Monday, May 30, 2011

Spring Cleaning

While I need to do that at home, it will be awhile. I am taking a couple of classes over the summer for another degree (hence the whining about writing). I love to talk and argue - just not on paper. This blog has been good practive for me but, they want more than simple paragraphs.

There has been a lot of spring cleaning at school. Several less than effective teachers are leaving. I like some of them but they insist on bragging about how they bamboozle their students and the system. I teach low level courses, sometimes well, sometimes not. But I had several in my class this year who were also in Pinnacle classes - they took my class to learn something. That is what they told me. I knew their other teacher. They never were rude about him, but they made it clear whch of us taught.

Another - well, let's be nice and say she had a meltdown. She let herself, her colleagues and her students down. The relief at knoewing she will not be back is palpable.

And then the Administration. Halleluljah we are getting all new ones. Yes, I know that the devil you know and all that, but I have worked a little with the new principal and he is a class act - I will have to improve my game to be worthy. I think that is why some of the underlings are gone. I know that is why Pinnalce is gone.

I think a lot more paperwork is in my future so I am working on organizational skills.

Yep, avoided my (student) classwork enough - back to the books.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's that time of year



Time to laugh and relax. Long past time.



And a little screaming is good too.

It is an epidemic

Two women were "play fighting" at the birthday party of one and fell through the window. The birthday girl was killed. It was her 30th birthday.

Really? Thirty year olds are adults. Do you "play fight" with your buddies? Do you play anything strongly enough you could hit a window in a hotel and fall out? These women weren't playing.

The woman who turned 30 left a 15 year old daughter - that means she was pregnant at 14.

Just wow.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Six Word Saturday



All done but the shouting - hoorah!



For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.


Graduation and a day of sign up/clean up - then a summer of writing. Not my favorite thing.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blogger - just as helpful as my administration

I have been locked out of blogger since Tuesday. So you have missed all the joy (sarcasm) of the last few days - but we will come back to that.

Thanks to PO (teachers always come through!!) who suggested trying Google Chrome (which didn't work) I thought outside the box and instead of using Firefox (which seems to give me a lot of grief), I used Internet Explorer and HERE i AM!!

(Bows to the applause) Thank you, thank you, it is good to be back.

OK, this week there have been tornadoes (here, no problem immediately close but 3 people died)(and Joplin, where I have family, some of whom have not been reached yet), exams ("Hey, Ricochet, is it a problem if I fill out the scantron in ink?"), micromanaging (like not telling us until today that they will not let us into the building tomorrow for graduation).

I got a special gift from a student. I told the class a story from my high school days - and she painted a picture of it!! And gave it to me!

And my test scores trump the rest of the department (except for the gifted kids) - so much for being the worst in the department. (And, no, I would never get an apology for Hulk saying that).

And the member of our department who totally screw over her students (and while I don't mind throwing her under the bus, it would give me away) will not return to our school. HAPPY DAYS.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Random Thoughts

* Student asked me to get him a pencil. I told him they were on the desk, and kept walking. Two minutes later, he asks for a pencil again. (Actually, he said he needed a pencil). I said I'm sure he did, but they are still on the desk. Where do they get the idea that I went to school to wait on them? (BTW, go get a pencil from the desk has been the rule since August.)

* Student bangs on the door. And again. And again. And again. And again. The kids (who have tried to get up to answer it but I wouldn't let them) have been yelling "It's not locked." Student bangs again. I open the door to a snotty "I KNOCKED on the door!" So I jiggled the handle to show it had not been locked. I will not miss that one.

* Six students - seniors - owe me work and didn't show for the final. Don't get it.

* I have a pass rate of 3 times what I have had in the past. Sounds impressive until you realize the past rate was about 12%. Not bad for teaching a group that never listens.

* This year has been difficult. I hope next year is better.

* An adult comes in to borrow a printer while I am on the computer. I said 1) I am fixing an exam for tomorrow 2) I am in the middle of something 3) Can it wait - while the adult kept insisting that I let her print something. Then she says - just tell me if I am a pain in the butt. I thought I did.

* The seniors have been coming by to say goodbye. It occurred to me, listening to the kind things they said, that the teacher those students saw is not the one my horrid class sees. But, to be honest, I don't see the horrid students the same way I have seen students in the past. It isn't every class or every student this year, but it is a lot of them.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Email of the day

Garrville Smith, a store manager for Best Buy in Augusta, Georgia, told police he observed a male customer, later identified as Tyrone Jackson of Augusta, on surveillance cameras putting a laptop computer under his jacket.

