Rules For Posting To This Blog and Weekly Blog Question

1. Only use your first name (no last names, addresses, IM screen names, etc.)
2. Show respect and consideration of others when posting and commenting. This includes individuals, students, organizations, political parties, colleagues, etc.
3. Check all posts for spelling and grammar errors before posting.
4. Protect the privacy of others. Gain permission from other people before you write about them. Avoid sharing someone else's last name. Use job titles or pseudonyms when writing about experiences with your co-workers or students.
5. Watch your language. Use politically correct and non-offensive language.
6. Make sure you write about things that are factual.
7. Keep your postings education-oriented. Avoid discussing plans for the weekend, etc.

This week I would like you to use your imagination. You have just won the lottery and will leave your teaching post immediately to travel around the world. As you leave your keys you meet your replacement. You are asked to give this new teacher just ONE piece of advice. What would that be, and why? Enjoy your world expedition!

Blog Post - Week 7
This past week in my own teaching I felt a little disconnected which prompts my question to you, "What was the moment (or moments) when I felt most disconnected or disengaged as a teacher - the moment(s) I said to myself, I'm just going through the motions here?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 6
For the past couple of weeks you have experienced asynchronous online learning (doing modules by yourself). Previously this semester you have experienced synchronous online learning (all together in the Collaborate room). Which do you think is more effective and why do you think that? Which do you like better, and why?

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 5
This week we have what we call "open mic." You can write a post about anything related to your teaching that you would like responses from your classmates.

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 4
Here is this week's question: "What was the event that most took me surprise this week - and event that shook me up, caught me off guard, gave me a jolt, or made me unexpectedly happy?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 3
Please write a post about the following question, "In thinking about my past week teaching what is one thing I would do differently, and why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 2
Please write a post about the following question, " In thinking about my teaching activities this past week, of what do I feel most proud? Why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 1
Describe something you used in your program in the first weeks of school that you learned in the summer NTI program. How did it work? Did it get you off to a stronger start than last year?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

New Equipment

Does anyone have any ideas on what method to use in approaching central office to secure new equipment or software for your lab? I gathered quotes from venders on computer memory upgrades and SolidWorks engineering modeling software, which is state of the art, but designed for high school students. This information was submitted to central office in August 2006. Central office replied “this is good information; we will consider this”. That was the last I heard about the equipment. My concern is that I have 24 students going to my third level mechanical and electrical system class, but I do not have any courseware for the class.

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions on this matter, please blog. Help! Help!

School Equipment

I am very excited for those that were able to secure new equipment for your labs of any kind. I now see how resourceful my students and I have been to work with and make the best with what we have. I am thankful for what we have, however I am looking forward to receiving broadcast quality tools that are desperately needed for my classes. I hope that the equipment I have requested will come in before school lets out so that I may practice and become familiar with it before Fall. You guys have a great Spring deserve it!

Project deadline

Well, this week went better than anticipated. I had the students research a career they were interested in and then create a brochure with all of the requested information. I gave them two days to complete the project and found that was not quite enough time. A few students turned in their brochures on Thursday but the rest finished theirs in class on Friday. It definitely helped having a project with a firm deadline to keep them busy and focused. Of course, I still had to keep them on track at times because they wanted to talk about their plans or share their packing list for their beach trip.

I do have to say that I think I was more ready for this break than they were. Lately, I've started to wonder if I'm in the right career. I'm so overwhelmed with my classroom and all the many tasks that go with it that I'm missing out on life with my family and friends. The past couple of weeks have been really hard for some reason. I've already signed my contract so now I'm committed to one more year. I sure hope that next year goes better. If not, I'm really considering going back to industry just so that I will feel some kind of peace in my life. Right now, my life is a roller coaster and I'm ready to jump off at any cost. Has anyone ever felt this way?

Spring Break May Lead the Blog Entries

Hello All,

This entry is coming to you from very late within the Boyland household. BUT, myself and a little girl of 9 years of age are excited because we have the following week off. My fellow teachers have asked me what I am going to do to relieve the stress from first year teachers' blues. And when I respond.........I will complete assignments due to NTI and promise to have no fun, they are sympathetic and cordial. I had an unscheduled observation by my Principal yesterday, that went very well. My daughter was very proud when I posted my "report card" on the refrigerator next to hers.

My proudest moment was when my Principal walked into the TV studio, with a Coke in his hand, and every student whispered..."Mr. Shaw has a drink in the studio area." And then the Principal walked into the Control Room and the students yelled...."Mr. Shaw has a drink in the Control Room!" Mr. Shaw wondered about the excitement. I explained that he was in trouble and...........I was very proud that my students recognized that no food or drinks were allowed in the studio or control room. If anyone from NTI is on Spring Break this week...................Please Enjoy! If you are not on break or have had your break.................I hope your brain and body recovered.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Short Week!

Although I didn't teach but three days this week, it was challenging to keep the students engaged. They would rather be anywhere but at school, and they are anticipating Spring Break and what they will do during their week off.

Well, I guess I'm pretty much ready for a break too, even though I had a short one this week. I was only there Monday through Wednesday because I was ill Thursday and Friday. I hope everything is in one piece when I get back. I talked to another teacher Thursday afternoon to see how things went, and he said he had to keep going to my room to wake up the substitute teacher. He's lucky the students didn't super-glue his fingers together or tie his shoe strings together. I guess I'll hear if anything happened that was real interesting when I return from Spring Break.

The Clinic is Open

Do I miss hands-on patient care? How could I! I do nursing of some sort every day at school. No, I am not the school nurse, yet there must be an invisible shingle hanging at my classroom door announcing, "Joyce D, RN, BSN. The Clinic is Open. " Students come to me regularly to ask about their ailment of the day. Before school is the peak time for visits. Sometimes the waiting room is bustling. Kids I don't even know come to the clinic. I give out bandaids, triple antibiotic cream, and medical/first aid tips daily. I look at every kind of bump, bruise, burn, and boo-boo imaginable. I do more listening than anything. I hear about students' and their family members' trips to the doctor or hospital. I hear details about injuries, even to pets. They tell me about medical things or non-medical things they have heard or have seen especially on TV. These conversations occur hourly in my classroom clinic.

The talk in my room usually begins something like this: "Can you feel if I have a fever?" "Would you take my blood pressure?" "What do you think is making my eye swell shut?" "My friend hurt her foot and it's all swollen up. Is it broken?" "What do you think these bites are from? They itch real bad!" "Is my belly button infected? I just got it pierced last week. I don't want to take it out!" "Look at this bump and tell me what it is." "I jammed my finger. What should I do? I can't even see my knuckle and it really hurts." "I have a pain right here. What's it from?" "What should I put on this sunburn?" I make a few comments or suggestions, but mostly, I look, smile, and I listen.

Yesterday a student stayed after class to talk to me privately. I was expecting something very profound. I had to mask a large grin when she asked if there was a medical treatment she could take to become taller. She wants to be a model and feels she can never reach her goal at the height of 5'2". She was very serious.

I went to the school counselor a few months back about a student's confession of depression and burning himself. This student occasionally comes by the "clinic" to talk even after finishing weeks of counseling. Several students invited me to the library to hear them as they read poems they had written. The recovering depressed student and others I knew spilled their guts as they read their poesm. I was an honored guest and they thanked me for listening.

Two of my students are pregnant. They have asked about fetal development and child birth. Another student confided she was afraid she had gotten pregnant over the weekend and wanted to know long until a home pregnancy test would give a reliable result. One senior was going for her first pap smear and wanted to know what to expect. She didn't want to ask her mom. Students tell me what they know and inquire if they are on target. I do explain some things to them, but most of all I lovingly affirm them and listen.

Even teachers come to the "clinic" at times. Several come regularly to weigh in on our scale. One is loosing too much weight stressing while her husband is in Iran. Some want their blood pressure checked and are concerned about their medication not working. I have been summoned several times by a teacher or administrator to respond when a student was having a seizure and the school nurse was not present. The student and their parents want to talk, to hear details about what happened, and to know what to communicate to their doctor.

