All posts for the month September, 2014

That’s what happened, I blinked

Published September 14, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I finished my first three weeks of teaching full time. I’m only limping a little (On the inside, not the outside.) This week was challenging, in a word. In two words it was Incredibly Frustrating.

It kicked off with a Lockdown drill.

It saddens and alarms me that such things exist, but in the event of the need to secure all of the children in all of the classes we need to be prepared. My room is the safest place to be because it is an interior room with an interior closet; it’s basically a concrete bunker inside of another bunker.  I will not disclose the details of our drills on the grounds that it is a security measure. I want my students to be as safe as possible.

There was some misbehavior during this drill that created the need to send some students to lunch detention. I have never done this before, so I had to do some background work from that point on.  It was a bizarre day from that point on.

Tuesday I had to make sure the kids got to lunch detention. I also had to stay after school for a few hour to work on grades. This is grim, but necessary. This is part of the thing I have to do to catch up with what I missed that first week.

Wednesday was challenging because it was chaos.  One of the 9th grade teachers took pity on me and loaned me a megaphone to be heard over the rowdiness. This worked for about five minutes. My mean girl super model class was in rare form; the kind of form that required me to rework the seating plan and consider requesting a prescription for Xanax.

Thursday showed me that the seating chart was a miserable failure. I also reconfigured the classroom so that I could at least see all of the faces of my biggest class (I was mistaken. There are not 43 kids in there anymore; there is 37.)  That worked well. That class is the only one that got everything done.

I’m not far enough removed from Friday’s debacle to objectively discuss it.

There were some good parts, too. One of my classes has some boys who insist of interpreting everything as a rap. It never occurred to me that “Dramaturg” rhymed with “Research.” My advanced class performed their vocabulary as an interpretive dance.

Just in case anyone might think I have no life outside of my job (I don’t.) I also spent an evening chatting with one of Elle’s Beta Readers, CWH. CWH gave her some ideas about developing the story.  There was also some feedback that said that I am not wasting my time barking up that tree.

We shall see.

For, Fiddle-Dee-Dee, Tomorrow is another day!

All that action twirling, twirling

Published September 7, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

If I had to describe this past week in a word, INSANE covers it. Fortunately, while the week was insane, I survived mostly intact. ( I say mostly because my ankles and feet were so sore yesterday it felt like I was walking on bricks instead of feet and I injured my vocal cords to the point that my voice dropped half an octave for a full 24 hours.)

Here is a brief overview:

I was filled with hope and joy after hearing that my class was a favorite, and that my crazy is viewed as a good thing.  The other side of that is that no one wants to transfer out of that class to reduce the number. In fact, two people who transferred out, want back in. This is all well and I good, I love my students. It’s just that there is 43 of them. At one time. In one accoustically challenged room.

The meeting I attended about upcoming productions did very little to reassure me and quite a bit to make me practice the slow breathing so I don’t have a nervous breakdown thing.  The meeting was also attended by my former  Arch-Nemesis. She had not heard the details of EH and the Adulteress (Coming soon, starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Executive Producer, Chelsea Handler. I gave her the highlights.

Her response: You deserve better.

Universe, are you listening? I can give you directions and GPS coordinates

That made me feel a little less like melting down.

Meltdown got a reboot when I got home at 7 PM and realized that unless I went to the store on the way home the next day, it would be highly likely that I would have to take a bag of frozen cauliflower for lunch.

Many, many things happened. There were three minor altercations in my classroom, nothing major and nothing violent just some bubbles that needed to be popped. That all worked out ok.

I also got two hugs (Side of course because we aren’t allowed to provide any affection to our students.  Both of these hugs were student initiated and I will not, shall not, won’t not refuse a child’s hug.)

The highlights of the week were the tidbits of hilarity that were sprinkled out over the two day review of the origins of theater:

“Don’t start without me; I’m the goddess of Beauty.”

” Is this part of your play, or are you just being a pain?”

” Get out of my scene or I will cut you.”-Delivered with a crisply perfect British Accent.

and my hands down favorite moment, Caveman wanting Cavewoman to leave the skin on the Sabertoothed Tiger when she cooked it to lock in the flavor.  She wanted to remove the skin and roast it on a dry grill.

The week wrapped out with the sixth and seventh grade Howdy Dance.

I offered to help out because I actually like that kind of thing and I probably won’t have much time near productions to help out anyone.

The dance was interesting.   It’s amazing how little things change. Girls still roamed in packs. Boys still refused to dance, but wandered about trying to figure out who was taken and who was available. The first incident of someone storming tearfully out of the Gym happened forty-five minutes in.  It was a boy. There were three other tearful exits, at least one Best Friend facilitated break-up and two wonderful things that almost defy description.

The dance was attended by a tiny little cowboy. He was a sixth grader who hasn’t hit his growth spurt. He was the perfect blue-jeaned-white-shirt-brown-boot-wearing cowboy. He also apparently did the worm dead center on the dance floor. I was keeping kids from bringing in food or drinks (I actually body-checked one kid who tried to sneak by with a Dr. Pepper. Not on my watch.) so I didn’t get to see it. When the tiny cowboy exited for refreshment, he politely bowed as he walked past, giving me a respectful, “Ma’am.”

It was so cute I wanted to plotz.

The second wonderful thing happened when I was watching the girl’s bathroom. (If four or more girls went in, I had to stand in the open door. ). One of my students came by and introduced me to her friend. They remarked with amazement that some sixth grade girls were actually going with sixth grade boys. As if on cue , one of the breaking up couples whimpered by. My student tossed a handful of Skittles in her mouth and said, “I don’t know what the big deal is. Some guy invited me to come here tonight.  I came. He’s not here. Big deal, I have my friends.”  Her friend agreed with her. They clinked their cans of soda and chomped happily.

I wish I was that smart when I was in the sixth grade


I wish I could say I was suprised

Published September 3, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Life as a full-time teacher is definitely an interesting transition from my usual life of functional tree sloth with internet access.

I say interesting because many of the words I could use do not exist in any known language. (It’s actually a lot of sounds that vary from surprised to shocked with a few bits of horror tossed in.) I have often said that kids say things that I could not possibly sit down and make up as dialogue.  They also do things that no one would believe if it wasn’t happening inches from their face.

I started with Aristotle and his Poetics. From there I went to Dionysus, the Greek Wino who loved entertainment. From there we went to the Rules of Improv and on to creative drama with fairy tales.  I know that sounds like a lot to cover in the first week of school, but we did it. Some of the information actually stuck to some of the kids. (Interesting because it was Friday before I got a roll of tape for my classroom.)

Today we had a quick wrap up and review. It was quick because apparently all of the children ate chocolate covered crack over the long weekend and I didn’t want to turn my back on them to adjust the power point.

We discussed rituals and the fact that mankind has an innate need to imitate, thus we must perform.

Tomorrow we are going on to cave paintings.

I’m only a little scared of the idea, but it’s in the lesson plan, so I will make it happen.

At the surprise faculty meeting today (It was a surprise to me, I’m not sure if it was a surprise to anyone else.) I was recognized with a pin that said, “I made a difference today.”  I was awarded this pin because a child was asked by the Principal how the first week of school went.  The response he got was, “Ms. Rodriguez is the craziest person I have ever met.  I love going to her class.” I have to admit I wasn’t surprised by the crazy.

I’m not sure where to go from there.  Maybe maniacal? Or creatively loony.