Sunday, December 24, 2006
Something must be done to stop these big corporations from taking over everything. They are whipping us so hard that there is no flesh left on our backs.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
And he wonders why I don't like him?
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Super Clubs--I know you probably will never read this but I want everyone to know how you treat your customers. I will not vacation at one of your hotels ever again and I will tell as many people as possible to find somewhere else to play.
Here is an excerpt from his last note to us:
Some classes have less than 35% of the students passing. We are here to help students learn. We must try different ways to get our points across. It is not right that we depend on a few of us to teach the "bottom students" because others are ineffective. It is unacceptable that some classes have less than 20% of the students passing. I would agree that those students do not know how to learn. They might have attendance issues. Knowing all that, what are you going to do to help them learn?
Although I am not currently teaching any of the classes he is talking about I take offense at his tone. Once again, it is the teacher's fault if the kids are not passing. It is the teacher's fault if they are not coming to school. It is the teacher's fault that these kids don't do homework, don't stop talking in class and don't do any work at all. I've been teaching for a long time and haven't figured out yet what to do with some of these kids. It's time to face the fact that there are kids out there that cannot learn, no matter what we do. And if the administrators really think that something can be done to help them, maybe they should come up with solutions.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Dec 14, 10:12 PM (ET)
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nevada state senator and also-ran in this year's Republican primary for governor says the Legislature should consider letting teachers carry guns in classrooms to stem a rise in school violence.
"I would expect enough teachers would be interested so it would serve as a deterrent," said Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas. He said he's preparing a bill to introduce when state lawmakers convene in February.
While Beers said teachers would have to undergo firearm safety training, Las Vegas-area school officials said that allowing more weapons on campus would make schools less safe.
"The more people who have guns, the more likely it is that there will be a shootout," said Clark County school Superintendent Walt Rulffes. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he was aware of no studies supporting Beers' argument that schools would be safer if teachers carried guns.
School trustee Sheila Moulton said teachers might need more training to identify and deal with potentially violent students. But she rejected the idea of arming teachers.
"That is not the solution," Moulton said. "I'm not for putting guns in the classroom even when teachers are trained on how to use them."
Clark County school police carry weapons, and district high schools typically have two officers on campus during school hours. Some large middle schools also have armed police officers. The district is the fifth-largest in the nation, with more than 300,000 students at 325 campuses.
Beers cited reports of more than a dozen guns confiscated at Clark County school students so far this year, and several recent instances of gun violence on and off Las Vegas-area campuses.
"We have banned guns in schools in Nevada and most of the rest of the nation for the last 20 years," Beers said. "Part of the problem is a small percentage of the population is brought up without a knowledge of and respect for guns."
On another note, Principal Suit has violated our contract by extending the period 10 class 10 minutes beyond normal ending time, causing teachers on a 3 - 10 period to work a longer day. I know our exec board met with him today. I hope they had some luck in getting him to change this time schedule.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
These AP's ought to get their priorities straightened out. Not noticing a kid in a hat has nothing to do with expectations.
Dec 12, 10:58 PM (ET)
By KRISTEN GELINEAU
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - To hear the students tell it, Stephen Murmer is a fun, popular art teacher who is always quick to crack a joke. But there is another side to Murmer. A side that has agitated school officials and resulted in his suspension. A side that focuses, almost entirely, on the crack in his backside.
Outside of class and under an alter ego, the self-proclaimed "butt-printing artist" creates floral and abstract art by plastering his posterior and genitals with paint and pressing them against canvas. His cheeky creations sell for hundreds of dollars.
This has not gone over well with Chesterfield County school officials, who placed Murmer on administrative leave from his job at Monacan High School.
Murmer contacted the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia after he was suspended on Friday, ACLU legal director Rebecca Glenberg said. He told Glenberg that administrators had suspended him with pay for five days because of his work as a butt-print painter and that he also could face unpaid suspension pending an investigation.
Murmer has been instructed by the school administration not to speak with the media, Glenberg said. He did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday.
Chesterfield County schools spokeswoman Debra Marlow confirmed that a Monacan art teacher had been placed on administrative leave but declined to provide additional details because it is a personnel issue.
"In the school system, personnel regulations state that teachers are expected to set an example for students through their personal conduct," Marlow said. "Additionally, the Supreme Court has stated that schools must teach by example and that teachers, like parents, are role models."
