Rules For Posting To This Blog and Weekly Blog Question

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Volleyball Stats

The volleyball coach asked if I would keep statistics during the volleyball games. I know nothing about volleyball, so this week I had a crash course in the fundamentals of volleyball. The first game was Friday. It was an away game. I left the stat clip board in my classroom by mistake. I had to quickly draw an impromptu stat sheet right before game time. I was a terrible stat keeper! I did not know the girls play 2 out of 3 games to win so when we switched sides of the court, I didn't realize we were starting a new game. I kept all the stats on the same game sheet. The assistant coach whispered to me that the coach probably wouldn't fire me. The match began at 4:30 and was to end around 6:00. After two false fire alarms and a bad referee, the games finally ended at 9:15. I enjoyed being with the students and look forward to honing my skills as a stat keeper, assuming I still have the job come Monday morning.

Please Do NOT Move Duriing the Anthem

I understand that it is a tradition and a great one at that that we are to stand respectful and still for the National Anthem. Me and a fellow teacher were at an away football game and two of our cheerleaders were slowly walking backwards still facing the flag to try to get back to their post on time. Apparently, there was only one bathroom on the home side at this stadium and they were trying to hurry to get back. My fellow teacher, which is my age and has never served in the military, began to ream them out for how disrespectful they were. He informed them he was going to turn them in to their coach. Ok, as I said at the top, we need to respect the flag and what it stands for, but I think this situation could have been turned into a teaching moment instead of a reprimand moment. These are not bad girls. I think they are both straight A students. They are never in trouble. If he had not spoke first, I would have called the girls over and explained to them how important it should be for them to show respect for our nation and the soldiers who died to make us free. You know, maybe some sappy story. Something to make them think. Again, I don't think they were trying to be disrespectful. We know those kind of kids. I would have probably lit into them myself if it was one of them. Again, I think as educators and leaders, we have to evaluate the students and the situation before we react. A lot of times that is easier said than done. In a couple of years when I am not so new to this, I may find myself in a situation where I am being the jerk and don't realize it. I hope this illustration comes to my mind and I put myself back in check.


This week I had the privilege of spending two days with other CTAE instructors from across the state at the New Teacher Workshop in Macon, GA. I had the opportunity to speak candidly with the Executive Director of HOSA, Allan Seigler as he shared his wealth of knowledge and support. Then it happened, everything that I have learned over the summer, the interactions with the students, and the classroom activities finally came together for me. I suddenly realized how to incorporate my class into HOSA and allow the class to run more fluently. I have the privilege of having Ms. E.C. Chillis as an evaluator and supporter in my class. After viewing my class she stated "you are working too hard". I pondered that and tried to figure out how to adjust the recommendations that she suggested. As a result, I made changes to incorporate her recommendations but it still didn't feel---just right. After the New Teacher Workshop it happened. I had an "Ah-hah" moment and I shared that with Ms. Chillis. This morning I spent approximately 20 minutes developing an email to select students that have exemplified leadership in the classroom and defined specific class activities that I would like for them to develop in class. The students have the tools required to develop the activities because we have spent a significant amount of time developing those skills. I am excited as I am sure that the students will be to undertake this new opportunity. I can't wait to share with all of you the energy and success that Allen spoke about when describing the HOSA classroom!


I was so ready for the weekend.I had a great week with so many meetings student of the year paper work so much paper work it's all moving so fast. I'm not sure if that is good or bad so much work to do but so little time to do it in.

A Balanced Staff

This has been a great year. It is amazing how when all of the components of a team are in place what can be achieved. This year our administrative staff has a great balance. The discipline side of the equation is firm but fair and supports the teaching staff without any disrespect to the students and their feeling of being heard. The other side of the coin is an administrator that has a heart as big as Atlanta! The two of them make for a great balance and has made this year a great one so far!!

Looking forward to year 3, They say it only gets better!

open mic

This week was OK for the most part. Seemed to a little sick at times but made it Thur the week. Kids came back from fall break and seemed to be relaxed and ready to learn. Not by the end of the week. I did have one student come to me to help him with a problem with another student. I went and talked to the teacher and she said that he had changed his behavior the last couple of weeks. He is trying to play basketball this year. He was placed in my homeroom because he was having problems with his old homeroom teacher. He is a young black male who's father has not been in his life and by chance me and his father grew up together and played together as little kids. When he found that out he opened up to me and began to listen to me. We still have our days when we bump heads but at the end of the day i win. That makes me happy to be a teacher. I tell all my students that you will make mistakes and life but it is how you deal with them that defines you as a person at times.

Open mic

Wow, what a week! I honestly thought that it would never end. I'm not sure why, but I have been completely exhausted. Sometimes I get so worn out with my students when I try so hard to create "entertaining" lessons for them. I feel like I have to work so hard to keep them on track because they seem to think that lab time is play time. I also feel like I spend so much of my own money on supplies just to have the students waste them by being silly with their friends. I can honestly see why some teachers resort to using just lecture and worksheets. Boring, I know, but I get tired of feeling like I am wasting my time, energy, and money! I don't really want to resort to being that teacher, but right now I am soooo low energy. I'm sorry for the rant, I just felt like I needed to vent a little. Hopefully, I will feel better next week.

Friday, October 30, 2009


My 4th block class is my upper level BVP Applications class. I tried to run the class like a workplace for the first nine weeks, and while several things were working....others were not. After attending a professional development meeting, I decided I would make some changes with BVP Apps. This is the first time the class has ever been taught, it has all new state standards, so the expectations are basically unknown because the standards are very generic. The class is setup to facilitate higher end production and professionalism. While my announcements show has been going well, other class productions have been bad. Students have abandoned the basics and want to procrastanate. It is a constant battle to keep everyone busy and producing good stuff all at once. So, in an effort to get things working for all of us, I organized a forum. My students and I all sat down, and in a very organized way began to work through our issues. I was so proud of them for taking the problems we were having seriously. We redesigned our production schedule and all agreed that I needed to revamp the weekly rubric (both the students and I want it to be more strict - WOW!). I got some great ideas from my students, but more importantly I have their support to make the class better - whether it's easy for them or not. This high level class should work together to create and broadcast a great product. Seeing them embrace their role as the leaders and trendsetters of the student body made me feel releived and excited about the future of our program.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


This week has been a tedious one where the students have really been acting out negatively. It might be Halloween or because in the alternative school we used to have four exits per year for the students to leave and return to their respective schools, but it has been reduced to two. The new exit dates are May and December, also they used to have to pass 6 of 8 classes to exit, now its 8 of 8. These changes might be the reason for the uneasiness in the school among the students. Hopefully the kids will become acclimated to the new exit procedures that are now in place. STAY TUNED.

Down with a sickness

So my carefully constructed fool-proof plan for teaching my kids to use Final Cut Pro hit a major wall. This wall was in the form of flu. You got it, they got it, I got it...we all got it! My plan was to teach the very basics of Final Cut right before film festival. I had it all planned out. We work on editing up to the first day of Film Festival so it is all fresh in their minds. Now that I have missed two days of school, thank you flu, I find myself trying to make up for lost time. They seem to be enjoying this new found sprinting pace of ours, because they fully understand that without this knowledge their is no way they will be competitive in the festival. On a good note, when I showed back up to school their faces lit up like it was Christmas morning.

What a LONG week!

Is it just me or has this been an extra long week? I must say that I have been a little stressed over the past week... I decided to try some of the group activities in my classes. For the most part they have went ok, but have been extremely strenuous on me! The students have thoroughly enjoyed it though. I guess that's all that really matters huh?!?! I am being observed Monday for the second time, and I think I am more worried this time than last.... I received my grade for the video observation today and it didn't go exactly how I wanted. I guess I am just extremely overwhelmed right now. I think a lot of us are feeling this right now though. I know everything will come together in the end. It is really nice to be able to talk to my fellow classmates and be able to relate to each other so well. This class has been a Godsend for me! Thanks NTI!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anyway the wind blows

This week has been a pretty good one. The weather has been on my side and this has given my class an opportunity to get out and get some fresh air.Let me be the first to say that a change of scenery really does a class some good. We have entered into the unit on defensive tactics and arresting procedures, students are wearing their uniforms and things seem to be progressing accordingly. What more can I say? Well I am not going to say much. I am going to continue to go with the flow and take advantage of this opportunity and try to capitalize on it.

on old memory

My mom took me to the YMCA when I was a kid for swimming lessons. When we jumped into the shallow end my feet would not touch bottom. I had to bob in and out of the water to breathe. I could not hear the instructions, much less obey them within the building panic I felt. Then I recognized the strong grip on my shoulder that usually meant I was in trouble. This time it meant I was saved. Thanks mom.

