viernes, septiembre 30, 2005



there's a lot of shit going on at school these days, but given the dramatic increase of hits to this blog (two sarcastic thumbs up to NEA for putting my anonymity in jeopardy) i don't feel comfortable spilling the beans... particularly because my hit counter has shown visits from people in my district. that annoyingness aside, i'd like to share two things that children from other classes told me today:

"My mom's gonna use her food stamps to buy me a horse. A real horse!"

"I like your brown thing." (referring to my dress)

my chamaco fresh from the rancho with no alphabet sounds mastered the letter o today. after he finished reading his book, me and my watery eyes had to walk out of the room to keep from crying in front of him. i love first grade. too bad politics may make this my last year teaching it.

martes, septiembre 27, 2005


NEA, yikes!

i've been mentioned in an article with a potential reach so big i'm frightened. because brutal honesty does not go over well in a public forum... particularly when my boss has access to it. i thought i learned my lesson from dooce, but obviously my big mouth replaced all rational thought. not that i remember saying what i was quoted for (since i clearly DON'T blog as soon as i get home each day), nor doing an interview for them. lo que sea. point is, archives are gone indefinitely to protect the not-so-innocent. sorry, chimosos!

*re: my "R-rating" - mejor que diga todas las maldiciones en español para evitar ofendiendo la buena gente. para Uds. que me entienden sin traducción, qué opinan: ¿debo cambiar de sitio para quedarme anónima o no más borrar todos los detalles específicos? la verdad es que ahora estoy bien preocupada y ya no me siento cómoda echando toda mi vida escolar al público. ¡la ironía del internet!

lunes, septiembre 26, 2005


the blahs

today was your quintessential terrible monday. i woke up late, slapped myself together in 15 minutes and was forced to get fast food coffee. i was totally unprepared for today. i didn't pack a lunch and was starving all day, and my small variety of junk food was not cutting it. i had a training and meeting during planning and a meeting after school.


have to, because my new personal trainer says so. sigh.

miércoles, septiembre 21, 2005


y ahora esto

my two favorite co-workers are being hostile as all hell. a few weeks back, another catty co-worker insinuated all kinds of insulting things about me and a friend. luckily, the more experienced teacher next door is actually asking for MY advice regarding classroom management, reminding me that the catty co-worker is smoking crack (cause we all know i kick ass). i'll keep nodding my head and smiling politely, but for fuck's sake... can't we all just get along? why must teachers behave more immaturely than their students?

martes, septiembre 20, 2005


bleeding hearts

now listening to "Goddess on a Highway" by Mercury Rev: "and i know it ain't gonna last..."

sometimes teaching breaks your heart.

we've all heard stories about the kids without shoes and clothes. kids whose only meal is the cafeteria lunch. kids who become latchkey at 6, 7, 8 years old. kids whose parents can't/won't read to them.

these things i can deal with. there are obvious ways to help these kids. but what do you do about the children whose parents are in the middle of a bitter yet unofficial (nothing legal yet) custody battle and you have to watch your student scream and shriek because she doesn't want to choose between her parents after school? what do you do about the child who is repeating another grade because her parents don't make her go to school (and when she is in school, she has lice and must be sent home) and has now developed a lisp --in addition to all her other academic problems-- because all of her teeth have rotted out? what do you do about the child who is trying his damnedest every day to work at grade level despite having been identified and tested as having at least a couple learning disabilities, but whose mother refuses to have him change schools in order to receive special services because his siblings attend the same school and it would make things too difficult? what do you do about the factors that are completely beyond your control and realm of influence?

these days, i just try not to cry. and i've been a little extra generous with the hugs and attention. too bad that's not enough.

p.s. i know about the community outreach and in-school counseling opportunities available. i and my peers have made the necessary recommendations, filed the paperwork, sat in meetings, voiced our concerns. but the fact remains that these kids are only ours for about 7 hours a day. turns out, that doesn't count for much.

domingo, septiembre 18, 2005


oh my

i usually feel like a misfit in the world of teacher blogs. i curse like a sailor, i'm not all smiles and positivity when it comes to my students (although this school year's posts may have you fooled!), and i'm bilingual brown fish in a sea of white, middle-class english-speaking-only teachers. oh, and i'm liberal as fuck. so i make the assumption that most teachers have no interest in this blog.. just the cool "edgy" folks and my raza blogeros. yet SOMEHOW, esta maestra made it into Ms. Frizzle's edition of the Carnival of Education. wonders never cease. and hamsters never stop biting my friggin' fingers. speaking of which, time to head to school and make sure the little fuckers are still alive. guess who forgot to tell someone to feed them on friday?

sábado, septiembre 17, 2005


who knew?

apparently the pledge is unconstitutional. funny, the "under God" part always seemed so secular to me!

in other news, looks like we teachers aren't the only ones who are blogging about school life. if i'm talking shit about my administration, i wonder what their blogs have to say about me...

lastly, my favorite education news source joanne jacobs has a post about how some high schools try to appeal to the new generation of students that purportedly "puts leisure above the work ethic." madhatter, you may want to mention to your school board that lattes and pound cake help motivate students to do more research. maybe they can do a starbucks-style makeover and really turn your classroom into a true learning environment.

