Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Always preview your videos

I should have known this from the National Geographic Hyena Video Incident (did you know that hyena females have mock penises and mount each other to demonstrate dominance? I do now), but sometimes, I need a refresher on this point.

Today's lesson comes via a naughty Pompeii video. Students love Pompeii, with it's perfectly preserved artifacts and plaster-of-paris casts of victims that died nearly 2000 years ago. I was planning on previewing a new video I had acquired on the subject when i was accosted by one of the teachers as I walked in the door on Monday.

Her daughter works as a sub in our building, you see. And the teacher she was subbing for left her with no lesson plan, so she was high and dry on what to teach with the kids walking in the door in less than half an hour. This is a horrible situation for a sub to be in: the kids would have eaten her alive.

"Please, do you have a video? We need a science video to show them," Karen pleaded.

Now, I had this Pompeii video in my hand, but I haven't previewed it. I dithered for a moment, but seeing the panic in her eyes, I made what I know now was a horrible decision. I gave her the unpreviewed video and let her know that it hadn't been watched but it should be ok.

I heard nothing else about it yesterday, but quickly realized my error when i previewed the video today. It started off innocently enough describing the tragedy of those buried on that fateful day, but started getting a little racy when they started discussing the brothels. Apparently, tile mosaics in each room indicated the "services" that each woman provided. Still, the video did this flashlight thing that made most of the mosaics hard to make out, so I thought it would be mostly ok. Then, they showed the artifacts recovered from the brothel, and that's when the wheels really came off the wagon. There were statues with phalluses longer than they were tall. Wind chimes with penises instead of chimes. Labia lamps. I couldn't believe it!

I ran into Karen's room and apologized profusely for what I put her daughter through. I'm imagining the phone calls the school is going to get!

But Karen was confused. What was I talking about?

I quickly described the movie's more saucy points, and unbelievably, Karen started to laugh. "She didn't even watch it!" Karen crowed. "She said she sat at the teacher's desk and read a book. The kids were super quiet so she didn't think anything about it. Now I know why: they were trying not to draw her attention to what they were watching!"

I've already thrown away the Great Honking Penises of Pompeii video in the trash and if anyone asks, "I know nothing about this video, I have never heard of it." Remember that.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wanna get away?

Vacation is winding down (technically, today is a work day for me. I'll tell you about that in a later post), so I figured I'd share one more humorous story from the past before I start back.

One of the teachers came into the staff lounge with a quarter and an interesting story. Turns out, the students had created a new game. They draw circles on a sheet of binder paper with point scores (smaller circles have bigger points). Then, you color one side of a quarter with a marker. You slap the quarter on your forehead, color side against your head, and lean over the paper. if the quarter lands inside any circle, you earn that many points (but the entire quarter has to be inside). If the color side landed up, you double the points in the circle. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins.

"But here's the catch:," she said, "the game is actually a practical joke. By slapping the color side on your forehead, you transfer the marker to your skin, and that means you have a big, colorful circle on your forehead until you realize this and wash it off."

We all laughed, and I asked the teacher if the students had found anyone stupid enough to pull the prank on yet.

The room suddenly became silent, and nervous eyes turned to the side of the room. I followed their gaze and saw the vice principal, mercifully oblivious to our conversation, furiously scrubbing a large, red circle off his forehead.

Book Blogging

I'm currently reading a really funny book called Tales From the Teacher's Lounge. The guy who wrote it is pretty much like me: saucy, salty, and still not quite sure why he got into teaching. Take a look if you happen to be wandering through a Borders or a Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Since I'm on vacation...

I'm currently out on mid-winter break (often referred by teachers as "ski week"), so the posts may be a bit thin this week. Since I won't have any new stories to share for a while, let me relate an old one that I haven't yet gotten to.

We were doing an experiment based on bubble gum. The students weigh several pieces of bubble gum, then chew the gum for 10-15 minutes, or until the gum loses its flavor, then weigh it again to see how much sugar was in the gum before. Yes, spit does add some mass, but gums like Fruit Stripe and Hubba Bubba lose up to 75% of their mass, which surprises most people. You see what a fun teacher I am?

Anyways, part of the unit requires students to research the history of gum, and I allowed my students access to a computer to do this. I had a couple of students on the computer, when one of them came up to me with a funny expression on his face. Like he was nervous.

"Mrs. W, could you come see our computer? We didn't mean to go there, but I don't want the school getting mad at us."

Mystified, I followed the student.

"We typed in 'bubble gum' and this picture popped up."

Apparently, our pornography filter doesn't work on images. The title of the picture was "bubble gum" and the woman in the picture, blowing a bubble, was stark naked. All the boys looked really nervous now.

"Ok guys, I understand," I replied. "Turn it off and I'll be sure the office knows it was a mistake."

Relieved, they closed the picture and moved on to more legitimate sites. Proof positive that the internet is mainly used for porn, methinks.

Now I know the district checks on less than 1% of the sites viewed in schools, and they're usually looking for sites with obvious porn names, like "hot asian sex" or "lesbians" not "bubble gum", but I did let them know, just in case.

At least I know now that they got an education in my class that day.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How about this weather we're having?

It's currently 33 degrees outside and I freeze my butt off everytime I walk out the door. So what do I see my students getting off the bus in? Shorts and T-shirts. One girl was even wearing flip-flops and a pair of tights.

