Archive for September, 2009

Movies…

September 30, 2009

Today we were planning for the next six weeks.  So, we are going to watch “The Patriot” like they did last year.  Anyway, it is not entirely appropriate, so we have to watch an edited version.  We had to order 2 more copies, so we could all watch it at once.  That was when I learned about the website CleanPlayDVDs.com.  Apparently they sell edited copies of movies.  One of the movies that they have is 300.  I wonder how long the edited version is; 5 minutes?

-J

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Leader of the pack…

September 28, 2009

Today one of the assistant principals came to my room and told me that I was named “Leader of the  Pack” for September.  She handed me a certificate and congratulated me.  I said thank you and she left.  Later, I asked one of the other teachers what the award was for.  Leader of the Pack is kind of like Teacher of the Month.  We have both at our school, but in order to be Teacher of the Month, you have to be nominated by students, while Leader of the Pack is nominated by other teachers.  I was more excited about this after I found out what it was.  The only downside is that the Teacher of the Month gets a special parking space and I don’t.  I deserve special privileges for my hard work.

-J

In the computer lab…

September 25, 2009

We went to the computer lab today and it was frustrating to say the least.  It was not just for me, but for the other teachers too.  We went today to set up accounts so it will be ready on Monday when we do our online test review.  It was complicated.  We had to get the students to register for an email address.  Then they had to go another review site to register for an account.   Next they had to go back to their email account to confirm the registration.  Finally they had to go back to the review site and sign up for my class.

It was very frustrating, comparable to herding rabbit cats.  It got better throughout the day.  I figured out what to do to keep myself calm.  I yelled a lot in one class, but I made it.  On the plus side, there was no blood on my desk today.

Today was also my first payday.  It feels like I have worked for a very long time before this check.  My first official day of work was just over a month ago, but I have been going through training and such starting about two months ago.

-J

Today was an interesting day…

September 24, 2009

And it just kept getting more interesting.  Between 4th and 5th period, I was in the hall talking to some other teachers.  We are supposed to be in the halls during every passing period to help keep order.  We were discussing some students who had been suspended.  One of which was a student of mine who almost got into a fight with another student during my class yesterday.  I was telling them the story.  It was interesting because one of them was suspended but not the other.  I found out later that this student had gotten into a fight later in the locker room.

So after I finished the conversation about the fight that almost happened in my classroom, guess what happened when I walked in to my classroom?  There were two boys standing up and I told them to sit down because it was time to start class.  Then I looked over and saw that one of them had a bloody nose and did not look happy.  I didn’t say what first cam to my mind, I was proud for censoring myself.  I sent them to the hall and called for an administrator, hoping that they would not go at it while I was on the phone.

I talked to the boys (some of this I found out later, but I don’t remember what I found out when), but I do know that they were not happy with each other.  Apparently they had been at it for the past day or two and things had been escalating.  From my observation I think there was only one punch thrown.  Only one boy was bleeding and the other didn’t even look like he had been hit.

While I was talking to them and waiting for an administrator, I saw the principal at the other end of the hallway.  I called him down.  As he got there, the AP the office had sent arrived as well.  I didn’t say much, because they figured out what had happened.  He asked them what happened and one of them said that he “bumped” into the other.  They sent me back into my room before I could say anything, but that is not what they told me.

When I got back into the room, one of the students told me that there was blood on the floor.  I went back to the hall to tell the principals that there was blood.  I assumed they would call someone to clean it up, but no one came.  So I pulled out my rubber gloves (which the nurse gave every teacher) and sprayed it with Lysol.  The kids didn’t understand why I needed gloves.  Anyway, I threw away the gloves and paper towel, then someone told me that there was more blood.  I got more gloves and sprayed that area.  Then I asked if there was anymore blood and the told me that there was some on my desk.  So I went over there and cleaned it.  There were only two drops of blood on the floor.  One was in front of my desk, I assume where it happened and one at the front of the room, from when he left.  Most of the blood (5 or 6 drops) was on my desk.  Some of it was on some paperwork that I had to fill out.  I sent an email that essentially said: “There was a fight in my room today and the paperwork has blood on it.  Can I get a new form?”  She said yes.

Then I emailed the teachers that I was talking to before class and said: “So while I was telling you about the fight that almost happened in my room yesterday, there was a fight in my room.  I’ll tell you at lunch.”  They were kind of shocked.

I really don’t know why this happened, but I found out that they also called one of their girlfriends to the office.  They were both suspended, because when they asked why the one who didn’t throw a punch why he didn’t tell anyone that he was being harassed, he said it was because he wanted to fight.

5th period behaved really well for the rest of the period because they knew I was mad and they didn’t want to test me.  Later during that class, a student show me this picture that he drew:

Note

I shook my head and with a stern look, took it from him.  I went to my desk and filled out an office referral.  I check the box that said “vulgar or inappropriate language.”  I pointed to this when I placed it on his desk.  Then I told him that if he ever uses that language again, he will go to the office.  I’m not sure if he knew if I was joking, so I smiled and ripped up the referral.  That was when the other kids saw the referral and wondered who got one and why.

