Monthly Archives: August 2016

School Communication in the New Year..

We’ve all been through it. The child comes to school and says to the teacher, “So, what are we doin’ today? Nothin’, right?” The teacher then spends at least an hour demonstrating that instead of “doin’ nothin’” as the student wishes, they will indeed study Shakepeare, hone their writing skills and improve their vocabulary—for instance, ‘nothing’ instead of ‘nothin’.

The child will then return home to the eager parent, who is hoping for a good educational experience for their child and the parent will ask, “So, what did you do in school today?” The child’s inevitable reply? “Nothin’.”

Another school year has begun and speaking as a person who has been on the parent and the teacher side, I can tell you that despite all the efforts of parents and teachers, there is a serious communication gap, because the channel used for communication between parents and teachers is a child. I would love to be able to clear some of this communication problem, but, unfortunately, we are still, to this day,  using the child as a communication tool.

“Mom, my teacher said we will have an overnight campout and make whores.” A mother, not sure whether to laugh or cry, told me this story once. When the mother, slightly alarmed, finally contacted the teacher, she discovered that her 7-year-old child had replaced “sm” with “wh” as she described what they would make at the camp.

It always makes me wonder what messages go home from my classroom. When I tell students my usual grammar jokes, do they go home and tell their parents the teacher didn’t teach them, she just did a stand-up routine? And judging from their faces in the classroom, I’m guessing they don’t say I did a funny stand-up routine, either.

High school students are as likely as elementary children to get the wrong message across. “My teacher took a picture of me in journalism class,” a student reported to a friend of mine one day.

“Really?” the mother was busy preparing supper. “What were you doing that she took a picture of?”

“I was going to the bathroom,” the teenager returned casually.

My friend said she held off on her first impulse, which was to run to the school and demand to know why they were allowing pervert teachers to take pictures of students at the urinals. Instead, she asked some rather sharp questions of the teenager, who, alerted by her excitable attitude, was able to clear up that the teacher took a picture of him in the hallway as he was headed TO the bathroom.

Dates of special events are particularly difficult to communicate. Of course, most schools issue a public calendar so parents always know what is going on and where and when. However, students can really mess that up. “Mom, I have to be at the school on the 26th at 6:30 for the concert.”

“6:30? On the 26th? Are you sure? That’s today,” Mom then piles the child in the car, instructs them in how to change as they go and somehow manages to put two curly pony tails into the child’s hair without driving the car into a wall. They arrive at the school at 6:35 p.m. and no one is there. Why is no one there, you may ask? Because the date was actually the 29th and the child has a little trouble with 6’s and 9’s. Perhaps that’s something the teacher and the mom might work on communicating about!

I have said so many times that we teachers love our students. We hector them, we nag them, we scold them, we stretch them and challenge them and guide them. And along the way, they cease to be our students and become the children of our hearts. I love each and every one of them, but as this school year begins, I will make a deal with the parents: Do not take what the child says for the absolute facts—they may have gotten a few important things wrong. And if you do that, I’ll give you the same courtesy when they come to school and say, “My parents split up this morning,” and I find out it means you went in opposite directions to work that day!

Everyone have a great…and effectively communicated…school year!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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I put it right over…where?

It was both frustrating and puzzling. I looked three times in the bread box, twice in the refrigerator and several times in the bathroom, but I could not find that partial loaf of bread anywhere.

I knew I had put it on the counter. The trouble is, I have found things that I knew I had set on the counter in such places as the bedroom dresser, behind the television in the living room and inside the dryer(don’t ask). I know it is possible for me to hold something in my hand that I intended to put in a particular place and have it never reach that spot. Instead it will end up in some bizarre place and I can’t begin to explain why I put it there.

I know what you’re thinking by now, “Oh, the poor woman, she’s developing Alzheimer’s Disease.” (I hope I spelled that right…I can never remember how to spell the disease that describes losing the memory). You might be right, except that means I have been developing this disease since I was very young.

I honestly believe that instead of suffering with this heartbreaking memory loss, I am suffering from something that I like to call “I put it where it belongs, but the darn Gremlins keep moving it.” When my daughters were young, I used to be able to blame them when the newspaper ended up in the silverware drawer or the roll of toilet paper I intended to put on the holder ended up stashed in the pan cupboard.

