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, April 25, 2010

Lottery with one advice...

If I would win the lottery today and I was leaving teaching the one important piece of advice I would give my replacement would be simple. Teach with significance! At the end of the day the impact you have on your students is not really measured with how well they perform on a test or what grade they get. It is measured with what you did to impact them significantly. Get to know your students. Not just by name, but by who they are and what is going on in their lives. Be that role model and person they respect because you respect them. Grades come and go, but significance will last forever!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The one advice I would give the new teacher is to talk to every student everyday because they like attention and when you praise them the students seem to do very well in in class that is the case with me. Don't give up be a trooper be firm. I would be gone because that would save some FURLOUGH day money that they could give to help another teacher. I would be on the beach writing books how to be a great teacher in the time of FURLOUGH!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

parting advice

This is a bit difficult for me to answer. First of all, I just don't have it in me to walk away cold from a job...especially one to which I signed a contract. So, lets just say that somehow I could throw away that particular portion of my work ethic. I would give one basic piece of advice. Treat each and every student like the real, human person they are. Teachers all around me treat their students like an inconvenience in their lives. No no no, they are real people with real feelings, needs, and thoughts. If they realize that you see them as valuable individuals, they will shower you with respect. Some are tougher to crack than others but persevere regardless.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Words of Advice

First off, I know I may be in the minority, but I think I would keep my job teaching. I love that I get to pour into young people's lives everyday. Ok, with that being said, I have more than one thing. First would be, don't let the first year kill you. I had a friend that was working at the high school and had been teaching about ten years. He pulled me aside my second day there and gave me the best advice for a brand new teacher. He told me, "Some days you will go home and feel like the smartest teacher ever. Other days you will go home and feel like you have failed miserably." He went on to explain that it takes anywhere from 3 - 5 years to get into the groove of teaching. I look back now and thank him so much for this advice. The second thing I would pass on would be to build relationships with as many students as you possibly can. Not just the ones in your classroom, but the student population in general. Kids can tell if you truly care or not. My heart broke on Friday when one of my students that has had a rough life all the way around, was escorted out of the school in handcuffs. I know that there is no possible way that I could have taken his place, but truly in my heart, I wanted to.


I would say to my replacement with the straightest face possible.... (hidden with slight sniggles and giggles).."Enter at your own Risk". I say this because with the ever-changing state of our school systems across the country, what I thought I knew about education does not measure no where close to what actually goes on in education. When I first started I was gun ho and high-strung with the idea of educating our youth. Preparing them to enter into the field of law enforcement. What I later learned was half of them had entered through the backdoor; (open cases, probation, parole, criminal activity, etc) they knew more than I expected them to (Urban Legends and ALL). The administration is not as supportive to CTAE as they could be and we receive all of the students that no one else wants. While I love the kids, "the sludge travels from upstream". They are excellent and quite fun to deal with while the administration is a monster.

I would tell them that teaching is like running a may not make a profit, see your growth, or get into your groove until the third year. Then you will be able to see for yourself if this is the profession for you.

Proceed with caution

This question is a really easy question for me. I would advise anyone replacing me to proceed with caution. Specifically, do not take this position if you are not dedicated to providing exemplary educational opportunities to the student population. Individuals interested in this position should research the position, interview current HSTE instructors and decide if the time commitment associated with CTSO travel is going to present a problem. Although these positions may be sensationalized by the Christmas break, spring break and summers off, this is the hardest job I have ever had. With that said, it is also extremely fulfilling. My advice is primarily for the individual to know themselves well, know what the job requires and most of all---know whether the two will fit well together. That 1 piece of advice will save many nights of turmoil and self conflict.

Advice for my replacement!

I believe the best piece of advice that I could give to a new teacher that is replacing me is: Don't take yourself too seriously!! Now, with that being said, I don't mean that our jobs aren't serious. What I do mean is that some days are going to be great and some days are going to be not so great. Some lessons are going to be a home run and some lessons are going to be a disaster. You just have to roll with the punches. Don't let those less than stellar times get to you. If you take yourself too seriously and expect yourself to always be perfect, you will burn yourself out in no time. The best thing that I have ever done in my short teaching career is to relax and have fun. This has allowed me to enjoy my job more than I ever imagined. I can assure you that my students enjoy a more relaxed me as well!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Find Boundaries

The best advice I could give a new teacher is to remember that it’s important to realize the first year of teaching involves a lot of trial and error. Learning the best way to organize or create your own method of record keeping and classroom management is probably the first step in becoming a teacher who can focus on creating a successful learning environment. Creating an effective classroom management plan gives the students boundaries. I have discovered that all students truly enjoy boundaries, even though they may complain or rebel against them. Boundaries created by the classroom management plan provide freedom for teachers and students to concentrate on objectives to be met. An effective management plan also increases productive interaction between students. My advice is to focus on fine tuning a great classroom management plan!

