Monday, August 27, 2012

Peer Observation

It is required to go and observe one of our peers.  The contact:  out the window.  

So-and-so did not smile at me when I climbed the stairs to U-Lounge.  Now, I can make a check mark beside the "no" box next to the question about their friendliness, their sociability.  Nobody will ever read the evaluations but they might be used as ammunition, after all, this is America and we are known for our violence, and then our justice.  What else have I observed about my peers?  That they have pouchy eyes and dark circles under them?  That they forgot to brush their teeth?  What are those red eyes?  Yes, I'll check off the box that says their faces look stressed, much like my own.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012


I see them more than I see my parents, my spouse.  I observe their movements and they become as familiar as the landscape of my face, the inside of my car, my pin numbers.   A year spent with them and I do get to know their likes and dislikes.  Some of them hate Teenbiz, for example.  Some do fine with it. 

Tipping Point

Growth Time is exhausting, dull, a heavy weight pressing down to the grave and beyond.

Even the angelic ones start acting up, throw around curse words, papers, their writing implements. 

They claw at each other for things to eat.  I have never been so tired as after Growth Time. 

The dictionary might keep us occupied all year long. 

The poet said to build things like put sticks together and notice things.  I noticed that up close the meadow lark looked like a fierce hawk. You have to  be fierce if you are going for a light touch.  Even the flying suitcase Great Blue Heron seemed intent on packing and unpacking.  There is great joy from the underneath.  The green is opposite of the desert, the desert a negative of the green but just as interesting and full of history. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Teachable Moment

One occurred when she asked what to put down for "city" on the forms students were filling out so they could get college infomation sent to them, whether it was Hawaii.  Well, Hawaii is the state so write that down, I said. We live in the state of Hawaii.  On Statehood Day, we have a holiday.  No school.  We then spoke of native people on the mainland and songs featuring a loom,  deer.  Like fruit of the loom, someone said.  Like dear, another wrote in her journal. 

I was being evaluated again and the form said students were off-task and not engaged.  They were not informed of the learning target or lesson's goal for the day.  If I'm called on the carpet I'll say that I was busy trying to focus on the definition of a city, the definition of a state.  After all, in three years they will graduate.  They will need to know this then. It is not on the Pacing Guide but I took a risk to speak about it. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Area of a Sandvichensis Circle

I feel as if I’m circling around when I signal, pull over, and idle while they climb in.  Mostly male, urgent about the door, more expert about the island than I will ever be.  They know the temperature of the air, if the rain has become mud, if there’s a lava cricket sound or a coqui sound.  Which fruit is dropping.  In my car I do not know these, do not notice.  I get lost in their rushes of silence, remember my new pimples, the rim of the coffee cup.  Glad for N.P.R.  Renee Montagne, Mara Liasson.  Steve Inskeep’s voice more familiar than my own.

The mean astrologer hasn’t been around and I used to pick him up daily.  The one guy from San Francisco who said he remembered always seeing Richard Brautigan “like Mark Twain with his mustache.”  The senior nurse with heavy bags.  The scavenger, Kevin, needing rides to Nanawale to make the coffee before the early meeting.  Michael, a healer, self-described tapper, “up and down the chakras” had a little trumpet tucked under his arm.  The chicken guy with two fancy hens, fluffy legs.  One octogenarian, camping at McKenzie, his dog Hero, groceries, a small can of propane.  Enough for a pot of water, a package of hot dogs. What of it?  What of me just driving past so I don’t get into the same conversations, the resulting gratitude for my steady job, electricity, my dry clothes. An area too rectangular, a landscape where this formula would not work.

Going Undercover Two Years Ago

Hawaii Teacher Detective

 Everywhere I go (especially the office) I am confronted by Richard Brautigan’s ex.  She is at the office, checking in as a sub, she is turning the corner with a bunch of papers, she is putting her hand on my back, reassuringly, when I check my mailbox, looking for new morning mail. 

