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?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's that time Again

Well it's that time again to get down to business. I hope the students can hold on a little longer. I think the break was well needed and deserved for the teachers and the students. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. My family and I certainly took the time out to be grateful and thankful for everything. It's a beautiful thing to have family who loves you. To all the NTI family I hope you all gain more strength and wisdom to hold on a little while longer. I wish the best for everyone as we approach the end of 2009 and prepare for 2010. Be Bless Everyone.

Recharged and ready

I remember this time last year. I was pretty exhausted. This year I feel pretty well in charge compared to last year. Thanksgiving week off gave me a good recharge at the beach. Now we have 15 school days til Christmas break and the wife has done all the shopping already. My plans are done for the week and I am ready to print progress reports when I arrive tomorrow. Lets hope it all holds up!!!!

Getting Back

Well I hope everyone had a great holiday break, but now it is time to return to our beautiful students who awaits our return. I am looking forward to the third week in December because our kids will be exiting the alternative school and I enjoy the looks on the kids face. Its like a look of achievement and relief and I am very proud of the ones who endured this environment, which at times can be very challenging. So getting back is very important for the students who have met this challenge.

Being Thankful for Todays Blessing

Today is a day of Thanksgiving. When i reflect on things , places and things that shape and change our world . Sometimes we forget to give thanks. I was speaking with a young lady in the Aiken County School District of South Carolina , They have be plaqued with the ecomonic crunch also ,only instead of furloughs days , they have be subjected with many teacher layoffs. Wow I'm just thankful that currently I'm employed ! We as Teachers, Parents and People must reflect on Thanksgiving ,and remember to give thanks just to wake up , be alive , and the the great ability to inspire the children of today with our teaching skills,They are truely our future and always give Thanks to GOD . Everyday you have something to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is 365 days a year.



I have been studying over my work for class on Monday wondering what type of exam we will have. Everyone get out your work start to study. 3 more weeks until Christmas break I'm getting the class ready for their final exams for the end of the 1 semester.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Full steam ahead!

Wow, my first semester as a teacher is rapidly coming to an end. The upcoming week is filled with parent-teacher meetings, remediation plan completion/submission, HOSA meetings,final exam preparations, and the list goes on. The highlight of my week is the fact that I am going to actually going to have my hair professionally styled. I am finally organized enough to do something for myself--wow. Granted, there are still a million things that I have to complete for the success of the program. I am very excited about using the Group Investigation format recently discussed in the Small Group & Interpersonal Instructional Strategies. This project will guide and prepare students for the HOSA competitions rapidly approaching after the new year. The final weeks before the holiday will prove to be very productive. Have a great week!


This week has made me very thankful for all my friends and family. I had a student that needs a lot of special time during the day during school. He skipped my class on Tues. the last day before we got out. Well about 2:00 on Thurs. a got a text saying Happy Thanksgiving and all i could do was laugh. What can I Say. Have a good weekend and look at it like this 3 more weeks until we are out again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving we have NTI to be thankful for family, friends and good health.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Great Week

I was ready for students with high energy and low focus last week, but as fate sometimes dictates our course in life, things went srangely well. Looking back on the week ,the fact that we had the reproductive unit , which includes all sorts of interesting diseases-near & dear to most adolescents, I had their undivided attention. The 20 minute lecture timing went out the window, but as long as they were engaged I just went with the flow. Even the quiet students were asking questions, participating. I have a new educational direction- make all of the cirriculum as engaging as human reproduction and our jobs wll be a breeze !!!
Have a restful holiday break/Gobble Gobble

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast

We ate so much today after school I felt like the stuffed Turkey that we were eating. LOL
My students are getting better and better everyday things are just fallen in place knock on wood. I want to tell everyone to have a safe and nice Thanksgiving Day. I need these couple of days to rest my mind and waiting on the Christmas break but I am not complaining because I have a great job. I love the kids they me laugh sometimes you have to laugh from screaming!!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's a Bird, It's A Plane, It's A Boom ?

On Friday my school experience a boom threat. Of course the principal came over the intercom and inform the students it was a drill. The administration,faculty and staff knew it was a real boom threat. Well the school took the necessary precautions to ensure the safety for the everyone. After about 45minutes we were cleared to go back inside the building. After 10 minutes I had a knock at my door. It was my guess speaker I had invited a week ago. My guess was the 911 Director. I had completely forgot about him but I guess it was perfect timing for him to explain the challenges,danger,false call,etc.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Very Long Week

This week seemed more like a month. Students were extremely distracted and fully of energy. I, on the other hand, had no energy. Thank goodness we have a week off! I'm wondering if students will come back with more focus and self control or if the three weeks prior to Christmas break will be as difficult this past week. Time for me to rest and regroup. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

One of the Best Compliments I Have Gotten in A Year and A Half!

