Saturday, March 31, 2012

Six Word Saturday



There's a turtle on the fencepost.



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He didn't get there by himself. Someone put him there.

Is someone helping you "rise to the occasion?"

Are you helping someone else?

Or do just want to bring him down? Is that helping him?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

About time

I wrote about Sam here, mentioning that he had walked out of his class and other unprofessional things.

That was 14 months ago.

He was put on long term disability. He resigned today.

Live your life

>

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Argue



Here is a a great article on what the legislature is doing to education. that, once again, makes me question my choice of vocation.

There is a great headline in the paper today: Cheating - Senator calls report 'troubling.'

Why are they surprised at widespread cheating by teachers and administrators when they insist on making people's jobs or bonuses tied to the achievement of students?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Posting

"Posting to the 'net these days it's more like shouting into a deep cave in which lives a fire-breathing dragon who hordes Hormel products.You get an echo back with flames and Spam"

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Whole Lot of Cheating going on

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution has done an investigation into cheating in several large cities across the nation.

Haven't started reading it, but I will.

Reading

NYC Public School Parent wrote a scathing indictment of the coming common core Language Arts requirement. In it, the writer discusses the credentials of the authors behind CC Language Arts - they are not teachers, have never been teachers, and want more and more of the curriculum to be none fiction (catalogs, menus and other "real life" things. Wow - I would have hated it.

In a related article, the Washington Times wrote an article discussing how reading for pleasure is decreasing.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Six Word Saturday



Ah, to sleep, perchance to dream.



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Birthday thoughts

I had a birthday today - not a major milestone, but still a birthday. I find myself wondering - again - is this all there is.

Do you remember that old song?

"Is That All There Is?"

I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire.
I'll never forget the look on my father's face as he gathered me up
in his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement.
I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames.
And when it was all over I said to myself, "Is that all there is to a fire?"

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

And when I was 12 years old, my father took me to the circus, the greatest show on earth.
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads.
And as I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle
I had the feeling that something was missing.
I don't know what, but when it was over,
I said to myself, "Is that all there is to a circus?"

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

Then I fell in love, with the most wonderful boy in the world.
We would take long walks by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other's eyes.
We were so very much in love.
Then one day, he went away. And I thought I'd die -- but I didn't.
And when I didn't I said to myself, "Is that all there is to love?"

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing

I know what you must be saying to yourselves.
If that's the way she feels about it why doesn't she just end it all?
Oh, no. Not me. I'm in no hurry for that final disappointment.
For I know just as well as I'm standing here talking to you,
when that final moment comes and I'm breathing my last breath, I'll be saying to myself,

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is


I have a good life. Children who make me proud, a husband a love, and a job that I have loved but feels like it is slipping away from me.

Am I any good? This year I cannot get the students to do any work. They won't study for the tests that will determine whether they can graduate. They will not do any work in class. They will not even stop talking while I try to teach. We won't talk about cell phones or iPods.

Maybe I should leave and do something else. I cannot think of why anyone would want to hire me, so of course they wouldn't.

I am tired of the work ethic (or lack thereof), the language, the glorifying of things that are not glorious.

I need a break.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

word problem problems in Atlanta

In January a middle school math teacher in Gwinnett set up a couple of math problems like this and shared them with other teachers.

The question read, "Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"

Another math problem read, "If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?"

Another question asked how many baskets of cotton Frederick filled.


The parents were outraged, the teacher resigned.

This week in Clayton County a teacher wrote a problem "A plantation owner had 100 slaves. If three-fifths of them are counted for representation, how many slaves will be counted?" and the parents are outraged.

It is a stupid topic to try to build a math problem around - about as sensitive as doing something with the concentration camps in Germany or the Trail of Tears.

In defense, there is so much pressure to make the questions work across the curriculum, be relevant, be word problems, that I think it is easy to lose sight of what is appropriate.

I am going to county tea cups and tea cozies instead.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pascal's Wager

I was thinking this morning (as that SO beats actually working) and remembering back when I was in high school decades and decades and eons ago. How I would never have challenged the teacher "when am I ever going to use this?" because that question seemed so irrelevant.

And I got to thinking about Pascal's wager. (OK there was a link in there someplace).

I would love to say to the kids that their belief is a lot like that. They believe that there is no reason to learn anything that does not have some relevance to them. (Or exciting entertainment value.) I contend that there is a reason to learn all of this - even conics and logarithms. One reason, it is the foundation for the college level senior math course, if they intend to go to anything but a community college.

If I am wrong, and they will never ever use anything I am trying to teach them - what have they wasted? A couple of hours of dissecting the social mores of a high school they may never think about once they leave.

If I am right, and they will need what I am trying to teach (you do see me repeat TRYING because I am not succeeding), they have lost the opportunity to use this year productively. Will they survive - sure. They will have to hustle next year or in college to recoup, but they can do that. It just means more work at a time they may not have the time. Or the money.

Gotta love it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Pat's

May you always have work for your hands to do,
May your pockets hold always a coin or two,
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane,
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain,
May the hand of a friend always be near you,
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.~T

Six Word Saturday




Count my blessings, not my burdens!



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Friday, March 16, 2012

"defining deviance down" - my life

The level of rudeness among the students this year is - palpable.

