Friday, July 01, 2005

regulate

it's partly, mostly, possibly all my fault. i can usually run my classroom with relative ease. i use humor and consistent expectations to manage discipline problems, albeit i'm not perfect at this and definitely have some years to reach my goal for behavior management (don't ask me to define the goal..it's just there). i admit that classroom management does not come easily to me. i'm a huge push-over and only this year did i realize that kids will not actually die if they don't get a drink of water or use the restroom, get their cellphone taken up, etc. this last school year i had much better management, so i know it's possible. in fact, in summer one i successfully implemented the "restroom use only during the break." but these crazy boys are another story. my defenses are weakening, stripped minute by minute until my stone fortification is merely a heap of rocks.

i say it's my fault because i've been putting up with lots of shit. i feel like that mom on desperate housewives who lets the kids roam around because she can't cope. i can't cope. i've seen more paperwads and paper airplanes, heard more stupid jokes and farting noises than i can bear. i can't turn my back for one minute. literally. i was drawing this huge map of africa for our project and i looked up to find one boy taping another boy to the chair (i actually wanted to laugh and then i remembered i'm the teacher and this was going on in my classroom). if i turn to write something on the board an airplane sails across the room. and i just don't have the energy to deal with it. it's fucking hot, it's summer, and my room smells like ass because they're tarring the roof next to my window. those are my excuses.

but things are gonna change in madhatter's room. oh yes. i'm tired of babysitting ten year olds and i'm taking the stance as exhibited in mary's comment, which was quite hilarious. i talked with the assistant principal and i'm calling parents. i feel as though i should warn them about the impending regulation because i think i've dropped the ball too. i'm slowly concocting my speech. i'd love for it to begin:

welcome to hell, bitches.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

nine little monkeys jumping on the bed

My class has dwindled down to ten students-- nine boys and one girl. Or, I should say, nine hyperactive hormonal bulldozing paper throwing shouting laughing sweating smelly boys. I don't mean to complain, but I think the summer school thing is catching up with me. They warned me about this. "First session is a breeze. Second session is a bitch," they said. They were right.

I'm guessing the trick to mellowing these wild monkeys is to push tons of work on them. When they are working (at record speed because everythingtheydoisreallyreallyfast) they are quiet. A tranquil calm settles over the room. Until one by one, like rupturing pimples, they spring back to life.

Not to mention that four of them are competing for this poor girl's attention. It's the second day and she's really annoyed. I heard one of them say, "Brianne, that's your name? Is that your real name? It rhymes with Liane. Lianne Lianne Lianne" while another punched one of his friends in his moment to shine. Cringe. "I'm sorry," I said to her. She smiled meekly in return.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

we've got a live one.

summer II started today. i've got a notorious kid from another school. i mentioned his name to another teacher and she replied, "whoa. i know that kid. i had him for two days and he threw trash at me. he's been pulled from classes kicking and screaming...he gets passed around a lot."

he's definitely testing me. he tried to sleep, relace his shoe, play with his phone, pick his nails... ANYTHING but the activity we were doing. of course, he is very deliberate in his actions and he's the only person off-task. he's really rude too. i tried to kill him with kindness but when he was relacing his shoe again i walked over very quietly and said, "look, this isn't going to work. now, i like you already (lies, all lies) and i think we can really get along. but i need you to focus on the assignment given to you. because this is summer school and it aint gonna fly. meaning, i'm not putting up with it and you'll be kicked out." after that, he started doing his work. it was a miracle.

however, during the course of the four hour day he called someone a wetback (a derogative term), told me to be quiet, and informed me as he was leaving that he'll "probably sleep tomorrow too."

psha. you'll be sleeping in your bed because i'm kicking your ass out. i have to put up with this shit during the year but it's summer school and you've been given numerous chances to get yourself together.

i was telling this to someone and he was like, "that's why i don't teach. i would hit children."

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

i think i'll become a hermit.

teacher gossip scares me. it hits harder than a speeding car and a telephone pole.

Monday, June 27, 2005

more losers, less funding

Governor Calls Special Session, Vetoes School Funding
Governor Perry called a Special Legislative Session beginning Tuesday, June 21 to deal with school finance. He also took the dramatic and drastic step of vetoing all of Article III of the budget. All the funds for public education are in Article III and by vetoing it he has created a scenario where schools may not be able to open in August.

Information on House Bill 2, which goes to the floor on Tuesday:
The Comptroller's letter of June 21 indicated the Legislature has only $1.9 billion available to spend on schools without tapping additional revenue sources. That would mean less new money than needed to pay for inflation and the spending required for the new mandates in HB 2.
HB 2 contains a so called “average” $1,000 teacher pay raise that is not an across the board pay raise. It provides a sum of money to the districts equal to $1,000 per teacher and lets districts allocate the money any way they want.
HB 2 provides teachers only a $500 “pay raise” that is really the restoration of the teacher health insurance stipend that was taken away in 2003.
Coupled with funding lost with the SB 1 veto, HB 2 eliminates the health insurance stipend for educational support staff (except for charter school staff).
HB 2 rewards only a few teachers based on merit pay tied to standardized test scores. The bill provides no new funds for this; just requires school districts to pay for it.
The “new” education money provided by HB 2 would provide our schools less state education money in 2006 than they received in 2003, when adjusted for enrollment growth and inflation.
HB 2 caps local property tax increases and requires a vote for any local tax increase at all.
HB 2 weakens due process provisions that protect professional educators from being fired without just cause.
HB 2 would allow districts or campuses rated exemplary to effectively become “home rule” districts exempt from almost all state standards that helped them achieve that status; including class size limits, contracts, minimum salaries, and teacher certification requirements, removing all accountability measures.
HB 2 would allow public schools that are rated "academically unacceptable” to be taken over by private, for-profit companies without any measure of local accountability.
Under HB 2, “instant administrator” certification could be granted to those who run public school campuses, including for-profit “management team” leaders who have no previous experience in a public school.

this is taken from the tsta website. www.tsta.org if you live in the lone star state, i urge/plead/beg you to call your representatives. tonight or tomorrow (you can usually leave a message at night).

from the new york times

Reading, Writing, and Retailing

By DAVE EGGERS, NINIVE CALEGARI and DANIEL MOULTHROP
Published: June 27, 2005

THIS is a bizarre and unsettling time in the lives of students, parents and teachers. It is a time when school lets out, and hundreds of thousands of teachers start their second jobs to keep their rents and mortgages paid. One day they're shaping minds, a moral force in the lives of the young people they teach and know, and in some ways the architects of the future of the nation. The next day they're serving cocktails and selling plasma TV's at the mall.

In your community, you might spot your son's Advanced Placement biology teacher working in the summer as a travel agent. Or perhaps your daughter's English teacher is painting the house down the street. Not counting those who teach summer school, about 20 percent of the country's teachers have second jobs (often during the school year, too), and the majority of those jobs could not be construed as enhancing universal respect for those who teach.

I want to read more.

here's a good excerpt for those who don't want to read the whole thing:

Meanwhile, President Bush's education law known as No Child Left Behind insists that by 2006 all teachers be "highly qualified." A laudable goal, clearly beyond debate. But while school districts must find increasingly qualified teachers, the legislation does not provide enough money to substantially increase teachers' earning potential.

Imagine that scenario in the private sector. A chief executive decides he wants better performance from his company. He issues a mandate that all employees be highly qualified. Then he proposes, as No Child Left Behind does, that the staff members be more tightly controlled, that they conform closely to his top-down directives and that they be tested yearly to keep their jobs. And he wants all of this without raising salaries a penny. Who would want to work for such an outfit?