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Date: Monday, October 5, 2009
To: Fred Bommerson
From: Jack Woodson
Subject: You are what you wear
Last Thursday marked the end of the first six-weeks grading period. Friday was Fair Day – State Fair, not “play impartially without cheating” – so there was no school. Preparing report cards would be SO much more fun if Nintendo would just hurry up and develop Gradebook Hero for the Playstation or Wii.
Today is the first Monday of October, and that means a big change in how we come to work. Summer dress code is officially over. Never mind the fact that it's still over 100 degrees outside, and even inside the classroom, I feel like a microwaved poodle. The HVAC units in our classrooms seem to have been cobbled together by drunk baby pandas in the 1950s, and they are just as likely to HEAT an already hot classroom as they are to cool it. Nevertheless, now that it's October, I'm required to wear a tie and a button down shirt. For me, this means a long-sleeve shirt, because I just can't bring myself to wear a short-sleeve shirt with a tie and look like I stepped out of the NASA Apollo program of the 1960s.
Our art teacher, Mr. Vann, decided a few years ago that he didn't like his tie hanging down into the clay/paint/whatever, so he started wearing a bow tie. This hasn't been challenged, so I'm thinking maybe I could start wearing a bolo and maybe be ok.
I know from experience that many other teachers around the district are not held to the dress code. I've been to plenty of off-site trainings and conferences where the other male teachers were wearing jeans and t-shirts. However, my principal is a stickler for the district dress code, so I have to follow suit.
Usually, the transition goes unnoticed, or at least uncommented on, by my students. This year, though, I received several compliments.
"You look great today!"
"I like your shirt!"
"You look like a businessman!"
"Is that 10 pounds of crap in a 5 pound bag?"
Just so you know, I threw that last one in as an example of the kind of thing that was NOT said to me today. Everything was very positive!
We compared numbers today, deciding greater than, less than, or equal to. My kids seemed to grasp that pretty well for the most part. Of course, they really sank their teeth into the whole “alligator mouth eats the greater number” mnemonic. Literally. Almost all of them drew the inequality signs complete with jagged teeth, forked tongues, and in some cases, fiery breath.
Mrs. Fitzgerald told me at lunch that one of the kids in her class looked at a problem where the two numbers were equal and declared, “The alligator don’t know which side to eat!”
Mrs. Bird also shared a funny story at lunch. She has been fed up with the rote, wooden, zombie-like nature of the kids' Pledge of Allegiance recital in the mornings, so today she had them write out the Pledge on paper. In addition to a myriad of misspellings, one thing really stood out to her.
Q had written (and I assume has been saying), "One Asian, under God…"
He must have forgotten where he lives, though he wasn’t the only one geographically confused today. On our walk out to the buses, J told methat when her dad gets out of jail (!), they are going to move away from the United States. I figured she meant moving to Mexico, so I jokingly asked her, “Oh, so you’ll move to Japan?” “No!” she answered. “The moon?” I asked. “No!”
When I asked her where they were going to move to, she replied, “To Miami.”
Talk to you later,