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Monday, September 19, 2011

The grass isn't always greener

well we are 5 weeks into the new school year and I have found out the hard way that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.  So far, not only have we had ridiculous rules set for us regarding lesson plans ect.  but I also have a borderline stalker parent.  She sends a letter, email, some form of communication everyday.  A three page letter that she wants me to respond to before the end of the day.  At his point I am done having any interaction with her child.  I am also done responding to her ridiculous letters.  I am back at the same point I was in previous years, get me the heck outta here!!!!!!  It really sucks to know I need to keep this job simply for the insurance.

Not to mention the more I think here lately I realize I am more and more like my father.  I really don't like dealing with other people.  I like to do what I want to do when I want to do it.  I visited my dad's cabin in Lobelville, TN last weekend and fell in love.  I loved being out in the middle of nowhere.  the idea of being able to just disappear into the woods all day is so appealing.  If i want to sit on the roof all day and look over the mountain I can.  I'm sure I would eventually get bored and my mom says I would never make bc there is no where to shop.  But what people don't understand is I am completely comfortable in my faded holy blue jeans and old navy tank tops.  Give me a book, itunes, and mtv and I will be fine.  As much as I think I would love this I then think this is another grass greener on the other side idea.  while Im working a job I still don't like and running around like a chicken with my head cut off I cant help but think ohhhh the country life seems sooo appealing.  But then I think I ll be bored I might get lonely, although I don't see anyone when Im here anyway, and there is no kroger to go to!!  So who knows for the moment I can't stop imagining what it would be like to slow down and live the country life but for now I guess I will just go and visit on the weekends.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I was just thinking...  I should be keeping better track of all the traveling I do.  Well its not just me, its my family, but this blog is about Coxy's life soooo  :)

 This summer we started of in New Orleans, La.  for those that don't know my husband works here year round for the Army Corps of Engineers.  Luckily I have a job where I can spend summers here with him!!!  While we were here he actually got a rainy day off or two.  This is when Maggie's Captain Jack obsession began LOL.  We went to the movie theater for lack of anything else to do, hubby wanted to see Pirates of the Caribbean 4, I thought oh no Maggie is going to hate it....  Boy was I wrong!!!  We have since had to watch the first three and buy numerous Captain Jack novelties.  On this trip Maggie and I also went to the Audubon Zoo.  It is very nice, especially if you have never been to the Memphis zoo, but one thing it had that the Memphis zoo does not is a water park area.  Not just sprinklers shooting out of the ground but slides and all kinds of cool stuff!!

After 13 days we all traveled home for a Willie nelson concert, actually we went for Brantley Gilbert, but who needs specifics :)  We also got the Skeeter, our 21 foot, (give or take a foot, I mean whose really counting anyway?) bay boat running!!  Man I loooove that boat.  I feel soo much more safe in it.  After the week end I had to attend a PD session for work on Monday.  Justin had to return to work in New Orleans.

Maggie and I spent some time at home.  We went to see Beauty and the beast at the Orpheum.  She loved that!!  After about a week at home, we were gone again.  This time to Biloxi, Ms with my in-laws.  of course we girls spent plenty of time on the beach while boys went deep sea fishin'.  We took some time to go mini golfing, shop, and make some great memories!!  After 4 days in Biloxi it was time to move on to Venice, La.  Although there is absolutely nothing to do in this city it is a definite 'must with your own eyes' kind of place.  The wildlife is amazing, the roads are usually underwater, the boats are awesome, the fish coming in off the ocean in the afternoon are so cool and I loooooove the sound of the ocean liners fog horns.  Its just a neat place that most folks don't even know exists!  While there we actually got a flier to attend a party thrown by the "Swamp People" Trapper Joe and Tommy (you know from the tv show on the history channel).  But the Corps guys got sent home.  So we were back on the road again.

This time we decided to split the ride home in half and stop in Jackson, Ms for the night.  Bad Idea.  We got there about 9:00 walked into our Hilton hotel and immediately realized we were waaaaaaay underdressed for the occasion in our flip flops, shorts and t-shirts.  We checked in and went up to the room which was spectacular and decided we needed some dinner.  Like we always in Nola, we set out on foot to find a place to eat.  Unlike Nola, apparently everything in Jackson closes at 9:00.  We were forced to eat in the Hiltons restaurant.  It was fun but for three drinks, two sandwiches and a kids meal it was like $90.  Luckily we had enough hotel points to not have to pay for the room but out joke for the night was don't touch anything they are going to nickel and dime us for everything else!!  It was fun!!

