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That’s not a mouse.

If you don't see it you don't have middle school teacher x-ray vision. Sorry. Thanks for playing.
If you don’t see it you don’t have middle school teacher x-ray vision. Sorry. Thanks for playing.

Today was our first day back.

Wait. Let me try again.

Today was our first day back!

The increase in exclamation points tripled this past year. But mental exclamation points serve to keep us going. We are only as positive as our punctuation, people. All in all, a really good day. Woke up at 3:45AM instead of 3, didn’t stress about anything really, knew it would be a little chaotic, and managed to adult hard getting myself and my new student teacher coffee. I say ‘new’ which seems redundant because I’ve never had a student teacher before, so the new is for me.

Folks were surprised I’ve never had a student teacher before. I said ‘building human capacity’ wasn’t a top priority for some administrators in the past.

Was diplomatically complimented this morning: my ideas may not have been reaching the staff or have had a receptive audience but now there is someone in place who can share my ideas. So I’ve got that going for me. Wait, what just happened? It’s cool, it’s cool. Last year was the first time in a long time I was on a functional, responsive and collaborative PLC. But with our turnover in my building, it would be easy to assume no one listens to me because they might not like me. Nope, that’s not it. They just don’t know me. Literally. There and gone. And to my credit, those who do know me tend to like me. I’ve got a 99% success rate.* No one listens to anyone when the staff is on survival mode. This year, too, I’m on a great PLC grade level team. I can’t wait to work with veterans and rookies alike. But I may have blown it already when it comes to first impressions. *sigh* But first impressions are easy to make and difficult to untangle.

What first impressions do our students make?


The schedule on this first day involves students getting schedules, and shorted ‘nice to meet you’ classroom times. I put white butcher paper and markers on the table with directions to talk, scribble, doodle, etc. This young man created this piece of art, and when I asked him about it, apparently it’s a mouse. See the big ears? And the long body?

Yes, yes I see it. And so does your group of wannabe alpha males at the table.

We’ll take care of this on Day II. I have some impressions already, too.



The bigger picture...
The bigger picture…the dragon especially is poignant.

*Standard deviation of likeability scale not subject to peer review.


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Help! Help! I’m being repressed!

This is when my job completely, totally is fantastic. Talking about “The Necklace” today in second period, class structure came up with a small group: this scene popped into my mind, the peasant scene from Monty Python/Holy Grail. When I saw it in high school it changed my life. Changed. My. Life. Yes – randomness. Segue from one of the great literary examples of irony to the classic parody of the King Arthur legends? Sure–and I made it look easy.

[clop clop]

ARTHUR: Old woman! What knight lives in that castle over there?


ARTHUR: Man, sorry.

DENNIS: I’m thirty seven.


DENNIS: I’m thirty seven — I’m not old!

ARTHUR: Well, I can’t just call you `Man’.

DENNIS: Well, you could say `Dennis’.

ARTHUR: Well, I didn’t know you were called `Dennis.’

DENNIS: Well, you didn’t bother to find out, did you?

ARTHUR: I did say sorry about the `old woman,’ but from the behind you looked–

DENNIS: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior!

ARTHUR: Well, I AM king…

DENNIS: Oh king, eh, very nice. An’ how’d you get that, eh? By exploitin’ the workers by ‘angin’ on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic an’ social differences in our society! ….If there’s ever going to be any progress– Oh — how d’you do?

WOMAN: Dennis, there’s some lovely filth down here.

ARTHUR: How do you do, good lady. I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Who’s castle is that?

WOMAN: King of the who?

ARTHUR: The Britons.

WOMAN: Who are the Britons?

ARTHUR: Well, we all are. we’re all Britons and I am your king.

WOMAN: I didn’t know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.

DENNIS: You’re fooling yourself. We’re living in a dictatorship. ….. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes–

WOMAN: Oh there you go, bringing class into it again.

DENNIS: That’s what it’s all about if only people would– Who lives in that castle?

ARTHUR: Please, please good people. I am in haste.

WOMAN: No one lives there.

ARTHUR: Then who is your lord?

WOMAN: We don’t have a lord.


DENNIS: I told you. We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.


DENNIS: But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting.

ARTHUR: Yes, I see.

DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,–

ARTHUR: Be quiet!

DENNIS: –but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more–

ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!

WOMAN: Order, eh — who does he think he is?

ARTHUR: I am your king!

WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.

ARTHUR: You don’t vote for kings.

WOMAN: Well, ‘ow did you become king then?

ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, [angels sing]her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!

DENNIS: Listen — strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

ARTHUR: Be quiet!

DENNIS: Well you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an empereror just because some moistened bink had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d put me away!

ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!

DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.

ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! HELP! HELP! I’m being repressed!

ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!

DENNIS: Oh, what a give away. Did you here that, did you hear that, eh?…. That’s what I’m on about — did you see him repressing me, you saw it didn’t you?