Lessons learned.

Today when I got to my classroom, I was greeted by Student T with: “Miss Jordan! Why didn’t you tell me I was doing so good on my math tests!”

I’ve been tutoring this girl in Algebra for awhile now, but she’s only had to take a couple of tests for the course so far. And none of them have been passing. And none of them were recent. So I had no idea what she was talking about.

So I asked, “What math tests are you talking about?”

“The CAHSEE tests,” she replied. “Mrs. Ramirez told me you said I was doing really good.”

With the beginning of the school year, our classroom has started doing CAHSEE prep workshops for the tenth graders, and I knew she was in the math workshop, but I had no idea they’d taken more than one practice test so far. I did know they’d taken one. The first day of the workshop, last week, I’d looked over the list of grades for the first test to check up on my set of kids. T was the only one of my kids who’d had a passing score, and I’d mentioned it to Michelle in passing.

Which I now remembered.

I looked at her a little bewildered. After all, I hadn’t even been the one to grade her test. It wasn’t my workshop. I do make it a habit to tell my kids when they do a great job on projects and assignments though, the ones that I grade and go over with them. So I wasn’t sure why she was so upset I hadn’t told her about her grade from a different teacher.

I tried to explain. “It’s not that I was keeping it from you, it just wasn’t my test, or my class. I didn’t grade it, I just looked at the grades after….”

She just kept looking at me.

I stopped trying to explain myself. “You know what? I should have told you what a great score you got.”

She nodded, grinned, and headed back to her seat.

So now I know. Even when they don’t seem to care, they do. And even if it’s not my workshop, or my assignment, or even my kid, I should be looking for every single chance to encourage their work. If all kids got as excited as T did about a passing grade, life would be much better at the Woodman classroom.

So how did your day go?

Today my car stalled right when I was about to get on the freeway. Stupid car. And stupid people for honking at me, even though I immediately put on my emergency lights. You know what emergency lights indicate, people? That something’s wrong. So please don’t honk. You just look rude.

After that, the day wasn’t so bad.

At lunch, I went to get my cell phone, as I usually text Chris while I’m eating. You know, things like, “You’re the best husband ever!” or “I can’t wait to hang out with you tonight!” or just plan ol’ “I love you!” Keeps the boy motivated at work. His work is so hard*.

Not.

When I went to get my phone, I saw I already had a message from my beloved.

“Um… so I’m on my way to LA in a limo.”

….

When I got a hold of him, he explained that his boss had called the work day off and rented a limo to take the whole gang up to the Getty for inspiration and lunch.

Needless to say, the Woodman gang is very jealous of the Bulldog gang now.

Speaking of gangs, one of my favorite kids was almost shot today! While he was at a gas station getting air for his bike tires, on his way to school, some guy approached him and asked where he was from. I didn’t know this, but according to our students, that’s gang speak for “What gang do you belong to?” My kid said he was from nowhere… but then he added that the guy might know his cousin so-and-so from such-and-such. And apparently the guy did know cousin so-and-so. Then he proceeded to tell my kid that he was lucky he had a connection; otherwise he would have taken his bike (what a lame gang member, first of all, stealing a kid’s bike?) and then gotten my kid to fight him over it, and then he would have shot him for fighting him.

This is a true story.

I had tears in my eyes as he was telling us this story today. I cannot even imagine something like that happening, yet according to my students this happens all the time. Yeah, we (the teachers and CA’s) complain that our school is in the hood and that we’ve got creepy crazies wandering in our parking lot, but none of us have ever dreamed of an experience like that.

Michelle asked our student what he would’ve done if he hadn’t had the cousin card to play.

“I would’ve had to fight him,” he said.

“No, you would’ve given him your bike and walked away,” she told him.

“That’s not how it works,” he said. “You can’t walk away.”

This is an interesting juxtaposition of a post. Two different worlds. My husband gets to ride up to LA in a limo, and my student nearly gets shot biking to school.

So how did your day go?

My first ever bridal shower

Sunday was my birthday! And as is tradition at the Woodman classroom, we had a celebration!
But not just any ol’ birthday celebration, mind you. I was surprised with a birthday/bridal shower luncheon on Monday!
My co-workers seriously rock. No wonder Woodman is the most coveted classroom.
So I headed into the kitchen around 12:15, prepared for my birthday lunch, as as I rounded the corner I saw… (da, da, da!)… a Victoria’s Secret bag. And I was all, “wha?” and Brittany was all, “welcome to your birthday bridal shower!” And I was all, “the guys are leaving, right? Right?”
Nope. The guys stayed.

We had a big ol’ potluck with lumpia, fried chicken, couscous, a fruit bowl, and two cakes… one of which was my favorite Hans & Harry cake.

Brittany even facilitated bridal shower games to play! She passed out clothespins to play the “you may not say the words bride, groom, wedding, dress, or Chris” game. I lost real fast on that one, using Chris’ name of course. But Dave ended up winning his very first bridal shower game from it.

We also did the “how much do all these things cost?” with a bag of cleaning supplies… I was exactly $1 off that game, P.S., with a guess of $16.76. Darn that Rachel girl for taking that prize from me.

(But it’s okay: I got to keep all the stuff in the bag. Chris and I will have a clean house!)

Co-workers Lora Lae and Baby Rachel (Woodman inside joke):

Our resident math wiz, Domingo, hanging loose at the shower, and sporting his clothespin:

Michelle, who is my specific teacher, and who is amazing!

Me opening up various presents and cards. I got a birthday card signed by the students and a special card delivered by two of my favorites, plus the Woodman staff card. I was a little, ahem, wary of opening my Victoria’s Secret bag in front of the guys, but Michelle assured me it was fine. In it was a gift card… thank goodness. 😉

I also got something from our registry: our two glass mixing cups. Our kitchen is well on its way. And, my fellow scrapbooking co-worker Lora Lae also gave me an adorable scrapbook for wedding pictures, in our specific wedding colors! Loved it!

But by far, the best picture of the day goes to Baby Rach:

Thank you, Woodman friends! I love working with you all and couldn’t ask for a better place to spend the majority of my day!