everythingyoualwayswantedtosaybutwereafraid

Things you always wanted to say but were afraid

Archive for the category “Teachers”

To my babies on starting the school year

The whole group

Always look forward, never backward, every day you get the privilege of going and are able to learn. There are so many that cannot and want to. If you are open and honest you will find something good every day, and if you are ready to learn there will aways be someone ready to teach you. If it is hard work, so be it. Hard work is nothing; we can do that. Not for accolades or rewards do you work hard, but rather to grow inside as a person of good character. If you will do this one simple thing, the world will open its arms to welcome you and your success will be immeasurable.

Love and Peace

The Words are impossible to hold back

Dear prior and future siblings in education.  Just a “touch base with you” sort of letter.  I felt very strongly about speaking to you about some strange happenings in the land of the “normal.” (Although I know that my quotations and period are correct, I still wish we could just step out there and move the quotes to the inside.) Stay on course you lazy retired teacher person that is up at 1:45 after an hour with “George and Gracie”.  (Oh I can see you correcting me if I was wrong this time.)  If you can’t tell by now, my style of writing is nothing short of the familiar stream of consciousness.  ANYWAY, I have found the perfect second life for all of us.  Teaching, (don’t run away) the once-a-week Sunday School class.  Churches are in need of teachers.  It’s only one time a week.  You have all week to prep. If any sweet little darlin’ gives you issues, you can send them to Mom or Dad (right down the hall) or tell them not to return (Wow, the ultimate definition of a bad kid.) Add all that up; then, throw this gasoline on the fire – the class only lasts an hour.  It can run over,  but never more than two hours tops.  O.K, now get ready for the piece de resistance. (for you Dr. Tracey) You get paid just as much as you have before – VERY LITTLE.  O.K., to be fair, just enough to enable you to keep on paying the electric company, gas company, phone company, grocery store, pharmacy, doctors, dentist, etc., etc., etc.  AND don’t forget that you can teach 3 year olds with the Kids Praise and just sing Do Lord for an hour.

Solidarity for teachers in Chicago

I do not like teacher bashing.  I readily admit that there are bad teachers, but they are few and far between.  What often comes across as a bad teacher is more likely a result of poor facilities, overcrowding, and kids with issues that need additional support systems to succeed.

These are the issues that Chicago teachers are fighting for.  A Science class with over 40 students, over 90% with economic issues and no air conditioning is not likely to help students do their best on standardized testing.  Yeah, yeah, yeah I’ve heard it all before about the no air conditioning thing.  Well, we didn’t have air conditioning when we were going to school.  Neither did I, but I came out of a house without air conditioning into a school without air conditioning.

It is about time that this society made up their minds to support public schools with the social programs needed for today’s kids.  I have seen so many extremely troubled children that need much more specific help than a classroom teacher is prepared (or has time) to offer.  One student told me that his dad died from “sniffing too much sugar.”  He was living with an uncle because his mom and step dad did not have room for him in their apartment.  He was angry, smart enough to get away with lots of things, yet starved for attention.  Starving for attention made him disruptive in class.  His social skills were non-existent, so he made enemies instead of friends.  These kinds of issues require support systems, that yes, cost money.

Now, come on.  Do you really think teachers make 75,000 a year?  That is an average and a few teachers skew that average.  A teacher with 10 years tenure does not make that much, and my daughter-in-law makes that in the computer industry after 10 years and she doesn’t have to put up with 40+ kids in a room with her to earn her living.

By the way, who has been at the bargaining table with teachers.  If I was worried about a strike I sure wouldn’t have waited until the last week to show up to talk about it, but the Mayor did.  He sent lawyers to talk to teachers.  Does that appear to be trying to work something out.  It appears to be more of an insult to me.

Damn, I’m tired of preaching that same ole thing.

And if nothing else the endorsement of Paul Ryan, alias Eddie Haskel and Munster, would put me on the teachers side any day.

Be careful Chicago firefighters, and policemen – you are next.  Rahm Emanual – what kind of Democrat are you?

A very serious post

If I am talking to a friend about a teacher at school, and I don’t really care too much for this teacher, so I say to you, “Mrs.  Teacher said Little John was really bad and should win the class idiot award.”  You would take that information to help form your opinion of Ms. Teacher, and you might share that information with several others before you investigated the source, if you even ever bothered to find out whether that was true or not.  Deciding to dig deeper, you questioned your own child who was in the same classroom. He/she told you that in fact they were having a discussion about the awards ceremony with the teacher explaining the different awards that would be given and another student said, “Little John should get an award for the class idiot.” While talking about how cruel children can be to each other, Ms. Teacher was conveying the conversation to another teacher in the teachers’ workroom where I was working as a volunteer.  Whether or not I heard the entire conversation and deliberately was trying to turn sentiment against Ms. Teacher, or whether I only heard the part that made me believe Ms. Teacher did say it makes little or no difference to the people who have now formed their opinion of Ms. Teacher based on the misinformation.

