The Boy Who Boomed and Spat


“Tap-Tap!”
 
A quick, double-knock at our special ed classroom’s door. I rise to answer it, but before I can even get up and out from behind my small-group teaching table, an adult hand has opened the door partway, shoved a boy through fast enough to make him stumble, and shut the door again quickly.

I have never seen the boy before. The students yell out “He’s a new student, Teacher!” In one connected set of motions, I quickly give him a big smile and welcome him to our class as I seat him with paper and markers–and rush out the door.
 
The boy’s mother is hurriedly making her escape.
 
Empty Womans Clothes
 
She returns only at my insistence. I introduce myself and say how happy I am to have her son in my class. She looks at me, puzzled, and–could it be?–amused? Her invisible escape foiled, she now strolls leisurely away without even introducing herself.
 
It is not a language-barrier issue. The family speaks only English at home.
 
Within a day, I decide–fairly or not–this parent cares not a fig for the child that once came from between her legs.
 
The new boy’s name is Donald. The Office had known he was expected this day. They didn’t think it was important to inform me, his teacher—the one who has to find desk space, textbooks, and supplies for the new student, plan lessons to include his needs, and help the other students–always unnerved by changes to routine–adjust to his presence.
 
And that will take some adjusting.
 
I am five feet seven inches tall and weigh 125.
 
Our new student, at ten years old, is 5’10” and over 180 lbs. A big body like a man’s, with a deep, booming voice like a man’s. (He is, likely, a man, biologically: Many inner-city children begin puberty today before they are double-digits in age.)
 
Donald pushes his big man’s weight around: Body slamming the other students, and me, against desks, tables, cabinets, and walls. He yells extremely loudly in his booming voice all day long. Donald also has an endearing habit of spitting into the eyes of those he is upset with.
 
Initially, Donald is upset with everyone.
 

Unhappy Light-Skinned Black Teen Boy Staring

(Not the Actual Donald.)


 
It is easy to understand why: This “5th-grader” has never held a pencil properly or written his own name. Yet, until he joined our class, he had been left in regular-ed classrooms every year–“mainstreamed”–and “socially promoted” each year with regular-ed students, to stay within his age level, rather than his skill level. Left alone, in the midst of these students, year after year, without any extra assistance.
 
Imagine being in over your head day after day, year after year, with no one helping you succeed. No wonder he is so angry.
 
While I feel great sympathy for Donald, it is clear that this oversized boy with the terrible temper is going to be a danger if we cannot get him some one-on-one assistance. Just his spitting is tremendous cause for concern in these days of serious drug-resistant health threats.
 
I ask the office for a second assistant—I have learned that Special Ed teachers can mandate additional helpers for special cases like Donald’s. I am told no help is available.
 
Only several months later, after my continued insistence, is another assistant finally provided.
 
How outrageous is it that I had to demand repeatedly that this issue be addressed? How much effective learning do you think has gone on in my classroom in the meantime?
 
And here is an interesting little side note:
 
Two days after Donald was first thrust at me through my door, a paper form was thrust at me by one of the Office staff.
 
“What’s this?”
“You need to sign this.”
“What is it?”
“You just need to sign it.”
 
When I press for an answer, I’m told that it states that I am aware the new boy in my class caused severe problems in his prior school. But the form not only does not describe the nature of the previous misbehavior. It provides no space to describe it.
 
“What did Donald do at his previous school?”
“I don’t know.”
“Why would I sign a form that tells me absolutely nothing?”
 
The District’s Legal team apparently believes that, if I sign this form, the District will be absolved of all responsibility should anyone be injured on my watch.
 
This, despite the fact that I was offered no choice in whether or not to accept Donald into my classroom.
 
Just Sign the Damn Thing Wolf
 
Of course, I refused to sign the form!
 
DREADENDUM
 
A former therapist indicated that she believes I suffer from PTSD. Caused by my seventeen years spent under the roof of people who constantly yelled at and eventually often hit me and my siblings–in both predictable and unpredictable circumstances.
 
As an adult white-collar professional, the first time a fellow white-collar professional unprofessionally raised his voice in the office, I ducked.
 
I now recognize that being in that Special Ed classroom with body-slamming, booming-voiced Donald, stressful as it would have been for any person, was particularly so for me. Every time Donald’s voice suddenly blared out, I felt like running out of that half-sized storeroom/classroom screaming for help.
 
