Monday, November 21, 2011

Xylophones and Mallets

My last post was a bit on the dark side. It happens. Since then I've had many good days:

1) Anita and Tara came to visit and we spent a busy and fun weekend together going to the Wynwood Art District monthly art walk, dancing at the Vagabond, bicycle riding in the Everglades, eating baleadas and reminiscing at a Honduran restaurant, and generally lounging about in Coconut Grove. We stumbled upon the same vintage store twice in three days. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of our weekend together so I'm waiting for them to post their pictures on Facebook so that I can steal them and write a blog post about their time here in Miami.

2) Bi-monthly ,pay day, happy hour with the 5th grader teachers at The Yardhouse.

3) Moonlight Classic Movie night at The Barnacle, complete with blankets, a wine and cheese picnic, and a nice breeze. It was also the first time that I'd ever watched Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in a movie - Sabrina. I have to admit that I was taken aback, and a bit disgusted, at the very clear age difference between Hepburn and Bogart in the film. That they were supposed to have fallen in love with each other was very difficult to believe...on the other hand, his character was filthy rich so I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised at all. Bogart just looked so much older than Hepburn. I guess I'm accustomed to all the makeup, botox, and camera tricks that are used in movies in the present time. Also, now I understand what all the fuss is about Audrey Hepburn - she was so beautiful and (seemingly) talented. You just don't see thick eyebrows like that on  movie stars anymore.

So, you see, my life did pick up on a positive note since my last post. But all that seriously threatened to fall apart today when I walked into my classroom at 7:30 this morning to find that the air conditioning was not working. Yes, it may be Fall, but in Miami the temperature is still in the 80's. In fact, it was cooler outside of my classroom than inside of it. An hour later, after marking my class down for perfect attendance, I came to the sad and often recognized realization that I still have forty students in my classroom. I still have forty students to teach without a co-teacher. Forty students whose FCAT scores rely heavily on my ability to teach them math and science. Have I mentioned before that I'm not even certified to teach fifth grade? The sad thing is, I'm actually getting used to having such an absurd class situation. Watching my class walk to the cafeteria and take up the entire length of the hallway is normal to me now. Squeezing through rows of desks and around students in my classroom is normal to me now. Having to grade forty tests, and distribute forty different sets of homework, and send forty students to the restrooms are all normal to me now. I have become desensitized to such an obscene injustice in the Miami public school system. Or so I thought...

Then my students had music class today, which they always do on Mondays. Since I have so many students I can't take them to the school's music room, which is what all of the other classes do, so the music teacher comes to my room and conducts her lesson from there.  At first, this bothered me terribly because I really needed to use my planning hour to plan and organize in my classroom and I hated having to share my planning period with my forty students and their extremely loud Cuban music teacher. Then I got used to it and was able to ignore the students singing and the music teacher's keyboard playing. Until today when she decided it was time to bring out the xylophones and mallets - a set for each student! EACH STUDENT. I quickly downed two ibuprofens and left the classroom in search of a quiet and air conditioned room. Yes, my planning period was wasted but at least I still have my sanity...for now.  

Are you wondering what one Cuban lady and forty students with xylophones and mallets sounds like? Enjoy:


Chris said...

Who needs waterboarding when you have that to listen to? I'm serious. Occupy should incorporate this and do it in the lobby of Goldman Sachs. 30 minutes of Cuban music teacher + 40 xylophones? All demands would quickly be met. You might even convince Palestine and Israel to set aside their differences.

Thanksgiving's a-coming!

mami said...

Totally agree.
...but I'm actually surprised, I thought music classes were things of the past.

Kallmen said...

Loved the "music" -term used loosely. Humphrey Bogart was of Christopher's dad favorite actors. His two favorite movies were "Casablanca"and "African Queen." Our black lab Bogie was named for him.