Only in a public school

See below.

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A picture is worth 1,000 words – if only they used their powers for good rather than evil….

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Summer time – for Chicago teachers the living’s not easy….

     So sadly, I’ve been too busy to get around to this little blog.  But now that another school year is behind me I feel like there’s tons going on.

     So at work – the last day of school was bittersweet.  Most of my amazingly awesome team is leaving for other/better positions at better schools, or better-paying schools.  As a founding teacher, its hard to see my teammates leave – especially when I wished so hard to join them in the exit this year.  Unfortunately, I had 3 really huge hiring let-downs this year – meaning that unless I want to be homeless – I am stuck where I am.  Oh well – c’est la vie.  So what am I doing this summer?  That’s right – since I desperately need money and my boyfriend is still not working (yay economic crash), I’m teaching summer school.  FUN!!!!

There’s nothing like getting 30 kids who all have behavior problems and putting them into one hot, sparse classroom all summer long.  I planned it to be as easy as possible for them to pass – so what happens?  Most of them have failed the first 2 quizzes.  I haven’t started putting the grades into the gradebook yet – but I plan on doing all of that tomorrow.   So far 3 kids have been expelled.  I’m hoping by the end of this week the numbers will be down even further so its more manageable.  (They only get to mess up a couple of times before they’re expelled – if expelled they have to repeat the grade they failed).  So let’s talk about expulsions.  Here’s what happened to the first kid.  1)  He rides his bike to school & forgets his lock – so he asks the school office if he can store it there until the end of the day & is obliged.  2)  He forgets that he rode the bike to school & wants to ride a bike home.  3)  He steals someone else’s bike outside of the school & gets caught.  (You don’t get assigned to summer school for being a genius.  The second kid to get expelled was talking back in class, & sent to the summer school principal’s office – where she talked back to him while he called her mom.  When mom came up to the school she refused to leave or speak normally & ran off – then when the security guard brought her back to the front she screamed in the security guard’s face and called her “hey goofy don’t touch me”.  You give a kid a second chance to pass a grade – they take a mile….

I’m trying to spend my summer losing weight since I have little time during the school year to get in the hours that I actually need at the gym during the school year. 

I try to not watch the news at all – since teachers are getting slammed in the news all over the place.  For those of you who don’t live in Chicago – the new CPS CEO (who is totally unqualified & was fired from his last job – and isn’t even a product of the American educational system) is totally insane.  He cut the 4% raise Chicago Public School Teachers were told they were getting – 2 days after giving all the higher-ups a raise.  If you’re saying that you had to cut teachers’ raises because of the budget crisis – most teachers would have understood.  They would have taken the hit lying down for the betterment of our students – but then you raise the salaries of the people that sit in offices making schools suck more?  In front of them?  And expect teachers not to be pissed off?  RIGHT.

So check out this great idea – he wants to take away teachers’ professional development days & put kids in the classroom on those days – which would be OK.  If I wasn’t required by law to accumulate 120 hours of professional development every 5 years to keep my teaching certification.  Are you going to pay me to go get my PD somewhere else?  Are you going to give me more days off per year to get those hours taken care of?  Of course not.  Because it’s greedy of me to expect that.

Get ready for the best part.  He wants teachers to do MANDATORY home visits.  Really?  Because a lot of the parents of students that I have refuse to come to parent teacher conferences.  Or they make appointments and don’t show up.  Or they live in neighborhoods that I wouldn’t go to even if I was being paid (which I assume that I wouldn’t be since this is supposed to take place on my own time?)  I’m not saying I’m totally against the home visit thing – IF I’M WANTED.  Many of my students’ parents are confrontational about education.  Or they are absent.  Or they are too disengaged from their child’s lives to even remember my name.  Safety issues aside (everyone loves walking into strange buildings in gang-ridden neighborhoods right?), let’s talk about just being respected.  Am I going by myself?  Will an administrator be with me?  What’s the point of just showing up?  At least at the school I have the ability to end a conversation when the things that I need to cover are taken care of.  In someone’s private home, you have little to no control over the situation.  You can be interrupted by any number of things (hold on my phone is ringing, hold on my kid is puking, hold on the neighbors are screaming, etc).  Plus, if the family feels even for an instant ashamed of their home or belongings or neighborhoods, etc  it could actually DAMAGE the professional relationship that you’ve already had and maintained with them for half of the school year.  People are proud.  Anywho – check this douche and his ridiculous ideas out:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/24/brizard-emanuel-suggest-c_n_883976.html