Is this right?  What if it is deliberate?  What if the truth came out and I still refused to acknowledge my misinformation even though it was damaging to Ms. Teacher’s reputation?

What do you think?

I’m ticked off all over again about teachers being second guessed

 

What is wrong with people?  Mr. Romney, in a school, says that he checked to see if smaller class sizes had anything to do with standardized test scores, and it didn’t.  A perfect case of a person that doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.  After retiring from 22 years in public education I can tell you that if you were a smart person you would defer to the experts on this one.  Yes, the superficial correlation do not appear to show that, but it only applies to the upper half of students.  In other words, for the politicians that can’t read above an 8th grade level, for students that make good grades, they can survive in a larger class, but it is the student that struggles who need the smaller groups.  To be exact, for those students behind grade level the most important thing for them is small group instruction with qualified teachers.  I have seen it; the statistics are there to find if you care to; Mr. Romney you are just another in a long line of second guessers that have never taught a group of students already behind usually through no fault of their own.  It is often because of societal issues they are born into.  They get into PK and K with groups of 20 to 30 and don’t get the small group instruction they need, and it is downhill from there.  No one at home is reading to them and with them.  No one is working with them on their homework. No one is enhancing their natural curiosity with proper time and questioning.

SHUT UP PEOPLE THAT DON’T KNOW.  EDUCATORS KNOW THE ANSWERS ON HOW TO IMPROVE EDUCATION.  IT IS SIMPLE.  JUST ASK THE RIGHT PEOPLE. FOLLOW THEIR SUGGESTIONS.  GIVE THEM THE MONEY TO MAKE HAPPEN.  IT’S CHEAPER THAN THE INCARCERATION DOWN THE ROAD.

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Cheating – – but not by kids?

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This is one of the hardest stories to tell, but it has been on my mind since 1984.  These are secrets that are normally carried to the grave, and but for one little student teacher that has had her conscience troubling her ever since so would this one.

I was doing my student teaching.  It was the end of the year in May and cheerleading tryouts were underway for the year.  One of the most intense ones was the competition of the 6th graders to make the Jr. Hi team.  Only two 6th graders would make that team and there was around 20 girls trying out for those two positions.  It appeared to be above-board.  A jury of college cheerleaders made the decision after a tryout that included several different ways to show their stuff.  In the end the two girls that won were the two that were expected to win.  They were definitely the most popular girls in the 6th grade.

Within a week tragedy stuck.  One of the girl’s father was transferred unexpectedly out-of-town, so she would be unable to serve. Thinking that the easiest way to remedy the situation, and without having to go through the entire process again, it appeared that to take the next person down would be the simplest explanation.  The files were pulled out in the teachers’ lounge to check on the third place person.  Low and behold it was a student that some of the teachers found a little less than desirable.  You know, family problems, druggie older brother, poor white wrong side of the track sort of thing.  No matter that she was  a beautiful, striking, athletic, intelligent girl who may have needed this more than any other of the girls.  Then, much to their surprise, the fourth place girls was a teacher’s kid – really good kid, straight As, conservative dresser, good family, etc. They justified their decision by the fact that it was the “right” thing to do.

I sat in the corner ignoring the entire process.  I was just taking a class and happen to be there, and I really had no say.  I’m having it now.  After very little discussion, the decision was made to skip the third place, go to the fourth place, shred all the paperwork and who would ever know the difference.  They know, and I know.

It still makes me sick, but doesn’t it remind you of our government? And al those good people wonder what is wrong with our society.  They never believe they have anything to do with its corruption.

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Review: Precious Knowledge on PBS Independent Lens

31 to Life

This week, PBS’ Independent Lens turns toward the embattled (and currently abolished) Mexican-American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District. As a Tucson-area educator, this story was of local and professional interest to me. At the start of the hour-long documentary, we are told that high school dropout rates for Mexican American students are 50% nationwide, the highest of any minority group. In 1997, the Tucson Unified School District approved an ethnic studies curriculum as a way of engaging students and lowering dropout rates. The program appeared to be a success, with over 90% of students in ethnic studies electives graduating, according to a study conducted over the course of six years. Students interviewed for the film, many of them Latino students from underprivileged backgrounds, but some white and minority students as well, express admiration for the program. We are also told that courses were created dealing with…

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The need for cameras

I know all the arguments about privacy and stuff, but after 22 years in education in every position from coach, teacher, assistant principal,  and principal, I believe there should be video cameras in every classroom, locker room and any other place that children interact with adults in school.

