Saturday, July 23, 2011

Coming to a close

Well, summer school is almost over!  I really can't believe it.  And I'm excited, because it means I'll be transitioning to my actual school, but I'm sad too, because I love those kiddos.  They're so funny, so sweet, and I hope they all do well next year.  I'm going to miss those faces coming through the door every morning.

I'm going to miss all of them and their humor and personalities and even hearing, "What page?" 100 times a day.

I'm going to miss Xay, who told me never to use his "government name" that's printed on the roll, and who doesn't shut his mouth from the time he gets into the classroom until the time he leaves.  But then when you go to scold him, he's just so nice and charming about it that you find yourself somehow...not scolding him.  He has an uncanny ability to turn things around so that sometimes, you walk away wondering why you were at his desk to call him down in the first place.

I'm going to miss Fobi, who moved from Africa and has an awesome accent, and who'll tell you all about raising ducks and chickens for his family when he lived there, and how different things are here.  I'm going to miss Tobias, who's the macho athlete, but also a really sweet kid who'll stand up for Fobi when the other kids laugh at his different accent or his stories that weren't meant to be funny.  "You mess with Fobi, you mess with me."

I'll miss Mike, who wore a different camouflage shirt every day, honestly I think to be invisible.  Who started physically shaking the first time I asked him to share his writing in front of the class, but who played the lead in a class skit by the end of the term.

I'll miss Sabrina, who most people write off because she has two pending felonies and an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.  But turns out I knew her case - her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend was a habitual felon, eight years older than her, and whose file I had in front of me during my first year at the DA's office.  And in my opinion, Sabrina's just a young girl who got involved with the wrong guy, and I hope this doesn't ruin her life forever.  She's the one who helped Mike gain the confidence he needed to get in front of the class on that first day, and for every day after that.

I'll miss Cartavius and the "Aww man," he'd give me every time I said something he didn't like.  I'll miss Tyre and our talks about swimming and how that got him off the wrong path and onto the right one.  I'll miss Max and his skinny jeans and thoughtful answers.  I'll miss Karina's creativity that astounded me every time I read one of her papers, and her talent for story-writing and characterization.  I'll miss Kassi and the blue streak in her hair, and the pages and pages she wrote in her notebook even when I didn't ask her to.  I'll miss walking by Edgardo's desk and seeing his folders and papers, and sometimes even his arms, covered in intricate designs that he just couldn't stop drawing.  I'll miss Dalia's quiet intelligence and Rodrigo's shyness, that disappeared every time I sat him with Dalia.

We were sweltering in the lack of air conditioning on Monday mornings together, we were drowning in all the paperwork and assignments that an eight-hour-a-day English class produces together, and most of us were stuffy and sick and ill with each other by the last day.  We're all still wondering who's going to be successful on the final on Monday and who isn't.  I'm sure we're all crossing our fingers together.

I hope they learned at least a little something from our class, even if they'll never use quotation marks correctly, no matter how many comments on papers I write, or how much I jump up and down.  If they learned one thing about forgiveness, about potential, or about perseverance, I'm happy.  I think they're all going to do just fine on Monday.  I'm so proud of them!

And I'll stop being sappy now, but I have to say that you hear people talking about being in the place they need to be, and doing what they love, and being happy - but until you're there, you have no idea what that means.  I am so lucky to have been allowed to be part of this program, because I can't tell you anything else that has really ever made me feel so good.  To be honest, I can't believe they're actually going to pay me to do this in the fall.  Except I already caught a cold from school and it is literally 100 degrees outside - my immune system is seriously going to have to up its game if I am going to make it through the real cold season!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Sheriff's department needs to hurry up - some of us have school tomorrow

Why am I waiting on the law?  Well, here's the story.

Meet Izzy.

Yes, Peggy Sue is trying to clean his ears.  He's my neighbor's dog, and the first time he showed up in my yard, I almost panicked because he is HUGE.  And he has RULL BIG TEETH.  But then he started playing nice with Peg, and I was fine with Izzy.  Peggy loves friends, and that's cool with me.  I don't discriminate, man.  And Peg is all kinds of multicultural.

