Monday, October 27, 2008

"I want to learn how to speak Mexico"

So, in my alternative certification program, we have to do these classes once every two weeks. Basically, these classes show us different things about lesson planning and tests and blah blah blah. Most of what they teach only work in perfect world scenarios....a lot of the time, you just don't HAVE the time. They mean well, but hey--I don't be doin' half the stuff we learn about. Anyways, these classes are about an HOUR away from my school. Today, I was doin' good till I got to that dam 75 and then I was in traffic for the next 30 mins of the drive. So I'm listenin' to my Robin Thicke and just wishing I was already at the place. I'm driving, CLEARLY minding my own business when WHAM! I struck another car. I was making a left hand turn. Duke had to have seen me cuz my blinker was on and everything. I took the blame (which my stepfather later told me I shouldn't have) and was just real cool about it. Meanwhile, my whip is DONE-ZO for this week which thwarts the ill Halloween plans I had jumping off this friday. I SAY GAT DAM! If it ain't one thing its another. Now my pockets is finna be hurt until next paycheck and my thanksgiving trip to Cleveland is no doubt out the window. However, Thank God no one was hurt because that's the important thing right? DAM ALL THAT, I NEED MY CAR! Hey, I mean--people always say "Thank God you ain't hurt" but you know good and full well in the back of your mind you are pissed cuz of a) the money you got to spend to fix your car and b) the fact you gotta be hitchin' rides for the next week or two. Wompity womp womp!


Well, today we are wrapping up Energy. We have been on Energy for about 3 weeks and I am giving them a test this Friday. I gave them way more homework (formative assessments) so the test grades should be a lot better than what they were before. I hope so. Tomorrow, I don't really know what we are going to do--I have a lab planned, but I don't even know what the lab is doing, so I'd have to run around first thing in the morning to see how to set it up. I'll be honest, a lot of them time I just WING IT. I may have a general lesson plan/idea but depending on the class period, what works in 2nd may flop in 7th. So, hopefully I'll get some divine intervention and some awesome super cool lesson will pop into my head early tomorrow morning (which has happened ya know) I put in grades this past weekend and dammit what is with these kids and this homework? AND IT'S THE SAME PEOPLE, all the time. It's like "have I ever gotten homework from you?" Then some kids readily admit to doing one teacher's homework one night and another's the next night and blah blah blah. I'm like...look--homework is extra practice for you guys. Little to they know, test questions will be a compilation of homework problems, or problems very similar to them. Then, there were people who I couldn't believe they did it! I know for one guy who turned it in, I was like "WHAT? You did it!?" So the homework issue is getting better for some....but for others, they clearly do NOT care. I've written in planners and put comments on report cards---in a minute, I'm about to start calling home. Other than that, this Chapter was a lot easier than the section on Chemical Properties and chemical changes. I REEEEALLY hope these benchmarks are better because I used the book more in my lesson planning. Everything the book covered, I covered. There are some additional standards that I need to sprinkle in over the next couple of days.....I'm still working on how I am going to do that. I want to do something on Benjamin Franklin, and Micheal Faraday (invented the electricity generator) and I also what to do some more discussions on the importanance of energy conservation.

Parent Teacher Conference

Today, we had a pt conference with one boy and his mama. first, can I please discuss why the mama showed up wit' this mysterious character....that I wasn't sure if it was the dad or a brother or whatever. So I'm lookin' "him" throughout and the conference and then I'm like " that a GIRL!?" So after the mama left, the other teachers of course brought up the mysterious "man" and I was like "yo....that was a girl." So the one teacher goes and asks the boy who was that and he was like "that's my aunt" LOL. Anyway, this kid is really nice but he just talks too much about the other students, and then they talk about him and its just back and forth....blah blah blah. Smart kid--SMART. He gets caught up in the dumb stuff though and that's what's going to hold him back in life. He also is absent 2-3 times a week, and has said on numerous occasions that if he doesn't feel like going to school his mother doesn't make him go. She looked light-weight out of it to--shaking her leg all crack-head like during the conference like she had somewhere to go. She definitely didn't look like she was coming from work either. Anyways, I like the boy and I don't want him to get in trouble any more than he already has.

So this didn't happen in my class, it happened in the social studies class. They were talking about how some countries speak more than one language or whatever and then talking about languages some of the kid's would like to speak. One chick said "I want to learn how to speak Mexico" Viva la educaciĆ³n!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Some day I'll....Make a man....OUT OF YOU!

