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Oct 12 10

The Mamas and the Papas

by captain

There’s a blame game going on with education.  It’s not fun to witness, let alone be a part of on a daily basis.  Let me explain…

The public, and government, it seems, always puts the blame on underachieving kids on teachers.    Teachers need to work harder, longer school years, we need more testing, merit pay, blah, blah, blah.

To an extent I agree that we need to keep higher standards for teachers.  We do.  However…what is wrong with under-performing, behaviorally challenged, and just plain out of it students is NOT a teacher problem it is a parent problem

My breakdown would look this way, when discussing the reasons behind why kids struggle in school.  Check out the breakdown.

50% Parents  ( I even think it’s closer to 70% this is conservative)

20% Teachers

20% peer groups

10% socio-economics

Let’s get this out of the way first.  I’ve BEEN in a school setting of some sort my whole life; In the Education end of it for about 17 years (counting student teaching, summer school work, etc.)

I SEE what goes on.   I also have the curse/privilege of working in a situation where I see nearly ALL of those kids who struggle with school for one reason or another.  I can look at their folders, and see their day-to-day interactions, I get the WHOLE picture.   There is a common theme to ALL of these kids….it’s a crap home life. 

I would guess 85% of the kids don’t have two parents.   When you call home…chances are there will never be someone home to answer, nor will there be a return to your phone call.  I’d say 50% or more have at least one parent in jail or have had at some point.  Many of these kids have attended school in numerous districts over the course of their lives….probably due to chasing the welfare system. 

It usually takes something as extreme as an expulsion or attendance board meeting to even get a parent to show up to a school event.  To give you an idea of how involved the parents are…we do a contest for our back to school night to see if we can get 20 parents or guardians to show up for the over 100 kids we have attending.  Over the last 5 years I think we’ve won the contest once.  We play it for open house as well as back to school night….we had to start counting kids who brought 18-year old friends as “guardians”

I’ve seen schools as well, with kids who have a very similar set of issues….the only difference is that their parents run the opposite end of the socio-economic spectrum.   The theme is the same.

If parents are not ACTIVE or at very least consistently interested in the education of their kids…the kids will suffer, and there’s a good chance that the kids will do poorly.

Here’s how I know it’s not usually the teachers fault.

By the time I get these students…they’ve h ad to have had at least 15 teachers….they ALL couldn’t be bad…there’s something deeper at the core of WHY they are where they are.

It’s the parents.

Education is a tough road.  It requires work at home…and a lot of times, kids (I know it’s shocking) would RATHER not do school related work outside of school.  I know mine would.  I have to make sure they do their homework, and check it, and then make them re-do it if it’s wrong.    They don’t like it.  I also read to my kids, and they read every day…and have since they were old enough to pay attention.

Granted, maybe my role as an educator pushes me more to work with my kids at home than the normal parent….but even my own parents still cared about my homework…checked on my grades, went to back to school nights, etc…I had expectations placed on me that corresponded with certain privileges.  Even though my parents never checked my homework nightly, or proofread it much to make sure it was right…I had expectations which forced me to deliver…and if they weren’t met, there were consequences in place to see that they were.

These kids have none.

Take this example.

Kid A starts out school in kindergarten.  His parents haven’t read to him as a child…possibly due to being strung out on meth, or maybe their own lack of education led to a feeling of inadequacy with the subject, so they opted not to.

Kid A is already behind every kid who had a parent(s) that read to them.

Maybe these parents through that first year didn’t feel comfortable working with the student on their homework so they opted not to thinking, “well the teacher will do it…it’s their job to make sure that he can read and what not”

The parent conference comes…and no parent wants to come across looking douchie so they tell the teacher, when she expresses some concern,  “yeah we work with him at home all the time…’

 Maybe the parents get their act together and help some…maybe they don’t.   The kid is behind though….and if you carry this out for several years.  The parents usually become less involved, or too wrapped up in their own dysfunction to try…and the kid gets put far behind.  In many cases the parents aren’t together so it’s hard for two separate parents to enforce any kind of regularity with homework because they’re probably not speaking…and obviously communication wasn’t their strong suit anyway….because they’re DIVORCED.

