Sunday, November 19, 2017

Learning for the test

A student asked me to stay after school Friday. She wanted to go over SAT questions.

Every single question was related to the unit we tested on - Wednesday.

I pointed out - with each question - how this was related to what we had been doing for the last month. I am trying to teach her how to read the questions to see the connection.

I am not hopeful.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dream 3

Yes, they are cathartic.

I dreamed, like the last one, that it was the end of the year and the principal was meeting with me to tell me what my schedule would be.

He told me he had hired the long term sub I have been working with this year and, since it has gone so well, I would be co-teaching with her.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Another dream

I dreamed it was the end of the year. I had filled out my letter of intent (to stay) and the principal called me in to say he wasn't going to renew my contract.

i told him the decision about whether or not I stayed was not up to him. And that, after the year we had just finished (this year), if he didn't renew it, I would be going to the district and talking to someone there because THEY KNOW the year I have had.

It has been interesting.

Sometime, I will talk about it. Just not now.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


This has not been a good year. I am over stressed, in large part because I cannot let things go that I probably should (easier said than done), and in part because the administration and students will not recognize the position I have been put in. I will survive this year. It will all get done. Beyond that, I don't know.

So I had a dream last night, just before I woke up.

I am in an elementary classroom – looks like kindergarten or 1st grade but the kids look to be about 9 or 10. I know I am not certified in early childhood and almost say something about that several times in the dream but know it won’t help.

I have just been put in this room and want it, even though I know my limitations.

It starts with there is an issue, the reason I have been brought in. A child, a boy, has been threatening to hurt the children and the children were removed to another place while we deal with the child (I say we but I am the only school employee there). Eventually he is gone and the children return and I am doing math. Then the boy comes back and I am trying to surreptitiously get the other children to leave the room, go to the office and let them know what is happening. They leave the room, but don’t go to the office or come back in or go in the closet where there are all kinds of toys so they can play.

Eventually the kids leave, the boy is handled, and then the room is filled with parents (mothers) who are all angry, want me fired, say I am not handling it well, their kids are in danger, etc. I cannot get them to listen to me about what I can do for their children, that the boy has been removed and is no longer a threat – they just keep getting louder and louder.

At some point I go into a little cubby area and call school secretary to tell her I need to talk with the principal because I need to know what I can tell the parents. She puts me on hold and I end up hanging up on the hold to deal with the parents without any advice or help.

Toward the end I go into a closet that connects my room to another. It is filled with toys and the kids want to play with it. A janitor brings in a big box which is some kind of play kitchen set up and the kids are now not leaving to do anything constructive.

Then I woke up.

The boy is the teacher who was in the room before. He was never a threat to the kids and is not in the room now, but his presence is still there.

The children and the mothers are the students in the class, sometimes young, sometimes “adults” but never really acting like adults.

The room is my perception of the level of math I am trying to teach.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

It just gets old

I teach special ed.

I am content certified - meaning I have the same skillset as general ed teachers - but I also have special ed certification.

No, I am not more patient.

Yes, Other Teacher gets kudos for teaching three levels of the same course (same course, varying speeds as the kids are general ed, bright, and STEM).

No, I do not get credit for co-teaching in two different math courses while adapting the curriculum for three other math courses to meet the ieps of the kids I teach.

The good news, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may be closer than I have previously said.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

It is odd to find that the administration really doesn't care about the students learning anything.

For 6 years I have been assigned a class that is equal parts Juniors and Seniors and have been expected to teach them their respective math classes: Algebra 2 and a basic, easy math for seniors.

This year they asked me to teach a class of geometry - with the required state test - and teach one of those students both geometry and algebra 2 - while I teach the rest of the class geometry.

If you don't care about the kids actually learning math and only want them to pass, I guess it makes sense.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Looking for a magic bandaid - and I am looking for a book.

I am looking for a book - that must exist but I don;t know how to search for it, so I am looking for suggestions as I look.

We all know people (usually women - and that is what I will use for this) who look for a relationship that will make everything all better, the Magic Bandaid. It may be a guy or it it may be a child. This relationship will be perfect and the receiver (the woman) will have a better life because of it.

The classic one that comes to mind is Ashley Wilkes. I believe Scarlett, when she finally realizes she doesn't want the Magic Bandaid, says that she made up a suit of clothes and hung it on the first guy to come along.

Anyone have any suggestions?

I have looked up Ashely Wilkes Syndrome, Scarlett Syndrome, Defending Boundaries - and I am not finding it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

And - I'm free!!

The person kept badgering me today, asking me what I wanted. Glanced at them, picked up my phone, called the principal and quit(this extra position). Yep, that was exactly what I wanted.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Not enjoying the month of July.

I'm not sure I really like July.

It isn't the heat.

We don't travel much - we will go visit family. I haven't kept up with hobbies since I started to teach, so I don't have those. I NEED to go through teaching things - but so not in the mood. I want to work on school stuff .....

but .....

I can tell they haven't planned correctly for the incoming class, so I know my schedule will change, I just don't know how.

I agreed to do something with certain assurances ("If you do X, then Y will happen") that haven't been true and it has chewed into my time more than I figured on. The person I am working with (sorry to be so vague, something that supplements my pay) seems to think they can threaten me with being replaced in this position. Fine. Don't want it anyway. It was a favor I did the administration. And has ended up being like a full time job this summer..... Not what I planned.

Oh, PLEASE don't throw me in the briar patch, Brer Fox.

And someone in the neighborhood is either using a pneumatic tool or shooting off fireworks every single night. Dog is not a happy camper.

