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The tardblog
January 22, 2003 8:50 PM   Subscribe

The tardblog is both funny, witty and entertaining but at the same time makes you feel dirty for reading it. Equally loved and hated by her readers, "Riti Sped" and her adventures as a special needs teacher are fascinating.
posted by PWA_BadBoy (53 comments total)

 
I went to school where there were special needs students and some of these stories brought back a lot of memories. I did some tutoring with these kids and a lot of them are exactly the kind of trouble that Riti writes about in her blog. But at the same time there are absolute moments where they will amaze you out of nowhere.

While some of her writing is somewhat mean-spirited, I can't help but think that it takes a certain type of person to be able to walk into that job day in and day out. But in the end, I know she is good-hearted person for doing what she does. The people offended by her site have probably never had to work with special needs kids and wouldn't understand the stress of the situation.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 8:54 PM on January 22, 2003


I have worked with special-ed people and I was offended by her site.
posted by TheManWhoKnowsMostThings at 9:07 PM on January 22, 2003


Dude... This can't be real. It's just screams fake. The writing is awful, and not up to the level of any educator.

I really don't care what frat boy here claims, that site is bullshit.

It's not even funny. If you're going to make fun of people, you should at least do it well.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:16 PM on January 22, 2003


I'm speechless for so many reasons. One day, I'm gonna blow an aneurysm, and it will be because of my mixed emotions over this site. I will be dead and people will say, "you know what killed him? It was that website."

It's either mean spirited and sort of funny, or it's a completely inane attempt to troll a whole bunch of people, or it's just some very sad people who maanged to throw together a website, or it may be a new low-fat candy bar that doesn't let you down in the flavor department like so many others.

I think I will vomit now.
posted by mmcg at 9:21 PM on January 22, 2003


Further: I find the photo of the button on the wall strangely reassuring.
posted by mmcg at 9:23 PM on January 22, 2003


I'm siding with SweetJesus, TheManWho, and probably 80 - 85% of the people who follow this link; not particularly funny, mostly just mean spirited and obvious.
posted by jonson at 9:39 PM on January 22, 2003


uh. I don't like the name.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:40 PM on January 22, 2003


Sounds like bullshit. Would an adult educator really write like this?
"During the middle of October we had an assembly. It was a couple of homo’s that were putting on a juggling show. The kids loved the guys; their tricks, and all the retard-type shit they would say throughout the show"
I've never met a teacher remotely like the "writer" of this blog.
posted by mathowie at 10:05 PM on January 22, 2003


I have, and I also know a special-ed teacher quite well. The stories read more or less true to me. These kids exist, and do do these things.

I think it's probably a new teacher, only a couple years into the profession, and finding that it's far more than she'd bargained for. She's getting good and bitter and mean-spirited.

I also suspect she's working in some bassackwards trash school, where all the "special needs" students are stuffed into a single classroom with only one teacher to try to keep a lid on the zoo.

Where I live, most of these kids are integrated into the classroom with a teacher aide monitoring and assisting them. Expensive, but they do a helluva lot better.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:20 PM on January 22, 2003


You haven't, Matt? Wow, we definitely went to school different places, then.

My favorite was a 4th-grade english teacher who told my sister, "You know, everybody hates you." Not to be helpful, mind you. Just 'cuz.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:56 PM on January 22, 2003


My mom works with special needs kids, and while some of this stuff sounds a LOT like what my mom talks about when she comes home from work, a lot of it seems contrived. While I feel bad because there were a couple times I did chuckle, for the most part I felt really bad because the whole thing was very mean-spirited. Sure, my mom will talk about some of her kids in a joking fashion, but never in a mean way. I feel bad for these kids, because they have no way of knowing how their teacher really feels about them.
posted by elf_baby at 11:00 PM on January 22, 2003


This can't be real -- otherwise this so-called "teacher" would be so fired by now. The site is totally offensive and inappropriate. Could you even imagine being a parent of one of these kids and stumbling across her website?