Now, my daughters are grown and the only time I can blame someone else for moving things is when my grandsons come to visit.  They aren’t too bad, but the little stinkers are always leaving their coffee cups in some weird place.

Okay, okay, so it’s my fault that things are misplaced. It’s not REALLY my fault though. Can I be blamed when I am set to pour myself a glass of milk and suddenly the phone rings and when I finished listening to the riveting canned tirade by some candidate, I’ve completely forgotten the milk? So as I wander away, contemplating the political ruin of our nation, I have not a thought for the slowly curdling dairy product on the counter. More than one container of milk has hit the trash as a stinking, chunky mess in just such an encounter.

Now, what got me started on this line of thought? Oh, yes, I remember. Back to the missing bread. Now, the one thing you must know is that once I start looking for the lost, misplaced or forgotten item, I always find it. I have to get pretty creative sometimes in figuring out where it is, and I have a whole list of unlikely places to search, but I always get it back. Not so the bread.

I began looking in some VERY unlikely places. I inspected the inside of my footstool in the living room—sometimes I hide things from the dog there. I checked the car in the garage, because I had taken some things out there for school. In complete desperation I checked under the bed in the spare bedroom—it would take too long to explain why I chose to look there. However, suffice it to say there was no bread there, but when I remember it again, I’m going to need to take a dust mop to that incredibly dirty floor!

I was in despair. It wasn’t even that I wanted some bread, it was just that I KNEW I had put that bread on the counter and now it was gone. My lucky knack of finding things that I mislaid had finally let me down. Roy walked into the kitchen while I was standing in the middle of the floor, looking dejected.

“What’s the problem?” he wanted to know.

“I think I’m really losing it,” I answered sadly. “I had a partial loaf of bread; I was sure I put it on the counter and now I can’t find what I did with it.”

“Oh, that bread that was on the counter?” he waved a hand carelessly, “I thought that was spoiled, so I threw it in the garbage.”

The garbage. Great, now I have a new unlikely place to look when I’m missing something!

 

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The art of medical worry…

I have mentioned before that I am a skilled professional when it comes to worry. Let me give you a small sample of how well I can worry. If you saw the first of the new Star Trek movies (and I’m a big fan), Chris Pine as a young James T. Kirk, arrives at the induction center for Star Fleet on a motorcycle. A passing worker admires the bike and so “Kirk” tosses him the keys and says, “It’s yours.” Really nice, right? Well, I have been worrying for years since that came out: how in the world did that worker ever drive that motorcycle when he didn’t have the title to it? I mean, did he just store it in the garage and admire it or did he run the risk of being caught on a motorcycle with no clear title? These things worry me.

That being the case, it’s a sure bet that any type of medical exam can put my worrying meter into overdrive. Especially since medical personnel, whether they are for the body, the teeth or even the eyes, feel compelled to explain what they are about to do…in worrisome detail.

I was thinking about this during an eye exam this week. The young assistant held up a wicked-looking device that kind of resembled a pipe wrench and announced, “Now, I need you to hold open your eye as wide as you can so I can tap the eyeball with the machine.”

My first reaction to that announcement was to take off my glasses, squeeze my eyes shut as tight as I could and cover them with my hand! The term “tap the eyeball” is not a good one for a woman like me who doesn’t wear contacts because I can’t touch my eye to put them in. Although I tried to hold my eye open, my eyelid was quicker than their machine every time. So the doctor decided they would try it a different way. “Now, I’m going to use a light to measure that eye pressure,” he told me. “But I need to put in these eye drops. Please hold your eye wide open so I can drop them in.”DSCN3081

A dentist is nearly as bad. They want to check those teeth and the wider you can open your mouth, the better. “I’m going to tilt the chair up so I can work on the underside of that tooth,” he will announce. What he doesn’t realize is that I have a problem with being upside down. I’m holding on to the chair, hanging my head down, trying to remember to hold my mouth open while he is saying things like, “I’m just going to give this tooth you say is sore a little tap. Tell me when it hurts.” Would snapping my jaws shut on his fingers be enough of an indication, do you think?