Frankly, it is not unreasonable to state that a year spent with Donald could have, in and of itself, caused a mild case of PTSD even in someone who had NOT been abused as a child.
 
There were thirteen other children stuck in that closet room with Donald. And Rey. Don’t forget Rey, he of the always-scooting desk and wandering scissors.
 
What loving parent could send their child off to school each morning knowing that these classmates were waiting for them? No one, if they had a choice. Most do not know. But our school administrators, who do know, have no problem consigning YOUR children to this hopeless hell.
 
 
1st Teaching Post: Shocked By a Rock
 
Prev Teaching Post: Books? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Books!
 
Next Teaching Post: The Trouble Table
 


 

42 Comments

Filed under Teaching Trials

Dear WikiDudes: I will be your best Wikipedia editor ever!!


Dear Wiki-Lords,
 
Wikipedia is super-duper awesome! I love how you used to be able to look up and learn anything about anything really fast and easy.
 
The thing is, dudes, now the ‘pedia has grown into a world-wide-serious mo’fo’, with long articles and really big words. (Kinda not so simple and helpful as it useta’ be, I think, but I’m no WikiDude, so what do I know?)
 
THAT’s why I wanna come work for you. What d’you say I help you out with your weensy widdle editing problem?
 
You know–the one where it was perfectly acceptable for a bunch of pathetic loser trolls
Hello Loser Man
to go into the entries of well-known gamers and insert lies about them? And keep doing it, without having their editing privileges revoked?
 
“Media and gaming culture critic Anita Sarkeesian was called a “lying whore,” and game developer Zoe Quinn was labeled a prostitute. Fellow developer Brianna Wu’s page claimed she gave her husband AIDS because she was raped by her father who first infected her.”
–Lauren C. Williams in Think Progress article “The Five Horsemen of Wikipedia Paid the Price”

 
I’m thinking if some Bible-totin’ Christian trolls had edited a Muslim married guy’s entry over and over to say he whored around and gave his wife AIDS, you dudes would have done something sooner. Or if skinhead white trolls had targeted a black guy and said those things over and over– Come ON, dudes–what do YOU think!?
 
But I could be wrong, Wiksters. You are the experts, after all. What I do know is that you lost a lot of editing power, ’cause when you finally DID do something, you not only told the trolls they were naughty and couldn’t edit anymore, but you told your own editors they were naughty too, and couldn’t edit anymore (!).
 
Shame on them, for repeatedly removing those lame-#ss trolls’ malicious, childish lies!! Bad editors, bad!!
 
Bad-No Wagging Finger Man
 
Anyhoo, since you’re down a few editors–and you were already down a hella bunch of lady editor types (less than 15% girl dudes, huh?)–
 
I’ve checked out your Manual of Style, and it’s all “No problemo” from my end! I’m rarin’ to get started snippin’ and rippin’!
 
 
“Wikipedia articles should be well-written and consistent with the core content policies:”
 
 
No original research.
Check! Everything I learn comes straight from others. Or I make it up on the spot.
 
 
Neutral point of view.
Check! I’m nothing if not fair and objective. Ask my downstairs neighbor.
 
 
Verifiability.
Che– Uh…
Hey, ‘Pedia dudes–Two out of three?
 
 
No Weasel Words:
“Research has shown”, “It is often reported”, Many are of the opinion”, etc.

 
 
Some people would say you guys are too picky.
:twisted:
 
 
No Editorializing Adverbs:
Clearly, Unfortunately, Happily…

 
Luckily, I don’t use any of the ones you list.
 
 
Skip Judgy “Said” Synonyms When You Quote:
Denied, Surmised, Insisted…

 
If you insist.
:twisted:
 
 
No Compounds and Neologisms
(Made-Up Two-part Words or Brand-Spanking New Words)


 
OMG! I know. ‘Cause, doesn’t it drive you cray-cray when you have to google abbreviations or new expressions you don’t know yet? That’s where that morning dose of Buzzfeed education comes in handy–amirite? BTW, this is such a coincidence,’cause just recently, someone seriously got on my case for using BTW in a blog post and not explaining it.
:twisted: (SWIDT?)
 
