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?

Monday, March 31, 2008

A Change of Hats

I have told my "story" several times so I'll keep this short and sweet. I left bedside nursing because there had been 30 deaths of kids aged newborn to 19 in a short time span of 3 months. It was emotionally taxing to the point that I was very depressed. Not only that, but two days after #29 died (who I was VERY close to), I found out I was pregnant again. I knew I couldn't put my body through much more stress while being pregnant. So, I went to PRN status (working when I wanted to) and took the job of starting a brand new HSTE program.

I have already signed my contract for next year (although it was 15 minutes late so I may not have a job!). The reason I signed is because I absolutely LOVE what I do. I have always enjoyed teaching and I love kids. I get so much joy knowing that I am passing on a love of mine to young eager minds. I also love knowing my schedule and never having to worry about not getting off a particular day to spend with my family. I have more time at home then I did before and, while I still experience stress, it's not so negative that I cry everyday on the way home!

Why I left

I just felt it was time to get out. The moral at the department I was at was low. We hadnt had a raise in years and people were rapidly leaving. They were not hiring to fill the vacancies and our work just kept getting more and more and no improvement was in sight. This job came open and I felt it was right.

Ill resign my contract this year because I love dealing most of the kids and I get to be home with my family now than I did when I was in law enforcement.

Why become a teacher? Why stay?

Well, for me, this one is easy! And my short answer is I never DID actually leave my old profession!! I mean seriously, I still do all of what I did before: work in professional studios; work in my home studio; create music; record, edit & mix audio. I mean geez, I feel blessed for the fact that MY profession was brought to the high school level. I suppose it’s the kid in me, or, the future father in me that decided that working with juniors and seniors in high school could be I went for it. The bottom line here for me--and I feel that this SHOULD be true for all teachers when it comes to teaching a highly advanced, rapidly changing technological field--is that if I don't keep on "working in the industry" then I become obsolete to this kids literally, within years. My subject matter just simply CAN'T be taught from the sidelines and without doing it. Prime example: In our recording lab & studio, we are now officially running 4 different versions of our MAIN audio software, Pro-Tools v.6.9, 7.0, 7.3 and 7.4. And believe me ya'll, there ARE some 'major' differences between the two. So for me, that REALLY, REALLY keeps me on my toes. I find myself coaching one student on the multiple mouse clicks it takes to get something done in version 7.0, and verbally answering another student's question about a different version and a different-albeit shorter-series of steps! It truthfully lets me see where I've come from and how fast things change. Again, if I wasn't at home in my home studio doing all of these things every day then it would only be a matter of years that I become old news. I MUST keep my head in the industry or I could not do what I do in the classroom. So for me? I never did leave my "other gig," I just found a new way to merge the two!!

And as far as coming back to work for a new year? I TRULY LOVE WHAT I DO. I can honestly tell people (and I do, often) that I am getting more non-monetary rewards and good vibes back from this job more than any other. Of course, I still pursue my "dream job" of working for Lucas out at Skywalker Ranch and ILM....but other than that or mixing the next Platinum whatever, I'm here to stay. Of course, as long as I feel that my knowledge and age serve these kids 100%. Once I start to become "old news," I'll get out before I'm asked to leave! My main goal while I'm a teacher is to do right by the kids and once I feel that I'm not serving them, then it's "Crockett, out."

Count down to Spring break

Only 5 more days to Spring break ( 4/7-11/08 ). We attended HOSA competitions and I got a chance to be an event manager for HOSA bowl. The students that participated in this event were really sharp. They were well versed in many areas. We did not have any winners this year but I will get a chance to go to Dallas for the National Conference. Atlanta Public schools has close to 20 students attending National ( Parli-Pro,Interviewing Skills and Creative Problem Solving ).
Initially, it was said APS would not pay for the students to go to Nationals this year. Last week we were told, APS will pay for the students to attend National. This was a surprise to us but also a BLESSING for the students attending.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Open mic, March 30 -The Heat is on

I pray that this week is nothing like last week, but deep down, I know it's going to get worst. The police has been on a stake out at our school all last week. We had to have the paddy wagon waiting out back for at least 3 days straight. Have the students lost their mind? There has been fight after fight after fight and not just individual ones, brawls. Students have been getting text messages and all kinds of threats going around. On Friday, someone threatened to have a shoot out in the cafeteria so a lot of students didn't come to school on Friday. This is getting absolutely ridiculous and through it all the communication as poor. Parents are coming to school upset because their children are getting these threatening text messages and the administration is not passing anything on to us so that we can be their eyes and ears. I am sure with the weather changing, it is only going to get worse. Hopefully this week will be better.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Only 35 days left for me...not that I'm bragging!!

I'm currently on spring break until April 7. It's been a weird year for me. I think a lot of it can be attributed to the fact that we have a new AP with no previous experience and a principal who is new to us by 2 years. There have been a lot of just weirdness going on. Students are becoming bolder in their actions, teachers seem to be less caring. Parents are non-existent and the community doesn't seem to care what is going on either. I don't know if this is the typical third year "stuff" or if my school system is just having a weird year. I'm hoping next year will be better.

On another note, I'm becoming more involved in my school. I am on the superintendent's task force for ensuring we are a healthy school and a couple of days before break, I was asked to serve on the "Better Seeker Team" for next year. This is the administrative choice for a leadership team for the school. I hope these extra opportunities will allow me to have more of a voice and to become more of a change agent in my situation. I look forward to these new opportunities and a new school year.

When I return to school on April 7, we will only have 35 more days until graduation. This may sound crazy but I need more than the 35 days to adequately cover the remaining material. I will definately have to make some adjustments to get it all in there. This is all thanks to the "extra" activities that Steve referred to in his blog.


What a week - I know that these tests are important - but really what does the rest of the school population get to do. In my experience - nothing. We are strongly encouraged not to give any new material or any tests or quizzes for the entire week. So really by the time they get finished with all the fire drills, tornado drills, schedule adjustment, graduation tests, end of course tests, assemblies, etc. - how many days are we really teaching our students.

Yes - all this from the mouth of the "class clown". Believe it or not covering my material and making sure my students grasp that material is extremely important to me. Is there not a better way to get all these "necessary" items taken care of without distrubing the real reason we are there. Is it really necessary to have both end of course tests and graduation tests?

Best piece of advice for new teachers...

Go HOME! Do NOT stay at school for hours and hours and hours. I am still trying to follow my own advice. I am still trying to find out the best way to organize my time so that I can leave school at a decent hour.

Several people have advised to leave school at school and enjoy home and family at home. That is excellent advice. I have been guilty of neglecting my family.

One teacher told me You don't bring your laundry from home to do at school, do you? So don't bring work from school to do at home. That is good advice too.

It's been hard for me to draw the line between home and work. It all just becomes a blur sometimes.

But next year I am going to do better.....

Julia, we saw you today!

Hi Julia,
We saw you on the screeen today! We (Tracy, Esther, and I) were at the GPS Rollout workshop in Macon. We were looking at the monitor and there you were sitting next to a lady that was asking a question.

I waved at you! Ha! Ha! :)

Love, Connie

Seeing some light at the end of the tunnel

Well, Tracy, Esther, and I are almost done with our Exceptional Child class. Only ONE more Wednesday! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Spring Break is coming up.

It's been extremely busy. Lots of long days.

But the light is definitely shining at the end of the tunnel!!! This year will be over before you know it...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

HOSA State Competition Open MIc.

Hey everyone just wanted to brag a little on my kids. We attended the HOSA State competition last weekend. I took 14 students and they behaved so well. I was very proud of them. I had 6 students make it to the second round of the competition and three students become finalist. We were so excited. We had 4th and 5th place for Medical Assistant and 4th for Dental Spelling. I can't wait for next year. I hope that this time next year I can say that we have some 1st and 2nd place winners. I hope you all have a good week.

