27 May 2008

The straw that broke the camel's back.

Today, there is no comedy, no political banter, no teaching/coaching greatness. Just me venting. If you don't want to hear/read me complain, please skip to the next post.

Today I received my summative evaluation. Included is a section on my professional responsibilities and how I am a member of the learning community. This is where you would think there would be a long list of the four preps I teach, of the fact that I have written three of them from scratch, that I proposed an African Studies course that has come to be the class to be in, the way I have incorporated technology beyond what the eMints training has taught, my part in social justice cohort that started this year and how I have been able to help students and teachers better understand themselves and people of other races within and outside of that training, how I am head of the 4-12 social studies department, how I am part of the TLC committee, how I am mentor to 4 girls and a few boys in the school (and how all my mentees have stayed in school and are now officially graduated), how I have seriously turned around the track team from being really, quite sorry, to having state champions and having the boys team place in the top 4 for the first time in 20 years, how I use the track team to help make sure students are academically and behaviorally sound unlike some of the other coaches in the school who allow their athletes to consistently fail their classes and not behave well in school.

I handle mine.

None of this is included. Well, there is one sentence:
She is an effective member of her CAT team and has worked hard as the leader of that team.
Then it goes on to a paragraph on how I turned in a reflection document late. A paragraph. On how I turned a reflective piece in late. A reflective piece that is never to be read by anyone. Seriously. In the four years I have been at the school, the reflective pieces and the pieces I am reflecting on have not once been read. This year the original piece I was to reflect on was turned in by me back in September. It was not realized that the secretary or the principal lost the document until the beginning of May.

Yet I am in trouble for not turning in the reflection on time. I have a paragraph written in my summative evaluation about how I did not turn it in on time and how that "delayed the preparation of [the] document." Even though, nowhere in the document did it mention anything that I had in the original document or the reflective document. How did I delay the preparation if the document had nothing to do with my documents? Help me understand.

Ok. Enough blabbing.

Long story short:

I have had enough. I have had enough of not being acknowledged for what I do in the classroom, out of the classroom, on the track, at workshops, with teachers, with students, with administration. I have had enough of being overly stressed by all the duties alloted to me. I love the kids, that was enough to keep me here this year, but not enough for me to put myself through all that another year.

I've talked about how I wish a mo-fo would. Well, these mo-fos did. And the result is not going to be a good one (at least not for them, for me it is a return to my sanity):

I am up. I am out. I am done.

Peace out, bitches, I'm dippin' out.

Good luck finding a replacement.

They can suck it, shove it, lick it, and kiss it.

Deuces.

25 May 2008

Disney couture, noose jewelry

Almost every kid dreams of going to Disney World. Shoot... it used to be that every championship team in an athletic event wanted to go there after winning the Big Game.

But it seems that that dream has continued to fade as people realize in their adult lives that Disney World/Land is not as perfect as it purports to be. They force everyone to dress a like even down to the facial hair on men and ear ring size and number on women.

Now there is a company called Lisa Ayer who is selling some unbelievable jewelry in the in the name of Disney Couture. (Thanks VB for the heads up) I'm not sure if it is officially associated with Disney, but I'm wondering (if the line is as big as the sites says and is worn by celebrities like Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton) why Disney has not stepped in to stop the sale of this item. This is really crazy. I cannot support this even if it is supposed to be associated with a family friendly film.This is offensive. Noose jewelry should not be advertised as couture.

I'm still not sure which is worse -- that they made this product, or that people will actually buy it and wear it proudly.

24 May 2008

BET needs to really revamp

Been reading some excellent commentary on the horror that has become the cable network BET.

I hate the channel with a passion and am happy to see that other black people do as well. Now if we can get the channel to change their programing for the better more than just showing Girlfriends and A Different World occasionally.

Here are a couple sites:
We really need to stop the promotion of the ignorance of our youth. And in some cases, their parents.

There is no reason I should have a student at homecoming booty-poppin' on a handstand. No reason young girls should be so free about having sex with all the same boys and then complaining that they do not understand relationships and why they are all getting the same STDs. Perhaps if parents and the stations these young people watch worked better at informing and educating people rather than ignoring, entertaining, and trying to make a dollar, situations with our youth might be a bit better.

