Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Dumb Logic"

So, there is a crew of kids who walk in and out of class, come to class late because they are socializing, get passes every day, every class...You teachers know who I'm talking about. The crowd of students to gather at the end of a hall, never staying in class for long. "Ehhhh Boo! Watchu up to? Where you goin?"

The teachers at our academy decided to take a stab at the "in and out" culture by making a list of students who are not to be issued passes during class time.

I announced this to my class, stating the reason, naming the students, and explaining how to get off the list (each list will last for 2 weeks). The room erupted in side conversations, angry comments ("Who idea was that? Oh that was so-and-so...Imma talk to her." and "It don't matter, Imma walk out anyway!"), and the tangents that inevitably accompany such angry comments. One girl pronounced "Be quiet, and let her talk. I wanna here this dumb logic!"

"Dumb logic."

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

"Agree to Disagree"

I don't know if I'm going to follow my NY's Resolution to write down the funny things that happen at work, but here's a start.

Yesterday, January 7, 2013: B (15 yr old boy) told me that it was disrespectful to "respectfully disagree" and also that it was impossible to "agree to disagree." Had a hard time keeping a straight face at those utterly laughable statements.

Today, January 8, 2013: J's phone rang in class and he commented that his phone was messed up. A asked "What?" and with J's response of "Why do you always think people are talking about you?", she promptly flipped out on him and pulled a can of pepper spray out! If I hadn't been so close, she would have sprayed him.

Now, as all of this is going on, I'm having a really bad migraine. I can't see out of my right eye, my head is throbbing and I'm nauseated. This girl is about to pepper spray someone and all I can think is "Oh god, why are they yelling? I'm going to throw up on her!"

I can't tell if this is funny or sad, but I have to laugh at these things, otherwise I am going to go crazy!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Genius Blogs that I need to Start

Urban Teacher-Navy Seal
Bad Pre-First Dates
Two Girls, One Spatula

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pleasure reading

I don't seem to have a lot of concentration the past couple of weeks for pleasure reading. I've been jumping from book to book to book, getting slightly further in each, but not finishing any. This troubles me because normally it's easy to lose myself in the words and characters and I speed through books at a rate a velociraptor would be envious of. It also troubles me that I think this is caused by stress at work. Instead of coming home and reading, I go home and want nothing to do with the printed word (grading, lesson planning, reading or otherwise). Instead, I cook and go to the gym and watch tv. There is something innately less satisfying in watching an episode of NCIS or Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations than completing a book. I have so many books on my shelves untouched, it seems a waste.

On the other hand, I'm doing more crocheting.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


That is what DCPS owes me for the first thing of the new year that I purchased for my classroom needs. That is also the amount that I will never get reimbursed from DCPS.

I had to make photocopies for my new semester classes: syllabi, major project assignments, a couple articles that will supplement the textbook (something that they want us to do!!), a graphic organizer to make learning Cornell Notes easier for my students, and a weekly homework/warm-up/exit slip/behavior tracker. I seriously considered what was genuinely NEEDED to make copies of and came to the decision that all of it was necessary because these classes are new and need to understand the structure of my classes. What did I ACTUALLY make copies of before I felt like my pocketbook would be too strained? The syllabi, the tracker, and the articles. Not the major project assignments or the graphic organizer (though, I will have to copy the projects later). 603 copies for 74 students. And I didn't even finish! You might wonder why I had to spent money to do this. I'll tell you: I only get about 1000 copies a MONTH at school. Last month (January), I only got 500 copies. I've already used about 400 of my February copies because, didn't I mention I HAVE NEW CLASSES?!!! My school puts a cap on the copies because the copiers, if overused, break down too much, the school doesn't have money in the budget to repair them, nor does it have money to purchase toner for the 2 copiers available for teacher use (so we only get 1 and when that breaks, we're screwed), because people have abused the previous "unlimited copies" norm, and "because we should be environmentally conscious." I will admit, I've gotten very good about finding copy-less ways to hold lessons, but still....ESPECIALLY at the beginning of new classes, why can't we have both copiers running or 2000 copies for the month, or a Kinkos card or SOMETHING? I got scolded last week for not making my copies before the day-of and that I should be planning ahead in case of emergencies. So tonight, I went and made copies so that I would have them all ready to go.

And DCPS still owes me $64.34. I'm keeping a tab.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

When is professional football like a school district?

Disclaimer: I know practically nothing about professional football. These are just observations.

It seems to me that there are some odd similarities in current education policy and professional football. At least, similarities with these things in DC. Jim Zorn was fired from the Redskins' head coach on Monday, after only two years on the job. His "West Coast offense" strategies haven't been paying off for the team, who have had a 4-12 record so far this season. Owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen are currently interviewing replacements. What is interesting to me about this is that this replacement will be the 7th head coach that Snyder has brought in since 1999. Now, let's think about DC Public schools. Since 1996, DCPS has had several (anyone know the exact number? I'm finding between 5 and 6, including Rhee) superintendents. Dr. Janey was given barely 3 years to implement his reforms, and the incumbent, Paul Vance, before him was in office also 3 years. This is hardly enough time to truly reform such a troubled district as DC. The numerous changes in leadership has imprinted itself onto the schools where, with each new superintendent, new programs are put in place: Read180, America's Choice, Excellor-something, Leap-Jump-whatever, and so on. New infrastructures are put in place and torn down, schedules are changed (block? regular 7-period? modified block? A-B block?), new buzz words are overused (warm-up, rigor, teaching and learning, SWBAT, assessment, data, word wall, reflect, etc.).

My point is this: good teaching works. Communication works. Notification works. Logic works. CONSISTENCY works. If we want to improve, perhaps we have to stick to something for more than 2 or 3 years to see if IT WORKS.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sorry to innundate you...

But this has to be read. I don't understand DCPS.

Reason #127 to hate NCLB

States lowering their proficiency standards so that more schools can reach AYP. Who thought this was a good idea!? How is it good for the bar to pass abysmally easy tests to be set so low that it barely requires students to read?


With 10 missing board members, how is the University supposed to function? And do Rhee and Fenty seem to be unwilling or unable to meet with the President? If a vast majority of UDC students are coming from DCPS, wouldn't you want to meet with the University's President? I just don't understand...But then, there is a lot about DCPS that I don't understand. I'm too lowly.