Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘teachers’

What if all Educators Quit?

I have watched videos, read letters, and listened to testimonies from educators who have quit. Media outlets relentlessly lament the fact that teachers are quitting in droves.

I understand the “why” of quitting, except for the “no chance for advancement” part, as if being a classroom teacher is the bottom of the barrel and you have to work your way up from there. But let’s leave that to another post, shall we?



Teachers, Targets, and Test Scores!

My stomach is in knots and I want to scream.
I want to hit something.
I look at my students’ test scores, the growth they have made,and I am proud of them.
I refused to teach to the test, and they still kicked DCAS !

I looked down the AYP column on the all-glorious data chart, and saw that some of my students grew by over 100 points. Only two of my students did not show “growth”.READ MORE…


The Reminder

The other day, my son dragged me to the mall.   As we walked into American Eagle, I heard my name, “Mrs.Small”.  I turned and there was Charles. No longer the 5th grade boy who , for a while, fought me at every turn, but a 17 year old young man, who still hadn’t lost that mischievous smile. Not many teachers liked Charles, and they couldn’t understand why I liked him.  He could be obstinate, sometimes, downright disrespectful.  But I saw the sweet Charles, the bright, hard-working Charles, and I nurtured him like all my other students. He’s  in high school focusing on design. He grinned and said, “On Monday, we go to school and get flowers and we’re allowed to bring them to our favorite teacher, but I can’t bring them to you, because I won’t be at school.”  He told me about an upcoming show at his school, where his designs would be showcased.  It was wonderful to see him, and know he was doing well.

 The next day, Charles was at my school with a ticket for me. He wanted me to attend his show.  Of course, I’ll be there  to support Charles,  my reminder of why we do what we do, teach.

Want a Qwiki?

Before my hubby said hello to me, he said, “There’s a new search engine that they say is going to knock Google out of  the box.” “It’s called Qwiki.”  He heard about it on CNN Qwiki video.

“Really?” I replied, not really interested because I had spent the entire day at work, and then an hour reading to 3 and 4 year olds. (Who, by the way, are a joy to read to.) I trudged up the stairs behind him, and watched as he sat down and demonstrated Qwiki. Wow! It was love at first sight!  Of course, as an educator, 600 ways to implement this tool rushed through my mind.

When you put your topic in the search bar, you get video, audio clips, and photos about your chosen topic.  It speaks to you! Yes, I said, it speaks to you.   The text scrolls below it as it speaks to you! The possibilities are endless! There are “other samples” related to the topic underneath the information provided. As the text scrolls, related links are highlighted in blue. You can sign up, or not, for the Qwiki emails of the day. There are also featured Qwikis. Can you imagine how much easier it will be for your slow readers to complete research projects? Of course, you have to be careful because the info is obtained from Wikipedia, so sources should always be checked.  I’m going to introduce this to  my class tomorrow, it’s about that time when we research African Americans, presidents, and Valentine’s Day.   The site calls it , “The Information Experience”, and I can’t wait to experience it in my classroom!

“Qwiki, Search Engine Funded byFacebook Co-Founder,Launches”

Happy New Year!A Teacher’s Resolutions…

New Year’s resolutions, who really keeps them? I make them every year, in a list,mentally, verbally to others, and I never, ok, rarely keep them. But here are some resolutions I think all teachers should keep:

I resolve to:

  1.  treat all  students fairly, regardless of race, gender, age,  behavior, parent’s nasty attitude, desire to be educated, or lack of interest in learning
  2.  believe all children can learn, no matter how many ways you have taught it, and they still don’t get it.
  3. stop using sarcasm as a disciplinary tool, no matter how effective it may seem.
  4.  speak in a quiet, even,tone, even when yelling seems to be the best option.
  5. realize that I could be the only good thing that happens in a student’s day
  6. grade papers in a timely manner, even if it makes you question whether anyone is actually learning anything in your room.
  7.  meet all deadlines, and if I’m late, don’t make any sorry  excuses.
  8. not gossip about my colleagues, the students, administration,etc… (This one is going to be really difficult)
  9. share with my colleagues, we are not in competition with each other. (Ok, this is another difficult one)
  10. use technology to engage my 21st century students
  11. continue to be passionate about my job, and if I’m not retire.:)

“Just” a Teacher!?

view detailsAs I prepared dinner the other night, my son and I talked. Somehow, our conversation steered to  how smart I was.  In order to prove my point, I bragged to my son how I had been in gifted programs all my life, and had even skipped a grade. 

He laughed and said, “If you’re so smart, how come you’re just a teacher?” 

 “Just a teacher?”, I thought.  I was flabbergasted! Yet, at the same time, my mind raced, questioning my chosen occupation. An occupation I had loved for 26 years. 

 He continued, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you a doctor or a lawyer?”  Ouch! I told him, “I am that smart, but I have chosen to teach”. It brought to mind part of that horrible quote, “Those who can’t, teach.” I asked him who  he thinks taught those doctors and lawyers. 

