Slandering My Name!!!


Well, MFH is at it again. This is what happened. She took her daughter out of school and tried to check her into another school. THE PROBLEM: The school wouldn’t take her because they said she was not the type of parent they wanted at their school. But, before she left, (tried to anyway), she slandered my name with a couple of other parents. Do they believe it? Some do. Some don’t. Do I care? Meh, I know I should but I don’t. I know how good I am at my job and no one can take that away from me. The mom in question only has an 8th grade education, yet wants to tell me how to run the classroom; and she is a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggggggggg troublemaker. So, what I know is that I am going to come out of this smelling like a rose no matter what anyone tries to say or do.

I Apologized to India!


Dear Readers,

I have to say that I was wrong for arguing with MFH in front of her child. I didn’t mean for it to escalate, but it did. NO EXCUSES!!! So, today I apologized to India. I didn’t want her to think that I hated her or her mom. I told her that I am sorry for what happened with her mother and that I still liked her- that nothing changed between us.

She said, “Thank you Miss,” and gave me a hug.

I should have been more mindful of her presence. That is one thing that I hate about myself. I hate to get as mad as I did yesterday, because it is hard for me to calm down. Yesterday was inspiring for me though. It inspired me to get back to the way I used to be when I spoke up for myself. It also inspired me to seek an anger management treatment program. I did NOT like me yesterday. Although everything I told MFH about herself was true, they were mean. I don’t want anyone to take me to that point.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve probably noted that theme repeated. You’ve probably also noted that I HAVE allowed myself to get to the point where I don’t care about anyone’s feelings. So, as of today, I take responsibility for my actions. I challenge myself to find an anger management treatment center. AS OF TODAY, I CHALLENGE MYSELF TO DO BETTER!

It Happened Again!!! (or I Let Her Steal My Peace)


Dear Readers,

I was going to take a mental health day today, but decided not to because I am not a quitter. I did nothing but defend myself. But, I am still so mad at myself. “Why?” you ask. Well,  I had it out with MFH again yesterday. I’m so mad that I didn’t control myself. I knew she was trying to upset and I let her win. I let her steal my peace.

I didn’t write about it yesterday because I needed some time to calm down and think things through. Yesterday I really wanted to quit my job. It’s just like my old job all over again. However, I’ve had overnight to think about what I want to do and have decided not to.

This mom is something else. She is always trying to sucker punch me. That is her M.O. I know because I have been going out of my way to be nice to her. I swallowed my pride and started talking to her and giving her reports, glowing reports I might add, regarding her daughter. But, did this placate her? NO. She decided to go to the Principal because her daughter didn’t understand the homework. Her daughter didn’t understand the homework because she wasn’t supposed to be doing the homework. However, I didn’t know that her daughter didn’t know how to do the homework because she never told me. Instead she went straight to the Principal.

This is how it all began. She asked me about the homework.

“No,” I said. “India does not have homework”.

But, can you do me a favor and visit the classroom,” I said, “because I did not deserve for you to go to the Principal. If you had a problem, you should have asked me before you went over my head.

She then told me that it was her right to go to the Principal. I told her that I didn’t say she couldn’t go to the Principal. I said she shouldn’t have gone because going to the Principal was the equivalent of saying I wasn’t doing my job.

“I do my job and I do it well”.  I said. “My classroom works. If you would really like to know how the classroom works, the only thing I ask you to do is to come to the class and see how the classroom works”. THEN, if you have a problem with it, you should go to the Principal”.

She then told me that she didn’t know it was bad to go to Principal. REALLY???? C’MON SON!!!!!!

Anyway, we had a heated discussion for about 35 minutes, during which time she only complained and did not look for solutions. It was at this point that I asked her if she only wanted to complain or did she want to find solutions. She ignored me and continued to complain. That’s when I decided to end the meeting. She was crying BIG ALLIGATOR tears at this point to try to evoke sympathy. IT DIDN’T WORK!!! I’m going to say this, even though it’s mean. I did not feel sorry for someone who has tried to get me fired. TWICE!!!

When I broached that subject about her trying to get me fired, she said that it was my job to try to save my job. (She said it in Spanish, not knowing that I could understand her.) That’s when I told her that I wouldn’t have to try to save my job if she would quit trying to get me fired when she knows that I am helping her daughter. She even admitted that I am helping her daughter and that her daughter loves me.

I am at my wit’s end. I am T.I.R.E.D.!!! I have been going through H.E.L.L. for about 8 years. When is it going to end?????????? I would just like to do my job and go home. NO MUSS! NO FUSS!