Incidently, there's a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Edication Act that is supposed to make these sort of classrooms, where special needs students are segregated out from the rest of the students, illegal.
posted by boltman at 11:01 PM on January 22, 2003


The stories read more or less true to me. These kids exist, and do do these things.

True. If you just think of the weblog as a release valve for a frustrated teacher to let off steam, then it's safer than a lot of other things I can imagine.

Better mean-spirited out of class than in, and she sounds pretty responsible when in class.

we definitely went to school different places, then.

I had some real mental cases for teachers too, and I wish they'd bottled it in class and let it all hang out with epithets and profanity on a weblog as therapy (as if we even had electricity in those days).
posted by hama7 at 11:08 PM on January 22, 2003


Clicked the link. Saw the word "Tard" put in many many times in the first few paragraphs (maybe I shouldn't have been too surprised). Left.

'Nuff said.

and this is coming from someone who used to pick on the mentally challenged in middle and early high school. apologies to those that I hurt in those years.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:15 PM on January 22, 2003


uh. I don't like the name.

Why? I think the name aptly describes the creator(s) responsible for this site...

Only a person who is emotionally and spiritually retarded could try to profit* from a poorly written and designed site that makes fun of human beings with special needs, especially when the targets of their cruel exploitation are children.

*Note the casino ads at the bottom.

If there really was a teacher using this blog to relieve stress would she have agreed to make it commercial?

I thought we hit rock bottom with the pay back my debt begging sites but obviously there's another sewer down below...

The statement "weblog written by a real life special education teacher" (emphasis mine) also seems a bit unnatural. Would a special education teacher say this on her own blog. I'd agree with Matt that this site is probably a hoax. The writing is horrible and it is devoid of compassion.

On preview, I also agree with Adam... there are some really messed up teachers out there. Most teachers are good people but I have met a few that I wouldn't trust with a dog or cat let alone a child.
posted by cup at 11:17 PM on January 22, 2003


If there really was a teacher using this blog to relieve stress would she have agreed to make it commercial?

Judging by the URL, somebody's paying for the thing.
posted by hama7 at 11:33 PM on January 22, 2003


Unqualified shit.
posted by scarabic at 11:43 PM on January 22, 2003


This link is death, even if it were real, which it almost certainly isn't.
posted by Skot at 12:05 AM on January 23, 2003


Brilliant site. Peak of humanity. So we're talking about "tards" are we? Good good.

My highschool had a unit equipt with the best computers and annually each student had several days of school service. One day you would run errands for the principal and lick envelopes Then you would help out at the unit - socialising with the obnoxious bastards (it's no excuse). One bastard covered my half of the keyboard with soggy cardboard while we played Barbarian. He won ten games before I figured out which keys. For each win he was allowed to punch me. I wasn't allowed to duck or he would punch me. I decapitated him for 15 or so games straight and our scores were matched. He was angry and punched me and then went and resoaked the cardboard. He also started swearing at the keyboard.

If you're reading this Jeff, you're a cheating disgrace.
posted by holloway at 1:22 AM on January 23, 2003


I have no comment on the link one way or the other, but please, everyone, as you read through these comments, take a look up at your browser's title bar...

...now that's comedy!
posted by alas at 1:47 AM on January 23, 2003


I'm laughing a lot harder at the comment here than I did at the stories, and I thought those were pretty funny. The fumes of Righteous Indignation are stronger than any SUV article ever, and who would have thought that possible?
posted by rusty at 2:30 AM on January 23, 2003


The site may be mean spirited, but the woman who runs it has devoted her life to working with these disabled kids. As long as this stuff doesn't get back to the parents of these kids, in my book that entitles her to blow off any amount of steam she likes. I'd ask all those people who are getting offended, do you think what you do for a living is as socially beneficial and as selfless as what Riti does? And if not, who are you to judge her?

