Friday, January 29, 2010

Down but not out

So....rough week at work. I was able to vent to Renee and John at dinner last night (holla!!), but long story short:

Our company has these "benchmarks" 4 times a year, designed (in theory) to replicate and predict how our students will perform on the FCAT, that all-important state test, in March. The problem is that the students who have been with our school for a while know that these tests basically dont mean shit (for them, anyway) and therefore don't really try on them. Like, at all.

The problem for ME, however, is that when the results come in, it looks as though I am failing miserably at my job. It is "projected" that my students (and all of 5th grade, as it turns out) will bomb the upcoming FCAT in spectacular fashion. Now mind you, last year my kids sucked on this benchmark and still kicked some FCAT ass. The difference is that LAST YEAR, we had a principal who knew us, knew our school, knew our students and knew ME. She believed in us, had our back, and trusted us when we said that our kids were on track.

Our new principal, however, does none of the above.

So when these "preliminary" results came out, let's just say that we had a meeting where she basically made us feel about THIS big. (You can't see me, but my fingers are, like, a millimeter apart.) Oh, and she p0inted out that our 5th grade scores were THE LOWEST 5th grade scores in the entire company.

OH. And she told EVERY OTHER TEAM THAT IN THE ENTIRE SCHOOL. (Yes, literally pointed out, very explicity, to every other grade, just how "low" 5th grade was....and that we were the lowest in the company.)

I cannot tell you how demoralize that is. Not only does our principal not believe in us, but she points out to EVERY OTHER GRADE just how sucky she thinks we are.

The only thing keeping me going is that I believe in my kids, and I believe in myself. My kids are working their asses off, and IF, **IF** they don't do well on the FCAT, it's not for lack of trying. It's because...well, they're low students. And a third, A THIRD. of them are ESE ("special ed" in other states). Not to be all cocky, but I was a "Star" teacher last year, which means I was a TOP performer in my company--not my school, but my COMPANY...yes, the same company in which I am now firmly at the bottom--last year. Am I a fantastic teacher? Hell no--and any teacher who tells you they are is full of shit, since any teacher, regardless of how long they've been teaching, ALWAYS has room to grow and improve. But do I do well with the kids I have, in the situation I'm in, with the resources I have, especially considering the fact that I am pretty new to the field? I'd like to think so.

Regardless of what happens in March, I'm giving everything I have, and so are my kids. I cannot possibly give any more, and neither can they.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

My bad, Officer

I just had a TOTAL Jen moment, and I had to share it with you immediately (yes, at 2 am).

So I hung out with a friend tonight, and I was on my way home (stone cold sober...thank God, as you'll see in a moment). As I approached the major intersection leading to my place, I saw cop cars with flashing lights at almost every corner of the intersection. In the right turn lane--where I needed to be--there were 2 bright flashing hot-pink lights in the road, at the top (front? head?) of the lane. I had never seen those before, and I wasn't sure exactly what they were or what they meant. I just figured I wasn't supposed to drive IN the lane--I honestly didn't realize that they meant "don't turn right." So I kind of pulled into the next lane over (which would have been the go-straight lane) and THEN turned right....

...and immediately realized why those lights had been there. There was a major accident and all lanes in that direction were completely closed and blocked off by every type of emergency vehicle known to man--including several more cop cars.

And there was no where for me to back up and/or turn around.


So I'm sitting there, with roughly 10 (no exaggeration) police, fire and rescue vehicles sitting in front of me, and roughly 6 other squad cars behind of which promptly made the "beep-beep" noise with his siren and headed towards me.


He pulled up on my passenger side (since I was in the left lane) and got out of the car. I rolled down my window.

"Ma'am, are you aware that you just completely disregarded two emergency police flares?" he asked, rather irritatedly.

"Oh, is that what those pink flashy lights were?" I asked. (Yes, I actually said "pink flashy lights.") "I'm so sorry. I've never seen those before and didn't know what they were."

"Well, what did you THINK they were there for?" he asked--and he wasn't even rude or mad now, just genuinely curious and a bit dumb-founded.

"I just figured we weren't supposed to drive in that lane," I meekly answered.

"Yes," he replied. "Don't drive in that lane because we didn't want you to go IN THIS DIRECTION."

To which I answered:

"My bad, Officer."

To which I tacked on:

"I'm really, REALLY sorry."

Now mind you, it was a Friday night at 1:30 am, and he never once asked to see my license--or even whether or not I had been drinking. I think it quickly became obvious that I wasn't drunk--just really, really stupid.

"Well," he said. "I don't know what to tell you. We're going to get this cleared up as quickly as possible--it could be 2 minutes, it could be 45."