That being said – I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most phenomenal, talented, caring, amazing teachers that are in the entire business of education.  And it’s crap like THIS that is making them leave the profession – go on to jobs where they get a modicum of respect and make double the money.  We need to realize that the crappier that we treat the people who see our children more than their parents, we need to realize that the people who are the best in the business need to be held onto – treated with the professional respect they deserve, make a living wage, and do whatever we can to KEEP THEM IN THE PROFESSION.  Not do as much as possible to chase them out of the profession.  In no other profession can you work 60+ hours a week, have a masters degree, and be treated like absolute garbage on a daily basis. 

To all of the teachers who are great at their jobs who are dealing with all this crap that has NOTHING to do with teaching your students – I feel you.  And to all of the crappy teachers who have the good jobs in the good districts – PLEASE GOD RETIRE SO I CAN GET A DECENT JOB!!!!!!

Applitrack sucks!

     So, in another weak attempt to find a new job, I’ve spent the past 4 hours applying for teaching jobs online.  YAY!!!  I finished a whole 2 applications.  Every year, around Christmas time, I start the same boring process.  I pull up a map of Chicago & its suburbs on googlemaps.  Then I start in the upper left-hand corner of the map, apply to every district in that town (both middle and high schools), cross it out, and move on to the next one.  Every application takes about 2 hours if you have to start from scratch.  If you can import the application from another similar district, it takes only about a half an hour per application.  The thing that gets me the most isn’t the pointless and endless clicking/entering information/boring entering & re-entering of your references names.  It’s not even the ENDLESSLY boring essay questions (that I doubt that anyone reads), but its the fact that when you finish & hit submit – you have NO IDEA what is happening to your information.  You get this generic ‘Thanks for applying to our district’ form email.  But that’s it.  There’s no confirmation, no list of dates that decisions will have been made by, NOTHING.  So you have no idea what black hole your meticulously filled-out work has fallen into. 

     The professional world has gotten so UNPROFESSIONAL that I can’t believe it.  I mean as a teacher candidate (or any corporate job-applicant for that matter), you are expected to call off of work to come interview, you are expected to figure out the awkward situation of asking your boss for references, you are expected to SEND A THANK YOU NOTE to people who have the courtesy to interview you on THEIR OWN TIME, yet what professional courtesies do you get as an applicant?  Do you even get a 2-sentence email that says, “We’re sorry but the position has been filled”, or “We have gone with someone with more/less experience”.  I mean it’s better to RESPOND somehow than to ignore someone’s very existence.  As a matter of fact, all of the big ‘how to get a job’ companies talk about how important it is for applicants to send thank you notes, well I’ve spent at least $250 in postage on such notes over the past 10 years, so I think a little reciprocation would be the professional thing to do?  I mean check out this site that tells you how important it is: 

http://www.chiff.com/a/interview-thanks.htm

     People seem to think it’s easy to get jobs as a teacher.  Not to brag, but I’m really a top candidate.  I have experience at various grade levels, a great performance history, awesome references, and am a super hard worker/award nominated teacher.  Just to show how far that gets you – in the 10 years of my career – I have had exactly 5 interviewsEvery year, I put in about 95 applications to different middle and high school districts.  So out of those 5 interviews, thankfully I have gotten 2 jobs.  But if you don’t even get the interview, how can you get more experienced with the interview process?  Every teacher that I’ve talked to in Illinois has a similar story.  If you can’t get the interview, how can you get the job?  Who is getting the interviews?  I believe that the answer is simply who you know.  If you network and know people in the district/went to school in the district it gives you a distinct advantage.  I know this because at my own school, I have put in good words for people & have watched their applications go to the top of the list of 900+ applications.  So since I have a small family/set of peope that I know – does it matter how awesome of a teacher that I am?  I’m starting to think it doesn’t matter at all.  I’ve seen who gets hired and who teaches in some of the most amazing districts in Illinois.  And a lot of people that I know/have worked with/myself are way better teachers – but we get stuck where we are unable to advance our careers or move out of the expensive city-limits because of who we DON’T know.  It’s frustrating.  And with the current attacks on teachers in the media/government, jobs are being cut everywhere.  In Detroit, they’re firing all of the best/most experienced teachers, hiring a bunch of doe-eyed first years, and putting them in classrooms with 60 kids.  Watch the story here:  http://youtu.be/EARW3xblguY

