Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"what to pay the babysitter"

Someone posted this article about what to pay the babysitter on Facebook. What I find most interesting are some of the comments basically saying babysitters are entitled to minimum wage.

I ran into that same idea when I used a babysitter (and my children are in their 20s). But these same children who insisted on minimum wage did nothing extra (including cleaning up their own mess in the kitchen) and were not dependable. If someone offered them more at the last minute, good luck with having someone show up.

Now, a decade and a half later, I know of adults earning $10 an hour (less than the babysitters wanted) doing more involved work - and I know of others who have gone through several jobs because they "aren't being paid what they are worth."

Supply and demand says they are. Or, they are being paid what someone else feels that they are worth.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Christmahanakwanzika

I went shopping today at a large chain. When we were checking out, the clerk wished us Merry Christmas and then, in obvious distress, started apologizing and wished us Happy Holidays.

We celebrate Christmas (and Easter and Sundays) but wish me Happy Hanukkah before you wish me Happy Holidays.

His reaction says this comes from above.

Bah, humbug!!

Six Word Saturday

Two weeks is not enough time.

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I am finally sleeping until 7:30 - but I am still falling asleep during the day.

I have cleaned small parts of my house and chunked out most of what I am doing the month of January - and further for some of the classes.

I am avoiding rooms in my house that are calling to me. If I could tame them, I would have a richer life.


A book is calling louder that the rooms.

Friday, December 27, 2013


This is my 1500th post.

I have posted about happy things, sad things, things that made me angry.

I have met good friends and read things that helped make me a better person.

So, happy 1500th post to me!!

I need to toughen up

I absolutely hate failing students. OK, I really hate it when they are willing to fail my class. I keep giving opportunities and yet there are some students who want to do no work and still pass.

And that happens in the real world where?

I have given one student another opportunity - that he is not doing and the clock is ticking.

That makes it easier on me to leave his grade where it is.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas Eve

The tree is up - carols are playing on the stereo. The presents are wrapped (but there are few surprises). Dinner is planned for tomorrow. Just waiting to find out if the kids are coming home tonight or tomorrow. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Things I wish I could teach my students

There are real life things that students need to be taught but - well, I don't think there is any way to learn these except at the school of hard knocks.

If you are going to want something from me there are all kinds of ways to ask for it that will probably result in you getting it. Disrupting my class, insulting me, complaining to the administrators that I don't grade things correctly when, really, you cheated off of someone else, talking while I am teaching, complaining to your neighbor rather than just asking . . . . . well, these are probably not going to get you what you want.

It is possible to act in a manner that is so completely horrible that there is nothing - including time - that will erase that memory.

If you are failing, refuse to do my work in my class (and instead do other classwork while I am explaining how to do whatever), don't want to waste your time doing an optional project, or do a half-assed job at the grade recovery work you are given with time to complete - if you do all of those things, do not ask me for things to raise your grade at the last minute.

If you have been caught cheating, accept the consequences. Do not try to justify it.

Do not break the supplies I bring in and expect I will buy more

I will think about this - I am sure there is more.

Blog List

I was looking at my blog list (because I added two more blogs to it) and I realized that, while I should probably clean it up, I won't. There are blogs that haven't updated in years but - if the writers decide to come back I would like to know that they had and what they had to say.

These blogs and their writers have gotten me through some tough times in this journey of teaching. (Just thought today that in the past 3.5 years there have been 18 administrators filling 5 roles. Bit of a turnover, each set is worse than the ones before, it is hurting morale, not helping the school - but it is what it is. We won't talk about teacher turnover.)

Sometimes I even go back to the dead blogs and read old posts.

There are writers I miss (like 3 standard deviations to the left who is apparently gone for good) and several I have become better friends with off our blogs.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Six Word Saturday

I am truly blessed this year!

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

As a parent, I had my children take small gifts to their teachers all through school. (even to the teachers I was not fond of, because I knew they worked hard and were trying to do the right thing for my children)

I have gotten used to not getting presents in this school. The number on free and reduced lunch is a large percentage of the school, I teach a course most of my students hate, I don't want to play and be their friend - I want them to learn and apply the math - so I am mean. Just ask them.

I have received small things over the years that meant much: notes, small candies, hugs. Just a few each year.

