Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You can't fix stupid

You can't fix stupid. The comments are better than the article.

What kind of 18 year old would attach alligator clips to his nipples and pllug them into the wall? About half of the ones I teach.

It is going to be a very long year

The principal is sitting in his office, in the dark, on his computer, day after day. I guess it's cooler in the dark (I have a room so hot that I have sweat rolling down my face by lunchtime and other teachers complain about going home sopping wet). It's just creepy to walk past his office on the way to the secretary, and he is sitting in the dark, on his computer.

On the other hand, we aren't being reamed out for stuff we already do right.

Several of us were griping about the amount of training they have scheduled for us - and when it is scheduled. (Everything has to be on a Friday?) Why do that? Why not meet with us individually and tell us, individually, what we do right and what we do wrong, as opposed to yelling at us as a group and hoping we figure out which is us.

I got an email today about a group of students with the admonition to let the principal know if he left someone off. I want to bang my head against the wall. How do I know if he left someone off the list, if he won't tell me the criteria or tell me who should be on the list. I tried not to ask that because, wait for it, I knew he would say he'd sent me that list. Actually, no he didn't.

So, if I want it, I can go to his office (about 6 times until I can find him free) and get the list - or assume (love that word), that I have everyone I need.

And that's just the administration. I will have to write about the kids. I think I have most of the classes under control - now for the last one. . .

Sunday, August 29, 2010


(Thank you for all the kind thoughts. This has been an incredibly hot month. While it aggravated health problems the dog had, it probably helped the cat be a little more comfortable a little longer.)

We have a woman (let's call her Rosanne) assigned to us to help with math so we can raise our scores. Maybe I am just an evil person, but the emails she sends out seem to be self serving. That she needs to interpret what the powers that be say to us, or find the stuff online from the state (duh, we know where it is).

But the things that would seriously be helpful, well, she has no clue.

I cannot get the other teachers teaching the subject I teach to come up with a schedule. I don't mean a "cast in stone, do not deviate the course" schedule but an idea that this section will take 2 weeks, and this should take 4 but will really take 5 because the kids don't get it.

The other three have taught it before and I get "duh, it has to be done by the end of the semester" comments. Not really helpful, guys.

Anyhow, I have spent too long on the first part. I have been avoiding calling parents because (silly me) I thought the kids would actually start listening. My first test will be an absolute bomb. So, I am thinking of ways to allow them to redo. I like the ideas of cumulative tests - like two regular and a cumulative.

Any comments?

Anyhow, Roasanne has sent out a memo that there will be math trainings (five of them) with the middle and elementary schools that feed us - vertical teaming. You know, you get a sub and go to a meeting and hope for something useful. Every bloody one is the Friday before a three day weekend or holiday. How am I supposed to keep these kids civilized when I have difficulties when I am IN the room? I wonder whose genius idea that was?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Six Word Saturday

I can survive even rough weeks.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

She's gone

We buried her with the dog this afternoon (the dog had been cremated but not buried yet). The dog would have been thrilled as he loved her. She tolerated him.

I will think about school later.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The end is near

The labs came back. She has cancer and has very little time.

They did make her comfortable last night and we brought her home this morning. I took the day off - and when I tell you about Junie Moon, you will see why. I will take Friday off as well. I gave a reason other than my cat is sick.

I have spent the day next to her, while she has slept. They say it is a matter of days. And that we will probably want to put her down Saturday, so the vet has said he will stop by then.

Junie Moon used to walk my children to the bus. She is a talker, so she would talk with us whenever she can. She isn't talking much now - I guess is takes too much effort. And yet she purrs.

She loved being held like a baby, in the football hold. Again, this is something that is uncomfortable for her right now.

She always sits next to my laptop and has contributed to some of my blogs - usually not in a helpful way.

We've talked about where to bury her. She doesn't seem to have an opinion. I suggested the middle of the driveway - but that would be expensive. One of my children suggested a spot next to the front walkway where she has spent many hundreds of hours, watching the world go by.

The dog was cremated but hasn't been buried yet, so we will bury him with the cat. She will probably be annoyed (she wasn't afraid of the dog, but he wasn't her favorite). But, I don't think she will protest.

