Monthly Archives: November 2011

“Are We Doing Anything Important?”


Actual letter from an actual Local U. student.  The only things I changed are our names:

Mrs. Chili,

I didn’t realize until now that I am scheduled to work my work study job tonight. It is way to late to switch it now, so I don’t think I will be able to make class. I mean, if we are doing something really important, I guess I can call out. I am so sorry, this was definately my fault for not looking at my work schedule earlier. Just let me know what you would prefer me to do soon please, so i can notify my boss. Thank you Mrs. Chili.

James Dumbass

Dude has NO IDEA how insulting – and stupid – he comes off.


Filed under dumbassery, failure, I've got this kid...., really?!, student chutzpah, You're kidding...right?

Guest Post: WOOT!

I’m posting this for a teacher buddy who, for reasons of anonymity, can’t post it on her blog.  The article that accompanies this post is here.


There are so many things my kids do that make me proud.  I’ve become a surrogate mother and all around supporter of their activities.  I try to equally support all extra-curriculars, from sports to the fine arts.  I think that sports get more recognition, so it takes a lot for me to get excited about another championship win.  This weekend, though, we won the big one.  Our football team won the state championship after a 12-1 season, which by anyone’s standards is fantastic.  The only team we lost to was a team that was on a 40-odd game winning streak…it was also the team that we would go on to beat in the final game.  It’s a huge upset in Arizona sports, Hamilton losing at anything, but our boys did it.  They did the unthinkable and beat the best team in the state.  For all the bad stuff that’s happening in education right now, there are these little things, the cheesy teen movie high school cliches, that make me love my job.  They give me hope that everything is going to be OK and that maybe with a little team spirit, and sparkly gold pom poms, the world of secondary education can be fun again.


*Chili’s note – mi casa es su casa; if you ever want to post something that you don’t feel safe posting on your own site, for whatever reason, please feel free to send me an email.  Chances are better than even that I’ll happily provide my space for your news or musings that are too close or risky for your own blog.*

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Grammar Wednesday

Mrs. Chili is kind of reveling in the fact that she’s gotten to the bottom of ALL her grading piles. Of course, all that grading left me with PILES of Grammar Wednesday topics – pointing out the difference between then and than, getting the kids to write people who instead of people that, and beating into them that while it may be considered standard English to say different than, when they’re writing for me, they need to use the different from construction.


Anyway, I’m eager to step back from my role as a teacher and get into full-on vacation mode, so I’m leaving you with this. I found it on Pinterest a while back, and it cracked me right up.

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Filed under bad grammar, General Griping, Grammar

You Might be a Teacher….

by Jeff Foxworthy

1. You can hear 25 voices behind you and know exactly which one belongs to the child out of line.
*I can totally do this. What freaks the kids out is that I can tell who is WHISPERING. My eyesight may suck, but my hearing is PERFECT.

2. You get a secret thrill out of laminating something.
*Not so much laminating, but I love turning stickers into magnets.

3. You walk into a store and hear the words “It’s Ms/Mr.> _________” and know you have been spotted.

4. You have 25 people that accidentally call you Mom/Dad at one time or another.
*this happens to me more often than I expected, given that I teach high school…

5. You can eat a multi-course meal in under twenty minutes.
*I usually keep my lunches simple

6. You’ve trained yourself to go to the bathroom at two distinct times of the day: lunch and planning period.

7. You start saving other people’s trash, because most likely, you can use that toilet paper tube or plastic butter tub for something in the classroom.
*I do this, too, but more for the art teacher than for myself.

8. You believe the teachers’ lounge should be equipped with a margarita machine.
*Actually, we’re campaigning for a wet bar…

9. You want to slap the next person who says “Must be nice to work 8 to 3 and have summers off.”
*Don’t even get me STARTED!

