One of My Favorite SAT Words

toothpaste for dinner
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Greed, Lust, and other Pleasant Vices

I have a perfectly good laptop computer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it (with the ongoing exception that Dell’s advertising quite fibbed about the color of brown it would end up being).

And still… I want one.

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It’s the new Dell Inspiron Mini 9. It weighs 2.28 pounds, has an 8.9″ screen, and – despite pictures like the above showing it in red – comes in black and white. It isn’t the most robust machine in the world, as it is designed for word processing, email, blogging – you know, the stuff I use computers for. Although it looks like those hot little iMacs you see around in the snootier coffee shops, the Mini costs only about $400. It wouldn’t do as a primary computer, at least not for people like Ryan and I who do pretty complicated stuff on Photoshop, etc., but what an amazing little pocketputer for taking to school and on the road!

I salivate.

Guess I’ll add it to the end of my shopping list, right after water heater, freezer, bathroom repairs, car with climate control for Ryan, house payments, and college loan bills. 😉

Horrible

Yesterday I ran into a student teacher in my department at the middle school. She was running around the school, being sent from one classroom to another to “sub” – that is to say, to cover for teachers, one period at a time. There had been a run of bad luck; teachers had to go pick up sick kids, etc.. I guess it began early in the day when our young band teacher’s husband showed up at the school and took her home. Word had it that her dog had been poisoned.

This morning I saw her and, trying to be the good neighbor, asked after her sick dog. It didn’t occur to me that “poisoned” meant killed. (Is “murdered” an inappropriate word for a pet? To me, this is clearly murder, at least on an emotional level.) She told me that her dog was dead, and that someone had thrown poison over the fence into her backyard.

A few years ago, there was a spree of senseless killings in our community. Someone took it upon his or herself to go around a very family-friendly part of town and throw poison over the fence into yards where dogs lived. I don’t remember how many dogs were killed in this manner. I am fairly certain that the culprit was not apprehended. The band teacher lives in the same part of town. It could be the same person; it seems like far too much time has passed for it to be a copycat.

What kind of sick person could do something like this?

I feel just terrible. I was just trying to be nice. And I’m sure she wouldn’t take it any other way. But I certainly wouldn’t have said anything in such a way if I’d known.

And I feel sick and scared. I don’t live in that part of town, but it isn’t that far. Paisley doesn’t stay outside for any length of time, but how long would it take for a dog to take and eat a proffered treat from a stranger outside the back gate?

The band teacher is probably about my age. I imagine she and her husband are at about the same point in life as Ryan and I, at which point their dog was basically their child. Losing a dog or cat is not the same thing as losing a child; I would never claim it is. And yet….

I feel enormous amounts of disgust, fear, and anger about this. I have a hard time reading or watching fictional stories that involve cruelty to animals; the fact that this is real, and here, is so much worse. I like to think that I am a pretty spiritually secure person with a strong desire and ability to forgive, but this? I don’t even know where or how to forgive this. This seems quite unforgivable.

Being a Teacher

…is time-consuming work.

I am so behind on everything.  Laundry, housework, yardwork, news, correspondence, blogs, webcomics.  Not to mention schoolwork. I really don’t know what they were thinking, making me a teacher – after all, I majored in Procrastination, which is a skill best forgotten when teaching! Seriously, if something needs doing, you do it NOW before something else gets a chance to get all needy and in your face.

Love love love my job. 🙂

Seventh grade is a lot different than tenth grade. There is an enormous range of physical, mental, and emotional maturity. Some of my kids are small enough to carry, and others might be able to pick me up. Some are convinced they are in second grade, and others act like they’re in high school. In my first week I had a girl need to be excused due to “feminine issues”; in my second week I had a girl need to be excused because one of her teeth fell out. Yes, boys and girls, MY STUDENTS ARE STILL LOSING THEIR BABY TEETH.

Here’s a picture of me, approximately twenty minutes before my first day as a “real” teacher began (click to enlarge):

First Day

As it turns out, I have 161 students spread out over six classes. There are only 109 “unique” students; some of them have me for writing one period and literature another. That 161 does not include my Advisory class, which is basically homeroom. Apparently it is against my contract to have more than 160 students, so I’m not sure what (if anything) will change there. I honestly didn’t realize, and I’m not at all sure one student will make that much difference.

Here’s a picture I took on the first day of my second week:

Me with Unfinished Library

My motivation for this photo, if I’m being quite honest, is that I liked my outfit and am proud of my not-yet-fully-assembled classroom library. In retrospect, it appears to be a photograph of me doing my best “peg-legged pirate without a peg leg” impression. It’s true that posing in first position (?) is flattering, but it can also have  unintended piratical consequences. 🙂

I have another post that I’m trying to wring out of  myself. Last Tuesday I found out that a pretty special person had been killed, and I would like to write about it. I’m hoping I make that happen pretty soon here.