Friday, February 19, 2010

Fiji....give me a high five!

One of the things we were looking forward to at the resort was this

A lovely sight, indeed. And oh, so inviting on a tropical island with the sun beating down on us while cooling off in the wonderful pool. We spent a lot of time at the pool. A lot of time, people. It was a daily ritual. Our bar tab was, well, larger than the grocery store bill. But that's what vacation is for, right?

We had fruity drink after fruity drink from that swim up bar. These were our first ones. Look how excited we are!

We had fruity drinks with alcohol

And fruity drinks without alcohol

And fruity drinks that we made ourselves

The fruity drinks made us very happy.

And some of the fruity drinks made us want to be sychronized swimmers. Although I think you need more than one person to actually be sychronized. but that didn't stop me.

I had a fruity drink one day called the "Angry Jealous Fijian". I don't even remember what was in that drink. I had one. It was delightful so I had another one. Sun, swimming, lack of food for 3 hours and 2 "Angry Jealous Fijians".

Boy was that Fijian angry and jealous. I just had no idea HOW angry and jealous until I got out of that pool, walked to our very chilled air conditioned room and sat down to finally put food in my empty stomach.

It was so thoughtful and considerate of my husband and best friend to bring the rest of my drink to me. Then take a picture. Then laugh.
But that's what vacation is for, right?


I'm thinking that fruity drink without the alcohol was a MUCH smarter choice.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When good teachers go bad and try to go good again

One of my coworkers forwarded me this email he and his wife received from their son's teacher. It was sent to 7 or 8 parents, indicating this problem was a classroom epidemic of mass proportions and not just a single individual. I found it intriguing to say the very least. I have to wonder what really happened that day to make this woman go completely insane. Or if she has a liquor cabinet. Or if it was just one too many tests without a name that put her over the edge.


*Please note the names have been changed to protect the innocent and possibly save someone from potential further embarassment.

Hello Parents;

Well, here I sit going through the giant unit 8 math tests at 5:30 in the evening and I’m sorry to say that your student forgot, yet again, to put their name on their test.

Here were my instructions…

Point your pencil in the air, put your pencil where it says name, write your name… do you have your name on your paper, put your name there now your name…, check again…, this is an important test!!! Ask them what I said and check. I will ask the class on Monday.

I can’t make it any easier than this and I am now taking out another chunk of my time that I don’t have to call and email parents about this problem.

This is a constant problem and I am now out of tricks to solve it. Look at your neighbor’s paper… did they put their name on their paper, put your finger on where you wrote your name, if it isn’t there, put it there now…, hold your paper up in the air, look at where you wrote your name… if it isn’t there, write it now?????????? $%&*#%$&*(%$%^&@#$#^&$%^&Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Find my safe warm island in my mind… ohmmm, ohmmm.)

These student are going into 5th grade soon and still can’t do a 1st grade function. Can I get a little help here? I am a bit upset right now and I apologize. This is 100 points worth of “0” in my grade book!!!!!! (After all that hard work they did!)

Should I slow the whole class down and let them take the test again?(and my recess & lunch time?) Should I just let it be a ‘0’ in my book? We are behind the other 4th grades and we need to move forward, but I need to know that my students ‘get’ this stuff.

I guess what I’m asking is, what would you like me to do about this problem?


[Teacher Gone Bad]

The highlighted text was actually part of the original format of the email. I didn't alter that. I'm baffled as to why she felt it necessary to highlight THOSE particular parts of the email. Was she hoping in doing so she really WOULD find her happy place? Or that the parents receiving this email might actually take it seriously (despite the intoxicated tone) once she asked "for a little help"? I think it goes without saying that the explicit symbols inserted for cursing is the perfect way to get your point across to the parents of 9 and 10 yr. olds. Don't you?

So my co-worker's wife responded with what I think was a completely resonable and calm tone. Even though she wanted to rant back, she kept it together while getting her own point across about what the teacher was expecting her to take away from all that blabbering. Did she actually WANT suggestions or help or was she merely having a meltdown via email?

I'm pretty sure I would have responded like this:


She included the words "apoligze if [coworker's spawn] left his name off...what is it you are wanting us to do" as well as "very unprofessional...not constructive....after you calmed down" in her response. Which is probably how I would have responded. You know, after I stopped laughing.

Then came the follow up email from the teacher. I think she may have fallen on her butt she was back peddling so fast. No doubt this reponse from the teacher was initiated from the words "very unprofessional".

Dear [Cheri's Coworker and his wife],

I am so sorry if I offended you in any way. I will try to be more professional in the future with Emails. I am a bit challenged when it comes to this technology and tried to save time instead of making several phone calls. It was a bad teacher move on my part and I sincerely apologize. I will go back to the phone method of which is more personal and promotes better communication.

[Coworker spawn] is such a good student and a good citizen in our class. He has gotten better about putting his name on his papers and staying organized. He is one of those kids I get attached to and love his ways of thinking. I wanted to make you aware of this mistake so that you knew and were in the loop.

I tend to care too much & get too attached to these kids and when something big like this happens, it breaks my heart.