From the FAQ: Believe it or not, Riti really does like her job. In her own words: "Because I love it. I love kids. I enjoy knowing that I am enriching the lives of my kids each and every day. The hundreds of cards I have from my kids and their parents is proof of this. [...] And no, I don't make a lot of money. This does not bother me or even slightly persuade me to change careers. As long as I have money to drink myself into a stupor 4 nights a week and wear nice shit, I don't care. I will never quit my job because I love it."
posted by Bletch at 3:59 AM on January 23, 2003


As long as I have money to drink myself into a stupor 4 nights a week and wear nice shit, I don't care. I will never quit my job because I love it."

She sounds great to me.
posted by hama7 at 4:07 AM on January 23, 2003


I want to write about all the retards at my work as well, however they are called colleagues and read this site.
posted by sebas at 4:07 AM on January 23, 2003


rusty, I'm with you.
posted by ajbattrick at 4:30 AM on January 23, 2003


i think this woman is probably a great teacher - there seems to be quite a bit of love in there. it must be absolute hell at times doing a job like that. and i'm giggling away like crazy reading the stories.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:52 AM on January 23, 2003


Like TMWKMT I've worked with the mentally retarded before and, like Holloway, I've played a lot of Barbarian. And I had a good time doing both. Having said that, I must say that the people I know who work with the mentally handicapped eventually get over the whole "OMG! teh guy p00ped in his pantz!! ROFLMAO!%!$! hes like soooo retarded!!$%#! LOLLLOL".

It just gets old. Apparently not for these two losers, though, which makes me wonder why they even got into that line of work in the first place. If you're not a compassionate person, go do something else where your malice is better served.
posted by Ljubljana at 7:59 AM on January 23, 2003


Andrew: I wonder if it would be equally funny if your child's teacher wrote funny stories about your kid on the Internet. For example: "Andy Cooke Jr. crapped in his pants today!! I no longer was able to contain my laughter. THEY HAD A SYSTEM SET UP TO DEAL WITH THE SHITTY FAT KID! I started to laugh uncontrollably loud."
posted by Ljubljana at 8:17 AM on January 23, 2003


Gee, I've worked with the retarded, as has my wife, (as well as about 2 dozen friends) and I'd have to say that anyone I knew - an adminstrator, teacher, case worker, etc. - who worked with the retarded wouldn't let people with attitudes like "Riti Sped" within a hundred feet of a classroom of retarded kids or adults.

Retarded people do indeed do lots of hilarious things. And one of the interesting, more subtle things you can learn from them is: humans of all intelligence ranges are driven by the same motivational processes as the retarded ones and, furthermore, you can use the same behavior management techniques which work well on the retarded on anyone! and there's one more corollary to this: retarded adults tend to be nicer than non retarded ones which, I'd say, is mainly due to the fact that they are quite aware of being different and so try harder to be liked.

A lot of the surrounding details fdrom the "Tardblog" ring true to me BUT.........The injury rate surrounding Riti Speds' vicious little world makes me doubt the reality of the narrative. I think she would have been fired long ago, especially after the supposed "tard" seriously injured an elderly woman. This whole narrative could be from the 1960's, maybe.

If it IS real, it's sad; but I think that this classroom will be quickly put out of business through it's internet exposure. (maybe) Maybe some Mefi tech wiz could unnearth some more info on the "Tardblog"?

A lot of the attitudes spewed out by the supposively "more intelligent" Riti Sped are vicious, corrosive and dehumanizing. I treat my dog far better, and understand that my dog knows full well when I am having a laugh at his expense. I once made this mistake after my dog had a minor scrape with a car and, while he (unlike his usual in-your-face irrepressibility) was nursing his bandaged leg and sulking, I burst out laughing. He growled. I understood. I shut up and laughed no more. Anyway, "tards" understand a whole lot more. I suppose Riti Sped doesn't get that.