This year - I got notes, cookies, lotion, (no gift from POS for which I am truly grateful). WOW. Merry Christmas, one and all!

This sounds like I am whining - actually,no. I just don't expect anything. I have some who love me and some where we both are grateful when the year ends.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Why you keep your head down

Dear Asswipe.

Or I should say, dear School Board Asswipe.

I came to you with concerns that have legal ramifications. Ramifications that have been headlines in the local papers for the past 3 years.

I explained why I did not go to my administration.

So you can imagine how absolutely thrilled I was to hear that you had shared those concerns - and my name - with those same administrators.[that was of course in sarcasm font]

Three things.

I will be a cold day in hell before I ever come to you again.

I am sharing this information with everyone I remotely care about.

I will be talking to my professional organization since I cannot have a professional conversation with you.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Student Gifts

Pissed Off Teacher wrote about the joy of student gifts. Several years ago a student gave me a Starbucks card valued at $5. He took great pride in giving this to me and explained to me in detail how I could redeem it for coffee. It was obvious from his demeanor and the explanation that he had never given a gift like that before. And I valued it. I kept the gift card after it was empty and I hang it on my tree every year and think of that student.

The school I teach in is not one where there are a lot of gifts. I get some every now and then, but it is not the norm in the school so it is usually a pleasant surprise. I keep the "I like you" notes and I take pictures when they write them on my board to savor later.

There is another side of student gifts.

I have a student this year I cannot stand. Actually no one who has ever had her can stand her. She seems polite enough but there isn't a day that goes by where she doesn't threaten or insult me. While I recognize that is what they are (threats and insults) they are worded in such a way as to make it extremely difficult to write up. In other words, our administration wouldn't recognize them for what they are and would take the student's word that she didn't say that over mine.

Ask me how I know.

This student will graduate, probably not succeed until she decides that the world is not going to adapt to her, and drop out of my awareness.


A week ago this student started hinting that she was going to give me a gift card.

Now I don't want to be rude, but I do not want anything from this student except seeing her hind end exiting my door for the last time. The previously mentioned card (first paragraph) has brought me great joy for the past 4 years, at least once a month, sometimes more often, remembering the student and the giving.

If the current student gave me a card - let's say a $100 gift card - it would be the equivalent of a larger pile of shit.

I hope it was talk and the student will not do anything. But, on the off chance she does, I have finally figured out what I would do.

In another class a boy mentioned he was having a horrible week. He mentioned all of the things that had happened to his friends that week. And. Oh by the way. My mother says she is going to kick me out of the house and I am not sure what I am going to do.

Pointed boy to the appropriate counselors for help. Thinking about him on the way home, and thinking about POS, I decided it POS does bring in a gift I will regift it to someone for whom the gift will not have baggage. And that way, I can be grateful for the gift. And someone else might feel a little better.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Six (or seven) Word Saturday

You can teach an old dog new tricks

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Reality Check

I want to know where I can get a reality check. I think I am doing ok, it's my students.

When did it become normal to disrupt a class (which is telling you that you are being a douchebag) during review for a final - and then insist that you were ONLY stretching. (No, douchebag, you are laying over the desk behind you, touching the person behind you who WAS working.)

When 14 people in a class tell you that you are acting in an immature fashion (ok, they worded it differently) because you and a friend are playing Marco Polo during the same review, grow up.

No, honey, it is NOT acceptable to whisper and giggle during a standardized test - and you need to concern yourself with what you are doing, not with what someone else is doing.

Gee, you got thrown out of an exam because you were loudly messing in your backpack? Sure threatening the teacher when you return endears you to everyone.

My son has recounted some of these stories to his friends at Georgia Tech over the years. Until this year, they assumed I taught low level special ed students. What is considered the normal behavior by too many of my students, my normal (I use that term loosely), average kids in this school is not the norm in schools within a 20 mile radius.

And then I see former students post that some air headed move has cost them a job and sadly, I am not surprised.

I want to change the culture in my little corner of the world - and I am not succeeding.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Parent needs to understand teacher limitations

I cannot sit with your son and make him work in a 55 minute class with 31 other students. I can ask him if he has questions but if he will not write something down or give me an answer when I ask where he doesn't understand, then - well, there are 31 other students in the class that I can help.