Too Cool for School


Marcus the Robot

God has blessed us. We got rain, and lots of it in a 48-hour span. The temperatures have dropped, and with it the gas prices. At least, the gas prices on our side of town. On my way to work each morning, I pass about four gas stations that have reasonable prices Anyway, I have named this corner of city "Little Burleson", because the gas prices are so low. Burleson has the cheapest gas around, usually a good 15 - 20 cents below what it is everywhere else in the metroplex. If gas is so cheap in Dallas, I bet it's really cheap in Burleson. Ok, enough about gas.
For the theatre classes have been working on their talk shows. The talk shows are designed so that students get a taste of acting without having to memorize a script, and we all get to know a lot of random facts about each other. . Yesterday, a kid named *Marcus brought a robot costume for his talk show. The costume was pretty genius, actually, a couple of boxes, some piping, antennae, the works. Once Marcus had wiggled into his costume, however, it became apparent that he had last worn this costume in 2nd grade. Marcus finally waddled onto the stage and tried to read his script as the talk-show host, but could not see because his head was too big. He refused help, so I got to watch the kid host a talk show with one lens of his glasses hanging out the mouth hole, and the other shoved into the back of the robot head. Classic. I sent a total of seven kids to afgter school dentention this week (It's Wednesday now), and one to the principal's office. Here are their offenses:

Kid #1: Talking uncontrollably
Kid #2: Talking uncontrollably and made comment that he wanted to "Go for the boobies" in a theatre game where he was wearing a blindfold.
Kid #3: Dropped the "F" bomb in casual conversation.
Kid#4: Talking uncontrollably, didn't do classwork, ignored warnings.
Kid #5: Harasssing Kid #4.
Kid #6: Yelled "S*&%" in front of the whole class at 7:30 am after being poked in the stomach.
Kid #7: Reading a hotrod magazine in class and, when asked to stop, told me he could do whatever he felt like doing, gosh. He was sent to the office for flipping me off after I gave him detention.

But for every detention I give out, there are ten kids that deserve to get let out of school early because they're behaving great. Like Marcus, and his too-small robot costume.

How Lucky am I?

*As always, names have been changed to protect the innocent.


"Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. " Philippians 4:13 (The Message)



Today was the first day of my second year, but the amount of wisdom I have at my disposal now compared to last comparison.

Last year:
Wore my new pretty wrap-around sweater with my favorite black trousers and cute heels. Tried to appear as put-together as possible while dropping piles of paper as I walked across the room.

This year:
Wore the same khaki pants I always wear...and tennis shoes. Skipped the paper handouts that I knew would end up in the trash. Conveyed my basic expectations while getting close enough to their faces for them to smell my breath.

Last year:
Brought my lunch and didn't get to eat it.

This year:
Had a double-decker oatmeal cream pie and a diet coke for lunch while walking around the cafeteria, reminding students they needed to sit where we tell them to.

Last year:
Sat in meetings and daydreamed, imagining that if I really needed to know this information, I could ask a coworker.

This year:
Sat in meetings and daydreamed, knowing that they had already e-mailed the information three times.

Last year:
Tried to look scary with mean facial expressions.

This year:
Tried to be myself, which is scary in its own way.

Last year:
Working under the rule, "Don't smile until Christmas".

This year:
Working under the rule, "Approach a student like you like them".

Last year:
Flirted with cute coach in the copy room.

This year:
Told Coach Hottie to hurry up so I could use the copy machine.

And that's the difference between being a first year teacher and a second year teacher.


I'm Not Afraid

Tonight, I passed out schedules to the sixth graders. It was a special night at our school, when the kids could come and try out their locker combinations, find all of their classes,and meet some of their teachers. I realized that they are much more afraid of me than I am of them. They're eleven! Some of them haven't lost all of their baby teeth. They've never used a locker before, and our school is a confusing maze of up and down-only staircases and identical hallways. Even I can't find the teacher's lounge most of the time. I don't blame them for being afraid. Helping them deal with their fears causes me to forget my own fear that junior high kids will be too rowdy and immature for me to deal with. Right now, they look like innocents. Of course, they are not totally innocent.

My classroom will soon be permeated with the smell of Axe body spray.

There will be nose-picking...

Doodling in class...

And it's been proven that adolescents often have the same type of emotional responses as an adults who are mentally ill.**


that's how I roll.

*Something they told us in teacher inservice.



I would just like to offer my condolences to all of the teachers who start school tomorrow. I don't start school for a whole week! But come early next June, when I'm still in school and you're not, well, who's gonna be laughing then?

I'd also like to let everyone know that my niece Lindy is in good condition (as good as could be expected) after an emergency appendectomy yesterday. They're keeping her in the hospital until later this week because the appendix did rupture and that kind of thing causes infections. She's in pain from the surgery and she won't eat now, but you can count on my sister to make sure she gets taken care of. Actually, the one we should be praying for is my sister because she's got to go back to school this week, too (She's a P.E. teacher). All of this has made me SO glad that we live in a time when we can have emergency appendectomies. Lindy's is so precious to all of us. How can I describe it? Something like an appendix bursting could be deadly, right? But now doctors deal with it and it's completely routine. I'm so glad that she's going to be alright.