23 May 2008

Breakfast, euphoria, sexism?

There is nothing better than waking up in the morning and eating a St. Louis Bread Co. (Panera for those not in Da Lou) breakfast sandwich. Those things are like that shot of meth the guy on the corner needs to get through the night, or that sniff of coke the CEO needs to make it through the broker meeting. The only thing better is when I have become such a regular at the store that even though there are five people in front of me, the lady at the counter calls out my name and asks, "Breakfast sandwich? How many?" I answer, she calls a guy out from the back to go over to the sandwich section, and my order is started with 4 people still in front of me in the line.

Sweet.

The euphoric state of mind was almost ruined when I got in the car and heard a story of some women on NPR saying that the only reason Clinton is not doing well is because of sexism. That her followers should jump from the Democratic side to the Republican candidate if Clinton is not the Democratic nominee for president.

Bitch, please. It's not because she is a woman. I give them the point that there are some people in the media who are constantly dissing her and using sexist comments about her, but come on now. She is not the best candidate for all the people. She is not as charismatic or as good at uniting people as the other Dem candidate.

And if these people are so willing to support the Republican candidate if she is not in the running, then they need to seriously look at why they are supporting her. It must not be due to the issues she stands for, otherwise they would see that the Rep have completely opposing views.

They must be only voting for and supporting her because she is a woman. Not because of her stance on the issues.

Perhaps they are the sexist ones.

22 May 2008

A marathon gone wrong

Was the race really this serious?

Come on, now!!!

Tired, bored, regulating

I'm really tired today. I am also kind of bored since it is just a jeopardy review day/catch up day/work on your film festival project day in my classes. Students are working. I have to keep myself occupied during that time... and try not to doze off.

It's truly a challenge. But I have found some things to keep me occupied.
  • Checking my email. Again. And again.
  • Reading blogs on stlbloggers
  • Reading the random news on yahoo
  • Coming across articles like this about the president of The Gambia. He has "promised vicious retribution against the LGBT community, immigrants, and anyone who helps them. He said: "Any hotel, lodge or motel that lodges this kind of individuals will be closed down, because this act is unlawful."" Wow.
  • Finding other places, besides The Gambia, to travel to. Cheaply. They all sound fabulous. As does my bed right now.
  • Reading about this dumb ass and wondering why I didn't try to take advantage of his SS# when he kept posting it in the commercials.
  • Reading about the double standard in the media toward the Republican candidate and his religious supporters.
  • Checking out some hilarious international images and advertisements of G-Dubb.
  • Grading some last minute assignments.
  • Filling out failure notices.
  • And, possibly the most entertaining of all... reminiscing on some old G-Funk and watching this video. The days when you couldn't be any geek off the street. You had to be handy with the steal if you wanted to earn your keep. Mount up.


If I had wings, I would fly. Let me contemplate. Funk on a whole new level.

Hilarious. But still kind of sounding good.

21 May 2008

Questions

Are 3-4 months of excitement really worth 9-10 months of angst?

Can I really deal with all the BS for another year? Am I insane? Perhaps a bit?

Is it really that important that I try and work with these few kids to help them out through the next year?

Can I disassociate myself from all the madness? That is the only question I know the answer to.

Sucks.

19 May 2008

Supporting equality through your purchases

I am still reading through different blogs people wrote for last week's Blogger's Unite for Human Rights day. You can see some of the links to sites here. I came across Jeff McCord's blog. He wrote about buying for equality -- supporting businesses that support equality. The Human Rights Campaign has a site set up where you can download a guide that lets you know which businesses support equality, which are taking steps toward supporting, and which blatantly do not support equality. It's color coordinated for ease of reading.

Check it out: Buying for Equality.

Funny politics

This is a funny site with a list of things younger than Mr. John McCain.

Hilarious. And true.

18 May 2008

Champions, profiling, it feels like... burning

State went really well. Got my first meet plaque -- pretty nice to have the first one be a state one. Awesome seeing so many of my athletes on top of the podium. Great having coaches recognize my work with the kids and say they are afraid of what we will produce next season.

