Friday, July 18, 2014

Theory 48: Never ever say, “At least you have summers off” to a schoolteacher.

Four. More. Days. 

My junior high colleagues and I have four more days of freedom before we report for duty and begin a new school year. Yes, I am complaining. No, I am not ashamed of my whining. It’s no mystery that women love to complain. We are detail-oriented, critical thinkers. Plus, we are the critical do-ers, so grant us our soap boxes from which we must speak, because as soon as we step off those soap boxes we have to mop them. Among women, I believe teachers are the best of the best when it comes to griping. Maybe I could hustle up a griping best practices in-service followed by a how to keep your employees from griping in-service. I can smell the green $$$!

I cannot tell you how many times last winter, as I collapsed after a one hour school-daycare-errands-home commute, I would say, “I am absolutely worn slap out” only to hear Tall Child say, “Well, you’re about to have three months off.”

Really, Tall Child? What kind of new math did you learn back in the day? My last day of school was May 28. My first day back is July 22. Now, I never have been able to read a clock or remember which months have thirty-one days, but I can promise you I don’t get three months off. Six weeks. That’s it in my district. Sounds eerily like maternity leave…feels like I’m recovering from birthing 230 freshmen. Did I tell you I’m pregnant with 230 more?

Thus, in honor of all the educators out there who must squeeze summer onion-dipped, beer-battered thighs back into their helk-acious school attire, I have made a few lists. Teachers, this bud of a blog by Bug is for you. Perhaps, when a moneyed friend from the corporate world, or a well-wishing housewife, says to you, “At least you have summers off” you can whip this list out and ‘splain to him/her that teachers need summers off to survive. But, be compassionate, because you may see those silver-liners in a cafeteria someday because, no matter how hard some people try in the beginning, they still end up teaching school. Trust me.
THIS Happy Camper... brought to you by THIS happy camper.

Things that WEAR teachers out so that they need (and deserve) summers off:
Doing paperwork for the sake of paperwork
Evaluations, which require eight page lesson plans when we can accomplish the same thing with a Post-It note
Holding our bladders for eight hours
Trying to decipher and accept Common Core Standards
Continuously counting the number of pieces of paper they print out of the printer that breaks all the time (I went 2500 over last school year!)
Explaining to dozens of students, dozens of times, “Yes, I got my haircut.”
Hearing co-workers’ personal problems. I apologize to all my work buddies in advance, but I have so much to tell you...
Bus duty
Hall duty
Cafeteria duty

Ballgame duty
Dance duty
Club advisory duty
Long commutes
Needy co-workers (again, sorry in advance)
Proofreading for grown-ups (I never could have published The Eye of Adoption with my beta reader, Red Hot Backspace)
Washing the two pair of black slacks every other night
Helping our children with schoolwork after teaching school all day
Frantic phone calls from our children’s schools and daycares
Sneaking out of school to take our children to the doctor
Daycare diapers, wipes, fees, cooties, papers

Jumping off each other's cars (all teacher cars should come with jumper cables and Triple AAA)
Packing lunches (or eating the same lunches as our second graders)
Interpreting one-thousand-word emails
Fixing spotty wireless
Red Hot to the rescue

Being teacher-broke and thus guiltily saying “no” to students who are fundraising to go on mission trips to cure or feed poor children in third world countries
Breaking up fights
Sitting in uncomfortable furniture

Papergates (for my NMS buddies)
Battling bladder infections (Can I get an "Amen" elementary friends?)
Going to graduate school
Fixing our bangs (or is that just me?)
Dieting: teachers are always on diets
Answering the question, “Did you get my email?” 
Negotiating with menopausal/PMS-ing colleagues
Acronyms, like, um,...N.A. (Red Hot Backspace, ask me about this one. Ha!), S.A.D, CCSS, NEA, TEA, PARCC, TCAP, NCLB, DECA, FBLA, EOC, TDOE, TEAM, TIGER, CTE, ...
Lovingly hosting impromptu 45 minute parent-teacher conferences at Wal-Mart
Staying nice all day and not losing your cool.

