Archive for January, 2006

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Does Alex Trebek Make House Calls?

January 24, 2006


Mood: Horrified
Song: “Battle of New Orleans” (50 years early, I know, but my students wouldn’t 😦 *sigh*)

***Also titled: Why We Ought to Be On Our Knees or Composing Songs of Praise in Honor of the [Lindsay] Marshall Plan***

Today’s Assignment:
Write “I am a dedicated professional” 100 times

Poston’s lowest scores on last year’s AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards-read, the ridiculous standardized test that determines our school’s earnings but does nothing to keep students accountable) test were generated in the area of “Historical and Cultural Aspects of Literature.” Not to nitpick, but the total number of questions classified in this area on the AIMS test: 2! However, my entire English department is racing around attempting to insert lessons focused on this miniscule portion of AIMS. I am a team player (plus I genuinely believe that literature wasn’t written in a vacuum, making history essential to the understanding of text) leading to this discussion as I was giving background notes on O. Henry’s “Twenty Years After”:

ME: 1862-1910. Those are the dates of William Sydney Porter’s (O. Henry’s) life. Please write them in your notebooks, since you most likely (ahem…will) be asked to recall them. Now, what important event in American history was going on when O. Henry was born?

STUDENT #1: The Great Depression!

ME (secretly pleased that a student is actually familiar with Black Tuesday): Well, interesting idea, but you’ll have to think earlier. The depression started in 1929.

STUDENT #2: Ummmm…The Revolutionary War?

ME (thinking that at least they’re getting warmer): You’re right about a war, but we’re looking for something later than the late 1700’s.

STUDENT #3: Oh! I know-World War II.

ME (inwardly sighing): Almost, but that happened after the Great Depression.

STUDENT #6 (students 4 and 5 listed Vietnam and WWI, respectively): Is it the Civil War?

ME (thrilled but concerned at the same time): Excellent! The Civil War. Who can tell me the name of the President of the United States during the Civil War?

***Side Note: the quote of the day, written on the board, happened to be by Abraham Lincoln***

SHOW OF HANDS-I RANDOMLY CALL ON A STUDENT IN THE BACK OF THE ROOM

STUDENT #7: Franklin Roosevelt, right?

ME (counting down the minutes until I can sprint to the school nurse for aspirin): *sigh* Close.

The worst part? I watched Ken Burns’s ENTIRE Civil War documentary in my 5th grade class and have been a diligent student with the War Between the States ever since. I am proud to say that I resisted the temptation to list all the major battles of 1862, including the generals. Fredericksburg, anyone?

My students constantly amaze me by what they know and are able to recall (I don’t even remember what I wore last week), but there are days when I just have to recall the quote, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Go home tonight and call your history teacher to say thanks.

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*I’m Not Really a Waitress*

January 22, 2006

But that IS the nailpolish color I'm considering painting my fingernails right about now. It's a Sunday evening, I've got all of my grading finished, and I even have lesson plans complete for this next week! Being home this past week HAS had it's advantages.

In other news, I've been spending entirely too much time on myspace. If you're on myspace, look me up :). I love finding old friends and new. If you're not, then by all means back away from this page and open a myspace account :). Then you can look me up, etc. Since so many of my students are on myspace, I'm not mentioning this blog there. Some parts of a teacher's private life should clearly be kept private.

By the way, do you think anyone would notice if I drove this to school tomorrow?


Mood: Quixotic
Song: "We Didn't Start the Fire"-Pun very much intended, thank you πŸ™‚

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Warning Labels:

January 18, 2006

Mood: πŸ™‚
Song: πŸ™‚

An unexpected side effect of antibiotics?

An incentive to test out that tip I read about in a magazine waiting in the Albertson's check-out line

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Lifestyles of the Underpaid and Medicated

January 17, 2006

Mood: cozy
Song: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T"-all in good fun, of course πŸ™‚

Since I'm home sick today (apparently acute bronchitis-possibly pneumonia doesn't mix well with trying to corral a batch of seventh graders πŸ™‚ ), I've had a chance to play catch up on my reading. My loving daddy sent me Teachers Have it Easy *just the title, as you can imagine, sent me into gales of laughter*. The book even had an endorsement from Lemony Snicket on the back (an unfortunately fortunate event πŸ™‚ ).

*pauses a moment to whip out the ever-present portable soapbox*

The author's premise is SHOCKING! He suggests that teachers may not be renumerated as they should be and that this might actually impact schools' abilities to attract qualified professionals.

To state a glittering generality, all teachers are altruistic, right, so we shouldn't expect to get paid, right? Well, then, I suppose doctors fall in the same category-maybe they can donate about 75% of their salary; then they'd make what the average teacher does.

Teachers also go into teaching knowing that they're not going to earn a significant salary, so why pay them a lot? YOU try living for 12 months on a 9 month salary…yes, I am only required to be at school 40 hours per week, but I honestly can't remember the last time I pulled less than 60-70 hours per week to feel effective.

What is the solution? The average teaching salary for a starting professional? 32,000. The average starting salary for a corporate drone? at least $45,000.

It amazes me that many people still have the erroneous assumption that teachers are mainly women whose husbands are the primary breadwinners, making thier teaching salary a moot point. Tell that to all the single parents or men with families of 4 or more who press onward through the red tape of districts and the barrages of parent phone calls, neglecting thier children to teach yours.

I'm not complaining, really…I appreciate the paycheck and went into my career with blinders firmly off. I'm just "educating" …it's what I do. Fortunately, the rewards of spending time in a classroom are priceless. I'd love to hear other (and more well-informed) opinions to comment on/balance mine :). Happy posting…I'm going to sleep and having Nyquill dreams :D.

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You’ve Got to Have Friends!

January 14, 2006

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