Only a little bit of drama at the hotel. They saw us coming in and called for security to find out "where the party is going". What?! I had to go off on them. Especially after the guard they sent up was really rude to my coaching staff. Went to talk with the manager who was really not trying to hear anything I had to say about how a bunch of African American people who are happy does not mean there is going to be a party going down. He said that he saw two girls skipping into the hotel, and then a group of boys following them. Ummm... none of them skipped in. And you couldn't see that my big old 40-some odd year old throwing coach was with them, along with two upper 20 year old males, and two grown women? You didn't remember checking us all in the night before, saying that we were the 5 chaperones? I reminded him how when we checked in, I told him we were here for the State track championships. He had even wished us luck. I told him that his way of dealing with the issue and the guard's way of talking with us was uncalled for. Let him know that it was offensive as a person of color to have someone make assumptions about us that were completely unjustified. Of course, he wasn't trying to hear me. Of course he continued to try and cover his ass. In the morning, I talked with a different manager who was much more understanding and said she would deal with the other guy.

I am burned. Yes - brown people can burn. I usually just peal a bit on the nose and maybe some on the shoulders. But that is usually after repeated days (more than 5 in a row) in the sun. This was just one day. My shoulders are actually kind of red underneath the brown.

It hurts. Yesterday after the meet, I could not even put a shirt back on to cover the tank. My shoulders are tender to the touch. Even the seams of my t-shirt hurt them. The bed sheets hurt. Rolling over in bed was a problem last night. The shower beads of water hurt.

I know that you are supposed to put some kind of aloe or something on them from listening to all my white friends, but when I went to the store, there were too many options to choose from. Fortunately, there was a kind white woman who assisted me in understanding what to do -- take some ibuprofen, try not to wear any straps of any kind that put pressure on, and get this spray stuff to cool and help heal the skin. She was very helpful. And didn't even look at me weird when my dark brown-ass said I was sunburned and needed some advice.

So far, the spray is not really working. Actually, that is not completely true. It feels great when it is first sprayed on, but after it dries up, it really makes no difference. The can says to spray no more than 3-4 times a day, but I think I am about to spray again. That will make 3 so far today. May have to go back out and get some of the gels. The lady said those cool, but don't have the analgesic power of the spray.

The weather still feels wonderful today. I guess this is how white people get so burned -- I want to go back out there and stay for a long time. I already went for lunch outside, now I want to go run (which I should do since I have the desire and haven't done so regularly in years), or just walk, or sit and read outside. But, unlike some fairer skinned people, I will cover my stuff up so it does not burn more.

16 May 2008

Reasons I can't sleep.

It's 6:23. I have been up for an hour. Anxious, excited, nervous, stoked.

State track starts today. And I am officially a track coaching dork all of a sudden. The kids should do really well today (knock on wood and my head twice).

We got here later than I wanted since it took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to get from the school to the junction of Highway 40 and 70 -- damn that Highway 40 construction. But we made it to the track at Lincoln and the kids got to warm up and look around. One room (which I have never seen) was open (a sign?) and we got to see the plaques, one of which I hope to win.

Dinner was super late at Applebee's. We got there at nine and it took about 30 minutes to get all the drinks together, and another 40 minutes to get all the food. Of course, mine was last. I started feeling hungry around 4:15. When I don't eat I get cranky. When I am super hungry, I just feel like going off, or passing out. Since I am the boss-lady of all of this, I had to prevent either from happening, and try to keep a happy face as my stomach began to eat itself.

That digestion of my innards led to some uncomfortableness around 2:20am when I awoke with pain like none before. I guess the food I finally got did not get my stomach and how it likes to digest food. I was in the bathroom for about 45 minutes. But it was a lovely, spacious bathroom. At the same time as I was sitting uncomfortably, I kept hearing some male voices who I initially thought were my kids. I wanted to go to the hall and check, but kept having spasms that kept me from moving off the toilet. I finally realized it was not my people when one drunken man came out of the room (in opening the door, he managed to slam it aginst our adjacent wall six times) and said "Damn skippy." I didn't know people still said stuff like that. Maybe it was his drunkenness. Or maybe he was really country.