WHY???????????????????????????????? WHEN??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

10 Simple Truths I’ve Learned About Education


Working in education makes you one tough mutha’, shut yo’ mouth! Although I may get off track and temporarily want to smack someone (as with MFH), I’ve learned many simple truths that will help save your sanity. They are in no particular order. Enjoy!

  1. You will have parents (more than likely a mom) from hell who complain about everything.
  2. There will be parents who will question your methods.
  3. There will be parents who will have your back. Especially regarding the parents from hell.
  4. Administrators may turn on you. You’ve got to learn how to have your own back. What I mean by this is that you have to learn to stick up for yourself.
  5. Some years will be terrible.
  6. Some years will be fantastic.
  7. You may not like all of your students. Over the years (since we are human) we may have a personality clash or two with a student or two.
  8. You will not get paid what you are worth. Deal with it.
  9. Children need to learn:
  • Independence &
  • Struggle.
  • to be told no

10. All of your hard work will one day pay off!!!

MFH…Again!!! (or Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Peace!)


Yes, Dear Readers,

MFH is at it again. She is a terribly unhappy person who is not happy unless she’s making someone else happy. But, I will not be one of the ones she makes unhappy. I just won’t let her. I am going to keep being me. If she had it her way, her daughter would be the only student in 4th grade. That way, she could get ALL the attention.

This is her problem- I have a combination 4/5 class. In order for the class to work, I put all the 4th graders together in one group; and I put all the 5th graders together in one group & switch back & forth all day. I am making the best out of a bad situation. MFH knows this, but she chooses to complain anyway. What did she do this time? Well, she went to the Principal. AGAIN!!! She complained that her daughter does not get enough feedback. NOT TRUE! The Principal said that she told her she knows I give the students feedback, but I’m not too sure if I believe that.

The problem- She stopped upsetting me. Whenever I spoke with her, I put a smile on my face. But that wasn’t the case during the first month of school. During the first month of school we were going at it because she wants me to give ALL of my attention to her child, to the exclusion of every other student. Obviously I cannot do that.

Well, I decided to put a stop to her harassment and to stop her from trying to ambush me in the mornings & after school. I put up a conference request sheet on my door that can be signed whether I’m there or not. I also started heading her off at the pass & began giving her daily updates on her daughter’s behavior. I really tried to work with her, but I see there is no pleasing her, so I’m not going to try.
Problem- She wants me to change the way I run my classroom. Well, that’s not going to happen. I am not going to stop running my class the way I run it. My classroom is very efficient and runs very well. It works for me & the students, soI will continue to work on my students and myself, professionally & personally. She is such a non-factor, it’s not even funny!

Problem- She wants to steal my peace, but she cannot or will not steal it. I’ll keep it to myself. Thank you very much!

So, that’s my rant for the day. Have a good day & don’t let anyone try to steal your peace.

Good Cars!!!


“Miss, you buy good cars,” my male students told me, as they prepared to buy from the classroom store on Friday.

“Thanks,” I said. “I buy the cars I like.”

Apparently I buy good cars. I was very happy to hear that.

Really Tired Me!


I have been so tired lately. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the catty, back-biting, trouble-making girls in my class this year. Maybe it’s all the back biting that’s going on in my workplace. I don’t know, but it’s affecting me and my body. I know I’m going to come out of this with the information that I need to move on to a better job. So, until then, I will endure and learn what I need to know. Bye for now!

Superteacherworksheets.com & The Plot Chicken Rules


Hello Dear Readers,

I’m writing to report that my writing program is coming along. Last year I didn’t work on writing as much as I wanted to. I was scared I wasn’t going to do a good enough job. Not only that, but I just didn’t know where to start. So, as I always do when I have a problem, I tackle it.

Well, during the summer time I bought a couple of books about teaching children how to write & read them. I also dusted off some books I’d gotten for free from some trainings & read those.

I checked the standards to compile a list of all the different types of writing required for 4th & 5th grade. That’s when I discovered that students need to be able to read proofreading marks. Well, that was just perfect because I found three different sets of bookmarks on superteacherworksheets.com (click link). I have basic, which has 6 basic proofreading marks students need to know; the intermediate, which has 9 basic marks students need to know; lastly, there’s the advanced bookmark, which has 14 basic proofreading marks students need to know.

To tie everything in together, I read my students The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane & Herm Auch. We then completed a story using the rules from the book.

