Thursday, October 31, 2013

Data inflation.

We are being asked to rate ourselves and rate the group we do planning with. I rated myself - about 70% because I know where we could do better. I am not perfect and I see my flaws.

A group I know that is very dysfunctional rated itself in the 80s. I would have rated them in the 50s-60s.

I probably underrate myself. I hate this part of any evaluation - I rate myself in a way that seems fair. Others overrate themselves - and then I look bad.

And there is no feedback.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Words they cannot read

I was the adult in the room and had to help some high school students with vocabulary on an activity they were doing. They could not read (or know the definition of) fatigue, nausea, meningitis, drowsy, dyslexia.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gotta Love Silver Linings

I was walking through the halls and a former student called my name. I stopped and she proudly showed me her t-shirt: I am surrounded by idiots. I knew you'd love this she said (and I did!). We laughed, hugged - and that was so totally worth it!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I wrote a long gripe

I wrote a long gripe yesterday - completely dissatisfied with teaching. I taught a lesson in a way I don't normally - but it was introducing a topic completely foreign to the kids. Of course, I was observed and of course it was a long lecture giving a huge overview of what was coming. And of course the observers hated it.

The kids didn't.

The ones who have had me before thanked me for doing it that way and putting the new vocabulary in context. They knew I would guide them through understanding. And they trust me.

I don't know how to prepare a lesson (I have 4 preps) to teach the topic to a wide range of students (in both ability and interest) and then be able to switch to a dog and pony show because an admin with a PE degree (who sends an email to the entire county with a noun instead of a verb) cannot grasp the level of math the state says all students must learn.

"If I don't understand it, the students don't understand it."

You undervalue them and think I have to dumb it down more. I think they have the ability to reach a higher rung if it is offered to them.

So, my big question this week is how do I learn to switch gears when they walk in and give the admins a dog and pony show so I can go back to teaching when they leave?

Oh, and I am tired of the disrespect from admins, peers, students. I find - once again - that I start to email a life preserver to someone, say chuck it, and delete the email. I have a mental list of seniors who are going to need recommendations and I find I am mentally crossing names off every day. I love some of them. I wouldn't give you 2 cents for the rest of them.

Six Word Saturday

Looking forward to better times ahead.

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Crappy week. Let's leave it at that.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Can't help you if you don't want it

Shaking my head.

About 20% of the senior class is missing a graduation test that would allow them to graduate in 7 months. A fair percentage of those are in math.

There are only two more opportunities to take (and pass) the test before graduation.

We were running workshops to help them cram for the next round of tests. It is free - they just have to come.

Less than a handful showed up.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Twenty three years

Twenty three years ago I lost you. My favorite time of year was no longer the same.

I don't think about you every day anymore - but I still think about you often and wonder who you would have been if you had been allowed to stay.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Six Word Saturday - Stupidity and arrogance at work

Wiggle it. Just a little bit.

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A Boy Scout leader decides to take it upon himself to save the world by destroying a rock formation in Utah. Thereby showing that sometimes stupidity is not outgrown as one ages but not matures.

Hall, who also is a scoutmaster from Highland, said some of their Scouts were jumping on the structures and they noticed a large boulder atop one of them was loose.So, he has teenagers jumping on rock formations and he is concerned about safety? That alone bothers me on so many levels. They go on to say "One more rock falling to the ground is not going to destroy the beauty of the park. Eventually, the erosion brings all of them down." Feel free to destroy something that is inevitable. Wow.

Cell Phones again have a play in this as he would not have been caught if he and his friends could have resisted filming it and posting it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cell Phone abuse and more

An article about an incident during a high school lunch appeared in the AJC this week.

You should read the article. Basically, 2 kids behaved inappropriately, other students blocked the view of their behavior, and then, of course, video taped the behavior and broadcast it.

What I love is the parents' response: "where are the teachers?"

OK, for my lunch duty: 1 teacher - the others quit coming a couple of weeks ago. No administrators. 2 janitors (old enough to retire). 5 doors. 367 students.

Yep, I am going to notice everything and stop it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

More cell phone vent

This is a continuation of my post from Saturday.

My son would text me while I was teaching which meant he was in class. But his grades were good, he understood the material, did well on the AP exams and is currently in a good university.

I don't have a problem with the ones who can balance the phone and school (I have some favorites this year who see to have a lot of selfies from my class - but they are understanding the material enough to explain it to others).

My problem is with the ones who say the class is boring but they cannot work any of the problems. They blame me for not teaching them but they are putting in no effort in the class and much effort on the phone. They never look at the board during explanations - and never look up from the phone during class.

I have a problem with the students who confuse copying my work off the board with understanding it.

I can see that we will be forced to use more and more technology over the next few years - how do we teach the kids to be able to learn with all of the distractions technology brings?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Six word Saturday

Cell phones continue to be problematic.

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Passengers on a train in SF failed to see the danger another passenger presented when he continued to play with his gun until he finally shot and killed one of the people on the train.

Likewise the students in the school (not all of them, just enough for it to be a problem) think their phones arenot interfering with their education. But as long as students fell it is NOT a problem and fight any attempt to rein in the behavior, it will be a problem.

There are some parents who see the entire issue (and I thank God for them every day) and cancel their children's phones when the grades go down.

And some kids have the wherewithall to not let cell phones interfere.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Six Word Saturday

On time communication is the BOMB!

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I don't know, telling me at 2 that the system is going to be rebooted at 1:20 and anything you do will be lost - or telling me on Friday that Wednesday (2 days before) was a critical day - kind of loses something.

Do you suppose we could try communicating BEFORE the fact? It helps people plan. Just a thought.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Babies having babies

There is normally one girl every year with a baby - either here or on the way.

I have fewer students than I have most years, and I have 3 pregnancies and one just-turned-16-who-is-still-immature with a 3 month old.

Most of the ones this year are putting in NO EFFORT to pass.

Do not get it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Out of touch

A student was talking about a highly respected teacher at our school. I know the kids really like this teacher - but I don't see that she adds to the profession. By that. I mean I do not see her offering information that helps people new to the profession or even new to the school.

This sounds petty - and I really don't mean it that way. She is in another department and in the 10 years we have worked in the same school, we have had little contact. We haven't had the same duty, we don't work on the same committees, we haven't had the same planning periods. We have shared the same lunch, but she is loud and I prefer quieter conversation.

I have heard rumors from special ed teachers and other teachers who work in that department, just an undercurrent that things aren't perceived the same way by adults that I respect as they are by the teenagers in her class.

A student was talking today (thinking it was riotously funny) that she requires a password to return from the bathroom. The password this year is Dripping Anus. Ok, it something else, equally classy.

I am not appalled. But I would not be "thrilled" to have a child in her room. It seems so completely unprofessional. When you add that in the twelve years of her teaching AP classes she has never had anything above a 2.

Results speak. I think she is fun - that doesn't translate as a GOOD teacher. And the teenagers in the school will probably never see that.

In another conversation this week, another math teacher was lamenting that her students (seniors) cannot skips steps in their head. If you are doing the Pythagorean theorem. a squared plus b squared equals c squared. So you know a = 6 and b = 8, you get c = 10. Her students screamed at her "You can't skip the steps. a squared is 36, b squared is 64. 36 + 64 = 100. The square root of 100 is 10."

And the teacher's comment was to shake her head and say the kids have no idea how behind they really are.

We are a needs improvement school. The culture needs to change. When you have teachers like the first one - a teacher held up as a paragon, how do you fix it?

Yeah, I am out of touch. (Thank you, I take it as a complement.) I would not have a child I love in this class - and yet I know I am working to change things.