When confronted the man became irate, knocked down an employee, drew a knife and ran for the door. Outside on the sidewalk were four Marines collecting toys for the "Toys for Tots" program. Smith said the Marines stopped the man, but he stabbed one of the Marines, Cpl. Phillip Duggan, in the back; the injury did not appear to be severe.

After Police and an ambulance arrived at the scene Cpl. Duggan was transported for treatment. The subject was also transported to the local hospital with two broken arms, a broken ankle, a broken leg, several missing teeth, possible broken ribs, multiple contusions, assorted lacerations, a broken nose and a broken jaw...injuries he sustained when he slipped and fell off of the curb after stabbing the Marine, according to the police report.

Cpl Duggan is ok.

And on a totally unrelated note.

You will never be this happy.



Sigh.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rapture?

Well, it has skipped New Zealand.

Six Word Saturday



I can't do this by myself.

OR

It's not my problem to fix.



For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

I tried to review this week because we are close to the end. I tried to come up with things to raise their grades, because they wouldn't do the previous choices (which were chosen because they were valid).

This is what I learned:
1) I was teaching something and told them how to do it "by hand". "How do I enter it into the calculator?" It isn't difficult to do by hand, and I do not know how to do it in a calculator, so I said "I don't know." And the winning response to asking her to work? "That's not fair!" She is a senior and about to find out a lot of things are not fair.

2) I tried to review, they want games. So I let them come up with the review. (And I picked a valid way to do it.) They didn't come to school, didn't stop talking. They were as rude to each other as they are to me. And I am trying to pass them along, not because they are brilliant and know this stuff, because they don't - but because I know they will do less if they are repeaters.

3) Gave another group of failing students the option of recovering via the computer - could not keep them on task or in the room.

4) On the bright side, the ones who are low performers who have had me for more than a semester, seem to have figured out how I work and are stepping up to the plate.

I read this about millenials in the workplace. Maybe I just don't throw enough parties?

Friday, May 20, 2011

The End of the (school) Year is Coming!



Somehow I think He will come on His time and we are arrogant to presume otherwise.

Does make a good Six Word Saturday though.

The clock IS winding down at school - and that cannot happen soon enough. This has been a rough year. I am currently in the keep-you=head-down-and-try-to-be-overlooked stage.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Six Word Saturday



Summer - and recharging - 2 weeks away!


For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

This year has been exhausting and at some point I need to analyze why and what I could have done differently.

Some things I know - some elude me. (Like, why, if you were allowed to take a test WITH someone would you chose to only do half? When your teacher never lets you take a test with anyone and ALWAYS uses both sides of the paper?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Teambuilding



The hulk missed his chance for this.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mamacita says it best

This is not mine - I stole it from Coach Brown.His column follows (but you will notice he reposted someone else's.)

-------------------------------

This is from the great Mamacita. It is not my post, but it needs to be said, now more than ever.

-----

Most teachers who leave the profession leave because almost all of the attention, most of the perks, most of the privileges, and most of the allowances are given to the students who least deserve it: the disruptive kids. In other words, these loud, bratty, obnoxious kids are being rewarded for their disgusting behavior, so why should they clean up their act? I wouldn’t. Not if doing my own thing meant I’d still get to have and do everything little goody two-shoes next to me got to have and do.

Secondly, many of the parents who are involved with the school are the parents of these same brats. School administrators fear negative PR, and to a principal or superintendent, negative PR is when a loud-mouthed parent with a shitty kid calls the newspaper office. Entitlement is the bane of our society’s existence, and it’s alive and well in our public schools.

“You WILL accept my child and you WILL give him/her a special lunch and you WILL treat him/her on a different level than all these other peon kids and you WILL hold his/her hand and you WILL allow him/her to break any rules we as a family do not believe apply to us. . . .” Lovely mentality, yes?

Or this:

“Trailer for sale or rent, or possibly just someone else’s the family is mooching, no phone, no pool, lots of pets, chain smokin’ beer-guzzlin’ shacked-up, in and out of jail, booze, grass, if that damn school tries to call me one more time I’m goin’ down thar and kick me some ass. . .” Lovely mentality, yes?

Or this:

“My kid will play in that basketball game tonight and I don’t CARE that the rules say a kid who’s failing any subject is ineligible. Your rules are stupid, because that game is more important that a stupid subject like English or science, and I’ll go straight to the superintendent and school board if I don’t get my own way with this issue.” Lovely mentality, yes?

