Category Archives: Sassiness

Mice in the Car and My New School Year Goal

Well, friends, another school year has begun.  Mine has been, let’s just say, eventful.  But I believe that my feeble brain has conceived yet another teaching analogy inspired by an unrelated part of my life.  Here it goes.

So I’m getting Mason in his car seat, trying to get a move on to attend day #5 of professional inservices when I see them: mouse poopies.  In my car.  On Mason’s seat, in my cup holders, on the dashboard, everywhere.  Do I have time to clean them out?  Of course not.  So I cringe, wipe them off of Mason’s seat, strap him in, and call my husband crying on the way to work.  Got home, vacuumed the car, Clorox wiped everything possible, and yet, later that night, more poopies.

Luckily, my husband is not cheap when it comes to things such as this. He got the pricey traps.  You know, the “no see, no touch” kind that are little pods which lure the dastardly creatures in and kill instantly?  Lo and behold, the little beast was no longer living the next morning. He had a hasty funeral that ended in the garbage can.

So here’s my analogy between the little crapper who lived in my car and teaching.  No, readers, I will not be referring to my students as “little crappers”.  Rather, I compare the unwelcome mouse to those unexpected things that come up in the classroom on a daily basis: random farting noises spread by giggling 8th grade boys who know better, a frantic secretary who calls looking for a missing student, the fourteenth message over the PA system in the last hour, the comment “but we did this last year” from students upon receiving an assignment, etc.

Are these things frustrating? ABSOLUTELY!  You’re trying so hard to keep students focused and give them the best opportunity to succeed in life through the skills they learn in your class, yet your efforts are thwarted at every turn.  But what I learned from the little mousie who thought he could conquer my car is that you can either complain about it or do something about it.  You can either become frustrated at your noisemaking students or you can make every effort to show them how to behave in a classroom and why it’s an important lesson to learn. You can either become frustrated about the calls you get or understand the importance of having secretaries so you don’t have to do all of this.  You can take your students’ complaining about already having done an activity and use it as an opportunity to teach them the value of rereading.

My goal this school year, besides the always-present goal of being SuperMom, is to take these inconveniences and DO something about them.  I spend a lot of time whining and complaining about things, but I don’t have time to do that anymore.  I HAVE to be efficient with my time and find solutions to my problems that make whatever curse I face into a blessing.

That is my rant for today.  It is time to make cookies, exercise, and shower in the next 45 minutes.  Can I do it?  YES I CAN!  Bless your weekends!

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Blue Cheese Leek Tarts (Success) and Spinach Pancakes (Fail)

Well, friends, I warned you.  When you experiment, there are successes and failures.  I’ve been working my way through this book I checked out from the library called “Fuss Free Foods for Babies and Toddlers”.  Maybe I’ll get Mason to eat a veggie other than peas and corn.  That was the thought.

The Success: Blue Cheese Leek Tarts

CRUSTS:
1 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat, but it calls for all-purpose)
6 T butter
pinch of salt
6-7 T water
1) Put flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until flour resembles breadcrumbs.
2) Mix in water 1 T at a time until dough becomes smooth.
3) Knead lightly and dump onto floured surface.  Roll out with a floured rolling pin until very thin.
4) Use some sort of round object (large coffee cup works well) to cut out circles.  Place circles into cups of a muffin tin (regular size… none of those ginormous or mini ones).  Press dough down and onto sides as shown below.

Tart Crusts

FILLING:
1/2  cup ham, diced
2 T butter
1/2 cup leek, washed and cut into small squares
1/3 cup blue cheese
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
pinch of paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
1) Preheat oven to 375.  Melt butter in a small frying pan.  Cook leek in butter until soft (not brown and mushy).
2) Dump fried leek into a bowl. Add in blue cheese and ham; mix.  Spoon into prepared crusts.
3) In a bowl, beat eggs and milk.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour on top of mix from #2 in crusts.
4) Top each tart with cheddar cheese and paprika (if desired).
5) Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until brown on top.

Completed Tarts

12 tarts fed my family 2 meals.  They freeze well, so it’s a nice thing to have in case you get home an hour late and have a starving child.  Even Mason liked it! I think you could substitute your own fillers too (broccoli and cheddar, sausage and mushroom, etc.). Highly recommended!

Failure: Spinach Pancakes.
I’ll spare you the recipe.  No idea why I thought that “Spinach Pancakes” would be good.  They ended  up being another “meat plop incident” (a phrase my dear husband uses to refer to the time early in our marriage when I attempted to make meatballs and they ended up looking like piles of meat).  Except, unlike meat plops, this didn’t taste good either.  To us.  Mason enjoyed it thoroughly, so I froze the remainder of the meal for him and made Mark and I a frozen pizza.  Only look at the pictures below if you have a strong stomach.

Gross. (That stuff on top was supposed to be inside, but the pancake was more of a panplop.)

Well, at least Mason liked it. (Thumbs up in picture is intentional.)

(Not So) Famous Last Words…

Well, I just sent off the letter that I signed to turn down my recall to my former district. I also sent a little piece of my mind. I thought some of you might be interested to read it.
(Note: I actually CC’d a few higher-ups and signed my full name, but in efforts to protect identity, I removed them here. You know who I’m talkin’ about!)

Dear Superintendent:

My name is Samantha. Formerly, I taught 7th Grade ELA at a wonderful middle school and I write this letter to you as a follow-up to the recall letter I received in the mail last week.

As you have probably surmised by me writing this letter, I will not be accepting my recall. This is for several reasons. One of those reasons is that I have been offered a job in another district as a Middle School Reading Teacher, a position that I am honored to take because of its importance to the students of that school and the close proximity to my house.

While I am excited to take this position and firmly believe that God has a reason for everything that happens in our lives, I have difficulty ridding myself of the ill feelings I harbor towards the district. The staff I worked with at my middle school is an extremely caring, talented group of individuals who really do put children and their educations first, so I feel nothing but sadness at leaving that group of people. I have difficulty saying this about the rest of the district, specifically those in charge at the ESC.

What has happened to the teachers in this district is nothing short of appalling. The mismanagement of funds, the shoddy politics involved in the hiring and firing of staff, and the smugness shown towards the needs and desires of the public makes me wonder how the district has kept any of its strong teachers. I had no plans to leave; I was perfectly content to stay there several more years. After what has happened, however, I thank God that His plan involved me leaving the district. I fear for the future of my fellow staff members when the contract runs up in a couple of years. Most importantly, I fear for the education my former students will receive as they move on to 8th Grade and high school.

I understand that what has happened at the state level is unprecedented and that there were bound to be changes in the district. Had there been any forethought about how this really impacted the district, however, there would have been hundreds of teachers, including myself, who would not have been laid off. How could over 300 teachers be laid off, only for over 1/3 of them to be called back several months later? In the decisions you make in the future, I respectfully ask that you truly DO consider your mantra “Every Child Matters.” I feel that many decisions made in the last year were not done to improve the lives of every child in the district.

Sincerely,

Samantha