Murmer went to great lengths to keep his work life separate from his activities as an artist, said ACLU executive director Kent Willis. As a butt-printing artist, he goes by the name "Stan Murmur," and appears in disguise in photographs and videos promoting his art.
"As a public employee, he has constitutional rights, and he certainly has the right to engage in private legal activities protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution," Willis said.
A nearly naked Murmer expressed concern about remaining incognito during a 2003 appearance on the now-canceled cable television talk show, "Unscrewed With Martin Sargent." In a clip from the show, available on YouTube.com, Murmer dons a fake nose and glasses, a towel on his head, a black thong - and nothing else.
"I'm certainly proud of the ass painting," Murmer said in response to questions about his disguise. "I do have a real job where I do have real clients and I don't think they'd be too understanding if I was also the guy who painted with my ass."
That video has made the rounds at Monacan High, where the mere mention of Murmer's name was enough to elicit grins from students Tuesday. Most appeared to be firmly behind their teacher, describing his suspension as "stupid,""ignorant" and "kinda retarded."
"Everyone has been talking about it," senior Heather Thompson said with a laugh as she and other students streamed out of school.
Thompson, who worked with Murmer in the school's art club, said many students have known about his paintings for a few years, but the YouTube clip recently got everyone buzzing. She and other students described Murmer as a funny, likable and popular teacher. There is little support among the student body for his suspension, she said.
"It was simply him expressing himself and his art, and it had nothing to do with school - he wasn't advertising," she said.
This is not the first time Murmer has faced potential problems because of his extracurricular activities. Three years ago, he contacted the ACLU after he was told school administrators were unhappy about his paintings, Willis said. The issue eventually blew over with no suspension issued, Willis said. It was unclear why administrators decided to take action now.
Owning a piece of Murmer's art doesn't come cheap. On his Web site, his creations run upward of $900. His most popular piece, "Tulip Butts," goes for $600.
So how does one become a butt-printing artist? On his Web site, Murmur said his journey began a few years ago when he was told to find an organic item to use as a stamp for a class painting assignment. He decided to use his posterior. His final product was a hit with the class and a butt painter was born.
He was, however, the only student not asked to hold up his organic stamp.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
We have to go in the hall between classes, have a do now on the board when the kids walk in, collect and return homeworks and teach bell to bell. I wish they would just take the pound of flesh and leave us alone.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Somewhat of a handle I guess is a start. You've first got to see the problem before you can fix it. Now we've got to push for a real handle on reality.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
"Too many kids are passing your tests. They are too easy."
The poor teacher is so confused, too easy, too hard. She feels like Goldilocks looking for the porridge that will be just right. The only problem is that this is not a fairy tale and there is no happy ending. No matter what the poor teacher does, it is never just right. Instead of finding the comfortable bed, she is once again threatened with a U rating.
"If a student is late once, call the parent."
"If a student is absent twice, call the parent."
"If a student is not doing homework, call the parent."
"If a student fails, you are a failure.
"I want another performance bonus. YOU MEASLY TEACHERS BETTER DO MORE SO I CAN GET ANOTHER ONE THIS YEAR. Stop taking lunch breaks. Stop going home until 7:00 PM. Start coming in at 6:00 AM. You may no longer use the bathroom on school time. If I don't get another bonus, you will get a U rating and be on the unemployment line."
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
I am against performance bonuses for teachers. One of the reasons is that I don't think teacher's performance can accurately be measured. There are too many outside factors involved. Another reason is the prejudicial factor. Principal Suit does not like me. He's already suggested that I transfer (which, I told him, is not going to happen). A parent nominated me for a Heart Award, no money, just an honor. He told her I was not the kind of teacher he was looking for--they should think about giving it to someone else. If I can't even get an honorary award, what chance would I ever have for getting a bonus?
Some of the kids are good. They see through my tricks and manage to do quite well. Other kids have been beamed up to space somewhere and have been sent back to earth without some of their gray matter. For example, I gave them a question on combinations. I gave this one on the practice sheet nC2 = nC4 and the same problem with the 2 and 4 changed on the real test and at least 25% of the class got it wrong. I probably went over it 10 times before the exam and told them to beware. The also could not put these into their calculator and get the correct answer, even though I made sure to tell them they would have to do this on the exam. I did 1000!/999! on the board and on the test asked them 2000!/1999! and they couldn't do it. I know some of the stuff is hard, I try to teach the hard stuff, but put enough easy stuff on my exams so that everyone can pass. If only they would put the effort into studying that they put into goofing off, miracles could occur.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
CAN WE USE C-6 PERIODS TO CONTACT PARENTS? I AM NOT GOING TO WORK DURING LUNCH AND PREP PERIOD IS PREPARATION FOR MY CLASSES.