'...I was so angry that for nap time I put on Wheelz of Steel by Outkast instead of the usual
"Betterman" by Pearl Jam. The tards were whining and crying. I was laughing. .... Got a new kid today. He can't sit still for the life of him. I told him to put his coat in the coat closet and he started to bitch right off the bat. "Work is too hard, I hate working." Hopefully he will pee in his pants or masturbate or something good. .....One of them spots one of the grandmas getting off the bus. He freaks out, lets loose an ear-splitting scream, and charges her like a fucking bull, knocking her to the ground, really, really hard.  I run over and pull him off of her. She is laying flat on her back on the pavement in front of the school, writhing in what is obviously excruciating pain. The office ultimately had to call an ambulance, and she was taken to the hospital with a broken collar bone and numerous broken vertebrae. .......All from a tard trying to give her a hug....... Coming up with nice things to say about their kids is always tough. Basically, I have to lie to their fucking faces. I feed them with a load of BS. I do this for two reasons. First, I have so many negative things to say about them, that throwing in a positive every now and then alleviates the tension." '

 
posted by troutfishing at 8:17 AM on January 23, 2003


The story I like best so far is the first one "We have a code brown." "Real good, AJ." The one I like least is the basketball game fight. Clearly, Mark and Dave should have been beating up their dad.
posted by wobh at 8:23 AM on January 23, 2003


"If there really was a teacher using this blog to relieve stress would she have agreed to make it commercial?"

Given teachers' pay rates, why on earth wouldn't she try to make an extra buck?!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:51 AM on January 23, 2003


I've a sinking feeling that this site is altogether real. As one who has worked with autistic and mentally disabled students, I can attest to one certainty: It takes time, patience and money - none of which are easy to come by in a public school system.

In my classroom, there were 5 teachers/supervisors for about 15 severely disabled students. This level of attention was, unfortunately, very necessary. Swearing, biting, and poor control of bodily functions was the norm. I have to admit, there were times when we laughed at some of the behavior. We are, after all, only human.

But to systematically ridicule those who cannot help themselves? It's disgusting. Akin to laughing at a plane crash.
posted by aladfar at 9:08 AM on January 23, 2003


aladfar - exactly. all the stories could be real. but the "Riti Sped" attitudes are truly ugly.

I used to take one "tard" to my house all the time. I'm not actually sure if he was a genetic "tard" or autistic, or what. Whatever he was in the beginning, institutionalization had since altered beyond recognition due to the fact that he had been kept in a very small cage for the first 25 years of his life....his physiology was a little bizarre. He could barely walk, but, on account of his amazingly underdeveloped muscles, he could bend his foot up to his ear like an advanced practicioner of yoga.

Anyway, one of his few great pleasures in life was beer. I figured - consent? Does the concept apply in this case? - Sure! (I thought) - He's over 30, has lived through hell, and deserves a beer or two when he wants one. So he would hang out listening to music and nursing his beer, contemplating all that life had offered and shown him.

I worked with another guy who, the story went, had been severely hyperactive and aggressive as a kid, and had hit his brother with a Tonka truck. So they gave him a lobotomy. And then another, and another, and..........
posted by troutfishing at 9:26 AM on January 23, 2003


I don't know whether this is true or not (or whether Riti, if real, is a beast or an angel) but I have one comment and an observation:

I know a special education teacher who has been teaching for more than 20 years, and tells hilarious stories in a similar vein. I've never had the impression she doesn't care about her students. Instead, it always seemed to me that it probably takes a certain set of personality quirks to deal effectively and cope emotionally with such a difficult job.

"Riti Sped" - Maybe shorthand for Ritalin and "speed", as in drugs prescribed for kids with ADD, but also, perhaps an anagram of "Spirited", a sort of "positive-think" word sometimes used to describe children with behavior disorders. (Google.)
posted by taz at 9:30 AM on January 23, 2003


Considering that the site's "host," the insouciant elf tucker max, considers himself something of a prankster and an extraordinary wit, and further considering that his and Riti Sped's writing styles are nearly identical, my vote goes for "fake."
posted by vraxoin at 9:54 AM on January 23, 2003


Taz- I gathered that Sped was a shortening of Special Education. No clue on what Riti stands for. She also mentioned the school was in the Cincinnatti area, so matbe Riti is a shortening of a school in Cincy?
posted by ttrendel at 10:01 AM on January 23, 2003


Mean or not, this one still made me laugh.
posted by interrobang at 10:03 AM on January 23, 2003