Fucking crazy, that's what that is.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I have cool eyeliner

I was in Deanna's classroom today observing her class (she has several of my students and I like to see what goes on when I'm not teaching them) when one of her students gestured me to come over. Since it wasn't even one of my students, I was confused, but I went to see what she wanted. She waved her hand to indicate I should come closer so she could whisper something. I came closer and leaned over.

"I wish I could be in your class," she said. "You have cool eyeliner".


I double-checked to make sure that was what she said. She waved a finger back and forth over her eyelids. Yep, she said I had cool eyeliner. Now thankfully, I was wearing eyeliner today, or else I would be completely baffled. Instead of only confounded.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oh, the places your chicken nugget will go....

I am in awe of the creativity of our cafeteria staff. Well, to be honest, I'm just glad we have a school cafeteria that cooks. I've worked in schools where being the chef consisted of warming hundreds of individually-packaged packets of corn, rice, spaghetti, all created in some factory no doubt in New Jersey. These cretins used to freeze shaker salads to make them last longer, and couldn't understand why no one wanted to eat them. You ever seen what happens to lettuce when it freezes? It turns into green slime.

So it's nice to be in a school where the cooks....you know, cook. And the versatility of the chicken nugget in their hands is something to behold.

Chicken nuggets with barbeque sauce
Orange chicken with rice
Chicken lo mein
Chicken Chunk Stew (I know: doesn't sound appetizing)
Teriyaki chicken with rice
Chicken nugget alfredo

The only thing that scares me is when we have chicken nugget entrees three days in a row. Did they create way more lunches than they needed one day? Or did they accidentally order too much and they're pushing it as fast as they can? Did the chicken lo mein today contain three-day-old chicken nuggets? And what exactly is in a chicken nugget? I've always been told "beaks and butts". I hear some cultures consider chicken asses a delicacy. Or so I keep telling myself.

not as many kids get the main entree, which I find disappointing. All they want is pizza every day. Me, I'd get so fucking tired of pizza I couldn't stand it. It's delivery, so at least it's not the cardboard crust Chucky Cheese shit they used to push at my old school. But still: pizza every day? Their little hearts are going to explode.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Random notes

He was doing it again today.


Things you can't plan for

So I was doing an experiment in my class where my students discovered air pressure. You take two syringes (needle-less, of course), fill one with air, then connect them with a piece of plastic tubing. When you push on the plunger of the syringe filled with air, there's a bit of give, then the other plunger pops up. Voila! Air pressure! This experiment has all sorts of other uses too: fill up the syringes with water instead of air, and you discover quickly that water isn't compressible. It's the reason why we fill brake lines with fluid instead of air, and why air in your brake line results in your brakes not working anymore.

Oh how was I supposed to know what my students would do with this?

Someone in class figured out that, if you take one of the plungers out, you create a mini-vacuum chamber. They experimented with picking up papers, books, and eventually discovered that creating a vacuum on your arm leaves a perfectly circular red spot (see: hickey) on your skin. Next thing I know, several of my students have given themselves perfectly circular hickeys on their arms, necks, and even one particularly red on on the center of a forehead.

So that's why I'm sitting in a bar right now, drinking. Because I need to write a letter to my parents about how their child got a hickey in science class. And because days like this require a drink. There ought to be a law saying that.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A word on tattoo addiction

(please put up with my tattoo conversations: I'm obnoxiously proud of it)

So the ex-Catholic school teacher showed me her new tattoo today. It's the word "Grace" written in beautiful script. I remember talking to her when I got my tattoo and she said something that really resonated with me. "it's going to sound really bad," she started, "but you really learn to love the needle."

I can totally understand that now.

I never understood up until I got my own exactly why people tattooed themselves until they looked like a circus-show freak. Or, for that matter, people who were into sado-masochism. Now I understand the fascination with it.

You see, the needle hurts, not enough to make you yell but it hurts for a long time (in my case, an hour and a half). Your body releases endorphins as a result to counteract the pain. In case you don't know this, endorphins are the Party Animal of the hormone world. They give you that nice rush you get on a roller coaster, or the sudden urge to have wild, crazy monkey sex after a brush with death. Imagine that your endorphins are constantly being released starting 15 minutes or so after the tattooing starts.

I was on an endorphin high for an entire day. You have no idea how distracting that is.

When they say tattoos are addictive, that statement isn't figurative. Tattoos are literally addictive, as in I went through endorphin withdrawal. I don't know if my husband Chris could stand me for about 3 days afterwards: I was one crabby human being. That being said, I still can't wait to get my next one. I've told myself I have to wait at least 6 months, to be sure it isn't withdrawal speaking.

6 months.....ok, I suppose 4 would still work.......maybe a couple of months. At least until this one heals. Or at least maybe on a spot not near my currently healing tattoo. That would work. Damn.


Four words I wanted to say to Devin all day.


On a more serious (sorta) note, why is nose-picking considered so nasty? No one complains when I rub my eyes or suck Cheetos dust off of my fingers. Why is ramming a finger to the first knuckle in your nostril so gross? Is it because we see primates do the same thing? Is it because so many people pick their nose and eat the boogers in public? What is it?