SORRY TO BE DIFFICULT. JUST REMINDING YOU OF A PROBLEM.
And his response was the following:
You might wish to contact RG for an answer.
I would like to share with you that some of us call from home because some parents are not available during the day while others call during their prof. lunch, before or after school. No one should call during their C-6 assignment. Furthermore, teachers who teach the double period classes will not be asked to write recommendations while teachers of upper level or honor classes will. Should teachers of lower level class be asked to do more because they don't have to write recommendations? Absolutely not. One can always ask for double period classes so that she does not have to write recommendations. You can do it as well.
You don't even have to contact parents if all your students are doing what they are supposed to do. But if they don't, what choices do we have? Sometimes, calling parents don't even help. But we all have to try.
Have a good evening.
My response to him will be something like the following:
1. Contractually I am entitled to a preparation period and a duty free lunch.
2. My work day is already extended to 6 hours and 40 minutes. You have no right to ask me to extend it any longer or to work from home.
3. I happen to have taught double period classes as well as honor and AP classes. No matter what I teach, I write the recommendations.
4. You are in effect asking teachers who have honor and AP classes to do more than teachers who just teach double period classes. We all have the same c-6 assignments. We are the ones being asked to do more.
5. Most of the teachers teaching the double period class are not capable of teaching the advanced classes, They are teaching them because that is best for them, not best for the school.
Enjoy your day too.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I don't know what is wrong with some of these kids. They knew the consequences and kept going anyways! Five minutes later, a girl took her blackberry out. She wasn't smart enough to keep it away but when I bellowed at her, she put it away quickly. It's only the beginning of December. I don't know how I will make it to the end like this?
Monday, November 27, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
My first AP was I woman I will call RSquared. She is one of the meanest people I have ever met. Custodians put dead birds in her letter box and someone took chains and smashed the side of her car while it was parked in the lot. Everyone, even the nicest people, people who never said a bad word about anyone, felt she deserved this treatment. She was abusive to teachers she did not like, so abusive in fact, that the principal would go to other teachers in the math department, to get a feeling for the teacher in question, before he took any actions agreeing with her. She had teachers make up long question sheets, which she claimed were going to be used for coverage if anyone was absent. In reality, she printed these questions and sold the books. No one got author or monetary credit. I got along with her until I told her I was taking a child care leave when my daughter was born. She then gave me 5 classes in 5 different rooms, making sure I had to pass through the student cafeteria to get from room to room. When I grieved, she claimed she had nothing to do with rooms, The programmer showed me a schedule that had me in one room until RSquared changed it.
Now, comes the principal that worked with her. I thought he was a good guy until I needed him to sign my release papers to come to the school I am now in. He refused due to a power struggle he was having with her. Even though he knew his school was too far from my home, and I could no longer travel there (having two babies at home) he refused to help me out.
The next administrator I came in contact with was in the special education department. I liked teaching kids with limited abilities. I really thought I could make some difference in their lives. He didn't agree. He constantly harrassed me for things he let other teachers do. His final act towards me was letting me go to teach in the math department (my license) but not before he bad mouthed me so much that they really did not want me either but had no choice since I had tenure and building seniority.
Next comes BSquared, the math AP who had no choice but to take me. He was only a temporary chairman, but he was on a power trip. He gave me five of the worst classes in the building. When he realized that he was not going to be doing the job a second term, he gave himself (as AP) one of the worst classes. He figured the new person coming in would get stuck (which she was). If for some reason, she didn't come and he got to keep the job, he planned on changing programs. OK was the woman who took his place. Her philosophy was to give herself and her friends all the best classes. She dressed quite provocatively and the kids called her a hooker. Her make-up was always smeared and her slip was always showing. She used tears to get her own way when people disagreed with her. Her husband was always around. He used to sit at department meetings and give dirty looks to anyone who was not paying attention to her.