Sleep well, Juney Moon.

She made it through the night

She made it through the night but it will be a matter of days not months, so I called in sick last night. I figure she will probably pass today and I would like to be with her at that time. We go get her after rush hour.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

She is still with us

She is on oxygen for now. They have drained fluid from her chest - almost 200 ml. We were able to pet her and say goodbye. She relaxed with the petting so maybe she will make it through the night.

Goodnight, Juney Moon. You are a great kitty.

Sucky Wednesday part 2

My cat - who is a really awesome cat and more like one of the kids even when she is being crabby to the other pets - is at the emergency vet having tests run. She probably has congestive heart failure so I don't know if she is even coming home. I am on my way to say goodbye to her now.

Things that roast my butt


How was YOUR Wednesday?

1) Administrators who keep sending out Urgent! Do this now! If you received this, please act! emails that you have already done. My guess is that Sandi and Barney and 5 or 6 others haven't done this and rather than emailing THEM, you are wasting everyone else's time by making it a group email. I already did this. Twice. I emailed it to the correct person. I could waste her time by asking if she has mine, or waste it a little less by just doing it again. But I AM NOT THE PROBLEM SO WHY NOT ADDRESS THIS TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE?

2) Students who don't come to class and then are shocked! SHOCKED! that they are failing. Then they waste everyone else's time complaining about how lame I am that they don't know this and how their mother is going to get them out of this class. (Oh, I wish. Who do I pay?) I guess they will grow up to be administrators, unable to see cause and effect.

3) Administrators who insist on assigning every child a book - even in classes where we do not have books - when we have teachers without printers or computers. The teachers would at least use the printers and computers - the books will prop up the uneven table at best.

4) Putting the most copiers where the least teachers are and vice versa.

5) Stoopid teachers breaking said copiers because they are too stoopid to use them and too lazy to ask for help - then not owning up to the fact they broke it and inconvenienced every one else.

6) Kids who talk during class.

7) Administrators who put it on the general ed teacher to fill out and hold meetings with the special ed teacher. Nope, not my job this year.

Have to call a parent on a kid who told me "talk to the hand" - think my list will do for now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What is with these kids and tests?

My tests are not hard. They are based on what I teach in class. The kids I am teaching - not all, but the same crew who cannot handle working in groups because they talk - do poorly on the tests.

Gee, do you think there is a correlation? I do, but they do not appear (yet) to see that they are going to have to change or repeat this course.

Another lesson tomorrow.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The List

Dear Counselor:
Posh Spice, Sporty Spice and Scarey Spice came into my class with a list. After they took a quiz they started saying the following, loudly enough to be heard by the entire class.

A and B (Not sure about the initials here) were doing it in the library
And in the stairwell

H and J have been making out. H has mono.
J has mono too
I knew about H, I didn’t know about J
Well they’ve been making out and mono is contagious, so J must have it.

Then something about P and about N

There was a lot more but I don’t remember.

The girls kept consulting a list and whispering (very quietly) who the letters represented to each other. Then they would loudly go through the gossip about the people as above.

Big Boy kept going over there to see what was involved. And what they were saying about him.

I don’t know if they were doing this to prove to the class that they are important and know all these things – or would gossip about someone if they didn’t like them. Or, quite frankly, they could have been making things up so that I write them up and they could go to their AP and say that I made it all up.

Even if it isn’t true, I could write them up for disrupting my class. If it is true, the things they are saying about their friends (and I use the term loosely), then I believe this borders on bullying. So I am bringing it to your attention to ask what I should do next.

Signed, Ricochet

Answer: nada, zilch, zippo, ummmm, still waiting for processing.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What else do we miss?

If you read this and this - it makes you wonder what else we have missed. Would you have stopped - or would you get in trouble with your boss.

Video available at Youtube.

Six Word Saturday

Need to pick up the pace.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

I am doing ok in a couple of my classes, but I need to pick up the pace in the repeater class. The problem is the talkers. I came in prepared with pop quizzes Friday and will do that from now on. If they won't work, I will be calling home.

