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LJ Idol Week 12: Barrel of Monkeys

Melody the monkey lived in the state of Kemucky where all the primates ran wild and free.  They all peeled bananas, pounded on pianos, and named all their children Hannah or Anna...or Sam. 

And all of the Hannahs and Annas and Sams couldn’t stand Melody because she was as different as different could be.  You see she was born Deaf, completely without hearing, and that caused sneering and jeering and speering.   Hannah said she was dumb, Anna called her scum and Sam said she should go back to the slum where she came from.  Melody turned red.  Even though she couldn’t hear the words that they said, she felt them every day until finally tears shed.  

One day Melody was peeling her banana when Hannah and Anna and Sam slammed it into the ground and mashed it like a potato. 

Instead of crying Melody began trying to find comfort in her piano.  She found that when she would pound the keys she could feel the vibrations running over her feet like the breeze.

Pling, pling, plingapling.  Pling.

So she plinged and she pulsed, she played a mean waltz, and one day the notes made their way to Mister Blue Jay.  He called all the birds who thought it was superb and talked about what a star Melody could be.  Then all the birds asked her for a word and said she should go overseas.  There she created a platinum CD and could even had concerts on TV.    There she met many other monkeys who were good company and finally her life was filled with glee.


As for Hannah and Anna and Sam?  Melody never heard from them again. 

LJ Idol Week 11: Recency Bias

Last school year I had the kind of class that could wear a fake mustache and still keep their cool.  I don’t ever remember anyone acting a fool or purposefully breaking a rule.  No one made sounds like a rhinoceros and the kids were just not obnoxious.  Every bit of it was bliss and I often reminisce about the amount of awesomeness that I experienced.

When this school year began I was pumped like lotion, expecting a class of similar proportion.  Little did I know it would be a struggle straight from the get-go.   They came in dancing, prancing, bouncing, pouncing, and -ing -ing -ing.

They did all the things that my kids last year didn’t.   They fussed and cussed and stepped on shoes and such.  This turned into that and that worked at my nerves.  They were eight years old acting like four; one even pooped on the frickin floor.  I was floored.  Until one day I wasn’t.

I came to accept the fact that I had two dozen children bubbling with buffoonery who were usually unruly.  Like an elevator, they often took their behavior to a whole new level but I stopped becoming disheveled.  Instead I reveled in the challenge and managed to balance my sanity with this reality.   I conferenced about the nonsense with parents and saw how many grew up in an environment of reckless negligence and carelessness.

Once I saw where they were coming from I knew where to go.  We heaved and we hoved and we grew and we growed.  They became more manageable and our relationship grew beyond amicable.  In fact, I’m a bit sad to see them go.  Despite all the lows I love them like my own.

With that said, I hope next year's bunch is nothing like them.
The dashboard in my car has so many lights flashing that it looks like a Christmas tree. And my gas tank is always running on E. I clunk, clink, and clank my way to work where I teach to my full capacity in a classroom filled past capacity. My kids come to me struggling to read, write, add, and subtract, barely surviving in a system that is well beyond cracked. We've been out of pencils, papers, and erasers since January and unfortunately whether it's the first or the last of the month payday is always too far away.

That’s the North Carolina way.

Year after year teachers here are stabbed in the gut as our funding gets cut. We’re being asked to build a mansion from a hut with I don’t know what. Simply put, our legislators don’t value educators. Our teacher pay is the lowest of the nation, over ten thousand less than the median leaving us in financial frustration.

Luckily we have the education lottery. That’s what they say. Pay for a ticket and you’ve done your good deed for the day. All this foolery flutters across my TV’s display in the form of commercials that leave me in dismay. I watch the fake teachers and students filling with glee as they all get just what they need while the actors proudly proclaim “we did this!” Clearly reality has been dismissed and quite honestly I’m feeling pissed. I mean, it’s cool, play the lottery if you’d like but if you think you’re truly helping education, you’re more twisted than a bread tie.
Its 7:46 in the mornin’, practically the crack of dawn and my second graders are already cuttin’ up. Actin’ a nut. Breakin’ my pencil sharpener and throwin stuff. Miss Teacher’s had enough, can’t they just sit down and shut the fuck up? I want to scream, inside I’m seething but I remember to close my eyes and focus on my breathing.

I remember that Tyrone and Pat are only eight so I approach them and calmly state what their job is and isn’t and talk them through just what they need to do. All this before the first bell, I can already tell that today will be one from Hell.

And I’m right. At 10:17 I’m intervening in a fight. I call parents and we all make the plight to the office where there’s little solace. I’m feeling nauseous. To be honest I’m like E.T. and ready to phone home.

But instead I take my class to lunch. At 10:55 it really can be called brunch. They eat tuna and noodles by the spoonful and think it’s cool to mix it with their milk. Yilk!

At 11:28 we’re taking a bathroom break. That’s when my sanity begins to shake. Voices start to grow as toilets overflow. Someone’s standing on the sink, another is spitting the water that they drink, and I’m on the brink of shutting down. I can’t help but frown, my heart is really wearing down.

Luckily I get a 35 minute break and drop them off in art. Unfortunately when I pick them back up things have really fallen apart. Painted eyebrows, confetti that shouldn’t be, and insults results in 20 minutes of fires for me to put out.

Back to the classroom, lights out.

No fun today, workbooks out.

They aren’t letting me be the teacher I want to be. Maybe it’s time to get out? I'm having my doubts...

LJ Idol Week 8: Yes, and

A couple years ago I went on a date with a man just because his name rhymed with mine. I’m not lyin’.

His name was Lenny and I go by Jenny so naturally we were going to live happily. I found him on a match-me site where his name made me dream of the cheesy message we would leave on our answering machine.

Unfortunately, not just any “-enny” is for me and it turns out that Lenny was just creepy. His eyes looked woobly, his hair was goobly, and I swear he had cooties. I tried to be polite as he ordered an appetizer, entrée, and dessert but truly I was ready to desert. I smiled when he talked about his unborn child and even listened to his thoughts on UFOs and Jesus.

Jesus.

Needless to say when it was over I bolted toward the door but he wanted more and asked for some ass. I laughed. He put me on blast talking about “Didn’t I just pay for your entree?”

Hot damn. I looked right at him and said, “Yes. And?”

LJ Idol Week 6: Step on a Crack

On the hundredth day of school I used to wear a bright red cape with 1-0-0 written on my shirt in duct tape. My class would count out 100 Cheerios and then ten kids would take off their shoes and count their toes. I suppose this was a time when I felt like a real superhero. ..I just didn’t know.

I didn’t know until Joe. He came to me in the middle of second grade and stayed a couple months. He didn’t know the sounds in the alphabet so you can forget reading comprehension. Not to mention his attention had a definite deficit. His eyes were glazed like a doughnut, some called him a nut, and I honestly didn’t know what to do.

I pulled him aside and tried to teach each letter sound. We went round and round and no matter what I did he was drowning. Even in math, he had difficulty counting. So it goes without saying that comparing equations just wasn’t in his equation. He was struggling, stumbling, and suffering. By the time I compiled and filed the piles of paperwork to test this child, he moved.

It all looked so grim, and I couldn’t save him.