everythingyoualwayswantedtosaybutwereafraid

Things you always wanted to say but were afraid

Archive for the tag “students”

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

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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?

Title IX and the athletes left behind

 

 

 

Not feeling very motivated to write lately, this one has caught me by the heart.  I am 58 years old.  In 1972 President Richard Nixon signed the Title IX legislation that made it illegal to discriminate against women in sports.  I graduated in 1971.

I was a tomboy from birth I guess.  I had little toy guns on my diaper pins.  My daddy was a baseball playing fool, and I benefited from that with many evenings of catch in the backyard.  Fortunately for me, my dad did not believe in cutting any slack to anyone (not even a girl) and I learned to catch a hot pepper just as well as any boy.  It was that or get hit with the ball and catching it was much less painful.  At the age of 12 we moved to a small town that had girls’ basketball, and even though it was three on three, I loved it.  By the time I was a freshman, the game had changed to the boys’ version of five on five, and I existed for sports.  The by-product of that was my coach made sure we kept our grades up, and I excelled on both the field and in the classroom.

By the end of 1968 our school board in Everman, Texas had decided that they could no longer afford to fund five  basketball teams.  At that time there was a varsity girls and boys team and a junior varsity girls and boys team and a boys freshman team.  That board, made up of entirely men, decided it could only fund three teams.  I imagine you can see where I’m going.  So behind the cloak of secrecy, it put in a girls’ coach with instructions to let the program go as far downhill as possible.  She held not one practice the final year we played.  Imagine – a team that did not practice one time.  We even went so far as to go to the gym on our own until we were barred for lack of supervision at which time our parents began coming with us.  We were then banned completely without a coach and our coach would not come – I imagine for fear of her job.  We got a petition up with many, many community signatures that was presented to the Board.  They thanked us.  That was all they did.  We lost miserably.  I had already had college coaches talk to me about playing for them, but with our program completely deleted when I was a sophomore that went down the drain as did my will to continue.

I lost the thing I loved and that motivate me the most.  I quit caring about school;  I experimented with things better left alone and who’s to say that wouldn’t have happened anyway, but I don’t believe it would have.  You SOB  bigoted all male school board took the very thing I was the best at and loved the most at that time because you were making decisions for women without any regard for women’s’ feelings.  I will always resent that and will never forget it.

Kind of reminds you of today doesn’t it? Leave my vagina alone and guys — give up trying to make decisions for women.  We are quite capable.  I hope the young women and their parents of today are stronger than we were.

How many stories are there like this?

http://www.wnba.com/titleix/powerofnine_060812.html

 

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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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. 

Nose Jobs

Photo by GeorgeErmo

Just a short story about a “nose job” that a 4-year-old gave to a classmate one day.

The first day that Pre-K students are allowed to use scissors is a big event at school.  Teachers lose sleep the night before.  Each pair of scissors is carefully handed out, one by one, with the strict admonition not to touch them until told.

Often teachers will recruit parent volunteers for this day, as no matter how hard you try it usually ends up with someone giving themselves or another classmate a haircut.

The instructions given, students are asked to pick up the scissors and begin their projects.  Teacher, and parents (if available) run around the room checking to see that students are being successful.  There comes, inevitably, the student that requires the teacher to stop, bend over the desk and help the student in more detail than others.  It is at that time that usually disaster strikes.

As I said, most of the time it is just a haircut or clothes alteration, but on this day it was a little more;  it was surgery.

One small boy cut the nose of another boy.  He turned to his next door neighbor, carefully placed the scissors up in the classmates nostrils and snipped that little strip that divides the two holes in the nose.  I’m sure it has a name, but I don’t know what it is.

I have never seen blood like that.  Fountains of it.  To shorten the story, he went to the hospital and had to have it glued because it was in a place that could not be stitched.

The mother of the wounded boy was justifiably upset.  What kind of classmate would do such a thing to a friend of his.  I wondered the same thing.

I had one other question.  What kind of kid would sit still while another stuck scissors up in his nostrils and snipped.  It did take cooperation.  Hey, a cooperative learning experience.

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