One day last week a coach came running into the room asking for the wheelchair. One of our student athletes has a BKA (above the knee amputation) and a prosthetic leg. His "leg" broke at the ankle. He needed a way to get around school. They took the chair to him. At the end of the day the student came to return the wheelchair saying he had to go to a track meet. I asked how he would get around. He said he could hop. Until his prosthesis is fixed he is using our department's crutches after school and wheelchair during school. Every morning and afternoon he comes by to make the exchange and to talk.

You know, as a nurse in the school setting, I find things really aren't much different than they were in the hospital. There are a lot of people in both places that need someone to care for them but more than anything to listen.

The easy way out?

What do I write about this week? It’s been tough coming up with a topic because the week was for the most part uneventful. Considering that Spring Break is next week the students behaved themselves fairly well (although as the weather gets warmer the dress code takes quite a beating). I must admit that I gave myself a little bit of a head start though. I thought back to last year and remembered that the kids were pretty much done paying attention by mid-week, so I showed a movie this week on Thursday and Friday. One teacher made a comment to me that showing a movie was “cheating” and taking the easy way out. I started to feel a little guilty, but later I overheard that same teacher complaining that his students were “out of control” and being disruptive in class. I didn’t feel so bad after I heard that.

I know that the kids in our school are not unique in this regard. Did any of you try something different or unusual this week to get the kids attention? I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting ideas.

How effective is a conference call?

Scheduled any advisory committee meetings lately? They never seem to have the right timing. Getting everyone together can be a real challenge at times. Tonight, we had our scheduled meetings from 6 P.M to 7 P.M. Attendance and participation were low as compared to our last meeting. Looking back over the last several years, we have never really had consistency in total team participation.
Our group arrived at the conclusion that we need to remain proactive in building stronger communication channels within our advisory teams. If we can’t get them to meetings, then we can at least have dialog with the team wherever they are located. Technology allows this process to take place any time and anywhere.
One of the proactive steps we implemented during this meeting was initiating a conference call with one of our major corporations in New York. This appeared to be a fairly successful process, so we plan to be innovative, set-up and test conference calls periodically with all our advisory team members before our next semi- annual meetings.
We have innovation at our finger tips, so why not use it. It appears to work well in the private sector and in major organizations. The conference call has become a way of life. Every6ne is on the run and use conference calling in one form or another. We also realized that a number of our committee members drive across the city during peak traffic for a one hour lunch/dinner then return to work or home. Could we improve everyone’s time management through effective planning? We think the answer is yes. So we plan to put it to the test .before school ends. We have about 10 committee / teachers on the advisory team. We may test 5 to 7. We will let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

So why can’t I get extended day pay?

Not only am I supposed to do lesson plans and teach now that the end of the year is fast approaching I have to be caterer. Here is my list of functions. April 19th – 200 people at the Civil War museum in conjunction with Col. Tech., April 26th Advisory meeting 20 plus people, May 1st 20-50 people Superintendents Luncheon, May 10th 500 people End of the year Awards Banquet, and sometime in between I was supposed to serve lunch to the Basketball team because the won state, and possibly a end of the year going away party for faculty that is leaving.
I very seriously doubt people have any idea how much time and effort is put into food preparation and running a staff. Did someone mention I don’t actually have a staff? I have some kids who half heartedly pay attention to me when they want to and if they can’t eat what they cook they don’t want to participate. Then there is all the time planning which is done after school. Going to and from Sam’s and or vendors (because the never return calls) eats up alit of personal time. Man it sucks to be me.

I’m sure next year this will happen both semesters

Hook a brother up already. Pay for my gas to Atlanta, pay for NTI, a fat raise, something, please.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

the final count down

Here we go count down to spring break and boy is it taking its sweet time.I don't know about the rest of you ,but I am so ready scary. The kids are ready to there antsy truly a task to get them to work. However, somehow we do against all odds we do because we are teachers and that's our job.Do any of you just sit and listen to the students conversations you should some time. I'm talking about just listen not participating. It's amazing the info about what goes on ,has gone on ,and what is planned to go on next. you can find out and run blocker for so many of the issues in your schools and they don't even realize how their getting caught. A week ago I took a knife off of a student it looked like a pen until you pull it apart and there was a 31/2'' blade inside that student actually asked if I would give it back to him ''He wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed '' I must say. I guess what I want to say is kids there ruff there bad but they are also their own worst enemy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Should I or They

I didn’t know if we were supposed to do a blog this week or not. If we were, my fault. I’m late. Sorry

So lately, it’s seems like some kids just don’t get it, and then some really do. I have a student who is a freshman. He’s in my Work Place Readiness class. I’m not exactly sure if he has an IEP or not but he is definitely an average student. He struggles in class, but I encourage him all the time. He may come to me and ask me questions on the directions or exactly what needs to be done for the lesson. He wants to make sure there is no room for error and that he comprehends what he is doing. It may take him a bit longer to do his work assignment, but I don’t mind giving him the extra help or time. I also tech him to lift weights once or twice a week when I pop into the weightlifting class. I can tell he is very grateful.

Then I have a kid who is a senior who thinks he knows it all. He was an exemplary student until right after Christmas. He was an A-B student and worked at Callaway Gardens for almost a year. After he entered the Art Institute of Atlanta best teen chef contest his ego became inflated and he had no follow through. Not only has he entered the contest but he applied to the Art Institute right after Thanksgiving and has not heard back from them yet. He was going to do the page one contest but he didn’t finish filling out his paperwork nor did he ask me for a letter of recommendation. He just simply didn’t get to it. Now he is working at the prestigious Chattahoochee River club and I believe he thinks he has surpassed the master. Oh my lord does someone need to knock this kid of his soap box.

My point of this blog is: I would rather have a class full of kids like the first student I mentioned rather than the second. With the first student at least I know I would be giving that child skills for life and be nothing but proud of him/her every day and they would be grateful. With the second student that normally does well when they become sophomoric in nature they become apathetic and ungrateful and begin do disappoint you.

Eh, what can you do? Try – Try – Try, harder. Should I try harder or should they try harder?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Guidance Counselor

This week I sat down with our one and only guidance counselor at my school to complete the guidance counseling report assignment. I discovered, after speaking with her, that there is probably a large body of students who never utilize her services. The particular service I'm referring to is career counseling. Because our school does not offer a job-readiness course, I think that our students miss out on opportunities because they do not know the opportunities are there. Why should they ask her for help when they don't even know that they need help?

While talking to her, she gave me some websites that she refers students to when asking about careers and their options. I've scheduled her to come to all three of my classes on Tuesday and she is going to walk the students through taking an online survey which will determine some career options based on their likes and dislikes. Originally, I was going to have them search for jobs only in the graphics industry, but then I realized this might be their only chance to look into other careers.

I'm trying something new this week so I hope that it goes well. Here is the plan: after they take the online survey, they will pick a career path and then make a brochure about this career. The brochure will include potential earnings, type of education required, the pros and cons of the career. At the end of the week, I'm going to have the students stand up and present the information about the career that they researched.

I really hope that this will be a good learning experience for them and for me. I'll let you know how it goes.

GACE....Two Thumbs Up!!

March 17, 2007 I took the math portion of the GACE assessment for new teacher. Compared to the PRAXIS series, GACE is a much better assessment of basic skills required for new teachers. The test was straight forward and no trickery of questions. All the questions were math you had seen and used before. Twice I have taken the Praxis (all three basic assessments) and I only passed the math portion. In my opinion, the Praxis Series was not trying to assess new teachers, instead, Praxis was used as a money making tool for the company.

Most people that I talked with who were trying to become teachers had taken the Praxis Series I or II, three or four times, at $115.00 for one test or all three sections. Do the math; this is expensive for a new teacher. The GACE series is only $25.00 per test which is very reasonable compared to the PRAXIS SERIES. I am happy Georgia changed to the GACE. I am confident I passed the test on the very first try!

