Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cockroaches, Workbooks, and Plans. Oh My!

Although I told my loving and tolerant husband that I would stay home today to do housework, I spent the entire day working in my classroom. The darling man forgave me, and even came to the school on his lunch break to eat with me. And to help me move a bookshelf (but he didn't know that part until he got there).

Even better, he moved a stack of boxes for me when I discovered a play group of fat little roaches underneath them. I'm not a wimp, but hey, I was wearing sandals!

I used to stomp on cockroaches. When I moved into my classroom, I discovered that the teacher before me had oh-so-kindly left her centuries-old Special Ed materials in my classroom. ALL of them. Now, this classroom has amazing storage space - the entire back wall is lined with floor-to-ceiling shelves that are at least two feet deep - but her junk, I mean, precious irreplacable resources, took up most of the space! I threw out what I could, but come on, I had just moved 2,000 miles and started a new job. By the time I was exhausted with cleaning, her stuff only inhabited 1/4 of my shelf space.

I lived with it for way too long, but toward the end of that first year, I decided that we'd have a Class Cleanup Day during Advisory. Each of my thirty 8th grade students had a job to do, and those wonderful angels hauled the rest of that **** to the dumpster for me.

And uncovered a NEST of cockroaches in the closet beside the shelves.

Did you know that roaches build nests? Neither did I. There had to be at least 100 roaches, all in a swarm, some dead, some alive, some mutating into a super-cockroach species that would have taken over the earth if my kids hadn't stomped on them. And stomp they did! On of the girls, a kickboxer, jumped into the fray with reckless abandon, stomping with such fury that the other kids backed off for fear that she might mistake them for her prey. When the battle was won, she calmly wiped the sweat from her forehead and went back to her seat, leaving her classmates to scoop many dustpansful of aftermath into the trash can.

For the next year or so, I tasked my students with stomping on the buggers and disposing of their carcasses, but then I realized how smushy and gross they really are, so I reached and agreement with the little nasties.

Before I get a piece of chart paper, move a box, or in any other way subject a cockroach to sudden light exposure, I'll make some noise and rattle things. In return, they'll run the other way, doing their best to keep their presence hidden from myself and any other humans in the room. It works for us.

So today, when my loving husband shifted the box and heard the scrabble of a bug fulfilling its end of the bargain, he looked at me in panic. I could just hear his thoughts. "She's not really going to ask me to squish those things with my wingtips, is she? Please?" Imagine the look of relief on his face when I related to him the terms of my agreement with the roaches! He didn't have to go through his afternoon appointments worrying about bug guts on his cuffs!

Tomorrow, I get to find a home for the hundred million extra workbooks that my dear principal keeps bringing to my room. Note: this principal actually lifts and carries things himself, rather than calling and shouting through the speakerphone that I need to come to the office and get them as quickly as possible.

After the workbooks have been placed in loving family situations (or shoved into the amazingly spacious shelves), I need to continue with the Planning of the Lessons. I've just discovered that my wonderfully high-tech classroom blog, that I was going to use for everything from literature circles to grammar review to classroom connections with other students, is BLOCKED by our ridiculous "Websense" program, so I have to find another solution. I could put in a request to have the website unblocked, but that would require interaction with Creepy Stalker Tech Guy, and it's just not worth it.

Sorry friends, but Creepy Stalker Tech Guy is another story for another day.


  1. There are not enough words in the English language to describe how much I hate Websense.

  2. Loved this post and can relate to everything!

    I hate the blocks from IT too. IT is just plain stupid (I like saying that word when I can because it's banned in my classroom). We got new hi-tech projectors this summer and all the teaching CDs we have with all our curriculum is useless until IT allows us to download it. I doubt that will happen anytime soon. Grrrrr!

    Have a good weekend!

  3. I had a conversation with an IT person the other day. "I want to have a classroom blog so my kids can publish." "You can't have a blog from Google, but you'll be able to publish on your school page on the District website." "Oh, cool, when can we start doing that?" "Well, it was supposed to be ready last year, but mumblemumblemumblecuzidonthaveagoodanswer..."