I’ve been a little cranky lately. The sticks and swords are out a lot more often, and the growling has gotten more frequent. I’m having trouble myself coping with annoying people without punching them in the face. Maybe it’s the time of year. Six years ago at this time, I was also cranky. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, the original Dr. Crankenstein has since “retired” and is now teaching the one section of drama that we have left, and coaching the 8th grade boys’ basketball team. And I am now officially the new Dr. Crankenstein.

But I’m getting better every day! Let’s go back to November 2010.

There’s a teacher on our staff I used to refer to as Dr. Crankenstein because he always seemed cranky to me. (Remember, in my world everyone has a nickname.) We usually have quite a few kids in common–he teaches one of the less important subjects–and a lot of our conversations are about those kids. Usually we end up talking about the ones that are failing both classes.


He’s an old surfer, so he talks funny. While this greeting seems innocuous enough, it doesn’t really mean what it sounds like. Watch.

“Better every day.”

This is one of my pet expressions. I used to only use it as we approached summer vacation; you know, it’s getting better each day we get closer to vacation. But now it’s  better-every-day-we-get-closer-to-Friday. Some of the part-timers here who don’t know me as well, like the school nurse and the speech pathologist and such, think I mean it as an I’m-growing-as-a-person-in-every-way-every-day affirmation sort of thing. Hahahaha. Maybe I should trademark it. But I once again digress.

“Oh yeah? Do you have _____?”

“Lazy as the day is long.”

And now the moaning begins…

“I have whole classes like that. They’ll all probably end up working at Starbucks…God I hope not; they would probably scald themselves on the first day and sue.”


“I’m serious. I have four parent meetings this week, and I still haven’t answered all the voicemails I got after grades went home.”

“My voicemail is broken. Also I have a thing about phones.”

“You’re lucky. Do you have _____?”


“You’re lucky. They all think they’re going to college! HA! They don’t know from college! They won’t even get out of high school at this rate… Has ______’s mom e-mailed you yet?”

“No. he’s doing ok with me.”

“You’re lucky…”

And so on. In the past few years though, I have noticed that he has seemed less crabby, so maybe someone else will have to assume the nickname.

Lately it’s been me. But man, some people have been bugging.

Parents who expect individual tutoring for their exceptional kid. So much so that they ask for a the week’s worth of spelling/vocab warm ups the Friday before. Uh huh. Asking ain’t the same as getting.

The snifflers. Your trying to read some Ray Bradbury (“The Earth Men”) and build some tension, but SNIFF something SNIFF keeps SNIFF interrupting the flow: “The four men trudged-” SNIFF “-across the hot Martian desert-“SNIFF SNIFF”-and they-“SNIFFFFFF

“Would you blow your dang nose and quit sniffing?!”

“Sorry” SNIFF

(The pen-clickers, foot tappers, and binder cleaners all fall into the same category.)

Closely related but even more annoying are the ones who start packing the backpack with like two or three minutes to go. I like to go bell-to-bell, as it used to be called before we got rid of bells for each period. I hate losing the last couple of minutes to, “Sorry for the interruption…” (no, you’re not) from the PA, or to the sounds of velcro and zippers and paper stuffing.

“Stop! You pack on your time, not mine. We’re still reading. Don’t make me ban backpacks like the science teachers.”

Faculty meetings. At my first full-time job, the staff was so large most of our meetings were what they called period-by-period. The principal, or one of his vp’s, would stay in the faculty lounge all day long, and each teacher would come to the lounge on his/her prep period, and get whatever info they thought they needed a meeting for. Each period would have 10 or 12 teachers a this meeting, which usually only took about 15-20 minutes. This was in the days before e-mail, which would easily take the place of this concept. The only time we met as a whole staff was when we needed to vote on something, or when we actually needed everyone in the same room at the same time. I think it happened twice in my first year.

However, almost 20 years later it’s come to this:

(as handouts are being passed out) “I’m not going to read this to you, but I will hit the highlights.”

Unfortunately that is not true. He does indeed read the majority of it to us. And then waxes philosophical on each point. And then asks for questions.

The faculty meeting snacks didn’t even include any cookies.