It’s not the teachers fault or else the whole entire class would be behind, and facing adversity in the classroom.    These low performing kids often get bored because they’re too far behind the class  they act out, and fall farther behind…because they’re not paying attention, or are being disciplined so regularly that they’re not in class anyway.   These kids develop a bad self-esteem in regards to school work…so they don’t try because it’s easier to say, “I don’t care…” than it is “Hey, I don’t understand…I need help”

When the kids finally reach me, they’re GONE…or very close to it.   Our goal is to still try to help get them on the right path.  We do some of the time…but largely it’s not US that is the responsible party…it’s the kids realizing that they’re adults and can’t or don’t want to spend eternity in school.  Then they jump through the hoops necessary to get out.  The problem with this is that A) they’re not really learning…because they’re just trying to get done as fast as possible.  B) Teachers usually end up molding the hoops some to fit the kid.  The kids at these schools wouldn’t pass otherwise, unless the curriculum is modified for them to some degree.

Their diplomas are a lot like Barry Bonds home run record…impressive on first examination, but should have an asterisk next to it…because there was a lot of help in getting there.  Rarely do I see a kid leave here that makes me say, “There goes one that’s going to do great things.”   I’m mostly waiting for the day they greet me in Wal-Mart.

Now brings me back to the beginning.

The public, and the Government have to blame someone.  The public while they may agree to an extent with the bad parents churn out bad kids philosophy are reluctant to blame them…because either A) it would in theory mean they had to poke the finger at themselves to some degree, and B) they pay taxes for teachers…so they feel it entitles them to complain about them…and therefore blame.

The government blames teachers because they can control them.  They have no way to make parents stop being morons…so they blame teachers.  Studies come out where they say, ”statistics show that GOOD teaching is responsible for making kids perform better.” 

Well DUH. 

So if that’s true…then BAD teaching must be the culprit for why kids don’t do well.

I heard a principal say, “We can’t blame parents.”  Then listed some statistics…and followed it with…”We have no control over that…so we can’t use it as an excuse.”

This is not good logic. 

Sure, we have no control over parents…that part is true.  However, it’s THE PRIMARY reason we have the problems we do.

When people use the logic like the principal…they avoid the issue.  It’s like ignoring the elephant in the room.

We spend millions of dollars on in-services, trainings, testing, requirements, etc. to make teachers better at what they do…and it ALWAYS falls short, and ALWAYS will because we’re not addressing the problem.

Teachers do have some pull.  I think good teachers can take ‘C’ students and push them to getting ‘B’s’ or A’s…but consistent D and F students…and just out of it.  There are other issues there.

Oct 7 10

United.

by captain

My thoughts today are drifting to the union…and specifically the CTA and NEA.  Big topics….The more I think about it…the less I think they’re needed in education anymore.  I know, I know, I know, at first thought it seems kind of freaky to say.  As educators we’ve always been told horror stories of teachers being abused by the admin…and their only help was having the union support to back them up.  Better safe than sorry. 
Why were unions created? 

To provide the members with better pay, benefits, and working conditions. 

I think that’s 90% of their purpose…there’s been a lot of other things they do thrown in to the bag along the way…negotiations, representation in various legal and political arenas, grievance procedures, etc.

Ask yourself?  How have the pay raises gone for you over the past 10 years?  How have the working conditions improved? Your benefits are better right? 

Probably, you’ve answered a solid no on all accounts.

You’re paying this large group of people to help you have these things…and they are NOT delivering.  I can tell you this…the people working in CTA are getting their cost of living adjustments every year…and they ALLLLLL make better benefits than you or I…even their office managers many of whom have considerably less education than you.

How is THAT possible?