     While I do appreciate my job, I do know that my school has issues that I don’t know if I feel like dealing with for much longer.  I’d like to be doing my job to the best of my ability and be able to focus on only that while I’m at work – not the things that are going on behind the scenes that make me sad.  But if I can’t get an interview, then I can’t get a job.  However, every year it seems like I get a little more interest in my resume.  Of the 5 interviews I’ve had in the past 10 years, 3 of them have been within the past 4 years.  Maybe things are finally picking up.  I’d better get out my thankyou letters.

Camping ’11

     Home at last!   I just got home from my school’s annual 6th Grade Camping Trip.  YAY!!!!  We left school at about 8 am on Monday and got back in the afternoon today.  The whole point of the trip (at least what I’m told) is to ‘do teambuilding activities, and build friendships, and do outdoor education for urban students’.  Personally I feel like it’s main purpose is to see how far you can drive teachers phsyically, mentally, and emotionally before they fall into complete and total delerium.  I’m actually not ‘down on the trip’.  I think it’s a valuable experience for the students.  They have a ton of fun, are forced to be open-minded and out of their element, and are incredibly fun to SCREW with for 3 days.  Scaring them, freaking them out, bothering them – that part of it is pretty awesome.   It is however, a testament to any sane adult’s sanity and physical endurance.  Not to mention their ability to sleep on a wooden slab with a semi-inflatable yoga mat on it.

Even though it’s not the name of the camp, I refer to the place as Camp Crystal Lake – because I feel like the trip stalks and murders my patience and endurance.  Here’s an actual picture of the camp:

"Hello. I'm Mrs. Voorhees."

     So here’s a basic run down of my life for the past 3 days.  Monday – leave school at 8 am, get to the camp by 11.  Have lunch & take the camp tour, then 2 1.5 hour ‘Outdoor Activity Sessions’.  (At this point, each teacher leads a group of about 8 kids in an Outdoor Activity Session/Lesson.  Over the course of 2 days you teach the same activity to each of the 6 groups).  After that – the kids get 45 minutes of ‘free recreation time’.  After that – dinner, presentation on wolves/coyotes, campfire with skits & songs, a walking through the dark/scaring the kids as they look for the ‘wolf’ in the dark, smores, and then bedtime at 11. 

Day 2 – Up at 7 with breakfast at 8, the other 4 activity periods, lunch, more rec. time, dinner, then a dance until 10.  (Complete exhaustion sets in at about 3:30 pm – after that all of the adults are basically operating on auto-pilot, the kids are total crabby brats, and the high school counselors can’t stop laughing as their respect for the teachers begin to grow as they realize how irritating kids can be).

Day 3 –   I don’t remember today at this point because I slept through most of the festivities with my eyes open.  I think there was breakfast, ‘Camp Olympics’, and a lot of packing, etc.  We left the camp at about 11:30 am.  By noon all of the kids on the bus were passed out.  The adults soon after. 

ORGANIZED CHAOS!!!!!

Every year when I get back from the Camping Trip I take a hot shower, take a great nap, wake up and eat spaghetti, and then veg out watching guilty-pleasure tv.  Which is exactly what I’m doing right now.  All of the 6th grade teachers were told that we have Thursday off and don’t have to come to school.  I also took Friday off in an attempt to re-gain my strength and sanity. 

So now that I’m in my own quiet, comfy home, wearing my pjs and watching Law & Order – I have time to reflect on some of the more hilarious quotes from students in the wilderness.

Hilarious Kids’ Quotes from Camping 2011:

1.  “Miss __________, are we near an airport?”

“No why?”

“What’s with all the lights?”

“Those are stars.”

2.  “Stop tube-slide raping people!”

 

3.  ”  I can’t wait to get home and play video games 24/7!!”