What's the big deal? We're all dead in the end anyway.
posted by PigAlien at 10:08 AM on January 23, 2003


ttrendel- "special ed." Yes. But that makes too much sense; what fun are puzzles if they aren't convoluted and evil?
posted by taz at 10:12 AM on January 23, 2003


If we can't laugh at the severely disabled, who can we laugh at?
posted by dong_resin at 10:19 AM on January 23, 2003


Ljubljana - try reading more posts (where did you see the l33t speak, or you just making stuff up?). you might be surprised. there's a copy of a letter with names removed, too, which suggests to me that she's using aliases to avoid exactly what you suggest. sorry if you think i'm weird, but my vote remains with this woman - i suspect she gets a hard enough time from people like you.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:28 AM on January 23, 2003


s'funny that when i read the text i find a smart, witty, ironic, sometimes frustrated person, who's probably taking the odd artistic licence, but obviously cares deeply about, and enjoys the work she does, while others see a bitter, angry, cruel, stupid person who should lose their job immediately. same text. none of us know the person (or even if she's real).

seems to me it says more about the reader than the writer.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:39 AM on January 23, 2003


I'm guessing "Riti" is prounouced "Ree Tee" as in RT as in ReTard. But I'm only guessing that because she uses the term "ree tees" to refer to her students.

This made me laugh:

"I am in my room, waiting for my 11:00 group to show up for math. It is 11:09, I begin to wonder where they are. Then I remind myself that they are retarded, and stop wondering."

I think some of the stories are kind of sweet and sad, like the one about the injured old lady. I don't think she's saying that it's bad to be hugged by one of these kids, just illustrating that these kids can't, as she says, express their affection in the right way. And now, because of this one overzealous greeting, the senior citizens don't came to the school anymore.

The story that ends with Riti Sped singing to the kid in the grocery store as he clings to her, yelling about how happy he is to see her, suggested to me that she's not the unfeeling ogre some think she is.
posted by jennyb at 10:39 AM on January 23, 2003


seems to me it says more about the reader than the writer.

No, not really. You don't know any of us either. This statement is about as meaningful as "People are different."
posted by Skot at 10:48 AM on January 23, 2003


I find the site so poorly written that I can't be bothered to read much of it. I'm inclined to believe that Riti Sped is a real special ed teacher, and maybe even a good one - just not a good writer or very cognizant of appropriate behaviour. Maybe she thinks after spending her working life cleaning up vomit and getting physically attacked and struggling to teach a few basic things to each child a year she's entitled to ridicule her students in a public medium since they at least will never know. Maybe she's right. I don't know.

But I would like to recommend the work of Riti Sped's antithesis - a woman named Torey Hayden. Hayden is a former special ed teacher who writes about her experiences in the classroom. Her subject matter is bleak as some of her students were horribly abused, but she writes about her experiences in working with them with wit, intelligence, respect, and compassion, and the books actually end up being enjoyable reading. She has a web site (www.torey-hayden.com) although the site itself is not that good and is more geared for people who have read her work.
posted by orange swan at 12:27 PM on January 23, 2003


I know a special education teacher who has been teaching for more than 20 years, and tells hilarious stories in a similar vein. I've never had the impression she doesn't care about her students. Instead, it always seemed to me that it probably takes a certain set of personality quirks to deal effectively and cope emotionally with such a difficult job.

"Riti Sped" - Maybe shorthand for Ritalin and "speed", as in drugs prescribed for kids with ADD, but also, perhaps an anagram of "Spirited", a sort of "positive-think" word sometimes used to describe children with behavior disorders.


"Riti" is a play on the word "Reetee" and "Sped" is short for "Special education". You've summed up what I wanted to say quite effectively. Everybody so far has flamed the link as being brutally mean-spirited. I don't think any of you have worked with the special needs kids for a very extended period of time. I spent about 3 months working with some special needs children in school and let me tell you, it's a tough, tough line of work. But I get the sense that Ms. Sped actually puts on a very kind and caring face for the kids when she can.