Since it is graduation this weekend, it took me about 45 calls to find a hotel with enough rooms for all of us. But we lucked out in getting two suites for the kids and the male coaches. Two stories, living room, fully functional kitchen, two bathrooms, two bedrooms, one king size bed, slight balcony -- super tight. The other rooms aren't too bad either with huge flat screen tvs, king sized beds, and huge bathrooms.

Events start at 11. Wake up calls go out at 7:30, so I now have one hour to try and go back to sleep, or at least try and get some rest, as I won't be able to do that again until about 10pm tonight, at the earliest. I don't know how long I will make it with only about 4 hours of sleep. At least it is going to be sunny and warm today. I might be able to bust out a tank top for the first time this season. Crazy since it is usually so hot during track. I also might wear some shorts for the first time at a meet this season.

I am amped. The kids are ready to go. I am hoping to accomplish big things over the next two days.

15 May 2008

Bloggers Unite: Modern-day slavery

Today, bloggers across the world are taking action to write about human rights (Bloggers Unite May 15, 2008). At first when I agreed I was pretty pumped. And thought this would be really easy to do. Write about the different human rights abuses that take place on the daily.

But there in lies the difficulty. They take place so often, that I found it hard to even narrow down the choices so I would not be rambling on incessantly.

I'll focus on slavery today.

No, not chains, the middle passage, and welts on black men's backs.

Modern-day slavery. Yes. It still exists. In the United States of America. It did not end with the 13th Amendment in the mid 1800s. "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction" (text of the US Constitution from 1865)

It still happens. It is camouflaged in different ways -- has been since it "ended". I have learned about the concept, taught about it to my students, and recently learned of John Bowe's book "Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy." Bowe defines a slave as " a person not free to leave their job, held in place by violence or the threat of violence, to be exploited by someone else." After the legal abolition of slavery there were Black Codes that would punish African Americans with forced labor when they committed even the smallest crimes (I suppose the amendment was likely written with this sort of thing in mind), Codes that would only allow them to buy land in rural areas (plantations), the idea of tenant farming. There are still indentured servants who come to this nation to help someone by working for them, and then are indebted indefinitely as they work to pay off the ticket over here, the food they are provided, the clothes they are given, etc. This is 2008.

According to the Human Rights Center, "forced labor is prevalent in five sectors of the U.S. economy: prostitution and sex services (46%), domestic service (27%), agriculture (10%), sweatshop/factory (5%), and restaurant and hotel work (4%)."


Most of these people do not go out asking for help when they suffer the horrid conditions they endure. They are afraid of the repercussions -- after all, many are illegal immigrants, and people who still have a semblance of pride, and they do not want to have to give up the little money they have earned. And, just like most of you, they are not super trusting of the police. Human trafficking is a federal crime, and a lot of the agents/officers involved need to be better trained in how to deal with the victims of these crimes.

Now, this slavery is not always a free-labor arrangement. Many of these modern-day enslaved people make some money. The operative word, though, is some. In many cases, they are not given enough money to survive on their own.

The Human Rights Center recommends that the government take the following action to help curb human trafficking and the forced labor of human beings:
  • Start awareness campaigns about it actually existing here in the US
  • Ensure better legal protection for agricultural, domestic, garment, and food service workers
  • Correct migration policies that basically encourage business owners to use forced laborers
  • Increase the training of officials involved in dealing with the criminals and victims involved
  • Strengthen the protection and rehab programs for survivors of forced labor conditions

Most importantly, people need to make sure they are paying their workers a living wage. And if you don't have a posse working for you, make sure you do what you can to get your legislatures to ensure people earn a living wage.

A living wage.

Enough money to actually be able to get a place to stay, buy food for each member of the household, pay bills, have enough clothing to withstand the elements and feel comfortable about going out in public, and find some mode of transportation (public or individual).

Free the Slaves
Renewamerica
Vital Voices
Anti-Slavery

To report a suspect case of trafficking call 1.888.428.7581 (Department of Justice Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force complaint line)

13 May 2008

They're moving in

Starting next week some of the central office personnel are moving into my class room. They will mainly be in here when I do not have class in here. But, honestly, I can see them popping in for their stuff sporadically throughout the day.

