Monday, January 30, 2012

Wishing I was here

And that you could all come along!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Someone will choose - who?

In 1976, as a high school newspaper reporter, Robert Maranto asked retiring Baltimore County schools Superintendent Joshua Wheeler why students weren’t required to pass a proficiency test to graduate. ”The purpose of public education is not to educate students,” Wheeler answered. “The purpose of public education is to provide an education for those few who want it.”

Joanne Jacobs quotes Robert Maranto, asking the question "who should choose your child's education?"

But my classroom still is not as bad as this LA classroom, which as a friend of mine would say, is an AT LEAST if I ever heard one.


Sometimes I pretend to be normal but it gets boring so I go back to being me.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My students are not close to grasping this

I realize this is for college, a place my students will be in a couple of years.

They are not grasping that learning the material is essential.


You say I'm insane. That's ok with me but I prefer the term mentally hilarious.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. (Albert Einstein)

Lessons of ineffective administrators #1

(concept stolen from The Math Crumudgeon, who is more than welcome to come steal my administratos in retaliation)

Hey, Les!

You tell us in meetings that we are to get the kids out of the hall, into class on time and in their seats eager to learn.

So I wrote Little Johnny up for excessive tardies (after I called his parents), disrupting other classes of mine by walking in (when he was supposed to be elsewhere, which I also verified), and having his cell phone out all the time. I mentioned that Little Johnny was disrupting other students' learning. I did five (count them. Five) write ups.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for finally calling him into your office to talk to him. Yes, sending an 18 year old to ISS to contemplate the error of his ways would damage his psyche, so I understand the need to talk with him.

I want you to know how much I appreciated his coming into another of my classes to apologize to me. With a smirk. Yes, I can tell that problems has gone away.

Six Word Saturday

Sometimes brain is smarter than mouth

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

The brakes were put in in time.

'Nuff said.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blog party!

Kristen Bowers is having a Blog Party for middle school and high school teachers. You log in with your subject and you can find others who teach what you teach.

This is such a cool idea!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wow I was nominated!!

Online PhD Programs

Now, did you know that Gmail sorts mail so some is apparently not important to gmail and falls at the bottom of the screen? I found this email too late - and several from ChiTown Girl and Nagical Mystical Teacher who must have wondered why I didn't respond.

The Power of a Teacher

I read about this article in the AJC and then read the whole thing.

If I can do this with one student, I would count myself fulfilled.

Liberals don't seem to get it - hope you read this.

I am not a liberal.

I am not a conservative or a moderate or a fundamentalist or a tea partier.

I am probably closest to a libertarian but they irritate me too.

I want the Federal government out of my life. By that I mean I want much more limited government that we see these days. I want the Federal government out of schools. I want a lot of the bureaucracy disbanded. I want control for much of this returned to the states.

Will that solve all of the problems? No. We have as many corrupt politicians under the Gold Dome in Atlanta as you see in Chicago. But if we had local control it would be easier to reach them.

And, this being the South, we probably know their mama or some other kin that we could reach.

Please do not assume I am a 100% behind the person I vote for. I haven't been 100% behind anyone my entire life. I look for the one who agrees with me on the big picture (or the biggest piece of the big picture) and hope and pray for the best.

I find it odd that it is my liberal friends - who I dearly love except when they want to talk about politics - who seem most unwilling to let me have my own opinions which do not agree with theirs so they get insulting and call names.

I would stoop to their level except 1) we will not change each others' minds and 2) I would lose a friend.

I don't assume you like 100% of your candidate. Please grant me the same.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Six Word Saturday

Change ALWAYS takes time to implement.

Threats do not work as incentives.

The economy is closing escape routes.

Can't change job? Must change attitude.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

And those four sentences sum up my life.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What would YOU do?

I have a feeling I already know my opinion and can't think of much people could say to change my mind (just a little disclaimer) but I would like to know what you would do in this situation.

We are a title 1 school with 70% on free or reduced lunch.

The state set up very restricted path to accelerated math courses in 2005. Basically, if you are not on the path by 8th grade, it is virtually impossible to take calculus in high school. The only way is to take a class over the summer - that with the economy, means $200-$500.

