Screw you, ball joints.

Apparently, I need the ball joints on my car replaced.

No.

Let’s try that again.

Apparently, I need my ball joints replaced.

There. That sounds sufficiently dirty and weird, which is exactly what I was going for.

These “ball joints” they speak of are going to run me about $600.

Which is slap-my-ass fantastic because I already gave away $300 of my money on other car repairs and really, really wanted to make another donation to the struggling automotive business.

Sorry, charitable causes. The children will just have to starve this month because Annie has car parts that need replacing.

Screw you, savings account. Annie didn’t really need you anyway. It’s not like she has to survive the summer months with zero income.

No hard feelings, other bills. The late fees shouldn’t amount to much anyway.

My apologies, people I was planning on visiting this month. Looks like until those ball joints are fixed Annie will not be doing any freeway driving, lest her wheels give out on her and she goes careening into oncoming traffic. (Which, at this point, doesn’t sound like such a bad thing…)

Thanks, car people. That was just the pick-me-up I needed after I spent the day from hell with a bunch of hyperactive, misbehaving kindergarteners that I have to babysit again tomorrow. And when I say babysit, I mean babysit… because with all the hyperactivity and misbehaving, not much learning was happening anyway. So, really, thank you for that.

Oh, and Aunt Flo? Thank YOU for showing up unannounced and uninvited, so much so that I was completely unprepared for your visit and forced to run home at lunch time. You. Are. Awesome.

This day needs to be put out of its misery.

*sob*

Crabby Ms. Evans

For the first time in a very, very long time, I literally (in this context, we’re using the British pronunciation of the word…) feel like doing nothing.

And by nothing, I mean that staring at a wall in silence seems like it would be a little too much to undertake at this point in time.

I never feel like doing nothing. I always have to be doing something. And now?

Nope. Nothing. Not a single solitary thing do I feel like doing.

The 3rd graders I had today pushed every one of my buttons… and then a couple I didn’t even know existed.

They were belligerent, disrespectful, and waaaaaaaaay out of line.

They refused to listen, threw things when they didn’t get their way, mimicked and mocked any adult that dared to call them on their behavior, told bald-faced lies and then cried and threw complete temper tantrums when privileges were revoked.

I’m not the kind of teacher that typically yells, but by the end of the day, you bet your ass I was yelling. By that point, I was no longer taking the diplomatic approach of pulling the student aside and talking to them calmly about their behavior. Nope. When it got to the point of infraction after infraction after FREAKIN’ INFRACTION by the same students, I just used my noisy, angry, “you have GOT to be kidding me with this” teacher voice to tell them in no uncertain terms that they “Need to fix it NOW otherwise you can have a long chat with the principal”. I was flipping cards left and right. They were losing privileges left and right. By the time the buses came, I was like, “Go. Leave. I’m done.”

I HATE being that teacher. Especially when there were some kids who were REALLY on  top of it today. They were following directions. They were being respectful. They were doing what they were supposed to be doing. And yet, they were forced to sit through all my lectures and reprimands. And yes, I made sure the kids who were doing their jobs got extra privileges and kudos from me, but I just felt horrible that a half dozen kids could ruin the day for everyone involved.

*sigh*

So, if you don’t mind, I’m spending the rest of my evening stress-eating and staring off into space.

Kids these days…

The Daydreamer Award

the-daydreamer-award1

Okay, so apparently, I was nominated for another award, which I am thrilled by. Seriously. Plus, I like passing the love onto other bloggers, so let’s do this.

I was nominated by Lisa over at Real Mom of Long Island for the Daydreamer Award which is pretty fantastic because I am nothing if not a pretty decent daydreamer. (And by pretty decent I mean relatively decent… not pretty and decent… although, I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t true… Oh, calm down, peeps. I’m just kidding. I’m not really that full of myself… or AM I? Guess we’ll never know. There goes that whole “decent” idea. Amiright???).

I’m sorry… what were we talking about?