I've never been a huge fan of Dora the Explorer....back when I was rebelling against force feeding another language down kid's throats, but I've since grown out of that, but this is the teacher character from the show. To people who know me, they know that this picture is DEAD ON! I mean, I want to personally write the creators over there and thank them for this wonderful woman--a black teacher wit' locks. CAN LIFE BE ANY SWEETER!?

So since I've last wrote A LOT has gone down. For one thing, benchmarks came back and they were piss poor. Looking back, I definitely should have taught everything instead of assuming they could use common sense (like questions on lab safety) It was really sad and pretty much all of my class periods were below the district average. The only class that wasn't was my GT class, which, obviously...they were GT. This time around, I am definitely giving MORE homework and we are going to follow the book more. This should give us a boost in our scores the next time around. I know one thing I messed up on was I was just focusing on things that were not on the test---which pissed me off royally. I went over variables and measurements ALOT and that was no where to be found on that dam thing. They had like 3-4 questions on safety and I didn't even touch on that....they had another one on there on models and I didn't touch on that. Womp womp womp. I try not to think about it and just focus on the future tests, because I have GOT to do better. Fortunately, 6th grade science isn't a TAKS subject so I've got some lee-way. However, regardless of that, I want my students to be prepared for the 7th grade. Now, its hard given that most kids don't really like science (hell, I still don't even really like it) so I'm fighting just the sheer will of students who honestly do not give a care. This unit we are on now is energy, and they are starting out with group presentations (which are appalingly BAD I might add) to give them an introduction to the unit. However, I can see that this probably won't help much as an introduction and will have to teach just as hard, if not harder, so the students can get it. lol My poor babies. They worked so hard on there posters, but they don't understand the concept of "putting things in your own words." They just copied sentences from the book and didn't really process that they'd have to explain the sentences....they just half read them/stumbled over them in front of the class. Saying words they don't even know the meaning of. I feel like the scene in Mulan where they had the rag-tag bunch of soldiers and they were like "how the heck we supposed to form an army outta these guys?" That's how I feel, but I know by the end of the school year I will see some noticeable changes in these least that's what I tell myself. lol So yea, benchmarks sucked and what sucked more is the other Science teacher BLEW me outta the water so of course my "teammates" didn't let that golden opportunity of making me feel worse about the situation go. So I've now I've got to do better than him or at least on the same level as him the next go-round. So much competition! They don't really tell people this but there is definitely competion amongst teachers and the performance of their students. People hold out on what works instead of sharing because they want their scores to look good compared to others. They make jokes about the lower scores of other teachers and all that jazz. It's kind of cut-throat.....or it can be. I mean, even if the scores throughout the district are bad, you can at least say "well, my class did better thant he district average" but not focusing on the fact the district average was a 17 and your class did a 27. Like, EARTH, HELLO, all that s** is bad. But that's how they make you feel---the ram test scores down your throat and so anything small you turn into a win, when in actuality it's all a LOSS. So I hear I am fighting just so HALF of my class can meet expectations.....cuz not even that met them the last time. It's crazy. But hey, that's what it is. And how the heck are we supposed to prepare students for these kind of questions if I can't find a decent test!? I have to make my own because the ones the book provides are crap...they are too easy and don't question the kids the same way as on district exams. That really ticks me off, not to mention I emailed some other science teachers about the tests they use and none of them have gotten back to me, not even to say "oh, well I make my own." But I mean hey, that's what I am talking about. They say its about the kids and we want you gusy to collaborate and then they have policies in place that say the top teachers will get extra money if they outperform the other teachers in there same subject. C'mon, who'd wanna share anything? I'm tryna get that bonus to pay off something.....screw that other guy.

Parent drama
So the other day, this one girl doesn't get along with her group and decided she is going to do her own thing. She asks me for construction paper to make her own poster...I say no (obviously) she is a group and she is working with that group. She cops an attitude and gets up and says she wants to go to another class, the office, blah blah blah. So I tell her if she wants to go to another class she has to take a science book with her, she says "no, that's ok." as if I was giving her a CHOICE. So she goes back and forth with me, PRESENTING me options as if I'm supposed to oblige to her demands. Then says to another one of her classmates "she don't teach us anything." LOL And honestly, I hadn't taught them anything---I made the idiotic assumption that they had the capability of teaching themselves something (each group was assigned a section in the chapter that they were going to present on, which, with this particular group failed misserably) So even when she said that, I didn't make a big deal about it and continued on with what I was going to do. So at this point, she's just down right defiant and doesn't want to sit in her seat, standing up with her backpack like she finna GO somewhere. At that point, I'm like just call your mom, I don't have time for this right now. BIG MISTAKE. I ended up on the phone wit' her mama for dang near 30 mins....while I'm supposed to be teaching. I know to NEVER do that again; next time, I'm going to tell them I'll have to call you back. She goin' on and on about how her daughter don't get along with the other students, how she saying they don't like her ideas, and how this problem happended ever since she put her kids in a district with other black kids. And I'm thinking...."hmmmmmm" Now, this lil' child that I am referring to is not some sweet, quiet, innocent little child. She didn't pick up on this sass in the past 3 years....she got that kinda sass you know has been around for quite some time; she didn't pick it up from her "peers" because no child has EVER spoken to me the way that lil' girl did---and I mean even the ones that you would consider real problem children. But hey, parents always see the best in their kids...sometimes they just are in denial. So that incident just totally blew my high. And that student, I had trouble with her mouth before--she talks to dag on much, and she likes to be in charge---so I'm thinking the real issue is she was not able to be in charge in that group and she didn't know how to handle it. I remember she was in a group before and I had issues with her because she wanted to do something and got mad when I said that's not right, or just "no." So yea, now she is on my radar. Well, actually, she was on it before, but now she just found herself a permanent spot.

