Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Just a Minute Navel Gaze

Don't read this. It's just a recording of one day of my life. Pretty much a typical day for a school teacher.

*5:45-6:45 showered, dressed, fed cats, fed blue jays, made tea and bagel, put on a little bit of makeup, brushed teeth.
*6:45-6:55 drove to work
*6:55-7:04 signed in main office, signed in assistant principals' office, took home room folder to classroom, posted learning targets, went to cafeteria
*7:04-7:34 cafeteria duty, watching students, greeting students, monitoring behavior
*734-7:50 home room, pledged flag (partial), re-iterated directions for tomorrow's dress down day, took attendance, called library to see if it was open to students, filled out missing ID and lanyard forms, got students started reading, checked email and responded as needed
*7:50-8:30 while students read and/or finished up their memoirs, reviewed all finished memoirs in Google Classroom, made notes in margin, created general notes for the viewing screen, monitored student reading, sent students to library/guidance/nurse/bathroom
*8:30-8:40 reviewed guidelines for student memoir, reminded students to capitalize "I" and all proper names (these are 9th graders)
*8:40-9:00 answered questions, reviewed memoirs, exhorted students to finish, and when finished to submit their pieces
*9:00-9:15 student volunteers shared memoirs with the class. Every one had missed capitalizing at least two "I" pronouns
*9:15-9:45 parent conference in guidance office
*9:45-10:00 distributed union updates to my assigned wing of the building (15 teachers)
*10:00-10:30 got students started reading, checked emails, reviewed all memoirs and made notes as needed, encouraged students who weren't finished to catch up
*10:30-10:40 exhorted students to take one last long look at their peer-reviewed work and make sure all capitalization had been done correctly and the assignment covered all the requirements
*10:40-10:50 students did final proofread and submitted work
*10:50-11:10 volunteer students shared memoirs with class. Every one had missed capitalizing at least two "I" pronouns
*11:10-11:15 showed gratitude video.
*11:15-11:20 modeled gratitude chart and letter of thanks
*11:20-11:30 circulated the classroom to make sure all students were on task
*11:30-12:00 lunch
*12:00-1:00 read writer's notebooks (with 70 total, now had 20 left to read, finished 5)
*1:00-1:30 tried to get students to settle down and read, had to raise my voice, had to distribute multiple bathroom/nurse/library passes, one student continued working on his memoir
*1:30-1:45 thoroughly reviewed assignment parameters and reminded students they had all seen examples of "A" work ... students submitted their "D" work proudly, convinced they were geniuses
*1:45-2:10 volunteer students (lots of them) read their "D" work proudly ... strangely all "I" pronouns were capitalized, I suspect the inclusion teacher must have been on them about it
*2:10-2:15 tried fruitlessly to get everyone's attention
*2:15-2:20 showed gratitude video
*2:20-2:30 tried fruitlessly to get students to make gratitude chart, at bell students leaped from the room like racehorses
*2:30-4:35 packed up chrome books and read writers notebooks, commented on each, submitted marking period grades and progress notes, reviewed possible articles for use next week, searched online for related content
*4:35-4:40 talked to secretary who had also come in at 6:55 a.m. about the meaning of life
*4:45-5:00 drove home

It's now 5:45 and I have to make dinner. Then I will need to do further research for articles matching the content of the one I want to use on Monday.

The Gods are exhausted.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Damned Woman in the Grocery Store!

So there I was, at 5:00 on a Friday evening, standing in line at the Snobville grocery store. It's less than a week until Thanksgiving, and the strain of actually having to cook is already showing on the faces of the kept women of Snobville.

Did these females spend the week trying to keep fractious 14-year-olds from tripping, elbowing, smacking, or pushing each other? Do they have 50 writers' notebooks to read between now and next Wednesday? Are they dealing with angry parents who have stopped blaming themselves for their kids' behavior and are now blaming me? Are they sitting in conference rooms until 9:30 at night trying fruitlessly to negotiate a new contract for their co-workers? No, no, no, and no. You know how they spent their week? Looking for online coupons!

On my feet pretty continuously from 7:00 in the morning, I found myself in a checkout line behind a person who had a $1.50 pie crust that she felt she should get for free, since she had an online store coupon for $1.50 off a pie crust. The cashier was completely flummoxed by the transaction. Why, I don't know. The person had the wrong brand of pie crust, it was clear as the fading daylight. But she insisted that this was the one that was on sale with the coupon!

