Thursday, January 21, 2016

As the Semester Turns

On Monday, we had a teacher work day or inservice as they are called. Without students, it was almost like a free day. Almost. The morning was spent in the elementary cafeteria listening to a motivational teacher. He was good. I guess all motivational speakers are good or they would not motivate :)

The afternoon was spent on part II of what to do if there is a shooter on campus. We had part one back in November. When I told Toby that we were going to learn what to do if there is a shooter, he said, "Run like hell." And he is pretty much right, except the speaker managed to take all afternoon to say that. Of course, if we cannot run, we should lock down in our classrooms and wait on police to arrive. If the shooter gains access to our classroom, we are to fight. Geeze Louise! I think the fight would be more even if I had a gun too.

It turns out that the elementary teachers have been practicing their shooter scenarios.The PTO even bought cheap intercoms for the rooms so they can communicate if there is a shooter. Not us at high school. I'm thinking we are on our own. My art room is located in another building known as the Annex. I share this building with three coaches and some counselors. The coaches are gone after about 3rd period doing their coaching thang. I'm pretty much in the building by myself at that point. I try to keep the doors to my room locked. I let the kids in for class and then anyone who is late has to knock. In fact, when someone knocks on the door, students usually holler, "Don't open it!  See if he has a gun!" We all have a good laugh. Speaking of laughing, it seems funny that in the old days there was an intercom system in schools where the principal could talk to the whole school or individual classrooms. Those have been long gone with the arrival of computers and email. Well, it seems they are needed back.

So on Monday afternoon after all the inservice was over, I had to go back to my room to pick up some stuff. The building was dark and empty. I let myself in the main doors and made my way down the dark hall to my room. As I unlocked and opened the door, I saw someone at my desk. I nearly jumped out of my skin. It was one of the janitor ladies who works in the other building. She said, "Oh! I can't seem to get on any of the other computers, except yours." Then her teen-age daughter stepped out of my supply closet. I jumped again. Her second daughter had been at the other computer in my room, but vacated it when I walked in. The daughters proceeded to go through my closet looking for art supplies to do some school project. They didn't see to think anything of it. I was freaked out! I was so upset by them being in my room going through my supplies, I was speechless. I left them there. I was shaking. Why would they think they could use my room and my supplies - a lot of which I bought myself - was beyond me.

Throughout the year, I've had teachers or students come in and ask to use supplies. Sometimes I let them use things; sometimes not. It depends on what they want. Sometimes I tell them that my supplies are expensive and for art students. Sometimes I explain that I purchased supplies with my personal money and they have to do the same thing. Sometimes, if all they need is markers or something we have an abundance of, I let them use things. Last week, I let a kid make a poster that said, "Yo, Tracy! Will U-Haul your butt to prom with me?" He rented a U-haul truck for the occasion. But for some reason, finding people in your room and going through things really made me crazy.

Tuesday morning I went and had a talk with the principal. He calmly said, "That's not cool. I will talk to her." He was not nearly as upset as I was with the situation. He added, "If she had asked, you probably would have let her have supplies she needed." Yeah, well, maybe. Maybe so. Maybe I needed to calm down.

Since then, I have calmed down. And I bought a lock for my supply closet.

In other news, since the second semester started, I have about ten new students and I lost about the same number. It seems that it took me the whole semester to win kids over and learn to get along, and then they go and change things up on me. And the new kids are so lost - as if in art we don't build on the subject matter and learn things. Anyway, one of the new students is big dumb boy who has no intention of doing art, but just in the class for social time. I've been wondering how I was going to get his attention and how I was going to get the focus back on art and off his big mouth. Well, today the problem was solved. He brought weed (in the words of the students) to school and got suspended for the rest of the year. I think that is called expelled, but I didn't say anything. I just did the happy dance.


Jo Castillo said...

Wasp spray will shoot out about 15 feet or so. You might have one of those some place to grab in your room or your big bag where you carry supplies. No good against a gun, but you never know.

It amazes me that people just assume what's yours is mine. Fine to use your computer and stuff, right? Jeepers. Good luck going forward.

(((Hugs))) on National Hug Day.

Bag Blog said...

Wasp spray was discussed at the inservice. More time was spent showing us how to grab the gun and wrestle it away from the shooter. Truthfully the officer who did the inservice was very good. He talked about being aware of your surroundings, thinking about what you would do if, and going with your intuition about situations. He also fired off blanks in the school from different areas to show us what a gun sounds like. I guess in many previous cases, people thought the gunfire was a car backfiring or something else.

CenTexTim said...

Wasp spray might work if the shooter isn't looking at you. It's better than nothing. As for grabbing the gun, first you have to get close enough without getting shot. Did he teach you how do do that? (stealth ninja skills, perhaps)

I don't mean to criticize the training officer. My issue is with the idiots in charge who think throwing staplers will enable you to overcome an armed bad guy. I like that old saying about "Fight fire with fire."

As for the janitor and her offspring, a lock on the closet is a good move. I'd also password-enable the PCs.

Anonymous said...

I'd have your computer changed out. No telling what porn sites she was going to, or ordering stuff from Amazon with stolen credit cards...

Bag Blog said...

CTT and Anon,
I'm sure the janitor lady was using her daughter's password to login on the computer. I was more upset about my supplies and her being in my room at my desk. She is not the janitor for my building.

Anonymous said...

Yea, I don't get that she is in the wrong building, and her kids are stealing your supplies like it was Obama giving out free sh--, er stuff.

Dumb Boys said...

When I was in the 8th grade we used to go down the street for lunch at a hot dog place. Which was better than the cafeteria food by far.

Back in the 60's many of us wore Army field jackets that our brothers gave us before they went overseas. It was nice, because it already had our last name sewed on.

To make sure no one stole our cigarettes, we sewed a secret pocket in the back. Sometimes the teachers would pat us down, and we'd have to show them we didn't have any contraband.

One of the guys (a big dumb boy) started putting a bag of dope and a bunch of pre-rolled joints in his secret pocket. I knew he was crazy, and that I wouldn't do that, because he smelled like "weed". Any teacher is going to recognize that.

Which they did. They made a rule that field jackets were no longer in the dress code. I was really mad, because I had to take some of my strawberry picking money to go buy a jacket.

The benefit of that though, was a girl named Sally asked me if I wanted to go to her house after school and listen to her new Moody Blues album.

So, I found that dressing-up a bit was helping me out socially.

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