In my class right now, we are doing picture videos. I have the kids bring in 30 or 40 pictures of themselves from the time they were born until now. We teach them how to scan. Even show them some basics in Photoshop. Then we do Ken Burns style picture moves to make it all look professional. One of the things I tell them is that we are doing this as a surprise gift for a mother, father, grandmother, aunt, uncle, or friend. I try to cover all of the areas because we all know our kids of from all kinds of different families now. Which brings me to my story of Courtney. She is a BVP II student. Last year when we did this project, her mom was sick with cancer and Courtney really got into the project to give to her mom. Courtney's mom has been sick most of her life and with that, Courtney has taken on an Emo type look and to some teachers, attitude. Last year, I really had a heart for what she was going through and it wasn't long until after she finished her video that her mom passed away. So, when I announced the project for this year, she came to me and said, "Mr. Maynard, I don't know if I can do this again." A lot of teachers not getting close to Courtney, wouldn't understand why she couldn't do it. I am not even sure a lot of her main stream teachers even know she lost her mom. So, I told her I understand. Is there a picture video that you could do this year? She went on to talk about how her boyfriend has been there through all of this for her. So, I said, "Well, there's your answer. Let's do a video for him." She replied, "Mr. Maynard, you are my favorite teacher. If every teacher was like you, I would love coming to school." I thanked her and told her that she had made my day. Or, actually, I guess she has make my first year and a half.


My kids prior to the holiday break have been very anxious and volatile this week. I ask them did they have the bipolar virus. They probally need a break from us as we need from them. Hopefully the break will give them time to refocus and get prepared for the home stretch. At the alternative school in December we will have students exiting from the program who have met the requirements. So that may also a contributing factor to some of the unrest.

Going Crazy

So Thank you very much Thanksgiving break for finally gracing us with your presence. Unfortunately you were a bit late to prevent our student body from going insane.

The last 2 weeks at my school have been crazy. We have had more fights over a 3 day span than we had all of last year. These kids were restless, fighting over something as small as a pencil. It got so bad that the last 2 days of school, we had every administrator in the student parking looked like a war camp. I know in some schools this is normal, but for us this type of behavior is as rare as a dinosaur. Fortunately we made it...and I'm heading home, peace out.

Played Father this week

This week seemed so long to me. The kids are ready to be out next week more than the teachers. This week it seemed that i had to play Father this week to many of my students. Many asking questions on what they should do in their future. Some just wanted to talk and it made me think of when i talked with my dad and uncles when i was growing up. Hopefully i was able to help them out and guide them in the right direction. I think next week before we get out i will have students write me a letter asking me or telling me anything that they have questions about.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Three Weeks Until Christmas Vacation

Can you believe it, 3 weeks of class until Christmas Vacation? It’s been a fast year I think I am on to something, about this saying “it gets better”. I think the reason it gets better has three components, 1) expectations and reality are more in line.
2) You are better prepared,
3) Your reputation, the kids know what you are all about before they get to your class from their peers.

Think about it....

Hope the all of NTI has a nice holiday

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turkey, Charlie Brown, and Family

This week is probably my favorite week of the entire year or at least it is this year. The week before our Thanksgiving Break, we make our Thanksgiving feast in class which consists of turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, garlic parmesan mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, and pumpkin cake. It is a lot of food yet my students never fail to clean their plates. Last year, I did this same thing and it was a near disaster. Some classes did not get their food cooked in time while others burned their food, it was just crazy. Also, they would usually finish just in time to fill their plates and run out the door, leaving me with the dirty dishes that the food had been cooked in.

Well this year, I have gotten much smarter and purchased disposable pans and to go boxes so that everything could easily be taken with them and the pans left could just be thrown away. I also had my mom come down to be my "sous chef". The kids have been dying to meet her so it was fun for my mom and my students. We also watched Charlie Brown while the food was cooking. It is moments like these that I love teaching cooking. Sure the food they made wasn't anything fancy but that is what Culinary I and II are for.

Yay for the holidays!!!

