Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hitting the wall

I am not one to cry. I didn't do it when I was pregnant - not something I do. Or, I should say, not something I did. I have had to fight back tears almost every week since Halloween.

It isn;t that anything is an outrageous request - but this little piddly one and that little piddly one and this little piddly one add up to a load that is overwhelming.

I am overwhelmed.

I wonder if I could just turn into a babbling idiot and get disability? It has worked for others.

Making mudpies sounds wonderful.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

They released the Value Added ratings for NYC teachers

No one seems to think it is a good idea and yet there it is.

What was it I was supposed to do today . . . ?

Six Word Saturday **edited 2/26 to add picture **

(Another)elephant in the room: teenage motherhood.

Unwed mothers means handicapped for life

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I have been reading a LOT about teenage pregnancy with Thomas Sowell and and Michael Marder.

Then Joanne Jacobs mentioned an article in the NY Times about women under thirty having a higher percentage of children outside of marriage. Which of course irritated a professional woman who made the same choice as so many of my students.

My students are more like the ones mentioned by Heather McDonald or Gerri Geribaldi.

And this is where it is hard to have a discussion. There are women who provide for their children, who have divorced but make sure the father is still in the children's lives and that the child is the focus of the home. You are not the people I am talking about.

I am talking about kids who think that having a baby is their ultimate achievement, so school, any kind of job or career, is so secondary as to not even register. They will become their parents, who will tell them that they will not succeed in high school and may as well drop out now and bring in some money.

I am talking about women in their forties who have managed to snag one good job and then, to keep it, skirt the law. When the illegal activity (usually taking things that belong to other people, or what most of my students who get arrested are arrested for), and the job disappears, there is no back up plan except to play Maizie the bird and have someone else take your responsibilities.

Daniel Moynihan predicted what the Great Society would do - and dang if he didn't nail it.

It has been a long week with 2 more girls proudly announcing they are pregnant - and the boys start edging to the door.....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shouldn't we queue the music for Jurassic Park, or something?

I read that the Russians have cloned a 30,000 year old plant. And I remember reading somewhere that they were talking about a Wooly Mammoth.

Are dinosaurs next?

Pushed to the limit

I read this story about a teacher who said the wrong thing and realize it is only a matter of time for all of us.

I have had kids tell me I need to learn Spanish or, when using words that would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap (does anyone do THAT anymore?), tell me it's a BLACK thing and they can use those words with impunity.

I am not a saint. Lord knows I know the cuss words. I am so tired of hearing them - or what passes for justification for crappy behavior.

Monday, February 20, 2012

overheard at school

"She said I was being disrespectful. I was a little mouthy but &*^%^&*(*& I wasn't THAT bad."

"I am failing your class - what are YOU going to do about it?"

"Next year I want a black teacher. She has to be as good as the other ones and I am tired of white teachers."

After being told they are taking a test "This is a quiz, right? I don't want to work today."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Six Word Saturday

We're from the government to help.

Too many chiefs are killing the Indians.

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You dub enough people "administration" and everyone has to assign work to have results to justify their position.

And there is no listening to the cries from below of "enough already".

The county next to us has a week off. Dang, I wish we did.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I hate subs

I was out last week for a district training.

I left work for them to do and, because they will not work without a grade, a told them before I left that it was a quiz grade. I wrote it on the paper and the test.

The sub told them not to turn it in, so about 1/3 did not turn it in. I gave a 0 to the students who were in class and did not follow my instructions.

A parent sent me a note this morning that the sub told them not to turn it in so I should not enter a 0.

I have no words.

I am teaching students old enough to drive.

How exactly do I make them college and career ready when they cannot follow simple instructions? And cannot fathom whose instructions are more important?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What I do

Last year, when one of the teachers chose to be unprofessional and left us with a mess of students, half of whom she had failed. A group of us offered to work with the failed ones to bring them to passing and a small number did what was required.

It occurred to me this week that 4 of the students in my repeater class were among these students from last year. So I asked them and got this response. "Yes, we came to you for help. You gave us work." I know we explained and I know these students don;t work now.