Drama....why is it so much drama wit' these kids? They're only in the 6th grade. Drama between the girls, the boys, the boys and girls. I'm getting sick of it. I mean hey people, we work in groups in science--DEAL WITH IT. It's something that won't go will always just be one of those subjects you will tend to work in groups in. But these kids, they will actually not work on something and I just don't process that. What makes you think you can sit there and do nothing just because she touched your pen without your permission. So you about to take this 50 over a dumb glitter pen???? Or something that happened 3 weeks ago??? Who is really losing here....I think you. I can't believe its kids out there that will take fails like taking a biscuit in the breakfast line. I feel like when we were at that age, yes, we had drama in the classroom, but we didn't let it effect out work--we dealt with it after school or during lunch, or PE. These kids bring their drama into the classroom, thus involving the teachers, WHO COULD CARE LESS, but now we are dragged into the situation. It's like, c'mon guy--give me a break! Sit down and do the work--that's all I care about. If you want to discuss a personal issue with me then you'll have to do it on a time when I'm not supposed to be teaching. Smh.

I got a rag tag bunch alright---REAL RAG TAG.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I be tryna not to yell ya'll--on me. Today, I told myself whenever I felt myself getting ready to yell, I just say to myself "calm down, and ask nicely" I'd say about 40% of the time I actually did this. After two times of "quiet" I'd eventually have to go to the front of the class room and get loud. We gon' try it again though, and this time I'mma push for 50% of the time. Which, I think ya'll pretty much get this, but with some of my classes this works. With others---eeeehhhh, notsamuch! However, whenver I do this (yell, that is), I ALWAYS make a point to apologize to the people doing right and if I know specifically who it is, I thank them with things like "thank you ___ for working quietly" or "good job group over here doing what I need for you to do." But yea......some days and some classes vary. Like today, the problem period (as always) was 3rd; and its usually just a couple of rotten apples. But when you got a rotten on at EVERY table, yikes. One lil' boy in particular, who I don't know, no disrespect, but I think somebody is bigging him up at the crib and he must have a power position at the house. I swear when somebody asks ME a question, he takes it upon himself to answer, and I'm like "wait a minute, so and so was asking me" He's the kid that when I pose something or say something to the class, he got to be the only one to actually respond back, and I'm like "I'm not talking to you" and he just be lookin' all dazed and confused like that is could someone NOT be talking to him!? I'll have to look on his file to see if he is an only child or something, cuz he seriously does this A LOT, and it ain't just in my class--he talks in EVERYONE'S class. Big mama or something gassin' that lil' boy's head up something SERIOUS, cuz he swears up and down he is just the s***. You could tell. Now, I mean, I want my kids to feel confident in their abilities and whatnot, but to a realistic degree. I kow ya'll probably can understand what I am saying, there is absolutely NO humility to this dude's game right now, NONE. And its like, look--if you was that bad, you'd be in GT, or we would have nominated you for GT, and we DIDN'T. GT just ain't about smarts---it's about discipline and behavior; it's a 3-fold game. Wit' my GT, I can let them talk, because I know if I just stand there at the door they'll understand that its time to be quiet. Other classes, if I let them talk its like an out of control train, LOL. It's actually funny. If the room is dead quiet, and I mess around and ask a question? Oh lawd. It's like I said "OK EVERYBODY..............TTTTTAAAAAAALLLLLLKKKKKKKK!" They get the asking and telling me stuff and it's like "uhm, all I said was who don't understand" LOL. I kinda chuckle to myself about it, but uhm yea---back to OL' BOY. Now, when I can, I usually let him take the leadership role in group work, but like you said B, er'body don't wanna be on that group tip, and independent SILENT work needs to happen sometimes. He can't get that. And he swear up and down he is just so smart, so sometimes I give him more challenging work, and he can't even rise to the occasion. Now, there's about 3-4 or four other kids in that class that I KNOW are too bright for the level that most of the other kids are on, and I usually give them a more challenging worksheet (when we do them, which is about once a week) and he be like the only one who didn't finish. And it's like "oh my bad, I thought you wanted to be challenged?" Instead of doin' the work, he still in everybody else desk and face looking at what they're doing. And in terms of callin' the mama.....that ain't do NOTHING. Not a dam thang, cuz nothing changed. Perhaps mama is all talk, or she don't know how to give a proper beating, I don't know, but I swear it's like I never even called. And what's funny is I called, and the homie down the hall called---IN THE SAME WEEK. What happened to the day when people was actually SCARED of getting calls home? Scared of gettin' beat or yelled at about how you actin' up in school!? I mean dang, you can't even be good a full week!? This dude was good like...uhm, NEVER. The next day he was back to the same ol' same ol'. Po thang. His mouth is gon' get him in trouble....he can say something to the wrong person and get GOT. He is smart though, I will give him that, he just need to focus more on his work, and he would focus more if he didn't think he was so dam smart. Smh. Now mind ya'll I don't be saying the boy is dumb or not as smart as he thinks he is to his face, lol, what kinda teacher do you take me for? However, it is something that I have DEFINITELY picked up on, and its hindering his success more than hurting him. Anytime you thinking corn oil is more dense than air---you need to reevaluate ya life, fam. And gon' try and actually DEFEND that ridiculousness of an answer...I mean even the content mastery (kids are a little off grade level, but not as low as special ed) kids figured that out. But i'mm work wit' him ya''s like at this point, I'mma have to break you down so I can build you up properly. But I will build him back up, I ain't just gon' leave him broken---I PUT THAT ON THE HOOD CUZ!!!!