 
No Contentious Labels or Puffery
(Translation:
No Derogatory or Complimentary Terms)

 
Got it, dudes: Aside from listing their deeds, Nelson Mandela and Hitler are to be described in the same breezy, offhand way.
 
 
Be Direct. Don’t Use Euphemisms and Idioms.
Except when labeling derogatory or complimentary terms for Wikipedia’s editing style manual (see previous rule).
 
No worries: Any indirect fishy words and phrases will join their brethren and sistren down in Davy Jones Locker o’ Bones once this straight-talkin’ straight-shootin’ Aspie-girl gets through pickin’ off those perplexing Pisces!
 
Shooting Fish In-or-From A Barrel

I’ve Heard This Is the Recommended Method =^-^=


 
 
Use Specific Times, Places, and Events.
A WikiPedia Article is Forever.

 
This one reminds me of a little anecdote:
 
Oh, don’t worry: I’ll be brief, AND avoid idioms and euphemisms–whatever THEY are! (I’m sure if I don’t know what they are, that must mean I don’t use ’em–am I right? Gotcha there, eh, your WikiNesses–Ha ha ha!)
:D
 
When I told my BFF yesterday that I planned to apply to WikiPedia, she was sure I was wasting my time.
 
“YOU? Seriously?! Remember when we drove all the way to T., and you drank all of that —, and then kept me up all night singing? Do you really think you are the sort of person the WikiPeople are looking for?”
 
 
Yes. Yes I do.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Miss Outlier
 
 
GLOSSARY
 
cray-cray-No one says this any more–do they?
BTW-By the way.
OMG-Oh, my goodness! (golly! gosh!)
SWIDT-See what I did there? (Usually refers to a pun just made.)
 
APPAIDIX: GETTING PAID TO EDIT FOR WIKIPEDIA
 
There are bunches of people getting paid by commercial corporations to edit Wikipedia entries–had you known that? You can imagine that they are not motivated purely by public-spirited humanitarianism. Writers are given explicit instructions to fluff up entries or remove negatives.

Three links I thought were interesting:
bad companies are paying;
why not let good companies pay;
should you worry.


 

42 Comments

Filed under Snark Attack

Babe + Ruth Forever (Repost of My Guest Post at That Bully Yemi’s Place)


My best friend from fifth grade on was Ruth. We were inseparable friends, and competitors. She was very smart. (Her parents gave her ten dollars for every A, so she was motivated, too. :) )
 
In sixth grade, our friendship was almost ended by a teacher’s innocent remark.
 
To find out what it was, and what happened after THAT, you’re just going to have to visit my friend Yemi’s place, where the full piece is posted.
 
Yemi Bunnies Small

HERE’S THE LINK


 
This, after Yemi flattered, and batted her eyes, and mentioned all the orphaned bunnies she was supporting (I think that was what she said), and then, when I kept saying honestly that I was too busy, Yemi finally threatened me physically!
 
Truly, I now fear for my very life, and have gone underground to escape the wrath of this vengeful woman and her rabid rabbits.
:(
 
Please, please go read the post over at Yemi’s place, to placate her and allow me return home. There is very little gluten-free foraging to be had in the hills of drought-stricken Los Angeles, and I have had to resort to nipping untouched sushi from emaciated models’ plates along the pricier avenues of the city.
 
Yemi Bunnies Small

HERE’S THE LINK–AGAIN.


 

AW-TOO-BADDENDUM

YOU CHEATED ME! (some of you baseball fans are thinking)
 
You feel cheated?! Why did you assume? There are plenty of Babes that have nothing to do with the Sultan of Swat! Here’s one:
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Bright Illustration
Here’s another one:
 

“When asked if there was anything she didn’t play, she answered: ‘Yeah, dolls.'”–ESPN.com, “Didrickson Was a Woman Ahead of Her Time”


And another:
 
The Bourbon Babe

The Bourbon Babe, Margie Samuels (In The Bourbon Hall of Fame–Top THAT.)


 
See? And pure coincidence the names Babe and Ruth fell next to each other like that in the post’s title.
;)
 
(Have you visited Yemi’s place yet? Even if you don’t read my post, you really should stop by her About page. Unique. Really. With her theme, it’s a little hard to spot. See if you can find it.)
 
