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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Suck it up, or quit!

After seeing some of the responses from non-teachers on my recent DMN blog post -- where the overriding argument seems to be that if you don't like something, your two options are 1) suck it up and shut up or 2) QUIT -- I got an idea for a new post.

Today is the last day before classes start, so I've made a list of complaints that I've had or may have this year.  You may have had these same complaints at one time, or you may feel like making them this year, but know this.  According to some people, you teachers knew what you were getting yourselves into when you joined the profession, so there's no reason to complain about anything, you just need to do whatever is asked of you, and you always have the option of quitting at year's end.

1)  The A/C in my classroom doesn't seem to be working, and/or it's working TOO well.  --
We haven't been able to control the thermostats in our classrooms for about 6 years now, so we never really know what the climate is going to be like when we enter.  Some days it's an arctic chill, some days it's mild, and some days it's like being on the surface of the sun.  But there's no use complaining, right?  I knew full well when I entered my teaching certification courses that my body would need to naturally and spontaneously adapt on a daily basis to changing temperatures and humidity levels!

2)  I don't have updated technology in my classroom. --
That's ok, kids have been learning with chalk and the backs of shovels since before Abraham Lincoln's day!  If it was good enough for Honest Abe, it's good enough for me!  I'm sure there's some corporate worker out there who is still dealing with primitive resources in his job, so his case should be applied to all teachers who are teaching updated curricula with outdated tools!

3)  Some parents won't return my calls or come to discuss their child --
There always seems to be a few folks who think that what happens at school should stay at school, and they don't want to be "bothered" by hearing about what their kid is doing, good OR bad.  But I am clearly a fool for forgetting that I went to college to learn how to work with KIDS!  Not ADULTS!!  Why on earth would I think I had the right to talk to adults as a teacher??  If I want to work with adults, I most definitely should quit and get a different job.

4)  There is a "No recess" policy in action at my school --
It sure would be nice if the kids had ten minutes or so to blow off steam and run to their hearts' content.  But I should have realized going in to my job choice that "recess" is one of those abstract, unquantifiable things that was bound to go the way of the dodo, along with "homework," "respect," and "consequences."

5)   I need to see the doctor, but in order to do so, I have to either find someone who will see me after 5:00 or take an entire day off for the appointment. --
As my friends have said countless times, teachers are EXPECTED to contract every sickness and disease known to man, plus a few others -- EACH YEAR!  They are fond of telling me that I also am expected to fight through the pain, the snot, the oozing, and the fever. Doctors, Schmoctors!

I'm sure there are plenty of others, but I for one will be trying my darndest to remember NOT to complain about anything this year.  I'll just put my head down, break my back, and do every little, ridiculous, unnecessary thing that is asked of me.  You betcha.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Showing your school colors

Saw this story on Yahoo yesterday, about a grade school kid in Oklahoma who was disciplined for the shirt he wore to school and ordered to turn it inside out for the rest of the day.  From the headline, my immediate thought was that it was merch from Hooters, or a bloody Insane Clown Posse world tour t-shirt, or even something that implied profanity, like a Battlestar Galactica shirt that said, "Frak that!"

Nope, the kid was wearing a University of Michigan shirt.

Now, I'm no fan of Mich, especially with the bad blood between Duke and the "Fab Five," of whose legacy Jalen Rose seems SO very desperate to hang on to.  (By the way, screw "Fierce Five" -- The American girls who brought home gold this year in the Olympics are the Fab Five who actually WON something!)

However this does seem a bit extreme.  Apparently, the rules of the school and maybe even the district are that only attire from Oklahoma-based schools can be worn?  What a crock!

Big Head??

Here's this week's Learn Me Good comic strip, based on a true event that happened last year.  I was NOT expecting her to say that!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An extra 45 minutes

I wrote a post over the weekend, and I was going to post it here, but instead I asked the editor of the education blog at the Dallas Morning News if she would be interested in running it on the DMN website.  She agreed to run it, and it is posted today here:

My buddy warned me to be aware that the "haters" would surface, and of course they have.  I don't understand why some people seem to take it upon themselves to consistently make the argument that teachers have no right to complain about anything whatsoever, just because they get summers off from working with kids.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Teachers are the worst students?

