Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't tell me it is raining when we all know what it is.

Hey, Les: don't tell me to use the school website because all the parts work - that you have files loaded on your website when in actuality you don't because that function doesn't work.

That is why my school website merely points people to one that really works.

Don't super enunciate my name because you mispronounced it and I corrected you.

When you use the sentence "They had a real resilience to using this program" when you mean to say "They had a real reluctance to using this program". "Beyond he and I" . . . you're kidding, right?

And guns do not hold "aminition".

But most of all, if anyone cared enough to correct you, you would find that praising some people's grades is not the smartest thing ever. Some people give easy grades and haven't taught anyone anything.

But you are not able to see the big picture - and I am not willing to help.

You think the numbers tell the truth? Not when you are comparing apples and oranges.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

OK I have no shame

I cold called a student my mother taught 5 decades ago because I thought he could answer a question for me (and he did). He has to think I am beyond nuts (which is fine).

Memory lane.

I knew he would have no idea who I was but would remember my mother - since he talked to her last year. And I can establish real quickly who I am and that it is not a sales call.

That was fun!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Have the changes made schooling better?

I grew up in the dark ages, according to modern educators. When I went through training to become a teacher, I was repeatedly told but the PhDs who were younger than my Master's degree that we didn't DO math the way I was taught it. And I have tried this new-fangled way. And I do not like it.

I read David Andrade express pretty much the same thing on his blog. Students are not learning the math and the Dark Ages scored much higher than current students.

And then I saw Joanne Jacobs weigh in on how math should be taught.She quotes from this article.

And then Ste at Live Long and Prosper weighed in on SAT scores.

I just find it all depressing.

The kids are not stupid but they refuse to just learn things as I did. Now, not everyone that I went to school DID school but it seems like a higher percentage did. Tomorrow we have another standardized test and on Tuesday I will lose my planning to justify my grades. In theory we are increasing rigor this year but, since they have announced Tuesday's meeting, I am guessing we are expected to increase rigor and keep grades up. And how does one do that?

Six Word Saturday

What is up with Facebook - now?

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Finally!!!!! Instructions on how to change your FB back to the way it used to be. To change the Layout BACK to ORIGINAL STATUS, you MUST get NAKED, stand on your dining room table and do the Macarena, all while singing ”I Will Survive”. After filming and sending it in a private message to me, then, and only then, will Mark Zuckerberg come down your chimney to tell you that your account will stay the same. Pass it on, it must be true because a friend of a friend of someone on Facebook I hardly know told me. . . . . lol

Friday, September 23, 2011

What expectations should teachers have about communication?

How would you feel if you went into the office and found that they had swapped out the computer and you could no longer print on your printer? That they expected you to use a joint (network) printer 2 halls away.

(Actually, I am guessing at what they want because the administration is not talking to us, apparently.)

Remember - they do not provide paper, so somehow you are expected to use this joint printer and your own paper in the planning period they sometimes allow you to have.

Or use your own printer and ink at home.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they expect me to use my printer and my ink since I already use my paper to provide material for the students.

Is it any wonder the kids view us as a supply store like Staples since the administration appears to?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Assignment from the people who design our lesson plans

10 things for parents to do

Found this on my way to accomplishing something this morning.

Respect the Teacher

* Remember that the teacher is on your side. Teachers truly care about your children and want them to be successful. "The child's success is our success," explains Nelson. If your child's teacher contacts you about a problem or something that happened at school, understand that the teacher is trying to work with you to resolve any conflicts that may be getting in the way of your child's success. You're all on the same team.

* Trust in the teacher's feedback. Just because a child doesn't exhibit a particular behavior at home doesn't mean he doesn't exhibit that behavior in the classroom. So if a teacher reports a particular behavior that you haven't seen before, don't rush to say, "Well, I've never seen him do that." The classroom and home environments are quite different, and oftentimes children behave differently when forced to follow rules and work with peers. Listen to what the teacher has to say and work with him/her to find a solution.

* Don't show up for a meeting unannounced. It's great if you want to meet with a teacher to discuss an issue or chat about your child, but don't show up at school without any warning. Instead, schedule a time to meet—not only does this show that you respect the teacher's time, but it also gives him/her time to prepare for the meeting and provide you with everything you want to know.

* Don't go over the teacher's head. If you're having an issue with the teacher, your child, the subject matter or the classroom in general, talk directly with the teacher before going to the principal or other administrators. "Ninety-five percent of the time, a problem can be resolved between the teacher and parent with a simple phone call," Nelson says.

Be Involved

* Check children's agendas and take-home folders every night. According to the National PTA, talking with your children is one of the most critical steps of healthy parenting. "Communication is key," Nelson agrees. Not only does this help you stay on top of updates and what's going on in the classroom, but it also shows your child that you are checking in.

