Archive for May, 2010

Fun Friday…

May 29, 2010

Yesterday, we had our 8th grade end of the year picnic.  Since there are only 2 male 8th grade teachers, we were assigned the task of grilling.  We had about 600 hot dogs to cook and I probably cooked 400 of them (since I had the bigger grill).  Of course, us teachers ate chicken.  I was outside from 11 to 3:30 and my neck shows it.  I did not intend on being outside for so long.  After lunch, I was watching the kids who were outside and the rest of the teachers disappeared.  There weren’t too many kids outside because it was so hot, but since I was the only one out there, I could not leave.  It was fun, but I am burnt.

Since I knew I was going to be outside, I wore shorts to school.  I’m pretty sure the kids thought I only owned slacks (and one pair of jeans).  I got so many comments like “Why are you wearing shorts?” and “Why don’t you wear shorts more often?”  I had one kid tell me that him and a friend had a bet.  They were going to see (if I wore shorts, which I did) if I shaved my legs.  I’m not sure which one won the bet.  I just rolled my eyes.

-J

TAKS Scores (Part 3)…

May 28, 2010

Yesterday, we got our individual score reports.  I found out why all of my kids passed.  The passing rate for the social studies test was low.  I am not going to say, because I very angry about that.  I find it kind of insulting.  I especially don’t want my kids to find out.  We also don’t want other teachers to find out.  Some of them were jealous that our scores were so good, but this just deflates everything.

-J

One week left…

May 26, 2010

Time is running out on this semester and so is my patience.  I am getting really tired of my kids, even the one’s I like.  It is just that time of the year, when they are ready for summer and don’t want to do anything.  So, I came up with a plan.  I am not going to say anything to my students for the rest of the year.  It is getting very hard for me to say nice things.  I am getting very impatient and do not want to say anything that could get me in to trouble.

-J

TAKS Scores (Part 2)…

May 24, 2010

Or Why I am going to quit my job.  Again I could not decide between the 2 titles.

We get down there and find out that she does have a list of the scores and we attack it.  We had heard that we had 6 kids who failed and we made a list of those.  We were right on 4 of the 6, but 6 was not correct.  We had 10 fail social studies out of about 350 kids.  Of those 10, one of them will not count towards our ranking.

So we start going through the list and I notice something.  All of my kids passed!  That’s right, out of 116 kids, I had zero fail the social studies TAKS test.  I was shocked.  I had a few who I was certain could not pass if their life depended on it, but they pulled through.  I was even shocked by some of the students who were commended.  By the way, of the 10 kids who failed, one belonged to one teacher and the other nine belonged to another.  I think most of those 9 are special ed kids.  And you know how humble I am.

Now I should tell you why I said I was going to quit.  I had told the other teachers that if all my kids passed, I was going to quit so I could say that when I was a teacher, I never had a kid fail the TAKS test.

Here is the catch.  Last year, in order to pass the social studies TAKS test, a student had to sc0re a 53%.  That percentage was supposed to go up this year and we were guessing about 55%.  I am not sure what was considered passing this year.  For math it was 60%.

Sorry for the delay.  I wanted to wait until I had heard officially what my scores were.  The lady who showed us said she wasn’t sure if she was supposed to show us.  But as with everyone, she thought it was ridiculous that no one had told us anything.  Now I can rest easy.  This was stressful, knowing the scores were in the building, but not being able to see them.

-J

TAKS Scores (Part 1)…

May 21, 2010

Or How to piss off half the teachers in the school.  I couldn’t decide between the two titles.

We received our TAKS scores today.  Apparently, our principal told the science department their scores in the morning, including a list of kids who passed and failed.  The administration, however, neglected to tell the rest of the school that the scores were in.  We find out because some of the kids are going around telling people if they passed or failed the science TAKS test.  During 2nd period, we realize that the scores are in.

We are a little upset at this point.  They told science, so we are expecting to hear how we did, but it never comes.  Between each class, one of the other teachers keeps going down to the principal’s office to see what she can find out and every time, the door is shut.

We are getting angrier and angrier.  Still no one has even bothered to tell us that the scores are in.  Someone tells us that our numbers are “fine,” but nothing else.  We still keep checking our email and going down there, but still nothing.  Science already knows their passing rate.

I had no idea what was taking so long.  I think the administration was trying to figure out our passing rates for each subgroup to see what our ranking will be.  All we want to see if a list of who failed, which should have been very easy for us to get.

Now, here is my issue with what is going on.  I do not think it was handled appropriately.  Our principal should not have let science see a list of who passed and failed, while everyone else had to wait.  They could have at least told everyone else that the scores were in and when we could expect to hear more.  There were a lot of teachers who were angry.  The whole office staff knows we were upset and I hope our principal realizes that.

Now, here is why science got the special treatment.  Last year, the science scores were not great.  I think they had something like 75% passing.  I think the passing rates for math, reading, writing, and social studies were all over 90% (but don’t quote me).  Social studies had a 99% passing rate.  It is because of science, that our campus was rated “acceptable.”  So this year, science busted their butts.  They worked very hard and spent a lot of time and money trying to get things better.