Yemi Bunnies Small

HERE’S THE POST LINK AGAIN. FANCY THAT.


 
Once again, I’ve fallen behind in checking in on everyone else’s posts and in thanking my latest followers–I will try my best to catch up tomorrow and Monday, you guys. Just please sit on your typing hands while I do–okay? Thanks.
:)

 


 

20 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Lord, Save Me From Helpful, Encouraging Men


Dear Dating Site Dude,
 
It is so refreshing to know that you believe in a “full and equal relationship between a man and woman”.
 
How lovely that I’d be “encouraged” to have interests of my own. For, without such encouragement from you, I would surely not think on my own to stray from our hearth, and would grow to resent my limited life, and you.
 
And I especially agree with your comment about domestic duties. I, too, realize that occasionally it would be more “convenient” for me, as well, to “lend a hand with laundry, cooking, and cleaning duties”.
 
I am curious, though: For all those other times–when it’s not convenient for either one of us–who will perform those duties?
 
Bred For Housework

Perhaps We Can Hire Out To the Bred-For-Domestic-Duty Subclass Within the Subclass? (They’s All Happy When They Cleans)


 
You are looking for a woman comfortable in a domestic role. Stop looking at skinny little things like me. Look for sexy women with more meat on their bones. I suspect odds will be better you’ll find more women who won’t mind cooking you up some fine meals.
 
Me, I’m finished cooking for a man. I worked full-time (many years of 65+ hours) and cooked and kept house(s) for men from 1977 to 2005. That’s long enough.
 
It’s MY turn. I’ll clean and do laundry, or most of both, but everyone can do their own d#mned cooking, or take ME out. I’m worth it.
 
I do wish you the very best of luck with your search.
 
–O. Babe
 


 

47 Comments

Filed under Dating Donts, Sexism Still

Noobie Do-Bee Do’s: What I Wish I’d Known As a New Blogger


THIS POST HAS BEEN SUPERCEDED BY A VASTLY NEW AND IMPROVED VERSION FOUND HERE
 
YouTube-ing was modified, hypertext linking was added… Even WP Support was linked to (!).
 
BLOGGING BASICS: The Essentials
 
Where’s the Snow?
 
After “never post a post as long as this one”, this is the second most important WordPress blogging factoid to learn, Grasshopper: At Christmas-etc. time, everyone around you will have snow falling on their blog and you won’t know how they did it.
The Ant and the Grasshopper In Winter With Navy Sky

“Go to SETTINGS–> General–That’s how.”


 
(You won’t see the button there NOW, but it will be there in season. Trust me.)
 
Name Your Blog Unlike Anything Else You Can Google
 
Most of you are saying “Duh”, but for the rest of you:
 
You want people to find your blog, and only your blog, when they search for it, don’t you? Dummy here didn’t think about this when I named MY blog. “The Last Half”. The last half of what? Of everything that exists, apparently. Google it, and you’ll see. You’ll see everything—except my blog.
:(
At least folks can find it by Outlier Babe–whew!
 
Tags vs. Categories
 
Tags are google search terms. They don’t have to be single words. If someone googles “wee green turtles”, and one of my posts has the tag “small olive turtles”, I have a tiny chance of a hit. If the post also talks about itty-bitty emerald turtles, and teensy chartreuse turtles, I have an even better chance.
 
Do not use more than…oh, ten tags (I stop at twelve, max). Fewer may be even better. Google’s googlyfier [web crawler] will say “Aren’t YOU the greedy piggy?”, and refuse to give you ANY search hit candy.
Greed With Dolls
 
Categories exist ONLY to group posts by topic. A blog can offer menus or pages (or both, I guess) of posts per category. The menu across the top of The Last Half (that’s MY blog, in case you’ve already forgotten my blog name)
:'( is a category menu.
 
How To Use Smilies
 
The smilie’s the link. Don’t go nuts, now:
:)   But when you want to use one, start a new line with the smilie. Otherwise, some readers will see the smilie as gobbledygook instead of a face.
 
Beware the “Visual” Vs. “Text” Editor
 
“Visual”? “Text”? Can you not see them both? Are they not both written with text? Whatever, WordPress Overlords…

Even if you know you’re never-ever going to use any of that scary html mumbo-jumbo, you are.