Ready for school to start.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Highly Ineffective Principals, Georgia version (with apologies to Math Curmudgeon)

Math Curmudgeon has written a lot about highly ineffective principals, which always make me cry and laugh (since they always sound like my own principals). (See an example here And, since my own this year has decided to create his own reality, here I go:

Mr. Hippy decided that the riff raff (AKA teachers) can no longer visit his admin in the morning. But he wasn't going to tell us that. He was going to wait until we did then write her up for not utilizing her work time correctly.

Why do you teach?

Yesterday a student asked me "why do you teach?"

Another student said "He wants to know why you don't go live your life?" and the first student said "No, I want to know why you teach."

I said I like the subject - math - because it was always fun. (A certain set of rules, different ways of getting the answer, but a specific answer. And I told them the joy was when you make a difference to someone.

It doesn't happen in every class. Some just want to be shed of you and move on. Some make so little effort in the class that they make no impression on you and you make little on them. But every now and then you connect with a student and make a major change in who they become.

I told the class about a boy I taught in 9th and 11th grades. In 9th, he was headed noplace in particular. In 11th, we connected and I started to make a difference.

Last year he asked me if I knew he was supposed to graduate form high school - because that was the path he was on in 9th grade. Now he has graduated from college, started his own business and has served as an inspiration for others.

And that is why I teach.

Is he a mathematician? No. But he is an awesome human being and I played a small part in that.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

This word HAS to go

That word, that singular powerful word, has cost another person a job.

It doesn't matter if you say it so it ends in an A or an ER it is still profanity.

There isn't another word like this - one that can be said with impunity if you are one race but cannot be said without repercussions if you are another.

You want a color-blind society? Lose this word.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Same class a month later.

50% of the class is failing.

There have been 20 assignments whose sole purpose is to raise their grade - construction packets, trig packets, write me about your future plans, course review packets over break - you name it.

Normally 20% of the class will do the work - and that 20% is in the 50% that is already passing the class.

The last "extra credit" I gave I told them was mandatory. It can raise their grade 4 points or drop it 3. How many do you think I got? Same as always.

Somewhere it became MY problem to pass them not their problem to earn a decent grade.

Document, document, document - I am not passing them for the sake of have a low failure rate.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Willful Ignorance

I asked a student to draw a tree diagram for flipping a coin three times. We have taught this in more than 3 90 minute classes. It is necessary to master for material that is coming.

What I got had no relation to a reasonable answer.

I corrected him, several times, trying to get him to create a correct drawing. But he refused to change what he was doing. He refused to reference any notes. He just kept drawing the same thing.

What I got was "I tried" - like that matters when you are unable to correct your erroneous attempts. So I drew the tree diagram. And he quit doing any work for the rest of the period.

I could not get him to see that 1) he needed to write it down 2) he needed to learn it and 3) there is no participation credit in his grade.

When did it become acceptable to not even try to learn? Throw some crap on the board, dance for your friends, sit down and talk. This is not learning.

Saturday, February 25, 2017


And it doesn't seem to matter what age the kid is.

My daughter is away for several months so I am cleaning out her room of things I had in there before she moved back. I asked her to take some time before she left to clean it up.

Every time I walk down there, I don't even know where to start. Or why the trash and laundry is all over the floor. Or why there is no room for 2 people at the same time so I could get help.

It is an odd space but I can see how, with work, it could be useful and not a disaster.

I think I have a solution: when she returns I will tell her the rent for the room is $400 a month, which can be offset by various chores of my choosing, designed to empty her room of crap.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Theft by your co-workers

I heard this week that the supplies (dry-erase markers, paper, etc) that had been purchased by one department had been taken (by whom, who knows) before it had even been taken to the appropriate room. I mentioned this to a sweet, young thing who said she had never heard of such a thing.


If I leave treats (you know crackers and such that they give us to make us feel appreciated) in my mailbox - my co-workers feel free to take them.

This is along the lines of the students who feel that if something is in my room, they are free to help themselves.

Love it.

Keep little that I value anywhere at school.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

AMDM and College Readiness Math

This year I am teaching College Readiness math (CRM) by the Southern Regional Education Board. In the past i have taught Advanced Mathematical Decision Making (AMDM) by the Dana Center at the University of Texas.

I am interested in opinions of these.

I felt that AMDM spent a lot of time on trig that was at odds with the rest of the course. And I feel that CRM is too easy (it seems like it is pre-algebra in most cases - and these are seniors). I would like to have a class that prepares these non-math types for life after high school and feel that AMDM is closer.

Any opinions, or does anyone know of other options?

Not bulletproof

This week, my phone rang during class and I ignored it (as always). So a student, who revels in the inappropriate and getting attention, started in.

What if it is important? (Then they won't call me.)

What if it is a family emergency? (Then again they won't call me. They will call another family member - or they will call the office. They know I am not going to answer it.)

And then, I do not know why, I mentioned that as a fluke one of my children called a few years ago, in tears, just before class started to say a friend had been shot, murdered. When class started, I told the class that on this occasion, if my phone rang, I would answer, because that was my child. I pointed this out to the attention-sponge and said I do recognize that things happen, which is why, on occasion , I let a student step out and make a call.

We went on with class.

About 15 minutes later, attention-sponge says "Ricochet, your friend wasn't bulletproof."

No shit.

I know I stared at her. I don't know if I told her that was a thoughtless, heartless thing to say. I believe I said "I think less of you." And I went back to teaching.

My husband took it as a threat. I take it as a comment of the times, that kids think they can say anything (and apparently they can in school.) Can't wait til some find that employment is not the same.