Best Layed Plans Go Astray

I had an interesting learning experience at the start of this week. I had to call in a sub last week on Thursday due to illness (flu). Thursday was our last day and we had Friday and Monday off for vacation break. The call in for the sub went smoothly and I checked with the school in the early morning and everything was lined up. Emergency lesson plans were in place for them to use and it should have been an uneventful day. I came back Tuesday morning and the kids were raving how good the substitute was and wanted him back again. I came to find out that he never even used my emergency lesson plans(never received them from the administration). He allowed the kids to use the lab all day. He even got the administration to open up the tool room for him by telling them that the lesson plan for the day called for tools to be used. The administration did not have a key to the tool room so they allowed a student to use a ladder to climb up through the suspended ceiling, over the wall of the tool room and climb down into the tool room to open it from the inside. Unbelievable! When I confronted the administration on it about the emergency lesson plans not being followed and liability issues with not a qualified instructor in the lab, did I get a big run around. None of them wanted to talk about it or investigate it to correct a potential problem. Push it under the carpet and forget it. So now my students know how to get into my tool room without using a key. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that yet. It's been an interesting week dealing with students and administration. Hopefully next week will go better.
Mike M.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lesson learned

I had an interesting experience this week that reminded me just how much trouble teachers can get into if they’re not careful. At our school, teachers that don’t have a 4th period class have to do lunch duty. My job is to keep watch over the kids who have been assigned to lunch detention, which is called the “Penalty Box” and is held in a large furniture storage room next to the cafeteria. Most students have to serve five days, and there is a list of rules that they must follow. We’ve had some repeat offenders, but usually once they get done with their week I don’t see them again.

On Wednesday I had just one female student, and it was her first day. She was polite and quiet, but not what I would call shy. We went into the detention room and I told her to pick a seat. I asked her what her name was and if she knew what the rules were. She gave me her name, told me that she had a sheet of paper with the rules on it and that she had been assigned three days. She took out her lunch and some study materials and the rest of the lunch period passed in silence (students are not allowed to talk). When the bell rang at the end of lunch she gathered her things and left.

The next day I received an email from the assistant principal who had assigned the student to the Penalty Box. She wrote that I needed to switch lunch duty assignments on Thursday and Friday with another teacher, who happened to be female. I thought it was a little odd but said ok, fine with me. After lunch on Thursday I caught up with the AP and asked her what was going on and also asked if she had saved me from a possibly bad situation. She said yes and then told me the story.

It turns out that after school on Wednesday the student went home and told her mom that she had been forced to spend lunch in a smelly storage room alone with a man. Of course, the mother called the school to complain. I certainly didn’t like the sound of that, but the AP told me that the situation had been handled and the teacher switch was all that was needed.
I was relieved that it was over but also realized again that we need to be careful and keep ourselves out of trouble.

Let's Play a Game!

Hello all! I have had a productive week. I finally used the Jeopardy game Ms. H. sent us last semester. My kids ate it up! They absolutely loved it. This was our way of reviewing for our Progress Check on Tuesday. My students know what to look for on the Progress Check. I didn't let them use their notes and they did really well without them! I was amazed at what they had committed to memory and how well they could guess! HAHAHAHA! That's it for me tonight. You guys have a wonderful weekend! -Lin

Lights.......Cameras........ Action

This morning Lassiter High School did their morning announcements "live" from the recently installed studio and control room for the first time in school history. It was not a major production that would have involved teleprompter, video sources and graphics. But it did involve 2 cameras, a news desk and a chroma-key curtain. I was, probably, more excited than the students. My adrenalin was high enough to feel like I was doing a "live shot" from The White House. Many students and faculty had positive comments. But what I tell my students is, that if people have good things or bad things to say, it means our viewers our watching and our Nielsen Ratings our high. It is just the beginning of what I expect to accomplish within the world of Broadcast Video Production at Lassiter. For as heated and tense that a control room and studio can get because of a "live" environment.................... no "F-Bombs" are allowed!

Block Scheduling can be Intimidating

We have been on Block Scheduling for the last several weeks while students prepared to take the GHGT. At first, planning for two hour instruction was a little intimidating but it all worked out.
This week we tested,(GHGT) so many of my classes were greatly reduced in numbers. It gave me the opportunity to spend time and provide quality instruction to some of my students that I would not have been able to give as much attention in our regular class time. Most of the students remained focused throughout the period with minimal distractions. We did some hands on activities and really explored the key points of the lesson. The students really appeared engaged and stated they learned alot from the lesson covered.I know it is a dream to think smaller classes and longer periods classes can produce successful instruction, especially in vocation classes. It just makes sense.Sorry, I got carried away, it was just a thought. I know someone out there knows that smaller classes might just yield quality results but they don't pay for themselves according to formulas used to calculate and allocate dollars from the government.Larger classes with major distractions tend to have higher failure rates and yield questionable results. Which would you rather? I thought we were discusssing block scheduling. Oh well, back to the grind.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Failed Test

After all the instruction we have received on writing tests, I should be doing a wonderful job of writing them, but I'm not. I gave a test this week and to my utter horror, half of my students failed. When my "A" students fail a test, I know there is a major problem. I believe that the problem this time was primarily me. The test looked flawless. All the directions were precisely written. The multiple choice and matching answers were all in alphabetical order. I used capital letters where there were supposed to be capitals. The multiple choice included one extra answer, to be sure students knew the material. All the columns were properly labeled. That test looked like a piece of art.

So where did I go wrong? For one thing, I didn't have time to write the test before teaching the material. I perfected the form of the test but not the content. Also, in teaching this particular unit, I used very little lecture. I thought it would be best not to bore them with listening to me teach a subject that they had previously covered in middle school, in biology, and etc. Students wrote vocabulary words with definitions to study. They did some wonderful activities to solidify the material in their brains, or so I thought. When I graded the tests I found that my students did not know what I believed they knew. I learned that I needed to spend more time in lecture and review of the material. Thankfully, this test was only given to my two smaller classes; students I have had all year. I love them and they know it and love me back, shortcomings and all.

What should one do after messing up so badly? Here's what I did. First, I apologized to my students and told them I felt I was largely at fault for the poor grades. I thanked them for being such good sports over breaking in a first year teacher who was learning many things the hard way at their expense, including the writing of tests. I told them that starting Monday, after I have the weekend to write a new and appropriate test, we will take a few days to cover the material be certain they understand know what is expectedof them. They will all take the new test and I will take the better score of the two tests. Being the great bunch of students that they are, they were very happy with this plan. More than that, they were happy that tomorrow is Friday and we are going to go ahead with our plans to do the "Autopsy of a Pickle" project to the body planes and directions. (I wish I could take credit for the pickle idea but it is not a Joyce original.) Anyway, the students aren't the only ones happy that tomorrow is Friday!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I'm starting to think that this last semester will be the most challenging as far as presenting material and making sure that the students retain the information. With the graduation test, then Spring Break in a couple of weeks, then end of course testing, and the nice weather outside all of this combined will make it difficult for me to present the material.

I'm planning to go ahead and present material the week before Spring Break that will be needed when we get back from the break. I just hope that I don't have to teach it all over again. This is my first time through this so I'm curious to see how the students will be in class with everything else going on.

Has anyone found it to be more difficult during the Spring semester to keep students involved? Just curious if I'm worrying about nothing.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Another week down... ___ to go!!!

This has been a good week. It was like Christmas in March! The whiteboard I requested last semester got installed on Friday! Hooray! I used an old green chalk board and yellow chalk. The chalk board was kinda old and it was a little difficult to read what I had written on it because it was old and worn. I am looking forward to Spring Break!

Friday, March 16, 2007

what a week

This has been the week from @##$. started off with a phone call on Monday from my "x " that they were pulling the plug on her father who had just suffered a heart attack. My son is (was) extremely close with him so i take off Tuesday and take him to see him before this happens I spend most of Tuesday at the hospital. Wednesday I spend getting things he will need to go to the funeral in Texas clothes ,school work ,etc... . Thursday was really non productive I spent most of it out side hanging up mess on the chain link fences with my students for my AP.Then Friday comes and I take my video to the media center to have it copied to VHS no problem I get home a little while ago put it in the VCR and bam tape is blank.
I can only hope that was the biggie since tomorrow I take the GACE test.I am afraid that after a week like this one I will have to apply Alcohol to the wounds.