New Teacher's warning

Be ye very careful of the hidden cost. No one told me at the interview that I would have to do all these different classes, and I would have to stand the cost (hidden cost) . My first year I did not got into NTI, because no one was there to help me register. I had to rely on Jessie and Dr. Burns my second year (Thank you for your help)
When I first learnt that I had to do NTI I was told it was just for the Summer,but after the first day I realized that it will not be for only the summer but for three semesters and over $6,000.00.
After learning of the cost I was wondering how am I going to pay for it, Just graduating from CSU with a large School Loan, I did not want to add another loan to it, so I have to dip into my savings account to pay for NTI.
What I do realize is that it is hard to get help from our Career Technology Department beacuse they are not interested about career technology , their position is just another job . Since this semester my Director e-mail all those who went through NTI wanted us (me of all person) to tell him about NTI saying he will not reveil who gave the info. did he think I am a snitch? I took the opportunity of replying to the e-mail by asking if the Career Technology Department could help the other two teachers and myself from Dekalb paying for NTI not to say he did not reply, maybe because I was not a snitch
. Looking on the up-side of NTI, NTI is of great help for me although I have my wife and daughter who are both teachers for whom I can bounce any classroom questions off.
Last but not lease I am now helping one HSTE teacher to start NTI in the summer, great for her I will be able to help her. I already told her not to make any plans for the month of June.


The best advice i can give to a new teacher is to definately get all that NTI has to offer. Although the summer semester is a little overwhelming, the next to semesters are all worthwhile, because of the material learned over the summer.

The second bit of advice I have is to be prepared, go into your class with the expectation to make an impact on at least one child's life, because you definately will not reach them all.

This way, you won't be so dissapointed in the variety of attitudes and levels of desires not to learn, that you won't quit and walk away from the opportunity to make a difference, even if it's ONE CHILD AT A TIME.

Finally, don't take any work home (PLAN FOR THIS), or as little as possible. You have a role at home and a role at school, KEEP THEM SEPERATED, so that you don't find youself giving more to your job than you give to your family. When this happens, you will soon after find yourself unable to give to your students, because of the situation you have created with your family.


Open Mic - 3/24

Hello NTI Family:

This week has been one of my worst weeks yet since the beginning of the year. I have truly been exposed to the "cream of the crop" in a negative way. Tuesday started the nightmare with 3rd period. I was in a classroom that was created for students who failed Algebra I and have been tossed in to this class. Half of them are not even interested in doing math and don't care to work. They were loud, yelling across the room to each, combing hair in class, not even trying to learn. So, next class, 5th period, is 2x worse. I have a very diverse group in both classes, but this particular period, I have a black student that wants to use racial slurs towards an Pakistanian and they begin to battle, throw paper and all, tear up the lesson. It was a mess. I just told them that if they continued, I would write them up. Well they calmed down for a bit, but started back up. Wed., I am called to be the same teacher. Now I wanted to go home sick because I dreaded 3rd and 5th period. So, my strategy was plain and simple. I gave them a lecture (about life and how important it was for them to pass the class in order to graduate and become successful....) at the beginning of the class and explained to them some rules of the classroom while Mr. Condon was out. They didn't really like it, but understood clearly that severe consequences would follow if they acted up. It went much better and I actually didn't have to write anyone up. So this morning, when I arrive, I have another math teacher who has the same types of classes. You know I was already conditioned, but the kids weren't ready for me. 3 days in a row of poor discipline and unfocused students.

The kids are just "OUT OF CONTROL" and seem to not care about learning, being respectful and trying excel.

9th grade tours

This past week has been our 9th grade tours.While this is going on you don't have a chance to teach anything.When one gruop leaves your room another group is filing in.Although all of my classes were good, it was still very hectic.One bright spot in the tours was a student in my second block class.Last year I ask a first year automotive student to speak to the freshman and he did a good Job.This year he is still in my class, so I ask him if he would tell the freshman about the class again.He did and again done a wonderful job.I really didn't have to do much during those tours.On another note :The thing that I would suggest to a new teacher is to expect things to turn out different than you have planned,be very flexible with your lesson plans.Sometimes the most well thought out classes turn into a bust.Also,don't take anything a student says personal just try to see it from their perspective.then take the appropriate action.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Culture of Defiance II

I spoke to one of the veteran teachers on my hall today about hard line tactics. She gave me the the whole spiel about how I was too nice and in order to get anything done I was going to have to get real mean. She said "it's all some of these kids understand"! I entered this profession to teach, not to babysit. It 's a shame to see all of the good, hard working students miss out on a real practical learning experience just so we can tend to our "babies"! There's no telling how much more real valuable information we could share and teach if it weren't for all of the useless distraction. Do we have to become monsters in order to create order? This numbers game is an undermining factor. So many of these kids don't deserve to be in this school let alone a classroom but you can't get rid of them because you have to keep up the "numbers". Numbers shmumbers! Are the taxpayers paying for the better education of their own kids or are they paying for something that is only half baked? Many of them really don't care about anything so it seems. When you ask them about the future they have no real decent reply. Their reply usually comes with a bit of a reason as to why they're disgruntled with the school. Very seldom does a student blame themselves for anything. It all makes for a great challenge though and I love it!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Advice for "Newbies"

Considering that this is only my second year teaching, I really don't qualify to give advice to anyone. However, it is my opinion that you should carefully sift through all the advice you receive. While there are lots of teachers in the profession for the right reasons, I have also encountered a few who just want a "summer off". Listen carefully to everyone, and then try to decide "why" they are giving you advice, especially if it is unsolicited. Most of the people you meet will try to steer you in the right direction, but I received some " bum " advice my first year. While this did not have a huge effect on my career, it did cause a rather heated exchange in my administrator's office. While I do not mind mixing it up; especially with a petty tyrant, it was unnecessary. I listened to advice without asking " Why is this person trying to guide me?" Do not make the same mistake I made.

Help for "NEWBIES"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Advice For New Teachers

The best advice that I can give to a new teacher is find one person in your county that teaches your subject and ask that person to become your mentor. A new teacher, especially a Career Tech. teacher, needs someone to help them. You know how we talked about unwritten rules, well each county has unwritten rules. I have the most wonderful mentor in my system. She teaches Healthcare Science in another school in the county. During my first year, she was wonderful. My first experience with her was that she allowed me to come to her class and observe. This in itself was such a tremendous help. I was with her the whole day and I learned so much from just watching her. She gave me her cell number and told me to call her anytime. Last year I called her so much I know she got sick of me. She was always there and ready to help in any way. I remember last year that I would run out of ideas and I would call her. Right away she could come up with something for me to do with my classes. This year I have noticed that I do not call her as much as I did last year so I guess that means that I have learned a lot from her and of course NTI. It is comforting to know that I can call her at any time and she will answer any questions that I have. I really don't think that I would have made it throught that first year without her support and expertise.

Mental Moments

Have you (before this year) or anyone you know said, "Gee, it must be great to be a teacher and only work 9 months a year?" Well, how do you feel about those kinds of comments now? What they don't know:
1) You work 60 hours a week while almost everyone else works 40, so summer kind of evens it out.
2) I have talked to more parents about their children than Dr. Phil!
3) I have tip-toed around a variety of fellow staff members like I was running for president.
4) In this job, the more you do--the more they ask you to do.
5) I don't wear a watch anymore--I have bells to tell me where I need to be.
6) Students have better cell phones than I do (and they don't have a job)!
7) I've learned NOT to forget my lunch money as schools don't have ATM's.
8) I don't care what scientists say, there is something about full moons and student behavior!
9) I never get a good night's rest because I KNOW there is something I forgot to do for tomorrow's lesson.
10) Spring is the longest part of the year--could it possibly go any slower until spring break????

p.s. I wouldn't trade it for anything--I LOVE my job!

When the Chips are Down.....

"When the chips are down" is a terrific metaphor when talking about teaching (especially at this time of year). Students are faced with high-stakes testing that will determine their immediate future. Some will fare better than others; in other words, some will receive more chips and others will have chips taken away. Most students at this age do not understand the long-term effects of high-stakes testing. The number of students with a limited number of chips is growing. In our society, we almost automatically reward those with the most chips. However a teacher is most needed by the students with the minimum number of chips. Teachers need to help struggling students gain perspective on long-term goals and help them achieve success in increments that are obtainable.

What I've Learned

Looking back on when I was young, I felt like any school failures that I experienced were of my own doing. I know that most of the responsibility for the failures were my fault, however this year I have been made aware that not all of my failures were with me---some were with my teachers and the educational arena of the time. I believe if some of my past teachers would have delivered instruction in a more varied environment, I might have not been as reluctant to learn. I think the strategies introduced to teachers today give students more of a chance to succeed than fail. Today's education allows students to learn in a variety of methods, each with equal merit. I know that today's educators have more information at their disposal in regards to how students learn; it's too bad that my generation didn't have the opportunity to learn in such a rich and fulfilling atmosphere.