If you use the Non-Html (Visual) editor sometimes and the Html (Text) editor other times, you are going be be one sad blogger, because WordPress has an undocumented feature
Red Pointy-Nosed Bug Cartoon where when you switch over from one to the other, your post content is corrupted–a bit or a bunch.

Don’t be sad, be glad! For you were saved by this warning.
:D
 
You CAN start off all posts in Visual (Non-Html) mode. If you don’t need to add any html commands, that works. But once you leave the “Visual” track, you should never go back.
 
Consider Downloading Your Images
 
You’ve been blogging a while. Everything’s goin’ great. You go back to re-read your earlier posts, and
o_O
Whaat?! What happened to your images?
Broken Link
Someone deleted ’em off the web, that’s what happened. That’s why, instead of Uploading Image directly from web versions, I save images to my own drive first. Then, I upload from my copies.
 
Make Images Look Large, Be Small
 
You know: Like the opposite of the joke about how to catch an elephant with a glass, a pair of binoculars, and tweezers.
 
You don’t know that joke? You’re kidding! Why that joke’s so old, the first time I heard it, I fell off my dinosaur laughing! What? You never heard that, either? Jeez! Did you skip childhood altogether?
 
Here we go:
 

1951 Boys Life Alligator-Elephant Joke With Tweezers

Those 1951 Boy Scouts Were Confused: This Boy’s Life Talks About An Alligator!


 
WordPress takes forever to load huge images (for those with slower connections). Time and readers wait for no blog. Make sure your images aren’t taking over the world.
Brain Flag
 
This matters more if you use a bunch of images in each post. If only one or two, not a big deal.
 
I use plain old Paint to quickly check image size. Unless I think image detail is vital (like a beautiful photograph), I resize down to no more than a sixth of the Paint display. You can also sort your Pictures directory in descending order by size to find any piggies. (Note that animated GIFs, which are large, can’t be shrunken, or their animations will fail.)
 
The bulk of my images are 75KB or less, except some photos.
 
Force Blank Lines Between Paragraphs
 
In the Text editor, put this html command on those lines:

 

Otherwise, as of March, 2015, some blank lines between paragraphs will disappear when your post is displayed on some phones. Your nice, short paragraphs will look like a Faulkner sentence (endless egotistical blathering that would never have been published, much less praised, had the author been female).
 
No one younger than 30 will bother reading your brilliant writing, except people who actually read Faulkner for fun.
 
A Pin Drops
How To Do An “Instream” Link in a Comment
 
Say you want to tell your friend Alfonse “You should check out this blog!” and make the word “blog” be a link to the blog. Here’s how you’d do it:
 

Check out this
<a href=”www.cool.wordpress.com">blog</a>!

 
Notice how I waited until the end to tack on that exclamation mark, instead of putting it right after “blog”. Avoid special characters [punctuation] inside html commands unless they’re part of the command requirements.
 
How to Cut Down on YouTube Distractions
 
If a Youtube ends by showing other video choices, readers can wander away from your post and blog.
YouTube Funny Cat Distraction
You can stop this. You can also start the video somewhere instead of at the beginning, and/or end it before the end.
 
Instead of using the “vanilla” WordPress Visual or Text Editor method of adding a YouTube, follow the directions given in the WordPress Support post below, but you should read all FIVE of these BEFORE you link over there:
 

  • 1. Go to view the video on Youtube.
  • 2. Click the Share icon.
  • 3. Copy the “shortlink” you see there.
  • 4. Go to this WordPress support link.
  • 5. Skip ahead to the section Embedding With a Shortcode and read from that header on down. That’s got the beginner-ish stuff. Later you can get all fancy.
     
    How to Add Sound To Your Free WP Blog
     
    Sound Rays
     
    1. Embed a SoundCloud song or playlist
     
    2. Include a link to a Google Docs MP3 or MP4 Audio File that’s marked as “Shared”. Your reader will see an ugly blank screen with a sound bar, but at least they can play the audio you want them to hear. There’s an example in this post.
     
    3. Link to a Vine or YouTube you’ve made of your finger with a smiley face, dancing to your audio.
     
    How to Change the the Order of Your Posts
    (And: How to Make A Blog Like a Book!)
     