Bad MoJo

Some really disturbing stuff has been coming down the pipe at my school for several weeks. The first volley landed Friday, bounced and landed again today. Worse, I know of at least two more teachers doing the same thing. Don't worry, I have already reported what I know to my boss. Now it is his problem, I'm covered. I am just so disappointed at my veteran colleagues who think it is OK to do what they have done. This is career ending stuff. Indeed, one ended today. We will probably be on the news real soon about it. My school feels slimy now everywhere I turn. This is bad bad mojo!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blog takeover...

I am attempting to make up for time lost on the blog....not trying to bomb you all with post after post. "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!" haha. Patrick's comment in class yesterday about career teachers hits on many feelings I've had before on the same issue. I was telling some folks at lunch that a lot of times I walk into meetings and hear teachers complaining and just want to say, "Shut up. Do your job." I truly believe that the fact these teachers have never had a "real job" spoils them. Now, I come from a family of teachers. My mother is an elementary music teacher, and has been for 25+ years. But, she's also had many other jobs over the years. My sister is a 4th grade teacher, and my Dad has taught college courses on and off for years. No one in our family has ever really complained about how tough their job is. Not to sound like a grizzled, self righteous, "I walked five miles in the snow, uphill" type of person, I'd just like to say that I got my first job at 15. I worked at a chicken farm. My job was to do whatever manual labor needed to be done that day - for minimum wage. My boss was so cheap that she demanded that we could not submit the time it took to walk from one location to the other in our time card. Example: gather eggs in the chicken houses, then walk the 3/4 mile to the horse stalls and muck stalls. "I am not getting paid for this 20 minute walk". I worked through college on every single locally produced television show produced in Valdosta, GA. Making commercials saw 60 hour weeks through the months of October and November. Again, not to draw attention to me - I know there are other folks in our class that have worked harder, longer for less recognition. Props to you. At the end of the day, those of us who have the experience to compare a hard day's work to a day of teaching know that we are coming out ahead by working in the classroom. So, I offer two things to be posted on the teacher's lounge bulletin board. "Shut up. Do your job." - or - "Get a real job."

The year has flown by...

The one thing that has caught me completely off guard is where my year has gone. The school schedule has always seemed accelerated from my days in the tv industry, but this year seems to have gone by even faster. To add to the long "to do" list that school provides, I have also been working on my newly purchased house since the week after the NTI summer session ended. With my team teacher being gone the first nine weeks of the semester, my second job, and this 90 year old house I guess I haven't taken the time to come up for air very often. One more week to go before Thanksgiving though, and I guess I'll be forced to relax a little. I am still getting used to being forced out of the office when the holidays come around (especially Thanksgiving/Christmas). When I made TV commercials "the rush season" started in October, with everyone wanting their holiday themed adds done and ready to hit the air the day after Thanksgiving. I never thought that having so much time off so often would provide it's own unique challenges (if you want to call them that). Here's to sleeping "late" (6:30), "relaxing" (working on the next project), and returning to school "rested" (notice: kids will be well rested too - providing all new adventures in behavior correction). Turkey day is nearly here...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Monday will be my 4th field trip of the semester and I am soooo exhausted. On Tuesday, SACs will be at PHS all day and you can imagine the tension floating around at my school. I have expressed to my kiddies the importance of the visit on Tuesday and the need for their best behavior. I think they will be ok as long as the lessons are interesting and engaging. Along with the SACs visit, I've been at my daughter's school off and on for the last 3 weeks (before school, after, during, and I even took of on Tuesday to "pop-up"). It seems as if she is having difficulties learning her multiplication, spending her time socializing and being the "life of the party". On a daily basis I receive notes about behavior that is generally good but no notification about academics until I receive the progress report 1 week later. I think this is ineffective because in no way am I able to support the teacher and be on top of my child's potential a week after the fact. My little one is in the 3rd grade and I swear, everyday from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm, I'm Laura Ingals-Wilder and my home is the Little Red School House (LRSH). I am teaching math after teaching L & J all day and I am so frustrated until I do not know what to do. I've had conferences with the teacher, the teacher and the principal, the asst. principal and the teacher and my child on numerous occasions all to no avail. At this point I do not know what to do short of taking my child out of this class and having her put in one where she will be held accountable for her actions and be able to learn in a positive environment. It is not like I am not a visible parent and unavailable. I work in the same district where my child attends school, the teacher has every number/email available for myself, husband and grandmother. All of the adults in my child's immediate life are at school functions when I can't be because of my profession so the support of the school is there. I've email the teacher, call her at home (she gave me her number), and my school is less the 5 mins away from my daughter's. So why can't I get some conversation from the teacher outside of the weekly progress report? Did I say I am frustrated??...Did I mention my child was an automatic referral to the gifted program this year because of her ITBS scores? Scores that show a deficiency in Math might I add so enrichment and tutoring is needed. Now I am not taking the responsibility off of my child and "throwing the teacher under the bus"..I'm just saying...can I get an email or something when she is clowning so that I may do a drive by on my planning in an effort to diffuse the comedy act? All it takes is one time. I still can remember the time my mother "popped-up" at my elem. school. I was put out of class for talking too much. She embarrased the heck out of me and you know what..the teacher had no more problems out of me. I quickly learned that my mom was not to far away and anytime she wanted to come to my school she could. I know times have changed and so have children. I expect my child's teacher to go thru the same pecking order as I am required to when a child is failing or being disruptive. Not because it is my job but because I care. I make as many calls, emails, detentions, conferences needed to reach my students. This informs them that there is a direct line of communication between their parents and I. I've even stopped class during a disruption and called as many parents as I needed to get some order. Now, I am not so rigid that my student's personality and charisma is disallowed in my class. I've learned that there are some things I can't change and sometimes students act silly or talk a lot to mask the embarrassment of not understanding. Well I have vented and I am opened to any suggestions from parents and teachers and teachers alike...that we are.

