Stroke Victim at 49

30 August 2008

A Day From Hell

Maybe it's because I am upset about putting my Grandmother in a facility this week because of her dementia, or maybe it is because the 1.5 hour drive everyday for the past year in bumper to bumper on the LSD (Lake Shore Drive) is burning me out, or the mountains of extra paperwork that no other CPS school does, or maybe it is just the heat in the school all summer long, but yesterday was my snapping day.

I was already not feeling the greatest because of my Grandmother and the family drama that is always a part of a large family (but that is for another posting) and wondering why I did not take a mental health day. As I was walking back to my classroom (on the 3rd floor) I saw 4 8th grade girls in the hallway. There should have been no students in the building (unless with a teacher) as it was lunch and recess time. I asked the girls where they were suppose to be and they took off running. These girls are in my class from hell 3 days a week. I took off after them. They got as far as the second floor landing and hid. I got them, brought them to the Math teacher, where they were suppose to be. I was really pissed. I told the Math teacher what happened. The girls started to protest and attempt to argue with me. I told them that I do not argue with children and to be quiet. As I attempted to continue talking to the Math teacher (my lunch now cold, still in my hands) the girls thought it would be a good idea to continue to get loud with me. I finally told the girl arguing the most to shut up. I HATE saying shut up. I think it is degrading and mean. I don't tell my son to shut up. He is 15 and could probably count on one hand me telling him to shut up. These girls were banned from lunch in the Math teachers room. I felt so crappy after that.

Flash forward to my second period after lunch. The one Special Ed boy who should be in a self-contained classroom was at his usual antics. From talking non-stop in line. It took 15 minutes before he would be quiet long enough for me to let them in for a quiz. As the class was taking the quiz he was quiet for all of 5 minutes then began making noise, talking loud to people and finally called another student a prick very loudly. That was my breaking point. I told him that language is not acceptable in the classroom. He wanted to start arguing with me that he said brick. (Oldest trick in the book, using another word that sounds like the curse word.) He would not stop talking, arguing, causing disruption, and I had enough. I usually have to keep this student with me for every class his homeroom has with me. I couldn't deal with the disrespect so I sent him to the Special Ed teacher. He wanted to argue with me some more and I told him to get the hell out of my classroom.

I hate that those types of things work with these students. I hate being mean. I hate getting angry. But when I have parents that I call regarding behavior get angry with you for calling about their kid talking too much or their sons making sure when they sit down that the waist of their pants in halfway down their leg and you have to constantly tell them to pull up their pants. It is so frustrating. There are only so many write-ups and phone calls that are not backed up with any real action in the office that you can take. Sure, the office will tell you to give detention in your classroom during lunch and recess, giving up your lunch to be in a room full of students who have the worst behavior in the class. It was just too much yesterday.

I am just so happy it is a 3 day weekend. I really need to just stay in bed.

24 August 2008

This is England

I can't talk about school right now or I will go completely mad. I will post after Tuesday and the parent-teacher conference from HELL. It will be one of those make or break me's. The parent in question became verbally abusive to me during open house as I was presenting. It was so nasty and embarrassing that I could scream. All because his son got a 79% on his Federal Constitution Exam and he wanted his son to re-take it. As I had explained to him last year his son could re-take it AFTER all of the students who failed it had re-tested and passed. The grade does not even show up on the permanent record, only a pass/fail option. This man was so nasty to me even other parents were shocked. I teach in a 100% African-American school and have never had any issues with my color. But after this parents performance I can only conclude it was racially based. I am one of 5 white teachers in the school and the only one in the upper grades beyond 4th grade. I love my students and almost all of the parents I have met and conferenced with focus on their childrens' needs and recognize that I am there to aid in their child's success. This man spat words at me and kissed the butt of every other teacher. Anyone who has ever met me or seen me teach knows the type of person I am. I am the classroom mother type. I had one of my girls write me a letter telling me I was the first teacher who ever listened to her and that she thought of as a second mother. I have had parents e-mail me and tell me that they were so happy that I was their child's homeroom teacher again this year because of the positive influence I have on their child. It makes me so sad to think that children have such negative influences at home. The funny thing is, this man's son is an A student who is always respectful and trust-worthy. I will update with the meeting after Tuesday. I have no idea why he would want a meeting. Perhaps because I refused to give a set in stone date for the Illinois Constitution test. I informed the parents of the week I would like to give it but will not set the date until I see how the students are doing with the materials first. They may need more time. Not to mention the study groups I give for two weeks before the test. They have to be ready before I can set a date. He was really angry with me because I would not commit to a date. I gave a projected week. The first time I met this father was when his son passed the Federal exam last year. He came in yelling and screaming at me because a C is not acceptable in his house. He was so abusive to me that time that other teachers had to come into the room and stand beside for support. He was nice to them and yelled at me again because his son passed but not with a grade he wanted from him. The Assistant Principal had to come and lead him out of the school the first time. Lord knows how or what will set him off this time. I only hope there is enough room between him and the door. Because I will not be treated that way again. The last time was in a public forum. I will not allow myself to be verbally abused again. The only person who has any right to yell at me is my Grandmother. And she hasn't done that in years.

So, with all of that poison out of my system I will just briefly say, I LOVED the film This is England! The director really capture the spirit of the 80's and the skinhead movement. I was not a skinhead but have friends that were punks and skinheads. The story was about the two types of skinheads. The ones who dressed and listened to the music and the ones who took it to the extreme and later would become the neo-nazi skinheads. Caught up in the middle of the two movements was a young boy. It was such a touching and well laid out film that I bought it right away for my collection. It's a tough watch at times but well worth the few scenes you may have to cover your eyes for.

02 August 2008

First Day Of School On Monday

Our first day of school is on Monday. We've been having a bit of a heat wave here in Chicago. Well, I just read the forecast for Monday. We are to have a record temp of 98 degrees. With the humidity, temps will be about 105. Our school does not have AC. All the classrooms on the 3rd floor have a window unit which barely works. I was at school these past few days. With just me in the room it was still uncomfortable. The AC will be useless with 30+ students and myself.

I am so not a summer or heat person. I live for fall and winter. I'd rather have 10 feet of snow then a hot and humid day. It's funny, when I drove home yesterday, it was miserable when I left the school. By the time I got to the northside it felt 10 degrees cooler. Just hope I can make it through August.

I have no idea how many students will actually be in school on Monday. This is the first year of track E. I think a lot of students are going to wait till the rest of CPS goes back, on September 4th, to actually show up. If I were a parent at that school, I would not want my child to endure the heat. How could they get any learning done when they are melting?

Wish me luck.