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 kids....at 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.
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 away...science 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.