#WeekendCoffeeShare: The Dog, Weekend Stuff, and Teaching

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that Little Man’s dog made it through his surgery just fine. The vet said it would take around 6 weeks for him to recover and get back to normal. We’re all relieved, especially Little Man. He spent some of his money to buy a welcome home present for him today, and hopefully he’ll get to give it to him tomorrow.

Over our coffee (well, a Coke for me), I’d also tell you that we’ve had a nice, relaxing weekend. It is blistering hot out here again, so we’ve spent a lot of time indoors. Last night we rented the 1977 version of Pete’s Dragon on Amazon. No one else had seen it before except me, and Sam and LM really liked it. (Although LM did complain every time they broke into song. He hates singing in movies. But he loved the story.)

Baby Girl has preschool open house next week. She’ll be going to their Mommy’s Morning Out program twice per week, maybe three times if she really likes it. It’ll be nice for her to get a break from the same old, same old and be around other kids more. The preschool director called us last week to ask about putting her in a regular preschool class, but we decided to hold off for now. She’s already mastered most of the stuff they’d be working on, and there’s not much point in paying extra when she’d only be going for social interaction. We’ll save that for when she turns three.

And speaking of school, I’ve been thinking about going back to teaching after BG starts kindergarten. I know that’s a ways down the road — three years — but the first two years went by so quickly, and I know that will be here sooner than we want, so I’ve felt a lot of pressure to decide what it is I want to do job-wise when that happens (y’all know how my brain tends to get stuck on something). I’ve always said that I’d never, ever, ever go back to teaching, but dammit, that’s what has ended up at the top of my list. I’ve been researching what I’d have to do to get my certification back, and it’ll require taking a few classes and testing (up to six classes if I change content area), but I’m getting my game plan together. (Hopefully the powers that be won’t change that stuff by then.) I’m going to ask about volunteering to tutor in the homework center at LM’s school, and I may do some subbing next year to make sure that’s the way I want to go.

I think we’ve hit the bottom of our mugs/cans by this point, so I’m going to get back to watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid with LM (those books are hilarious, by the way). I hope y’all have a good week!

What’s going on with you guys?

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster.


A Distraction

Little Man had a substitute teacher in his class today.

“How’d your day go?” Sam asked.

“Good. Except we got our recess taken. And I got moved to a desk in the back for the entire day. Isn’t that awful?!”

“Why?” I asked.

“All I did was distract the entire class and she moved me. Can you believe that?”

“Well, were you distracting the entire class?”

“Yeah. But Mrs. R never punishes me when I distract people. And making me switch seats? That’s too much.”

“Do you know what ‘distracting’ means?” I asked, since he was making it sound like not a big deal.

“Hey, what’s that behind you?” LM asked. I looked behind me. When I turned around, he had bolted from his seat.

“Get back here!”

He sat back down. “I know what ‘distraction’ means.”

“Okay…how were you distracting others?”

LM told us about how he distracted the class by making silly noises over and over and over. This is a new thing with him, one that’s been driving Sam and me crazy. The siren noise is particularly grating to the nerves. He stops if you tell him to, but it usually isn’t long before it starts up again and gets hit with a “You’re killing me, Smalls.”

“But I can’t help making those noises. You know, everybody’s different. That’s one way that I’m different.”

Sam narrowed his eyes at LM. “Help it.”

“Different or not, you still can’t go distracting the entire class,” I told him.

After we talked a bit more and he left, Sam cracked up. “And so the next generation of giving the sub shit begins,” he said proudly.

I rolled my eyes. I’ve heard his sub stories before, which included being blamed for throwing a textbook at a teacher and for hiding another student. He didn’t do either (and the student had moved the year before), but the subs were within their rights to blame him.

Hopefully LM gets to keep his desk tomorrow.

What’s something you did to get in trouble in school? 

The C-Word


“So, have you decided on a career yet?” my husband asked a few days ago.

Oh god, not the c-word. I don’t want a c-word. I don’t even want to think about a c-word. Not right now.

“What’s that?” I asked, as though I hadn’t properly heard.

“A career. Do you know what you want to start studying for?”

I shuddered slightly. That word again. “Not really.”

“Oh, I thought you’d know by now.”

Hold up. I have a baby who isn’t quite a year old. Where’s this career stuff coming from? I should be solid for another three or four years. Did he decide that Baby Girl was just going to go to daycare or that he didn’t need me at home to take care of her or something?

“Fine. I’ll get it figured out by Monday,” I muttered, scowling.

