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Teacher, Writer, Proofreader

Archive for the category “You Can’t Make This S#@* Up!”

Fidget Spinners to Loaded Guns

Last year my colleagues and I had a collection of fidget spinners that we’d confiscated. They’re supposed to help kids with attention problems to be more focused. Well, they were more focused. On watching the damn thing spin around, not on doing their school work. They were trading them, changing the colors or whatever—anything besides being focused on their jobs. We were all sick of seeing them. The spinners, I mean. (Well, if I were being totally honest, we kind of get sick of seeing certain kids, too. Don’t judge. If you’re a teacher, you get it. If you’re a parent, I’m assuming you get it, too. We all know that you can’t wait for them to go back to school after a long break because they’re driving you nuts.)

Though we do not have metal detectors and don’t search backpacks at the door, we did search pockets and shoes on the last day of school last year in order to be sure that no one brought anything they weren’t supposed to bring. Specifically, yep, you guessed it, fidget spinners. Of course, we still confiscated some because most middle schoolers think they’re slick and won’t get caught.

Fast forward to January 2018. Not even a year after the fidget spinner chaos and crack-down. Now we’re wishing that those damn spinning things were the most distracting items found at our school. They seem to have disappeared. I suppose the craze has worn off.

What’s rattling us now? The fact that our kids can hide guns in their hoodies and shoes. Two of our students proved it. Last week. Unsettling? Startling? To say the least. Not that we are naive enough to rule out that possibility, but we thought things were going fine. We have cameras in all of the hallways. We haven’t had major problems in our school for several years. (Since before I started working there.)

But now, we’re on high alert. Cracking down on procedures and rules that we’ve been lax with and implementing new procedures to help prevent this from happening again. Do I think no other student in our school has ever brought a gun to school? Nope. But, I really hadn’t thought about it before, not at this school anyway. Do I think there’s a possibility that another student was carrying even after this incident? Definitely won’t rule it out.

To think about a kid sitting in my class with a loaded gun hidden on their person scares the shit out of me. You never know what’s really going on with a kid. When you have over 20 kids in your class at once and see about 120 walk through your class per day, it’s kind of tricky keeping up with who’s in what kind of mood, who’s on an IEP, who’s got a difficult home life, etc. I tend to piss students off from time to time. Goes with the territory when you’re trying to push kids to do their best. I’d rather the child whom I’ve angered NOT have possession of a firearm.

I’d welcome fidget spinners now if it would eliminate the possibility of guns in the hands of my students.

 

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Today’s Roller-Coaster Moods

I was on an emotional roller coaster today. Weepy. Grateful. Thanking God that all my students and colleagues are safe. Thinking, “Why am I responding so strongly? I wasn’t even in the mix of what happened. I was just working in my room while everything unfolded.” It could have been so much worse. The potential was brewing, but no one was hurt. Too many students and teachers eslewhere have experienced so much more. Horrific, graphic tragedies. We didn’t. But, I was still emotional. I guess it’s the realization of what could have transpired. I’m sure there’s a scientific or medical term for it, but I don’t feel like looking it up right now.

My colleagues who responded, running on fear and adrenaline, kept the situation under control. Kept us safe. My heart expands for them. Much respect. Much gratitude.

I’m sad for the two who made wrong choices because they are receiving consequences for their actions that will change the course of their lives, at least for several years.

To be honest, one thing that might be playing in to my emotional state is the fact that I went two days without my hormones. Makes it a little more intense. I’m hoping to get a good night’s sleep tonight. I should schedule a massage soon. I need the stress worked out. The weekend is coming up. Love me some weekend relaxation.

This isn’t going to make my 500 words, but I’m rambling to sort out some thoughts before I go to bed. Maybe tomorrow I’ll write something more significant, or more cohesive.

 

Potential Tragedy Snuffed

I don’t usually answer my phone when I don’t recognize the number, but for some reason, I did today.

My colleagues, parents, and I received a recorded phone message this afternoon from our principal briefly explaining an incident that occurred right after school. Apparently, two students were arrested for possession of guns. One, a real gun and the other a BB-gun.

I’m certainly grateful for whomever alerted our leaders to this situation. I’m also thankful that those guns did not go off at school. My assumption at this time is that the students were carrying the weapons around in their pockets or backpacks, or that perhaps they stowed them away in their lockers for the day. I don’t know, but I’m really glad that one of them didn’t get pissed off at somebody and make a fatal decision.

