Saturday, October 31, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Pleasant thoughts make life worth living.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Working toward goals

click here for Slutty Teachers

click here for Georgia Is An Easy Grader

Had a student ask me this week why Georgia is ranked 47 out of 50 states. Actually, that's higher than I thought we were. He asked if it was because Georgians are dumber.

My co-teacher got very quiet watching me, telling me later he was waiting to see how diplomatically I could answer this. Apparently I surprised him.

I told the student that the first thing is Georgia requires every high school graduate to take the SAT. Some don't care about college so they don't take the test seriously. In other states, only the people planning on college take the SAT so they try harder, plus it is different demographic.

In addition, I told them, there are some people who lower the expectations for the students, making a recovery policy which makes student success dependent on the teacher not the student. I said, if you are willing to accept their expectation, you will never rise as high as you will if you set the bar high.

One of my favorite movies is "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" which is the story of Gladys Aylward. Gladys was told she wasn't good enough to become a missionary, so the organization in England refuses to pay her way to China. She pays her own way to China, becomes a successful missionary and saves over 100 children from the Japanese.

She was told she wasn't good enough, but she refused to believe it. My students too often accept someone else's verdict about their life.

How to help someone see that they may be able to succeed if they would just keep working.

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” Wayne Gretzky


How do you get kids to clean up their language?

I am so tired of all the $%^$@#$&* I hear every day that, while I do not want them out of my room, they are going to have to go.

The word I am most tired of is n****r and its variant n***a. I don't say these words, I don't think these words and I am completely tired of having my surroundings polluted with these words. I have told the kids I consider them to be profanity. I had one kindermensch insist it is an integral part of his vocabulary. I finally told him there are vocabularies specific to different places and that word has no place in my classroom.

He is one of my repeaters. They can indulge their vocabulary to their heart's content in detention.

Funsucker update

I met with her AP, I met with my department chair and I feel a little better. One told me she has been a thorn in the side of every teacher she has worked with and this too shall pass. The other told me to treat like an autistic student - don't push too much and giver her space.

In the meantime, I am being treated like some incompetent and feeling unorganized and overwhelmed.

She was nice all week (why not, everyone is doing it her way and, while she gets to teach, she doesn't have to do any of the crap work associated with teaching - like copying and grading. I'd like an "assistant" with my skills as well.) - I want nothing to do with her.

She has started picking on one of my favorite students. Sheila is good student, but she talks too much. Now the funsucker has started writing her up and making everything a battle royale rather than being an adult and finding a better solution. I have about half the class (the ones who do well) who cannot stand her - but she is acting as a divisive element with the class as a whole.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Need help with a quiz

A student went to court yesterday because he refused a breathalizer test one night. He wasn't drunk, hadn't been drinking but now has that on his record.

I am planning on giving a well-duh quiz - those things I know they have been told and have forgotten how they will bite you.

1) If you refuse a breathalizer request from a police officer, nothing can happen. True False (false)
2) For most jobs in Georgia, it is very difficult for your employer to fire you for cause. True False (False)

Can you help me come up with more?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

She lies.

She has now lied to the APs about me twice, that I know of.

I think they know they're lies. I don't want to get into a battle about you're lying, no you're lying, so I am almost content that my supervisor knows it's a lie and hers seems to.

This is my morning thought today.

This school has a major problem.

Either she is lying and knows it - which is a problem. Or she believes these lies and is delusional, which is a problem.

I have options, even in this economy. But what if I were a first year teacher? Or a student?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Friday I was angry. Really angry.

Yesterday I was grumpy and annoyed and bitchy.

Today I am at peace. I have a plan and a better understanding.

I am between a rock and a hard place. Two APs, with different agendas, have given me conflicting instructions. Conflicting, because they involve working with someone who refuses to work with me.

This is causing me great anxiety and frustration, neither of which I handle well.

I work well in a team. While I tend to take it over if there is a void, I am willing to let someone else be in charge. I have worked on teams or in groups my entire working life, where I had a role and everyone else did as well. Some members didn't pull their weight, but at least they understood they had a role.

My mother says that in any organization 10% do 80% of the work, 80% do 10% and the remainder do nothing. (Of course she made it up, but I quote it anyway).

I usually do my share and some. While at this school, I have always taught a course that was an orphan (as in only I taught it), but it was a part of a group, we met as a team, we had assignments, we did them. The funsucker has been a part of these groups, comes late, complains, and never contributes except after the fact. I could ignore her because it was 1 hour a week.

This year, my team consists of one teacher I work well with and never meet with except in the hall in passing or between classes, and one who has never (NEVER) been a team player, pulled her weight, shared, etc.

She isn't going to suddenly decide to talk with me. And it is impossible to do the two things I am being tasked with (meet with her and co-teach) by the two APs without her cooperation. I have been told I cannot email her, all communications must be face to face. OK. This because I asked her if she wanted to do something and her perception is I am telling her what to do. ("Would you like" is not an order.)

