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?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Lesson plans

I have been to Jacksonville Florida since Tuesday. I HAD to go to an AYES workshop. {Well someone had to do it]. I wanted to make sure that I had left enough work for my students,so I left assignments on LJ systems for them. This is a computer based training program that the students use to train with. The only thing about this system is that the main computer [mine] has to be logged into system management before the students can get on to their program. So, with all my insight I decided to leave my computer on with the system manager minimized. This would allow the sub. to just tell the students to get on and she wouldn't have to do anything. Well wouldn't you guess it, a large tornado came through Carrollton Tuesday morning knocking out the power to most of the city. Tuesday the Tech school didn't have any power all day, so the students stayed at their home schools. Wednesday when the students tried to get on to do their assignment it wouldn't allow them to log on because the Icon had been lost off of my computer. Luckily I had left an IF ALL ELSE FAILS BACK-UP PLAN for work out of the book. I guess the moral of this story is to always expect the unexpected. Have a great weekend.

Poker Chips

I will be the first to admit that the video hit home. When a student comes to school that morning we don't know what the environment they just left was like. We don't know if they had a meal, a place to sleep, or a family. We take " normal people" things for granted. I am going to stop and look at the students IEP's a little closer before I fly off the handle. I am going to give every students their chips. LD's, MIMO, Normal, and Profound.

Poker Chips

Amongst the many LD students that I have there is one who really stands out. Everything that we're learning about LD's from the Lavoie tapes seems to fit this student perfectly. He is the best natured kid out of the majority of my students. I want so much to just quit everything that I'm doing with all of my other students so I can give him all of my attention. He deserves it. He tries so hard but doesn't grasp hardly anything. He is very self-conscious about his abilities and knows that he is far behind everyone else. He comes to me and whispers when he needs something that he thinks may embarrass him. He needs all of the poker chips he can get and I hope I can see every opportunity to give them.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Open Mic

I guess I would like to vent again. I am having a hard time with the "balancing act". Since the beginning of the year, things keep happening. As soon as I feel like I make head way, something happens and then I am behind again for a week. It all started with my husband's grandmother passing away the first day back to school and then every other week after that something has happened. My oldest daughter was sick, then my youngest, then we have visited the emergency room twice with my oldest and still don't have an answer for her severe abdominal pain. This past week my youngest has had two asthma attacks, one last thursday and I had to rush her to the doctor for a breathing treatment and then tuesday evening (11:00 pm) I had to call 911 to come to my house because she could not breathe. I have missed several days of work and I think that I am out of sick pay. I have been going to school 2 nights a week and attending THE EXCEPTIONAL CHILD CLASS from you know where. I feel like if one more thing happens I am going to explode. I know "it is life" and "this too shall pass" but I wish it would go ahead and pass. I know you all don't want to read all of this whining but I just had to vent. It is hard to juggle family and working as a teacher. I was a dental hygienist and a nurse. I have worked on the surgical, medical floor, home health and labor & delivery and I feel that teaching is absolutely the most challenging thing that I have ever done. I have a new respect for all of the teachers that have taught me and my children in the past and I will never complain about them ever again. Now I understand what they go through. Although I have just complained and whinned, I must say I still love my job I just need to learn how to balance everything. I know one day I'll look back at this and laugh. Ha! Ha!

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major chronic disease that affect many adults and unfortunately some adolescents but it doesn't have to happen. This disease can lead to organ damage which in turn can cause cardiovascular diseases, blindness, or even stroke. If you are affected with this disease it is not the end of the road because you have the power to reverse it without going to the Pharmacy. Start by exercising regularly, reduce and manage your stress level.

Lower your sodium intake, use sea salt instead of the regular table salt, eat a lot of fruits and vegetable which is rich in potassium and magnesium.
Vegetables that are good to reduce high blood pressure are those that are high in nitrate lettuce, spinach and beetroot.

All these vegetables can be juiced and having 8 ounces each day will give quick results. Remember that beetroot is sweet but the sugar it produce is good sugar and will not affect you if you are diabetic. You can also add granny smith apple, carrot or ginger to your drink to change the flavor.

2nd Financial Burden: Maintaining an adequate Tool Base

It's one thing to have the funds to by materials for a sizeable woodshop, It's another to maintain your shops tool base. If you don't have enough tools then it doesn't really matter if you have the material or not. Without tools you can't build anything anyway. I know that many of you are in the same boat. I wish I could get my students to care about our shops tool base. I found a tape measure that someone had tried to cut with a compound miter saw. A big chunk was taken out of it and you could clearly see that it was done by a large saw blade. Some of the kids have found that you can place a small block of wood under the saw, get the blade reved up and then just touch the blade onto the block of wood; it sends the block of wood reeling across the room! Well, in the process, the side angle indicator was broken off of the saw. If you don't hold the piece of wood that you are cutting then it could be sent reeling across the room or damage something in the process. In this case it was a $330.00 Compound Miter Saw that has been rendered useless if someone wants to make a compound cut. The piece that was broken off is made out of cast aluminum. I'm going to try and see if the Metals teacher can fix it. Sometimes it really makes you feel like giving up. Maybe what I'll do is go back to using just the basic hand tools!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Vinsant's Open Mic

My golf team won their first region match tonight so I'm riding a "Tiger" high. Got Learning Focus School for the next two days so I'm bring my laptop to play chess. Nothing much else except to say...guys...if she is sweating and her lips are on fire...SHE'S GOT MALARIA!

Poker Chips

I really enjoyed the video on Saturday. It really hit home with me. It made me think about some of the things we sometimes say to our children, our own as well as the ones at school. After a hard day at school, I find myself coming home and not having enough energy to deal with my own son. I am usually on edge and sometimes the smallest thing gets to me. Jajuan and the video make me rethink punishment. I ALWAYS take away the things he like as punishment (sports, video games, no outdoors). Now, I have to really rethink punishment. I know we were looking at the video for school purposes, but it mostly made me think about my parenting skills.

Different Strategy

I have 26 kids in my 3rd block class. This is a Carpentry 1 class. I have my share of goof-balls in this class and it's a hard one to control to say the least. As soon as I get pulled to the side to help a student, one or more of the goof-balls are "doing their thing". Sometimes in the shop there is so much ambient noise that I can hardly think. It's hard to focus enough to keep them all on track.
We're short on funds and that makes it a bit more difficult. If I had the money for material I could break them up into more groups. We're working on these small "houses" if you will. They're learning house framing. I've got 2 "houses" going for 26 kids and I need about 6 of them going. I've thought about putting half of the class in the classroom and letting them work on a written assignment and then just switch them back and forth from the shop to the classroom but they just won't do anything If I put them in the classroom.
As you can see I'm a bit short on strategies here. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

are there any qualifications to be a sub?

i was out 2 days last week because my wife had surgery...what a day i walked in to on monday when i came students told me the first sub told them about her previous career, a stripper...several said they had her in the past and she told them she was also a prostitute...then the one i had on day 2...she had written my assignment on the board that i left...there was so many misspelled words i couldnt make sense of it...and all she had to do was copy it from my notepad to the white board...

Open Mic/Part II

I just want to say that it is so great to see how much everyone is enjoying AND benefiting from this NTI thing!! I am SO included in this! It is funny how sometimes GREAT things turn up when you least expect them. What I mean is, like MOST of us, the NTI program was a requirement and something I had to do. But as it turns out, we all found a lot more than we expected: we found great new teaching skills, we found a good time with like minds and we also found friends. I think it's great. Kudos (as always) to Jesse and Dr. Burns for all of the help and for making us all WANT to come every week. And dare I say that you both have EVEN made me forget about how much it costs! (Well, at least until I go to lunch and have nothing in my wallet!)

Honestly, I do feel that NTI has been invaluable to helping us 'do right' by our kids; by teaching them properly & effectively. We learn methods that are proven to work, bottom line. Thanks teach(es!)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Change of Attitude

Had a meeting about IEPs on Monday and could not be in class. I was disappointed. What a far cry from when I was informed that I would have to take this class. I would never have taken NTI voluntarily but what would I have done without it? Teaching would have been little more than a frustrating chore. It was only last summer but it seems like a lifetime ago in terms of my teaching career. Do others feel like I do?

How do you thank Dr. Burns and Ms. Hayden adequately?

Open Mic/Keeping in touch

Thank you all for the kind words concerning the accreditation issues in Clayton...the saga continues..

I think keeping in touch is a GREAT idea! We learn alot form each other and share alot of ideas. I "borrow" so much from each of my classmates and instructors. The networking keeps us informed about issues from county to county and classroom to classroom. My biggest resource currently is my wife(teacher 12years) and my NTI classmates.
The blog is the best format to keep in touch and communicate. If we get individual e-mail addresses we are only going to use certain contacts, ....when the information can be shared between each never know who knows who, who knows what, who knows how, etc...

Let's keep the blog!