I suppose we were not put on lockdown because the situation unfolded after all the students were out of the building? I’ve never really thought this through before, but do we not put the building on lockdown if there’s a situation and only the faculty is in the building? I have a few questions. I’m hoping some will be answered in the emergency meeting that’s set for tomorrow after school.

Why the hell did middle schoolers think bringing guns to school was a stellar idea? Maybe they were scared of a bully and wanted to bring some protection? Maybe they wanted to impress their friends? Maybe they had a plan? Maybe they are in a gang or are heavily influenced by someone else who is coercing them to join?  Maybe they hunt or a family member collects guns as hobby?

I don’t know the answer. I only hope that the investigation reveals some sort of answer that can be addressed effectively in order to prevent such an occasion from arising again.

I’ll admit, my brain was rattled after that phone call. Should I end my teaching career at 12 years and call it good? Should I apply immediately to an online school? Should I apply ANYWHERE else? Should I just let it roll off, just like every other situation that has risen along the way?

Again, I don’t know. This seemed different. There was no way we would have known which kid had a weapon and which kid just might get angry enough to do something tragic.

God, thank you for your protection today. And, thank you in advance for protection tomorrow. Send someone to connect with those kids and their families to help them navigate safely through our society.

No more statistics, please.

No more.

I want to go to work to teach and train, not to lose my life or watch others lose theirs at the hands of a hurting and hurtful young person.

Keep us safe and guide us in spreading love, not hate. Kindness, not rudeness. Peace, not chaos. Truth, not deceit.

Keep me alert, agile, swift, and wise.

Rampant Apathy and Learned Helplessness

Twelve years ago in central Oklahoma, I began my teaching career in middle school in an area infested with gangs. I’ve probably learned boatloads more than I’ve taught. I’ve had roughly 1200 students pass through my classroom door. (Would’ve been more, but I looped with a group of kids through their middle school years.) I’ve witnessed and experienced a lot of sadness, joy, apathy, excitement, fear, fury, bat-shit craziness, “you can’t fix stupid,” and straight-up “I can’t make this shit up!” Any educator should know exactly what I’m talking about.

Which brings me to today. This school year with sixth graders. I have many hard-working, creative, and well-mannered kiddos for whom I’m grateful. It’s the “others” that are a problem. A problem not just for me because they’re in my class and make me question why the hell I did this to myself, but a problem for you and everyone else in society who will have to deal with their “idiosyncrasies.”

All kids are self-centered and think the world revolves around them and think the world owes them something and think that every adult in their presence is a complete idiot. It’s the age. It’s normal. Irritating as hell, but normal. We all did it to some extent.

Here comes the “but” …

BUT, THIS GROUP! Holy freakin’ cow! The apathy, the learned helplessness, the unwillingness to participate in any way in their own learning is ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDING! I’m truly frightened for anyone who has to deal with them as adults. I can only pray and hope that somewhere along the line, someone will be able to connect with them and motivate them toward excellence, or some semblance of it, at least.

 

Bye, Tinder, I’m Swiped Out!

No more swiping for me, thanks.

Profile deleted. App uninstalled. Done.

Too time-consuming.

Too many scammers, and by the way, I’ve added screen shots of the latest and final encounters for your entertainment. Take a second to read their captivating bios and text messages.

REMEMBER: These photos have been snatched and attached to fake profiles.

 

 

 

 

How do I know that the third profile is a fraud? Well, first, the mileage is showing 6556 miles away. Close to the same mileage I saw on umpteen other fraudulent profiles. When I searched the distance between Oklahoma City and Lagos, Nigeria, it calculated 6541.9 miles. Coincidence?? I don’t think so.

Additionally, when I searched the first sentence,

I want someone who is upfront and honest, and I will do the same,”

I found it verbatim on a totally separate profile on a separate site. Basically, the entire bio is a copy and paste of romance buzzwords. Just pick a phrase and Google it. You’ll see.

