. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: January 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Now I’m Pissed

There is a primary teacher at my school who has a very challenging student.

We'll call him Floyd.

Floyd torments other students before class, during class, at recess and lunch, and after school. He's just a pill, as my mother would say.

His teacher always shares stories about what Floyd has done each day and she shared one with me yesterday.

Except… I'm not going to tell you that story.

I'm going to tell you what happened as a result.

You see, Floyd was up to his usual high-jinx yesterday and a gaggle of kids came up to the teacher to complain about how they'd been wronged in some fashion or another by him at lunch. Instead of hearing each case on the docket individually, she gave each student in her class a piece of paper and instructed them to explain the problems they had in a letter to her.

Most of the letters were filled with stories of ketchup packets and nasty language being thrown about by Floyd.

Until Robby's letter, that is.

It went a little something like this:

Dear Teacher,

My lunch went fine. I ate everything on my tray and cleaned up when I was done. I know that you are looking for people who had problems with Floyd but I did not have any problems with Floyd. The only problem I had was when I went to the bathroom I accidently peed on my pants.



Saturday, January 24, 2009

“What the…?”

So there's a new trend in my classroom lately. The frequent use of:

"What the…?"

No, they don't finish it. They simply say, "What the…?" whenever something is unclear or shocking to them, leaving me wondering how they might have finished that sentence if I weren't standing in front of them.

"What the…helicopter?"

"What the…fudge brownie?"

"What the…heck can I do to make Ms. Lee's life run more smoothly because she's the light of my life and the greatest teacher OF the world?"

Somehow, I think not.

But the use of "What the…?" has permeated my class, despite my constant reminder that NOT finishing that sentence is tantamount to ACTUALLY finishing that sentence in my book. Despite consequences, conversations, recriminations, and public stoning of repeat offenders (ok, not really), they continue to try to sneak it in as often as possible.

Can't figure out a long division problem? Look confused and say

"What the…?"

Lost the note the supervisor gave you for me? Pat around on your jeans' pockets and say

"What the…?"

Get your butt kicked at tetherball? Shake your fists at the heavens and yell

"What the…?"

Fail your vocabulary test…again? Throw on your mask of disbelief and whisper

"What the…?"

See you mom waiting for you after school…

in her pajamas…

and wearing heels?

Shake your head and mumble

"What the…?"

(Ok, I'll give 'em that one.)

Little do they know, we teachers would never STOP saying "What the…?" if it were allowed. They scenarios that we face daily with these kids and their wacky families topped off by our cracked out administrations could potentially leave time for little else but "What the…?" responses.

Parent complains that the kids line up in alphabetical order and their child is always last so he never gets to walk by you (even though you walk at the end of the line)? Scrunch up your eyebrows and think

"What the…?"

Seven hundred eighty-sixth child raises their hand on a Monday morning to share a "One time, when I was blah blah blah" story? Shrug and think

"What the…?"

Principal sees you in the office and says, "Edna! Come on in! I have a favor to ask." Frantically develop your next excuse to stay off of a committee and think

"What the…?"

See! We all have "What the…?" moments, but if teachers don't get to say it, neither do the kids.

What the ___ do you think of that?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Take This Doughnut and Shove It


Every month, a different grade level team brings treats in for the staff.

This month was my team's turn.

Our social committee even assigns a specific day for you to bring them, but the general rule is to bring them sometime during that week.

My team was told on Monday (first day back from vacation) that Tuesday was our treat day.

We shot for Friday.

One teacher picked up doughnuts, another brought muffins, and I was responsible for juice and coffee.

When I arrived at school this morning lugging an assortment of juices and 2 Starbucks' Travelers, there were five big boxes of freshly baked doughnuts and muffins laid out across the table in the lounge. Napkins had been decoratively placed in swirls and the room smelled like sweet heaven (for a change).

Oh, and one primary teacher was bitching to another about how stupid it was for us to put these doughnuts out in the morning.