Helpful Websites for CTAE

I have two great websites that I use often in my classes. The first is free and even though it is healthcare focused, anyone could use it and made adaptations to their programs. It is

The second one requires a subscription but if your school can afford the $1000 site license, it is WELL WORTH IT and has TONS of stuff from academics to CTAE and beyond. This is my favorite and I use it for extra credit work a lot. The students love it as well. It is called Brain Pop.

Someone Finally Got the Message

Today I walked into a totally different school. It looked the same, smelled the same, was in the same location, but was very different. Shortly after greeting my 2nd period class and getting settled into the lesson, the fire alarm went off. I thought it was strange, because we had already met our drill quota for the month, but oh well, let's go. So we all file out the door and meet in our assigned space. For the next hour, we are all standing outside freezing to death. We are in the back of the school and we see no smoke nor do we have an idea of what is going on. Soon after, a teacher comes to us to let us know the drug dogs are here, along with 4 counties worth of police officers. I have had, so far, 2 students get called out of class to go to the office. One was a bit surprising to me but I think it might have been a false alarm. Another students' book bag and shoes were missing from the classroom when we got back. Several students are in the office right now being interrogated. It's definately been an interesting day. I think someone may have finally woke up and realized that we have serious problems here that need to be addressed. I'm feeling more confident in my administration now, and even more so since I know that last week's incident is being handled. The student is unofficially expelled until Thursday, when it will become official. He will have formal charges pressed against him by the school. Some things, I guess, I need to just give time to and let things work out. However, last week I was not so confident.

As far as keeping in touch, I think we should all stay on here for the new folks. We all have a lot of wisdom and insight to pass along to them. I wish last year's group would have been here for us. We are the best though, so let's show them up! LOL

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Free to run!

Ya know, I like being a CTAE teacher instead of something like an English or math teacher. I have free run of my classroom and I'm able to teach the curriculum how I want to teach it, not how the school or the other 4-5 Automotive teacher in the school want to teach it.

It seems that every month or so, I find a different way to teach. I know this isn't good for structure or student expectation but ya know what?..........Its gonna be better for future students. I don't really feel like I'm short changing the current students but I cant help but think that there is a better way to do things. As soon as I find a method that I'm totally comfortable with and the students are equally comfortable with, I will stick to it and allow the structure to settle in. For instance, I would do 2 classroom days, 2 lab days, and one review or test day. I have done this now for about 3-4 months and Its worked pretty good, just not as good as I think a class could work. I'm gonna go on a 2 month long experiment and see just how well this works............I'm gonna assign each student a task sheet with 2-3 task (big task) per week. I will work with them on a semi-individual basis and allow them to work at their own pace. They will also be aware of "filler" assignments waiting for them if they blow through the work with only partial correctness. They will also be aware that I'm looking for nothing short of "mastery". Wish me luck, I have excellent plans in place so I shouldn't have shot both my feet off, just one of them perhaps.

Keeping in touch? I think the blog limited to 07-08 NTI teachers may get kind of boring over time. Perhaps we should designate an Internet forum of such for future communication. This way, we can all smack talk and gang up on non-NTI teachers! Hahaha!

Alumni Blog

I'd like to vote for an Alumni Blog. I think it would be a good way for us to stay in touch with each other. It would be nice to keep up with each other and see how life is going for each of us. Some of us will stay with teaching, others will move on to other endeavors. But it would be nice to stay in touch to find out what happens and why we made the choices we did. Might help us to make better informed decisions about what we want to do when we grow up. Ha! Ha!

Open Mic 2-24

It is amazing the amount of wisdom I hear each time I am in class. Each week, I pick up at least a few ideas for lesson plans, behavior control, etc. In just a few short months, most of this group have gone from sounding like timid church mice to rough and ready, seasoned veterans. I am thankful for all of the "freebie" advice I get each class.
It would be great to stay in touch with everyone by being able to remain on the blog. We might even be able to help an incoming class of new instructors, since we are now "old pros". Does anyone else think this would be a good idea? I really enjoy reading all of the posts, and am always shocked at the differences in school systems.

February 24, 2008 Open Mic

I really enjoyed seeing everyone in class yesterday. I think that every person in this class is a great teacher. I can see how each of you really care for your students and seeing this encourages me as I continue in my path.
I really enjoyed watching "When The Chips Are Down". I am going to try my best to give as many chips as I can to these kids because I know that so many of them do not receive them at home. I want to keep in mind this philosophy and hopefully I can make a difference in this world that I live in. I am sure that is probably why most of us entered this profession is to make a difference. Let's never give up no matter how tired we are, we cannot, we must not give up.
I hope everyone has a great week!

What's good for the goose, is good for the gander?

If a student gets OSS at my school and adminstrator like that student they will allow them to make up there work, but if they don't like you. You get an F. I disagree with this but who am I.

How can you stop (PDA)? How do your school handle it?

Coming from a Law Enforcement background I am very observance. I see students in the hallway engaged in lip locking activities and I go and break them up, or if they are repeated offender I will take them to an adminstrator. I can be standing, or walking down the hall and see this going on and there can be teachers in the same hallway and they don't see it. What's your schools policy.

Keeping in touch

I would love to know what everybody is doing with there life's goals as a teacher, or adminstrator, but on the of hand I don't know if I will stay in Education. Back in the day our parents would tell us to stay on a job until you retire. Those days are long gone. Nothing is promised anymore except death and taxes. Maybe we could start a phone tree? this way we can see how the family is doing as well as your job.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Keeping in touch

I think it would be great to be able to keep in touch with everyone, but I have found in the past that this is difficult. It seems every time you leave a job or someone moves away that the intentions are to stay in touch but usually it doesn't happen. Life changes take place and other things seem to take the time that you would otherwise use to keep in touch. But, I do agree with Perry, an E-mail list would be a good idea.

open mic 16-24

Last week someone was asking about how other schools handle skills trips such as regional and state competitions. I asked our skills coordinator how they handled it.He said that they raise most of their money through fund raising activities,and if they fall short that the student will then be asked to contribute,but most of the student expenses are covered by the fund raisers.

stay in touch

as much as i enjoy conversing with yall with the busy life i have i probably wont blog much after sure most of yall are in the same bout a email list? that way when the need arises we can still get in touch..maybe even set up a distribution list so that one email could go out to every one of us....just a though...

Week of Feb 16-24 Open MIC

Hello All

I must say that it was great to see everyone in class today. I miss a lot of the new Monday crew that left us on Saturdays from last semester. I don't have anything new and exciting to talk about, because we have been out all week.

I did go to Miami, and as you can see, I made sure I put the Martini's down soon enough to make it back for class. Now its time to gather my mine and get back to work on Monday.


It is almost depressing to hear about some of the same or similar issues we are experiencing with our students. A lot of them are seeking attention but in the wrong way. I have a 9th grade homeroom and they are "off the chain". Out of about 18 students less than 7 are mannerable and act respectful. I hate to say it but the others act like " wild animals ". Wrestling with each other, cursing ,talking loud, sitting on / jumping over desks and just plain trifling. I tell you it is quite draining to deal with them from day to day. How can you teach them social skills or anything else when they do not demonstrate a desire to learn ? One on one they are fine but together, they are "AWFUL". I have a 3rd period with mostly girls and all they want to do is send text messages ,play music, shake their butts and sneak to talk to their " mamas" ( they claim ) on the cellphone during class. They then have the nerve to ask you " what's my grade in your class or am I passing your class." I just look at them instead of telling them to "GO FIGURE". This is a goodreason to stay "PRAYED" and prepare for the battlefields ( our classes ).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Clayton County Board of Education!!!!!!...shame on them all!!!

Hey guys and gals!
I have been away for a spell...Just returning in town, and to hear the things about your School system and SACS, and the Board, accreditation, etc....makes me wish I stayed!!!!
It's embarrassing to see and hear things about the system when the problem exist with only a few knuckle heads...AKA...School Board Members. As teacher in the system it makes me angry to hear things that question the integrity and qualifications of GREAT teachers....My NTI FAMILY, please believe me when I say we have GREAT, SMART, AMBITIOUS CHILDREN in Clayton County and the teachers are some of the best in the is a crying shame that a few board members make this statement look FALSE!
As outline in the summary report by SACS....the summary basically said the the curriculum, administration, teacher and day to day activities are GREAT, however the "BOARD" is not living up to the duties for which they were appointed....ENOUGH SAID! may have to suffer because of a few riffs between ADULTS!......

School policies and lack of support

Hello NTI family,
Today I am subbing for a Special Ed teacher and noticed a student that wasn't working. I went over to the student and asked him to begin working and he says he doesn't do anything in this class. Soon afterwards he is asleep and remains sleep the entire period. After the bell rings, I discuss this with the team teacher and she says that this is normal for this student and that he normally does nothing the entire period. If he's not working or sleeping then he's cutting class. She seemed very frustrated and showed me the forms she has completed on him. The administrators refuse to move him out of the class or school in spite of his long record of misbehaviors and poor attendance. What do we as teachers do with an issue like this? Why is this allowed and how do we as teachers deal with a non-supportive administrator?

