28 February 2013

I'm finally gonna get paid right

On September 17 of last fall, I went to the Department of Education to get them to recognize my previous years of teaching experience.  I filled out forms, gave them resumes, wrote down references, and probably some more things that I can't remember since that was months ago.

They really don't want to give me the money that I am owed.  It took me forever for them to pay me the correct salary for my earned master's degree.

I'm finally gonna get paid correctly!!
Yesterday, I received the email message to the right from the DOE saying that they have FINALLY confirmed my records and that I am finally going to receive the correct salary.  Despite my 9 previous years of teaching, the DOE was paying me the same as a first year teacher.  I had actually forgotten that this had not gone through yet since it was six months ago.

It won't start for a few more pay periods, but once it does, I expect to finally be able to start saving money and to finally not feel like I felt my first year of teaching.  Well, not even then, because at that point, the little money that I was making seemed like a lot since I was going from virtually no income in college to a full time salary.

I am hoping that I get a big lumpsum amount with the first new paycheck to cover the back pay that they owe me from not getting the right salary since September.

Despite the fact that it is not really so, when I saw that email, the first thought that came to my head was  Dave Chapelle:

19 February 2013

February Photo-a-Day: Week two & three

Two weeks worth of photos with prompts by Fat Mum Slim.

February 5 - Something you smelled
5. The amount of funk that some ballerinas produced in the studio prior to my fitness class was unbelievable! Even from the lobby, shown here, you could smell them when they opened the door. I thought ballet people were supposed to smell dainty and like flowers and candy.

February 6 - Soft
6. My first pairs of non-white/black socks ever.  I decided to go pretty bright.

February 7 - Your name
7. This sandwich had my name written all over it at lunchtime!!

February 8 - Something orange
8. I think this place might be selling the mannequins, but I'm not sure.  The orange coloring and the provocative poses always gets my attention, though.

February 9 - Guilty pleasure
9. Didn't really feel guilty eating these, but it was a pleasure.

February 10 - 3 o'clock
10. Snow did not fall as much in Manhattan as it did in Long Island, but it was enough to shut some people down from wanting to clear their cars.

February 11 - Entrance
11. Lost a pair on the way to work.  Replaced them with these peaceimages pieces that arrived in the mail on this day.  Love the!

January 12 - Where you ate lunch
12. I did not eat this for lunch but a student tried to sneak it into my classroom (freshly popped and aromas going all over the place) for her lunch.  I wrote more about it here.

February 13 - Walking
13. walking - I wrote this past week about how I may have caused a fire in the school.  Here is a picture of the front area where the fire happened.  I'm still trying to understand how the security people and the others in the front hallway did not contain the fire with the fire extinguisher right there (two doors from where the fire took place - as well as one in the room directly to the left of the fire location), or make some calls to people who could before it became to big and I had to stand outside for an hour with no coat and a thin-ass sweater before walking to another school who would be our safe-site.

14. love is - Sometimes love is something as simple as sharing a box of Nerds.

February 15 - Inside your fridge
15. Pretty bare until my Sunday (this week Tuesday since I didn't have to work) runs to Trader Joe's.

February 16 - Perfect
16. Great brunch with great people after a great workout.  Good times lasted well into the evening.

February 17 - In your hand
17. Friday at the end of the school day, I spilled some tea onto my laptop.  I started first aid on it that day and did surgery on it Saturday and Sunday by removing various keys and cleaning them several times.  I felt really technologically competent - especially after it still worked and all the keys went back on the correct spaces.

February 18 - Something you don't like
18. I was craving something sweet.  I couldn't think of what I wanted, so I bought these.  They are not tasty.  They are pretty disgusting.  Throughout the day, I ate three anyway.

16 February 2013

Saturday Quote: How we grow

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically.  We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly.  We grow partially.  We are relative.  We are mature in one realm, childish in another.  The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present.  We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
~ Anais Nin

13 February 2013

In which I burn down a room

I have super powers.

I can make things happen, or foresee them happening.  Or something.