Once we made it home we worked on the ole Skeeter some more and took it out to the river.  Did I mention I love that boat?  By the way we are now into the July fourth weekend.  Which is also my mothers b-day weekend.  Anyway we went to the river to see the fireworks, this time we had to take the F&F boat, its a 15 foot (again give or take a few) aluminum boat, not such a fan of this one.  Of course my hubby has the biggest motor he can have on it and it sits loooowwww in the water!!!  I don't like that.  But anyway, regardless, we had a nice night on the river, minus the swarm of mosquitos!!

This gets us to our Chicago trip.  Maggie and I also drove to Chicago this summer with my mom, making our travels cover all of I-55 this summer!!  very nerve racking I had to let my mom drive my HUMMER.  but we made it there in one piece.  We took Maggie to the American girl Place and had Lunch.  Maggie insisted upon bringing both her dolls.  She didn't understand all the walking involved but she did pretty good.  Later we met up with my Bestie Renee!!  I finally got to see her apartment and her charcoal gray with black markings cat Lil.  By dinner time this first night Maggie was so tired she fell asleep at dinner LOL.  The next day more walking, we went to the Aquarium and ate at Geno's pizza.  I usually hate thick crust pizza but that stuff was Awesome!!  I can't really remember what we did after that so now is as good a time as any to mention I went into Tiffany & Co ohhhhh I was in heaven!!  But anyway after our adventures with Renee Maggie and I traveled back to Joliet (where my mom was staying) And met my mom, Clay, and his girlfriend at the race track.  I haven't been to the races in many many many years but as soon as I pulled into to parking area the adrenaline kicked in and it brought back memories of when I was maggies age and my dad would take me to the race track where we live.  Of course most of the time we had to watch from the parking lot because he wouldn't pay for us to get in, but it put a passion for nitro methane and burnt rubber in my soul.  Anyway Maggie was tired at this point she fell asleep during top fuel and funny car...  If you are not familiar with these types of cars, they are so loud they make your skin shake!!  and this kid slept through it!!!  AMAZING...  The big adventure of the trip is when I took mom, clay, Elizabeth and maggie back into Chicago to go to Navy Pier.  I got the buses a little confused and we ended up in the ghetto for a little bit!!  But we all made it out alive  :)  Then it was back south for out crew of 5 in the HUMMER.  it wasn't too bad.

Maggie and I stayed home for two days and hit the road again back to New Orleans til the end of summer.  We have been to Grand Isle, La twice this trip.  It is also a beautiful spot of beaches and fishing.  Very pretty, nice and quiet and again no one really knows it exists.  We also went to Biloxi, Ms again.  Of course Maggie had to ride the Jet skis even though it was pouring down rain!!  We also ate at one of my favorites Captain Al's.  Well I guess that just about concludes our travels up to this point.  Summer is almost over and we will be home again.  At least until labor day :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Students being used as Pawns"

          A national news headline, "Students being used as Pawns", and it just so happens to be referring to state of education in the great city that I live, teach, and send my own child to school in.  For those who somehow have not heard, the largest school district in the state has decided to delay the start of school indefinitely!!  At first I completely blamed the school board... If you have read any of my other posts you can see what great decision makers they are... but after reading an email or two I realized it is actually the city council.  In 2008 the city council and the school board went to court, the city thought it should no longer have to fund its school district....  What city would not want to educate its children...  Its future???  Only this great city we live in.  Well of course the School Board won the law suit BUT, get this, the city has not paid the schools any money since 2008.  No wonder our students are using 10 year old books that do not match the curriculums...  No wonder the air conditioners do not work the first week of school...  This is outrageous!!! Now don't get me wrong I would be happy for the start of school to be pushed back a little, I mean the first week of August is a little early, but not because of something so ridiculous.
           All of this comes tagged on to what was supposed to be the start of something brand new for me. I needed a new start something good to look forward to.  I will be teaching at a brand new school this year and cannot wait to get things started.  A new building also brings new challenges though.  This will be my first time under a new principal and my class sizes will be 3 times what I am used to.  The students will also be more diverse.  This school will have many English as a second language students and more concerned involved parents.  The parent thing is kind of freaking me out.  I haven't ever really had to deal with normal concerned parents before.  But anyway this is going to be an exciting adventure and cannot wait to share what this year in a new place brings!!!
      