I have talkers. I have the ones on their telephones (it is so cute the way they think I don't see, she says sarcastically). I have one who keeps selling candy (she is the first one I will be calling home on). I have one who keeps wanting me to send him to detention. (He got it when I said fine. I have no problem with it taking you three times to pass this course. And next year, if you fail me, you will have a different teacher. Possibly the one you had last year.)

I told them yesterday, if they want to talk, I will not compete. I refuse to yell, although I am capable of it. So, we'll do quizzes so that I know what they know.

Then they worked.

Have are repeating the subject. For half it is brand new. Finding the pace is beyond difficult.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I gave a test and no one came

OK, that isn't true.

But I gave a test and let them use their notes. I went over everything the day before. Twenty per cent passed.

There were twelve problems, so eight points each. I had one darling (doesn't come, doesn't listen, won't stop talking, should be a senior) tell me that I should have taken off 4 points each.

Love the SHOULD.

I looked at him and repeated: twelve problems, eight points each. You will have the opportunity to raise your grade. If you want to.

I feel like I am in a battle of wills and losing. These kids seem to think they can implement a slow down (or a dumb-down) and if the grades get bad enough, I will have to cave.

I want to laugh. There is nothing I am teaching in this class more difficult than elementary school. I am not going to cave.

Report cards will go out in two weeks and I can see I will be making a lot of calls.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rearranged the room

I rearranged the room, so that I have more control, and I am enjoying the students more.

It is early in the "training process", but they seem lower and more needy that the kids last year.

I am getting comments like "You said we had to work. You didn't say anything about the right answer." So, it's ok to slop numbers on a piece of paper rather than actually working the problems?

I am getting very tired of being yelled at by the administration. When I failed to have my little darlings walk in a line (are you kidding me?), one of them started yelling about having the students under control. I thought I handled it well, but one of my students (laughing) told me I rolled my eyes.

We have failed AYP enough that I bet the administration is worried, but they are destroying morale.

Wish I could rearrange the administration as well.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I am going to hell

I wrote about a teacher who I asked for help. She had taught the course I have before and I wanted her to help me by providing a handout.

She got "stressed out" by having a nightmare (seriously!) and did nothing.

Over the summer I asked for help in determining the pacing (I sent her a pacing guide that I had so she could critique it.) So far nada.

She has planned every meeting about this course when I cannot meet.

Do you feel a little hostility? (I know there is some on my part at this point. I am thinking there may be some on hers.)

I will function ok, but it would be easier with ANY help.

Today, we were at a meeting and she kept making belittling comments about a test. And saying to someone else that it was ok if the someone else had comments because SHE (MS Highmaintenance) hadn't written it. I did. The day after the dog died. And there are errors. Which I would have fixed, but I have been re-creating the wheel in the course I am teaching.

Then she looks at me and says "I hear you have material that you copied for New Teacher?" Stuff I found on the Internet.


"Will you make me a copy?"

I looked at her and said sure. But I never said when.

I am thinking when hell freezes over.

How about you? When do YOU think I ought to make the copies?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Curmudgeon has a lovely article about personal responsibility today which ties to the vent I have been having with myself since about noon today.

I went to write up a senior for behavior which has been inappropriate according to the school rules since said senior was a freshman. Kid knows better - and I know this because I was kid's teacher that year as well. But I can't write up the behavior for discipline until I talk with the parents, so they can talk with the kid and get the behavior to change.

Excuse me?

1) The student knows the behavior is such that punishment is the appropriate response but chose to do it anyway.
2) None of the phone numbers in the system work.
3) The rules haven't changed in three years - nor has the student's behavior.

So, kid keeps acting out and administration can self righteously say that they cannot do anything because I have done MY part and talked with the parents.

So, it is more appropriate that next year (God willing) when the kid has graduated and is employed and does the same bone=headed inappropriate things and loses his job?

I was told today by a student (he should be a senior, I think he is a sophomore) that I am unprofessional (he had a booboo and wanted to see the nurse - I wanted him to finish a test) and that I did not do a good job teaching the subject to him because he could not do the ARITHMETIC on the test today.

He has done little work, none of it right for the past 2 weeks.

He told me earlier: "you asked for work. You didn't say it had to be correct."

I see failure in his future. I see failure in a lot of futures.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Third birthday of this blog!!