Basically, I think things, and then they take place not too long later.
I'm like Ms Cleo or something!!!

In the past few years, I have seen a miscarriage, some break ups, more than four pregnancies, and more occur after I think about them or have visions about them, or something.

Just this school year, I think I made the L train stop working.

The day prior, I was talking to some colleagues about how I missed our Post-Sandy cab rides together since I don't really see them during the day.

The next morning the trains did not work and we all had to take a cab to school.

Today may have been the biggest, most dangerous, most shocking vision, make-it-happen event of them all.

Right before lunch, I had two students come into my room to ask if they could leave their belongings in the room since they had my class right after lunch.

I was rolling my eyes hella hard at them.

So hard that they asked why I was rolling my eyes.  "I'm not rolling my eyes, I'm just looking at the wires and pipes up on the ceiling.  I'm thinking of the Shirtwaist fire lesson we had a week ago and how all of these wires and fire gadgets are kind of a result of that fire.  I'm wondering how they would really work in a fire in our school."

Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle.

I let them leave their stuff in the room, and go off to lunch.

Less than twenty minutes into lunch the intercom goes on and the fire alarm goes off.  At first the teachers in the teacher lunch room think it is a drill.  Then we realize that no one in their right mind would call a fire drill during lunch time.

It was a real fire.

I didn't make a train stop or a friend have a baby.  I made a fire start in the school building!

We all rush outside.  I only had my lunch bag (chicken soup) and my $12 mug I had bought this morning and refilled thrice with peppermint tea (before 10 am) to ease my laryngitis.

We are outside.

Five fire trucks are outside.  Firepeople are pulling hoses into the front of the school.  They are taking in tools that look like chisels.  Returning outside to put on what look like oxygen tanks.

Another fire truck pulls up.

They are all inside and not really coming out for long.

We stay outside the school for about an hour.

I am freezing my sick ass off in my thin sweater and tights, though trying not to look too cold in front of the kids who are also jacketless so that they won't complain too much about being cold.  At this point I am realizing that we may not get back into the school.  I don't have anything I need on me - subway card, wallet, cell phone, keys to my place, laptop, coat.

I just want to be able to go in and get those things and for the kids to be able to get coats and their belongings.

Instead of that happening, we are finally sent to the nearest school.  There are three schools in my school's building and we are all shipped to another school's auditorium.

Let the madness begin.

We are by far the most well behaved school of the three, and this afternoon proved that.  I honestly could not even tell the teachers from the students at the other schools.  Not because they were young, but also because they all dress so casually.  There were no teachers from the other schools trying to make sure their students were behaving, sitting down, or just in the areas they were designated.  When I did see teachers address misbehaving students from those schools, it was the teacher quietly telling the kid what s/he should be doing three times and then walking away with the students still not having followed any of the directions.


The school we were in was still in session.  They only had two bathrooms our three schools were allowed to use.  My school has at least 300 students.  Half of them just finished lunch and needed to wee.  I had just finished my fourth tea and needed to wee.  On a side note, when I finally did, I set a personal record for my longest pee - 24 seconds.

We started having the high school students call their parents to let them leave from our safe site.  Many of them made successful calls and were leaving.  Then we got word from the network that we were not to let any students leave.  Thanks for that late message.  Now we had a ton of kids angry that some of their friends got to leave and they can't.  We had parents pick their student up and get angry at the staff that their kid was leaving without a coat.  Yes, your kid is safe and made it out of a fire.  You are welcome.

Trying to make it one trip
I say we had them do this, but all the while, I cannot talk louder than a whisper.  I am normally a person with a pretty booming voice when I put my mind to it.  I have been able to communicate with people across packed arenas and they can recognize my voice out of the masses, I can get attention.

But today, I couldn't even talk to the parents when the kids put them on the phone to see if they could leave.  I couldn't tell kids to relax, to sit down, that, no they could not go to the bathroom.  I couldn't even tell all the great jokes that were coming to my head as I tried to keep my sanity.

We stayed in the auditorium for a really long, frustrating, almost made me not want to deal with children 3 hours and then were able to release for the day.