 

4.  Me:  “Wow you really had some moves out there on the dance floor.  The ladies are going to be chasing you…”

Him:  “That’s what happens when your game is on point”

5.  While doing the outdoor activities, the high school counselor and myself start talking about kids being couch potatos –

I said, “That’s the problem with kids today, they don’t play outside enough – they sit around playing Xbox.”  To which the kid in the tree in the picture responded:

“I DON’T PLAY XBOX – I JUMP OFF ROOFS FOR FUN!!!! Y’ALL SHOULD TRY IT!!!”  (If he only knew how much I want to).

 

 

 

Hilarious Teacher Quotes:

1.  In regards to dropping ‘fake’ DO YOU LIKE ME CIRCLE YES OR NO notes around the dance to start drama:  “Will lives be ruined?  Possibly.  Will kids get scarred?  Most likely.  Is it worth it?  HELL YEAH!!”

2.  “Can you believe this is what you do for a living?”

3.  “Teaching is the only profession where people just don’t believe your word as a professional.  I mean if a dentist comes in and says ‘well you have a cavity and need a filling.’  You don’t say – “No I don’t, you don’t know what you’re talking about.  My teeth don’t get holes in them.  Clearly you have something against my teeth.”  But if you tell a parent that their kid is getting a bullying referral, they just don’t treat you like you know what you’re talking about.  Who argues with their surgeon?  Their dentist?  DUH!”

 

4.  “This trip makes my entire body and soul hurt.  Why can’t I stop laughing?”

 

5.  “I can’t wait to go home and get drunk.”

 

So one more year of that trip under my belt.  It reminded me how much less energy that I have now that I’m not 22 anymore.  It reminded me how sad it is that poor urban kids don’t have parents that take them into the wilderness ever – so much so that they’re amazed by birds that aren’t pigeons.  Thirdly, it reminded me that I love my kids – seeing them out of their element and doing hilarious things.  And lastly, it reminded me that after 70+ hours with kids – I am SO happy to be by myself at my house – without any kids within hearing distance.

So another year’s trip is down, and tomorrow I’m sleeping until I don’t feel like sleeping anymore.

Teacher Appreciation Week!!! (We’ll pretend that we aren’t screwing you over for 5 days in the hopes that you won’t notice us doing it worse than ever next week!!!)

To my fellow teachers out there:

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!!!!

Enjoy your big moment to shine!  We all deserve a bit of appreciation.  Unfortunately, it won’t be showing in my salary next year.

So let me go though a run down of my Monday of teacher-appreciation day so far.  At our weekly Monday meeting from 7:30-8, we get told that we get to dress down every day this week!  (Yay for the small victories).  Then we get told to come see the principal to get/see/sign our contracts for next year (maybe yay?).  I work at a charter school – no union (BOO!!!!!), no protection (Boo!!!!!!), and NO WAY of knowing what I could possibly be making next year (WTF?!?! – try to plan a life around never knowing what’s going down with your salary for the next fiscal year.  I dare you.)

Normally, I’m not really one to complain about my salary.  I probably make more than most of the other teachers at my entire school due to my whopping 9-years of experience & Masters Degree (most teachers at my school burn out after a year or two – some make it a whole half-a-year before throwing in the towel.  Compared to most of the teachers at my school – I’m raking it in.  Or at least I WAS – before Illinois screwed me over big time with that HUGE income tax hike.  Thanks to that tax hike – as of January I started taking home LESS than I was making at the beginning of the PREVIOUS school year – so in effect the tax hike erased the raise that I got last year.   So as if that’s not bad enough – I figured – well with my KICK ASS review this year, I was bound to be able to at least break even with a big raise this year.  Maybe if worse came to worse, I’d end up making like $20 more per cheque than I had been making before the taxes went up. 

Ah, how naive I still am.  Illinois is broke.  CPS is beyond broke.  CPS keeps cutting the money that charter schools get.  Therefore our CEO keeps cutting the money that WE get.  Therefore – my pathetic raise – if you can call it that – will amount to about $45 more per cheque than I’m making now – which is STILL about $40 less than I was making before taxes went up.  SOOOO if our ‘brilliant’ benefits package team manages to drop the ball again this year – that’ll make it more like $5-15 more per cheque – if they raise our rates at the same percentage that they’ve done every year of the past three.  So in effect, in the past 3 years, I have had NO cost of living increase, and actually have had my pay CUT by the state of Illinois – a factor that my job apparently didn’t even take into consideration when drawing up this contract.

