September 30, 2008

punkin' decoratin'.

I am getting so old.

I want, yes actually, WANT to decorate pumpkins this year. Like, I have a burning desire. As in, it's all I thought about today.

What is wrong with me!?

I don't want to carve pumpkins, mind you. I want to decorate them. Paint them. Decoupage them. I'm insane.

Here are some really cute ones I'd like to copy...maybe later this week. Thesis? What thesis. Just kidding. There's definitely a thesis...but first there's pumpkins!

September 27, 2008

letter to the superintendent (for those still interested).

* I apologize if there's typos. For some reason, I couldn't cut and paste from Word, so I re-typed all of this...very quickly. Enjoy! :)

Dear Super Anonymous Superintendent:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that after due consideration and consultation with legal experts, the school district can not hold me to not exercising my legal free expression rights on my personal blog.

My expression did not result in a substantial disruption in the learning process of my students or in the overall functioning of ___________ Elementary. In fact, I wasn't even aware there was a problem in the first place. It is my belief that if complaints truly originated from a parent(s), then I would have received feeback directly from Ms. Principal at the time of the complaint, instead of being handed a letter threatening my "immediate termination."

Your threat of terminating my contract for "unprofessional, negative, or disrespectful" speech has no legal grounds upon which to stand, as the First Amendment protects unpopular speech. Firing a teacher for embarassing one's administration or "making the school district look bad" has no legal basis whatsoever. I am aware that federal courts have a history of upholding teachers' rights of free expression concerning their schools (e.g., Southside Public Schools v. Hill, 827 F.2d 270 (8th Cir. 1987)).

I was told by Mrs. Personnel Director that my speech violated the Arkansas Code of Ethics for Educators. A thorough review conducted both by myself and a legal expert found nothing within the code that references speaking negatively, disrespectfully, or unprofessionally about the school, district, students, parents, or the educational requirements of the State of Arkansas.

As you well know, the reason I live in ________ in the first place is becuase of my husband's service in the military. I find it ironic that he continually risks his life and spends months at a time away from his family in order to secure the very rights that you are so willing to deny me.

I will not discontinue the use of my blog, nor will I censor myself. Despite my opinions, I was still willing to work to see my students achieve, and I've had some really meaningful moments with those children. Those instances were also documented within the blog, but I suppose the parents who complained and the ________ administration only chose to see what they wanted to see.

You have my letter of resignation effective Friday, September 26, 2008.

Cassandra L. Webb

a jack johnson kind of day.

Ahhh, Saturday.

I am currently eating a Cup O' Noodles while I wait for my Mandarin Orange Cake to cool. I also just finished making Mexican 7-Layer Dip. Why all the goodies? Because in an hour or two, Aaron and I are headed over to the Jackson's for what Shannon has dubbed, "Football Saturday." There's going to be quite a few of us over there and it's going to be so great.

What's better than food, football, and your best friends in the whole world? I can't think of a better Saturday.

I listed to Jack Johnson's CD while I was cooking. I have never been more happy. Really.

What lies ahead for me is just so exciting. I am going to freelance (e.g. do what I really love), finish my thesis and get my Master's, and be a wife to my husband. I never thought I'd want that -- but it's all I find true joy in these days. So strange! Whoever outed me with the school district did me the biggest favor I could imagine. How does that feel, *insert inappropriate expletive to describe the dirty weasel here*?

So here's to watching Texas kick Arkansas' ass (sorry, Hog fans). Shannon *thinks* we're going over to watch the Auburn game...but we're not. ;)

September 25, 2008

rip my heart out.

I told the kids this afternoon that tomorrow would be my last day.

"For forever?" they asked.

"For forever," I said.

They cried. They offered to bring me money, (?) they asked if I would ever come back. I said no. It was not a fun afternoon. We had just learned about voting/elections in our Social Studies lesson about 10 minutes prior to my announcement and sweet A., in-between tears, said, "Can we take a vote?"

Rip my heart out.

