A Quick Explanation

To those of you who may come here and find that I haven't posted in such a long time let me explain why I've allowed this blog to go dormant.

It's not that working in a school hasn't continued to provide me with topics to write about.  No, I think when you have people and so many personalities involved there could be any number of anecdotal events to write about.  

What has happened is the adoption of a "social media" policy in our district earlier this school year that, if I continued to relate my stories to you, using no identifiers or not, could result in disciplinary action.

So I have hopefully removed any personal identifiers from this blog but I'm sure that, knowing the vastness of the internet and what is held out there indefinitely, there might be something that would connect me with my job.  (Did you ever try googling your name?  Don't be surprised what you might find out there.)  If for some reason someone would question anything that I have published here, I think that I could be free of the repercussions of anything prior to the acceptance of the policy.  

Let me say that blogs as educational tools are not banned.  Considering that some of the administrators in our district and the district where we send our high school students have blogs themselves would be an example of that.  But this blog deals with situations and again, even though I have never mentioned the name of my school or any person by their real name, this could be construed as a violation of the policy.

Thank you for coming and visiting with me.  I hope that you have found some humor at times.  I've never meant for this to be a place to "bitch" about work though it may have seemed that way to some.  It was meant to be more of an observation on human nature and that in itself conjures up feelings of anxiety, frustration, humor, sadness, concern, disbelief - well, however you characterize it.

You know people can be real characters.

Friday, September 14 - Donut Deliveries

I had a teacher actually behind the counter with me this morning because I was showing her something on my computer screen when a parent walked in carrying a Dunkin' Donuts bag.

Said parent plopped the bag down on the counter and warned me "Don't even think of taking one of these because there's just enough for the class."

I calmly started to say .... "no, we don't normally...."

She interrupted with "No.  Seriously. My other child wanted one and I told her she could not have one."  She then scrunched up the top of the bag.

I quickly asked her if the teacher was aware that donuts were coming in and if the child's name was on the bag and the answer to both was yes so she walked out.

I went back to trying to help the teacher beside me and saw that she was standing there dumbfounded.  She collected herself and told me that I should be offended and that that was rude. I told her that I'm not allowed to show that I'm offended but even though I don'd do Dunkin' Donuts I was.  

This little interlude became the topic of conversation in the faculty room at lunch time I was told.  Some found it quite funny.  Kind of an - OMG, you're kidding - in disbelief haha.  

The irony of it all was that about 20 minutes after the first donut delivery came the second.  This parent told me that there were three additional donuts in the box for the office staff because I had put her through to the teacher earlier in the morning so she could set up the delivery time.  

The even bigger irony was that there were indeed 5 additional donuts unclaimed in the first student's box as we found out when she was sent to the office by the teacher to offer us one at the end of the day.  

Not even tempted.  

Friday, September 7 - New Food Wake Up

Our school cafeteria has updated their menu.  One of the new daily choices is a boxed meal that consists of celery and carrot sticks, grapes, chunks of cheese, hummus and crackers.  I was offered one of these to try today and saved it for this evening.

As I was eating it I was reminded of when my daughter was young - I think in the second or third grade - and she loved the move Aladdin and could recite parts of the dialog by heart.   We happened to be on a bus trip with my mother and sister to New York to see Cinderella on Broadway and she was entertaining us with her recitations.

There is a part she rattled off that had us in stitches and she couldn't understand why.

In the scene she was reciting, Robin Williams as the Genie says "wake up and smell the hummus".  Well not knowing what hummus was, she was saying "wake up and smell the homeless."

Makes me smile every time I eat hummus to this day!

Friday, June 29 - Graduation Cupcake

During the last two week's of school there were so many class parties/picnics that it was very hard to keep track.  It was also very hard to keep track of what I was snacking on.  There were all kinds of treats that passed through the office and when there was enough, some of them came back up to the office.  We had cupcakes, brownies, ice cream, Rita's ice, donuts.  I did not partake of all of them, but there were some that were just too good to resist.  Take for instance this cupcake made by a mom of a 5th grader. 

We don't actually have a fifth grade graduation but they do move on to another school so this mom decided they should have graduation caps.  She also related, and I can attest to this myself, that those foil cupcake liners are dangerous when they're fresh out of the oven.  Ouch.  Best be quick about it.

We also got a large tray of the soft pretzel rods and a wonderful edible fruit arrangement and several different kinds of candies.  

Yes, it certainly was a yummy couple of weeks inded!

Friday, June 22 - TGTYO

Thank God This Year's Over.

It has been rough.  Rough in so many ways.  Right down to the last official school day which was Wednesday. 

At the beginning of the year I thought that I could look at myself as the glue that held things together being the   one in the office, besides the principal, that was familiar with the workings of our building.  We had merged two schools which meant merging two staffs and two areas of our community.  Now, the children had been together before in the Pre-K-2 school but the staff was at odds being that we were considered "sister schools" while theirs was still open having the same grade levels (3-5) and there was always an underlying current of, shall we call it "competition".  