So what’d I do?  Signed it.  DUH.  History teachers have no job opportunities.  There’s no where for me to teach.  Old dudes who like to coach football teach History until they die in good districts & hold onto those sweet jobs until the cold icy grip of death gives them no other options.

Take this guy:  He’s 87 and still coaching/teaching. 

DUDE GIVE IT UP!!!!  I’m 30 freaking years old and keep waiting for all those damn jobs that my college education professors promised me.  “You guys are at JUST the right time.  Once all those baby-boomers retire you’ll have your PICK of teaching jobs in this country.  They’ll be desperate for you!!!  And with a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign degree you’ll be a top candidate!!!”  Really????  Because I’ve been slaving away in an urban hell-zone for the past 9 years patiently waiting – honing my skills – becoming an expert – earning a Master’s degree – AND YOU PEOPLE JUST WON’T QUIT!!!  EVER!!!!  And while I’ve been stuck here waiting on all the so-called retirees to finally retire from the awesome suburban districts – I’ve been aging – and racking up the experience.  Meaning that NOW – all those awesome districts will think that I’m too EXPENSIVE to hire because I’ve got 10 years under my belt now.  So I’m damned if I work, and damned if I don’t.

So anyway, I get in the car after school today to drive to my private tutoring session with one of my rich kids in the district that I’d kill to even get a call from – and WHAM the phone rings.  Some fancy-schmancy private school that I applied to 2 weeks ago and forgot about (its hard to keep applications straight when you put in 92 a year.  I’m not kidding – I really do put in 92 a year.  I usually get 2 phone calls, one interview, and no job offers per year).   It was out of the blue, most places will email you and ask to set up a time for a phone interview – but this guy just jumped right in.  I have NO IDEA what this school may pay their teachers.  But it sounds sort of sweet.  It’s in the suburbs – its selective enrollment – its high class.  But high class private schools often don’t pay their teachers.  And I don’t really know if I can afford to make less than I do right now.  So he told me he had several more applicants to phone interview and then he’d be choosing 3 of the best to come and do a face-to-face interview/demo-lesson.  I’m mostly putting it on the back burner.  It’s not precisely the type of position that I want.  But with everything that’s being taken from me at my current job – I don’t know how much longer I can afford to stay.  3 years’ worth of raises being taken totally away from me by raising taxes and benefits increases isn’t really helping me much either. 

And now for some hilarious things to convince both myself and others that I actually don’t hate my job….  While teaching about the black plague the other day one of my students raises her hand & asks:

“Miss _______________, how long did it take you to learn all this stuff?  I mean I know you read us the powerpoint notes, but you had to write them.  And you remember them without even looking.  And you aren’t old, but you know so much – how?”

So that made me feel pretty smart and appreciated.  Another one:

“Miss _________________, sometimes I forget that you’re pretty because you always look so scary and mean in class.”

Another one:

Me:  “NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BE ACTING SILLY AND TALKING AND LAUGHING ABOUT STUPID STUFF!!!  EVERYONE LIKES TO ACT SILLY – BUT NOW IS NOT THE TIME.  I LIKE TO ACT SILLY TOO!!!”

Kid:  “Now that I refuse to believe”.

Me:  “Well you’ve never seen me running around my apartment singing 80’s songs in my underwear.  And if you have – stop being such a stalker!!!”

Kid:  “Wow.  I’m so glad that I don’t live in your neighborhood.”

And lastly – the best thing that a student has EVER said to me in class (this one is dedicated to all the hard-working under-appreciated educators out there):

Kid:  “So Miss ___________________ you know how much money football players & basketball players make right?”

Me:  “Yes.  Tens of thousands of dollars per game.”

Kid:  “But they get to play a game.  Your job is like – actually important – and if you suck at it its actually a real problem.  If they suck they lose a game. And your job sucks and it’s really hard.  And theirs is fun.   How is that fair?”

Me:  “It isn’t.  But you’re getting extra credit.”

Guys – we’re all worth it – despite having some of the lowest career-self esteem out there thanks to parents, the media, the government, and inappreciative kids.  But there’s some that will always appreciate us – the makers of alcoholic beverages world wide.