More annoying, I can see them telling me to clean up stuff that is really not that messy. You see, the district seems to have a large focus on extreme, heart surgery-style neatness. My room is not really messy under most people's standards, but for the higher ups, this place is a pig sty.

Again with the wishes -- I wish they would tell me to clean up more. Because I would have to come back with telling them what my focus is -- the children. Teaching them. Making sure they are attentive, making sure they are on task, making sure they are learning.

I teach. I don't run a maid service.

12 May 2008

Gun control? How about crazy control and some wishes?

Lots happening, but right now I just have to post this video. I can't really even begin to describe all the various thoughts running through my head as I watched it. The title of the link was "This is why you need a gun." I am not a fan of a concealed weapon, but this might have to be an exception.

I usually don't like to present bad images of people of colour, but this is absolutely ridiculous. Please, though, when you view this, know that not all brown people act like this.

video

I can kind of understand why no one went after the guy outright to get him to stop. It is not a bright idea to go up to a crazy man with a bat and expect to talk sense to him. But, help me understand why the car in front of this lady did not move the &*^*^ out of her way so she could get away from this dude.

I think it is the Kings of Comedy show where one of the comedians talks about the difference between the wishes of black people and the wishes of white people. White people wish for things by saying I sure do wish he would stop. I wish someone would help me. I wish this car would move. I wish this would never happen to me.

Black people are a little bit different with their wishes. Because if this happened to me or anyone near me. My wish would not be about having the car move. It would be about if the car did not move. Or if this dude did come up to my car. Or if he did hit my shit with a baseball bat. Or if no one came to my aid. My wish:

I wish a motha-fucka would!

Because it would not be pretty if this happened to me. I would have had to roll him over a few times. After he stopped beating my car, I would have had to get his bat and start hitting their car for being dumb shits and not moving out of my way. Bump that. He has a bat. He obviously does not have a gun. So I would get out of my car with what ever I had in there. Umbrella, backpack, car jack -- whatev. And beat him back. Beat him like old ladies beat purse snatchers. Only I don't have osteoporosis, so that shit would hurt. And I would have come back to the corner he claims a his own and done some serious damage. Well, maybe not by myself, but with some assistance of some sort. I for sure would have gone after the camera man who let this dude do this to my car.

On a final note, do not be afraid of every brown person walking on the street when you drive. Just the crazy asses with bats who run up to you on a street corner they deem their own.

08 May 2008

Throwback Thursday

Some of my students at school are very retro when it comes to their fashion and the songs that they sing in the hallway. Early '90s, late '80s. It's really refreshing to hear them sing some actual songs with lyrics that meant something rather than Soulja Boy or something.

Though it's not refreshing to see an old hairstyle still on a student with all the gel encrusted to her one side of her head. She is still rocking her prom hair two weeks after the actual dance. I wonder how she sleeps at night. I remember Tokini used to say she tried to sleep with her head in her hands so that she wouldn't mess her dos up. But I guess for her it has all worked out as she is now a professional hairstylist traveling the country for hair shows and getting on tv shows doing the stuff. But I'm hoping she has found a better way to make her hair styles stay.

Back to the throwbacks - the best comment came today when a student came up to me between classes as I was monitoring the hall way to make sure another "fight" didn't start like the one I encountered this morning.

Student: I want to ask you something, but I don't want you to be offended.
Me: Ok. What kind of question is it that might offend me? Are you sure you want to risk it?
Student: Yeah. My mother was talking with my auntie the other day about how she still has that whip appeal.
Me -- start smiling, but try to hold it in with that old school reference.
Student: Do you have that whip appeal? What is whip appeal? How do you know when you have it?
Me -- can't hold in the laugh any more; it starts and almost can't stop
Student: What? (looking confused)
Me -- tries to explain whip appeal to the girl

Wow. Who thought Babyface stuff would come back? Seriously. I guess it's not totally back, but, why is her mother still using the phrase in 2008 when it came out in like 1989?

07 May 2008

How many degrees are in a full circle?

Is it really only Wednesday?????

