Saturday, April 28, 2012

Six Word Saturday




Good news for good friends - PRICELESS!!



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When people who are important to you have great things happen for them, you can bask in the glow!! Buddy - give 'em hell!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Communication

Communication is a lost art this year. Admins ask us to do things and then, after we have done whatever, ask us why we didn't include something else.

Because they didn't communicate that they wanted that.they even wanted it.

But today was the cream on the cake.

The district had asked teachers to apply for a special duty. You had to apply and be interviewed. The teachers who applied were supposed to be told two weeks ago who got it - no report.

So several of the teachers who had applied for the position were talking this morning and one of the admins breezes in and congratulates Mike for getting it - and breezes out.. Funny thing - they never told the others they didn't get it. How (stomp foot) wude!!

Sorry to be so vague. I applied but really didn't think I would get it -  so no skin off me.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Handcuffed Kindergartner - symptom?

(By the way I hate the new Blogger format) Salecia Johnson is a kindergartner in Milledgeville, former capital of Georgia and home to the state lunatic asylum. Salecia, according to the police and administrators, went berserk at school - throwing things, biting doorknobs, trying to break the copy machine, pushing a bookcase into a teacher.

Police were called (which would indicate this wasn't the first time) when the mother could not be reached. She was handcuffed (because they couldn't calm her down) and taken to the police station and put in an interview room while they continued to try to reach the mother. Finally they reached an aunt, who called the mother and brought her to the police station to get her daughter(notice that the aunt got through?). 1) Salecia's name was released in the paper. That means the mother released it first. 2) The mother initially said she didn't answer the phone because she had no minutes - then she said there were no calls. 3) The mother, the aunt, the NAACP, everyone is furious with the police and the principal.

There has been no comment on her behavior at the school from her family. Just "she is a little girl."

This week I have 5 students refuse to take a test because I hadn't taught the material. I had taught it for over a week. They never did any work. Another told me, when I refused to let him have a third hour for a 1 hour test, that it was my fault if he failed. Again no work in class. Another charming student went into my desk and took out a manipulative. I asked him to put it up - he proceeded to destroy it. Another came in with his hat on, cussing. I asked him to step outside, take off his hat, and return appropriately. He stepped out and did not return.

None of these are special ed, all are 18. Somehow I am to make them college and career ready but they accept no responsibility for anything. Not what they do, nothing. The school is turning them into babies who need to be cared for - and then I get judged on how they preform on a test they know does not count.

The death knell

Read this and this about the death of public education. I am watching promising young people turned into mindless children. And I am culpable of helping. NOT why I went into teaching.

Six Word Saturday



Blogger, you have complicated my life!

And I really don't need it.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

I don't understand.

I am fiercely independent. I hate to ask for help but I like helping others. I have always been like this - not necessarily warm and friendly, but I handle my own.

Whether I'm right or whether I'm wrong
Whether I find a place in this world or never belong
I gotta be me, I've gotta be me
What else can I be but what I am
I want to live, not merely survive
And I won't give up this dream
Of life that keeps me alive
I gotta be me, I gotta be me
The dream that I see makes me what I am
That far-away prize, a world of success
Is waiting for me if I heed the call
I won't settle down, won't settle for less
As long as there's a chance that I can have it all
I'll go it alone, that's how it must be
I can't be right for somebody else
If I'm not right for me
I gotta be free, I've gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I've gotta be me
I'll go it alone, that's how it must be
I can't be right for somebody else
If I'm not right for me
I gotta be free, I just gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I gotta be me


I cannot understand these kids who keep waiting for someone to do it for them. Can they not see that this keeps them as small children?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stolen from facebook



Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.

Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find. I am wherever there is love.

Love, God

Don't say you're too busy to forward this. Just go ahead and do it
By: Mark Castellano

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Disconnect



I get told that I am not on board with the times, that the Smart Board will make all the difference in the world. So, instead of being able to send a half dozen kids to the board to work out problems, I can send one.

I get told that I am not on board with the times, that kids need to be engaged in order to learn, that if they are not learning it is because I haven't done enough. They refuse to do any work because I am an awful teacher and will go on to college where they want careers involving the math I am teaching and they will know nothing because I didn't make it interesting enough.

