TMI… Shaking my head… It’s just TMI…


I don’t exactly think of myself as a prude. But as I toured in Spain I was just shocked at the clothing, or lack thereof. Maybe I just haven’t traveled in the heat of the summer in a country that doesn’t have a major religious dress code. Granted, I was in Istanbul in March. In India it was hot, but the women wore beautiful saris and kurtas. I now own several kurtas and kurtis. They’re all cotton tops that have a variety of lengths that one wears with leggings, salwars or churidars. In other words, you wear some kind of a pant with them. I swear I saw someone wearing one as a dress in Barcelona! The thing about a kurta is that its got slits on the sides that go up far enough so you can reach into pockets. So wearing a kurta as a dress, really isn’t the intended style choice.

It’s hot. I get it. But do I really need to know all of the details of your undergarments? I grew up in a time where you didn’t show your bra straps. Now, of course, it’s a fashion statement. Plus, that requires prior planning about said undergarments. Both my sister and I agreed that it would require just too much work/effort to coordinate undergarments with whatever ensemble we chose to wear for the day. This “style” was not limited to just the young and tiny. We saw this over and over with women of all ages and sizes. A common theme was a near shear top with some kind of frilly bra. Whenever I see those tops I think to myself, “I have to buy 2 garments instead of one.” I’d need a camisole or something for underneath. No such thought process in Spain. As for what nationality the scantily clad women were, I don’t know. They didn’t seem like they were American. They tended to speak in a non-English language.

The reason why we were paying attention to attire is that in many sites, there is a dress code. When you visit churches, you are expected to dress respectfully. On the La Sagrada Familia website, it specifically says, no shorts. Well, when we scoped it out the night before, we saw lots of people with shorts. My friend, Margaret, had been there before and we sent her a quick email asking if it would be ok to wear shorts if we saw lots of other tourists wearing them. She jokingly replied that we should be ok as long as our butt cheeks weren’t hanging out.

We were fine with our attire the next day. But fast forward to the following day. We went to Montserrat. Montserrat is a Benedictine Monastery. Yes, a MONASTERY. We were taking photos of the beautiful scenery and ran across this…

Dress Code?

No way! We’re at a monastery! People are there to touch the orb of the Black Virgin. My sister and I just laughed and laughed. After the butt cheeks warning from Margaret I just had to take a photo and immediately send it to her. Eek!

I don’t know… I guess I’m just modest and I’m a total rule-follower. So if the suggested dress is pants, covered shoulders, etc. I’m going to do it. You’ll never catch me with my butt cheeks hanging out. Mine don’t look quite that good… But still… I think there is a certain amount of respect for the culture of the place that one is visiting that is needed. I have traveled enough to realize that it is better to fit in with the place than force my own culture on them. I know it’s hot. But there are other ways to deal with it than being darn near naked!


Surprising the Kids

We had our first pep fest in about seven years yesterday. I must say that it went really well and the kids had a great time. It was organized by one of our student groups – the Asian Culture Club. There was a group from each grade that did dances. And in the middle, the teachers surprised them with our own dance. I mentioned in an earlier post that we learned and practiced our dance during our “cold days” last week. We had one last practice on Thursday after school. I think it’s safe to say that the kids were surprised and now have a different view of their teachers. And what value does it have? Building relationships with students is one of the great ways to boost achievement. Having them see their teachers as real people, willing to do something a little crazy for them, will go a long way.



Parent/Teacher Conferences – Always Something Interesting

We had the first round of Parent/Teacher Conferences this week. I had more parents come than I’ve had in a long time. I was busy the entire time. Many times, I’m catching up with colleagues and watching the clock. I spoke to parents of kids with As and parents of kids with Ns. At this point in my career, many of the parents are around my age. It does feel a bit different from when I first started. But there’s always something interesting that happens.

I was speaking with a mother of one of my 9th grade boys. We talked over how he was doing and various aspects of school. As our conversation about her son wound down, she says to me, “My husband wanted me to ask you a question. Are you related to the math teacher who used to teach here that almost cut off his toes with a chain saw?” I had to laugh. “Yes, that’s my dad.” She went on to say that her husband really liked my dad’s class and thought he was a great teacher.

I probably need to clarify the story because I’m sure you’re curious now. Back in about 1984 my dad was cutting wood in the back yard. The chain saw hit a knot in the wood and “jumped” and landed on his foot. It of course, cut through his shoe and most of the way through his big toe. In the shock of it all, he walked up to the house. He must have been clear-headed enough to make sure he walked around to the front to make sure he didn’t track blood in the house. He came through the garage and opened the door to the kitchen where he said, “I think I need to go to the hospital.” My dad ended up with his toe reattached. They used some kind of pin and a Black n Decker drill. I remember there being a little hook on the top of the pin sticking out of his toe. Because of the chain saw accident, my dad missed my brother’s confirmation and we still give him grief for his many mishaps that have occurred where he’s missed a particular milestone.