Randomness, but why one my lil' girls keep quoting that dam "i am martian" (and why did I totally FORGET who to spell "martian" and had to look that ish up in google lol) Anyways, the one girl keeps saying that mess to me. Muhf***in' lil' wayne is destroying our youth ya'll. She anotha one that's light-weight gone....po' thang.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Where's the Rest?

So, this weekend pretty much ALL I did was grade the composition notebooks for my classes......yes, all OF THEM. Well, my GT class, I didn't even really need to grade because I know they are on point. So they got perfects for all of their labs. Now the other classes, I had to go through, and boy, I was not happy with some of what I saw. For one, a lot of people don't FINISH the labs, which is an issue. I can see that with certain class periods, I'll have to give more time because they don't have great time management skills. Some of my class periods, I can say "Ok you guys, you don't have much time--you need to get to work" and that is exactly what they do. Other classes, I can say that, but it just goes in one hear and out the other. When we do labs, I expect them to at least have their analysis section, and starting their conclusions. For one class, why some people don't even have their procedures and materials listed?? It's like "dam...what are ya'll DOING!?" I hate to spoon feed my students, because that is just enabling them, but something has GOT to give because they aren't working to their full potential, and if they would just get over the fact that I am NOT going to spoon feed them, they could actually do work. For one class, I have only two A and Bs and dam near the whole class got a C, and 4 people are failing. That is by far my worst class. That is my class with the biggest discipline issues as well, and I have no doubt in my mind that is a direct reflection of those issues.

Classroom management is serious business, and it can make or break you with a class. On wednesday, I will try this concept where you separate the class into groups and give each group a different topic or work project. This is what we call "flexible grouping" I've been scared of this because kids are in a sense supposed to "monitor" themselves while I, the teacher, work with the group of kids are lower level. Pray for me ya'll that this works, I am trying this on wednesday. I know with one class it will be a big stretch, and I have the idea of penalizing groups' grades everytime I have to verbally tell them to get back on task. WE SHALL SEEEEEEEEEE

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Teachers After Dark

So obviously its been a HELLA long time since I've said anything in this piece---a lot has gone down too, so this blog may be a little long.

