Sunday, November 25, 2007

    Tzarina on the playground

    Since leaving the road (my last project was brutal in the travel), I have been able to spend a lot more time at Pookie's school. I take her in, take her lunch and then pick her up. At lunch, I sit with her and discuss her morning, talk with the other kids or generally stay out of the way if she is otherwise engaged.

    I then wander outside for the recess. One of the reasons we left the catholic school was because Pookie suffered a concussion on the playground and no adult knew about it. We only found out when she began vomiting after getting picked up after school (it happened during afternoon recess). We found it deplorable that no adult either saw the incident, saw Pookie crying behind a tree, or otherwise followed-up. When we called, the principal (herafter known as Czarina) was asked, she confused Pookie with a girl who had scraped her knee. She then argued that Pookie wasn't really sick suggesting we bring in proof of injuries. Czarina had some issues.

    So, playground duty is important to us. At New School (hereafter called Evangeli-U), a Lutherine evangelical school with way too many happy Jesus zealots, the playground arrangement isn't much better: one parent on duty. With at least three grades at a time, there are a lot of kids to watch for only one person. We are concerned.

    I provide that background in order to tell the story of Fascist Mom. FM brooked no fun at recess. It was drizzly that day, so no climbing on the monkey-bars. Swings had to go in a straight line only, no tackling by the boys, and perhaps the merry-go-round was too much as well. She spent the whole time literally running from one end to the other running down playing kids to warn them of impending doom.

    Then, we we lined up to go in (a bell I thought would never ring), she proceeded to ask if an assembly was necessary in order to go over the rules. Shocked, the kids stayed mum. Because of one spitter, the rest were warned of the low-class, evil nature of spitting out of doors. Also, there would be no tackling (even though I thought that the offending tackle was well done, with slow speed on wood chips), no wet-monkey-bar climbing and no off-line swinging. And then she said: "and there should be no screaming."

    Seems that she felt that screaming (the kind a kid does when being chased, feels happy or otherwise does once outdoors) should be reserved for those times a bad person was around. Otherwise, adults might not know when there is danger. Also, if one is to scream, then one should do it in a low voice, so that it stands out from the playful screams (which they weren't supposed to do either).

    I have only seen her on the playground once. It was once too many.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Are you a teacher or an Educator

    [copied from an e-mail forward]

    According to a news report, a certain school was recently faced with a unique problem.

    A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the washroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back. Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. He called all the girls to the washroom and met them there with the maintenance man.

    He explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, he asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.

    He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.

    Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

    There are teachers, and then there are Educators

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    The state of writing today

    I was doing my daily reading, which I haven't been able to do for months, and this article about teen girl's and writing sucked me in. Pookie is only 5 odd years away from teendom, and I am already starting to worry.

    With story after hand-wringing story about the decline of literacy due to short attention spans, texting, et al, it is refreshing to note that the "kids" are doing pretty well by themselves. Doing pretty damn fine, really.

    Perhaps the text-laden, word-saturated world they live in now (you are, yourself, reading a blog) actually increases a sense of rhetorical power...makes it tacit, like grammar. Perhaps those time-wasting movies (Saw IV, anyone?) provides a sense of pacing, story-telling and framing for effect.

    Infants learn to speak by listening. Perhaps, to a greater degree than has been acknowledged, teens learn to write by "reading" their world.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

    Where have you been?

    A recent comment asked:


    You are burnt out! No posts for 28 days? Where are you? What's happened? Where is your life going?

    Actually, my last "post" was Tuesday, October 02, 2007. But the point is well taken. Where the hell am I?

    I have only just returned, in time for trick-or-treating with a wicca-Pookie, from a grueling training road-trip. Here are the sites in successive weeks: Atlanta; San Diego (just a few weeks before the fires); Laurel, MD; Manassas, VA; Burlington, NJ. ...and, boy, are my arms tired.

    Leading adult training five days a week for five weeks can really suck ones soul dry. Especially fi the material was created by someone else who had no idea of adult instructional design.

    But, those days are done. No more being home only a day and a half on the weekends. No more late Sunday trips out to foreign lands and late Friday nights driving home. And, I had only one direct flight. Heard the horror stories of air travel lately? They are all TRUE!

    I expect to get back into snarky form quickly. Welcome back everyone.

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