. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: April 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

169th Carnival of Education

It's back! The 169th Carnival of Education is underway. The Science Goddess has the road trip on the big yellow bus under control over on What It's Like On the Inside. Maybe I'm just emotional this week, but I was so moved by Mamacita's story on Scheiss Weekly about her encounter with a former student and his memories of her class. Let's just say, it wasn't the test prep he remembered, and ain't that the way is should be! With all the required test prep we do, I wonder if my students will have any fond memories of my class once they've grown up...

Oh, and I am on the road trip too! The story about my run-in with a flying hot dog (and, for the record, it was NOT "just a grasshopper") at an assembly is being shared at the back of the bus.

Check out the Carnival and read some great blogs!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Thanks A Lot, Mister Teacher

Well, it looks like I’ve been tagged for a meme by Mister Teacher. I truly enjoy his blog and have every intention of purchasing and devouring his novel Learn Me Good while I am on vacation (starting at 2:22 tomorrow!!!!!!). According to people in the know, it is “groundbreaking” and “will invigorate even the most atrophied smiling muscles.” My smiling muscles could use a workout right now!

First things first:

The Rules

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

Ten years ago I was teaching. I have been at the same school for my entire career, but 10 years ago I was teaching third grade. Unlike today, I did not have my own classroom, so the 4 third grade teachers shared 3 classrooms, all which had been decorated by the 2 veteran teachers with whom I teamed. They were rife with Suzie’s Zoo bulletin board characters and charming little accents all over the place. Years later, when I finally got my own classroom, you’d think I’d be ecstatic at the opportunity to decorate it myself. Ummm, no. I was all ready to just use the same paper and borders left up by the previous teacher because I am NOT a details girl. My good friend, who teaches in another district, almost cried when she learned this fact though, and she came in and decorated my room. It’s adorable, but none of my doing…just like 10 years ago.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

Finish drinking this divine almond champagne in my glass.

Refill the glass with more almond champagne and drink that too.

Eat dinner which, in retrospect, probably should have occurred before I began drinking the almond champagne.

Clean the cat box and parrot cage without spilling crap and seeds all over the place because I am doing it after drinking a bottle of almond champagne. (Let’s face it; I’ll probably never get to dinner.)

Go to sleep, hopefully in my bed and not on the kitchen floor cradling an empty champagne bottle.

3. Snacks I enjoy:

Almond champagne, anything with peanut butter, anything with chocolate, anything with chocolate AND peanut butter, almond champagne

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Pay someone else to clean the cat box and parrot cage.

Quit my job (sorry super-devoted teachers) and travel the world.

Move to Santa Barbara, buy the house next door to Oprah, buy a few horses, adopt more than a few dogs, and exchange cookie recipes with the richest woman in America.

5. Three of my bad habits:

Interrupting people (In my defense, what I have to say is clearly more important and interesting.)

Cracking my knuckles

Drinking before I eat dinner

6. 5 places I have lived:

Buffalo, NY (Go Sabres…next season, that is.)

Tustin, CA

Another house in Tustin, CA

Lake Forest, CA

Another house in Lake Forest, CA

7. 5 jobs I have had:

Babysitter (I was 12) – I made pretty good money for a kid who had nowhere to spend it.

Hostess in a restaurant – Started when I was 15, and made many of the good friends I have today.

Busboy (busperson?) in a restaurant - Working my way up!

Waitress in a restaurant – At this point, I hated the food service industry. I was the grumpiest waitress in the history of waitresses, but customers thought it was just a shtick to make more money. Here’s an actual exchange between me and a customer (who wasn’t even my table.)

Rude Man: (grabbing my arm as I walk by) Fork!
Rude Waitress (aka me): Ummmm, SPOON!
Rude Man: I need a fork.
Rude Waitress: Oh! Based on the way you randomly shouted that at me, I thought we were playing a lively game of word association.
Rude Man: Well, I need a fork.
Rude Waitress: Well, there is a better way to ask for it than that!

And then I walked away and never did get him that fork. His wife thought I was so “cute” she came over and tipped me at the end of their meal. Dummy…

Restaurant Manager - Are you beginning to see how I spent my college years?

