March 18, 2006

Death Won't Get You Out of an Inservice?

My Auntie sent this joke to me recently. I am not sure she gets it the way my teacher friends and I do. Today was inservice day in our district. I'm worn out from so much nothingness. Anyway, it's a good laugh.

A teacher dies and goes to Heaven. When she gets there she meets Peter at the pearly white gates.

Peter says to her, "Welcome to Heaven. Let me give you an orientation first."

So, Peter takes her to some beautiful mansions. The teacher asks,  "Who lives here in these beautiful houses?"

"These are for doctors. They did a lot of good on Earth so they get a nice mansion," replied Peter. Peter takes the teacher to some more mansions. These were more magnificent than the first.

"Wow, who lives here?"

"These mansions are for social workers. They did a lot of good on Earth but didn't make a lot of money so they get a better house."

Peter took the teacher to some more mansions. These were the most gorgeous homes she had ever seen. They had huge columns, well manicured lawns, beautiful stained glass windows, the works!

"These are the most beautiful homes I have ever seen," exclaimed the teacher, "who lives here?!"

"Teachers live here," said Peter, "they did much good on Earth and received very little money so they get the besthouses in all of Heaven."

"But where are all of the teachers?" inquired the teacher.

Peter answered, "Oh, they'll be back soon. They're all in Hell at an in-service."

March 17, 2006

Holidays Middle School Teachers Hate...

Well, this teacher hates holidays, anyway! There are some teachers out there who embrace holidays and their celebrations, and those teachers are usually primary trained--not secondary trained. That's just my general observation. I wish I could relax and enjoy those days of the year when students are just off the hook crazy and weird. But unfortunately, these holidays are also quite pointless. Although once based on religious holidays, they are now seriously POINTLESS. Pointless. Got it? So here are my most dreaded holidays.

St. Patrick's Day. Might as well start with today. To many adults--even those who aren't Irish--this day means a massive drinking binge. To middle schoolers it means they wear green and pinch others who aren't wearing green. Unfortunately, even if one is wearing green, somebody is always ready to debate if it is enough green to exempt you from the pinching tradition. It's a bully's dream come true. For the second year in a row I inadvertantly left the house on St. Patrick's Day without a stitch of green. Oh holy crap. I dare any student to pinch me, but how many times a day must I answer the question, "Miss! Where's your green?" My eyes are green. Isn't that good enough? So, my day started with a hunt for anything green. I settled on a small green star sticker for my check and two green pipe cleaners twisted into a bracelet. That's about as much enthusiasm I can muster for the dumbest holiday of all. I'm wearing green...uh, why?

Valentine's Day. I used to think this holiday was to sucker consumers into thinking they have to prove their love to their sweethearts with cutesy boxes of chocolates and teddy bears sold at an exorbitant price. After teaching middle schoolers, I realize it's really the perfect holiday for them. It's mostly girls giving their friends these sickingly sweet gifts, and it truly makes sense since I don't know what adult woman who really cares about all those cutesy things. (Ah, flashy jewelry is another things entirely.) Now, it might not seem like such a big deal, but when my classroom suddenly looks like the Hallmark store exploded, and everyone is hopped up on chocolates and conversation hearts, I realize we might as well make it a day off for all we accomplish with dreams of adolescent love suffocating us.

Halloween. This one is a no-brainer. Kids all strung out on sugar dressed up to act stupid. Ah, a perfect day for middle-schoolers. At their age they are really too old to go trick-or-treating, but it's still an important holiday. Oh sure, I dress up, too, but mostly out of peer pressure. My disdain for these stupid-ass holidays can go pretty much undetected, but if I refuse to dress up, I will most certainly be labeled the cranky old English teacher on staff. I still have a few more years before I can take on that position. What I hate even more than Halloween is the week after Halloween when students are STILL high on sugar and sneak it constantly in class. Some don't even sneak...they just think it's their God-given right to eat it--as if there were a moratorium on the "No Food or Drink" rule the week after Halloween. I call it the "Halloween Hassle." I could maybe overlook it if they'd share their Milky Ways, but you know they won't.

I know I sound so cynical. I used to enjoy these holidays when I was younger. I am not sure what changed it, but I think it might have to do with silliness being magnified 100X. It squelched my personal fun. That's too's nice to have a day of fun sometimes.