Sunday, October 31, 2010

Copy Cats

I have been working for most of the day. First, I worked on the NCTE talk that I'm giving with Lee. It's really hard, and I don't even know if I'm doing a good job.

Then, I worked on Mass Media, which kind of makes me feel depressed because the kids don't work very hard in that class; and I feel like it might be my fault.

Finally, I paid some bills.

Then, I checked Lee's blog and she had a great 4-picture photo thingy. So, I did one of those with Shef, too. It took us about 10 takes to do this photo, so I hope everyone appreciates that.

Our concept was smile-frown-surprise-nothing.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Miss Zumba This Week

Lee says she's not blogging until we're done with our NCTE talk, but I feel like blogging for me might open the floodgates of productivity. But I hope it opens them for tomorrow because tonight it's really close to my bedtime.

I was pretty productive today, getting grades entered and discussing them with the juniors. Most of the juniors were happy with their progress, so that was positive. Some of the seniors should be more concerned about theirs, but what can you do? Apparently, I signed up to teach the biggest slacker class at our school. It's a class where you feel like you can refuse to log into your computer for the entire period or just draw little cartoon people and giggle about it.

I don't know what to do about these problem behaviors, to tell you the truth. The students are eighteen years old.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You Just Have to Wait

When I was about out the door this morning I encountered our babysitter Claire carrying nearly-naked Mac over her shoulder.

"He ran away from me!" she explained, cheerfully.

"Oh, he's been doing that to me constantly," I told her. "He does it in the grocery store, in Target. Running and cackling."

"Really?" said Claire.

"Yes!" I said. "I have to chase him!"

"Yeah," Shef added, "and a lot of people laugh at you."

So true.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

When You Fall Get Up

A while back during the A to Z blogging challenge, I said Mary and I were going to try Zumba. Ditch the workout, the Zumba website says, and join the party!

"Wait," said Rachel. "Is that like the Shakira dancing workout?"

"Yes!" I said.

"Mary's actually going to be good at that, and you're really NOT," she said.

I mean, how did she even know that?!

Anyway, at the first Zumba workout we tried, it didn't really matter that I couldn't shake it like Shakira because our teacher Mickey couldn't really either. He was a cool guy with shoulder-length hair and a thick mustache. We did some butt-waggling, but not a lot of choreography.

After each song, I looked to Mary for validation. "See?" I said. "I did that pretty well."

The next week, we decided to try a different teacher, who would maybe be a little dance-ier. Sure enough, I could tell I would have a much harder time from the very first song where complicated hip shaking and ball-changing was required. In fact, the only way I could even begin to follow Megan's routines ("Now diva walk!" "Now salsa!") was to stare directly at her ass for the entire hour.

I didn't realize I was doing it until halfway through, but I totally was. That's just how I Zumba.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guess What?

I'm so totally going to be blogging again!

It's that magic time of year called MEA BREAK, when all teachers across Minnesota sort of kind of get their lives back after the first frantic weeks of school.

Here are some highlights of the first weeks:

First, I've really been dressing better, thanks to my favorite store Ann Taylor LOFT. I have not, however, been accessorizing; so I'm really only 1 for 2 on my back-to-school fashion goals.

Second, we had a chemical spill at school and had an unexpected day off, on which I cleaned my closet and went to lunch with my sister, who's still home from Senegal thank the Lord.

Third, I'm teaching unmotivated seniors in an elective, which is a new adventure. Some of these seniors display a shocking level of laziness. Seniors, it's only October! The slide doesn't start until March! Also this class is about YouTube, for frick's sake!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Like It's Dyn-o-mite

After my in-laws left for France last week, we decided to throw the hammer down on Mac in terms of his horrendous night-time behavior.

On the first night of the new regime, we put one of those baby-proofing door handles on his door, explained to him that he couldn't come out, and left him in his room with the door shut. The screaming lasted for an hour or so until he ripped the plastic door handle in half and threw it over his gate. Then there was some more screaming, and then a couple of hours later I somehow I ended up right next to him in the toddler bed for the whole flipping duration.

So. Fail.

The next two nights, I told him I'd sit outside his gate while he fell asleep. That worked pretty well. I even moved out of his line of sight and just called out to him when I saw his little shadow approaching his doorframe.

"Mac!" I said. "I'm right here, now go to bed." I was caring, yet firm.

For the overnight wakings, I stumbled out of bed and plopped myself on the ground outside his room. This morning we both woke up on the floor, on either side of gate. His little fingers were reaching out toward me from beneath it.

Tonight, after bedtime, I sat for awhile outside the gate and then I went downstairs and did the dishes! I felt really smug about this development until I came up and saw that Mac had systematically emptied his dresser and flung it over the gate. Here's a video of the pile of debris with a swim diaper making it's way onto the heap.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day of Rest

In a few minutes, I'll be heading to work to: a) spend two hours working on the NCTE talk I'm giving with Lee, and b) figure out next week.

Luckily, this will be easier than last week when I was making the calendars for the units and coming up with all kinds of ideas. Now, I just need to execute the ideas. One problem I've encountered, however, is that no one really seems to know why a YouTube video goes viral.

"I don't think there's a reason, Kace!" Rachel said forcefully. "It's just stupid America!"

I feel like there have to be some categories of things that make us so stupid. For instance, we love public humiliation.

I myself humiliated one kid this week. It was unavoidable.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I Will Hurt You!!

Mac goes to a really lovely, really hippie Montessori school where light and happiness flow freely. The kids work with wooden toys, toddle around in cloth underpants, and practice yoga on little mats.

We also get updates from school via email. Most of the time, the updates are like this: "Mac enjoyed pouring work and gardening work. He also manipulated small objects that start with S and partook in an organic snack of sprouted bagels and cream cheese. Best wishes!"

Last week, we got two emails that were not like this. The first one was about how Mac was taking bites out of the fruit in the community fruit bowl and also stealing other kids' snacks at snack time. Were we feeding him at home? the teacher wanted to know.

"Mac, did you take other kids snacks?" I asked.

"Can't I have more snack?" he said.

The next day, we got this email: "We had an incident today in which Mac backed another child into a corner and was using his spreading knife to poke her in the chest. Immediately following this incident, he did not respond affirmatively to our safety discussion."

Would we please discuss with Mac the importance of using utensils only for their intended purpose?

Can you imagine? Mac?!

I responded affirmatively to the email by laughing my head off.