Saturday, August 19, 2006

Vainglorious Prickweenies

We had our yearly 'let's get in there and change some s*&^ that works' meeting yesterday... we have one every year, but this year, because our funding was at rockbottom, we only got paid for a half-day, which was depressing because most of us were there for a full day to go implement the changes to our own curriculum and fix up our rooms. The real shame of it is that I was BUYINGit--I was there, listening to the English department talking itself into becoming the literary borg in which all our policies and approaches are exacly the same and I was sort of getting into it...sure, I can confiscate hats on the first offense (it often takes me half a period to notice that a student even HAS a hat on...and that includes kids I've been talking to for ten minutes outside.) Sure, I can send kids to the office for ID's every day when they forget theirs. (I NEVER wear my own ID badge. EVER. ) Sure, I can ask for some sort of evaluation EVERY SINGLE STINKING DAY. Wait...wait..I've done stuff like desk ends up a pile of little pieces of paper that I don't have time to get to, and, voila--useless make-work that takes the place of meaningful learning. So, I say to my administrator, "Hey--this doesn't really make sense--how about aim for 4 out of 5 days, or something decent and real twice a week, right?" And that's when things go south. Because God forbid we use our common sense to decide when to evaluate our students--it's not like CA teachers don't have more education than teachers in most of the other states in the union, right? And suddenly I'm getting test scores thrown in my face and this always curdles my blood because we constantly get told our test scores suck as a school but only once in 12 years have I seen the test scores FROM MY OWN PLOTZING CLASSES which means that getting told my test scores suck is like getting told the weather sucks--sure it's 120 outside but me and mine are in the pool, so what?

I eventually retreated to the silence of angry knitting and watched in admiration as my dept chair annihilated the guy, but the moment was blown...the BUY-IN was blown and things spiralled to hell at warp speed thereafter. My computer decided that because it was having it's systems revamped I didn't exist, which meant I couldn't pull up my documents to change them to the word of the literary borg, which meant that I couldn't print up my syllabus which meant that I have to hope I can get the kids to daycare early so I can make my copies during my first period prep or I'm greeting the ravening hordes with the whiteboard and my fractured wits and by the time the computer got fixed, I was running late late late to pick up the tiny ones from daycare and so I RAN OUT OF MY CLASSROOM WITHOUT MY BREASTPUMP AND TWO BOTTLES OF EXPRESSED MILK.

I discovered this error when I got home, and as I was jumping up and down in the driveway, mouthing obscenities so the cave troll didn't run into his grandma and repeat the several F-bombs I silently dropped, I realized that even though the two events had nothing to do with eachother I was having a recurring fantasy of beating my administrator to death WITH the breastpump.

Which brings me to today. Today I took the toddler to gymnastics, drove from gymnastics to work where I picked up the breastpump, then back to my daughter's soccer field where I made it just in time for the first of two exposition games for their opening day. As I pushed the stroller while holding the toddler's hand and carrying two captain's chairs, I felt my heart plummet. Oh crap. She was playing the Wild Things today.

The problem with this was that she was ON the Wild Things for four years. This year, her coach cut her. It's a rec league team--he wasn't supposed to do that. He tried to weenie out of it by just not telling us about the day the team traditionally signs up together, but since his daughter and my daughter were best friends, that fell through, and he met me at the door with Arwyn (aged two weeks, if you want an idea of my own emotional state) and as my daughter went inside to meet with her friends (four years, remember?) and to plan who was going to who's birthday party, he told me that my kid was getting cut from a rec league team. I cried during the entire enrollment process and then I had to tell her when we got in the car. It was worse than when the rat died on Halloween. It was worse than when the rat died on my son's birthday. It was BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDD.

So my daughter ended up on the Lightning Bugs this year, with girls who are all a year or more younger than she is, and the first team she has to play is her old team. I cried through the first half of the game--every time a Wild Thing came to the line in front of me, I had to fight not to cheer her on...dammit, I watched these kids grow up! And then I take a good look at the other kids that they've recruited for the team, and a good look at the kids on the Lightning Bugs. The light bulb goes on. Bryar didn't get cut because she was the WORST player on the team--she's not. She got cut because she was the FATTEST kid on the team. All of the Wild Things are skinny as whippets. Half of the Lightning Bugs are slightly solid--including my beautiful, amazing, smart, sensitive little girl.

I stared across the field at the vainglorious prickweenies (the coach's new second in command was responsible for the push to cut Bryar)and hoped they choked on their own spit, and I made an observation about prickweenies that is both cynical and true.

Prickweenies tend to be in power not because they're stronger (nope) or smarter (HA!) than the rest of us. Prickweenies tend to be in power because they know who to crap on.

My admin could crap on me because he knows A. I'm fat, B. I'm funny, C. I am unashamedly emotional and D. I'm overtly maternal. Take a look at our media, people--I'm a quadruple threat--nobody takes the mama bear seriously until she's ripping out someone's throat--and then they shoot her down with sawed-off shotguns and say "Gee, I wonder what made her lose it like that." My personal nightmare of a prickweenie is, at the moment I write, looking for someone to replace me as AP teacher--he says it's because my test scores are low, but since he's never actually compared my AP test scores to how these kids tested in 11th grade (to do that, we'd actually have to get test scores that mean something and my upper administration has a pathological aversion to doing that) he doesn't know if my scores are low because I'm an idiot or if I'm a freakin' miracle worker--judging from the feedback from the kids, it's option B, but he doesn't give a rat's ass about that because that would mean he's interested in the truth. The fact that in order to be funny, I'd have to be more than proficient with language and the concepts thereof seems to have eluded him too--but we've already seen that upper admin is usually short on common sense so I don't know why that surprises me. Why let honest evaluation of an employee get in your way when it's easy to crap on her because she's too damn busy to defend herself?

But I can deal with that--my verbal umbrella has been fending off the scat of vainglorious prickweenies for most of my life. But my daughter... my beautiful daughter... Goddess, people, don't we deserve better for our children than to allow vainglorious prickweenies to rule the world?


Claire said...

Ah yes, I noticed the angry knitting and the flames shooting out of your eyes. I must admit I really enjoyed our dept chair and his comment that ended with "...and get back to me tomorrow."

Classic. I am learning from the best.

I love your blog!

Roxie said...

Vainglorious prickweenies. This could be a great name for a garage band.

Unfortunately, the world your daughter lives in is full of assholes. As long as she knows it's clean and dry at home, it will make it easier for her to learn to swim in our communal cesspool. You're a good mom. She's a lucky girl.

We don't need to buy in to the beliefs of those narrow-minded dipshits who see only surfaces.

Lore said...

More often than not, I wish I were a member of your department rather than mine. My dept. chair rarely has anything to say other than "Yes, sir" to the prick weenies.
And you are a much calmer mama bear than I. I would have kicked that coach square in the nuts once I realized why the decision to cut her had been made.