Advice to New Teachers

My best advice to new teachers comes from my own experiences this year: Learn to understand how students gain knowledge and do NOT think for a minute that because you (the teacher) have so much background knowledge that your students will! Being in my field for ?? years, I know my subject matter. However, I never realized the theories and philosophies behind how and what students learn and retain. The more tools that teachers can put in their toolboxes when it comes to strategies and learning, the more successful their students will be. My advice is to keep an open mind and be willing to adapt and change your teaching style. Be reflective in your own teaching experiences and cognitively aware of what works and what doesn't--don't be afraid to try new things.

Advice for New Teachers!

I think my best piece of advice to new teachers would certainly to be sure and learn as much as possible from other teachers and mentors....primarily those with more experience. I think it can be invaluable for new teachers to have a mentor or two that can provide knowledge, inside information, tips on the 'culture' at your school, proper/expected procedure, etc. I definitely think that older, wiser teachers and (good) administrators can be a GREAT help to new teachers!

OH NO!!!

Well it looks like I will be very busy next year.Friday the A.P. came to me and asked me how it feels to be the most requested class at the Technical school for next year.Students have picked automotive their first choice for programs there next year by an almost 2 to 1 margin.I don't know if this will be a blessing or a curse,but I will continue to teach them all I can and at the level I have been teaching at.


Just wanted to wish everyone a happy Easter.

Advice to new HSTE teacher

My advice is to be prepared for the worst but expect the best. Don't be afraid to ask questions and don't be surprised if your classes are dumping grounds for students not interested in HSTE. Find someone to vent to / provide a listening ear . This blog is an excellent way to vent and to also realize that our situation isn't as bad as some of our collegues. Be sure to take time out for yourself and remember this too shall pass.

A little piece of advise

Go into NTI with an open mind! Dont let those other teachers who have been through it already haze your judgement into thinking you wont learn anything because thier ego and a$$es are on thier shoulders. Its very easy for me to throw comments like these out the window until I see for myself, but I understand its sometimes not that easy for others to do so. You will learn a ton if you allow yourself to.

Friday, March 21, 2008


For those that can relate...I had to put our dog to sleep this morning(3/21/08)
I had an AKITA she was nearly 11 years old. She was diagnosed with cancer of the spleen last spring. The doctor only gave her a few months to live....well, a year later the cancer ran its course...and she started to show signs and symptoms. We prepared our kids a year ago, but reality hit them this daughter (8 years old) was devastated!..she cried all last night and woke up this morning son(12 years old) was a little more understanding until he had to physically lift her(my dog) into the truck...he immediately broke down..My wife has been crying for two days....sad, sad sad, time.
I've never had a pet this long and although I made my peace with the decisions a year ago I was still hurt to see my family take it soo hard.
Her name was GABANA, and she was an excellent pet!...the house will not feel the same without her!
This experience is a first for me......all my dogs ran away when I was a kid!

Irish Dancing in the Bronx?

Here's an inspiring story about a new music teacher from Ireland who came to the U.S. to teach in the Bronx and started an Irish Dancing program with her students. Be sure to click on the video embedded in the article. Click here and enjoy!

One piece of advice

This is one that I'll most gladly pass along. As you come into this you can't have any expectations of any of the students that you will be teaching. There are students that will meet the highest of your standards and values and there will be those students that will be at the very bottom. You have to figure out a way to reach all of them. If you can't accept this challenge or if your one of those who can't handle this kind of adversity then this is probably not for you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"If you could give just one piece of advice (just one) to a new T&I or HSTE teacher, what would it be?"

I would like to advise all new T&I teachers to keep there head up the first year is always the hardest. Always ask for help from others and be a good listener. I would also advise them to get into the first NTI class. NTI should be put before the classroom.

Advice to a New Teacher

I am of the belief that there is no substitute for experience when it comes to teaching. However, I was given advice from fellow teachers that has proven to be helpful that I would pass along. Some examples are:
  • You're not their friend , referring to students, you' re their teacher. (It's a fine line, different for every teacher but the line needs to be there.)
  • Don't get excited when a student gets excited. (If it's a discipline issue things will only escalate.)
  • Teaching is a marathon not a sprint. (If you make a huge deal out of every bump in the road you encounter in teaching, you'll burn out.) This one is my favorite.
The only original advice I have is to be honest with yourself about why you want to get into teaching in the first place. If it's a job opportunity, you might want to reconsider. Even if you teach because you want to help young people. you need to be mature enough to know that you're helping them and that be the reward in itself because if you need the gratification of the students, parents, administration or anybody else regularly patting you on the back or stroking your ego you'll probably end up disillusioned about teaching.

My best advice

I know its hard but you have to find a time to leave the job at school. When I first started I would spend from the time I got home till my kids went to bed getting lessons ready for the next day. I know the kids in the classroom are extremely important but so are the ones (kids and spouse) in the living room.

And remember summer break is never more than 2 semesters away.


Thank you Perry for sending me the information I requested earlier.(I was still on the blog when you sent it to my e-mail....MAN, you are fast!
"PUBLIC SAFETY/CRIMINAL JUSTICE TEACHERS ARE THE BEST!!!!!!!"(shameless plug to my fellow career/classmates)

One piece of Advice for new T&I teachers

In regards to our blog question this week, I would like to give a firm piece of advice for a new teacher in Career & Technical Ed. The most crucial part in being successful as a new teacher is preplanning your day, week and month. I think its imperative to have a set of lesson plans that you can show to your administrator or a sub (if necessary), in the event of an emergency. This preparation shows that you are a professional and take your job serious. Also, it saves you the headache of trying to rush and prepare a lesson without careful thought and proper planning. Once you have your lesson plans created, you can develop your test and quizzes.

Thanks, Dr. Burns for a great class on Sat....

"If you could give just one piece of advice (just one) to a new T&I or HSTE teacher, what would it be?"

My advice would to learn as much as you can and listen to everyone you can and then figure it out on your own!!!..LOL...meaning what works best for you and your classroom.....make sure you use ALL the information that you get prior to getting in the will help!!
Everyday is different find your GROOVE and you style and go with the flow....and make sure you follow all the rules!!!!!!!!!!!


Okay you all. I'm not mean; just helpful in a blunt sort of way. Don't take away all my poker chips. Do that and then see what you have left! Ha Ha
Dr. J

Score Card/Rating/checklist sheet

Good day Classmates!
Would someone be so kind and send me the template for the score card/rating /checklist sheet.
I lost everything when my computer crashed and Dr. Burn's was unable to locate the template....
If you have time please forward it to

Thank you in advance


Open Mic

I want to thank you all for the comments. I have no problem joining the oraganizations, I enjoy going to the conference. I just don't like to be threaten about certain things. If you don't join then you can't get extended day. I don't think that's necessary. Just let your staff know that it's important to join. Extended day is a lot of work and for me, it's not about the extra money. I go the extra mile because I enjoy my kids. As a supervisor, if you want to keep morale high, you don't go around threatening people. I think you all would have to be here to really understand. There are so many things going on. My issue with the audit is not what's going to come out of it, I am sure it will be some good information, but why wait until March to give us the information. They gave us a book to complete. It would have been nice to be given more than a month to put together the information she is requiring. Thanks again for the feedback.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

OPEN MIC 03/19

Saturday class was great. I must say that I learned a lot, that's not to say that I haven't already learned a lot in NTI. This past class was particularly special, especially the part when Dr. Burns ripped apart what I thought was the perfect TEST. Thankfully we only had to endure one beating for the day, and the tornado did not come behind Dr. Burns...... LOL. No offense Doc, I loved it.

Glad to know that everyone made it home safe.........TAKE CARE and REDO those test!!!!!!

Weather the Storm

I had good intention of being in class on Saturday, but for some reason something told me to stay home. The first storm hit about 4:15 am. I turned on the TV and watched the News. There was another storm on it's way. I said to my wife if you was going to be OK, At approx 10: 00 The weatherman stated that the storm was headed for my area. The sky started getting very dark the rain and hail started falling. The siren started sounding we moved downstairs the lights started blinking, and the power goes out. I don't like it when I am not in control. I couldn't see outside so I would run upstairs to see what's going on outside. I watched shingle from someone else home fall into my yard. I went back (ran) down stairs. I stayed about 30min. The tornado hit about two mile from my home. It looks like a war zone up here. Some of my students lost there homes, and some was damaged. I will see everybody the first Saturday in April.