I am going to ask for a meeting with a third AP, the one who will be evaluating me, and ask him not to solve this (you cannot fix a problem when one person does not see that there is a problem), and not to get between the other two APs, but to understand that if he observes that class I am not following the school dictates for reasons beyond my control. He can observe that class, but at least come observe one of the others to see that there is a difference.

If this doesn't work, I figured out three other career paths I can take, two that involve staying in teaching and one that involves another route.

What is the Serenity prayer?

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

I can only change me and my attitude. And I am smart enough to know I cannot change the funsucker.

I am at peace.

PS POD, you are right. Venting, even it is ugly, helps lead you to viable solutions. You are a great teacher!

Life is too short for the grumpies

And I am too behind on my to-do list to care about being grumpy today- so enjoy a couple of random sites:

click here for My Life is Average

click here for Overheard in Athens [Athens being the home of the University of Georgia. Sort of says it all.]

Overheard at the school: another teacher to her students: "You will never be as smart as me. Some of you are a waste of air. I should not be asked to teach you. I am going to do everything in my power to use the rules of this school to get you out of my class." Just makes you want to spend seat time in that class, doesn't it? Not funny.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Thought I'd get a jump on it:

Don't let crazy ruin your life.

And more

I just got an email from the AP. It was no one's fault that today's meeting was missed.

I am not to tell the funsucker by email what to do or offer any suggestions by email. It is only supposed to be done in person. (OK, I have nothing to say. I can do the job alone.) I was told that if I needed to have a meeting to plan the week before the week's meeting (end of the week) we could do it before school.

I have fallen down the rabbit hole. This AP is missing that the communication issue IS THE WHOLE PROBLEM. The funsucker and I haven't planned anything since day 1.

Oh, well, Deep breathing.

"May those who love us love us. And those who don't love us-- may God turn their hearts. And if He cannot turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles, so that we may know them by their limping."

Left in the lurch

She stood my up during planning but acted like we were best buddies when she came to the class. We had been given a specific assignment to discuss and resolve during 3rd period planning - it didn't happen.

She asked me to stay after school. I had been looking forward to leaving on time (yes, MMT, I had already made that decision) but I am reasonable and said I'd stay. Then I watched her fritter away 15 minutes while I waited. And waited.

She came in and asked if I needed time to get organized. I told her I'd already had enough time and was she ready - she walked out and told our boss I walked out on her.

How do you fix crazy? I know you can't fix stupid.

I asked my department chair to be in on any subsequent meeting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Three of us were told we had to write 5 unit plans. Some how I have 3 of them as my responsibility. If you say you are too busy, it becomes someone else's problem.

If you decide you want to push through a strategy that hasn't worked in any class you have insisted on using it, then get the administration to add it to the workload of your fellow teachers.

You don't want to do the things that are part of your job? No problem, pitch a fit and make someone else do it.

I am drowning.

I am going to have to start working the normal hours and leaving when the day is over. Sorry kids, I will not be tutoring every day. Too much other crap has been added to my plate - all due now.

The funsucker wins

I have no idea what she wants, but she has succeeded in sucking the fun out of my class.

I cannot ask her for anything, suggest anything, the kids come last - and somehow we are equals. She is increasing my workload (with no increase on her part because she is "overwhelmed") and the kids are getting less from the class, and I do not see what she accomplishes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Invited to a meeting - not a good thing

Ms. Fullofherself has apparently gotten fed up with me and has insisted on a meeting with 2 APs and her department chair. It is probably going to be something we could have compromised on if she would just meet with me instead of continuing to try to get me to read her mind. I suck at that.

I am updating my non-meeting log and notes and will go and try really really hard to not be sarcastic. Some targets just insist on it.

My kids outdid themselves today. I had a family emergency and they were rock solid awesome!! I bought some treats for them in thanks.

I love my classes. I wish Ms. Fullofherself had any idea about being a team player.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Imagine other words and you have some of our faculty meetings. Have to love being yelled at - so inspiring.
click here for Faculty Meeting

Hulk: you are not doing what you need to in order to inspire the kids. You have to engage them! Have you stood in the hall and memorized the names and vital facts of every one coming by your room? How will you teach them if they don't think you are a friend?

Have you given them 60 for doing nothing? How will they ever pass? Have you created some totally inspiring lesson so they will put their phones down and learn the work? Have you written the notes for them? Have you? They are failing and it is. All. Your. Fault! Go teach them!! Go!!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hurray! Conference week

Next week is conference week. I have a high failure rate (the students will not turn things in, costing most about 20 easy points, will not listen to reviews or lessons - well, you know) but the parents don't care.

I have several who are trying to get their kids to drop out - yeah, that's a solution.

One dropped out last week because the teachers in this week offer no support (I have 8 tutoring sessions scheduled a week - they just have to come). He is now in jail, arrested for selling drugs 2 days after dropping out. He had a 19 for me.