Let’s take anyone who is represented by someone…most of the time those people are called agents.  Their job is to make sure their clients get paid….and in ALL of those cases those agents DON’T get raises or more money until they’ve delivered for their clients.

Has the union delivered anything to you? 

Think about this…

Could it be in the CTA and NEA’s best interest to NEVER help you? The longer the budgets stay screwy, the less money there is available…the more that “CUTS ALL ACROSS THE BOARD” loom….the more they can tell you that you need them.  

“We’re fighting for YOU….to make sure that these cuts don’t affect the classroom teachers, and jobs, and we’re making sure these laws don’t go into affect that would put 506 kids in your classrooms…..we’re protecting you from mean administrators who would fire you for just breathing wrong.”

Fear mongering is what it is. 

The way I see it is that there should NEVER be a reason teachers don’t get a simple Cost of Living adjustment EVERY year.  PERIOD.

When was the last time that teachers did ANYTHING as a group to prove a point?   There’s a whole lot of us out there…and if we ever decided to actually unify we could get what we want…I’m pretty sure of it. 

You can’t tell me that if the teachers in California said…”we’re sick of not being a priority in this state…and until you give us the same priority that AT VERY LEAST you do to prisoners….we’re not coming in.” 

How long do you think that it would take before things changed?  I say very little 3 days max.   The state of California averages 45K a year per inmate…and about 4K a year for students.   What kind of union even lets that crap happen without making a statement?

The way I see the union, and have for quite awhile is that it lacks backbone.   They NEVER do anything except run stupid phone banks close to elections so MAYBE we can elect someone who, hopefully, makes the budget more educator friendly. 

I don’t think I’m the only person who feels this way either…

Sep 17 10

Baby, where did we go wrong?

by captain

What happened to education?  It’s started to suck.  I’m not sure if it’s strictly a continuation high thing…or a general kind of sucking that is consuming the whole profession…but I tell ya…I’ve got to get a different gig here soon.   I wake each Monday with that sense of dread and a, “I can’t believe I’m actually going BACK there today” attitude.  Then I make the long drive to work…my mood and whatever goodness the weekend has brought me vanishes completely by the time I pull into the lot.

I’m not cut out for this.

I think my whole attitude shifted greatly last week when I got told to “f*** off.”

Now, I’ve been told that a lot…I’ve had my share of curse outs at the hands of students throughout the years.  I think what sets this one off the most, is the fact I now know what it’s like to be appreciated…

I’ve been doing some other teaching gigs part time on my weekends for paying customers, who generally like me, what I do, and value the education I provide them.

You know what.  It’s friggin’ amazing.  Who knew that being appreciated, paid accordingly, and respected could be so damn fun?  I REALLY like it.

So when a kid told me to ‘F*** off’, for of all things, wanting to have a classroom where the main topic of conversation wasn’t centered around fighting…I have to say.  That’s when it hit me. 

There is NO reason anyone should have to put up with that.  Ever. 

That’s only the tail end of the conversation as well…the entire thing went something like this.

Kids having a conversation about fighting.

Me:  Hey…let’s get back to work and stop the talk about fighting…

10 minutes pass…and then the conversation hasn’t changed.

Me:  alright…just go sit in the office, and you can talk about what you want there.

Kid:  We can’t talk about what the f*** we want?!?

Me:  No.  You can’t. 

Kid:  That’s…f**** bulls***!

Me: Go on…just go.

Kid:  mumbled word  F** off…mumble mumble.   Granted…in thinking he MAY have said F*** YOU…instead of F*** off…but really I’m not going to stress over it.

My principal calls later to confirm.

“Did he say F*** off or F*** this?”

“It may have been F*** You…but I’m going with F*** off…”

“Are you sure?”

“Uh…90%…yeah it was ONE of those two…”

To him there is a difference…to ME there is no difference whatsoever.   If I ask someone to do something they say F*** THIS!, aren’t they pretty much saying…F*** OFF? or F*** YOU?  