I Am Getting Better

I shared in the past, I shared with you how I get anxious about things and how this affected my blood pressure. I am learning and have learned to focus and prioritize only on the important things. I have also learned that if something doesn't get done today, it will still be there tomorrow. My cry is that I am still new and I am still learning how to teach. For me, this has been a process because I am type A personality or a perfectionist. For me, this just means that I cannot look to myself and I have to learn to trust the Lord and ask for His direction. Since I have taken this stance or approach, I find myself so much calmer and more relaxed. The past few months have been terribly hard for me because this was the time or anniversary of my former husbands illness and death (he was in a coma for 2 1/2 months). Every year around this time, I find myself in this period of gloom and confusion. I have to remind myself of the time and pray and stap out of it. Once I realize what is going on, I confront it and move on and it somehow gets better. Having to become a single parent unexpectantly causes all types of actions, reactions, thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I do however look forward to things getting even better really soon!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Film Festival

So it's that time of year again. The CCSME Film Festival is here. Not only are we competing this year in both advanced and novice categories, but my school is hosting it as well. From this past Wednesday until next Wednesday is absolute chaos in room 1404. I'm at school every morning at 7:30 and stay every night until 7 so the kiddos can have every opportunity to get their videos submitted on time. This is that time where I have to take the leash off and let them go into the world alone, because I can't assist them at all. So for a solid week before Thanksgiving I get to sit back, watch and hope I taught them well enough to be competitive. It's hard enough teaching intro level students the basics of final cut pro, but we are at a strong disadvantage considering we are the only school competing that is on an A/B block schedule. However, considering we won 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place last year, I'm feeling pretty good...I've already seen one video this year that blows away all of last years.

2/3 Over

It’s almost time for a week away! After this then a couple of weeks and then the Christmas vacation. One more semester and then this is all behind us. Where does time go? To think that this journey started in June and now it’s almost 2/3 over. Hope that everyone has a great Christmas Season this year, and we can all go into the Thanksgiving season being thankful that we all have made progress this year. Sometimes that road has been tuff, ready to scream some days, ready to quit on others but when it’s all over maybe we made the difference in just one kids life! Who knows what that one student will do with his/her life, and all of NTI 2009 had a part in it! Pretty neat…

How Close Is Too Close

I have been a graphic designer for over 10 years. I love it. It has taken me a lifetime to go from a kid who likes to draw superheroes to a young man who started to understand what art is, and lastly a man who was taught how to use computer programs to build art through graphic design. My friends are all graphic designers and artists, and we talk incessantly about art's influence on the world. To put it short, I truly love art and design. My problem is that I have to come to terms with teaching my love as a subject that the majority of my students couldn't care less about.