Now, jumping ahead, by the time I left at 4:15, we still had not heard anything from the administration.  As far as I know, they were still working in the office with the door shut.

Now, I will go back a little.  About 3:40, we heard some news.  We got a tip that one of the ladies in the office had a list of who passed and failed, so we ran down there.

To be continued…

-J

Drugs…

May 21, 2010

There was a big drug bust at my school yesterday.  But I’ll get to that story.  I have to begin with a different story.  The secretary said that yesterday was the craziest day she has seen in the office in the several years she has been there, and not just because of the drugs.

Between 2nd and 3rd periods, I was in the hallway.  I see a kid take a pencil and pretend to cock it and shoot another student.  I don’t have the kid, so I asked another teacher what his name was.  I called down to the office for our assistant principal.  The secretary told me that she had 10 kids waiting, so it would be a while.  The next period, I reminded the secretary that I still needed to principal, but she was in a meeting.  I decided to wait until my conference period, so I could explain to her what happened.  I have experience with kids pretending to shoot guns, and they always have questions.

Now things are starting to heat up.  During 5th period, an assistant principal came to get a student.  You can tell when a student is in big trouble when a principal comes down and doesn’t just send a pass.  Later, they come for another student.  I knew something was going on, but little did I know what was going down.

During 7th period, my conference, I went to the office to talk to the assistant principal about the gun incident.  I also had a kid passing around a drawing of a penis in 6ht period, so I had to take care of that as well.  I saw the assistant principal by the copy machine and start walking toward her.  I called her name and the principal said that she was busy and said “unless someone was selling drugs or got shot, it can wait.”  I could tell something big was going on, but I replied, “Well, actually….”  You could tell that the office was really tense.

Later, I go back to my room and my TA tells me what he had heard.  He said that a girl had been bringing pills to school for a friend and she told on him, thinking that he would get caught and would be in trouble and not her.  I have found some of this to be true, but not sure to what degree.

Later, I was walking in the hallway and hear the principal talking to a student while searching her locker.  I don’t know what he asked her, but she said, “I’m not a snitch.”  He said, “Do we need to call the parents of the five kids who are in the emergency room and tell them that we can’t help their children because you don’t want to snitch?”  I decided to keep walking.  Later they were searching other lockers.

Later, I was talking to the secretary and got some more information.  Several kids were sent to the ER for taking pills.  I think the big problem is that no one knew what they had taken.  I think about 5 or 6 were suspended and will be put in alternative school.  Some of the drugs were antibiotics and that’s why the kids were taken to the ER.

-J

Kids keep saying stupid things…

May 19, 2010

Today we were discussing Reconstruction and the KKK.  Some of the kids were very interested in what they did and such (and I don’t mean that they were interested because they wanted to join).  So some kids were asking if they KKK still exists and what they do know.  One kid said, “I know it does because my grandma is in it.”  I could not keep a straight face. I don’t know how to describe this kid.  He says a lot of things without thinking.  I don’t think he is the kind to lie about this, but I just wanted him to stop talking before he got beat.  Luckily for him there were no black kids in that class.

-J

Kids say the stupidest things…

May 18, 2010

Today, we were reviewing for the six weeks test which covers the Civil War and Reconstruction.  A kids asked me, “Did slavery have to do with the Civil War?”  I had to take a deep breath to keep the sarcasm from coming out.  That makes me very scared about what they have retained, especially as we wait for the TAKS scores, which will be in at any moment.

-J

Kids say the darndest things…

May 14, 2010

First, my cake was a big hit.  Everyone thinks I am even more amazing than they previously thought.

Today, some of my kiddos said some things that I must share.

During my 3rd period class, a girl started crying.  I don’t really know what was going on, but I think it had to do with a boy.  One of the boys in my class said, “Give her some chocolate.  That always make girls feel better.” So I did.  I hope it helped.

This week, I was teaching Reconstruction.  Every time I say “carpetbaggers,” there are a bunch of giggles.  Today a boy said, “Carpetbaggers?  That sounds like an adult film.”  I bit my lip.  I was kind of impressed that he said “adult film” and not “porno.”

Yesterday, I got a new pencil sharpener.  It is a good pencil sharpener and the kids have noticed.  Some of them have said that the new pencil sharpener is “a beast.”  I started repeating that.  My kids started laughing at me.  Apparently I am too old to say that.  I hope they remember that when they are 24.

13 days left, but who’s counting?

-J

It ain’t pretty looking, but it is pretty tasty…

May 11, 2010

Tomorrow, the 8th grade teachers are hosting a baby shower for one of the many pregnant teachers at our school.  For some reason, I decided to volunteer to make (not buy) the cake.  Thanks to Sabrina, I had my “Cake Skillz” lesson.  Then it was up to me to deliver.

Yesterday, I baked a lot of cake and today I decorated.  In some ways, it looks better than I expected.  It is not perfect, but I think it turned out pretty well for my first time.  Just so you know, the cake is basically vanilla with butter cream frosting and marshmallow fondant.  What it lacks in style, it makes up for in taste.

I can’t wait to dive into it tomorrow, although I have eaten way too much frosting and fondant in the past two days.

-J