Friday, September 14, 2007

Don't Give Me A Cookie

Things have a way of going wrong for me. Not that I've ever let you know. A shy shrinking violet like myself doesn't often share her feelings. But let it suffice to say that once something goes wrong, it goes totally wrong. OK. That did not suffice enough. You may want to read this over several days' time. Methinks it will not lack for length.

Arising this morning after my 20th hour of sleep this week, I packed the younger boy's lunch. I went to my old stand-by lunch of sharp cheddar, crackers, and a dill pickle. And my day began. The box of thick, crunchy Toppers crackers was open. And so was the bag. Gaping open, with no sign of the metal clippy thingy that had been on the folded bag last week. It takes a lot to steal the crunch from a Topper. But alas, the crunch was no more. I opened a new box.

By now, I was 5 minutes behind schedule. I quickly called in the #1 son's allergy prescription on the automated pharmacy phone. As quickly as you can do business with an automated phone. By now, we were at 6:25 instead of 6:15 for waking the sleeping beauties. That meant we missed Sammy's Stars and the pound pet on the morning news. The #1 boy didn't get to lie on the couch for 5 minutes. He packed his Lappy and grabbed his girlfriend's homemade birthday card and handed me a note card to write him a note to get a bus pass so he could ride to her house after school for her 5:00 to 8:00 birthday party that he just told me about at 7:30 last night.

We rushed to school, as fast as we could rush with having a policeman pull out in front of us. When I dropped off the #1 son, he kicked a bunch of flotsam out of the LSUV, like a mouse for Lappy, and a pencil. Though he declared the pencil fell out of his pack. Actually, he said, "My pack is leaking." I sped off while his jaws were still jacking. As fast as I could speed in a 20 mph school zone. At the #2 boy's school, there was a produce truck parked in the drop-off lane. So cars had to drop off their precious cargo in the driving lane. And that produce driver was gesturing out the window with his hands, like, "I'm workin' here! Ain't anybody gonna let me out?" When I got to my building 10 minutes later than usual, I saw that the #1 son had left his cell phone in the LSUV. The cell phone he would need to call his father to come pick him up from the birthday party.

I took in the phone. I sorted out my stuff that needed copying for today's lessons. I quickly ran the copies, then headed down the hall in search of a traveler to pack-mule my son's phone to Basementia. She was as elusive as my ZZZZZs lately. I had to go all the way to the end of the hall to find Mr S and inquire as to her whereabouts. He sang like a canary, but wanted to chat about his new apple cinnamon plug-in air freshener. After disentangling myself, I darted across the hall to the also-elusive Mabel's room to break the news that my mother had hit the PowerBall Wednesday night, and what did Mabel think her cut of the $3 should be. I had to wait in the tutoring line to speak to Her Royal Highness Mabel. She said that after taxes, a negative $0.47 for each of us sounded about right. Then I high-tailed it up the hall to find my mule. Wouldn't you know it? Out of that room she darted as I was about to go in. We walked up the hall together, bartering over transport services. As together as we could walk, what with her loping stride, a regular Secretariat of pack mules is she. She shoved the cell phone in her back pocket and agreed to the deal.

By now, I really had to book it to get back to my room and fire up my newfangled electronic gradebook, set up my 24-minute video, write the bellringer on the board, lay out the tests from yesterday to give back, and get a swig of water, because in case you haven't heard, I am the first woman to ever have a cold, and my throat was coughing for a drink. I got so far as the video set-up. Technology is not my friend. I was getting nothin' from the VCR. Upon closer inspection of its outer innards, I discovered that it was not connected to the TV. Which makes me think it might have been kidnapped and returned without ransom. I then dashed to the mini-fridge and found a bottle of water that was not frozen. In the midst of the swigging, my door squeaked open, and in came NearbyNeighborTeacher, telling me in mid-swig that Somebody'sMother was here. I whispered, "What am I supposed to say to her? I've got a million things to do this morning!" Meaning I have had this kid 4 weeks, I'm not an expert on his IEP...and I have a million things to do this morning. Good thing I whispered, because NNT said, "Well, she's right here." Duh. I'll get her for that. Though to be honest, I think I had written on my calendar an IEP meeting this morning at 7:30 for that kid, which is my fault, but I cry FOUL, because she used to do this to OldBuddy science teacher all the time, because they need a classroom teacher on those forms, and often they just put one on there and let you sign later and not actually attend the meeting, but I really need to work this out with her, because I am not going to be the designated teacher that is put on ALL of these, because let's face it, when your prep hour is 6th hour, you really need that 30 minutes in the morning to set up your day. So I went back and dug out those tests, and went to the other corner of the room to fire up my newfangled electronic gradebook and log on and go to that class so I could see the current grade. I handed SBM the test, said he was doing fine in my class, and went to write the bellringer on the board, all the while saying, "I'm sorry. I'm not trying to be rude, but I've got to get this done before the bell." Duh. What good is a bellringer if it's not ready when the bell rings? SBM was very nice, and I felt sorry that I could not sit down at a table for 30 minutes and chat, but that's how it goes in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's world.

