A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's never too late for the Airing of Grievances

Okay, okay, okay, I missed the deadline for Festivus, which is on December 23 (and is the only thing from Seinfeld I ever found funny). But I still has me my grievances to air, and air them I will! To wit:

1. I was just informed that I can not designate part of my United Way donation to Camp Fire USA because there is no local council in this benighted town in which I live (see? no dangling preposition!). This required talking to some young female person who could not pronounce my name correctly, as well (see grievance number 2). Even though I have given money to Camp Fire USA on my United Way donation for over 17 years, suddenly, it's a problem.

So guess what this means? I shall be reducing my United Way pledge, so that I can give money to Camp Fire USA my way. I was a member of Camp Fire (back then we were called Camp Fire Girls) for 11 years. If I wanted to give money to the Girl Scouts, I would have BEEN a Girl Scout.

2. I am tired of people not being able to pronounce my name. It's "Kor-NEEL-yus," NOT "KRO nel-shus," fercryinoutloud. It's just that simple. From now on, telemarketers beware: I shall mock you unmercifully.

3. I have had it with kids coming to school sick. I actually rearranged my seating chart three times during November and December to move the kids who kept coming to school hacking and feverish so that they would be as far away from all the rest of us who wished to remain well. I listened to one kid snort his mucus back up into his sinuses every two minutes for three weeks-- until I actually felt nauseated. You will give yourself a sinus infection! And it's gross!

And if your kid had a fever, you need to keep her at home until 24 hours AFTER the fever has broken, NOT send her to school so that the nurse and the teachers can take care of her so that you don't miss your yoga class.

Then there's the pink eye outbreak we endured. Oh, dear God. There is NO WAY a parent could have missed the gray ooze coming out of both peepers of the first kid. Thankfully, I diagnosed and rerouted the kid before he entered my classroom. (What? You don't see the medical degree on my wall? It's from Common Sense U.)

4. I loathe "Reality TV." Stop it. That one with the lie detector that's going to be starting soon is beyond the pale. Boo.

5. I am tired of parents and students complaining to me about grades and/or test scores when they admit the students have put very little effort into their work because they are so "busy." You get what you put into your education. You need to start by trying, and even then, that may not get you an A-- but certainly makes the odds more likely than playing Halo for four hours a night.

6. I am also wearied by parents attempting to get their child diagnosed with some sort of disorder solely for the purpose of getting them more time to take the SAT. Shameful. I received such a form (in which the mother ADMITTED the scheme to me) a while back, and it's just appalling.

7. I would like to create a special lane for drivers of minivans and Buicks. It would be padded and segregated for their safety and ours. I write this after I just watched some wizened driver flatten the stop sign at the end of the lane after flying downhill on ice. Classic.

And I would appreciate a hood-mounted bazooka for use on people observed doing any of the following behind the wheel: shaving, reading the newspaper draped over the steering wheel, texting, putting on mascara, eating food that is so hot that when one burns one's mouth one then swerves into my lane, blasting misogynistic rap music in traffic, racing motorcycles singly or in packs, drinking beer or liquor, or taking pictures with one's cell phone.

8. I would like to send out a special thank you to the security personnel at the airport who opened my checked luggage, tore open the wrapping on a present I was bringing back, removed the packing material, and broke two of the glasses inside the box. The tiny shards of glass left on all my clothing was a nice touch.

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At 12/27/07, 10:14 PM, Blogger Dan Edwards said...

Nice list. Will there be some new year's resolutions erupting from this list ;-)

Oh, you don't need a bazooka to deal with those idiots on wheels; a 20mm cannon, simular to the ones found on many WWII aircraft, should suffice. Or even a .50 caliber mg.

At 12/29/07, 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My very special grievance is parents who call on Christmas Eve about their precious child's research paper -- which was due three weeks ago -- to offer excuses why she is just too busy get to get it sent via email just yet. I swear I do not know how I maintain my civility sometimes.

At 12/29/07, 2:57 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I do not give my number out to students for just that reason.

I DID once have an unbalanced soul block my driveway as I was leaving and ask me about why her kid got a certain grade on an assignment from a month ago, though. Like I carry that kind of thing around in my cranium....

Kudos to you for the civility. I don't think I would be so kind, nor probably coherent. I would probably just keep repeating, "What? What? WHAT?"

At 12/29/07, 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a kid in the district, so my number, etc. is published in the buzz book. And there are no secrets in this particular community. I really don't mind email, but the phone call thing really bugs me. I read an editorial piece that advocated students being encouraged to call teachers about homework assignments at any time (because this is done in KIPP schools??). I wanted to reach through the computer and strangle the person. Exactly when are teachers off? Have I no right to spend time with my family? OK, so I'm grading approximately 8,000 freakin' essays -- still!

At 12/30/07, 8:31 PM, Blogger Margaret said...

For crying out loud, these are GREAT. I am with you all the way, as a public high school teacher in WA. I am busting my butt, while kids and parents make excuses. It is depressing. P.S. Drivers in WA are equally awful. Just put any snow or ice on the road and we freak out!

At 12/31/07, 4:05 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Keep your kids' number out of the buzz book-- seriously!

And I only WISH I could actually work my ass off. And I would think that snow or at least rain wouldn't freak out people in WA. How strange. Here in the Land Between the Coasts, people think 4 Wheel Drive conquers everything. Idiots.


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