As the week began, our focus has turned to next week GHSGT. I have never proctored the test before and didn't think I would be given that duty as I have 2 classes during testing time. They always use teachers during their planning. When Tuesday morning came around, a counselor was in our mailroom waiting to give out proctoring assignments. As I started to leave this counselor said, Ms. Vansant, you will need this information. You will be proctoring since your classes are smaller and you don't really do anything.....Well I was totally shocked and couldn't even respond to her. Maybe she didn't mean it the way it sounded but neverthesless she said it in front of my peers and that was so unprofessional.....well at least I thought it was. Her comment really hurt and I have carried it with me all week. When I go to interview a counselor for NTI, I am going to interview this very counselor. Maybe we can get to know each other a little better and she will find out that we indeed work in my classroom. It's worth a try.

I Need Vaseline!... I Don't Think So

I feel some of Chad's pain/post after today. A student by the name of Chase enters my second period class today and proclaims that he needs to go to the clinic as soon as possible because the ink in his new tatoo requires vaseline to stay moist and fresh. I ask him why he didn't go to the clinic before my class and he proclaims that he "forgot". I pointed out that if this medical emergency was so important that he would be at the clinic right now and not speaking with me. He glared at me and I glared back and responded that I am not responsible for the healthy procedures that are required to maintain ink within your skin. The class went about their business and continued to edit their projects. But I looked him straight in the eye (which he didn't have the backbone to do) and told him.........I will always be there for my students regarding their health and medical issues, but, "Do Not".....I repeat.."Do Not" try to "get away" with something because I am a first year teacher. We talked and his tatoo is alive today!

Rules? What rules?

Tuesday afternoon near the end of my 5th period class, one of my seniors stood up and told me that he needed the hall pass. I asked him why, and he said that he needed to get a drink of water so that he could take his prescription medicine. I saw him holding a prescription bottle and reminded him that he wasn’t allowed to be carrying medication around with him. He replied by saying that it was time to take his medicine and walked out the door. He returned in a matter of moments, and then the bell rang. Since I don’t have a 6th period class I walked down to the clinic to talk to the nurse. I told her what happened and she immediately picked up the phone and called the assistant principal that the student was assigned to. After telling him what had transpired, he then called the student out of 6th period up to the office.

When I saw the student the next day, he gave me very angry looks and would not speak to me. I spoke to the assistant principal and he said that the student told him that I was picking on him. When I ran what happened by a couple of other teachers, they indicated that they probably would have let it go and not referred the student to the office. WHAT???? We’re not talking about breaking a food rule or something trivial. This is state law.

It’s frustrating; students don’t like the rules or think they’re stupid so they thumb their noses at them and ignore them. For whatever reason, many teachers don’t want to enforce the school rules and just look the other way. Then when I enforce the rules, all I hear is, “all my other teachers let me do it.” I never used to believe that, but now I’m starting to. Maybe teachers just don’t want to “be the bad guy” or be perceived as un-cool. Maybe some of them just don’t care anymore. For my part, I’ve tried to teach the kids about taking responsibility for themselves and their actions, but I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.

Hats Off to NTI

I take my hat off to NTI. Only a short time ago. I struggled haplessly as new instructor with numerous challenges to sort. I thought I was pretty organized but after NTI training I realized I still had a ways to go. I must say, this year has been rough with tests, observations and ect, but I can't even imagine if I were not enrolled in training what might be going on in my little world. Last summer's planning really helped me to change some things in the classroom this year.
I am proud to say my classes appear to be running alot smoother and my classroom management has gotten better. My discipline referral rate dropped significantly. That is not to say I haven't had any issues, but the students have settled down for the most part. I can only give praise and thanks to Dr. Band Jessie H for helping me to see light at the end of the tunnel. I know we still have a ways to go, but I can see light. So I guess I will keep trying to be the best teacher I can be. Thanks to all my NTI support. I would like to thank each and everyone of you for a rewarding experience. Thanks again! Now lets get through the next several weeks. Back to the grind.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Grandma's advice???

Just when I thought I had things going well another discipline issue came up. Yes, with the same student that I have been dealing with all semester. This time an incident occurred while I had a guest speaker from Erlanger Medical Center in my room. The student started eating chips while the speaker was talking. I quietly went up to her and asked her to stop. She blew up like fireworks on the 4th of July. I asked her to step into the hall. She continued. ( The funny thing was a simple incident involving chips now escalated into an office referral due to her yelling at me)This time I offered no discussion, I promptly escorted her to the office. Once there, she preceded to say that I am holding a grudge against her and blaming her for things that she isn't doing. At a loss for words I asked for a conference with the Vice Principal. I chose to offer a conference since the 2 previous write ups, lunch detention and ISS have done no good. We held a conference, where she sat in silent. The conference lasted for ~20 minutes.

I am doubtful that she is going to change. Her negative attitude has changed the entire dynamics of my class. It seems as though the students are watching to see what she will try next. It is not that I have lost control because the class is productive, it is just that by her having such a negative tone, the rest of the students are just going through the motions. Their enthusiasm is gone.

HELP!!! Does anyone have suggestions on what I can do with her? I am planning an interactive group activity involving food and nutrition in hope to generate the fun back into learning. As my grandmother used to say "No one can stay mad while eating good food"

NOTE: I have spoken to her parents too and offered a conference with too.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Fisherman who casts a net reeps many

Last week I had a brand new experience with my 3rd block class. I had the opportunity to write up a discipline report on 12 of my 16 students. I was the "end all" for me. They had pushed me to the max. After many little antics the last being changing the time on my clocks, erasing key items off of the board and adding names to the missing assignment list on the board ( in the matter of just ~ 2 minutes while the rest of the class was finishing up a bathroom break and I was in the hall waiting for them). When confronted all denied doing it, so I wrote 12 students up for 4 hours of lunch detention. By 4Th block the rumors were flying that I had given them all ISS or that I thrown a desk. How funny. I had 3 parent telephone calls before the buses pulled out of the parking lot at the end of the day. I really started the fireworks. The next day as I stood at the time clock I was called in the office. The relief finally came when I was praised by my administration for standing my ground. My Principal actually called me a fisherman. A fisherman I asked?...I was told that I cast my net out and the fish just came jumping up and in. The guilty party was discovered that day and all write ups were disregard except the guilty party. I am so glad that my administration stood by me. That was a comforting feeling. I have fewer students who like me and I guess I will be receiving a few less Christmas cards ( hahahaha), but I think I will be fine. I have successfully calmed by classroom antics with one swipe of the pen. A pen is a powerful tool.
It is a sad thought that the actions of a few really change the dynamics of a class. These are great kids and up until now had been well mannered. This one student has really caused a discipline overhaul in my room.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hectic Week

From reading everyone else's blogs, it seems my week was just as hectic. I had a somewhat panic attack the other night. I was looking through some material that our SkillsUSA advisor had provided listing the names of the state competitors that were going to Gwinnett. When reading through the list, I didn’t see any of the girls names that I was helping with the promotional bulletin board. I thought that the teacher next door had listed their names because they were his students. I went in to panic mode because I thought that I had screwed up and had not entered the girls who are all seniors and who had competed last year at nationals this past summer in the same area. I didn’t sleep well at all that night thinking about how much this would disappoint them. I was so worked up the next morning that I actually broke into tears when I spoke to the first teacher about the situation. By the end of the day, they explained the situation to me and the girls will be able to compete.

All of this stress is a result of the school not providing a mentor for me. I feel as if I'm a bumper car trying to drive straight and the bumpers along the side are keeping me somewhat in-line. I have to say that when you hit those bumpers you actually grow stronger and learn from the situations. I just wish that the school would acknowledge that new teachers need someone to walk them through a lot of these new processes. I feel that I'm a fairly intelligent person, but I can't sign-up or fill out applications that I don't know anything about.

I'm hanging on to the hope that next year will be better, at least, that is what everyone keeps telling me.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Week Is Over.............Where is the Time?