What teachers do during their, ahem, looooong summer “breaks”:
Feed other people’s animals
Work second jobs (often alongside or serving our students) so we can pay bills
     - mow grass
     - wait tables
     - clean cabins
     - nanny
     - coach
     - umpire/ref
     - host camps
     - work at Dollywood
     - sell stuff
     - rescue tourists from bumper boat and race track spin-outs
     - tutor
     - write books
Go to grad school
Run shuttle services to all kinds of practices.
Do the marine crawl under our front doors to avoid baby-sitting other people’s children
Teach vacation Bible school
Teach summer school
Get pap smears, breast exams, dental cleanings, colonoscopies, prostate exams, and vasectomies
Finish hours upon hours of unscheduled, mandatory and voluntary in-service
Attend professional development conferences
Serve in the National Guard

Things teachers dread about the start of school
Doing paperwork for the sake of paperwork
Being teacher-broke and spending our money on classroom supplies
Learning new software, again, like we do every August
Attending in-service meetings that soak up valuable time
Tolerating obnoxious teachers who won’t shut up during said in-service meetings
No more Bloody Mary’s at lunch
Taking showers every single day
Wearing different clothes every single day
Conforming to a handbook that has rules inside
Learning student names (then learning student names again after Christmas break – same students)
Saying the same thing one thousand times per hour per day per week per month.
Saying the same thing one thousand times per hour per day per week per month.
Saying the same thing one thousand times per hour per day per week per month.
Students, the printer name is MCS 211.
Students, the printer name is MCS 211.
Students, the printer name is MCS 211.
Missing our own children
Continuing graduate school coursework as we plan, teach, and grade
Moving to different classrooms
Finding out we have to teach brand new content
Sitting through student-orientations
Needing a change in scenery:
Which view is better? Compare and contrast...

~ ~ ~

All that griping aside, I truly believe that teaching is the most important profession in the world because it impacts every other profession. We have (scary?) powerful influence in what I think is a noble career. Think back to the people who inspired you as you grew up. My guess is that if you make a list of the ten people who inspired, encouraged, and loved you throughout your childhood, half or more of those people are teachers. I have been a corporate worker, a housewife, a teacher, and a writer.

To end on a positive note (since teachers must model appropriate attitudes toward learning for their students), I jotted a good little list of wonderful aspects of the teaching profession. I mean every single word.

Good things about being a teacher:

Man of Measure and Red Hot Backspace

Red Hot and Hot Chocolate

Students keeping us youthful and informed
Speedy work days
Rewarding interaction with young people

Colorful, dynamic, always changing work days
A calling, a ministry
The privilege of parenting children who need parenting
Socializing with interesting, talented, funny co-workers
Faculty: a second family
Working in a culture of life-long learning
Knowing exactly what we are supposed to do
Opportunities to be creative
Collaborating with bright professionals
Advocating for your school community
Enjoying the privilege of caring for young people and helping them reach their goals! 
Playing a personal role in students’ success stories

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot:
Fall break
Thanksgiving break
Christmas break
Spring break
Summer break

And the best of the best:


~ ~ ~

It’s your turn, teacher-readers. What do you dread? What do you love?# Post here in a comment or go to Theories: Size 12 on Facebook. Let’s cheer each other onward! Go buy some black britches and peanut butter crackers. It’s a new school year!

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 
Facebook: Jody Cantrell Dyer

See you next post. Until then, think outside the barn!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy Summer, Readers!

I hope you all had a great time July 4th! I just wanted to let you know that I didn't write a new post July 3rd because I was on Norris Lake and I won't post July 11th because I'll be spending time with my precious nieces Balloon Girl and Cake. Plus, July 19th is the last day for two of my grad school classes, so all my creative energy will go into writing my teaching philosophy, journal article abstracts, interviewing a veteran teacher, and curriculum and instruction class presentations. Yay. Me.

Anyway, my last diatribe, Theory 47: Chunky girls need love songs, too, especially in the summertime, is a hit. You should see it below this post. If not, here's the link:

HAPPY SUMMER! Live it up!