With the closing of their school came a realignment of the grades.  The lower school became Pre-K to 3rd and we housed all the 4th and 5th graders.  One would think that with only two grade levels that things would go smoothly.  Not so much.

And to top it off, for me at least, there was a change in our office staff and they moved the secretary from the Pre-K-2 school to our office and our secretary to the administrative offices.  No one was really happy about that move.  

I know that  all sounds confusing and if you followed it, good for you.   It was much more of a challenge than we all expected I think.

After a few weeks, or maybe it was only days, I felt that the glue was really being strained and thought that being a rubberband, which has more flexibility, would be a better thought.  So I stretched myself and tried to accommodate to the ever increasing demands of the job.  But it seemed that the rubberband had to become bigger and bigger and bigger to make those accommodations.  All the while it was growing though, it was also reaching it's point of snapping.  

Even with detailed explanations and a deep summoning of patience on a daily basis there were just those that did not grasp the fact that they were being absorbed into another culture and that pointing out that they had never done something or done it "that way" before was getting old.  

I told myself mid-year that it was time to lower my expectations.   It wasn't going to take a few months, it would take a full year of going through all the processes and events that usually transpire during the school year.  

But I wondered nonetheless, at why in the classroom, the teachers expected their students to acclimate to their way of doing things within a short amount of time, yet they were digging their heels in as to how our daily routine transpired.   

Should I need to remind you in November, January and March that attendance has to be done by 9:00?  Should I have to remind you in December, February and April that it would be nice to let me know if a parent has let you know that a student is on vacation so I don't try calling them at home, or interrupting your class?  Should I have to send e-mails reminding you that if you use the last of something in the supply room you need to let me know so I can reorder before the next person "really needs" something?  And I know it all sounds like little stuff, but it builds and builds and builds and just like the rubberband you snap or you snap at someone and that's never a good thing.

So right about the time of Spring Break, during which I used some of my vacation days, I came to the conclusion that not only did I need to lower my expectations, but I needed to lower my standards too.  

I was seeing, all around me, people who were basically not putting the effort into making things go smoothly - and getting away with it - and I thought I should do the same.  But it's hard to lower your standards.  Even if your boss tells you that you "shouldn't expect people to do their job as good as you do yours"!  Is that what it's come to?  

So, did I leave every day at 3:30 like I'm supposed to?  No.  There were days when I stayed later or came in earlier to get something done that just wasn't going to happen during regular working hours with all the interruptions.  

Did I turn away the students and the teachers who needed my assistance with something when I was right in the middle of my own work?  No.

Did I get frustrated and voice my opinion sometimes maybe a bit too conspicuously - you bet your ass I did. And what did that accomplish?  Nothing.  It only made me realize that the rubberband stretches only so far and that if I was going to hold anything together it would be with humble twine and the ends would definitely be frazzled.  

I think that maybe this summer I will take that rubberband and make it into a sling shot and when someone tells me in September, as I know they will, that "that's not the way we used to do it", I will pick up the sling shot and one of the marbles that I will have surely lost from hearing that statement again, and bean them right between the eyes.  

Just kidding.  But maybe I'll hand them a rubberband and tell them that it's time that they learned to be more flexible.  I've got the whole summer without staff around to contemplate that.

Friday, June 1 - Old Words?

Recently I had to write down an account of a situation that happened in our office.  I can't go into details about it, but I was questioned by two people (younger than me) who read my account concerning my use of the word "fetch".  

I said:  So-and-so went to fetch so-and-so.  

After the second person questioned me on my use of the word “fetch”, I felt I needed to explain that I didn't mean it derogatorily, and added that I am old and I use words like that.  

I asked my husband and my daughter if they thought that it was strange to use that word and they both said no. Of course they could just be trying to get me to stop worrying about it.

Then I saw this as I was trying to pin something on Pinterest – 

And tonight I noticed that I-Phone, of which I have one, under Settings says “Fetch New Data”. (Not a picture of my phone)

Guess I’m not as antiquated as I thought.

Friday, May 25 - Will It Count?

We had our Memorial Day program at school today.  It's a day that is filled with activities and assemblies for the students to learn about the significance and to commemorate Memorial Day.  The students do patriotic themed crafts, participate in a sing-a-long, go to gym boot camp, package treats to send to our servicemen, visit a museum of armed services paraphernalia donated by members of the community for this day, and more.  It's an educational as well as fun event that begins with an opening flag ceremony, very brief "words" from local and state dignitaries that have been invited to attend, and the band and the chorus perform one selection each.

On the answering machine this morning.....

"Hello.  My son said that today was going to be a fun day at school and he didn't want to participate.  If I let him stay home, will it count as an absence since it's going to be a fun day?  Here is my number.  If I don't hear back from you I'll know it's okay to keep him home."

God Bless America!