We don’t have any problem having cameras in the hallways and cafeterias in case students “act up”, but we have yet to go to the next step of putting them in the classroom.  Just think of the advantages; you could share all good teaching techniques and exceptional lessons with others; you would have video for parent conferences to show how students behave at school; adults and students that know they are being video taped will monitor their actions a bit more; and finally, it would provide any “evidence” that might be necessary when we get into the he said/she said arguments.

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If you still are skeptical, watch this video, but be prepared to be disgusted.

Click on this to hear UTUBE video

When tornadoes are around

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One of the worst things that can happen in a school day is when there are tornado WARNINGS.  I mean the warnings that tell you they are out there somewhere, but you just aren’t exactly sure where.  Tornadoes are a scary thing, and when you are responsible for 500 children, plus staff it is a very serious time.  Every person’s safety is up to your actions and preparations.

We were pretty good at preparing for these types of emergencies.  The staff and kids knew exactly what to do and how to do it properly.  I think we were as safe as we could possibly be when bad weather arose.

But…………………………………………………………

That is when the parents went BESERK!!  With a capital BBBBB.  I don’t know what it is about a dark sky and rain that makes their minds react so erratically, but this is how it goes.Image Detail

Bad weather is approaching.  Usually, we already have our weather radio on and radar on the computer.  We will get a call from the administration building and the police department.  It’s just a toss-up as to which calls first, but it’s always after we are already aware.  As soon as we get the call, we go into our tornado drill which involves locking all personnel down in rooms without windows and with interior walls.  Students are placed side by side, against the wall, hands over head for protection.  Adults are about checking on kids that have asthma, or might just be afraid of storms.  Most kids are pretty resilient and do what they are supposed to. Image Detail

The office staff starts answering the hundreds of phone calls and keeps an eye on the radar as the administrators position themselves in the hallways and office to monitor any emergencies that may arise.  All rooms are equipped with a panic button so that we can be there in a moment’s notice.  Usually, if it goes on for longer than 15 minutes or so, I would go on the intercom and reassure everyone where the storm is and how much longer we may be.

This is where the parents go crazy.  They all drive to the school and come rushing into the front door, pushing each other and demanding their children right then. We tell them they can come into the school, probably the safest place to be, but we cannot release the children until the danger has passed. I have had parents cuss us out.  Wait a minute, you want to take your kids out into a TORNADO??  What happened to your mind??  Some have told us they are going to get the police to come and get their kids.  Come on.  Where is your mind??  Do you think the police may be busy during a TORNADO?? Remember Dorothy?? Remember Toto?

It’s very frustrating, and I know they are just frantic about their children, but just trust that in the school is one of the safest places to be.  It is certainly not a good idea to be in a car, and most houses and pre-fab home do not have the structural integrity that those old schools do.

So parents,  what I have always wanted to say.  We have procedures to follow in every emergency.  We love your kids and our number one priority is safety.  We have to deal with the same dangers every day that you do only for us it involves taking care of 500 kids instead of a couple.  Breathe and trust.  Come on in out of the rain and help calm a kid.

Another helping hand

 

Isn’t it amazing what little ones can do for your mood?  The baby girl came for an unexpected visit this evening.  Baby, her hubby and two girls.  Hubby mowed like a crazed goat while the girls proceed to vastly improve the Mr. and my attitude.  They are so loving, and I hope they keep that caring personality forever.  When I asked K (the oldest girl) how her week at school was she told me she got another free homework pass.  That’s not unusual for her, but what made the story was she was so excited to tell me that G (the worst boy in her class) was able to get one too.  She said the whole class was so happy for him.  It was his first all year.  She said he did have a little trouble, “cause he kicked another boy, but he was just playing and no one got hurt.”  I guess since it’s getting close to the end of school the teacher is getting desperate to give G some kind of good behaviour award.  Sometimes you have to look hard for it.

Anyway, we enjoyed the visit and the Mr. had his mind relieved from his pain for a while.  He must have told me 50 times  how sweet they were, and I know I heard stories about baby girl for an hour.  He is crazy about his baby girl, but what good daddy isn’t?

On Monday, we saw the doctor who told us he would arrange the appointment with the person at the hospital for him to get the injections in his back.  Today, after lunch, I called since I hadn’t heard anything, and they said they would find out and call me back.  Guess what??  How long does it take to call and make an appointment?  Surely not a week.  I would be happy to do the calling for them if they want me too, and on Monday the first call I make is to the doctor’s office.  I don’t suffer fools lightly when I am watching the Mr. suffer unnecessarily. 

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