The adventures of a Junior High PE teacher in Suburbia, Texas. Join me as I rant about the ironies of the world of education, and the frustrations that go along with them.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I Need A Drink

Ever have one of those days where you can understand the cravings of an alcoholic? Today was one of those days. I really don't know why it was, but when I got home, the urge to get out the blender and the Patron was overwhelming. I am now sitting here enjoy my frozen concoction and writing.

There are days when you just need something to calm the nerves when you get home. It was not that today was any more stressful than any other day. It was just one that begged for booze. Perhaps it was the heat. I know it was quite hot today, and I spent quite a bit of time out in it. How ironic that a "gym coach" was not in the gym, but outside.
We did have the kids running on the track today. Our track is a big dirt oval, and due to the lack of rain, it was quite dusty. Perhaps that inspired my thirst. Perhaps it was the fact that we were trying to get the lazy and lardy to run. If you want to see the epidemic of obesity among our nations youth first hand, just visit a PE class. There are kids there that can make sparks with a knife and fork, and sweat when they eat. Others are just lazy. The big problems are the thug-wannabe. The thugs actually know the importance of physical fitness (have to outrun the cops). The wannabes want to impress the thugs by being defiantly lazy. This of course leads them down the road of obesity.

Yet agin, it could just be that sometimes you just want it. For whatever reason, I made up a batch and enjoyed. Hope you do the same.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Day Off

We finally gave the kids a day off from practice today. We had been going all out for the past four weeks, and as we get into the games, it is important that we give the time to rest, recover and........who are we kidding, the day off was for me.

It actualy serves two purposes. First of all, it does give the kids a break. After all, this is a junior high, not high school, college, or the pros. Heck, even the pros get a day off. When I coached the freshman teams, we always gave them the day after games off. These are kids that love football one minute and hate it the next. They love the games and despise the practices. One day they are flying high, and the next, they are thinking of lies that they think I have never heard as to why they can't be at practice. I guess alot of it has to do with the kids themselves. They have relationships that last about as long as it takes to microwave popcorn, have the attention span of a goldfish, and think of football the other five seconds of the day when they are not preoccupied with XBox or sex (not the act itself, just the idea of it).

It is also a day off for me. It is nice to hear the 2:30 bell and not have to deal with a screaming cluster f*ck in the locker room. The peace and quiet was almost deafening. I actually got to take my son to his karate lesson (another cluster for another time). I came home, and was not coated with a layer of salt and grime from sweating on the field. I was tempted to head to the driving range and hit a bucket, but alas, some one closed it down. It gave me time to do things after school that I normally have not been able to do. I made copies, talked to collegues, and ran some other job related errands that normally escape me.

All in all it was a good day. Having the day off gave me something to look forward to throughout the day. I realize this is not my normal biting sarcasm, but then again, I took a day off from that as well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Shorts at Work

It should come as no surprise that I wear shorts at work. They come with the territory, after all, I teach Physicl Education. The key part of that is physical. I actually practice what I teach. I do not just stand in the gym, read the paper and roll out the balls, I actually teach. Just like the Englsih teacher that models writing, and the math teacher that works through problems on the board, I demonstrate skills and drills for the kids.

Because I do not wear a shirt and tie does not make me any less professional than any other teacher. Some may tend to think so, but it is not true. They do not seem to comprehend that part of my day takes place in the great outdoors. The part that is usually around 98 degrees with the matching humidity and no breeze. Those conditions are conducive to sweating like a whore in church. I seriously doubt that any of the "real teachers" would opt to be out in those conditions in their skirt, panty hose and sensible shoes. In fact, I doubt that they would want to be out in them at all.

I have even worked with other PE teachers that prefer the comfort of the air conditioned gym. I am not one. I prefer to be outside. For one, the shrieks of the kids do not echo and bounce off the walls. They tend to travel over the fields and disappear. The air tends to be a little fresher. I am not inhaling twenty years of sweat, mold, mildew and dust that has accumulated in the gym. I think the main reason is that I prefer to be outside is that most of the higher powers don't. There is little chance of an administrator coming out there to bother me unless it is of the highest importance. The fewer prying eyes on me the better.

When the class ends, I come back to reality. I have locker room duty. I really don't understand the mind set of an adolescent boy. He won't take a shower, but will drench himself with AXE body spray. They have yet to understand this does not eliminate body odor, it just adds another layer to what they already have. It also brings a subtle nuance to the locker room. There is something about the combination of sweaty gym clothes, body odor and the various body sprays and cologne. It leaves a lingering smell of French whores and ass.

Needless to say, there are those that wish they had my job until they do. My job is not play. As kids get fatter, there is more pressure for the PE teachers to do something about it. We are not just talking about kids that are a little over weigt, but kids that sweat when they eat. Believe it or not, it is actually hard work to motivate these kids to use more than just their thumb muscles. Most can kick my ass at Madden 2005, but very few could actually play an entire game of football outside. Most cannot emulate the computer animated moves they see in the game. Getting these kids to do something is hard work, and that makes me sweat, and there fore, I need shorts.

