Thursday, May 31, 2007


There are few things that give me more pleasure, as a language teacher, than hearing my students speak the language we have struggled with all year. It shows me that I have done my job - imparted skills and knowledge that will stay with my bébés for their lifetimes. This year, I have had a really lovely class - and my smallest class ever, at only 12 students. This class was the highlight of my day, the class that I looked forward to the most, the one that barely seemed like work. It was rather evenly split between IB students and what I like to call "normal kids." (joking! Some of you IB kids are normal... ok, maybe not so much...)

My bébés, for the most part, exceeded my expectations. They were able to take what I've taught them and manipulate it for their own purposes. They remembered great whacking scrolls of vocabulary. They conjugated verbs with seemingly effortless ease, making beautiful sentences - sentences of their own ideas, too. They went beyond the memorized chunks and saw deep into the bones of the language, learning to move those pieces around to give voice to their own visions. I am thrilled to the marrow with their progress.

Do you want to know what else thrills me? Because I got another thrill this afternoon when I checked my email. When former students speak to me in French (actually, when they speak to me at all! sometimes they walk right by without a spark of recognition, but that's another story for another day). Sometimes they come back and visit, and sometimes they leave a comment right here on this blog. Seeing them use this knowledge - knowledge that some marginalize (c'mon, it's French! You live in America - you should be teaching them Spanish!) just leaves me speechless. Not an easy task.

To all the students that I teach and that I've taught - continue mes bébés to use what you've learned. You make me so proud to be your teacher.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Some things really piss me off

Today, one of those things smacked me in the face.

I rarely blog about school, especially since there are current students who read here, but I don't mind expressing my feelings about this where they can read it, especially since I expressed myself some in class today.

Each year, our school holds an awards assembly for the students who achieved great things - and even for some of our students who achieved mediocre things, but are great things for them. For two years, when I first arrived at my school, I took it over and ran the assembly. It was dignified, organized, and all about the students. We held it at night when all important events are held, and when parents were free to attend. Last year, the teachers who ran it before I came took it back, as I was unable to run it. They fucked it up royally. It was held during the day when many parents couldn't attend, the certificates they handed out were amateur (as were the invitations), and they went for the shortest possible ceremony - wham, bam, good job, kid. After that experience, I went to our new Principal, expressed my displeasure, and asked to take it back this year. He expressed that the assembly was not all that he wished and agreed.

Fast forward to this year - those same people took it again. I don't know how, or if the Principal agreed to it, but they fucked it up again this year. They shortened it even further and separated Seventh and Eighth grade into separate assemblies. Students who weren't being given an award were not allowed to attend. There was no pomp, no ceremony, and precious little bloody recognition. This ridiculous assembly did not honor our students, but was an assembly-line paper distribution.

I don't know about the rest of the teachers at my school, but as my Eighth graders can attest, I demand a lot of my students. In return, I try to live up to those same expectations. Granted, I'm not the quickest at returning papers (I hate grading things - sue me), but I really feel that I do a good job. I don't feel like the teachers running this assembly gave our students the same respect and dedication that they demand from these students day in and day out.

Some things, like returning one hundred percent of your students' papers on time, you can half-ass and get away with it. Other things, like showing students who have worked hard all year and learned a ton that their efforts are valued and important? Not even a little bit.

I love my students (ok, I love most of them - there's one class I can mostly do without). They deserve better.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ok, since I'm at a lack for blog fodder recently, I thought I'd do Sharon's interview. If you'd like me to interview you, read the instructions at the bottom of the post.

1. What has been your biggest thrill since having the DS?

Tough to say, really. I think the biggest thrill has been being able to do physical things that I hadn't been able to do in a while - run, sit with my legs crossed, pick up my daughter and have her wrap her legs around my waist - and those are the G-rated thrills. There have been a few R- and X-rated ones, too, but I'm not going there today.

2. Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?

This may be totally cheesy, but yes. My husband, even though he completely makes me batshit insane 23 hours out of every 24 made such an impression on first sight - where he did nothing more than smile at me - that I dreamed of him that night. Now, he's cute, but he's not the sort to inspire unremitting lust, so I have to believe that *cue cheesy music here* our love was instantaneous and destined. Lest ye think that I am not for real, let me state that the date of this first sighting was December 18, 1988, and we have been together since then. Howzat for scary romantic?

3. Tell me about your wildest night.

Um, I was married very young. I didn't get many wild nights. Alas.