Sometimes since I started this NTI program I have felt some of the same panic, but never more than this week when my financial aid fell apart and it looked as if I would drown before finding a way to recover. Dr. Burns, like my mom so long ago, did not hesitate to rescue me. She might have made calls, sent emails, perhaps more and straightened out the mess. Thanks Dr. Burns.


My week began well as I demonstrated the fresh salsa and cheese dip, the students that made a 100 on the sanitation and safety test would be making. I also came up with the solution that I was going to give a retake for the tests in class while the other students were cooking so that those students that could not make it after school would have an opportunity to cook next week. I did not have the budget to purchase enough food to do a repeat demo so I did a lot of repeat back and questioning while I did my demo. I then concluded with them repeating back the steps on what to do. They did fantastic and so I was so excited about today since it was the first day of producing the food.

My 1A is a fabulous class so I had high expectations but they were soon deflated when I had repeat questioning on what to do, what equipment they needed, and the lack of organization they had at their tables. Some students did not even finish their salsa (seriously it is just some basic ingredients done to a small dice or minced). I was so frustrated because they had taken the test, then I had done a practical run through of the kitchen twice before, and finally I had demonstrated exactly how to make everything and then they had repeated it back. Ugh!!! I know that everyone is not meant to be a chef but I feel like I am set up to fail sometimes because I do everything that I can think of to teach my students and then they do only half a job. I would love to do repeat demos with every student for activities like setting up the 3 compartment sink but that would become very boring very quickly and would waste the chemicals that I pay about $600 a year for. The problem is that I did demo it, I did do a repeat demo, and I put it on the test. What else can I do? I know you may be thinking - Ginger, they just don't care, but it was actually one of my students that is seriously considering this career that made the mistake of setting up the sinks improperly and then putting hot water with the sanitizer which makes it completely ineffective.

I will take any advice because I want to cook a lot more this year than I did last year but am going to be discouraged once again if it ends up being me doing most of the work. I will take any suggestions because you all have been so helpful in the past.

Open mic

Since beginning teaching at my school , I have had the opportunity to meet some very intertesting students and faculty members. The relationships that have developed since are nice. Although, many of the children do not have a positive male role model in their life. Many are troubled with the burdens of a single parent home. I would have to say the best part in coming to know some of the students in my classes. Some are very good at football etc. They love it when you see them in their element. It's feels good when they come to me for guidance. This part of the teacher/student relationship is new to me. Having taught adults up to this point has not had this effect. It 's kinda hartwarming.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fantasia at Laney High School ?

Can a musical icon like Fantasia Barrino help the children of Lucy Craft Laney High School?
but of course !!! On Friday December 4th .... Fantasia Barrino with grace the city of Augusta Georgia with her presence for a star -stunning concert .... Well with my connections as a radio personality ,my quest for the spotlight was gleaming , not for myself ,but for the students of Laney !!! Wouldn't that be great for Fantasia to come to Laney to speak with the students to tell them of her trials and tribulations . Her educationally challenges have been on the hearts and minds of people young and old . The question that puzzled many; How could this young senational lady with only a 8th grade education make it ?..... Well she's currently being tutored according to her manger, and she has a voice ,which is to encourge young people all over the United States to " STAY IN SCHOOL" Well today I spoke ton the Augusta Promoter for her Augusta Concert .Bill McKennelly said "Soul I can work on that for you " He replied that is great pr for Laney and Fantasia Both !!!t All I can say is ...NTI pray that she will come to take to our students on Dec 4th . As a Teacher you can connect with all types of people. We have the power!


Helping the Drop Out Students!!!!!!

Today in our teachers meeting we talked about bringing 9th graders to our school these 9th graders are 16,17 years old and we don't want them to drop out of school we want to help them pick a career to work towards getting certification so they can go to work. I think this is a great idea because some people may not make it to college but they would have a better chance if they graduated from high school and had a trade so they could take care of themselves instead of robbing, killing people for their money.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pass the mic...

"Open Mic" is a great topic for me this week, as I am going to reflect on a conversation my team teacher and I had the other day. That's right, my team teacher is back, which grants me a bit of a planning period - more to come once she is totally caught up with what is going on and takes over her class completely. So, back to Open class is fun. My kids are fun. We laugh. My team teacher and I, along with some of our students, were talking about some old rap songs in preparation for a music video project. I mentioned how our class is the only classroom in the building where "Outkast" or "Slick Rick" could be the legitimate answer to a question. Haha! Today I will try and write some higher level questions to how the No Limit movement changed the music video scene.... :)

The worst day at school is never as bad as the TV station. I get paid more. I work less. I meet the most interesting students and teachers. I like, love, enjoy my job. Life is good.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Open Mic

The other day my principal asked me some questions about how to get other people on board with developing 21st century thinkers. I told her that is very difficult when you have a big majority of teachers that come from the era of worksheets and children should be seen not heard. I really don't think like that, especially in my classroom...and it is not just because of the subject that I teach. I happen to believe that we do have some intelligent students that come up with some of the most innovative and creative ways to enhance education. A big majority of the time we try to do it all and not realize that the answer is right within our reach. I know that developing 21st century thinkers cannot happen overnight but it starts with a mindset, and until that changes you will not get the results that you are seeking.

To my suprise

Well this week the students were unpredictable. On Friday the students had to do a group activity. The group activity required the students to choose a violent crime and create a skit demonstrating a crime in progress. At the end of the skit the student had to make sure the crime end positively. For example if the group decided the steal a T.V. from Walmart they had to return it after contemplating about the consequences. The students enjoyed exploring their hidden talents in acting. It took some time to group the student by (4) and making sure the group had a balance. I was hoping and praying this would not be a flop. All of the students participated whether their parts were big or small. I'm now a true believer in the grouping techniques and methods. To my surprise it works.

Calling All Parents!!!!!

Well Wednesday was a interesting day I had to call two parents and guess what? It works I have not had any more problems don't be scared to call the parents they want to hear from you if they are great parents you will not have any any any more problems out of the students. They are great students they just want to talk when I talk, that will not work at all with Ms. Taylor. Oh yea I did call some parents to tell that their child were great in class so there was some good news also.

The calendar.

I have learned to appreciate calendar breaks. I am reflecting on my years in the health care industry. Each year, I would race to access the county school calendar. Why, you may ask. There was a fierce competition to secure school holidays as personal time. Those dates enabled me to spend extra time with my children doing enrichment and other fun activities. As a new teacher, I find that I still possess an excitement about the calendar. That excitement now has taken on a different meaning. I am so exhausted from the rigors associated with my GSU curriculum, my working curriculum, and my two elementary school children curriculum that my primary focus of excitement are the dates November 25, 26, & 27. The thought of sleeping in makes my heart skip a beat. I must admit that December 18th is an attractive option, but still to far away. With that said, I will continue to covet those dates in the near future and allow the passion that it generates to stimulate me to roll out of bed each morning.


Since today will be an open post, I have decided to vent a bit on my issues with technology. Now to be honest, I have had more positives than negatives when it comes to using technology in my instruction. My class is mainly based on the use of technology. However, it is the problems that can be the most memorable when you try to calculate the positives and negatives of your day.

My main issue to date has been the fact that my system is on a different platform than the rest of the school. My class uses Macintosh computers and this is no problem for most of the processes that I have to run. There are some issues when it comes to using my Smartboard and accessing some of the school servers. I also would like to use some internet instructional videos, but I cannot get the sound to work properly with the projector. These things can be very frustrating in the course of day-to-day teaching.

However, there is no need to despair. It turns out I have a great support system at the school. Even though there are some challenges with the technology, there are some work-arounds that in conjunction with a little help from our friends in I.T., will make sure that I can still get my intended lessons to the students. I guess this turned out to be less of a venting and more of a reaffirmation of what can be accomplished when the teachers and support staff work together. Cool.

Open Mic

Where do I begin...we all have to much on our plate, but that is why we do what we do! I realized from last week that I can't get a bigger plate. We all can multi-task as teachers, coaches, parents etc...I for one have taken a new attitude towards all of this craziness. I am accepting it and learning how to balance and prioritize my to do list. With the help of your suggestions from last Saturday's class I am trying to "administratively" handle my teaching responsibilities in a more functional and effective way. Teaching is just like coaching and coaching is just like teaching. It is the off the filed out of the classroom "duties" that make difficult at times. These however should not derail us from the excitement of being a teacher/coach and or have us lose focus on what we really are doing for these young adults. So I say with the support of our families, professors and each other we will learn how to juggle without dropping the balls and still have fun making the crowd (our students) smile. How did this blog just turn into an editorial? In closing thanks for your suggestions during our small group activity last Saturday and looking forward to Monday's class (did I just say that?) Ha peace!