PLOT CHICKEN RULES: Rules for writing a great story

Rule #1- Have a main character

Rule #2- Hatch a plot

Rule #3- Give the main character a problem

Rule #4- Ask, “What If…?” questions

Rule #5- Write what you know

Rule #6- Build suspense

Rule #7- Use your senses (see, touch/feel, taste, smell, hear)

Rule #8- Make sure the main character solves their own problem(s)

Although these rules don’t apply to every piece of writing, I have been able to help them with their writing just by pointing out what Plot Chicken rule they did not follow. So, between superteacherworksheets.com & The Plot Chicken Rules rules, my student’s written work is blossoming.

***If you have not read The Plot Chicken Rules by Mary Jane & Herm Auch, do yourself & favor and read it. Then read it to your students. (If you would like to read my book review of The Plot Chickens, click here.)

***I have been unable to print the intermediate & advanced bookmarks from superteacherworksheets.com. I’ll write to the creator of the site and make sure he’s aware of it.

8 Points!!!


I am so proud of one of my students, the Queen. Last year she was so shy. Since I knew she would be in my class, I started talking to her, (Just as I did with Coaster.) She sat all alone, on the sidelines, eating her food and looking super nervous.

“Hi, Queen,” I would say. “How are you doing today?”

“I’m ok,” she would say (barely audible).

Anyway, there’s the background on the Queen. Now, fast forward to a pep talk, when she thought about quitting, 6 weeks worth of Dr. Who-like talks and you have a new and improved Queen who scored 8/14 points for my school’s volley ball team. I AM SO PROUD OF HER!!!

She

He Felt Comfortable Enough to Cry!


I am so happy that one of my students cried in front of the whole class. Why am I so happy about that??? Well, I’m happy about it because he felt comfortable enough to cry; which means he feels safe.

It was after lunch & we were working on English. I had my head down. Suddenly, I look up and the King is next to me crying.

“Oh, my goodness,” I asked, in complete shock. “Why are you crying?”

He told me that he was feeling sad. I later found out that he was sad because two of my former students wouldn’t let him play soccer with them during lunch time. It was at this point that I called the rest of the class over to give him a group hug. Once he calmed down enough to be coherent, I sat him in my special chair & let him blow bubbles. (Dear Readers, if you haven’t let your students blow bubbles to calm down, then you need to try it. It really works.)

After I sat the King down, I called two of the bigger boys to go over and sit with him. They talked, laughed, & blew bubbles. Once the King was calm enough, I sent the two bigger boys back to their seats. I then gave him 3 more minutes to blow the bubbles before he needed to return to his seat to work.

He returned to his seat much happier.

Now to get back to why I was happy that he felt comfortable enough to cry. I know that I’m doing something right when a student feels comfortable enough to cry because they know they are loved.

From Neutralizing to Understanding!


Dear Readers,

I’ve got a confession to make. Sometimes I fly off the handle. You see, I’ve got a little bit of a temper. I gotta’ admit that I flew off the handle with MFH. I could definitely have handled her questions (and attack) better. Even if they were thrown at me with daggers. That’s one of the reasons I found a way to neutralize her with my Conference Request form. I had to do it for my own peace of mind. I explained it to the parents at Back to School Night that stopping me in the hallways before school or after school was not ideal for me since I have a lot to do. However, this mom thought she didn’t have to follow the rules and tried to ambush me on Friday morning. That’s when I politely referred her to the conference request form. She grudgingly signed up and I ok’ed her request for after school.

So, once school was out, she was there waiting for me. I told her to wait for a couple of minutes as I took care of some personal business. Once I finished, we went up to the classroom & got started.

“How can I help you?” I asked. She then asks about the homework & tells me about her daughter and her homework packet. She was accusing me of not giving her daughter another packet. (Key word- another). I didn’t know India needed another packet. I told MFH that, if I had known, I would have given her a packet. But, India didn’t tell me. I even asked her if she had it, she told me that she did. She lied. As usual.

That’s when her mother accepted responsibility for her daughter’s lying and losing things. It was at this point that I really understood her. I still don’t trust her, but I understand her position. I actually did from the beginning, but was disgusted with her approach. Once I was able to put aside my personal feelings, I did what I usually do- I talked to her. I put aside my dislike for her character and talked to her about her child. I wish we could have done this in the beginning. But, I am learning. I know I could have handled things differently. However, of course, hindsight is 20/20!

Thank you for listening, dear readers!

Getting in the Right Mindset! (or In the Jungle with no Machete!)


I NEED A MACHETE!!! No, I’m not crazy. It’s not for anything unspeakable. Just bear with me and as usual I will bring it back around.