For one, let me be the first to let you know teachers are regular a** people. The overwhelming majority of them, from what I see, are not green-eye idealistic bambies who go around singing "We are the world." Some of them, I actually even wonder they teach, cuz most of what they do is gripe about what their students, administration, or other teachers aren't doing. Bell rings at 3:45 and half the parking lot is empty by 4. Some even have schemes on how they will miss days by going to workshops, lol. Which, in defense of the person who told me this, I think they were just trying to be funny because they haven't missed many days. During lunch, they talk SMACK about kids as if they were kids. They talk SMACK about teachers like nobody's business. The more I think about it, the more I realize that to some people, teaching really is just a job. While I got into it because I want to one day change the way african american children are educated, others may not have the lofty of a goal. Some just enjoy math, so they teach math. Others aren't sure what they want to do in life, so they just teach for the time being. There are a plethora of different motivations behind why we do what we do. One thing I do appreciate though is that teachers, or at least the ones I work with, are extremely down to the earth and they keep it painstakingly real. I feel if they were more "lofty" they'd be taking themsevles too serious, and wouldn't let their hair down. I enjoy lunch, and laughing at something a kid did or said, and yet knowing that each of us at the end of the day want ALL of are students to succeed and do well---even the ones we may laugh at or shake our heads at. I mean, people, we are human still. Just because we work in a field that has zero tolerance for that kind of behavior (for the most part) we still can't help it if a child says something kind of off, or is low on the attractiveness scale (a teacher, and i kid you not, on a regular basis stands by the fact that he had the ugliest girl in the world in his class last year). The best thing we can do is hold it in at least until we get around each other, but laughing in a kid's face is a big no-no. But let me tell you---it gets HARD. Most of the time, I can play it off because other students are laughing, and I can kind of gauge whether or not if its appropriate to laugh, because I have one student who says crazy stuff ALL the time, but she knows what she is saying is ridiculous. If I know a kid honestly thinks what they are saying is right, or they really aren't sure, I don't even think that is funny and I jump down everyone's throat who is laughing.

But I will definitely tell the other teachers what wonderful thing that was said and we may get a good little chuckle out of it.

But hey! WE ARE HUMAN. Imagine dealing with kids allllllllllll day, I mean, they got a show called kids say the dardenst things, and boy, DO THEY. If you watched that show and were told "now, no matter what they say---no matter how dumb it is, you CAN'T laugh" Do you think you could handle it??????? It takes skill and finesse. I don't know why I went off on this tangent, but I guess I just wanted to let people out there know, because I was surprised at how loose with the tongue teachers got behind closed doors. People think we've got it all together, UH-UH. We are just really good actors. lol

Now, onto another revelation I've had---TEACHERS KNOW HOW TO EFFING PARTY! Man, ever since I beacame a teacher whenver I go out and get a lil' loose and I am with a pack of teachers, and we get pretty crunk. I went to a spot two weekends ago and we were teachers, but you probably wouldn't have guessed because we were all on the dance floor when everyone else was acting lame. Last weekend, I went to a coworkers b-day party and they was playing "lean wit' it rock wit' it" and the cupid shuffle, not to mention her margaritas probably make your favorite bars drinks fseem like drinking a flat sprite. lol Good times! Teachers after dark....we know how to get down with the get down. I remember in institute, my instructor told me that as a teacher, you have to calm down and that most of the staff wouldn't be very into partying and all that, and that as a teacher, you have to keep in mind who you may run into. blahze blahze blah. That was effin' hogwash and she worked at a school with a bunch of lames. At my school, there is generally a happy hour outing at least once a week; this week there was two lol. Their tolerance is crazy though, so I mean they can knock 'em back and you wouldn't even know they were drinking; I'm the only one where everyone KNOWS my limit and can see when I've reached it lol. One of the teachers I joke is an alcoholic cuz he is always talkin' about beer (I mean a lot). In no way shape or form are these teachers dry as I was expecting them to be, and they are much older. In fact, when one of the teachers had a party, hella people were mad they didn't get invited....and these people were like mid 50s and ish. lol I'm like "what you gon' do at a club ANYWAY!?" lololol But that's just how it is....and I don't think its just my school. I mean, teachers are people, and we still like to do regular people stuff. Sure, we gotta be on the low, but all that means is don't wear any school labeled attire when you're out, and maybe go outside the city limits when you finna get down. Good thing for us there is no where to seriously party where we work anyway, so I ain't got to worry about unknowing grinding on a father to one of my students. Whatever we do, its in moderation.....ain't nobody got time to be drinking every night when you got papers to grade and lesson plans to make exciting. But yea, teachers after dark---I think that should be a reality show, it would be great. lol

Aiight ya'll, I'm really supposed to be grading but I decided to take a break and update you guys. Next time, I promise it'll be about actual classroom stuff---like how students wrote in their journals (their english teacher told me) that they hate my class........whatever, I take it as they either a) can't handle the work load b) don't like being told to shut up or c) don't like that we can't do stuff on account of people acting up. The only people who I obviously am sorry for is those in the 'c' category, the rest of 'em need to step their game up. GET DOWN OR LAY DOWN!!!!!!!!