8. 5 People I want to know more about:

Samantha at RawDrip.com. And NOOOO, it’s not a porn site. I’ll be honest, there is not much more I need to learn about her. She is my oldest and dearest friend and has one of the most honest and insightful blogs about parenthood, children, marriage, and life. She is not a teacher, but I have ALWAYS felt education has missed out due to her absence. Her move across the country several years ago has left a hole in my heart, but through her blog I can still experience her growing children and be a party to her astute observations about others. Now start allowing people to put comments on your blog Trin… I mean Samantha! Your readers want a voice!

Mimi – And not just because this is a meme and her name is Mimi. I’ve missed her for the past few weeks as she has been too “strung out” to keep us up-to-date on her goings on. Her take on the changing culture of teaching and interpersonal relationships at school are shared with wit and compassion. I get excited each time Google Reader tells me she has a new posting!

My Bellringers – Although she teaches high school, I relate to her so much! She has a refreshingly happy outlook on teaching, without being unrealistic. She is one of the reasons I enjoy reading teacher blogs so much. We can mock ourselves, our students, and our faculty and still be quality educators. I am also very impressed that, as of this posting, she has not called anyone a big fat stupid head in 55 days, 18 hours, 49 minutes, and 18 seconds…make that 19 seconds…now 20 seconds. You get the picture.

Wamblings – A music teacher with a funny bone! She offers hysterical anecdotes about life and family that are not to be missed. She is also great with inspirational and observational comments on other people’s blogs and I thoroughly enjoy our “comment conversations.” I count myself lucky to find her thoughts on my blog.

Haha – You’re Reading This – Sadly, I have no idea what her name is, I have loved reading about her class. Her blog seems to be relatively new, but has great stories there. She has that witty and observational humor that we all love. I hope she continues writing and finds a big audience. She is a joy to read.

Well, I’m done…both with this meme and my champagne. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed drinking it.

I mean… I hope you read as much as I drank.

I mean... Screw it… See ya next posting.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Joe C. - Day 18

I hope you all enjoyed my Day 17 update on the Cussing Bandit, but Day 18 gets even better.

On Friday, Day 18 of his hopefully short enrollment in my classroom, Joe C. was reported to have a pocketknife in his backpack that he had been brandishing at other students all week.

My first thought, of course, was not surprise. It was, "Why are you just telling me this NOW!?!?! He's been doing this for 4 days already!?!?! Someone could have been seriously hurt!"

I called Joe to my desk and asked him about the knife. He admitted to bringing it on Monday, but swore he had left it at home since then. He sure broke a sweat though when I told him he needed to empty his backpack in front of me.

Shocker of shockers, I found it in the only pocket he neglected to unzip. It was one heck of a pocket knife with about a 5 inch locking blade. He had been carrying it up his sleeve during recess and lunch every day last week. When I asked him if he understood the consequences for bringing a knife to school he said, "I could be suspended or expelled."

His expulsion is pending school board approval, but it is doubtful it will be approved. He's diagnosed ADHD, and a case could be made that he cannot recognize long-term consequences.

According to his answer to me, he sure does...

Friday, April 25, 2008

How's Joe C. Doing?

Thanks for asking! I suspected many of you were losing sleep wondering how The Cussing Bandit was doing in my class. Here's an update.

It turns out, he's a lot like the other Joe C. my students feared he might be. The new and improved Joe C. is definetely new, but the only improvements seem to be in destructiveness.

To date, Joe has:

- Started a food fight at lunch that resulted in the entire class losing recess (VP's orders.)

- Punched a student in the stomach.

- Gotten up and walked out of class without permission no fewer than 5 times.

- Fled from line when we were walking from one place to another 3 times.

- Bitten a boy on the arm hard enough to draw blood.

- Pinched a girl on the back, leaving a deep purple bruise.

- Bullied others in the bathroom so often that he has been banned from using the boys' restroom and must be accompanied to the nurse's office each time he needs to relieve himself.

- Stolen another student's lunch.

- Went through another student's desk and removed personal items, wrote his name on them with a Sharpie, and then danced around in front of the actual owner of said items chanting "Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers."

- True to his nickname, cussed at the lunch lady.

- Not returned one single piece of homework.

- Forged his mother's signature...twice. (I can offer him some advice on this one.)

- Lost library privileges because he creatively "edited" the artwork in his library books.

