Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Backup -- We Need Backup!

Before I continue with our tale of woe begun earlier today, I must share this lovely caption under an artist's conception of NASA's Ares rockets -- the space vehicles due to replace our aging shuttle fleet:
NASA's Ares launch vehicles are supposed to replace the space shuttles, but won't be ready until 2010 -- five years after the shuttles are retired.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but it's currently 2007 and the shuttles are flying.

Are you with me so far?

Saying the shuttles are retired immediately, five years from now is...ta-da...2012.

C'mon, Wired, you're a tech publication.  You write for nerds.  Do your math.  Please?

Even better, in the article itself, it says:
The nation's most visible launch vehicle, the space shuttle, will have its wings clipped in 2010, and current plans for a successor rocket to lift cargo and crew into orbit won't come to fruition until at least 2015, when the first Ares rockets make it to the launch pad.
Okay, so, you fail either at math or at reading comprehension. Yay you.

Anyhow, when we last left off, The Superhero had eventually decided that I'm the boss (yay) and that he would do what he was asked (double yay) quietly (triple yay).

So I innocently head off to my recess break, while the whole class goes to the 5th/6th grade yard since Aide D was absent again.  Then I go to pick them up, and chaos has ensued.

Boy J has been slapping girls on the butts and the Superhero -- after sitting on the wall -- went to the bathroom and then refused Aide S's requests to go sit back down.

We had a fire drill, so I basically said, "Fine, I'll deal with this later," and walked the class to the fire drill.

By the time we get there, Girl J has committed some heinous act of treason -- the specifics of which I have either since forgotten or was never told -- and is also in trouble.  This leaves Princess, New Girl, and, of all people, the Bulldozer.

During the fire drill, Boy J plays with the grass and begins throwing it at Aide S, who continues on her campaign of terror.  I am distracted by The Superhero and before I know it, Boy J has lost several of his tickets.  Aide J, bless her, steps in and calmly (hooray for her!) tells J that if he continues to do X, Y will happen.  If he wants good things to happen, he needs to make good choices.  Etc. etc.

So we go back to class, and I sit The Superhero at his own table with visual cues/gestures only, so he knows he's in deep doo-doo.  Boy J tries to rip the kids' cards off when asked to take off his so he's redirected to the Bulldozer's table where he can be easily blocked in.

And then he begins the godawful baby voice singing of which Teacher M spoke (darn her).  This behavior, also, is attention-seeking, and yet, while Aide J ignores him until he stands on the table and then simply says calmly (hooray for her!), "J, get down," Aide S goes off on him too, as I'm moving The Superhero farther away because he's begun to imitate the godawful baby voice singing.

And dancing.

On the table.

Have I mentioned the godawful baby voice?

So, I split the class into small groups and move myself near Boy J, where I redirect him only with taps on the shoulder until he stops the godawful baby voice singing (have I mentioned it's godawful?) about half an hour later.

Meanwhile, Aide K has come and I debate which group I can give her.  I dearly want to keep Aide S away from The Superhero at this point, but it's not like Aide K could handle him either.  So, I pray that a miracle reboot has occurred and give her The Bulldozer and Girl J.

I look back at Boy J to get him started copying his note home and look back at the table, which is really four double desks put together in a long rectangle.  The Bulldozer is drawing pizzas for Aide J (who is really supposed to be taking a lunch at this time, except, yeah, that didn't happen) while Girl J is at the other end of the table as Aide K stares aimlessly at the white board.


(Did I mention that my instructions were to "complete the game page through the crossword puzzle and then work in their black folders"? and not five minutes later did Aide K go to Aide J and say, "I'm really confused about what they should be doing here."  And then, when both I and Aide J had repeated those instructions, she told got her kids doing only the crossword puzzle?  Yeah.)



As it stands, the Bulldozer is drawing pizzas, Girl J is hiding under the table, Boy J is writing his note home, E is grouchy 'cause of all the noise (plus what eventually ends up to be stomach trouble), The Superhero and Aide S are at it again, and New Girl and Princess are working together like the little angels they are.

