Saturday, April 30, 2005

I'm all grown up.......

Yaaaawwwwwnnn, sorry. Yesterday I closed on my first house. Basically it went well and then my parents and I went straight to work cleaning it from top to bottom. I must say, the former owners were VERY clean people and I appreciate that. Its starting to feel like home but I won't be staying there until all my furniture gets delievered early next week.

I'm exhausted and sleep-deprived. Need back soon :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Since I am closing on my house the day-after-tomorrow, I decided to find out if there are any registered sex offenders living in my neighborhood. As I was looking through the list, I recognized a last name from one of my students. So I looked at this guy's picture, saw his address, and cross-referenced with the address in our school database....sure enough, its my student's father!

This student has been through a lot. She's been in and out of treatment facilities for depression, has attempted suicide, and has had 3 friends die in car crashes. Add her father being a sexual predator to the mix and I understand her so much better now! She occasionally will draw black tears on her cheek and is very knowledgeable on the topics of drugs/alcohol/tobacco.

There are 20 REGISTERED sex offenders living in the town where I am moving.

Now my question to all of you out there.......if you were looking to buy a home and knew there was a convicted rapist living next door, would that have any bearing on you buying that house? Parents, if you knew there was a convicted child molestor and/or child rapist living in the same cul-de-sac as you are looking to buy in, does that automatically make you cross it off the list?

As a female living alone, the fact I am a black belt and own a gun makes me sleep a lot easier at night. All I need now is to get the Great Dane I've been wanting.....either that or steal my parent's 2 dobermen!!

Elephant vs. Donkey

So tonight I watched my boyfriend and sister have it out on their respective blogs about politics. I have come to the realization that we are all passionate people with our own views. We are not going to change. People with views that differ can try and see the other side of things till the cows come home, but we will still believe down to our core that we are right. I will never understand why Democrats think the way they do about basically anything. I make up my own mind on issues, regardless of party lines. I don't blindly listen to everything an elephant has to say, but majority of the time, I like the peanuts he's spewing.

My boyfriend is concerned because I agree with basically everything my sister says in her blog The Ranting Republican. My sister is finishing up her 2nd year of law school and can verbalize thoughts and can argue better than anyone I know. He is finally seeing just how different we are in our views of the world. Is it something that we should be worried about? Absolutely. Can we find common ground on topics? Not likely. Can two people still love each other despite all of this? I think so. My question is: Can a relationship survive when two people are so completely different?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Who took my ribbon?

Last night I got to my car after working a track meet and noticed my yellow magnet ribbon that says "Support our Troops" was stolen. I bought it in Texas last summer (before the crazy phase started) and some idiot took it. I was walking into the building with a "Law in America" teacher/Lawyer and he said I can look at it one of two ways:

1. Someone is against the war and our troops being there and wanted to make a statement (even if you are against the war, we should still support our boys, but thats another story)

2. Someone really loved my magnet, wanted one, but couldn't afford it so they took mine

Any way you slice it, it sucks. I guess it could have been a kid who just wants to be an idiot as well. Now, I have to go buy another one.

Do you love cancer?

Good, now that I have your attention.....I started teaching about Tobacco today in class. I have found that teenagers are very visual learners and I like burning images or thoughts into their brains. As I was lecturing on Tobacco, I watched them start to get that "glazed over" look that all us teachers know too well, especially this time of year. So I said "Thats it, I'm done." I asked the kids about what they learned in junior high and found out I was beating a dead horse. I said "you guys know smoking is bad, you do it anyways. I'm not under any false pretense that because I say so, you will not smoke. I'm not stupid. BUT, I do want to tell and show you some things that will make you think twice when looking at a cigarette." The kids got dead quite and were intently hanging on every word I said. I pulled my chair to the middle of the front of the class, sat down and talked with them, not at them. It was extremely enlightening and by the end of the day my throat was sore as hell, but it was worth it. I told them the following true story (warning: story is a bit graphic):