It is going to be a long semester.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I was called into a meeting on Monday and told I would be teaching the 9th grade repeater class next year. Then I had dinner with old friends, one of whom offered me a job teaching in an elite private school in the fall.

The decision came down to age. I am not vested in retirement and the retirement at the private school is just ok. But, I am old enough that it makes a difference so 9th grade repeaters it is. On the other hand, they are why I went into teaching.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What is the worst teaching experience you had

One of my former students shared these stories about teaching with me.

My job doesn't feel quite so horrid.

AP recommendation

One of my darlings will be asking me for a recommendation for AP Calculus in the next week or two. My answer will be no, It should be as follows:

Sally will be an outstanding addition to any advanced placement class. The unicorns she colors every day in class are without a doubt the perfect example of elementary school art. She stays within the lines and provides great color choices. She is highly social and will brighten the corner of any classroom she is in. While she will not add anything to the general class knowledge and will refuse to work a single problem on the board or do any classwork, she will rise to the occasion and earn a high B or low A on every test. Her dedication to academics will show as she insists on being able to raise that grade. She will also demonstrate her dedication to academics by studying for other classes during yours.

Six Word Saturday

Which straw is one too many?

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This seems to be a very stressful year for everyone I know in teaching, regardless of where you are.

In my own school, the people who are supposed to make us "better" seem to go out of their way to add to the stress when just a few seconds more or a little more thought would make something positive rather than negative.

How do you know when you are ready to completely lose it, to fold up in the corner, sucking your thumb and babbling incessantly?

Because that time seems very close.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fork in the road

How do you know if a new opportunity is the chance of a lifetime - or a trick?

Stolen from a friend

LOL - Love ya!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Characteristics of a teacher leader

A friend asked me to post this question: what are the characteristics of a teacher leader?

What makes a teacher a leader?

What should we be seeing in this day and age of teachers to lead us out of this mess?

Six Word Saturday

Do I need to understand why?

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If you, as a high school senior, decide it is appropriate to throw paper wads at people (and hit them), do I (as your teacher), need to understand what possible motivation you have for repeated disobeying me? Or should you just be removed so that I can teach?

If you, as a teenager old enough to own your own car, decide that you do not have to get to school when it starts but can drift in when you feel good and ready to get up (if today is indeed one of those days when you actually decide to grace the school with your presence), do I (as your teacher), need to understand that it is because you feel the need to express your individuality and I should embrace this? Or is it your job to figure out if you are not here to get the assignments and understand how to do the work, not mine to chase you down?

If you decide that other people's things are attractive and you have just as much right to them as the people who worked for them and earned them, is it my job to understand the inner need that made this seem reasonable? Or is it my job to protect people from you?

If you have the managerial skills of Atilla the Hun, personality of Leona Helmsly, and the organizational skills of Francesco Schettino, is it my job to understand that you are new to this level of management and mean well? Or is it my job to protect myself from you?

Yeah, I see the path that is mine.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You'll do it if I tell you that you have to.

You will if I say so.

What a warm and encouraging way to build teams and foster participation.

I am the boss and I say so.

Some people should not be given power because it goes to their heads.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bless his heart

That's a southern expression. A little hard to explain. But this may help.

A student today wanted me to explain the markings on his candy bar - specifically the net wt. 1.5 oz (43 gr). I explained that it was an ounce and a half and moved on. He kept coming back asking a question that took me awhile to understand. He thought it was a pound of candy. (not, an ounce and a half). Finally explained 16 ounces to a pound, it would take 10 and 2/3 candy bars to make a pound. And somehow he was multiplying the grams.

Bless his heart.

Have another student in jail for taking things that didn't belong to him. It is coming out that he had issues at home - but still no excuse. I am afraid the sum total of the thefts will exceed the limit the school sets for expulsion. And that breaks my heart.

A gang (as in a large number of boys) were having a fight at lunch and the SRO tried to stop it - so they started beating him up, We won't be seeing some of them for quite some time.

Bless their hearts.