You’re right… I shouldn’t take it personally and it is my job not to get emotional about these things, but it is hard. I usually can’t wait to grade tests like these so I can do the ‘teacher dance’ when I see personal & over all improvement. Most of the time I’m at home grading these and can only high five the cat of which she will have nothing to do with. It is hard to curve my feelings of excitement over big improvements.

I believe on Monday I will talk to the students about the problem and empower them to come up with a solution this time. Maybe if they decide on an idea or ideas, it won’t happen again. I just can’t drop this grade because, well they worked too hard on it. I see no point in them taking it again because we need to move on.

I also think it would be a good time to review their classroom rules and have them decide if we need to change a few of them. (I honestly think the kids are too hard on themselves.)

Again, I am sorry for my error. I guess I need to make sure my ‘Mom shoes’ aren’t around when I’m grading papers. These kids already have great parents and you truly are a good example for [Coworker's spawn].

I hope school is going well for you

Thank you for you response.


[Teacher Gone Bad]
Cell – 8675-3-0h-Ni-ee-ine

I used to work for a wonderful program called BTSA (Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment) through a county office of education. It pairs 1st and 2nd year teachers with a mentor. You know, to give the new teachers confidence while they find their way in a career while 25+ youngsters hang on their every word.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say this teacher might not be a candidate for a mentor. What do you think?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I have this hobby...

that I'm sure many of you already know about. And guess what? I've been scrapping!! My scrap layout blog has been updated for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fiji....Part IV

Besides being in Fiji on the actual day of our 25th anniversary, I would have to say this particular event ranked Numero Uno on my list of favorite things we did. Troy and Linda picked this little adventure out and it was MORE than worth the price we paid. By far. Even having to wake up by the alarm clock. On vacation. Why do alarm clocks even exist on vacation, people??

Apparently so you don't miss the bus for the Sigatoka River Safari.

Our adventure started at 7:00 a.m. We didn't actually begin the Excursion until around 9:00, but our adventure started as soon as we loaded in the transport vehicle. Have you ever followed behind a vehicle on a highway going about 60 mph with only 3 feet separating you? Yeah. It's adventurous. It's also scary. I've ridden in NY Taxi cabs. It's similar. But different. Mainly because you are on the opposite side of the road and the driver is sitting on the right side of the vehicle.

None of that is important.

But this is. It's a picture of the four of us as we are getting ready to load up in the jet boat. We had no idea how different this picture would be after our day was over.

Please note how tan Tiffiny's legs are at this point. My legs don't tan very well, especially around the shin area. I hate her.

There were about 25 people total going on this Safari. We must have been doing something right because they picked the 4 of us to go in a smaller jet boat by ourselves. It was like our own little personal Safari. It was awesome! The wind in our hair, the sun on our faces, a funny dude named Mike for our guide....fabulous!

The scenery was absolutely beautiful and the villagers that we saw along the way all waved and smiled as we went by. The Fijians are VERY friendly that they don't eat each other.

It took about 25 minutes to reach our destination....the village of Nalebaleba. I have no idea how to pronounce that. Don't even ask.

We were greeted by smiling faces....holding knives. But we weren't worried. They don't eat each other anymore, remember? We faced a VERY steep hike up a VERY long path on a VERY humid day. I was worried about Troy to say the least. Because, you know, *I* am in stellar physical condition.

Once we reached the top and entered the village, we were greeted by our village hosts.

They led us through their village while explaining the culture, the history and the world they live in. I was touched as we walked around looking at their simplistic living conditions. It made me appreciate all that I have back home that I normally just take for granted and don't give a second thought electricity. And indoor plumbing.

And even with all of that, the children were happy. Smiling, curious, loveable, laughing children. There is just no culture border when it comes to children, wouldn't you agree? They picked their noses just like mine did when they were little. They kicked at rocks just like mine. I loved that these children were interested in their guests and didn't have their noses buried in a computer game or busy texting their friends. It was simple. And wonderful. And overwhelming.

Once the tour of the village was over, we participated in a REAL Kava Ceremony. Not the dirty, sneaky, down-the-back-alley Kava Ceremony that Troy got us involved with. The villagers sang throughout the cermony, adorning us with beautiful leis and not-so-beautiful streaks of baby powder on our cheeks.

Then we ate some wonderfully yummy food. I'm pretty sure none of it was prepared in a microwave.

And then....we danced. And we danced. And then danced some more. Those Fijians like to dance, people!!

The dancing was tiring. And all he did was watch us.

Then it was time to say our goodbyes to the villagers and hike back down that long trail. But by this time it was raining a little. So it made that steep hike down a little tricky with my flip-flops on. So I removed them and hiked down barefoot. This is monumental for me because my feet do NOT like to be naked. But I was embracing the village culture and since they go barefoot a lot? Well "do as the villagers do". I won't be doing that again anytime soon. Just sayin'.

We headed back on the jet boat. Mike let us know that once we got a bit closer to the end of the journey he would be doing some 360's for our enjoyment. Or just one if we didn't enjoy it that much. Well, we did about six. Because we enjoyed it THAT much.

And THIS is how we looked at the end of our day.

We thought we were pretty wet. But then a storm came....

(to be continued)

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