Sharky and Gnome certainly do.


Sharky explores the Little Greenbrier School

Sharky surveys the Little River in Metcalf Bottoms, GSM

Gnomes eat their donuts from the top down.

Rain delay. Brought his game inside. Geez.

See you next post (July 18). Until then, think outside the barn and eat as much onion dip as you want. It pairs well with Bota Box Pinot Grigio and Kroger brand rippled potato chips (saltier than the name brand).


Friday, June 27, 2014

Theory 47: Chunky girls need love songs, too, especially in the summertime. (So I wrote one.)

In last week’s post, Theory 46: The perfect summer is almost free. Ask any redneck—like me! I illustrated the ideal summer of inexpensive, happy, outdoor times. Summer should be carefree, but for most women, summer also brings an embarrassing, hard to avoid circumstance that causes us great anxiety and self-hatred.

We have to wear underwear in public. Swimsuits. Yuck.

Delicious once stated, quite profoundly, that she looks better naked than she does in a swimsuit. I don’t know about naked, but I do look better in my underwear than I do in a swimsuit. Why? Because my bras are designed with suspension engineering, volume control, orthopedic support, and coverage. In a swimsuit, I feel droopy and exposed.

I lose and gain the SAME three pounds every stinking week. The schedule typically works like this:

Monday - I get motivated and go “low-carb” and drop the pounds by Thursday.
Thursday – I get cocky. I eat some bread.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday – I get loose. Agape Agave, Flower Child, Smokin’ Scrubs, and “Elaine” text up a trip to El Charro.
Monday – I beat myself up and start all over.

It’s also strange to me that whenever I sit, scrunched over in a beach chair, sweating like a chubby piccolo player at band camp in August, in my skirtankini, and watch fit young girls with 5% body fat frolic freely in the ocean, I get sooooo hungry. What the helk is that all about?

Don’t you think it’s interesting that we women know EXACTLY HOW to lose weight, but we just can’t follow through? Why is that? I ponder a few potential reasons…

  • Our husbands want us thin, so we rebel.
  • We actually love ourselves and like to treat ourselves with wine, onion dip, and milkshakes.
  • Eating too much is a secondary concern compared to the usual daily issues we face: menopause, PMS, pregnancy, infertility, serving on committees, fighting addictions (ours and other folks’), helping children with Common Core schoolwork, caring for aging parents, getting new degrees in old age, fighting the urge to run away.
  • STRESS from ridiculous primary and secondary work stress.
  • We have tooooooooo much to dooooooooo.
  • We need sister wives to help with all those to-do’s so we can plan better meals and exercise, but sister wives are taboo.
  • We watch so many zombie shows that we eat as much as we can now because we subconsciously believe one day we we’ll be stabbing our undead neighbors in their foreheads to gain access to their dusty apocalyptic pantries.

By the way, all you ,magazines and TV shows, please stop telling me I need to sleep more, drink 10,000 ounces of water each day, and exercise.

I can’t sleep because Gnome won’t go to sleep. He watches golf, in my bed, while I read textbooks (gag), until 11:00 p.m. That is THE BEST I can do right now. I get up at 6:00 a.m. in the summer (5:00 a.m. in the school year) to work, write, and think….alone. Alone! Leave me alone about my sleep situation!

I can’t drink water because water sucks. It literally has no taste. If you magazine and TV people can improve water, I'll give it a shot.

I can’t exercise because I would have to get up at 4:00 a.m. or go to bed at midnight. You tell me I need sleep. Do the math. Impossible. Plus, when you exercise you need to stay hydrated with water. And, again, water sucks.

~ ~ ~

Okay folks, I am throwing in the beach towel and embracing my three pounds. I think I’ll even name them. Hmmmm. What would be most appropriate for three pudgy friends that show up every weekend? Perhaps I should name them after their lineage. Sure!

