Saturday, August 18, 2012

Guess What? Chicken Butt : Random Thoughts on the Road Ahead

"Teachers go back on the 20th and classes start one week later."

 I wish I had a dollar for every time I've uttered that last phrase lately. Like a lobotomized robot who's been force-fed Prozac (which would take some doing because you'd have to be really strong to pry apart its can-opener jaws, but who cares because this post is not about robots --surprise!)--it's become my doomsday mantra. An dutiful air-raid siren of words that I repeat with emotionless facility every time someone asks. There's bad feeling aplenty, as one might imagine, but it's best not to expend the energy crying over it now. I'll need it all later in order to resist going on a shooting spree after being auditorily claw-hammered by a parent's inability to speak using simple subject/verb agreement and an inside voice.  Some of whom will likely show up to Meet The Teacher Night looking like a first round draft pick for the Gary Busey/Snookie Lovechild Olympics. Classes haven't started yet, but my brain is already in pieces and because of that, this post is going to unfold similarly.

1) Pardon my food baby and cankles. In other words,  I did not succeed in my attempts to lose the 10-12 pounds necessary to exit the self-imposed cone of shame I've forced on myself of late. It appears as though I'm going to return to school/work looking like I've spent the summer living in one of those tragic veal-inspiring pens for young cows while enjoying a diet rich in diabetic-flavored cupcakes, pork cracklins' and Big Red. I'm sorry, pants. I've failed you once again.

2) I'm wondering if it's too late for the school district to restructure my contract to include pauses in the day for naps. Half the walkie-talkies (used for emergency communication) in our building are broken and since we serve a population of children whose unchecked aggression is only encouraged by their low expectation-having families, I would also like to request some form of portable self-defense. Complimentary packs of Chinese throwing stars or maybe a blow-dart gun loaded with napalm. Otherwise, I'll be forced into fashioning the arm of my big paper-cutter into a scimitar. Welcome to Thunderdome. Confront at your own risk.

3) If I thought it might work I would postpone the inevitability of summer's end by scheduling surgery where I donated one of my wine-soaked kidneys to anyone would would take it. But for reasons made evident in the description of said kidney, I've been advised against it.

4) In other health-related news? Welcome to Hot Flash City. I'm the mayor.

5) The youngest son leaves for college tomorrow. We're swimming in a gravy boat of sad around here and as I write, the sky is crying too. If I wasn't writing this anonymously, I'd post a picture of him here. I miss the days when I could do that.

6) I have to add that our district has decided to adopt a "get tough" policy, but it's not about bullying. Or cheating. Not on drug/alcohol possession, weapons, or student discipline or even parental accountability. Nope. The scourge currently dragging our public schools down to a third world status is..... the teacher dress code. Of course! Forcing teachers back into neckties and panty hose is going to erase that achievement gap in record time! By all means allow the female students to wear neon bikini tops instead of bras underneath cheap cotton uniform shirts and-- for the love of God-- PLEASE don't stop a mom from visiting at lunch wearing broke-ass house slippers, see-through Dora the Explorer pajama pants and a bedazzled shirt that says "BEER ME!" Instead? Taking away my ability to wear jeans one extra day each month is somehow going to turn the "lame and halt" into National Merit Finalists. Our delusional district actually believes that parents and students look to us as models of behavior, dress and speech and that --one day--it will pay off. I've got news. I could show up wearing a floor length nun's habit and conversing like some Masterpiece Theater actor and nothing is going to change. It's like expecting to fly coach but wearing your church clothes to the airport in the hopes that you'll get bumped to first class. It never happens. Ditto for the children of parents who think that is a place you can get to by car.

7) Just thinking about #2 and #6 makes me crazy. Not authentically crazy like the type that causes you to drive your car to the store naked (Poor Randy Travis!), or in a diaper (Poor astronaut!) or where you claim that there's a tumor made of meatloaf in your brain and it sings old Glen Campbell songs to you when you're trying to sleep. But more like the gently daffy double rainbow type of non-dangerous imbalance where you cry a lot every time you push your cart past the grocery store's school supply aisle, order alarming quantities of unicorn figurines and Marie Osmond dolls from the Home Shopping Network and then arrange them into families....or make homemade sno-cones from Thera-flu and that excess frost scraped off of a bag of frozen okra. Yeah. That kind of crazy.

8) I'm so excited about the fall television lineup that I've marked the season premieres on the calendar typically reserved for PTA meetings and pediatric appointments. It's sad because it's true.

9) Despite all of the above, I've spent $500 of my own money to buy school supplies for my classroom.  That's also sad because it's true, but it probably means that I'm ready to try again. Pray that I can conduct myself with dignity and respect, no matter what happens. And that whenever you hear a mutual exchange of gunfire in the vicinity, it won't be me. Probably.


  1. You really ought to start looking at private schools. You can't go on like this forever. You do a good job of finding the humor, but the pain is pretty evident.

  2. i wish you well this school season and i hope that you have at least one child, who others have written off, and that you ignite the spark that will put in him/her the realization that getting an education is the key for a turnaround.

  3. You are brave and awesome to return to the trenches. Reading about your work breaks my heart--and OF COURSE the solution is to lay the smack down on the teachers, right? Because increasing funding for Head Start programs, early childhood intervention, healthy school lunches and lower class sizes haven't done diddley-squat to improve anything...

  4. Oh, lolly. Thank you for fighting the good fight at school. And good for you for scheduling anything - including TV - that's just for you.

  5. Oh, hell. Crap. I hear you, I'm sorry, I remember. There is nothing else to say.

  6. The dress code thing is bullshit. I think kids find denim clad teachers more approachable (unless you wear shirts tucked into the dreaded mom-jeans, in which case, better off wearing khakis). But more than that, you teachers deserve a psychological victory.

    I get to declare casual Friday for myself and I'm technically a bonified professional. Jeans help keep me human. And don't require as much upkeep as dress clothes.

    Best wishes this school year.

  7. If you are the mayor, I am the governor. Fresh hell.


Be nice. It's not as hard as it sounds.