Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oooh, man...

It's been a while...nearly a school year.

I only have the energy for a bloggette tonight, but I figured I'd put the pinky toe in the blogosphere pool and try to get back into blogging.

It's been a long year, mainly because of master's classes and co-teaching issues involving a complete lack of respect and professionalism.

But I was given one of the best compliments I've ever received the other day...not necessarily because of what was said, but because of who said it.

I was in talking to a colleague during my prep. This is a man who has dedicated his life to teaching. He gives his students his home phone number on the first day of class, has them over to his house for dinner, and is the epitome of dedication to the profession. We don't always see eye-to-eye, as I am beginning my career, and he is towards the end; he teaches honors students, and I teach basic; he is rather old fashioned and conservative, and I am not...typically. Anyway, I began to walk out of his room, and he called me back in; I assumed it was for computer issues.

When I walked in, he became rather awkward and looked down at his desk. He finally said, "Mrs. Anonymous, I just wanted to let you know that I think you're a hell of a teacher. We may not always agree, but I think you're great at what you do." Even thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. To have this man, who is such an amazing teacher and whom all his students look up to, compliment meant a lot.

p.s. Maybe this isn't a bloggette.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


I've now done everything except what I'm supposed to be doing. I've got a ton of reading to do for my class (but luckily I don't have class tomorrow), and I've got several small assignments to grade from each of my classes. Clearly this is going to be a horribly disorganized post, as I'm really just typing to avoid work. I don't really have anything to say, as I haven't even gotten into my routine, let alone started analyzing my kids and my teaching. I'm also making lists of things I can do besides work while I type, which isn't helping my organizational skills at all. (p.s. The grocery store is pretty high on my to-do list. I'm trying to avoid cafeteria food this year by bringing my lunch.)

I was going to start the grading yesterday, but I really wasn't feeling well. I napped all afternoon instead while hubby cleaned and mowed. I'm still not feeling exceptionally great, but I could pop a few cold pills and do my grading if I really wanted to. The assignments I have to grade really don't take any sort of a brain to go over, but I'd rather veg on the couch and watch awful tv or even read some of my for-fun books. (I just finished The Black Tattoo this morning. Really good.)

I'm really having a difficult time getting into the swing of things this year. I think it's because I taught summer school. It took so much extra work that it really drained me. The kids were a rag-tag bunch...all those who failed the year before in one room. You can imagine the motivation they had. Plus, there was no administrator available. I had to handle all discipline problems myself...and boy, were there problems. To top it off, I didn't have access to the student information, so I couldn't get phone numbers to call or even send letters home. Even the extra padding in my paycheck didn't make it worth it. Unless they completely overhaul it for next summer, I think they'll find it difficult to staff it...but, we shall see.

I said in my last post that my kids are great, and for the most part they are. But I have a few I think will be challenging. They're just very moody kids. Some days are great and we get along well, then other days...I also had a student who refused to do an in-class assignment on the first day off class, but I think I scared him away. I gave the blank sheet back to him several times and told him I wouldn't give him a zero. He could either do it, spend lunch with me until he did it, or take it up with Assistant Principal Bulldog. He eventually decided to do the assignment, but he has since been moved to another class (or possibly another school). I can't decide whether it's a good or bad thing. (p.s. Another thing to add to the to-do list: paint my nails. I've actually stopped biting them, so I have nails to paint.)

I'm also not sure what to think of my co-teacher this year. This will be our second year together, and I adored her last year. But she's gotten in pretty thick with some people I can't really stand, people who are in it for themselves and promotions and not the kids. So far I haven't seen that in her, but they're the type of people that most of us avoid. I suppose we'll see.

Anyway, afternoon to-do list:
  • paint nails
  • grocery shop
  • make lunches for next week
  • grade (??)
  • get coffee
  • plan for next week
  • make brownies for hubby
  • straighten living room
  • veg on the couch like a lazy bum watching "I Love Money" and TLC

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I've got this printed out and hanging behind my desk. I love it!! Excellent, Bud.

Oh, holy cow!!

How long has it been?? Way too long. I'm going to quickly update you all, then I have grading to do. I miss blogging!!

