Me and My Dues

I have parents that are litigious and combative in nature these days. Every other word is “I am going to the school board” or “I have a lawyer.”
Now you might wonder why this is occurring. I am teaching and working with students all day long. Some parents feel that I can just give their child a grade. I have to justify your child’s grade. I have to hope that their EOC in some way shows growth. I have to hope that the material I cover is what some entity that is unknown to me has chosen to test. I have to hope that your child can retain material longer than five minutes. I have to pray that they are having a good day on test day. I have to pray that someone realizes that constant testing is leading students to quit trying on the tests. Test exhaustion.
Since I cannot stop this process to run to the school board each and every time the same two or three people threaten to “have me fired” – I pay union dues. Why?
AWESOME benefit of malpractice insurance. A teacher needs malpractice insurance?
I wish I could say that teachers are not going to need insurance.
I know I am not going to do the wrong thing. I wish I could say that about today’s parents.


Good To Know

It is good to know certain truths in life:  1- don’t spit out the window forward in a moving car,  2- don’t lie to your children, and 3- don’t eat a bunch of fiber if you have crohn’s disease.  Which leads to how I know the third is true.

J (the eldest) made chocolate and pb haystacks (with lowfat pb and all-bran).  I have an uncontrollable urge to eat chocolate and peanut butter.  I am seven years in remission from Crohn’s.  I ate one and NOTHING happened.

Fast forward to the next day.  I am cooking chili at the other child’s (k) home.  I spy some of said haystack candy on counter.  I ate one thinking that if one was did no harm…      Later, I ate another.  J came in and I informed her that I may have eaten a piece of candy.

J:  “That’s is okay I made them five, that leaves four.”

Me:   “um…three.”

J:  “I can’t believe you.”

Me:  “Yes. Yes you can, I don’t lie to my kids.”

J:  “That is NOT what I meant.  I can’t believe you sat there and ate two things full of peanut butter and all bran.  What were you thinking?”

Me: “They were good?  Besides, I was standing.”

Later, I was not standing.  I can’t believe me either.




The Old Days

I teach all day long.  I teach and learn from the freshmen.  Today I learned a very valuable lesson: Freshmen Do Not Listen.  I guess they are listening to something, but that is not me.

I showed a clip about Lavoisier, then a clip about various elements.  I put them on the smartboard.  I moved elements, ions, and compounds around.  I talked about them.  I had the students to talk about chemical reactions.  I think maybe physical science is coming alive for them.

Then…one small voice and a hand in the air.  I worry.  It is a cheerleader, straight-A, type A and the question is never pretty.

“Um,  Ms. B…”

“Ah, yes?”

“So, like before people discovered Oxygen what did they breathe?”  There is not a smile or trace of a smile in her face, only worry.

“Rocks.  We breathed rocks.”

“Uh, ok.”

Thank God the rest of the squad was there to point out that I was just joking.  One even explained that you could use things you did not understand. (One presumes Science)

It was even explained by one of the squad that “the USA was here before Columbus  discovered America. ”   Don’t worry, I did not touch that ball of confusion.   Let the social studies people deal with that conundrum.

Rocks.  That’s right.  I was thinking rocks because of the perceived grey matter in certain heads.




I teach a dual-enrollment class in the middle of the day.  Seniors that come and go during the day.

One of my quietest, sweetest, best young men came in late today.   I did not really think too much about it.  Gonna live to regret not looking real soon though.  I am up trying to answer questions and explain a concept to the other 15 seniors in the room.

I see M’s hand go in the air.  Without pausing I motion him to ask his question.

M: “Ms. B? Is it okay if I drop my pants?”

I pause (I bet my face was a study in confusion, painted in shades of consternation)   I think everyone in the room inhaled at once.  I am frozen in place.

Me:  “Um… What?”

M:  “Is it okay if I drop my pants?” Good Lord, that is what he said.

Me: “Uh”  (entire room: uh?)

M:  “I have on athletic shorts.  I need to ice my knee.”

Me:  “I believe I would have led with that Mac.  You should have started the conversation with that.  Yes.”

That just happened…


Apples really do NOT fall far from trees

If I did not have  a camera in my classroom, I might imagine that I had the following conversation with a PARENT on Friday.

Parent:  “What is seems to be his issue?”

Me:  “As you can see, he can not add, subtract, multiply or divide with or without a calculator.” (this is a 9th grade student)  He needs help with common math skills.  I think if we (interrupted)

Parent:  “When is he ever going to need this?”  (she looks mad)

Me:  “Um, everyday I think.  This is not an algebra skill or a physical science skill.  You use these in everyday life.”

Parent: “I have a LOT of pull, who do I have to complain to about this common core?” ( i guess she heard the words common math skills)

Me:  “mam, this is just 3rd grade math.  Your child is in the four year college prep program.  I imagine this is beneath the common core.”

Parent “WHO do I have to complain to?”

Me: “Well, I guess first the governor…”
Parent: “HE will not be re-elected.  I have a LOT of stroke.  We will see to this.”

Me: “Well, it is his second term.  He is not running for governor. So, I do not see…”
Parent: “Well, he won’t be re-elected.”  (term limits anyone?)

Me:  “Then I guess you could complain to the Gates foundation and President Obama.”
Parent:  “We will be protesting.  He will not be re-elected either.”

Me: “Ma’am.  He is a two term president.  He is not running. ”

Parent “it will be his last.  We will see to that.”

I just let this one go.  Apples and trees


“We adopted the spawn of satan”

Maggie (the Boston Terrier) has now destroyed another Bible.  This time an older Amplified Holy Bible, but still.  My daughter was worried after the second one.  So she told her dad.  Her dad informed her that the dog would be taking a “holy crap.”

I arrived home hours later and found the explosion behind a chair.  Holy Crap!

My daughter (looking downright worried) asked me if I thought the explosion was due to it being a bible.  I informed her that I thought it was the glue that did not agree with the dog’s tummy…not the word of God.   I said yes it was a big ole mess, but the glue was to blame.   Without a hint of a smile, sounding worried she said “But mom, it was Amplified.”

Yes, it was.


the Legend of Red Paw

Years ago my daughter owned the most cantankerous Boston Terrier ever born.  Lainie-Bug was the apple of her eye.  The dog could do no wrong.  I came in from school one day and thought there had been a massacre in my home.

There was red fluid in the dog beg, on the couch, the floor.  I went into full crime buster mode looking for splatters.   Then we all noticed that the Boston had one red paw.  She stood there sheepishly eyeing me.  I asked “What did you do?”  Obviously she made no reply.  Then I found a weapon…a red ink pen.  The legend of Red Paw was born.  Anytime something went sideways we searched the dog.

I was reminded of this yesterday.  The newest member of our household (also a Boston) stuck her nose in the green paint I was working with.  I yelled at my daughter to keep “Kermit the Dog” up front and let me work.  But no, this was not to be.  I had a dog helping me ever step.  That animal wiggled between me and the can.  She wiggled between me and the wall.  In short, where ever I needed space there was a dog.

Then I noticed this morning that the Dog Has A Green Butt.  The Legend of Green Butt is born.