God is good!

Open Mic - 03/19/08

Well, I hope everybody weathered the storms! I myself was actually in downtown for the whole thing (sort-of stuck, but also not wanting to drive) and saw the twister from my friend's back porch. I was worried! It missed his house though so all ended up well. Nevertheless, I feel out of the loop at this point since I was not able to make it to class on Saturday. :-/ I have read many of the comments though and am piecing together information from the lesson, so that is good! I have also read many blogs for this week and I like how they are all over the map! One thing though, I must reiterate as many of you already have, is how blessed and lucky we all are to be surrounded by the teaching power and skill sets that our class possesses. I have great admiration for ALL of you because of your knowledge, skills and unique background and life experiences. I love the amount of critical thinking (as well as the fun) that goes on in our class! Like someone else had mentioned, these blogs are just amazingly insightful, interesting and meaningful. I truly enjoy our class!! That is, when I don't have to drive through black, tornado producing clouds to get there!! Just as an additional note, I think I have a slight 'tornado phobia' due to a certain 'run-in' that I had with one in Tennessee. Bad juju man, bad juju. So now, I heed to the warnings (maybe a little too tightly) and I don't wanna be in another one while in my car!! Mercy. Have a great week everyone!

Non-production: Side effects of the GHSGT

While the juniors and seniors are either taking the test or studying for it the sophomores are taking predictor tests (these tests tell the powers that be whether or not a student may need a study skills class). The predictors, as well as the other testing, lasts for 2 blocks (3 hours). This "down" time seems to have a detrimental effect on the productiveness of students for the remainder of the day. We have 2 more blocks remaining after testing and this will go on everyday this week. It seems impossible to try and get any kind of production out of the students that you have for the remaining 2 blocks. For the most part this whole week will be mostly just babysitting. For the most part the kids aren't going to learn anything. This seems to be the consensus with the vast majority of teachers that I've spoken to this week. We've lost a whole week that we might otherwise have used to teach these kids something of real value. Another point scored for the GHSGT!

Saturday Class

That was an exciting class (for the obvious and not so obvious reasons). I hope everyone made it home ok and that they are all safe and sound now. I made it home 10 minutes before the last storm.

I was just (and still am) amazed at how inept I was at giving tests. This class has opened my eyes SO much this past weekend. I am now obsessing over the test I am giving on Friday to my students. This all makes so much PRACTICAL sense to me and I wonder why I didn't get it before now (well, I know, it's because I didn't have Dr. Burns!) I am in my 3rd year of teaching and finally feel like I just *might* be "getting it". There is so much more I have to learn but I'm finally feeling a little more comfortable. A lot of that has been since Saturday. It was definately an eye opening experience!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I was able to show the student who almost broke my arm. I explained to her ( that's right JuJuan...a girl beat me up!) that I learned something about myself after she hit me...that if I lost the use of my legs, I can run with my butt cheeks! Seriously, I got some great oatmeal cookies for me and the rest of the class for the injury!

The storm beat our cars to death...see, I was trying to get home from this little class in Alpharetta, and the bottom dropped out at about Six Flags. I said a prayer...which I'm sure, (because of the language I was using during the storm)didn't get much higher than the ceiling of my car and also proved to be the very reason the hail got bigger and faster. I became a six year old girl with the covers over my head but finally made it home. I used the day's notes that Julia took for me as an umbrella (Can anyone send a copy of the notes to me?) and got into the house. There I met...the most beautiful woman I have ever known... Deb"zilla"! She reminded me that she told me several times to pull over and find shelter; and I reminded her, that about the time her voice volume got higher than an air raid siren, I go deaf! Anyway, we're still very much in love...I still can't sit down from a big bite out of my @#$ and things are great. Hope every one is OK and remember...If you kiss and their lips are hot...they have Malaria!

Two down, one to go!!!!

Hi everyone!
Well the first day of clinical shadowing went without any issues and the Spelling bee was a Success!!! I was amazed at the show of our administrative team!! Our principal and most of all the AP's attended! It was awesome. The students did great. By the way, 3 of the top 4 were my students! oh yeah!!! The A&P teacher and myself are going to log in the hours we worked on the spelling bee as collab work. The breathing is a bit easier at this point. Can't wait till spring break!!


As I don't see a new question, I will do the "open mic" thing. I am truly amazed when I read this blog. Several things come to mind immediately. First, I am surrounded by people who are a lot smarter and more creative than me. Second, I am well blessed with a great administration. Third, every preconceived notion I came into teaching with was wrong.
For everyone who has hit the "wall"- keep digging, but don't beat yourself up. I personally do not think that there is a "doofus" teacher in this NTI class, although there are probably a few at every school. Do the very best you can with what you have, and let the rough ends drag. Do not let it drive you crazy. ( I am already there, and the view isn't very good!)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Well it sounded like a train.....

I hope everyone got through the tornados that ripped through our state on Saturday. I also hope everyone was able to keep thier family safe from harm and thier possesions at bay. If anyone needs any help with some of the infractions, feel free to ask and I will do all I can! It was also nice to see all of you this Saturday, its been a while.


What a week is this one going to be!! We are having another department meeting. "Important items to discuss" (we just had one) I have already been advised that I need to attend GA.CTE this summer as well as the GPS roll outs. We are having our spelling bee tomorrow evening, tomorrow my 3rd year students start their clinical shadowing at the hospital and we have HOSA competition. I feel CRAZY and OVERWHELMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know that I must take in a deep breath and exhale s-l-o-w-l-y. I am not a drinking woman, but let me tell you I am about there!!!! Any advise from those of you who have taught longer than me? oh yeah! that's all of you! I promise I am still sane. The 10-13 has not been signed.....yet.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Week of March 10

I hope everyone has enjoyed their weekend. My week was going well (had a b'day on the 11th) until we get an email from the county Career Tech Director advising us that we will be having a 5 year audit. I am sure she knew about this audit 5 years ago. Now she is sending out all of this paperwork that needs to be complete by May. For some, this is going to be a task because she is also asking for a teaching portfolio. Thank God for NTI because that is one item out of the packet I will be able to provide. I am so frustrated because they knew this was coming and just decided to let someone know. Then she wants to threatened people AGAIN that if they don't attend the summer GACTE conference, then you will not be eligible for extended day. Well, I am sure that extended day is more than the conference, mind you, I have 6 classes and a CTSO to show for it. Oh, she wants to make sure that you spend your own money to join GACTE. This is getting ridiculous. I think a school system can use perkins funds to pay for membership. Can someone please let me know if this is true so I can put in a request?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Opening Essay for Portfolio

Hello NTI Family,
I am doing o.k. I suppose. Not feeling too well today and decided to force myself to go to class. At any point, I want to share some of the thoughts that came to mind as I began thinking about the whole teaching profession. While writing my opening essay for my portfolio project, thoughts about my beliefs on teaching came quicker than I could write down on paper. I was overwhelmed at the amount of information I'd read within the last 6 months, the knowledge I've learned through NTI and the experience I've gained as a Stellar substitute. Since writing is a joy for me and English was my minor in college, (way back in the 80's) I thought this project would be fairly easy. Needless to say it took me much longer than I thought because of the information I had floating around in my head.

After carefully planning and evaluating my thoughts, I came up with the following thoughts: Teaching is a joy if you don't allow the bureaucracy and politics get to you, affect you or dictate to you. The teaching profession is vital to the growth of Americas economy, therefore change is inevitable in order to stay abreast in the 21st century. Teaching requires PATIENCE, PERSISTENCE AND PERSERVERANCE... And last but not least, you will either love or hate teaching and for those who are in between, work one day at any school and you will quickly decide. I guess what it all balls down to is whether you have thick enough skin to deal with it all and not have a stroke.

Overall, I believe teaching should be fun, realistic, and rewarding. I love engaging the students with powerful set inductions, presenting new ideas and allowing them to use their creativity. As teachers, we should have fun with the kids because after they graduate (hopefully) and go on to become successful and great adults, you will be remembered and your name should go down in history as the "GREATEST teacher ever". Thanks to NTI we will prevail!
Never Give up...