OK went on to greener pastures and we now have a chairman who I am embarrassed to admit I get along great with. This doesn't mean I don't see what he does to other teachers. We had two teaching fellows in the department a few years ago. They were really bad teachers. He didn't have to keep them. But he didn't have to be abusive either. He constantly yelled at them and belittled them in front of students. He is carrying on this behavior now. He deliberately gave one teacher a super late schedule, even though he knows she prefers to be on early. He begins every meeting threatening U-ratings and insulting certain teachers daily. Everyone knows who his little nasty memos are addressed to, even though no one is mentioned by name. One guy in my department has a mentor from the UFT. Because of this, our chairman is not allowed to go near him until Dec 1. The poor guy is living in fear and dreading this day. He is terrified of being alone with the chair. I don't care if this guy is bad (which I don't think he is). No one deserves to be treated like this.
Principal Suit has filled up many of these entries on his own, so there is no need to discuss him here.
Hopefully, before I retire, I will meet good administrator.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Too bad her maturity ends here. She just had a huge fight with her 24 year old brother (also doing well, a computer engineer almost finished with his master's degree). They went at it the same way they did when they were four and five years old. She told him to get out of her house and he packed and was ready to leave when he realized he forgot his phone. I managed to block the door when he went to retrieve it and stood there where they screamed and yelled at each other and eventually made up. My two brilliant children made up by biting each other.
Kids--got to love them.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
And the UFT suit that came to my school kept insisting that we have some of the best health coverage in the country.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
After the five-minute visitation we went back to the office where we were supposed to discuss what we saw. The only one doing any discussing was my AP. He kept insisting that all kids can learn. If we expect them to do the correct thing they will do it. Any problems in the class are our faults. If kids are failing, we need to figure out how to get them to pass. He didn't want any excuses for disrespectful kids and for failures. I personally don't care what he says about me. I told him I had problems yesterday, when a kid decided he was going to leave early. My AP knows better than to mess with me, so he told me I handled it perfectly. I know he would not have made the same comment to other teachers.
This meeting offered the teachers with difficult classes no answers on how to handle the problems. The only purpose of this meeting was to make people feel inferior. One of my colleagues, a great teacher who has been teaching 25 years, looked like she was about to cry because she has one of those classes that is impossible, no matter what she does.
I know my AP is responsible for the department. He wants good results to make sure he keeps getting those big performance bonuses at the end of the year. He's not going to get them by constantly putting the teachers who work in his department down.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Principal Suit told us that if kids are not passing, we must find a way to help them. We should change whatever we are doing and get these kids to succeed. I can help this kid with math, but I can't cure the cancer in his family and I can't support them. I feel so bad for the kid, but there really is not a lot I can do to ease his home situation. I thought about referring him to guidance, but, what can they do besides talk to him?
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Mr. Blue: Do you think your class his appropriate for him? What would you like me to do? He passed the two classes before this one. This is where he belongs.
Teacher: I am not coming to you because he is failing. Unfortunately, he is not the only one failing in the class. I am coming to you because his behavior is bizarre. He walks around the room. He tells me I am getting on his nerves. He tells me to get out of his face whenever I try to talk to him. He is late every day. I have not been able to get in touch with his parents. I would like you to look into the problem.
Mr. Blue: Other teachers have not complained.
Teacher: I have been experiencing this problem with him for quite a while. The way my day is programmed I have not had time to stop by. Please contact his teachers and see how he is doing.
Mr. Blue: My door is always open. Please stop by when you have time.
The conversation continues with Principal Suit.
Teacher: Excuse me, Principal Suit, I have a problem. I don't know what you can do about it, but I would like you to take this problem under consideration. Teachers need time during the day to dixcuss kids with counselors. With professional assignments and 5 classes there is no time for this.
Principal Suit: You have a lunch period. Use that!
Teacher: Principal Suit, I am entitled to lunch, just like you are.
Principal Suit: (getting irritated) Well, then use your professional period. Make sure to report there first so people will know where you are. And if you stop in the rest room, make sure you let someone know what you did in there.
Teacher: Principal Suit, I carry three bags plus my coat and my professional assignment is on the complete opposite side of the building. Even if I go there first, there is no where for me to leave my things so I must carry them with me. It is just too much.
Principal Suit: Oh go do what you want. I can't be bothered with this nonsense.
Let's see what tomorrow holds!