But then, our issues started.  Izzy came through our little doggy door on the screen porch.  And I mean the little doggy door that Peggy barely fits through.  I guess he figured if he tried hard enough, it'd work out.  Clearly, it did work out, since he ripped out the doggy door and the whole lower panel of the screen.  Even pulled some screws out!  I wish I had PB's reaction on video - except it probably wouldn't be interwebs (or anywhere)-appropriate.  

Still though, I said nothing.  Stuff happens, he's a big dog, whoopsies, whatever.  I don't like to be a bad neighbor and I don't like to be a whiner to folks about stuff like that.  Then on Friday, I was out on the porch watering plants, and Izzy shows up again.  As soon as he got in my yard, some little boys (two brothers, maybe around 10 and 8), walked their dogs down the street by my house.  And Izzy flipped.  

He ran out in the street and started attacking this little boy's dog, trying to rip his ear off.  I threw down my watering can, ran out into the middle of the street, and what ensued was most likely the biggest spectacle my little alley of a street has seen in a long time.  Probably it was hilarious if you weren't me and you weren't freaking out.  

This poor little boy was trying to pull his dog away from Izzy, I had ahold of Izzy and was trying to pick him up and pull him off the other dog (you can imagine how successful that was).  When that effort failed, I just started punching and kicking him as hard as I could.  I know y'all, that sounds awful, but I was so scared he was going to hurt this kid's dog worse, or even scarier, turn on the kids in the state that he was in.  Also, picture me screaming at the top of my lungs at the dog as I'm punching and kicking and flailing my arms.  It was fantastic!

Thankfully, all this screaming drew out the neighbors, and the kids' dad came down the street and started helping me basically kick Izzy's tail.  It took us about three attempts of getting him off the other dog and him re-latching before we got him off and I dragged him across my yard and down to his house.  

My neighbor is a little old lady whose 19 or 20 year old granddaughter (and Izzy's mom) lives with her.  The little lady happened to just be coming in from her car when I got there, so I panted that Izzy had just attacked another dog, could she please put him up, because I needed to go check on everyone else.  Oh, and meanwhile, the kids' dad thinks he's MY dog, so he's screaming at me that my EFFING DOG needs to be LOCKED UP while I'm running across the yard.  It was like redneck Jerry Springer out there, y'all.  

Finally, I get back and we get the situation straightened out with him, and at this point, all the neighbors are on porches, doing the old looky-loo.  Some sweet little old lady walks down the street and tells me she almost had a heart attack the first time Izzy showed up in her carport while she was sitting out there reading the paper.

It would appear at this point that I've become the point person for the let's-get-Izzy-under-control campaign.  I was going to assume the neighbors had handled their escapee problem, until he showed up on my porch AGAIN the very next morning. I brought him home, talked to his owner, told her what happened and what the neighbors were saying.  Her response?  "Well, I always let him out in the fence.  We just have holes in it so he always gets out."  Um, I'm sorry, if you know the fence is ineffective, why aren't you walking him on a leash?  I know it sucks, but so does him tearing up all my stuff and attacking kids' dogs.

Tonight was the last straw.  I let Peg out before bed, I hear awful yelping from the porch, and I go over to find Peggy at the back door, jumping and whining to get in.  She was fine, and there was no sign of Izzy except his howling out in my yard, and the fact that he peed on my nice outdoor lamp and my table, and ate all my cat's food.  Fantastic.

So if something happens to me, it's probably because my neighbor shot me, because I called the sheriff's department.  Now don't worry, I know none of this is Izzy's fault, I told them he isn't aggressive toward people and I just really want someone else to come talk to her, since what I'm saying clearly ain't working.  

But holy crap y'all, I called over an hour ago.  Some of us have 30 tenth graders to see bright and early.  Let's get our hineys out of the What-a-Burger and over to the alley por favor!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm here, I'm here!

It makes me sad not to blog - so I have been a sad puppy lately, due to the no blogging.