This mother of a lady in our neighborhood had smoked for many years and got mouth cancer because of it. They had to remove her lips to keep the cancer from spreading. Well, for cosmetic purposes, she wanted to have lips again so the only skin that has similar consistancy and color to the lips is......the inside of her vagina lips. So they took the inside of her vagina lips, spread them apart, skinned the inside of them, and grafted them onto her mouth. Yes, she has vagina lip lips. Imagine Grandma wanting to kiss you then, after knowing where that came from! (apparently this was an episode of Nip/Tuck, says my students). Anyways, the cancer once again ate away the bottom portion of her new vagina lip lips and it had to be removed, leaving her with a horribly disfigured face. She now wears scarves below her nose to cover her mouth. ALL OF THIS WAS 100% AVOIDABLE.

It really had an impact on my students and word spread like wildfire. I asked them "how many of you will think of that story the next time you see a cigarette?" 100% raised their work was done for the day. I got to them in a way that no lecture from the book could have. Now, thats the mark of a good teacher. Tomorrow I will show them horrifying pictures that will really blow their hair back. They will have the facts, and images to go along with them. If nothing else, "they can't say I didn't warn them!"

Monday, April 25, 2005

T-minus 4 days

Till what you may ask? Till I close on my first house! I'm been waiting for this for so long and now its finally here. I finally feel like a 25!

Yes, even teachers can save up money and buy a house!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Seeing Red

Tonight was quite a night. I helped organize a massive Republican function and was a blast! I looked fabulous in a classy red dress with light camel slingbacks and a small elephant pin to top it off. Yes, I am admitting it now, I am a teacher AND a Republican. Its rare but we are out there. There were around 500 people and being onstage to hand out raffle tickets was eerily calm and felt natural. Here I am, only knowing MAYBE 50 people and I felt at home. I am a member of the Young Republicans and proud to admit it.

I do, however, choose to lay low at school for fear of the Union. I do have to admit they have our backs when things get ugly, but I don't like when they take my dues and endorse candidates with that money. So, I signed a piece of paper and now that money will instead to go Special Ed. kids......a much worthier cause in my opinion.

Soooo.....why do I do all the political stuff in my spare time? (which is slim to none). It makes me happy, its a change of pace, I feel like I'm making a difference....and we sure do know how to party! It is tough though, having a boyfriend who is a democrat because our views on the world are different and I'm the "single gal" at all these functions. But, I'm young, cute, smart, successful and independent so I manage to deal. I'd love to share these things with him but I think pigs will fly before that.

Wow, its really late, and I have a double-header for Freshman baseball in the morning......Chicago Forecast: Rain/snow 40 degrees. I'd pay serious dough for them to cancel tomorrow so I can get some much deserved sleep.

Friday, April 22, 2005

no more deaths, please!!!

This is really starting to wear on my high school. This year we have had 6 student deaths, the latest in a car crash last night. She was a Senior with a bright future ahead of her. We do not know details but we will have a moment of silence tomorrow morning. The flags will also be flown at half staff as well. We've had kids killed over in Iraq, gang shootings, a heart failure, suicide, and now this. Its getting tough to handle and seeing the friends of the deceased is gut-wrenching.

Then we have stupid kids. Today, as I was leaving my classroom for the day, I hear screaming and see a group of kids surrounding this classroom. I run over there and there is blood everywhere....on the floor, the walls, the desks, and a trail leading to the bathroom. I guess these two mexican gangbangers got into it at the end of biology class. One kid broke his nose and ran into the bathroom, leaving a blood trail. It looked like someone butchered a cat in there! But, being the medical genius I am, know that head wounds are very vascular so its not that big a deal. I put my CSI skills to use and tried to piece together what happened from just looking at the blood. Yes, I am weird, but when I watch those shows for 3 hours a week, what do you expect?

I think my school has had enough bloodshed for one year. We can't take another death and these fights have got to seems like a good place for the timeless quote, "can't we all just get along?"