Remember the 70% free and reduced?

So - kids not realizing this, don't get on the path in time. (or I should say their parents don't realize it).

If you had a kid who was really bright and dedicated and not on the right path but willing to do ANYTHING on his own but but able to afford a summer class, would you encourage him to try for calculus? Or would you point out that without a traditional (as in seat in a classroom) class in trig it is not possible?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The internet is going dark

As Ms. Chili says the Internet is starting to go dark in protest of SOPA and PIPA.

Those who walk into your life

You can't control who walks into your life but you can control which window you throw them out of.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Algebra 2 for all - no

And now for a thenews. Palo Alto math teachers oppose requiring Algebra II to graduate.

No one can argue that Palo Alto, home of Stanford, is opposed to education. But the math department of Palo Alto High School says
Don't prepare all students for University of California entrance, the math faculty argues, because not all students can master quadratic equations and logarithmic functions.


Here in Georgia we have taken away the relevant math that would help those who are NOT going to college and replaced it with topics that they have trouble assimilating so the they have trouble graduating from high school.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What are the youth coming to?

Yesterday I was a chaperone on a school trip to the Fox Theater. The expectations were explicit and repeated often - both the expectations of the school, the chaperones and the Fox. So
• The kids jumped up to leave as soon as the performance was over
• They talked to each other, texted, and laughed (inappropriately) during the performance
• They cursed – both on the bus (“That’s a f***ing big car”) and during the play
• When we got back on the bus, we had to repeatedly tell one couple that groping each other was not something anyone else wanted to see.

Oh, yeah, I want to chaperone again.

Did I mention waiting for parents to pick them up?

So, today, I took advantage of the High Museum's pay what you feel like day and took my family to the Picasso to Warhohl exhibit. Without context, Warhohl apparently loses something. I had to explain to the kids I thought I had raised with depth what an A&H green stamp was and that, yes, Campbell's used to sell Pepper Po and Scotch Broth soup. (It still does in Canada according to Amazon).

Who'd a thunk?

Haven't been posting

Well, I have, but it is mostly gag posts.

I want to post meaningful things like Stu at Live Long and Prosper and Tom at Stop Trying to Inspire me and Mamacita and so many others. Read my blog roll. Some have quit posting but they are still on my roll because I hope they come back. Some, like me, have stopped posting about school and are posting more about themselves.

Are we all suffering from the same problems? I think so.

In my case, the Hulk, who was an awful manager and I fear and awful man, has been replaced by a good man who seems to be overwhelmed. (And his sidekick who appears to be truly evil) I know we all are overwhelmed. We get so many directives on how we are to change that there is no way to accomplish all of them or make them stick to your habits.

It takes time to make a habit, good or bad. If you add things once a week I can't make it mine - and then the administration is pissed at me. Hey, PO - that's my new blog. Pissed at Me. I can just list who I have annoyed this week and why.

I am a good teacher. I am not a star - I have repeatedly told you I am a mule - but I care. I incorporate change and reflection in my teaching to improve it. I share what I have (and usually get nothing back). I nag, chastise, shame and inspire my students.

I am not inspired by someone coming to me and telling me what a disappointment I am - someone who doesn't know that the teacher they are holding up as the Star had exactly the same pass rate on a test as I did and I had the kids for less class time.

I am not inspired by your threatening my job or by your telling a parent you can't support me or by your ignoring me.

The amount of paperwork and professional development this year is ridiculous. Rather than focusing on changing one or two things, they are focused on changing everything. They want the school culture changed. Clue to admin: when you repeatedly back the students over the teachers, the teachers have no power. Then exactly how do you think we can enforce this week's arbitrary rule?

What do I want to write about?

How to effectively improve a school (I will let you know when I see it).

How to effectively incorporate Common Core into the classroom.

How to increase student buy in.

How to increase student retention (of material and of graduation)

How to inspire teachers to reach new heights.