I have tried several different ways to make it interesting. I am starting to think I may be too close to the subject. However, I am not so close that I cannot recognize how dry some of the programs can be if you do not have an interest. Graphic design is full of specific measurements and precise positioning, all of which can be exhausting to someone who is indifferent about art or design. Hopefully as we get further into the program, I will be able to find more ways to engage the students and show them how much fun graphic design can be. I certainly don't want my lack of teaching experience to turn anyone away from design. The funny thing about teaching a subject you love is that it can affect you when others are not as into it as you are. I'm sure this is a problem that many new teachers experience.

People tell me all the time how blessed I am to be teaching something I love so much, and I cannot disagree. These are hard financial times and to have a job is truly a blessing. Having a job where you can influence the lives of young people is wonderful, but I find myself wondering sometimes if I might not have been better off as an english teacher.


Progress Everyday

Student progress reports were issued this week so I thought I'd comment on my own progress. As each day passes I am getting more organized. My lesson plans are becoming more effective and interesting to my students. On a rare ocassion, I have felt relaxed and enjoyed a more comfortable rapport with students. I guess we all will continue to search for the most effective management of behavior problems. I can say I feel a little more competent in this area. I often remind myself that becoming a great teacher is a process. Thank goodness we have NTI to guide us through this process!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

open mic

This week has seemed very long. The kids have not been to bad for the most part. This week we have talked about being able to speak in public. The kids that talk the most in class have been the best students this week. The were so scared that i was going to call all them to speak in front of the class that is so funny seeing them quite this week. I pointed it out to them today and we laughed about it in fun. Try it and see how it goes. See you all Saturday.


So much new information, techniques, strategies. I want to try them all, but find myself imploding at times. Just finished what I believe is my last observation of the semester. I really like the great suggestions & feed back, but I think I stress way too much. Just feel like I am getting to know my students & trying things that I believe will make their learning experience better, I get my new roster & schedule for NEXT semester. As always onward - WITH A SMILE !! See youse guys on Sat ...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sat Class

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Sat. NTI class we're almost there my principal snook up on me today. I almost fell out she was right on my back watching me show a student how to do a 180 degree hair cut. I turned around and almost passed out she was there to observe me. She was on my second visit for the year I have one more to go. LOL

Monday, November 9, 2009

Open Mic

I have been working in the school system now for 5 years and never have I ever had to write a student up until last week. Luckily I have always been able to talk to the student and we can work something out without getting the administration involved. Students can serve detention or do a report or I just call home and the parents handle the situation. Well, I have this student that has been in some of my classes for 3 years, she is a special needs student (very high functioning). Monday, Dr. Montrios was coming to visit and we were doing a HUGE group project. Well, this particular student told some of the other girls that she didn't want to come to class and do the stupid group project. The girls told me what was said at the end of the day on Monday, sure enough she didn't show up to class. I am very close to this student so it hurt me deeply but it also angered me. Why would she want to skip MY class. Well I waited until I saw her on the next A day, and confronted her about the situation. She said that she had went to the Library to work on a project for another class. I explained that we have a no skipping policy and that I would have to write her up. She got extremely upset and stormed off. I later got an email saying that she would be in ISS for 2 days this week. At the end of Wednesday she came to my room in tears and apologized for skipping my class and told me she would never do this again. It was truly heartfelt and I told her that I forgave her and we are on great terms now. I was really worried that this would interfere with the classroom, but luckily it is not!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This Must Be A Dream!

This week I had the pleasure to have Dr. Montrois come and observe me for the second time. I thank Dr. Montrois for giving me positive feedback and suggestion for improvement. To my surprise Dr. Montrois had the opportunity to witness a well behave class who were very attentive to the lesson and demonstration on Frisking a suspect. I though this can't be the same class I had the day before. I thought I was dreaming. I guess Dr. Montrois has an amazing effect on students. Maybe Dr. Montrois need to come every week. I don't suppose that's possible I'll just keep dreaming. Thanks to the NTI you are the best.

Open Mic.....meetings, meetings, meetings

This past week I had a parent conference, 1 SST and 3 IEP's before school started (7:30a-7:45a). I truly know and understand the importance of all these meetings, but is the frequency of such meetings imperative? I teach for my students like you all do and I believe in our classes we can truly make a difference in most of these students lives. However; it appears some of these meetings are conducted without a purpose and more of a matter of fact. I just think if we can communicate via e-mail unless a problem arises this may be better not only for our time management as teachers, but for the students as well. I am all for productive meetings and assisting our students to be successful (via modifications or pathway direction). However; to meet just to say we did it following procedure or to fill out and sign a few forms is non-productive. Call me crazy, but I am now on this keeping my plate full with a little margin and I don't need any non-essential calories.....

