Guilt and Shame

I’m lucky to still be employed and enjoying Spring Break after the latest incident at work.

A school is considered to be failing if its students don’t progress a little bit each year towards the norm on standardized tests. In a few years every child is expected to be above average.

Due to a communication breakdown, I did not give the final hour of a test to two Section 504 4th grade students who were entitled to extra time. I had been scheduled to give all three sections of their 4th grade math test, but thanks to a student who was absent 2 days and another who had been tardy then disruptive, my supervisor took over with the 4th graders while I redid other tests. After the make up tests for my special education students had been completed, my supervisor told me that “tomorrow we’re going back to the regular class schedule.” The next day I had classes as usual.

A week later my supervisor came to my classroom door and asked “why didn’t you give the last math test?” I looked at my calendar and saw I had penciled in one last test with the 4th graders, but assumed that it had already been administered since I had been told that day was a regular school day. I offered to do it during my prep, but my supervisor wanted to check with the powers that be to see if they still could be tested. It was of course too late.

So now it seems my school probably won’t make adequate yearly progress, thanks to my negligence causing two students each getting 0 on a third of their math tests. The school will be one that is “failing.”

A teacher applicant for next July is scheduled to come in and teach a sample lesson next week.


March 29, 2010. 1. Leave a comment.

Love the argyle vest…

It was nerd day yesterday at work. {Insert your own self-effacing fashion joke here.}

March 27, 2010. 1. Leave a comment.

I should teach my students how to cheat correctly

After dismissing my 4th and 5th grade reading students, I noticed that one of them left his paper on one of the tables. Next to it was my teacher’s manual. After closer examination I saw that he had copied answers from the book.  Unfortunately  he had omitted key words from the copied short responses, so he still had more incorrect answers than correct ones.

March 24, 2010. 1. 1 comment.

My Mama Says…

Yesterday one of my female fourth grade students excused her verbally threatening another girl by explaining her mother has instructed her not to let anyone mess with her. She then added the familiar statement, “My momma says that if anyone messes with me, hit’em.” I wish I had a personal business day for every time I heard that old chestnut. I wouldn’t have to go back to work until Hillary or Sarah is president.

March 24, 2010. 1. Leave a comment.

5th grade observation

A female fifth grader strode into my classroom early and announced “It smells like old people in heah!”

March 20, 2010. 1. Leave a comment.

6th Grade Fashion Tips

My four sixth grade students are alarmed by my worn black tennis shoes, dark blue or tan pants and blue oxford cloth shirt that comprise my school uniform. They have complained that “the eighth graders said you look like a blueberry.” Suggestions for a more appropriate wardrobe include:

1. Levis Skinny Jeans

2. A brightly colored suit and tie

3.”Jordan’s Shoes”

4. “One’s Shoes” (I don’t know what they are)

and 5. “A hat with a feather in it.”

March 20, 2010. 1. Leave a comment.

Firing Bad Teachers

I impulsively bought a copy of Newsweek at 7 11 when buying my breakfast on the way to being late for work. The cover had a chalkboard with “We must Fire bad teachers” written over and over again. I’ve skimmed the story, but intend to read it during Spring Break. Even bad teachers don’t have a lot of time…well until all our vacation days thaat regular working stiffs don’t enjoy.

Bill Maher wrote a piece about firing bad parents in response to this controversy. What I wonder is who gets to decide what a good teacher or parent is.  Is it good practice to spank, paddle, beat or whup a child or teen? Are fear and humiliation good tools? Are standardized test scores the best way to measure teacher effectiveness? What about whole language versus phonics? Will a good teacher present Barack Obama as an Islamic-socialist usurper born in Kenya who is bringing this once great nation to the verge of collapse or as an inspirational role model guiding our multicultural nation through difficult times?

In matters regarding religion, politics and education, everyone seems to be an expert.

Why We Must Fire Bad

Mar 6, 2010 In no other profession are workers so insulated from accountability.

March 20, 2010. 1. 2 comments.

Some Things Never Change

While checking my mail in the school office, I saw two third grader boys seated in the waiting area looking at a recent National Geographic. Curious what article they were perusing, I looked over to see a photo of a desert ackground and an African woman’s exposed breasts. The third grade boy holding the magazine began shaking the picture back and forth for a “sensaround” effect.

Trying not to sound too enthusiastic, I remarked, “Let’s see what other pictures are in there”  then made a hasty retreat.

March 7, 2010. 1. Leave a comment.