The fact it was even a question totally offended me. 

While I was offended…I sort of get it.  I’ll explain more in the next post.  Principals (especially in our case) almost have to take this approach with things…I’ll get into that more next post.

Sep 15 10

Out from the depths…

by captain

When I got into education…I’m pretty sure I cared.  I’d like to think that my original plan involved making a difference in the lives of others.  I remember sitting in a classroom myself, being told to “dream” about how our own classrooms would look, and what kind of activities and such our days would consist of once we became teachers. 
I had dreams.  I had plans.

I remember sketching out drawings of how my classroom would look. Right down to the plants I would have.  I drew lists of the projects I would do with my classes, the awesome supplies we would use. I was fully prepared for years of awesomeness directly related to my being in the classroom. 

I envisioned a Mr. Holland’s Opus type farewell when my teaching career finally ended. 

I was going to be the best teacher in the world.

…and then I got my first teaching job.

I took a random poll the other day of my co-workers…and asked,

“If you could go back in time….knowing what you know now…would you still go into education?”

All but one, without hesitation said no.  (I wasn’t the one)

My thought is that the one who would’ve still chose education only said “yes” as a means to justify their choice of career.    Nobody wants to admit that they spent all that time and effort for a career that they dislike. 

I know I didn’t.

14 years after I joined the world of public education…I’m totally ready to quit.

I went through periods before where I was ready to quit…but managed to refocus…find new goals…and get by.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m happy I have a job…and I’m not going to cheat the kids who want to learn out of an education….but the point has come where all the B.S. has surpassed my ability to deal with it.

Time to bring back the Captian.

Nov 13 08

Year 6- eww.

by captain

My home hospital student is driving me crazy….but I can sympathize with her situation…so it’s hard to do anything other than be unresponsive.

The girl must be 17…has TWO kids…and lives in what I can best describe as gross-city. I’ve been going there for several weeks…and I still have no clue who actually lives in the residence, and who is just ‘hanging out’ There is trash everywhere….front yard….inside…everywhere. There’s food left out all over…it smells. Then there is the flies; Hundreds of flies inside…outside…they’re everywhere. Not to be overly humorous…but the only time I see that many flies is when they’re attached to starving kids in Africa on TV.

The people inhabiting the place don’t seem overly concerned either….someone is usually involved in a game of Grand Theft Auto when I arrive…and one wall is littered with maps and codes for the game.

In my opinion…it’s not REALLY the kind of place I would want to live…let alone raise two kids…one of which is only about 3 weeks old.

How do you handle it? My real goal is to make sure she has homework…knows how to do it…and is getting it completed. What I want to do is say.

“Look you live in absolute squalor….I just saw an actual pig walk by and decline entrance. YOU ARE RAISING KIDS! PULL YOUR HEAD FROM YOUR ASS AND CLEAN THIS PLACE UP…if not for guests….FOR YOUR BABIES!!!

The kids are always clean, as far as kids go…and appear fed…and loved….but the place they inhabit is foul.

When I look at it another way…I guess, technically, I am paying for it…I could tell them to clean it.

The whole thing is ridiculous.

However…I can’t even fathom what life would be like in that situation. Undereducated…raising two kids….nobody I know has any clue how to perform ANY kind of job…or basic task. Apathy has taken over this house…and doesn’t appear to be willing to release its fat rear from their couch anytime soon.

What made the situation kind of tick me off was when I heard a student here say..

“Oh yeah she wants 7 kids…”

Really?

I don’t think she has that role model in life that can smack her upside the cranium and get her motivated…

When I see places like this…it does make me seriously consider forced sterilization for some folks….they need stricter rules for people to have kids.

Nov 3 08

Year 6 Trick or Trick…or Trick…

by captain

Our school made it through another Halloween…the most useless day a school can possibly go through.  I would imagine kids are more useless on Halloween than any other school day of the year…last day of school, and day before Christmas break included.