Everyone in Burleson--great to see you again! Looks like the new church is working out great. Hang in there, everyone. You're in my prayers.


Things we do to stay out of trouble

I was in Starbucks tonight, completely surrounded by smart people. Being there, I felt, well, smart. I could've felt dumb, but chose not to. There were a couple of guys from India beside me, and they spoke Indian half of the night, and English the other. Well, I'm not really sure you could call it English. It was more like mathematical jargon mumbo-jumbo, something about IE = IC. Honestly, they said the word "pi" a lot. I really think that's the only time I've ever been out to a restaurant and heard people conversing happily about mathematical equations. Behind me sat a man with a laptop so technologically advanced it made my HP look like a peashooter. I don't know what he was writing, but he looked very happy about it. I bet he was typing an e-mail to all his friends, "I own got the most technologically advanced laptop in Starbucks!" You could tell he was smart because he wore glasses (A common misconception: that people who wear glasses are smart.) In front of me was a group of collegiates poring over a Macbook. They were editing a video, apparently for a class. And on the other side, another group of students, whining that this study session probably didn't cover all of the bases, but it was enough to get them an A. They also had laptops. But it was ok. I had my laptop, too! I didn't have to feel left out. If my laptop battery failed, though, I would probably have been kicked out of Starbucks for being too pedestrian.

My first real day of teacher inservice was spent in a lot of really boring meetings. Teachers are required to serve a certain number of inservice hours per year, and the districts like to eat those hours up with a lot of powerpoint presentations and passing out free pens. Today, I got a total of six different handbooks: A school handbook, a substitute teaching handbook, an gradebook handbook, a district handbook, safety handbook, and salary/benefits handbook. Do you think I will read them unless I need them? I don't even read the handbook for electronic devices that might burn my face off. Maybe that's unwise, but it's honest. Frankly, if I'm dumb enough to stand on a rolling chair on top of a desk and fall off the desk, then reading that handbook is not going to change anything. Not unless the handbook could break my fall.

We have to sign for every one of those handbooks saying that we got one and it was explained to us. All of this is so that we can never legally say, "I didn't know that!" and sue the district. Could you sue on the grounds that you didn't read your handbook because it was too boring?

God must be laughing at us a little bit, sometimes. The things we do.


What a Week!?

What a week, yup! What a week! I could tell it was going to be busy, with me actually having to pencil in people who called me to hang out. I'm not bragging, because it wasn't all fun and games. Some of it was quite adult-responsible. Every night I had something, every day I was a little bit sore. For instance, this week I went rock climbing for the first time ever. I love it! If only it wasn't so expensive! Ask me about going sometime when you're bored. If I'm not broke, I will definitely be all over that. Also, I had some important talks with friends about missions at Skillman and my involvement there. Skillman is in the midst of a missions focus right now, and we've invited advice from ACU leaders as well as looking at our members' viewpoints, all culminating to a big meeting at the end of this month. It's something I'm praying about because we live in a city that needs change, in a country that needs change, in a world that needs change. To ignore any of those roles would be wrong, but to try to solve every problem might be wrong, too. Pray about it, and pray big! My viewpoint about missions has been shaped in part by my year spent at the Burleson church plant, Christ Journey. That was such a special ministry to be part of, and the Christ Journey is definitely a special place. I've brought church planting up to several members, including Robert and Alys, Charme, and others. I don't yet know how others feel about a church plant, (in the Village) but I'm interested to find out. That's been on my heart and I can't sleep at night.

Another reason I can't sleep at night is because last night was the elementary school lock-in at church. Lock in? That's a good name. Another good name would be, "All night candy buffet". At around 3 am, I spotted Riley unwrapping four mini tootsie roll pops and attempting to put them all in her mouth at the same time. (CAVITIEEEES!) Then, about 45 minutes later, I heard screaming out in the hallway. I arrived to find Angela gripping a bruise on the back of her knee, several little girls saying, "He didn't mean to hit you!" and our Riley, lying in the midst of it all, dead asleep. I later found out that someone had tried to squish Riley with a giant exercise ball while she was sleeping and that two kids had screamed in her ears. Riley hadn't budged. So much for the sugar rush. It was all over at about 7:30 am, when the last three little boys were picked up, just as guys started showing up for the men's prayer breakfast!

I did a lot this week, including going to my new classroom for the first time. Sadly, the room was a mess! I even found a few paper bags with the word, "Crack" legibly written in crayon in the side. Inside the bags were chalk dust, which spilled all over the floor when I opened them. When I told Renee she said, "Are you sure it wasn't really crack?" If it had been crack, what a great hiding place! Who knew that if you actually wrote the word, "Crack" on the bag, nobody would think it was really crack! Genious!

I'll have more about my classroom later. Until then, I leave you with this question: Did you ever have a boyfriend or girlfriend in elementary school? I ask this because there were two fourth graders at the lock-in who seemed very...close. Trying to remember that time in my life, I remember I was in love with this high school guy who played saxophone in the band and had a curly mullet. He used to tease me a lot when he saw me. He was a cousin of my friend Kristin. Everytime he teased me I'd hit him and give him a surly face, then say something sour. What he did not know is that I loooved him. Some 15 years later, the saxophone no longer appeals to me. A good mullet is hard to find. But one thing remains: (comment has been removed by its author) Quotes