Thursday, April 21, 2005

420, Columbine & Hitler's Birthday....what a day

Well, I must say that April 20th is quite an unforgettable day:

#1 "4.20"- International Pot Smoking Day. Urban Legend says its name comes from California's penal code section for marijuana use. NOT TRUE: Section 420 of the California penal code refers to obstructing entry on public land. So what is the signifcance of 420? According to in 1971 "Five San Rafael High School students christen the term 4:20, meeting daily at that hour to share a smoke under the school's statue of Louis Pasteur. The original password: 420 Louis." There you have it folks!

#2 Its the 6th anniversary of the Columbine massacre where 12 students and one teacher were killed by fellow students. So horrible, but I don't blame the guns, those 2 kids were seriously disturbed. One can argue its the parents fault for not raising them well, who knows, and some blame the teachers for not doing something, I'm not a fan of that either. I'm not up for a debate but would like to say that because of this event, I am a much more observant teacher. I watch kids very closely who put off a certain "vibe", I lock my classroom doors at all times, and I try and show my students as much compassion and attention as the law provides.

#3 Last but not least, Adolf Hitler's Birthday. There are many people throughout the world who celebrate his birthday. A West Virginia-based branch of the National Alliance encourages their members and supporters to help pass out copies of their anti-Semitic flier that says "Support Our Troops." It states that the US government should bring home all of the troops from Iraq and station them on the Mexican border to keep the Third World Immigrants out of this country. The Northern Hammerskins from Detroit are having their "6th Annual Adolf Hitler Birthday Bash" on April 23 which has a collection of bands performing.

Its interesting how disturbing all of these things are to me. I'm sure there were several of my students toking up at 4:20pm on 4.20, maybe a student or two imagining what it would be like to go on a shooting rampage, and a few people I know who are having a beer and toasting to good 'ole Adolf's Birthday.

Lets see, think happy thoughts before bed......puppies! warm, gooey brownies! cuddling with my boyfriend! moving into my house next week! puppies again! Ahhh, thats better.......

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

More admit to being drunk at wheel

This article is from today's Chicago Sun-Times and talks about the increase in drunk drivers.

"There were at least 159 million episodes of drunken driving in 2002, a 38 percent increase from 1997, researchers estimate."

As a Driver Education teacher I find this article especially interesting. To read the article in full, go to:

Too much information......

Earlier today I had this random sophomore stop me in the hall and ask "if your period is a month late, are you pregnant?" I said "quite possibly, but many times teenagers periods are irregular and can very in length and time." She looked a bit relieved but then I said "BUT you can also have your period AND be pregnant so I suggest going to see your doctor to be sure one way or the other."

Good lord, random kids stopping me in the hallway to get pregnancy advice.......what is this world coming to??

Monday, April 18, 2005

Lots of Puggies!

These videos are adorable (they have sound)!! I think my sister (who has 2 pugs of her own) will love these clips....

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A Turtlenapping!!!

My friend who teaches Biology had her class pet stolen this week!! He's an adorable turtle and he's been turtlenapped. It was given to her by a child from the church she attends. She's very angry and the school deans are on the case. Tonight about 20 of us teachers were out to dinner for a friend's birthday and one of the specials was "turtle soup".....she got this perturbed look on her face and we all laughed. We also had these visions of ransom pictures with people wearing black face masks, guns blazing reading a message with the turtle on the table all "Taliban Style." How horrible we are....

If you're out there, have a heart and bring her beloved pet back home!!!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Note to self:

Never eat foods from 15 different countries in 15 minutes. We had Culturefest last night at school and many of my students had made dishes from their native countries. I felt the need to sample them all so I had some lamb from Armenia, some sushi from the Asian table, some floutas from the Latino table, some good noodles from India, and some Fried Chicken, Coke and brownies from the USA table. Lets just say, its been 15 hours since I chowed down and I'm still reeling from the effects.