Bye Bye Spring Break

 
 

     Well, Spring Break ends today.  Which means that tomorrow morning, my alarm will begin going off at 3:55 am.  I will then hit the snooze button until my second alarm goes off at 4:02 am.  Then my wake up call service will call me at 4:04 am, and my last alarm will follow up at 4:07 am.  If I’m not standing up and putting on my clothes by 4:10 am then I have missed my ‘have time to work out, shower, get ready, and get to work on time’ window of opportunity.  I hate people who are like, “Why torture yourself?  Just work out after work!”  (Hey jerkwads – IF I get to go straight home after work I won’t get home until about 6 pm.  But since I’ve been SLAMMED with rich kid tutoring sessions for the past few weeks – I won’t be getting home until 8-10PM.  At that point I’m emotionally and physically exhausted.  There is no ‘after work’ for me.)

     Several people that I know who have careers that aren’t education-related have felt my wrath on several occassions due to comments like, “You don’t really have to think about hard concepts.  You’re teaching kids.  How hard is the material.  It’s not like its new to you.  It should be pretty much autopilot”.  This is wrong on several levels.  First of all, it completely degrades the higher level thinking skills, pedagogy, and skill that it requires to teach someone a new concept.  All of the concepts are essentially new to all of my students – so I’m basically starting from scratch.  That’s not easy – to help someone create new understanding within their brain.  But that’s the elitest, eductaor answer.  The real answer is that from the INSANT that first alarm goes off in the morning, until the INSANT that I collape at night (9:45-10:15 if I want to get up on time), my mind is RACING with the obligations of my job.  I have to worry about, “Is the lesson that I’m doing going to work?  What’s plan B and C is it doesnt?  I wonder if the copy machine is broken.  Are any of my colleagues going to be out sick today?  If so I’ll have to sub and won’t have time to make adjustments to my lesson.  Will I have time to eat today?  Should I pack a lunch AND a dinner – or will I be home at a reasonable time?  I wonder if Jimmy copied that homework?  Are these kids just totally asleep today or do I totally suck?  Do I need to adjust my teaching style right now becaue the kids look bored?  Last night on facebook Kid A called Kid B a bitch and there’s trouble brewing, I’d better email the dean while I’m taking attendance, setting up my projector, and passing out papers………”  And those are just the thoughts going on in the background while you’re actually PERFORMING your job and your brain is still performing the necessary functions to live.  So by the end of the day – your BRAIN is totally exhausted.  It’s working at panic-attack speed ALL DAY LONG.  So maybe my job isn’t physically draining the way that a construction worker’s is – and maybe I’m not performing rocket science – but the fact of the matter is both my brain and body are DEAD by the end of the day. 

     However, I’m not saying that all teachers are these insane heroes.  That’s far from the truth.  I’ve worked with imbeciles before at several schools.  A good/great teacher thinks insanely quickly all day long and is constantly attempting to stay on top of things.  There are mediocre/bad/horrifyingly bad teachers out there that are slackers.  Just like there are slackers in any workplace.  That also doesn’t make them bad people – that just means that they function at a different level and could probably use a little mentorship or coaching.  Not everyone SHOULD be an insane workaholic.  Great teachers just feel a responsibility to be one because they fear what will happen if they slack off.  They genuinely care about the education their students miss if they are slacking off for even an insant.  I wonder if accountants or postal workers or construction workers feel that way.  That if they pause for 5 mintues to get a drink of water or go to the washroom – that the world of someone will be negatively impacted.  It’s a big responsibility.  At no point of the school day does it let up – EVER.  Not even during your ‘break’.  Because you have to spend your break reflecting on how you have failed that day, how you will fail tomorrow, and who will blame you for failing at things that you haven’t failed at yet – all in between making phone calls to parents, copies for tomorrow, or subbing for someone’s class.

     Anyway – I’m really not making up this brain activity thing.  Below is a picture of a brain scan given to someone who is totally relaxed/meditating/at rest.

 


Next – is a picture of a brain that is/has been in intense thought/stress patterns for a prolonged period of time (I believe it was 5 hours but I accidentally deleted the link to the study so I don’t feel like going back & re-looking it up.  So let’s call it about 5-hours)

 

Now I’m no doctor, but in the words of Charlie Sheen, “Look at the colors, DUH!!!”  Obviously in the world of exhaustion/brain overload teachers are certainly “WINNING!”