My husband appeared taken aback. “Well…you don’t have to figure it out by Monday, but I thought you’d know something by now. You were talking about going back to school a few weeks ago.”

Oh, that. So, between talking about buying a new car, moving somewhere between a 2.5 hour drive and a several hour plane trip away, and my plans to redo the house, (likely) hypomanic-induced plans from last month, the “go back to school” thing stuck. Not the moving. Or the car.

“Yeah, I dunno,” I said. “I was thinking about doing a lot of things then.”

“Well, if you did go back, what would you do? Teaching? Psychology? Something else?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Maybe you’d like to take a few classes here and there and figure out what you do want to do?” my husband suggested.


Had I gotten to do things my way when I went to college after high school, I would have declared pre-med, followed by psychology or sociology when “OMG so many years of school!” sunk in, followed by special ed when “OMG one extra year to get a Master’s degree!” sunk in.

But, I was a rebel and majored in English. How is that rebellious? you may be wondering. Well, a certain paternal figure who dissuaded me from accepting scholarships to any out-of-state colleges, persuaded me to major in elementary education.

“Women don’t make good doctors, you’ll never get anywhere with a psychology degree, only the teachers who aren’t smart enough to do anything else go into special education.”

The rebel in me refused to be in the position of having to be with 25 kids who have no sense of personal space day in and day out, so I fought and majored in English. Considering how well I did in high school and the various writing workshops I had taken, it made slightly more sense than majoring in math. 

Everyone keeps asking me when I’m going back to teaching. Eight years later and they still ask.   

FUCKING NEVER I tell them. Okay, maybe I don’t use “fucking,” but I do say, “never.” For someone whose hearing sucks (despite fancy pants hearing aids that cost several grand) and who nearly has an anxiety attack when being around so many kids now for 10 minutes, it just ain’t happening. Not to mention, my heart wasn’t into it the first time. And, not to mention, I couldn’t just walk back into a classroom. I’d have to retake tests for certification and stuff. Teaching isn’t like being in a gang, “once you’re in, you’re in for life.”

But, realistically, what is it that I want to do when the (dreaded) time comes?


After racking my brain, I finally came up with a lab tech. Like, someone who tests blood and stuff, but not someone who takes it. I looked around online and found a certificate program that I think might be what I’m looking for, so I might do something like that.

“But you could get your Master’s!” my husband tells me. “You’re too smart for that. You’d be selling yourself short.”

Fuck smart. If I don’t get my writing on in a big enough way to not have to go back out in the real world in a few years, then I want to be comfortable with whatever I’m doing. Or as comfortable as someone who doesn’t like interacting with or being around people that much can be. I don’t know of a Master’s degree (that will cost a lot of money) that will lead to such a c-word off the top of my head. 

I know my husband thinks he’s being motivating/supportive when he tells me things like I’m selling my self short or I could really do something important if I weren’t such an underachiever (what, I don’t know), but it’s aggravating. 

So. I’ll make a effort to do some more research on the lab tech thing in the coming months as well as try to think of some other jobs that I would be good at and be comfortable with. Or I will bribe the urologist to botch the vasectomy so I can have another kid in a few years and continue the c-word procrastination. 

Little Man Goes On A Rant

I was working with Little Man on his homework this evening (still am, technically, since I’m waiting for him to finish with his writing so I can check it) when he complained about his teacher sending a note home asking us to work with him on his handwriting.

His handwriting is not on par with the other kids in his class. He’s worked on it a lot, but he can only get that neatness when he writes very slowly, which takes him forever of course, and even then, it’s not nearly as neat as the other kids’ handwriting.

It’s not a biggie in my opinion, and we’ll keep working with him, to an extent. Anyway, LM was not happy about this, which prompted him to go on a string of complaints about his teacher. I just mostly listened.

She puts her hands on her hips and tells us she’s just waiting for us to be quiet.

She does not follow the “you move, you lose” rule of lines.

She never wants us to talk in class. Can you believe that?

She tells us if we don’t stop talking that we’re going to lose our recess.

She didn’t say a thing when Billy was touching things on my desk. Or when Maya did it. Or when Justin touched my lunch box.

I licked my pants. They taste like a sucker.

After I let him vent, I tried to explain the importance of talking during the appropriate times in class. “When Mommy was a teacher, she couldn’t do her job if half the class was talking, and your teacher can’t either–”

“Mom, let me stop you right there,” he interrupted. “It’s not possible for half of my class to be talking. There are 15 kids. If we had 14 kids, sure, but we have 15.”

I so cracked up at that. He had no idea why I thought it was funny. I tried explaining, but still got the “you’re crazy” look.