After reflecting upon my 6 1/2-month Tinder journey, I’ve composed the following list of pros and cons of said journey:

  • I’ve sharpened my research skills, specifically, how to reverse search an image on Google and tineye. [PRO]
  • I’ve developed painful tendonitis in my right arm, due to incessent swiping. (At least that’s my official Google-searched medical diagnosis; I’ve not yet gone to the actual doctor.) [CON]
  • I’ve increased disdain for low-life assholes who steal photos, lie about who they are, and prey upon decent people. [PRO? CON? You decide.]
  • I’ve accumulated an ass-load of blog-fodder. [PRO]
  • I’ve gone on a few dates with three attractive, considerate guys. [PRO]
  • I’ve experienced a boost of self-confidence as a result of the aforementioned dates. [PRO]
  • I’ve gained one friend–another positive outcome of the aforementioned dates. [PRO]
  • I’ve missed out on sleep, writing time, sleep, time with friends and family, and did I mention, sleep? [CON]

My Tinder Mission is over. I’m ready to move along. If I never meet a real guy to spend the rest of my life with, that’s fine. If I run into my Romeo, Prince Charming, Mr. Right, or Iron Man while selecting my favorite Greek yogurt or waiting my turn at the pharmacy, even better. I know that I gave it my best shot, and I don’t want to waste another minute swiping left, right, up, or down on a dating app. For now, I have laundry to attend to. And possibly a nap.

Feel free to leave your comments! Thanks for reading!  

Tinder Photo Swiping

I’ve lost count of the number of profiles I’ve reported as spam or Nigerian scammers this past week. These are only some of them. If you know the guys in these pics, let them know their photos have been “swiped” (pun intended). See a previous post for another stolen profile pic.

 

Warri is in Nigeria.

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Ado Ekiti is also in Nigeria.

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I want to find out how the blue airplane icon with “swiping in ______” shows up. Anyone know? I’m sure they can fake it somehow. Inquiring minds . . . 

Scammers commonly say this: “I’m here for something serious, not here for games.” (See below profile).

 

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(See profile below). Notice the mileage, where he says he’s from, the recurring schpiel that he’s deployed for “peace keeping”, and the omission of certain words that are indicative of a person whose first language is NOT English.

(See the text messages below). This one immediately asked to switch to another chat app, and he’s also deployed for peace keeping in Africa–SHOCKING, right? 

 

 

I’m not sure how long I can keep up this scammer-reporting mission because it’s certainly time-consuming. Who knows if these photos will even reach the right people, and even then, what can they do about the scum-suckers taking advantage of them and their service to our country? Not to mention those who fall prey to the low-lifes’ schemes. However, maybe something magical can come out of heeding my BS-O-Meter!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share this info and to add your expertise or thoughts in the comment section. 

Actual Tinder Scammer Profile

So, if anyone recognizes these guys, take a minute to inform them that their photos have been hijacked. This is a perfect example of a “typical” Nigerian scammer Tinder profile. (See my previous post).

 

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Tinder BS-O-Meter Sounds Again

So, since my post on Sunday, there have been about five or six more dudes that have alerted my Tinder bullshit-o-meter. {sigh} I reported them, but geez, I’m beginning to think that every picture I see on there has been snatched by the Nigerian scammers. (No offense to Nigerians, in general. Just the scummy scammers.)

All this time spent swiping when I could’ve been sleeping. Blech.

Anyone else have some dating-site stories to tell??

My Tinder Mission

It began as a mission to find the right person to spend the rest of my life with, or at least to find an enjoyable date. (I’ve had a few.) However, it has morphed into a mission to deter Nigerian scammers from messing with the emotions of compassionate women and their money.

We all know they are out there, but when we are honest, good-hearted people, do we really see the warning signs?

Here’s my story:

In my six months on Tinder, I’ve matched with many alleged U.S. soldiers that are deployed for “peace keeping” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, etc. After texting with several of them, I noticed patterns in the conversations. So, I did what any inquiring teacher would do. I “got on the Google”, as my mom would say, and did some research. I Googled something like, “scammers posing as soldiers on Tinder”. Bada-bing, bada-bang! I realized my bull-shit radar was correct.

Just a few of the sites that came up:

http://www.military.com/spouse/relationships/can-you-spot-the-scammer.html

http://spousebuzz.com/blog/2015/12/she-said-my-soldier-found-her-on-tinder.html

https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryRomances/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3162240/Fake-soldier-pretended-Army-Captain-Afghanistan-online-dating-site-trick-lonely-women-400-000.html

These “soldiers” have similar tragic stories, like both parents had been killed in a car accident or the wife had died of cancer. One of which said he was a “widow” instead of a “widower”.