These are depressing times. When I feel I make no difference. I keep telling myself, I cannot save them all. I work on the ones I can save.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What a day

A student who just dropped out because "the teachers here do not try to help him" is in jail for selling drugs.

A kid for whom I have no test grades after giving 4 tests walked out of today's test, keeping his record 100% zero.

Twelve of them pulled their phones out to text during the day. I am behind and don't want to write them up because of the grief I will get.

Ms. Fullofherself inserted herself into another class, complaining about the way that teacher was running the class - she has nothing to do with that class.

She also refuses to meet with me - allowing me to document this to her supervisor and graciously agree to accommodate her lameness. What a loser.

Another teacher - I think I called him Mr. Ego - routinely tells students they will never be as smart and marvelous as he is. Students told me today that he is retiring after this year. I think that is wishful thinking.

Looking forward to the weekend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lack of knowledge and effort

I reviewed for a test yesterday and watched three boys - who are failing my class - fool around the entire time. I kept trying to direct them back to what we are doing - but it didn't happen.

Today, one of them asked for help on a problem exactly like one I worked yesterday during the review. I pointed that out to him and told him that paying attention would have helped him more than the fooling around did.

He stayed for help after school. He didn't know how to round numbers or understand why you would round $123.678, even though we have discussed this at length. He kept saying it was too hard.

They need this course to graduate and will put zero effort into it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The truth shall set you free. But first it will piss you off. - Gloria Steinem

Make it fun

Joanne Jacobs: How do you get people to choose the stairs over the escalator? Make it here for Make it Fun!

This is too cool!!

OK, back to my real world. Mr. Hulk keeps chastising us to "make it fun" with classes that are too full, no money, and other teachers in the classroom who will not participate but live to suck the fun out of everything.

I discovered (through my wonderful meeting last week) a way to make one of my classes more fun with very little time, effort, and money on my part. I talked with the kids - yes, they think it will be fun as well.

So, I have spent a fair portion of this weekend pulling the material together so I can copy it tomorrow and explain it and get it going. Wish me luck on getting past the funsucker.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Administrators play weird games with us

Questions: sometimes the answer is NO.


This week we were told we did not need to do a midterm, that it was optional.

We are, instead, supposed to do an assessment, at the halfway point, which will indicated what the students have learned up to that point.

Huh? Isn't that a midterm?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

professional development


It was small, it was specific, I can see how I can use it. I had a chance to vent (as did the others) and then come together with solutions! The person in charge came by and we had a chance to talk with her about problems and solutions and long rage how-are-we-going-to-address-this.

It was like going to heaven for a couple of hours.

It is worth all of the years of crap I have endured!!


And I do not care at all if I get credits toward recertification.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My creed. I hope you will share yours!

I believe in people. I believe people will grow up to - or down to - whatever you expect of them, so set the expectations high and let them rise to the occasion.

I believe in math and love that there is one answer and a myriad of ways to get there and to illustrate the problem - which, in a way, defines my faith as well.

I believe in education, because without education we are limited as to what we can know – and with education there is no limit.

I believe in freedom because freedom to chose, to believe, to dream is what makes life worth living and this is something worth defending and dying for.

I believe in responsibility because without responsibility freedom can be toxic.

I believe in my family and in that family that I have added during my life.

I believe in my country because there is not a better place to be in the world, even when we are messing up. Because we will set it right.

I believe in God and hope he believes in me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What to do?

One student is really giving me grief: won't come to school (usually misses tests and quizzes), acting up in class, attitude, etc.

Tried to call the parent and found out she is in a group home.

This doesn't change that she needs the education = probably more than most, but I feel like a heel for expecting so much from her - and like a heel for even second guessing that.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What you'd love to tell parents some days

This is the actual answering machine message for the school: "Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting the right staff member, please listen to all your options before making a selection:
To lie about why your child is absent - Press 1.
To make excuses for why your child did not do his work- Press 2.
To complain about what we do - Press 3.
To swear at staff members - Press 4.
To ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you - Press 5.
If you want us to raise your child - Press 6."
If you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit someone - Press 7.
To request another teacher for the third time this year- Press 8.
To complain about bus transportation - Press 9.
To complain about school lunches - Press 0.

If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework, and that it's not the teachers' fault for your child's lack of effort: Hang up and have a nice day!

To hear this in a language other than English, move to a country that speaks it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Freshman teacher

A student asked me today when Mr. Smith quit being a freshman teacher. He has always taught a freshman science course and this year they let him teach a senior course as well. I tried explaining that we are high school teachers and it depends on what they give us to teach what grades we end up teaching. This year I have all upper classmen. The last four years I had sophomores.

We are not like second or third grade teachers.

When I realized how much trouble I was having explaining this to a student I realized why Mr. Hulk considers me to be a remedial teacher. Duh, I teach remedial students ergo I must be a remedial teacher.

If he only knew how difficult it is to teach a concept to students when the concept is outside their realm of ability. Creating a scaffold to help them takes a lot more work than working with kids who have ability and motivation.