Archive for April, 2012

Silly children…

April 9, 2012

Today, I was talking about the Morrill Act.  On the slide, it said that this act help set up colleges to teach agriculture and mechanical arts.  I asked them which college was established in Texas because of this act.  In most classes, I got TCU and UT.  I then re-asked the question and emphasized “agriculture and mechanical,” and they finally began to get it.  I don’t think that Texas A&M was the first answer in any class.  The funniest thing I heard was when someone asked if I knew that before today.

And yes, I did.

-J

Parents…

April 5, 2012

This is going to be one of my rant posts, but is probably going to touch on one of the biggest complaints teachers have: parents.  I have had two incidents within the past week dealing with kids and their parents.

Last week I had to turn off a video because it was so loud that no one could hear the video and I gave them an alternate assignment (and by the way they got more than enough warnings before I shut it off).  I had one kid who refused to do the alternate assignment.  I talked to the kid and he said he didn’t do anything wrong and shouldn’t have to do the alternate assignment.  I explained to him that, yes, he was not part of the problem, but they had to get the information some way, so I gave the alternate assignment.  I emailed him parents and his mom wanted a conference, because there were some other issues she was concerned with.  I was surprised by what she said, but I agreed.

The next day, I asked the kid what his mom was talking about and he said that he feels like I pick on him, because he gets in trouble for things that other kids don’t and he mentioned a specific student.  I usually don’t comment on specific students, but in this case I did.  I told him that I talk to that kid’s parents more than anyone in the class and he has gotten more detention than anyone in the class, but I just don’t announce it to the entire class.  I also told him that I probably sound angrier when I deal with him than other students, because I have higher expectations for him.  I did have a few issues with this kid being disruptive a few weeks ago, but I never contacted his parents or assigned him detention.  The conference is tomorrow and I was hoping his mom wouldn’t show up, but she emailed me today to confirm the meeting.  By the way, he is an only child.

Today also had an interesting development.  My kids were taking a checkpoint and this year the district is giving social studies checkpoints online.  My biggest complaint is that is is super easy to cheat, since they do not mix up the questions.  I have suspected some kids of cheating before, but could never prove it.

Today, things were different.  In one of my Pre-AP classes, I noticed something suspicious.  I had two girls (who have never been in trouble) sitting next to each other and the kept glancing toward each others’ computer and they were always on the same question.  I watched them for a while.  For every question, one would select an answer and would wait for the other one to answer before the submitted and went to the next question.  They did this for the 10-15 questions that I watched them on.  I could not believe who it was and I was honestly hoping I could see that they weren’t cheating.  When they finished, I pulled up their answers.  Both of the scored a 68% and every single answer was exactly the same, so I couldn’t ignore this.

I spoke to each of them individually and they wouldn’t say much.  They didn’t admit it, but they didn’t lie about it either.  I spoke to their assistant principal and he came down to get them (before they could talk to each other to corroborate).  From what I gather, they basically said that there were some questions that they didn’t know and they consulted each other.  Well that is cheating and at our school, cheating on a test is automatic ISS.

I have never before felt bad when writing up a kid; I love it when kids go to ISS, because it is less distraction in my class for several days.  Today, I honestly felt bad, and I told the AP.  Like I said, both of these girls are great and have never been in trouble and one of the girls is the president of the National Junior Honor Society (and she is also an only child).

In order to remove a student from the instructional environment, they must notify the parents.  They called this girl’s mom and didn’t get an answer, so they left a message.  I got a message later in the day to call her.  I spoke to the AP and he said he had already called her.  She was pissed and he was surprised.  I guess it is one of those times where they are supportive until their child gets in trouble.  She said that this is not like her daughter and she cannot wait until her daughter is done at this school.  She could not wait until her daughter got home, so that she could find out the real story.  I know this parent, because she works at my gym and I was also surprised by this, but was could I do, I made sure that I had everything straight before I even spoke to the AP.  I suspect kids of cheating all the time, but I rarely do anything about it and it is only if I can prove it.

I have said this in previous posts and I will say it again: you need to trust your child’s teachers.  We have too many other things going on to pick on a kid.  Both of these stories involve kids who have gotten in trouble one time and the parents freaked out.  Yes, both of these kids are great kids, but remember they are kids, they will make mistakes.  I know that they love their kids and want to protect them, but the world (and school) is not out to get them.  I will admit that there may be some times where you have a legitimate reason for this (I have seen from other teachers), but the first time your child gets in trouble (especially this late in the year), it is likely not a sign of being picked on; most kids act out more after spring break, when they are ready for summer.

-J

Tornadoes…

April 3, 2012

Today was an interesting day.  During 5th period, we could hear the tornado sirens going off and they put us on lockdown for duck and cover.  We were there for 10-15 minutes and they cleared us.  About 30 minutes later, we were put back on lockdown.  This time, the 8th graders were at lunch.  They came to us and asked us to go help out when we were finished eating.  That was “fun.”  We had about 350 kids in one hallway and they were loud and goofy.  We were there for about an hour.  That hallway was warm and stinky by the end.  Luckily, everyone was fine.  There were some tornadoes in the area, but not close to us.

One of my coworkers had to leave.  Her apartment complex was hit.  I don’t know the extent of the damage, but from the pictures, all I saw was some cars that were moved and most of the carports were down.  She said there were some windows blown out, but I do not know if any of her windows were.  She said she has to get her things, because the complex is going to be evacuated for several days because they are cutting the power.

-J