Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays!

I know I have not posted in almost two weeks (it's been crazy here--our school semester ending, we had my family here Sunday for an early Christmas, TJ has relatives in town), but I wanted to take the time to say that I hope everyone has had a great holiday season.

It is this time of year that the people I know (even ones I don't know very well) become very important...and I hope each day that you all are happy, healthy and relaxed because I know you all deserve it!

I promise that I won't wait two weeks to post again!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I Swear, Noah is Coming...

Here in Kentucky it has rained for (no joke) five straight days. It started on Saturday and didn't stop until Thursday afternoon. It was actually 67 degrees on Tuesday. 67 degrees in Kentucky in December is outrageous. But by Wednesday we were in the low 40'2 and today we are in the low 30's (with snow, freezing rain and sleet--it's super fantastic)

As I sit here and realized that I am probably stuck inside for a couple of days, I realize that is probably a good thing. I really don't need to be out in the weather, but we all know that Christmas is coming and I haven't finished shopping yet. That is unusual for me--I am usually finished way early and am relaxed about the season by now, but this year I am behind. Partially because I wasn't going shopping in the torrential downpours we have had the last five days...nothing is more miserable than shopping wet.

So, I am in for the day...possible the weekend.

And the pretty snow we had this morning has switched over to icky cold rain.

So I am going to patiently wait for the rain and snow to subside so I can go out again...

...or maybe I'll ask Noah for a ride when he comes by...I think we'll be boarding two by two here shortly.

Have a great Saturday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How NOT to Teach Work Ethic

I will admit...time has gotten away from me. I had no idea that a week had passed since I last posted. Between being busy at work (end of the semester) and busy at home (decorating for Christmas...I'll post pictures sometime) i just haven't had a lot of blogging time..

But now I have some...and this post topic has been plaguing me for a week, so it could get a little "soap boxy." I apologize in advance.

As a freshman teacher, I feel it is my responsibility to teach kids work ethic, responsibility and self motivation. I also think they need to learn how to plan things for the long term as well as the short. I have teachers who rely on these kids being whipped into shape by the time they become sophomores, juniors and seniors, and I take that very seriously. I don't want to send horrible kids on to the higher grades because they just won't make it.

I am notorious for high expectations. High as in I think all kids can get at least a C if they try and I expect them to turn their work in (which, for some kids, is the hardest thing of all). I tell all the kids and all the parents this at the start of the year.

This year things started out great. The kids did their work, they passed all their tests, they brought all their stuff to was like teacher heaven. I was so optimistic about the rest of the year.

And I shouldn't have been.

Second quarter has been horrible. I have two classes that have class averages below a 70. I have one class in which over half the class refused to do a presentation...they had a month to get ready. Kids have stopped turning in work, they are failing tests, etc. I gave them numerous opportunities to make up work (the whole time following our late work policy of one day late for 70% and a up to a week late for 50%), but few ever did it.

I was genuinely concerned because I thought it was something I was doing. So I asked them about it. You know what they said? They had better things to do and they, they were lazy, they didn't really want to do it, and they were just too busy to complete their work.

Excuse me? Too busy? You're 14.

Anyway, I went to the administration about it. You know what I was told? That apparently my teaching work ethic wasn't working and I needed to think about giving kids the opportunity to make up all their work for nearly full credit.

Once again...EXCUSE ME?

I was livid when I left the office. I couldn't understand why I was the only one who could see what was happening...You want to know why these kids have no work ethic? Because they never had to. Because this is the same old song and dance that they have done for years...the students know that if they don't do their work, the teachers will have to give them a million opportunities to do it.

Hell, if my electric company kept giving me extra time to pay my bill without penalty why would I ever pay it on time?

I refused to do it. I will probably get pulled back into an office one day soon so I can be asked what "I" am going to do about "my" failures.

My failures, huh? I think I have done all my work (on time) and I know I have bent over backwards to help these kids. I check email from home, keep two websites maintained for handouts, keep a blog for parents and a myspace page for kids...not to mention the fact that I spend more time at school than I do at home.

It's time for someone to ask the kids what they are going to do about their grades...and maybe, just maybe, we can start teaching them that work ethic is something they all and in the future...

Because the electric company isn't nearly as forgiving as we are forced to be.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #7

I am always on the lookout for new books to read and I often check Barnes and Noble's bestseller list to try to get some ideas. Today's Thursday Thirteen topic:

The Top 13 Bestselling Books on Barnes and Noble's Website:

1.Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

2. For One More Day by Mitch Albom

3. T Is for Trespass by Sue Grafton

4. Just in Time by Rachael Ray

5. Boom! by Tom Brokaw

6. Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen

7. Christmas with Paula Deen by Paula Deen

8. The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden

9. The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

10. Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life by James J. Cramer

11. An Inconvenient Book by Glenn Beck

12. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

13. Star Wars by Matthew Reinhart

Sadly, I have no tread any of these. Have you?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Not So Wordless Wednesday :-)

Today is our first snow day of the year. Although I usually very much enjoy the surprise day off, I am a little miffed this morning. For a few reasons.

1. We have Christmas (oops, I mean WINTER) break in two weeks--which means we have plenty of time off here soon.

2. I am already out tomorrow for a professional development--which means I won't see my students until Friday.

3. I took off Monday for some much needed sanity time--it's what I like to call the "mental health" day. if I had known that we would be off today I would have saved the sick day.

4. They waited until 6:43 to call us off this morning. Why does that upset me? Because I was already on my way to work. I take all back roads so I couldn't wait any longer. TJ called me and told me to turn around. They had been calling for it to get worse throughout the morning so I don't understand why they didn't delay us early and then switch it to a closure if needed. I know a bunch of people were on their way to work already.

5. I wasted a very good hair day :-) (That's such a girly thing to say...)