The other S word

“No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks…”

Schools out for…Spring Break!  (Hey I get called plenty of S words a day.  It’s about time I gave one back!)

That’s right ladies and gentlemen.  It’s that other break that is music to the ears of those in education, Spring Break, coming second only to those other magical words…Summer Vacation.  (But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  We still have 9 weeks to go!)

Spring Break always awakens in me all those feelings of renewal and rebirth.  It’s a time for me to throw back the curtains, dump out those drawers and reorganize my chaos for a fresh new season.

I was so excited for spring break this year that I could hardly contain myself.

Weeks ago, I started making a list of all the things I would get accomplished.  Closets cleaned, drawers straightened, flowerbeds and yard raked, paperwork filed, holiday preparation done, photos in the photo albums, scrapbooks up to date, books read….oh all the books I was going to get read.

Then I looked at the calendar realized the joy of all joys….

MY BREAK IS THE SAME TIME AT MARCH MADNESS!    I know I have mentioned time or two that I am a slight insanely, ridiculously obsessed sports fan.  March Madness is such a great time of year that even the novice of fans fills in a bracket and sneaks a little game watching when the boss isn’t looking.  Usually I’m stuck at work, so I’m connected to my computer those first two days of the tourney, hoping to catch a glimpse of an upset or that must-see buzzer beater.  Now, thanks to the school calendar scheduling gods, I will be home in my sweats, kicking back on my couch, getting to see every glorious second!  (Can you tell I’m excited?)

Well the final bell ran on Friday and I couldn’t get out of the building fast enough.  Sayonara school halls….see you in 10…maybe.

It’s like all that crazy, pent-up energy from the first three quarters of the school put me in hyper drive and I hit my to-do list with a speed and swiftness I didn’t know I had.

Day one – closets cleaned, drawers straightened, donation pile made, rooms all spic and span.

Day two – Garage cleaned and organized, Christmas lights down (yes, finally), yard picked up, garden raked and ready, business paperwork caught up.

Day three – Photos in photo albums (Yes, I still print all my pictures and make photo albums.  Nothing digital will ever be the same as flipping through an actual photo album!), scrapbooks current (Yes, I make the kids scrapbook pages from each school year.  They’re not as pretty as some other’s make, but my kids love them and I love reliving the year as I do them.), shopped for upcoming birthdays and holidays, finished book #1.

photo copy 8

photo copy 7

Day four – Car to the shop for a quick fix, more business paper work, decorated for the Easter, start book #2….

photo copy 11

You know what happens when you are super, duper organized?  You get everything done before noon on Tuesday of your Spring Break and you end up sitting on your couch, looking at your March Madness bracket, trying to decide which upsets to go with, and painfully watching the clock tick down the seconds until game time.

I hate to even type the words but……. I’m so bored.

Poor IP has taken the brunt of my boredom today.  I keep walking into his office and staring at him, then offering up ridiculous suggestions of ways for him to play hooky with me.  Take me to lunch… go to a movie…  nap on the couch….  all code for – entertain your wife who’s going bat shit crazy with too much free time on her hands.

Despite all my talk about longing to have hours to sit and do nothing, when I actually have time to sit and do nothing, I realize that I actually like to be busy.  I think my internal clock craves lists and schedules and chaos.  If I don’t have eight things to do and am not being pulled in four different directions, I don’t know what to do with myself.

‘The quiet scares me ’cause it speaks the truth.’ – P!nk

(Sorry to get all reflective on her here, but hey, it’s my blog, I can type what I want!)  That’s one of my favorite song lyrics.  Maybe this is a chance to develop a new side of Kerry.  Work on slowing my mind and enjoying the calm.  Focus on just being present and enjoying the minute that is in front of me without have to plan, schedule, and do.


Maybe I can clean underneath the couches and behind the washer and dryer.  Then I could sew clothing for my dog and organize the attic.  Hey, I’m all for self-reflection, but I just realized being inside my head is scary place to be….


And the winner is


Good teachers are hard to come by.  I should know because I switched my children’s school for just that reason.  I feel like I hit the jackpot when I put them at their current school.  It seems like each teacher was born to teach the grade they are in and challenges the kids to reach their full potential.

My son is in 5th grade and has the holy grail of teachers…. a loving, caring teacher who knows her material and her students well.  She has 25 years of experience and wisdom, understanding that she can push students to successes they didn’t know were possible.  She still believes in high expectations and high accountability.  She knows how to prepare kids for the upcoming challenges for middle school and high school, all the while growing their self-confidence.  If I haven’t made it clear enough yet, she is awesome-sauce!!!

Mrs. Mixan is one of those teachers who blends the latest technology and good ol’ hands on experiment into her lessons to really drive home the learning.

The latest science lesson was over bacteria, so of course the students dove into the text book, reading, taking notes, and making study guides.  They searched the internet and watched videos where super slo-mo was used to show the spray and projectile of a sneeze.  (If only the boy had seen it years ago!  Good news, he is finally covering his mouth and nose when he sneezes!)

Next, onto the hands on phase of learning.   Mrs. Mixan asked the students to put a piece of cheese, a piece of bread, slices of a tomato, and a cracked egg in a jar with a tablespoon of water, then seal it for a week.

Day 1

Here goes nothing.

Day 4

Ok. Not too bad.  I can see a few green spores.  Lots of humidity in there.

Day 8



Day 10


Ok, that is seriously gross!  The upside to this???  When Mrs. Mixan opened the jar and took samples of the mold spores for the microscope, my son had grown the most bacteria and was the classroom winner…of the most disgusting and smelliest creation.