All your posts have been awesome and I know I learn from each and everyone I read. I think some of you all should have been comedians or professional journalist. I know this is hard for all of us for many different reasons, but I am with you all this is productive and I am learning a bunch!

Look forward to hearing from you all tomorrow night!



I've finally realized that each week ends by beginning a new week. Gee, what a revelation. This has been the best weekend in a very long time. I attended a fellow HSTE instructors wedding and the weather was absolutely gorgeous! It was really nice to experience a weekend without the pressure of work. My children really enjoyed the opportunity to spend family time together, considering last weekend I received a 15 minute lecture from a 9 year old and a 6 year old on the value of quality time. We had the opportunity to do sing-a longs in the car. As the evening progressed, the music began to play and my 6 year old son actually ask for my hand on the dance floor. Granted, my 9 year old daughter told me that I was embarrassing her as we danced along. Well, I have made it past the half-way point in the first semester and I am beginning to feel like I am cruising. I am still not on cruise control but I am beginning to feel more comfortable in my job/family balance. I probably should include a disclosure here--November 24th still has a special glimmer on my calendar and December 18th IS running a close second.

Field Trip #3

Hello everyone. Tomorrow is Field trip #3 for my students and we will be going to a Maximum security prison. Normally, this field trip would come at the end of the unit when my students are more familiar with inmate culture, prison slang, prison designs and chain of command. I pray that this will work out well in spite of. You know.."putting the horse before the cart". Looking back, it seems like I've done a lot of "bass ackwards" things this semester and for that my game has been thrown off alot. I don't know if it is because of my exposure to NTI and my desire to do everything exactly by the books or my missing the field and what it had to offer. I am most grateful for my NTI experience and I have said on many occasions that a lot of what is being taught..I did some of it even before I knew what it was. I thought I was just being creative and "non-traditional". My problem has always been knowing how to close out a lesson and move on to the next. Now before anyone takes this post the wrong way, I am not discounting anyone or anything taught..I'm just saying "I'm all over the place" and can't seem to get back on track. It's as if I'm in an inner battle between doing what I know and doing what I know should be done. While some of the approaches work well, others do not. I think this is mainly because of the population that I work with. I could easily join the bandwagon and say what everyone wants to hear or just be honest and say what I experience. My question is when will I be able to conceptualize the "big picture"? There was a time when I loved teaching, now it seems like a chore. Is it suppose to be this way? Will it stay this way forever? While I am forever in search of a silver lining, I have so many questions along the way that are not being addressed. Hopefully the answers will come soon. I will keep everything I have crossed and hope for the best.
On another note, tomorrow is one of my student's birthday and he is going to prison (well half of the class is for the field trip)...I know right. That is the running joke in class and the punchline is ..let this be your first and last birthday spent in prison. The kids are having fun with it. I just might get him a prison birthday cake from the vending machine...a snickers bar in between 2 honeybuns...yum yum..good prison food..zoom zooms and wham whams (prison slang for cookies and pies). Have a great week and talk to you all on tomorrow provided I'm let out of prison on time. LOL!

Great Day For Forensics

It was a great day Tuesday for my forensics class because we had visitors from the Clayton County CSI unit visiting and doing an excellent presentation. Not only were my kids there, other kids from other classes request permission from their teachers to observe the presentation. The students were very attentive and respectful and had a lot of questions for our guest. I wish Dr. M. would have been there I think he would have enjoyed it to. Now my other classes are wondering when will they have quest, I informed them it is in the works. My students have a test on Monday about the presentation.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I think I am ready for Christmas break!!!!

I really think half of my students have already checked out for Christmas break. I know what you are thinking. You mean Thanksgiving break. No, I mean Christmas break. I have a male student that I have know for most of his life. He is one of the most dependable students I have ever been around. This week, I wanted to ring his neck three times! He has already mentally checked out. It may be a case of Senioritis that has struck early, but all he keeps talking about is that he can't wait for Christmas break. Last year, I had my students do Christmas carol videos for fun. They pick a group of students or faculty and they break up our favorite Christmas carols into bits and pieces for each person to sing. My students are already asking for this project. I have told them that I have not eat turkey yet and that until I do, I don't want to hear a word about Christmas carols. My students are finishing up recycling promos and this weekend I am thinking through what their next video project should be. I am starting to think that the Christmas carol thing doesn't sound too bad! Like I said, I think I am ready for Christmas break too!

