Monthly Archives: June 2009

Last Day, Last Post?

Today it ‘s official.  The last day of school.  It’s a minimum day, so there will be lots of cleaning, putting things away, clearing off counters, things like that.

I”ll be honest.  When I picked up my class at their line, I was. . . pissed.  Not one present.  Now, I’m not looking for a lot of gifts from the kids, but I have spent an entire school year with them.  Don’t you think one parent could have thought, “Hey, that Mr. Vander Wall has been working all school year with our kid.  Maybe we should say thankyou some how.”?  Nope, not one.  Not a crappy stuffed animal, not an ugly mug from the dollar store (those are the two gifts I usually get, when I get a gift), nothing.  I”d be happy with a few parents coming up to me and saying thankyou.  Or a phone message in my box.  But nope.  Nada, nothing.

It pisses me off that these parents seem so unthankful.  From my perspective they put so little in to their child’s education.

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My Last Full Day

The end of the year is always bitter-sweet, but to be honest, it’s usually more sweet than bitter.  I’ll miss some of my students, but truthfully, it’s like missing that itch you had that felt soooo good to scratch.  I had an odd group of boys!  It will be interesting to watch them for 2 more years here at school.

One of my boys is leaving after the school year.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard of one of my parents waiting until the end of the school year to take their child out of school, so I have to give him credit.  I tell my class that even though I will probably forget their names, I always enjoy former students saying hello.

We’re not doing a whole lot of achedemically strong teaching today and tomorrow, but we will be doing some things.  Getting out of here tomorrow at a good time is what is primarily on my mind.

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That’s right, kickball.  We played our annual 6th grade v. teachers kickball game.  It was fun, like always.  We let the 6th graders get ahead, but then we came roaring back.  I got lucky and got a couple good kicks in (2 homers).  It’s fun to have all the kids out there cheering, playing around with the other  teachers, music blaring.  (When they played the Macarena I had to quickly get over to the Man side of the lineup!)  We ended up winning 17 to 12 (I think it was something like that).  It was a very fun morning.

We gave goodbye plants to the 6 teachers that are leaving us next year due to budget cuts.  It was a sad little goodbye, but short:  We’re sad you’re leaving, here are some plants, good luck!  Oh well.  We are losing some very good teachers!

A day and a half left!  Friday will be busy.  Good thing we only have a half day.  Then it’s a rush to do the last minute cum stuff, get  your room all cleaned out, and get out as soon as you can.

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I had two students enter the talent show. Billy was going to sing a High School Musical song (you remember Billy?) and “Mario” was going to sing a different song.  Well, Billy isn’t known for following through on things.  When he first tried out, Billy was going to play guitar and sing with his friend “Andy” and “Shupac”, who was going to learn the violin the night before.  Needless to say, THAT didn’t happen.

Fast forward to today.  Mario forgot to bring his music for the show.  He has been talking about this for weeks, even asking if he could sing the song in front of our class sans music.  He was definately the stronger of the two students, singing wise.  Billy has been looking forward to the event as well, and even remembered to bring his CD.

Billy was the third act up.  He got out on stage, the music started, and he actually sang!  It wasn’t great, but he was doing it.  But then. . . he forgot the words.  The music kept playing, but he wasn’t singing.  You could see him thinking about the words, keeping the beat with his head bouncing up and down slightly, his eyes looking up, trying to look into his brain for the words.  But he just couldn’t find them.

But to his credit, he kept his composure.  He didn’t run off stage crying.  He stayed up there, trying to get back into it.  A couple of times he even put the mic back up to his mouth, only to pull it back down.  The teacher in charge finally pulled the music down.  The school gave Billy a round of applause.  They were really nice.

Billy walked off stage back to where the performers were sitting.  The principal and I went over to him.  He seemed alright.  A bit disappointed, like he couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t think of the words.  I congratulated him for going up there in the first place.  I was really proud of him for trying, and for the first time actually wanted to give him a hug.


We had a retirement party for my principal today after school.  There were a lot of people there, and it was good to see friends I haven’t seen for a while.  The video was good, so was the cake.

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The Last Week

The last week of school is usually a very good week of school.  And this year seems to be going the same way.  There are some papers I still need to turn in to my principal, and I had to come in early to finish my cums and my report cards, but for the most part it appears it will be a good week.  We have the talent show on Tuesday, staff v. students kickball game Wednesday morning, shortened day Wednesday (like always), and minimum day on Friday.  Yep, it looks like it’s going to be a good week.