Oh, yessss… Daydreamer Award. Awesome. Fantastic. Incredible. AH-mazing. So, thank you, Lisa. You’re pretty dang AH-mazing yourself.

My challenge was to describe my absolute dream job. (What is meant by “absolute” dream job, by the way? Is it like the best of the best dream jobs? Do people normally have more than one dream job? I always thought a dream job was like… one thing. Maybe people have more than one. What do I know? Apparently, I am a one dream job kind of girl…)

ANYhoodles… Dream job. Yes. (Focus, Annie. Clearly you need to put the coffee mug down, woman.) It would literally be doing some type of charity work – helping, serving, raising awareness and funds for causes I hold near and dear to my heart. Helping people in war-torn, developing countries. Getting food, clean water, medical supplies, building shelters and schools for people that need it the most. Promoting educational causes, working with and inspiring kids, and speaking out against injustices. And then? Writing about it, speaking about it, and getting other people to care about it. Also? Doing a lot of traveling in the process. Honestly, nothing makes me feel more fulfilled than when I’m able to help someone else and bring a smile to their face. That is the most rewarding thing for me. Of course, in order to accomplish any of these things, I would need to be independently wealthy, so I better get cracking on that writing career. *sigh* Always another hoop to jump through, you know?

I propose the same challenge: Describe your dream job.

I am nominating:

Mama’s Musings

Rookie Notes

This is 30?

The Stay At Home Philosopher

Single Family Asylum

If you want to participate, feel free to jump in!

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Complete the challenge they set you.

3. Select a blog or blogs that you want to give the award to. (The amount of blogs you select is unlimited!)

4. Tell them about it and set them a challenge.

(Please include the rules in your post).

On your marks… Get set…

I’m sorry, what? I got distracted again…

The Lazy Ones

As a teacher, I like to think that I’m relatively well-able to handle most personality types in my classroom.

  • Drama Queens? Check
  • Class Clowns? Check
  • Great Debaters? Check
  • Curious Questioners? Check
  • Know-It-Alls? Check
  • Entitled Princesses? Check
  • Feet Draggers? Check
  • Time Wasters? Check
  • Social Butterflies? Check
  • Unhelpful Helpers? Check
  • Cry-Babies? Check
  • Hopeless Romantics? Check
  • Idealists? Check
  • Pessimists? Check
  • Competitive Jocks? Check
  • Wall Flowers? Check

Name a personality type, and chances are a teacher has dealt with that type at some point in their teaching career – often with varying degrees of success and failure. No matter the personality type, there are good and bad attributes about each, and therefore, there is always something to learn, something to gain and something to lose by working with each type. That’s the nature of the game. It’s our differences that make our experiences worthwhile.

And while I have learned a lot from working with each personality type, there is one type that I have learned nothing from; one type that has resulted in more frustration and hair-tearing out than any other; one type that I have had very little success with over the years.

That type?

The Lazy Ones.

The Lazy Ones are nearly impossible to motivate. No amount of coaxing, bribing, prodding, pleading, or threatening works. You can’t engage them enough, entertain them enough, or pique their interest enough. You can’t convince them, persuade them, or cajole them. They simply do not care, and they cannot be bothered to do the work.

In an effort to engage the student, the teacher will jump through all manner of hoops in the hopes that something will trigger an interest, a curiosity, or an innate gift, that will then catapult that student into “contributing member of the classroom” mode.

And it never works.

The teacher can use all form of pyrotechnics, dancing animals, explosives, musical theater, and celebrity endorsements and still… nothing. After all avenues of engagement have been exhausted, the teacher will receive, at most, an eye roll and a shrug, and the head returns to the desk, the body slumped over to resume it’s napping position.

Phone calls to parents, failing grades, after school talks about “potential” and “innate abilities” result in more nothingness, and the teacher stands there helplessly as another “lazy one” slips through the cracks despite exhausting every avenue available.

So, what’s a teacher to do? If the intrinsic motivation to learn something isn’t there, can any manner of extrinsic motivators do the trick? What do we do with the lazy ones? Can we save them from themselves? And how do we prevent ourselves from burning out in the process?