I am really getting tired of the seniors right now. They have just decided that they are finished and they do not want to work anymore. I think a lot of them think that no matter what, since they have come this far, that they are not going to fail. They just think that we are going to pass them through. We were told that right now we have about 80 seniors that are failing at least one class and that they will not graduate if they do not make up the work. I hve one that is failing because he will not turn in his work and take a missed test. I gave him an opportunity to take his make up test while I had a sub. I had arranged for him to go to a quiet class and take the test because my class was working on a project while I was gone. The sub left me a note saying that she told him to go and take the test and he said that he will just come back that afternoon and take it. He didn't. I called his mom and she was so appreciative that I called her. She said that he had told her that he had made up all of his work. He will not graduate if he fails my class. It wears me out. I know that it is not my responsibility to make sure that they make up their work, but I find myself worrying about it. I consantly stay on them. I can see how after a while teachers just give up because you just get tired. I'm not going to give up. I 'm going to stay on their rear ends until they get sick of hearing it and will do the work just to make me shut-up.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Another Week Down

Today was a planning day , I was really glad to have. We had GGT pull-outs ( juniors / seniors) and final exams this week. Trying to manuever to accommodate the students has been a challenge and I am sure next week will be an even bigger challenge. I can identify with Connie about not liking nor loving the students on some days and several days this week were evident. I usually keep snacks ( cookies ,Capri-suns, etc ) in a supply room, connected to the classroom . I use the snack as a motivator , to give when they answer questions, complete assignments, etc. Well some of the students in the 1st period stole some of the snacks. This particular room is off limits to the students because of the equipment and supplies. I found out who the culprits were but I told all the students present that they were an accesory to the crime because they condoned what was done. This group of students are always begging for any type of food and I would usually comply but that did it for me. I did let them know that I did not appreciate what was done. Some of them tried to come later to tell on the actual culprits. One of my homeroom students (9th grade ) became upset with me because I asked for his clearance letter to come back to class. He told me he would fight a teacher and he wasn't afraid to go to jail ( he was suspended because of his remarks ). Another student ( special needs ) has been trying to "fit-in"
with some of the more street wise students. This student was throwing up gang signs in the cafeteria and trying to be "hard' and was about to be beat down before another student intervened. After speaking to this student and his mother about his behavior and the potential for him to be hurt , the student continued his behavior. On this past Wednesday, this student was " beat down' by some students. Some of his classmates informed me of the incident, the next day. Today this student came to take his final exam. He had 2 black eyes, bruised nose and missing teeth. He attempted to hide his face from me but it was impossible . My heart went out to him and I asked him is this what he expected ( gang wise ). His answer was no. It is really sad to see this, especially when you have tried to help prevent a situation of this nature. I am really looking forward to Spring break, in a couple more week.


I feel very blessed to be at the school that I am at.The staff for the most part gets along very well with each other and the administration is great.Last week, although a busy week went very well.I read some of the blogs and feel bad for the ones of you that are having problems.After getting to know each of you over these past 8 or 9 months,I know that all of you want only the very best for your students and try very hard to teach them what it takes to become the best employee that they can be in their perspective fields.We all have to remember though that without millions of dollars and or lots of T.V air time and publicity we can't change the world.We can alter a few lives but we can't change them all.Using a term out of the medical dictionary, in this world we have to use the triage system on the students who could care less .The 90% of the ones who want to learn we have to save, the very few that will not learn due to their own laziness would have to be less focused on.This may not be politically correct, but what about the students who truly want to learn and are missing their education because of the time spent on roudy or lazy students.

Not My Week

I think I'm pretty much reiterating some of what others are feeling right now. It sounds like we've all had some pretty rough times this week. I haven't had my computer crash or "broke" my arm, but I did lose my checkbook. :(

I am having issues that I have never had to deal with before and I'm lost. I have one student who claims she had a heart attack last week. There is NO WAY in *&$$ that she did and be able to come back to school so soon. On top of that, there is no documentation from the hospital in these regards. The past two days, she's had panic attacks. She calls these "heart attacks". So of course, I've been dealing with that drama. Her sister stirs up the pot too and gets my class all upset when she comes in and says that is what has happened (they are in the same class with me). They are out of district kids who I wish would just disappear. I don't have time for their drama.

Then, I have started a program with my students on the website. It's great and fun! The only "problem" now is that the kids want to exercise the whole class period and not do their work. I'm having a hard time getting them to do their work. I want them to exercise because most of them don't outside of school, yet I have things that I have to do at the same time.

If that wasn't enough, I have a class where it is "whites" against "blacks". I clueless as to how to deal with this. I took it to my AP yesterday and told him he could handle it. I can't even teach that class for all the racial issues in there between the students. I spend more time telling them to be quiet than I do teaching. It's getting worse too. One girl tries to take over the class and I have to be extremely careful with her. I don't want to "push her buttons" so to speak and have it erupt into more than it already is. She's also trying to claim that I'm a racist. How fun.

Well, on a positive note, I look forward to class tomorrow. I think we should all start class with a big group hug. LOL

ASP Injury

In all of my brilliant wisdom I once again decided to do the ASP drill with my students. Stupid me - instead of getting a PVC pipe from Home Depot to use in place of the real ASP - I of course used the real ASP. Last semester when I did this lab, a special ed student almost hit me in the head - almost died - most of you would have not cared if I had - in fact you guys would be rejoicing. Back to my story..... This time one of my best academic students completely did it wrong and hit me with all of her strength on my upper right arm. I thought I had died!!!!!!!!!!! Of course, my wife who is a Certified Athletic Trainer and EMT, already thinks I am a poopy baby. I have a huge knot that has emerged. I am sure that by Saturday you guys will see a nice colorful upper arm. You would think that at the age of 53 I would know better - I guess not.

Anyways, highlights of my week................ caught a student in my first period class completely high, completely messed up my advisement, had my wife fix my advisement mistakes (now I owe her), had 1/3 of my students out of class of Graduation Test Remediation (how do I effectively teach when my students are missing), lost my wallet and of course "broke" my arm.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Love Your Students??

I've been reading the blogs where everyone seems to love their students very much. I guess I am going to Teacher Hell because I cannot say that I love all of my students. Some days I am waiting for the bell to ring just as much, if not more than, my students. Some days, like today, they seem to get on my last nerve. And then I begin to think, What the heck am I doing this for? I seem to be working like a dog and the students could care less if they pass or fail.

And then I have a chat with myself and I find the positive things that happened in the day. Even if the only positive thing I can find is that the day finally ended, at least there was something positive to focus on. Overall, I do enjoy teaching. I love having a class and sharing and interacting with students. I guess I just get frustrated some days..... And some days I don't love them..... And I'm sure they don't love me either on those days....

...SNAP,CRACKLE, and POP cont.

I forgot to mention and include ALL my NTI information is GONE also...lesson plans, templates, activities, assignments, formats.....ALL the Summer activites............
I feel like my first day of NTI class starts this Saturday.......
I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.....
If it wasn't for the suggestion(this summer) from our instructors to get a zip file to work with in the computer lab...I would go and SWANN DIVE off the nearest BRIDGE!!! because I have three or four things on my zip(they are useless at this stage of the game but I know I might need them next year)
THIS SUCKS PEOPLE.........with a capital "S"!

I am about to SNAP, CRACKLE and POP!!!!

My Computer CRASHED!!!!...I lost everything have been working on....
The Blog i sent out last week about 'building your foundation'...well my foundation has just been DESTROYED......This is by far the worst situation I have ever been in as a teacher....
I've lost lesson plans, documents, templates, powerpoints, forms, activities, handouts....EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!
I only have a few things save to my zip, and disc......the rest is in Computer Heaven!!!!
The smarty pants guys from IT in the County even ruined my "U Drive"......I swear to ya'll that I feel like finding another profession....
Keep in mind that I have been in the classroom for three/four years so the 'foundation' I was trying to build is NOW RUIN...I have to start back at square one...
I had to e-mail Mortissa to get the link to this BLOG....I am wiped out!!!!!....
They just returned my computer today!......the riff raff in the IT department said they would be able to put my documents, programs, etc.. on a disc to save most of the stuff........well, they area ll LIARS!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More GHSGT stuff

My students are required to take the GHSGT test and even if they pass and the chances of that are slim to none, they still do not get a general education diploma. They haven't taken the required classes. It's nothing but another opportunity for them to feel defeated and frustrated with their educational experience. I've been told it has something to do with "No Child Left Behind".

"Playing the Game" The difference between this year and last

My class participates in Work Based Learning. Last year, I went to the work site and nobody told me anything about what to do, what to expect or anything. Supervisors at the company did not want to deal with our kids because it was extra work for them lining up work each day. so the supervisors started giving our students jobs that nobody else wanted to do. No training just menial jobs stuff to keep the students out of the way.

