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Showing posts from October, 2008

I didn't want to do it...

For those who have been following for awhile, you knew that last winter I had a foster child placed with me. The child is now in the process of transitioning back to her biological family. Very sad for me, but I'm cautiously happy for her. This weekend was the first overnight visit. As a consequence I didn't really want to do trick-or-treaters. I wanted to paint the kitchen.

I turned out the lights, remove the decorations... they still knocked. I let the dog bark ferociously, they still knocked. Who lets their kids knock on darkened doors with ferocious sounding dogs? Oh, the ones who aren't kids. Swear to God, I had a pregnant woman knock on my door. No, it wasn't part of her costume, and no she didn't have any other kids. Just her and a man who hopefully was the "baby-daddy." A sign of bad economic times or simply another example of how trashy this town really can be?

Want more proof? An 8 year old's costume at school? Jamie Lynn Spears, complete with…


I think I'm a bit stressed - my eyelid has been twitching for several days (driving me nuts!) and I'm afraid to look at my in box.  Also, I'm suddenly really interested in doing craft projects. In the last 48 hours, I've finished a blanket I've been working on for the last 4 months, sewed two christmas ornaments and completed the tea cozy I started last month.  Today I printed out patterns for "nordic houses" ornaments and clothing for a christmas knome... when the going gets tough, the tough start finding projects that have an actual finish line. What do you do when things start to spiral out of control?


It snowed in the mountains last night and there is a "black ice" warning on the news (seriously, a black ice warning?!?). Winter is on it's way.

Things I've Learned So Far

Since accepting the position of RtI coordinator for my school I've learned the following things...

My school is guided by people who need to think more long term... last year's RtI team was made up of all new teachers, most of whom did not return this year. It also has almost no support from any staff members who have been at the school for more than two years. They also paid to train a bunch of teachers last summer who are not, nor ever have been, on the RtI team. Again, because no one supports it. My school is guided by really nice people who want to make a difference in student's lives. Sadly, many of their ways of doing this annoy the crap out of me.RtI is a law. The way to implementation is not... thus people can actually screw around with it in many obnoxious and unhelpful ways.RtI is now a step to special education. I now get numerous emails asking for student X or Y to be tested. I get almost no other information because apparently it doesn't matter. Just test t…

Grading Period

As the three long time readers know, I hate grading. It's vitally important, but I hate it. Mostly I hate it because woefully disappointing. My regular english students see little value in anything that goes on in the classroom (and when the B*&#$ of teacher won't let you text while waiting for the outcome of your parent's trial, who can blame them?). At least one third of the papers are so poorly written that I really can't decipher what is written. I'm pretty good at reading chicken scratch, but our middle school decided several years ago not to "worry" about penmanship and the result is radom slashed on the paper that make no sense to anyone - even the writer. So, the two thirds I can read... well, about half are barely completed. Mostly they contain answers like "he did that." I've gone over the proper way to answer questions... I've done mini-lessons on the use of complete sentences... We've gone over pronoun useage... God, I…

Ye Olde Yearbook

The other day, someone tried to "friend" me on Facebook. Apparently, we graduated from high school together... but I had no idea who it was. I mean, the name was posted on the profile, but I didn't recognize it at all. I had to dig out my old yearbook - the one I keep telling my students I've lost - to look this person up. Didn't work. The first name was really common in that era and the picture wasn't any help either. I finally just clicked "accept", because who wants to get a reputation of being a Facebook denier (is that a word) back in my hometown?

The reason I tell my students I lost it? They're utterly fascinated with seeing it. They want to see my hideous photos and laugh at everyones hair styles. Hey, I laugh too! But really, do I want them to see cute boys labeled? Or the copious drug and alcohol references? Sure it was all talk, but that's just not something I want to share. I'm just glad I don't teach in my hometown. They d…

The Class I Hate

Every year starts out the same way... one class period I love. For some reason, we just click immediately. I'm excited to see them and I'm sure that we're all going to have a wonderful learning experience. It's wonderful!

Then about three or four weeks into the semester, the class turns the behavior corner and because I'm "such a cool teacher", they go hog wild. No one turns in any work, assignments sit on tables or are used for paper airplanes and spitwads. They are directionless and only motivated to here the latest gossip. Every activity is like walking through a mud flat... I can hear my soul being slowly ripped out of my body as they manage to dampen any hope I had of having one of those wonderful classes. They drive me to drink.

This year, I've been trying to avoid it. It happened anyways. But! Instead of drinking, we had a class meeting. I told them my sad dream class story. (they love to hear stories) They apologize and ask for more intesting ac…

Intellectual Motivation

What It's Like on the Inside had a link to an blog entry on ASCD Inservice - Dumbed Down Generation expressing the view that perhaps the current generation is perhaps devoid of an intellectual spirit. What great timing! Just this past Friday, I was asked in my English class why I don't buy the our current novel on tape and play it for them during class instead of forcing them to read it.. I was promised they would be much more interested than the current napping pattern displayed. Or just show the movie and then it would be over in a couple of days.

The entry talked about a recent debate on the state of intellectual curiosity among teens. The teens did not come out good in this one. One of the comments in reaction to the blurb is from writer of the generation under discussion. In his post, he writes that there is a differing view point that the older generations are missing. I think as teachers it's important to evaluate these view points, if for no other reason then to com…

Economy and Budgets

This morning I saw an tv advertisement for KFC - it claims that buying a KFC family dinner at $9.99 is cheaper than buying the ingredients from the grocery store. It goes on to show kids and mom running around the store exclaiming shock at the prices and searching for the "secret herbs and spices." I gonna be honest... I have a real problem with the commercial. We're in an economic recession and these people are trying to convince viewers that it's cheaper to buy ready made, than purchasing the ingredients to make it yourself... or as the commercial shows buy it ready made at the grocery store.

Most of the items needed for such a meal can't be bought in single meal servings - yes, if you had to go and buy a bag of potatoes, a 5lb. bag of flour, a pound of butter and all the spices, plus paid full price for the expensive-free-range-chicken, then yes, it's more than $10. But who I ask, buys a 5lb bag of flour just to make biscuits? Or spices for one chicken?



Before I became a teacher, I interviewed for a job as a long term sub in a private school. I got the job, but then wasn't needed. It did give me a clue as what teaching high english was... but that's another story.

Somehow during this interview/discussion we started talking about how all English teachers really want to write the "Great American Novel". I've always wondered if ALL English teachers want to write... but I certainly do. The thing that stops me and probably most, is the time commitment. With everything I have to do, I could not figure out how to get more time to write. And that was pre-baby!

But I think I may have figured it out... If I get up at 5am and write until 6, I might be able to get something finally on paper. So I'm gonna try to do NaNoWriMo. Last year I was all about the murder mystery, but I was creeping myself out and got too busy. This year, I'm going to try fantasy - definitely royalty, someone in distress and possibly a giant spi…