What do I write about: Let penguins unpack your baggage.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


You can't reach for anything new if your hands are full of yesterday's junk. - Louisa Smith

Six Word Saturday

Hi ho, Hi ho. It's off to work I go.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

OK it is more than 6 words but I am so tired of dealing with constraints that I am rebelling.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mood swings

My husband, being unhappy with my mood swings, bought me a mood ring the other day so he could monitor my moods.

We have discovered that when I am in a good mood, it turns green.

When I'm in a bad mood, it leaves a big red mark on his forehead.

Maybe next time he'll buy me a diamond.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Everyone you meet comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hi, my name is Joe

In an earlier post I talked about a friend who is having a rough year. He brought a sheet of paper with him to the gathering. The teachers in his school were being asked to set 2 goals that they would reach by June.

On the sheet were listed the topics that had been covered in professional development this year that the teachers could choose from.

• Activating Strategies (with multiple strategies underneath this topic)
• Analyzing student data and implementing the data
• Classroom Management
• Collaborative Planning
• Cooperative Co-Teaching
• DOK/Rigor
• Instructional Framework
• Instructional Strategies (with multiple strategies underneath this topic)
• Literacy Across the Curriculum
• Math Workshop Model
• Openings
• Posted student work with commentary
• Student led closings
• Word Wall
• Writing Across the Curriculum

In 90 days they have discussed 15 different things to implement in their teaching styles. That is one every 4 days, except you know they weren't spaced out that much. In all likelihood, they were introduced a half a dozen at a time.

Oh, and teachers, we are taking your planning periods, giving you more preps, more students and please change whatever plans you started with.

Yes, Virginia, we have No Child Left Behind run amok.

I understand why he has started to stutter.

Hi, my name is Joe!
I've got a wife,five kids, and
I work in a button factory.
One day, My boss said to me:
"Hey, Joe! "Are you busy?"
I said, "No."
He said, "push this button with your left hand."

Hi, my name is Joe!
I've got a wife,five kids, and
I work in a button factory.
One day, My boss said to me:
"Hey, Joe! "Are you busy?"
I said, "No."
He said, "push this broom with your right hand."

Hi, my name is Joe!
I've got a wife,five kids, and
I work in a button factory.
One day, My boss said to me:
"Hey, Joe! "Are you busy?"
I said, "No."
He said, "ring this bell with your left foot."

Hi, my name is Joe!
I've got a wife,five kids, and
I work in a button factory.
One day, My boss said to me:
"Hey, Joe! "Are you busy?"
I said, "YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!"

Willing to learn?

And how do I make them see this?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

and more


** sigh **


Six Word Saturday

You will reap what you sow.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

I had dinner with several good friends at other schools this week, one of whom is having a more stressful year than I am (which I did not think was possible).

He has a newly minted EdS brand new AP who taught the required 3 years and now knows so much more than everyone else. Oh, did I mention the new AP (we will call him SP for Shiny Penny) taught English so has all sorts of ideas for teaching science and math - none of which are worth spit.

Anyhow, SP spent the first 4 months of this year pissing everyone off by showing HE was in charge and the teachers are PEONS (or is that PEE-Ons?). You know the type: kid acts up, parent wants teacher's head so demands a meeting with the AP and the teacher. SP hands the parent the teacher's head on a platter - and then wonders why that teacher has discipline issues in the classroom - since kid is still in the same classroom.

Apparently some wiser head has told SP that pissing off your staff is not the way to get them to work with you, so SP is now trying to make nice. Guess what - from what I hear, you stab enough people in the back enough times, there are no second chances.

When I was having issues with the HULK, I knew there were people who liked him because they would say nice things about him. They knew I didn't like him and why, but I knew they liked him - and why.

NO ONE is saying anything pleasant about SP.

They are being circumspect - no one is bashing him either (except to really good friends) because he is connected to a Board member. But SP has created enemies.

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

I do not think SP will ever dig his way out of this hole. Be interesting to see how this plays out. If the teachers can tread water long enough, that is.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back to school

Man, how did he KNOW that school starts today?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year's Day

Hope this year is better than last with positive growth and pleasant people. I want to use my time better (which is up to me) and not let the uglies drag me down. (wow that is up to me also)