I spoke with the Work Based Learning coordinator and asked him to go and speak with the company officials because I could see the people at the company were losing interest fast. Many well meaning people say they would love to help our kids but when the "rubber meets the road" so to speak it is a big commitment to deal with special needs kids. People want the fulfillment of helping others but don't want the sacrifice and commitment. Anyway, the Work Based Learning coordinator came to the company called me into an office told me all this stuff I was doing wrong, in front of the company staff. I had to go to meetings that were documented and explain why I wasn't doing this or that at WBL. I basically got raked over the coals because I was trying to be proactive and make the Work Based Learning site a better learning environment for my students.

I realized in education sometimes there is an environment where every one is just covering their self, as was the WBL coordinator and the students needs were somewhere down on the list of priorities and I was bitter and appalled. It was the low point of my first year.

This year The coordinator told me we had a problem. Someone reported that one of my students was not using a saw safely at the work site. (not true) I welcomed the challenge. I questioned the person's qualifications who made the claim and reminded the coordinator of my own, I had lessons using the tool in question offering documentation of my students abilities to use the tools, and emailed anybody that mattered about how I had addressed the issue.

I realized after doing all this stuff that I had learned how to "play the game" that one sometimes has to do to be successful as a teacher. The scary thing is I kind of liked it. Sorry this is so long.

Another Beef about GHSGT's

This week they are conducting GHSGT tutorial sessions in our auditorium for the juniors. I have four juniors in my 2nd block. The problem is I only have a total of 8 students in that class. So, for the remainder of this week they will be in the auditorium all day everyday then next week they will be testing all day everyday. So, that means that I won't see these kids for 2 weeks! When they return to class they will be 2 weeks behind! So for their sake I'm going to slow the pace down to a slow crawl. I don't see where I have a whole lot of choice. Why do they have these "cram sessions" anyway? Can we call this a real "learning process"? Even if they do pass how much of these "cram sessions" will the kids retain after the testing is over? Who really benefits? Truth be known I think the state is just trying to save face on this one!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I am planning my 2nd annual Public Safety Fair. It will be held at Stockbridge High on April 2, 2008 from 9am -2pm. I have recieved confirmation of attendance from the: GBI Bomb Squad, GEMA, Henry County Gang Unit, K-9, S.W.A.T. and Helicopter Unit, Ga. State Patrol, Henry County Sherriffs, Ga. Dept of Corrections, Henry County Public Defenders Office, Juvenile Probations, Fire Department, Dekalb County Medicall Examiner, GBI Crime Lab, and Ga. DUI Simulator.

I am excited and I think it will be a great success and a lot of fun.

Loving it!

This past year as a new teacher has been an incredible journey. I have learned so much!!! such as acronyms in education are different from those in nursing. The paperwork is about the same, tons of it!! The thing I have learned the most is that I'm truly loving the students. Yes some of them can be knuckleheads and drive you nuts, but overall it has been a great year. I have learned the students will rise up to a challenge. We are having a medical terminology spelling bee. We opened it up to the school and have had several students sign up. We are excited. When I was an educator in nursing I would always tell my students that everyday should be filled with learning opportunities. If at the end of the day you could not answer the question, What have learned today? , you have missed out! Teaching is the same way.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What I've Learned

Skills USA is a ripoff!!!!!!!! The prices keep going up and we cant afford to go. State comp this year is our prom weekend so we cant stay 2 nights at the motel. Since we only booked 1 night they upped our room rate to $199 a night. That is ridiculous. We wont be goin to SkillsUSA


As I'm sure you all know by now the GHSGT's are going to be a part of the EOCT's from now on although any student who was "behind the 8 ball" is still subject to the "Complete idiocy" of the GHSGT, (I'm sorry, it's just how I feel). I'm trying to figure out how people who are "Qualified" to work at the state level can come up with this cockamamy idea, then decide to do away with it but then say that the changes can't be retroactive. My daughter is a prime example of one of the "behind the 8 ball" students. She ended up with 3 more credits than she needed to graduate, passed all of her required classes but just couldn't seem to pass the social studies/ science portion of the test, even after 3 try's. Maybe it had something to do with the states latest assesment that "it's hard for students to retain the material for that long so maybe we should include the GHSGT's with the EOCT's". My daughter still doesn't have her diploma. She is too discouraged to muster the motivation to go for the GED. She is currently working at a restaraunt and seems content with it. I think that the reprocusions of this bumbling "GHSGT" idea are going a lot farther than the state ever imagined. I wonder how many other kids are effected this way. I need to call my Senator.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What I've Learned Lately...

Well, I suppose my love for the students has to be my answer here. After nearly four years in this gig, I have certainly realized that I love working with these kids. When I first left the studio industry to enter teaching, I knew that it was the kids or my ultimate attitude toward the kids, that would make or break this as a career for me; and I would have quietly limped back to the studio world. But as I stand here a teacher today, I know that I have a real desire and enjoyment that comes from working with high school seniors. I didn't know at first, but I certainly know now!

What have I learned lately?

I really do love teaching both children and adults. The teaching and nursing professions are very similar and no one really understands how important they are to the community.

What is the most important thing you've learned about your students?

Thinking back when I first started teaching. I didn't have the patience. It always had to be my way and is still my way to a point. The Biggest thing is Patience and Listening.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

From NTI to the classroom

Every teacher in the classroom should know something about the Cognitive, Psychomotor, and Affective domains of learning. The emphasis in most schools today seems to be the Cognitive domain, since they spend so much time dealing with the SAT or the HSGT. Several of our High Schools are using a multidisciplinary curricula which allows the students to develop their Psychomotor skills, such as music and drama. Not much attention is given to the Affective domain which deals with the student's attitude and values. After looking into the different domains you will realize why most students, especially those in high schools that are full of attitudes without values.

Friday, March 7, 2008


I think the most important thing I have learned is the differences in what defines an issue, between me and my students...for example...When one says..."God you're old..." I'm looking around my shoulder for ANYONE. But alas, they speak of me. When I explained that I was 10 years older than my wife, a senior who was the starting linebacker for our football team (still rebuilding) asks..."Why do women go for older men?" Before I could ruin this guy's day by commenting that his face look like it blocked a punt, or that his belly looked like it went out for a career of it's own...a Sophomore from Sunny Brook Farm said..."Cause his (that's me) generation has all the money and property! I like it when a woman does my fighting for me!

Then there's what defines "Bullying". The popular thought is that it's just a natural part of high school life; that some Senator who was pushed into the girl's restroom too many times legislated against; what should be a fun time for all. I countered left...broke right, fell ,then got up and retorted..." If you're a Bully, then you are a Tyrant to the Weak, and a Coward to the Strong!" (OK...Got that one out of some fortune cookie).

We then debated on one of the three subjects you should never argue.... that's right... Student Character. I asked..."If you heard your best friend say... "Something big is going to happen tomorrow..I wouldn't be around if I were you..." would you turn him in? The answer was in four part harmony with a little hog callin in there some where..."No!". I then asked..."if you saw this same best friend kissing your girlfriend, would you interrupt?"...again, and just as loud..."Yes!". I then asked...if you found a $20 bill on the floor of the restroom, would you bring it to me to turn in? I ducked and heard..."NO!". Just as it was beginning to be my belief that if honor and character were wrapped in a Pop-Tart" and tossed to my second period it would hit the floor for some mangy Dalmation to eat...little Dominique W. signaled a fair catch, stepped forward and caught it! Small, obviously poor, and very quietly and after everyone had left for lunch, she handed me money she had found on her way to class. Add now, a 5th time I always cry has been added ..."Waking up with a woman who really loves me!"Old Yeller", "Brian's Song", "Hoosiers" and now..."Little Dominique".

We are having an Honors night May 1st. I have submitted her as the student with the Most Outstanding Character. Kinda teary- eyed right now so I'll just leave with my nomination of JuJuan as.." Aw sucks...forget it...I can't clean it up enough... See you guys soon.

Another interesting news story-- check this out!