The school aid in charge of the telephone doesn't answer the phone--she doesn't want to deal with any incoming problems. This woman got a life time achievement award last month. The secretary who works for the AP of administration checks the caller ID and only answers the phone if she likes the person calling. The secretary in charge of student records will only print address labels for the teachers of the classes her son is in.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
"This is a comment I hear more and more everyday from teachers who have some of the really low functioning kids in their classes. They don't want to pass them because they don't want them to go on to medical school??? Just how ridiculous is a statement like this??? Passing the Math A regents or any regents for that matter is not a sign of intellectual ability. It just shows that the kid has mastered what the state deems to be the minimum requirements for a high school diploma.
Many, many years ago, the state felt that too many kids were graduating without really knowing anything, so they instituted the RCT's to show competence in basic areas. When the kids couldn't pass these, they lowered the passing grades and let everyone through. The state then decided that these RCT's weren't good enough so they decided to make everyone pass a regents. When the kids started failing these, they again lowered the standards. So, a kid today getting a regents diploma might be no better off than a kid who graduated 30 years ago without this diploma.
Back to the subject--the kids we are passing today with just the barest knowledge of high school subjects are not the ones that will go on to medical schools. They are not going to be the ones competing for admission to Harvard and Yale. They are the kids that need that little piece of paper so that they can get the job sweeping floors at UPS or managing a fast food restaurant. As far as I am concerned, my standards can be as low as the states standards. I try to teach to the top. I drive the kids crazy all semester with high expectations. But, if they give an effort, I will pass all that pass the regents, no matter how little they actually know.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
This girl knows she has reached her academic ceiling and although she would like to get an Associates Degree, she realizes she cannot do it. The work is too hard. SHE IS NOT STUPID. It takes a bright person to see their limitations and work within them. Along with my class, she was taking a history class and a Spanish class. Unfortunately, she was not doing well in either and was forced to drop them. But, SHE IS NOT STUPID!!!! She paid for the courses, bought the books and continues to attend class. She does all the work and sits for the exams. She is determined to learn as much as possible.
Now, we just need to make the Board of Regents as smart as this girl. Make them see academic ceilings. Force them to help our students succeed on a level that is good for them.
An occupation that requires training and specialized study
Definiton of professional:
1 a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b : engaged in one of the learned professions c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) : exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace
I got to thinking about my C-6 "Professional" period and decided to look up the word. I then began to think about what I am required to do during my "professional" period and I realized that calling what I and my colleagues do during a professional period is an oxymoron.
To begin with, some of my colleagues have hall patrol. Now I don't know what colleges they went to, but I am sure that none of them took a course dealing with this while they were in college. On the same note, a few sit by the front door and issue late passes to students. Highly unprofessional activities.
Now, my professional period is slightly more professional. I tutor in the library. I really don't mind tutoring. It's something that I have been doing since I started teaching 30 years ago. (a professional activity). What is unprofessional is the notion that I must be assigned to do it. It doesn't matter if my students are free periods 6 or 7--I must be there period 5. Another unprofessional aspect of tutoring is the poor spot we are forced to tutor in. I would be better off tutoring on the subway (not rush hour, of course) than in our library. The library is noisy, overcrowded and kids use it as a hangout. The librarian is glued to her chair in the front of the room and never looks up from the magazine she is reading. Still more unprofessional is that I need to be told what to do with my professional time. I have no time during the day to call a parent, confer with a student or to talk to colleagues about common preps. Professional activities that need to get done.
The next contract should change the term "professional period" to "let's degrade our teachers some more period". That way, at least we would know what we are in for when the contract passes.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
An eminent mathematics professor writes:
I have just discovered a market that exists for a new business. A student had his “private tutor” regrade the final exam and is “demanding” the new grade.
If I start a business to meet this need, here’s how its first advertisement will read:
“Not doing well in math? Our staff has year of teaching experience. Just bring in your final and old exams and we will re-grade them for you and find you all the points you need to raise your grade. We have yet to see the F that couldn’t be changed to a C.”
Posted Friday, November 10th, 2006 at 12:01 am under Letters from readers, Arts and science.
