Monday, April 12, 2010

Hidden Surprises

Some days it pays to look a little closer.  You never know.  You might find something that makes your day just a bit brighter.  Or more interesting.  Or keeps you from flinging yourself out the window like you keep saying you are going to do and which no one is actively stopping you from doing no matter how loudly you say it...

It was a day.  And a half.  With less than a week to go before Maine finally releases us all for spring break, things are breaking down fast.  Kids who are normally pretty easy-going are suddenly willing to fight to the death over their right to use the school issued laptops to search an internet database for registered sex offenders.  Expressions of opinion become...heated.

And don't even get me started on the whole trend towards assigning major projects the week before vacation.  Why some of my colleagues are thinking this is a good idea, I dont know.  Perhaps they believe that kids will work on them over vacation.  That is a delighfully optimistic mindset, but I don't think any of the the kids in my class are going to be happily researching and footnoting next week.  If the kids I support in 8th grade science class are going to somehow miraculously produce a digital presentation on Halley's Comet, I need to bust a move to get everything together while I have them trapped in the room with me.

This is how I ended up in the library this morning.  While the students steadfastly ignored the rubric stating that they needed a variety of sources and that relying on the internet was not acceptable, I was more alert to the problem with their research methods.  I'm still not sure they fully understand the need to cite their reference materials, though.  They think they can pass themselves off as Very Distinguished Comet Scientists or something, I guess.  They are above citing sources at this point in their careers.

But it won't be because I didn't try to get it done right.  I am not a Very Distinguished Comet Scientist.  I am not even a Completely Discredited Comet Scientist.  I am merely a tired, cranky and very disillusioned special education teacher who is going to drag two boys through the wonders of the universe (complete with properly cited sources) whether they like it or not.

I found a book.  It wasn't much, but it was the best I could do.  If nothing else, it was something to toss into the bibliography.  Heck, I'd be willing to stand there and hold the stupid thing while they did their presentation and periodically do The Boat Show Model's Sweeping Gesture Of Wonder if that's what it took.

As I stomped down the aisle towards the checkout desk with my book in hand, I happened to glance down.  Actually, I was already looking down because I am a broken woman at this point in the school year and those of us who are broken are bound by law to keep our heads down all dejected-like.  It's what we do.

And as I looked downward, I happened to see something.  Something that looked like it might be fun for someone who has a week off coming up.  Something that might even keep the idea of that shining week in focus until Friday.  It was old, out of print in the rest of the world, actually.  It's not the sort of thing I would ever buy.... but as a library loan?  Absolutely!


This is the newer version and I can't center the link but you get the idea...


I may or may not get around to this next week, but that's not really the point.  It was just nice to bring home something for the sole purpose of applying it to my vacation days.  Even if I never so much as open it next week, I'm good.  The pleasure of flipping through the pages during lunch and envisioning the days spent NOT arguing over upcoming project requirements and the appropriate use of school computers was worth it.

Four more days.  There are many more things that can go wrong in that amount of time.  We could lose our entire comet project due to a sudden discovery made by The Very Distinguished Comet Scientists which invalidates all our research.  It's not outside the realm of possibility, you know.

But I'm hanging in there.  And flipping through my library book for courage...

SA

12 comments:

PICAdrienne said...

My favorite was the math teacher who gave his class double assignments every day the week prior to vacation, when they had half days. Oh, and he was not at school, he had a sub giving the assignments.

trek said...

Wow, they are already Very Distinguished Comet Scientists and have barely reached puberty!

We here are more than old enough to be parenting such prodigies and we can't even focus Saturn in the telescope...

Karen said...

We have vacation next week too and my son's teacher upped the number of spelling words on Friday's test. Yes, a spelling test on Friday, the last day before vacation. We'll have to study and everything.
That book looks like a fantastic find. I bet you'll find some time to enjoy it next week.

Jeanne said...

My 8th grade American History teacher was so mean. On Friday, we'd walk into class to find 50 questions written on the blackboards. We spent the period copying them to our notebooks. It was expected that over the weekend, we would write essay answers to each of the 50 questions, to be turned in on Monday morning. EVERY. WEEK.

Because of him the Blizzard of '78 occurred. Yep. It's his fault. That's what happens when 60 students fervently wish for a snow day all at the same time.

Julia G said...

Good for you Ms. Sheep, doing the heavy lifting on the kid's research support. The little crochet projects look similar to snowflakes I made for the Christmas tree one year - very pretty!

knitseashore said...

Your post brings back fond memories of my library tours with the middle school kids. No citations needed, just print out the entry from the encyclopedia on the computer and go. Asking them if they wanted to look for books on the topic was like asking them if they wanted a free root canal.

Yet strangely, I miss those days. Sort of.

Hang in there, Sheepie, and enjoy your book!

catsmum said...

oh woe - my library doesn't have this book
and just because all the librarians and I are on first name terms and one of them brings me in her books from home and I know my 14 digit patron code by heart does not mean I spend too much time in there

nor does the fact that I've already read 49 books since New Years NOT counting the knitting/quilting/art ones

kmkat said...

No matter what I do, I cannot see The Book For Vacation.

::le sigh::

I bet it is a really good one, though.

Mia said...

flipping is good :)

Elaine said...

*You* are a Goddess!

Knitting Linguist said...

And this is why the library is an invaluable resource. Meanwhile, we're going to assume that the Very Distinguished Comet Scientists are already on spring break, and won't compound the problem by figuring out that comets are actually zombie spaceships, carrying an imminent invasion force.

Donna Lee said...

Oh god. I hope the VDCS don't decide to get rid of another planet or find some new comets or something. I'm still worried about Pluto out there all alone....