Ok - we had the hurricane to start the year off. Swine flu panic and a flood day were up next. Somewhere in there, the pool flooded and ruined the gym floor yet again, so the gym has been torn up for several weeks. And today we had an unscheduled fire drill that was not a drill. Well it was sort of a drill for some of us.
We started final exams today, and we planned to give ours in science. In the middle of second period the fire alarm went off. Ruh roh! My second period is an upper level class, one that I have to tell them it is OK to talk sometimes. So they are diligently working on the exam when the alarm went off. Bright kids that they are, the first thing someone said was "This isn't scheduled is it?" They know that we don't do fire drills during TAKS, on exam days or on rainy days. Plus the puzzled look on my face was probably another clue.
We all head outside, but not after I have to give the "ultra nasty teacher look" to a 7th grader who thought it would be a great joke to push her friend while we were all crowded on the staircase going down. As we are standing outside I notice a flaming trash can on the sidewalk by the portable buildings and one of the AP's with a fire extinguisher on it. I tell the kids to have a seat on the ground that we will likely be there a while. After about 20 minutes we get the all clear to go back in. The bell for the next period has rung, so 2nd period kids just grab their stuff, turn in unfinished tests and go. We will finish tests tomorrow.
During the next period it was fun watching one of the 7th grade math classes outside with the AP, all students emptying their backpacks and pockets. Later I find out that 3-4 students in that class conspired to start the fire. One of them had a lighter, started some papers on fire and dropped them in the trash can. We were so lucky. Can't wait to see what happens to them.
We have five days left! Five! That is 2100 minutes of instructional time. We are having an egg drop or egg toss competition in our classes the last 4-5 days. That gives us 4 days to get all our grades done. I have started cleaning out my room and getting things ready to move. I still have a boatload to grade, but I am making headway. Where did May go???
Exactly eight days left. And the last two weeks have lasted four! Seriously, it seems like yesterday should have been Friday, and last week was no different.
We got our science TAKS scores back, not as good as I had hoped, but not too bad considering all the crazyness this year. The hurrication, a flood day, and swine flu all managed to derail us for a bit each time. We scored a 79% passing rate last year, and managed a 77% passing rate this year. We made some nice gains in 2 of our sub pops, so that helps a bit. But I now have a better vision of where we need to start next year. It will take all 3 grade levels pulling, even though they do not test.
I started taking things down in my classroom and the sad thing is that the kids have not even noticed it yet. It seems really bare to me though. They are more interested in our now dead lizard, Goliath. I had a little leopard gecko that had a pretty bad incomplete shed about 10 days ago. I set up a little humidity chamber for him, but it did not seem to help. It looked like he got an infection in his leg and he stopped eating. Monday when I came in, he was under his log, cold. :-( Ah well.
I move rooms next year, so I will spend some time painting my room again. We get new coutertops in the science rooms this summer. And all the rooms are getting ceiling mounted projectors! Yeah! I saw the first one, and except for being a little bit too low, it is really nice. Looking forward to not needing a cart with a projector.
Well - back to grading papers. I am so behind, maybe if I just ignore it long enough it will just go away. :-P
Five days next week, four the following week, and three the week after that. That is all that is left of this school year. Twelve days - but who is counting? Me! This was a week that seemed to have eight days in it rather than five.
Last night was 8th grade recognition night. I had to be on stage to shake hands (one of the jobs of the dept chair) but I also got a chance to give a certain 8th grader a huge hug as he received his accolades! ;-) It was quite funny today at school, the teachers and the girls in my classes all thought it was sweet that I gave Chris a hug. The boys all stated that they would be embarassed if their moms did that. Yeah, I know guys! But Chris was OK with it, and that is all that matters. So we close one more educational chapter as a parent - no more middle school. And as Chris pointed out on the way home - he gets to move out to college in 4 years! Geesh! Who's counting now??? And he asked how soon he can apply for his permit too. Help!
The end of the year is always sad and sweet. I started to take stuff down in my room tonight. The room starts to look a little more barren every few days as I take a few more things down. :-( But, it means summer vacation is around the corner. Sleep a little later, go to Chicago and see parents and friends, get some things done around the house. :-) The kids start to get really squirrely and annoying, but then during the last day or so will act like you are the best thing since sliced bread and be all sad to leave you! Many of them give us their phone numbers and implore us to call them. Yeah - I'll call you and we can discuss Mendel's experiments in genetics, OK?
I also like ending the year planning for next year. The nice thing about teaching school is that you have 3 new years, so you get to "start over" three times! I always strive to make the next year better, no matter which new year it is!
So here is to the next twelve days - go fast when kids are in my class but slow down on Saturdays and Sundays please. Summer vacation - here we come!
Some quotes from one of my fave moms - Erma Bombeck:
*Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop offs at tedium and counter productivity.
*Kids have little computer bodies with disks that store information. They remember who had to do the dishes the last time you had spaghetti, who lost the knob off the Tv set six years ago, who got punished for teasing the dog when he wasn't teasing the dog and who had to wear girls boots the last time it snowed.
*Who, in their infinite wisdom, decreed that Little League uniforms be white? Certainly not a mother.
*Mother's words of wisdom: "Answer me! Don't talk with food in your mouth!"
*Have you any idea how many children it takes to turn off one light in the kitchen? Three. It takes one to say, "What light?" and two more to say, "I didn't turn it on."
*When your mother asks, "Do you want a piece of advice?" it's a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.
As I sit here in a quiet, albeit somewhat (uh, Laura, look around again! "somewhat" is an understatement!) disorderly home, I am thinking how incredibly lucky I am as a mom. I can point out the flaws in each of the three offspring of mine in two seconds flat, and tell you what they need to dop to improve their lot in life (see the last EB quote above!) But honestly, Gary and I have managed to produce three awesome kids. Yeah, I will throw Gary a bone here and give him some credit, especially for their athletic abilities. Lord knows THAT did not come from me. But, I do have to brag just a bit on the the fact that all three kids are good, kind, decent, and thoughtful human beings. They don't do drugs, get blind drunk, or have been arrested (that we know of). I wanted them to follow their hearts and not dollar signs, they are doing that. I wanted them to go out and make the world a better place each day by doing something, even if it is to just smile when you don't feel like smiling. They are doing that. I want them to look back and feel like they made a difference somehow, some way. I hope they feel that, because they have.
So - Catherine, Craig, and Chris - thanks for making me the best mom I could be. Not sure I hold the title of best mom in the world since there are myriad things I never let you do, but you survived! I love you all very much! Now I have to go find the copy of one of Erma's books I have floating around the house and visit with my old friend!