Another day in paradise.


Today, some students brought me a homemade Christmas card from the Leadership class.  Some students wrote a few things, some signed their names.  My favorite signature was this, from some miscreant:

Thanks for the low self esteem.


Anything to help.

**I’d like to address this meeting of the Harper Valley P.T.A

My children attend a relatively conservative private Christian school.  Not because we’re churchy, but because of the culture of our town.  It’s a very old, Dutch community in Northern CA.  There are 4 public schools, and one private school.  We go there.

The last time I checked, there were 3% of our population who were divorced.  3.  I guess I make, what…3.5%?  It’s a VERY small, religious, cultural mecca for 2nd generation Dutch persons, and their non-Dutch imports, like me.  Hey, I’m a member of the Mayflower Society…but, I digress.  I may not be in the heirachy any longer, but I do have Dutch children (and English, obviously).

Tonight I was at the Christmas concert, in the back, and I got a call from my galpal that she was dropping off my 9 year old in front of the hall.  It was raining.  I had to go out and get him.  I saw that every time everyone went outside, there were dirty looks from the Principal, the music director (the guy doesn’t get capital letters, he was an asshat), the Science teacher, a guy who went to church with me for the last 14 years.  I knew that my son would come at the exact time when I would have to leave the building, and cause a disruption.

I get to the door.  Mr. Science Teacher says to me,

“Do you have to go out right now?”
“Yes, Bob, I have to go out and get my son.”
“Really?  You have to go now?  We don’t want any more disruptions.  And you need to BE QUIET.  Can’t you be QUIET???”
“Bob, we’re all adults here.  I have to get out now.”

~he looks away…puts his fingers to his lips, and shushes me~

What does it have to do with divorce?  Nothing, unless you’re going through it.

Lovely for me, I had a fresh new hair cut and blow dry by *Harley*, the new blow dry guy at my salon.  I was wearing all black, and looking all, well, spiffy.  I saw all my old couple friends, who are no longer my couple friends.  My Christmas card list is rather thin this year…and to be expected.  He has been in this town since he was in 5th grade.  Me?  I just got here…in 1994.

I saw his neice and nephew, who used to be my neice and nephew.  They still call me Aunt Linda.  I’m wondering if I’m still their aunt.    They can’t exactly call me Linda now, after all these years.  My His neice, came up and hugged me, and put her arms on my waist!  “Aunt Linda, you are so SKINNY!!”  (I love teenage enthusiasm).

What I need is a rule book.  Meanwhile, Mr. Science Teacher needs to lay off the shushing. 

***PS-I got a fabulous review from my boss today, who said, “Linda, I know you are kicking and screaming, but I believe you are becoming an alt. ed. teacher.”  Huh.  Wasn’t it only a few months ago that kids were snorting coke in my 2nd period?

This post is R rated. Not really. Sorta.

Postcards from the edge…and I do mean the edge.

  • Wrote up a student for this joke:  “Why did the Mexican girl get pregnant?  Her English teacher told her to do an essay.”  Okay, it was sexual harrassment, and I had to write him up, but it was still funny.
  • The 18 year old from Thursday:  We were reading our novel silently.  I stood by him for 45 minutes.  He looked down, he looked up.  He wouldn’t read.  I wasn’t going to move.  This went on for some time.  He says, “Can I go to the bathroom?”  No.  No you can’t.
  • I told the same kid to Shut Up.  I have said that to students three times in my career since 1981.  All of them this year.  He says, “It’s against the law for a teacher to tell a student to shut up.”  I say, “Yeah?  Prove it.  Research it for me and find out which law I’ve broken.”  That really DID shut him up.
  • We are watching Friday Night Lights in the Movie elective.  One of the hardest kids I’ve had to work with in terms of antisocial depravity comes up to me and says, “Ms. V.  I can’t watch that.  It reminds me of everything I can’t have.”  He can’t play football anymore.  I was very impressed.  I told him he could leave if he wanted to.  He sat through it.  Usually I hear catcalls and crap flying out of his mouth.  Today:  Dead silence.  I truly was sad for him.
  • This week wouldn’t be complete with a mention of Rockstars and Monsters.  Many of my students bring them and pound them down in the first half hour.  Lucky for me, all the whackadoodles who don’t NEED those drinks are in first period.  And very quiet.  I do feel bad for their 3rd period teachers, though.
  • Cell phones are banned.  I wrote up 6 this week.  Cell phones, iPods, whatever.  They say, “I’m just checking the time.”  Really?  Because, there is a clock on the wall yanno.
  • Cell phones, part 2.  I have the security cop dude on my speed-dial.  If you fall asleep in my class, I hit his number; he escorts you out.  It’s a beautiful thing. 
  • I also have my TOC (table of crap).  My students are notorious for trying to get their 10 points asap.  So, they rush through assignments so they can hang out.  No.  Not here buddy.  When the assignment is turned in, I direct them to the T.O.C., to pick up a puzzle, a word search, whatever.  Eh, it’s working. 
  • Today:  a Gatorade slammed into the outside trash by a boy who was pissed at me, a broken book box by M., who fled the classroom because he needed a tardy pass, “you’re not explaining it right”, from my resident, most talented Art student (duh, I’m not an Art teacher)…and last but not least:
  • …during our Thanksgiving celebration, when I ask what each kid is thankful for, a boy yells out, “P*ssy!”