Y’all Eat Squirrels? (Play The Lie Game!)

I realized tonight that the class of eighth graders I taught will be graduating from college in the coming weeks. Damn, I’m old. That prompted a little more thinking, which took me back to my first day of teaching.

My first class consisted of 14 sixth graders at a brand new school. I was nervous as hell on that first day. I hoped that my fear didn’t show too much, because we were warned in a couple of college classes how important that first impression was. This is where you’ll hook them in and let them know who’s boss, or lose them. 

Well, it wasn’t quite that serious. Most of the kids appeared to be just as nervous as I was. They were leaving the safe confines of their elementary schools and mixing in with kids they didn’t know from other schools to form one of my three sixth grade English/Language Arts classes at a new charter school.

They were scared enough, and it was written all over their faces just as it was mine, I’m sure. So why bother with scare tactics?

Once everyone was seated and the clock struck 7:30, I introduced myself. Hi, I’m Mrs. E, and I’ll be your ELA teacher for the year…if you don’t run me off first. 

That got a chuckle out of them. The ice melted slightly.

Let’s get to know each other. We’ll play the Lie Game. I’m going to tell you three things about myself. Two of those things will be true, and the third is a lie. You have to guess which one is the lie, and then you’ll each take turns doing the same. 

We sat down in a circle on the carpet up front, where we would later spend a lot of time reading through the stories for that day, having our discussions, and going through a chapter of Wayside School is Falling Down when time would allow. (FYI: older kids love being read to, just the same as little kids.)

I gave them my three statements:

  • I played softball in college.
  • I once caught a homerun baseball at a Braves game and about broke my hand in the process.
  • I went to every Gamecocks football game last year.

The first one was the lie, but most of them thought the second one was. When I fessed up, I instantly became the coolest teacher in the world because I caught a game ball, which I had to promise to bring in to show off (and I did).

The kids took their turns, and some of them came up with very clever lies. One boy gave a statement that I thought for sure was a lie, but I was wrong.

“I have at least 20 dead squirrels in my freezer.”

I laughed at that. When he revealed that it was true, I chuckled again, thinking he was kidding around with me.

“No, Mrs. E, I really do have that many squirrels in my freezer. I shot them myself. You don’t eat squirrel?”

Seriously? Now, I grew up in a very rural area, but the only thing my dad ever shot was a deer. I heard stories of how he had eaten rabbit meat when he was younger, but he never mentioned squirrel.

“Um…no,” I said, still uncertain. I looked around at the faces of the other kids. They definitely didn’t take this squirrel eating thing as a joke. I’m pretty sure I was looking at them like they were little aliens and they were definitely looking at me like I was one.

“Y’all really eat squirrels?” I asked. Several of them nodded and began talking about what they had shot and what they had in their freezer.

The boy who had delivered the not-a-lie statement spoke up. “You really ain’t never ate a squirrel, Mrs. E? Where are you from, again?”

From the sticks, I thought, but I kept that to myself.

“No, but I’ve always been a picky eater,” I told him. This was not a lie. Amazingly, I am very picky. If it has the wrong look, smell, or texture, I’ll gag and act like I’m dying. Too bad that sweets don’t fit any of those requirements.

“Squirrel meat is great! You’ve gotta try it. I’ll bring you one from my freezer tomorrow. You can keep it in your fridge to take home with you.”

Damn, what a sweet kid. I politely declined, unsure how I would cook a squirrel, and very unsure about the possibility of actually eating it.

After that, the other kids went through their statements, we shared some more laughs, and then while we were on the rug, I went over what was expected of them throughout the year, how often homework would be assigned, discipline, etc.

This class was great, as were my other two sixth grade classes. If I ever go back to teaching English, I know that sixth grade would be my grade of choice. It’s such a nice bridge between elementary school and the teen years, so you get the best of both worlds.

I told my husband about the squirrel later that evening.

“Did you tell him you’d take one?” he asked when I got to that part of my story.

“What? No.”

“Why not? I love squirrel meat.”

Oh, by the way, when I talked to this boy’s mom during a parent-teacher conference, she mentioned how her son came home laughing because his English teacher had never heard of anyone eating squirrel meat before. She was just as amused as he was and also offered to bring me some if I changed my mind about trying it. I didn’t.


Want to play the Lie Game? 

I’ll start: 

  • The northernmost state that I’ve traveled to is North Carolina. 
  • I turned down an opportunity to be in a movie. 
  • I make amazing special brownies. 

Guess the lie in the comments section and add your own three statement (two true, one false).