Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bumper Sticker Politics

Remember one of the very last things I said here before I left you for facebook, blog? Remember how I said that life was too nuanced to have a 150 character limit? Scroll up, it's there.

Reading facebook in an election year is enough to bring me back to the land of the paragraph.

What I like about facebook is the ease of sharing articles, the wider audience, the conversational interchange. What I'm seeing, however, is a rash of bumper sticker politics. I'm completely over the deep thinker who posts a quote and says "End Standardized Testing!" or the pontificator who doesn't bother to share what has her riled about the State Senator, just calls him a racist fuck. And for the record, I give standardized tests and don't like them and I know the Senator...and he is sort of racist. But how 'bout you prove you've done the homework? How 'bout you recognize that I'm on facebook to see pictures of kids and condescending Willy Wonka (*snort*...he's funny) and realize that I can't end standardized testing? How 'bout you get off facebook where it's safe and you can just spout and go WORK to make change? Or RESEARCH your opinions?

Now for the record, when I went to look up the number of characters allowed in a fb post, I came across an article showing that this limit has been raised. Significantly. Anyone want to vote on whether or not it raises the level of discourse? Bet it won't, but I'm totally posting it anyway.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blog Van Winkle (Rip Van Blogle? Rip Blog Winkle?)

So in the past three years, give or take, I've moved twice, lost a sister, gained a fiance and a cat and doubled my teaching load (moved from a 4 period day to a 7 period day). That said, I barely read blogs anymore.

Are people paying so much attention to facebook that blogs are the frontier again (or even worse, are they MySpace!?)? It seems that teacher facebook scandals are bigger than anything the blogs were experiencing when last I was around. It leads me to wonder if there's greater civility over here in the land of the full paragraph. In fact, as I remember it, this was the very thing I had planned to write about when I left: I won't get on facebook because I'm a full paragraph gal. Prose=civility! Status updates are for looky loos!


Then we had a snow storm and I got on facebook.

Turns out that talking with old "from real life" friends on the internet was much of what I needed to pull me out of a funk--a funk that I later realized was the confusion of living with a sister whose frontal lobe was greatly compromised. I think I'm discovering that there's a place for all of this, it's just a matter of what news goes where.

And I'm not sure what news goes here now. I am thinking big thoughts about my job--What is all this testing going to do to us? Are the big changes happening in the biz going to kill public ed or is it just another change? I'm thinking about being married. I'm thinking about being forty (because that happened too) and if I have any business thinking of kids (Advice to you my reader? Don't ask). Does all of that belong here and is anyone listening? Remains to be seen, I suppose.

Thanks, Amerloc, for the happy welcome back. Again, we'll see what happens.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where I Find The Old Educat Costume, Packed Away In Mothballs

Um, Hi.

I've been thinking about visiting here again. No idea why. No idea who is listening. But as I think about what this blog was and who I was as it ended, it's felt like a loose end.

If you're wanting a salacious answer like "I was a man trapped in a woman's body" or "You've heard that Sasquatch walks in Oklahoma", go back to whatever you've been doing for the past two years.

At the end of this blog, I was living with my sister, watching what we now know was a brain tumor squeezing out her judgement and personality. In the process, it hurt me (and probably others) in ways I'm just now figuring out and in June of 2010, it took her life. She'd been married eight months and was 35 years old.

And it's awful. It's horrible. It's tragic and every possible bad adjective you could fine for this injustice but it was also the end of that aforementioned hurt and the beginning of some clarity. How sad and embarassing to get clarity with a death. I probably offended some folks when I couldn't cry too much in that first year she was gone. I heard just last night that my sister's widower (do people even say that? Feh.) say that I seem so happy I must have forgotten my sister (Oh. Did I tell you I'm getting married? Imagine me knees together drawing a circle on the ground with my toe and grinning when I tell you I AM!!).

I'm moving because life demands we move. I'm moving because I grieved the loss of my sister for more than a year before she died and her death brought sense to some grief and I guess I wanted to say that here so it could safe. Don't tell him I said that, ok?

