Thursday, September 18, 2008

The hiatus, an explanation, and an invitation

As you may have noticed from my last post, dated many months ago, the end of the year burned me OUT. I've really never been so disgusted with humanity as I was on the last two days of school. I could not wait to get out of there, yet I was in tears at the end for not having a wonderful send-off for the kids like I wanted. It was a miserable week. There were more blogs to post, yet I just couldn't bring myself to find humor in anything.

Obviously there isn't much in the way of teaching to blog about over the summer, especially when not teaching summer school. So I just let it rest and spent my blogging time on my personal blog and perusing Google Reader, which can completely take over my life if I'm not careful.

I mentioned my pregnancy a while back. I'm still chugging along, nearly 7 months now. I have not returned to teaching because I am A) due in Dec and planning on staying home with baby for a while and B) out of the country for a while. Therefore, I don't really have anything to contribute to this blog anymore. If you'd like to follow me through new adventures...those in parenting and international travel...send me an email

damelafuerza -at- gmail

I'll be glad to send you the link, but don't want to associate my new blog with this one.

Hasta luego...
Miss Señora

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I hear you Jose

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked, …but it was nothing compared to the destruction of minds and souls that I saw today. Administrators fighting. Teachers hiding in rooms, allowing, if not inviting, the madness. Students shooting waterguns in the hallways and scribing their graffiti in the stairwells and the Lord of the Flies cussing out peers and superiors alike. A new floor created of cupcakes and workbooks and stinkbombs and looseleaf and cockroaches and pizza crust and Axe. Thinking back on my generation's hysterical, naked, starving madness is no longer a memory which causes me stress, but a welcome relief from this hell.

From Miss Señora, who remembers When I Was Your Age, and just as generations past, is convinced life was better then.

Props to Jose

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


It's 4:35 pm. Approximately 4 days and 17 hours away from the Spanish final. I'm staying after school late with the two students (out of 143) who wanted to study after school with me. The outside phone rings:

Miss Senora?

It is I.

(Angrily) Did my daughter Espy come to school today?

Well, I can't speak for the whole day, but I can tell you that she was not at lunch or in Spanish class. Oh, and the kids all said she wasn't here today. No mention of her leaving early.

Oh my God! Why didn't anyone call me?

We don't call for absent students until they've been absent for three days.

Well, you didn't hesitate to call last week when she skipped.

Well, your precious Espy chose to skip with her three best friends AFTER they were spotted by two staff members at Dunkin' Donuts. Since we were positive that she had skipped, we called.

And just WHAT is the school going to do about this?

Excuse me?

This is now twice in two weeks that she's skipped. The school better do something.

Listen biatch, I'll be happy to call CPS on your incompetent ass. You need to talk to the principal tomorrow. Good luck finding that brat Espy.

Three more weeks. Three more weeks. Three more weeks. Three more weeks.

Maybe I’ll learn more responsibility over the summer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where is the joy?

School secretary calls my room at 12:35:
"Where is Couscous?"
I don't know. I'm teaching another class right now. He's just in my homeroom.
"His mother's on the phone. She says she MUST speak to him right now. It's an emergency."
OK, well have her call the room and I'll see what I can do.

5 min later

Hello? Ms. Couscous's mom?
"Yes, do you know where Couscous is?"
No, not really. What's the problem?
"I just got a text from him asking me to pick him up. He shouldn't have his cell on during class. This is very unusual for him. When I told him no, I started receiving strange, mean messages. Now he won't answer calls or texts. Are you sure he's at school? What if somebody's got him? What if they stole his phone? Where is he?"
Oh my goodness. OK. Let me see what I can find and I'll call you back.

I walk down the hall, leaving a classroom full of 28 12-year olds to their own devices, in search of the precious Couscous, who could very well have been stuffed in a locker that I was walking by. I turn into his science class, and there he was.

Couscous. Outside. Now.

Do you have your cell phone?
Did you just text your mom?
Why is your phone out during school? Is something wrong?
"I'm tired. It's hot in there. I want to go home.



How I did not strangle this child to death in the hallway is a question I will ask my maker one day. Until then, Couscous's phone is in cellular purgatory (AKA The principal's office) and he will be reunited with it once his mother makes an appointment in the front office. Before turning it in I called his mom on his phone:
Couscous is fine. He was in fact the one sending those nasty messages you described. I told him I was very disappointed, that he only has 2 weeks before finals, and that he cannot use his phone during class. According to his science teacher he had a science project due today which he didn't turn in which was probably why...
"Oh, good. Glad he's OK. Gotta go..."

I've lost the joy in teaching. I've succumbed to a career of bitterness and spite. I stew and fester in my disgust for students, parents and administrators. Two years in and I'm already burnt out. I'm not a quitter. I pushed myself through grad school at night while teaching. This isn't something I want to give up, but good Lord am I tired of the pettiness.