Thanks to MW for sending me this article
I am not naive enough to think that the Title I remedial program was the answer to all the problems that plague education today, but it was a start. At least kids were not cutting or acting out becauae the work was too hard. Some of the kids I teach today are no brighter than the kids I taught then. We are still graduating kids that do not have basic academic skills. It doesn't matter how many regents their record shows they have passed. I wish these kids could get the same kind of help that was given out 30 years ago.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Moral of the story: Principal Suit must learn to concentrate on issues important to education.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
8:45 - 10:30 We sat with out departments and learned how to write a lesson. It's amazing, I've been teaching over 30 years and now I know that I have been asking anticipatory questions and my lessons have congruency. I couldn't respond to my AP's question when he asked us to define congruency because I've never heard the term used in regards to lesson planning. I'm just too old, I guess.
10:45 - 11:45 We sat in the auditorium and listened to Principal Suit praising himself about how great our school did in the ratings. He is sharing his $20,000 bonus with us by giving us all tee shirts. And we only had to wait on a 20 minute line to pick them up. I hope he hasn't noticed that mine is still in the box it came in.
11:45 -12:00 We had a union meeting. Instead of discussing issues pertinent to us in school, our chapter chairman told us who to vote for. He also told us what a great contract we are getting (he is Unity all the way) and we couldn't possibly hope for anything better. I'm sure he wasn't happy when someone grabbed the mike and told everyone exactly how little this new contract was going to give us.
12:00 - 1:00 The best part of the day -- LUNCH with two of my good friends. We tried to go to a bagel store away from school, to be alone. Unfortunately, lots of others had the same idea. Oh well, at least we got there first and had a good table.
1:00 - 1:45 Anger Management Session. This consisted of the AP in charge of security standing in front of the room telling us what a great job he is doing. No one is controlling my anger and boy am I angry by now!
2:00 - 2:30 Back to our departments. Once again being treated by our AP as if we do not know how to teach.
Monday, November 06, 2006
I used to be asked to do things for staff development. The problem the administration had with me was that I wanted to be paid for my time preparing for the staff development. I really didn't think this was too much to ask. At one time, they paid some outside consultant a fortune to come in and teach us about discipline. (This consultant had not been in a classroom for over ten years.) My requests were always met with "Sorry, we have no funds available." So I answered, "Sorry, I think I will pass." I feel bad about not passing along some of my knowledge to the newbies but not bad enough to do anything about it. I guess I will just bring a bunch of papers to mark, a magazine to read and hope the day passes quickly.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
I would label a learning disabled child as a child who has the capacity to learn, one who might need some modifications, but one that is intelligent enough to master the material. I don't think that is what is being done now. Kids that don't achieve are being tested and labeled. They are put in special education classes. The big drawback is that these kids are expected to master the same material as anyone else. The only difference is that the classes they are in are smaller. The work can't go any slower because they are expected to pass the same regent exams in the same amount of semesters as anyone else. Instead of using the label learning disabled, we need to figure out a way of helping these kids. Helping them is not forcing them to take courses that they cannot master.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Today, as I walked down the hall I heard tenured, experienced teachers worried about what the raters will find. Teachers are worried about putting on a show for them, trying to impress them. Teachers are afraid that classes will not be well behaved and they might look bad. Teachers are trembling with fear.
I say this kind of fear has to end. WE ARE GOOD TEACHERS. WE ARE DOING OUR BEST WITH WHAT WE ARE GIVEN. I didn't give birth to boy who cannot sit still. I've done all I can to keep him in his seat, but nothing works. I didn't buy the girl the cell phone that she insists on taking out all period, no matter how many times I ask her to put it away. We have got to stop being afraid and learn to stand up for ourselves. THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN DO TO US!!! I've already taught the worst classes in the building. I've had late session and early session. I've taught 3 preps. I've taught in trailers and half rooms. I've been threatened with file letters (athough none have ever been written). It is this kind of fear that allows people like Klein an Bloomberg to walk all over us. It is this kind of fear that gets our unions to accept such awful contracts. WE MUST STOP BEING AFRAID. THERE IS NOTHING OUT THERE TO FEAR!
Saturday, October 28, 2006
1. How many years have you taught High School Mathematics?
2. What subjects in mathematics did you teach?
3. What school did you teach in? Where exactly is that school?
4. What was the perfomance level of your students?
5. How was the performance level of your classes determined?
6. How large were your classes?
7. Did your school provide extra help and provide a suitable spot for students to receive this help?
8. Were copy machines and decent text books always available?
9. Did you like being in the classroom?
Some more important questions:
10. How will these findings help my period 1 students get to school on time?
11. How will you get level 1 and level 2 students to read and do math?
12. How will all this money being spent on ratings make the school system and the education of our children any better?
After all, I think we should know something about the people that are going to rate us. In fact, maybe they should be rated!
