Permission to Pee, Sir !

I have to urinate.

We are supposed to use the bathroom at 10:00 AM recess, and at 12:00 lunch. Unfortunately, even after post-childbirth surgery, I occasionally need to use the bathroom at other times, likely triggered by my Behcet’s disease, likely triggered by teaching in that environment).

The approved procedure for peeing outside of recommended times, as it was explained to me in my training, is to open the connecting door to the next classroom and ask the teacher there to take official responsibility for monitoring your class while you are away.

We have no connecting door. The Office has stuck me and my thirteen Special Education students in a large storage closet instead of a classroom.

However, even better than a teacher in the next room, I have an almost full-time assistant. My assistant is well-experienced and highly respected by me and by the administration—this is her sixth year helping such students. I ask Rose to watch the class while I run to the restroom.

I race down the outside corridor on my urgent mission. Before I reach my goal, the Assistant Principal appears from around a corner. She positively pounces:

“WHAT are you doing out of your classroom?!”.
“I have to use the bathroom.”

(child of abuse, here, being faced by a screamer).

“WHO’S watching your students ?!” she blares.
R-R-Rose,” I nervously stutter.

Her eyebrows can’t possibly go any higher.

“What were you THINKING!?
Only a certified teacher can watch your students!”

Then, she glares at me and spits out:

“Go back to your classroom IMMEDIATELY!”
“But…but…I really have to use the bathroom,” I manage to speak up.

Woman Holding In Pee

Like She Couldn’t TELL

Only then does she very begrudgingly allow me to pee, after sternly warning me that I must do it fast and hurry back.
Is THIS what my teaching year is to be like?

Is THIS how The Administration will treat me?

Is this how The District treats all its teachers?

It is very sad to me, on a personal level, looking back at this now:

That the woman who was once a confident white-collar professional, running projects, and meetings with Senior V.P.s, designing systems, travelling all over, managing people (only adequately, that last)–

Immediately reverted to the whipped, beaten, cowed puppy she was each time she was put into a new situation and faced with bullying. My abusive marriage negated any gains I’d made after my abusive childhood–with my Aspie social skills always willing to pitch in and hogtie a hand.
And this reaction is still my first instinct today. That is both sad, and infuriating. Makes me want to go out a kick a cat.



(THIS is why my friend Joey says I’m Satan. I was tempted–really and truly tempted–to leave the post like that, and hit Update, just to see what happened.)

I am KIDDING, y’all!
I would only give a kitty One Hard Look–really.

Dratted faustian felines and their sly little furry-footed ways…

Devious Cat No New Kitten

‘Nuff Said.

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My First Parent: Special Ed-Conomics

I am very nervous. I am about to meet my very first parent of one of my special ed students.

I have worked almost 8 hours preparing for my first “IEP” conference—a time when the teacher assesses and reports on the Special Education child’s progress toward the goals which were set months earlier. The conference takes place with the principal, assistant principal, psychologist, nurse, teacher, and parent.

I carefully and slowly explain each point to the mom, waiting while my words are translated into Spanish. She remains silent during the entire report, even when asked for input. When I finish, I ask her again, “Do you have any questions for us at all?”

Well, yes, as a matter of fact, she does:

“Can I get extra money from the state because I have another one of my children in Special Ed?”

That’s all she wants to know. Not “How can I help my daughter?”, or “Isn’t there more YOU could do to help my daughter?”

I learn that this mom has eight older children, all of whom were labeled Special Ed and all of whom are serving time in prison. (No—I am not making this up.) I also learn that, yes indeed, when a parent is on welfare, the state gives extra money for each child labeled “Special Ed”.

I don’t want to think what I’m thinking. But I bet you are thinking it too.

Special Ed Versus Regular Ed Spending Pie Chart

How Many Kids FIT On That Special Bus?

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Browbeating Innocent Ponies


Brendan is once again trying to learn his times tables.

A Happy Boy Who Is Not a Result of Our School System

After intense daily tutoring, he can easily outscore his peers on a times table test, getting 35 out of 40.  Yet, the moment the level of tutoring is reduced even slightly, his score drops to 2 or 3 out of 40.   Brendan’s retention of facts is almost non-existent.

Teachers have been trying to teach Brendan to retain even a few of his times tables since the beginning of third grade, and he has not yet learned any for keeps.  Brendan is now in the fifth grade.

What is that child really learning, other than the hard and often-repeated lesson that he is stupid?

This is institutionalized cruelty.

The District tells me I am to teach the full grade-level curriculum to Brendan, adjusting the style of the lessons to suit his learning difficulties.

Tell me, why are we trying to teach and teach and teach again the chemical formula for glucose to students such as Brendan?  More cruelty.  Why aren’t we offering him the life skills and vocational training he needs so desperately?  What is Brendan’s use of teaching resources relative to other students with more apt memories?   Wouldn’t both Brendan and the educational system profit by us doing something for him, rather than to him?


Marilyn still doesn’t know the days of the week, in English or Spanish, her native language.

The Girl Marilyn Will Never Be, Thanks To Us

Teachers have been trying to teach them to her now for five years, using all sorts of strategies.  None have paid off.

Marilyn thinks she’s dumb—and she’s right.   However, she is also very sweet and very graceful, and extremely beautiful.  If ever there was a girl born to be a gymnast, a dancer, or model, it’s Marilyn.  It’s too bad for Marilyn that she has been locked into a cruel prison for five years—one that has repeatedly reinforced how dumb she is.

I try very hard all year to raise her self-confidence.  I fail.

Why on earth are we trying and trying to teach Marilyn the same old academic things she has failed at for years?   How can any administrator or teacher have the audacity to say that we’re doing this for Marilyn’s good?

OK Boss We Be Doin What You Say

“Yassuh, We’s Be Grindin’ Up Dem Chilluns Jes’ the Way You Done Tole’ Us, Suh!”

Okay,  a couple of you more smug teachers are thinking “She just didn’t know how to teach to those kids”.  Yeah.  Fine.  You-all just go on thinking that.  Although you are a little bit right in that, in my first year, I was the dumb one, obeying my massahs and trying to teach the mandated curriculum. By year two, I wised up and stopped beating my demoralized ponies. I taught whatever each could learn and succeed at.

NOTE: Don’t like the use of the terms dumb and stupid? Let’s go with functionally retarded. (Oh–we don’t say “retarded” any more? Tough.) Because, hon, if your disability is that you have the memory of a long-term alcoholic, you are, for all academic pursuits, more than mildly retarded.

Boy Walking Away Along Trees-Or Brendan Leaving

Brendan, Leaving

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