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Showing posts from January, 2010

What went wrong?

As I was grading finals, I got to one that just befuddled me. Actually, the student has befuddled me all semester.  Mostly because, despite anything I said, wrote or explained (repeatedly) this student never seemed to understand the concept of critical thinking. Regurgitation was not a problem, but going beyond that was like pulling stumps with a soup spoon. Because the class was an advanced one, he was transferred to a regular english course for the next semester, so this final was the last hope of seeing a spark of understanding.

Granted, at the beginning of the semester there are a few students who have this problem. After a month, however, few are still confused. This student never got it. Not conferencing, notes, models, diagrams...  nothing seemed to phase this student. He just went on his bumbling way without any thought to anything I said, other students said or did. It was like trying to talk to rock.

On the final, the students were to read a prompt and passage and then write…

Finals Week

Next week is finals week. I'm desperately trying to reteach everything that I can think of for my sophomores. Sadly, even though most really need the points from this test, many put a real effort in. We've talked daily using the words that will be in the vocabulary section. I will still have at least three students who will define an allusion as "something you think you see, but ain't really there".  Less than half will answer the essay question with more than one paragraph. In the past I've tried offering points for filling out the graphic organizer to help construct the essay. I've written on the test that the answer must be more than three paragraphs. I've taken tests out of the turn in box, read them and given them back the student with instructions to give more detail or tell me where the poem says this; use a quote. Nine times out of ten, the paper is handed back in without any changes or addition. It's too much of a bother. Since I won'…

Why I Am A Great Role Model

During my pre-service teaching, one of the community service projects I worked on was mentoring teens in the local juvenile hall. Usually I played cards and listened to kids talk. One day however, I showed up as usual and for some reason we all got into a large group and played "Murder". The 'inmates' taught the mentors how to play. How surreal is it be playing the game of "murder" while inside a jail? I kept waiting for someone to point out that this might just be innappropriate, but no one did.

Today we played the game in my advisory group. It was as supposed free day - no goal setting - and my group has already played all the interesting games in the little advisory book. So I picked the murderers, the doctor and a sheriff and the killing started. I have to say, my students were pretty good at picking out the bad guys for never having played before.

Maybe I am teaching them life skills. Twisted parlor games and the ability to recognize murderers when the…

So Much for Resolutions

Seriously, I've never abandoned a resolution so quickly! I've not had a moment to actually plan anything out fully. My lunches have been spent on the phone, my prep period trackdown other people and so on.

This first week back, a new student arrived. Now, this student was expected and had actually attempted to enroll just before the holiday break. Mostly that week was spent in a furious round of emails being sent from various people within our district. Why such a flurry? Oh, this student speaks no English. Now, we have plenty of students who do not speak english as their first language, but according to the information we recieved this student spoke very little english and had even less formal education. What do we with this student? What do we use for evaluative tests? What classes should this student be placed in?

Now that this student is here, we discover that actually, he/she has no english skills at all. Nada. Everything that we have pretty much requires some english skil…

Off to a poor start

I’m procrastinating already. I have an assignment due today for my Pro-Cert class and haven’t finished them. Or at least, haven’t finished two of them. This would be an example of poor planning and procrastination. I had three days this week with no kids and I did not work on the assignments. In fact, I completely forgot about them.

Or could it be that I haven’t really thought about those Professional Growth plans I wrote several years ago since I wrote them and consequently have nothing to write now? Could be. Or it could be that I keep trying to be the ‘perfect’ teacher and accomplish multiple goals at the same time, rather than finding some sort of theme and organizing goals within that theme. Or that I work for a schizophrenic district which constantly has some new thing we need to do, without bothering to explain how it all fits together… and so I’m being pulled in multiple directions at once, while taking on an expanded family. Could be.

I’ll be honest, it’s all of the above. I …

Happy New Year!