I have been writing this blog for three years - and 585 posts. I hope to post as many as last year as I go through this year and our struggle to make AYP.

Please keep reading and commenting - you make me better!

Same-o same-o

Funsucker has not changed. I think she is feeling overwhelmed this year - or is off her meds - but she is not demanding that she teach in my class. Of course, it is also first period and she may not be awake yet. (Gotta love being a morning person and being chipper to snarly teenagers who would rather be anywhere else.)

She still refuses to do her damn job.

I have started keeping a log. I track how long she talks with which students. There are a dozen or so in the class which - BY FEDERAL LAW - she must spend her time. Instead she chats with this one or that one "because they need help" while the students she is supposed to be in there for are coming to me.

Yes, I know we are there to help all the kids, but why bother putting her in a classroom with another teacher when she talks over their instruction and will not help the special ed kids?

Document document document.

My husband sat me down yesterday and said he does not want me to pursue another degree and he wants me to really think about going to a private school.

I bristle at the idea. I have never gone anywhere but public schools, never sent my children to anywhere but public schools. I want to help these kids.

I handed out a survey for them to fill out. They asked if they got a grade for it - I said no, but I needed the information - it was on how they learn and what they know.

Half didn't turn it in. Another few slopped crap on paper.

It is now a quiz grade. I am giving 100 to the ones who followed instructions. Zero to the ones who didn't do anything (they can make it up by turning it in after they do it on their own time) and 50 to the ones who did half. (Again, they can fix it on their own time).

And I am thinking about private schools.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Mrs. H. has been talking about organization here, here, here, and here.

Which set me to thinking about my classes and school.

Organization comes from the top. If the teacher is unorganized, heaven help the kids. There will be some that have it together, but most will flounder. Organization is one of those things they stress in teacher-school and one of those things that good principals stress in their schools. With the teaching model we are to be using, which seems onerous at times, organization is the key.

So, in my classroom, I give the students a place to store the paper I expect them to keep up with. Each class has a crate (each a different color) and in that crate are hanging folders. In their hanging folders are two file folders. One for the key concepts we cover - to help them keep that organized. (I will grade it periodically to keep them on track and this is the page they can use on their tests.) The other holds their starter (problem from the state standardized test to keep them reviewing) and their current work. I two-hold punch the folders and the work and use fasteners to keep the paper from falling out. At the beginning of each unit, they are given a list of things to turn in, which are due at the unit test.

Part of what is due is all of the quizzes - this is their opportunity to correct them to raise their grade.

I also hand out the pacing calendar so that they can know - well in advance - what is being covered when and plan accordingly.

I have a school website which I use to post schedules (tests, etc) on.

Papers are turned in plastic letter trays (one per class).

When I give a test, I write the name of every missing student on a test and file it for when they ask. (They are in high school - take some responsibility). I do not give back tests.

But organization comes from the top. Our administration is a disaster. One admin will get on the intercom and direct everyone to homeroom and another will come on 2 minutes later demanding everyone go to their first class. Teachers rarely get information in time to plan for.

If the administration is plan adverse - it impacts the teachers which impacts the students. I can do the best job in my little piece of the world but the powers that be are sabotaging me.

Six Word Saturday

Good attitude is the first step.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"I'm so stressed"

I asked for help. (I hate to keep coming back to this but I don't ask for help very often and it took a lot for me to ask.) So, I asked a teacher to help by letting my know what she was doing for class for two days, this being a class she has taught before and I haven't.

She said fine.

When I left at the end of the day I had heard nothing, so I really didn't expect that she would follow through and I came up with something. (This week, I am planning the day before and I. HATE. THAT.)

When I got to school, she greets me with "I am so stressed" but I really didn't give a damn since she hadn't come up with anything and I had my own problems.

I found out today what she was so stressed about.

She had a bad dream.

No, seriously. She had a bad dream and so she didn't plan for her class this week, because it left her stressed.

I would say she was an adult, but you might misunderstand.

She is old enough to have taught 15 years.



Someone mentioned "what, you are in school already?"