Gif Source: www.cinemagrapher.com

What’s the Plan, Stan? Or are you as woefully unprepared as I am?

Today I subbed in a 5th grade class. Not to be cheeky (OH MY GOODNESS… NEW WORD. I’m totally using that from now on. Seriously, how great is that word?), but they totally loved me. And when I say they “loved” me, I mean they LOOOOOOVED me. As in, “Ms. Evans! Why aren’t you going to be here tomorrow?! Why do we have a different sub tomorrow?! I hate that other sub! If you’re here today, why aren’t you here tomorrow?! UGH!” (Insert all manner of adolescent angst here.) It would actually have earned them points if they hadn’t been such turkeys the rest of the day.

No, to be honest, I had a blast with them. I haven’t been in an upper elementary classroom in nearly a year (all my subbing gigs have been K-3 for some odd reason…), and I honestly wasn’t sure if I would appreciate them as much as I had in the past. Turns out, the older kids are just as hysterical as I remember, and they totally appreciate my dorky sense of humor. Plus, they don’t need help getting their snowpants on. Score!

Aaaaaanyhoodles… (See? I told you Twitter followers I would use it…) this post isn’t actually about my excellent adventures with the 5th graders. While on my lunchbreak (which turned out to be 2 HOURS LONG… do you know how long 2 hours is when you don’t have decent reading material??? ER. MER. GERD.) I was plotting out this month’s schedule, budget and assorted plans. Turns out, I have a lot to do and not much money with which to do it. (Could it be because 3 SUBBING GIGS WERE CANCELLED AT THE LAST MINUTE WITH NO EXPLANATION?! Ugh… you’re killing me, peeps…) This concern made me begin to wonder… and worry… and work myself into a tizzy… over my plans.

Ah… yes. My “plans”. I sat and stared at my planner realizing that I had… none. No plans. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Once June hits, I am screwed over. No money from subbing. Diddly squat from alimony. Savings? Sure. But there’s a reason they’re called “savings”… stay with me, people. And so… as I am wont to do… I went into full-on “freak-out” mode.

What are you going to do? You need to find a summer job. Where are you going to find a summer job? Do you even want a summer job? How old are you!? How many 30 somethings need a summer job? A summer job?! Who would even hire you? They’re going to give you the same, “You’re way over-qualified,” spiel they always give you because they don’t want to pay you more than $8.50 an hour. So, just find a full time teaching job, dill hole! Full-time teaching job? Do you even want a full-time teaching job? Doesn’t that make you a “working stiff”? You HATED being that person! And what about your writing? You know that’s going to go down the tubes once you start working for the man. And where are you going to find this “full time teaching gig”? Where else? The nearest metropolitan area… where jobs are plentiful and everyone is miserable. YAY! You’re right back where you started, dumbass… except minus the ass hat. Does that really matter though, when you need food to eat, a place to live, and cute clothes to purchase? Nah. Not so much! So, what’s the plan? Figure it out… you have 3 months before you are royally screwed over, Annie. Get cracking. Find a job. Be miserable. Buy a dozen cats. Die alone. End scene.

By the time, the kids got back in the classroom, they may have found me like this:

And then I had to get over it and be awesome again for their sakes.

Anyway… my question is this: Does anyone else feel woefully unprepared for the future? Void of any substantial plans? Struggling to figure out whether to “go for it” or just “do what you gotta do”? I feel completely lost and totally panicked because… well…

What’s the plan, Stan?

Gif Source: ryjonka.tumblr.com

So… Are We Not Doing the Flashcard Thing Anymore?

When I was a kid, math flashcards were a classroom mainstay. Parents had to buy flashcards for their kiddos at the beginning of the school year. The teacher had his or her own sets of flashcards in the classroom. Busy-work consisted of making flashcards for ourselves to practice on.

It was all flashcards, all the time. Memorizing the basic math facts was essential for getting into 4th grade.

