Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stopping the Big Fat Stupid Head Timer

Sometimes I amaze myself.

Often times I disappoint myself.

And other times I just have to deal with myself.

And so, at this particular moment in time, if you mash those three things together into one fine mess, you get a screeching halt of the Big Fat Stupid Head timer for Challenge #3. Yes siree, Missy. The clock has officially stopped. No more ticking here or there. Nope. We are full speed ahead into a full-blown, 5-alarm Big Fat Stupid Head clock stopping crisis.

Oh, pah-leese, don't look so surprised especially after last week. You knew I was teetering on the edge of the great dark newspaper deadline abyss. While I never once picked up an ax, I did have that Lizzie Borden, ax-wielding, fixin’ to go postal, crazed look kind of smile all week long. And, no, neither the Emergency Chocolate nor the Superduper Secret Emergency chocolate could stop the inevitable.

But let’s go back to the amazing, disappointing and dealing with oneself bit…

I am rather amazed that I managed to muddle through for 266 days, 11 hours, 26 minutes and 21 seconds (more or less) before my Big Fat Stupid Head outburst. I say “more or less” because I technically didn’t stop the timer until two days after the fact. I shrieked those words at my newspaper staff on Thursday during deadline because, well, quite frankly, they were all Big Fat Stupid Heads. Although just a mere two days away from turning in the newspaper, we still had vacant boxes where cartoons were supposed to go, empty columns where stories were supposed to be and blank spaces where photographs belonged.

Once the BFSH words tumbled out, I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t stop myself. Blame all that chocolate or that shot of espresso, but even as the bell rang, I continued saying, “Goodbye Big Fat Stupid Head No. 1, Big Fat Stupid Head No. 2, Big Fat Stupid Head No. 3…” and so forth and so on.

I felt a tad bit like Chevy Chase in “A Christmas Vacation” in that scene at the beginning of the movie where the corporate types all file past him, but ignore him as he wishes each one, “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas…” until he realizes that no one is listening to him, so he starts saying other things–– as in things that will get you fired.

Now, calm down. I didn’t say any of those things, but I did find it all rather cathartic to say Big Fat Stupid Head, Big Fat Stupid Head, Big Fat Stupid Head, over and over and over again. It sort of became my mantra for that day, and, yes, the next day, too.

And the kids? Well, they do what they always do--laugh.

So I’ve decided, at least for the next few days, I’m just going to deal with the entire shebang by not restarting the timer, until I have this whole Big Fat Stupid Head thing back under control and my Emergency Chocolate Drawer restocked.

In the meantime, I’ve even made my own, “Don’t be a Big Fat Stupid Head” stickers. They look like this…

So you can see why it may take me just a bit longer before I crank up that timer again.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stop the Presses & Other Odds & Ends

OK… so technically not the presses… but a few things of note…

No. 1–Yes, My Big Fat Stupid Head timer has stopped. You’ll want to drop back by to find out why. My post will be up by Monday, Sept. 28.

No. 2–Those of you who have been traipsing through the EduSphere with me since I started this little endeavor back in July of 2007 will be amused, thrilled or dismayed (depending upon what side of the Richie Hata’s Club camp you fall) to know that my book, How to Lose Your Self of Steam & Other Teaching Lessons I Never Learned From Professional Development, will be published in mid-October. How’s that for a bit of shameless self-promotion? Stay tuned for the exact release date and ordering info.

No. 3–And continuing with my shameless self-promotion, I along with my good buddy over at St. Mark’s School of Texas, Ray Westbrook, were named national Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Distinguished Advisers. While I feel extremely honored to be one of four “Distinguished” advisers, that word does make me rush to the bathroom mirror to see if I have any grey hair sprouting about. But no siree, Missy, I don’t (either that or that Aveda hair coloring thing seems to be holding up quite well).

No. 4–And yes, there’s more self-promotion…I was featured for a little interview segment called “Lessons from the field.” If you want to read about that, you can go here.

And finally, No. 5–The Carnival is up and running again over at Epic Adventures Are Often Uncomfortable. Head on over there to see what’s new in the EduSphere. My post “Picture Day, Emergency Chocolate & My Lizzie Borden Smile” was included, but you don’t have to go there to read it here.

But remember, don’t be a Big Fat Stupid Head. Drop back by to find out about why my BFSH timer stopped.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Picture Day, Emergency Chocolate & My Lizzie Borden Smile

Picture Day sent me to the emergency chocolate drawer twice, to the superduper secret chocolate draw once and to kickboxing class twice. I don’t know what it is about yearbook, but the whole yearbook thing just gives me an uncontrollable urge to hit something. (I think you know what I mean.)