Friday, April 8, 2011

Budget cuts

Well we found out today that because of budget cuts our school will go from 16 regular ed classroom teachers to 12.  This is a middle school, 6th 7th and 8th grade!!  How can we go to 12 teachers??  This is ridiculous.  The School system is in a million dollar deficit.  Why is the board who should be thinking of the students asking why our Superintendent is making over a million dollars a year.  If your main concern is really for the children shouldn't you take a pay cut??  Makes sense doesn't it??  These people who sit behind a desk all day and don't do anything but spend tax payers money on eating out lunch every day (ohhhh yes did yall see that on the news???)  And they are making more money than the teachers who are on the front lines of battle.  Teachers whose jobs are on line if students don't score proficient or better on TCAP (which is next week!!)  Teachers who are dealing with behavior problems in the classrooms and teaching the 'unteachable'.  Giving kids stability who otherwise have none.
       Today our principal made a big speech at the end of out TCAP rally about how much we (the faculty) love our students and you would not believe the HUGE hugs we got at the end of today!!  Those were some hug giving 6th graders.  I will truly miss that about these inner city kids.  They know how much we care even though they act a fool and drive us crazy they do love us!!!
      It is becoming more and more apparent to me how crazy you really have be to teach middle school.  My first class i taught are now Juniors C/O 2012!!  when they come back to visit and show their report cards and have a calm conversation it is amazing...  Just 4 years ago this kid was driving me up a wall failing and refusing to learn.  But somewhere along the line some teacher at our school made enough of an impact for that child to be successful in high school and the desire to come back and show us their progress.  I am afraid that the relationships I build with these students will not be the same in another school setting.  In a setting where they have moms and dads who care.
     I know it is beginning to sound like I am one of the teachers who will be being surplussed.  Luckily I am not one.  But with all of the crazy politics going on in our city around education I do feel the need to get out of education.  Teaching is what I want to do but I want to teach.  I do not want to have abide by laws and crap that they are making up.  It is really going to take our Educational System down if they do not get back to the root of educating kids.  Which is teach them.  Teach them what they need to know when they are ready to learn it.  If a student cannot grasp the concept of addition and subtraction let them stay there don't force them onto multiplication and division!!  DUH...  If a kid cannot read Don't send them out of elementary school!!!  DUH... To me it seems like common sense.  Who votes these people onto the board anyway??
     Oh well I havent been on here in  a while so I thought I would share some of my thoughts on whats is happening right now....




Oh yeah here is a funny story....  You would only see this in the GHETTO...

At parent teacher conferences last week.  There was a very large young woman dressed in leggings and a bright yellow top with a blonde wig on...  Well I was walking behind her and the leggings were about 3 sizes too small.  You could see straight through them!!!!!  LOL  Then she had on a pair of spike heels that she absolutely could not walk in... It was soooooo funny watching her hold on to her friend walking down the ramps the heels were like bending inward... I was walking behind her waiting for the heel to break off!!!  That would have really been funny!!!  anyway....  I never figured out if this was someones mother or not but either way the adults do not know how appropriately dress themselves how can we expect the girls to know.   (we have a major bra problem with the middle school girls)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Never even crossed our minds

I lost a best friend this past week in a car crash on Austin Peay hwy.  I will never forget the phone call at 10:00 Monday night.  When I was first told what happened I couldn't respond I thought what a horrible thing to say thats not true, then it hit me their not lying.  I felt like I had been punched in the stomach i couldn't breath and my arms and legs went numb, I really believe my heart stopped beating for a few seconds.  Then I broke down.  I was asked to contact another friend and she and I sat on the phone and cried and wondered how this could have happened.   Of course that night I didn't get a single wink of sleep and was a walking zombie at work the next day.  By wednesday I had had so little sleep I could not even speak a coherent sentence.

Thursday was the funeral this was another very hard day.  I just wanted to see her one last time.  I wanted to touch her hand and give her hug one more time.   This simply could not happen at the closed casket ceremony.  The last time this friend and I actually saw each other was not in the best situation.  We had since talked things out but had never made time to get together.  I regret this the most.  She sent me a text on Friday but b/c I was at work I didn't respond by that afternoon I found out my husband was coming home for the weekend (from working in NOLA) and was rushing about buying groceries and cleaning.  I made excuses, I was "too busy" to text a dear friend and now I will never get those few minutes back.   I also regret throwing away a birthday card she gave me.  I am known for throwing stuff away but she told me don't throw this card away keep it to remember that we were together on this birthday.  Of course I thought she was crazy and that we had plenty more birthdays to share together.  I wish I had listened.

Then on Sunday Allison and I decided to drive down Austin Peay to the crash site.  I was most unprepared for that.  I just thought it would be like any other spot on the side of the highway.  Boy was I in for a shocker.  The bumper of the little red Saturn was laying on the side of the road.  When I saw this Allison couldn't stop the car fast enough I was trying to open the door and get out while in tears thinking of her last moments.  The skid marks, the oil spill, the tire tracks in the mud were just too overwhelming and made it all so scary.   I don't think we said a whole lot on the way home that afternoon.  It was just all to surreal.

