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Year 4 Day 11-

by admin on August 31st, 2006

If you’re playing the OCMC home game, I’ve had my computer on for 4 minutes and called it ‘yousonofabitch’ four times already. I’ve seen special Olympians run faster than my computer. I mean that the nicest way possible. My computer can not keep up with my typing… and I type with three fingers. Not because I only have three fingers, but because I’m a “hunt and peck” typist. I type pretty fast though, considering. I guess I’d be the sidearm pitcher of the typing world… slightly unorthodox to watch, entertaining to make fun of, but effective none the less.

It’s payday today. I’m afraid. Seriously… how janked up is that when you’re afraid to look at your paycheck for fear it might be going to other way. In the past 7 years never once have I looked at my check and thought… “cool… it went up more than I thought.”

Mostly its like, “WTF? That’s it… what did I make last year? I swear it was only like 12 dollars lower, or more… .was it more? Am I going backwards?”

One nice thing about Thursday is that for about 30% of our students… it’s Friday. The old school ones still hold on to that,’I’m only going a 4 day week’ mentality. They won’t be here tomorrow.

I need coffee. I’m leaving to find it.

Ok. I have coffee. My morning can begin.

I have a pimple on the side of my head, it’s like Krakatoa. It’s growing and slowly pulling the skin from the rest of my head into it. It gives me a headache… not to mention the fact it’s massive, and red. Some kid will always be like,

“DUDE, you have a HUGE pimple on your head… right there.” (pointing at my blemish)

I always say, “Yes, I do. But I prefer if you call it immense… ”

OK let’s get in to my 3rd piece of advice for new teachers.

#3 DEVELOP A SCHOOL ATTITUDE

I have my school persona, and my home persona. They are pretty different. Not like a split personality or anything, but I’ve learned over the course of 10 years that being meek is not wise. Teachers who are too nice, too sensitive, too quiet, too timid, etc…get run.

Early in my career I made the mistake of caring whether or not kids like me. I wanted to be everyone’s favorite… I no longer do that. My goal is to give them the information required of me, and make sure they leave understanding it as much as possible. I don’tcare if they leave mad at me. When I was “nice” things would go down like this,

[kids] can we go get a soda…
[captain] uhm… we?
[kids] yeah me and those two…
[captain] no.
[kids] c’mon… please, we’ll come right back… be cool.
[captain] fine. Just hurry.

It started there. Then before you knew it they were always late, wandering around, not paying attention… etc etc.

Now, I just don’t care whether or not the kids “like” me. They do, but not because I softened up, or started having care bear share time. If anything, I got MORE sarcastic, MORE intense, etc. The more I cared about the subject matter, and the expectations… the better they did… and I was consistent. As one girl put it..

[girl] You’re a jackass…
[captain] Yes… but I’m a jackass to everyone.
[girl] (laughing) True.

Here’s my mentality in class.
A) It’s my class… I make the rules
B) I honestly believe my classes are the most important at the school, and I teach them that way… call it over competitive nature, a-hole minded, whatever… I’ve just found that the more serious I take my subjects, and my way of doing things the better the results.
C) When you’re in my room, you live by my rules. I will respect your opinions, stories, etc, but you have to earn that respect.
D) I make sure I’m equally as “mean” or “tough” on everyone… nobody gets to have it easier because of an excuse… so the kid with a wandering eye still has to learn how to shade well.
E) I generally care what happens to the kids here, meaning, I’d like to see them become better when they get done.
F) If you don’t know me… you don’t joke with me.

You can call it over confidence, arrogance, or whatever… I understand I can learn from any situation, and try to do so. I will admit when I don’t know something, but I always find out what ever that was.

I’ve found that when I lecture I treat it like a performance. I’m just dishing out information rather than jokes or magic tricks.

If someone makes a snappy comment to me, I’ve got about 10 ways to come back at them that are equally as punishing as whatever it was they tried to do to me. The kids learn that I can’t be rattled very easily… and that what they say almost always it gets turned right back at them before they know what hit them. So they either chirp up KNOWING they’ll get it back and want to mess around anyway, or they do it out of ignorance, and end up being quiet for a long period of time while they digest the beat down I handed them. I’m pretty good at knowing who I can push when… I don’t take the new kid or someone I haven’t developed a report with and verbally bash them in front of their peers. I will take the kid I’ve had in class 2 years, and gotten to know and put them in their place though. The new kids I will give them something mild, and then help them fix whatever it is that they messed up on. Like a parent, I correct the bad behavior, and then model the new one.

Example;

I have this new kid in my class. He was a little misunderstood how things were done. He missed my’I expect perfection’ speech. He tried to come up with his shading packet after about 20 minutes of work. I know from years of experience, this cannot be completed correctly in 20 minutes by 95% of the population. Give him credit though… he tried. He comes walking up,

[Picasso] HEY I’m done, what I do now?
[captain] You’re not done.
[Picasso] Bulls***. I’m done..

OK now here’s where his attitude has gotten in his way. He thinks he’s dialed in… I KNOW he’s not. SO I correct.

[captain] I know you’re not done because what you have in your hand sucks, and I don’t accept work that sucks.
[Picasso] How you gonna say what I did sucks when you ain’t looked at it?
[captain] because… .if you were to complete this in 20 minutes, you’d be the first ever to do so correctly… and I’m wagering on the side of history.
[Picasso] Well look at it… its done man.
[captain] I will, then I’ll send you back to finish… and if your paper makes me vomit, I’m going to be extra mad.
[Picasso] You ain’t got to be MEAN about it.
[captain] no I don’t, but I’m like this to everyone… puts the point across.

So I look at his packet, and it sucks… bad.

[Picasso] See I told you it was done…
[captain] it’s filled with marks, but its not DONE… some of these drawings would make a blind man cry.

So now I’ve let him know I am NOT happy with his work, or his attempt to rush through doing it. THEN I go sit with him, and demonstrate how to get the desired results… because he’s had an example of mine the entire time… so he’s KNOWN what I expect as far as final product (something similar to the example) from the get go.

That’s the thing, I have examples… for people to compare theirs too. 90% of the time theirs and the example aren’t close… so it’s easy to send them back to continue working. A lot of these kids are used to people letting them get away with crap work… so they try, and try. Eventually, they learn to not come up as often saying, “I’m done.”

When I helped the kid, I was nice, helpful, walked him through the steps… demonstrated, watched to make sure he got it… let him know I didn’t dislike him… I just disliked the attempt to turn in crap work

I also try and find something every kid is interested in… so I’m able to compare things to those interests in lectures, or I’m able to walk by and discuss it with them… builds a comfort zone for them… so they know I’m really on their side, even if at times, I’m obnoxious about it.

As harsh as I am, rarely do kids get offended by me…

So anyway… develop your attitude, it takes time..

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