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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meet Hopeful But Frustrated

I received an email a couple of weeks ago from someone at a "Virtual Book Tours" site. They asked me if I would like to host one stop on such a virtual tour for the author of a new book which sounded like it was right up my alley. Seeing as how this seemed like a REALLY neat idea to me, I immediately said, "HECK YEAH!"

Meet Hopeful But Frustrated Teacher. HBF for short. In this world of parent showmanship when it comes to naming children, one can only hope that Hopeful But Frustrated is not her LEGAL birth name, or that if it is, that at least she goes by Hope.

HBF is a middle school teacher who has written a book called No Teachers Left Behind. Set at the fictional Vilyon Middle School, the teachers don't merely have to deal with unruly students and stubborn parents, but (the horror!) a truly awful principal named Alicia Marsh.

I must admit, I know all of this from reading the information at the book's main site. I haven't actually read No Teachers Left Behind. But I can honestly say that I WANT to read it. The format sounds very similar to that of Learn Me Good, a series of emails and communications. The tiny excerpt I read was very captivating. And of course the subject matter is near and dear to heart.

Without any further ado, let's get on with this Virtual Book Tour, and allow me to present a Guest Post (since 2009 IS the year of the Guest Post here at LMG), by HBF.

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Dictionary Additions from HBF Teacher

Mister Teacher delights and inspires his fellow teachers on a daily basis, but few of his posts have delighted me as much as Mister Teacher’s venture into the world where only a few, the talented ones like Webster and Scholastic, have gone before - into Dictionary Land - with his own Teacher’s Dictionary.

When I read some of the terms, I was laughing so hard that I was hitting my head up against the dry erase board. Don’t think for one minute that some of my students did not take the opportunity to write on the back of my blouse at that time either. Well when I was done rolling on the floor laughing, I realized that at my middle school, we have a few unique terms ourselves. Before I can discuss them, I must first pay homage to a couple of Mister Teacher’s terms which stood out to me, and then I will share a couple of my own phrases with you. Perhaps one of them may strike a chord with you, just like a few of Mister Teacher’s words hit home with me.

I particularly liked Mister Teacher’s "gradecation" although I’m not familiar with the word. My students typically frown upon me grading their papers because in order for me to come up with a grade, they would actually have to complete an assignment. Therefore I have no official knowledge of “gradecation”, but I have taken at least one “mental health day” this year. No, I’m not crazy, but a day away from the classroom, locked away in a padded room with nice, soft music, and no one repeatedly calling my name does a great deal for preserving my sanity.

"Maximum Kiddage" (the largest amount of students that can fit in a certain area) is another one of Mister Teacher’s terms that I love. At my school, there is never a number that is too large to go in the smallest area of the school. This area is generally known as my room. I tried explaining the theory of “maximum kiddage” to my principal, but for some reason, he didn’t seem to understand it.

There is so much school jargon bantered about my middle school that it took me a while to decide on the best words/phrases, but somehow I got it down to my two favorite work related expressions.

Number 1 – “frequent flyer”. I’m not talking about Delta or Air Tran. I’m talking about those kids who are always sitting on the principal’s bench. You know the ones I’m talking about. I walk into my classroom, even before the day begins, and this kid is on the bench. Eight hours later, I’m walking out the door, and this kid is still on the principal’s bench. Of course this kid had not been on the principal’s bench all day because I did see him in the cafeteria getting his lunch. Later, I saw him eating that same lunch on the principal’s bench. Nevertheless, there are quite a few students like “him” at my school. They can barely go forty-five minutes without getting in some kind of trouble and being sent to the principal’s office. When these kids are seen in the hall without passes, nobody even questions them because everyone knows where they are going. They’re going to the bench. They’re the “frequent flyers”. If you could accumulate points for trips to the bench and convert these to dollars, these kids could buy their own schools.

And Number 2, sadly my favorite – “five year plan”. This phrase is similar to one of Mister Teacher’s words, but in middle school, some of us dreamier teachers like to think of our students as being goal oriented. Sure there are only three grades (6th, 7th, and 8th) in middle school, and it should normally take only three years to complete them all. But we would be less than enthusiastic teachers if we did not rejoice when some of our lower achieving students finally made it out of middle school in their fifth year. Sure they are a little behind their peers, but hey, these kids were working on a plan.

On a different note, despite the words my colleagues and I toss about, we are very serious about inspiring our students to set high expectations and then challenging them to exceed their own goals. In my novel, No Teachers Left Behind, I give voice to my frustrations about the people and events which place obstacles in my way as I attempt to motivate my students. The novel is told through a series of emails, poems, and brief conversations and is available at Amazon.com. Give it a read; you’ll love it.

Mister Teacher, you’re tops with me, and I look forward to reading more of your dictionary. Thanks for allowing me to visit.

HBF Teacher

7 comments:

HBF Teacher said...

Mister Teacher,

Thanks for having me on your wonderful blog today.

Continued success in all you do,

HBF Teacher

Cheryl said...

Thanks for hosting HBF today. You have a great blog and I hope get the chance to visit more often. I was just saying yesterday that I had to laugh because my daughter's science class made windmills out of paper and staws, and when she brought it home the tack was missing. She told me that was because the teacher needed to keep the tacks for the next class. What have things come to when you can't even purchase a box of tacks for each class?

If your readers will like to check out my review of "No Teachers Left Behind" they can find it at http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/2009/04/no-teachers-left-bhind-by-hbf-teacher.html

This book is a real eye-opener.

Thanks again for playing host today.

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

I really loved your book. It was great. It's wonderful what you are trying to do. Someone needs to bring to light what teachers go through on a daily basis.

Mister Teacher said...

HBF, an honor to host you! Good luck with your book!

Cheryl, I did read your review, and I hope you can have a chance to review MY book at some point!

Anonymous, are you talking about MY book, Learn Me Good, or HBF's book, No Teachers Left Behind?

Columbia Lily said...

sounds awesome, it's going on my Amazon wishlist

Anonymous said...

HBF, it's good to know that there are teachers who are really out there,in the classrooms wanting to help our kids succeed and not just a paycheck. Thank you so much! I really enjoyed the book... KEEP HOPE ALIVE!!!

Anonymous said...

I went to the Amazon page and noticed something. On the part of the site that says ' customers who bought related items also bought' the books listed are:
Dead in the Water,
New York Dead,
and Worst Fears Realized