90. HOW A TWP ADMINISTRATOR SPENDS HER WEEKEND & TEACHER FEATURE: MICHELLE, A FIREDRILL AND FIREWORKS

Hello Dear Readers: As we at TWP make our way through the Spring season towards summer and the end of the school year, things have actually piled up on us. From state mandated achievement tests to getting some of our “kids” caught up on their school work to plain crankiness in the wait for summer to start, we ALL look forward to vacation. For me (Renee), I do not know what I would do without ALLEGRA, my anti-allergy wonder drug. (Achoo!) Folks, this IS a non-advertisement blog but I couldn’t resist after reading from Prof. N. that people in the U.K. are FINED for removing wildflowers from their own yards! See what happens when a country bans ALL school c.p.!

HOW A TWP ADMINISTRATOR SPENDS HER WEEKEND

This segment is similar to the post we did last year titled A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TWP TEACHER. And my (Renee) reason for this segment is similar to the post last year. From time to time, we at TWP get silly questions from some ‘net nimrods about how we spend our weekends such as “Do you practice ‘paddling techniques on your spouses/children?” and “Do you sell ‘spanking paddles’ on the weekend?” Well, the following should dispel those notions -But of course, some people are just a lost cause. The times below are approximate but DO reflect the reality of my life as a spouse and mom, which is all that I am when I leave the middle school on Friday evening. The following weekend had no events at the school so I was 100% free!

FRIDAY

4:30 pm: After a loooonnnng week as the assistant principal of a 800+/- student middle school, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. The school is nearly empty this evening with only a few staff members and myself in the building. The softball and baseball teams have finished practice for their away games on Saturday. Yours truly only has to finish a few more Discipline Reports and then: “Let Freedom Ring!” Well, just before that, Tyler’s shuttle bus from his pre-school/pre-k academy pulls into the school parking area in front of my office. My 5 year old bundle of joy/energy/motion bursts out of the shuttle and races into the building -Straight to my office! (I’ve told him a 100x to SLOW DOWN when coming in but…) After a too-quick hug and kiss, he takes the snack/Coke vending machine $$ and heads to the only place he knows in this building besides the boy’s restroom. (I know I’m starting a precedent but after a full day of teen troubles, my resistance is weakened!) Tyler then likes to munch and slurp away while sitting in my office as I finish my day’s work. If only the students could see “this side” of me, their thinking of me as the red headed witch of …. middle school might change -Oh well!

5:00 pm: As the janitors lock up the building, I strap Tyler into his kiddie back-seat for the ride home. Tyler asks me EVERY day when he can ride upfront. My answer is the same: When he gets older. A quick stop at the STOP-N-GO for some milk and a fuel up takes a few extra minutes but not too bad.

5:45 pm: Traffic was normal (or what passes for normal) on a Friday evening. While our county is somewhat rural, driving home takes us on the local interstate where there is some residual traffic  from the suburbs up in the next county. But I beat John home -So I get to shower and freshen up FIRST (After some affectionate “welcome home” kisses). Tyler parks self in front of the t.v. while John pleads for me not to use ALL the hot water. (Why would I do a thing like that? Giggle)

6:15-30 pm: I come into the den as the local news is winding down with sports and the weekend weather report. The string of warmer than average weather will continue through the weekend! Yee Haa! As to the national news, it is all bleak. Unemployment is still at record highs and all that the politicos seem to be able to do is ARGUE. I think some of those so-called leaders are going to be fired come next election if things do not turn around PRONTO!

7:00 pm: As John comes in the den, the national news is ending which is not a bad thing -Why start the weekend on a dour note? Indeed, we like to start the weekend on a high note with a evening at the local pizza parlor. And it is LOCAL -Not some national franchise -with brick oven roasted pizza made from scratch with a lot of local ingredients!

7:30 pm: We arrive at the pizza parlor HUNGRY but there is a line ahead of us waiting for tables. I help pass the time with Tyler by letting him play the “antique” Pac Man arcade game. I grew up with this game and Tyler LOVES this game. Burnt up a few dollars but kept Tyler’s whining to a minimum.

7:50 pm: Seated at last! And by one of my first students, Terri, who is now a junior (11th grade) at the high school. Terri is hoping to go to Georgia on an academic scholarship grant! (I am so proud of her!) John and I settle on a large pizza with all the toppings except anchovies with a small pitcher of Bud light and a cherry coke for Tyler.

