Archive for July 2009

Inside Information

July 11, 2009

Pardon me while I rant….yes I know, again. 
While I am a big softy on the inside, students think that I am tough, mean &…my personal favorite…a bitch. 
My teacher assistants are so funny when they think they are filling me in on this inside information, in whispered tones they tell me,  “they think you are a female dog”…they are afraid if they say “bitch” out loud, they will get a detention. 

I have to keep from laughing.
Really, I am okay with the title; it means I am doing my job. 
I am making sure that the students stay within the ‘boundaries’ that have been established.  It is a proven that children want/need to have boundaries….it is just unfortunate that many students I deal with have never had any parenting.  Yes, it would be fair to say that some have been raised by wolves, and you would not be that far off the mark.  (oops, a friend reminds me that wolves are very attentive parents…guess I’ll have to find another example.)

Really, I would rather the students think I’m a bitch, than for them to actually know how kind hearted I truly am. 
I don’t believe I would ever have the upper hand if they actually knew how nice I am. 
I have gone “to bat for them” with teachers, requested extensions on assignment deadlines, something that I truly NEVER do…especially with heads of departments.  I have even allowed students to leave class to make up work in another class so that they can get a passing grade to graduate. 
They would probably be mortified to know that I pray for them, that they make the right decisions.  Judging by the number of “tummies” I have seen this year in the Freshman Class….(14 & 15 year olds) either I am not praying hard enough or perhaps abstinence based Health classes are not working. 

Morals are still okay to teach in my opinion. 

Students who are assigned to me get their birthdays celebrated, I bake for them for no particualr reason and they even have their own treat jar.  They may also get an occasional pep talk. 

Come May of each year, The List comes out.  The students on it may not graduate if they do not pull up their grades, attend night school to make up “F’s”, or complete assignments.  One of my seniors almost didn’t graduate because she did not complete her Economics’s semester project. 
Do you think she got a “pep” talk? You bet. 
And even worse than when she told her parents…when she told me what was going on, I only looked at her.  She told me that my disappointed expression was worse than both her parents and grand parents yelling at her.  I simply reminded her that for an hour every school day, she has just about every resource, including me at her fingertips.  She had everything she needed to complete the work, she just needed to do it. 
The good news is that she graduated last month.

I think when the entire staff sees another batch that we have all nutured, in one way or another, we all breathe a collective sigh of relief.  Thankfully I can exhale now.

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Just looking for a book…

July 10, 2009

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Seldom am I surprised by the behaviors/discipline violations that teenagers think they are going to get by with past me. 
Seriously, they don’t realize who they are dealing with!
I have had incidents happen in my library that would have caused other paraprofessionals to go screaming into the night. 
One of the more colorful incidents follows.

It was a dark and stormy night….just kidding. 
One day after school, about 3:00 pm, a male and female student walk into the library.  This in and of its self is not necessarily suspicious…but the hand holding, the eyes scanning the room and the phrase…”We need to look for a book” set off my “Mom-radar.”  The two sign in and ascend the staircase, heading for the Fiction section.  It is really a pity that they don’t know that I have heard it all. 

Now, I’m not immediately going on alert…I just watch.  They apparently REALLY know what book they are looking for, because they make a bee-line for the very back of the Fiction section.  What they don’t realize is that there is a mirror high in the ceiling for the purpose of monitoring ‘activities’.  What they also don’t know is that my vision is better than 20/20.

So, I watch. 
What I really need is track lighting up there…like that’s gonna happen.  I take care of a couple of students, hoping that indeed they truly are looking for a book.  When I look back to the mirror, she is bent down in front of him; his back is up against a bookcase.  This is too voyeuristic for me and I pick up the phone.  I wait another minute or two to dial because, well, I hate to think the worst of students….maybe she is just tying his shoelaces…..Ahhh, no. 

Seriously, there’s nothing in the employee handbook….”What to do if you find students engaged in….say….extra-curicular activities?  They aren’t filling out their reading logs for Honors English back there…

I pick up the walkie-talkie and slowly ascend the stairs.  I quietly nod and whisper “hello” to a few girls working diligently on homework, at tables.  (Makes my heart proud it does to see students actually engaged in learning.)  I wonder what the girl at the back of the Fiction section is learning?  I start down an aisle, tidying up the shelf of Nora Roberts as I go…the students who are busily engaged, freeze.  I don’t know whether to laugh or call for a “Clean up on Aisle 10….Somebody bring the bleach!”

I muster up my meanest mom voice (not really big effort) and say, “Something tells me that you aren’t looking for a book!” 
Silence. 
“You have exactly one minute to rearrange yourselves and come downstairs…..” 
The girl sits down at a table on the main floor first…the boy takes more time to get downstairs…..Walking seemed to be a difficulty for him. 
I would have figured that my untimely arrival would have deflated the moment more rapidly than it apparently did.  He sits down rather gingerly. 

They don’t even try to tell me that they were “just looking for a book”…the girl’s mouth looks like she was in a lip lock with the “Scream Extraction machine” from Monster’s Inc. 

After what seems like forever, a senior administrator arrives.  They take one look at the two of them and deduces exactly what occurred in the Fiction section.  If only these books could talk…it would be rated MA. 

As they are  being escorted to the office, I hear the principal say….”You are going to call her mother and tell her what you were doing with her daughter in the library…You are going to call his mother and tell her what you were doing with her son in the library….”

I truly dislike being in the position of having to discipline.  I wish I could just be the “Good times, fun, Hot Library Tech”…I wish the kids would not step so far over the boundary that they force my hand.  One things for sure…glad I’m not the parent getting that phone call.