Friday, March 04, 2005

anecdotal list

i'm running on one hour sleep and i think i've reached delirium. and what's the best activity for when you're delirious? blogging!

things that happened this week:
1. i asked the kids to write two things they like and dislike about my class on the back of their tests. the two things they disliked had to be realistic, ie. i don't want to do work is not an option, and then they had to offer suggestions for improvement. i was prepared to get chewed up and spit out (mainly by my first period, which was the reason behind the activity) but the kids were really sweet and encouraging. once i dig up some of my favorite responses (and there's a mean streak in me for writing this) i might post them. what made me laugh was the consistency of their "dislikes" in my class: no seating chart and more videos. the third runner up was more group work. the seating chart is here to stay but i'm working on finding more interesting w. history videos. any suggestions? and the group work...i reminded them that i love group work but the work they were turning in was such crap that i abolished group work for a few weeks. also, fourth period was so social it became a chore to drag work out of them. so, i manipulated, if you guys can produce work that doesn't suck, i can incorporate group work back into the curriculum. really it was their behavior coupled with the crazy time restraints due to testing--aka, teaching to the test. but they don't have to know that.

2. my first period is beginning to drive me crazy. as a group the kids are mean, always picking on each other and throwing tantrums. i tried a review game with them and it was a DISASTER. talk about sore losers. the thing about first period is that two kids are the driving force behind this meanness: a boy and girl bully. both of them do not have working relationships with other teachers and i guess i pride myself that i can get them to come to class and, for the most part, produce accountable talk and work. however, lately i've been letting comments slip and it's definitely building up. god. i really have trouble with that. anyway, several students have approached me about one particular bully and basically asked me to shut him up. i feel like i've been nominated for "Worst Teacher of the Year" because i've let him slip out of control and he's driving other students crazy now. not just me, but the class too. also, i recently learned that he hit a kid on the back of the head. i'm like, what? what the fuck happened? i don't think so. you will NOT hit other kids in my class. so, i'm through being nice. i didn't realize i was slowly giving up until this week. it takes so much freaking energy to work with him. but i'm not letting my class go to hell on account of his crazy ass.

3. i went back to the doctor and they instructed me to get back on my crutches. I HATE MY CRUTCHES. it's impossible to monitor and move around the classroom. i can't go anywhere with ease. and now the kids feel responsible for ensuring that i actually use my crutches. everyone is "reminding" me. even the custodian. and she reminds me in spanish. muletas..or something like that. usar them. i'm sorta hard headed but goddamn. i hate my crutches.

4. i threatened to call the mamma of each student who failed the test. only five kids failed the test in first period. that's my lowest leveled class. i usually have at least 14 kids fail the test. i was ecstatic. why didn't i think of that before?

5. i thought someone stole my coke. i was really pissy and ranting about my coke and how could someone take away my caffeine source when it's clear that i'm an addict? then i got in my car to go home and found it on the front seat.

6. i had another talk with one of my favorite students who basically admitted he's dealing drugs but wants to go to college. he talks about bettering himself but i know he's caught up in gang activity, etc. i don't know. i have a feeling he's going to break my heart.

7. i told my first period i was going to regulate. i don't know where the term came from but i didn't realize i was "speaking their language" until they started hollering and singing a tune by warren g. um, hello, that is from MY heyday people.

okay, i'm off to bed. i can't stay up any longer. over and out.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

the crying game

today i cried in class. let me now surround this sentence with context.

i'm not the type of person to cry in public. i do not like to project an image of the "over-emotional woman" (a sexist stereotype) nor do i like to be pitied. at all. this is just my personality. i like to think i'm pretty amiable (aka i'm not cold or caustic) but i hate it when other people feel sorry for me or see me in a vulnerable state.

but today i was having a really, really bad day. i've been having a difficult few months and, i don't know, it capitulated today during lunch. the problem is, once the waterworks are turned on it's difficult to stop the tears. i managed to pull myself together when the bell rang but a few tears were still flowing.

i refer to my fourth period as "monkeys gone wild" because there are 33 of them, about 7 of them are severely ADHD, and the rest won't stop socializing for history class. they're a good bunch of kids but they drive me insane. as my crazy monkeys filed through the door a hush fell over the room. they began to crowd around me as though i was a zoo creature perched in the wrong environment. i began blowing my noise, anything to hide my face, and saying, "it's okay. i'm okay." then they all lurched forward for the group hug, saying "it's okay ms! we love you!" they were generally concerned. and let me tell you, i'm going to start crying like once a month. it was the best disciplinary procedure EVER. they just sat there and stared at me. someone would start talking and another kid would shoot a demonic glare, silently screaming "she's been CRYING."

the one kid that really gets under my skin got a little lesson today. he puts the O in obnoxious and when he saw me blowing my nose he said, "you look like crap." "i know," i said dryly. his friend hit him. "DUDE, she's been crying." "oh shit," he said. "i feel like such an asshole." no comment.

Monday, February 28, 2005


this link is taken from posthipchick. what a way to make a point and prove the latent power that teachers have. our society needs teachers. and if you undervalue them, you're undervaluing the education of our society's future (the kids, dodo.)
hmm. imagine how desperate these teachers must be to go to such lengths. i wonder if it'd work in tejas...

BERKELEY Teachers cut back on work in protest. No raise for 2 years, no after school hours. Patrick Hoge, Chronicle Staff Writer Monday, February 28, 2005

Berkeley teachers, demanding a pay raise after two years without one, are refusing to work any more hours than their contract requires, and the impact is being felt throughout the school district.
Kids within the Berkeley Unified School District are not being assigned written homework because teachers won't grade papers on their own time. A black history event was canceled Friday evening. And parents had to staff a middle-school science fair one recent night.

for the rest, click here.