You see, I was talking to my friend, Danika, the other day about how I perceive the world. I feel as if I’m stuck in the middle of the jungle- the thickest part, no less- with no way of getting out. Getting out of the jungle would be a lot easier  (understatement of the year) if I had what I needed- a machete, perhaps. Unfortunately I don’t think I’m going to be handed one anytime soon. But, I digress!

If there’s one thing I learned from my first teaching job, it’s that no one was really obligated to look out for me. It would have been nice if they would have, but they were not obligated to.Read More »

She Also Made a Conscious Decision!


Dear Readers,

I am so pleased with Binaca Blast. “Why?” you ask. Well, over the weekend, I wrote about the Dr. Who-like talk I had with her about being mean and not having any friends. The trouble all began when she thought Genius Boy liked The Queen. However, what she didn’t know is that I’m paying Genius Boy $25 (Lakeshore money) extra per week to help her. Well, hell hath no fury like a woman (or little girl) scorned (even if it’s imagined).

Well, I stopped class and pulled her to the side. I had to step because more than half the class disliked her; none of the 5th grade boys like her. Cute Cheeks just came back on Thursday and disliked her by Friday. So, I had to work my magic.

Judging from her behavior, I knew there was a problem at her last school. So, I asked her about her friends at her last school.

“I had a lot of friends,” she said. I just started shaking my head to indicate that I did NOT believe her.

“Well,” she said. “Some of the kids didn’t like me”.

I asked her why and she admitted that it was because she was being mean. That’s when I asked her if she thought being mean was working for her. She said no. I then asked her when she was going to stop. She didn’t have an answer. She just looked at me with a blank stare. I told her to think about her behavior over the weekend. I let her know that she needed to make a conscious decision to start making friends and stop making enemies.

Long story short: She came back today and told me that she wanted to make friends. (Again, you could have blown me over with a feather. Quite frankly, I’d totally forgotten about our talk over the weekend because I didn’t expect any results because she’s extremely difficult.) She ended up apologizing to the Queen about kicking her on Friday. She kinda’ tried to make amends with the boys, but they’re holding a grudge. I’ll talk to them tomorrow.

Now, the next one I’m working on is Hair Girl. But, that is a story that I will save for tomorrow!

Online Library Card Application


I’m about to start my monthly trips to the public library. Surprisingly, the students loved it. They complained a little when it was hot, but they loved going. Olive Boy was a little troublesome, but all in all, not that bad. I’ll resume the trips in October when it’s not so hot. Last year, we were pretty problem-free. The biggest problem I experienced was some of the students not being able to check out books because their parents did not return the library card application. Well, I (or the public library system) have the solution. There are two options. You can go into any branch location, fill it out and get the card on the spot or you can fill out the application online by clicking this link (http://www.lapl.org/about/librarycard_youth.html). Now you have up to 3 weeks to pick up the card.

EASY PEASY!!!

Getting to the Heart of the Matter


I’ve been having my Dr. Who-like talks with my student, Binaca Blast. She’s having a hard time adjusting to the rules of my classroom. I have a poster board posted with prices for How to Make $$$/How to Lose $$$. She’s broken one of my most expensive rules- $50 (Lakeshore money) for lying. Last week, she lost $100.

I was trying to cut her some slack & work with her, but she failed both times. I gave her two chances to tell me the truth and she did not tell the truth either time.

It was at this point that I called my student, India, who lost 2 paychecks in a row for various infractions. I asked her to tell her story to Binaca.

“Well,” she said. “I decided to get with the program & start behaving, doing my homework, and stop acting bad”.

“Thank you India,” I said.

I then turned my attention back to Binaca Blast. I told her that her behavior was unacceptable and not going to work in my classroom. I asked her when was she going to “get with the program” and stop with some of the negative behaviors.

She had no answer. I can’t say I made any headway with her. Only time will tell. We’re only in the 4th week of school, so I’ll keep having my Dr. Who-like talks with her and see how things go. I’ll write later. Bye for now!

She Made a Conscious Decision!


After a hellacious couple of weeks, I am finally having some success with, India, the child of the MFH. She was giving me just as much trouble as her mother. She was lying, cheating, and causing trouble. All with NO remorse.

During her first week of school, I told her NO and she simply did not seem to understand. She had a very puzzled look on her face as if she’d never heard the word before. SHE PROBABLY HASN’T!!!

So, to make a log story short, I gave the class my speech about working as a team, how our class is a family, and that the rules apply to everyone. I told them that I am the same on the first day of school to the last of school. So, either they were going to make a conscious decision to “get with the program” or have no privileges in the classroom or money to buy at the classroom store.

