Sunday, November 14, 2010

Five Easy Pieces

Price and Quality

(or, Surprising Things That You Legitimately Thought You Could Buy on the Cheap but You Should Really Invest in Higher Quality Of)
  1. Dish soap and sponges
  2. Undershirts
  3. Tights
Music and Choice

Have you ever noticed that songs sound so much better on the radio than when you specifically play them on a CD (those of us who still bother with CDs)?  I love MGMT's Kids; it takes me back to October 2008, and all the good and bad that entails.  I played that song, track 4 on CD #3 in our car's rotation of six, over and over.  I love the music and that line about a family of trees wanting to be haunted.  Then, as lots of people do with lots of songs, I forgot about it.  I got hooked on Pandora (case in point, right now).  An edgy local morning radio show became my new commute soundtrack.  I got all wrapped up in the Top 40 again, and just when it was out of my thoughts completely, Kids started popping up on whatever radio station is preset 2 in the car.  I was overjoyed!  It was a completely different experience on the radio.  Does the better-ness have to do with the knowledge that many, many other people are listening to it with you from that same source at that same moment?  Is it the bond you feel with the radio station for agreeing that it's a great song?  Is it the surprise factor, that you didn't choose it, but here it is, something you love, for you?  The combination of all of these makes it that much sadder when you turn on the station only in time to catch the last few notes -- crap, I love that song! -- and, inspired and reminded, find track 4 from CD 3, and it's just so ... weak.  You chose it.  You put it on.  You're the only one listening.  What's the fun in that!

Rashay and Bus Patrol

There is a child, who, by virtue of Bus Patrol, I'm trying to exit from special education.  He is so much more "with it" than most special ed kids.  I can say that because I'm a special ed teacher.  He's capable, mature, polite, and, for the most part, full of effort.  When I got to my new school in January of last year, I was told I wouldn't have to worry much about him, he'd be leaving special ed soon anyway.  Ok!  Cue his annual review in March.  Imagine my surprise to find all sorts of testing in the Basic category!  (Basic, being the lowest of three categories: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced.  Stay tuned for another post on how ludicrous it is that "Proficient" has been bent to mean "On Grade Level," and how further ludicrous that "On Grade Level" spans scores from 50% to 70%.  Where I come from, 50% means you failed by a mile, not you're on grade level, in other words average, which is now apparently called Proficient.  For our purposes today, pretend that "Proficient" is amazing.)  So, I tested Rashay, all the time, for my literacy class.  Also bear in mind that testing is more than half the battle, or so they would have you think.  He read for me, he comprehended for me, he wrote for me.  I cracked down in class when I caught him not paying attention.  I gave him heart-to-hearts about doing well.  But you know what I really think finally pushed him over the edge -- being chosen for Bus Patrol.  I wish it had been my idea; it was his homeroom/reading/social studies teacher with whom I work closely.  When I asked teachers for their suggestions, staying a little bit out of the selection myself, not taking my own advice to use it for kids who needed a push, "Yeah, Rashay, Rashay's a good kid.  Pick him."  OH YEAH.  Having delivered the YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN papers in the 5th and 6th grade lunch period, he waved me back to incredibly sincerely whisper, "Thank you."  There is no Special Ed Bus Patrol; I take no prisoners.  It is made crystal clear to all 15 of them, all the time, that their spot on this most prestigious of clubs depends 100% on academics and behavior.  Both, obviously, have to be stellar, all the time.  Bus Patrol (and, therefore, I) is (am) one of the last few institutions that can absolutely demand high performance.  A girl handed me her belt in an astoundingly mature move to resign, having earned a D on a few math tests and therefore on her report card.  I just kicked off a tiny Chinese girl for not turning in three quarters of an enormous social studies project.  I'm not kidding around, and they know it.  Rashay's October standardized tests: Proficient.

Serious and Adorable*

I think that's the best way to characterize the combination of things I totally love.  Like, bus drivers waving at each other when they pass.  My by-the-book, no-nonsense principal wearing a huge Cat-in-the-Hat getup for Dr. Suess's birthday.  I have two favorite facts, and they both involve this tension: One is that you can sing The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to the tune of Gilligan's Island, and the other is that there was a Pope Hilarious.  My newest discovery under this heading is that Eminem keeps a guest bedroom specifically for when 50 Cent comes over.  I cannot describe, you guys.  I love this.

*Justin and Pam

*See also:

    1 comment:

    Amanda said...

    Pam, that picture is divine. It is so incredibly perfect. Please tell me you have it blown up poster-size in your apartment, how beautiful.