8:20 pm: The pizza FINALLY arrives as we were starving. That pizza was a goner really fast too! That salad we had did not make a dent in our appetite for the pizza either!

8:45 pm: As usual, there are three slices left over since Tyler is a one and done pizza eater. We will take the three slices home for Saturday night leftovers. Since I had only one glass of beer, I’ll drive home in another hour. This is a larger than typical pizza place and has a country music band performing every Friday night. We leave a good tip at the table and move down to the area where we can listen to good wholesome country music.

9:45 pm: As we get ready to leave, Tyler is snuggled against my side snoozing. I hate to wake him up but to get home, I must. After being strapped into his kiddie seat, Tyler is out like a light again.

10:10 pm: We are back home and Tyler is carried by John into the house and tucked into bed. But not before a quick washing up and teeth brushing. Then a bedtime prayer and off to dreamland for Tyler. John turns in but I turn to the latest local news and weather t.v. report. Everything is good for our family outing tomorrow. After final proofing of TEACHERSWHOPADDLE blog and mixing it up with Bob T. at Network54.com, I turn in myself after brushing, flossing and an assistant principal’s prayer.

11:00 pm: Zzzzzzz

SATURDAY

7:45 am: I pull myself out of bed before anyone else -So I can get breakfast started. Why so early? Simple. As soon as breakfast is ready, I can have a quick muffin and coffee before getting an early start on grocery shopping. Hey, no one else is going to do it -So it is just me! Besides, it will be a beautiful day and we have big plans to enjoy it!

8:20 am: As I pull out of the driveway with my shopping list, John reminds me to get his favorite snack. I wave bye to John and Tyler as I head out.

9:00 to 10:00 am: Beating the crowded late am shoppers is a great idea and I could take my time but I know what I need and besides -We have plans later. Our family is fortunate that John and I are both gainfully employed but a lot of people are struggling these days and food prices are NOT getting cheaper. But the grand tally for this week’s groceries are within budget -Good for our side! After tipping the bag-boy (One of my former students from my 1st teaching year), I’m headed back to the house.

10:30 to 11:00 am: John and Tyler are ready for the trip and it takes just a short while to restock the frig and freezer. John and I will have small backpacks with snacks and first aid supplies as well as extra socks, hand towels, etc.

11:00 am:We are on our way. To where? I will NOT say exactly where but it is a state park which has a trail system which connects to the historic Appalachian Trail. We are just doing an afternoon loop today but I would like to someday do a multi-day expedition through the Great Smokey Mountains.

12:40 pm: We stop at a Hardee’s for lunch before driving into the park. Hardee’s does have the biggest burgers around but I just split mine with Tyler. John, on the other hand…

1:10 pm: I thought we’d NEVER find a parking spot. Well, most of those “weekend walkers” will just walk around the lake, if at all. We, however, are better prepared with good hiking boots made for REAL hiking.

1:25 to 5:30 pm: Our hiking journey begins. The people “hiking” along with us thin out in the first hour until it is just John, Tyler and me. Of course we take breaks every 15-20 minutes because Tyler is only 5 1/2. But Tyler does o.k! Here is one child who will NOT be a part of the child obesity epidemic.

What we saw:

1) From a distance, we saw a deer and her fawn offspring -Thanks to binoculars! (I have also seen “human activity” in the woods by binoculars that Tyler will NOT be allowed to see.)

2) We could see what looked like eagles (or falcons?) flying around a distant ridge. How many people see that sight on their weekend?

3) At the mid-point of our hike, we found a cool mountain stream to stop at and rest for about 30 minutes. Try dipping your feet in cold mountain water -Everyone should experience that once in their life! Ahhhh!

5:30 pm: We make it back to the car as the evening shadows signal the end of a pleasant day in the midst of nature. John and I will take turns driving home as Tyler nods off in back.

7:45 pm: After gassing up near home, we arrive tired and hungry. Recall my mention of Saturday leftovers? That’s right -This mom, spouse, cook, maid, valet, shopper and assistant middle school principal is OFF tonight! It will be leftover pizza slices, pasta salad, bratwurst and vegetable casserole. Dig in!

8:30 pm: While Tyler takes his bath, I check all my email accounts including TEACHERSWHOPADDLE. On the latter, mostly moronic rants -These people haven’t a clue! Ol’ Bob T. is giving his usual bluster on Network54 about little ol’ me. I give him my “zing-back”. Prof. N. had some observations which were thought provoking and intelligent -A far cry from my typical email.