One piece of advise

If I won the lottery and had to give my replacement one piece of advise, I would
tell them to never forget that they will make a difference to a child. I believe that
just being there for a child can make a difference in their lives. Kids need a safe place
to come to and someone they can look up to and trust. I believe if my replacement
were to do these things they could not go wrong. It is pretty short and simple. Teachers
make a huge difference in children and what they become in life.

Is this a Trick Question

If I won the lottery I would probably continue to teach part-time. After teaching for two years I have become attached to the students and the personal fulfillment of teaching. It wouldn't be as easy as expected to leave my position as a teacher. I would enjoy great fortune and continue to give back to our youth at risk. But if I decided to stop teaching completely I would leave some advice to my successor. First,I would advise my replacement to start on lesson plans early. Secondly, prepare engaging activities and prepare for the expected and the unexpected. Then,stay focus on the your duties/responsibilities and the students. Finally,take time for yourself to regroup or refresh. Remember teaching can be fun and Challenging but as time goes on it will get better.

Just a Little Advice to Help You Along the Way

I have alot of advice and wisdom that I would share with my successor. Both Ginger and myself agree that we are long-winded. With that being said, I will try to be as brief, straight-forward, and to the point as I can be. I would first say, take your job seriously, but learn to relax and have balance. Teaching is not easy. But Rome was not built in a day. Enjoy life and try to find something good in everyday and in everybody, especially the students. A second piece of advice, you will not always meet every deadline and you will not get every thing done when you and others may expect. As someone told me, "if it doesn't get done today, it will still be there tomorrow. And if it doesn't get done tomorrow, it will still be there the next day, etc." As was said in the movie "Facing the Giants", my advice is to "do your best and leave the results up to God". A third piece of advice, make lesson plans, but give the students jobs and allow them to conduct the class with certain tasks and even certain parts of the lesson. What better way for them to learn than with even more hands on and experience. A final piece of advice, ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. Don't ever give up and don't ever grow weary. Teaching is not easy, but it can be done. Find a mentor teacher and administrator that can encourage you and help you walk this not-so-easy road. You are not the first and you are not the last. Many have walked the road before you and many will come behind you. Find a life lesson in everything and take notes so that you can help those and be a blessing to those that will follow you. Stay encouraged!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Patience Grasshopper

My these numbers and maybe you can win too! I'm just playing, but seriously, I would preach patience. I think long term you have to have patience or else you are going to be in for a dog fight. Keep realistic expectations about what you want to achieve for the year. Be patient when it seems like things aren't working. Relationships and successful programs are not built over night. They take time. That's what surprised me the most, and no one could prepare me for that. Instant success is a wonderful dream, but achieving steady success takes time. Have a plan and stick to it...have patience grasshopper and don't lose it.

My Advice

My advice is to take it all in stride and relax. Most people set very high expectations for themselves. The kids need to see a bit of your humanity and see you are a person too. I went into teaching with the assumption that a good disciplinarian is a good teacher. I have since learned that when students can relate to your experiences and trials, you attain a much more respect. For instance, the observations. My students began to realize I was working towards a long term relationship with them. One of many steps towards improving the construction program at my school. Now they are much more receptive to my requests and are aware that they too have a role in the programs success or failure.


Is this before or after I book a cruise to the bahamas???? I guess the piece of advice that I could give my replacement is learn to RELAX!! Not everything is going to go smoothly everyday. You may have one lesson planned and then at the last minute everything may have to be changed! Students behavior or attitude my affect your plans for the day or a mandatory meeting at the school. You never know what may come up. I would suggest always having a back-up plan. You never know when you or someone in you family may get sick and you have to miss work. Make sure you have those emergency lesson plans in place. One day you could be planning to show a video or use the prjector and for some reason or another it may not work. What then? You cant just go home and say forget it! You have to find something else for the students to work on for that 90 minute class period. The best advice I can give to anyone about teaching is: BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING!!