The Saga Continues

Thank you all for your comments, support, and encouragement during this week of dealing with some new issues for me. I want to especially thank our Public Safety folks for their wisdom and guidance. Jessie came to see me yesterday and was awesome as well.

I found out this morning, however, that this has happened again. A teacher in the middle school (which is in the same building as we are) was threatened yesterday by a middle schooler. That child was handled in a much different way, because that principal will not take anything off those kids. She is actually coming down on the high school administration for them not being tough enough on these kids! Therefore, I have a friend in the middle school.

Several teachers have come to me and told me that they will not return next year if things don't change soon. These are veteran teachers who have been here since creation. They are fed up. There is talk of having an emergency faculty meeting, if only we could get our administrators out from behind their desk.

On top of all that, we had a unofficial policy change that totally goes against our handbook (student AND teacher) yesterday afternoon. I can't even teach now for having to make sure I'm dotting all my i's and crossing all my t's while playing silent cop in the hallway.

Then this morning, I saw a student pass off a pill to another student. The resource officer can't see it on the tape, so nothing will be done. Guess my word doesn't mean anything anymore.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Open Mic - Part I - School Violence

I would like to continue the discussion on school violence and generally, the affinity for violence that many of our youth have these days. Things have changed for sure and I'd like to spring-board off of Connie's remarks because I too, share her "love thy fellow man" mentality. I feel her pain in many ways, often genuinely saddened by the "ease of violence" that our youth comes by these days. Being a musician, I am certainly one of those touchy-feely, artsy types that believe more love and less violence is truly the way. Unfortunately, I am also of the Generation X group, so mixed-in with my "hippiesque," "love your brothers and sisters" mentality is also this constant, creeping contrast of slight apathy and--at times--an almost "Darwinist" view of others. But, I can fully and honestly say that those feelings are NOT directed towards our youth. I feel that if I get to that apathetic, hopeless place in regards to the youth, then I will no longer be fit to teach. I truly feel that BECAUSE of some of these kids, all hope is not lost. I hear many teachers talk of lost hope and being scared of their students running things in the future. I myself, feel hopeful. Sure, there will always be the trouble makers and havoc causers; regarding THOSE types of kids, their ultimate position in life and society may be the same as it has been for years. But, the "smart kids" just keep getting smarter and the "good" kids just keep getting better! I honestly think SOME of that credit can be placed on these kids growing up with computers and internet access, which believe it or not, is actually a wealthy knowledge source for young kids....once you get past all the porn I guess. (THAT'S WHAT GOOD PARENTS ARE FOR!) Nevertheless, it is indeed sad that many of us that WANT to be an agent of change just end up not knowing what to do or where to start due to the landslide of issues that face today's youth. But listen, there is positivity, and there are benefits that lie in just being of this positive, loving mentality AROUND these kids. They get enough negativity already. Just bringing your positive stance, love for other humans in your heart and simple happiness into close, daily proximity with these kids could truly be helping more than it seems. And this wouldn't cause instant feedback by any means; but, maybe a lot of these kids who are involved in the violence honestly don't know or see anything different at home. Or at the minimum, maybe they get NO guidance rather than bad guidance. These negative (or non-) influences can be very powerful, life-long influences that are nearly impossible to break....except maybe for a teacher! Why? Because besides the parents or siblings at home, we probably see these kids as much or more than anyone on their lives. This gives us a chance to change them for the better, even if it’s simply by being positive and happy every day! (Wow, I REALLY sounded like a hippie on that one!) If we believe-in and model the love-your-brothers-and-sisters-mentality, then it just may rub off on a kid or two!! So, I think that if we as teachers hold these positive and non-violent views true and believe in them, then we will model and exude that vibe. And if we model and emit that hopeful and loving view of others, then we just might quietly be agents of change after all. And I think this is true even when we feel helpless against a landslide of potential violence and negative influence on these kids. We have to remain a beacon of light in the fog of our current society's negative influences for if we, as teachers, become jaded or lose hope, then what other way of thinking and acting will our kids know? Despite the proliferation of violence, disrespect and general malaise that engrosses today's youth, let us remain resilient, poised and ready to combat these forces by NOT letting them overwhelm us as teachers. Let us be strong and lasting against that jaded since of apathy or hopelessness, for it is then that we would be causing more harm than good.

Skills USA competition and Career Expo

I'm going to the Skills USA competition and Career Expo at Columbus Tech today. Fancy this, in order to draw more interest into our programs (CTAE), our guidance department has decided to choose the students themselves that will go with us to tour the competition. We all have many students who have great talent but for some reason are not interested enough in Skills USA to become a member. They've never been to a competition. We thought if they saw one they just might get interested. Well, the guidance department isn't going to let us choose the students we feel would get the most out of it at this point and I just don't get it. With all of the encouragement that they have already recieved about thier great skills a visit to a Skills competition might be the one last boost they need to get involved don't you think? Duh!

Safety at School

I was reading Julie's post about the safety issue at her school. There have been a few times when I was fearful at my school too. Seems like the violence is worse and the frequency of violence is more often.

When I was a kid in high school, this type of behvior would never have been tolerated. I realize that was a 1000 years ago, but why have we allowed this kind of behavior and disrespect in our schools?

By not demanding and enforcing the rules, we are doing a disservice to our kids. They will never be able to function in the world. They will think they can do as they please because that is how they did it in school and they got away with it. Yet, our administrators can only do so much. Parents usually defend the child and think little Johnny or little Suzy would NEVER behave that way. Or it must have been someone else's fault to cause little Johnny or little Suzy to say and do the bad thing.

All of this violence and unrest is clearly a loud statement of our times. Public schools have become a battleground some days. Not a whole lot of learning or teaching can go on when students and teachers are fearful.

Are parents doing all they can at home to instill morals and values in their children? Is the home the root of all the problems we are seeing in schools today? Is the situation going to continue to get worse before it gets better? Other than trying to be a good example and trying to maintain order in our own classrooms, what else can individual teachers do to prevent the violence?

I guess I'm just a left-over hippie. I want people to love one another. I hate violence in any form. I just want Peace! And it is sad to me that our young people are so full of hatred and meanness. Peace.... And Love.... That's what the world needs now.... And we need it right now!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Open Mic Pathways or Not That's the Question

Why are we telling kids that they don't need a pathway?
Why are we telling kids that they won't need concentration?
Are they telling us to look for a job?
Somebody explain to me what's going on

Heartfelt thank you!!

Thank you all for the wonderful card I received today. You have no idea how much that meant. This has been a very difficult week with the unexpected death of my father, but to know that so many wonderful people are out there keeping our family in their thoughts and prayers, has been a great comfort. All of you have truly become part of my extended family. Thank you.

February 18 - 22

Hey everyone,

I hope all is well with you guys this week. I am enjoying my break and I am finally finished with Mock Trial. My students did very well even though we didn't make it to the finals. I had two students to win best attorney and two students to win best witness. Now I can get home at a decent hour. See you guys on Saturday.

Public Safety Assistance

I don't know quite how to feel today. Everything I have wanted to do has gone wrong. I have duty this week in the hallway next to where the buses drop off the students. It is my responsibility to make sure that the students are dressed properly, acting appropriately (no PDA), and don't go down the halls to their lockers before the bell rings. Yesterday I had a confrontation with a student who got into my face when I asked him to tuck his shirt in. Today, that very same student threatened the life of my supervisor who came out to help me because the guys don't have any respect for any of the female teachers. Of course, we couldn't find the SRO so we got the AP to come assist. The student told my supervisor that he was going to *&^&(*^ his *(&#*(& head off. The AP came down and acted like it was no big deal. He was trying to make it out that the supervisor was lying. I saw it all happen (I didn't hear what was said because the door was shut and this was outside). We finally found the SRO and the supervisor stated that he wanted the student arrested and charged. The SRO said he couldn't do that without witnesses. Since when does a threat on someone's life require a witness? I'm so bothered by this scene that it has pretty much consumed all my energy for the day. This student is chronically in trouble (I've written him up 4 times this week...and we've only been in school 2 days) and nothing is being done about him. I have never felt concerned over my safety here until today. On top of that, the rules automatically changed when the morning announcements came on. No longer do students have to follow the dress code. I can no longer ask a student (nor can any other teacher) to tuck in their shirt or pull their pants up. I want to leave this building and go home so bad today, but I can't. I'm disgusted that our administration does not have the backbone to support the teachers. The students are running the school (or the inmates running the asylum) and now the administrators are even scared of them. What is this world coming to? I love to teach but when I don't feel safe, I don't want to be here. This makes me want to be a stay at home mom even more.
To make matters worse, today is the day I did my videotape. I hope Dr. Burns will be forgiving, as it was done under a lot of stress. I would have put it off another day but I only have access to the camera today.
To our public safety folks, what is your take on what happened today? Could they have arrested this student for the threat (he is 17)? Are there programs out there to help small schools who are growing and having to face inner city problems in the country? I fear my days as a teacher are becoming shorter lived.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

C-5 C-6 C-7 E-I-E-I-O

I'm short tempered with no patience because My C-5, C-6, disks are officially herniated and I went for an epideural yesterday...add to this - the obvious vandalism to my car by Dr. Burns and Jesse...the ice cold clutches of the Physical Therapist, and the close-to-food poisioning I suffered this weekend, and you have

I have been off since last friday. Our system made it a mini vacation so I felt as though I was having a mini vacation....WRONG! My video shows me in the best light possible...first, the computer froze...the room was too dark...I had a poltor... I mean, ugh...puolter, aw hell...GHOST! in the back of my classroom that suspiciously favored Dr. Burns. I say this only because I heard this maniacal- stirring -around -the -caldron -laughter coming from my book case and the wolfbane. (All mispelled words are the product of severe Vicodinner).