9:00 to 10:00 pm: We let Tyler watch a little bit of t.v. before bedtime. I do some last minute folding of clothes out of the dryer and plan which suit Tyler will wear to church in the morning. By 10, Tyler is ready for bed -After finishing his ice cream and brushing his teeth. After bedtime prayer, its zzzzz-time for Tyler!

10:30 pm: When the local news weather report is over, I’m ready for zzzz-time myself. After brushing and flossing, I set the alarm clock. Then a principal’s prayer and a good night kiss for John. He is already sound asleep. I only hope my legs and feet will not be sore from the hike.

Zzzzzz…

SUNDAY

8:00 am: The alarm clock beckons a special time for our family -Church time. From breakfast and showers to getting dressed (No casual wear for us!), its a scramble but we have our routine set. Thank goodness Tyler uses clip-on ties!

9:00 am: As we back out the driveway, we realize that we are on schedule. Good thing too because our church is about 40 minutes driving time away.

9:35 am: We made better time that I anticipated. Sunday school classes do not start ’till 9:45 so John and I can join friends in the fellowship center for coffee and donuts. Tyler heads to his pre-school class, I join up with the Ladies Married Class and John with the Married Men’s Class. (We women talk/complain about our men and the men talk…sports -Or so I’m told!)

11:00 am: How do you get between 900 and 1,000 folks into the sanctuary in 15 minutes? I haven’t a clue but we manage and service starts smoothly. In a couple more years, Tyler will be an acolyte -Just like I was when growing up. John and I both hold Tyler’s hands as we line up at the communion rail but he has always been at his best behavior during this sacred time.

12:10 noon: We head out the church parking lot after a few good byes and head to the Buffet Dinner for Sunday lunch. Its a cafeteria style eatery which fits most family budgets. Jenny’s church isn’t too far away and her family eats here most Sundays but I don’t see her today.

1:20 pm: Time to head back to the house.

2:00 pm: It is windy today so John will show Tyler how to fly a kite as well as throw and catch with a softball. I plan to finish a few small chores, check my email and read a good book.

4:30 pm: My two “boys” come in from that huge meadow a short walk down the road -And they’re hungry. (Naturally) I’m prepared (Aren’t moms ALWAYS?) and have some brownies waiting for them. But I tell them “Only 1 so your appetite won’t be spoiled…Tonight, we are having a BBQ at Michelle’s.”

5:30 pm: I got the potato salad and strawberry pie ready to take to Michelle and Richard’s. Time to rouse up John and Tyler from their naps for a long drive. (I forgot one thing: My nap!)

6:20 pm: We arrive at Michelle’s. Her Dr./Hubby must be doing well: Gated security, a mile long gravel driveway leading to a house that was just built to resemble the Ponderosa House of that old t.v. show BONANZA. And our newest couple have 2 horses too! Jenny’s Tommy has been waiting for Tyler and TNT (As we all call those two) ride the horses with Michelle’s close supervision.

7:30 pm: Dinner was great and Michelle avoided getting “tackled” by Jenny and Wendy. Of course, it helped Michelle not to mock Jenny and Wendy about Alabama football! After dinner, our “boys” went back outside while we ladies watched our favorite t.v. show Desperate Housewives. Jenny and Michelle also work on coordinating lesson plans for the coming week.

9:15 pm: The last of the cleaning up and dishwasher loading is finished and Jenny, Wendy and me along with our families head home for the night. It has been a very good weekend. My Tyler and Jenny’s Tommy (aka “TNT”) managed to stay out of MAJOR trouble. I always kid Wendy that she can see the future of baby Patrick by watching “TNT”.

10:00 pm: Back home, its the normal bedtime routine for Tyler ending in a tucking in and goodnight kiss. John and I do likewise after catching the late evening weather report. And then …

Zzzzzz

MONDAY

6:00 am: The radio alarm clock comes on with local DJ blaring in a “Robin Williams” style,”Goooood Morrrrnning, … County! …”

My weekend is over ALREADY?

 

TEACHER FEATURE:

MICHELLE, A FIREDRILL AND FIREWORKS

Hello readers. This is your ex- Alabama cheerleader and this segment is anything but cheerful to me. We are all reluctant paddlers at TWP, which is why only a handful of our “kids” have ever had to be paddled. I am finishing my 4th year of teaching and have paddled three of my “kids” in those four years. Not exactly habitual, huh? I had hoped my 4th year in teaching would have a “0” on the c.p. count but this Spring that hope was dashed.