Monday, August 22, 2005

No More Excuses

When I was a kid growing up, the thought of getting in trouble at school never entered my mind. It wasn't because I was afraid of trouble, it was because I was raised with a healthy fear of my parents. Don't get me wrong, I was not abused or mistreated in any way. I was never beaten or injured by my mom and dad. I was, however, punished when I did wrong, and if the teacher had called to say that I had, then I was punished for it. My parents would not argue with the teacher. They never muttered, "Not my son." They took the word of the teacher as the gospel and punished me for what I had done.

Those days seem to be gone forever. Now kids have no troulbe lying to their parents about what happened, and sadly, parents have no trouble believing them. It is amazing the lies that children will weave to avoid trouble at home. I have had parents ask me if I actually cussed at their child or threatened them. I sit almost slack jawed as I listen to what these kids tell their parents, and then have to defend myself to them. I am forced to listen to parents rant and rave about what their child has endured at my malicious hands. And when I tell the parents that what they heard is total and utter nonsense, the most common reply is, "My child would not lie to me." Time to wake up Slappy, not only are they lying, but the tapestry of lies they are weaving would rival anything Christo would throw over Central Park in the name of art. Understand that your child is just that, a child. They have been lying since they could consciously think. They created an imaginary friend to take the dive for them, they have blamed mythical and natural creatures for their misdeeds. They have even been known to fabricate evidence to cover their unspanked butts. So yes Virginia, they will lie to you.

The other great excuse is the medication. I am betting that most of these kids have a medicine chest at home that looks similar to Judy Garlands over night bag. Elvis would be jealous of the sheer volume that some of these kids use. I am tired of hearing that I was called a F*cking A**hole because a child had not taken his Flintstones chewable thorazine that morning. It is amazing how many doctors prescribe Riddlin, but at the same time, can't seem the dosage right. if they did, I wouldn't have to listen to how the bird little Jimmy shot me was because Dr. Mengle was screwing with the dosage while taking time away from flaying the skin off of twins. I tell them that I took Riddlin as a kid, it was the back of my dad's hand. I didn't require a daily dosage, he gave it to me when I needed it, and it worked quite well.

Ultimately, the responsibility for raising your kids falls to you, dear parents, not to the schools. We have barely enough time to cover the basics and to get them prepared for standardized tests. We do not have the time to teach them that "Kiss my ass," is not a functional answer. After all, if I can't say it to your kid, they can't say it to me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Heaven Help Us

If today was any indication, out future is doomed. We handed out combination locks to the 6th graders today. It was the equivalent of trying to get dogs to defuse a nuclear device. These are the same Master brand locks that we all grew up with. You still have three numbers to memorize, and just a few simple turns.

We took all of them into the locker room, sat them down, handed each of them a lock, and then like an airline stewardess (oops, flight attendant for all you PC types out there) showed them step by step how to open it. More than half in each class could not get it to work. That meant that we would have to take the lock and show them exactly how to do it, hand it back to them and have them try again, only to have them meet defeat again. These are the same kids that can operate 17 different buttons on a Play Station controller with just their thumbs, and not even look.

Several managed to lose their combination in the 20 feet it took them to travel from the bench to the door. Let's hope that they are never entrusted with large sums of money. It could mean disaster for all of us. Those that managed to make it out of the locker room with the combination in their sweaty little hands will, no dobt, have forgotten it by tomorrow. It would not frustrate me so if it weren't for the fact that they could tell you the string of code necessary to get to the porn in their Grand Theft Auto game.

Most will have settled in to the routine in a couple of weeks, but there are always those that are needier than the population of most third world countries. When I look into the eyes, or more specificly, the back of the head, of those students, I can only shudder to think of what the future holds for all of us. On the plus side, I rest well knowing that there will never be a shortage of employees to work at the IRS, the Post Office and the express register at Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Fundraiser Day

It was fundraiser day today. That is always a constructive use of time. Due to the fact that our state legislature would rather vote themselves a pay raise rather than fund education, we have to have the kids go out and sell over priced crap that would be ashamed to be seen in a Lilian Vernon catalog.

They begin by brining all the 6th graders to the gym where Fundraiser Guy stands and gives his little speech. He then asks the kids where they can peddle this flotsam. As the little girl begins to answer, he starts to put dollar bills in her hand for every answer he deems acceptable. Now when he asks the group the next question, it turns into feeding time at the reptile house. Now the kids are climbing over each other in an effort to please the man with the money.

Of course most of the kids go away empty handed with the promise of fabulous prizes for those that sell the most. Now I get to spend the rest of the day politely refusing the opportunity to spend $20 on a tin of chocolate covered pretzels that would make the perfect gift for a loved one, provided that the loved one realizes that the cheap gift cost much more than it appears I spent on them.

Perhaps the legislature will be called into a third special session. If they are there until Christmas, I know where they can get their hands on some wrapping paper, handy gift ideas and delicious snacks. of course, they could come up with an equitable funding solution and not have to worry about all that.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Greetings

The year is just getting started and I am caught in the avalanche of the teachers that can't wait to tell me how rotten my kids are. They think that I will some how solve all the problems that they can't handle.

Then again, it is the only time most need me. They tend to think that I am little more than a nuckle dragging cretin unworthy of their presence, and should be grateful that they let me bask in the glow of their brilliance.