Our HOSA president

At the beginning of the school year each of our groups elected their HOSA officers. I was so happy about the outcome of the elections because I felt that the groups had all chosen very responsible leaders for their groups. All except for one group. The young man that was running for president for this group is a likable guy, but one of the most impulsive and undisciplined students that I have ever dealt with! At the time of elections he was having quite a bit of personal issues and the candidates that were running against him felt sorry for him , so they decided to drop out of the race. One part of me was proud of the other students for having such empathy for another person, but the other part of me felt like I was watching a train wreck about to happen. I could not help but feel like this was going to be a complete disaster!! To my surprise he is probably the best leader of all of the groups. He has done a great job organizing fund raisers and has had the most successful ones. He runs the HOSA meetings in a very professional and organized manner and really cares about the group as a whole. He tries very hard to make sure that everyone is heard. The only problem with all of this is, as soon our meetings are over, he's back to the same undisciplined, impulsive kid. I think I may try giving him more responsibility in the classroom. Maybe he just needs a purpose!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

This week has been a good week overall. After having my consultation on Saturday, I fixed one of my headaches that I have had with keeping track of all of the different grades that I had involved in the employability grade. It still may not be perfect but it definitely works better than before. So that is the first thing that went well this week.

Then on Wednesday I had my observation with Mrs. Greene which went really well. She had a few minor suggestions but nothing major to be fixed. The great thing is that I had told my class that I was being observed but that I wanted them to act like they normally did. They are not a bad class but they can act up quite a bit too so I wanted them to act normal. Well, they did so she was able to see me in action. I am excited for her to come out next time because I have arranged for her to come during my most "challenging" class and while they are doing a lab. I feel that she will have quite a bit more feedback that time.

Then on Thursday, I had the best day I have had so far as a teacher. My day began very busy because I had fundraiser stuff to sell, setting up for a beverage catering, and having ROTC use my kitchen to cook some food for field day. I like when things are busy especially if they go well. Then my 1A class came in and took their safety test which they must make 100% on to be able to cook. Majority of them did make the 100 which makes me soooo happy. I then went grocery shopping during my planning period for my 3rd block to do composed salads. I bought some odd ingredients for high school kids but encouraged them to try them. I gave each group vinaigrette to make and then they had to prepare a composed salad with ingredients that matched that vinaigrette. They were so creative and began thinking on their own rather than just doing what someone told them to do. Their salads were beautiful and many of them tried things that they had never even heard of.

Then last I had competition team tryouts after school. I had 6 students tryout and I only need 5 but I decided to take all 6 and told them that the best 5 will compete. This will make it competitive before the competition which will hopefully give me the best of the best. They all did such a great job. I have a great mix - 3 boys, 3 girls, sophomores and juniors so none will be leaving me next year.

Yay for a good week. Now we must pray for next week which will be the second time the Intro students will be in the kitchen.

My Four Days of Working on the Work

As most of your know from our class on Monday night, I was in downtown Atlanta from Sunday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon. My school system had sent me to a conference designed around a book entitled "Working on the Work". As most of us are, I am new to this whole thing of teaching. As I was going to this conference, all I kept thinking was, "Here is something else to add to my plate." All of these theories and practical teaching lessons that I am getting feel like they are all swirling around in my head. But, I had one of those epiphany moments at the conference. For the first time in my teaching experience, I felt on par with all the other teachers that were at my table. The conference had us group with people that we did not know. So there was an agricultural teacher who had been teaching for seven years, a four year business teacher, a 15 year seventh grade teacher, a ten year shop teacher, a three year language arts teacher, and me. We were evaluating some student work and all of the sudden Bloom Taxonomy hit me right between the eyes. I sounded like a freakin genius. The other teachers at the table I think were shocked at my evaluation. A teacher that submitted the work looked shocked and pleasantly surprised at my answer. So, kuddos to all of our instructors. You guys are the best.
Well, I must say I feel like a bit of my frustration from the past few weeks has begun to settle down. As I expressed with a few of you, as well as Dr. M, I believe that after spring semester I am going to put my teaching career on hold for a little while. I really enjoy seeing my kids learning, but it is increasingly difficult for me to deal with my school system. I don't know if I will not ever come back to teaching, but I do not want to be where I am at right now. After much needed advice from my NTI classmates and professors, I have decided to finish my certification and take a year or so off from teaching. Then perhaps, I can find a better and closer system to try again. I do feel blessed to have been a part of each of my students' lives. I absolutely cherish the glimmer of excitement in their eyes when they find themselves learning something new and succeeding! However, at this time I am simply exhausted with all the work and added stress of this job. My husband and I are trying to start a family, and with the stress of this job, my body is not cooperating. Also, coming from a very analytical and logical background (I studied engineering before nursing) I find it frustrating and difficult to work in an education environment...when I want to know the rules I would like to be able to go to one place and find them...not search all over the place just to find that half of what I need is missing and no one has any idea where to find the answers. I will say this though, this position has really opened my eyes and given me insight to my own adolescence. My mother and I fought like cats and dogs when I was a many mothers and teen daughters do. :-) She would always say "you only see things black and white" and I would say "of course, it's either right or wrong". You see, my mother and my father are both educators. My mother has always been a teacher and even now works for the DOE. She has never had a job outside education so she is used to a lot of "gray" area. I never could understand how she never saw thing like the rest of the "real world" I do. That was the environment she was used to and she knew nothing else. She and I have become even closer since I became a teacher, whether it's to laugh at those good 'ol days, or for me to pick her brain about a situation, or even for me to share a story about one of my students. Even though I look forward to the end of this year, I am eternally grateful to have had this opportunity. Who knows, maybe in a year or two I will come back for many years! With this new found insight, I also find new peace. I now feel like I can make it to the end of the year, and I am striving to be the best I can be for my students. Judging by how much I have written apparently I had a lot to say and get off my chest! :-) I want to end this post by stating how thankful I am to each and every one of you as my classmates and as my instructors...this has truly been a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow and I look forward to seeing what next semester has in store for all of us.

Finding a Balance

This week was interesting. I started to really listen to conversations of other teachers and tried to be aware of all the different personalities on our staff. These observations made me more self aware and helped me focus on what I feel is important. I have let go of somethings at school which were above and beyond the call of duty. For several days prior to this week I felt tremedous guilt about letting go of these things. Being more aware of others has led me to unburden the load of guilt. I have experienced the grace of allowing myself to achieve but not having to be the overachiever. I've stood up to what I think is reasonable and that's a good thing. Making it in the classroom for the long haul, in my case, absolutely requires time to stay healthy, enjoy family and friends outside work, and give the kids the best I can offer within that framework.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sink or Swim

Just as a swimmer competes in a race, I am having to try to stay afloat no matter how tired I am getting. Just as many have and are stating, NTI was wonderful and very helpful. However, we all still verbalize some level of anxiety or frustration. I can however admit that this year is much smoother than last. I have been having concerns with my blood pressure going up. I am not happy that my physician had to increase my medication in order to control it. I trust that I will develop the necessary stress coping mechanisms and that my medication can be decreased. I have had to realize that my worrying about something will not change the outcome of the situation, but that this anxiety causes unnecessary changes in my body, i.e., hypertension. One of my concerns or frustrations is that with the CNA class that I teach, it is held during 2nd block and they have had to miss alot of days from my class. Things such as the flood, student holidays, testing, senior pull-outs, town hall meeting, etc., have caused them to miss my class. I am required to make sure that they will have completed classwork and skills by December. On top of that, I am out Friday because of Fall Leadership Conference for HOSA. I am and will continue to do my best to "swim and not sink".

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I truly am appreciative of this summer session of NTI. Without it I'm not sure what kind of year I would be having. It was so helpful in helping me structure my Level 1 class, that it is almost in cruise control. I can't say the same for my level 2 classes. It seems that I have created an extremely arrogant bunch. They think they know everything, and still don't know nearly the capacity I want to teach them. Our goal's this year are simple. We will produce a regular news show. We got off to a rocky start and things are still rough. It seems they forgot everything we ever discussed. I see them making mistakes with videos that make me sit back and think "who taught these guys, because it certainly wasn't me?" I constantly find myself practically teaching them level 1 all over again. The funny thing is these guys were on fire last year, and they came back to me completely changed. I guess I'm gonna keep patching it up with short term band aides, until I can get a long term solution in place.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Best Support Staff

I think I work with the greatest teachers. I am the newest teacher on staff, but most have gone to NTI at some point in their careers. Without them I don't think I would have gotten through the first year. We have gotten a new administrator over CTAE the year. One that has never worked with a career tech program. This has caused some very stressful moments the last few weeks. I was observed by this administrator a few days ago, & will get my evaluation tomorrow. I am not looking forward to it, but my teachers have been very encouraging and supportive, even thought they are also in the hot seat. Thank you to NTI for making us video tape ousrselves, and go thru onsite evaluations. Without these exercises I think I would have had more problems with this new admin evaluation process. We'll see

fall break

I am on fall break this week. It has given me time to relax and refocus for the most part. After talking in class this weekend i am so thank full for such wonderful class mates. The feed back from everyone that i talked with was wonderful. To all of you that fell like it is to much for you just hang in their and it will get better. Teachers that have been teaching for 10 to 20 and even 30 years have bad days and weeks. If you reach one student a day then it is not a waste. Take your time and good things will happen. Kids are not the same way we were in school.