They day got more interesting.  I had to assign my first after school detentions (which I shouldn’t have waited so long for).  When we assign after school detention, we have to call parents.  So I got to call my first parents.  Actually, I had called parents before, but they didn’t answer or didn’t speak English and I had to have someone else call.  I had to make 3 phone calls.  The first two didn’t answer, so I left messages.  The last one did.  I survived my first parent phone call.  I really prefer email (in general), because I always forget to say things (both in person and over the phone) and with email I can make sure that I say everything, but I survived.  The parents email me later, so I had to deal with that, but it wasn’t a big deal.

On an unrelated note, Chick-fil-a was giving out free chicken sandwiches today from 6-7.  I went with some friends and we fought the crowd.  I ordered a sandwich, fries, and a drink.  When she gave me my bag, I thought it seemed heavy.  I sat down and say that they had given me 4 sandwiches (and one order of fries).  I didn’t feel bad keeping them, since they were giving them away for free.  Plus, they don’t (or shouldn’t) reserve food.  I did have to get more sauce for my road sandwiches.

Tomorrow is payday!

-J

PS – My school really isn’t a bad school, but a lot of kids have gotten suspended this week.  I guess it takes 5 weeks of school, before they start to hate each other.

What kind of teacher will I be…

September 23, 2009

Anyone who saw the season premiere of How I Met Your Mother, will know what I am talking about.  In the show, Ted was beginning his first semester as a college professor.  Before his first day (and actually during the first class), he kept trying to figure out what kind of professor he would be.  Did he want to be the cool, young professor or a strict, mean professor?  I can relate.  Before I started teaching, I was trying to decide what kind of teacher I was going to be.  I didn’t want to be too strict on my students.

In the end, through a series of mishaps, he just started teaching and let that determine what he would be.  It is similar to me.  Today I was talking with someone and she was telling me what things were going well and what I needed to change.  Some of the things that I thought would work well, haven’t; but some have worked well.  It is something that I am going to have to learn.  My experience will help me determine what kind of teacher I need to be.  It is not so much what kind I want to be.

-J

Passing notes…

September 23, 2009

I love picking up notes in class.  It keeps me connected with the school gossip.  I picked up one today and I thought she was going to cry, so of course I rushed to read it.  Ok, not really.  Since she seemed so upset, I didn’t want her to see me read it.  But I did read it.  Unfortunately, I had to send it to the office.

Here is the story.  I saw her writing the note and I told her to put it away.  She did, but I saw it later.  Between these two instances, I she was texting and I picked up her phone.  When I saw the note again, I was sneaky.  She didn’t see me getting close to her and she dropped it.  My foot caught it first.  I picked it up and she looked upset.  Later during class I read it.

Since I had to take her phone to the office and her parents had to come up to get it, I thought they might like to see the note.  Plus, I asked another teacher what I should do with the note and that is what she told me to do.  This was the first inappropriate note that I had picked up.

Today’s life lesson: don’t put something in writing if you don’t want someone else to read it.

-J

Half day…

September 16, 2009

Today we had a half day.  Well, the students had a half day.  I had to work all day.  We had the half day so we could do meetings and such in the afternoon, but it was only for the middle schools and not for the elementary or high schools.  I think we should have half days more often.  I think we have three more, but that is not enough for me.  It was nice because I was able to get a lot done this afternoon.  Tomorrow is a full day again, but it is almost Friday.

-J

The first test…

September 15, 2009

Was terrible and it shouldn’t have been.  We reviewed for two days and 24 of the 30 questions were word for word from the test review and all of the notes are online.  Those who studied did well, but many of them did not study at all.  Look at the distribution.

grades

I could look at this two ways.  One is that I am a terrible teacher.  The other is that they didn’t even try.  My mentor asked how I was taking it and I said that I wasn’t going to go home and cry (which she told me is what she did the first time she gave a test).  They just didn’t study and there wasn’t much else I could do, unless I let them use the review on their test.

Everyone who failed (45 out of 130) will be allowed to retest.  I am interested to see how many show up to the retest and how they do.

-J

Jeans…

September 11, 2009

For a teacher, wearing jeans is one of the best things ever.  In some places, teachers can wear jeans every Friday, but not at my school.  The district policy is that the only schools that can let teachers wear jeans every Friday are schools with an exemplary rating.  The rest of the schools can only allow the teachers to wear jeans six times per year.  For us that means the last Friday of the six weeks.

My school has come up with an exemption.  I do not know how this fits into the district policy, but every two weeks they pass out stickers to teachers who haven’t been absent during the previous two weeks.  If you have a sticker, you can wear jeans on the day the sticker says.  Luckily it will work out that sometimes we can wear jeans three weeks in a row.

On a side note I have a quote of the day:

“Mr. H, why are you a teacher?  If I were 23, I would be out having fun.”

“Because I need a job so I can have money.”

-J

What I learned today…

September 10, 2009

Today we had a quiz.  I told my “angels” (multiple times) yesterday that we would take a quiz today.  I also wrote it on the board.  Of course, many students said they didn’t know about the quiz, but I expected that.  What surprised me was when one student said to me, “You didn’t say we had to study for the quiz.”  My mistake, I thought they would get that.  I guess I will be more specific and tell them whether or not it is the kind of quiz they need to study for.  Not that I expect it will help much.

A quick note about my notes and quizzes.  What I write down on the board is what they need to copy.  They are not responsible for what I say but do not right down.  The tests and quizzes come directly from what they (are supposed to) write down.  It makes studying simple, if they actually study.  I wish college were that easy, then I would have had a 4.0.

Tomorrow is Friday!

-J