Monday, September 17, 2007

Activity?

We have had an exciting past few days as far as the "real estate market" goes. Last Tuesday I got a call from the realtor. He only wanted to schedule an open house for this weekend, but for a brief moment there I was dreading the thought that he wanted to schedule a showing for that day. My house was a wreck! I was relieved, and we planned the open house. Hahaha--not even 10 min later I got a call from his secretary saying that an agent wanted to show our house--in LESS than an HOUR. Yikes!! Not wanting to turn anyone away, I made a desperate attempt to clean the house as quickly as possible and scoot the kids out the door. It certainly wasn't perfect, but it was not terrible. It was definitely a miracle! When we got home after that showing I was a little deflated because the house appeared that no one had come in, and there was no card left from the agent. Our realtor says that he has not heard back from him yet.

On Saturday we had a fun day with lots of people stopping by. A friend brought her two kids over to play and we were all just hanging out. Around 4:30 there was a friendly knock on the door and the person just came on in (of course, that is typical for our house--knock and come in any time you stop by!). Imagine my surprise to see a stranger in the entry way! He asked if we were still doing the open house, and my eyes got very wide. I tried to explain that the open house was on Sunday, and he was obviously embarrassed. I invited him to come on in and look at the house anyways, and I apologized for the mess. (In spite of what I would LIKE to do to keep the house clean all the time, it is truely impossible to really do so). Wouldn't you know it, the kids chose this moment to have a screaming, crying fight over whose turn it was on the xbox. My turn to be embarrassed. The guests were very excited about the deck and about the basement, and I really tried to stay out of their way and give them as much privacy to look as possible (if that is possible with 8 kids in the house--did I mention Malachi woke up at that precise moment and decided he needed to eat as well?). The best thing I could do was encourage them to come back on Sunday during the open house to get a cleaner, and certainly quieter, look. They told me several times (english is their second language), "very nice house." :)

On Sunday my house was properly cleaned and left quietly for the open house. Another guy was filling in for my realtors, someone I did not know, so I left him a short list of things he may not know ("there is a laundry chute in the hallway closet, don't fall in," etc.). He left a note back saying that a couple of groups had come through the house and he had even called his wife to come over to see our "beautiful house." I can't imagine that they wanted to see my decorating (as if there is any), so that made me feel good that we did a good job on construction. :)

Sunday night I thought I was out of the woods so I messed up my sewing room really good again (I did sew some covers for someone online on Saturday--yay!) and made a skirt for Eden and a diaper for Malachi (piggy is growing out of his size small Growing Cheekies). This morning (Monday) started off terribly with a fight over who is really in charge and if a certain child in our family doesn't have to learn if he doesn't want to (ahem...won't mention any names...but he is apparently taking the whole "man of the house" thing much more seriously than he should). In the middle of dealing with this crisis--and thankfully Mitch was needed terribly and available to speak on the phone with said "man of the house"--we got a call from the realtor's secretary setting up another showing for today at 6 pm. So my house is clean again! This time there were definitely people in the house for the showing and they left a card. :)

Mitch is really struggling to hang on there in Texas. I don't care about being polite anymore. I am going to tell it like I've heard it from him. The way they are teaching these kids absolutely sucks. All they care about is test scores. They do not follow a curriculum that makes any sense whatsoever and they do not use their textbooks like they should. Mitch was given a sketch of lessons that he is supposed to teach each day (mind you, with no curriculum, he has to find all that himself) and the order does not even make sense! He is required to keep on track with all the other classes, so he cannot reteach a lesson if the kids did not grasp the concepts. He has an "inclusion" class and has 4 "officially" special-ed students. Two of these 4 scored among the highest on the last math test, so clearly there are some "unofficial" students in his class as well. He gets help for these students for 1 hour 1 day every two weeks. Otherwise, he's on his own with them. One girl was trying to do story problems, but she does not speak English and he had to translate for her (he does NOT know Spanish) because they do not offer translation after 3rd grade. Never mind that Arithmetic concepts should be taught in a certain order and built upon, no, he has to follow the same STUPID schedule that everyone else does. Who cares that his students are unable to learn at that pace! He is "not allowed" to give a failing score to anyone who is labeled "special ed" even if their score is failing. What is the deal here??? He does not have enough workbooks for his students, and he was told that he had to just copy the extra pages he needs. Every single page in the book has a copyright on it and says DO NOT DUPLICATE. Ohhhhhhh....but the school CAN afford to buy cool high tech new equipment like ELMO's and SMART Boards. The teachers all yell at the kids. That is how they CONTROL them. Mitch hates yelling, and this is a tough blow to him. But the kids respond to that and it appears to work. This is NOT ok. Is anyone out there who is listening? Doing something because it appears to work does not mean it is ok. The first week of school the administration sent home letters telling the parents that they needed to sign the forms to OPT OUT OF corporal punishment. Are you kidding me? This is a public school? Yes, the kids themselves are tough. They come from incredibly bad backgrounds. That makes them hard to deal with. But the district is not helpful in turning them around. Not all the kids are bad. Mitch trades with another teacher and takes her "gifted and talented" class to teach them math, science and history. This teacher, who has been there for 7 years, cannot believe the class that Mitch has. So, yeah, let's take all the "bad" kids, and put them together and then give them to the "new guy from up north" and then tie his hands so that he will completely fail but we won't have to deal with any of them. Mitch said tonight (and I hope he doesn't get mad at me for publishing this), "What they are doing to these kids borders on child abuse."

There it's out...that's what's really been going on. I know there are two (or more) sides to every story, but there are some dirty rotten nasty things going on in this district. A lot of bureaucracy and red tape that is not in the best interest of the students. Did I mention that Mitch got YELLED at for showing up the second day of school with no tie? Never mind that no one pointed out the dress code to him in the 3 days of new-teacher training he was required to attend that no one told him about. Yeah, you would think they could have pared down the 3-hours of "how to make a bulletin board" to maybe only 2.5 hours so they could go over "need to know" items. Because teachers fresh out of college haven't spent enough time doing cutesy bulletin boards. Ugh. It makes me sick. Sorry for the rant, but I want this to CHANGE! I want someone who can do SOMETHING to know about what they are doing to these children. It is maddening to hear how they make the children sit on dots on the gym floor with no talking and nothing to do for up to 50 min before school starts. It is maddening to think that the students get NO recess, and that they only have 2 phy-ed days per week. It is maddening to think that the only forms of discipline are to yell at the students or to take their phy-ed away. And maybe if someone gets MAD enough then something could actually change there! Think about it: would you put your child in a public school like that?

Pray for him especially. He is looking for a new job to be completely honest. Maybe this is why our house has not sold. But now with all the recent activity I am starting to get really worried that we will get an offer. Then we will be really confused on what we are supposed to do and where we are supposed to go. I can't imagine funding TWO moves across country.

Pray for the eldest kiddo here too. He obviously needs something I can't give him. :(

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