Saturday, February 22, 2014

Six word Saturday

All good things come to (an) end.

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Last weekend - then back to school.

OR (from Facebook)

A Human’s Guide To Surviving the Twilight of the Gods

If you should see a Valkyrie, refrain from asking if you’re going to get to go to Valhalla because you did a heroic thing that one time. Trust me, it wasn’t, and Valkyries do not like being asked idiotic questions.

If you notice an oddly large wolf running loose in the company of a large snake, please stay calm, ignore it, and go about your business.

There may be earthquakes. Please follow standard earthquake safety procedures. Please do not look directly at the sky for more than a minute during the Last Battle of the Gods, as this may cause blindness, discomfort, itching, and a sense of hopelessness.

Prophecy is prophecy and cannot be tampered with—so no matter how much you want to interfere in any and all battles of the gods, refrain from doing so.

DO NOT ENGAGE ANY PERSON OR ANIMAL WITH CHARACTERISTICS THAT INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO: red hair, oddly green eyes, good-looking, quick/sharp wit, suspicious behavior, etc.

Since only two humans will survive and there are about six billion of you on Midgard, your odds are not good. If your name is Lif or Lifthraser, please meet at your designated emergency area and evacuate to Mimir’s Holt ASAP. If not, please stay inside your homes and die with honor. Valhalla is very nice. We have some brochures that may be ordered at this address: Odin Box 84, Valhalla, Asgard, Nine Realms, Yggdrasil.

If legions of the undead are swarming your home, you are more than welcome to lodge a complaint with Hela, although you may not live to see any results. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Weather in Georgia

Last week it was cold and icy.

This week, 70 degree weather, tshirt weather, and the daffodils are blooming.

This weekend: thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Caught in the middle

I find it hard to articulate how I feel, but these three articles come close.

High School teacher says "Don't blame me." Because of NCLB or RTTT , students are not being asked to think in depth and teachers are being forced to use multiple choice tests, so it isn't my fault they can't think.

Teacher argues we must meet the students where they are. Students come to you with holes in their education (or, worse, misunderstandings) that need to be taught before you can continue. As math teachers are we then developing the depth of mathematics that we can or simply focusing on skills?

"When are we ever going to use this?" And why don't English teachers get asked that? Her best line for me was when are football players ever going to use bear crawls, burpees, and crab walks in real life - and yet they do not question doing them in practice.

I wonder why I went into teaching. Don't get me wrong, I am a good teacher, but I don't think I am a great teacher. I cannot even figure out how to get better - I feel like I am drowning in crap that doesn't matter which keeps me (or allows me to keep myself) from digging down a layer and getting that much better.

Please do not tell me to quit. If you don't want to read this an be positive and offer positive suggestions, go someplace else, please.

I work on teaching them what they do not know - and then find other holes I hadn't even thought of.

I am tired of trying to compete with texting - but there is no solution if the students wish to text rather than learn.

I cannot imagine taking a course and then demanding a grade rather than working to earn that grade - and yet I have those kids. They will not follow directions - and then it is my fault they do not pass.

I need to change jobs. I know that - changing to a different school would help because I do not at this point believe that the culture will be changed here. I need to be coming up with a list of strengths and weaknesses and I only see weaknesses. Time to do and quit thinking about it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Jordan Davis trial - "white noise"

John Spencer wrote a blog about the trial of Jordan Davis' killer which happened in Florida this past week.

The trial has been called the "loud music" trial because, according to the killer, Michael Dunn. that is what caused him to have a confrontation with a car full of people, a confrontation that resulted in him getting a gun an shooting into the car.

There is so much that is odd about the case.

1) Why if he was scared enough to shoot up a car, did this adult not tell his girlfriend or call the police?

2) In another case around here, a mother said her son died of an overdose because his friends were too afraid of recriminations to drive to a hospital. Did that come into play here? After all, these are teenagers, hence still kids.

3) Did the kids tell the police everything to begin with? In which case, why did the police not look to see if a gun had been stashed THEN rather than waiting until later. (I don't believe there was a gun - but because the police did not look THEN the defense introduced reasonable doubt).

4) If the kids left something out (for reasons that kids do not tell adults everything) do they accept responsibility for some of the outcome? If the police did not know to look for a gun, how can you hold them accountable?)

5) If the music and the kids bothered him, why didn't Dunn leave as soon as he could? He could have gotten the gas, moved his car closer to where his girlfriend was, and left.

We are developing a culture with great disrespect all around. No generation has a right to disrespect another - and yet here were two groups (Dunn and the kids) who dissed on each other. He made rude comments about their music, and the dished it back.

"Stand your ground" has been abused in both these cases. Dunn entered the space of the teenagers (not vice versa) and Zimmerman should have stayed in his car - again rather than step into someone else's space.

I think the one charge that the jury could not decide was muddied by the police not looking for a gun immediately - by the kids moving their car (who blames them for that? I would have driven to the police then), by whatever else was going on in the car at the time, by Dunn not calling the police as soon as he fired - by his actions he acted as if nothing had happened so who know what happened to other evidence.

All in all, the jury decided on what they could. Dunn will spend his life in prison. And maybe we will all get a little nicer.

My opinions are colored by the kids I teach. A large percentage end up arrested for drugs (so it colors my opinion about why the kids didn't call the cops immediately) Some of them are gang wannabees. They posture, threaten, talk big but have nothing behind the facade. Doing that to the wrong person can have disastrous consequences.

Personally, I would like to see as much talk about the black-on-black crimes, since this is a much larger cause of death. I wrote about that before.


It isn't what we do but what we fail to do that haunts us.

The list of regrets is many. The student you didn't reach. The meal you didn't take to a sick friend. The phone call and "meaningless" conversation that would have meant so much.

I resolve to be more aware. To plant my geranium firmly in my hat and smile at the world.

And make a difference.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Six Word Saturday

I love snow in the South

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By the time you are tired of it, it's gone.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Facebook makes the world smaller

My son tagged me in Facebook asking me who a certain person was, we'll call her Amy. I explained that Amy was a cousin who is associated with Big Name University. And I asked why her name came up. Well, Amy's name showed up as a recommended FB contact on his page and the contacts listed was one of his classmates at Tech - and 3 family members.

So, someone he is related to is a contact with a friend of his - six degrees of separation......

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wasted week

I have a large contingent of students who will need to pass a high stakes test at the end of March in order to graduate. Most have asked me to write a letter begging the state for a waiver, which will not happen before graduation the end of May. And I have told the students that.

So, we left school at noon Tuesday. Depending on your distance from the school and your mode of transportation, they got home sometime on Tuesday. We have not had school again this week.

They were expecting to be in school 8 hours a day in the next 3 days, so they wouldn't have planned on working (theorizing). Most of the teachers didn't expect to be out this long so didn't assign massive amounts of work.

So, don't you think at least one of these kids could have some some work on passing the high stakes test? I can see if they have been working. And they haven't.

I guess it is better to blame the state when it doesn't grant the waiver.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Six Word Saturday

Long break. Hard to get started.

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We had a day and a half of school this week because of snow and ice.

So, the planning for next week is basically done. But getting them started Monday should be interesting.