Friday, December 19, 2008

"Hey, why the heck hasn't Kate posted anything lately?"
"Yeah, now all I have to look at are LOLcats and Gofugyourself!!"
"What could you be doing that's more important than logging onto the computer machine and typing away?"

Well folks, what I was doing was making Christmas happen at good ole MBO!

I exaggerate. But there were a billion things to do regarding kids' tests, Christmas parties (oh, the giddy non-secularism!), getting ready to get off to Switzerland (leaving Monday!), etc etc.

The first big party for which I planned was one in the 9th year, a ruthless bunch of munchkins who somehow got their collective acts together to do a potluck breakfast. Now look at what they trusted TEENAGERS with:
a hot griddle candles 2 waffle irons

it's nuts...I can't even believe it. I was having miniature heart attacks, but their teacher was as blase as you could imagine

My contribution was bagles (yummo) and rice crispy treats. Let me tell you, not a big hit

I think it's because it's too sweet, and because I used chocolate crispies, people were like "it looks like meat!" I was a bit annoyed. But there were eventually takers as boys in classes around the room made raids on our food. The one American teacher in the department also ate them. They puzzled the Germans to no end though!

In the staff room we were all going a bit nuts too...I mean, tensions tend to run high when everyone's under pressure, and for teachers this is their first short semester (lasting 2 weeks less than last year), so I have been snapped at by one (who then apologized to a fellow teacher and told her to tell me...wrhuh?) and witnessed a shouting match between a vice principal and a low level English teacher. The insanity sadly did NOT end when the principal emerged from his office to distribute flowers to us (SHOOT! I just remembered I left mine at the school!)

The next day, our last day (thank G-D!) it was basically straight class parties with some grade distribution woven in. I had asked how I could contribute to the festivities

(though with sweaters like this, what more could I possibly contribute?!

yes Virginia, there IS a Santa Clause...sweater)

The teacher in question seemed to think in the following way:

well, she IS American...they have some pretty wacky minorities in that place she DID go to university in Chicago, so... Kate, you're teaching the class how to play dreidle.

Mind you, the last time I played that game, a device called "JEWISH PIRATES" was utilized, but for the sake of my duties as diversity liaison I was willing to be a goodwill ambassador for Hanukkah. So I went out and found some dreidles (not easy, people!), got some chocolate pieces with which to play and set out to teach one of my favorite classes about the holiday and the game. The boys kind of ran with it from the beginning because I explained it to them "like Jewish poker...but with a top and chocolates instead of cards and money."

But they did eventually give in to the inevitable ACTUAL poker

The girls were another story. They used some of the candies they'd gotten earlier in the day to make their game more interesting, and they really seemed to have fun. I was playing music (Sufjan Stephen's Christmas CDs...BUY THEM NOW!) and it was just hella cool.

Note: these are the students who gave permission for their pictures to be used. There are TONS of picts with other kiddos in them, but I didn't ask them to use theirs (pronouns are hard).

At the end of the holiday party I gave out some of the chocolate chip cookies I'd made, and one girl came up to me and said that she was Jewish, that her family celebrated Hanukkah (I was immediately afraid I'd explained the holiday wrong and she was going to go all Macabee on my hiney in honor of the holiday) and that she was very grateful for me explaining how to dreidle. Then, get a load of this, she FREAKIN HUGGED ME in that mutant German kind of one arm way!


After that the Kate Army of Champions were supposed to be let out of class, but only 4 people showed up for the entire class (I can't blame em). In my defence, of those 4, 2 were in the Army of Champions, so my students are still more awesome and dedicated and smart than the others. We all just sat around though, the four kids, their teacher, and me, eating the rest of my cookies (they're fans of my mad culinary skillz) and talking about politics, AP tests, and Canada (don't ask) for an hour before we realized we were talking complete doo-doo, and
"Do you guys just wanna go home?"


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