I get told that I am not on board with the times, because I am not having these juniors and seniors draw posters to put on the wall.

I teach seniors (basically trig with some other parts of math thrown in like confidence intervals, rational functions and sequences and series) and juniors (matrices, polynomials, conics, logarithms, z-scores) and we are supposed to do this with projects when they do not have the foundation knowledge.

We are to turn their educational process over to them - they talk about TV.

I am struggling to make it relevant. I love math and don't think that conics - or logarithms - or trig - are the least bit relevant to someone who will never take calculus and thinks math is not necessary to their future.

Just blowing off steam.

I remember my geometry and algebra classes from 6 bazillion years ago because I did the work. They can't remember it a week because they refuse to do any work. "I get it" they say and then they cannot apply it.


I must be a horrid teacher because I cannot see how I am supposed to funnel the information into their heads. Maybe that isn't my job.

John Taylor Gatto, former NY State Teacher of the Year once spoke about a story he heard regarding training fleas. He said that if you put fleas in a jar they will be inclined to jump around and out and basically go their own way and do their “flea thing.” In order to train them you must put a low lid on the jar. The fleas will continue to jump but will bang their head on the lid over and over. In the course of a few hours the fleas will have stopped jumping and you can even leave the lid off and they will not jump or do their “flea thing” anymore. At this point you can see what each flea is inclined to do and train them in that direction. When he first heard this story, he realized that as a teacher what he had been hired to do was BE THE LID. If you truly understand REAL education you understand this concept implicitly. If you actually believe the lie that government education (and even far too much private education) is actually about real education and learning, then this story just sounds like a lesson in how to train fleas.


This was a comment in the blog Get Schooled - and Boy - did it speak to me.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Too True



Addison recommended cutting 350 staff positions; increasing class sizes by two students; increasing the number of furlough days from two to five; reducing the number of school days to 175 from 178; delaying salary step increases by half a year; eliminating 50 library positions; reducing, and eventually eliminating, funding for Project 2400; and taking $21.5 million from the $99.8 million fund balance.

Hinojosa has said that the 350 jobs should be cut through attrition, but that may not be possible this year.

“Our resignations are not hitting the pace that we had intended for it to hit by this time,” he told the board.

Hinojosa said he learned Monday that the district is about 200 positions away from the 350 needed to avoid layoffs.

Because the school system makes the budget before it knows how many employees won’t be returning for the next year, the district doesn’t know the extent of, if any, the layoffs they’ll have to do.

After the work session yesterday, Hinojosa recorded a video for district staff members asking them to let his staff know if they were planning on leaving the district at the end of the school year.

“We’d hate to lay people off then hire them right back, like we did two years ago,” he said.

In 2010, the district laid off about 1,000 employees, then had to turn around about month later and hire about half that number because enough employees left the system.

Connie Jackson, president of the Cob County Association of Educators, said Hinojosa’s news of possible layoffs was a “bombshell.”

“We were assured throughout the process that no (reductions in force) would be done,” she said. “To find out today that it’s back on the table is devastating, and it will be even more so to my overworked, overstressed teachers.”

The layoff discussion comes only months after Hinojosa sought to hire 50 provisional teachers in south Cobb schools on two-year contracts from Teach for America, which would have cost the district $400,000 on top of normal salaries. Hinojosa has said the extra costs would be paid for with private funds.

Board member Lynnda Eagle, who represents northwest Cobb, recommended forcing only three furlough days and reassessing cutting the number of media paraprofessionals.

“Those two things could help with the morale of our teachers,” she said.

If the district did not make those two cuts, they could be looking at a $7 million bigger deficit, Addison said.

Northeast Cobb board member David Banks also continued to argue that cuts were not necessary based on the nearly $99 million the district has in reserves.

“Right now we do not have to endure any of these monetary cuts,” he said. “We have the money.”

The board will decide at its April 26 night meeting whether to approve the tentative budget and will approve the final budget on May 17. In the meantime, Addison told board members they could tweak the budget as much as they see fit.

Salary hearings will also be held at the board office on April 26 and May 7 at 6:30 p.m. and a public forum will be held on May 7 at 7 p.m.