    This post tells you. Oh!: If you ever post a new post but don’t see it on your blog–where did it go?–search for it in All Posts. WordPress sometimes hiccups and jams a past date into a brand-new post (drove me NUTS debugging this).
     
    WordPress is Out to Help You
     
    You have a WordPress question, so you google. If the solution mentions “plug-ins”, it’s for wordpress.ORG folks, not wordpress.COM. Some solutions apply only to those folk who are PAYing for their blogs and have customized tweaks. You can be way down a rabbit hole before you once again slap your forehead between your long, furry ears.
    Dumb Bunny Picking Things
    Instead, use the WordPress.com support and forums sites. (But me, I still google, too.)
     
    WordPress Is Out To Get You
     
    WordPress will suddenly drop a blog from the “Blogs I Follow”. You won’t notice for weeks–months! If the blogger knows you, s/he will be getting hurt or angry that you’ve dropped them. Clearly, WordPress is evil.
    :evil:
     
    Snap a picture of your “Blogs I Follow” list every so often, so you can replace any missing sheep when the WordPress wolf gobbles them up. As you restore sheep, peer closely at the WordPress window and hiss threateningly “Ha! Not THIS time, WordPress!”.
     
    Curses Foiled Again Cat Nerd
     
     
    ENHANCING READERSHIP
     
    Big Duh: Make Your Title and Opening Lines HOT!!
     
    If you’re rolling your eyes at how obvious this is, you don’t need this hint. I did. For two years, my post titles and first lines put the hundred-eyed Argos to sleep.
    Argus the Hundred-Eyed In Color
     
    Set a Featured Image On Every Post
     
    When a new visitor does a Search, or clicks on a tag, or makes a choice in a category menu, s/he sees several of your posts listed. If you don’t have Featured Images set, all they’re going to see are a bunch of words. Don’t you think great images will help attract them to stop and read a post or two?
     
    Also, WordPress has an oops if you don’t set Featured Images: When you “Quick Edit” a post, the image that used to be shown to readers can–surprise!–randomly change to another image.
     
    (If you don’t yet know what Quick Edit is, in short, it’s when you’re looking at All Posts, and you can change just a few little things quickly, like tags and categories–even on more than one post at once.)
     
    Use a Large Font
     
    Older people like bigger letters. Younger people like fewer words. Bigger letters make it look like fewer words.
    We Read Biggest Best
    If the theme you picked has a small fontsize, use the first line below as your first line, and the last line below as your last line.

    <div><span style="font-size:large;">

    (the rest of your post goes here)

    </div></span>

    (You can also set that font-size to medium or small.)
     
    Use Really Short Paragraphs
     
    Shorter paragraphs seem like fewer words. Break your longer paragraphs up, even if it feels wrong.
     
    Use Shorter Sentences and Words
     
    See above.
     
    Use Bold Picture Captions
     
    Depending upon your theme, or the reader’s type of device, captions can appear faint and irksome. When you’re Adding Media, as you type in your caption, you can type these html commands in front and behind it to make it bold:

    <strong>Here's My Caption</strong>

     
    PLAYING NICE
     
    Credit Your Pics
     
    Be a mensch, or womanensch ;) [a good person] and give credit:
    Id Like to Take a Moment to Thank
     
    (1) A clickable link to the page where you found the image (WordPress gives you a way to do this). Disadvantage? The link can “break” if that page goes away. I only link where I think my readers will find it helpful or amusing.
     
    OR
     
    (2) Include that page’s address or photo/maker credit on the image (with an image editor) or in its caption. Disadvantage? You might not want it there!
     
    OR
     
    (3) In the html gobbledygook WordPress creates for the image, insert
    Title=“credit, or address where I found it”.
     
    I stick this in front of the
    Alt=gobbledygook part.  
     
    Disadvantage? Tedious. Advantage? Anything you put in “Title” shows when a reader passes their cursor over an image. Think of the subliminal [subconscious influence] possibilities!:
     

  • “Best Blog Ever!”
  • “Share On Facebook!”
  • “$10 to PayPal# 1343-65338″
  •  
    People WOMEN Who Follow You Expect You To Follow Them
     
    Why Someone Unfollows You
     
    If you are a woman, most women who Follow you expect you to Follow them. It is my opinion/observation that, if you are a man, or your follower is a man, there is not the same degree of expectation. But I could be wrong.
     