Second On-Site

Friday I had my second on site with Ms. Greene. My 5th block was at an all time low for student attendance. Between illness conduct and other related issues we had a grand total of 4. I was concerned about the topic and the ability of the students to keep up. The topic, Minimum Vehicle Speed from skid marks. The class started as I had anticipated, strange looks, glazed eyes, and responses as if I were speaking a different language. It was like jumping off a cliff, after the first steep it was the fall and get ready for the landing! As I continued the class all 4 and let me add that they were all non driving young ladies, something happened. There was a flicker of light, then it started to get brighter and brighter. The ladies came through like true champs. I may have only had 4 and I may be at an alternative school, but these ladies acted if they had the world by the tail. The picked up the process and was calculating speeds left and right. I also want to thank Ms. Greene what a pleasure to work with and thanks for you feedback.

How did I get so lucky?

Sometimes I ask myself, how in the world did I get so lucky as to work in one of the best schools on earth? I don't know how it happened, but I am so glad that it did. Now, don't get me wrong, I still have crazy days and days that the students give me grief, but I have some of the most amazing co-workers!!! The other two Health Science teachers and I have been working together to teach skills to our classes. Each of us will teach a specific skill and we will rotate our classes. This way, we only have to plan for that one particular skill and make sure that we have supplies ready for that one skill. Well, this was working wonderfully until H1N1 hit my house! My middle son came home Tuesday with a fever and headache. As soon as I realized that my son was really sick and I would have to take the next day off to take him to the doctor, I started to have a little panic inside. I realized that not only would my lesson plans be messed up for that day, but it would also mess up the rotation for the other two teachers. Well, I knew that my son was more important than a lesson, but I still couldn't help being stressed about it. I called one of the other Health Science teachers that evening and she said, "Don't worry about it, take care of your baby." And the wonderful part is, she really meant it. I called the Secretary to let her know that I would not be able to be there, and once again it was met with, " Don't worry about a thing, I will take care of getting you a sub! Take care of your family!". Even my Principal will openly tell us that he expects us to do a fantastic job, however, our families come first. It just really makes a difference when you have to be out and you have such supportive co-workers. Like I said before, I don't know how I was so lucky to work at this amazing school, but I sure am glad I do! By the way, my son is feeling much better and has been fever free for over 24 hours. YAY!!

Grading Projects

I give magazine projects to my students why didn't anyone tell me it takes forever to grade projects. I have been working on them for a week and have to finish by Monday. I brought them home something I do not want to ever do again between all the school meetings and testing and skills USA meeting there is no time. I was up till one I have finish grading those magazine projects. YEAH!!!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I have been having a tough time with 2 of my classes both on B day. One is my advanced class and the other is my Intro class. I had to be out on Wednesday to go to a workshop and had left some good sub plans for both classes. My advanced class had begun creating an appetizer menu that we were going to be cooking soon and the Intro class had an assignment about equipment which they needed to learn before they cook for Thanksgiving. I was excited about the appetizer menus that I would come back to and was hoping the Intro class would complete the equipment assignment.

I came back to school after the workshop and found the sub's notes which included a long note about the Intro class. The advanced class was well behaved but the Intro class had been loud, disrespectful, and did not complete the assignment. When the advanced class showed up today, I was thinking they would have their menus ready since they had been well behaved but instead only one group actually did the assignment.

The problem is that I have tried positive reinforcement with both groups and then have resorted to taking things away like cooking days and still nothing works.

My frustration is building and I do not know what to do. I feel like I am going backwards rather than forward. The worse part of it, is that I am getting observed on Thursday and I requested that she come during the Intro class that I just told you about because I was hoping she could give me some pointers but since that request, they have gotten about 10 times worse. I can't even imagine what she will have to say. UGH!

