.