But I have been crazy busy, and there are days I don't even open the computer - my internet activity is limited to a quick swipe through facebook before bed or when I'm on the road.  So what have I been up to?  Well, here's what a typical day has been looking like for the past few weeks.

5:00 - Alarm goes off.  Groan several times.  Weenie dog yawns and blinks a lot.  Neither of us want to get up when it's dark outside.  We do it anyway.

6:00 - After zombiefacing my way through a shower (okay, lots of times, not a shower), a cup of coffee, something resembling breakfast, and throwing on some clothes, it's time to hit the road.

7:00 - Get to my school, which is near the South Carolina border.  I actually see the Carowinds roller coasters as I drive in. When I get to school, I curse at the copy machine, get the room ready in whatever seating arrangement we're using, and get the boards prepped for the day.

7:30 - Either a meeting in the cafeteria to discuss the always-up-in-the-air summer school schedule, or duty in the cafeteria/bus lot/hallway.

8:00 - Kiddos roll into my classroom!  Turns out that my ability to be awake is directly correlated to the number of hours I've been up, not the time of day it is.  By 8:30, I've been up for a good 3 1/2 hours, and I'm bright eyed and bushy tailed when the kids get there.  The kids, on the other hand, generally just growl at me.

8:00-1:30 - Teach, teach, teach.  Poetry, short stories, writing, research skills, you name it, we teach it, and fast.  The kids are only in summer session for about eight school days of instruction, plus two days of testing/makeup work/portfolio building, so we move fast.

1:30 - Head back uptown to another high school that's our training site.  I have learned to not like training very much.  I love our advisor, because she does try to keep it entertaining, she's the sweetest and most energetic person in the world despite being approximately 86 weeks pregnant, and it seems her hands are tied by the strict Teach Charlotte curriculum.  But the curriculum.  Oh, the curriculum.  It's read about it, talk about it in a group, talk about it as a class, write about it.  Repeat x 485840202.  Plus I miss the kiddos during that time.  And I get antsy.  It's not a good combo.

5:00 - Fight traffic back home.  Swear a lot at other drivers.  Talk on the phone with PB and try to determine where he is on the road so we can wave at each other as we pass (our only "face to face" contact through most of the week.)

5:00-10:00 - Lesson plan, turn in work we have to do for the Teach Charlotte curriculum, and have a deep, loving relationship with my tenth grade lit book.

10:00 - Fall into bed, pray that the time between the last few minutes of 19 Kids and Counting or Teen Mom I see as I fall asleep, and the time the iPhone blares at 5am stretches out.


I know, that sounded sort of whiny.  But I still LOVE love love it.  And I have to brag - all of my kids except one passed the class.  Not because we just let them, but because they deserved it! So many of them did so well on the final exam!

I've had a few interviews so far, including one yesterday and one today.  But what I've determined about teaching positions, at least in CMS, is that it's ubercompetitive to get one.  Every principal I've talked to has said that they're doing multiple days of interviews.  Today, I interviewed at a school that I would absolutely love to work at - the area is awesome, and the need is huge.  Over 90% of the kids receive free or reduced lunch, and there is a fairly large special education and English language learner population.  My teaching partner, as well as one of my good friends from the program interviewed before and after me though, and the principal said they'd be doing interviews all day tomorrow as well.  For one position!  Crazy!  Say a little prayer for me - but I'm trying to keep my faith high that something will work out, but my expectations low about specific positions.

And, because the wedding is creeping up super duper fast, I'm doing bridal portraits this Saturday!  I'm excited - but mainly to get them over with.  It's going to be super duper hot outside, and I'm going to be worried about getting my dress filthy while I'm trying to take pictures in a sunflower field.  I'm just ready to wear it on THE DAY.  I really can't wait to see how they turn out though, so I guess I am a wee bit excited.  Just about the results, not so much the process.

Okay, it's the precious hour before bedtime, which means I have to eek out every second of Important Television and Knitting Time (woohoo, watching The Little Couple have eggs extracted!)  Hope y'all have been lovely!  And I promise to catch up on blogs soon!