Just then, one of the fire trucks pulled away, opening up the entrace to a corner plaza.

"Oooh!" I said, helpfully pointing it out. "Could I maybe just pull in where that guy did and just get out of your way?"

(Yes, "that guy.")

He looked at me for a moment before blowing out a big breath of air. "Yeah, whatever," he answered. (LOL. "Whatever.") "Go. And ma'am? The next time you see a whole bunch of police cars and 'pink flashy lights,' you MAY want to pay some attention."

"Yes, sir," I told him. "I'm sorry. Thank you."

By this time, he was already walking away. I distinctly heard a "Jesus Christ."

I very conscientously put on my turn signal, pulled into the far right lane and got the hell out of there.

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Only funny because it wasn't happening to me

We needed to do laundry, so Chad graciously agreed to take control of laundry duty. (We do not have a washer/dryer in the apartment, but there are facilities on site. They're not far away but you definitely have to drive, especially when you're lugging a basket full of clothes. Side note: there are washer/dryer HOOKUPS in each unit, so my goal is to use my tax refund to get a set in here...especially after last night.)

Here was the ordeal.

1. We sorted the laundry.

2. Chad left.

3. Chad quickly returned. He had been sure that the detergent was still in my car from the last time he did laundry. After searching all over the apartment, we came to the realization that the last time Chad did laundry, he left our detergent behind. We knew it probably still wouldn't be there, but Chad assured me that, in a pinch, you could use shampoo. (A true bachelor.) He left again with $1.25, the cost of washing a load.

3. Chad left.

4. Chad quickly returned. Apparently, they raised it to $1.50 on January 1, so he had to come all the way back for another quarter.

5. Chad left.

6. Chad quickly returned. The washer he used was broken--it turned on but no water actually filled the tub. He took another $1.50.

7. Chad left.

8. Chad quickly returned, this time with the clothes. The SECOND machine he tried to use was also broken (which, again, he didn't find out until he had already put the money in)--this one didn't even turn on.

8. We were now out of quarters, it was 10:30 pm, and the clothes were covered in shampoo.

This whole time, I was working on my laptop in the living room. The first few times he came back, I would kind of groan and commiserate with him. But on that final return (which was, what, the 3rd? 4th?)--when I glanced up and saw him walk in, still WITH the clothes, even after all those trips--I had to use every ounce of strength not to bust out laughing, since he was SO pissed at this point and it wouldn't go over well. And had it been ME, I would have been horribly irate, as well.

But it wasn't...and therefore, it was funny as all hell.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year!

Yes, my friends--I'm posting from the new place. All of a sudden, there's a nearby wireless signal that I've been able to pick up. I don't know how long it'll last, so I'm going to enjoy it while I can.

I hope you all had a great NYE. Chad and I went to a local place right on the corner, about a mile away. We were only going to "pre party" there and shoot a few games of pool, but before we knew it, it was 11:30 so we figured we might as well stay for the Big Show. (The shots may have had something to do with the accelerated passing of time.) In what can only be described as an inspired moment of evil brilliance and quite possibly one of my best "pranks" ever, I pimped Chad out to a leathery, VERY butch, 50-year-old truck driving lesbian. (Her and I were sitting outside talking, and she was drunk and telling me about her problems with her girlfriend. I told her that when *I* was having issues with men, I always threatened to "go gay," so maybe she should try going straight for a night. "That's a great idea," she slurred. "I've had it with this f*#&#^ b*#&#^." Then I helpfully told her about a good friend of mine, Chad, who would be glad to help her out. I brought her inside, introduced them and then went back outside on the bench to revel in my brilliance. Not 30 seconds later, Chad pokes his head out and says, "Im going to f(*&^%%% kick your ASS," before she pulled him back inside again. OMG, she was all over him, trying to take him home. I'm laughing again just thinking about it.

Anyway, he escaped from his girlfriend around 1 and we headed back here, where we proceeded to shotgun a case of beer. (Yes, my friends, we are 33 year old adults and are living like frat guys. But in our defense, we saved the heavy drinking for when we were home for the night. We had a few shots but we were also there for quite a while. And really, it ended up being a really cheap night, since we were working with Natty Ice--which is also part of why I felt like hell for most of Friday.) Anyway, I was actually wearing more beer than I actually got down by the time we were done, since I am horrible at shotgunning, as it turns out. (Also, beer sprays really far. He spent a good part of yesterday cleaning up the kitchen, while I laid around and cursed HIM for making me drink so much beer, which was probably HIS revenge for my little matchmaking attempt.) We finally tapped out around 5.

I hope you all had great evenings as well, no matter how you spent the night.