Well, I guess this story is not going to be as short as I wanted it to be. Anywho, let me just get to it. I pulled the girls for a conference because Binaca Blast kicked the Queen in the back of the leg. I had a group discussion with them after I had separate discussions with each of them. This is when I found out that Binaca Blast has been treating the Queen so badly because Binaca Blast likes Genius Boy. She thinks that Genius Boy likes the Queen when he sticks so close to her during classwork. But, he’s only sticking so closely to her because I asked him to give her extra help. (Boy, I tell you about little girls!)

After finding out this information, I decided to go another route with my talk with them. I decided to focus on them, and their hopes and dreams. I asked them what they thought the class was going to be like; what I was like; and how they thought the year was going to be for them.

The other girls had good things to say, but India surprised me THE most. It was at this point that I complimented her on her behavior change.

She said, “Thanks Miss! I decided to be better at school; with my behavior and everything. I decided I needed to get with the program.”

At this point, you could have bowled me over with a feather. I was so happy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy about it. I just didn’t know that she was capable of making that type of decision. So, this is what I consider my first success of the year. Still, as is evidenced from years past, anything can happen. So continue to keep me in your prayers. Bye for now!

They Filled My Bucket!


Dear Readers,

Now, you know how terrible my opening few weeks of school have been? Well, today almost made up for the past couple weeks. I felt so special. I know that some of you may not know what I’m talking about in regard to bucket filling, but, I will seriously post a book review on this sometime this week. So, as not to leave those who don’t know, totally in the dark, bucket filling is a  program based off the educational programs of Merrill Lundgren, the Bucket Man. Think of everyone as having an invisible bucket  above their head. You fill theirs & yours by complimenting or doing something nice for them. You dip into their bucket by being mean to them.

Well, today, we were doing bucket filling, as we do every morning, right before Religion. I asked the students whose bucket they wanted to fill. Imagine my surprise when two of my students chose to fill my bucket. Do you know how full & special that made me feel?

I would like for your, Dear Reader, to help fill someone’s bucket. It is such a wonderful & positive way to begin the day. So, even if you don’t purchase this book, How Full Is Your Bucket by Tom Rath or Mary Reckmeyer, purchase one of the many out there that use this philosophy. Trust me, you won’t be sorry you did. Before you go, don’t forget to be on the lookout for my book review on How Full Is Your Bucket.

Well, bye for now!

Tips on Dealing with Moms From Hell (MFH)


I’ve only had to deal with one Mom From Hell (MFH) before this. However, she had an excuse, she was mentally ill. This MFH that I’m dealing with now is simply the pushy, controlling, bulldozing, troublemaking type of MFH. No one loves their child as much as she loves her child; or so she thinks.

The last MFH, that I dealt with, became a MFH gradually. This one started out that way. She did not pass Go! She did not collect $200. She just went straight to MFH. I had one day of her and was already tired of her.

I’d seen her all last year, so I knew how she was. She used to try to “check up” on her daughter’s teacher last year. That’s why when I saw her on the first day of school, I totally ignored her. But, I digress. Let’s get to real reason for this post. In order to help you, if you’re dealing with a similar situation.

If you are dealing with a MFH or Parent from Hell (PFH), here are some tips to help you get through it.

  1. Nip problems in the bud. When you first notice a problem, address the problem from the beginning. Do NOT let it escalate.
  2. Get everything in writing. MFH like to twist every single word you say. If it’s in writing, it’s a lot harder for her to twist your words and stab you in the back.
  3. Stay calm! Don’t buy into their anger. It only validates their anger if you get angry. (I’m talking to myself right here.)
  4. Schedule all meetings. Never let them catch you in the hallways. This is their favorite.
  5. When scheduling a meeting, insist on knowing what the problem is, so that you can possibly prepare it.
  6. If at all possible, have someone (preferably an administrator) present at the meetings.

Neutralizing Mom From Hell (MFH), Part 2


So, to continue this post on the MFH. This one mom, who I’ve dubbed MFH, has really been irritating me soooooooooo bad. I know she loves her daughter. That is not the problem. The problem is the way she goes about it. She is an overprotective, controlling, bulldozing, troublemaker of a person. Her daughter had only been in school one day before she started making trouble.

Her daughter returned to school, Monday, August 22, 2011. By the end of the day on Monday, she went to the principal to tell her to come upstairs and watch me to make sure I’m teaching her daughter.

On Tuesday, August 23, 2011, she came to me in the morning with some stupid complaint. It was so unimportant that I don’t even remember what it was about.Read More »