Friday, October 27, 2006
Make sure you go into the halls a few minutes early. We want to keep kids moving, halls clear.
Before you begin teaching, make sure you pass around a garbage can and get the kids to pick up all paper on the floor.
Again, teach from bell to bell.
If the kids in your period one class are getting to school late, figure out a way to fix the problem.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Suitless One: But, Principal Suit, we are good teachers. We already plan what is best for our students.
Principal Suit: Lowly Stupid Suitless One! I don't care if what you are doing is helping your students. I don't care if you are finally getting them to come to class and to pass. I care about you making me look good so I can get another $20,000 performance bonus. DO AS I SAY!!!!!! And make sure you are dressed appropriately. I don't want the Suits from Plant X to see any teachers wearing shorts, jeans, tee-shirts or sweat pants.
Suitless One: Principal Suit, with all due respect, how do I personally gain if our school is given a good rating?
Principal Suit: Do a good job and I might give you a thumbs up in the weekly bulletin. Now, begone and speak no more!
Monday, October 23, 2006
Cafeteria Lady: I'm sorry. I don't think you are allowed to do that. You will have to get permission from my supervisor.
Dr. Suit: Just ask her.
Cafeteria Lady: She is mean. You ask her. You are the one that wants to put it there.
Dr. Suit: You, a lowly cafeteria lady are making me ask? How dare you! And you forgot to bow when I walked in.
Cafteria Lady: Ask her yourself. I will not be bullied by a Suit!
(Dr. Suit asks the supervisor and is told that he can only leave the can on a windowsill. He is unhappy as no one is seeing it and the poor little dog is not raising enough money to send the poor little cat to camp. He defies all and places the can back on the counter)
Dr. Suit: No one is putting money in the can. Cafeteria Lady, I told you to tell your customers to leave their change in the can.
(Cafeteria lady picks up the can and slams it down on the nearby windowsill. Dr. Suit is so angry that the steam coming out of his ears is pressing his suit while he wears it.)
Dr. Suit: What did you do? How dare you do that to my can? I AM DR. SUIT! YOU MUST OBEY ME!!!!
Cafeteria Lady: You are wrong. My boss said it stays on the window and that is where it stays. She wears a suit too. And her SUIT is more powerful than your SUIT.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
The new trend in education is to let the kids sit in a "horse shoe". This way, they can supposedly speak to each other easier, communicate better, be happier. I am willing to bet this is not being done in many of the countries whose math grades surpass ours.
While there is no need to relate math to students lives, there should be joy in learning mathematics. Teachers need to present material in an interesting fashion. They need to make the material as fascinating as possible, to make the students want to learn it and to make them believe they can succeed. Too many of our students today suffer from math phobias and fail because they believe they cannot pass. The joy of learning should be the feelings of success when a difficult topic, such as factoring is finally mastered. I have actually seen math phobic kids light up with joy when they finally understand what they have been taught.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Trainer: Yo, Ms. Good, you are really looking good these days.
Teacher: Thanks. What are you up to since you graduated?
Trainer: I'm working here and going to Yo Yo College Part time. Ms. Good, I would never have graduated HS without your help and now my bro needs your help too.
Teacher: What do you mean? Would you like me to look over his senior thesis? Does he need help doing the research?
Trainer: No, Miss. I want you to hook him up with a paper. If you do that I can make sure you have muscles like these (points to his arms) and look as fine as that hot young mama on the treadmill.
Teacher: When you were in my class, you struggled, but you did the work. (At least I hope you did it by yourself. It was not done very well.)
Trainer: Come on Miss, you do for us and we do for you. You know we can help each other out. Cut my bro some slack!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Teacher: You have a 34 average. Your highest grade was a 38.
Student: But don't you count homework and effort?
Teacher: You are missing 10 homeworks, handed in 5 homeworks that were incomplete and got 40's on both take home quizzes.
Student: But Miss, math is hard. I get nervous on tests. I think you should pass me because I come to class every day.
Student: My parents will beat me and send me to AXEAEAB to live with my relatives there. I will have to work in a coal mine and will hardly get enough to eat.