Anyway, my only problem this week is our first golf practice round tomorrow in which we host the entire county. Our total team score for the final elimination round was a 69. 79 won state last year...I smell burmuda victory.

Love to all.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Murphy's Law on Observations

My principal had orginally planned to observe my class two weeks ago and had asked for the lesson plans in advance. I wanted to make sure I was well prepared, so I created some outstanding lesson plans that included almost every "tool" in my my toolbox. Well, wouldn't you know, it ended up he couldn't observe during the designated time frame! He came to me last Monday and told me he would be in my room the next day. I decided that maybe the principal would be impressed with my plan to review and discuss the most missed questions from the previous day's test. I thought that this would be a great demonstration of my skills in remediation and mastery of concept. And I could count on my third year students to contribute and develop productive conversations. The class began, the principal walked in, and the class that is always "involved in the learning process," TOTALLY clammed up! They huddled in a corner like refugees, kept their mouths shut the entire time (leaving me to do all of the talking), and at the same time, they were cutting their eyes at the principal in the corner. When he left, I had to fight the urge to run after him down the halls telling him, "they're not usually like this!! Come back! Come back!" What's that saying about the best laid plans?????????

Nothing at all!

I really have nothing to say. I have the flu this weekend and my chest is on fire. I am not sure if i will be in class on monday. I was looking at ulearn and saw something about makeup work for saturday 2/23. Are we having class next saturday?


I've just discovered a free web-based online course management system. It's called

I've been playing around with it this weekend, and it's fairly easy to set up a free account and to create online classes or online components of classes you teach in face-to-face settings. For any of you who are interested, here's the link--

Have fun!


Thank GOD for Henry County. well another six weeks has come and now its time for break again. Don't you just love it!. Oh sorry, that your school district is not on this type of schedule. One thing I can say is, that it helps reduce the BURN OUT feeling. Just when I am about to explode, the six week bubble bursts to relieve the pressure. I am headed to Miami, to enjoy the warm weather and sip MARTINI'S on South Beach. I need it. Enjoy your week

Feb. 11-15th Open MIC

I had a short week at school, but a busy one away from school. I attended, yet another PhD residency. This was a 4-day and it was here local at the HILTON DOWNTOWN. They have been very informative. I am approaching my time submit my prospectus and start my dissertation, so learning to conduct research and do stats has been a challenge. But other than that all is well.

Feb 4-9 Open Mic

Hello All

I like the idea of the open mic. Check 2-1-2. Now that I got my time in the spot light as a DJ. I guess there is not much to say. I had an en exciting week in preperation for career tech week at school. I will be hosting a public safety fair sometime in march, which is when I invite public safety entities from arround the state to attend. The school is very supportive of it and the kids loved it last year. Especially when the rescue chopper makes a landing in a small area right in front of the gym. It was awesome. I will keep you all posted, just in case you want to come check it out.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Another Week Down

This has been an exhausting week. I had two observations this week ( school and Jessie ), both went well. Jessie, thanks for the suggestions. On Tuesday, the female teachers escorted the male instructors to " Chef Cafe Elite" (Culinary Arts dining room ) and served them lunch prepared by the Culinary Arts department. The menu was : tossed salad. vegetable medley, chicken, salmon, steak, baked potato, rolls, heart-shaped sugar cookie with strawberries and whipped cream, iced tea. They had a choice of getting all the meats or choosing which piece they wanted. Most chose all three. Upon leaving the cafe, each were given a goodie bag of sweets. Since it is a Leap year , it was decided to "PAMPER" the male instructors. This turned out to be a great success and a bright spot for the week. I am looking forward to Monday off, even though our Monday night class will take place. Have a good "Mental Health" day.


Yesterday we had our first real injury in my automotive class.And wouldn't you guess it there wasn't a nurse in sight.One of the guys in class, who is not a bad kid he just thinks he's real cool, was in class friday and was complaining that someone had taken the crank out of the engine that his group had torn down,I told him that the crank was in another groups engine because I had used it for a demonstration.I turned and walked to the sink to was my hands[and sing happy birthday a couple of times] when this student came walking over to me with that deer in the headlights look, holding his hands together and blood dripping to the floor, so with all of my infinite wisdom I looked at him and said you got cut putting your crank back in didn't you.He showed me his finger, I told him to go to the sink and wash it out. I went to my office and since no nurse was there I decided to take action, I donned my rubber gloves, broke out the first aid kit and went to work. After triage, I determined that since he was the only one damaged, I would work on him first. I began to Inspect the gapping wound [not that dramatic but it sure makes the story sound better] and I saw that although the cut appeared to go all the way to the bone it was only about 3/4 of an inch long. About that time I looked at the student,who is about as tall as I am and he looked kind of pale.I asked him if he was alright and he told me he was feeling kind of WOOSY, he told me that the sight of blood didn't bother him, I said yea as long as it's not yours. So I ask the only girl in my class, since she was right there to get him a chair to sit in. We got the bleeding stopped [direct pressure]. I took him to the office. This is a very good group so I new they would be O.k. I left one of my interns in charge. He took them all out of the shop area and back to my computer lab. At the office we called his mom, made an accident report, cleaned up the wound, bandaged it and headed back to class.He thanked me for dressing the wound and said it was pretty good having an automotive teacher who used to be a Firefighter/EMT. So there you have IT, an exciting friday morning in the life and times of an Automotive teacher.Have a great weekend.

Friday, February 15, 2008

In the Army now?

I recently got onto a student for being late. He says to me, it dont really matter, i'm withdrawing in a couple of days anyway. I asked why, he says because Im 18 and Im behind on a couple of credits so I wont graduate on time without taking "NovaNet" online classes. As usual, I asked do you really think quitting is going to solve your problem? He said he had been talking to an army recruiter and the recruiter told him that he could go ahead and drop out and the army would pay for his GED and go ahead and enlist him.

Has anyone heard of this? Can this possibly be true? Is he wrong as I think or would like to believe he is? Or is this possible? If this is really the way it is, i'm about to chew on some recruiter a$$! There is no sense in talking an already "at risk" student into making the mistake of quiting school. There is nothing wrong with the armed forces but this is wrong on so many levels if true.

Extended Day Pay

If I had my choice I wouldn't do extended day. The money is good, but the time you spend organizing a club, holding club day, collceting dues, and planning meeting. It's not worth it. I do it for the student to something to get involved.

Cultural Differences

My class goes to Work Based Learning. We do actual projects for the Dekalb County Parks and Recreation Department. Most of my students are from south Dekalb which is predominately African American. Our student population is 90% African American. I was informed on Thursday we would be going to a new park to remodel a building. The park is very nice I was pleased to get to go there.

Later in the day an administrator asked to come and speak to the class. The administrator (African American) told the students that the patrons of that park would be suspicious of a group of African American teenagers at the park and that their behavior would have to be top notch or the patrons of the park(predominately white, upper middle class) would demand that the students be removed from the work site. I was initially appalled with what the administrator was saying and didn't understand why he had to bring race into it but after some thought I knew he was right and it was a matter that needed to be addressed. It had never entered my mind that for many of my students going to a park where the patrons were predominately white was like going to a foreign country and from eaves dropping on students conversations, some were nervous about it.

None of this had dawned on me at all. I had failed to be culturally sensitive.

A little torn

I just had a student removed from my class for excessive sleeping. I talked to him several times about the problem and even wrote him up but to no avail. This same student was in my class last semester and really didn't do much. He passed by the skin of his teeth. The funny thing is, he is a senior, a starter and star football player on our football team and to boot he just signed with a junior college on a scholarship. Apart from the sleeping problem he is a decent kid. Sometimes I feel that if I have to take drastic measures of this sort then somewhere I messed up. It seems like there is something you can do to pull all of the kids around!

Open mic

Good Morning NTI Family,

Today is TGIF and I look forward to our 3 days off. I now have a new assignment during 2nd period each day. I have been asked to go into a Spanish class that supposedly has students with behavior problems. So Wed. was my first day in there and from my observation, the students are very talkative (freshmen what do you expect?) and want attention and love. Some of them are off task without textbooks or sleeping in class, but there are not bad students in this class. Now all of these topics were discussed this summer during NTI and I recall that there are several methods that need to be done according to the situation at hand. Mind you the major problems I witnessed were: a teacher that has poor classroom management skills and yells at the students alot. She makes fun of the students and uses sly remarks to degrade them if they do something wrong. Yesterday, she gave them an assignment and failed to provide proper instructions, so the students kept talking and asking questions. The list goes on and on. However, this teacher has been teaching for 5 years and obviously hasn't been through NTI so she is not an effective teacher. She knows how to speak Spanish well because that is her native language and she expects that all her students should learn it quickly. So, this has been quite interesting for me to go in and be the "Behavior Bouncer" and keep the students in order when the teacher is the one out of order.