Since my dad retired in 1997, it has been awhile since I’ve had someone ask about him during conferences. It’s very nice to have someone fondly remember a teacher. Most of the time the teacher never hears about how they influenced a child and how that child grew up and still remembers them. I’m lucky that I get to hear about the impact my dad made on his students. And it’s even nicer that I can pass it on to him.



I guess there’s no need to get out my compass… 😉


locker key

I just finished the annual locker clean out.  This year’s time was 3 and a half hours.  It would have been faster but as you can see from above, we were down a key…  It’s a good thing I had an extra made last fall.  It looks like I’ll need to order another.

At the end of the job we had a little fun. It was the first time I had shot video on my phone. But you still get the idea.


Rumor Has It

Last night was the Prom.  It usually is a dance that is easy to chaperone.  Only juniors and seniors can attend, so they are a little more mature than a regular dance crowd.  The dance went well and many kids stayed until the end.  So all in all, I think it was a success.

Friday was an early release day so we had shorter class periods.  Since I have a lot of juniors and seniors in Pre Calc we did an activity (problem and discussion) involving blood alcohol levels.  There’s an exponential equation for the risk of getting in a car accident related to your blood alcohol percentage.  It’s an appropriate topic for prom night, I think.  They can easily see how the amount consumed raises your risk exponentially and how these little tiny Hmong girls can barely tolerate a drop compared to the discus thrower and hockey player.  There’s also a chart that tells them what types of behaviors to expect at certain percentages.  For example, alcohol poisoning (and possible death) occurs between .4% and .5%.  It also stresses that the legal limit for someone under 21 is zero, not .8%.  I like this lesson because it is so applicable.

The question that came up throughout the day was whether or not they had a breathalyzer at the prom.  Why yes, they do.  During my first hour someone even asked if they have something like that, that detected if they’d been smoking weed.  I sincerely doubted that, but who am I to quash a good rumor?  “Hmm, I don’t know.” was my response to that question.

Later that night, while at the prom I was talking with one of our assistant principals.  He said that somehow a rumor got started that they would have some sort of weed-a-lyzer at the prom.  It was all over the school by 8:30 am.  We had a good laugh about how this little rumor helped out our cause.  I think I might know how it got started.  I’ll have to confirm that when I get to school next week.  But that well placed rumor certainly was a deterrent for some unwanted behavior!

If only…

we could write contract language like this!

One of my colleagues at school wrote this so I could get a laugh.  She is the band director and extremely bright and clever.  I shared it with my bargaining buddies and now I’ll share it with you.

Proposal for Teacher Contract – Verbal Abuse

Any teacher subjected to verbal abuse by a student will be compensated as shown on the schedule below.  This will include being called these words, or having to listen to them used in the workplace.  In any situation where the student is a repeat offender, the compensation will be multiplied by the number of total teachers that student has abused within the school year.
Stewards will keep records of teacher abuse that will be used in calculations.

Compensation to be paid at the end of each year, after the number of abused teachers is known for multiplying purposes.  Administrators concerned with limiting budget liability may wish to arrange on-line homeschooling for such offenders.

Compensation for Vocabulary Abuse, each instance
(word combinations to be added together; see below)

$100 words

$250 words
“c-cksucker” or “c-cksucking”
“f–k” or “f–king”
“motherf—er” or “motherf—ing”

addition of any racial identifier, gender slur, or sexual preference slur to any of the terms above $100

Compensation Math for Popular Combinations

example: “F–king B—ch” = 250+ 250 = $500
example: “c-cksucking motherf–ker” = 250 + 250 = $500
example: “F–king White B—ch” = 250+ 100 + 250 = $600

Alternative Tenure Program

Upon being called “F—ing White B–ch” or “C—sucking Motherf—er”, probationary teachers will automatically receive tenure AND a district sweatshirt.

Tenured teachers will be bumped up the salary scale one step for each three abuses directed at them, AND receive a district window-cling decal.

If they run out of steps, inservice credits on vocabulary development will be furnished to advance them to the next lane.  If they run out of lanes, the district will pay for them to take early retirement.

Thank you for considering this proposal.

Hopefully you’re laughing at this.  But at the same time, there is quite a bit of truth to it.  We don’t get compensated for verbal abuse.  But if we did, I wonder if there would be more of an effort to deal with the poor language and ultimately, the verbal abuse that actually does take place.

Thank you AMP for laugh and writing such an entertaining proposal!