 

There’s something about that lame day that brings out the absolute worst in kids.  The day basically boils down to an excuse for kids to push the dress code to its limits, and act like more of a freak than they would ordinarily.   This years’ event coincided with our Red Ribbon, ‘anti-drug’ week…which is always a great demonstration in silliness.  We have the HIGHEST percentage of drug use for all high schools in the area…and a majority of our k ids are HERE because of drug use…yet somehow we embrace the red ribbon campaign…and decorate our doors, and what have you.  Thanks Nancy Regan.

 

One kid finally put the nail on the head…”Kids here only like the red ribbon week because it gives them an excuse to draw pot leaves and mushrooms….then put a line through it.”

 

Yes…my thoughts exactly.

 

I always get a bunch of crap for not wanting to participate in the event.  We did have a pretty good speaker come in this time though.  He had been in a car wreck while smacked out on booze and dope…and lived through it…walked away…but because he was so loaded…he didn’t see the downed power lines…hit one with his shoulder…and ended up blowing it and both his knees out with the power surge.   Now he is a one armed man.  A very cool one-armed man. He has ridden a special bike from Seattle to NYC…and done some other things…and his message was basically.

 

“If your goal is to be your best…and drugs and alcohol will not allow you to ever be your best…then why do them.”

 

The kids, for the most part paid attention…although….I heard them talking this morning, and honestly…most of them did drugs and alcohol over the weekend.

 

Point…NOT taken.  Thanks for trying one-armed man…thanks for trying.

 

One fad that has sprung up in the past couple years that truly annoys me is the “INSANE CLOWN POSSE” which, if you’re not aware of them…well…consider yourself blessed.  I can’t call them a music group…because that is doing a disservice to music groups everywhere, even the ones that can’t play instruments.  They’re a group…of guys who dress like clowns…picture KISS meets Ronald McDonald….and then rap.  I’m not sure exactly what they rap about…small cars, big tents…horns…who knows…but the kids love them…mostly the type of kid that goes to our school.  I’m guessing the rebellion these ‘angry clowns’ sing about strikes a chord deep within our students troubled souls.  Halloween was an excuse for them to wear face paint to school.

 

I of course made fun of them.

 

They don’t handle it well being teased about their favorite music group. My humming circus music every time they walked by infuriated them; asking them to bring me a happy meal when they went back to work…made them even angrier.  Saying things like, “Hey I didn’t know KISS looked like that?” did not set well with them.

 

“Ronald McDonald….please take a seat?” 

 

Didn’t like it.

 

“Is Mr. McDonald here today?  Is Ronald McDonald at school today…..don’t all answer at once.”

 

Didn’t like that either.

 

“Hey I saw you guys come to school today…how the heck did you all fit in such a small car?”

 

Nope.

 

Really, making fun of the clowns was the only thing that made my day interesting.  I’m seriously considering staying home next year…

Oct 24 08

Year 6- Responsibility

by captain

If I could go back in time….I would find the me who thought going into education was an awesome idea and smack the ever-loving crap out of him.

 

What was I thinking?

 

Why did I go into this profession?

 

Why does anyone go into this profession? 

 

I’d like to believe at some point I had the notion that what I did was going to make a difference in someone’s life…and that ultimately I would feel good…and rewarded for my efforts at educating children.  There would be warm fuzzy feelings, and I would possess them as a result of my diligence and caring.

 

I have feelings….but they aren’t so warm and fuzzy.

 

Mostly I feel like I’ve been socked in the crotch by a gorilla.

 

Financially going into education is a bad idea.  Whenever there is a loss in enrollment, budget cuts, or increase in requirements from the state we feel it.  It means we’ll have another year of no pay increase.  It also means our operating budget decreases.

 

My classroom budget this year is $100.

 

I’m not sure it’s the pay…the apathy of the students…or what, but education is in a bad way right now.  Teachers feel underappreciated, and are ultimately burnt out.  They don’t care.  Education should be a field filled with passionate people…who help develop the future of our country through its youth.