I have been having my best year ever with no major problems with any of my 4th grade students. That is, until Firedrill day which our school does twice a year. Only faculty and staff know beforehand when the drill is to occur. The purpose of the drill is so students will know the protocol and where to go if there was to be a real fire. Students are to calmly walk single file down the hallway to the nearest exit and leave the building with their teachers to a predetermined area outside.

Simple enough, right?

Not for Rob, one of my “kids” who is also borderline ADHD. I have worked with students like Rob in previous years with mixed results but never had the trouble I had with Rob on that Firedrill Day. The prior Fall, Rob was in another school during that firedrill day so I was unsuspecting.

At the designated time, I quietly opened my classroom door while my class was in their Reading Comprehension period. When the alarm went off on schedule, I stood at the doorway and started to instruct my class as to protocol. But Rob shot out of his seat like a rocket and nearly RAN me over. Had Rob been bigger, he would have knocked me down! I turned around to catch him but too late -Rob was nearly sprinting down the hallway and would have plowed over someone had anyone been unlucky enough to be in his way. Mr. Smith, our principal and Clyde, our janitor, both grabbed Rob as he burst out the back doors like a “bat out of hell”.

As the other teachers and I escorted our classes outside, I could see Rob laughing as our principal and janitor held him. Rob actually started doing a boxing warm-up routine. “Yeah,” I thought, “There WILL be a warm-up alright, Rob…But it will NOT be the one you are thinking about!” I could clearly see the look on our principal’s face…And it was not pleasant. I did feel a little sympathy for Rob but knew actions had consequences…

After the brief firedrill, I got my class back into the room without incident. But Rob was taken to the front office by Mr.Smith. A few minutes later, I was paged and told to come to the office. I got Clyde to watch my class as I headed to what I was certain would be a rear warming session with me as witness.

When I stepped inside the principal’s office, Mr. Smith informed me that he had talked to Rob’s mom and they had agreed that Rob had to be punished. I silently nodded and then Mr. Smith added, “In this case, I believe you should administer this…” He then handed me Wendy’s old “Take Along” paddle that she asked Renee to “get rid of”. (I hate that paddle too!) I started to shake my head but then thought, “If I don’t paddle Rob, Mr. Smith will and it will be a LOT harder.”

So, instead I had Rob bend over a chair and as he was doing so, I said, “Rob, I haven’t paddled anyone this year but you could have been seriously hurt or hurt someone else running through the building like you did…I am going to give you only three swats because; up until today, you have managed to control yourself…But there is NO  excuse for what you did a little while ago.”

I then did what I had hoped I wouldn’t have to do this year…Give a merited paddling. After Rob confirmed that he had nothing in his back pockets, I lined the top edge of the impact area of the paddle with the top edge of the back pockets. Then, I held the paddle back at a 90 degree angle and swung it, mostly with my right forearm.

SMACK

“Ouch”

SMACK

“Owww!” sniffle

This is the worst part of all for me because I detest the very idea of “hurting” one of my classroom “kids” -Even a short term “stinging” for cause. I swung a third time.

SMACK “Owwwww!”

When Rob turned around, Mr. Smith erupted, “If I didn’t feel that adding a couple more of my own would upset Mrs. …., you would get exactly that!…And ANY more trouble out of you -Your butt’s mine!…Out of my office!”

Mr. Smith told me in no uncertain terms that he thought my paddling was rather mild and to send Rob to him if he gave me any more trouble.

I caught up with Rob outside my classroom door and explained to him that he was on “thin ice” the rest of the school year. I then told Rob that I didn’t want him getting paddled anymore-By me, or Mr. Smith. Then I pleaded, “Rob…please mind me and stay out of trouble…o.k.?”

Rob then gave me a light hug saying, “I’m sorry, Mrs. …., please don’t be mad at me…”

I shushed him replying, “Rob, I’m not mad at you but your recklessness could have hurt someone…Do you understand me?”

Rob nodded as I patted him on the shoulder.

There were no hard feelings and I took this as a “teachable” moment for the rest of the class as to firedrill safety dos and do nots.

 

NOTE: Due to the length of this post, STUDENT TEACHING CHRONICLES OF RENEE pt. IV will be moved to next week.

 

COMING NEXT: EDITORIAL: TWP’S Rx FOR BULLYING,

TWP’S PERSPECTIVE ON “JESSICA SERAFIN”

&

STUDENT TEACHING CHRONICLES OF RENEE pt. V

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