Sunday, August 21, 2016

Why I Detest Playing Games in Class

I am teaching a new course this year that has a lot of card matches. The school provides 1 ream of paper per week - and that isn't cardstock - so I made a class set.

Played the game in one period out of 4 - and 1/3 of the cards did not make it back at the end of class.

These are seniors.

The next class wanted me to create a new game for them.

Yeah, I have nothing better to do.

The difference a second can make

I was in a bad car accident a month ago.

I had 2 thoughts, seemed like several minutes apart, but in retrospect probably no more than a few seconds.

The first, as a car suddenly appeared in my lane, headed toward me "Oh, shit, I am going to hit her."

The second, after we hit, as I tried to catch my breath (airbags deployed, my seat either moved forward or the front of the car collapsed or both) "I can't breathe. I can't breathe, I am going to die." I watched the other driver jump out of her car, run to the other side screaming "my baby" and she opened the door to get her child out of the car.

I did catch my breath. I somehow opened my door and swung my legs out, and sat, my head in my hands, trying to catch my breath.

If I had been a little faster, she would have hit the driver's side that hard.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Nickel and Dimed

For the past several years, the school has asked a nominal amount ($50) for various charities, in return for which you could wear jeans every Friday (36 times). Jeans is a small perk, not really necessary but enjoyable.

This year, they are asking for less money but each $5 gets you one jeans pass.

Guess who isn't giving any money?

I will just do without wearing jeans. And they can do without the "contribution."

Sunday, July 10, 2016

If you can't spell, how can you teach English?

I walked into a room at one point and found the following on the board:

Young immigrants in Texas Classroom
1) 150 young immigrants and refugees
2) Left their Country's (sic) because of the violence or war in Las Americas new comer's middle school
3) located in Houston's low income gulf town neighborhood
4) Principle (sic) Maria Moreno hired five new teachers and a social worker
5) has the history of helping people

{I added the (sic)}

BTW it was not a lesson of finding the errors.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Re-evaluating lifelong opinions

There was one high school teacher I never liked.

She was a friend of my parents, but I always felt that she hated me. So I hated her.

I survived her class and vowed I would never speak to her again.

Then (remember she was a friend of the parents) she was invited to my wedding - and then various family functions over the years. I avoided alumni functions from high school, but my parents would invite her.

This past week I was home for another family function. And I took time to actually talk to this teacher as an adult to an adult. And I found that a lot of the opinions I have about teaching are opinions we share. And the hate is gone.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

AAAARRRRGGHHH or I can't make this S**T Up

Six weeks ago I told an administrator something a student had told me - that his English teacher had not given a test all year. (which can be verified in the gradebook) Let that sink in a minute. No tests. All year. Six weeks out of a school year that only lasts 36 weeks. OK?

In less than 2 weeks we have our state comprehensive tests.

1) The teacher has still given no tests. (which can be verified in the gradebook)

2) She has done no review for the upcoming state tests.

3) Guess who is going to teach how-to-take-a-test and (hopefully) the rudimentary parts of passing a test in a subject I am not certified in?

There are only a few class periods left and I have to assume something is better than nothing. And - they are my students even if it is not my course.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Should your life be defined by the worst thing you have ever done?

There is a Blue Bloods episode where a father shoots (and doesn't kill) the man who, as a teenager, accidentally shot his daughter - who ultimately died from the shooting. Erin makes the comment something like, should your life be defined by the worst thing you have ever done?

I think we do that too often.

When I was in high school a young man killed a stranger, someone who had picked him up hitchhiking because the student wanted to steal the older man's truck. And the young man, sentenced to a life in prison, was let out after about 40 years.

More recently, one of my ex-students, in a moment of stupidity, did something that resulted in a dishonorable discharge form the service he intended to donate the rest of his life to.

My ex-classmate has returned home and is living among his former friends, attends his childhood church, and appears to have made rehabilitation.

How to help my former student see that this doesn't have to be the rest of his life - that it will not be what he planned, but he can recover?