Well, I made it through another week. I had to deal with student discipline issues every day this week but they did becoming easier and less disruptive in the classroom as the week went on. I am finding myself dealing with them more quickly now and giving the student less time to continue on with the issue in front of the class. I am also finding myself confronting these issues and taking a less personal approach toward them. I am very concerned about the issues and the students but realize that where they are is there choice based on their attitude and emotions and only they can move themselves out of that poor choice area. I need to deal with those issues in a professional manner and move on with the class. I ended on Friday afternoon feeling pretty good about the week. I reflected on the some of the bad moments and realize that I had some dead time and need to address that in my lesson plans next time around. I also reflected on some of my good moments in teaching this week where I actually connected with some students and they showed appreciation for it………………and I enjoyed those moments. I’ll be back next week and see what that week brings! I'm still behind on lesson plans, budget items, NTI projects, etc....................that hasn't changed but what the heck...........there is always tomorrow and the summer to get caught up!



This week was overload for me again. It seems like every week just gets busier and busier. I have been trying to find the Exceptional Children's class through another route than at Georgia State. I have been trying to get in touch with Forsyth County Board to see if the county offered the class. Finally, I received a call and it had already been offered (started in January). Fortunately, there are many agencies out there that offer the class. I checked with one in Roswell and it is an online class and very reasonable I thought ($400), compared to some of the other classes. So, I did sign up for the class on Thursday. I am really excited about the class being an online class, even though I was hesitant about doing classes online at first.
I also did my video this week in class. I felt that it went pretty well. I have not yet looked at it and did the remaining assignment on it. I really do feel that the video is a great idea. It helps you see what you are actually doing in the classroom even if you are aware that you are being taped. I was in the lab on this video and realized that I could add this to my video collection for the students to refer back to. I taught on clipper cutting and the students paired up to work on a mannequin. This will be a great learning tool for years to come for myself and the students.

Whew! What a week!

Friday was supposed to be a teacher planning day, but had to be turned into a weather make up day because of the tornado's last week. As of this school year so far we have not had a single planning day. With this AYP situation and Industry Certification there just does not seem to be enough time for it all. These late evenings and weekends are really taking it's toll on me. I worked on 100% commission for over 25 years in the industry and made a very good living. I actually thought I knew what time management was.
In the service world and then on commission as well you had to plan your every move to survive. In this world of education I feel like a fish floundering around out of water. How does everyone make time to do it all and not let something or someone fall by the wayside? A lot of stress and challenges came from different directions this week. I woke up this morning realizing that I used to be on top of my game and now I'm not (yet)! Hey but I'm still chipping away at the stone for now.

Technology Student Association!!

TSA (Technology Student Association) State Convention and Competition is coming up next month. I have to be at school on Saturdays for Four hours so my students can complete their projects for this event. Saturdays seem to be the only time I could get all my students competing in state competition together. CTSO (Career Technology Student Organizations) consumes a lot of my time. Getting the students to pay their fees and dues before the deadline is always stressful.

My students love to come to the Saturday workshop; they are all excited about their projects. The workshop is also a wonderful time of bonding for my kids which is really important when building a CTSO. I am really hoping some of my kids bring back trophies from their events. WISH US WELL….

Broadcasting = Controversy (sometimes)

This has been an interesting week. I am going to make this blog short and semi-sweet. There was an e-mail sent to the whole faculty/staff concerning 2 students that were out of dress code on a pre-recorded video segment which aired on our Morning Show. The e-mail stated that these students should be suspended for being out of dress code and not wearing their ID's during this recording. Well first of all the punishment should fit the crime. These guys are totally talented! They dance and do back flips like the pro's on tv that dance behind well-known vocalists on tv and in concerts. I was so impressed with these guys and most of the school was delighted with their performance. Well, I responded in a professional e-mail stating how I have this super opportunity to meet students throughout our school and tell them good things about themselves and their talents that they may not hear all day. I also mentioned how the ID's would have been restrictive with the demanding dance moves and the shirt tails being tucked, well, they didn't stand a chance! I had well-wishers congratulating me on the successful e-mail I sent in response to my co-worker's concerns. I was not offended with the person or the e-mail sent to me, even though some of the other teachers took the e-mail as a personal attack. I am just glad that I was able to address the concerns of my colleague in a kind and professional manner.

Long week

I’m not sure how this entry will turn out, because my brain is fried. I picked up a stomach bug early in the week, had training on Thursday for something that I had been volunteered for, and Friday was spent just trying to recover from the sub who stood in for me while I was downtown. On a scale of 1 to 10 I give this last week a 5 (probably too generous).

Speaking of substitutes, I have to say that I was spoiled last year. There was a guy I was introduced to who was new to subbing. He was available to sub for me most of the times I was absent for duty leave. He was fantastic. He kept the kids in line without being overbearing, and he left copious notes and fantastic feedback no matter what I had left him for lesson plans. I would come back after my absence and have a very good idea what had transpired in my classes while I was gone.

Unfortunately for me (and everyone else he substituted for), he found a permanent teaching position and is no longer available, so I’ve had to dip into the pool. I’ve had a number of different people substitute for me this year, but the result is always the same. I leave personal notes for the sub requesting feedback (having a pretty good idea that certain behavior will occur while I’m gone) but receive almost nothing. At the most I get comments like “everyone was good,” or “I had a good day.” My favorite was one from a couple of weeks ago. There was one “sentence” written across my substitute teacher feedback form that said, “your kids were awesome!” From that I should have been able to conclude that things couldn’t have gone better.

The day I come back I usually query some of my students about how things went. It turned out that in this particular case, the kids weren't what I would have called "aswsome." Some students were sleeping; some had food, and there were a couple of other things. But no mention of any of these things by the sub. It’s very frustrating. I’ve asked around to get names of subs who leave good feedback, but I’m finding out that the sub I had last year who was so good is the exception rather than the norm.

I know that substitutes don’t have the easiest job, but by not telling the whole truth to the absent teacher I wonder who they’re trying to score points with (me or the students). I’ve never been a substitute teacher, so I can’t really answer that question.

Where do their brain cells go?

As much as I needed a week off to catch my breath and recooperate from pneumonia, I am not sure that a week off was the best idea for our students. Maybe I came from a strange world where education was important to my family. My mother made my brother and I read and review during every break we had from school, summer included. There was absolutely no forgetting what we had learned allowed.
Upon returning to classes on Monday I was greeted with blank stares as I reminded my students that "in our last class we discussed........". I was shocked. What had they been doing over break? Did they give one thought to their studies knowing that they would eventually return to school? So I spent a class period reteaching.....because not only had they forgotten eveything but they couldn't find their notebooks or their notes to refresh their memories.
As a Healthcare Science teacher and one that has a fairly good grasp of Anatomy I wonder.........Where do their brain cells go?

High Alert

Daylight savings time and warm weather introduce new flowers, birds chirping and high school fights. The climate at schools will surely change as temperatures rises . It is as if there is something in the air. Students are starting to become restless with each day. We have been pretty calm over the last several weeks, but not without incident. We have had a few fights here and there, but I remain on high alert. It seems to never fail, warm weather brings out the worst in some students. Personally, I will put up my surveillance and keep me eyes open to all activity. This is not the time to let down your guard. Students must be closely supervised at all times. We as teachers sometimes get alittle too relaxed as June approaches. I just pray and hope we can keep our students focused and encouraged to be responsible. Reinforcing character education should play an important part of our planning this Spring. So man your stations and stay alert.


