California Dreaming

It's too bad California and especially the coast is such a beatiful state, otherwise I'd be getting the hell out. Housing is astronomical and now I'm going to have to vote for an idiot of a governor because I don't want a bigger idiot to take his place. Yes I'm talking about Ah-nold...*grumbles* I signed the petition to get Davis out but I sure as hell do NOT want Arnold to get in. What does he know about politics, about how to run a state, especially one like california? Nada!!

Here are some Arnold gems I found:

- On Multi-Culturalism -

"I don't understand how they can call me anti-Latino, when I've made four movies in Mexico."

- On Gay Marriage - "No, I do not. I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman."

- On the Environment - "Don't worry about that!"

- On the Status of Women - "Whatever I thought might hold me back, I avoided. I crossed girls off my list -- except as tools for my sexual needs."

"It was a handful. I never know if my wife’s watching. I’ll tell her it was a stuntman." [after touching British TV host's breast on air]

[discussing a scene in T3, in which he pushes the female cyborg's face into a toilet bowl] "I saw this toilet bowl. How many times do you get away with this -- to take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in a toilet bowl? I wanted to have something floating there ... The thing is, you can do it, because in the end, I didn't do it to a woman -- she's a machine! We could get away with it without being crucified by who-knows-what group."

- On If He Wins - "I will be governor for the people for a change because, because I want to represent the people because the only thing that counts for me is the people."

Dude is a dolt! *sigh* I was going to vote for Arianna but now I have to vote for the lesser of evils...This sucks.


And So it Continues

The last couple of weeks have been sort of a blur or activity. I thought I had updated but it seems I hadn't. Maybe I just update in my mind.

Anyway my friend Nicholas is on my mind so much now I even dream about him...ahhhhh!

Last Friday during the spelling test he freaked out and just sat there. When I went over to him to see what was the matter, he said I was going too fast. Let me state that our spelling tests take about a half hour due to the lag so I know I was not going too fast. I told him I would go even slower if it would help but he then proceeds to get on the floor and wrap himself around his desk legs in the fetal position. I try to encourage him to get up, I remind him of his responsibilities and consequences..he does not get up. So in the middle of my spelling test with all my other students quietly waiting for the next word I call the office to find someone to extricate him from his desk. The principal came down and pried him off and down to her office.

Of course Nicholas loves to blame me, I go too fast, he wasn't ready to start..etc. etc. Seems it's easier for him to blame others than himself. His parents, the principal and I had a meeting this week to discuss his behavior and what needs to happen for him to continue at the school. He should be starting with a new therapist this coming Monday so that will be good. They also had him tested by Sylvan Learning Center this week and I was blown away by his Language Arts scores. The child was in the 28th percentile with his vocabulary and in the 1st percentile in his comprehension. He's at a preschool level!! This is NOT ok. His emotional and behavioral problems are effecting him terribly. At this point I am at a loss with what to do for him. He is so far behind I don't have the time to work individually with him in class as I teach everyone else. If he gets sent back to first grade he'll be way ahead in his math. Not to mention the new first grade teacher will just want to die as she already has her hands full with a "friend" of her own.

I also have a new student, moved up from first. Daisy is a dear little girl and is fitting in quite well with the class. We were talking about collections the other day and she found out I collected rubber duckies. And wouldn't you know she brought me her two rubber ducks yesterday as a present. Kids amaze me sometimes in their kindness and thoughtfulness.

On the Cal State Teach front I think I'm giving myself an ulcer. The work load is insane. They say you should spend approx. 10-12 hours a week but that is bullshit. If I have to continue at this pace for the next 16 months my hair is truly going to be white. Nice to know I get to plan out my entire year of curriculum in a couple days. Grrr. I may have to go into the split track. It's more money and more time, 20 months to complete, but it won't be so fast.


My Life as it Were

Lots to update on I suppose...

The concert was awesome!! REM puts on the best shows. I have always had the greatest time at the four or five now, I guess, that I've gone too. Funny thing is on Monday when I asked the kids what they did on the weekend one of them says she went to an REM concert. Turns out her parents are friends with REM's gen. manager and they got free tix in the front and went backstage!!! Grrrr no fair! I pouted majorly that day. Her mother is going to give me a copy of the tape? her friend gave her of that night's show. I just thought that was pretty funny one of my kids was there.