 

It isn’t.

 

Something is horribly wrong.  Why do I have a whole classroom full of high school students with a 5th grade reading level?  How in the HELL did they get here?

 

I can only say that at some level it’s the teachers’ fault.  They are so burnt out they can’t go the extra mile to help those kids when they’re struggling….so they pass them…and let someone else deal with it.

 

It’s also the parents fault.  Parents!  Step up!  Your kids are moving through life with minimal skills.  If you’re a parent with a low level education…and can’t help your kids with their homework…so you feel bad and don’t try….you are doing your kids a disservice.

 

If you can’t help your 5th grade student with his/her homework because you only have a 4th grade education yourself…find someone who can.  Call the school…tell them

 

“Hey I’m not the brightest star in the sky…so I can’t help my kid with their homework…but he/she is struggling…and needs some extra help.”

 

I’m a firm believer parents should have school related discussions with their kids everyday.  I also think the more contact parents have with their students’ teachers the better. 

 

DO NOT expect them to call you when your kid is jerking up his class.  Does your boss call your wife when you are doing a bad job?  Do you expect them to? 

 

You are a parent.  Ask your kids how things are…take interest.  Call their teachers…ask them.  They’d be happy to talk with you…

 

We’re supposed to be readying kids for real life.  Nothing irritates me more than when a parent comes in and says.  “Mah kid’ is failing alg-u-bruh…why’n nobody call me?”

 

We send out deficiency notices.  That is too much in my opinion.  It should NOT be our job to tell parents their kids are not performing.  It should be their job, as concerned parents to find out…

 

If school was really helping their kid prepare for reality.  Their kid would be fired…sent home for not being able to achieve.

  

We need to revamp education….for real.  Parents need to be forced to help their kids, and take a constructive role in their upbringing.  Teachers need to keep their expectations high and not let kids who can’t freaking function at grade level pass on to the next level.

 

THERE SHOULD BE NO KIDS IN HIGH SCHOOL WITH 4TH GRADE READING LEVELS!!!!!!

 

Reading and writing are the two of the most important skills kids learn early on.  Kids should NEVER be allowed to pass on unless they are at least at an 85% pass rate in those two subjects. 

 

If you read about at a C level in 3rd grade….chances are you’ll slip a bit the following year…maybe to 65%….then 60% the next year…so by the time you hit 6th grade you’re at a 55% level…which will do you no good.

 

‘A’ students and high ‘B’ students will usually rise up to the next level…because that’s what they do.  C students usually are barely making it, and at some point…drop down.

 

If education were run correctly we would take all these kids with 4th grade reading levels in the high school and ship them back to 4th grade.

 

‘Hey this one isn’t right…fix it!’

I don’t have all the answers by any means…but when my days are filled with kids who perform several grade levels below where they’re required to be…I’m not going to be able to help them.  It’s a waste of my time.  The kids learn to come to school for socialization…not education.  They assume they’ll get moved on, like always.

 

Parents and elementary teachers WISE UP!

Oct 22 08

Year 6- Welcome Baaaaaaaack

by captain

I’m back.  For how long, I’ve no idea…but for now…I’ve things to discuss…and am going to do so…let’s get right into it.

 

I got bit by a dog yesterday.  That’s always awesome.  How many educators can say that? I got BIT…by a dog…at my job.  I have a home school student….and they have dogs.  Many dogs is what they actually have….only one, however, was of any concern to me….and rightly so apparently.

 

Three of the dogs are in the Chihuahua size range…and while their matching sweatshirts are a tad intimidating…I doubt they could inflict any damage.   The 4th dog…a black lab…named aptly enough ‘Cuda…which I can only assume is short for barracuda…seemed nothing less than hostile from the first time I saw him. 

 

Yesterday I arrived…as always…and the dogs were outside.  However…after I had taken my seat to begin working with the student…some old guy, that eerily resembled the oldest dude from A Texas ‘Chainsaw Massacre’ came home from who knows where and let the dogs in.