- And had his mother called into the office twice, his aunt once, and the police once.

He's been in my class for 17 school days.

I was right. This has been fun!

(One and a half days until vacation. One and a half days until vacation, One and a half days...)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

True Colors, Revealed




Disaster preparedness...ummm, riiiight. No drill prepared me for THIS disaster.

Allow me to set the stage, and you can judge for yourself.

Our school holds monthly awards assemblies. This late in the game, the pool of award recipients generally consists of all students who didn't qualify for any other awards all year and who's teachers have now constructed fictitious achievements for which to honor them.

Vice Principal: And the next award goes to Paul G. for "Running Really Fast." Great job, Paul!

We don't have a multi-purpose room or cafeteria, so our assemblies are held outside. My class sits in the cool shade of a majestic tree, but I still could bring them back into the room in a bucket after sweating through most assemblies. While our tree offers much needed refuge from the California sun, it also assaults us with leaves and green squiggly things that get stuck in our hair and often lead to much distraction.

Evidently, it assaults us with other things as well.

About thirty minutes into today's assembly, I saw two of my girls squealing and flailing their arms about. Innocent leaves were floating down upon them. Puh-leez! I shot them an angry look and made the universal sign for "shush or else." Within moments, three more kids erupted into screaming, arm flapping craziness. Students began curling themselves up into little balls, protecting their heads with their arms, and screeching.

Seriously, isn't this a bit much over a few leaves?


I only wish it had been leaves.

Just as I lean over the group to start busting some butts for disrupting the assembly, a bird-like creature flies from one student's arm to another student's hair. I noted that its wings flapped really fast for a bird. No biggie. I'm sure it's just a bird.

Then more students dive from their seats, screaming. That's an odd reaction to a little bird. Birds are so cute.

Ignoring signs to the contrary, I lean down to get a better look at the little guy and possibly try to catch him. He must be so scared! I must save him from these wild brutes. After all, I own a parrot and I love all animals.

The "little guy" LEAPS towards my face and I get wayyy too close a look at it's buggy eyes, spindly legs, furiously flapping wings, and antennas.


This "little guy" resembles a giant, green, winged hot dog which, in retrospect, would have been a lot better for me because once I realize it's a locust the size of my thigh I darn near soil myself. There was nothing but a blur left in my wake as I got the hell outta there, screaming and flailing my arms the whole way. I love animals, but bugs are not animals.

Pestilence! Are you freakin' kidding me!?!?!

From a safe distance of about 50 feet away, I watch as a generally timid fifth grader calmly walks to an open grass field with the flying hot dog on his pant leg and gently brushes it away. "No big deal," he says.

No Big Deal!

Meanwhile, I've determined that if there's one flying hot dog, there must be others. I've seen horror movies. Those suckers travel in packs. I didn't return to the group until the assembly was over.

The bottom line though: A mere child handled this waaayyyy better than me.






But I can live with that.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Most Popular

Like most staffs, we have our share of oddballs. There is one person in particular on our staff that grates on the nerves of everyone. She is caustic, overbearing, insensitive, and has inexcusable table manners. Her gruff personality makes conversing with her uncomfortable, and that's on a good day. She is also a bit of a storyteller.

Recently, she mentioned that she was one of the most popular people in her high school class. Based on how she behaves now, we found this to border juuuuust a bit on the ridiculous.

Since she wasn't in the lounge today, we did what any thoughtless and catty group of people would do. We talked about her behind her back. (No judging. You know you've done it too…) It was concluded there was only one way she could have been so popular.


Being in a school of one, she could potentially be:

  • Class President (and win in a landslide!)
  • Class Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer
  • Valedictorian
  • Salutatorian
  • Speaker at her graduation
  • Head Cheerleader
  • Back-up Cheerleader
  • Girl rejected from cheerleading team, sadly cheering JV
  • Captain of the football, baseball, basketball, badminton, tennis, ping pong, and soccer teams (A multi-sport athlete!)
  • Have the highest GPA in the history of the school
  • Drill Team Captain (And Tall Flags too!)
  • Play first chair clarinet, tuba, kettle drum, and kazoo
  • Homecoming Queen
  • And King
  • Guaranteed a date to the Sadie Hawkins Dance
  • Head of the Prom Committee
  • Prom Queen
  • And King
  • And the entire Prom Court
  • Chair the yearbook committee
  • Editor of the school newspaper
  • Fastest runner on the track team
  • Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Best Smile, Friendliest, and Most Talented
  • The class clown
  • The class nerd
  • The class jock
  • The class outcast
  • School bully
  • Victim of school bully
  • Record holder in any area a school keeps records
  • Teacher's Pet
  • Lunch Assistant
  • Hall Monitor

AND still be Most Popular!