On another note, I think I have a job, but waiting on the interview. I've been applying like crazy to all high schools, so if any of you have leads, send them my way or email me.

Oh I must go put on my "Bouncer Hat" for class next period...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Teenagers don't think!

Happy Valentine's Day!

One of my students got a visit at lunch time from her boyfriend for Valentine's Day. Problem was, he is a student at another school in Henry County. And he brought a buddy with him. When the administrators finally realized that the two boys were not our students, they approached them along with the SRO. Boyfriend lied about his name. And matters just kept getting worse. Boyfriend and buddy were hauled off to jail. Boyfriend texted my student (not supposed to be doing that either!) later in the day to tell her that his dad bailed him out of jail, but buddy was still in jail.

My student was upset that her Valentine's Day was ruined. Her mom is a teacher at the Middle School. Her mom didn't know about all the commotion yet.

What a mess! What were they thinking?

Open Mike....Give me money

I think Skills USA is a wonderful thing. I am looking forward to taking a group of kids to compete in April for State competition. However, I told them to compete I had to have $20 from them to join Skills USA. After they struggled and moaned a little I had 4 or 5 come up with the money. I told them they would have to pay for their motel room at around $100 a night but they could split it 4 ways (acutally 3 ways for the boys and 2 ways for the girls). Then I get told state registration fee is $35 to compete. They complained about that, then I was told they had to be in official Skills USA attire. Another 20-30 bucks for a button up shirt they will only wear at compeititon. I teach in Lafayette, over 60% of our kids are on free/reduced lunch. The families cant afford for me to keep on telling them I need more money. It seems like every time I turn around I have to tell them they have to pay for something else or buy something just to compete.

Open Mic

I just want to share my excitement about the upcoming winter break. I have been counting down the days since we came back from the Christmas holidays. I am also happy that I have Mock Trial Regional competitions this weekend. It is about to be over and I can get part of my life back. I love my students that participate, but it is just so time consuming. I can't wait to see everyone on the 23. I really miss you guys.

Open Mic 2

Happy Black History Month!

My school is participating in events this month and we have a "show" at the end of the month. It's nice to see students embrace the different cultures and get involve with the many activities relating to the event.
I work at Forest Park High School, and I am willing to bet that it's the MOST diverse school in the county and arguably in Georgia...we have a wonderful mixture of all races(surprisingly well balance in each area). I am proud to have such a nice mixture of kids, it allows for stimulating , insightful and often educational discussion in class.
Makes me feel good to see students interact and show respect for each other...I only wish my co-workers would take heed!

Addressing the problem

My 3rd block class has been the worst class so far this semester. About half of the students are focused and ready to work, the other half are constantly disrupting and disrespectful. So yesterday I decided that if we're going to make any "collective progress" then I would have to address the problem. A class discussion was in order. It didn't seem to surprise me that the disruptive half were most argumentative about my opinions on the condition of the "culture of defiance" at our school. The other half could clearly see the problem. We're going to resume the discussion today but I don't know if it will do any good. Dr. B and Jess, is it a good idea to have these types of discussions? I'm at a loss for ideas and figured if we're going to have any kind of productive "rest of the semester" then I needed to do something.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Correction to previous blog from Tracy

On my post I meant to say so that the new teachers would not have to suffer. Sorry for the misprint.
I had my evaluation Monday. I just want thank Jessie for making me feel at ease. I am always nervous during an observation but Jessie and Dr. Burns make it pleasant. I have learned so much from NTI. It would be great if they picked up Exceptional Child for the future new teachers so they would have to suffer through like Connie, Esther and I. I am getting the class for free but I would be willing to pay if Jessie and Dr. Burns taught the class. I hope everyone is having a good week.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mock Vote

Our school did a mock vote for presidential candidates. On the Republican side, McCain won by 2 votes over Huckabee. On the Democrat side, Obama won by a landslide over Clinton.

Just curious about what other school's results might have been. Did your school happen to have a mock vote? How did it turn out?

Just blogging

My observation was yesterday. Jesse was very kind. I have to admit, The NTI visits are something that I enjoy because of the helpful feedback we receive.The one thing that I have been a nervous wreck about is that I have not been formally observed by my administrators. The year is almost done! They need to just come on and get it over with.

On another issue...Having Dr Burns and Jesse have spoiled me. They truly model what they teach. Some of us are having to take the exceptional nightmare class and well it has become a true example of do as I say, not as I do. This has made me even more aware of my actions with my students. Actions do speak a lot louder than words. I am amazed how much students pick up on! They remark on hairdoos, jewerly, clothing, moods, tone of voice...everything! They will mimic your actions over your words in a heartbeat! scary thought isn't it!

Well good night all!

A little less nervous

I'd like to thank Mrs. Greene for a wonderful visit and observation. A little less nervous this time. I guess we're finally starting to find that groove. (I hope I'm speaking for all of us!)Deffinately some very good suggestions for improvement. I'll be glad when I can really start sifting through all of the info that we have at our disposal, as provided by NTI, and start utilizing all of the great ideas. Everything that I've used thus far is awesome and I'm kind of sticking with those things for now. To bring everyone up-to-date on the progress of my house, well, I'm hoping to start shingling the roof this weekend. I'll tell you, this year, with all of it's challenges,(teaching, NTI, house building and the basic family responsibilities) has been the wildest ride! It's only by the grace of God that I've/we've been able to sustain. My hat is off to all of you!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Vinsant's comments Feb 11-15 while @#$% off

Not sure what the new blog is, but I would like to comment on a subject that is near and dear to us all....The phrase @#$% off! Julie....That first word is spelled !@#$, not @#%@#%. Any way...I got to my car after school today. Now remember...I'm In Skills USA, The Character Building Committee, Supervisor of the Student Security Team, and The "Swing Doctor" of the Varsity Boy's Golf Team. I also Tutor, am a School Mentor and The advisor of the school Resource Officers who have less time in a police uniform than my unmentionables. I go to my car and see that I have been keyed from the head light to the tail light. Now...Unless Jesse or Dr. Burns did it Saturday, then it happened at school. (Still haven't ruled out Dr. Burns).

I told the administration that I would move up in the line up for a front row parking space. I know who did it...just can't prove it (Whispering....D.R. B.U.R.N.S).

Anyway...a front row parking space with all the trimmings cost me around $400.00

I wanted to relay a slice of personal experience I gave my kids...(Was I out of line?)...If they are sweating and their lips are hot...they have Malaria !

New Open Mic

I don't want to get off on a rant first thing, but... Has anyone else experienced a "sophomore slump" in teaching? I fell like last year I taught at about a "6" out of "10". This year, I am truly struggling. From the time I walk in the door in the morning, until I leave for the day, I never feel like I do anything well. After last year, I thought "Great! I really love the kids and the job - regardless of all the nonsense." Now, I struggle through each day like I have the ghost of "Job" on my back. If it were not for a few select students and peers around me, this would really be the pits. As a real "detail" guy, it bothers me to feel "mediocre". If anyone else is feeling the same, let me know. All of that "no man is an island" stuff is sounding like a lot of hooey at this point.
Also-for all of the "Monday night folks"-YOU ARE MISSED! (But Saturdays rock. Especially when we break ou the cooler and the bongos - WooHoo!)


Well, the topic hasn't changed yet so I figured I'd be safe to post another "open mic" comment.

I have always tried to have faith in my boss no matter where it was that I worked. I like to think the best of people. However, the past two school days has caused me to lose ALL faith in the administration of my asylum. The wardens called a meeting of the 9th grade team on Friday. We were to be in the room by 8:15 sharp. Well, all 10 of us were there at 8:10 patiently awaiting our wardens to address whatever the issue was. At 8:20 we called to see why they weren't there. We were told they were coming. At 8:30 we called again, still no answer. The AP finally came down at 8:43 (the bell rings at 8:45) and asked what we needed to talk about (THEY called the meeting, not us! However, we came up with an agenda while we were waiting). We told him there was no way we could even begin a discussion in 2 minutes time and get somewhere. So, after wasting 10 hours of planning, he said we'd all meet on Monday, same time (8:15) and same place. So I arrive at 8:10 this morning (however, I brought papers to grade with me this time) and, sure enough, sat there until 8:30 with no one coming from administration to the meeting. All of this has caused my day to be completely thrown off. I wasn't prepared when my second period class came in so I "winged it" with all my morning classes this morning. It has gone so well that I will continue to do the same this afternoon. (I had them create a powerpoint slide for Black History Month covering an African American in a health related field). Anyway, to think that I will be going to waste my time sitting on administration again is a joke. We are having a faculty meeting after school today and half of me is saying to completely blow them off because obviously they don't care about their staff. The other part of my has this gnawing in my conscious that if I don't go, I may not have a job tomorrow. Needless to say, the faith is GONE.