Sunday was a bummer because one of our lizards died :( It was a slow yucky death as he had been looking pretty bad for a few days before and all day he was trying to die, almost drowning in his water dish a couple times. I actually was watching as he died. So sad. Even if they are reptiles and aren't "cuddly", it still is sad to see them go through that. I had to cuddle my fuzzies after that.

Last night was Back to School Night or "teacher hell". At my school we have two sessions of 20 min each where you have a spiel for the parents. I started with my rules, procedures, rewards and consequences as that's what I go over first with the kids. Then I went through my curriculum explaining what we will be learning this year in second grade. Next was special activities such as pen pals (crosses fingers and more later) and our field trip. Last was a Q&A session where I got to be grilled by a roomful of parents. All in all I think it went very well. My theatre background comes in very handy as I am not real freaked out by talking in front of people. I made them laugh and made them smile so that's good. The whole reading situation was brought up. Seems the parents were unhappy with their reading level coming out of first grade and wanted to know where I thought they were. So that was pretty hairy for a sec. They all expressed support and confidence in me though so that's good.

Apparently parents had been calling the office today saying how great I was so that makes me feel good. Today was a good day in general. Mainly because Nicholas was not at school. He was suspended due to two instances of striking other students. I have a meeting with his parents tomorrow but there are MAJOR issues with this family that I have been filled in on. I feel badly in a way for saying that we had a better day without him but it is true. It's truly amazing how one child can affect a whole classroom. The kids were more relaxed, on task. It just was a better environment for all. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Our journal this morning was for them to write about their favorite thing about school and what they were looking forward too. We had written about favorite school things a month ago during our first week but I wanted to see if it had changed. Two of the children had written that I was their favorite thing. I can't tell you how that made me feel! I still wasn't sure if the kids even liked me because frankly I am sort of stern at times...you have to be. Between the parents the night before saying how their kids liked me and these journal entries I felt great. Then things only got better. For religion homework they needed to write about their favorite real life hero. Dear little Elizabeth said me...because I was smart and kind and helped her.

It doesn't get any better than that.


Out of the Mouths of Babes

I've been pretty frustrated the past 24 hours with a situation at work.

I have been very excited to start a pen pal program with my second graders. I signed up at Epals an online pen pal service for schools around the world two days ago. They seem pretty excited too, telling me which countries they'd like to have pen friends in. So yesterday in my excitement I was pointing on the map the various places I was considering contacting a school. I have many possibilities in the UK, Australia, India, Japan, Russia, Canada, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Venezuela, France, Egypt, Norway etc. Even Uzbekistan, Romania, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe.

What really upset me was when I mentioned Russia my most outspoken charge says, "Eww they're bad people". I then tell her that there are bad people everywhere even in the US. "No there isn't." She's dead serious. When I mention Zimbabwe she says "They're evil." She probably hasn't even heard of Zimbabwe before! And about the Russia thing, this isn't the Cold War! I was shocked. I explained how I felt that there weren't any bad countries in the world just bad people. They seemed less than convinced.

So I thought it was time to break out my Unicef books. They are a wonderful set of books depicting children from around the world. One deals with celebrations, another with children's lifestyles and families and the last is aimed at older children and shows the living, schooling, working conditions of children throughout the world. The photography is stunning and shows things as they are.

Of course my friend Nicholas immediately launches into those people from India are funny looking. I try to explain that people from different cultures look and dress differently from us and that we'd probably look funny to them. He didn't believe me that his light blond hair and blue eyes would be weird to them.

Then things just get better. *smell the sarcasm* Religion was just a mess. They were not retaining anything (Fridays *sigh*). I asked them if the Church and Jesus except everyone? We had been talking about how anyone is welcome to join the church. Alexa then blurts out, "Not people from Iraq!" I ask her, "God doesn't love people from Iraq?" "No they're evil."

I could have cried. You hope as time goes on that people are actually changing, that they are learning about the world. What ever happened to loving each other? For God's sake isn't the Christian way to accept and love others as Jesus would have done? Why am I finding more and more Christians to be so closed minded and condemning. Frankly, Jesus would be ashamed of them. I wish they would realize that. They are what he fought against.