And of course, both the dentist and the doctor are masters of the shot. “I’m just going to thrust this needle up your nose and give you a shot. There will be a little sting.” Having a baby was a “little sting” compared to a shot up the nose!

By far the worst physical exam for a worrier like me is the colonoscopy. What a great procedure. “In preparation for this procedure, we would like you to drink this vile-tasting laxative in about a gallon of Gatorade. This will ‘cleanse the colon.” You know what they mean by that? They mean that you will defecate so much and so violently in so short a time that it will eventually drain from you in a liquid form which is unstoppable and will cause you to live on the toilet.

Now, when you’re done “cleansing the colon,” that is when the fun really begins. “We are now going to take this tiny camera on a stick and shove it up the bottom to look inside your colon.” I’ve been through this procedure. As horrible as the camera sounds, I can tell you that the preoperative poop fest is actually worse. And of course, when it’s over, they want to show you photos of the inside of your colon. I have never been curious as to what that looks like!

So maybe when I think about it, the whole “tapping the eyeball” really doesn’t sound that bad. It’s certainly a lot less worrisome than a camera which goes where no camera has been before. And that reminds me,  I still can’t stop worrying about what that Star Fleet worker is doing with the bike for which he has no title. It’s a stressful world!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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It isn’t exactly like Jason Bourne…

I just got home from the latest Jason Bourne movie and as usual, I loved it! Those movies have all been packed with fast-paced action, intrigue, danger and mystery. I can’t decide why they appeal to me so much; perhaps it’s the quality acting of Matt Damon or maybe it’s the wonderful story lines. Or maybe, in just a small little part of me, I wish I was more like Jason Bourne.

That’s not so impossible, is it? I mean, think about some of the things Jason Bourne does. They are very similar to things that happen in my own life.

Take tonight’s movie. Jason Bourne was on the run from the bad guys and suddenly, he disappeared. The next thing you know, he jumps out and with two punches, lands both of the bad guys on the ground, completely knocked out. Now me? I sat in a chair where two flies were really bugging me. I got up with purpose, got out the flyswatter and absolutely squashed one of those flies. At least, he seemed to be dead, but after a while he got up and left. Pretty much the same, right?

One of the things I like about Jason Bourne is the way he is always traveling, without a hitch, from country to country, around the world. I’m pretty much like that as well. I plane and train hop everywhere myself. Except that Jason Bourne just walks up to the gate and hops on to the plane. I drag my purse, carry-on baggage, liquids I have properly placed in plastic bags, shoes taken off in the “imaging chamber”, and with my hair in my eyes and my boarding pass in my teeth, I huff and puff my way through a line three miles long. I’m not sure how Jason does it his way, but mine is almost as thrilling…except for the little pieces of boarding pass that I spit out during the whole flight.

Jason Bourne is always doing cool things on the computer. He can download, copy, break into encrypted files, etc. You name it and he has it down. Me? I can turn my computer on and sometimes if I’m lucky, I can send an e-mail.

Phones are another thing Bourne has got down perfectly. He can code them, message with them, call the bad guys to gloat about not being caught. I can unlock mine…sometimes….when I can remember the code. Once I have unlocked it, I can even call someone on it…sometimes…when I can remember their number.

Okay, so maybe Bourne is having more fun than I am. He drives cars through trash and debris with precision. I manage to carry trash and debris out of my house to the garbage can and only miss rarely. Bourne is always on the alert and always one step ahead of the bad guys. I am frequently caught napping and I’m never a step ahead of anyone.

Now that I think about it, maybe I don’t want to be like Jason Bourne anyway. After all, he has to figure out how to get from one place to another without being killed. My biggest problem this week was how to clean the sticky stuff out of the grout in my kitchen. He lives by the gun, I live by the sponge, broom and mop.

Still, I’d like to have something in common with the famous Jason Bourne. He is the Bourne Identity while I am the Fauth Misnomer. But….I’ve got it! Both of us have a first name the starts with the letter J! I knew that I  was like Jason Bourne somehow. He’s an international hired assassin who has reformed his ways and I am a Midwestern housewife who can’t even refold a map. The comparison is there, however; I have found my connection to the great Jason Bourne. We share the letter J. Pathetic, isn’t it?

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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