Mid Semester Exam

Wednesday was the day for the mid-semester exams. We had reveiwed the information for the exam at least 1/2 hour each day. I told the students the class with the highest passing rate could have a Valentine party. The results were:
1st Period- 7 passed out of 17
2nd Period- 6 passed out of 18
3rd period- 0 passed out of 21 ( 2 -A students and several B students are in this class).
It makes me wonder why some of the students come to class everyday. After reveiwing the exam, some of the students agreed there wasn't any good reason for them not to pass the exam. Maybe when they get their progress report ( failing grade ) , this will be a wake -up call. My hope for a lot of these students is beginning to "WANE".

Sunday, February 10, 2008

This week hasn't been any worse than some of the others. I just get frustrated with so much incompetence, especially with those who are suppose to lead us. Let's see. There was an electrical fire in the Family and Consumer Science classroom, well not really a fire but smoke. We were evacuated as soon as we got in the door, then all clear, then evacuated again because one principal said the fire department gave the okay, then another principal says the fire department says no, it's not all clear. Good thing the whole school wasn't on fire. On Friday, we had a tornado drill which took forever. None of the kids wanted to get on their knees eventhough I explained earlier how important this is. I went as far as to grusomely describe what just happened in Tennessee and Alabama and no one seemed to care. It is so sad to see students have no compassion for others. I guess they think they are exempt from anything disastrous ever happening to them. What is the world coming to!!!

Open Mike

I am at a loss for words this week. We had so much happen this week at school. Tuesday we had our blood drive with the American Red Cross, Wednesday we had our tornado drill, Thurday was our Black History Month program and Friday was our NJROTC pass and review. I had so many kids in and out of class. This coming week coming up is our last week of the six weeks and I have a fear that we are not going to get it all done by the end of the week. I could do this job 24/7 and still not get everything done that everyone expects me to do. I have said this before, I can't wait until I can be comfortable with my career and can go home and not worry about everything or does that ever really happen. Jessie said that after my third year I should start feeling more comfortable. I sure hope so because I am so overwhelmed!!!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Open mic

Thursday was a very busy day for me. I was invited to speak to a group of students at one of my county's High Schools at their career Day. After addressing them for about 15-20 minutes I opened the floor for questions.The students were asking questions like, can they make plenty money in the trade? I told them yes, if they are not lazy or spending all day on their cell phones, how much does it cost to attend this school was the next question? I told them it was free, they could not believe there was a school that teaches these skills without a cost. In the long run I had to ask them to talk with other students they knew that are in my class to confirm everything.

My Auto lab is the largest in the State of Georgia but the county decided to sold it to GPC: so next year will be the last year on this site after 37 years.

Coddling and Over Protecting Students?

Do you think that we coddle and over protect our students? Are we making things harder for them in the long run when they have to face the real world?

I'm not so sure I agree with everything that we have to do for our students, especially some of the special ed/behavior problem students. How will these students ever become productive citizens? No boss anywhere is going to modify anything for them. They will be expected to behave themselves and follow the rules and do their jobs just like every other employee. The boss is not going to give a flip that they had an IEP, a "behavior modification" plan, or anything else to help them get their school work done. The boss is going to want them to get the job done or get out.

I don't think any boss any where would put up with the behavior that we put up with. The boss is going to show them to the door and tell them not to let the door hit them in the a$$ on the way out. Kids have to learn to appropriate behavior or they will not be able to function in the world.

I read an article from a GA Tech advisor. She was describing what she called "helicopter parents." These are the parents who "hover" over their kids to check on things, to do things for the kids that the kids should be doing for themselves. She said the kids are not kids anymore. They are adults, yet they don't know how to take care of their own business. They expect mama and daddy to bail them out of every situation. The students don't have any idea of how to handle their own business.

Are we encouraging this behavior? By modifying everything, by not allowing the student to fail and learn from his mistakes, by coddling and over protecting and hovering, are we doing a disservice to all these students???

Friday, February 8, 2008

Only Time Will Tell!!

What would you like to "talk about" with your fellow "Bloggers" this week? You have an "open mike."
I am a little concerned about the state's new mandates on high school graduation requirements. I believe that there definitely needs to be a move toward more academic rigor. However I have a concern about the effects this will have on high school's abilities to make AYP, since graduation rates is the major component on which high schools are judged. I think that the state is making a mistake by assuming that ALL students are college-bound and the new requirements may encourage a vast amount to drop out. The "one size fits all" model has never worked (why would we have special education if it did?). Many, many students are going to feel defeated with few options to receiving a high school diploma. My hope is that all students will be able to attain the mandated standards, but I feel that the new path will fall short of their expectations. Educators need a variety of ways to prepare their students for the real world; for some, that doesn't mean a post high school four-year degree.

Some decisions are permanent

Of everything you did last week as a teacher, what would you do differently? Why?

This week, one of my at-risk students finally erupted in the classroom. Up until that event, I had been treating him with "kid gloves" and nurturing him along by showing him a little extra attention. I knew that he needed this kind of attention to keep him on-task and less disruptive. He finally took advantage of some of the extra privileges that I had bestowed upon him. All of a sudden, he felt like he was above the shop rules for safety and had a violent episode in class with another student. I knew that the student was having a rough week but I could not allow his behavior to go unchecked. I gave the student a choice to sit down or to involve an adiministrator. He chose to see an administrator and I did not back down from the choices that I had given him; we (the student and myself) discussed the incident with the assistant principal. The student was reprimanded by the administration and was promptly given a consequence for his defiant behavior. I regret that the student made that decision because two days later, he dropped out of school. Although I do not feel fully responsible that the student withdrew from school, I do feel as though I could have handled it differently; I'm just not sure what I could have done.

Stupidity of Administrative Crap

When I was in High School ( April 15, in the Year of our Lord-Knows-When!) our parents were given a sheet of paper that had the classes we needed to take in order to graduate...then on a Saturday, we went to the gym and stood in the line, of the classes we needed; signed the official "okie-dokie" of the teacher and we were in! The only problem experienced by the teacher was the occasional need for a pee-pee break on that Saturday.

Advisement is the biggest lie ever perpetrated on "teacher-dom". I didn't spoon feed my infant daughter (back when moses was a carpenter) as much! The past 4 weeks I have...Gone to three departmental meetings, a staff meeting, three Advisement training sessions, two new teacher meetings, a fire, intruder and tornado drill, an occasional pee-pee break and...lunch room duty for a total of ten days! My classes are behind by a week.

Add to that this the night I was recruited to be a timer at our county swim meet (My eyes were red with chlorine , I almost fell in twice, and I know I swallowed some water I'm certain those students had peed in!) and I had less that three class days to teach!

When does education become educating the kids? Why are there so many administrative functions? Why do I itch here? I'm learning as a new teacher that the dog needs feeding but there are no bones...just cartiledge ! (Yech!).


Thursday, February 7, 2008


Today I had my first run in with a student that actually disrupted class. It started in the shop when I was beginning his group with their assignment. The discussion between me and the student began to get pretty loud in the shop and the students in the class began coming to the door to see what was happening. This student has just returned fromm alternative school. About the time it was about to get totally out of hand I remembered what we learned at NTI, you should remove the student from the sight of his/her peers, so I gave him the option to go to the principle's office or go to my office to talk about this problem. After about 2 or 3 minutes we were on the path of recovery. After about 10 minutes he apologized, we shook hands and we returned to class as if nothing had happened. Although the last 10 minutes of class was spent reiterating classroom rules.

open mic

I have a paraprofessional to assist me. This year we were mandated to use cooperative learning. We break into groups, my paraprofessional teaches social skills and I teach Construction and we rotate the groups. I have a lead teacher who checks on the class. Five times in the last two weeks she's come to my class with no prior warning and removed my paraprofessional and taken him into another class she deemed to need more help leaving me with eleven students and having to change my lesson plans with no advanced warning. My students have responded well but the smallest change in routine is sometimes difficult for them not to mention me. Her explanation to me was that my class was running smoothly and some of the other classes were not and they needed more help.

I know my classmates at NTI all have more difficult situations than I do with more students, more classes and more responsibilities outside the classroom but my biggest concern is I've been told it is mandated by law that the teacher student ratio for Special ed. is one teacher per eight students. Plus it wears me out having to change lesson plans and monitor student activities without any prior planning and why am I punished because other teachers, who are more experienced than I am can't control their classrooms.

This will make you laugh

Just as Mrs Green was going over my evaluation with me today my mentor (shop teacher) walks in. I had already told him I was getting evaluated today. He walks right up to us and says, "Hey Perry, if you failed can I have your filing cabinet?"

Thought for the Day

After my little (ok, BIG) vent, I found my "Teachers" calender and here is what it said...

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

May this quote help you to find the inspiration to finish out today and the remainder of this week.

I love my NTI Family!!!