Once again Billy isn’t medicated today.  I could tell right away.  I asked him about it, he said he had taken both pills (trust me, it matters if he takes only one, or even if he takes three!).  But a few minutes later I asked him again and he said he hadn’t taken them.  Something about being rushed.

We were going to take the benchmark writing test today, and I knew there would be no way he could do it well.  I sent him to his RSP teacher’s room to do some work with her, (thank you, “Mr. Clark”!) while the rest of the class took the test.  Before he left, he had already spilled water on his desk and chair, and had 4 pencils scattered under his desk, as well as parts of a crayon box beneath his chair.  All after only 15 minutes of school.

After recess he showed me how many pencils he bought during recess, seven.  That seemed like more than enough.  I asked him where he got the money.  He told me he got the money from home, then proceeded to pull out a hand full of new state quarters. $4.50 in quarters.  Some had some blue paper glued to the back of them.  It looked suspicious.  I called mom.  Apparently he took the quarters from his aunt’s quarter collection.  Oopsie.  I sent the pencils and the money down in an envelop so mom and aunt could come down to school and pick them up.  I told Billy I would be very, very sad if my nephew stole from me.

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Gold Rush, Finally

It went off without a hitch.  Gold Rush, that is.  The most of the kids were all dressed up in their 49er costumes, and they were all excited.  Up to the room we went, took attendance, then back down for the singin’ and the dancin’.

There were lots of parents.  You could see the kids looking around for their parents.  I was looking around for my family (Julie promised they’d come).  And with the 3rd grade classes out to watch, there was quite the crowd for us.

Oh, and wait until you hear the drama.  Did I mention that 3 days ago the girl who was the lead character showed up with her mom and said they were going back to Iraq (yes, Iraq!).   She had to have known before.  Then this morning 3 of the other characters left their scripts at home.  Grrrrreeaaat!

We made a few quick copies and got everything set.  And they did a great job singing and reading their parts.  I think the parents really liked it, and I could tell the kids loved performing.

After that we went to our dance places.  That too went off without a hitch.  It’s so funny at the beginning of the year the students come in asking if they HAVE to dance at Gold Rush, and even as we start practicing they almost all squirm when they have to touch a member of the opposite sex.  But by this morning, they all loved it.  They had a great time.  I was really proud of them.

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I didn’t win the webtop.  I just found out what it was.  Now I can forget about it.  It’s 5:01.  I think we’re almost done.  I can’t wait to get home.  The kids are done with school for the summer!  I am sooo jealous.

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Web Training

I was chosen along with another teacher at my school to be the “web master” for our school’s new web site.  Our district is rolling out a new website, and all the schools are getting much more control over their own sites.  So it’s been trainging all day, 8:00 – 3:00.  Really good training.  Really cool training.  But my brain is fried!

And now I’ve got Digital Storytraining now, 3:30 – 5:15.  After that, I’ll be mush.  At least I’m sitting down all day.  (My butt hurts!)

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Open House

It was late this year, a week and a half before school gets out.  I like it that late, but some don’t.  It’s always a fun night, because you spend so much time stressing  and getting ready for it.  So by the time it comes, I always feel relaxed.  It is a bit weird standing around the classroom in a tie.  This year I wore an old bowtie.

Remember the mom who wrote me the note about not wanting to sign the papers because it was a waist of time?  Well, apparently, so is going to Open House.  I had about 7 families not show up, which is a pretty average for me.  I’ve never had everyone show up.  It’s usuaully around 7 – 10 families not showing up.

I had a sub the next day so I could go to web training, so I stayed after Open House to write sub plans.  I got home at around 8:15.

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The Note

Every week my class puts all the papers the school wants to send home, or all the papers I want to send home or return, in their cubbies.  On Monday’s we bring that stack of papers home, with a note attactched asking the parents to sign and return it so that I know they have seen the stack of papers returned to them.

Here is a note I got back today from one of the families, written on the back of an unused envelope:

Dear (teacher),

My husban (sic) and I feel it is pointless for us to sign a paper saying we saw all the papers that we had all ready signed.  If you want us to sign the paper for the pack of papers then don’t have us sign every paper he brings home.  Otherwise it’s pointless.  Thank you



Any questions Call me

Let’s just say I was a little . . . upset.  Okay, they are wrong.  They do have to sign their child’s homework after it is finished and before they turn it into me the next day (this family hates to sign that as well).  But I’m not just sending home homework.  WHATEVER.  It’s the end of the year.  I don’t need to fight this battle.  Next year’s teacher can deal with it.

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