Better teacher than student, perhaps

I started back to college at West Georgia before I landed the teaching gig. What a nightmare trying to deal with that. Everyone I talked to there was purely incompetent. Noone knew anything. The inmates ran the asylum. I finally got it all ironed out so I could actually take classes. Then came the teaching position........and NTI. It was easier to get back into GSU, maybe because I had attended GSU previously, or because of the way NTI is set up, or maybe both. Then I started the financial aid ball rolling. It seemed all was well until I get a message today that I owe $1739 for THIS semester. What? I already paid it in full. They ran my financial aid through and I was reimbursed. What is going on? Do I now have to pay that and come up with next semester's cash too? Teaching is hard enough without extra classes but now I have another mess to try to iron out. HELP!!! Any ideas y'all??????????

It;s over for now

I have finish my last evaluation today yeah with Dr. M!!! I still have two more visit from my Principal. I can't wait to see everyone again in November. Everyone good luck on your visits just be yourself and pray hard:)

In search of Something Great

This week has been fairly decent. I enjoyed class on Saturday and the therapy session was most needed. All in all, left with a clear mind and better sense of purpose. While I still miss the field and I am still contemplating my current position I had an epiphany as well. I do know that I love the children and I love helping them and their families. I also know what it is that I want to or should I say continue to do. I enjoy the freedoms associated with the school system and the idea that I am helping to shape the leaders of tomorrow. I will continue to do what it is that I am called to do pray for guidance and strength.

Family and Friend Night

Last night my students hosted their first "Family and Friend Night", this is where the students invite their family and friends into our classroom/salon and they receive hair, skin, and nail services for a discounted price. We offer $5 hair cuts! I was actually really nervous on how this would go, but it was a huge success. I had 12 of my advanced students stay after school and work. They were all extremely busy and were able to practice the skills that they have learned. Since our budget has been cut tremendously, we have not been able to purchase all the supplies and equipment that we need. Because of the students hard work last night, we earned over $130! The girls were so excited and I must admit, so was I! Not only is this a wonderful experience for the girls, but its also a great fundraiser!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Old Dog New Tricks

What a great way to conduct class! The format that the staff has selected for the fall and then the winter for NTI is great! This has used the technology side to get some of us dinosaurs into the techno side of things while also keeping it green. The green side to this may have never been thought of but look at the energy that is being saved. Although small it all adds up. The money saved in fuel and the furloughs that we all face has made a big difference. Who said you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.


Thanks for the class this weekend, now I am ready to go back and try some of the new methods I picked up at class from my instructors and my fellow students. The feedback I received from my Monday classes from Dr. Burns and the easy accessibility I have with Dr. M. when I run into a crisis at school has helped me tremendously in the classroom. I know I have a long way to go but thanks for the support.

"Talk to Parents"

Today I had all of my students write there parents phone numbers. down I want to call them all and get their email address and just get to know my students parents. My middle school child her teacher sends a email to each parent letting them know about their grades and how well they are doing. He lets me know about all the test that are coming up. I love the concept and I am going to do the same thing. It does not take any time at all once you have the email addresses entered. The students are getting worried already it's funny to me. I can say I have a great bunch of students this year.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The video---I concur!

I must admit that the video presented quit a challenge for me as well. The students were great. My attempts to locate a tripod were unsuccessful, leaving me the only option of asking a student to record. My class was great and actually stayed on task. The camera volunteer was all over the place. I was still capable of doing a decent evaluation. I will definitely be more aware of body language after watching myself. Overall, I think it was a good experience although stressful with all of the other expectations looming over my head.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Video Assignment

I agree with several of you regarding the video assignment. This was difficult for me because I was required to type a parent letter requesting permission for each student's participation in the video process. Getting students to remember something like this signed and returned, especially middle school students, is difficult. Students who did not return the permission form would have to be routed elsewhere during the filming so this also created stress for me. Ultimately, after a two week period, I received enough permission forms to film one seventh grade class. The students were not enthusiastic about the process. Oh well, it's done and I learned about a cool video camera called a flip camera. After filming, it plugs right into the computer by a built in usb and works like a flash drive. It records 60 minutes of video and once saved on the computer, can then be saved onto any flash drive with at least 4GB of memory. 60 minutes takes up almost all of the 4GB. Assignment done.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Dreaded Evaluation

Ok. I will have to admit, I didn't realize that I was going to get this freaked out. I know a lot of you were begging to have Dr. Montrois, but I will tell you I was not looking forward to having anybody. Just like all of you, I love my job, but I totally feel covered up and lost at times. This week we had our fall break. I was crazy enough to schedule my visit on the day we came back from break. I so freaked out about this visit that I woke up about every thirty minutes and finally decided to stay awake when I woke up at 5:00 am. I got to school early. I was trying to make sure everything was in place and ready to go. But, wouldn't you know it, I left my PowerPoint at home so I was left trying to recreate something for Dr. Montrois. There were other issues that happened that morning. I normally do live morning announcements which I had figured into my lesson plans and wouldn't you know it, the principal decided not to do them that morning because we were having PSATs. For some reason, I am a horrible creature of habit. This probably bothered me more than not having my PowerPoint. I felt lost. I didn't know how to start the class. I even did roll wrong. I happened to muddle through teaching what I had prepared for and the whole time I could see in my students' eyes, "Who is the substitute we got today? He looks a lot like Mr. Maynard." If there was any day I ever wanted to run out the back door and act like I had never been there, it was yesterday. Dr. Montrois was great to me. Like a stern father, he didn't let me get away with anything, but he sure had a way of making feel like it was all going to be alright. So, here's to hoping that my next evaluation goes a whole lot better!

Do I sound like that???

I think I will have to agree with many of the other as to the video blues. The video was one of the more unpleasant aspects of NTI. I have never liked video! The students were great and the one that I have the most problems with she was my camera person and she did a very good job. She has been a better student after that. So as we move on I will have to say "Do I sound Like That ??" Ha.

See ya on Saturday and be safe..

Lights, Camera, Action

My most stressful moment was video taping myself teaching. It was stressful for several reasons. First off, I got into the television business to begin with to be behind the scenes. Watching myself on TV is beyond horrific. Just when I think I nailed something on camera, I watch in horror on video playback to see I'm was not nearly as good as I originally thought...and I sound backwoods with some of my words. The other reason was that this is the class that I have dealt out the most detentions, so I wasn't really sure if I was going to deal with some retaliation. You know how students can be, but they were actually really cool with it and were pleased I picked them to video. So it appears I stressed for no reason, although I hope I never have to do that again.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Preparing film 4 class

I was very stressed about how my students would act while filming my assignment for Dr. M. Also in trying to remember everything I needed to display while I was being filmed in the classroom, I was more nervous than my students. I think my students were more relaxed than I was. Making sure during the class session I did not forget protocol on the way I should conduct class. So now that the session is over hopefully I can relax again.

week 4

I had a day when none of my classes wanted to do anything that day. Of course it was a day when i was fell sick and was tired as well. The more i tried to get my kids to work on projects they just seemed to just want to talk and play in class. It wasn't all my students just the students that don't care about school all the time. I asked around to other teachers if they had the same problem and some said yes. It was just about the worst day of my teaching career. After talking around to my co-workers and seeing that they were having some of the same problems relaxed me a lot. I really thought that i had my classes on track and that the students understood what was expected from me. So for the next day or two i just did the best i could and it got better and things were back to normal ( well the best it could be).

Stressed to the Max

It seems that we have all been a little stressed here lately.... Teachers at my school that have been here forever say it is completely normal to feel this way this time of year. I hope they are right! I too had Homecoming this past week and have been really busy with that. On top of that event I have been trying to plan our first ever "Family and Friend Night". This is where my advanced students stay at school until 7:00pm so their family and friends can come into our salon and receive services. The students have been very excited about this and so am I, however it is stressing me out! I guess I am just used to working in a salon, where a client comes in, they sign a liability form if they are receiving a chemical service, I perform the service, and they leave a happy person. So not the case here!!! There is so much to do to be able to host such an event. Permission forms, Liability Forms, Sign-up sheets, emails going out to the whole world... just loads and loads of tedious things. I know this is all necessary because technically they are not adults and it is just protocol, but my goodness. I know once I get in the routine of everything the next "Family and Friend Night" will run much more smoothly. Until then, I guess I just have to put on my happy face and deal with it all! All in all, I guess i wonder if I chose the right profession.... I believe I did. When I am having a rough day, an encouraging word from one of my students or a coworker makes it all better, and I realize this is where I am supposed to be!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Homecoming Week ... Made me just CRAZY!

