Posts In Category Summer
When does summer end?
Is it when I set my alarm clock?
Does it end when my alarm clock goes off?
Is it over when I climb into my car?
Is summer over when I enter the building?
Is it over when I begin setting up my classroom?
Is summer finished when my classroom is ready for students?
Does it finish when that first bell rings?
Does it end when the first child sits in a seat?
Because it definitely ends before the calendar says it does!
At least it ends for me.
The squeal echoed from the hallway into the faculty lounge. The sound of a bounding teenager followed.
The gaggle of teenagers eating lunch in the faculty lounge started talking.
“Oh, yeah. The teachers are having training today.”
“Be nice. The teachers only have an hour to eat and we have two hours. Let them have the microwave first.”
“I had Ms. C last year. She made me come to school.”
“Yeah. Me, too.”
“She didn’t like my class. We made her mad all the time.”
“She hated my class, too, because she didn’t always get to eat lunch and she’d come to class all cranky. Teachers only get half an hour to eat and sometimes they don’t eat and get all mad for no reason at all.”
I continued listening to their conversation as they drifted from topic to topic. I pondered. What did she do to make them come to school? From the sound of it, they appreciated it but what did she do?
They continued talking.
“I’m going to come out to my mom this weekend.”
“Yeah! Do it after church on Sunday!”
“My mom will freak! Can I pretend to be your girl?”
“That depends. Are we bi or gay?”
Just three months ago, these were 8th graders. Listen to them now.
“Bi. Jordan will join in.”
“Jordan H. The one who came to the pool party.”
“Ew! He’s gross. Can’t we have a better bi guy?”
As I listened to them debate the attractions of the various Jordans in their lives, I wondered, ‘What did Ms. C do to cause them to come to school? Can I do it, too?’
Teachers need to connect with their students. We need to remember what it was like to be a child in school. My connection with my students is my absolute dread of school.
That’s right: I don’t like school.
Don’t get me wrong; I love my students. I love teaching.
I just don’t like school.
Signs of the Upcoming Apocalypse:
Christmas displays at Hobby Lobby Halloween candy displays at Target Back to school sale commercials on TV
School is at hand.
Bowing to the inevitable, I have begun my planning. In truth, I don’t know why. We’re getting a new principal (whom I haven’t met). We’re getting new assistant principals. (We learned this last week; the going-away party is this weekend). The district overhauled the new curriculum this summer. The counselors haven’t released the master schedule so we don’t know what we’re teaching.
Rumors from the End of the Year:
New assistant principals
- I would lose one of my two classrooms. No news.
- No Read180 No news. The school counselor said we couldn’t afford the loss of a teacher and classroom to provide this service. I reported her statement to my superiors who said the state of Texas, NCLB, and the district believe otherwise.
- School uniforms for students and teachers No news. I hope this one is resolved soon. Tax-free weekend is in 9 days.
Frankly, don’t do well with indecision. I want answers. I want to plan!
I just don’t want to go to school….
A fellow teacher posted on Facebook that teachers have two weeks before reporting to the building. I’ve been in denial. I haven’t been keeping up with my e-mail. I haven’t visited my classroom. I haven’t visited any teacher stores. The only books I’ve bought have been for my summer reading. Summer is my time.
Sure, I have to take several days of training.
Sure, I have to think about setting up my classroom.
But not now!
Only it is now.
So I went online to look at my school email.
There are times when I wonder what the school board is thinking. Our principal accepted a job at a private university as a professor. And, for some strange reason, the school board thought it would be a good idea to move all assistant principals in the district to new buildings. This means that our building will not have any administrators who are familiar with our building, our teachers, our staff, or our student population.
Last year the district shifted all of our staff managers to new buildings. The shift was immediately apparent in the quality of cafeteria food when our cafeteria manager of 14 years was moved to a different building.
I don’t handle changes well yet I haven’t any choice. Wish me well!
It’s summer and summer training season has begun
The first training of the summer is CLN (bhahdy-blah-Notebook), the district-approved form of ISN (Interactive Student Notebooks (trademarked)). The Social Studies Dept. got together with the GT (Gifted and Talented) Department to create CLN. Originally, the training was limited to the Social Studies Dept. but GT opened it up to all departments, all grades.
The trainer was very well-informed. The training made sense yet I left the building infuriated.
The morning session began with a lesson on Accountable Talk, the next wave of the latest and greatest best practice for the district. Teachers will be expected to implement Accountable Talk in the next school year. Accountable Talk is, basically, the norms of group discussions. Students will be evaluated on what they say and how they act. Are they respectful? Do they stay on task? Do they stay on topic? Are they supportive and helpful of one another? Do they ask questions? Failure to follow the norms will result in lower grades.
As the next district-wide push, all discourse will be graded according to rubrics. Grades demonstrate the importance placed on polite, task-oriented discussion.
After lunch, the presenter tackled reading and writing. We learned about public and private writing (essays vs. text messages and notes). The Language Arts teachers were happy to hear that Social Studies students were expected to generate five public writing samples each year and to practice private writing at least three times a week. Then the other shoe dropped.
“We don’t take off for spelling or grammar.”
Other departments admitted to following the same practice.
No one else is taking off for spelling or grammar!?! Do you mean to tell me that the only department that takes off points for spelling and grammar is the Language Arts department!?!
If no other department is taking off points, then how important is grammar and spelling?
What is the message being sent to the students? (Hint: It’s not “spelling and grammar are important.”)
Adding to my outrage is Accountable Talk. I’m being told that the district is going to support grading class discussion (which is not recorded and, therefore, we have no evidence to prove the validity of the grade) yet student writing, with its inherent evidence of writing skills, will not be evaluated for mechanics by any other department.
By my calculations, what students say is more important than what they do/produce in my district.
I am not a happy camper.