Pound 1: Mayfield (as in onion dip and ice cream)
Pound 2: Bota (as in Box)
Pound 3: Jose (as in my favorite waiter at El Charro)

By the way, I don't need to lose ONLY three pounds. Mayfield, Bota, and Jose have friends. Trust me.

Who can (or should) resist the ice cream truck?

I do need to lose all these "friends" before my breast reduction surgery so I don’t leave the hospital looking like a snowman. Whatever. I guess I'll starting the Monday that school starts in late July. Until then, I am calling this summer the “Summer of Onion Dip.” I'm going to live, and eat, and pray. Did I just plagiarize or do other women feel this way, too? Sugar, butter, wine, salt: BRING IT ON!

This is livin'.

To encourage all of you less than svelte ladies who must wear underwear in public this summer, and worse, like me, must wear underwear in public while chasing toddlers, I have re-written a song to hopefully make you feel loved. I chose the Luke Bryan song, “Country Girl Shake it for Me” because Agape Agave (a massage therapist) actually got to work on him, so naturally we are good friends – indirectly – so I think he’ll forgive me. Also, he is LOADED $$$ and won’t bother to sue public schoolteacher me. Also, he is People Magazine’s 2014 “Sexiest Man” in country music.

I strongly suggest you listen to the real song a couple of times before you read/sing my lyrics. That way you’ll know the tune. And get to see Luke Bryan. Here’s the link:

Chunky Girl Shake it for Me” 
– satirized by Bug, dedicated to every self-conscious woman ever.

Hey girl. Go on now.
You know you've got everybody looking.

Got a little donk in your big white truck,
Take off your swim skirt; don’t cover that up!
Stomp your size nine boots in the Georgia mud
Dip that chip; make me fall in love

Get up on the hood of my tractor, that’s hot!
Be careful, don’t trip, you’ll need a tetanus shot.
We can’t drive to the after hours clinic with a buzz,
You’d lose your teaching license. We’d have to put the pimento cheese up.
Let’s play it safe, stay here, and eat boiled peanuts.

Straddle that hood with your thunder thighs.
I’ll turn on Dixieland Delight.
Get all parts moving, I can’t wait,
To watch you do your thing!

Shake it for the young girls dreading bikini season,
For the sexy country women out there canning and freezing,
For the Weight Watchers, Low Carb-ers, and gluten-dodgers,
We know they ain't having fun.
Shake it for the Cross-Fitters who never enjoy a cone,
For the pageant girls marching to their mothers' drones,
For the teenagers building their self-esteem.
For the fat band geeks. Helk, they’re living the dream!

Chunky girl, shake it for me girl,
Shake it for me girl, shake it for me
Chunky girl, shake it for me girl,
Shake it for me girl, shake it for me.

Somebody's pudgy little pretty child,
Met a Little Debbie, got a bit double-wide.
You know how to live, you know how to fry.
Rope me in with your custard pie.

So come on over here and crank this arm
Spin me and this rock salt with your buttery charms
You could be the woman of my dreams,
Let’s make some chunky loving and homemade ice cream.
Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Shake it for the young girls dreading bikini season,
For the sexy country women out there canning and freezing,
For the Weight Watchers, Low Carb-ers, and gluten-dodgers,
We know they ain't having fun.
Shake it for the Cross-Fitters who never enjoy a cone,
For the pageant girls marching to their mothers' drones,
For the teenagers building their self-esteem.
For the fat band geeks. Helk, they’re living the dream!

Chunky girl, shake it for me girl,
Shake it for me girl, shake it for me
Chunky girl, shake it for me girl,
Shake it for me girl, shake it for me

~ ~ ~

Readers, for the love of summer, have fun. Don’t be unhealthy, but please drop the self-doubt, self-hatred, and self-sabotaging baggage. Start your diets in the fall (or never), and LIVE! Think of your BEST friends’ attitudes toward you. Have the same attitude toward yourself that your friends who love you have toward you! And remember, fat floats. Ha!

Cheers to a great summer!

 Find and friend me on social media! And answer this question: What is your #1 guilty pleasure in the summertime?

See you next post. Until then, think outside the barn!