That's right I Said it yes i did !!!
Homecoming week was a complete crazy week . It was full of last minute preparations ,kids frustrated ... and of course the Alumni .... Yes them ,this was a week full of anxious kids that wanted everything done that was the signature of the school they represented . Laney is a school rich in tradition ... to be exact our school is 60 years old This school has a strong Alumni association dating back to the 50'S ..... and I do mean strong . The Cosmetology Department worked like a real salon , performing skills that included everything from barbering ,to creating red Mohawks for the band , make-up for the dancing girls ,I was swaped every period from children I have never seen at the school in my life !!! This week was crazy ... and this was my first homecoming ,last year I had a night job,so Homecoming did not effect me , but this year I was blessed with the old with the old and the new .... Homecoming made me totally wore OUT!!!! I will not be that wore out next year , I will have a plan A and B .


One Day at a Time

Sorry this is coming a little late, but I wasn't sure how to put this into words. I have been asked to mentor a troubled student during my planning period for the rest of the semester. I am more than willing to help the student but I have almost no idea how to accomplish this. I have met him and he seems like a good enough kid. That doesn't mean much though. We all know that students will put on their best face when they meet new people. Especially if they think they are in trouble. I am letting him get comfortable with the Macintosh computers right now and later I will have him help me with some projects. But, it is going to take some time before he begins to trust me enough to open up with me. I hope this works out for the best because I would hate to see any student fall through the cracks. He seems interested in what goes on in my class, maybe that is a way into his trust. We will see. Wish me luck.


And the Beat Goes on

This week I am trying to look at the positives that are before me and go from there. I spent my week-end preparing hearty lesson plans chocked full of engaging activities and ideal group participation. I also intended to record my 1st period class and review the tape during planning today. Well as Fate and Mr. Murphy (of Murphy's Law) would have it, three teachers from my hall were absent today and no sub showed. My neighbor and attendance buddy was one of the absent educators so I had to get her class situated with a movie of some sort as well as notify the main office of our lack of a sub. Did I mention, this was my task all last week as well? Lucky for me, my 1st period class is pretty "with-it". They were able to take our attendance and attempt to set up the video cart for our session. After countless calls to the main office, someone finally showed up for my neighbor's class. I am now frazzled and thrown off track for my own class. Just as I was heading to my darlings, another baby from an unrelated class and department called to me and said 'Mrs. Jackson, our sub is waiting on you.." I was floored. I am but one body in three classes and still unable to get my lesson started. What's going on? I feel like I am in an episode of "groundhog day"....the same scenario keeps repeating over and over and over. I am uncomfortable speaking with my Dept. Head on this matter because I do not want my feelings to be misconstrued. My Admin. as well as the others appear to be pushed beyond their reach so I can't talk to them. My neighbor and mentor ( from across the hall) is in Jamaica funeralizing her sister so I have no other place to go but the blog. I am trying my darnedest to push back tears and avoid an emotional meltdown as I blog about my day. It is hard. I confided in my husband at the beginning of the school year that my goal is to become Teacher of the year. I went on to say, with a goal that high, I am bound for Teacher of the Month at least once this semester. I can honestly say that I have not missed a day of work this semester, I have not been late, and I have changed my attitude towards a lot of things at my school. All to no avail. I am praying for a silver lining beyond the rainbow..It is raining today so I may be in luck. Thanks to everyone for your encouraging blogs; at least I can find some peace and fulfillment from the majority of you all. Well as they say, and the band played on, the beat goes on and so off I go to 4th period. Until this evening~AJ

Can't Sleep!!!! 4th BLOG of the WEEK!!!

I would have to say it was my principal coming to see me it just had me all up tight could not sleep the night before wanting to make sure everything was correct in my room. Hoping that the students would be on task which for the most part they are because they will not go into the lab if theory work is not done. You know she is the one that signs my contract. She hired me for the job so I want to be on point every time. I just make it a good habit to have things together all the time. I am learning everyday what to do and what not to do it just comes with time.

It has been a good week!

Well, I can't really say that there was anything that happened this week that I wouldn't want to do again for a while. It wasn't because life was beautiful at my school and all of my students are perfect angels.....It was because we were on Fall break this past week!! Oh how wonderful it was! Soooo, let me share something that has happened recently that I do not want to have to deal with again for a while. Our blood drive! Oh my, what a nightmare! First of all, it was a real pain to have to relocate all of my students so that the Red Cross could set up in my room. Then the air in my room was broken and it was really hot, so we had to move the set up to a different room. Well, we had students spread all over the building and I felt like I was supposed to be in so many different places at once. Then, we had kids passing out everywhere!! We had several kids miss the bus back to their home schools because they were passed out in our department! We had to call their parents to come pick them up and take them to their home schools. I know that the blood drives are so important and can save so many lives, but I don't want to have another one for a while!


This inaugural school year for me has really been busy. I have been working to establish the components associated with HOSA. The students have made great contributions to the leadership activities required for a successful HOSA start up. The students have taken a career personality test to help them identify their leadership strengths and weaknesses. As you can imagine, I also took this test as I have many times before. Once again, I was classified as an ENFJ(Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging). As I read through the characteristics that so well define me, I began to think about recent events in my personal and professional life. I have thought about the freedoms that existed in my prior career. If I needed to take time off I put in a single page request. I scheduled patients around my schedule to make sure that all items were done to my requirement.

During the past week, I suffered the loss of a dear childhood family member. We grew up like sisters and shared many of the challenges and successes of our lives together. I was capable of visiting her during her short period of illness and made closure during that visit. I anticipated a call at any time reporting her passage from this life. When I received that call I did not cry. I realized at that time that I was too overwhelmed with life and work to figure out how to get off from work and make the 8 hour trip to her parent’s home and spend this time with our loved ones. Just as my personality profile indicates, I have boxed this component away to deal with at a later time. All of my family missed me and I have received numerous inquiries on how I am doing. All I have been able to think about is, "If I had not started this new job, I could easily get off from work, make the trip and take my time recovering from the emotional and physical rigor of the trip". I know that loss is inevitable, but I don't ever want to go through this again. It is not the loss that has depleted me but the fact that I don't know how to deal with it and remain functional in my new position.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This weeks blog (Sleepless Nights)

This past week I have lost sleep numerous nights thinking of how much is on my plate and how small my plate really is. I am in final preparation for Fields of Faith which is a national Fellowship of Christian Athletes event. Being the FCA sponsor at West Forsyth High School I was chosen to be one of the program directors for Forsyth's County Wide Fields of Faith hosted at West Forsyth High School. This is more to me then just a school sponsorship or school event. This is how I use my podium as a Christian Coach/Teacher to impact the lives of our students. With that being said we are expecting over 1,500 students in attendance for our 2 hour program. If that is not challenging enough we are in the middle of a dog fight in football to keep our 3-3 record alive and win the next 3 out of 4 games to go to the playoffs. Now I know it is not just me, but I lose sleep over making sure I am prepared for all my 6 classes on all 3 levels so I can continue to engage my students and build up our Public Safety Program. I also felt like I was losing control of my juggling act with these classes and that is the last thing I want and or need to do. So in retrospect I either need to "under promise and over give" or get a bigger plate.

This week

What caused me distress this week, is an email that I received from a co-worker. The email asked me what project were my students working on, because they were respectful but loud outside of her room...she had a problem with them being out there, but emailing me really couldn't help her after the fact. I guess I could not understand why didn't she just ask them to move on to another location. I told her that she could ask them to leave in the future, and they would. I also told her that I can't be with the advanced class when they go into the halls, I do not have an assistant. I think that I kept replaying the situation, because the students did nothing wrong and most teachers ask them to find another place to go if it is that serious. I guess this past week my tolerence for things that really can be handled in a quick and simple is very low.

It's getting Chili outside

I have had a pretty good week so this blog is actually hard for me. Let me start by saying that I stress a lot and I do mean alot but it rarely keeps me awake or makes me feel like I do not want to do this again. I work some ridiculous amounts of hours but when I finish late at night, I am done and don't think about it any more. Also, everything that goes wrong sends me searching for a way to fix it because I am determined to eventually get my program on some sort of auto pilot so all that I am creating is new ways to teach the kids.

