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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Yesterday one of my little darlings received a paper cut while passing a worksheet down the aisle.  He asked to go to the office to get a band-aid.  Being the ex-boy scout that I am, I was prepared.

“I have band-aids in my desk.  I also have some Neosporin.”

We fixed up the damaged digit and went about our business.

During my planning period today I was summoned to the office.  It seems that this morning the young man asked one of his teachers if he could come to my room to change his band-aid.  The teacher asked why he wanted to go to my room.  The kid told her it was because I had Neosporin.

This teacher is one of the ones who doesn’t do her job, and I’ve called her on it in the past.  She doesn’t care for me…

So she turned me in to the administration.  The administration has a placed a reprimand in my file.  Dispensing medication without authorization.

When they told me they had to write me up my response was, “Kiss my ass.  I’ll sign the form, but you can kiss my ass.”  Direct quote.  Probably not wise, but wtf?, I’ve got tenure…



by the way, no we don’t have a nurse.  we can’t afford the luxury.  the main office receptionist is the “trained” staff that dispenses meds…

Mom and Dad enter my room.

“Good morning, I’m Mr. W, who do you belong to?”

“Our son is B.H.”

“Great.  B is one  of the  good ‘uns, have a seat and we’ll talk.”

Blah, blah, blah, yada, yada.

Dad says, “We got that letter you sent home about B being tardy.  He says that 5 minutes isn’t  long enough to get from his third period to your fourth period.  Is there something we can do about that?”

I reply, “Really?  He doesn’t have enough time?  Follow me.”

We go out into the hall.  I point at a door that is maybe, on the outer edge of my estimate, 20 feet from my room.

“That is B’s third period class.”

Dad, “Wellllllll now.  I guess we got something to talk about tonight.”

I bet he isn’t tardy anymore…

Parent/Teacher conferences today.

When you meet the parent, sometimes you have more sympathy for the kid.

That’s all I’m gonna say ’bout that.

Our gym is set up with two levels of seating on each side of the court.  During pep assemblies the upper level on the west side is for freshmen and the lower level is for juniors.  The upper level on the east side is for sophomores and the lower level is for seniors.  Yesterday afternoon was the homecoming queen coronation assembly.  My duty station is on the stairs on the east side.

Halfway through a fight broke out in the junior section.  It turned into a big fight.  Security and teachers swarmed the area.  About the time they got that under control another fight broke out in the sophomore section.  My duty partner and I headed into that melee.  A kid took a swing at me and I defended myself.  A quick jab, a head-lock and a body slam.  Before we re-gained control there were 6 or 7 other fights that broke out.  1600+ kids with 92 teachers and 4 campus cops, we were pretty outnumbered.  It was ugly.

It turns out most of the student body saw my altercation.  The word is out, Mr. W don’t take no crap, he’ll take you out.  Some of my hard-ass kids looked at me a little different.  I hope it was a bit more respect, and not trying to size up their chances.

I’m told it was captured on cell phones and is on youtube.  If you happen to see it, I’m the big bald guy in the red shirt…

I’ve got a student in class who is really getting on my nerves.  Every day I have to remind him to get out his notebook.  Where’s your pencil?  Wake up.  Open your textbook and do some work.  You get the idea.

At least every other day we make a trip out to the hall. 

You’re smart enough to do this.  Make an effort.  You don’t want to fail. 
Why are you always on my ass?  When am I gonna use this in real life?
C’mon man, you’re not dumb.  You can do this.
Man, this is whack.

I’ve called home.  His parents aren’t a lot of help.  He plays football.  I’ve talked to the coach. 

He’s failing.  He is smart enough to do this.  He drives me nuts.  How can I reach this kid?

On football game days the players give their jerseys to a staff member; teacher, custodian, lunch worker, principal.  It’s an honor to get a kid’s jersey. 

Today this kid comes up to me and hands me his jersey.

“Mr. W, all my other teachers let me sleep in class.  Nobody else care’s if I pass or not.  Will you wear my jersey today?”

I’ll wear that jersey, damn straight.  And I’m smooth enough to wipe my eyes as I pulled it over my head.

Every now and then, as a teacher, you get the thrill of seeing a student GET IT.

When it happens, you rejoice.

Today I rejoiced.

We were working on conditional statements, converse statements, and biconditional statements.  One of the examples I used with the class went thusly:

A teenager is a person who is over 12 years old.  Write the three statements and determine if this is a valid definition.  If it isn’t give a counter-example.

When I asked for a volunteer to read their answers one young lady volunteered immediately.

If you are a teenager then you are older than 12.
If you are older than 12 then you are a teenager.
You are a teenager if and only if you are older than 12.
This is false.  I’m older than 12 and I’m not a teenager.

Very good.  But how old are you anyway?

I’m 19.

But you just said you weren’t a teenager.

I’m not.

(confused look from the teacher) Huh?  What do you mean you aren’t a teenager?

I don’t live with my parents anymore.  I have an apartment.