Teachers got to go back to the school, go into our advisory kids' lockers and get their belongings to bring outside for them.  I wanted to do it in one trip and ended up almost dropping everything.

On a bright side, I now know to use my powers for good and not for evil.

I also got home earlier than normal since I could not stay after school to do anything.

12 February 2013

Oh, no she didn't

I have had some bold students in the past - students who go off on teachers, students who fight with cans in socks, students who cheat on tests, students who tell bold-faced lies.

But never have I had this.

Students are working well.  Quite well - they are prepping for a discussion that will happen the next class period.  A student asks to go to the bathroom.

No biggie.

I sign her pass and she goes.

She comes back and shortly after, the room starts to smell.

Strong smells.

I am wondering where specifically the smell is coming from, and see this student sitting in the back of the room hunched over.

I immediately know she is the culprit.

The smell is getting stronger, and I know that the smell will not go away before the end of the school day.


I have clearly told her on several prior occasions that I do not allow food in my room.  She has even been around when I eat lunch in the room and throw it away in a different trash can so the smell of the food does not emanate.  I have signs posted on two walls in the room saying there is no food.

Yet, this bold-assed mini-woman has not only brought food into my room, but she done gone to the teachers' lunch room, used the teachers' microwave and brought the one of the strongest smelling foods into my classroom.

For her sake, I am glad that my voice left me at lunch today, because I really wanted to go off on her and call her out.  For her sake, it was better that I could only walk over to my computer and type up a report of what she did, requesting detention.  After school, I called home and left a message for her mother, as well.

05 February 2013

January/February Photo-a-Day

January prompts and February prompts given by Fat Mum Slim.

January 28 - Through
28. Walking through Williamsburg in Brooklyn I saw this building.  Kind of weird how it looks old on the bottom, but has all that metal, modern stuff on the top.

January 29 - Grown
29. Last week, in my photos, I showed the printer that I had just bought, but was printing all black.  Clearly my grown-ass was too tired when I was hooking it up, because I failed to notice this large orange thing on the toner that clearly said "REMOVE".  The boif took it off, and it is now working perfectly.

January 30 - Down
30. I wore this cute pair of earrings to school on this day.  One of them didn't have the little earring-holder-in-place-thing and I lost it either on the subway to work or on the walk to work after getting off the subway.  It was so cold that I had my scarf wrapped and the hood of my coat on, and one of those likely knocked it out of my ear.  It fell down, and it couldn't get up.

January 31 - Yourself
31. Field trip for some of the girls at school.  It was for a Kotex deal that helps empower girls by helping them feel more comfortable talking about their bodies and helps them learn the truth about different misconceptions.  School bus strike meant that there were no school buses to transport us to NYU.  The next option was a charter bus.  Issue was that the other charters were all used.  Next option was this.  A party bus.  Didn't know that would be the transportation until I stepped in and the driver explained.  I never pictured myself riding in one of these for a school trip - or having to regularly tell the girls not to touch or take photos next to the poles.  Got to see Khloe Kardashian at the event, too.

1 - Fork
1. I bought a ready made potato and steak frozen bag, then decided to try it on my own with fresh food.  So far, I can still make some improvements to make the potatoes a bit more crisp, but all in all, not a bad thing to pick up with my fork and eat.

2- Pattern
2. Many times, me and the boif crack each other up.  This day was no exception.  He took a patterned plastic bag from a store and made a pair of speedos out of them.  Hilarious!

3 - Something beginning with e
3. It is still too cold to function well outside in NYC.  I saw this lady wearing some earmuffs, and had to ask her about them.  She said they are called Earbags.  They fit around your ear so you don't have that band that comes with regular earmuffs.  I love them!

4 - Hope
4. This guy sings in the passageway between the L and 1/2/3 trains almost every day.  Every day, he is singing Beetles songs.  Every time I pass by he is singing one of three of the group's songs.  Most of the time it is "Help!"  I sometimes hope that he will sing a different song, but he always seems so happily out of tune, that I just leave him be.