On my last sentence, the bell rang. I boogied to the doorway to supervise the hall. Let it never be said that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not do her job. Except, perhaps, for IEP conferences. All this extracurricular dashing had left me without time for my 8:00 a.m. pee break, which is not really a good thing for a person taking medication that makes them pee a lot in the morning. I took the lunch count, even getting it right and actually recording 14 pizza lunch trays in the pizza box instead of the hamburger tray box as I had done for the first 5 weeks of school. I was better on the old pencil and paper lunch count form. But my newfangled electronic gradebook is a jack of all trades. Of which, so far, I have mastered none. Then I had to take roll and send the three make-up testers to Outer Libraria while we went over the test. Which I must say was better than the last test. Then we rushed into the video and completing the info from the bellringer. While that was going on, the 3 testees (heh, heh...TESTEES) returned, and I had to grade them. The tests, not the testees, because that might hurt their tender self-esteem. That's the bad thing about tests. They need grading. I recorded them in my newfangled electronic gradebook. By then it was time for the bell, and going through the whole routine again.

There was no time for a pee break yet, because I had to stand in the hall. Once I got this class going, I had to figure out how to put in 200 out of 230 points for a new girl who transferred with a B from her old school. Oh, and I got back work from a homebound student, and had to sort and grade and record it and give out the next batch. Then there was the girl delivering the announcement, and that girl who knocks but won't come in who has a stack of St. Louis Post Dispatches and even though I tell her I don't have time and don't need one, gives me a pitch to rival a used-car salesman, so earnest is she that you'd think she gets a commission on each paper she gives away, so it is just easier to smile and take one and throw it away the minute the door swings closed.

By 3rd hour, I had to take the pee break. I figured I was supervising the hall as I walked up it to the bathroom and back down it to my doorway post. I had more testees this hour. My brain switched to moment-to-moment mode. Get rid of them. Grade their papers. Gather work for the homebound. Set aside tests for the absent. Organize work for the absent-all-week kid with special permission. Go to lunch.

4th hour. Give another make-up test. Grade it. Print out the newfangled electronic gradebook grades to put in my pretty robin's-egg-not-Olympic blue three-ring binder. Oops. Newfangled electronic gradebook locked up. Said something was exceeded. Had to restart. And re-log on. And go back to that class. And enter those two grades again. And print.

Oh. Reading day. Sit down for 30 minutes and read. Do not think about all you've got left to do. Read. Nothing else allowed. Got through 32 pages. Set the three late assignments from 3 different classes aside. Do them later. Don't think about them. Gotta do them. Excused absences.
5th hour. Go over test. Show students grades. What's this? Principal calling for students who have mandatory after-school tutoring next week. There goes the first of 3 groups to be called. Give them some word problems to work on. Get that make-up work graded and entered in the NEG if you can find the 3 keys to the work in the front of the Old Red Gradebook. She's a lifesaver, that old gal.

6th hour. Plan time. Go to make some copies for the homebounder. And an Algebra page. And a little somethin' somethin' for 7th hour, because you've changed your mind 3 times today about what you want to do with them on this day after their test. Oh. The copier is as bare as Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard. Put paper in Drawer 1. Put paper in Drawer 3. Forget Drawer 2. It's a no-man's-land used only by Mabel. These darn people must be sitting in their rooms, printing out their NEG grades, not knowing that the copier does not fill itself. OK. Got copies. Back to room to put new bellringer for next class on the board. Oh. Custodian is cleaning as he is wont to do every day on your plan time. Get into a conversation about Robitussin and Mucinex and insurance scams with generic meds and lobbying. Oops. He's called away to the phone. What's this? An earthquake, you say? How inconvenient for the earth to quake on my planning period! Stand in the doorway until mock shaking stops. Search rooms on my end of hall for victims. Stand outside. Go in. 10 planning minutes wasted, plus those 5 minutes stolen by the reading monster, equals 15 minutes less plan time for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom today. Just when she needed it most.

7th hour. Barely got that bellringer done. Go over test. They're not displeased. They got to use their notebooks on the test, since there was an early out the day before, and they didn't get a review game or list of what to study. As IF. Sucks to be those who don't keep up with the notebook. Give assignment. Grade. Record. Print. Final bell.

Busy week next week. Game duty, dental appointment, round up work for after-school tutoring students, start new units in two classes. Stay after to sort through stuff needed. Take it home where there is more time to do it. Read story #2 son is writing for school. Tell him to take out words: Poopy Head. Call HH to yank his short leash. He's at the doctor. Who knew? Minor infection. HH getting antibiotics and pizza. Leave school at 4:30 with a load of homework.
Forget to pick up that allergy medicine at the pharmacy.

Welcome to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's world. Don't begrudge me my summers off.


Mean Teacher said...

I didn't read the whole post, but I feel your pain anyway. If not for my inclusion teacher during first and second periods, I would piss myself daily. I can tell it bothers her that I leave class every morning to pee, but methinks it would bother her more if I just let it go in class, or if I spent the two hours with my legs crossed, bouncing and making "I gotta pee" faces.

I too had a parent show up while I was in the middle of my pre-bell rush, and had to stop and wait for a slow computer to boot up so I could print out another copy of her child's progress report because he neglected to give it to her because he is failing because he is playing too much in class which is, perhaps, the same reason he had to be there that morning for detention, which is also what originally brought the mother to my doorway at 7:30.

The school year is almost over, you know.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Thank the Gummi Mary! Indeed, it IS almost over.

Now, as for not reading the whole post, Missy...that was assigned reading, and I will see you in detention at 7:30 Monday morning!