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Showing posts from May, 2010

Saving Baby Pandas

The kids are reading a book in which an English teacher reads kids' journals out loud to the class.  My students were appalled.  One of them wrote:
I think Mr. Birkway is a horrible teacher because some people use their journals as a diary and write private stuff in them.  I know my teacher would never do any stuff like that because she cares about the students and knows our personalities.  I think she knows every one of us and what we do by heart.  Mr. Birkway did have a point about what the students write about.  he says this person is expressing their feelings and getting it off their chest.  But I still don't like the fact that Mr. Birkway read those journals.

On another note, many of my students need extra credit.  I told them that they could get partial credit if they wrote me a letter about why they weren't doing homework.  One kid, "Francisco," said that his reasons were boring - could he make up a fictional reason?  This is his letter:
Instead of doing my …

Overly Protective

I didn't work at a school with a lot of overprotective parents.  Mostly they told their kids to kick the asses of anyone who messed with them.  We did have a few rules at recess, like no tackle football.  Although I wouldn't say that these parents are the models for good parenting, it might be even more disturbing to hear about this kind of thing.   No games at recess?  Kids need games.  And by the way, kids need to skin their knees.  It builds character.  And makes for good scars and stories later in life.

The Problem with Mother's Day

Most people I've talked to about my experience teaching are aware that fathers, especially nurturing, consistent fathers, are rare in the inner city.  Not as many people are aware of how many children lack mothers.  For some of them, I mean that metaphorically -- that their mothers were 13 or 14 when they had kids and just didn't know how to be mothers.  However, for many of them, this lack of a mother was literal.

I had student after student being raised by an aunt, a grandmother, a great-aunt, an older sister, or even a great-grandmother.  This could be because their mother had a drug problem, was in jail, was with a boyfriend or new husband who didn't want their children around, or had left them for an unknown reason.  Now, I'm not saying that the lack of a father is something that's easy to get over.  I think it is extremely damaging and that children need fathers or father figures.  But, in my experience, the kids whose mothers left them were in the worst sha…