This week's Learn Me Good comic strip is here!

We've always heard that teachers make the worst students.  Oh well...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to school

Today is the first day I've set foot in my school since June 1st.  It wasn't the first day back with the kids -- that doesn't come til the 27th.  But I knew that the school would be open today, coupled with the fact that I will be in a new room this year, and I knew I couldn't put off the procrastination any more.

So I got quite the workout today.  I didn't get to actually work IN my room at all.  Well, I did take the time to sharpen a bunch of pencils in preparation for the first week, but I didn't get to arrange desks, put up bulletin boards, decorate my door, post inspirational hanging-kitten-meets-Yoda posters...

Instead, I spent the entire day moving things from one room to another.

The room that I am moving into still had most of the belongings and materials of the person who occupied the room last year.  This is not a slight against her, because, after all, all of MY stuff was still in my old room as well.  But it is what it is, and it needed to be moved before I could start moving my stuff in.  So I spent a good portion of the morning moving her stuff 2 doors down to her new room.

Yes, you read that right.  She's still teaching 4th grade, and she was moved TWO. DOORS. DOWN. 

She had about 10 large plastic portable shelf units that had a lot of guided reading books on them.  Those are what REALLY gave me a workout, especially my back and quads, and I was sweating like a pig as I finished moving the last one.  That's just about the time that the head custodian came upstairs and asked why I had moved those shelves into the new room.  When I told him, he informed me that those shelves did NOT belong to the other teacher; they were supposed to go out in the hallway, and the custodians had just moved them into my new room while the cleaned and waxed the floors.  They just hadn't moved them back into the hallway.

That would have been nice to know in advance.  (and I may possibly have negated that new wax/clean job through my moving efforts)

Once I got all of her stuff out of my new room, it was time to start moving things from my old room (downstairs) to my new room (upstairs).  Instead of carrying one or two boxes by hand and going up and down the stairs about 200 times, I borrowed one of the school hand carts.  This made it MUCH easier to load up a bunch of stuff and reduced the number of trips I had to take.

It also showed me exactly how poorly thought out the hand cart/elevator relationship had been.  See, the handcart is about 5 feet long, and the elevator is about 4 feet deep.  It's about 8 feet wide, so it fits inside, but actually getting it inside and free of the door was a feat in itself every single time.  I had to push it in at an angle, squeeze into the elevator, reach down and pull the front wheel sideways then push the back end the other way... And if I ever took longer than 30 seconds, the elevator helpfully screeched at me.

Once I had all of my stuff up in the new room, it occurred to me that A) I was leaving all of my 3rd grade math materials downstairs and B) the former occupant of my new room was not a math teacher.  I needed 4th grade math materials from a 3rd source!  I was able to find textbooks in the upstairs classroom of the former 4th grade math teacher, but no other materials at all. Apparently, they were all moved (by her or by the custodians, I have no idea) down to her new 5th grade classroom.


So there is still some moving to be done before I can even start to prepare my room for the kids.  Good thing we don't start til the 27th!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Why are you the teacher?

This week's Learn Me Good comic strip is inspired by something that really happened this year.  One of my little girls wasn't quite satisfied with my lack of knowledge on this particular subject.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Get to know the Lowell Milken Center


I wanted to share with you a great little video about an organization making a big difference in the lives of teachers and students all over the county. The Lowell Milken Center, named and founded by education philanthropist Lowell Milken in 2007,  is a Kansas-based organization that uses project-based learning to uncover "unsung heroes who changed the world."

Check it out!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Do we look like brothers?

Here is this week's Learn Me Good comic strip.  Had a few technical difficulties, and several people on FB said that they were having trouble reading the words.  So I changed the font, and hopefully it's much easier to read now.

I appreciate feedback!

As for the strip itself, has this ever happened to you?   It's one thing for a kid to think that someone who looks a little bit like me might be my brother, but someone who looks NOTHING like me -- and also teachers at the school?!?!?

I work with a few ladies who told me that some of their kids used to think that two of them were sisters, while the third was their grandmother.  And none of these ladies look old in the least!!