    Many new followers are happy when you follow them back even if you never read their posts. I find this… It doesn’t matter what I find it. It just is.
     
    Since many bloggers post often–sometimes daily–this mutual-following etiquette can make your WordPress Reader worthless overnight.
     
    It floods with posts you could not possibly read. What some folks do is click “Like”, “Like”, “Like” automatically to all of these. Or just to the posts of their online friends, still without bothering to read most of these.
     
    Do however you think best regarding Follows and Likes. Usually, mutual Liking and Following brings only mutually-rewarding happiness, and many close online friendships. Just be aware that ueneath calm surface waters may lurk…junior high school.
     
    Its Just Middle School Woody
     
    Don’t Self-Link On a First Visit
     
    Don’t link to your own blog or one of your own posts the first time you go to someone else’s blog. Or the second time. That is just low-class, frankly. One of the cheesiest ways this is usually done is through flattery:
     
    “Great post! I’ve reposted you on (my blog’s link).”
     
    Try instead:
    “Great post! I’ve reposted you.”
    :)
    What you should be doing when you visit someone’s blog for the first time or two is seeing if there is anything positive and genuine you can say. If not, move on.
     
    If You Run Out of Things To Blog About
     
    I always have too MUCH to say–just not enough time/energy/wit to articulate it–but for the rest of you, there’s this.
     
     
    What do YOU wish YOU’D known? What did I get wrong? What have I been doing that’s dumb? (Three years in, and I’m still learning.)
     
    ADDENDUM
     
    How I posted the html source code you see here without the commands actually getting executed
     

    63 Comments

    Filed under Stuff

    Books? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Books!


    After the children, the second thing I notice about my new Special Ed classroom is that there are no books.

    Okay, that is a slight exaggeration–but not much of one. There are History textbooks, but they’re years beyond the reading ability of even the school’s Regular Ed students. There is a small box of four-page booklets of less than 40 words each that my 5th grade students say they have been re-reading since 2nd grade.
     

    No Books and No Learning Allowed

    Does Anyone CARE About These Kids?


     
    I learn that none of the children enjoy reading.
     
    Are you surprised?
     
    That weekend, I buy five copies each of storybooks popular with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders–most of the students read at only a 1st or 2nd grade level. Books like Amelia Bedelia, Frog and Toad, and Little Bear.
     
    Frog and Toad Are Friends Cover

    I Wish They Were MY Friends


     
    Deputy Dan Book Cover

    Loads o’ Fun, ‘Cause Loaded With Puns :)


     
    I also buy Reading workbooks (from a series called “Spectrum”) at the same levels. On Monday, the children learn that reading can be fun. They love the new books, and are eager to read from then on.
     
    I am told that an excellent rate of Reading progress in a Special Ed elementary class is one half-year of gain per each year in school. That year, some of my students are measured gaining a year.
     
    Full of Myself Mug

    My Coffee Has Never Tasted So Good


     
    But I have now joined the supremely-stupid ranks of my fellow teachers: From this point on, I will continue to spend personal money to do my utmost for my students and their future success in life–to do more for this goal, in most cases, than their own parents care to.
     
    I later learn that I shouldn’t entirely blame The District for not providing books. Classroom books can walk out the door with students, or with substitute teachers. Entire classroom libraries can leave when permanent teachers are transferred to other schools.
     
    But four and a half years LATER, I learn—
     
    Wait:
     
    Do you remember that, instead of putting me and my Special Ed kids in a classroom, they instead stuck us in a storage room? No window, no connecting door, and half the size of a regular classroom (violating District policy in all three of these failings)?
     
    Small Meeting Room

    Do You Feel Trapped In This Small, Windowless Meeting Room?


     
    Well, my principal had to take something OUT of that storage room to move my kids INTO it. What she’d taken out was books. Discontinued textbooks for each grade level and subject. And supplemental books: Science books. History books. Art books. Music books. And, (you saw this coming, didn’t you?) matched sets of 4 or 5 books each of:
     
    “Amelia Bedelia”.
    “Frog and Toad Are Friends”.
    “Little Bear”.
     
    Fun-for-children books at every reading level. Books I could have used instead of spending my own money.
     