What’s even worse is the fact that more often than not, going over the heads of the teacher and principal will all too often give these people their own way.

Me, personally, I think that if there are any perks to be handed out, they should go only to students who have earned them. No earn? No get. Ever.

Why should a student bother to behave himself if he knows he’s going to get a limo ride and a Pizza Hut lunch for bringing a pencil three days in a row? I wouldn’t.

Why would a student exert himself to do any work, or allow anyone else in the classroom to do anything either, if he knows he’s going to be passed to the next grade anyway? Yes, I am a firm believer in holding back any student who can’t do it, won’t do it, or any combination thereof.

I don’t want my tiny second-grade-size daughter seated next to a hulking ballistic cursing disruptive 15-year-old, but if everyone is REQUIRED to behave properly, there wouldn’t be any problems even then, now would there? Because while a student can’t help the “hulking,” there are no viable excuses for being ballistic, cursing, or disruptive. EVER. Any person of any age who behaves in such a way should be removed immediately, not at the end of the day but IMMEDIATELY, escorted out by the police if the parent can’t be reached, and locked away where he/she can no longer deny other children their right to an education. That our schools have lowered themselves to becoming daycare centers for kids who are not required to behave themselves is a national disgrace. The schools who allow it are a disgrace, the parents who allow it are a disgrace, and the kids themselves are a disgrace. That’s right; I’m labeling children. After a certain age, they know how nice people behave. Life is full of choices. CHOICES. Door #1: Thank you for being a nice person who behaves properly. You may stay and be educated, that your life’s choices might increase. Door #2: Are you sure you want this door? Absolutely sure? Very well. Get out and do not set foot near the school grounds ever again. You are bringing down the entire population of students. Good riddance. Billy Madison speech. Door #3: Whine. Scream. Curse. Threaten. Hire a lawyer. Make promises. We don’t care. Get out. And take your obnoxious kid with you.

If only.

In other words, disruptive bratty obnoxious kids are mostly a product of their home.

Teachers who say things like this are few and far between. Not because they aren’t thinking such things 24/7, but because it’s dangerous to speak out. Ethnicity, race, gender, and social levels have nothing whatsoever to do with this issue, but teachers who recognize the actual problem and try to do something about it are often accused of being racist, sexist, un-PC, heartless, “in possession of inappropriate knowledge,” etc. And often the biggest brats belong to the parents with the most political pull. Just as often, the biggest brats belong to. . . . nobody. In either case, brats are brats.

In other words, somebody screams “prejudice,” when the truth is, these teachers are speaking truth.

Until the bullies and the disrupters and the violent and the kids who have no respect for learning are removed from our schools, our schools can not be what the free public schools were meant to be: places where all who wish to learn, may learn all they wish.

It’s hard to learn when 25 of the 38 kids in your classroom have important Letters of the Alphabet in their files, prohibiting the teacher from requiring any work or proper behavior. It’s hard to learn when it’s so loud you can’t hear yourself think, and that awful boy next to you keeps stealing your stuff and hitting you on the arm and laughing. He can’t help it, poor thing, it’s in his IEP that nobody may do anything that would lower his self-esteem. I do not believe that ANY child who is disruptive or violent for any reason should be allowed to prevent other children from learning. Inclusion will only work for students who work at it.

On the first day of school, let the few simple rules be known and let the penalties for disregarding the rules be known. Let there be no exceptions to these penalties. Require a signed document from every family, admitting understanding of these policies. Require an additional signature under the paragraph that spells out the “no exceptions” policy. From Day One, Period One, expect and require good behavior from all students. Instantly remove any kid that chooses to be an ass. Ass-behavior is always a personal choice.

No document from home? No privileges for the kid. Not until it’s signed and filed in the office. Several copies, and one to the superintendent. Why should the child be penalized because the parents can’t get their act together for thirty seconds to sign a damn paper? Because that’s the only way some people can be persuaded to do much of anything. Life is hard. What if some parents don’t LIKE some of these rules? Enroll your over-privileged kid somewhere else then, losers.

Where should these kids be removed to? To be perfectly honest, I don’t care. Just get them away from the good kids. Don’t good kids have rights, too? I’m sick and tired of disruptive kids having the most rights. SICK AND TIRED of it. It’s long past time to give the majority of attention and all things positive to kids who choose to behave properly and kids who want to learn.