First Impressions

We have all discussed about how important first impressions are. I must admit that is where I get my assumptions on people from. Since we were little we have all heard the saying "Dont judge a book by its cover", but do we all really follow that saying? I know personally I don't always, although I should. I judged some of my students on the first few days of class. I would say to myself, I'm going to have trouble out of that one, or this is going to be a great student, but only to my suprise was I ever wring! My students also made assumptions about me as well. They were uspest the old teacher was leaving and I was coming. Between their assumptions and mine we had a rough first couple of days. Thank goondness all that has changed now though. I have gotten to know the true students that I teach and hopefully they have gotten to know the true me!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Be a Leader not a Manager

I would share the following. There is “Theory” and “Reality” the two very seldom cross. Your students will live up to the expectations that you set for them. Make it real, make it consistent, and never promise anything that you know you can’t do! Always leave your student a way to save face. Lastly don’t be a classroom manager, be a classroom leader. I hope that it is as rewarding for you as it was for me. Good Luck.

Only one (or a few more) word(s) of advice

Well we all know I can be a bit long winded so my replacement would probably walk into an organized filing cabinet of advice but if I had to say just one thing, I would tell the replacement to be firm, fair, and friendly. I guess that is technically 3 things but they should all be rolled into one. You need to be firm or the kids will never respect you, you need to be fair or you will have to listen to unending complaints, and you need to be friendly because the kids need to see a smiling face every once and awhile.

I would also let my replacement know that there will be good days and bad days. I will get so frustrated one day but then will have the best day ever the next. It is like a roller coaster and you have to take the bad with the good.

Last word of advice (see I told you I would say more than one thing) is to keep it simple. Sometimes I try to do too much and the kids are just as happy with simple ways of doing things.

...may the sun shine warm upon your face...

What do you say to someone as you ride heroically into the sunset? "Remember this face. You are looking at the first multi-millionaire substitute teacher." The one piece of advice I could seriously offer to my replacement would be to try your best to stay positive (ALL THE TIME) and embrace creativity. Some of the best video I've seen has come from students who, when pitching the original idea, weren't very clear about what they were trying to do. I try to remember that the best ideas don't always come from excel sheets or storyboards and they aren't always written neatly or typed up and placed under a neatly organized cover sheet. Teaching is a messy business and if you aren't willing to get your hands, feet and sometimes everything else DIRTY, you might miss the everyday victories that make teaching an enjoyable profession. If you can stay positive (stay out of the teacher's lounge) and keep an open mind to new ideas from your students, you may be surprised what's already out there waiting for you. Many of the students are literally bursting with new ideas - some better than others. But, isn't the fact that a student is brave enough to blurt out her/his "crazy" idea in front of their peers refreshing? In high school, everyone seems to follow everyone else...all the latest trends, fashions, etc., are simply copy and pasted from one child to the next. Then, someone raises their hand, opens their mouth and an original idea comes out! If you are sitting at the desk clicking through your "expertly designed" powerpoint and droning on for an hour and a half at a time, you might miss it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Well , I should say that I have a great family, good health, a job- I already have won the lottery. But one can dream.
After booking the yacht to travel around the world I would then meet with my replacement.
Not having a lot of experience with teaching ideology, I could only advise what has worked best for me. Be flexible but consistent. Can't tell you how many times I have had to change up a lesson, change focus on a student, or do what seemed to be irrelevant yet necessary. Flexibility while staying within the standards and student needs. Yet, while being flexible, one has to be consistent with adolescents. They really do crave stability and fairness, and as much as they moan, want some predictability.
Of course the other advice is that they should be proud of the profession they have chosen and impart that to their students.
Now to tour the world !

Whew, Don't know

I don't believe I would leave teaching at first, but the only advice I could think of to tell my replacement is that you truly have to have patience with the kids we have here at the alternative school. I have no regrets of the time I taught here and enjoyed every minute of it, because of the lives of students I have seen changed over the years of my tenure.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Advice: buy lottery tickets
Why?: It worked for me

Ok, that was just me being silly. I will ponder this question and offer a more thoughtful answer in a day or two.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Assumption #2

This was a hard question for me last week. But now that I have to write on it again, I have had more time to think about it. I would say my assumptions have been that I believe that a student can do more than they are truly capable of. I have students that show up to my class and talk as if they are ready to make outstanding videos. I have learned that these students truly do not have a clue of what it takes to make professional videos. They are a youtube generation that think because something is funny or scary or disgusting, it has entertainment value. I will admit, youtube clips can be fun to watch, but very few people have ever made a living unless they do it right. So, I start the semester all excited about the student, but quickly get deflated when I realize they will not take the time to do videos properly. I try to teach storyboards and all they do is whine that it is a waste of time and that they will bring back a great product if I will just let them go film. They don't want to take the time to edit the video and sound properly. I hear things like, "Nobody would ever notice it but you Mr. Maynard." I know I am a perfectionist, but as in any other career, the quality of work is in the details.

