Saturday, May 20, 2023

The Great Chicken Wars (Part XIII)


After my coworkers did such a fabulous job on my birthday, I was determined to return the favor. Unfortunately, Rachel's birthday kind of came and went several months ago. She was only in the office in the morning so I made a coffee cake to celebrate it.

Phoebe and Dan both have summer birthdays when no one is in school so I decided to celebrate them now.

Phoebe did the best birthday theme from The Office for me, so I decided to do a Friends theme for her and Dan.

I was in charge of cups and ice.

We had a cup banner.

A cup chandelier.

And the thing that started it all - the cup.

And there was cubed ice, Italian ice, and dry ice - ooooo mystical!

Here we are in our cup party hats.

Phoebe is holding the chicken nuggets I made her for her birthday.

But of course, Phoebe being Phoebe, rearranged the cups while I was at lunch duty.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Language Lessons (Otherwise Entitled: What on Earth are These Teens Saying???)

I've worked in a middle school since 2011, and these kids have taught me as much as I've taught them over the years. They've taught me that when you have new shoes, you have to walk like a crippled penguin so the shoes don't get creases. They've shown me that flipping a water bottle, trying to get it land upright is a legitimate pastime. And every year they teach me So. Many. New. Words. I like to try them out with students to see how many eye rolls I can get. For example, last week a couple kids were complaining about the cafeteria food. 

"Are you kidding? You've got it good! You know what cafeteria was like when I went to school? There was no kitchen in the school! They didn't make food there. It was shipped in. We got a plastic-wrapped plastic container with some sort of cold food in it, and we got a foil-covered foil pack with some mystery hot food in it. It was about as good as you would think a mass-produced school lunch that was sitting there for an unspecified amount of time would be. You guys are lucky. These days school lunches be bussin."

The kids cracked up. I'm not sure if it was because I told them an old-timey story about the good ole days. Or if I used bussin incorrectly. Or if bussin is so last week and no one says that anymore. Or if (most likely) it's because I'm a giant dork.

I'll share my knowledge of teen slang here so you can try out these expressions yourself and gather some of your own eye rolls! You're welcome.

Bussin - really good. 

This is especially used when describing food. But not cafeteria food.

Spill the tea - what's the gossip? 

Last year I had a student who walked in my class and asked, "Do you want to know the tea, Ms. Damalas?"

I think I responded with something like, "Yeah, I like tea. I prefer coffee, but I drink tea sometimes."

That got me an eye roll, and an explanation. And a daily tea update of all the girl drama on campus.

Bet - okay. 

"Brooklyn, do you want to go to the store with me after school?"




"So do you want to go??"

Slay - okay. See bet.

Real - I agree. 

"These 7th graders are insane this year."


User Error - your fault, or that sucks. 

"I forgot to bring my umbrella to work, and I got drenched walking out to the parking lot."

"Sounds like user error, Mom."

The drip - a cool outfit. 

I overheard this from one student to another... "Watch the drip, bruh!" 

I looked up to see if there was anything dripping down. Our school is centered around an open courtyard and every time it rains (daily because it's Florida) there is plenty of dripping from the eves. Brooklyn had to explain this one to me. Drip is clothes, especially a cool outfit. Respect the drip, bruh.

Ice - jewelry. 

There are a few kids at my school who would rival Mr. T with their "ice."

Rizz - charisma. 

I was flipping through some old pictures recently and I pulled out one and told Brooklyn, "I remember this! Jackson was invited to this birthday party when he was in elementary school and he was the only boy invited among all these girls. I showed Brooklyn the photo.

"Jax had all the rizz!"

". . . "

"Rizz? Charisma?" Duh.

"Okay then."

Cap - fake

"I'm really going to miss school over the summer, "I said as sarcastically as possible.


No cap - For real/Are you serious?

When they announced who next year's drum majors would be and she heard her name, Brooklyn responded incredulously, "No cap??"

Off da perc - crazy, insane, bizarre.

There are a couple weeks left in the school year so these middle-schoolers are off da perk, bruh!

Touch grass - reality check. 

When one of the most annoying kids in school asks me, "Ms. Damalas, I'm your favorite student, aren't I?" I have to respond with, "LOL, you need to go outside and touch grass, child."

It's giving - like. 

Our upstairs neighbors are so loud it's giving clog-dancing water buffalo.

Era - phase

Brooklyn's going through her chocolate era. She feels the need to run to Walgreens for chocolate on a nightly basis. I'm going through my frizz-head era.

Sus - suspicious

When a kid who has bad grades says something like, "I have all As," I have to respond with, "That's sus" accompanied with a raised eyebrow.

Stan - crazy fan

My students think I'm such an awesome instructor, they stan me.

Simp - someone who does too much for someone they like.

"Why would you choose to hang with your girlfriend instead of us? You're such a simp!"

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The Great Chicken Wars (Part XII)

Phoebe saw a rubber chicken video. The office was filled with chickens, snakes, bugs, chickens, string, chickens, teeth, balloons, and more chickens. That sums it up and brings us to today.

After I encountered my desk fully enshrined in a web of twine, I was determined to get revenge. I'd had the idea to cover Phoebe's desk in wrapping paper for her birthday. Unfortunately her birthday isn't until the summer. I didn't want to wait that long, so . . .

I wrapped over 100 items. I wrapped every single pencil. I wrapped the things in her desk. I wrapped her coffee maker. I wrapped EVERYTHING. It was totally worth coming into work an hour early!