Full Moon

Back in the day of 7P to 7A intensive care nursing, a full moon meant an exciting evening. So it is at Arnold Magnet Academy. The typical raging hormones become a tsunami of loud voices, intensely mobile upper extremeties, and uncontrollable giggling. Train your mouth and mind to listen, keep your hands to yourself, use that energy productively. Goodbye from Arnold. See you next week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Professors, fire marshalls, principals, and truckers

Do some days just feel like a marathon? I am ready to go to bed at 7:00pm. I had my second visit from NTI yesterday afternoon. This time I did not tell the kids she was coming. I also purposely made no effort past what I would have done any other day. Turns out, it was good decision. My review was good and I feel like my day to day lessons are pretty good instead of creating a "dog and pony" show that would have left me clueless about my real lessons. This morning I was evaluated by my Principal. Then my Asst. Principal evaluated me in another period not knowing that I had already been seen by the big boss. Then the fire Marshall came in to check out my shop. That is a big deal for us. He usually bar-b-ques us with fines. fine. In 15 years my school auto shop has never managed to squeak by without at least one fine. Then, at last bell, a 53 foot trailer whips in at the shop to unload a bunch of crates and pallets from Northern tool. Problem was, students could not leave for the day til we got that rig out. Then an IEP meeting lasted 2 hours. I am going to bed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What a pleasure!

On Friday I went on a field trip with another teacher to chaperon the students. I was prepared to monitor the students closely and remind them about appropriate behavior. After about 12 hours I was in shock because students were on their best behavior and I didn't have to redirect or discipline any students. All of the students were well behaved and respectful. The students represented the school well. I praised the students for the good behavior. I was encourage to witness students demonstrate appropriate behavior. There is hope!


I can't remember !! UgOh

I trying to keep all my due dates, but I honestly can't remember it I posted this week. I was trying to get the lab assignment in, my grades for a 12 week report card posted on time, and assignments for a sub, so I could take 1 day off to go out of town for a wedding. I know that sounds selfish, but so be it. It was a great weekend at Jekyll Island. The weather was great. I felt like it rejunvinated me. Now to plan lessons for the week, use the language of the standards more , and figure out how to continue to be engaging in the classroom. Hopefully in my advanced years I won't forget to go to school !

"To Be or Not To Be"

This was an OK week for me. I am just now learning how to relax or "chillax" (chill and relax) as my baby tells me. I am beginning to realize what is important and what is not important. I am now incorporating into my lesson plans to allow my instruction to be student centered rather than teacher centered. Rather than me standing at the front of the classroom and lecturing for 20 minutes, I allow the students to get into groups and plan the lesson that they as a group will teach or present. They of course don't like it because they have to do more work and have to actually read the chapter, which they have not done in the past. I decided to switch to this format so that they could be more involved in their learning. I also allow them to use whatever teaching aids necessary. I incorporate "hands on" in this as well. Some reasons that I include this in the lesson plan is to help them develop leadership skills, team-work, creativity, assertiveness and critical thinking skills. This is my approach from now until the end of the semester.

One frustrating thing that happened this week is that I caught a student cheating on a test. In the past, I have had a very watchful eye. I guess that I need to step up my game. After I caught the students, they of course denied it. I offered the student the opportunity to "prove me wrong" by taking the test again. Needless to say, she did not. Situations like this cause me to question my reasons for choosing education. I have to keep in mind the adolescent lesson that we had this summer. I also have to keep in mind the students who really appreciate me and come to greet me or tell me thank you.

Good Intentions

I must say if I hear "standards based classroom" one more time I'm going to scream!!!! I know our school system is considered to be behind the eight ball when it comes to keeping accreditation and our school specifically is desperately trying to make AYP this year...but come on people...can we still focus on teaching our kids the curriculum instead of spending 30 minutes of our 55 minute class period on whatever the latest and greatest idea in education is!!! I feel that we are loosing sight of what the true goal should be for our students. Ok, I'm fine with having to write out the entire standard and element and essential question on my board, though I may grumble a little when all of this takes up 90% of my board space. I haven't complained too much when I visited other schools in the county and found that they have been able to type their standards and elements out and just change them periodically..thus saving board space (when our principal told us specifically that we could not do this per the superintendent). However, now you are going to tell me that I have to write the standard, the task assigned, and teacher commentary for every piece of student work I want to display on my bulletin board!!! This is ridiculous...I think that if you have a question about whether or not the work is considered to be standard-related just ask me. This kids don't really care and it looks awful to have all this junk up there. I now have no room to display the things that the kids worked so hard on. I feel like I have to tell my kids...sorry I only have room for one student's work to be displayed because I have to place all this other crapola on there which I feel is just for show. I know that our administration has good intentions, but enough is enough. I'm too busy trying to make the "frosting on my cake" look right and not worrying about the cake itself. The staff is getting worn out, the kids are loosing focus because they are drowning in the "language of the standard", and frankly I'm just getting sick of the whole thing!