I love everyone regardless or race, religion, or nationality, I don't care if you worship monkeys. It's all the same God in my opinion anyway. The state of today's America as I have said before sickens me. All this nationalistic crap. All this flag waving camaraderie of we are right and they (every one else) is wrong. Bullshit. Iraq isn't evil, Russia is not evil. Sure they have had rulers at times that have been evil people but why don't we look inward and look at our own government? Do we have clean hands? Are we without sin? I should think not! If they are evil so are we and so much more so.


Hooray for Squeakers!

I had been planning on getting Sadie a new little friend soon because I feel badly leaving her all alone during the day and rats are very social. I thought I would get one for her after my first paycheck but Alex just bought me one today :) So sweet he is! She was so cute we just had to take her home! She was the runt of the litter and is just the tiniest little thing. White as can be and just cute as a bug. Like sadie, we were in love with her immediatly. So Chloe is now a wonderful ratty addition to our growing menagerie.

Here are some pics of our little ladies. Sadie is about 6 months old and Chloe is probably a month old.


Now to Vent

I was asked the other day by a friend (a teacher who hadn't gotten her first job as of yet) if I was having fun in my new job. A couple days later I was asked it again by someone else. My reaction both times was a pause and a "no". My friend got a little pissy with me but I was being honest so sue me!

Not to say I don't like my job or my students or that I'm not grateful for this opportunity. I'm just not having fun yet. I'm hoping I will in a couple weeks when I get used to everything and every one is in the swing of things. Frankly I'm tired and it's a hell of a lot to take in..let alone the responsibility is insane. Things were tough in pre-K but things are tough in Elementary ed in a different way. I am alone in my classroom with my munchkins all day. I am all these kids have and I better not screw it up!

So my friends who started off the week on a less than great note ended the week as such.

My friend Nicholas is a mess, just a total wreak. I have changed his desk repeatedly to try to find a spot where he would be able to focus, where he'd be able to follow class rules and keep his hands to himself. No such luck. The third day of school he received a "Letter of Concern" for hitting and scratching a classmate at lunch recess. He was also sent to the office by me for deciding he needed to stay in the bathroom rather than return to class. He was there for about 15 min before it was time for the kids to go to P.E. At that time I went down there to sit with him and discuss his behavior. Seems some friends didn't want to play with him and in his hurt he hit them. *sigh* We talked about how hitting never solves such problems and that if they were hurting his feelings he should find an adult or myself to discuss the situation. That was Wed. after a note a day was already sent home. Friday was a half day and Nicholas spent some of the day sitting on the floor during Religion with his sweatshirt over his head, or lying face down in the reading area during Language Arts. He was given the option of either taking responsibility for his actions and work at his desk or go down the hall. He chose his classwork but crawled and whined the whole way. Earlier he had come up to me and cried that I had didn't want to help him. This was as I was answering another child's question. Seems I didn't drop what I was doing that second.

I am at a loss. I've had children who hit, I've had children who swore, I've had children who threatened another teacher's life but somehow this one is different. I've never had a child whine and whimper so much. I've tried reasoning with him and it doesn't take.

For instance on Friday he had scooted his desk back from the second row until his back was touching the front left corner of the desk behind him. Then he had his arm draped over poor Kendra's desk. I moved his desk back with him protesting all the while, "she's bothering me!! She always bothers me!" Keep in mind Kendra is one of the most quiet girls in the class. Kendra who is kind to everyone and doesn't speak up when another kids is touching her desk. When I point out that she her arm wasn't on his desk it turned into a, "She doesn't like me!!!" Can you hear it? Can you feel my pain?

I've discussed this with the principal and will be having another conference with the parents this week hopefully. Seems that this behavior has been ongoing since grade K. I would bet that he will not last out the year at the school without some intervention.

My other two friends pale in comparison but I will be speaking to their parents this week also. One is a should have been held back issue, another is a medication issue. I hate lying parents. Don't tell the teacher your child is on medication when she asks yet the child will certainly tell you not only by demeanor but in words. *sigh*