But it was a good time and I got to see Indian dancing, mexican salsa, and couple other great performances.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Real-life example of marijuana effects.....

So today we started the chapter on D R U G S. I'll tell you what, I asked my class these non-threatening questions to get a feel for their experiences with drugs. I have found out if I phrase questions that implicate them directly, I get nowhere (understandably so). But if its "someone they know", most likely probably themselves, they will gladly raise their hands.

"How many of you have a friend who does drugs?" -80% approx. raised their hands
"How many of you have been in the same room with someone using drugs? -75% approx.
"How many of you know someone who has used cocaine?" -25% approx.

These kids are freshman! Well, I had to build up to get to the point of the story. We are talking about the different classes of drugs and how they affect the body and mind. This one kid, who I have spoke of before came into class looking "funny." As I started class he had his head down and was eerily quiet. I asked him if he was doing alright and he lifted up his head and could barely open his eyes. They were half-open, red, puffy and glassy...classic signs of smoking weed. He was mumbling and put his head back down. The student who's expecting his second child next month speaks up and says "Yo, man, I think he's high!" and some of the other kids agreed. He didn't deny it and when they had to write something on the board he was sauntering about and my gut told me he was stoned.

I'm sorry, I'm a cool, young teacher, but when I'm teaching about the dangers of drugs, I don't need some stoned gang-banger glorifying it. So I called security, they came up and took him down to the dean. I am still awaiting the outcome. Was he stoned? Maybe. Was he acting to get attention from the class? Maybe. Was he just out late the night before and tired? Maybe. But you know what? I'd rather get him in trouble now, instead of him getting behind the wheel and killing someone.

I was suprised, my students that hour thought nothing of me "narking" on him. They were cool about it. I guess I expected them to say "Why'd you do that? Why you gotta call him out like that?" Nothing. I don't need real-life examples, my powerpoints and videos are good enough, thank you very much!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Random student stuff:

Some random student stories from Monday:

#1. In one of my earlier blogs I mentioned a student of mine who has a daughter and got a 10 day out-of-school suspension for marijuana. Well yesterday I overheard him and this other 15 yr. old saying "We gotta stop screwing the girls from this school man, they want to keep their babies and not get abortions"....."yeah, I don't ever want to get a real job because then I'll have to pay child support, I got another baby coming May15th"

These boys are 15 years old!!! He had on a t-shirt with a guy's face on it, and this written below the picture: 1967-2004. I asked him "who's the angry-looking black man on your shirt?" and he said "Thats my daddy, he was shot and killed in December". So this kid is living with his Grandma, mom wants nothing to do with him, he has a drug and drinking problem, and has a 2 year-old and another one due next month. It simply blows my mind.

#2. I just found out another one of my students was expelled yesterday. My high school has a points system and when you collect a certain number of points from fighting, drugs, ditching, etc., you can be put up in front of the board and recommended for expulsion. This is the girl who I have a strong suspicion that she has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Last week a girl at her lunch table called her a "b*tch" and she launched herself over the table and started beating on her and she ripped out her weave. That was the final straw and now she's gone. Its too bad, I liked her.

More to come...........................

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Take me out to the ballgame.....

Well one word can sum up this weekend for me, baseball. Yes, I am covering a Freshman B Double Header at my high school and then am going to the Cubbies game tomorrow. Its a good thing I enjoy baseball or I'd be going crazy! Freshman B are the guys who aren't good enough to make the first freshman team so its pretty crappy baseball. BUT, on the other hand, its very entertaining because you never know if a kid is going to catch that simple pop-up or lose it in the sun or drop it, then overthrow it to the first baseman.

Unfortunately, being the athletic trainer, these kids do get hurt a lot because they are still learning the sport. Last game I worked I had a pitcher catch a line-drive to the knee, another one had a ball bounce off the ground and into his neck, and another one who got his index finger nail ripped off (for non baseball people, players keep that one out of the glove.)

