Odds & Ends

Here's what I'm thinking about today:

1. George Michael gets arrested
I wasn't a real fan of George Michael's back in the 80s, but I might be one now. Not because of the drug thing, but because of his response to it:

"It's my own stupid fault, as usual," Michael says in a statement. "I was in possession of class C drugs, which is an offence, and I have no complaints about the police, who were professional throughout."

A celebrity taking responsibility for his actions? It's ... it's ... it's unprecedented, is what it is. But also, it's a good example for my students, who--when I literally CATCH THEM IN THE ACT--will, without fail, look at me all innocent-eyes and say, "What'd I do?"

This leads me to ...

2. My third period class is getting in major trouble tomorrow.
Evidently, over half of the class failed to return to class after lunch Friday (I was out sick). The sub, God bless her, turned them all in, and the office is dealing with them. But ... oh. Whatever punishment they got from the office is a small, small, tiny thing compared to what their teacher is going to do.

I will begin with The Lecture. This will involve a lot of me saying, "Who do you think you are?!" and "What makes you think the rules don't apply to you?" while shaking my head back and forth and pointing my finger in the air.

Then, we go to The Test. This was already scheduled, and they already have their study guides, which I assume have not seen the light of day since they left class last week. The Test WAS a fairly simple multiple-choice thing, but I changed my mind, as I am wont to do when my usually docile and lovable students make stupid decisions and act like butter wouldn't melt in their mouths. It may now be THE HARDEST TEST KNOWN TO MAN, and I have to say, I'm kinda proud of it. It goes without saying, of course, that it is 100% based on the study guide, and if they have actually studied, they will do just fine. I don't expect that much studying has occurred, though, so OH WELL.

The next item on my list of Oh No You Di'n't is a little something I like to call the Awesome Write-off. Normally, I don't give write-offs as punishment, but I talked to an assistant principal last week and he suggested it so I'm doing it. I actually wrote it last year, and most times when I gave it out, kids would shape up right away, so we'll see what happens. Here it is, in its entirety:

It is my job to be the best student I can be. My job responsibilities include the following:

1. I must come to class every day with all required materials. To leave even one thing behind can have dire consequences which may include the inability to complete my work, which will have an adverse effect on my grade.

2. I must be polite and respectful to myself, my teacher, and my fellow classmates. I should listen quietly when others are speaking and wait for the appropriate time to make a comment. If I speak out of turn, I should apologize for my misbehavior and make sure I consider the consequences if I should speak out of turn again.

3. I must be responsible for my actions. I realize that nobody in this world is perfect, but it is not necessary for me to start a debate every time I disagree with another’s opinion or observation. I have the ability to discuss issues calmly and rationally, and I need to use this skill in all situations, even if I am mad.

I further realize that I make my own decisions, and if I am unhappy with the outcomes of my actions, I have only myself to blame; therefore, I will refuse to play the victim and point fingers, and I will take full responsibility for my own behavior.

If I fulfill these responsibilities to the best of my ability, I know that I can affect not only my own attitude, but also my teacher’s, my classmates’, and my parents’ attitudes for the better.

I know that I am being disciplined only because my teacher knows that I am an awesome person and that she wants me to succeed at the highest level, and from now on, I will put my best effort into meeting her high expectations for me.

Maybe, just maybe, after they've written it three or four times, some of it will sink in.

Following the write-off, my students will be faced with The Vocabulary of Death, which my other, evidently better-at-making-decisions, class knows as Chapter 17. They were gonna have to do it anyway, but the fact that they will look at this huge list of words after having written for a straight hour and fifteen minutes makes me ... well, whatever feeling goes with an evil smile? THAT'S how I feel.

I would like to add that the few students who did not lose their brains at lunch will be exempt from most of the punishments. They still have to take a test and do their vocab, but they don't have to endure my frosty glares and heavy sighs, lucky things.

3. My other third period class has stepped up their game.
Which means that they are behaving themselves and doing their work. This maybe has something to do with the fact that I called TEN parents last Thursday to explain why their sons and daughters are going to be failing my class. That doesn't sit too well with parents, so those kids kept their noses to the grindstones today, and I think several of them will be staying after school to try and make up the work they've missed while they were goofing off and, in short, making my head explode. I hope that this isn't some sort of Bizarro World, where they're good for one day and go back to being hoodlums next time. I may have to introduce them to the Awesome Write-Off.

4. I took out the garbage today.
This involved me moving through the house like a whirlwind, throwing everything that wasn't tied down into a garbage bag. I even cleaned out the fridge, which was an undertaking in itself. I hate taking out the garbage, and I put it off a LOT. But I can't justify the expense of paying for garbage service, so I just throw it all in the dumpsters at the ballpark. I have this fear that this is actually illegal, but it hasn't stopped me yet.

5. That's all.

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