I kid you not.

It’s Saturday.  Time to wash out my ears and clean up my psyche.  After a week with this, I really need the two day break.  Fresno State-UOP Basketball game tonight and party on Sunday. 

Good luck to Billy & Aron on CIM this weekend!!  And Frayed Laces as well in her quest for BQ in Vegas.

Just for fun:  Remember Eddie Murphy and the Ice Cream Cone?  I need this for the weekend!  Have a great one, everyone!!!



hey mis v i dunno if you remember me buh i was just kumin through to tell you that you made such a lasting impact on my life ;] your a great teacher keep it up.

Compare that with

Ms. V is a bitch

The first note came to me from a student who was one of the most brilliant student’s I’ve had, but we knocked heads quite a bit.  She is now a sophomore, and contacted me yesterday.  She sometimes struggled with me, because I tend to be…hmmm…a bit unbending at times.  There were times, I’m sure that she felt what the author of the second note felt.

The one who wrote the second note?  Could have been any or all of my current group.  Yesterday, I had a student complain that I was the meanest teacher ever.  I looked at him and said, “Aren’t you 18?  You are free to go.”  He walked out of the class, but didn’t leave.  I came out, gave him a piece of my mind, and said…”Dude, YOU are the problem.  Either come in and work, or find somewhere else you can work.”

He came back, but by then, third period was off the hook.  I wrote 4 referrals.

You just never know.  He may have learned something.

**I just looked ’round and he’s gone.

Postcards from the edge:

1st period:  Today’s topic:  Racism…Alive and Well  I brought in an email that was sent to me, called “How Many Mexicans Can Fit in a Van?”  Someone I don’t know well (or doesn’t know me) sent it to me.  It was footage of the border, when a van of people got in an accident, and one by one, about 20 adults fled the vehicle.  Obviously the joke was intended to mock the illegal aliens at our borders.  I could have just deleted it.  Instead, I wrote this email in reply:

Hi…I hate to be a downer, but I found this email to be another form of racism.  How many Mexicans?  The same amount of English, Dutch and Black.  The population I work for is 95% Mexican American, and we are studying the Holocaust right now, so the video and email title reminded me that stereotyping can be very dangerous…and still lives in America.   It hurt my heart to get this email today, in light of some of the things we face every day.
I won’t be offended if you remove me from your email joke list!
I brought in my reply to share with my students.  Yesterday, we watched a Power Point on the Holocaust, and it seemed to spark…I dunno…something.
So, after class, two students came to show me jokes they got on their phone…which horrified me.  One was a picture of a mousetrap with a bucket of chicken…called The Obama Trap.  The other was called the Obama Swing Set, and was a picture of a noose.  Neither student seemed to see what was wrong with it.  I said, “Do the world a favor.  Do the right thing and delete it.” 
I was horrified.  Stupified, really.  I was trying to get them to see the connection between that and Hitler’s Final Solution.  They… did. not. get. it.

RUNNING.  New topic

Frayed Laces did it for me.  She has the 53 commandments of running, and I went to print them out tonight.

I laughed so hard at #41, because I’ve been saying for a long time, I can’t wait to be 50.  That’s the only thing that’s good about being 50.  New Age group.  Better trophies.

I called Kim tonight.  She with an aching back, and me with my *yawn* foot, we are quite a pair.  We have decided we are running again on Saturday.  We are starting again.

Oh, and yesterday’s post?  Um, never post after midnight.  It’s never a good idea.

…I got another speeding ticket yesterday.  That makes 2 since I did traffic school two weeks ago.  Leadfoot.  Damn.  Wish that worked on my running.

