Friday, February 17, 2012
Our Caribbean English isn't always exact.
We've been tiling the mural - we're working about 8 ft above the ground - so we schlepp everything out of the auditorium storage room, and get set up in front of our wall. I drag over the garbage can to use as a table. We put a cardboard box (the flat bakery box) on the garbage can, and we put the mesh squares with tile glued on in there, with the back side up so we can see the coordinates.
I hop on a chair, lean over, grab the square, hold it up in position. We decide if it's lining up correctly, or if we need to make adjustments. I put the square of mesh back on the "table." I smear cement all over the square on the wall. I jump off the chair and supervise students as they quickly and lightly smear cement on the back of the mesh. I jump back on the chair, lean over, gently pick up the mesh square, and position the mesh while students standing on chairs each side of mine press the tiles against the wall, so it all sticks. We clean out any excess, clean the face of the tiles, replace any tiles that fell out. I climb off the chair, ready the next square, we start again.
So after my fourth or fifth square of the day, a student asked, "Ms. Schwartz, how old you is?" And being teacherly, I rephrased the question to more proper grammar - "How old am I? I'm 57 years old."
Of course, the students were shocked. A few said I was older than their mothers. Others said they thought I was 40. A bunch said they thought I was 30-something. I laughed and said no, I'm 57.
And I realized, I'm older than 90% (or so) of the teachers at school. I'm older than most of their teachers. And I'm also the only one who's going to be jumping on and off chairs, spending several hours a day tiling a wall, or just working outside while teaching all kinds of art theory and skills and academic skills to my students.
So I like to think that my students thought I was younger than I am because I DO jump on and off chairs - because I'm active and busy - because I don't act like I'm 57. Or their idea of 57, anyway. Because I act like a young, physically active and mentally vibrant teacher, rather than staying in a classroom.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Situation 1 - I go online at school at lunchtime - I tried to order some books for my Kindle. BOOKS. SCHOOL. These two words make sense together, right? Nope, the server has now blocked Amazon.com. Why??????? Why on earth would anyone block a school system from looking at a book website???????
Situation 2 - A student has been sent to the office by the school monitor, for being out of uniform. Yes, he has one green sock. And no shoe. Because he's on crutches, with a broken foot that has not yet been put in a cast. And who wants to walk around on crutches with a dress-code white sock, and no shoe, and get the sock filthy?
OY! Sometimes people truly need a smack upside the head!!!!
Note - The assistant principal immediately gave the student permission to go to class with his green sock.
Monday, February 06, 2012
We have "adopted" students at school, and so I signed up for one borderline girl and two big problem girls - all my students.
One girl has a lot of problems - she's been shuffled from parent to parent to grandparent, there has been abuse in some of the households, and she's back safe and sound with grandparents. But she has a LOT of behavior problems - seeking attention in all the wrong kinds of ways.
She's not my student this semester, but I check up on her, or she drops by to say hi.
Her birthday is on Wed. - and I had this very small ring that I found (I have no idea where, I discovered it in my office at home!) - and the stone is a tiny amethyst (Feb's birthstone). So I put the ring in a little bag, then in a little pink fabric bag, and I gave it to the child this morning. She politely but sullenly said "Thank you very much" and walked into her classroom. The teacher had the door partially open, so I could see the girl opening the gift. All of a sudden, there was a high-pitched "EEEEEEEEEEEEEE" squeal (as only young girls can make!) and I glanced in - she was almost jumping up and down with excitement!
It made my day! A small gesture, but letting my adopted kid know that I care. I hope a lot of small gestures can turn her around into the lovely young lady I know is just waiting inside that prickly defensive surface she shows the world.
Friday, February 03, 2012
My birthday is in August, and as a child, we were often travelling to coastal regions so that my father, who was in college, could work on research for his MS and then PhD. He's a coastal geologist, who specialized in sea level change and erosion/accretion and all that stuff - so we had wonderful summers on beaches, but it also meant that my birthday wasn't celebrated by having a big party with all of my friends.
I grew up in a family with 5 children - my sister had special emotional needs, my brothers were a handful - and I was the quiet kid, the good kid, the one everyone counted on for help or support. Didn't cause problems, didn't complain, just did what needed to be done.
So my mother - who was sort of the good kid when she was growing up - decided that my birthday in August would be my family party - and some years my birthday party was chicken pot pies in our trailer or rented cabin. But she also decided my friend birthday party would be on my half birthday, in February. So for a few years (about ages 8 to 12-ish) I had my half birthday party, complete with friends, balloons, presents, cake, ice cream, the whole bit. I have absolutely no idea what those friends (or their parents!) thought, but my mom was kind of known as being unconventional, and this was probably accepted as just another one of Norma's ideas.
I thought it was wonderful. I STILL think it was wonderful. I had two days a year when I was the star, when my sister's and brothers' needs didn't overwhelm me, when I had everyone's attention (even if it was only for an hour or so). I had the party with my friends, and didn't miss out on that, the way so many summer birthday kids do.
And I knew that my mom knew that I was the overlooked kid, and that I was special to her.
So at times like this, I really do miss my mom.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Remember him? He's the very cute kitty that a few of us fed last year at school, and finally caught and took him to the vet for neutering - then he was adopted by one of our counselors and his wife.
I ran into the wife at the post office - the cat (they call him Ronnie) is big and cute and loving.
And he brought home two stray kittens!!!!!!!
One looks just like him, so he's named RJ (for Ronnie Junior) - although obviously he isn't his own son. The other, a girl, is marble-colored - so her name is Mabel.
Seriously, the lady told me these two stray kittens were hanging out with Ronnie when she and her husband got home one day, and they've been tamed enough to come inside and sleep - though they aren't willing to be touched yet.
I can totally see Little Mr. Orange Kitty happening upon these two kittens while he was out roaming - "Hey, I know how it feels, I used to be homeless too. Why don't you come home with me, these nice people like cats and they'll feed you too!"
Just such a funny little vignette! And yay for LMOK for rescuing his own little kitties!!!!!
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