Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You know you're in trouble when. . .

Hmm which should I do first? Report on my recent books or describe today. Oy.

Books first. . .23 and 24. . .

23- Not bad. From Our House to Bauhaus by Tom Wolfe. I'm posting the links to reviews I've done to give more information about the book should my reader be interested in learning more.

This book is witty and sarcastic and quite fun. It's short and is a quick read. I've read Tom Wolfe before. I loved The Right Stuff when I read it so many years ago.

I never knew that architects could be so catty. Meowwrrr.

24 was an absolute whinefest. I just wanted to thrust bamboo shoots under my fingernails. Quarterlife Crisis by Alexandra Robbins is well written. I cannot fault her writing or objectivity. I was just almost sick enough to puke to hear these children complain about how hard their lives are. I'm so sorry that Samantha got her Harvard MBA and can't get the job of her dreams in five minutes in London. Holy crap, get over it.

My attitude is perhaps colored by middle age. I'm thinking that if someone smacked them around for a while and made them live on spaghettio's from a can for a year that they might gain an appreciation for their blessings.


Yesterday, I'll start with yesterday. We drove to Ft. Worth after school because Rachael was in a play. She graduates in 12 days (YAY). She tried out for what I guess is some kind of senior showcase. The senior directing students put on short plays and she was cast. It was bizarre because after her play the folks sitting around us were asking each other who the girl in the black shirt was. I heard them work out that it was Rachael and they seemed perturbed because they didn't know her. (She was wonderful). Then I find out that she was the only non-theater person cast. All the theater kids know each other and here is this talented unknown person showing up in the senior showcase. One kid recognized her from the news show and said, "she's that TV girl." One girl said, "Oh, that's Rachael, I looked her up." One guy said, "Oh yeah, she's Steve's girlfriend, you know that comedy guy."

Today, well today was another matter altogether.

TAKS testing started. Well, that's misleading, one of the tests was a while back, but this is TAKS week. Can I tell you it is like death. Death would be more interesting.

I'm serious, the highlight of my day was peeling paint off of a wall. You think I'm kidding, I'm NOT. I got one piece that was about the size of an orange and I was impressed. At one point I could see that near the door frame there were chips that exposed the original wall surface. I find myself wondering if there are layers of lead paint to be found there and IF they might be tasty.

Because of rampant cheating on this test statewide we have stringent monitoring activities. I know that not all schools are so vigilant, but ours certainly is. Two monitors must watch the children take tests. They must walk about and circulate and watch the children take tests. They may not read, grade papers or work on the computer. I'm bad, I took my sketchbook and I doodle. Today was the math test. It's so hard to maintain a testing environment when you have 30 kids and some of them finish in an hour. Some of them don't finish by the end of the day and you have to make the ones that finish be quiet. This is challenging with sophomores. They can be so silly.

You can tell them to be quiet and they don't remember for more than about two seconds.

The paint chips got really interesting because we were the last to get to eat. I had to march my little ducks to the cafeteria. They did not apparently get the part where we said "we will travel in single file" because they all bunched up in the hallway and ignored us. I stopped in the middle of the hallway and told the oncoming kids that I would wait until they had lined up as directed. I got some attitude but they were starving at this point and did what I said. I didn't randomly do this, I'm following instructions so that traffic in and out of the cafeteria proceeds smoothly.

I had to chase a kid down who ditched on lunch and thought he was going to get to go get "crunk" in the courtyard for a space of time. I don't personally know the kid, but I know his name as he's always on the list for in school suspension. I did also notice that he drools when he falls asleep and that his testing booklet got pretty soggy. It was really soggy.

Buzzzy took me away from it all. We drove around the block to smoke and then went back to her room and she had a wonderful chicken salad with vinaigrette. She had some strawberries also that were nice ones. I totally chowed on her food. (she brought an extra fork for me) I mean I was scoping out the paint chips so real food was very appealing. This was yum.

I must say that for the most part that I had a nice bunch of kids. One of them is my student. He's lovely and so sweet and HE certainly was not a problem. There is always at least one "character" in the bunch and I got him back this time. I know his mother though, so the threat of "I'll just get your momma on the phone has some small amount of weight." She's a force of nature. He's a force of chaos.

One of my students is going to get arrested as soon as testing is over. He's made some unfortunate choices that involve photography and theft. If you're going to steal someone's cell phone, you shouldn't take explicit photos of yourself with it....just in case it gets recovered. Also, if you are going to carry a digital camera around it should not include VERY explicit photos of one's self in acts that are illegal in some states at all, and certainly for minors. I didn't see the photos (THANK BUDDHA, KRISHNA, JESUS and MOHAMMED). I would have wanted to burn my eyes out of my head.

I was freaking brain dead by the time I got home. The good part was that I got to talk to Gin for almost an hour. I miss her so much. Over the pond is so far to send a piece of one's heart. I'm very happy for her and I love her hubby. She's in a good situation and I'm grateful. I just wish I could push the button on my transporter and beam over. . .

Book 25 is in progress and it's FABULOUS!!!!!!!!