 

The lab ran straight for me.  There was some kind of wet nose on my hand, immediately followed by a set of teeth on my jacket.  Luckily I had pulled my arm closer to my body, in anticipation of his frothy anger…so he only got my coat….but it was close enough that I’m going to bring a knife with me from now on…so I can stab that filthy sucker if he comes for me again.

 

When I left…the kid’s father walked me out and said….

 

“Lemmie make sure the dogs are put up….don’t gotta worry bout the little ones…but you do with the lab.”

 

No kidding…

 

I just needed to get that off my chest…but the main reason I’ve resumed my duties as Captain…

 

This year we have the most immature set of students we’ve ever had here.  Ever.  It’s ridiculous.  That’s why I needed to bring the Captain out of retirement…I am unable to grasp the levels of which the kids perform without him.  They take immaturity to a new level. 

 

I have many new and exciting examples I’ll enjoy sharing with you as the weeks progress…I can’t promise any drawings…because my scanner is whacked up…but hopefully my words will do some justice to the crazy world I’ve been thrown into.

 

I WAS actually content in my job…and situation…which is why I discontinued the writing…there was nothing to write about.  I worked hard and the kids responded.  Life was, by all accounts…routine…and boring.  NOW…I work hard, and the kids get more retarded by the second.  It’s unbelievable.  The more I try to engage them…the worse they act.

 

Come join me again won’t you….let’s get this band back together.

May 13 08

Year 5- Day 165—oops

by captain

Hey,   What it is?…I’ve decided to return from hiatus and drop a post.  The main reason for my lack of posting, and thus my lack of coming anywhere near achieving my yearly goals for this site are both fortunate, and unfortunate.

Fortunately, it means I’m doing a good job…and that business is good.  Unfortunately, it’s not much fun to read….the kids work most all the time…and there is very little room for their messing around.  The amounts of interesting things that happen here have dwindled to almost nothing.  Please accept my apology, and read the updates…so you know what is going on.

 

-We got our photography program up and running, and already won awards…and had the highest number of accepted entries in the county show.  It took exactly 1 session of the class to achieve those goals.  Now what?  I thought it’d take a little longer.

 

-Our graduating class this year is going to be roughly the same size as the years past.  Every year we look in April, and swear this will be the year when we have only 6 or 7 graduates.  A month passes and we somehow end up with 30. 

 

-Our district went through humongous budget cuts, just like the rest of the state…and somehow our school wasn’t affected too much.  We lost one teacher for only part of the day.  Really, nothing changed.

 

-I went to
Reno again…and kept nice notes…but never wrote anything about it.

 

-We’ve had a miniature gay-revolution on campus recently.  A few kids have decided that becoming gay would get them attention, and cause uproar with staff and students…and thereby solidify the outcast persona they’ve craved…so the kids have become somewhat gay.  One of the biggest actors in this bug gay circus is planning on joining the military….I think his recruiter might want to know how his solider is acting.

I’d bet he’d “straighten” up pretty quick.

 

-The staff here seems to have found their groove and put the year in cruise control…waiting for summer, which is only a few weeks away.  The longer I do this teaching thing, the faster time flies.  I’m almost 1/3 of the way done with my career, and couldn’t be happier.

 

-I spent $300 on a new camera cabinet, and it broke the 3rd week.  The box it came in made it look like it was made out of metal…but it was only made out of grey particle board.  Not the sturdiest thing ever. I now have the chore of finding a replacement cabinet in a time when we have no budget.

 

-There has only been one recent fistfight…and it was between two ladies.  All our fights this year have been girl fights.  This fight started over a computer, and ended up with a chair being flipped over and used as a shield as the other girl tried to pummel her face.

-I took a week off to go to
Arizona

 

-one of my least favorite kids finally finished all the work in my class…and ended up being a lot nicer in the end….funny how that worked out for him.  The minute he started trying, and being civil…the easier time he had actually passing my class.