Friday, March 9, 2007

Spring Is Here

I do not know if that is the case in your schools but lately and particularly during this week that just ended, there has been more than 5 fights. As the weather starts to get warmer, students start to get excited are ready to do anything to get attention or stay outside. I am at my 6Th year teaching and every time Spring approaches it is the same situation. As a consequence of this situation, students are getting to class tardy, more are getting suspended or sent to ISS. Over the last 3 weeks I have 4 students who got more than 30 days OSS. Even though these students are going through some kind of social or emotional crisis (I believe) some needs to be done to address these issues. One particular thing that I see particularly across my district ( because my school is not the only one going through these latest situations) is that some of the new administrators are "too young". If age can not be used as a factor to determine once capacity to get the job done properly, in a high school environment, i believe that age, couples with experience does matter. Students nowadays do not want to listen, they don't care therefore they need somebody with experience in education (not less than 10 years and this is my personal opinion) and authority and who can get things moving!
Enough of the politics, the dysfunction and the promotion of some sorority friendsAdd Image

A Dose of Teenage Reality

Every 33 minutes a teen-aged student dies in an automobile accident. Today Lassiter High School gave their student body a real taste of real life teen age driving statistics. We had an assembly in the football stadium that involved Cobb County Fire, Police and Emts. We also had a Life-flight helicopter land in the stadium to take "critically injured" students to the hospital. We had "big-wigs" from Federal Judges to our Cobb County Superindendent Fred Sanderson speak. More importantly, we had fire and police officials really "lay it on the line" about teenage driving. There was a demonstration that involved freeing students from a vehicle with the "jaws of life". And placing students into a hearse because they were dead. During classes, every 33 minutes an Administrator would announce over the PA system that a current student had died in an automobile accident the night before. And,yes, the Grim Reaper would accompany these dead students around the school. As the Broadcast Video Production teacher, naturally, we had 2 cameras videotaping the events in the school and in the stadium. As the students filed into the stadium you could feel the energy that it was a Friday and they were going home after the assembly. But when the demonstration began with the "jaws of life" and the helicopter landed, I looked up into the stands and saw every face (student and faculty) totally concentrating and recognizing the severity of the demonstration. This sobering day was purposely scheduled because the Senior Prom is one week away. My last comment is, that as a teacher, I knew what was scheduled and planned, but I was wrong, the student body took it alot more seriously than I had anticipated.

Roller Coaster

This is going to be long. I'm pretty wound up tonight. I've had some of the lowest and highest days of my short teaching career packed into the past ten days. I feel as though I've been on a roller coaster with my emotions going through radical ups and downs. Let me share some of the events.

Having prepared lesson plans for a sub, I traveled back and forth to Athens for the HOSA conference a week ago Thursday, Friday, and again on Saturday. One student, whom I'll call SP, went to the conference with me. It was fun seeing how excited she became when infected by the enthusiasm of other HOSA teens in attendance from throughout Georgia. SP had a tennis match in Athens on Friday afternoon so we skipped out of the conference for a few hours. It was an away (far away) match for our high school tennis team. Besides the two coaches, I was the only spectator cheering for them. Three of my students played that evening. My rapport with those three improved significantly and all the students seemed genuinely appreciative of my attendance and attention.

Monday morning I was at school an hour early to meet the American Red Cross truck. It was the day of our HOSA-sponsored blood drive. HOSA members were the volunteers to work at the drive because I had classes to teach. I was back and forth to the auditorium every spare minute and stayed to clean up afterward. It went well and we ended up 10 units over our goal.

Halfway through Monday morning, the teacher across the hall came to see how I was taking the news about the behavior of my students while I was gone Thursday and Friday. Having been tied up with the blood drive, I had not yet read all the notes from the sub so my co-worker filled me in. There were several incidents but the worse was when one female and one male student in my last period class got into a verbal altercation. She eventually swung at him and hit him in the face. He did not hit back but gave her a piece of his mind. The sub stepped out of the room to deal with those two students and someone stole his MP3 player off of my desk. It took two administrators to sort through that mess. The girl was suspended for three days and the guy got three days of ISS but not until after they both attended my class on Monday. I read the long note from the sub to them and told them I had expected much better from them. The guy was very quiet but the girl was just as mouthy and obnoxious as ever.

About 5:00 that afternoon I finally got to sit down at my computer to read e-mails and put in the electronic attendance for the day. It was then that I learned that an e-mail had gone out on Friday while I was gone saying several of us were to sign up for GPS training sometime Monday morning. By then (5 PM) I had more e-mails from my department head saying she hoped we had all gotten signed up. So I tried to do just that, only the internet was blocked and I could not get on to do register. That was when I lost it. I cried and cried. I had worked non-stop for days with little sleep and no time for myself or my family including my son who was home from FSU for Spring break. Now I find there is more training I must have and I am late signing up.

Well, that was just Monday. Tuesday and the rest of the week wasn't much better - like the fiasco the day we tried to tape my class for NTI - but since this is getting so long I won't bore you with all that. I'll move on to the good stuff that happened. On Wednesday afternoon, SP who had gone to the HOSA conference with me came to see me. She said, "I sure hope you have the evening of May 10 open after our HOSA meeting." She had just learned she is one of the top 10 (GPA) graduates this year. She was told to choose one special teacher from 5th grade to the present to attend a banquet with her in honor of the top 10 students. She chose me.

My students knew I was upset over the behavior issue while I was gone. Also, some of them know that teachers have to sign and turn in contracts by next Monday. I received two notes from students telling me how much I mean to them and telling me to be sure to stay. The student I wrote about last week who appologized to me has been good as gold all week. He was really genuine in his appology for his behavior. Several students I had last semester but not this semester have come to see me just to say, "Hi!" (Or , "Hey," as they say here in the South.) One guy told me I am the only teacher who likes him. Another student came to me before school this morning and asked me to wear her soccer jersey all day. The soccer coach asked each of her team members to get a favorite teacher to wear their jersey the days of home games. This is to advertise the game. I felt so honored that she asked me to wear her jersey for the second time.

It is those little things that make it worth getting out of bed and going to work in the morning. Every day is not a bad day. My daughter is also a teacher. Just this evening she suggested I write the good things down and take pictures to put with those writings so I'll have something to look at and remind me when the roller coster of teaching has taken me into a deep dip. Those reminders would be proof that there truly are highs to come just around the bend.

Monday, March 5, 2007

A case of soda?

So the whole point of my blog Saturday was to lead into my blog this week. Last week I overheard some of my students talking about taking things from work. I wanted to have and open discussion with my class about theft and lead with what happened this weekend. Its official work ethics are dead.

Last Thursday I had several students out due to SAT & end of the year testing preparation. I gave the remaining students some busy work and said they may converse with one another to get the work done. The project was to write a mini essay about where they worked what they like about it what they didn’t like about it so on and so forth. I guess they were still on track when they started talking about theft. I sat down and pretended to do something that took my attention away from them all the while I took notes on what they were saying.

So they talked about how nobody got raises because the employers said they can’t afford it. They now have to begin paying and/or pay full price for meals due to the poor food cast. Uh hello are they not getting it? So cases of soda are walking out the back door, friends are eating for free, and boxes of fries or chips are disappearing and they hate their jobs since they can’t get a raise. WOW! They really have no clue do they?
So in the open discussion the main response was “we ain’t go no raises that’s why we take stuff ‘cuz it’s owed to us.” I tried to explain: what would you rather have a case of Coke or extra money so you could buy that pair of $200 shoes? Most said both and honestly thought they deserved it. While a few students professed they took stuff, others who said they did not, at least knew employees who did. I asked “why don’t you turn those people in to your boss or MOD?” “Ah man I ain’t no snich” was the common response I got.

Uh – well, personally if I knew someone was the reason I wasn’t getting a raise I’d sell them out in a heart beat. They couldn’t understand this reasoning in the least. So I had to explain it like this: Not only is stealing wrong, the bible says don’t do it. Some of them got it but the ones thick in the head did not. So again I had to come up with another way to explain it. I came up with this. “If you or another employee steals food, paper, product whatever you/they are stealing from yourselves or other employees. When the numbers don’t match up managers have to do things to make the profit or break even. The benefit of free or reduced meals goes by by, and no one gets raises. In essence thieves steal not only from the business but from you. If some one came into your house after a tornado and stole your big screen TV you’d want to beat the stew out of them wouldn’t you? They all agreed. So if someone went into you wallet and took out five dollars every day you worked you would be pretty upset wouldn’t you. Again they agreed. So every time someone steals at work that takes money out of your pocket. Hopefully now most of them get it.

Personally I’m thinking about being a rat and telling their employers about what I heard. I’d probably feel bad about some of these kids loosing their jobs. I have a feeling most of my students have to learn things the hard way, and then again some of them won’t even learn then. Lord I’m glad I don’t run or own a restaurant any more.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

A Teacher's Worth...

Salary is one of the most important features of any job. How can a school system in a metropolitan area justify paying their starting teachers $3,000 less per school year than other neighboring school systems? Not having completed certification is not a factor with regards to starting salaries in the higher paying school systems. Why am I not appreciated and rewarded by my school system by being paid at least the base starting salary?