Is it Right to Judge Others?

I can say that I too am guilty of judging others based upon the way that they look or by the way that they carry themselves. This is a wrong approach. I have had to turn the tables. I don't want people to judge me. I am highly capable and intelligent. There are times that I have not so good days or days when problems are plaguing me. I don't want others to judge me because of the way that I may present myself or they way that I may come across to them. As I tell people, "you just have to get to know me". I am really nice and I will do anything for you.

Now for my students, I have not been in education long enough to see any success stories beyond college. I am sure that there will be many. I look forward to them. There are many that I judged regarding their future success. I have had to realize that everyone is capable of succeeding, especially with guidance, understanding, and encouragement.

Your children will amaze you !

Yes I too have make assumptions about the children in my class especially the ones that have been classified as special needs , these students were labeled with limited ability .... Well my students that are with special needs have proven by far to be the best of my students with there practical work , they far surpass the traditional leaner's in my class. They love to perform ,demonstrate and complete practical work in the class. I have entered them into classroom and district wide completions and or course my special needs students always come out on top . Never assume the students of today .

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Brilliance just beneath

I have a student this year whom is undeniably brilliant. He took my Foundation class to fill up his schedule. He is a senior, so he will not be taking the higher level automotive course. I did not recognize his talent at first. You see, I thought he was dumb. He has, like many of us southerners, a slow speech pattern. His seems much slower than most. More noticeable, though, was the look on his face. It reminded me of a line in an Eagle's song, "She just looked at me, uncomprehendingly, like a cow at a passing train". He has that look, almost always. As I have gotten to know him I realize I couldn't have been more wrong. He can actually process many complex tasks simultaneously. He can work out Hawking level math equations while reading an article about alternative fuels while writing(in his head) the next chapter to a book. He is writing a book about some science fiction topic. I am so glad I was blessed with the opportunity to meet and get to know this young man. I will think of him every time I meet a kid who seems to have a 10 watt bulb in a 100 watt socket.

Never judge a book by it's cover.

This question was a struggle for me. I sat and pondered this thought with my husband because I try not to make assumptions on the abilities of others. I tend to use an assessment method that draws from objective information that I have gathered historically. Then I was reminded of a comment that I made regarding a high school classmate. I was shocked to learn that one of my high school classmates was a successful Computer Engineer for Microsoft Corporation in the state of California. I shared with my husband that I never realized that he was academically capable of achieving that type of success. I remember the shock that I felt when I realized that he was accepted into a respected college and then to learn of his graduation some years later.
My judgment of his learning ability was based on one simple fact, I never had classes with him so I automatically assumed he was not college bound. I graduated from a small school system that yielded 89 graduates the year of my graduation. College prep students were always categorized and placed in the same classes. I failed to realize that those not in the college prep pathway could still gain entry into college and still succeed. My perspective of this situation did not change until nearly 20 years later when preparing for our 20th year high school class reunion. As one of the organizers of the event, I tracked this young man down to deliver a personal invitation for his appearance. Once I began speaking to him, I was floored, astonished and almost speechless to find that he had experienced such academic success as well as professional success. I must say that after 20 years, I am proud to say that I do my best not to pre-judge the abilities of others.


As much as I hate to admit it , I have been guilty of making assumptions about the ability of some students. I have always tried to have an open mind about people and tried not to have preconceived ideas, but I believe it is human nature to occasionally assume. One particular situation instantly comes to mind. Last year I had a student in one of my CNA classes who was a special needs student. I was unsure about how well she would do on the state certification test and was really quite concerned. I knew that the test was going to cost her over $100 bucks to take. I knew that it would be money that was hard to come by. She worked so hard and studied so hard for that test. By her own choice, she would even stay after school so that I could help her with some of her skills. After all was said and done, she did a fantastic job on her test!! The state evaluator even commented to me about how well she did on her skills portion of the test. Today she is a State Certified Nursing Assistant!

