Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rage Tears

You all know I teach high school math in a public school here in Maine. I've occasionally voiced my frustrations, both with what public school is and has become, and the idiosyncrasies of my particular school.

I don't have the emotional energy to get into it all here, but I left work today in rage tears.

Below is my Facebook post about it.  Comment if you are curious, and I'll write more. This is far, far too important to ignore, but most people are so far removed from what actually happens in schools that all they know is what they see on TV.  That is to say, folks see angry unions against angry politicians. There's no honest dialogue because there's too much name-calling and too many agendas and egos in the way.  All most people know about schools right now is spin, and that there's this thing called Common Core.  People have mixed opinions, if any at all.

I am not political. I can't say anything about my ego -- that's for you to judge.  But I'm in the schools, and my voice is SILENCED because I need a job.

Well, screw it. I need a job, but I also need to do what's right for kids.

Here's my Facebook post...

Feeling incredibly, ridiculously discouraged after a meeting about the Smarter Balanced assessment. It's not our school, it's not our kids, it's the exam. The implementation idiosyncrasies on top of all of it will make me lose my mind. I have a moral problem with setting our kids up to fail, and that is what this test does. I can not defend that *to anyone.* I can not, in good conscience, put my head on my pillow at night when I am one of many cogs allowing this to happen. When good people do nothing, evil prevails. That is what is happening, people. In the meantime, my colleagues think I am crazy. This isn't just poor practice. This is BAD FOR KIDS, and those of us to try to stand up to stop it risk losing our jobs.

Then, someone commented, and here are my two replies:

I wanted to quit. I was crying rage tears. Mick says it is time to be LOUD and attach my name to it.

That doesn't even get to how much instructional time we lose to practice for these and how my AP class keeps getting time taken away, including time to take these tests PRIOR to our AP exam. When I already only see them every other day. RAGE TEARS.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

New Kicks

WHM's super-fast Spiderman sneakers had a blowout this week.

To be precise, that happened on Tuesday, exactly one day after the BOGO sale ended at Stride Rite.  This photo is when he showed me the issue while he and I had dinner and waited for CAM's ballet class to end. (Side note -- I am so excited that he and I get to have "dates" every Tuesday while CAM dances!)

Our nearest Stride Rite is precisely 60 minutes away, at the Stride Rite Outlet in Kittery, Maine.  That's okay, because I prefer to shop the outlet and it's a nice excuse for a drive to Southern Maine. Sometimes we wander the outlets in Kittery, sometimes we go to Portsmouth, NH, and sometimes we meander our way back to Central Maine and stop at the mall in Portland or at Stonewall Kitchen in York, or any of a million other beloved detours.

In any case, WHM can't go to school -- especially since this past week was full-on July weather -- without sneakers.  He can't exactly wear dress shoes and shorts, or snow shoes and shorts.  And sandals are not allowed.  So, we promised him we'd buy new sneakers on Saturday, when we could most easily head down to Kittery.

He went straight to the superhero shoes again.

Mick and I were really trying to get him to go with lace-up sneakers, so he could learn and practice tying his shoes.  In fact, before he had Spiderman shoes, he had lace-up sneakers.  (Also, for some reason we don't quite even know ourselves, we'd been steadfastly opposed to superheroes, cartoon characters, anything like that on shoes.  CAM never had a pair, and WHM only had Spiderman because the last time we went shoe shopping, I was without Mick and was, apparently, a softie that day.)

In any case, Mick and I tried everything yesterday.

"Mommy, I wealllly want theeese."

"But, WHM, these are so stylin'."

"No, but these hurt."

"No, they don't."

"But I weally wike this style."

"Daddy would like you to try some big-kid shoes, like his ... and CAM's, and mine ... see this super-cool color?"

"I don't wike that color."

"What about these?"

"I don't like those bottoms."

"What about these?!  Super awesome with red and black! And check out the bottoms!  Spikey! Come on, WHM, we really want you to get a pair that has laces.   You need to learn how to tie your shoes since you're in kindergarten!"

"Mommy, I want these.  With velcro."

"Let's just try these on, okay? Let's see how they look. You USED to have a pair with laces, you know!  A pair just like these!"

"Those hurt."

"They only hurt when they got too small.  We'll get your right size and they will feel great!"

We tried on the black-and-red sneakers, but they were a half size too big and even Mick regretfully admitted that they were not a good choice.  Too big is almost as bad as too small, especially with our little fall-prone man.

At this point, the Ironman shoes were not coming off his feet.

"Come on, WHM, those sneakers are just like the Spiderman shoes you already have. Let's try a new style."

We found an adjacent pair in a style we could live with and Mick chimed in: "Look!  These have laces AND velcro! Look how the velcro goes across!"

But WHM sat on the floor and pointed to the shoes he wanted, and said "Wook. These have velcro and it doesn't just go across. The velcro on this one goes here and here.  These are just like my Spiderman shoes and I already know I wuv this style."

Suffice it to say, the day's negotiation went to WHM.


These were well-loved and were on my "replace next" list, anyway.  The blowout forced the issue.

After:  (Note the similarities in velcro and style!)

We have also been informed that these shoes are EVEN FASTER than the Spiderman ones, and that it was a very good decision to buy these.

Thank goodness.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Some Afternoon Photo Fun

I love that we have essentially this same pose in countless photos in the past seven years.  This is CAM at play, deep in concentration in her chalk art. 

WHM only wanted to make silly faces to start. He's been hamming it up all day!