They each ask very early in the conversation to switch to another texting app to make it easier to talk.

Sometimes the app shows their location as near Akure, Ado-Ekiti, Ikare, or some other unfamiliar place. Google Maps will show you that these are located in southwestern Nigeria. (A flashing red light after reading the above sites.)

All of these guys’ texts are consistent with grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors you would see from a second language learner. I’ve taught English for more than 10 years. Most of my students have been second language learners, so I’m familiar with common errors that occur with non-native speakers.

Actual texts I received that show what I mean:

“I’m going for work now.”

“is there any luck for your match?”

“I will like to know you better.”

“What month are you I’m Febuary”

Within about two hours of texting, these “soldiers” start calling me “babe” and express that they are falling for me or that I am everything they’ve been looking for in a woman. The second day of texting, one said that he told his kids about me. Really?? That’s ridiculous.

“i would like to have you as my soulmate”

“I told my kids about you last night They can’t wait to met with you”

“its nothing……..distance is just a name……….wet time we will get to see we just have to give more time to know ourselves”

(What the hell does that even mean??)

One had the username of Williams Jones. Yes, Williams, with an “s”, but as a first name, not a surname. When I zoomed in on one of his photos, I noticed the name embroidered on his work jacket was Travis McQueen. When I asked the guy about why the name on his jacket was different, communication ceased and within a few minutes, that photo had been replaced with a different one.

So, I thought I would try to find the real Travis McQueen. Took me about 30 minutes or so, but I found him. The photos from Tinder and the one on the guy’s work site were definitely of the same dude. His brief bio showed he had been honorably discharged from the military several years ago. Thus, definitely not “currently deployed for peace keeping.” I tried emailing him to alert him about someone using his photos on Tinder, but never received a reply. At least I tried, right?

Now, my bull-shit radar is always on high alert. If I detect something suspicious, I report it as “feels like spam” and move on. I know I won’t stop scammers from posing as U.S. soldiers, from stealing photos, or from duping people out of their money, but maybe I can slow one or two of them down a bit and piss ’em off in the process. And, perhaps, I will unwittingly match with the love of my life.

If you have a similar experience, please share it in the comments. Thanks for reading!! 🙂

DIY or Just Ignore It

I’m a single girl. Lived alone for 10 years. I set my own mousetraps, dispose of them when full (using rubber gloves and two plastic shopping bags), mow my lawn fairly frequently [coughsortof], spray organic bug spray around the house, check the oil in my car, wield a hammer and nails to put a shelf up in my bedroom, put together TV stands and other sorts of “assembly required” furniture . . . all by myself. Because I’m a big girl.

Do I like it? NO. I do it because I have to and so that I can prove to myself that I’m not totally helpless. I have a brother and cousin who graciously help me out when I ask. I just don’t like to ask too often, so I find myself in “situations” every now and then. I decided at the very least, that writing about my abilities or inabilities to do things around the house myself might cause a chuckle or two and maybe connect me to others who share in my single life conundrums.

So here goes the first of many . . .

Just do it yourself! Yep, I’m working on it. I’ve watched Youtube tutorials on how to change the insides of my toilet, you know, that big floater ball thingy and all its appendages. It looks fairly easy. So, I bought the

The hardest part might be breaking into the package.

The hardest part might be breaking into the package.

kit to replace it. Four weeks ago. It’s still sitting obediently on top of the toilet, still in the plastic package.

And, I’m still using a beer bottle cap to keep the toilet from running. (Yes, I come from a long line of rednecks.) Why a beer bottle cap? Because it worked more efficiently than duct tape for a quick, temporary fix.

Who knew?

           Who knew?

Don’t worry, I’ll get to it. Right after I stop fearing that I’ll get into the middle of it, something will go wrong, and I’ll suddenly have to evacuate my bladder or colon and won’t have a working toilet. Nightmare!

I will certainly follow up with a post describing the completion of the project, but I can’t promise it will be soon. The goal is within the next week before I have company coming from Ecuador. Hmmmm. How long will that bottle cap do its job?

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