I refuse to go in the school and help with the academic plan.  It sounds deadly horrible.  All the really terrible choices are clear there.  It is bleak and wearying.  I would barely be able to survive something even remotely like it.  It is amazing how much work is expected of teachers, how much grueling grind in the forefront of working at a school. 

So wearing.  I know how to not be too concerned.  Too tied up.  What is all this?  Al these blasted predicaments.  Do I even know? 

Am I Richard Brautigan?  Am I his follower?  Why did Stan and Susie leave those books with us?  The drama of the classroom is behind me.  These nutty digs.  They become bigger and better.  A real distorted time.  Little and big.

The day, rainy, fuzzy, ill-defined.  Film of the national parks—heartbreaking history and fights, especially with the damned Forest Service.  At least I have a job.  It is a better increment ahead at least.  Any time there’s a glitch, I despair.  Is that what these pages will record?  I’m not sure.  I cannot even tell anymore.  A long way, besides. 

The skimpy day ahead.  I need to maintain a positive attitude. 

Met with Virginia Brautigan Aste again yesterday.  I sort of feel like I need to move quickly in order to behave myself with her.  I might lose my patience or else something else.  But what?  I don’t even know.  The other realm here.  My realm decides my fate.  She repeated a few things.  I should ask her if I should write to Ianthe at least some sort of letter or essay or could our article be that?  I don’t know either.  I don’t know what to do.  Mixing and mashing myself in.

Dagger Growth Time Sandvichensis

At the end of every day we have Dagger Growth Time, G.T. for short, although this sounds like Gifted & Talented, it is not.  It is supposed to be like counseling or character education, mainly anti-bullying or bullying-prevention. It is about caring for the students' well-being.  It is about an hour long and comes from Obama's well-meant Race To The Top funding that the school doesn't seem to know what to do with.

Dagger Growth Time is filled with goals and General Learner Outcomes that the students can recite backwards and forwards.  What they really desire is the action of the parking lot by the state-run library that they are not allowed in during school hours  (no funding for a school librarian). 

A few Daggers tried out the new parking lot area the teachers got kicked out of--it was their new recreation area for playing and not by H-building, thank goodness, with all the middle school congestion there.

After the bell rang and the teachers went to their meeting, it was Wednesday so it was departments, there were two altercations in the newly cleared parking lot.  One boy had his shirt off and another was running away.  A girl was screaming at another girl because a boy had touched her hip.  With his hand.  The principal and security were there and also the rest of the students who were supposed to be waiting for their buses to come and take them home to their far-flung subdivisions.  Ainaloa, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Black Sands, Kalapana, Sea View.  The meeting continued with the mandatory review of the Academic Plan.  There was also some discussion about which grade levels needed the most Intervention with Achieve3000 and the Teenbiz program to practice test taking and reading comprehension.

It is only the second week of school.  I think I've seen five fights just by U-building.  It is the second week of school.

One teacher commented that the testing probably won't go as well with this year's bunch.  They work so slowly.  They need so much extra time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sandwich Island Comprehension Test

Level 10/12, Form T

didn't know all there was to know about her.

deeply affected.

Lay eggs

builds with silk.

do things he didn't...
did things he wasn't...

basketball moves.

the narrator himself.

doing readily
he had been practicing.

Page 12

suspicious of strangers.
organizing one's world.

artistic traditions.

A coral animal settles...


producing nitrate wastes.
New coral animals.



Comprehension (Continued)

So the job can be done.

spray solutions.
It follows a set pattern.
                factory workers.

She felt unable to relax.

To be protected from
The wind had become

They moved straight...


One noble challenged...
Ladies attending the...

To identify any knights
  who had done...

Excuse a knight from...


become folded.

Chemical connections.

Keep them near
substances that turn...


By fitting it into a...

nothing special.

seemed alive.

It seemed impatient to go.

It was hard to start.

more complicated to fix...

Number Wrong or Omitted
Raw Score

(lines found in Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test)