* Check on homework regularly—but don't do it for the child! It's important to review your child's homework, but if she gets an answer wrong, take the time to help her understand why. "Please don't just tell her the right answer," Nelson says. "That defeats the purpose of homework!"

* Address behavior issues at home. "Children don't enjoy getting in trouble," Nelson says. "So when they come home and tell you about how mean the teacher is, keep in mind they may be telling the story in a way that they won't get punished." If this happens, try to get to the heart of the issue and uncover the facts so you can address it.

* Go to Open House Night. A good parent-teacher relationship leads to a good student-teacher relationship, so don't skip the open house! "In the past, I've had parents that I have honestly never met in an entire school year," Nelson says. "It's a sad fact." Use the open house as a time to get to know the teacher, ask questions, uncover expectations, address problems and find out what's going on in the classroom. tip: Ask the important questions first, in case time runs out.

Get 38 more tips for how you can easily be involved in the classroom

Be Organized

* Establish a regular routine each night. This includes having children pack their backpacks the night before, to make sure they have everything they need for school the next day. "The number one thing my students tell me is, 'My homework is done, but I left it sitting on the table,'" Nelson says. A simple evening routine can prevent this and prevent children from feeling rushed or disorganized in the morning.

* Cut down on chaos and clutter at home. If your home life is disorganized, this can carry over into the classroom and make learning more difficult for the child. "When a child walks into my classroom, I can tell by the look on his face what kind of morning he had and what kind of day it will be," Nelson says. Simple things like keeping a tidy home, an organized homework desk and a clean bedroom can help the child feel prepared and focused on the day ahead.

US Budget in terms of household numbers

The National Review presents this - the US budget as a householdhold budget. And you get this:

Let’s remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:
Annual family income: $21,700
Money the family spent: $38,200
New debt on the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
Budget cuts: $385

Postings on Facebook - daily humor

A mother passing by her daughter's bedroom was astonished to see the bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then she saw an envelope propped up prominently on the center of the bed. It was addressed, "Mom."

With the worst premonition, she opened the envelope and read the letter with trembling hands:
Dear Mom: It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new boyfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Dad and you. I've been finding real passion with Ahmed and he is so nice-even with all his piercings, tattoos, beard, and his motorcycle clothes.

But it's not only the passion Mom, I'm pregnant and Ahmed said that we will be very happy. He already owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. He wants to have many more children with me and that's now one of my dreams too.

Ahmed taught me that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone and we'll be growing it for us and trading it with his friends for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Ahmed can get better; he sure deserves it!!

Don't worry Mom, I'm 15 years old now and I know how to take care of myself. Someday I'm sure we'll be back to visit so you can get to know your grand children. Your daughter, Judith...

PS: Mom, none of the above is true. I'm over at the neighbor's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than my report card that's in my desk center drawer. I love you! Call when it is safe for me to come home.


Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:-Knowing when to come in out of the rain; - Why the early bird gets the worm;- Life isn't always fair; - And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies, don't spend more than you can earn and adults, not children, are in charge. His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility, and his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights,I Want It Now,Someone Else Is To Blame,I'm A Victim.Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, do nothing.
OK, this is what we do instead of emailing these to each other. For which I am grateful.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another good educator felled by outside "stuff"

I am not going to post the link or the name.

One of the educators who made my first couple of years worth living as well as taught me so much about teaching had a bad case of the stupids and has been forced to resign. It is a shame, because as an educator he/she was above reproach and has helped so many.

Just damn.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What should math education look like?

OK I cannot embed this video but it is worth watching.

Uncomfortable truths

I said to a parent last week, when asked why I teach, that one of the reasons was to change the future of some of the students, to lower the dropout rate (for example) of black males. (I want to change the future for all students but feel this group needs more.)

I was told I was a racist and he went complaining to the administration about that.

I would think I would be a racist if I wanted to perpetuate the current condition. Nope, you are a racist for noticing.

There is a local magazine (available in the gas stations) that allow you to see who has been arrested. I have 8 lovelies that I have taught in the past in jail right now. All black. And yet I teach classes that are never more than 30% black.

All were not-good students, all had impulse issues, some did not graduate. Could I have made it better?

I had a teacher come into my room a couple of years ago who told my class that the black males did poorly on the state tests. When he left, the class was irate that he was racist. I showed them the statistics on the state website. And learned that it was racist to have a county that was only 20% black.

We have to acknowledge that we are getting results (lower state scores, higher incarceration rates, lower graduation rates) for some ethnic groups or this will only get worse.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


From today's AJC Vent.
My daughter teaches in a metro high school that got a federal grant to improve student's performance. So far, the grant has been spent on salaries for a lot of bureaucrats with little check lists. The kids need books and technology and tutoring.(And more involved parents that money cannot buy.)

Wow, our grant has bought 4 wide screen TVs to play cartoons during lunch, the salaries of 6 people to tell us how to teach, no new technology, no new books, no new teachers.

