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Daily Journal Day 6 P.M.

by admin on August 27th, 2003

It’s funny how things seem to jump into routine. It’s only been three days and already it feels like three months. One of my classes only seems to get larger it’s, at 28 now. Imagine 28 kids who can’t hack it in regular high school, and then put them ALL in one classroom, then take that classroom give it too few desks, and books, and expect it to run smoothly. It doesn’t happen. 2 of my classes don’t seem that bad, maybe it’s because there were a lot of them either A) absent or B) giving blood. I heard from the grape vine that nobody passed out this year, that’s too bad. I did here that someone got poked in the vein awkwardly and blood did pour. That’s awesome.

My principal keeps harping on teaching to the standards. It’s really frustrating. I just try and figure the textbooks the state has adopted should teach to their standards and go by that information. This goes back into the whole alternative education program. I don’t think we should have to keep our school structured like a regular high school, I just don’t. It’s pretty obvious that that type of structure isn’t working for the child, or he’d still be there. SO why do we try and do the same thing here? I make my assignments so that every kid has the opportunity to earn the same amounts of credit, doing something he or she feels had a say in. I can’t just say o.k. Today I’m going to lecture on this, and go about it like a regular class for many reasons. The kids have such an odd attendance schedule, at least 75% of your class will miss some part of the direct instruction, and so in order for you to reach the population, it’d take 4 weeks. So I just say here’s the textbook, find a topic that interests you. If you want to really try and get something out of it, do a project. I work with the kids to make a project at their ability level, and that takes into account some of their interests, so then they have no reason not to work. If the kid wants to just do book work, then he or she can do a chapter that seems interesting to them, then go on and do a project afterwards.

My film class still isn’t really grasping the civil war movie. One kid asked, “Who was the South fighting against?”

“Canada” Is what I told him, and he just kept on working.
Here is a quote from today’s notes on the film, Keep in mind this is a high school student

“the north is fighting the south a lot of people died. There are young boys in the war and old guys too”

“In the battle a lot of shots are fired and barely any hit anybody. The battle field is flat.”

“In the old day a bunch of guys just started battling for there right.”

That’s just priceless stuff. I couldn’t make that up. I think Hallmark Cards is in safe hands for the future. We have some Pulitzer Prize winners here. I think I saw that theory on the civil war beginning that way on the History Channel. The “Hey let’s just fight theory”.

I was also reading yesterday in my NEA today magazine about how teachers are staying with the profession despite all it’s many hardships, etc, etc. Here’s why. The job market everywhere is in shambles. People aren’t just giving up their careers, because there is no guarantee for a job in other fields. I know I don’t have a lot of training in anything else that makes me ready to just jump into another line of work. I talked to a former colleague yesterday who got out of teaching to build homes. He said he liked the kids, and the subject matter, but the rest of it was “bullshit” and he got out, and loves building homes. I can totally see his point I built a deck onto my house this year, and hammering nails and just being outdoors, was really nice. Time flew by. I felt really satisfied with my production at the end of the day. It was really good. The thing is I think that a ton of teachers would get out if they were able to. Education is not the same as it was 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I think the older teachers don’t really have anything else they could do, they’re afraid, and retirement looms in the not so distant future, so they just tough it out. I know 3 or 4 teachers who if they didn’t have to support families, would bail overboard. Magazines like NEA today, and the state versions, are there to make teachers out to be heroes, and a lot tougher than they really are in a lot of instances. You’re not going to read a lot of stories in there, like mine, or about how 60% of all teachers are close to burnout. (That’s a made up title) But there are those who fall in the other end of the spectrum, the over-hyped teachers. I’ll discuss them tomorrow.

I also notice at my school in particular, kids really smell. I feel bad for them coming from poor homes and things, but it’s hard to focus sometimes when you feel like your teaching inside a sweaty jockstrap. I haven’t actually taught inside one, but I needed a really disgusting analogy.

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