At this point, I send Boy J to work with Aide K, thinking that he at least might be able to work with her.  I tell Aide J that since The Bulldozer is at least not hitting anybody, I will for the moment let him be.

Then I tackle the next problem, which is, at this point, an extremely hyper, overstimulated, thoroughly pleased with himself Superhero.

So, back to the Superhero's point of view.


Hey, Miss Teacher, what are you doing over here?  You wanna laugh too?  Look, I can squeal at you!  Wait, where are we going?  Why are you pointing at me?  Hey, look at me!  Come on, I've got cute puppy dog eyes!

Aw, not with the work again!  Come on!  Aide S and I were having so much fun!  Just look at how loud she was!  Almost as loud as me!  See, aren't we fun!  Wow, I feel like I'm running at 70 miles per hour.  Yee haw.  Life is funny.  You're funny.  I'm funny!  Hey, look -- Girl J is hiding under the table!  That's funny!  Funny funny funny!

Am I ready to work?  I'm not ready to work!  Work isn't funny!  I'm having too much fun with funny.

But c'mon, look at me, will ya?  I know how I can get you to look at me!  It's even funny.  Look, I'm so good at spitting.  Hooray me.  Isn't it funny that I got your glasses?  Funny funny funny.


C'mon, Miss Teacher, why'd you put that folder there?  Then I can't spit at you and you can't look at me, and why should I spit at you if it doesn't make you look at me in the first place.  C'mon, put the folder down.

Aw, man.


Woah, it's lunch time?  I want lunch.  Lunch is fun.  Lunch is funny.  Life is funny.

Isn't it?

What do you mean, which word do I want to type?  I have to work first?  Oh, fine.  See, that wasn't so hard.  Okay, I'm gonna go now, see you later, I want more funny stuff....

...what are you looking at me like that for?

Seriously, Miss Teacher.  What are you looking like that for?

What do you mean I have to sit down at recess?

Oh.  Right.  Yeah, I was kinda loud.  And, yeah, I didn't listen to Miss S.

Am I gonna play or sit?  Duh.  I'm gonna play.

I'm gonna play, right?

Miss Teacher?  I'm gonna play, right?

Uh oh.

I'm gonna sit?

What do you mean, why am I gonna sit?  What did I do to have to...


Fine, I'll repeat it.  "I was mean to Miss S.  I was loud."

Okay.  I'll sit.  You are such a party pooper.  Can I have my lunch now?

Okay, I'll walk with my hands folded.

Okay, I'll sit.  I remember.

Was I saying something was funny?

Hey, stop looking at me like that.  It's not funny, okay?  I get it.  It's not funny.

So, after lunch, I let the two angels (a.k.a. New Girl and Princess)...

...You know what?  New Girl is henceforth known as The Angel.

Anyway, the Angel and Princess got to be on the computer having fun while the rest of the class spent a very boring half an hour practicing how to follow simple directions like "walk to the door without touching anything" and "walk past your friends without touching them."

Here's to a half day tomorrow, and we are all going to hope that the sore throat I've had all day is not going to turn into anything worse, because there is no way on God's green Earth that I am calling in sick anytime in the next...really long time.


Like I said to the Superhero's mom when she commented on how well-behaved the class was during our spelling test before our field trip last Friday, the fact that they could do it, even just that once, means that they can do it.

Therefore, they will do it.

At least once before the school year is over.

Incidentally, today spurred me to do something I've planned all along: put up little hints for the aides of things I've learned along the way.  September's is this:
Hopefully Helpful Tip of the Month

When redirecting a child who is seeking your attention inappropriately (calling out, using inappropriate language, etc.), redirect the child using . . .

As few words as possible


As quiet a voice as possible


As little eye contact as possible

Remember: The more attention you give for inappropriate behaviors, the more (and longer) they will happen. Any child who knows your buttons are pushable will push them more because they want you to react.

This is not the easy way, but it is the best way.

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