Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Adults ruin everything pt.???

Common sense in education just doesn't exist. I understand the purpose of "zero tolerance" policies, but great leaders know when to use their brains. Unfortunately for one academic standout at Southern Lee High School in North Carolina, her Superintendent, Jeff Moss, doesn't have any.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

'Tis the Season for Grinches

(From In New Haven those with minor traffic offenses could donate a toy instead of paying the fine. One man complained. Now the program is disappearing. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let them haters, hate.

This afternoon I went shopping for the 25 families our school is providing food for. These families will get 2 gallons of milk, a small ham, and a dozen eggs in addition to the 200 food items we are donating. We ended up collecting 6,100 items for these families, a feat which should get us front page coverage. But, alas, we are not on the front page of any newspapers in the area. But, my guess is that if we had been part of a brawl with 20 arrests, everyone would cover us (NBC, Journal Inquirer, Hartford Courant, Boston Herald--out of state--,); you get the picture. But when one of the poorest districts in the tsate collects 6,100 food items for the needy families in town, does anyone notice? Nope.

Well, I say feel free to talk all you want about our test scores (which need to come up), but in the end, I'd like to know which suburb district in the richest state in the union, competes with our our food drive.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Must be the teacher's fault

A high school basketball player attacks a referee. My guess is that his teacher's suck and should be fired.
A fight breaks out at in a local high school. 19 are arrested including a parent. My guess is that their teachers suck and should be fired.

At what cost?

This year, more than ever, I'm starkly aware of what this profession can cost a teacher. Those who know me, really know where I stand on public education, and urban education in particular, know that I want my students to be great, to rise above the perceptions, and to contribute to the world around them in a postive way.
Yet, I've never dreaded walking through the doors of my classroom more than I do this year. I shouldn't be jaded; I shouldn't be throwing in the towel. But the cost seems too high.
The cost of caring is onerous. I'm short with my daughter and my son. I don't have the patience needed to raise them properly after spending 6.5 hours getting cussed at, ignored, and disrespected.
This profession is not a ministry. I'm not looking to be crucified, to lay down my life for the lost. I'm already getting paid like I am a missionary, the least I could see in return is gratitude.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Some people in my building are bothered by the process we are using to collect food for our school wide food drive which netted 6,000 items last year. Really?

Some people in my building are bothered that the 1,500 items collected at our Fill-the-Bus event are taking up space in a conference room. Really?

Some people in my building are bothered that we would ask every student in the building to creat a goal of 10 items, which if we met, would net 10,000 items. Really?

As my dad has been known to say, "You can't make it up."

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Listening to My Students

Me: Okay, we need to take a look at something that is getting in the way of our future college success--only one or two of you are completing the reading homework on any given night. I'm not going to get ticked off; I really want to know what's going on so that we can fix this.

Student: It's too hard.

Me: What do you mean by "too hard."

Student: We don't know what to underline in our active reading. We're not that smart.

Me: Well, I disagree that you aren't smart enough. What is difficult about the active reading?

Student: It distracts me having to stop and start.

Student: Yeah, how about you give us questions.

Me: Hmmm. I could do that. So, if I gave study questions to answer instead of asking you to read actively, you would try the reading each night?

Students (in unison): Yes.

Results: Still only one or two students complete the reading on any given night.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Today is our 2nd Annual Fill-the-Bus event as part of our food drive. I have done a radio show twice and a public access televsion spot as well. My students seem primed to be helpful today, and I hope we get plenty of faculty out to join them. Building a vibrant community will have wondeful effects on our school's climate and ultimately on our school's success.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


What a devil of a post this one, my 666th, will be!

Our local chapter of the AfFT will be voting on a contract in just over a week, the 13th of December to be exact. We will get a chance to read and review the proposed contract on...wait for it...the 13th of December after school and just prior to the proposed time to meet and vote.

Now, I guess I'm supposed to just trust my union, have faith in their ability to negotiate a fair deal for all. But, forgive me if I'm not quite so trusting. Currently, teachers in their fourth year of service with our district are at the same level as a first year teacher--that's because somehow salary steps keep disappearing.

I don't claim to be the most informed union member or somehow legally minded. I teach. But something just doesn't seem right about a union leadership which doesn't allow its membership to study and synthesize the contract they will be asked to vote on. Tell me all the lines you want, "confidentiality" "misrepresentation by the public," whatever! Show me the proposed contract. Give me time to consider its ramifications.

It all adds up to another reason why unions need to disappear as currently constructed.