I do not want to respond in kind. Sometimes, I cannot help myself. Whatever I say or do is labelled "attitude" or "snarkiness" - and it really isn't.

Today, I was working out review so I can post it on my teacher blog for the kids taking a major test in 2 weeks. I am doing this because they aren't going to work it out and, while I could just post the answers, this way I can post the work as well. Were they engaged - nope. They were doing the same thing they have been doing every time I suggest they prepare. I am tired of pleading that they work. I figure this way I can say with conviction that I have done everything that I can do. Most will fail.

So, I am standing at the board, writing. Suddenly, a entitled person (aka Student) yells "I need scissors." I turned around, looked at her and said "not now" and went back to work.

Louder: "I need scissors." I turned around and calmly said "I have not assigned anything in this class today that requires scissors." and went back to work. She said (loud) one more time. "You have scissors and I want them." I turned around again. "Darling, just because I have supplies doesn't mean I have to provide them to you."

She took offense to the Darling (oh, I care so much. I was impressed I didn't tell her how I really felt.) and then started fussing to her friends how I am rude and she is trying so hard to be pleasant because her mother told her to be and blah blah blah. I interjected a comment at one point (I really shouldn't have) and she said "Am I talking to you? It is a private conversation." To which I replied "In my room."

I didn't say anything else to her. Two (of the 30 people who need to pass this test) came and started asking questions about what I was doing and taking notes, so I slowed down - but kept writing.

At the end of the class I went to where the scissors were and asked Darling if she still wanted to borrow them. She told me I could bring them to her. I told her if she wanted them she could come and get them because they went on the shelf. "I am not going to steal your stupid scissors. I have scissors at my house." I stood there until she came and got them, cut the string on her skirt that was bothering her and sat down. She said (very sarcastically) "Thank you for finally getting them." And I told her, "Now, I am not busy."

I wish I could say I made this up. But this is pretty much the conversation and the expectation I have from several students. I had another begging money (which is why I never bring any) and the usual groups just talking.

I am not enjoying several of my classes - three though make it worth the rest.

Darling? I am counting the days until she is someone else's. (Just to make a couple of clarifications: Darling is not special ed, is not a minority, and has no reason to believe she is ALL THAT. But apparently she does.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"defining deviance down"

Star Parker wrote a column about "defining deviance down".

In 1993, then-Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan published a paper in which he coined the phrase “defining deviancy down.”

He was ringing an alarm about what he saw as a dangerous social unraveling as result of our redefining deviant behavior as normal, rather than doubling down on traditional standards of behavior.


I was thinking about the "fights" we get into with kids - take off your hat, pull up your pants - where it gets easier to go along with the behavior - and what are we teaching them?

I have a pregnant girl in my class. Not married to the baby daddy - although he is still a part of her life. He is attending UGA and said last year that he intends to go to law school - so that's 6 more years of school, and she is pregnant.

I would have kept a low profile, had I been in her circumstances. She lifts her shirt to show off her tummy as if getting pregnant is on par with other achievements.

I wonder how long they will be a couple - he has lofty (and attainable) ambitions, she - well, being a baby machine is her goal - also attainable.

Do we do her a favor by saying that this behavior is acceptable?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Delta

Something you wouldn't see every day Delta delivers - penguins!!

Chitown Girl - you are just jealous you didn't read this first!!

Science



The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Six Word Saturday




So much to do: get organized!



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Friday, March 9, 2012

How to motivate the unmotivatable

I have a group mad at me because I wouldn't tell them how to solve a test problem. They seem completely unable to stop and think when one route doesn't work.

I reviewed for 3 days with a worksheet that said test review. I told them every day when the test was. Walked in today - and several were incredulous. "We have a test TODAY? Can we put it off until Monday?" No.

They didn't finish - mostly because they refuse to do any work until the test so they do not know anything. reminded them they know what was on the test (I mean, they saw it) and they have the weekend and the Internet.

Hanlon's Razor

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Robert J. Hanlon

Sunday, March 4, 2012

GCB (go look up what it means)

I am looking forward to this.

I love the preview with Annie Potts and Leslie Bibb:

Leslie: "two guns? what are you afraid of?"
Annie: (racks her shotgun) "not a damn thing"

The grass is greener . . .



The grass is only greener on the other side because there is so much shit over there to fertilize it.

This blog could have been written by me. And so many of the parts of it describe my life. I have no one in management that I can talk to - and so many people who think they are in charge. Hey people, it will not help me improve if you come into my room and WHILE I AM TEACHING tell me that what I am teaching is wrong or that I need to use technology more.

Best line?
Worst of all, the more intense the pressure gets, the worse we teach.

The New Improved Education Diet



my horoscope
You may be feeling very weary today, especially if you have put a lot of time and energy into reaching your goals. However, it seems as if the air has been let out of your helium balloon, and you don't know what to do to keep it afloat. Unfortunately, you're tempted to stop trying and allow it to fall to the ground. But anything positive you can do is helpful because a second wind is on the way. You'll receive the support you need if you can hang on just a little while longer.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Six Word Saturday



Thanking God for His mercy today.



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Bad storms in Alabama and our part of Georgia (and Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and probably other places). Major damage in some of the counties - with some loss of life. But not as bad as the storms that wrecked Alabama last year.