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Showing posts from May, 2007

More Old Faces

Another former student came to visit today. He now goes to another school, and is in fifth grade. We'll call him "David." David is definitely gifted, but LAZY. But two years ago, when he was in my class, I figured him out. One thing I noticed is that he hated to write in pencil, but would always writing in pen. (Generally, third graders aren't supposed to write in pen because they have to erase a lot.) It turned out that he just hated how pencils felt when you wrote with them. Once I started letting him use pencil - with the caveat that subs and next year's teacher probably wouldn't be quite as accommodating - he stopped complaining about writing. Another thing about David is that he was very picky about what he read and wrote about. He hated the reading program and would just sit there, not reading, not writing, nothing. It didn't matter what I said, how much trouble he got in; nothing changed. However, if the subject had anything to do with s

Open House

Open House... supposed to start at 5:00 pm... at 5:15, after I still can't find 2 out of the 3 administrators (the other one was on the phone) and the auditorium, where things like this take place, was locked... I went back to my classroom. Eventually the announcement came on that it was free-form and parents should just go to classrooms. This is what we call a "low-maintenance open house." Or a "lazy open house." I don't know - I think administrators get six figures (or close to it) and that they could maybe organize a REAL open house. But maybe that's just me. As always, the gecko was a favorite for all children at the open house, whether they knew me or not. The countdown continues!

The Future

I am starting to realize (with three weeks of school left) that I'm not quite sure how I'm going to earn a living next year. I've got some wiseGEEK work, and hopefully that will continue and grow. But there's no guarantee of either. I can sub at my school and other schools where I know the kids, but that is provided my district doesn't mess things up with the paperwork - it could take a while to figure out and they won't let me start the process until August. I can tutor but I have to build up clientele so I have no idea how often/how much I can make from that. Lindsay thinks I can teach knitting - I'm not entirely sure I'm good enough for that. I can teach Spanish but so can a whole lot of native speakers. I now have editing skills, but again, no clientele. I still haven't figured out a way to get paid for blogging. And I will have to pay for health insurance and save my own money for taxes. I have until September to figure all this out be


14 school days left 21 chronological days left (including weekends ) until the last day of school Maybe then I'll have more energy to write...

Missing School.

I have a student who has missed 73 days of school so far. SEVENTY-THREE. We've had 164 days of school. She has missed one day for every 2.25 days of school. She's missed almost half the days of school. I keep telling people (administrators). They always look shocked. But I still don't know if anyone has done anything about it! I keep telling her mom she needs to come to school, but it needs to come from a "higher" authority than me. If they are doing anything, they certainly aren't telling me. And I like communication. It works for me much better than not communication. Not communication is frustrating.

Out of the Mouths of Children

An email from one student: I am so HAPPY all the tests are finish. I will act better in class and shool. I Promiss. The reason I was not that good was because all the tests made me think that you are letting tham make us suffer. Will now that the tests are away I feel real good. I'm using this quote for anyone who doesn't know why I'm leaving teaching. Because the kids think my job is to make them suffer, not to help them learn. Later, I got another nice email from the same girl: sure and I know you dont.When I see your meggesses I am so happy.Cause it is great when you know your teacher loves you bye

Three Good Things About Testing

And believe me, there are only three! 1. The school gives us enough pencils for every kid, and they're pre-sharpened. 2. The kids get snack so they're not hungry until lunch. (Well, for the first few days, they do, until the school inevitably runs out of money for this). 3. I can lock the door and no one comes in to tell me I'm off schedule or that I have no student work up. The tests are dragging them down now. I got a note from one girl that said, "I hate the test so munch the test make people sad and mad that's why I hate test because there are answers that are really hard and stupid." She didn't used to feel this way about tests. All the assessments taken up until this point; reading, math, spelling, etc. were seen as fun - she liked taking them, she usually did well, and she never freaked out. Today I had one child get sent home, three more whose mothers were called, and about seven more who got in some sort of trouble, and all of it started

Former Students

Three former students came to visit this week. They all have standardized testing this week also, so they got out of school early. "Michael" is, as his mother says with some misplaced pride, a lead poisoning baby. Not all there, not too bright, not too well taken care of at home. I don't know what is going to happen to him, but I'm willing to bet he doesn't stay in school much past sixth grade, where he is now. "Harry," also in sixth grade, is a very intelligent boy with severe learning problems. He can carry on a very high-level conversation, but has serious difficulty reading and writing. Unlike Michael, he is with it enough to understand that he's really behind and it makes him really sad. His mom came through last year when he told her that he wanted to kill himself because he was stupid. She found him a counselor, started taking him to family counseling also, and got him through this. She's been fighting with the district for years

National Day of the Teacher

Tomorrow, May 8, is National Day of the Teacher. It is always the Tuesday in the first full week of May. The first full week of May (I believe) is Teacher Appreciation Day. Ha. One year we got a crookedly copied certificate without our names on it. Another (maybe last year), we got a memo from the Superintendent saying that the administration should appreciate us and that he had written us all a letter appreciating it. We didn't get the letter of appreciation, just the memo saying that it existed. Tomorrow we get to give standardized tests to kids who already think they're stupid. Oh, and we get a staff meeting. That's appreciation, all right!

Oh Dear.

This has nothing to do with school but I found it SO disturbing that I needed to share it. The Pentagon did a study - a Pentagon study, not an liberal anti-war study - and found out that 40% of Marines and 55% of Army soldiers would report a member of their unit for killing or wounding an innocent civilian. Yuck. Lest I be accused of not knowing what soldiers go through as they try to help each other, blah blah, this is, in my opinion, the worse part. They also found that "only a third of Marines and roughly half of soldiers said they believed that noncombatants should be treated with dignity." NONCOMBATANTS, people. NOT the people fighting. Only one third of US Marines believe that these human beings who are NOT fighting them should be treated with dignity. (the radio report I heard said it was "treated with dignity or respect.") We are in big big trouble. There are the people keeping Iraqi civilians safe???