Friday, April 30

Some people get to have drinks with umbrellas.  We get cupcakes!  


Friday, April 23 - The Apology

This was shared with me by a teacher who had reprimanded a third grader for hitting another child.  She had him write a letter of apology.

Dear .............................,

I'm sorry for touching you.  I could
made another choice.  1 count backward from 10
2 think of something plesant. 3 Drain my
anger out 4 find somthing to punch.  But
for my disison was I diserve a punishm
ent, and this is my diserve missing
resses.  I know what I did is wrong
and I hope I choose something else
to do if I'm angry.  You are a great
friend and I respect that .  I know you
will be a great leader and make the
world a better place.  Follow good deeds
and orders and you will be a great
leader.  I bileve in you, forever.

Wish you luck!

PS Hope you find this note exepible
for the apoligey.


Friday, April 16 - What's It Gonna Cost Ya?

After those hand blow dryers were installed in the student bathrooms to cut down on costs - and mess - one little girl came out of the bathroom and told the aftercare workers -

"Do you know they charge a quarter for a paper towel now?"

If she put a quarter in she'd be very disappointed.  It's empty.  It's the Kotex machine that hasn't been used in years due to grade level changes in the school.  It's still there on the wall though.  Much easier that way.  Then no one has to patch the wall, or paint it for that matter.  Just a piece of metallic history.

Friday, April 9 - I See Dead Squirrels

A call to the office:

Teacher:  "Just wanted to report there's a dead squirrel next to the gazebo."

Secretary:  "Okay.  We'll get the custodian to remove it."

Secretary calls the custodian on the walkie-talkie:  "There's a dead squirrel next to the gazebo."

Custodian:  "Okay.  I'll take care of it."

Custodian calls the secretary:  "Where did you say the squirrel was?"

Secretary:  "Between the school and the gazebo.  Why?"

Custodian:  "I don't see any dead squirrels."

Secretary:  "Let me call the teacher."

Secretary to teacher:  "Where did you see the squirrel?  The custodian can't find it."

Teacher to class:  "Class, where did the squirrel go?"

Class:  "The custodian took it."

Teacher to secretary:  "They said the custodian took it."

Secretary:  "He didn't take it.  He can't find it."

Teacher:  "Well, they TOLD me it was dead."

What I wanted to say:   "And you called without looking?"

Friday, March 26 - Budgets, Damn Budgets

It's been an interesting month.  I've attended three Board of Education meetings in the last three weeks, all of them dealing with our school budget. 

Due to major cuts in state financial aid, our BoE had to come up with $2.5M in cuts.  Half of that was a surprise and they had less than 28 hours to come up with sufficient cuts to make up the difference. 

My job could be in jeopardy, but thus far I am safe.  Some of the cuts that were made are still being reviewed and of course, if they should be reinstated, the money will have to come from elsewhere. 

I won't go into much more detail other than to say that the Governor of New Jersey and the State Commissioner of Education are very good at putting out propaganda.  I dare say that they've not had very good teachers of their own otherwise they would realize that their math skills are sadly lacking.  Not to mention the failure to give accurate and complete information to the public.

The final budget hearing is this Wednesday night and I will know definitively at that point if I will still be employed after this contract year.

What scares me though is one of the cuts that they've already made.  They've cut the copy clerk.  Yes, our district has a centralized copy center that our teachers send their copywork to.  The clerk takes care of the copywork for our four schools.  Our individual school copiers are supposed to be used for emergency purposes only.  I repeat "supposed" to be. 

The plan is that they will send the two big copiers to the two biggest schools, and the two smaller schools, one of which is the one I work in, will be using their own machines. 

I asked my principal who exactly would be doing this copywork and he said that he would have the teachers do their own.  This is the plan for the district.

Now here is why I'm scared.  I have a lot of respect for teachers, but sometimes I find that they do not necessarily make the best students.  Especially when the job is out of their comfort zone or expertise.  They will have to be "trained" in the proper use of the copy machine.  This will be easy for some and beyond the dignity of others. 

When I first started working in this office there was a copier in the faculty room for the teachers.  At one point someone came into the office and said it wasn't working.  They had been trying to make an overhead and the overheads just kept disappearing in the machine.  So they gave up and came to ask us to make one on the office copier.  Upon inspection of the faculty copier, it would no longer make copies of any kind so the service tech had to be called.  When he brought up the hunk of plastic that was found inside the machine we could only joke that someone had been trying to make jewelry in the copier. 

Now there will be terms like "collated" and "uncollated", "double-sided from double-sided" and "double-sided from single-sided",  "sorted"or "stacked".  These terms, while simple in theory need you to really think through the job.  And yes, they have had to indicate some of these on the forms that they are now sending to the copy center, but the trick now will be to actually match it up with the function of the machine.

I am scared because some of them are having difficulty operating a coffee pot without making a mess and now they'll be expected to operate a machine worth thousands of dollars. 

Do you think I'm worrying for nothing?  How long before this becomes part of my job?