My beloved Cubs blew a victory yesterday at the Friendly Confines. Latroy Hawkins had 2 outs and 2 strikes in the top of the 9th, we blew it and then lost the game in 12 innings. Lets hope today that Carlos Zambrano can get the job done and tomorrow we'll be seeing Gred Maddux.

Go Freshman B baseball and go Cubbies!!!!

Friday, April 08, 2005

What a week.....

This very well might have been the L O N G E S T week that I can remember. Not much has gone right. My students are getting dumber by the minute, I've worked over 60 hours, I got my lunch stolen, my boyfriend is depressed, I'm exhausted and my blog is being tempermental.

But, on a positive note so I don't sound like a gloomy gus: Its beautiful outside, I have a job I love (most of the time), I'm closing on my new Townhouse in 3 weeks and my boyfriend and I will be basking in the sun in the bleachers at Wrigley Field for Cubs Opening Weekend on Sunday.

Soooooo, all and all, this week sucked but tomorrow is another day!!!!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Must we label our lunches?

Today my lunch was stolen out of our faculty refrigerator. I had a nice salad all prepared and I got there and someone ganked it!!!!

So then I bought a new salad went to sit down at the table where I put my keys down, and my friend stole my seat. So here I am, already cranky from the 40 hour week I've already put in (its Thursday morning), and my friend says "Tori, there's room, squeeze on in here" and opens up a space fit for a 5 year-old. So I said "forget it, its okay" and I sat at the broken big table next to their table all alone. This table top is wobbly, and can now spin around like a lazy susan (which was helpful in getting a napkin b/c I just spun the table around and the napkins came to me!)

I've learned my lesson today and will label my lunch from now on. I'm wondering what kind of person would eat someone else's lunch. If any of you out there have ever done this, could you explain it to me? Thanks.

Monday, April 04, 2005

What's in your drink?

In class today we are starting the chapter on Alcohol. I found some interesting stats that I'd like to share.

*Teens who start drinking under the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to become an alcoholic than people who are 21.*

What is "proof"? We've all seen it on bottles, what does it mean? Proof= measure of % alcohol in beverage. To find out what % of alcohol is in a given drink, take the proof and divide it by 2.

Example: Absolute Vodka 80 proof is 40% pure alcohol

Here are some common drinks and what % of alcohol they have:

Beer- generally 4-6% alcohol:
Bud Light- 4.2%
Budweiser- 5%
Corona- 4.6%
Miller High Life- 4.7%
Miller Lite- 4.2%
Colt 45 Malt- 5.6%
Olde English- 8%

Wine- to be considered "table wine" in the US, it has to be under 14% alcohol
Champagne- 12%-14% alcohol

Finally, the mother of all alcohols.........drumroll please.........coming in with 190 Proof and 95% pure grain alcohol................EVERCLEAR!!!!!! This stuff is so bad it can take paint off walls, I've seen it! A student of mine last hour said her mom uses it to clean her house. I tried it once and it was like swallowing knives. Its illegal in many states, including Illinois.

If there are any other beverages you'd like to know the content of, just leave me a comment and I'll do my best to find that for you. I tried finding Moonshine info, but didn't have much reliable luck.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Where did my Spring Break go?

I must say, there are weeks when I'm teaching that go by as slow as molasses.......but not when I'm on Spring Break! I didn't even get the chance to sit and relax and here I am, planning my next unit. I made the executive decision NOT to look at school stuff this week so I have to do that tonight.

We are starting our Chapters on "ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND DRUGS" tomorrow. Be prepared for some really interesting stories on here. So sit tight, Teacher Tori is back and ready to steamroll through the rest of the school year onto summer!! (oh wait, I'm teaching summer school, doh!)

Oh and its amazing some of the great teacher blogs that I have been reading as of late. As soon as I can figure out how to get my links up, I will most certainly recognize them!

Teachers that are going back to school tomorrow.......Good Luck!