Shout out to Ibie for finally trying to help people understand that a 360 degree change really means that you have not changed at all. I have never understood why people say that. Did they not take geometry? And even if they did not take that class, can't they understand that 360 degrees is completion? When you throw a boomerang, it should go 360 degrees and come back to its starting point. If you think that you life has changed 360 degrees, you have come right back to your initial behavior. You have not changed. At all.

It really is only Wednesday.

06 May 2008

Another dumb, racist(?) anchor comment

Sometimes I forget what year it is. Especially when I am watching CNN with my sisters, really it's just on as we admire the new addition to Kid Sis #2's family.

Home boy was talking about how Obama was leading the poll results in North Carolina. They have these new Smartboard type screens that the anchors can touch, circle things on, open things up, etc.

As he is circling a section of southern North Carolina, the words that came out of his mouth were something to the effect of "He received a lot of black votes here (circled area) because this is a former slave territory."

All three of us are sitting there not really paying attention, but for whatever reason, just before he said this, it became quiet. And we all were completely shocked by that statement.

What the hell does that mean? What the hell does it have to do with the election occurring in 2008? What does that have to do with the people who currently live in the region's voting habits? What in the world made him say that comment? Did he really just say that on TV? And none of the other numerous anchors put him in check? And he didn't catch himself after saying it? Or explain the comment? Were we the only three offended? Am I crazy?

I know that some people who are not of color don't really think about the statements they make about brown folks, but that is bit much. Seriously.

Trust that I have emailed the station about that shit.

Almost made me not hungry. Until I remembered that it was Teacher Appreciation Free Burrito Night at Chipotle.

04 May 2008

What a day!

What a time! We got to the track on Friday and it was sunny and nice. While we practiced it started to mist a bit. Kind of weird since it was still sunny and the rain clouds looked like they were miles away. We did see the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. It covered the whole sky and was complete -- from one end to the other. We all saw this as a sign of the good things that would happen on Saturday.

Dinner was nice -- got to meet up with Kid Sis #3 since she goes to school in Cape. Back to the hotel. I was super tired and went to bed pretty early, especially since I couldn't get phone service to call my main man.

The next morning every one got up with out me having to make extra wake up calls. Drury Inn has some great hot breakfasts! Even could make fresh waffles.

Everyone made it to the bus by the exact time I requested to the minute. Bus driver starts the bus. Bus driver tries to start the bus again. And again. And again.

The bus was broken.

Fortunately, one of my athlete's boyfriend had just pulled into the lot since he was going to watch her and his best-bud at the meet. He truly was our leprechaun at the end of the rainbow. He took me to the track so I could get to the mandatory coaches' meeting. When I got there a coach who has been a prick for the past two years (but this year is really an awesome guy) let us use their bus to bring the kids to the meet. Ours was towed back to the Lou and another sent down for us.

Everyone made it in time. And the meet began.

The only bad thing was the wind at the beginning and the fact that it took over 3 hours to run the girls high jump.

I was so impressed with the kids. We won seven events. I had a kid step up to take the spot of another athlete with an injured foot. He had never run on a varsity relay, but helped us get first in one and kept us in there to get fourth in the 4x4 (only fourth because he didn't remember to cut in on the second leg so he ran about 420 meters instead of 400).

Thirteen events made it on to the Sectional meet next week. So many personal bests. A lot of top eight finishers.

Great day!! Great kids!! Great performances!! No drama!! And we have more to come in the next two weeks.

And we really don't need a rainbow to bring us luck. We have skills, we have kids who have done the workouts I have given, we have kids and coaches on a mission!!

02 May 2008

My upcoming weekend

Today I leave for small town Missouri. Track meet out of town. Too far to travel in the morning, so we will stay over night. I'm hoping it is better than the last time we stayed over night for Districts. That time two students were fighting over a boy that neither of them needed to be claiming. It was so loud that a person staying their was awakened and called the front desk repeatedly. Then he talked to me the next morning. Threatened to call the school. Then did. Repeatedly for a week. Other athletes were in the hallway yelling and singing and fighting throughout the night.

This time I have already laid the preeminent smack down. They know not to do anything crazy.

But I will still have to be with 20-something young ones for the night.

I am excited about the possibilities and what they can do, though. And there are some kids that are pretty decent to be around.