viernes, septiembre 16, 2005


viva mexico!

i love days when you throw curriculum guidelines to the wind and just let the kids immerse themselves in something culturally relevant and fun.

the bilingual teacher next door and i began switching groups for language arts based on reading ability. i've got the high group and we've been doing a lot of writing practice since all of my students are on if not above and beyond the appropriate reading level. yesterday, we practiced doing interviews in class... i modeled it with a student, then they did guided practice in class. last night's homework was to conduct an interview with a family member or friend in order to learn about 16 de septiembre. every single student brought their work, and every single student did a perfect job. did they retain any of the information this morning? not so much, but for just 5 weeks of first grade under their belt, i can't complain. anyways, we talked about their interviews this morning and summarized what they learned. i had to get pretty in-depth about why the mexicans wanted freedom since oppression isn't a concept they're familiar with (lucky them), but eventually it seemed to at least make sense if not stick. SO... after an Hidalgo book-making and mexican flag-coloring break, we used our BILINGUAL skills in ESL to make a presentation about diez y seis to the two English monolingual classes. it was like pulling teeth at first, but soon we got things summarized and broken down into individually-presentable parts. after 30 minutes of rehearsing, we presented... and they were GREAT! they even led a grito at the end.

throw in perfumed paper flowers, red, white, and green polvorones, and 95% passing on today's spelling test... i couldn't dream up a better way to celebrate today.

miércoles, septiembre 07, 2005


i am slowly going crazy

i love my class. i LOVE my class. my job would be totally perfect if administration was completely hands off and i could forget that they exist to make my life miserable.

oh, and if i made twice as much money. then my job would be totally perfect.

in the meantime, i have to count my blessings and lean hard on my many wonderful teacher buddies. you guys give me strength and resilience. thank you. i also have to be grateful that my students are such wonderful kids with tons of heart and pretty damned impressive work ethics. they are so good, i let them convince me to have a class pet. tomorrow, we will go pick out a dwarf hamster. they are from china and russia (dwarf hamsters, not my chamacos), which will give them great exposure to countries far, far away. they are living things, which will teach them about life, sickness, and (hopefully not anytime soon) death. they are fuzzy and cute, which will teach them that fuzzy cute dwarfy things are absolutely irresistable. and they stink when dirty, which will teach them that the teacher is leaving these fuzzy living foreigners' cleanliness in THEIR hands.

hey, i tried guppies last year and i hated it. we had a big talk and the kids said they'd do all the work if we got a hamster, so they better keep up with their end of the deal. my end was buying the supplies.. the rest is up to them!

there was a very well-dressed man on campus today who was telling teachers about ways to invest our retirement money. i was in love for awhile, it was a nice change from the maintenance man lying on his belly fixing the water fountain saying hi to me. not that i have a problem with maintenance men, it's just a pleasant surprise having a man in expensive pants with a palm pilot flirt with you instead.

oh my, i think i'm rambling. it's almost friday, it's almost friday...

jueves, septiembre 01, 2005


goodbye bliss, hello bitchery!

ahh, you knew it wouldn't last...

let me be frank: fuck this required overtime bullshit. i work my ASS off. i spent three weeks of my summer at trainings. i spent another three weeks IN my classroom before the year even began getting it ready... spending my own money all summer long to give my kids a warm, inviting learning environment. no, the green apple magnetic word wall and happy fabric aren't necessary for their learning, but it makes them happy to be there, this i know for certain.

N-E-WAYZ, as my old middle school students would say, i put in hundreds of extra hours over the summer, before and after school, and on weekends. lucky for my principal i'm young, single, and willing. but i've been asked to attend countless trainings and meetings since school began... for example, an all-day weekend training. i was given notice that i should attend the day before the training at 3 pm. ridiculous. and today i was chastised for leaving a last-minute meeting early because i had scheduled a doctor appointment a MONTH before. i was also chastised for planning on missing another training. apparently i need to give advance notice when i can't attend things, but the administration is under no circumstances expected to do the same in regard to notifying me about aforementioned things. what a lovely double standard.

so in addition to messing with any and all appointments in my personal life, i am --of COURSE-- not getting paid overtime. and i'm slowly realizing that i put in a whole fucking lot of VOLUNTARY overtime. that's fine. but this supposedly REQUIRED-yet-FREE overtime is BULLSHIT. what other professional field gets away with this shit?

i talked to a high school teacher friend about this (correction: vented) and apparently it's the same situation there with meetings out the ass and back-to-school nights. maybe it's just my district? is this normal? if so, why the HELL haven't more teachers made a stink? we know we're grossly underpaid as it is... c'mon now!

there's also some petty bullshit i learned about tonight... if the AP deems it necessary to mention it to me, expect more bitchery in the coming weeks. blah! thank god for labor day!


out of the mouths of babes

"We make you smile, don't we?"
"Your coffee's over THERE!"
"¿Tarea? ¿Qué tarea? Yo no hice tarea porque no tuve tarea. ¿Qué?"
"Mami-digo, ¡maEStra!"

yeah, i've heard cuter, but these snippets weren't half bad. another good week down!

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