Well, it's been about a month since my last post. So nice of several of you to check up on me. I guess I took an informal respite from blogging for no real reason other than just barely getting back into the swing of things and feeling really tired and overwhelmed.
Let's catch you all up on what you've been a -missin'.
1. The school year started with the usual meetings and more meetings. THE buzzword in our district this year: Differentiated Instruction. Those in the know (those who drank the Kool-Aid) call it "D.I.". They are so cool, and obviously much, much better teachers than I could ever hope to be. (Disclaimer: I'm not opposed to Differentiated Instruction. I just hate jargon. I also hate the Bandwagon junkies. I'd rather adapt than adopt.)
2. Oh, and I'm now Department Head, which is no real honor since no one else really wants to do it and the 2 others who maybe would want to do it are "difficult", so our principal probably wouldn't have chosen them anyway. It's an unpaid position, it's mostly so that our voice is heard. Kind of like Puerto Rico in congress. I get to run bi-weekly meetings and attend Dept. Chair meetings. My mailbox is the first stop for all kinds of junk mail for Foreign Language teachers.
3. We have a new addition to our family: a brown and white pointer mix named Sookie (After Sookie St.James on the "Gilmore Girls"). She is a bundle of energy and loves my kids, is about a year old and loves us as much as we love her. Here she is on our kitchen floor. Don't mind the dust.
4. Last Tues. after Labor Day I thought we were all going to keel over from the oppressive heat and humidity in my room- seriously it was like 98º and very sauna-like. Anyone else teach in a building with no a/c? In true Iowa fashion, the temps. plummeted to the 60ºs overnight and the kids were all complaining about "the cold."
5. You know how dogs can sense that it's going to rain? Well, that's how teachers in my building are about fights. In between 3rd and 4th block today, I zipped across the hall to visit the baño, shamelessly shirking the hall duty I'm supposed to attend to between classes. Sorry, Charlie, Nature trumps. As I was washing my hands, I noticed a distinct change in the din out in the hall. I asked one of the girls who came in if there was a fight- she nodded her head. "It's really bad, too." I told her to stay in the baño until all the madness died down. There was a huge traffic jam, as the fighters decided to brawl right in the cross-roads that is our section of the hallway- oh, incidentally also in front of security cameras. It was insane- smaller kids were being picked up and shuffled along by the sheer momentum of the crowd- their feet not touching the ground. Lots of kids were really upset by how violent it was- one kid lifted the other off the floor and then slammed his head down, either into the wall or the floor. At any rate, he was knocked unconscious and there was a whole lotta blood everywhere. Someone called 911 (a kid, maybe) and admin was upset by that- not following protocol, don't you know. The nurse saw fit to send us an email stating that when a student is knocked out and might have to leave via the ambulance, the halls need to be cleared of all students and staff for "confidentiality". Oh yes, that will be quite easy to do, given how bloodthirsty our students are.