10. You believe chocolate is a food group.
*Isn’t it??

11. You can tell if it’s a full moon without ever looking outside.
*I can also tell who’s expecting her period

12. You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says “Boy, the kids sure are mellow today.”

13. You feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior when you are out in public.
*Yeah, but I wanted to do that even before I was a teacher…

14. You believe in aerial spraying of Ritalin.
*Not so much with this, but I DO want to regularly hose the kids down with Lysol, the little germ factories…

15. You think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.

16. You spend more money on school stuff than you do on your own needs.
*This is true. I was astounded when I added up my “teacher receipts” from last year.

17. You can’t pass the school supply aisle without getting at least five items!
*Hi, I’m Mrs. Chili, and I’m an office supply addict…

18. You ask your friends if the left hand turn he just made was a “good choice or a bad choice.”
*Not so much with this one…

19. You find true beauty in a can full of perfectly sharpened pencils.
*I do

20. You are secretly addicted to hand sanitizer and finally,
*I am

21. You understand instantaneously why a child behaves a certain way after meeting his or her parents.
*Oh, dear GOD! You have NO idea how true this is!


Filed under funniness, little bits of nothingness

Wishing Time Away

All my adult life, I’ve never been one to wish time away.  I try to be ever present in the moment and to engage as fully in the now as I can, because I understand that time goes by too quickly as it is, and wishing it away means I’m not paying attention to where I am and what I’m experiencing.

I’ve got to tell you, though, that I’m jonesing for December like nobody’s business.

My Local U freshman writing class is KILLING me this year.  This is, without exaggeration, the sorriest group of kids I’ve ever encountered.

I mean it; it’s like a room of dead fish in there Monday and Wednesday nights.  I’m energetic, I’m excited, I’m performing for them, and they’re sitting there, mouths slightly ajar, staring at me with vacant eyes and listless expressions.  They seem to think that every question I ask is rhetorical and I have to actually CALL on kids to answer me – though half the time, they don’t have an answer; it’s as if they never heard the question.  Even when I played a game with them, they were dull and disengaged.

My only consolation is that I’m not the only one having this problem.  I’m engaged in correspondence with my office mate (we have vastly different schedules, so we communicate with notes left on the desk in our teensy-tiny “office”), and she told me that ALL freshman adjuncts that she’s spoken to have been having the damndest time trying to infuse some life into their classes.  My misery is loving her company; I was worried that it was just me.

I’m at wits’ end with this class, and I find myself not only dreading Mondays and Wednesdays, but feeling stressed and anxious the rest of the week, too.  The class is over December 7th, and I’m literally counting the days until I don’t have to worry about this anymore.


Filed under colleagues, concerns, failure, frustrations, General Griping, Local U., really?!

Grammar Wednesday

Every year, in every class, I do a lesson on the First Amendment. I’m just geeky enough that I can write the thing out by heart on the board.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yes, I am.

Anyway, I want them to really GET what the First does – or, more importantly, what it doesn’t do – and to that end, I have them parse the sentence; I want to get to the VERBS in it to find out what kinds of protections we can reasonably expect.

Nearly all of them find make as the primary verb in the sentence, but only one or two every year understand that the full verb in that main clause is shall make.  Most of the kids come to me not knowing what helping verbs are, and don’t understand that they really do change the meaning of the verbs which they precede.

Here, then, are the 23 helping verbs.  I learned them by rote when I was in high school (or maybe it was middle school?), but I recently discovered a little song – set to the tune of jingle bells – that really helps to cement the list in kids’ heads.  Ready?

“OH, helping verbs, helping verbs, there are twenty-three!

Am, is, are, was and were, being, been, and be-EE!

Have, has, had, do, does, did, may, might, shall and should;

there are five more helping verbs, may, might, must, can and could!”


Filed under Grammar

Grammar Wednesday

Advice vs. advise

Advice is a noun – it’s the something you give to someone seeking your guidance:

Can you give me some advice about choosing colleges?

Advise is a verb – it’s what you do when you’re offering said guidance:

I would advise you to visit a number of colleges and talking to a lot of people before you make your choice.

Please remember that Grammar Wednesday requests are always happily accepted!


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