I probably have more to say and it might happen, but for now I'm going to investigate all my comments. I hear I can get some great deals on electronics!!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where I Am

Mister Teacher (and others) asked. You should know, I'm alive. Lots of stuff has eaten my will to blog. Facebook is a big factor (yeah, I know, it really didn't hurt when I made like a lemming and went off the cliff...) but I've also just been framing thoughts differently in my head. I've been semi working on a possible stand up routine, reading books, the dog ate my weblog. Just haven't felt it.

Tell you what, I'll try to think toward blogging. Don't know how soon, but I'll try.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Melting

We're in the teacher's parking lot after school yesterday and the ice has been falling since about 10am. We already know there's no school the next day and so we're toting extra work to our cars and wanting to get home as soon as we can.

There are times that I just unashamedly love my job and my co workers and this moment was one. Two or three of the men are walking around with their big scrapers, helping the ladies get their cars clean and a couple of us who happened to have de-icer handy shuffled around spraying it on other cars. Everyone's mood was light while concerned that everyone will arrive safely at home.

It might be a strange thing to find so much grace in such a small thing, but I slid home last night a bit warmer than I would have been.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Relief For My Backed Up Craw

I once again need to get something out of my craw. It's large and has been annoying me for some time. I'll begin by describing one representative situation and then working into a meta conversation.

Our semester began on January 6th. On that day, I met a whole new group of students for the first time. January 9th was Pumpkin's last day of class until the end of February. She is leaving to have her baby. The next morning, I have an email in my box asking me to prepare work for Pumpkin. Now, they don't want this work all at once, but I am being asked to prepare work for her for ALL SEVEN WEEKS OF HER ABSENCE.

Are. You. Serious?

I asked a few people if I really was hearing correctly. I asked her asst principal and her counselor if I was really supposed to supply this child with a textbook and page numbers and expect that those assignments would be equivilant to actually attending class. Their reaction was baffling.

"Yeah, just give her the work." Like the entire experience of life in my classroom can be boiled down to a worksheet.

This struggle affixed to my craw and festered. I took my plight to our next Principal's advisory committee meeting and the story was met with similar outrage by the other teachers in attendance. My head principal got it also. Oddly, the counselor just sat there slackjawed, completely failing to see the problem here.

Here in the Great State of Oklahoma, the class of 2012 must pass four of seven End of Instruction exams in order to graduate high school. Schools must jump through their buttholes to document that Pumpkin and those like her are given every bit of instruction and every possible chance to succeed. However (and I discovered this after a long hard read of State law regarding education), we have no State attendance requirements. So, Oklahoma, what you're saying is that I could be sued for failing to educate a child who never bothered to show up in my classroom? Really???

My first steps to relieve my pain over this sitation is to finally answer the emails from the counseling office. I assembled work for Pumpkin with the following note...
Attached is another couple of week’s worth of work for Pumpkin. I apologize
for the wait, but it is impossible to prepare English II as a correspondence
course. The work attached is not an equivalent for the work done in class,
despite my real and honest effort to give your student an equivalent
experience. Please be aware that I am unsure if Pumpkin will be prepared
for her End of Instruction exam by simply completing bookwork.

Also, I am happy to schedule a time for your student to make up
the test over the three stories she was previously assigned. I will cover
details of the stories as well as the literary elements of plot, mood, and
conflict.

Completion of this work will bring Pumpkin relatively up to date
and I will start working now on the next batch of work. Thank you for
understanding my difficult position, I am concerned that the textbook simply
can’t provide all the learning we’ve done in class.

luv and hearts--
Ms Educat

...and for the larger problem, I am on this, friends. I am all up in this situation. I'm making plans to speak with State legislators about this. My first approach will to listen, a sort of a "help me understand" approach. In fact, is there any insight you have to this situation? After that, we start talking legislation. Ms Educat is going to the Capitol.

Thank you, and watch your step as you walk away. All that stuff from my craw is lying around on the floor.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

Thursday, January 22, 2009