Friday, March 19 - Messages for the Principal

File this under "Things I Never Thought I Would Have to Write in a Message to My Principal":

Mr. Smith sent Joseph to the office because Joseph grabbed Henry by the breasts and twisted them.

Friday, March 12 - K-Cups

We got a new coffee pot for the staff to use.  It's one of the Keurig pots and we basically got the pot for free from the supplier and each teacher orders their own box of K-cups that they keep in their room and brew when they want.  I sent out a brief e-mail to the staff with some guidelines regarding the use of the coffee pot, including not leaving the water chamber empty for the next person, clean-up, etc.  The "goodwill" that this new machine brought lasted about one day. 

"Someone's not throwing their K-cup away when they're done" I was told.  (So you take it out and throw it away when you throw yours away.)

"They're going to burn out the heating element if they don't put water in" was another comment.  (The machine is programmed not to let that happen.  If it breaks, we'll call the company." 

"We need a garbage can near the coffee pot so we remember to throw away the K-cups."  (The garbage can is 20 feet away.  Why should the custodian have to empty a wastebasket into a garbage can in the same room?)

I wonder what a teacher in their classroom would do if they put a new, let's see.........., a new electric pencil sharpener in their room and they started getting complaints like.....

"Tommy's point broke off his pencil in the sharpener and he left it there." 

"Cindy didn't empty the sharpener when she was done.  She said the garbage can was too far away."

I think they'd get tired of these complaints really fast.

And so did I.

So here is the e-mail I sent to the staff in an effort to keep it humorous:

Subject:  K-Cups

No, this is not the start of some dirty joke – however, I’ve been “notified” (several times) that someone is leaving their K-Cups in the coffee pot for the next person to throw away. Since you can bring in your K-Cups from home if you have them, I’m sharing this with everyone and not pointing any fingers.

This is new and I’m sure we’ll all get better at it.

You know I really don’t want to have to be the “Coffee Police” because then I’d also have to remind you to fill the water reservoir up when it gets low and don’t leave that for the next person to do.

Okay, done now. Have a great day!!!

Coffee anyone?

Friday, February 26 - Multi-tasking

Bits and pieces of conversations filter across my desk usually when I’m multi-tasking. By multi-tasking I mean answering the phone, pushing the doorbell to let someone in, and possibly also writing out a late pass all at the same time. First thing in the morning and the last half hour before the end of school are the busiest times closely followed by lunch times.

People come and go on a regular basis and it just amazes me what parents are willing to do for their kids today. I think we enable them by letting them use the telephone. I know when I was in school (we’re talking the 60’s and early 70’s), you wouldn’t think to ask to use the phone to call home for something you might have forgotten. Sure, if you got sick, or injured, or had some kind of “accident” the school nurse might reach out to your parents, but there were no phone calls made by students.

Even when my kids were in school (and they’re not yet into their 30’s), the phone was to be used for emergencies only. Not these days. At least not in our school. The students are allowed to call home for just about anything. And they do.

This is why I was extremely annoyed, disturbed, pissed off, last week when we had an emergency early dismissal due to snow and I got reamed out by a parent for not letting her child use the phone in the office.

That day was a continual “multi-tasking” day as the phones hardly stopped ringing and there were drop-in parents that came to pick up their children. I’m surprised I even got to eat most of my lunch.

But rather than vent anymore about that, here is a snippet of a conversation that went on in the office while I was busy with something else –

“Are you into French and Nazi’s?”

Hmmm, maybe I’m glad I missed that one.

Friday, February 19 - Wacky Holidays

We post our daily announcements on a dry erase board behind my desk because 9 times out of 10 the office staff is either on the phone or dealing with some other morning emergency when the announcements are made and when asked about them later in the day, as we sometimes are, we found that we weren't able to answer because we didn't hear them.  So this has worked out quite nicely even though it means updating on a daily basis. 

When there's nothing of importance going on during a particular day - no trips, assemblies, special events - I visit a website that lists wacky holidays and, if it's appropriate enough for our school age level, I'll write that on the board.  It sometimes provides for a little chuckle when the announcer reads it for the first time.

For instance there were a couple of holidays announced this week.  National Battery Day (Without which we wouldn't have hand-held video games, cell phones, and flashlights to name a few) - get a charge out of that one!!!

Then there was Chocolate Mint Day.  No specific reason for it, but it does provoke conversation and made all the more sweeter when you receive a chocolate mint.  Yes it was a slow week as far as activities go.

But the biggest kick I got out of it this week was when we posted Random Acts of Kindness Day.  We thought it might encourage some to be a little kinder during the day. 

I had a teacher let me know that I could honor her with a Random Act of Kindness.   She said "if you're looking to do something nice for someone you can start with me". 

Ummmm, that kind of defeats the meaning of RANDOM - don't you think!

Friday, February 12 - Snow Day Rituals

Earlier this week the weather prognosticators were forecasting a nor'easter for our area.  Of course there was much talk about it in the office.   Would we really get the snow?  When would it start?  How much do you think we'll get?  Do you think they'll close school?  Do you think we'll have more than one day off?  Yes, it was buzzing with thoughts of a possible snow day (or two).