One of my boys (whom I adore) came up to me and said, "Mrs. Webb, I wish you were gonna stay to February so then I could bring you a Valentine frog that when you push his button says 'I love you!' over and over again."

Rip my heart out.

It sucked. But the truth is out. And they will be fine. My replacement has already been found - she's a former teacher with years of experience and she's very, very nice. The kids will have no problem whatsoever.

I, on the other hand, might have some trouble. It's really not the kids' fault. And that's the only thing I am sorry for.

A little girl brought me three pink roses that she and her grand-daddy cut together the night before in his garden...just for me. And then I had to tell her I was no longer her teacher.

Rip my heart out.

Tomorrow's going to be a tough one. I have to say goodbye to some of the most precious kids in the world. Kids who, when asked to use the word "plump" in a sentence proudly said, "I ate a plump for breakfast!"

It'll all be ok...

September 24, 2008

a reason to wake up tomorrow.

Grey's Anatomy premieres!!!! That is what will keep me going tomorrow.

I. can. not. wait.

it's so funny what we remember.

Thirteen years ago today I got my first boyfriend, ever.

It was so official. I got a call (on three-way, remember that?) from two boys. One of whom I adored, the other who was acting as a 13-year-old wingman.

I remember the nervousness in his voice when he asked, "Will you go around with me?"

I am laughing so hard right now remembering how silly that phrase was!

I smiled so big but said ever-so-cooly, "Yeah, sure."

We hung up the phone and I remember jumping up and down and screaming and acting like a mad woman.

September 24, 1995.

It's so funny what we remember.

September 23, 2008

that i am.

Aaron and I were driving to the base tonight to run some errands (read: buy the Sex & the City DVD) and I happily exclaimed that tonight was Biggest Loser night!

He looked over at me and gave me a sweet look.

"What was that for?" I asked.

"You're so much happier now," he said.

That I am, sweet boy. That I am.

resignation official.

I gave my principal the letter today. We talked it over. She was gracious (as I knew she would be). Three more days to go.

I will post the letter to the Superintendent once I send it off in the mail.

I'm thinking of starting a new blog: "Take my job, but don't take my blog!"

Ok, maybe not.

September 22, 2008

ready to shed.

I am mailing off my resignation letter to the administration today. I am giving the principal the same letter tomorrow.

I am working on my second letter to the superintendent.

I am ready for all of this to be over.

P.S. I did speak to my professor and I was absolutely right about everything. I'll post the letter when it's finalized.

September 17, 2008

new post on oll: finally!

Go read the latest love letter. And listen to the new song, "The Special Two," by Missy Higgins. I heart her.

ready for pumpkin cake.

Is it really Fall, or is this weather just a tease?

It's been so beautiful in the lovely state of Arkansas all week. I hope it remains.

I am ready for pumpkins. And pumpkin cake. I remember this time last year was so great. Granted, Aaron was gone, but the girls and I had a great time doing a whole bunch of fall-like things. I especially remember trying out a bunch of new and fun "fall" recipes. I'm sad that I won't have the time to do all of that again this year.

But I will have time in December...when the snow turns into brown slush and the sun don't shine for weeks straight.

Oh well, I'll take it.

P.S. I got a recipe from another teacher today for Mandarin Orange Cake. Holy crap. This was seriously delicious. It was brought in yesterday as part of another teacher's birthday celebration. It was amazing!! I might give it a whirl this weekend.

P.P.S. A Mental Health Day is nigh.

