Mr. L’s Weekly Progress Report – Parent, Please Sign Here

1 11 2007

Today marked the halfway point of my pre-practicum (a.k.a. pre-student teaching) over at glorious Westfield High School. For eight whole school days now, I’ve observed some English teachers and taught a couple lessons with varying degrees of success. So far, my lessons have encompassed a wide spectrum of nonsense:

  • Parallel sentence structure
  • Early Autumn, a mystery novel by Robert Parker
  • Wordplay/deceptive language utilized in advertising
  • A short story entitled Listening by a famous lady whose name frighteningly eludes the mind of a Massachusetts board-certified English teacher
  • Citing sources

At last count, I’ve had three students ask why the hell I want to be an English teacher, two ask for my marital status, one tell me that my sweater-vest looked dashing, one tell me that my dashing sweater-vest complimented my eyes, one tell me that he could kill me at ping-pong, one remark stating, “commas can die for all I care,” and one girl suggest horribly out of context that I should wear my dark blue shirt more often. Eight days, all of this. It’s like High School Hanukkah, the festival of awkward.

Of course, it’s not all that uncomfortable. Usually. I’m actually lucky enough to be paired with a fabulous English teacher who is utterly incredible at her job. Observing her classes for the first two weeks of my pre-prac was like watching a magic show. Less entertaining than Criss Angel, perhaps, for the non-education major, but for me, it was so startling, there are simply no words to explain her awesomeness. So I’m forced to make up a term, and I will do so right now….

Teacher Crush.

Similar to the Todd Walker-inspired “Man Crush,” but more career-focused. Like, I’m jealous of this teacher’s mad nunchuck skills in the classroom. Like, she’s the Dr. Cox to my JD. Like, I got insecure teaching in her class today because for the first time in, ummm, EVER, I tried really really really hard to get her approval. That’s teacher crush.

So far, teaching is fun. In a year, I might actually be teaching, spending coffee breaks and weekends writing lesson plans and, somehow, earning less money than I do currently as a tuition-PAYING graduate student. It’s kosher.


(P.S. – That video at the top is incapable of leaving a warm-blooded human being in anything short of an awesome mood.)


s-e-c your way down the rankings

26 10 2007

I should be happy, no?

I’m under 24 hours from watching Boston College, THE NUMBER TWO FOOTBALL TEAM IN THE NATION, completely Alex Rodriguez their way through 56 minutes of terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad football, followed by 4 minutes of the greatest miracle this side of Lourdes, France on their way to a road victory over VAHtech. Matt Ryan looked worse than the Britney VMAs until the final two drives, but he’s still a Heisman candidate, the Eags are still undefeated, and Jags lives to see another press conference.

Just so I could fulfill my daily regimen of schadenfreude, I went over to the message boards after the game to listen to southern Virginians piss and moan about a game that they CLEARLY should have won (I mean, a prevent defense for the last four minutes? If Jags pulled that in the same situation, I’d be calling for Tom O’Brien to come back). To my surprise, there’s hardly a Hokie on the site. Here’s what I read instead:

  • “The SEC is the only undeafeated conference in the National Champ game since 1998. And people say we arn’t dominant.”
  • “But…c’mon…now here else compares to the SEC.”
  • “SOUTH FLA, WEST VA. KANSAS, do not belong, and no you can’t make the sec and pac 10 only eligible because I really don’t think any of the TENS belong. JUST THE SEC.”
  • “VT is not a very good team, LSU made em look very pathetic not that that says anything.”
  • “Imagine OSU vs. BC in the TITLE GAME 2 teams who would be mediocre in the SEC”
  • “Watch those SEC games, they are well-played, exciting games. not 10-0 for the first 55 minutes.”

And on and on and on and on and on and on and on. 60 minutes of gritty, hard-nosed football, and the only thing our “educated” fans can comment on is how neither team could lick the swamp off of any SEC team’s cleats.

I’m sick of this. SEC fans make me want to vomit, and trust me, anyone who knows my personal medical history understands that the last thing I ever want to do is vomit. They are the most arrogant, ignorant, mindless fans roaming this earth, and that includes Yankee fans. Every year, Boston College, THE NUMBER TWO FOOTBALL TEAM IN THE NATION, puts a solid football team on the field, and every year, I have to listen to SEC fans spout off about their gift-from-God conference with no logic or evidence of formal education to back them up. And it’s the same arguments, year after year:

If Boston College were in the SEC, they’d have four or five losses by now. Spare me. I might not argue that BC is the best team in the country, but to suggest that they would have a worse record than Alabama? Arkansas? Mississippi State, for Christ’s sake? At this point in the year, the Eagles would STILL have beaten their non-conference jousting buddies for a 4-0 record, and at WORST might stand 6-2. That is, of course, assuming that the likes of Kentucky and Ole Miss would even have a prayer at stopping the Ryan Express. It’s more likely they’d be 7-1 and possibly in the national title hunt. 4-4? Stop yourselves.

SEC teams only have lower records because they beat each other up. If they didn’t have to play each other, they would all have higher rankings. This makes the fundamental assumption about SEC football that drives me up a very high wall. Which sportswriter woke up one morning and decided that every team in the SEC was equally spectacular instead of just equally good, or even (the Bible Belt GASPS!) equally mediocre? I will concede that LSU and Florida are both very good football teams and deserve much of the recognition they receive, though not even Mother Teresa deserves the attention LSU gets on Internet message boards. The rest of the conference?

  • #14 Kentucky (6-2): Given up at least 29 points in five games. Matty Ice put up 14 on the Hokies in four freaking minutes – I think he could score on the Wildcats.
  • #16 South Carolina (6-2): Non-conference wins include a 14-point squeaker against Louisiana-Lafayette and a 6-pointer against UNC. Both bad teams, b-t-dubs. The #16 ranking is an absolute joke.
  • #18 Georgia (5-2): Definitely a good football team, but better than the top teams in other conferences?
  • #22 Auburn (5-3): What a surprise – the top-ranked 1-loss team is in the SEC, the top-ranked 2-loss team is in the SEC, and startlingly enough, the only ranked 3-loss team is in the SEC too! Auburn’s got two more wins by a combined 5 points also. And they’re ranked. Is this the apocalypse?
  • #24 Alabama (6-2): Barely beat Houston. Didn’t beat Florida State. Next.
  • Tennessee (4-3): Given up an average of over 32 points per game, including 41, 45 and 59 in three losses. Own exactly one quality win. My eyes are going numb.
  • Arkansas (4-3): Another team that needs to give beating a quality opponent a shot.
  • Vanderbilt (4-3): Wait, these guys really did used to suck! Even SEC fans, the morons they are, said the Commodores were terrible. By all accounts, they still seem to be.
  • Mississippi State (4-4): Beating Auburn doesn’t make you one of the college football elites. Not even worth my time.
  • Mississippi (2-6): REALLY not even worth my time.

LSU beat Virginia Tech 48-7, so because our best team beat your best team, our conference kills yours. Right off the bat, Tech isn’t the ACC’s best team. Just to clear that up…This is like saying “Since Appalachian State beat Michigan, the D1-AA Southern Conference must be superior to the Big 10.” And actually, if we’re going to compare, Florida State did beat Alabama, thereby reclaiming the ACC/SEC title, right? Is this argument kidding? Am I really a Democrat? Did they really make High School Musical 2? Assuming that ALL ACC teams would get killed by SEC squads based on that one game is more ludicrous than Ludacris.

Feel free to disagree. I need to go pretend to drink off some of this rage.