 

-The kids here have really been pretty well behaved.  We still have the 5 or 6 kids who won’t do anything…and drive people nuts…but mostly they’ve been good, except this session.  The last session is always the hardest.  The only k ids who try the last 6 weeks of the year are the ones who are either A) good kids no matter what the situation, or B) the kids who are going to possibly graduate.  The rest of the kids have decided that there really isn’t a big difference if they start next year needing 60 credits to graduate, or 68 credits to graduate…so they stop trying.   I suggested we have them dig giant holes the remainder of the year, and award PE credits for the team with the deepest hole…but it got shot down.

 

-Only a few teachers went to the state conference this year.  I was not one of them, which took away one of the only interesting posts I had planned for the year.   I was actually in
Arizona while it was going on…so I don’t feel too bad for missing it.  I will most likely be at next the event next year. 

 

-I’ve been debating a lot about just never ever posting on this site again….mostly because nothing exciting ever happens…but also because I just don’t feel like it serves the same purpose for me any longer.  This used to be a place to vent, and to lay out all the frustrations I had working here.  I’m not frustrated any more, or at least not on a daily or regular basis…so I have nothing to work out in my ramblings.  I think next year, I will really try to keep it going, but on a weekly basis…something exciting has to happen in a week…

Jan 7 08

Year 5- Only because I know you’ve been waiting.

by captain

Honestly, I woke up this morning, fearful of school.  I had a nightmare where the kids wouldn’t listen to me..and I ended up dropping a f-bomb fueled tirade on them…it was ugly.  While I’m not thrilled to be back, I’m glad today is an inservice, and we’re only working on making sure we have standards based assessments for each session.  I’m finishing the last one.  Tomorrow, the kids return, to begin what will be 4 straight days of them catching up on all the drama that went down over Christmas break. 

In two weeks our Photo program begins.  I’m really excited.  I’ve been waiting for a class like this for almost 10 years.  I honestly thought, with the cost, and practicality of a program like this in the current school systems…it wasn’t ever going to happen.  My only problem now will be seeing if I can put aside my personal photo opinions long enough to actually teach them something, or will I just cringe at their lack of thought, or skill…and meltdown on them.

I had a great photo teacher in college who had v ery little patience for stupidity.  He had very high standards, and honestly, very few people ever lived up to them.  My friend and I for some reason were fortunate enough that we were adequate with the camera, and blessed with enough common sense to not ask dumb questions…we got along well with him.  Other people, who perhaps even had more of a desire to learn in the class were crapped on by him because they asked too many questions, or just acted in a way that annoyed him.

 I find my teaching style is a lot of ways, is like his.  The older I get the less I can stand stupid people.  In art, while I really enjoy the subject….I don’t do my own art enough to take stupidity personally.  Photography is what I do when I’m out….I take it a lot more personally than I do the other mediums.  I can see myself becoming really annoyed with the kids if they do something I find inappropriate.

Thankfully, I have almost complete control of all aspects of this class.  I pick the kids I want in, and I can pretty much choose when and what we shoot.  There are about 10 kids at this school who would be the end of me if I had to watch them hold one of our nice new school cameras.  I’d snap for sure.

One some accounts it’s nice to be back…see everyone, catch up, and break back into routine.  I didn’t go out to lunch with the majority of the staff today.  I like to hang out with them, but I just don’t see spending the extra cash on lunch, when I have perfectly good food at home I can bring and eat.  Some of the staff joke that I’m anti-social.  I kind of am.  I mentioned, that I find myself getting more easily annoyed with people…this is magnified with larger groups.  I like majority of the people I’m working with, a lot…but a couple start to get me after 30 minutes.  They’re nice people, but I think we just have differences in approaches on life…so they bug me.

Oh well…I have 20 more multiple choice questions to get done in the next 30 minutes.

let’s see how the kids are t0morrow.