Saturday, May 13, 2017

Highly Ineffective Principals, Georgia version (with apologies to Math Curmudgeon)

Math Curmudgeon has written a lot about highly ineffective principals, which always make me cry and laugh (since they always sound like my own principals). (See an example here And, since my own this year has decided to create his own reality, here I go:

Mr. Hippy decided that the riff raff (AKA teachers) can no longer visit his admin in the morning. But he wasn't going to tell us that. He was going to wait until we did then write her up for not utilizing her work time correctly.

Why do you teach?

Yesterday a student asked me "why do you teach?"

Another student said "He wants to know why you don't go live your life?" and the first student said "No, I want to know why you teach."

I said I like the subject - math - because it was always fun. (A certain set of rules, different ways of getting the answer, but a specific answer. And I told them the joy was when you make a difference to someone.

It doesn't happen in every class. Some just want to be shed of you and move on. Some make so little effort in the class that they make no impression on you and you make little on them. But every now and then you connect with a student and make a major change in who they become.

I told the class about a boy I taught in 9th and 11th grades. In 9th, he was headed noplace in particular. In 11th, we connected and I started to make a difference.

Last year he asked me if I knew he was supposed to graduate form high school - because that was the path he was on in 9th grade. Now he has graduated from college, started his own business and has served as an inspiration for others.

And that is why I teach.

Is he a mathematician? No. But he is an awesome human being and I played a small part in that.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

This word HAS to go

That word, that singular powerful word, has cost another person a job.

It doesn't matter if you say it so it ends in an A or an ER it is still profanity.

There isn't another word like this - one that can be said with impunity if you are one race but cannot be said without repercussions if you are another.

You want a color-blind society? Lose this word.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Same class a month later.

50% of the class is failing.

There have been 20 assignments whose sole purpose is to raise their grade - construction packets, trig packets, write me about your future plans, course review packets over break - you name it.

Normally 20% of the class will do the work - and that 20% is in the 50% that is already passing the class.

The last "extra credit" I gave I told them was mandatory. It can raise their grade 4 points or drop it 3. How many do you think I got? Same as always.

Somewhere it became MY problem to pass them not their problem to earn a decent grade.

Document, document, document - I am not passing them for the sake of have a low failure rate.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Willful Ignorance

I asked a student to draw a tree diagram for flipping a coin three times. We have taught this in more than 3 90 minute classes. It is necessary to master for material that is coming.

What I got had no relation to a reasonable answer.

I corrected him, several times, trying to get him to create a correct drawing. But he refused to change what he was doing. He refused to reference any notes. He just kept drawing the same thing.

What I got was "I tried" - like that matters when you are unable to correct your erroneous attempts. So I drew the tree diagram. And he quit doing any work for the rest of the period.

I could not get him to see that 1) he needed to write it down 2) he needed to learn it and 3) there is no participation credit in his grade.

When did it become acceptable to not even try to learn? Throw some crap on the board, dance for your friends, sit down and talk. This is not learning.

Saturday, February 25, 2017


And it doesn't seem to matter what age the kid is.

My daughter is away for several months so I am cleaning out her room of things I had in there before she moved back. I asked her to take some time before she left to clean it up.

Every time I walk down there, I don't even know where to start. Or why the trash and laundry is all over the floor. Or why there is no room for 2 people at the same time so I could get help.

It is an odd space but I can see how, with work, it could be useful and not a disaster.

I think I have a solution: when she returns I will tell her the rent for the room is $400 a month, which can be offset by various chores of my choosing, designed to empty her room of crap.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Theft by your co-workers

I heard this week that the supplies (dry-erase markers, paper, etc) that had been purchased by one department had been taken (by whom, who knows) before it had even been taken to the appropriate room. I mentioned this to a sweet, young thing who said she had never heard of such a thing.


If I leave treats (you know crackers and such that they give us to make us feel appreciated) in my mailbox - my co-workers feel free to take them.

This is along the lines of the students who feel that if something is in my room, they are free to help themselves.

Love it.

Keep little that I value anywhere at school.