Acknowledgement of Individuality

I made several inaccurate assumptions about my eighth grade students when I began teaching. My initial impression was that these students, in general, felt they were too cool for school. After a few weeks of teaching, I began to think they were just bored with the content and my method of teaching. I increased the difficulty of the material being presented, only to discover the lack of engagement was not a result of boredom. I am just now beginning to understand that level of maturity and intellectual development of students within an eighth grade class is vast. As I rotate through a new group of eighth grade students every nine week period, I observe increased student engagement when activities incorporate multiple opportunities for students to express their individuality. This observation has changed my perspective about creating lesson plans for eighth grade students. Allowing for creative methods of self-expression and providing consistent, respectful acknowledgement of each expression, has increased student participation.

Judging Students

This one is a really hard question for me. I always try to go into a situation not prejudging someone. You are asking me to think of a student that I had already decided on abilities on what they would have before I taught them. But, I truly don't do that. I have a completely open slate when each child walks into my room. Now there are students that I have been concerned about being a disruption to my class, but there have never been learning issues. I have been training adults as well as students for many years. Going into the situation, I always assume that they don't understand what I am talking about so that I will use plain terminology and not industry words in the beginning. But, I have never "assumed" a student cannot learn.

Yes, No, May-be So...

I don't think I have been as wrong about my student learning capabilities as I have been about their ability to be trusted. I came into my classroom with the idea and belief that everyone could learn if given the right tools and the proper equipment. After the first semester I quickly learned that to be not true and had to revise my teaching styles. My biggest assumption has been believe my students "know better" when in fact some of them don't. The reasons I believed this to be true were because students today are bigger in stature than students of my youth were, the use of foul language contradicted that of a child, some of their conversations were as racy as the Dayton 500 and they all said the same thing "I'm GROWN". I had been tricked (mentally) into believing they were little adults so naturally I expected them to "know better". It was only after I began to reflect on classroom discussions and their naivety did I realize that these were children that I was dealing with therefore they could learn...with a totally different approach. I was then able to curtail my lessons to fit their needs and levels of understanding. I had to give it to them in an informative way and also in a way that they could go home and relay what they learned to other members of their family as well as community. Thus began the "Mrs. Jackson Free Legal Advice At The End Of Every Lesson As A Ticket Out Of The Door Strategy" that I used to get them to show me what they learned by the questions they asked (or by the ones sent home from their parents). Just in case you were wondering, most of the questions were related to parole/probation/legal aide and so forth...

The Bold and the Beautiful

I seem to make assumptions quite often about "prissy" students. I do not believe that culinary has any room for people that are not ready to take "the heat in the kitchen". I tend to judge the girls and guys that come in with their name brand clothes, manicures/pedicures, cute shoes that are definitely not kitchen safe, and look like they have not worked a day of manual labor in their life. My brain immediately tells me that these students are going to be trouble. They will not want to lift heavy things, cut things that could make their hands stink, get their clothes dirty, mess up their hair, or god forbid, CLEAN! Sometimes this may be true and I guess I base this on the "prissy" girls in culinary school. They would kill me when they would worry if the chef hat would mess up their hair. These girls were the ones that you would send to get something that didn't exist just to give you time to get the food cooked the right way. Well, this semester my opinion has been changed. I teach several of the "prissy" kids, boys and girls, and these kids have turned out to be the best. These are the ones that start mopping before anyone else. I think they may actually like that someone has finally given them some responsibility (I think their maids usually do everything at home, no joke). I have one girl that has become a shining star and has changed my opinion on how I look at my students. Now this is not true of all but it will still help me in creating stereotypes and giving all students a chance to prove they belong in my kitchen.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Assunptions can give you ulcers

I don't know about others, but I hear things about students, how they behaved in another class, why they are in ISS all the time etc, quality of work etc. I have made assumptions about individual students, and groups of students, as in freshman are immature, seniors have it all together etc. . Well I have to admit that I have been surprised many times. Maybe I should say humbled, and it has occurred more than once. I should I known this with teens, having raised 3 of my own.
I have also assumed that my knowledge would be appreciated, absorbed and my wonderful management plan would be embraced. Instead I have had to learn to readjust at a moments notice, change a lesson plan that I thought was GREAT, but had everyone sleeping.
My biggest assumption was that I believed that only I could impart knowledge to students, but I now know that I can take a deep breath and let students learn as I guide.
In he end the only assumption we can make is that we must keep evaluating our decisions, and give everyone the chance they deserve.