Recently, 1 to 3 year new teachers in my school system received a $3,700 increase in salary. This reward was not passed on to those of us who have not completed our certification. Being under paid, overworked, and generally not appreciated starts the teacher burnout process early in the game.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

How Ya'll Are?

As Justin Wilson used to say “How ya’ll are?” Well I’ll tell you right now I am beat. As you may have heard North Columbus got pounded by the tornados Thursday. We at MCSD got Friday off due to roads being blocked early in the morning. So I went over to a friend’s folks house over in Brookstone (I had never met her folks before Friday). Brookstone was one of the areas that got slammed the worst. Has anyone seen Band of Brothers? Well there were several areas that looked like the forest where the soldiers were trying to hold the line around Bastogne. I kid you not it looked like a war zone. So anyway when we got there my wife and I decided to jump in and help. I figured, heck I got the day off I might as well do something productive. Plus an honest day of hard work never killed anyone. So I got to chopping and hauling. I went back over today with my father in law and did more chopping and hauling while he got to play with the chain saw. We left around 1:30 or so today and I’m pooped.
So Friday People were diving by and gawking and I noticed a few out of place cars drive by here and there. I had mentioned to the Plott’s to make sure their house was locked tonight when they were done for the day because I thought some passers by may be casing some of the houses. Well guess what? I was right. When I asked today if anybody was missing anything, I was told a couple of the houses that got hit really badly had some things stolen like big screen TV’s and whatnot. Man you have got to be pretty low down to rip off someone who has almost lost everything in a storm. Friggan Looters! Some people help the less fortunate some people prey on them.
I hope I can teach my students to help because most of them are less fortunate. Unfortunately I think a few of them, given the opportunity would jack a big screen TV because they are less fortunate. I know I need to be more positive.
Sooooooo…………… Remember when I said and honest day of hard work never killed anyone? Well an honest day of hard work will make you sore the next day.
Now I’m beat and I’m going to try to take a nap. TTFN

Behavioral Problem

I read all of your posts and listen to everyone discussing their students' behavioral problems during our classes and realize how blessed I am. My school is set up a little different in that my school is the vocational high school for the three other high schools in the county. Because it is a unique situation, not all students are given the privilege to come to my school - only the ones WITHOUT disciplinary issues.

I share this with you because this week was a little different for me. I had a new student join my class this week who had just moved from Greenville. We are already several weeks into the material which puts her at a disadvantage and she is a senior who needs my class to graduate. When she arrives, she boldly states that she does not want to be in my class and that she doesn't know why they put her in my class. At first, my feeling was mutual - if she doesn't want to be in my class then I don't want her there. But then I took a step back and realized that God put her in my class for some reason and I have the rest of the semester to figure it out.

The third day of class, she was working on a measuring quiz along with the class and I noticed that she was a little behind everyone else so I went over to help. She did NOT want my help at all. I had a nice compliment from one of the other students when they were trying to reassure her that I was a "nice" teacher and I was only trying to help. I left her alone for the rest of the class and let her work on her own.

The next day when she came to class I had to sit down with her and try to help catch her up with the program that we have been working since the beginning of January. She was very receptive to the help which totally shocked me but also relieved that I wasn't going to have to battle her everyday.

She definitely has some issues and I just pray that I can be of some help to her this semester. God did not give me thick skin so I'm going to trust that God will only give me what I can handle.

Typical Week

Well, the week is over and I can see now that looking back on the week I had a typical teacher week. Good and bad student situations evolved that I needed to address. I had students be very cooperative, show an interest and actually be excited in some things. I even had a few students tell me "Thank You" after having worked with them together to resolve their issues. Then I had 2 students called me an a** h*** for disciplining them for their poor actions. I also had some students that I had to write up for disciplinary action and have them tell me they "don't care" about detention, ISS or OSS and could care less what they get for a grade in my class, again their choices. I am finding myself reflecting more back on the positive high points of the week and letting go of the poor points. I had an interesting compliment given to me by another seasoned teacher. He stopped me in the hall and told me of a conversation he heard in his class between some of his students about me. He said that they were talking about me holding them to task and having to follow the rules. They said they knew with me that if they didn’t do what they were suppose to, corrective actions would follow for them. He also told me that hearing that conversation made him feel good to know that those kids knew that they were being held to the task, what was expected of them, and that in my class their are consequences to their poor actions. I took that bit of information as a "positive" for the week. The classroom management has been getting better...........but then I have had lots of opportunities for practice.


Got Skills

The end to a good week . We had region5 competition yesterday. I had students compete in 3 events Masonry, Residential wiring, And Carpentry.We placed in 2 out of 3 of the events Masonry 1st place, and residential wiring 2nd place. I'm very proud of my guys they once again represented our school and my program wonderfully. now we go to state. Also was told that myself and one other instructor have been given county approval to participate in Habitat for Humanity for two weeks back to back next month taking 2-3 students the first week and 10 the second week. Just got to sell it to the school don't think it will be a problem since the county will front the bill for it. Its looking to be an action packed month of April.

Friday, March 2, 2007

New Curriculum

I was reporting last week that that my lab was being upgraded. It is finally done and my students and I finally had a chance to start using the new equipment this past Thursday. During the installation process, I had a conversation with the vendor who renewing not only the equipments but also most of the software that we currently use and I asked him about the new Georgia GPS for IT; he appears not to be concerned at all and simply said that “I am doing what I have been paid for".
I actually was not surprised by that response because some of our leaders in those main positions do not know what is going on in our classroom. Here we are with less than three months in the school year, a new GPS which by the should be implemented starting next fall (but changes have already been made on the course name by the guidance office) and I am foreseeing already a lack of resources for the upcoming year. I thought the decisions makers will kill two birds with the same bullet to same time for the next school year but apparently not. Hopefully the issue will be address during the training sessions and that I will get some type answer that will quiet my concern.


Reasons That I Don't Teach for Money

Another week of teaching/training. I have been with my students 2 days this week and training in the studio and control room 3 days. It continues to feel awkward because a substitute teacher is there, but I am about 30 feet away in the same room. Periodically I have to walk through the classroom to take care of business. My students know I am very close by and, fortunately, they do their best not to disturb me. But when I walk through the classroom and hear several excited and encouraging comments from them, I can't help but realize that this is an excellent example of why I am a teacher. Several students will peek around the chroma-key curtain to see what I am doing. They will ask that I tell the people that are training me that my students say "Hi" to them. There will always be the ones that try to "get away with something" because a sub is there. But, for the most part, my students give me a reason to smile and feel proud that I am making a difference in a teenager's life.

Uneventful Week Ended Abruptly

This week began uneventfully, other than standing at the bus stop, taking write-up slips from the bus driver, and 100 times over telling the students to pull their pants up and tuck their shirts in. I want to put that on a continuous loop and just hit the play button as they get off the bus. I had slim classes this week because the juniors were out for testing most of the week.

Thursday evening was normal after school. I was making preparations for Fridays class, that never came due to bad weather. Muscogee County School District cancelled classes today due to the major thunderstorms and tornadoes that occurred last night. About 7 P.M. Thursday night, most all the power was off around Columbus. Tornadoes hit North Columbus, destroying some homes and businesses in the area, even as close as about 1/2 mile from my home and the school.

Many families in the area as well as in Alabama need prayer after the storms and tornadoes from last night. I did get up and go to the school this morning to see if there was any damage to the school, but it was all okay, so I stayed and worked on my industry certification for a few hours. When I left, I came home and enjoyed the sunny afternoon on my motorcycle. I guess I'll do my Fridays class on Monday. Whoopee!!

Yes Sir, That's my Baby!

I have a well behaved group of kids this semester. Some are a little more spirited than others, however no complaints overall! There is this student in one of my classes who is usually very well mannered. He will tell you that he is lazy. I have to motivate him to participate in group activities. On Thursday of this week, he refused to communicate with his group. He also refused to do a workbook/reading assignment I had given him (after he refused his group work). I counseled him outside the classroom to make him aware of his choices. "Do your assignment or get written up." He stands outside the door and tries to debate: " Ms. W-, how do you know I'm not brain storming? I could be thinking about my next project." My response was simple:" Listen, C-, This is not up for discussion. Choose ye this day." He chose to get written up. I wrote him up. I started thinking how he is just really so well mannered and had never put up a fight before.
I called his mom on her cell. She was very receptive. She agreed that his behavior was strange. She told me that he likes my class because he talks about the class (in a positive way) quite often. She agreed to speak with him to see if anything was bothering him. I suggested that he speak with his school counselor. I told her not to worry about the after school detention on Friday (today).