(confused look from the teacher continues)  What does that have to do with it?

Teenagers live with their parents.

But, you’re nineTEEN.  That makes you a TEENager.

(light bulb illuminates)  OH!  That’s what TEENage means!  OH!  I am still a teenager!  Cool, I thought I was like getting old.

At least they’re learning sumthin’…

Last year the administration in my school decided we needed some type of “in-school” tutoring, or, as it was known in my day, study hall.  There was much discussion, many attempts at working out the schedule, much gnashing of teeth.  Finally the committee that had been appointed to figure this out (and ask me how many teachers were included.  go ahead ask me.  that’s right, none) came up with a final schedule.

You need a little background before I continue this tale.  Our negotiated agreement, a.k.a. our contract, states that teachers must be in the building 15 minutes before the first bell.  For the past umpteen years the first bell has been at 7:50 and the tardy bell for first period has rung at 7:55.  With this set-up teachers reported at 7:35.  We stay 15 minutes after the last bell, which rings at 2:50, so we are free to leave at 3:05.  Now, most teachers get there before 7:35 and most stay after 3:05, but contractually thats the length of our day.  Ask us nice and we have no problem being flexible.  Tell us with an attitude though…


The new schedule for this year was going to have the first bell at 7:45 and the tardy bell for “zero” hour at 7:50.  The association, a.k.a. union pointed out to the administration that this was a violation of our negotiated agreement, that they can’t start school until 7:50.

An aside.  I know many of you are thinking, what’s the big deal about 5 minutes?  Well, if you’re a teacher you know that if you give the administration 5 minutes, it won’t be long and they’ll want an hour.  We just wanted them to work within the negotiated agreement.  If they can’t do that, then why negotiate an agreement in the first place…

Well, the schedule went back to committee.  Eventually they decided that the tardy bell would ring at 7:50 and they would just tell the kids that they had to be in class by then.


You can imagine how that worked out.

The principal has developed a way around his problem.  The 5 assistant principals are placed in strategic areas around the campus.  At 7:45 they each have an air-horn that they blast for 15 seconds.  This is the kids cue to head to class.  When I asked Mr. Principal about this his response was…

are you ready for this?

with an innocent look on his face…

he says,

“We’re not ringing a bell.”

I am the web-master for our school.  One of my duties is to train teachers on how to create their own webpages.  The district has online sign-up for PD sessions and the PD person in the central office set up a session for today.  I don’t have access to who had signed up, so for the past week, every day, I have sent out school-wide emails telling the teachers who are attending to inform me of what they want to use for a userid and password.  I have pointed out that I need to have this info ahead of time so I can set up their accounts and be able to use the session time to actually teach them something.  About a dozen teachers responded.

3:30 rolls around.  I go down to the computer lab.  There are 30 teachers there.  17 of them need me to set up their account.  WTF? 


[What Would My Loyal Readers Do?}

A.  Go ahead and take the whole hour to set up the new accounts, and get no teaching done at all.
B.  Explain to the 17 who didn’t get me the information ahead of time that we will set up a session at a later date for them.
C.  Completely ignore the 17 idiots and start the session.

I chose C.

I began the session by giving out the URL for the sign-in page.  I told them when they got to that page to type in the userid and password they emailed to me.

“I don’t have a userid or password, what should I do?”

“Go home.”

“Go home?”


“Can’t you set up my account now?”

“No.  Go home.”

“Well, I never…”

There is not a day that goes by that at least one of my colleagues makes me wonder how in the hell they received a college degree.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before, but I’m the VP of the local teacher’s association.  In this capacity I intervene when a teacher feels they are being treated unfairly by the administration.

A teacher came to me this morning with their paycheck stub.  The conversation follows:

Teacher:  I’m being underpaid.
Me:  What makes you think that?
Teacher:  If I take the first line on my paycheck and multiple it by 12 it doesn’t equal the amount that is listed on our salary schedule.
Me: (at this point I’m thinking that the payroll department didn’t bump him up a step for one more year of service.  this is a fairly common occurence at the beginning of the year)  How much are you short?
Teacher:  4 cents.
Me:  4 cents?
Teacher:  Yes.
Me:  Well, your annual salary doesn’t divide evenly by 12, its always off a few cents.  Your July check next year will have the “extra” 4 cents on it.
Teacher:  So I’m being underpaid every month and I’m supposed to wait until July to get caught up?
Me: (confused look)  Uhmmm, you realize we’re talking about one-fourth of a PENNY per month, right?
Teacher:  It is the principle.  They should pay me that 4 cents on the first check, not the last one.
Me:  (blank stare)
Teacher:  I want to file a grievance.
Me:  (blank stare)
Teacher:  Can I have the form please?
Me:  (blank stare)
Teacher:  (defiant stare)
Me:  No.  I’m not going to file a grievance over 4 cents.
Teacher:  Well.  That’s not very professional.
Me:  Seriously?  Seriously?  Get out of my room…

Let there be light.

All the bathroom lightbulbs were replaced overnight.