Feeling herself being stabbed by the white-hot daggers emanating from my bloodshot eyeballs, the disgruntled customer finally said, "Never mind. Just take it off my bill." But then she persisted when the store manager came to clear things up.

Ten minutes later, two store employees and a third checker sent in to mop up the drama determined that the patron had the wrong brand of pie crust, that's why her little phone coupon would not scan.

Did I tell you that my school administration imposed a dress code on teachers this fall? We are not allowed to wear sneakers or running shoes. In other words, my feet were going numb from painful footwear, and I had six items that I had unwisely stacked on the conveyor belt.

What is it with people and online coupons? God damn it! What is more precious than time, lady? Tell me, please! Will your family go without Thanksgiving dessert if you don't get that graham cracker crust for free? We are all mortal, and you just spent almost 15 minutes arguing about a $1.50 pie crust. You may remember this on your death bed and long to go back and snatch that 15 minutes from the bin of squandered time! The worst part is, you stole 15 minutes from me -- and not 15 minutes staring at phone coupons, but 15 minutes in my easy chair, with my cramped toes finally expanding in comfy slippers! That's 15 fewer minutes of being awake, petting my cats, bagging up this week's newspapers, oh! The list goes on and on! You owe me, pie crust lady!

People get on my last nerve. They really do. I'm sick and tired of dealing with anyone who wants to argue about anything. Especially about a pie crust. Pie crust. Not even something decent and wholesome like a bagel, or a bag of Peppermint Patties. No! One of those graham cracker pie crusts encased in foil and plastic, the kind really bad cooks use for slipshod cheesecakes! She just did some group of diners a huge favor by refusing to purchase the item. That's one corner-cutting dessert they won't have to choke down and pretend to like.

Tired of teaching, tired of Snobville, tired of being tired. Tired of the Keystone pipeline rupturing. Yeah. That too.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Interview with a Bored Goddess: Cloacina

All Hail, and welcome to The Gods Are Bored! We're now in our 12th year, and up to 202 followers! In a nation of 325 million people, we're standing tall at the rock bottom of the heap.

But la di dah, we believe in the Divine and all goodness! And just between us ... have you seen the headlines on the busy God's followers these days? How low can they go? Disgraceful. No better time than the present to bliss out with a loving Goddess who wants you to have a healthy lifestyle and plenty of clean, clear water! Please give a warm, wonderful, Gods Are Bored welcome to Cloacina, Goddess of Sanitation Management!

Anne: Look, Cloacina, I painted the powder room! I know it's your favorite room in the whole house. What do you think of it now?

Cloacina: It's beautiful! I do wish you would put a mosaic tile on the floor, though.

Anne: Can't live like a Caesar on the salary of a peasant, dear Goddess.

Cloacina: What was that object you pulled out of the water throne while the top was off?

Anne: (aside) Isn't it cute? She calls the toilet a "water throne!" (to Cloacina) Funny you should ask. It was a paperweight from the Ronald Reagan Library, sent to Mr. J more than a decade ago by a clueless friend in California. I put it in the water throne, feeling it deserved to be there.

Cloacina: Who was this "Ronald Reagan?"

Anne: A Caesar. I thought he was the worst. Little did I know.

Cloacina: If this was a bad Caesar, why take out the paperweight?

Anne: Well, it had gotten a bit calcified after all that time. Besides, I need to make room in the water throne for something that deserves to be in there even more.

Cloacina: What could that possibly be?


I found it in a strip club parking lot last week!

Cloacina: Anne, you might want to think twice about this. An item like this might clog the water throne, and then the dear thing won't work.

Anne: No worries, Goddess. This hat is cheaply manufactured by over-extended, poverty-stricken workers. It will fade on the first flush and dissolve within a week. Which hopefully will become a metaphor for the Caesar who is selling it.

Cloacina: Oh well, you needn't worry! I have learned all about your water thrones and the piping in your house, and I will keep everything flowing brilliantly!

Anne: Thus saving me plumbing bills ... O Great and Mighty Goddess!!!

Cloacina: I hope you don't mind if I'm late for dinner. All that wind yesterday brought down a lot of leaves. There are storm drains to be seen to.