This story appeared in today's New York Times. The story is about a new charter school in New York that will pay teachers over $100,000 per year. It's very interesting and provocative. Check it out by clicking here.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What I've learn over the pass year

Are girls better listeners and learners than boys? This is an age old question. I don't think there are any conclusive research to determine who is better.
Although academics are divided, the general observation of both sexes in the classroom at the middle school level suggest that girls are quicker off the mark.
During the high school level what I observe is how boys and girls engage in different kinds of learning experiences ,and the interest they show in these activities. One important thing I do learn from this observation is that boys are more action -oriented .
Since most of us are in the high school settings, next time ,observe your class when they are required to take notes or copy something from the chalkboard, the girls are more likely to obey, because of this girls tends to pay more attention and be more focus than boys on academics therefore they tend to be better learners.


Who would have ever though that I would ever be teaching, especially high school. A couple of years ago, I use to always say that I did not like teenagers at all. That probably came from the foolisheness I witnesses in the streets of Miami.

Well, what I have really come to learn in the past year, is that I have some type of 'Magic Power" within me, to make all the kids love me, even the ones that I am mean to. I can't seem to get them away from me. I must say that it has a lot to do with what O'Connor said in his post, you have to build trust with your students, to the point where they will work, just because they believe its for you not for them to graduate.

My administrators have started calling me or sending students to my office to handle their discipline issue, because these crazy kids are in the office telling the administrators that they not talking to anyone except Ms. Barnes, or send me to Ms. Barnes room and I will do my work. REMEMBER, I don't even like teenagers, why won't they leave me alone..AAAAHHHHHHH!!!! LOL

The past year

I have learned a lot over the last year. I haved learned how to play the game and play it very well. I have also learned that there is more to teaching than just "playing the game". I found that once the students trust you, respect you, and want to learn, it makes things much easier. I have noticed that when doing it right, school becomes more than a job, it becomes a way of life and life has never really been as good as it is right now.

Oh yeah, one thing I learned as recently as today is that if you dont work toward your certification as you are supposed to and have plenty of time to......your contract goes POOOOF! This is not a personal issue of mine, but I seen it second hand so dont get too far behind, you might be bagging groceries for a living.

News story about girl with Autism

Hi y'all,

This goes out to everyone, but I think the HSTE folks might be especially interested in this news story that was featured in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution. The story is about a girl whose autism has been linked to childhood vaccines. Click here to read up on this.

Things Learned

I have learned that there is a limit to my patience.Sometimes kindness can be taken as a sign of weakness. I have learned that some of the students will try to intimidate you and get you to act a "fool" with them. I have come to the conclusion that no matter how hard you try, some of the students will not make it. I am amazed at the amount of disrespect the students show towards adults, their lack of respect for others personal property and their general lack of motivation. Some students bring a lot of baggage with them and as a defense mechanism they strike out at the teacher. I have questioned myself many of days as to whether or not I want to continue to try to teach in this environment ( the verdict is still out ). My hope is to get students in HSTE who are interested and not continue to get students who have no desire to be in HSTE.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What I've learned thus far...

In response to this weeks blog, I have to admit that I've learned a lot since the beginning of school. I have experienced many different emotions such as joy for being able to help a student solve a problem or change their negative mindset. I've experienced a melancholy mood after working for unprepared teachers who have no teaching skills and are in the profession for a paycheck. On these days I find myself wondering how they got the job and have maintained it for years. Just this week, I worked as a Spec. Ed teacher, in a classroom with a Lang. Arts teacher who claimed that I didn't help her manage the students. Well, she yelled at them enough for both of us and used demeanoring tactics that degraded and embarrased some of the students. I felt sad for the kids and just didn't have a lot to say since I wasn't in agreement with her classroom management and treatment of the students. At any point, when my AP questioned me, I told him she was crazy and not telling the truth. Up to this point, not once has a teacher made a complaint about me, so my AP knew it was a bogus statement.

I've learned that when teachers are ineffective, they try to cover up and try to make others look bad. However, I will not hold a grudge, because she isn't worth it and life if too short.

Overall I have learned that being an effective teacher requires patience in dealing with students who will test your last drop of patience, other teachers who didn't attend NTI and think they know it all and lazy Administrators. I've learned that when others see your level of expertise, they become threatened by your professionalism and capabilities. I've learned that the Administration is vital to the success of a school and that even if they don't acknowledge your emails, never give up. I've learned that persistence overcomes resistance. I say all of that to say that it has been a real journey working as a Stellar sub in this school and I'm thankful for the experience given. I know that God has given me this position because He is preparing me for the next level in life. I've learned to toughen up and never let your feelings get in the way. At the end of the day, we still have loved ones who think the world of us....

What I''ve learned

I've been able to learn a great deal in the last year and a half.I left my job 1 week before the start of my first year teaching.Although I worked with computers everyday,they were all touch screen.I couldn't do a powerpoint,send an e-mail I didn't even know how to minimize the screen.I'm still not a computer wizard but I have come a long way. Also, I have found that I have more patience than I thought I did,and I have found out that you have to give students time limits when they go to the bathroom.I couldn't list everything that I have learned,but these are just a few.

My fellow bloggers

Does anyone know how to link a file to a blog page so that when the reader clicks on the link it opens the file up in a separate page? I found the hyper link that points to a web page but not one for a file.

What I've learned so far

Before I started teaching I was regarded as a very patient person. I was the "rock" in my household in that regard and I sort of took a bit of pride in it. Well the Bible says in Proverbs that "pride comes before the fall". Well, that is what I learned before I fell and I'm very thankful that someone was there to see my "lack" of patience. These kids have made me realize that they have more "foolishness" than I have patience for. I am taking a completely different approach now. I don't hold it in anymore. Lately, more and more, I find myself dealing with even the simplest of behavioral problems when they happen instead of waiting until I'm at the "end of my rope". I don't want these kids to see a monster. I want them to see firmness and care. I spend more time talking to them about these issues at the beginning of class instead of waiting until they have no more attention to give me. Things are a lot better now. I think they're beginning to see a friend in me as well as a teacher.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

previous blog

I promise that I was not drunk when I wrote my last blog. Just tired I guess. I forgot to proof read it. Sorry!

What I have Learned

I have learned many things in my in these past two school years. First of all, I have learned that I can handle more a one time than I thought I could. I have definitely become a multi-tasker. More so than ever before. I have learne that tomorrow is a new day and that it will get done eventually. I am starting to learn patience with myself and that I don't have to do everything perfectly.
Now about the students, I have learned that if you treat them with respect, they will treat you with respect. If you take the time to help them, they will make an effort to complete work. If you show them that you genuinely care for them, they will do anything to make you proud.

In reply to joec

You did not let me know if it is the good or the bad that is high, so I am assuming it is the bad. Everything you have been doing is good but I would like for you to add a few things. Flax seed meal, Psyllium husk, Soy powder with isoflavones, these are all powders and can be mixed into your juice. You should also remember that the liver is the organ that regulate our cholesterol so the next time you visit the doctor ask him/her about doing a chelation (kelation)


Wow....truly an inspiring and enlightening video. That guy is really good, but I think this part was my favorite by far. Ya know, I feel that I am VERY conscious about giving a "little extra love" to my students who I KNOW are "down some chips," but I think that this video really made me understand how important that is and what a great impact it can have on a child. But also, it reminded me NOT to forget that A student, who behaves well, is great in class, has money and a car and friends...but yet; maybe he/she is covering up. Or rather, maybe, some of these types of kids just push through it, or some, they just seem to "handle" everything fine. Well, looks can be deceiving. I realized this semester that one of my "good" kids, one "that will be fine" out there in life, was having issues at home with an alcoholic birth parent and a step-parent. But this kid would have NEVER used that as some excuse or reason to "act out" or whatever. Nope; this kid just quietly handled everything in his own way. I find out that he had been living in his car and then at a friend's house for a while when he actually DID come and talk to me. We had a good rapport and I think he just got to the end of his rope. Anyway, long story short, that video TRULY made me realize that even the "high-rollers" can be WAY down on chips....and still appear to be a high roller!