Now? Well, now I can’t remember the last time I saw kids using flashcards. They don’t use them in the classrooms I sub in. And when I previously worked as a specialist, and I was in and out of classrooms all the time, I never saw them being used. Maybe they were used and I just never saw it. OR, am I totally out of the loop and math flashcards have become passe´?

When I’m subbing in 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms, I see many kids using number grids to help them with the basic math skills needed to do the more in-depth double and triple digit addition.

For instance, when faced with a problem like 46+18… they use the number grid to figure out the solution for the ones place (Find the 8, move 6 spaces, get 14). Then they write down the 4 and carry the 1. Rather than just knowing that 6+8=14, they have to use the number grid to tackle the first step, thus interrupting the process and creating extra hurdles in solving the problem. Very few kids I’ve worked with know their single digit addition and subtraction facts, making double and triple digit addition and subtraction that much more difficult.

(Are you still with me? I know… I’m talking about numbers and using big words like ‘digits’ and ‘solutions’. It’s okay if you’ve glazed over. Just bear with me… I’m getting there…)

Anyway, in the classrooms I’ve been in, there has been zero push to memorize the basic math facts. Students use the number grids as crutches in order to help them do more complicated problems. This makes no sense to me. In order to be able to progress to more complicated math which requires higher order thinking skills, memorization of the basic math facts needs to be there… does it not? Or is that not something we’re doing with kids anymore because some common core curriculum decided they needed to understand the reason for why 4+6=10?

Seriously. It’s a legitimate question. Are schools not doing the flashcard thing anymore? Are you teachers still doing the flashcard thing? Have flashcards been banned from math curriculum? Do we not want kids to memorize basic math facts anymore? And if not… why?

By the time I graduated from high school I had finished my final math course which was calculus. Calculus made zero sense to me, and most of the time I had no freakin’ clue what I was doing… but I must have been doing something right because I ended up with a B in the class. That B would not have been there had I not known my basic math facts. Heck, I wouldn’t have gotten through pre-Algebra without knowing my basic math facts. I understand that in education, we’re moving away from rote memorization and moving towards an understanding of why we do what we do. But do students really need to know why 6 x 7 = 42? Shouldn’t they just have that down cold so then they can explain how they solved the problem using the Pythagorean Theorem? Aren’t we sort of beating down the wrong door with this whole “Memorization is Bad” mentality? Like it or not, isn’t memorization sometimes necessary?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe schools are still all about the flashcards, and I just haven’t had the opportunity to see it. But if that’s the case… could you teacher peeps please fill me in? Are we still doing the flashcard thing… or not so much anymore?

OH MY GAWWWWWWSH.

Longest. Week. Ever.

Not a single subbing job.

Not one.

Uuuugggggghhhhhh… I need a bigger school district. I need to infect these teachers with the flu. I need to entice them with holiday shopping extravaganzas. I may need to resort to Ebola.

C’MON, PEOPLE. Subs need money too. Geez, you people are freakin’ inconsiderate. Selfish jerks. Workin’ all hard to educate the wee ones of the world, not giving a flying fig about the welfare of the subs in the world. How do you people sleep at night?

And don’t you dare even bring up the fact that you tried to get a sub for the worst third grade class in the world half an hour before school started. That doesn’t even count. No one would take that job. How desperate do you think we are? (We’re pretty desperate, but C’MON. A little consideration, please? You can’t just throw us the scraps. We’re not dogs.) You’re just saving all the good kids for yourselves. Going into work every morning with your little coffee mugs and the little bounce in your steps, all excited about teaching. We know what you’re really thinking. “Muahahahahahahaha! Take that, loser subs.” I mean, it’s all over your faces. When does this vengeful, spiteful behavior stop, huh? What kind of example are you setting for the wee ones, huh?  HUH?!

*sigh* Now I’m forced to make another pot of coffee and figure out what I’m going to do with my day tomorrow since you clearly will not share.

Seriously. I may need to get a part time job.