She certainly does not mind talking about herself, and it's no wonder! (Evidently, we don't mind talking about her either…)

Man, I wish I could have been homeschooled.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Watch Out! She’s Gonna Blow!

Warning: If you're not too interested in hearing me feel sorry for myself, please feel free to forgo this posting. I won't hold it against you. I promise.

I like to focus on the funny here at The Bits. I like to laugh at the silly things and revel in the lighter side of this job I have chosen; but not today.

Today, I am frustrated.

This year has been rife with parent challenges. I started the school year with a third/fourth combination class. Of the 7 parents that showed up at back to school night, 5 came to complain about their child's placement in a combo.

Three months later, the principal dissolved my combo due to increased enrollment. My fourteen third graders went to a new class and I received 14 fourth graders from other teachers. Despite the fact that parents had to agree to have their children moved to my room and could have denied their consent, many remained bitter about the change. None of the parents of my new students came to meet me. I heard from many of them though. Anything that I did differently from their child's previous teacher was deemed unacceptable. I understood how difficult the transition was for both children and parents, so I made every effort to be accommodating and understanding of their needs.

My weekly progress reports have been a source of great trouble this year. Every week I send home a progress report, called a mailbag, which contains all the graded work for the week and a message telling about something wonderful their child did that week. I also let them know if their child had any problems. I guess that's where I went wrong…

Every week I receive an angry message from at least one parent.

I want to know WHY you moved MY child's seat for talking too much. Shouldn't all the students' seats be moved if there is too much talking?

Why must the students line up in alphabetical order? My child is always in the same spot in line and I don't think that's fair.

I don't understand why Billy was in detention. I read the school rules and it doesn't SAY that throwing wet paper towels on the ceiling in the restroom is against the rules. Besides, he was only doing it because Timmy told him to.

I have done these progress reports for eleven years. They are time-consuming, but worth it if I am to maintain an open communication with parents and give my kids some much needed positive feedback. I also understand if parents have questions and concerns about my messages, but this year has been unique. I want an open dialogue, but it feels more like target practice.

I have a feeling this week's mailbag might be my last.

I suppose my greatest source of frustration lies with my parents' inclination to jump on me for every story their child tells them, no matter how unlikely the story may seem. I truly understand a parent's desire to protect their children and believe they should act as their child's strongest advocate.

But do they really think I would:

-tell a sick child to "just sit down and quit whining. I'll have the rest of the class take it easy on you if you're really sick."

- deny restroom breaks, "no matter what"?

- encourage children to bully others?

- withhold lunch from a student as punishment for incomplete homework?

- tempt child to destroy school property?

Those are just a few. Each followed on the heels of a poor progress report grade. Each a result of fabricated stories told by scared children in an effort to avoid getting in trouble at home.

Each making my college job as a waitress look more attractive every day.

My latest hurdle results from a food fight eight of my students had last week at lunch. Because I was not there, I had each student in my class write me a note explaining what they saw happen. Eight students were named in the notes, and all eight were given the opportunity to explain their side of the story. Because kids are terrible liars, each eventually had to admit their participation and was given consequences. To my shock, this group even included Linda; the quietest, shyest girl in my class.

Linda's custodial aunt did not believe that her child would do this. Why did she not believe it? Because Linda told her she did not. Never mind that Linda had written in her own words that she had thrown food. The next day, I explained this to her aunt, but she still did not believe it. When Linda told her aunt she did indeed do it, her aunt still wanted to stick to her guns and refuses to accept that her child should have consequences.

I do get it. Food WAS thrown at her first, and that would tick me off if I was Linda. (And the bullies did receive harsher consequences because of that.) She NEVER gets in trouble so this IS shocking. She IS a sweet girl who never has harmed a fly. I am heartsick that I have to give her detention, but we have avenues for kids who are being bullied and she did not choose one. She chose to throw food, and there is a consequence for that. Parents of the other students who threw food would be furious to find that I had given consequences to some and not others.