Today was good because I entreated him like the same respectful student he is. I greeted him like I always do. I gave him a hearty smile before he left my class today. He asked me if he needed to go to the counselor today. I told him he could participate in the video observation activity or go to the counselor. He decided to stay with me and we had no problem. I am going to suggest he go to the counselor on Monday.

One of our administrators here highly recommends student contracts. Have them to sign signifying they do understand their role and expected behavior in the classroom. Should they break the contract, they have to suffer the consequences of breaking the contract. It's just that simple. Oh yeah, the parents have to sign as well. As a matter of fact, I will implement a contract for my Morning Show participants this Fall. Some of the crew that broadcasts our live 15 minute show are not on my class roll, so I have the responsibility of making their job responsibilities and school behavior expectations clear. For example, if you are habitually late to class you will NOT be allowed to work with the Morning Show. Working with the broadcast crew is a privilege, school performance is priority!

I don't bother the parents with trivial stuff, but when my 'momma radar' goes off I must contact parents/guardians to let them know about their children's peculiar behavior. Drugs, abuse, depression or any other situation could cause less than desirable behavior from our students. I would hate for one of my little lovlies to fall prey to a dire situation and their odd outbursts of rebellion were signs from them pointing to the source of their frustration. We are (like) the moms and dads of these children while they are away from home so we should entreat them as our own... proper discipline included.

Timing is everything

Stop and smell the coffee.
Below is the message we received before going on Winter break

All teachers need to attend the GPS Career Pathway training being offered via the "CTAE Resource Network"
“It is CRITICAL that teachers register for these classes as only 25 participants are allowed to register for each class. Although there are multiple locations and sessions being offered, teachers should enroll in the class that requires the least amount of travel time.”

Now we have to sign up for more training classes. We have barely reached the completion of the NTI program and now in the middle of semester we have to change the pathways of our courses. I do understand that training is essential and change is eminent. But the timing just never seems to be right. Things are getting a bit hectic right about now. Someone may need to throw me a life line. My scheduled activities continues to grow at an accelerated pace and everything is a priority. Yesterday, I was informed the Information Technology teachers of the county are scheduled for computer lab training Wednesday, followed by an articulation work meeting next Thursday. By the way, I smell more coffe brewing.

No support

This week was very aggravating. I knew that there was trouble to come after having the last 3 weeks go by so well. Since I am at a private Beauty College, I only have to report back to the owner. She has had a lot going on the last couple of weeks and has not really been at school, which makes it a better place without her. She has only stopped by just for a few minutes each day. She doesn't even get out of her car.
I have to bring her the mail, any phone calls she may have had, and anything else that deals with that day. I don't mind helping out every now and then but it has gotten to were she is taking advantage of the situation. She wants me to do the student registrations and contracts which I have told her I do not have time for. I help out as much as possible but it just seems like she keeps adding on to this. I am here to teach and that is taking time away from my students.
The washing machine also broke last week and she said she had another one at home that she was going to bring. She has been taking towels home with her when she comes by for the few minutes each day. You can not take clients without towels. We had several perms and colors on the book Wednesday with only 2 clean towels. I called her and told her that we needed the towels. She said that she had them but they would have to be dried. She didn't have time for that. So she decided she would stop and get some new towels to last until the others got dry. Needless to say, this was 2 1/2 hours later. Once arriving at the school she once again did not get out of the car. She kept asking questions about the school and I told her very frustrated," I didn't have time for this that the students needed the towels now." She called later & told me that if we needed anything that we could go and get the supplies but every time that we do we get the Third Degree. I am very frustrated and angry at the situation. Thanks for letting me vent.

What a way to end the week...

I had a frustrating situation happen in my 5th period class this afternoon. It gave me a chance to exercise some of the classroom management techniques that I learned in NTI, but I still wish it hadn’t of happened. Not long after class started, I noticed that one of my students seemed to be eating something. I went over, and he admitted that he was eating a cookie. When I asked him for the rest of it, he didn’t say anything and continued on with his work. I asked him for it again, and he put the cookie in his pocket and said “no” he would not throw it away. At that point I asked him to step out into the hallway with me. I couldn’t believe that he was making such a big deal out of this, but I obviously couldn’t let it go. Every time this has happened before with other students they just throw whatever it is away and it’s over with. Out in the hallway he would not look at me. When I asked him what was going on he told me that he was hungry, that he paid for the cookie and again insisted that he wouldn’t throw it away. I asked him if it was worth it over a cookie, he said he didn’t care if he got detention. At that point I knew we were at a stalemate, so I told him I wasn’t going to argue with him, but that there would be consequences. We went back into the classroom, and he went back to his station. The rest of the period passed uneventfully.

As the students were leaving I told him that on Monday we would talk about what happened. Here’s the tough part. He’s an average student who admittedly doesn’t want to do the work in my class. It wasn’t what he thought it was going to be. Despite that, he’s been doing well lately and we’ve had a reasonably good rapport after a somewhat rocky start. I don’t want him to go back to being the student he was by overdoing the punishment, but I can’t do too little and risk having more problems in the class.

I talked to one of my teacher friends here, and I told him I thought that two private detentions would suffice (one for food and one for disrespect), along with his class ethics grade taking a hit. He suggested three private detentions. The student rides the bus, so it would inconvenience his parents no matter what. I would rather handle this myself and not involve the administration, but am throwing this out to you all. Any suggestions? I need help with this one.

p.s. I have not contacted the parents yet and am not sure whether I should do so now or wait until after I talk to the student on Monday. I have no idea what reaction I will get from the parents.

191 Day School Year

We recently received our contracts for next year in the APS. The contracts are given out in February for a school year that starts in August and you have 10 days to sign them or they become null & void. But that is not the main point. This upcoming year they have instituted a 191 day work year for teachers. This was instituted because there were complaints about not having enough planning. So instead of doing what’s right and actually using planning days for planning, the system has added another day which is just going to be taken away for something else anyway.
This year when we came back to school our 1st 2 and ½ days of planning were used for so called “professional development” leaving us with only a day and a ½ to actually get our classrooms together and get organized for the 1st day of school. Then every year the 1st teachers planning day of the school year is used for a convocation, where every teacher in the APS boards a bus and heads down to the Georgia Dome for the superintendent’s State of the Union address, yet we still have to have grades in on time. Why should we have extra days added on to our school year when the days we have now are not being used effectively and for their primary purpose? Unfortunately these are the cards that have been dealt us. I would like to know if this goes on in other systems, or do you actually get to use your planning days for planning?

Adolescents Never Cease to Amaze Me

I have so many new students this semester it feels like I'm starting the year all over again trying to get to know 90 new adolescents. One of those new-to-me students is a good looking, well dressed, seemingly popular guy whose grades are not so hot. He's the type you have to be careful about because his smile could melt the heart of any grandmotherly type like me and he tries to use that charm to get away with murder. He really tried me the first few weeks. We all have students like him. He's not a bad kid, just playful, manipulative, and very social.

Monday morning before class this student came to me when no one was standing close by. He looked me in the eyes and said the most amazing thing to me! "I want to apologize to you for the way I have behaved the past few weeks. I know I gave you a rough time, and I was wrong. I've had some junk going on at home, and I acted that way here because of it. I'm sorry. I will behave after this, you'll see." My response was, (pause, heart-please start beating again) "Thank you. :-) Apology accepted." I was amazed and stunned. I'm surprised I was able to say anything at all. That is absolutely the last thing in the world I expected to hear out of him.

All week this kid has been so quiet and well behaved it scares me. I would like to see just a little of his spunk back in the classroom. I'm curious how the remainder of the semester will go, and I hope to have an opportunity to speak with him again soon. He may need a listening ear.

Well, I'm off to Athens for day 2 of the HOSA Spring Leadership Conference. Blog ya'll later.