One of the new traditions that I've decided to start this year at school is to organize happy hours to Brewer's Art on every "B" week Thursday. A "B" week is one that starts with a "B" day, meaning that you as a teacher have already planned for the "B" days. Because every other day is a "B" day, you've planned for the Friday, so you are set to go out on Thursday night.
I've dubbed them "Mandatory Meetings at the Art Place, downtown," which is understandable code for all that need to understand it. So I can just go into a colleague's room, and ask her if she's heard about the mandatory meeting at the art place taking place a 4pm downtown, and even if she has students there, she can still know the secret information.
A couple of Thursdays, we went to Brewer's Art for the first time in months. I was reminded again what a cool place it is. I love going out at 4pm and getting in by dark. Of course, I also love continuing to go on and on into the night, but that hasn't happened in a while, and my constant working schedule during weekend nights lately and in the foreseeable future will make it impossible anytime soon. But Brewer's Art - wow. Those rosemary garlic fries and $2 Resurrections. We've also seemed to carve a niche for ourselves in the van seats in the dungeon basement, where we ventured last time after there was some sort of radio shindig upstairs.
This has been a drab week and a happy hour will hit the spot. I think I've spent much of it recovering from the blistering schedule I lived from Thursday through Monday, during which time I had back-to-school night, mammoth 12 or 13-hour work days at the restaurant, and then the Melissa Ferrick show. I haven't been to the gym this week, something that makes me feel like shit, but I just haven't managed the energy. And of course it's a vicious cycle. I will make it tomorrow morning, though.
I have had a good week with the students, though. I'm finally to the point where I know most of my kids' names, and reading their essays has made me excited to get to know them better. It's amazing how revealing kids are to their English teacher, even in the first couple weeks of school. I also am noting more and more the things kids do for approval and reinforcement, and am trying to make it more of a point than usual of giving it. Instead of focusing on being mean early on ("Don't smile until Thanksgiving," as the old teacher adage goes), I'm just trying to be consistent and calmly firm. It fits my personality better.
Of course, one little boy today told me, "Dag! You just want me to fail, don't you?" after he didn't do his homework because he didn't know he had to complete what we had started in class. I had told him, "That doesn't surprise me. You are often talking to your classmates instead of listening to me. Did you write it down in your planner like I asked?" Then I told him that he couldn't turn it in late, but that he would get some partial credit for what he had done. Then he fed me that line and acted like a fool for much of the rest of class. The kid is smart so I'm thinking the line was some sort of test, and I later told him I had enjoyed his insightful comments about how Miss Emma was a round character in the story when others were calling her flat. We'll see how he works out. He owes me a detention that he could have served any day this week and of course he's put it off until either Thursday or Friday. That's my "bad class," so far. It's also the biggest class, and the one after lunch, and in the smallest classroom I'm in, so saying it's my "bad class" is not really a surprise. Just look at the numbers and you can tell that it's going to be the challenge. There are some neat kids in it, though. But it definitely needs a seating chart change, especially now that I'm getting to know the kids better and see how many wiggly chatterboxes I have.
Dang, sometimes I wish I could just quit my second job. But I just mapped out all my expenses through the end of the year, and no end appears to be in sight. To top off the other shitty ways that money seems to mess me up, I've been audited and it does look like I screwed up on my 2002 tax return (or maybe the tax program I used did...) and now owe $1113. Of course, I have no idea if I really did screw up or not, because it's all Greek to me, but the papers they sent make some sense to the layperson (me) and I don't have the time or know-how to pursue fighting it. So I'm going to just pay it off. I've already got $113 down; they cashed the check today which I assume means they've accepted my payment plan proposal.
I also have this crazy dream right now that I can be totally debt-free by the end of the school year, with everything paid off except for student loans, which will be much closer to being paid off than they are right now. This shitty tax thing, a summer credit card, and my car loan - expect to be in the rearview mirror soon.
So I asked the restaurant not to schedule me on Fridays, and they've scheduled me for three Fridays in a row since then. In those three Fridays, I've been cut twice without making anything and on the third night I've made $20. And on that $20 night I ended up giving a window-washer $50 so that sucked. Of course, I'm scheduled again for this Friday. He says he's working on getting people trained but that he needs his best on. And, truth be told, we do start getting busy after Labor Day.
I decided not to complain about this Friday, though, because Caleb Stineand his band are playing and I probably will make some good money, because he usually brings in a big friendly crowd. And he's great. I'd pay to see him, so working on a night that he is playing is like getting paid to go to a good concert.
AL East Notes: Orioles, Red Sox, Ellsbury - Earlier today, we learned that the Red Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury have yet to discuss a new deal this season. The outfielder can land a monster deal this winter...
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