The inmates are running the asylum!!!!

Dear Warden (err...I mean, Principal),
It has come to my attention that the inmates are now currently running the asylum that you claim to be in charge of. Your officers (teachers) are tired and exhausted of the countless hours of chasing inmates (students) through the halls to tuck in their shirts, pull their pants up, and cover their boobs. This is just one of the many duties they are tired of. To add a few more, they are tired of piles of paperwork that must be done yesterday when you won't allow them in the building past 7:30 PM Monday through Friday. To think that one might want to use a weekend day to catch up is just unheard of and impossible. Covering for other officers is another thing…when you get asked at 7:30 to cover a shift and they say that you are the only option and you have a meeting, what are you to do? The inmates cannot be unsupervised! When I personally covered today, there was food all over the place, inmates standing on top of the desks, inmates sleeping, or just some general disrespect. I had absolutely no standing in that unit because of how he allows the inmates to act. I do not want to cover for that officer any further until he gets his inmates under control in his unit! But again, that just added to the already mile high stack of paperwork I had to do once the write-ups began! There are drugs everywhere in plain sight and your officers do the appropriate paperwork and go through the proper channels, yet the inmates receive no punishment for their actions. How can control be maintained if you, as the warden, aren’t following up on the paperwork? You don't even address the issues half of the time! Warden, I'm sure that you know this is going on because you can't be seen for the stacks of paperwork on your desk (or is that your cover to go play a round of golf or two?) and forget the phone messages and emails left by the inmates families about when they may be paroled back into "real life". I have to wonder if you and Deputy Dan (SRO) are out enjoying that round of golf because it’s obvious neither of you are concerned about the asylum. The recreational room (ISS) is so full that you might want to consider knocking out a few more walls and maybe give your commanding officer there a raise because "she must be doing something right for them to behave in her room". Oh yeah, and what about all of those on death row (students who are failing)? They are piling up by the hundreds right now. There is no more room for them. What do you want your officers to do to ensure that they only have to serve 4 more years or less? Surely you don't mean to just pile on more paperwork since you have already limited them to certain hours.

What your officers need, dear sir, is SUPPORT and ENCOURAGEMENT. Dealing with inmates is not an easy job, as you may well suspect. Your staff needs to feel that they are safe to take risks (you tell them to, yet when they do, the hammer comes down), have time to teach these inmates how to conduct themselves in society so when they leave they will be productive citizens, and have the support and encouragement that every human being needs. Your officers do not feel supported or encouraged by the actions that have taken place lately and you may begin to lose highly qualified officers if you continue to allow these things to happen. The inmates should not be running the asylum, and to that, many would agree. However your theory of “it needs to start with the staff” is not entirely true. You have a very hard working officer staff who strives for consistency. The question is whether or not you support them in their decisions and give them some flexibility to move and breathe on certain matters. It will take a lot on your part to be more visible and rigorous in your job as well. Your staff does a lot of the grunt work for you, you simply respond to the major issues. Your staff would appreciate more backing from you, more support in what is being done, and more of a presence to remind the inmates that this is your asylum, and not theirs, to run.

A Concerned Officer

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Burn out!

I spoke to one of my mentors today and asked her "when do you start to feel a lack of drive and start to think about summer vacation"? Well, her answer essentially was that it's all relative to the work load. Being careful to provide your students with plenty of opportunities for evaluation but then being careful to not create too much extra work for yourself has it's own set of challenges. But then there are a lot of other factors, as we all well know, even with the limited amount of experience that we have. We issued progress reports today and several of my students were shocked to see that they had "F's" in my class. Because a good work ethic was so lacking in the majority of my students I decided that I needed to grade them a little harder in that area. Many of them seemed to resent me after I explained to them why they recieved the grade that they did. Where did the conscience go in so many of our students? This work outlook and these attitudes are what wear me out. Sometimes I feel like, as the verse in the bible states, I'm "throwing my pearls to the swine". These sorry attitudes.....this is what burns me out.

Open mic!

February 4th - February 9th--What would you like to "talk about" with your fellow "Bloggers" this week? You have an "open mike."

This time of the year is really slow for me and I get a little irritated with the students. It has been this way for three years so I know it's coming and I can deal with it a little better, however this is my first time taking class(NTI) so it makes it more difficult. I actually feel pretty good physically , mentally, etc...but juggling a few things can be difficult at times(I think I am this way because of sacrifics made for completing my certification)..just like many of you!!!
As I use to say when I played football..."It takes a special kind of person to play this sport, football ain't for everybody".....WELL......
......It takes a special person to teach High School...High School ain't for everybody!
I think I can handle it because I haven't walked out yet..hehe

One more thing...I am the Advisor for the Asian Student Association(ASA) and they are preparing for a festival and I am at school everyday to 5:45-6:00....which further let's me know I can handle it a little longer!!!!!!...But it ain't easy...I pray April gets here FAST...although I LOVE NTI....(just in case my instructors read this...wink)...LOL

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Hello All

One thing I can say about being stressed out and wanting to take time off is NEVER take an entire week off. The stress level upon the return will reach an all time high, especially when you actually leave a physical assignment for the students to do each day. I now am up to my ____ in papers that need to be graded, the upload to edline is due and registration for next year is in progress. OH HELP ME SOMEBODY!!!


Hi Guys

I have finally returned and now able to get to this blog thing under control. For the weerk of Jan. 28 thru Feb. 4 I was away in Dallas completing my first PhD residency. I must say it was a bit ovewhelming in the beginning, but after networking with other PhD candidates, speaking with advisors and getting one-on-one time with my professors, I came away with a wealth of knowledge and a little more confidence about writing my dissertation.

Open mike

i was about to post my weekly blog but thought i would read a few before i posted...glad i seems the message i was gonna relay hit home with a few of the post...i want to quote the infamous words of my drill sergeant from basic training....DO PUSHUPS YOU &@*(# WORTHLESS KNUCKLEHEAD...sorry flashbacks and wrong qoute...his words of wisdom was suck it up...of course he also added the #*@&@*# knucklehead but i wont here...teaching can be stressful and NTI has added to it...not from the meeting new friends to bounce ideas off of but from the extra work associated with it...i can really see the light at the end of the tunnel and we have almost finished this suck it up for a few more weeks, lets learn all we can in that time, and then we will be through..hang in there, never quit, and by all means...just suck it up and do it...we can make it

Open Mike

Well, I am in a sentimental, blue state today. Hormonal, I guess. But I have been on the verge of tears all day. Like everyone else, I am tired all the way down to my bones. And when I get this tired I get all gushy and mushy and sappy. So please bear with me...

All day today I have been thinking about all the things that I am grateful for. When I'm down, counting my blessings helps to pull myself back up. And I am truly blessed in so many ways. I have a wonderful husband, good kids, good grandkids. I am grateful for my family.

I am grateful for my NTI family. No one, except all of us going through it, could begin to know how much stress we all feel. This blog is so helpful to me. It helps me to verbalize my thoughts and feelings. And I feel safe doing it. I know without a doubt that everyone who reads my blogs understands exactly what I'm talking about.

I am grateful for NTI class days. Even though I am really tired on most NTI class days, it is comforting to get in class and see everyone. The feeling of mutual support is very strong in our classes. And Dr. Burns and Jessie TRULY like us and care about us. (I know, I know, this sounds like Sally Fields, but it is the truth!) I am grateful to Dr. Burns for changing our classroom to the Education Building. The Aderhold building was a long, long walk for me...

I am grateful for Esther and Tracy. Without these two girls I could not be doing NTI at all. They drive each week. And they allow me to hang on to their arms and they literally drag me through the streets of Atlanta to find our classroom. Without their physical support I would never get to the classroom, my knees and hips would give way. (I guess I would be mistaken for a bag lady lying on the side of the curb!) I love these two girls and I will forever be grateful for all the many ways that they help me. They are truly blessings in my life.

I am grateful for Julia for being a rock-of-gibraltor (sp?). Julia's manner and calmness are so strong. Just talking to her makes me feel better. Julia has more class in her little finger than some people do in their whole body. My life is richer for having met Julia.

I am grateful for Julie for always being encouraging and always willing to share her knowledge and ideas. Julie inspires me. She has accomplished so much and has a full load at home too.

I am grateful for all the other ladies in our class too. Mortissa, Victoria, everyone. How blessed I am to know each and every one of you.

I am grateful for all the guys in our class. What a fine group of real men that we have! Steve, thank you for always being willing to be our "escort" to the parking lot. I feel safe knowing that you are with us. Your mama raised you right! I hope that all your male students are paying attention to you and learning from you, not just academics, but the real things in life that make a man a man. Ed, thank you for walking with us, and even lending me your coat. How many men still do things like that? I am truly blessed to know all of the guys in our class. Wonderful men! And all of them have such a great sense of humor to boot!

OK. I will stop. But I could go on and on...

My husband is worried that I am getting ready to drop dead. He says that when people get as sentimental and blue as I have been the last few days, it must mean they are dying. He hates it when I get in my sappy moods. He killed a bug and I started crying because I thought he was just going to catch the bug and throw it outside. I didn't mean for him to murder the bug. Yes, I am too sappy!!