With all that said, there was one situation that caused me anger this week which is a little different but that is all I can give you. One of my students is entering the chili cook off at the Georgia fair on Tuesdsay and we have been practicing quite a bit since this will be our first competition that we have entered. She has shown up every time that I have scheduled a practice and has done everything that I have asked her to do to get ready for competition. This young lady is a great student for me. She works most of my caterings, is a strong leader, considerate, and hard working. She unfortunately is not a great student throughout the entire school and has gotten herself into some trouble. I knew about one of the incidents but was not aware of a more recent one. One of the ladies going on the trip came and talked to me and I assured her that the young lady would be fine. Then I get a phone call from the other lady going on the trip and she starts yelling at me about my choice to bring this girl and how I better keep an eye on her because if she makes one wrong move, I will be held responsible. It made me so mad because one thing I pride myself on is being an advocate for my students and if I made the choice to take her then I obviously felt that it was ok.

I decided to have a heart-to-heart with the student and explain that I know that she has made some bad decisions recently but that she needed to be certain that she did not take those habits with her to the fair. I explained that she is representing herself, me, and Marietta High School and needed to act completely professional. She said she understood and would do only her best on this trip. I then emailed the two ladies explaining that I had talked to the girl, thinking that would ease their minds but I walked in on Friday just to hear more complaining. Seriously, sometimes people just need to let things be.

Meeting of the minds

Last week we had an early release day. The kids were gone by 1:30 and I hosted a meeting of the other Auto teachers within the county. They all have nicely stocked shops with 10 of each shiny tool you can think of. I have a dump with not enough tools to do a brake job on many of the cars that come in. I don't even have supplies to clean the floor after an oil change. They all proceeded to harass me about doing "livework". That is when I work on teachers actual cars. I charge a small fee for services and this helps me replace all the tools the last guy took home when he bailed. They all insisted that I discontinue livework immediately and conform to their teaching strategy. I have worked this out with my administrator in a way that I actually will be able to provide worthwhile hands-on work while simultaneously generating supply funds. How dare these outsiders attempt to dictate how I run my program. I have been stewing about this since Wednesday. I am glad it caught me by surprise, otherwise my reaction would have been very harsh indeed. My administrator told me not to give their input another thought. He seems to think that I am genuinely interested in student welfare instead of the payceck. I think he is right, I hope he is right, I am just too angry at the moment to accurately evaluate that idea. What do you folks think?

5,4,3,2,1 Here we Go!

This week was filled with anxiety because of the anticipation of being observed by an administrator and Dr. M. Also the students were energized because of homecoming this week. I was very concern on how the students were going to behave. I must say it was a challenge to keep the students focus. However, Dr. M help me dot the I's and cross the T's during my lesson. Dr. M you were great and I appreciate your advice and suggestions. It was pleasure to have you at my school. I look forward to having you again soon.

"I Sometimes Sing the Blues"

I actually sometimes sing the blues. I am feeling like Anitra and Amy. I sometimes question myself and ask, "did I make the right choice concerning this job. I actually had 2 situations that caused my some anxiety this week. HOSA the student organization for Healthcare Science host an American Red Cross Blood Drive. This caused me some stress for 2 reasons, 1) the drive was held in my classroom for the 1st time, 2) the principal is a stickler about students being in the halls without passes. We made appointments for the students about 2 weeks so that only the ones with passes or appointment cards would be around my classroom door and/or in my classroom. I rehearsed over and over in my mind day and night the entire procedure from beginning to end. The day of the blood drive was more stress. As soon as I arrived to school everyone was coming towards me at the same time, students that wanted to donate but that had not made appointments, students that had appointments that had questions or that wanted to reschedule. Also, the Red Cross workers were there with questions and concerns about the room, parking, etc. This was stressful also because I had to send my students to other classes with assignments and I had to also make sure that they were not skipping class just because they were not in my room.
Something else that posed great stress for me is the fact that I have to make sure that my Nursing Essential students will be ready by the end of November to do clinicals at the nursing home and be ready to take the written and skills state exam. They are having to miss my class because of testing for Juniors and Seniors, and we missed a day of class because of the flood. This puts me behind and has caused me great stress at times. I had an episode where my blood pressure went up and my MD had to increase my blood pressure medication. I am having to make some choices, I want to live long, and I am the only living parent that my kids have. I am having to have or take a different outlook on life - there are many things that I cannot change and that I have no control over. So my blood pressure going up is not going to change those things but will eventually cause changes in my body. To myself, what is more important. Now will this change in myself happen overnight, unless a miracle happens, it is not likely. But I will pray my way through it. My only resolve or solace is to stay focused, think on the positive things and do my best and trust the Lord to work out the rest.

One - Ten

The situation that caused me the most anxiety revolved around a skit we aired this past week. One of my students has a show, or a segment, that airs every week. The segment is called "60 Seconds" and it is just sixty seconds of random stuff. I would refer to it as theater of the absurd. This past segment featured a bunch of students rocking in their chairs with crazy looks on their faces and counting to ten over and over and over. I watched the segment before it aired and told the student who produced it that I didn't get it. It was not funny to me. But, I am "old" and out of the loop. The student explained that it was a parody of a scene from the movie A Haunting in Connecticut. He went on to explain that all of the students who watched it found it hilarious. I gave it the go ahead, and it aired the next morning. The same morning it aired, I was in the front office attending to some paper work, and the head of our Special Education Department saw me and asked me to come into our principal's office. She explained that everyone in her department was deeply insulted by the skit - as it clearly portrayed and made fun of autism. I was shocked. As soon as she said "autism" I understood what she meant. I had not made the connection before, but could understand where she was coming from. Then the embarrassment set in. I listened to her and apologized over and over until she had calmed down a bit. After she left I stayed in the office with the principal as he reassured me that I was doing a good job and told me not to worry. I admitted that I was embarrassed and that I felt stupid for not recognizing an issue before the piece aired. He was supportive and reminded me that this is how we learn, by making honest mistakes. I relayed the message to my fourth block (the students who produce my show and the segment) and they went into shock. The student who produced the segment went to the Special Education Director and gave a long, heart felt apology. She accepted his apology. I feel as if the situation is behind us, but it has bothered me ever since. In the world of media, professionals are used to dealing with a viewing audience who are more socially aware and politically correct than ever. Impressing this point on high school students can be difficult, especially when their intentions are insult free and they are honestly trying to be funny. The producer of the show was crushed by this situation, and I've had to bolster him back up over the last week. I want the experiences of all of my students to be positive and if I can help it, I will never let a situation like this happen again.


I must say, I have these feelings of "not wanting to do that again" just about every morning I go to work. As many of you know, I have a long commute to and from work. With no traffic, it takes me about 45 mins to 1 hour one way everyday. That in itself is starting to wear on me. However, overall, I am thankful I have a job and shouldn't complain too much. I am finding myself becoming frustrated with teaching as a whole. I'm not sure if it is "teaching" or if it is the school itself. It is literally all I can do do get out of bed each morning and make it in to work. I have already taken a "mental health" day for myself this was either stay home and take care of myself or see my picture on the 5 o'clock news for yelling at a student or an administrator. (I wouldn't really, but it felt like I was coming awfully close.) :-) As stated in my last post "searching for the positive", it is becoming increasingly harder to find something good everyday. I did find it a bit amusing that the topic references thinking about things at night....I'm lying awake dreading the day to come every night. I toss and turn, worrying that my kids are bored..that I am not a good teacher..that my admin will find some other hoops for me to jump through..or that my principal will discover some other "touchy, feely" thing that she wants us to do. I think that I'm just in a"funk" right now, and don't know what to do about getting out of it. I know I should be thankful for all I have, and don't get me wrong because I am. However, I wish I could turn my brain off at night so I could get some rest instead of lying awake worrying every single night. I was hoping this year would be better than the last..that since I had a little time under my belt that I would just be building upon what I did last year. That is not the case, however. So far this year has been more difficult and more frustrating and I am beginning to question why I am doing this. I guess I am searching for some advice from my classmates and my instructors. If my heart is not in it, should I not be here...or it this just a really bad case of the winter blues?