But instead, I am again the bad guy.

I have not had one parent volunteer in my room. No parents have attended any of our field trips. Few showed up for parent conferences. I have never had a year like this and I am beginning to worry it might be me. We got off to a rocky start, but despite my efforts it has never smoothed out.

Where have I gone wrong?

I'm tired. I feel a lot better though! Thanks for listening. I promise not to make this a regular bitch session. I am happy to report that I only 2 more weeks until I have a month off!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is

Our school is having a talent show in June! Students have been submitting their applications to show off their singing, dancing, acting, and whatever else skills and the school is abuzz with excitement. I have been encouraging all my kids to try out for the show. Several of my girls are planning on doing a dance together, and I am so proud of them.

After school today, one of my girls asked the question I've been dreading.

Cassie: What are you going to do for the talent show, Ms. Lee?

Me: Me? Oh, I'm not going to be in it.

Cassie: What?!?! Why not?

Me: Because I don't have a talent to show off. I'm talentless.

Cassie: Talentless. I know you said that because we just studied the suffix –less today. Really, what are you going to do?

Me: Nothing. I would be worthless on stage.

Cassie: (eye roll) I get it Ms. Lee. Worthless – without worth. Now please answer my question.

Me: I am answering your question. I have no talents; therefore I have no business being in a talent show.

Cassie: But you told us EVERYONE has talent.

Me: I meant everyone but me.

Cassie: Sure you do! You can teach!

Me: Are you suggesting I get up on stage and teach a lesson?

Cassie: Well, it IS a talent.

The truth of the matter is, the thought of being on a stage in front of people terrifies me and this kid saw right through me.

Cassie: Is it that you're scared, Ms. Lee?

Me: ME! Scared? Of what?

Cassie: Of being on stage.

Me: Of course not! Are you crazy? I'm fearless! (Eye roll from Cassie) Well…actually, I suppose I might be a bit scared.

Cassie: But you talk in front of us all day long and that doesn't scare you.

Me: You guys are a captive audience and still think I walk on water. I don't have much to fear with you guys.

Cassie: We figured out you don't walk on water when you misspelled your own name on the board.

Me: I did that on purpose. I just wanted to see if you guys would catch it… (Damn)

Cassie: You told us that giving the talent show a try would be a lot of fun AND it would be a great way to build self-esteem.

Me: Trust me. I have plenty of self-esteem. I'm a teacher. Teachers feel we have so much knowledge that we must give it away to others. I'm doing fine in the self-esteem department.

Cassie: But you told us that by challenging ourselves to try something new and scary, like the talent show, would help us become better adults.

Me: I've already become an adult. It's too late for me.

Cassie: But you told us that everyone can make positive changes in their lives. EVERYONE!

Me: (What is WITH this kid?!?! Is she half parrot?) Yes, I suppose I did say that. (Now what do I do?!?!) Oh look! There's your mom! (Thank goodness!) See you tomorrow!

And now here I am. A teacher lacking in any talents, other than teaching evidently, who has just been called out by a nine year old.

I suppose she's right. I do have one talent.

Sarcasm – As a former principal once described it: The lowest form of humor.

Now how do I work that into a talent show act?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Magnetic Personality

Joe Cruz has arrived, and he's a cute little guy! On his first day in my class, he tried very hard to fit in. He's made friends and smiles all the time. He struggles academically, but we can work with that. He also struggles behaviorally, and we can work with that. He has yet to struggle "cussingly," and if he does, we will work with that.

Sadly, I have a nasty little cold and had to be absent yesterday, his second day in our class. I felt guilty, but I must prioritize my health sometimes.

More importantly, I must prioritize my social life. I have Bon Jovi tickets for this weekend and CAN NOT miss the opportunity to, yet again, don my 1986 Slippery When Wet tour tee shirt!

Mock all you want. I've gotta let it rock and never say goodbye to my favorite band from high school. I'm looking forward to getting wild in the streets, but hope I don't catch some sort of social disease. I've been livin' on a prayer since my dear friend said she would like to take me with her to this concert. Without love for this band, I would never be able to scream, "I'd die for you, Jon" at the concert. I wanted to go to this concert, dead or alive.