Well, I feel better. I sure hope I haven't drug you all down into the dumps with this blog! I really do love you all! And I promise I won't be so sappy the next time we have Open Mike.

Middle Ground?!

Hi everyone. I need advice. I gave a test this past Friday. It contained labeling diagrams (body planes and cavities, and lung)multiple choice and matching. We had gone over labeling the diagrams together in class and even getting the students to come up and take turns doing the labeling. We reviewed with open discussion and questions. The classes participated well and I thought they would do wonderful. I was shocked at the results! Half the classes either passed with an A or high B and the other half failed. (this was my first year students) This was my first test that I have given this year with such an incredible difference in scores. Usually the grades are spread out with maybe only one or two who don't pass. I did not use a word bank for the labeling, but I usually don't use word banks. The scores reflected that the information reached one level of students rather than a common middle ground. What could I have done?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Weekly question

February 4th - February 9th--What would you like to "talk about" with your fellow "Bloggers" this week? You have an "open mike."

Really everything is going pretty well for me this year.Sure I would like to have a bigger shop to where I could spread out more and maybe a couple of more lifts,but I also realize that times change slowly and all will work out in a couple of years.What I do like is being able to read the blog and see how other new teachers are dealing with issues in their classroom,and all the help you other teachers are giving.I know you've all helped me alot.keep up the great work,and we'll all get through this together.

Yo Yo Yo, Open mic in the hizzouse!

Im sorry if I offend anyone, its not intentional but you did say OPEN MIC! So I have this little issue in my 4th block and I've never been faced with this in my life but its really starting to bother me a bit...........

I have an openly gay male student in my class. He is talkative and extremely sassy. He is constantly talking and causing disruption. I have spoken with this kid in the hall before about his disruption and its only gotten somewhat better. On several occasions, I have heard this student talking trash about me (I.E. sexual type nature things) and I have just overlooked it and pretend that I didnt hear it. The other day, I noticed that he was carrying his folder (the kind with the clear cover) and it had a picture of me in it he had printed off a motocross website.

OK, if I could just get him to stop disrupting class I could probably, maybe, overlook the rest. Any ideas on this??? Without starting a gay discrimination war possibly???


Thanks for the "open mic"! While I do not want to turn this opportunity into a "bmg" session, it is tempting to do so. If anyone has been reading my posts at all, they know my "cup runneth over" with stress at this point. I really love the students, even the " knotheads". While I am not contemplating "surrender" at this point, I am at wits end. I truly would not wish this year on my worst enemy. Having good people around me is a blessing-without them I truly would be drowning. If it were not for my NTI family, I would have already have capitulated. There is s
imply too much to do. For anyone who reads this, I apologize for whining. Tough week.

2/4/08- Open Mike

Hello Fellow NTI classmates:

I really need your help locating a job. My certification is in Video Broadcast and Business Education. I can teach Computer Applications, Business Principles, Video Journalism or TV Broadcast. I think I may be successful finding something in Gwinnett but just in case I'm not, I really need you to find out if your school is in need of someone fitting my job description.

I can forward you my resume in the event that you would like to preview it or pass it along to a colleague. Just let me know. I am truly tired of being a Stellar Sub and would like to be teaching in my own classroom for the upcoming school year. I am located in Dacula, GA which is very deep into Gwinnett but am willing to drive as far as Dekalb or Fulton if necessary.

I really do appreciate your help. Thanks and keep me in your prayers as I job hunt and sometimes grow weary.

January 28th - February 3rd Question of the Week

January 28th - February 3rd-- Of everything you did last week as a teacher, what would you do differently? Why?

I think that last week was quite a challenge in that I wore many hats within one day. On Friday I was 4 different teachers therefore, I wasn't able to absorb myself in one particular lesson. On Wednesday, I was a language arts teacher and was able to engage the students with a personal story. I found that students really enjoy it when you share personal stories about your life experiences with them. Of course, it was school related dating back to my college years.

Overall, last week went well in spite of having a sick child at home and missing 2 days. I would have preferred working in one classroom all day instead of floating around so much. In terms of doing things differently, I really didn't change from the way I conduct myself in class because I believe that you should remain consistent with your teaching style if it is beneficial for you.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What would I do dirrerently?

Question of the Week-- January 28th - February 3rd
January 28th - February 3rd-- Of everything you did last week as a teacher, what would you do differently? Why?
What would I do different, as a teacher? Well, last week was the first time I had to plan a lesson in physical science. I think that is something new and different for me. The lesson related to the electrochemical properities of cells. Yes, that was my topic. This was also the first time I lead any class this semester. I was very nervous because the students don't see me as the real teacher in physical science, so if I did not have classroom management issues before, I do now. The children were asking do they have to know this and should we take notes. They thought it was interesting but they know they don't need the information. In their book, this topic is one paragraph and the concept is very big. I believe this is an issue for my health science topics as well, there are many topics in healthscience that are huge--such safety--fire, personal, and patient safety that requires the instructor to break it down to a lower level. I find this (breaking the topics down) to be my biggest challenge because it is so much information and I don't want the information too small. Then the information will become boring to the students and myself

What I would do differently

Last week was really not a good week for me. The students really seem to work my nerves more so this week than anytime this year. I wasn't feeling well most of the week and decided to take a day off. My students are somewhat well behaved when I am gone. If I know that I am going to be out, I usually leave them a video with discussion ,well this time, I left book work and worksheets all related to the information we were working on. Well, I am sure you all know that nothing was completed. The substitute didn't even follow the plans I left. He didn't pass out the assignment to some of my class and I advised him that none of the students were to use the computers, well they did exactly what they wanted to do. I was so frustrated when I returned. What I would do differently? NOT TAKE A DAY OFF! No, I am going to stick to what the students like when I am out. Videos and threaten them with corporal punishment!


The thing I would do different is give the students a shorter time frame to complete class projects. I divided the students into 3 groups and assigned them a portion of the special senses unit to present. Each group was given specific questions to answer in order to present the information needed. Some groups put a lot of effort into the presentation and others just threw something together.
What would I do differently?
Last week was a whirlwind for me. It was very busy. I think one thing that I would do differently is not freak out about a deadline. I woke up Thursday morning thinking that I had missed a deadline for HOSA. I have students going to competition in March and some the students that are going were still not in the system as members. I woke up thinking "Oh, No" What if I don't get them in time and they can not go?" I rushed to the computer and e-mailed the director over Georgia HOSA. I did not get a response the whole day. I rushed to my secretary that morning telling her that I had to have a check for new members postmarked by that day. She said that it was not a problem. That afternoon, the director e-mailed me back and said the deadline was March 1. I was relieved. I have got to chill out and quit worrying about everything. Things usually work out and I should quit the worrying. I think that once I get through this year, I will be fine. I can't wait until I feel more comfortable with my career.

Friday, February 1, 2008

What would I have done different?

The thing that I would have changed was the daily plans for my split class. I am trying to conduct a lecture/lab with one class while the other class either works on projects or homework assignments. I find that the class I am not giving my entire attention to is off task more than I would like them to be. They finish their task so quickly that they become bored and start to become distracting.

I think that I will have more assignments/tasks planned so that if they finish early that I will be able to give them something else to work on. I am trying to give them assignments that are relative to the topic and chapter that we are currently studying. I am going to try that for another week or so, if that doesn't work then I am going to assign them an end of the year project that they can work on when finished with their daily work.

Changing it Up

Well last week was a very short week for me. We were out for MLK on Monday and then I was out on Friday for TIEGA/HSTEA conference. The one thing I would have done differently is to, like Corey said, get more sleep. I have WAY too many irons in the fire right now. I am a wife, mother of 4 (2 of which are teenagers, the other two are under 3), daughter, sister, friend, NTI student, teacher, nurse, advisor for HOSA and NTHS, in charge of designing a program for my church's Ladies Day, in charge of mailouts for my congregation, webmistress for our church website, new Advocare distributor, have an eBay business, are you exhausted yet?!?!? I am EXTREMELY far behind in grading papers and that is another thing I definately need to improve on. I have grades due on Tuesday so this will prove to be a very long weekend between NTI classes and grading papers.

Another change I need to make after last week is that my sub for Friday was HORRIBLE! I left the students a very interesting video to watch with questions to answer afterwards. My students told me on Monday that the sub talked the entire class time on her cell phone and they couldn't even hear the movie!! This really irritated me and I know it won't do any good to report it because no one will care. The sub I had yesterday when I was out sick was AWESOME! She had the students doing everything I asked, and it was a last minute "pull it out of the air while I'm at home sick" lesson plan.

I guess the moral of all of this is to, for me at least, learn how to say "no" to some things and not take as active of a part in others.

On a positive note, I plan on getting my room set up for a "reading corner" after the presentation I heard from Jessie and Dr. Burns over reading across the curriculum. I just haven't had a chance to do it yet. I would have had my student aide do it today but she is absent.