Now I am a Detective

Lesson was going well, students seemed to be engaged, lets just end with a brief explanation in the Lab. I gave instructions to move into the lab, which is just thru a door, and has large windows to see into the classroom. Two students lagged behind just for a minute to finish the last question on the worksheet. My wandering student had to be corralled back into the lab twice. Ten minutes later we finished the demonstration and headed back to the classroom. Only 5 minutes left in the block. Then it happened. A student went into her purse that she had left in the classroom, only to find her cell phone & wallet missing. (Of course she is one of my brightest, and was just homecoming queen the past weekend) The door to the classroom that I always keep closed and locked had not been completely closed by a student who had left class 15 minutes prior for a trip to the nurse to take meds. We did not see anyone come into the classroom. So now I have to call an administrator. He comes running in, the principal shows up with the campus officer. Bell has rung, but no one is allowed to leave. Next class is coming in. I'm getting a lesson on search & seizure! Next I'm calling the nurse to check on the student who left for the meds and the nurse says she has never heard of her. She has been leaving class 15 minutes early for the last 5 days to "take meds". At the end of the day, having filed the proper paperwork, written a admin referral for skipping, called a mom to tell her, her daughter has lied, my stomach was in knots. The biggest reason was that someone who I see everyday has made the class feel unsafe in my room. There is one amusing note. I had made arrangements to film the next day's class for NTI a week ago. Now the camera was set up & they all thought it was because of the theft. I never said anything to the contrary.

Test time

Let me first say that my second block class tends to be my most challenging. This group is supposed to be my advanced class Carpentry I. As a whole the kids are not too ill behaved, but are very sneaky and childish for their age. Regularly, they will make every attemp to divert the attention away from the curriculum and activities or just sneak out alltogether. Most have real difficulty reading and most have IEP's. These students are from my predecessors. They even had a substitute for the entire year in my subject two years ago. These students are used to being able to slip out the back and no-one cared. I attempted my best effort to prepare them for a module exam on concrete footings and foundations. We even created a concrete form to better analyze the terms we would be covering. One student passed. I felt terrible. I don't like when my students don't do well. So, I also attempted new methods of approach. When I attempted to root out the lack of connection most of the second block students tell me that they don't care about construction and don't care about the information. Out of the whole class there is only one student who considers the information useful and he is the only one who passed. Very frustrating.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


As I sat down to think about thhis question, I had to really think hard. We had a short week. I am currently working with my class on proper timing of shots for commercials. I picked four Doritos commercials that were fairly easy for my students to try to recreate. Many of you have seen them I'm sure. The first one had a person in a mouse suit break through a wall. The second had a board meeting where a guy explodes from eating a Dorito from a Dorito tree. The third used a remote control car with a Doritos bag on it. The fourth had a guy looking at a pretty girl and he wrecked. I told the students that I wanted them to match the timing and shot selection of the commercials. Their grade depended on how close they could make this happen. I'm sure at this point, some of you are thinking what the students did, "How am I going to find a mouse suit and bust through the wall? How are we going to make one of us blow up? Do you really want me to wreck my car for a grade Mr. Maynard?" Now to get to the question that the blog asks. As I began to explain how these commercials were created and show them how they could recreate them with home video cameras and our Dell computers, I saw the light come on in a bunch of their minds. As I sat with the leaders in my classes and helped them edit (o\Of course they were done shooting first. That is why I sat with them.) and explain the effects and watch them create them, they got so excited to show their friends in the class and to help other students create the same effect that I had taught them. The learning almost became contagious. It was one of those moments when I felt as a teacher, "I am making a difference." If any of you guys want to see some of these, I will bring them with me on Saturday. Some of them did pretty good.

Shortest day

Today I worked my shortest day since I began working at Marietta. I know it is Saturday but I had a catering which usually means I will be at school between 13 - 15 hours but today was out in 8. Well this summer, I developed a catering plan that had a checklist with specific positions. I also lowered the pay so that the students were not payed hourly but instead got a flat rate. All of this helped so much. Today was the first time that I did a catering and did not raise my voice. Normally it is pretty crazy and I have to put out about a billion fires (not literally); students arguing, students sitting down instead of working, students complaining, etc. Today everyone worked together and I had no stress, no knots in my stomach, and even had time to eat. Everything is done. I have never seen my kitchen so clean and organized.

I guess I felt like I should share this because I developed a lot of plans this summer and have been discouraged because many of them have not worked as I had planned and I have had to spend many hours trying to tweak them. I was almost beginning to think that maybe nothing I spent my summer on was going to work but I hit a homerun today. It was worth everything to have a day like today.

Thanks NTI!!!

Principal Watch

My Principal came by to sit in on my class this week but I was ready for her thanks to Mr. M. The Principal gave me a great review and I guess that means another contract for next year. Well can't wait to see everyone next week our time is getting near to the end. Don't forget to film yourselves.

Can I get Over???

Hey Guys. In light of the recent post question along with the happenings of my week, I am beginning to ask myself whether I am in the correct lane or not. My reason for asking this is simple. Regardless of how well (or not so well) I prepare my lessons and the joys I feel when I assist with the cultivation my student's future, I still find myself at times missing the industry and feeling under appreciated or misunderstood by the powers that be. This is my third year in the system and I am beginning to believe my cousin who left the school system to go back into the field 3 yrs ago. I can remember being excited about landing my teaching position and calling my cousin only to hear that she was going back into Law Enforcement. She told me that she loved what she did but her school had not made AYP in the last three years and she was being to feel inadequate. While she congratulated me on my new position, she left me with these three words of warning "You will see". Well I got off the of the phone thinking.."this will never happen to me". Year one..Great. I can do this. I'm lovin' it. Year two...... fantastic. I am beginning to feel my groove. A little trying but I can handle it. Year three..I am not sure yet. Things started well. I went to school the entire summer to "per-fect" my craft so I am good. But wait...We did not make AYP for the second time in a row. My kids are not good readers, the comprehension level is off, discipline is off the charts and parental participation is nil. Oh but wait, testing is next week so they're going to use my classroom to test the 1st week in October, the 2nd week in November and the last 2 weeks in September. What will I teach? Where will my class be located? What about my equipment and books? What will my children learn? Will they remember to come to the media center on the 9th-12th, the cafeteria on the 6th 7th and 8th, and the gym on the 9th? Oh well, I'll just come up with something in spite of.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my cup runneth over. I am so frustrated until I do not know what to do. The aforementioned is just the normal rigor at my school. This does not include the assessment from Haities..that occurred during homecoming week with my 4th period class. My first two periods are awesome. They seem to get the material, they understand the activities and they are just hip. My fourth on the other hand is the complete opposite. After one of my darling babies did the "Jerk" in front of the administrator ( the one conducting my assessment) while traveling to his group, he then taped a red strip of paper on his forehead and refused to do the group activity. Group three decided to read the sports section of the paper instead of finding an article related to Law and justice. And the issues went on and on and on. I attempted to implement all of my teachings from this summer. Nothing worked. Finally the administrator had to step out for 5 minutes and I did what my 10th grade civics teacher would have done. I assumed a parental role and set the record straight. Afterwards the Administrator returned and all went back to semi-normal and the activity ended on a positive note. With that, I will end with this question, If the methods used by past teachers to teach us was so bad, then why are the majority of us successful, able to read, are without criminal records, possess moderate to exemplary work ethics, genuinely care about our fellow man, woman and child and a slew of other positive character traits???? Can someone please help me? I mean I have been at my school for 3 school terms and have had 8 different lesson plan formats. Why??? It appears that whenever someone at my school is working on their doctoral degree, the pendulum swings so that they are able to conduct their study. This in turn creates inconsistency in student learning, student discipline and teacher attendance, teacher productivity and teacher turn over. The way I figure it is, if I go back to the field, at least I know what I am dealing with. I am accustomed to thwlife cycle of most offenders and for this I am asking..Can I get over?? I do beleive it is time for me change lanes.

This is a "War Cry" !!!I am at my wits end and I am seriously considering jumping ship.

Time well spent

I had a few minutes this week to stop by the gym and watch volleyball try outs then attend about 30 minutes of the first football game. Those short 45 minutes were great. Seeing the kids enjoy their life unencumbered by the difficulties and stress that often overwhelms them was so rewarding! I am sure as we all become more prepared and accustomed to our classroom responsibilities, more of our time can be spent building relationships. I hope you all are not being inundated with additional responsibilities that take you away from having the energy or time to get to know the kids. I feel a little more efficient each week and hope you do too. I'm keeping the faith that my time will become increasingly balanced between knowing the students in the classroom and knowing them outside the classroom. My 45 minutes of just watching and talking to the kids were my eureka moments.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Got me, got me workin day and night!