Anyone out there suffering from strep throat???  I can save you the cost of a prescription.

My son was so proud of himself for his accomplishment.  I know the really winner was me and the rest of the parents who understand how incredible of an education he is getting and what a spectacular teacher he has guiding him on his way!


One of those days…

It didn’t look like it would be one of those days when I rolled out of bed.  If I had known what was in store for me, I might have just stayed under the covers.

I started the day in a hole, digging out from the paperwork I abandoned the previous day when I went running for the hills at quitting time.  As I began to scribble on a few pieces of paperwork when…


WHAT!?!?!  That can’t be the start of the day bell, I’m not caught up yet.  Great.  This better not be a sign.  As I walked to the door, I heard the familiar voice of a student making demands.  No hello, no how are you…just demands.  Man I wish I had worn my armor and closed toes shoes today.

This isn’t my first day at the rodeo, so I strapped in and prepared for the roller coaster ride that I knew was about to become my whole day.  I’ll spare you the details and cut straight to the cliffs notes.

Today I was..

– Called the following names: F*#^ing C*#!  / P*#@y / B^&#% / Stupid A&*$h#@e / Dumbo (clean and funny) / You A#* / Stupid C*#! / F*#^ing A&*$h#@e.  (I quickly realized that we need more swear words in our vernacular, as the student had to keep changing up the combinations so as not to repeat insults.)

-Pushed, grabbed, pulled, picked up, run into and flailed at by flying body parts.

-Insulted and threatened repeatedly.

-A witness to my office be torn up and my desk attempted to be ransacked. (Ha Ha!! I lock that baby everyday for a reason!)  Good luck I’ve played a fair amount of dodgeball and can move away from flying objects.

-A lightning quick magician who wrestled scissors away from angry hands.

-The luck recipient of a milk shower.  Yes, as a finally thank you from my student I wore the milk from their lunch.

Finally, 5 and 1/2 hours later, the dismissal bell rang (why does it sound oddly like a tap out bell?) and I was free to put my angel on a bus and begin my endless phone calls and paperwork.  Crap!  I still have yesterday’s paperwork.

As if I wasn’t already drained and living on one frayed nerve, I received a personal phone call telling me a medical procedure we were waiting for approval on is delayed.  Awesomeness!  Because if my professional life is going to blow up, might as well have a personal crisis join the party.  Sweet!

Last nerve officially gone.

I wanted to put my head down and cry.  (I think I might have a for a little bit, but don’t tell anyone.)

I set my mind on auto pilot, sped through my phone calls, packed up my paperwork to finish at home and made a beeline for the door.

When I got home, I switched into mom mood, hoping I could muster enough strength to push through to bedtime.  I was knee-deep in homework and getting ready to start the sports taxi when it happened.  The universe began its work to even itself out.

Not knowing how much I needed a boost today, a neighbor read my ‘cry for M&MsFacebook post and snuck a package onto my porch.  I opened my door and saw this.

I instantly smiled, laughed, and cried.  She could not have known how terrible my day was.  She could not have known how low I was feeling.  She could not have known how much I needed that.

Thank you Caryn.



Conversations from my work…

Welcome to today’s installment of ‘conversations from my work.’   I have the pleasure to work with some great students who provide me with lots of great material for this here blog.  Here are a few of the conversations I had today.


Scene – Student attempting to correct me

Me – Yes, I know, they were trying to go smoke pot.

Student – No, it wasn’t pot.

Me – Ok, then what was it.

Student – It was weed. 


Scene – One student having a conversation with another

Student 1 – I have $19,000 in my savings account.  I might go buy an iPad.

Me – You could do that.

Student 2 – You could buy 2!


Scene – Student in my office, pulling at the fake tree I have.  I see him picking his nose.  Then I see him rip a fake stick off the fake tree.

Student – I’m going to stick this up my nose.

Me – I wouldn’t do that.

Student – (Sticks stick up his nose.)  Ooowwww!  It tickles!  (Then rips a fake leaf off of the tree and puts it in his mouth.) Hmmm, this doesn’t taste like a leaf.  It tastes like cloth!

Conversations from my work

(Just a reminder if you didn’t read my bio.  I’m a school social worker at a school for behaviorally disordered special education students.  My daily interactions and conversations are, shall we say, interesting.)

Here are a few conversations that I had or listened to at work this week.

1.  Scene – Teacher has given an assignment over cause and effect of air currents.

Student – “I can’t find the answer!!!!”

Teacher – “It’s in this paragraph.”

A few minutes later…. Student – “I still can’t find it.”

Teacher – “Read this sentence.”

A few minutes later…. Student – “I still can’t find it!!!”

Teacher – “The answer is the first sentence.”

Student puts pen to paper and writes ‘The first sentence.”

Teacher – “No, the answer is in the first sentence.”

Student – “Oh, so what is it?”


2. Scene – Staff member finds a quarter.

Staff member – “Hey look!  I found a quarter.”

Student – “It’s mine. I dropped it!”

Staff member – “Ok, whose picture is on it?”

Student – “I don’t know!”


3.  Scene – Student sitting in my office with me.

Student – “So are you full white?”


4. Scene – Student working on a worksheet from class.  The textbook is open in front of them.

Student – “I don’t know where to find these answers!”

Me – “If you read the section, you’ll find the answer.  The generally write the answers to those worksheet questions in the textbooks.”