We have added such worthwhile things to an already short day as the SAT daily problem, the character word of the week, and pep rallies. (OK, I can buy the SAT problem).

Once again, we are reinventing the wheel and using nothing we did before.

And the new administrators don't even know who we are.

They do know enough to tell us that we need to be on time for our lunch duties and while we can go to the bathroom on our way to the cafeteria, we need to plan our lunch on those days so we are on time. (translation: do not plan to heat anything up.)

And there is more in the AJC in Get Schooled. "Former HS Math Teacher" could be me. I wonder how I will survive in this environment?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

You can't fix stupid

Ok, stupid criminal time. They rob a DQ.They threaten a lot of people and take their stuff. They put the money in their car, which is running, and THEN THEY LEAVE IT AND THEIR GUNS AND GET INTO A STOLEN CAR.

They get t-boned by one of the customers they robbed, run off and 2 get caught.

Wonder why they left the money?

Six Word Saturday

Is anybody listening to anyone anymore?

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I read this article yesterday and really didn't think about the implications until I got to the bottom. (OK, I am probably insensitive. It has been a long week.)

This is a teenage mother. Researching something she needed for a job interview. The interview was the next day. She is in the library and her baby makes noise.

She was asked to leave.

Then it gets out of control.

The juror, who found her guilty, said it should never have gone to court. And then he said the peice that whapped me upside the head.

“The supervisor could’ve talked to her for more than the two minutes she said she did. And the officer could’ve said, ‘tell me a little bit about what’s going on.

“But he didn’t, and she didn’t. Both said ‘move on.’”

Simmons said such behavior on the part of the adults is frightening, considering the potential trouble teens and youth can find themselves in when they don’t feel they're being heard.

“I think we all need to sit back and watch how we handle these young people,” he said “I don’t think it would’ve escalated if they had taken time to address the issue.”


I thought about some of the single mothers I teach. Teenagers without a lot of self control on good days. I feel humbled.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Today's email

I am passing this on to you because it definitely worked for me today, and we all could probably use more calm in our lives.

I looked around my house to see things I'd started and hadn't finished, so I have managed to finish off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bodle of Baileys, a butle of wum, tha mainder of Valiuminun scriptins, an a box a chocletz.

Yu haf no idr how bludy fablus I feel rite now.

Sned this to all who need inner pees. An telum u blody luvum.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Things that break your heart

"Every day I wish I was pregnant because that was the only time in my life my mother didn't yell at me every single day."

Yes, we need to change the culture of the school.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11

A day to reflect on what was and what will be.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Saturday - to busy to blog. Sigh.

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Marilyn Monroe in her own words

"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

"If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty."

"When it comes down to it, I let them think what they want. If they care enough to bother with what I do, then I'm already better than them."

"Ever notice how 'What the hell' is always the right answer?"

"Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn't that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you."

Sex, drugs and rock and roll

Yeah, today has been one of those days.

Lost 2, maybe 3. Gained one.


Super teacher cartoons today. Try Baldo and Frazz.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Atlanta Cheating - again

“I can’t accept that there is a culture of cheating,” she said. “What these 178 are accused of is horrific, but we have over 3,000 teachers.”

Why is it so surprising that a little less than 6% of a group would cheat in order to get money?

Oh, yes, it's the the Beverly Hall show again, this time from the New York Times, saying - again - that she didn't know they cheated. But it wasn't because of her.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Class size

OK, teachers, what is your average class size?

Mine is 29.5.

Lose or Loose?

I am taking a class. The professor repeatedly misuses the word lose. (A friend said I should tell her - uh-uh - too entertaining.)

Just found a letter she wrote on line "The school District stands to loose thousands of dollars if changes are made." Yep, that is how she uses it all the time.

Wanting to ramp up the maturity

I keep having dreams (nightmares) about teaching very small children. I cannot get them quiet, they do not follow instruction, and I keep losing their teeny pieces of paper I am supposed to grade.

Yes, I know where this comes from.

The kids are overall behaving better but they will not be quiet and they keep eating (and dropping) candy in my class.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old Age

My mother's oldest sister is close to 90 and is not in good health. She has been in assisted living but has been in a rehab hospital for the last month and probably won't get back in the assisted living hospital because she is not mobile enough.

This is hard for my mother to deal with. So, she and I talked about will - about how you have to want to be mobile to make things last as long as possible.

I hear her preparing for the inevitable - not today, not immediately, but inevitable.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Today's email - could not have arrived at a better time!

A real woman always keeps her house clean and organized, the laundry basket is always empty.

She's always well dressed, hair done.

She never swears, behaves gracefully in all situations and all circumstances.

She has more than enough patience to take care of her family, always has a smile on her lips, and a kind word for everyone.

Send this to your friends if you, too, have just realized that you might be a man.

Six Word Saturday

An awesome tribute to the Towers.(click here)

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Six Word Saturday

Paperwork is the killer of creativity.

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Yep, that says it all.