But somewhere in the organized chaos, we still ran through roughly 1,700 kiddos before the final 3:45 bell rang. I’m going to call the day a qualified success since we had only one complaint and my principal still smiled at me––and not that Lizzie Borden ax-wielding, fixin’ to go postal, crazed look kind of smile either. And, as an added bonus, as far as I know, everyone had on their underwear. Nope, none of that Florida nonsense here, Missy.

As an extra, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious bonus, I didn’t even call anyone a Big Fat Stupid… So the ole counter to the right remains counting. (I think it was all that chocolate and extra kickboxing smackdowns that kept me in line.)

But before you do the Dance of Joy for my BFSH restraint, let me just say that Monday marks Beat the Teacher Night--oh wait, make that MEET the Teacher Night, and Monday also marks the start of newspaper deadline week. I don’t even think the superduper secret emergency chocolate will help this time. My BFSH timer might as well toll its last tick tock.

So if you see me with that Lizzie Borden, ax-wielding, fixin’ to go postal, crazed look kind of smile, well, you probably just ought to move on out of the way.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

EduCarnival V2 is Up

Woo-hoo! The Carnival of Education is up and running over at Epic Adventures Are Often Uncomfortable. Lots of good posts to read over there. My entry, “President Obama, Speeches & Rubber Chickens” was included, but you don’t have to go there to read it here.

Still, you know the drill. If you want to be in the know, you really should go there to see what’s buzzing around the EduSphere.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Progress Reports, Wet Paint & Picture Day

Already three weeks into the school year, and once again, I find myself woefully behind.

Yep, behind as in progress reports are due Monday, and I have a book bag full of 44 or so color coordinated folders screaming for my politically incorrect red pen. This, of course, doesn’t even begin to include those yearbook pages that need my attention, the chapter one worksheets waiting for a good once over or those half-finished handouts I need to complete for Monday.

I get exhausted just thinking about those kind of things. (And gollygeewillikers, we all know how I feel about things.)

All of this rather pales in comparison to my upcoming Friday. Normally, I’m rather fond of Fridays. But not this one. No siree, Missy. Batten down the hatches. Sound the alarm. Send out the cavalry. This particular Friday is The Day. The dreaded School Picture Day. This particular day is enough to make one set one’s hair on fire and run screaming from the building.

In the span of one day, we expect four photographers to shoot roughly 1,700 kiddos and make all the kiddos and teachers look fabulous without annoying or irritating the English teachers on campus.

I even spent hours making up a handy, dandy “appointment” schedule, noting what teacher needs to bring what class at what time. I’m about 99.9 percent sure my nifty schedule will serve a more useful purpose on the bottom of someone’s bird cage.

The yearbook staff also plastered posters around the school to mark The Day. One of the signs promptly fell down which wouldn’t have been a problem except the paint hadn’t dried. And that probably wouldn’t have been a problem except the offending sign with its offending wet paint had, shall we say, a tad bit of paint transfer onto the pants of one of our nifty assistant principals.

I sincerely hope all of that isn’t a sign of bad things to come. (See, there are those darn tootinthings again.)

The only good thing about my upcoming Friday is that I usually set aside Fridays as my “Starbucks Day” where I reward myself one nonfat, three raw sugar latte. This bit of extravagance serves as my reward for surviving the week without calling anyone a Big Fat Stupid…

Maybe I just need to hook up an espresso IV for the day and hope for the best. Something tells me I’ll be lucky indeed if my counter on the right doesn’t stop and the halls don’t reverberate with, “Why are you such a big fat…”

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

Eight years later. I have not forgotten you. Each and every one. With each passing day, others may try to mitigate and lessen the loss. But at what cost? I still hear you. Ghosts whispering in the wind.

I have not forgotten you.

I will never forget.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

President Obama, Speeches & Rubber Chickens

Today’s the big day––the President Obama Speech Day, and I’m not quite sure what all the fuss is about because, you see, on any given day probably 99 percent of teachers in the country can’t access anything on the Internet any way.

I along with my EduSphere bloggers have ranted about that before. Some school districts like McKinney ISD have become so paranoid that they have implemented policies restricting even email contact between teachers and students. Hails Bails, friends tell me all the time about how they can’t access my blog at their schools. And don’t even get me started on trying to download images from Google at school. Teachers across this great land of ours have to resort to pretending we’re Russian and surf on over to the communist side. (Are Russians still considered communists?) Ah, the things one must do in the name of education.

So, to President Obama, I say good luck with that whole speech thing and getting through the school house door.

Here’s a tip though, Mr. President, in case you do managed to break through: I noticed there was absolutely no mention of a rubber chicken in your address. Now, Mr. President, if you want those kiddos to listen to you, well, you better rustle one up speedy quick.

You’re going to have to trust me on that one.