**From Abraham, Martin & John, by Dion.

**No sense in sitting there hating everyone.

…postcards from the edge…

  • Upon receiving an assignment from me, “This is fucked up.”
  • Y., please move your seat (5th warning to start working).  “Why? I’m staying right here.”
  • T., please put away that paper, and take out your resume. “My mother teaches it better than you, so I’m going to do it with her.”
  • (after his SST)…A, where is your pencil?  “Why, don’t you have one for me?  I left mine in the car.”  (upon seeing him again at 6th period, he still does not have a pencil…) A, can I have your assignment?  “Why? I don’t have a pencil.”  Well, I will write your name on it, and show your Mom what you’re not doing in class.”  <blank stare>
  • “Why do I have to do this book?”, Because your internet privileges were revoked after your foray onto MySpace.  “But, why?” <blank stare>
  • <<<insert passive aggressive pencil tapping here>>>
  • “Why can’t I listen to my iPod?  We’re not doing anything in here.”  No, YOU are not doing anything in here.  If you were doing something, you’d be doing it.  D’oh.
  • “Ms. V, you’re the only teacher who won’t let us say the F word.”  Huh, really?

And today’s favorite, after watching Grease in my elective…

K:  Ms. V, I can’t answer these questions because I wasn’t here.                                          
Me:  You weren’t here?  We just finished the movie RIGHT NOW, and you are HERE NOW.

K:  No Ms. V.  I wasn’t.

Me:  Oh.  <blank stare>  (mine)

 I’m off to Edjoin.

**Lyrics from Teacher, by Jethro Tull

**You dont know what it means to win

I took the day off.  Again.  I have 10 days a year, and I’m almost out of them.  Yesterday, a student threatened me with his tone and words, and I was, for the first time…rattled.  My cop-guy came in and walked over to my desk as I almost erupted in tears.  I didn’t.  I won’t…but it was close.  My students could give a shit less about the class.  They are bored and stoned.  I am not the teacher on Freedom Writers, or Stand and Deliver, or TEACHERS, or any of those movies.  I am a regular teacher.  Looking for a new career.  Seriously.

My sister is very ill.  She is a diabetic, and was nearly lights out last weekend, with sugars at 25.  She is having a hard time breathing, so I came to LA.  I’m also going to a party, but I wanted to be with my family.  Funny thing though, every time I go somewhere, it costs me an extra $200 because of my dogs.  Sure wish they were the type of dog to, you know, hang around in the yard.  Oh no, no, no.  They will jump the fence looking for me, or bark as if I’m in the house IGNORING them.  So, off to the doggy day care they go.

I left Northern CA at 10am.  I didn’t arrive in the valley until 5:45.

  • I stopped in Fresno to visit my bff.  Seriously, Cathy and I have been friends since the early 80s, when we were both married.  Then I divorced, she didn’t.  She divorced, Mississippi man moved in with me, I lost a baby, she lost her job, I remarried, she took a job out of town, I started having kids, she got a boyfriend, I lost my husband.  Today, we realized for the first time, we are both single.  At the same time. 
  • Then I got a wild hairThe Fresno Eye-Q Half Marathon is Sunday.  I paid $50.  So, I drove on over to the Expo, picked up a long sleeved wicking shirt and hat, and schwag.  A box of raisins, a packet of Electrolyte stuff, 2 chapsticks, a hat.  That was it.  No Turkey Gravy.  This lady was standing in line with me, and said her sister was coming to run.  So, I asked her if she wanted to run and take my pasta dinner, and she said “sure”.  So, Linda Vermeulen will probably have a fantastic race time (she is a soccer player).  However, it’s not me.  Dammit.
  • Then I got another ticket on the way down here.  Going 86mph and tailgating.  I was so pissed, and the cop was a jerk, and he pulled both of us over.  Hey!  How come she is BEHIND me if I was tailgating her???  It was on the Grapevine, so I know I’m sunk.  It’s my 4th ticket this year, and I just did traffic school last week.  Online.  I can’t do it again for 18 months.  I got a letter from the DMV this year…

“We’re sorry to see that you have chosen to disregard the very laws you agreed to uphold…” 

I’m sure I’ll be getting another letter.  Dammit.

Since my foot is better, and I ran a few this week, I will try to run the Calabasas Classic 5K on Sunday… If I don’t overfill the belly with my Mom’s cooking, and general disregard to my body when I come down here.  It is beautiful there.  My brother in law says at dinner tonight, “It’s only 3 miles!”  HAHA.  Only.  We’ll see how I feel on Sunday, and if the clan will be cooperative.

18 days until my court debut.  I cannot wait for it to be over.

Oh.  And that will be my last sick day.  For the year…

Happy Weekend to everyone…and especially to California Teacher Guy.  Peace, brother!  Don’t let them get you down…

**From Never Going Back Again, by Fleetwood Mac 

God.  1977.  A million years and miles ago…never going back again…