September 15, 2008


  • Mondays are now officially designated as Pizza Night Mondays. Good for my soul. Bad for my waistline.
  • This morning was good at school. This afternoon was bad. That seems to be the trend. Can I just work half days and leave at lunch?
  • I have the best husband in the whole, entire universe. I really do.
  • I could use a massage (and the reason why is so totally not related to my fantastic husband). Weird association there, though.
  • I made myself leave school at 4 p.m. today. I will stay late tomorrow. I really wanted to get to the gym for class at 4:30. My lesson plans for tomorrow could really be tweaked and perfected. But...why bother?
  • I'm about to grade the stupid state Common Assessments; I have to, seeing as how I got an email today ordering that they all be finalized by Friday. I have no choice.
  • So not excited about our next Science Unit: soil. Wow. A whole month talking about dirt. Yippee.
  • I am loving the cooler weather. It's sooo nice outside! I just want to wake up (sometime AFTER the sun is out) and drink coffee on my front porch, wrapped in a blanket, with a good book. *Sigh. Maybe sometime this weekend.
  • Speaking of weekend - ours is packed! A wedding on Saturday night and then date night on Sunday. We're going to dinner and then the Arkansas Rep to see Les Miserables. I am so excited! I've never seen "Les Mis." Fun, fun, fun!
  • Life is so much better when you have clarity. Things are easier to deal with; happiness is easier to sustain. Thank Heaven.
  • I went to Barnes & Noble yesterday for the first time in months! I bought the new Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult paperbacks. Really wanting that front-porch-coffee-book-bliss tomorrow morning...
  • I have calculated and tabulated the days left until Christmas Break. If I wanted to, I could take off each and every single Friday until Christmas. If I wanted to. But that would be kind of obvious. But how nice would that be!? I am thinking of planning a Mental Health Day soon, though. Soon and very soon. Ya know, for my health.
  • OK, time to grade. At least The Hills comes on tonight.
  • P.S. New Grey's Anatomy next week!! New Biggest Loser tomorrow!!! Life is sooooo much better in the Fall! :)

ahhh, the smell of a new, fresh week.

Happy Monday, everyone. Or something.

September 14, 2008

write your own fairy tale.

How are my kids supposed to write their own fairy tale when most (read: all) of them can't even write a complete sentence?

They're supposed to do it, as per the state SLEs...sometime this nine weeks. We are going to start them tomorrow.

This should be interesting.


A decision has been made. The Webb household is happy. Only about 90 more days to go.

'Nuff said.

September 10, 2008

oh, and I had a "funny" today, too.

It's been awhile (read: a week) or so since the kids had a "cute" moment. Well, there was one today.

I have a very spirited little boy named Jacob. He's a bit tubby and he's got a full head of ORANGE hair. He's as sweet as can be, but can't keep his little mouth shut.

Anyway, today his rambling paid off. He made me laugh so hard, I cried -- and spit all over my record book. Oops.

This story would be much funnier if you knew the kid or were in the classroom, but here it goes anyway:

We've been studying Fairy Tales. Yesterday, they had to write about what they would do on their first day as a king or queen of their kingdom. Answers were typical -- give money to the poor, punish bad people, etc. One kid (not Jacob) said he'd give away free tickets to Monster Jam...but, I digress.

Jacob walked up to the front of the room today to present his "If I were a king paper." He reads the following: "If I were king, I would punish Jordan and reward Dwight." These are two boys in the class. I asked, "Why would you punish Jordan?" Jacob's reply? "Because he stole all my king jewelry!"

I laughed so hard. I thought I was going to die. Through tears I asked, "Why would you reward Dwight?" Jacob said: "Because he found it all!!!"

Cute moment #2. It was nice.

P.S. Happy Birthday today to my mama. And say a prayer for America tomorrow. Can you believe it's been 7 years?

a better day.

A better day because I got to leave school at 4 and go to the gym.

It won't ever happen again -- at least not anytime soon. But at least, for today, I got to get out of there at a decent time. It was nice not being the only vehicle left in the parking lot.

Two more days until the weekend!

September 9, 2008

me thinks i'm in a rut.

Ever had one of those days where you want to give the whole world the finger?

Today's one of those days.

I hate, hate, hate waking up in the mornings. I revert to childlike behavior. I whine. I grunt. I thrash under the sheets. I yell at my alarm. I slam doors. I don a constant look of disgust. It was especially bad this morning. Why is the bed always the most comfortable when the alarm goes off?