And I quote:

"This is stupid of them. Who wants a doughnut right now? We've all just eaten breakfast at home. They should put them out later."

When would she suggest, at dinnertime maybe?

Exactly when IS "later" when you're a teacher? Recess? That's a great plan. Our recess is last, so more than half the staff would miss out during their earlier recess.

Or maybe we should we leave our classes to fend for themselves possibly a bit closer to noon so we might offer up these doughnuts to teachers at a time more suitable for their digestive systems?

Or maybe we should just be on-call all day for individual classroom doughnut deliveries once each teacher begins to feel a bit snacky?

Or MAYBE you can just take a doughnut NOW and stick it in your friggin'…




for later.


Like water off a duck's back, I let it go and began laying out the coffee, creamers, cups, etc. As I'm doing so, another teacher wanders in says:

"Oh goodie! Doughnuts! I'm glad they could figure out how to bring something good…

since they couldn't figure out how to bring them on the right day!"




I slammed down the coffee and said through gritted teeth:

"If one more, just ONE MORE, person makes ONE MORE comment about these doughnuts I am going to pile them up in the parking lot and back over them


Oddly enough, not one person made a single comment to me about the doughnuts for the rest of the day.

Oh, and the doughnuts were all gone by my recess so I didn't even get one.

Just as I suspected, teachers aren't going to let a little thing like breakfast get in the way when it comes to consuming doughnuts.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

So many of you have written asking where I have been. It's nice to be missed.

Where have I been?

Right here, just without much to say. Most of my material comes from my students and I have not been around them in quite a while.


I had a great student teacher who took over for several weeks, leaving me to plug away on my laptop in the teachers' lounge (where I completely shattered the bond between another teacher and her own daughter by proving to her that her practically perfect teenager did indeed have a Facebook page DESPITE her mother's admonition that she NEVER get one. OMG! She's normal!)

Then we went on Winter Break. School starts up again on Monday, so I should be ripe with material by 2:20 that afternoon!

On a happy note, annoying and forever ailing Travis moved over Christmas vacation!! His mother was The Screamer who got my year off to a rip-roaring start because of my "stupid, friggin' homework policy." They bought their first house in a town many, many miles away from our school. So many miles away that there is little chance he or his equally obsessive twin will drop by for a visit.

It was the single greatest Christmas present a student every unknowingly gave me.

On their last day, their mother made a big deal about complimenting both me and the teacher of the twin on our exceptional teaching skills. She raved about how accommodating we are and how our caring hearts made a huge difference in the lives of her sons. She wished that we could just move right along with them and continue teaching her kids. She topped it all off with a great big hug for both of us.

Is anyone else ready to puke, or is it just me?

In typical Travis fashion, he spent every moment at school talking about how he would be moving soon, how many schools he'd been to (that would be 3, in case you were wondering), how he would have to make new friends all over again (which is weird because he moved back to the neighborhood he came from and would be attending the school we went to last year), and forever reminding us of the countdown to his last day.

A few weeks before his departure, I was teaching about ecosystems. I posed an open-ended question to the kids and asked them to take 30 seconds to discuss it with the kid sitting next to them. Sitting right in front of me, Travis turns to his partner and says, "So…are you going to miss me when I'm gone?"

That was not the open-ended question I had posed.

In the nanoseconds before I could lean over and ask him to get back on topic his partner says, "Not really."

Ahhh, natural selection in action!

On a very sad note, my sweet, sweet seeing-double student who wore his brother's glasses to school has also moved. Right after we arranged for him to get free glasses, his parents' home was foreclosed on and they had to move. Every teacher on my fourth grade team will miss his infectious smile terribly.

Unfortunately, he is not the only student who left due to foreclosure. I also lost a little girl to the economy on the same day. She was a sweetie too.

It looks as if the economy is catching up to my little school's neighborhood in a bad way. I'm curious to see who I still have left in my class on Monday.

Well, thanks again for all your messages, both in comment form and via email.

I promise to be more diligent!