Thursday, March 10, 2011

note to self.

For anyone that has a glass door:

Do not press hard on the wood frame of your door, even if it is just so that you can get the door to stop sticking so you can deadbolt it.  Your hand just might slip and might go through the glass.  If you are fortunate, you'll just get minor cuts, but you'll still have to pay the maintenance guy to fix it, and you'll be scared for 2 nights that someone is going to realize that they can easily cut through the bag you placed over the window, unlock the door, and rob you.  They won't, but you'll be scared that they will.

I may or may not be speaking from personal experience...

Monday, March 7, 2011

the most wonderful time of the year.

I have so much love for Mardi Gras.

Seriously, it is one of the most fun times of the year.  While it can be sketchy- mainly for the college students and tourists- for much of the city, it's a hugely family oriented holiday involving grilling out, eating King Cake, and yelling, "Throw me something, mister!" in order to get beads and other fun prizes.

Muses, one of my very favorite parades, was Thursday night.  Cori and I went together and successfully caught a shoe, the prized throw of the Muses.  Saturday, we went with a co-worker to NOMTOC (New Orleans Most Talked Of Club) on the Westbank, and while we got soaked, it was worth it- we saw our school's band.

Saturday afternoon, I made a tutu with these lovely ladies.

And Sunday night, I wore it.  A whole group of us went out to Napoleon, made our way to the front, and left with all sorts of loot.

Tonight, we'll go to Morpheus (or is it Orpheus? so many different krewes that put on parades, I get confused.), then tomorrow we'll celebrate actual Mardi Gras day with Zulu and Rex.  Here's to hoping we get a coconut!  Coconuts are the prized throw of Zulu.  I've gotten several in my years of Mardi Gras... here's a throw back with a picture from my very first Mardi Gras.
Between Ken's sign- it says, "We want a lovely bunch of coconuts"- and Danielle and I getting on the boys shoulders, we scored 11 coconuts that year.

Here's to friends, food, fun, and celebrating!  Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

the one where everybody cried.

As a teacher- in general, but especially in public school New Orleans- I am often faced with situations where I have to choose to either laugh or cry.  Over the past 2 and a half years of teaching, I have chosen to laugh at several situations that could have easily sent me to the fetal position. 

Situation 1: first year teaching.  A child is upset with me because I made him listen to me as I read a test aloud to him (he was a non-reader).  Afterwards, this child is drawing a picture.  I hear him tell his neighbor, "This is Miss Taylor getting run over by a truck."  And if you look at it, sure enough, there I am, getting run over by a truck.  When I called him out for this particular offense, he insisted it wasn't his picture and blamed another student.  Which, of course, could be the case... if it wasn't that I didn't see him draw it, hear him describe it, and... his name was on the truck.  Laugh or cry?  I laughed, told everyone I knew, and was disappointed to find out when my roommate, who was worried about psychological damage, secretly threw it out.

Situation 2: this year, third year teaching.  (I have fewer memories of laughing during my second year... let's be honest, I mostly just cried.)  I come back to my room after car riders duty to find a student (not one of mine) scrummaging around my bookcase, clearly looking for candy.  When he sees me, he says, "Oh, Miss Taylor!  I was looking for you!"  Really?!  Really?  You were looking for me?  On my bookshelf?  Where I keep my candy and snacks for my kids?  How interesting...

Situation 3: today.  Let me set the scene.  Every Wednesday, from 1 to 2:30, I join all the Kindergarten to 3rd grade teachers, plus our master teacher for a meeting.  We learn new strategies to better teach our kids, examine reading scores, and generally try to become better educators.  During this time, my kids are in Spanish.  Let me say that our Spanish teacher is fabulous.  She has my kids singing, dancing, swatting Spanish words with fly swatters, and making shapes in the air when she gives the Spanish command.  My kids love Spanish.  Well, this afternoon, I make my way to the Spanish room, ready to pick my kids up, do a little math, then pack up and head home.  No big deal, right?  Stress free last hour of the day.  Wrong.

I walk into the Spanish room and am greeted by a class full of crying first graders.  Literally half of my class was crying, some full out sobbing.  I think the final assessment was a combination of hurting tummies, needing to go to the bathroom (although we went right before Spanish...), and $5 that had been confiscated.  Honestly, I think these kids are just ready for a vacation from school, from each other, and from sitting in desks.  Thank you, Mardi Gras break.  I can't wait for you!

But back to all the crying children.  I quickly realize that there's no way my kids are going to quietly make it back to the classroom like this, so I do some damage control.  I turn off the lights, and then run across the hall to borrow a book from one of my fave coworkers, Sara.  I explain the situation and the other adults in the room (Sara is a special ed teacher so her classroom often functions as an office) and am told that the crying noises had started about 20 minutes ago.  One of them compared the noise to a nursery.  I couldn't agree more.  So, I get my kids calmed down with a soothing reading of Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct, take them back to class, let those who need to keep their heads on their desk do so, and teach a 15 minute math lesson to the class before we pack up.

So laugh or cry?  Well, everyone else was already crying... so I instead I chose to stifle my laughter.  Just another day in Miss Taylor's first grade classroom...