Anne: And you are just the Goddess for the task! Work Your magic, Cloacina! It is an honor beyond measure, having You in my household. Blessed be.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

My Awesome Adventure at the New Jersey Teachers' Convention

You know how it is. You have all the best intentions, and you even have made your plans, hour by hour, and you're itching to get under way. So it was with yours truly when she set out at 8:30 a.m. for the New Jersey Education Association's annual teacher-fest in Atlantic City.

It's a mere 60 minutes from my door to AC, if I take the expressway. Except I hate that damn expressway. It's always busy, and it's dead boring. I take the old Route 30, locally known as the White Horse Pike. It passes through a few ugly Jersey towns charming little hamlets and then goes straight into downtown Atlantic City.

On the way to AC, my best intentions were all buzzing on maximum impact. I was going to beach comb a little bit at my favorite spot, then drive up and fling the Subaru into a parking space, and then go to the windowless Convention Center, where I had mapped out several improving teacher workshops that would no doubt leave me brimming to the plimsol line with fabulous new skills.

I had no problem finding free parking where I beach comb: the extreme northern end of AC. I pretty much had my choice. So I parked, got out of the car ... and a fresh waft of sea breeze tickled my nostrils and ruffled my hair. The sun was shining in a deep blue sky, and the waves hissed and swished onto the sand.

I thought about spending the rest of the day in a windowless convention center. And in a rare moment of completely decisive behavior, I aborted the whole teacher-fest mission for a day on the beach and the boardwalk.

I mean to say, how much could I possibly have learned at the teacher convention that would make up for a day off in the autumn sunshine?

I took a long walk. A really, really long walk. I just looked it up: well over four miles. And that doesn't include the beach combing.

Pretty, huh?

They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Well, la di dah, it has to be paved with something!

I had lunch with this guy. Only he didn't get anything, because the sign said not to feed him.

This concludes my awesome adventure at the New Jersey Teachers' Convention, 2017. Maybe next year it will be raining.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

My (Not So) Helpless Scream at the Sky

Did you hear that we Resisters had a planned event tonight, on the anniversary of the election? We were supposed to go outside and scream helplessly at the sky.

I was all ready to do this. In fact, I had -- very reluctantly -- issued an invitation to the Bean Sidhe, so as to make a really impressive scream fest.

In the end, though, I canceled the howling, or rather I relegated it to this single miffed boat-tailed grackle:

Screaming all done now. There's too much to celebrate!

I don't care if our New Jersey governor-elect is some pond scum bloodsucker who slunk out of Goldman Sachs to plunder the Garden State. I don't care if the guy keeps three mistresses on his payroll (heck, that's a New Jersey staple!) I don't care if he has bad breath or foot odor. For all I care, he can fart with great regularity in closed elevators.

He is not Chris Christie. We are done with Chris Christie! We are bidding farewell to the Teacher-Hater!



New Jersey, the state I used to hate, is now firmly in Democratic hands. Oh sure, we have a fistful of Republicans -- and the gods know we have high taxes -- but we don't suffer fools. Or rather, after eight long years of suffering a fool, we're ready to TURN. THE. PAGE.

And so the anniversary of the presidential election finds me cautiously optimistic. I'm not giving up the Magical Battle for America, but let's say that we've won our first skirmish. In New Jersey. Heck, it sorta feels like Washington just crossed the Delaware!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Fairy Kon Least

Every year during the first week of November, there is a convention regarding fairies in Baltimore. I have a limited budget, so this event generally gets the short shrift. This does not mean I don't regret staying home.

But la di dah! How hard is it to stage a convention? I took a very brief break from vigorous housework and errands and attended Fairy Kon Least! Here are some of the great photos I took so I wouldn't suffer from Fear of Missing Out.

EXHIBIT A: Anne rocks her tie-dye, wings, and witch balls.

EXHIBIT B: Can't afford the fairy convention because I bought this last spring. No regrets.

EXHIBIT C: What, me clean the kitchen? Let the elves do it!

EXHIBIT D: Everything is so chill at Fairy Kon Least.

EXHIBIT E: Here I am all geared up for the Bad Fairy Ball. I even have the ball!

EXHIBIT F: Friends and foils at Fairy Kon Least!

EXHIBIT G: Gamma looks so fly in his Reyen silk!

EXHIBIT H: Okay, I clearly need a fairy godmother. Maybe I should monetize this blog... nah, the bored gods advise me to keep it amateur.

Saturday night, laughs are good for the soul. Sending the bad faeries not to Baltimore, but to Washington, DC.