I personally thought it was hilarious! It took her days to unwrap everything! She, on the other hand, vowed to kill me. LOL! She was less-than-thrilled with my beautiful, festive wrapping. Every time I heard her groan about having to unwrap "another damn thing," I snort-laughed. It was a great day!

Friday, May 5, 2023

The Great Chicken Wars (Part XI)

A couple months ago, I needed to go to a mental health training for school. It was held at my old school which was cool because I got to see some of my old coworkers. It was a 7-hour training so I was off campus all day.

I should've know it was a bad idea to be off campus for a whole day. I mean, Phoebe creates a ridiculous amount of vandalism when I step out of the office just to pee, but an entire day to mess with me?! That was the perfect opportunity for her to work her evil mischief! Yet, somehow it never crossed my mind that she'd defile my desk since she'd just pulled off the colossal confetti caper!

So it came as a huge surprise when I walked in the next day and saw this.

There's a spider web that only Aragog could've made spanning my entire desk and surrounding area. In order to get to my chair I had to contort myself over and under the strings like they were some sort of lasers. I felt like Steve Carell in Get Smart.

After playing limbo to get myself through the laser web, I moved some papers on my desk and saw this.

If you heard a ear-shattering scream some time toward the end of March, it was me.

Nestled in my giant web, I grabbed some paperwork, ready to do a little data entry. Except my mouse wouldn't work. I maneuvered it back and forth vigorously until I had carpal tunnel syndrome. Then I finally thought to turn it over.

A little later in the day, I noticed a fun new poster behind me. If you aren't familiar with The Office, this poster was featured in an episode. This cracked me up. It didn't make up for the extreme web of frustration, but it helped.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Middle Schoolers are JUST LIKE TODDLERS!

We had school-wide testing yesterday in my district. As a test administrator, it's my job to ensure test security while administering the assessment, and to babysit a bunch of 7th graders when they finish testing until the end of the testing block (which was after 2:00 yesterday.) The first part is a breeze - follow the directions, read the instructions verbatim, constantly monitor the class. The second part - oy vey! (I don't know why I'm suddenly typing in Yiddish. The students melted my brain yesterday.)

After testing was completed, all materials collected, and everything was over and done with, we still had 2 hours left in the testing block. Because other classes may have still been testing, it was important to keep my students quiet during this block. 

This is how that task went.

"Other classes may still be testing so you need to be quiet. You can go on your laptops and do missing work, but you may not get out of your seats or talk. I know it's boring. I get it. It's boring for me too, but until this testing block is over, we have to be considerate of others, and maintain a quiet environment."

But these guys are like toddlers who are incapable of being quiet for more than 5 minutes. Because these tweens are constantly bombarded by stimulation via phones and social media, they are incapable of just sitting still and being bored for any length of time.

A couple boys sitting on opposite sides of the classroom started shadow boxing. Because this is what middle schoolers do. It entails one student making weird boxing/karate/kung fu type moves while the other student ducks and bobs avoiding the "punches" the kid is "throwing" from across the room.

A minute later, a couple other students start playing chopsticks across the room. If my kids hadn't played this when they were younger, I probably would've thought the students were flashing gang symbols.

Another student starts ripping a gum wrapper into a million shreds.

And yet another kid takes the little Jibbetz (shoe charms) off his Crocs and start spinning them around like tops on the surface of his desk. When he got bored with that, he started playing with the charms like they were dolls.

Another student drew all over his hands and arms, practicing the fine art of tattoo design.

A couple kids (again, sitting on opposite sides of the room) start playing rock, paper, scissors with each other. I told them they were doing it wrong and it was really rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock. They didn't get it. Apparently they don't watch Big Bang Theory.

A couple other kids continuously flipped their water bottles, trying to get them to land right-side-up until I confiscated them. That was met by choruses of, "What? What did I do? I didn't do anything. Why did you take our water bottles?"

"Because I'm mean."

As all these "activities" were going on, I continuously told kids, "Stop talking. Quiet down. Turn around. Stop talking. Shhhhh. Sit back down. Stop talking. Get off YouTube. Stop talking. Put your shoes on. No, you can't move your desks around. Stop talking.

And of course, in between all that fun, there was a constant stream of students asking to go to the bathroom, not because they had to pee, but because they were bored and wanted something to do.

When I got home from work, I was so exhausted, I pondered the wisdom of going to bed at 5:00.

I know I, for one, am looking forward to another testing day tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

The Great Chicken Wars (Part X)


If you're just joining us, here's a recap - Phoebe found a chicken video and, you know what? It's too much to recap. Just go back and read the older posts!

So in March when my birthday rolled around, I walked into the office to see this:

How awesome is all that? "It is your birthday." I laughed so hard upon seeing this spectacular The Office themed birthday extravaganza! How great are my coworkers?

But it didn't end there. When I came back from lunch duty, I found more delightful birthday goodness in the form of confetti. Alllll over my desk. How um, "festive."

A short while later, I discovered the confetti wasn't just ON my desk, but IN my desk. In every. single. drawer.

This happened in March. It's now May and I'm still finding errant pieces of confetti here and there.

But that's not all! Toward the end of the day, the deans and the police officer walked over to my desk with a cake while singing Happy Birthday. On the cake was written this message - "Find the Toenails!"

(Note the giant container of cheese balls in the background. I got those to randomly throw at Phoebe.) 

All in all - it was an AWESOME birthday!

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