Teacher: At least you won't have to worry about passing math there. Have a good trip.
Monday, October 16, 2006
1. call parents
2. send letters to parents
3. speak to guidance about troubled kids
4. write college recommendation letters
5. fill out progress reports for our special education students
6. bring exams to resource room for our special education students
7. comfort or help a child who we find crying in the halls
8. provide tutoring to a child whose lunch or internship does not coincide with the period assigned for tutoring.
9. etc., etc., etc
Our days are so programmed now, there is no time to provide the human touch to education. I've just about had it and am almost ready to pack it in. "Goodbye tension, hello pension" seems more inviting every day.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
INDUS, Minn. (Oct. 15) - A school principal has resigned and could face felony firearm charges after he shot and killed two orphaned kittens on school property last month.
Wade Pilloud, who resigned as principal of the K-12 Indus school, 40 miles west of International Falls, said he shot the kittens to spare them from starving to death after their mother was killed in an animal trap.
Pilloud said the shooting, which occurred on school grounds, endangered no one.
"I have bred cats, and I currently own two myself,'' he wrote Friday in an e-mail to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I am not a cat hater. I did not want the animals to suffer.''
The incident happened Sept. 21, and several students still on the grounds for after-school activities heard the shots.
"There were parents who felt, apparently some rather strongly, that there were concerns about the safety of their children,'' said Joseph Flynn, an attorney for the South Koochiching/Rainy River School District. "The district's position is that safety was not compromised.''
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Now, contractually, unlike the Alec Baldwin character, Principal Suit has no right to tell teachers how to dress. As long as the clothing is not showing off any unmentionable body parts, it can be worn. Principal Suit knows this. Instead, he attacks other things about Mr. Shorts. His latest letter rebuked him for drinking coffee in one of the offices while speaking to the secretary. Principal Suit claims that Mr. Shorts is disrupting work but everyone knows this is hogwash.
I say, Principal Suit, our school has real problems. We are extremely overcrowded. We have teachers sitting in the halls to tutor. We have classes with standing room only. We have copier machines that haven't worked in months. Don't you have better things to do with your time than to pick on poor Mr. Shorts?
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Aside from the issues of money, Mills fails to realize that there are major differences in students living in poor areas as opposed to living in wealthier ones. An affluent parent will easily pluck down $100+ an hour to provide their child with a tutor. There are kids in some parts of Long Island that have tutors in every subject, just as a precaution, in case they need help. No amount of state aid will ever be able to bridge this difference. And, although politically incorrect, I have to talk about differences between people in poor areas vs. affluent ones. Aren't poor neighborhoods often filled with recent immigrants? Can their childern't progress be compared to that of the doctor or lawyer's child? Although I hate to generalize, it true that people move away from the poor areas as their incomes increase. People left behind are struggling. Even if they are just as bright, parents are often working multiple jobs at long hours and are just not around to provide needed help.
If Klein is really serious about NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND he must provide smaller classes for city students. No one can expect him to do anything about socio-economic conditions, but he can at least make it feasible for children to get a good education and to get help in areas where they have deficits.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
One of the solutions Bush mentions is more testing. Aren't our kids tested enough? We spend so much time testing and preparing for testing that little teaching is being done. Even in a high school, regents preparation in a weak class takes the place of mastering a subject. I am ashamed to admit that I have taught kids how to pass an exam without actually knowing any mathematics. Besides, if its only improved test results that anyone wants, I am sure someone will find a way to either redesign the exam to make it easier to pass or to just change the scoring so a lower grade is needed to pass.
If we really don't want to leave any children behind we have to change the way we are teaching them. Elementary school teachers have to be allowed to go back to teaching the basics of arithmetic and reading. Some things just have to be learned by memory and rote practice. There is no way around this. High school students have to be taught courses more relevant to their interests. Forcing everyone to take college preparation courses and then head on to college is not the answer. The world needs hair dresses, car mechanics, and floor sweepers. We need to teach our students that everyone plays a valuable part of society and there is no shame in any kind of work. What's wrong with teaching kids to pass a civil service exam so they can work for the post office or the sanitation department. We will always need people to work in these fields. If someone has trouble reading, they cannot be expected to become a psychologist, nor can the kid who needs remedial math become an engineer.
I believe that no child should be left behind, but the way we are going about it now is all wrong and we are leaving more children behind now than ever before.