  1. I've been married for nearly a year.
  2. I taught summer school over the summer and will never do it again. It was horribly disorganized, and the kids were a mess. Imagine all those kids who failed junior English in one classroom...not a good time at all.
  3. School has begun again. I have remedial freshmen, and average sophomores and juniors. My students are great so far (knock on wood). I don't have any one class that I think will be challenging...but we'll see.
  4. I've got a Romanian exchange student, and she's about as adorable as it gets. She calls me "teacher" in this very respectful tone. I feel like she should be bowing whenever she says it. My kids are learning a lot from her.
  5. I'm going back to school to get my Masters in Reading. I'm really excited/nervous to be a student again. I don't know if I remember how to do it. I find my coursework absolutely fascinating, but very difficult. I'm nervous for the first paper I have to write, as it's been a looooooong time. We'll see how it goes. I'm really excited to share what I learn from it though. So far we've been checking out picture books and looking at how young students discuss them. The program is really popular among elementary school teachers. I think I'm the only high school teacher in the program, but I'm excited regardless. I'm finding things that I can use with my own kids...even if they are a bit older.
  6. We already had a meet the parents type night, and I had very few show up. It was really disappointing. I'm not sure how much parent support I'll be getting this year.
  7. My dept. is a lot different from what it has been in the past. We have so many open-minded teachers this year. I'm actually being allowed to try literature circles in my freshman class. I'll definitely be keeping you all updated on that. I'll need to remind myself how its going and how to improve it for next year.
  8. Oh, freshmen. Need I say more??
I don't think I have anything else. I will be checking up with my "Must-reads." If anyone still reads this, let me know. I've missed the Edublog world!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

busy month

February was a busy month for me...term paper season, too much cold weather, illness, getting my tonsils out.

Hopefully I won't be ill as often once they're gone.

I don't have a whole lot to say...just wanted to post something.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Is that like Karl Marx?

I decided to use an old Groucho Marx bit to demonstrate subtext to my sophomores doing Julius Caesar. I don't remember where I got the idea, but I used a bit from Animal Crackers where Groucho has two women fighting over him. From the scene, you can't tell whether or not he likes either of the women; until, he says to the women, "Pardon me while I have a strange interlude." He steps forward and rants about how he can't stand either woman.
After I showed the bit, the kids and I discussed the "strange interlude" and what it meant. We discussed other times where if we took a "strange interlude," we'd reveal something that isn't obvious from what we're saying. I then divided them up into groups and gave them scenarios--a first date that isn't going very well, bringing someone home to meet the parents, parent/teacher conferences--and asked them to act them out, including their own strange interlude. I gave them five minutes or so to get a general idea of what they were doing, and I gave help to those groups who were struggling. Then they performed their small skit for the class.
Let me tell you, they were hysterical!! I had a group of all boys on the "first date." They were my best boy (the boy on the date) pretended to check out the waitress. The "girl" made a comment about her being cute, then had a strange interlude where she called him a pig. We couldn't stop laughing.
I then tied the strange interlude idea into "subtext." I told the kids that they're essentially the same thing in the context of Shakespeare. We discussed some places in the play where subtext played a huge role. Then I had them find five places in Act III, Scene 1 where understanding subtext is essential to understanding the scene. They then had to write the "strange interlude" each character would have.

My second class I did the lesson with was still a bit fuzzy on what subtext was. We had to go through and discuss several examples of it. They couldn't quite wrap their brain around the idea of getting inside a character's head, so we had to do a mini-lesson on characterization and motivation. I'm still not sure if they understood it, but I suppose I'll see when I collect their assignments this morning.

Overall, I really liked doing this lesson, and I think the kids did too. It was something different, which was nice for both of us. I'm tired of doing line-by-line explanations of Shakey.

Now, does anyone have any suggestions on how to wean them off of the "American" Shakespeare? They still try to sneak it out during class and quizzes. It's irritating as all get out.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

ugh...worst. blogger. ever.

Yes, it's been a month...Is it obvious that school is back in session?

I'm attempting to teach Julius Caesar right now, and with one class I feel like I'm asking them to rip their teeth out. They're hating every minute of it and are letting me know it.

The class isn't my best behaved class, and they aren't my most hard working class...and many of them had a teacher last year who gave them the "Americanized" Romeo and Juliet and told them that reading Shakespeare is "stupid"...which they've pointed out to me a couple of times. I would say that they've shut down on me, but I don't know that the ignition was ever on. (Like that analogy?) I'm really trying to be patient with them, but it's becoming difficult. We're in Act III, and they won't even attempt to read it. All I hear is, "I don't get it. This is stupid."

I sat down with the reading specialist after school today to brainstorm some strategies for opening up their minds (without giving them the American Shakey). It's funny how talking to someone else will help to create ideas. We started discussing what I wanted, and the ideas just kept flying out of my was great.

I don't know how much my kids will appreciate it, but I'm excited to try some new things tomorrow.