There are some sweet moments in her site, and I really believe her stories are legitimate (the images should probably legitimize her stories fairly well).

She also parallels her work to doctors and the very disturbing jokes they tell to diffuse the stress of a very tough surgery. Let's face it, these very unpolitically-correct things happen and her line of work is one where the stress level would probably warrant it. Thank God she's not one of those special needs teachers who doesn't know how to diffuse their anger. I've heard of many cases of these teachers physically hitting their students just because they couldn't handle the stress of it.

I guess what I wanted to say was that we'd really like to believe things work really well and that for every special needs student we have ample teaching resources and nice,compassionate teachers at that. The fact is, we make do with a lot less and "Riti Sped" is probably one of the best of the bunch.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 1:40 PM on January 23, 2003


"where did you see the l33t speak, or you just making stuff up?"

Wasn't quotin' anybody, chief, just suggesting that the spirit of the site is decidedly adolescent. However, the quote about the "shitty, fat kid" (hilarious!! lol!) was taken directly from the site. If you think that kind of stuff (and toilet humor in general) is "smart" and "witty" and "engaged" -- well, then more power to you, brother. I've got an old whoopee cushion you might even be interested in. But as someone who has spent time with people who repeatedly crapped in their pants, or drooled all over themselves uncontrollably, you'll forgive me for not laughing.
posted by Ljubljana at 1:55 PM on January 23, 2003


My vote is for real, although Tucker Max is the personification of the term troll, so I wouldn't be shocked if it was fake. There are supporting details on Tucker's site in the UT game story. I thought it was all pretty funny, too. This woman couldn't do her job if she didn't like it. It made me wonder how two-faced I am, because I didn't see anything wrong with the dichotomy of a snarky, mean-spirited website and a professional, lying to the parents educator.
posted by monkeyman at 1:56 PM on January 23, 2003


I showed this site to a friend that teaches special ed (it's her first year on the job--month, really). She thought it was hilarious--and very representative of this kind of stuff that goes on in these classrooms. Very real.

I'm "pro-tard" on this one.
posted by magnificentsven at 2:03 PM on January 23, 2003


I, for one, hope she's "real." She sees these kids as they are, not as useless lumps of flesh or as some kind of lame-ass, New Age-y "angels" sent down to dwell amongst us poor mortals. In her descriptions, she interacts with them in ways that seem concerned, caring and supportive. Like many, many professionals engaged in high-stress work, she avails herself of an outlet that some outside of her profession might find offensive or inappropriate - if you think this is bad, you ought to hear the kind of jokes being told in doctors' lounges and locker rooms in hospitals around the world. We who are not actually teaching and handling these kids on a day in, day out basis have no more right to judge Ms. Sped and her "stories" than we do judging the neurosurgeons and trauma nurses telling cadaver-macaroni jokes.
posted by JollyWanker at 2:19 PM on January 23, 2003


I run over and pull him off of her. She is laying flat on her back on the pavement in front of the school, writhing in what is obviously excruciating pain. The office ultimately had to call an ambulance, and she was taken to the hospital with a broken collar bone and numerous broken vertebrae. 
 
All from a tard trying to give her a hug.

 
Lies!
posted by dgaicun at 3:06 PM on January 23, 2003


Heh. The hate-letter calling them "angels" had me gagging, too. Some people need a good smack upside their romantic head with a clue-by-four.

There was a "special needs child" [koff] at one school that had a nasty habit of pushing people off the sidewalk into the path of oncoming vehicles. Just a small little bugger, grade threeish, but when you weren't expecting it, he usually succeeded in throwing you into at least a hard stumble.

Some angel.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:48 PM on January 23, 2003


I call writing like this "brutally honest" because it doesn't pull punches or renege and be politcally correct in the face of recounting an incident. yeah, they're probably a bunch of dumb kids who decided to teach special ed. (and they're definitely trashy -- the deaf leading the blind, perhaps?). Let it be.

..."Code Brown". Heh heh.
posted by Down10 at 1:20 PM on January 24, 2003


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