 He responded, “Bill Gates didn’t go to college, and he’s a millionaire!”

 I answered, “But he did attend Kindergarten through 12th grade, right?” Who do you think taught him everything he knows? A teacher!” 

 We continued our conversation and I think I changed his opinion, maybe.  I have to admit, what he said stung. I went to college, I have a B.S. and a M.S., but my son thinks I’m not that smart because I’m “just” a teacher. 

Maybe this is why teachers have such a hard time getting respect.  Maybe this is why so many young teachers I’ve encountered, don’t really learn the craft, they worry about how long it will be before they “get out the classroom.”

I love teaching, I don’t want to be a doctor, lawyer, principal, etc…, I want to be a teacher, even if I’m “just” a  teacher!

Top 10 Things a Parent Can “Give” a Teacher for Christmas!

10.  A notebook, pencil, and paper for your child. If they have a Wii, I’m sure you can spare some change for these items.

9.   Dress your young  ladies, like young ladies. I don’t need to see your child’s cleavage or half of her butt.

8.    Make sure your child is on time for school. You are setting up bad habits for life when they are consistently late.

7.    Make sure your child is in school every day!  A 1 week  family vacation during the school year is not recommended for a failing student.

6.     Discipline your child.  If they do something wrong, there should be consequences.

5.     Be the parent!  You are not your child’s best friend! And no, you do not have to be the “cool” Mom or Dad.

4.     Have your child READ at home.  I do not have a magic wand, if they don’t read beyond the classroom, how will they become better readers?

3.     RESPECT the teacher.  If you call me a ” “b$#%&” at home, how do you think your child will treat me?

2.    Stop blaming the teacher!  Sometimes events are beyond the control of the teacher, but can be controlled by you and /or your child. 

1.    Make your child’s education a priority! Trust me, it will all pay off in the end.

Youtube version – Enjoy my video version! 🙂

R.I.P. Dress Code!

When I saw her outside the office, I wanted to pick up the phone and call someone and say, “Good morning, Natalie will not be allowed in class this morning until someone brings her a change of clothes.”  She had on a waist-length shirt, leggings(they were tights), and calf-length boots.  I really believe she did not have on any underwear,  if she did, they were thongs.  Her “cheeks” were in full view of everyone.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t be sent home, she was a teacher. Yes, a teacher.  You could tell she was uncomfortable, because she kept trying to pull the shirt down over her butt.  I wonder what her thoughts were as she looked in her mirror that morning?   The next day, another teacher, maybe in competition, came in with the same outfit, only her shirt was a little longer.  A student teacher remarked, “She looks like she’s going to a bar.”  She did.  What happened to the dress code? W hen did it become “anything goes?”  My principal did discuss the dress code at the beginning of the year, but maybe these teachers are confused with the term, “dressing like a professional.”  We used to have casual Fridays, but when teachers came in with dirty sneakers and holy jeans, Jeans Day became a special occasion.  There is a male teacher in my school who always wears a shirt, dress pants,shoes, and  a tie.  He says he does it to inspire his students.  Other teachers have mocked him, he doesn’t care, I love that he does that. And no, we don’t always have to wear ties, or heels, or dresses, but dress in a matter that allows someone to look at you as the professional you are and show you the respect you deserve.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve read plenty of articles where teachers say it doesn’t matter how they dress, all that matters is how they teach. They say their dress doesn’t make them any less professional.  However, in the real world, people do judge you by the way you look. If you look sloppy, people think you’re sloppy, if you look like you’re dressed for the bar…

Are You Scared Yet? (My First Day Back)

Faculty meetings the first day back are usually pretty easygoing. You go back, see your colleagues you haven’t seen or spoken to all summer, introductions are made, and the principal pretty much thanks you for a job well done the previous year. Well, I should have known something was up when I walked in, and saw the little gift bags on the table for EACH teacher. They were filled with chocolate, a plant, a mouse pad, and more chocolate! My ecstasy over the contents of the bag were short-lived once we got down to business. My school is under academic review!!!!! That means, according to one test score and the data gathered from it, we suck! We suck, and “they” get to come in and tell us what to do to fix it, or come in, spend 15 minutes in our rooms, sit my principal down, and tell him everything we are doing wrong. The consequences? If you don’t do better next year, you are in bigger trouble, they will send more people. Another year? They will get rid of the staff, whoever they deem unworthy AND send the parents a letter saying the school sucks(not in those words), and here are schools more worthy of your children. WOW! This is scary, overwhelming, frustrating, did I say scary? At the end of the day, my principal asked the team leaders how we felt about the staff meeting, we concurred, scary, but necessary. Unfortunately, we can whine all we want about the test scores being used to judge us, but it’s not going to change. I’m not mad at my principal, he did what he had to do to motivate us. Happy First Day!

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