This is why most teachers who leave while still young, leave. If you are not a teacher, it’s hard to comprehend the heartbreak these teachers feel: they love their students; they love teaching; they love every single thing about their jobs. . . except for the fact that they are required to endure what nobody else in any other profession would ever consider enduring. They’re required to watch the bright and promising students injured and taunted and threatened by “other kinds” of students, and they’re required to see those “other kinds” of students rewarded for things the nice kids do daily. They’re required to give exceptions to the undeserving and nothing to the deserving. After a while, their nerves are shot and their own self-esteem is in the dirt. Decisions they make are overturned, their authority is questioned and shot full of holes. Daily. They’re not paid enough to put up with this crap. Nobody is. This kind of thing should not even EXIST in our public schools. In the olden days, students were expected to behave and required to behave, and any kid who chose to “act up” got punished at school and punished again at home for disgracing the family. Kids who continued to “act up” were expelled. Life is full of choices.

I taught public school for 26 years and my salary peaked out at 49,300. After 26 years. It became sooo not worth it. A hundred thou a year would not have been worth it. The constant disruptions, the constant expectations that certain kids would not be held accountable, the constant accusations of favoritism and wrongdoing and the 23-minute lunch at 10:30 a.m. and the study hall with 48 non-participatory boys, many of whom had to sit on the floor because the room was too small for that many desks, the indignant parents who demanded. . . actually, demanded ANYTHING. Nice people do not DEMAND. And if someone is DEMANDING an exception, he/she is not a nice person. Teachers don’t leave because of the money. People don’t become teachers for the money. People become teachers because of the dedication and the love, and teachers leave because there is absolutely no support any more.

When teachers walk out the door, they don’t usually do it because they hated teaching. They do it because the peripherals made it impossible to be a teacher. In some schools, administrators don’t even call their instructors “teachers” any more. It’s “facilitators” now. That’s because we are no longer allowed to really teach. We spend most of our time trying to maintain order in overcrowded rooms full of disruptive kids who don’t want to be there and don’t want to learn and don’t intend to allow YOUR child to learn, either. Why do we put up with it? WHY?

I make not quite 16,000 now, and even though we’re one sheet of cardboard away from living in a cardboard box under a bridge, I’m far, far better off. Why is that? Because teaching is what I love, eager students are who I love, and now I can do what I was meant to do without putting up with disruptive students or parents who demand exceptions. And when a student gives us any kind of disruptive behavior at this level and refuses to leave, we call the cops.

It took me almost a full year to ‘catch on’ to the fact that I no longer had to ‘deal’ with that kind of behavior any more. It comes as quite a surprise to some students that after a certain level, disruptive behavior is no longer allowed. After a certain level, the facilitators no longer allow it on the facility.

Perhaps if our students were taught that lesson in fourth grade, we wouldn’t have any obnoxious hoods keeping our good kids from learning in any of the higher grades.

In a perfect world.

Yes, I mean every word of this post. Some of you will find fault with the fact that I do not believe our nation’s schools and our nation’s children should be required to put up with disruptive and violent behaviors. After all, some of those kids can’t help it. And so they can’t. Get them away from the other kids because frankly, anything that prevents the good kids from learning doesn’t belong there. Tolerance? I’m all for it. How about some of that for the good kids, too!

I do not believe that all of the disruptive students are Special Education material, either. Our Special Ed programs are usually excellent, taught by the most dedicated teachers of all, overcrowded, underappreciated, and too full of kids who don’t belong there, which takes those teachers’ time and attention away from the kids who DO belong there.

An IEP does not take the place of discipline. Sure, it’s easier to claim that your child has Authority Defiance Syndrome than to require good behavior and enforce the rules yourself. Quick fix for Mom and Dad, huh. These people are taking time and attention away from kids who genuinely need and deserve special treatment.

We as a nation had better be very, very careful about what kind of behaviors we tolerate and even encourage with stupid reward systems for behaviors that ALL students should be practicing daily, because it’s already happening that many people are trying to enter the workforce without the necessary skills. Some of these people were busy texting and checking their email on their cell phones instead of paying attention, sure; I hate those people, too. But some of these people graduated with good grades that mean almost nothing because their teachers were so busy trying to corral the wild animals in their classrooms and keep them from actually harming the good kids, so busy trying to placate parents who expected the schools to not only feed, clothe, and babysit before and after hours but also to teach the behaviors and manners that are actually the responsibility of the parents, that at the end of the long, long day, there simply wasn’t time to teach anything. The schools should not be responsible for teaching your child to behave properly. If that is what you’re counting on, forget it. It’s not going to happen, parents. That’s YOUR job. I know you’re busy, but if you’re too busy to raise your child, perhaps you’d best be thinking about letting somebody else do it, not the school.