My kids really aren't that bad. They could be so much worse. I've realized it's not the kids. It's me...well...and the job, too. Sort of. But it's mostly me. It's me not wanting to be there; me not having that fire in my belly to see these kids excel. And that's terrible. But it's the truth.

The kids are fine. Here is what is not:
  • Progress monitoring. The biggest waste of time, ever. Having to "test" kids every two weeks using the stupidest methods one can imagine.
  • Guided Reading Groups. What the hell are the other kids supposed to do who are not attending their reading group session? Telling any one of my kids to "work independently" for an hour is just ridiculous.
  • State Assessments. I could care less. We have one on Thursday. Half of my kids can't even read. Or count to ten. And they're supposed to take a test without my help? Ha!
  • Benchmark Exams. My theory? If parents do their job and teachers do their job, kids will pass the stinking tests at the end of the year. The tests are not hard. I remember having to take TAAS all the time. Passed it every time, too. Why? Because I had parents who cared and good teachers. Not because I freakin' did a DIBELS test every two weeks in the hallway. Stupid!
  • Rude-ass cafeteria workers who send ugly emails to the school faculty (but really to me) for taking a plastic knife from the lounge (which was in the communal drawer). I had full intentions of washing it and returning it when I was done. And I did. Stupid lady. Oh, and I used it for a science lesson, not for my freakin' leftover spaghetti.
  • Video Clearance Forms. I have to get permission to show a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g in my classroom. Anything. I have to back it up with lesson plans. I have to prove its worthiness. I understand the reasons for this form (to keep lazy teachers from showing movies while they read People), but really. I wouldn't show a movie or clip that didn't have relevance. I never have. And now thanks to the Lazies, I have to wait for a congressional act to pass before we can conclude our Fairy Tale unit...which was supposed to be this week.
  • Parents not giving a crap. I suggested that one student practice his b's, d's, and s's when he had extra time. Not for homework. Not for a grade. Just practice in spare time. I received an ugly email from the mother saying that he already has too much work and to ask him to do yet another daunting task is hurting his self-esteem. Oh, and by the time he practices his letters and "does all the other work he's supposed to do" (which is reading for 20 minutes), it is bedtime. Fine lady, your child can confuse his b's and d's and write his s's backwards for the rest of his life. (He got a 40% on his Spelling test, by the way). This kid can't count to ten. He is on a 3 reading level (he's supposed to be at a 24), and he can't find the page numbers in his math book, even when I write the number on the board. The Parent Battle is ever-increasing and I'm about to wave my white flag and retreat. Forever.
Ok, this is just making me mad all over again. So, I'll stop...

But a few more.
  • Not having time to go to the gym after school. I have to work until at least 5 or 6 each night and by then, the classes that I like to go to are over. And I'm not about to leave school, go work out, and then COME back to the school. Forget that.
  • Having your husband mad at you for not going to the classes that we paid for.
  • Having him pick a fight on the phone while he's out of town over me not going to stupid classes that we paid for while knowing I already had a bad day. Does he think all these lesson plans are going to magically appear tomorrow morning by 7:30!?
Is it May yet?

September 8, 2008


Not sure how you pronounce that, but blugh is how I feel.

I don't have much to write about. Nothing's changed since last time. School still stinks. I want to quit. I hate staying up there until 5 or 6 each night...but I have no choice.

My Mom came into town this weekend and that was nice. Super nice. So nice, in fact, that it made today VERY hard. Oh, how I long for the days of freedom I once knew....*sigh.

Aaron is on a TDY to St. Louis. I'm not bitter or anything, but if I didn't have this job, I could be there with him.

I need to stop complaining. But it's hard when you have a headache, papers to grade, and 6 loads of laundry to do. But I really do need to stop complaining. Or stop my job. One of the two.


September 3, 2008

funny quote of the day.

To preface my candle observation Science Lab and to emphasis safe handling of the equipment, I posited the following question: "What would happen if you touched the flame on the candle?"

Jason replied as serious as can be, "You will die."


P.S. We were without power this afternoon for two hours. As soon as the dismissal bell rang, the lights came back on. Dang you, Gustav!!

