Friday, September 29, 2006

It's been a week!

That is really what I meant, it's been one heck of a week. It had it's ups and ended on more of a down note.

My 7th grade class has read the poem IF, by Rudyard Kipling. You know If you can do this you will be a man my son. Yeah that one! They did NOT get it! I was frustrated and they were frustrated. I had an idea. We broke into groups and each group had to "translate" one stanza into "their" language. That went surprisingly well. Next idea, make them write their own version, but use the ending phrase responsible adult. WOW! Most of them blew me away. I read each version aloud to the class and they were impressed with each other.

My 8th graders read Brer Possum's Dilemma, and a brief article about crime scene investigation. They then had to evaluate the crime scene for poor Brer Possum. I was amazed and all but one class did very well. In that class only 1 student came prepared. Of course that was the day we all got emails about the high failure rate.

I emailed my principal about that one class and was basically blown off. Our failure rate should only be 12%. For some students, mine is the only class they are not passing. I'm very old fashioned, I want the kids to think and write and read. I REALLY like to see the work they have done, with their name on the paper! Call me strange.

We had a student OD at school and was taken away by ambulance. We had a student climb onto the roof and into a tree and refuse to come down. I don't know if they had to call in SWAT. One of my students who was sent to another campus because of a behavior problem will be returning early, as THEY cannot handle her. Like I can?? A student stood up in class and said I was a crap teacher. Another student will be placed at the alternative campus, so I get to write up a month's worth of lessons, just for that one. A co-worker's son has gotten in trouble with the law and she is searching for "placement" for her son. "Placement" comes with a heavy price tag!

But I did have a student stay after class to tell me she understands what I mean when I say reading takes place behind the eyes. And a faculty member's daughter asked me what bus I ride. A student whom I have never taught, shared her book of poems with me. I knew she was hurting, and now I have a better understanding of her pain. It's nothing out of the ordinary, but it was poignant and I remembered those feelings I had at that age.

Like I said it's been a week. I'm feeling fairly low. I was ready to throw all my stuff into a huge pile and have a bonfire. I read a lot of blogs tonight and that helped. It seems to have been a rough week for lots of us. How was your week?

Friday, September 22, 2006

It wasn't bad enough the first time?

We sat through a (ho hum) boring inservice prior to school beginning. Our district bought copies of the book for each one of us. The presenter had us follow along as he read the book to us! Now we have to form small groups and write up chapter summaries. We came, we saw and listened, and now we get to write book report?!

Our CTA rep is blowing a gasket and may get upclose and personal with our super.

I believe it is important for us to say on top of our craft. I read the research and glean what I can use and what I can't use. I also spend humondo amounts of time reading YA Literature so that I know what to push them into as they explore the world of literature.

Why do I feel punished and down trodden?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Feel Like a Real Teacher

Today I felt like a real teacher! I know it may sound strange that as a teacher I don't always feel like a real teacher. Sometimes all the other stuff that a teacher has to deal with gets in the way of teaching, but today, was like a gift!

I taught the Robert Frost poem "The Road Not Taken". The kids paid attention. They focused, the comments were pertinent, and they were able to "dig deep" as I tell them to see what Frost was writing about, about choices and how the choices they make effect their life.

They understood! I was amazed. I felt like for once I had connected in a very real way with them and they with the poem. It was wondrous! The questions they asked were good, and I feel great about the day.

Funny that something so simple would be so profound. But just the poetry of Frost, what appears simple can be so much more complex. How it happened, I really can't say. Why it happened, I don't know. I know that days like this should happen, and I'm glad they do.

Today I am so grateful to be a teacher. I saw a miracle, the miracle of learning.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Evening Ramblings

I can't believe I haven't written in a month! School in back in full swing. My classes are pretty good, just the usual stuff to deal with. We've had a couple of pep rallies & I really don't understand the whole cheerleader thing.

I remember cheerleaders from my days in school and they actually got the crowd to cheer instead of being entertainment. Call me strange, but I enjoyed participating at games and yelling with the cheerleaders.

Maybe it's living in the south that makes people believe that cheerleading is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING in a young lady's life. Perhaps it's sour grapes on my part for not being a cheerleader in my youth. I did run for mascot and lost, but then again I didn't need to qualify for the Olympics to participate. I really don't get it.

I went to a meeting about a "special" student today and I'm not sure why we all met. Lumpia has problems, everyone knows it, Lumpia does not want to change at this point in the game and is mad that she is in a meeting with all these adults who ask nosy questions and expect answers. I saw enough eye rolling to last me all year. I felt sorry for Lumpia's gran who attended the meeting. It was obvious Gran wanted to help , but Lumpia is the one calling the shots.

My students read silently (yeah right) as they prepare to take Accelerated Reading tests over the novels they have selected or ignored and are now desperately trying to cram it all in.

We're bracing for the first round of practice exams (gag). It was suggested in a recent faculty meeting that we find the person who decided that THE TEST was the end all be all and shoot that person. Of course I wonder how do I even attempt to meet the needs of students who are reading at such a variety of levels. I"m hanging in there and doing my best, but. . . .

Maragrita Prairie Rose went to a workshop called MAX teaching and has raved about it to me, so she is sending me the book and I sent her lots of great reads to try with her kids. It's a fair trade I'd say.

We're also coming up on Renaissance Festival time and I am looking forward to putting on the hoop skirt and dragging my Cossack with as we have a day or two in another time period.

I guess that is it for now. Let me know how you are doing. I'm going to sleep at 6 pm any more, but I sure am dragging, I think age is catching up with me!