(If you are not a Bon Jovi fan, I realize that last paragraph made no sense to you and you now think I am some sort of obsessed groupie. Trust me, I'm not. Just go with it.)

Now, back to my class.

As I mentioned, I've been sick. If the tedium of writing sub plans were not enough to keep my hacking body from staying home, I've got bigger problems. I have bad luck when it comes to substitute teachers in my class this year. It's not the substitutes that are the problem, it's the kids. Like every class, they test the limits when I am away. Only, it's not with your basic chattiness and stretching the boundaries of class rules.

My kids test the limits with destruction of school property and graffiti. Last time, they wrote nasty words and scribbled all over the walls in the coat closet. The offending students thought that doing it in pencil was not actual graffiti because it could be erased.

Lesson learned there: Even erasable graffiti earns you a visit from the local police department and a suspension.

When I returned today, I was happy to learn there was no graffiti this time, phheeeeww.

Nope, this time one of my girls took a magnet off my whiteboard and ran it all over one of the computer screens, distorting the image on the screen.

The note from the sub just said "a girl" did it and that she was told to come forward and confess upon my return. That was not necessary though. It took my class 0.000007 milliseconds to tell me who it was when I saw them in the morning.

Of course, she told me she "dropped the magnet" on the monitor, but couldn't explain how it fell in a circular path all around the screen.

Then she explained that she did run a magnet all over the screen but "did not know" what the result would be, but couldn't explain how everyone else knew not to put magnets on computers nor why they could cite no fewer than three times I had explained to our entire class how bad magnets are for computers.

Finally, she admitted that she knew what she was doing and knew it would have negative results. She fessed up…to me, that is. Of course she told her mother (when she picked her up for her suspension for destruction of school property) that she "did not know" that magnets were bad for computers.


As any good mother would do when she thought her child was being unfairly accused of a serious incident, she defended her child's actions because her child "did not know what would happen if she put a magnet on a computer screen." By the end of the conversation though, she began to realize that her child was more aware of the consequences of her actions than the kid originally let on.

So Mom blamed me.

She's probably right. How could I be irresponsible enough to use magnets on my whiteboard when there are computers in the room? Furthermore, how could I expect a 10 year old to resist the urge to knowingly destroy one of the monitors?

She's right. Maybe I should be the one suspended?

Don't tempt me…

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

This Should be Fun

I'm getting a new fourth grader tomorrow.

As I'm preparing a desk for him this afternoon, my students notice the name written on his little nametag: "Joe C."

Sally: Joe C!

Me: Yeees?

Sally: As in Joe Cruz?

Me: Yeees?

Class: (a collective groan)

Me: Why? Is there something I should know?

Nick: He was in our third grade class last year…

Me: And?

This is where my class begins to list off their many fond memories of Joe C.

Larry: "He stepped on my science project."

Sally: "He stole from the teacher."

Billy: "He sat next to me and pinched me all the time."

Frank: "He uses bad language."

Lisa: "He never gets his work done."

Victor: "He wrote on the bathroom walls."

Sally: "Not that I'm trying to (insert air quotes) label him, but he's not a nice person."

Needless to say, my first stop after dismissal was the office. I checked in with the resident expert on all things school-related, the secretary, to see if this kid was in fact Theee Joe C.

What a relief! It's a different Joe Cruz! What are the chances?


She tells me of his behavior in the office as his mother was enrolling him.

I guess the New Joe Cruz comes complete with his own set of foibles. One of them being he likes to cuss. Only, he likes to do so in Spanish.

As the secretary was helping his mother enroll him, he muttered something in Spanish that caused his older sister to gasp and his mother to slap her hand over his mouth to silence him. The secretary does not speak Spanish, but after they left she asked our Spanish-speaking office clerk what he said.

I can only assume Joe Cruz is none too happy to be enrolled in our fair school since he's started dropping the F-bomb about it already.

I feel so bad. We haven't even had a chance to earn that kind of hatred yet! At least give us a chance to earn it!

Either way, the Cussing Bandito is in for a surprise. I have news for him:

Hablo español y me placeré traducir para la directora cuando usted la visita.

By the way, California State testing starts next week.

This should be fun…