Anyway – as I reflect on the warfare that my body and brain are about to re-launch themselves into – I find solace in science.  In knowing that I’m not totally insane – that there IS in fact a reason that I’m ususally so tired.  (Other than the getting up in the middle of the night to start my day thing)  I really DO love my job, and I don’t think that I could do an easy-thinking, slow-moving job and be very happy.  I do however take the great with the crappy and have really learned to appreciate silence, being still, and the vegetative state that I put myself into during the first week of summer break.  I refuse to feel guilty for that week of my brain and body healing.  I lounge proudly watching Oprah and crappy soap operas and read for pleasure.  And no amount of condescension from corporate workers who think my brain and I aren’t challenged enough will make me feel bad for sitting on my ass watching Oprah until I go to the pool to sleep all afternoon in the sun.  Once that first week of break is over afterall, I’m already mentally gearing up for the next year and have my first month’s worth of lesson plans and handouts in the works.

TGISB – Thank God It’s Spring Break!!!!

Welcome to crazyteachertales – a blog that will hopefully keep one Chicago Public Schools teacher slightly sane! 

So it’s Spring Break.  Finally.  This is the latest Spring Break that I’ve had in my 9 years of teaching.  And wow was it needed.  It’s no secret that teaching is the most depressing, exhausting, insane career out there.  But then you have to deal with people constantly telling you how easy it is – the idiotic comments from corporate America:

“WOW I wish I was 30 years old and still got a Spring Break.”  (Hey a-hole – by this point of the school year I have already clocked more hours since August than you will have by the end of July – oh yeah and I never get paid overtime!)

“WOW, I wish I had 3 months off to sit on my ass all summer while getting paid to do nothing”  (Hey jagstains – I’m not being paid for doing nothing – I’m getting paid the money they held back from my cheques all year so that I could get a paycheck over the summer.  I’m getting paid late for work that I did months ago!)

“WOW, it must be nice to get off of work at 2:30”  (Hey jerkwad – I wake up at 4 am, leave the house at 6:30 am, get to work at 7 am, teach until 3:30 – and am LUCKY if I get home before 7:30 PM.  I don’t have the luxury of waking up at 8 to get to work by 9 am – I’ve already taught 2 classloads of little jerkoffs by the time you’re pulling into the parking lot at work.  I don’t have the luxury of getting home by 6 and getting to watch Dancing With the Idiots – I get to come home and DO MORE WORK.  Usually this work includes reading at least 45 kids answer the question:  “What landform creates the boundary of Illinois & Iowa ?”  – with the answer “Pacific Ocean” over & over again while hating myself intensely because obviously it must be my fault.

“Man you teachers have it made.  I wish I got a $100,000 a year pension!”  (Hey jerkwad – so do I.  Unfortunately you keep taking my pension benefits away so I’ll be lucky if I get $30,000 a year after you finally let me retire when I’m like 72.  I don’t get any Social Security either – so while you’re raking that in – I’ll be working at Walmart during my so-called retirement to supplement my crappy pension that keeps getting smaller every year due to lame media coverage & poor politicians who can’t balance their checkbooks)

But anyway – teachers are one of the most ridiculous groups of people out there.  Not only because you have to be totally insane & partially mentally handicapped to deal with not only other people’s children (the good, the bad, & the ridiculous), but their parents (the insane, the entitled, and the paranoid).  While simultaneously dealing with your administration (the detached, the underqualified, and the partially-psychotic).  If you have your own family to deal with on top of that – well by this point in the school year you’re ready to check into the funny farm.

I embrace my insanity.  I laugh about it!  Which is the purpose of this little blog.  To laugh about my exploits in education – because you HAVE to laugh about it – or else you’ll cry!

Student quote of the day:  “Miss ______, can I get demerits for wishing the school burned down”

Reply:  “Of course not.  You’re allowed to think whatever you want to.  Its a free country.  Just don’t talk about it outloud.”

Reply:  “Is that why you have to hold your opinions in until you’re in the teacher’s lounge?”

Reply:  “Exactly.”

 

So what has my first day of Spring Break consisted of?  Getting up at the insanely LATE hour of 8:30 AM.  Then I ran 5 miles, did yoga, took a shower and ate lunch – while watching soap operas.  I now plan on taking a nap and reading for PLEASURE.  Hell yeah Spring Break rules!!!!!!