Assumptuions. The Mother of all mess ups!

When I began teaching high school students, I had some preconceived notions. I didn't believe they could understand the importance of the information. I didn't believe they could behave like normal humans because of the raging hormones coursing through their veins. I didn't think they would care. I didn't think they could hold a position of authority and use their position wisely and safely. Well, I was wrong. Given the opportunity, most students will rise to the challenge. Given motivation, they usually excel. I have recently been working with a few of my graduating seniors on some small and some large projects. It's has been an eye opening experience. It's like watching a machine work. All parts fill their place and perform as required to achieve a goal. I had no idea students could be so focused on a task at hand. The determination to complete an assignment or project has been invigorating. Probably my best year teaching yet. I would imagine I haven't seen anything yet.

Friday, April 2, 2010

You know what they say about assumptions...

This was the story of my entire first year of teaching. Assuming that my students both knew and cared as much about video production as I did got me into a lot of problems that would of been avoidable if I'd of known any better. Looking back, I was doing a poor job of marketing my values and assignments to my students. By simply trying to force them to do things I butted heads with a lot of them and created a lot of bad attitudes. One situation comes to mind. I assumed that some of my lower level students were capable of learning Avid, a professional editing program. Before I even got into the specifics of the software, I was beginning to realize that the vocabulary the software used was way over the heads of some of my students. Then, I backed up my "professional vocabulary" with some training videos provided by the software company. Looking back, I realize that those videos were the downfall of the whole thing. I was expecting them to pay attention and care like I cared. I fussed at them for falling asleep and not taking notes. Things got so bad that they didn't seem interested in editing at all - much less using Avid to do it. After talking to another BVP professional, I realized that I should scrap the Avid idea and focus on an editing program that was more intuitive for a teenager to use. I was reluctant, but as I saw the kids embrace the editing process I took on a positive outlook of the future of our program. I learned that the kids did want to edit, despite what I'd thought after the failure of my poorly planned Avid lessons. I also learned that the kids were highly capable editors when given a platform that worked for them. I had made so many negative assumptions about their learning abilities, that when I finally came around, I was pleasantly surprised at what they were willing to learn and the challenges they were willing to embrace. I have spent a lot of time trying to live down the "Avid Obsession"...many students who remember it tease me about it now. The whole situation taught me that, while students are not often the most motivated, it does not mean they are incapable of learning.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Oh yeah

I had a student who was always fighting and getting in trouble at the alternative school. The next incident he was involved in cost him a trip to jail. When the student returned all of the teachers, including myself had made assumptions that this student would never exit this school. Were we ever wrong, this student change overnight and passed his graduation test. This student returned to his home school played football and graduated from high school. Now this student is currently serving in the Marines. I am truly proud of him and told him so before he left for the Marines. I used him as an example to the other kids who arrived at the alternative school. I do not mind being wrong when a student excels and become successful.

Boy was I wrong

I had a student last semester who’s reputation was, well not so good. The student came in and I guess had heard of my reputation as well. The student was very quiet and did not do much as the semester got started. As we went along the student started to open up and I found that the reputation that the student had was nothing like what the student was! I had to ask some of the other teachers why they had the opinion of this student that they did? They told me stories that I found hard to believe. I guess you could say that the student and I ran a ground, that’s when to bottoms meet. Lesson, don’t make up your mind based on what you hear, wait on what you see!


I have assumed a student could not learn and didn't want to learn. I didn't realize I was doing it until there was a rude awaken for me. I certainly didn't mean any harm but I'm guilty. I certain hope I stay away from slipping into judgement even though the student is willing to learn. Just because they chose not to learn doesn't mean they don't have the ability to learn. I had a student last semester who came to class everyday and slept and rarely talked. He never participated in class and only completed 10% of class assignments. I was told this student sleeps in every class and goes to In School Suspension on a regular basis. This student grade point avg was below 60. During the last 3 weeks of school I had a class discussion about Alcoholism. While I was lecturing this student was awake and talking so I ask him to join me by reading the information on the PowerPoint. To my surprise this student read the whole slide perfectly without hesitation. Then he offered comments on the subject matter. I was stunned. I praised this student for his assistance. That was a lesson learned. Even though he didn't show motivation,talk,read or complete assignment doesn't mean he couldn't learn because he demonstrated he knows how to read,speak and comprehend from previous classes. The fact remain a student won't learn until they are ready. I just wish all students would appreciate all and any learning opportunity that comes their way.