I have officially been a high school CTAE teacher for eight weeks now. I must confess that I am still trying to fit into the never-ending pile of papers, emails, phone calls and "other" items that accompany this new profession. During my eighth week of employment, I had the opportunity to participate in my very first Parent-Teacher Conference. I thought that I should feel anxious about this first opportunity to share with the parents how their students were performing--or in some cases, not performing. I wondered if I would be the target of scrutiny or blame. The day continued to progress and I realized that I had not had the opportunity to allow the anxiety, that was looming in the back of my mind, to completely overtake me. Not because I am cool, calm and collect (although it's true) but rather because my day and the bell to bell activities had simply not allowed for it. I placed the signup sheet by the door as instructed and waited patiently for my first parental interaction.
The first parent arrived and I quickly recognized her as the mother of one of my students that stays afterschool nearly every day. This particular student had experienced significant difficulty in my class at the beginning of the year. She did not succumb to the difficulty that she experienced but rather challenged the difficulty by staying afterschool to complete assignments and taking the opportunity for further clarification, if necessary. I have expressed to this student on numerous occasions how pleased I was at her perseverance and dedication to improving her overall performance. In turn, she expressed that she was shock herself with the substantial improvement she experienced in the classroom and her overall grade. While seated with her mother, I shared much of this interaction with her and took the opportunity to tell her how proud I was of her performance. It was then that her mother told me, "I want to thank you for caring and taking the time to answer the questions afterschool and for allowing her into your classroom even on the days that you don't offer tutorial. She loves your class. I just want to thank you for all that you do". I nearly cried. She set the tone and every parent that entered my classroom that night seamed to share the same sentiment. I left that night feeling as though I may have been a catalyst for change in some of those students but the real change comes from the individual that has the strength to endure the hardships that accompany those changes. I am a teacher and I left that night feeling like a queen.



Impressed and Suprised

Well let me begin by saying my students have been very well behaved lately. Despite the occassional stand off betweentwo students we don't have many incidents, since the positions have been assigned. Today I recieved my visit with Ms. Greene. First let me say she is a very nice woman. I wasn't very nervous about my "presentation". However as Scott has already mentioned in his post I read earlier today, I was very nervous about their cutting up during her visit. Well, again I was suprised and impressed by their behavior. We played a tool assignment game in review for the upcoming module exam and I had a three way tie for First Place. I assigned a tie breaker and again all answed correctly. Then we proceeded to the shop area. Again, everyone acted totally professional. They even kept their tone of voice low. I had to mention to Ms Greene that this behavior is above par, feeling she might think this was some kind of staged event. It was at this moment when I felt most connected. Ms Greene replied to me, "The reason is that they admire and respect you." That was it for me! Now let me just say I was not perfect. I didn't even state the objective which was plainly written in front of me. But, all in all. it was a very good day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

And before I really forget

Just to add to the question of the week (this goes along with my post from 10/1), I think I felt reconnected or should I say "plugged back in" in once Dr. M left. His visit reminded me of my purpose as it relate to my students. I sometimes forget that I am no longer teaching adults therefore I must scale down my methods for my "babies". I've realized that if I "Chunk" the material allow the kids to help out more, they learn more and in turn I learn better...a better approach for keeping them involved, engaged and alert.

Connected Engaged Or Affirmed

I think that everyday this week I felt connected engaged and affirmed. However If I have to choose just one moment, I would say it was when there was a student that I was fighting to get out of my class, becuase of his abnoxious behavior has really become my class leader in some ways. This particular student has an IEP and he really can be difficult at times. I have had to put him out of my room for behavior issues more than once. I realized what teaching was all about when that same student has stepped up and become on of the most reliable students in my upper level class. I found a technique that I learned about this summer really does work. The particular technique allowed this student to become a helper to me which makes him feel very important and allows him that creative freedom that he needs, in order to adjust those behavior issues. I was affirmed when another teacher said to me..."How did you actually get him to do something?" I think that I may have found the next Steven Spielburg...I am so glad that I placed my emotions to the side and tried something new with this student.


Last week Ms. Greene came to our school to do the first of the on-sites. As most I assume, I was thinking if the kids can do it, today will be the day they do it. Not only will I bomb but due to the conduct the entire school district will be closed. As the clock approached 1:00 pm the anticipation grew and now it was time! I met Ms. Greene as scheduled and escorted her to my room, still thinking if they can think of it they will do it. The bell rang and all of the players took their places. It’s show time. The students took to their assignments and were as if they were angels. For the next 89 and ½ minutes the students responded in the way they do most days but they had taken it up to a level that even surprised me, they do listen and on game day they put on their “A” game. 1 down 3 to go!!

Good Luck to all!

Feeling Great

A student I taught last year in the alternative school came to the school Thursday. I was in a faculty meeting for over an hour. One of the security personnel informed me that someone was waiting to see me and it was one of my former students who exited last year. He came and embrace me and was thanking me for the help that I and many others have given him and put him on the right path. Now he has passed the graduation test and already has been embraced by the fraternity Alpha Kappa Alpha at Morehouse College. The job is tedious sometime but that is when I realize thank GOD, that what makes my job worthwhile. Thank you for that question it was on time.

What it's all about

When I first read this blog topic I was racking my brain trying to think of a moment in this past week that made me feel like I was a "real" teacher. Yes, I feel good about my class when they are engaged and listen attentively. It makes me feel great when I know that they are really understanding the topic that we are covering. I love seeing good grades on the test!! However, none of these things can compare to how I feel as a teacher (and human being) when interact with my students on a more personal level. I was amazed the first time one of my students came to me with a problem and asked for advice. Most of the time I just listen and help them sort through the problem themselves. Usually, they know what the right thing to do is, they just need a little support. I encourage them to be the best person that they can be and to hold themselves to a high standard. Some of my students just need someone to take an interest in them. They need to know that someone cares and believes in them! It is a wonderful feeling to open an email from a former student who is now in college or to get a surprise visit from them! When they tell you how much they miss your class and how much they miss having you as a teacher, that's what it's all about!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Rewards of Teaching

I teach Healthcare Science. I thought that since the students elect to take my class rather than it being required, like English, Math etc., that they would be more interested and that they would apply themselves more. I found out that my pre-conceived idea is really not reality at all. I have many students that do not complete assignments, do not study, and many fail tests. Initially, or my first year of teaching, this was very disheartning to me. After taking NTI this summer and discussing adolescent behavior, I am learning how to deal with their mindsets and their behavior. I said all of that to say this, I do have a few students that are doing well and that do apply themselves. I give the students medical terminology tests. The students that apply themselves have done really well on the medical terminology tests. To see that these students are interested in the class and are doing well as well as them being excited about their accomplishments is very rewarding to me. I can begin to see that my labor is not in vain. I have had to learn that just because students don't do well may not be directly related to me but it may be because of choices that they make. They have to learn that there are consequences to their actions and that they have to work toward making sure that they have a successful future. I will do my part. It is up to them to do their part as well.

Relinquishing the moment

I would have to say that I found a moment of complete engagement while I wasn't even teaching, sort-of. Two weeks ago one of my more annoying sophomores started interrupting the lesson with a barrage of questions unrelated to the lesson, much the way Dr. Burns had Scott do to me this summer if you recall. He was correcting me about something I had said about "drifting". Drifting is some ridiculous new sport wherein you spin your car around and around and melt your tires off the rims. Anyway, I had told him to research the topic himself at home and I would be glad to revisit my earlier comments. That shut him up so I could continue the lesson. Low and behold, last week he came to class with articles proving his point. I was wrong. So here is what I said. " Listen up class. Do you remember recently when Danny and I disagreed about drifting? Well, he was correct and I would like for Danny to correctly explain what he was trying to tell me before." I took Danny's seat and said "Go ahead Danny, the floor is yours." Danny proceeded teach us about an aspect of drifting I knew nothing about. The class asked pertinent questions while Danny beamed at the attention. In the days to come I had three administrators pull me aside and ask about it. Apparently, the kids are talking about it all over the school. I think I knocked that one out of the park, and so did Danny. I love this job.

I feel like a teacher

This week I certainly felt like a teacher in my C.E.R.T. class. In the class I educate the students on community emergency responders during disasters. Last week the students demonstrated search and rescue techniques. Well as you know Georgia has suffered from major flooding and was declared a disaster area. On Thursday before we started class I had a student raised her hand shouting Ms.Kelly I have something to tell you. The student was about to explode. So I acknowledge her by asking her what is it. The student stated she was looking at channel 2 action news and they were talking about the C.E.R.T. volunteer. She added they were talking about the same thing you have been teaching us. Then I another student said I saw that too. At that moment I felt like I was truly teaching. AOH HA

May I Help You

I have to say that my moment came when one of my students came to my aid to assist me. We were taking our basic camera skills test this week, which is entirely hands on working with the basic functions of set up and preparation to shoot. While the rest of the students were working on another assignment, I was finishing up the last few groups that were left taking the test. Once one of my trusted students completed his assignment, he noticed a student struggling through my instructions. The student asked if he may work with the student in another area for practice before I grade her application. I was shocked at the gesture, but more surprised from the response when I asked why he did it, and he said that "I thought you would have done the same thing." I feel like these kids are really buying into what we are doing. I was never more sure of what I was doing than that day last week.