I have so many questions like why would God take her from her children who are so young?  Why did God bring her back into my life for such a short time?  Why did she not see the other car coming down the road?  I know I will probably never know the answers but they still come up every time I have a quiet moment.  I know that she is much happier now than she had been in a long time but that still does not make me miss her any less.  I never thought that 26 year olds really die.  It just doesn't seem real.  That kind of thing only happens in movies and books.

One thing that has helped the days go by, even though the last week has seemed to take forever, is remembering the good times.  I am so afraid that I will forget all of our precious memories.  We had so many 'inside jokes' I don't want to forget.  One of our favorite things used to be to drive around the National Cemetery on Jackson Ave.  going way too fast over the speed bumps.  It never crossed our minds that one of us might end up there one day.  Definitely not any time soon.  Also music there are a few songs that remind me of her.  The pictures are getting easier to look at now too, remembering the fun we were having when we took them.

It is different kind of hurt to lose a friend than to lose a grandparent.  I knew my grandmother was very ill and they told us that she only had a certain amount of time left.  I just assumed that my best friend would be here anytime I needed her.  No one is prepared to lose someone so young.  My mother told me this will probably be one of the hardest things I will ever go through in my lifetime.  All I could say is I hope she is right.

A few lessons to be learned from this are to never take your friends for granted.  They may not always be there.  Make sure they know how much you care about them so you don't have to wonder if they knew.  Don't be too busy to send a text or answer a phone call, at least answer and let them know your busy.  Make sure that you take plenty of pictures AND video to remember the good times you share together.  If for no other reason than because it will be fun to watch together when you are old ladies.

I feel like there is so much more to say I think I am normally a little better at putting things into words.  I don't know...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Consolidation

      Well i haven't written in awhile...  But consolidation is bugging me....   I 'm not sure what to think of it all....
        As a parent my first thought is...  if they change my daughters school she needs to be transferred to private school.
        As a teacher I know this thought process is Wrong.
        Bussing is not going to take place....  Meaning gangsters are not going to take over her school
The schools are basically going to stay the same.  This consolidation plan is to, in essence, is the larger school district throwing up their hands and saying "I give up, someone else give it a try." This may actually give the children of the metro area an extra chance at a normal life.
      Not to push one vote or another but as a teacher I do not see where the hurt will come.  Basically the schools will stay the same.  The County's board of education will be making the decisions.  The superintendent of the city taking over will be completely over ruled.  He does not even have to be allowd to serve as vice-superintendent.  This guy can move on and still get his money.   Does he care about the children or his pocket book??????????????????
     Also if consolidation takes place and they carry it out like many large businesses do, many teachers will be laid off and then re-hired the next day.  The only problem with this is.......  again teachers like me who took a failing Math class from 54% to 76% in one year then to 78% and then 80%. My worry is that my gains might not matter.  In my school that 78% is unbelievable.  In other systems Not so much.
      If I can teach the "unteachable" I promise I can teach yours!!!!!!!!!!
      But the main problem here is that in the mix of all the politics the media is having a field day.  They claim to be unbiased.  If they are so unbiased let some teachers give their say.  
     As a whole the city will be in better standings.  Basically, the giving up of the charter is a way of the city saying, "we are done, we cannot do anything more, please help." The county should see this,  OR maybe the county is not as good as they think they are?????  I'm not sure...... Are they scared to take on a challenge....  to me a challenge is a way to prove you are the best of the best!!!!  For years you have claimed to be the best of the best If you are sooo good you should be able to bring 'MY CHILDREN' up to grade level...  Right????
       Anyway... the children are what need to be taken into consideration.   The larger metro school system, as I have previously stated is not in the best interest of the students!!!!!!  The students deserve the best education...If you want to live in one of the largest cities in America and be safe....  Wouldn't you want to know that ALL the citizens are being educated to their potential, not just enough to get by????
      In the end the county folk (me included) need to realize that the schools our children go to will not change.  The change is coming for the city!!  They need it!!!  What they are doing now isn't working!!!  The officials in the city are NOT going to take over and make the same decisions because they are surrendering their district, again basically throwing up their hands and saying we can't do it!!!  In the end it is going to come down to voters making informed decisions.  Can you believe that the city's superintendent has never worked in a school a day in his life???  We beg him to come to our school and he hasn't shown up yet!!  more than one of the school board members have also NEVER worked in a school.  They went to school 50 years ago and now know how the schools should be run.  
     In the end for the forgotten children that are being left behind the rigorous standards and expectations of the county may be best.