4. If you could spend a day with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Geez, this is a tough question. Maybe my Grandmother, because I miss her so much. If it were to be a famous-type person, maybe Nigella Lawson, because she'd cook, and I love to eat. Plus, her life has been pretty interesting, so I'd bet she had some good stories. If it were a historical-type person, well, there are sooo many that I couldn't begin to choose. Richard III? Just to know if he really did kill the princes.

5. What makes you laugh?

I think the question should really be what doesn't make you laugh? I laugh at everything and have always been pretty easily amused. I've been cursed with the ability to always find the humor in any situation - even funerals. My humor is usually inappropriate and I have to squelch it all the time (at least in front of the seventh graders!).

If you want to continue, here are the rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick thequestions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone elsein the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


More linky goodness for you to savor.

For me, the French word crepuscule gives me shivers down the spine. The word "chatouille" tickles me endlessly, and "chemise" can be endlessly entertaining among a classful of 8th graders. SHMEEEEZ!

In Spanish, it's pencil sharpener that puts me on point (sacapuntas!).

German, though, raises my eyebrows with its augenbrauen. (Melanie, you're going to have to check my spelling here)

Languages are lovely.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Right on, Sister!

My girl Weetabix has a little something to say that every woman should read.

As a former woman of size, this hits home for me, as I'll happily cop to feeling physically invulnerable when I was larger. I would step into a fight to break it up (remember, middle school teacher) or walk down the street practically daring anyone to accost me, thinking that hey! I could pretty much just knock them down and sit on their windpipe and that would take care of things.

Now? Not so much.

There's no way I'm going to put this relatively tiny body (just bought a pair of size 6 jeans the other day) in between two huge middle schoolers fighting it out. I'm much more careful about going places, and I pay close attention to who's around when I'm out. I can't flirt like I used to, either, because men take me far more seriously. Rightly or wrongly, they just do, and I have to be careful. However, one in four, as Weetabix says, is serious.

One in four.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


One of my students told me that I have very pretty feet. His neighbor agreed.

Should I be worried?

Saturday, May 05, 2007


The Carnival has come to town, and Miss Peanut and I have been enjoying the festivities. Cotton candy, games of chance, and thrill rides suck us in every time. We've gone twice this week, so far, and will be tearful and heartbroken when it all ends tomorrow. So far, Miss Peanut's favorite is the giant climbing thing with an enormous slide that you have to go down in order to exit it. Mine is the centrifuge with swings attached.

I can honestly say that my least favorite is the Ferris Wheel. I think Miss Peanut said it best for me. We had just reached the apex of its rotation when I heard her little voice next to me say quietly "I forgot I'm afraid of heights." Yeah, Peanut, me too. The WCM pointed out my death-grip on the restraint bar as he grinned at me in his macho superiority. It didn't help my frame of mind any that the ride itself looks to be about one hundred years old and feels just as rickety. I was never so glad as to get off of that thing.

One of the things I've noticed since becoming a parent is that while I blithely get on whatever huge scary roller coaster I can, and I've been on some doozies, I really hate getting on scary rides with Miss Peanut. I hate watching her get on the kiddie rides, because, Oh My God, what if something happened? What if the roller coaster disconnects from its track? What if the links in the chain holding that swing to the centrifuge break and she flies off? What if? What if? The anxiety that I feel when she goes on those rides is both ridiculous and paralyzing.

Watching her gleefully happy face while she whirls about, though? That's pure gold.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Big-assed motherfucking spider!

I wish I'd taken a photo, but I was too busy screeching for my husband to come "kill the big-assed motherfucking spider!"

Yes, charming language, I know. I'm sure to get a call any day now from Miss Peanut's kindergarten teacher, telling me that Miss Peanut is in trouble for asking for a big-assed motherfucking helping of snack. Fucking sue me, alright? I was freaked.

And back off right now about me calling for the WCM to kill the thing. I don't kill bugs - that's one of the reasons I got married: so I could have my own Big Strong Man TM to kill bugs for me. Bless him, he came to kill it for me. After chiding me for my language (erm, the pot is now calling the kettle black...), he proceeded to chide me for wanting to kill a spider - after all, they eat the harmful bugs. After getting an eyeful of my friend nemesis, he said "Oooh, he is big. I'll suck him up in the ShopVac."

So now, my house is blissfully free - as far as I know - of my big-assed motherfucking nemesis, and I can sleep easy. And the first person to quote me the urban legend about the average person swallowing an average of 8 spiders in their sleep during their lifetimes is getting a big-assed motherfucking kick in the arse.