In other business, the board also decided after nearly two months of talking about different funding sources for district needs that they would pursue a fourth SPLOST.

Since February, the district’s deputy superintendent of operations, Chris Ragsdale, has made multiple presentations about how much it would cost for technology, music, curriculum and instruction, maintenance and transportation and athletic needs over the next five to 10 years. According to his numbers, the district could be looking at a cost of about $1.15 billion.

Upon hearing that, board members asked Hinojosa and the SPLOST staff to move forward with creating a SPLOST IV notebook.

Chair Scott Sweeney said the project notebook needs to be created between May and July to let voters decide on whether they want a SPLOST IV in March 2013, which would allow it to start immediately after SPLOST III if it were approved. Ragsdale said he and his staff could meet that deadline.

Ragsdale also said some of the SPLOST notebook work would have to be outsourced, to which Hinojosa agreed, but couldn’t say how much that would cost.

“Our current staff, they’re working on the current SPLOST and we gotta finish those projects,” Hinojosa said. “They have full-time jobs right now, and they can’t just stop what they’re doing and put together a notebook.”

In other business, the board unanimously approved the termination of Tapp Middle School Principal Dr. Jerry Dority and school counselor Yatta Collins

Hearings for the pair, whom have been on administrative leave since February, were held on separate dates in March. At those times, panels consisting of three school board members both recommended the firing of the two because they failed to report the sexual abuse of a female students within a 24-hour time period.

The board also approved the retirement of Deputy Superintendent Alice Stouder and district principals Wanda Floyd, Sharon Hardin, Lynn McWhorter, Elizabeth Wilson and Susan Wing and the reassignment of Chief of Staff Dr. Cheryl Hungerford to Deputy Superintendent and Area Assistant Superintendent Dr. Angela Huff to Chief of Staff, Mark Trachtenbroit from assistant principal at Wheeler High to principal at Griffin Middle and Darlene Mitchell from principal at Powder Springs Elementary to assistant principal at an undetermined location.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Budget crisis may force Cobb teacher layoff of 200.
(from The Marietta Daily Journal)

If this is happening Cobb, one of the wealthier counties in the state, what is going to happen in my poor little county?

This is getting to be too hard

Every teacher came dragging in late yesterday - the early birds weren't and those who just make it at check in time, were actually a little late.

This week wasn't that hard - next week we again have three days of professional development during our so-called planning - even though they promised we would not have to do multiple days anymore.

I cannot remember who taught us what but the homework from these classes and the upcoming standardized tests have really destroyed my ability to teach the material I am supposed to teach this year.

Six Word Saturday



I want the outlook of children


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Monday, April 9, 2012

Whazzup with that?

Gave a test today - they couldn't remember getting the review. The average grade was 32, but I had 3 As and a B.

It was a ridiculously easy test that everyone should have gotten an 82 on.

I reviewed for a different test in another class and basically had to stop because they were talking.

We have got to rethink public education. I cannot motivate them to learn and life after high school will be an eye opener.

Be honest

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pondering imponderables

Today I am posing questions for which I have no answer but would like some.

1) How do you get students who do not come to school to come more than every 10th day (which keeps them registered and satisfies [Lord knows why] their parole officer?

2) How can I get students to do work, so that they learn and retain the mathematics? I cannot get most to do more than copy work off the board - then they tell me that it is my fault they don't know anything?

3) What can I do to lessen the stress I live with?

4) How do I get high school students to put their name on their paper?

5) How do I make them see that if a teacher gives you an assignment labeled QUIZ you might want to do something?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Six Word Saturday



Blackberry winter - it's cold out there.



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I had never heard the term Blackberry Winter until this week. Just like spring was early, this phenomena (which usually happens in May) is early. The weather turns cold, which the blackberries love and spring (probably summer) is about 2 weeks away.

Even mother nature wants a redo periodically.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Housekeeping

Fairytales

What's the difference between a northern fairytale and a southern fairytale? A northern fairytale begins with "Once upon a time . . . ."

A southern fairytale starts with "Y'all ain't gonna believe this . . . "

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lemons

Seen on Facebook: When the world gives you lemons make orange juice and confuse the hell out of them!