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Showing posts from September, 2008

Campaign Promises

While purusing the Sunday paper, I came across an article describing some local candidate forum held over the weekend. Apprently they either weren't able to say a lot or what they said was pretty boring because the article was skimpy on specifics. What caught my eye was a position of Randy Dutton. He wants "higher standards for teachers." My interest was piqued... what kind of standards?

In looking at his website, apparently those standards will be raised by carrying a gun to school, finally; "full days of school"-whatever that means - personally I'd love to put in business hours. No more 5 am wake ups; increasing the number of k-8 schools - because those kindergartners don't swear enough; sending disruptive students to placed like Habit for Humanity - babysitting is what people volunteer for; and teaching more American History- too bad that with all the testing, no one ever gets past the Civil War...

I'm not sure how any of these apply to teachers, u…

Reality Check

The Daily Grind featured It's Not All Flowers... yesterday, so I had to check it out. (see how linky I am?) Apparently, I just missed a big blog scandal because Miss Mimi had described a classroom meeting wherein a single student was told by the other classmates how said student's behavior made them feel. In response, an anonymous poster claiming to be an administrator wrote how Miss Mimi was all kinds of wrong and bound for some sort of reprimand or firing. And then everyone jumped on anonymous and another post was written... Lord-love-a-duck! I do enjoy a good comment fight. You should check it out, it's high entertainment for us teacher types.

Anonymous did have a point when he/she wrote that the parents would surly complain to the administration. I think, however, he/she missed the reason for that... it's readily apparent that students who have problems with behavior are generally being raised by parental units who do not subscribe to the "responsible citizen&…

The Guru

The other day I was informed that my name and number had been given to another school district as the RTI Guru. Four weeks on the job - two of which were spent trying to figure out a poorly designed assessment matrix - and I'm a guru. The word scared doesn't even cover that feeling... this is federal and state mandates and money, people! You can't screw around with that stuff! And that last thing I want to do is be telling people how they should do it. Or showing them when they visit... how do I get myself into these things?

To be honest, although our district is really into this RTI thing, the high school implementation has been haphazard at best. The reading intervention existed for one year and then it was gone, replaced by math. Now it's back with math. The materials for reading however, are spread all over the campus hiding in drawers and dusty boxes belonging to various people, some of whom are no longer at the high school. It's taken nearly four weeks, but I …

On the Homefront

I bought a programmable coffeemaker yesterday. In past, I've always thought it too decadant to pay extra for something I could just get my lazy ass out of bed to do. Oh, how wrong I was. Fresh coffee when I wake up? So worth the extra 20$. I see now the error of my cheap ways. Now I just need to buy a bottle of pumpkin spice syrup and I'm set for the year.

I also bought a set of really cheap and flimsy shelves to keep the baby's toys on. The child is just over 13 months old and she has three boxes full of toys! And I nearly bought her more while buying the shelves (boy! was she pissed when I put back the fake grocery items! oooo!). It is amazing, how much she has collected in 9 months! Anyhow, these toy bins are taking over the living room (there is no room in the baby's room for the toys), and all the toys get mixed up in them, so it's hard to really play with them. I'm still searching for the green ring from the rainbow stacker/lighthouse. (I'm pretty sure…

Catching Up

I was just saying that the month hasn't been going by that fast, but since it's been 10 days since I last posted, I guess I will have to rethink that view.

It's taken three weeks, but I finally figured out the testing matrix for the reading portion of RTI. All it took as a conference call with the creator, becuase it IS backwards (still no reason why!) and there are two "first"s because they are meant to be done simulteanously. Again, why they are in separate boxes listed in a linear continum that seems to indicate a progression is not explained why. But I do understand what I need have people do, so good 'nough.

The teacher who was hired to teach these reading intervention courses seems a little disconcerted that there isn't really a set curriculum, but there is. Basically, we have all these curriculum books that must be used, but they're not a planned curriculum. He'll have to cobble them together. While I don't have reservations that he can d…

Merit Pay

Mr. McNamar over at The Daily Grind brings up the subject of merit pay and how he wants it. Would you? A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about the so-called teacher shortage. Every year there articles and news stories about the declining numbers of teachers (who are almost always dumber too!) and with gobs to current teachers retiring, no one will be left to teach Little Johnny (who can't read). In these discussions, merit pay is almost always brought up as a way to attract teachers. Especially to those districts in areas where test scores are particularly low. My problem with these ideas is that:                   1. There is no teacher shortage. Plenty of districts get hundreds of applications for every single job opening. Some districts barely get one for 100's of openings.                   2. Few teachers going into teaching because they want to be wealthy. The ability to live, buy a home and a car while feeding the kids - yes... but no one thinks they're going to bu…


Before school started, I was asked to be the lead person for an intervention project going on within the district. No one really knew what I was supposed to be doing, but it did not require any traveling or extensive meetings after school. So I agreed to do it. I figured it would be good experience and I might learn something.

Today I discover that I am, apparently, supposed to be attending a meeting every Thursday of the week during school hours. My last class of the day. You see, I do get an extra free period in the day to do all the work needed for this new program. The free period, however, is not during the time when the weekly meeting is scheduled. In fact, no one in my building was told of a particular day or time needed for this position. Thus a sub has to be found for one class period every week. I'm not happy - middle of week days off are a pain. The continuum of the class is ruined and students are never ready to jump back in after having a sub, no matter how good he/she…


How do you deal with cellphones in your class? I seriously need some ideas.

Last year, I did the prescripted "if I see or it goes off, it's mine routine," but it left me doing A LOT of monitoring. Kids can send text messages through their pockets, you know. Also the "vibrate" setting is noisy and disruptive. It drives me to distraction. This year I started with the cute little baskets. I already have students not putting them in the basket (hiding them) and I just want it to stop being a policing issue. Parents are no help at all. Half the phone calls and texts during class are from the parent.

I don't know if parents just don't care that their child attempts to send a text message every 30 seconds during EVERY class or if they're just oblivious. Last year a teacher had a little contest. He gathered all the phones on his desk and then asked the student to bet on how many text messages any one student would recieve. The highest number? 101. In a 50 min…

First Day

I've forgotten how exhausting the first day is... I really need to get some sleep tonight!

I wish I could say that we're off to a great start, but it seems like all will be confusion and massive moving of classes (again). It would be nice if they could just staff the necessary number of courses needed, but apparently constant switching and precarious balancing is how some like to live.

Tomorrow is open house. Lala will be my special guest. I'd get a babysitter, but I've already spent my monthly allowance for that. She'll be one tired baby!


On the first day of school, I'll be spending my day in class going over the syllabus, various class procedures and other mundane tasks. The second day? Monitoring a line of students getting their pictures taken. Education at it's best... Day three? Shortened periods for a pep assembly. Day four? Shortened periods for a motivational speaker (teachers have to sit with students *shudder*). At this rate, I'll be lucky if I get anything done until October.

Bonus for me... I'll also be having my picture taken and be given a large photo packet for free! Because when you hit 40, you so need an 8x10 of yourself. Creepy