There is a complicating factor in all of this: I'm pregnant. The exhaustion which accompanies my "delicate condition" only compounds my frustration. Summer cannot come fast enough.

I would like to rant for a minute on parenting. I rant without any prior experience but with great hope that I will not make the same stupid-ass mistakes I see on a daily basis. Last year a teacher was venting to me and said "These parents tell their kids that they're special. They're not special. They're the same as the other million kids in the system." It sounded harsh and bitter at the time, but I now replay those comments in my head in a whole new light. These kids aren't special to the world. They're special to their parents. My own parents never said "oh, you're so special", but they did tell me when they were proud of me, when they were disappointed in me, when they were surprised by me. Parents seem terrified of telling their children any of this. "You're special. It's OK if you got a C, as long as you were trying. You never disappoint me sweetheart, just try harder next time, OK?"


No, too many intelligent, capable kids are hearing this and it's destroying them. How will they ever know that they can and SHOULD achieve more if you don't encourage it? Why shouldn't you be disappointed in them when they pee in a bottle in homeroom and leave it in the closet? What if they don't turn in homework because they were 'too tired' and 'forgot' it for 3 weeks straight? I wouldn't be "OK" or "not disappointed" in my child. I'd be frustrated, disappointed and upset. I would not be proud of their actions. I think my child will need to hear that. Well, they WILL hear that, so hopefully it won't be too emotionally damaging. Opinions welcome

Monday, March 31, 2008

Soy tigresa

Ms. Happy comes in bright and early for Resource Room. This morning she was working on writing techniques and, wanting to tie in the 7th grade trip to the Bronx Zoo, she decided to have the kids label themselves as an animal.

"I'm a penguin. They're fat an lazy and awkward" said KT
"I'm a bear" said the overweight boy who was actually there for detention, not RR, but whatever.

After each child spoke up, she asked them to label their teachers as an animal, giving a reason for each decision.

"I think Ms. Señora is a Tiger."
"OK. Please explain." responded Ms. Happy
"Well, she's mean most of the time, but also a tiger"

That just made my day.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

World's Best Mac & Cheese

Yes, it's been nearly 2 months and I haven't spoken. The underlings have been giving me heart palpitations and I try to think about them when I come home. I hope to return to blogging about that soon, but until then, I am going to post about things that make me happy. Cheese always makes me very, very happy. Would you like to join me in such happiness? Great! You too can eat the World's Best Mac & Cheese .

1lb dried elbow macaroni
4c whole milk
6 tbsp unsalted butter
6 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 lb swiss cheese, grated (approx 2c)
3/4 lb extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (approx 3c)

Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 13x9-in baking dish.
Cook the macaroni in boiling water, about 7 min until al dente. Don't go too long as you'll be baking it.
As you cook the noodles, heat the milk in a small saucepan until almost boiling, then set aside. In a large pot, heat the butter until melted, then whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until it thickens. Immediately whisk in the hot milk and cook for 2-3 minutes, until mixture is thick and smooth.
Remove the sauce from heat and add salt, pepper, Tabasco, and mustard powder. Add the cheeses, reserving 1/2 cup of each for the topping. Whisk the cheese sauce well and adjust the seasonings to taste. Add the cooked macaroni and toss to combine. Transfer the cheesy macaroni to the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle evenly with the reserved cheeses. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly browned on top.

Since discovering this recipe a mere 2 weeks ago, Mr. Señor has made this 4 times.
Bon Appetite!

Friday, February 8, 2008


After a long week filled with Quality Review, observations, 312 grades due, and the physical removal of two parents from the premises of the school I was DONE by this Friday afternoon. Today about 1/3 of my students took a surprise trip (at least it was a surprise to me as I was never notified) to the CNN center. With such an empty class, I decided to sit down and just talk politics with the kids. They may not be able to vote in this election or the next, but certainly they have opinions.

Some want "Hillary" ("ahem, let's call her Ms. Clinton please guys") because:
-"it's about time we had a woman in office!"
-"she wants universal health care and I think everyone should have that too"
-"she already has experience in the white house"

Others want McCain because:
-"Republicans let us keep our money"
-"Both of my parents like him"

The rest were for Obama because:
-"if Hillary ("stop! It's Ms. Clinton, let's show her respect as an adult!") , fine, Ms. Clinton, is elected she's going to take away our video games."
-"It's about time we had a black guy for president"
-"he's the only one who has a fighting chance to end slavery"

*screechy record-stopping-noise* ....."What?!"

"Well, since he's black, he could probably end slavery"

(20 seconds of dumbfounded staring in disbelief)

"Slavery was abolished in 1863..."

"Oh, ...right. I guess I'm just tired."

I'm so proud to be teaching the future of America.

To encourage myself, I've been watching this video over and over. Here's a little inspiration for us all....