I’ll say this again: If an adult can afford cigarettes and beer and DOG FOOD, that adult should be able to buy socks and jeans and a hot lunch for his child. I’d say, the child should come before ANY of those other things. When those free-lunch, free books, free before-and-after-school-care parents would stand before me, reeking of smoke, whining with their beer-breath that they just plum couldn’t afford no shoes for the child, cough cough cough reek, it was all I could do not to tell them off for being just generally bad, bad people. Bad people who bought cigarettes, beer, dog food, and shoes for themselves instead of taking decent care of their child.

There are no exaggerations in this post. If your child’s classroom is a place of calm, peace, cool, and learning, please fall on your knees and thank God or your lucky stars, whichever one rows your boat, because your child’s school is an exception.

I’m not kidding, either. I only wish I were.

PLEASE do not assume that I am attacking special students here; that is NOT the case at all. I am merely saying that no student who keeps another student from learning should be allowed placement in a regular education classroom. Our public schools, bad as so many of them are, are still one of the main reasons many immigrants come to our country; it’s too late for them, but they have hopes for their children. Without education, there can be no hope. Without education, people are easily fooled, easily led, and somehow less of a person. Educated people are the hope of everyone’s future.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that our public schools are places where students can be educated, without disruption, without fear, without “putting up with” anything that interferes with that education. That so many students fear for their very lives when they go to school is a sad commentary on our society. That those who give other students just cause to be afraid are tolerated is a disgrace. Those who sanction it are the biggest disgrace of all.

Are we really so afraid of harming the self-esteem of a thug, or a bully, or anyone who puts another at risk or in any way prevents another from advancing forward in knowledge, that we have shunted the deserving to the back burner, and expect them to be content with the dregs of our energy and resources?

Apparently we are.

Class act

That would be - not telling the teachers or students that your replacement is holding a meeting until after it was held.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Six Word Saturday



Never have I felt so old.


For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

I almost called this "More than I want to know."

This week, I am trying to wrap up the school year, get half of my classes ready for a statewide test, prepare my seniors to graduate, console the juniors on the graduation test results.

They tell me - wow, you make the math look so easy - as they watch me do it but refuse to do the work. I have explained it is easy because I spent countless hours doing math.

They spend countless hours getting tattoos and piercings - or texting on their phones. None of these activities will help them at all with anything. I find it - bizarre - that Georgia has a law limiting tattoos and some piercings to people older than 18 (not most of my students) and yet I have many students with tats - some with upwards of a dozen. And piercings I do not see the point to.

Why do you need to pierce your back?

Why do you need to tattoo your name on yourself? Are you afraid you will forget who you are?

I will reach one or two. I will teach one or two enough that they will alter their course. But those who think a computer game will enhance their test score are living in a reality I don't even visit.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Video

Frapp happy hour! Starbucks!!



Starbucks frappuccinos - half price from 3 - 5 PM today through May 15. Happy hour!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Is it any wonder

When you have 1 in 7 receiving food stamps (it's 2 out of 11 in Georgia) and 51% of households paying no income tax is it any wonder that students come to school expecting that their teachers will provide the material for other teacher's projects? Today I was asked for index cards for a history study guide. I have been asked for glue, tape, poster board, construction paper - a jacket (that one was a surprise).

And when it gets to a point that students feel entitled to MY stuff - things I buy to teach my classes - is it any wonder they feel entitled to use my class as a study hall - or social hall?

How did it get this way?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama gets to Heaven

After getting nailed by a crack team of Seals, Osama made his way to the pearly gates. There, he is greeted by George Washington. "How dare you attack the nation I helped conceive!" yells Mr. Washington, slapping Osama in the face.

Patrick Henry comes up from behind. "You wanted to end the Americans' liberty, so they gave you death!" Henry punches Osama on the nose.

James Madison comes up next, and says "This is why I allowed the Federal government to provide for the common defense!" He drops a large weight on Osama's knee.

Osama is subject to similar beatings from John Randolph of Roanoke, James Monroe, and 65 other people who have the same love for liberty and America.

As he writhes on the ground, Thomas Jefferson picks him up to hurl him back toward the gate where he is to be judged.

As Osama awaits his journey to his final very hot destination, he screams "This is not what I was promised!"

An angel replies "I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you, idiot. What did you think I said?"

Roll Call


It's Monday.