September 2, 2008


I wore my Geisha tee today. I forgot I had about 6 Japanese kids in my classroom. One sweet little girl, Mirano, saw me first thing in the morning and pointed to my shirt. She said, "I like this!"

She continued to point to my shirt throughout the, every 10 minutes or so.

Oh, and did I mention that every time she "pointed" she was really poking my right boob?

"we're really happy right now, huh?"

Today was a good day. It was a really, really good day. Only two kids got warnings. All day!

I think it was because they were half-dead due to the long weekend. Whatever it was, it was great.

Our science lab went wonderfully: Apple Observations. They observed like it was their job, I cut open the apples and we all laughed when the juice squirted everywhere. Then they observed the inside of their apples. Then they got to eat them! A peace literally filled the room as those little munchkins chopped down on their apples. One little Japanese girl looked at another Japanese girl (I say they're Japanese only because they are so stinkin' cute. I need to take pictures) and said, "We're really happy right now, huh?" It made me tear up a little. *sigh. If only every day could be like today.

Oh, and my kids really, really, really love to clean. Give those kids a Clorox wipee and they are good to go! They'll clean anything and everything. It's awesome!! I asked them if they could come over and clean my house -- of course they said yes ;)

It's good for them that they like to stay neat, ya know. Our "Neatness Fairy" visited this weekend and left 6 rewards for the neatest desks in class. Oh, and she also left a Blow-Pop for those that got the reward. That Neatness Fairy sure is nice. And so were my

(Today was a day where work didn't feel like work. Not once. I've been waiting for that).

September 1, 2008

do i hafta?

I have thoroughly enjoyed this three-day weekend. A lot.

For the first time in about a month, I felt like I did before the craziness of 2nd grade began. Ya know, happy. Ha!

I had time enough to cook an actual dinner tonight and it was delicious! I got the recipe out of this month's Real Simple: Curried Rice with Shrimp. Yummy! Aaron ate two huge platefuls. There's nothing better than a happy husband at the dinner table.

Speaking of husband, he got back last night around 2am. Turns out, they flew straight from Little Rock to Lake Charles, Louisiana to pick up patients. They dropped them off in Oklahoma City and then came back home. What a night! He said it felt really good doing something worthwhile for once (Normally they go on missions that have nothing to do with helping anyone, etc). So yay for hero hubbies. I was so thankful that he was able to come home last night. We have had such a good day together; I'm glad I was able to experience it.

So, my lunch is made, gym clothes are packed. A new week is upon me. Blah.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. Tomorrow is TUESDAY and not Monday and I am getting a sub on Friday because my mom is coming into town!!! I am so excited! I know having a sub is usually double the work than just being there in the first place, but I want a day off to spend with my mama, dammit. So I'm gonna take one!

By the way, I've been meaning to write about this: Tomorrow we are observing apples in our Science Lab. Riveting. Wednesday we are lighting candles and observing the flames. Seriously!? Who thought of that!? Giving 7-year-olds candles...not my idea. It's one of those "have to do's" in my Pacing Guide. Thursday we are measuring and observing gummy worms. Friday, I have no idea what they're going to do because I won't be there. Monday we are observing real life earthworms!!! BARF!! I hate, hate, hate worms. They're already in my room (the kids don't know that, though). I don't know how I'm going to orchestrate such a lab. I guess I'll let one of the boys pass them out. Those boogers better not hurt those worms. I'm mostly afraid that my one particular "special blessing from God" is going to eat his. It wouldn't surprise me.

Three days. I can do it. I think.

P.S. I am tossing around the idea of quitting at the semester and writing my thesis in the Spring so I can graduate in May. I hate quitting. I hate being a quitter. But when in the world am I going to write a thesis for crying out loud? Uggggh.

P.P.S. Teachers of elementary: Any special advice/tips for creating the lesson plan and notes for my sub? I know I can't worksheet the kids to death, but what else can I leave for my sub?? That poor, poor soul.
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