    Irked Sheikh

    It’s Not Like Money Just Bubbles Up Out of the Ground Or Anything


     
    There was even an entire set of Spectrum Reading workbooks for each grade level. Enough for an every child to use, as long as each child used separate paper to write answers so that the books could be re-used.
     
    The administrator who unlocked and let me into the smaller storage room some of those books had been moved to (the rest had been distributed elsewhere) let me borrow some of those fun reading books. And some excellent discontinued History books written in much simpler language than our currently-approved doorstoppers and paperweights. But she made me promise not to tell anyone.
     
    Teachers were not allowed to teach using materials from inside that locked room.
     
    Hand-Slapping Irked-or-Disappointed Baby

    No. Just no. May I Please Choose a Different Parallel World?


     
     
    BOOK-LOSS ADDENDUM
     
    I caught children often trying to exit my room with my books tucked into waistbands, etc., until I learned how to control this. (Students with good behavior were permitted to borrow books by signing them out.)

    I was warned by fellow teachers about some substitutes walking out with books, and advised to lock away my own books when I knew in advance I’d have a sub. I’d guess some loss blamed on subs is due to them not noticing student theft–but not all of it, because of a specific instance that was related to me.

    I was both told of classroom book supplies walking away, and observed it first-hand. I don’t believe these are thefts with evil intent, but teachers conserving resources for their next set of students. Possibly some feel justified in light of their own financial outlays.
     
    1st Teaching Post: Shocked By a Rock
     
    Prev Teaching Post: He Who Will Teach
     
    Next Teaching Post: The Boy Who Boomed and Spat


     

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    Filed under Teaching Trials

    Science, or Art?: An Application of Creative Truthiness In the Workplace

    I wrote some poems.
    Some think they’re smart.
    Some think they’re dumb.
    I’ll call them Art.

     

    campbellsthisisart-JoeyAllgood-RealWeirdArt

    Creative Truthiness In a Can

    (This Real Art is by Joey Allgood, at RealWeirdArt©)


     
    Applied Linguistics

    Babe sits at her desk all day,
    Seems to dream the day away.
    But if to that she did admit,
    Employer and Babe would soon be split.

    (It isn’t that she doesn’t try;
    It’s just that thinking makes her cry.)

    But Babe is wise in one small way:
    She knows daydreaming doesn’t pay,
    So rather than her habits change,
    The syntax she has rearranged:
     

    Syntax Definition

    “The arrangement of words…to create well-formed sentences.”


     
    Management, always impressed
    By “looked at” stated     reassessed,
    Or “Now” said as     This point in time,
    Has chosen to ignore her crime,

    Has left her to her own devices,
    While other peoples pays the prices.

    “This isn’t laziness” says she,
    “A better word is:
     
     
    ‘Entropy’.”
     
     

    Entropy Definition

    “Lack of order or predictabililty; gradual decline into disorder.”


     
    ***
     
    The actions and work habits of the project members in these adjoining offices are not at all fishy. Daily, they industriously visit each others’ project areas to chat, until, exhausted from their efforts, they settle slowly to the sandy bottom floor.
     
    Fishy Gas Distribution-Entropy Gif

    Poetry in Ocean :)


     
    “K” is Karla Kraken, their single (1) efficient manager, who has earned 5 out of 5 Productivity Stars. Whoo-Hoo! Way to go, Karla!!
     
    ***
     
    One Baad Dog
     
    OR
     
    A Single Occurrence of
    A Deviant Canine or
    Canine-Comparable
    Mammal

    It is sad, I suppose,
    When a word dons new clothes;
    Because how does we knows,
    If it comes or it goes?

    Like when NASA torqued “normal”,
    Into something more formal,
    And came up with “nominal”!
    Truly abominal.

    But for one who loves punning,
    And thrills to word-funning,
    Tricky and slippery words are trés cunning.

    When a bad can mean good,
    When a dog can mean man,
    “Bad dog” can mean one dog
    Less chastised, it can.
     
     
    NERDENDUM

    The laziness/entropy word switch is actually more an issue of semantics than syntax,
     

    Semantics Definition

    The meaning of a word, PHRASE, sentence, or text.


     
    but I left it as it was written originally because of the more-words-are-better-isms used in business.
     
    The first poem was written decades back, when I was a first-year programmer. The second was written as a comment on this WordPress post.

     

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    Filed under Linguist Icks