The average high for the past couple of weeks is about 93. (I am too lazy to actually calculate it, so I am eyeballing it.) The only county near Atlanta that hasn't started is Fulton County. [Atlanta straddles Fulton and DeKalb County and there is also the Atlanta Public School district] Fulton will start on the 21st. The rest of the districts are sending their kids on school buses that are not air conditioned but they ask that the kids bring water on the bus.

The parents don't want to start school this early. The teachers don't want to start this early. The kids sure don't want to be here.

But we are in school.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It is starting out to be a bangup year!

1) I have Funsucker for two classes again. I asked for nothing other than to not have her.

2) New first year teacher has higher level classes than I do (OK, I am petty and jealous but when I have a kids tell me that subtraction is too hard - and she is a senior - I am not being challenged.)

3) They are looking for their 3rd shop teacher. The first left before preplanning started. The second walked out the first day of school.

4) Three science teachers announced they are pregnant and due between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

5) The math chair announced to me this morning (but was overheard) that she is not responsible for holding the hands of the two never-taught-before teachers that we just hired.

6) Just called 6 students - per the rules - and none of the numbers worked.

7) I asked the teacher who has taught the courses I teach (she taught them last year too) to help me as I had a horrible weekend that I couldn't get out of. I asked her to come up with lesson plans. Monday morning she greets me with the comment "I am sooooo stressed." Well, you know what? I am too when you don't do what you said you would. This is the one who emails me the day she is out to make copies - no more.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It is amazing

It is amazing that someone you admire can say one sentence and destroy all feelings you have for them. I am not a big fan of The Hulk - you would know that if you read this blog and when I stop being as irritated as I am about today's meeting I will roast him again.

One of the teachers who teaches AP courses was talking about a big fubar at the end of last year. I asked what happened. Well, the syllabus didn't get approved by AP so the AP course kids had taken all year had to be changed to an honors course in June.

I asked "so, The Hulk forgot to send it in?" which seemed odd as we have AP courses in several disciplines and have had under the Hulk for several years.

Nope, says the excuse for an AP teacher, he didn't write it.

I am floored.

The way AP courses work, for those who do not know, is that the teacher has to produce a syllabus which is then approved by the principal and then sent to AP. If AP approves it (called the audit process) you have an AP course.

Do you see how the principal doesn't write the syllabus.

What an ass - and I do NOT mean the Hulk this time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

All in all it was a crappy day today.

We were told to come in and set up our rooms today - a furlough day. I get there and all of the desks - mine, the kids, the computer, everything - is still out in the hall.

So I get it in my room, put posters up and leave, because I need to get the dog to the vet.

On the way to the vet, the dog started wheezing, like a child with asthma. He died as soon as we got to the vet, of heat stroke.

He was in an air conditioned car. I didn't stop anywhere and leave him in the car. Home to vet. They couldn't save him.

I want to go to bed, pull the covers over my head, and not come back out for anything or anybody.

I know I didn't, but I feel like I killed my dog.

A woman's place

I cannot remember where I read this - I am thinking Time.com (as in Time magazine) - but I do know it was something I consider to be be a source that should know better. The article was about Chelsea's wedding (don't make me hurt you by asking Chelsea Who?) and described her mother - in the only description of her mother in the article - as "the former First Lady." Now, Hillary IS the former First Lady, but I would think former Senator or current Secretary of State is a better description.

Heck, I think Mother of the Bride trumps former First Lady.

I will put away my feminist sword now and go back to my cup of coffee.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sometimes being right is not a good thing.

Somewhere on this blog - and I cannot find it - I wrote about a young teacher who thumbed her nose at the administration and repeatedly clocked in late.

Eventually, they called her in, threatened her about worse things that were not true (the kinds of things that end up on the front page of the paper), so she ran around like crazy trying to prove those things were not true.

They asked her to resign or she would be non-renewed. Several of us told her to resign and find another job, it is a no-win situation.

Her mother told her to be non-renewed so she could get unemployment.

Everything the administrators told her was documented was not (gee, they lied! Imagine that.) She cannot find a job. Untold numbers of teachers have been let go, she has a non-renewed due to "failure to perform duties" vs whatever they are saying about the ones they let go to thin the ranks. Business isn't interested in her because she has been teaching instead of "working".

Dang, I hate it when I am right. I wish she had resigned.