Welcome to the week of March 3

After being in the classroom for a few years I finally understand...or shall I say figured out! What the secret is for a successful yet stress free classroom experience...DRUM ROLL>>>>>>>>>>>
..It's building your foundation...Let me explain.....We have learned sooo much from NTI and each other, but I am willing to bet that EXPERIENCE(itself) was the best tool we other words...jumping into the fire, getting your feet wet,etc....I have notice that the first three to four years of teaching is the deciding factor of how you will run and finish the race(humor the sport you have a slow(unproductive) start in those years than chances are that you will have to dig down deeper to catch up with the pack in front of you...however, you you get a fast(productive) start in those years than you may lead the pack or at least be in the race....
The first few years are to develop, build,strengthen your foundation...such as Lesson planning, activities, getting familiar with curriculum, creating yearly procedures done in the classroom, gathering useful resources,videos,slides,overheads, field trips, school activities, bus duty, hall duty, staff meetings, overall TIME MANAGEMENT!...these are some of the things that have to become...what I call a "NORMAL COURSE OF BUSINESS"...and frankly we are all still green..and our foundation is not yet complete...but we are building!!!!!!
I say this(in keeping with the original topic of the blog) that I have learn about myself this year that..."Every man has a plan until he gets hit".....~MIKE TYSON
We are still a little daze from hits of being in a REAL classroom with students, as oppose to sitting in classroom being instructed on how to deal with students...
Imagine if we didn't have NTI.........can you say first round knockout!..ha

Myself/My Students

I seem to learn something about myself each year. The past three years teaching have been rewarding as well as stressful at times. I have learned patience, patience and more patience. I am somewhat used to giving people orders and they pretty much follow them, but the students today are so different. I am still adjusting to that. At my old job, I was able to leave the worries of the job behind, but now I can't. I find myself thinking of something to do for my students all of the time or I am thinking about that student having a hard time and what I can do to assist them in some way. I tend to look after them like they are my own. Before contracts came out, I was thinking of searching for a new job because of all of the issues we are having, but I always think about my students, especially my sophomores that were freshmen when I first started at Riverdale. At the end of last year, they asked me see them through their Senior year and I really don't want to let them down.

The most important thing I have learned about my students is that they just want someone to show that they really care about them. I find myself looking after the students that have been labeled as "bad", but I seem to get through to them. They will come to class and work for me when they won't for others. This really makes me feel like I am making a difference in their lives. At our school, they seem to focus on the students who are at the top or our athletes and the students in the middle or at the bottom get left out, those are the students that I seem to reach and make sure I make extra time for them. Sometimes when our students are acting our, they are looking for attention and instead of them going somewhere getting negative attention, I want to be that positive person in their lives. So, I try to make myself available to them as much as possible.

Update on previous post regarding healthy schools

This bill passed in the senate yesterday. Look for more information to come soon!! I'm not saying I agree with it but it looks like just another thing, like Perry said, for parents to complain about (and teachers too!). I like the idea of a healthier America I'm just not sure the schools are the ones to do it.

Monday, March 3, 2008

When the chips are down

The video : When the chips are down was very inspiring. We should remember that the points brought out in the video were just suggestions. We should not be to hasty and abandon the things that has been working for us all these years. We can look at different ways of punishing a child or student that will give the best result. Punishment is like teaching, we have to try different methods to see which will be the best for your class. The psychologists said we should not spank / paddle a child are we going to stop spanking/ paddling because the psychologist said so? The poker chip idea is very interesting but we should remember that this is what motivational speakers does, it does not mean that you have to follow their suggestions.

Important Thing....

I think one of the most important things I have learned about myself is that I do not know how to "chill" and "go with the flow." I am too uptight about every little thing. And I worry, worry, worry. No, I am not Jewish. But I am Italian and maybe that worrying thing is in my blood. It's kind of like you cannot be an Italian mama unless you know how to worry.

So I have made a big effort to just RELAX. And go with the flow. Life happens and I usually end up OK, so why have I been wasting so much precious energy and time being uptight and worrying?

I have learned that most of the best teachers at my school are the ones who just go with the flow. And the students love them! And the students are more open to learning in those classrooms. I'm learning....

Important Things

Having just begun my new career, I was surprised at the simple inability of most of my students to communicate even the most rudimentary idea or thought without being rude or inappropriate. Taking a few steps back to think, I began to realize - IT IS A DIFFERENT WORLD. It seems I spend as much time teaching "Human Being 101" as I do anything else. That is okay by me. Personally, I really feel a connection to the teachers who were "old school". You were going to learn, you were going to behave, and you !@#$ well better like it. As I don't have children of my own, I feel like I have 100 at school. My students may behave like wild animals outside my door, but when they enter my door ...THEY ARE MINE AND THEY KNOW IT! Helping turn out a decent person is more important than turning out a good construction worker.

The Groove

I wonder if there will ever be a time when you seem to slide into a "groove" when it comes to teaching. A time when your lesson plans work for all of the classes that you teach from now on. A time when you don't even have to think about having to plan because it just comes natural to you. A time when all of the discipline issues seem like a walk in the park. A time when you have ample funding for your program or at least the uncanny ability to improvise using the materials at hand. A time when all of your students take your advise about their work ethic and just work hard all semester long. A time when you don't have to say 50 times over "o.k. guys it's time to clean-up and pick-up" because they just know that it is. A time when all of your students are considerate of school property and start to really take care of the equipment in your lab. A time when you can build meaningful, lasting relationships with all of your students in just one semester. A time when mutual respect between the teacher and student is commonplace. Then again it might be kind of boring that way......I wonder......

Open Mic

Hello NTI Family:
Well where do I begin? I had a week similar to Tracys, but not quite as bad. Last week I suffered with a bad sinus infection, went to the doctor and got meds, and still am not feeling 100% myself. I also started the "Exceptional Child" class on the same day and was totally out of it. My head hurt so bad and I couldn't breath out of my nose. I know that this all comes from lack of rest because the human body can takebut so much before it begins to break down. On top of missing a day and not feeling well, Ms. Hayden came to visit me on Friday morning. I still felt terrible but had to endure and do the best I could. All went well and Ms. Hayden was impressed with my lesson plan and presentation. She was pleasurable to work with and gave me valuable pointers for my job search. "Thanks so much Ms. Hayden"!

On another note, the "Exceptional Child" course is interesting and I now have another load on my plate. Our homework was to research websites that offered teaching strategies for students with ADD. I found to be very helpful and so my homework is complete. I think I might enjoy the class but it is long (4:30-9:30) and after 5PM my mind begins to shut down. The instructor will have to be interesting to keep me up. One good thing was she let us out at 8PM, hopefully this will be the norm.

The video we watched during our last NTI class was "GREAT". I truly liked the message on poker chips and how we as teachers can give or take them away. I have thought about that message when disciplining my own girls. I think that if we remember the importance of our students having poker chips, we will be better educators overall and perhaps our students will learn from our example.

House Bill SB 506

I don't claim to be a political individual for the most part. Last week, I was called into the superintendent's office and asked to sit on a board for our school regarding a House Bill that is on the table. I'm curious to know if any of you have heard of this and what your school might be doing in response to it. I'm still undecided as to how I REALLY feel about it. The super may not have the very best person in mind (however it being healthcare related she's sure to hear my opinions!!)Below is an exerpt of the bill that I received via email. Comments please!!

The next bill considered is one that requires Body Mass Index (BMI) testing of each student at the beginning and at the end of each school year. The bill, SB 506, requires that the results be reported in aggregate to the Department of Education's Coordinator of Education. Each school is also required to provide at least the minimum instruction in physical education prescribed by the State Board of Education. Data collected (in aggregate, by school) will be included on the DOE web site, and a school that does not provide the data or does not meet the physical education instruction requirement shall be designated by the state board as an "unhealthy school zone" or similar designation.

After considerable discussion -- and a failed attempted amendment -- regarding eliminating sugar in schools, the bill received a Do-Pass as amended. the amendment requires that the BMI testing be conducted be "confidential."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

When The Chips Are Down

This video pointed out several things I was doing wrong. I had taken playing cards from students and not returned them. I also had punished the whole class for the actions of a few. After veiwing the video , I did return one of the decks of cards back to a student ( with the understanding he could not use them in my class ). I will try to be more cognizant about how I punish the guilty students , instead of the whole class. All in all this was a good video.

Teenager murders his mom and two sisters

I'm sure you all have seen the news about the 17 year old boy from Gwinnett County who murdered his mother (a sheriff's deputy) and his two younger sisters (age 11 and 4). When the news first came on TV, they did not think the boy was a suspect. I felt so sorry for him. He came home and the police were there and he learned that his family had been murdered. Then, the next day, the news says that he committed the murder. No reason has been given as to WHY?

It has made me so sad. What happened that could cause a kid to do something so horrific? I guess we don't know what all was going on in this kid's life, or what kind of home situation he might have had. I hope the news will tell us the motive.

I guess this kid was completely out of Poker Chips, huh?