The conversation took a turn when someone brought up snow day rituals.  For anyone who lives in a warmer climate year round you might not be familiar with these, but here are several that were discussed.  (You're supposed to do these things to get a snow day, but they'll only work (ha!) if there's actually snow forecasted.)

You can........

- Wear your pajamas inside out.

- Wear your pajamas backwards.

- Wear your pajamas inside out and backwards.

- Put a plastic spoon under your pillow.

- Put a metal spoon under your pillow.

- Put a metal spoon upside-down under your pillow.

- Flush ice cubes down the toilet.

- Leave a bucket of ice cubes on the front porch.

Any or all of the above may or may not bring about a snow day.  You know they're only superstitions.

Now, I don't know how many students or staff actually did any of these things but we wound up with not one, but two snow days starting Wednesday.  Tack that onto a planned four day weekend and we've had quite a little mid-winter vacation. 

Of course, these days will be added onto the end of the school year for the teachers and the students, but I don't care, because as a twelve-month employee I will have to be there in June anyway. 

My daughter who teaches in Delaware - a state further south than where I live I might add - will have had a 10-day break because they were already out of school on snow days when the second storm hit.  And after being cooped up indoors for so long, this is what will happen..........

You put on your wings and your tutu and you shovel snow.  I think this should be a snow day requirement  for anyone who wears their pajamas inside-out backwards upsidedown, whatever.  Flush some ice cubes down the toilet, get out your Halloween costume and be prepared.  You could end up on the internet!

Friday, February 5th - I'm a Little Worried

Things to worry about this week:

The fact that there are two 8-foot tables in the hallway covered with items from the Lost and Found that don't seem to belong to anybody. (We're talking probably a good portion of the Children's Department at WalMart.)

The fifth grade girl who still skips down the hallway. (They're going to eat her alive in 6th grade!)

The fourth grade boy who, despite several visits with the principal, still tries to "kiss the girls". (His shenanigans are "escalating" to inappropriate behavior with a pencil.)

The first outbreak of head lice for this school year. (And the fact that the child sat on the upholstered chair across the counter from me.)

The head of maintenance who won't respond on the walkie-talkie when the security company calls to say that we have an alarm going off. (Oh really? Is that what that is???)

The forecast of snow during the morning commute. (How many more teachers can do a 360 on their way to work. We had three last week. Will we break the record without breaking any bones?)

Getting that 5 a.m. call that we're having a delayed opening and wondering if I have the most current copy of the phone chain by my beside when the person I have to call doesn't answer and I have call the next person on the list. (Try explaining that at 5 in the morning!)

Finding out that there was a problem with report cards in November while I was out on medical leave and no one bothered to report it until this week when they're due. (And oh, did I mention the tech person is OUT OF THE COUNTRY!)

Kidding with my boss, as he's headed out the door to a budget meeting, that they'll probably want to eliminate the school clerk positions and he says dead seriously that that came up at the last meeting and they decided not too! (Geez, I was just kidding, but now you've got me a little worried!)

Friday, January 29 - Blogus Interruptus

First let me say that I weathered my second abdominal surgery within a  year and returned to work mid-December.  Since then I have been trying to decide whether to continue with this blog or not.  There were some things I needed to think about.  Mainly, what was the purpose of this blog.

I heard someone refer to it as the place where I bitch about work, and yes, I guess it is the place where I bitch about work.  But I had intended it to be something more. 

I think most people have those moments where in a given situation you say "you can't make these things up!"  These situations are not always funny, in fact, most times they're sad, and I don't mean that in a "make you cry" way.  They're sad because they usually arise from the lack of some basic human characteristic.  I find a lot of it is a lack of common sense, but we also see a lack of thoughtfulness, a lack of respect, and the mind set that "it's all about me". 

In my job I am exposed to a large number of people and thus a multitude of personalities.  I could, and I do on some occasions, let it get the best of me and get pissed off.  But there's not much I can do about that.  I've bitten my tongue so many times that it's a wonder there aren't pieces missing.   Yes, I have been known to "snap" a few times, but in my own defense, it takes an awful lot of pushing to get me there.  (And most people know to stay away from me first thing in the morning!)

So, what am I trying to do here?  I guess keeping my sanity has a lot to do with it.  I know I'm not trying to air any dirty laundry or get back at anyone.  And although I wouldn't mind not working, I'm sure not trying to lose my job.  I hope that my postings have been generic enough and free of specifics to keep it that way.  (Taking the advice of Vodkamom.)

I really didn't think that my postings would be missed as I've not gotten a lot of commenting in the past (which is okay but, hey, who doesn't need a pat on the back now and then).  But since I have heard from a few people privately I will continue with it. 

Let me just say - I make no guarantee to entertain you, but I do hope that you'll be laughing or crying or just shaking your head in disbelief when you leave here - enough so you might want to come back. 

Afterall, it's only once a week.  I can commit to that.