Archive for May, 2012

Last day of middle school (for real this time)…

May 31, 2012

Today was my last day of work in the middle school.  This last day was different from all of my other last days, because I actually had a lot to do.  I had to get everything packed and moved out.  It did not take me as long as I had expected.  I was mostly finished by lunch.  It only took me two trips to take everything home.  As I was packing, the teacher who is moving into my room was moving her stuff in and it worked out fine.  I managed to get rid of a lot of stuff, but I still have a lot.

At the end of the day, I had an exit interview with my principal.  There were a lot of things I thought about telling her, but I didn’t get through everything.  It is fine though.  I told her the most important things, but I didn’t throw anyone completely under the bus.  I had never before really thought about the purpose of an exit interview and now I see why they are important.  The people who are leaving do not really care about repercussions from what they say and can be very honest.

The last conversation with my principal ended with her yelling, “pull out, pull out!”   Ok, maybe she was not exactly yelling, but she said it loudly.  You should have seen the look on her secretary’s face.  What had happened was that when I was leaving, I was trying to push the door open, but I needed to pull it open.  What a way to end my time there.

Now my busy summer can officially begin.  More on that later.

-J

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Last day of middle school…

May 30, 2012

Today was my last day of middle school (with the kids, I still have to work tomorrow).  The end of this year had been calmer than previous years.

One thing about leaving my school is hearing from other teachers.  I have heard a lot from my coworkers about how they are going to miss me next year.  The interesting thing is that I am hearing it a lot from people who I rarely talk to.  It does feel good knowing that I am going to be missed and I will miss my school.  Like I have said, I am not leaving because I am unhappy.  But some people have frankly been annoying with how many times they have told me they are upset that I am leaving.  The people who I work most closely with are also sad to see me go, but not to the point of being annoying.

I have also heard from people about the fact that I am going to high school.  A lot of people think that I am crazy for wanting to go to high school, but I became a teacher because I wanted to teach high school.  Not only am I going to high school, but I am also teaching the class that I most want to teach.  I know I am going to like it more than middle school, but once again, it is annoying to hear negative things from my coworkers, and I don’t think any of the naysayers have taught high school.

I am going to miss my current school.  I have really enjoyed my school and my 8th graders, but I know I am going to enjoy my new position much more.  My time in middle school may be at an end, but I am sure I will still have some good stories to share.

-J

STAAR scores…

May 25, 2012

They have been telling us for several weeks that we would receive STAAR scores on Wednesday.  Well, we got one set on Wednesday, two yesterday, and everything else came in today.  All we got is raw scores (how many they got correct).  We will not know passing standards until January.  My principal was telling us not to worry, because we don’t know what constitutes a passing score.

Despite this, I was disappointed at first glance.  I came back later and did a lot with the numbers and I feel somewhat better, but it will all depend on what standards they set.  Another thing that is concerning is that we had no one get a perfect score on the test (at least the social studies, I don’t know anything about the other tests).  Nor did we have anyone who missed one.  We had two kids who missed two.  Another thing that was disappointing was that neither of those two kids were mine and I have the kids who scored the lowest.  However, after looking at my numbers, my kids did above the average for the school.

I am not too worried.  We did not know what to expect and we did the best we could with what we knew.  Honestly, I think the best part is knowing that I will not have to deal with this next year since seniors do not have to take the state tests.  And yes, as people remind me, I will have to deal with AP test, but that doesn’t concern me because the kids who are in those classes are the high achievers and they want to take the test and do well.

-J

I guess I’ll have to move…

May 25, 2012

I have been living at my current location for nearly two years.  The kids in my neighborhood go to my school, but so far, where I live has not been discovered by my students.  There is a family across the street who has kids at my school, but I do not know them (although I do know they are good kids).

Well, yesterday, it got out.  I think it was Monday when I was getting out of my car after school, when I saw a parent drive by.  I know this parent pretty well because the mom is on the PTO and sometimes subs at the school.  I knew this family lived on the next street and I have seen them drive by before, but I guess this was the first time they noticed me.  I knew that she noticed me that day, because I saw her do a doubletake.

I expected her son to say something the next day (Tuesday), but he didn’t say anything until yesterday at lunch, when he was in my room with a few other boys.  He asked where I lived and I didn’t answer.  Then he named the neighborhood and I didn’t answer.  Then he named the street and I didn’t answer.  I tried to think of some lie, but it was futile.  He told me that his mom saw me and I immediately knew what he was talking about.

I am not worried about this kid doing something to my house or car.  He is a good kid and is one of my favorite students.  What I am worried about is a few of his friends.  I told him specifically not to tell certain people where I lived and then I told him just not to tell anyone.

Today in class, one of my students blurted out to the whole class where I lived.  I ignored it, but it makes me wonder how much of the school now knows where I live.  I was surprised that this kid knew because I didn’t think he was friends with the other kids that knew.  I asked him who told him and he said that he overheard the one kid tell someone else.

I was very angry at the kid.  When he came to class, I reminded him that I told him not to tell anyone.  He said that he only told one person (his best friend who lives a few streets over and is always at his house).  I told him that if anything happens to my house or my car, I will call the cops and give them his name and I will go over to his house and tell his parents and have him clean it up.

On the other hand, I am surprised that it took two full school years for this to become common knowledge.  As far as next year, it should not be too big of a problem.  My neighborhood is currently zoned to go to my new school, but the boundaries are changing for next year and my neighborhood will not go to that school.  There will be some kids in my neighborhood who will still go to my school, but we shall see.

-J

Did I mention that the kids are crazy???

May 23, 2012

I thought that the kids were getting (slightly) better then Monday.  Then today happened.  We are at the point where kids who have not gotten in trouble all year are getting in trouble.  Today, I contacted several parents who I have had to talk to all year.

As I was leaving the building today, one of the kids whose mother I had emailed earlier was out of control.  I was trying to ignore him until he threatened to blow up my car.  I am not going into details, but I do not think he was serious, however, it still has been bothering me all evening.

-J

 

The kids are checked out…

May 21, 2012

Up until today, the kids have not been bad.  They have been working and behaving, but something happened today.  Most of my classes were out of control.  Hopefully we can get through the remaining days easily.  We have this week and the kids have Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.  I am done on Thursday and then it will be summer break!

-J

Field Trip…

May 21, 2012

On Friday, we had our 8th grade field trip to Alley Cats.  We rent out the place and the kids have unlimited bowling, pool, laser tag, video games and rock climbing.  This is the second year we have gone and it is always a blast.  This is also the second year that I have planned it and I thought it would be much smoother, but I think it was more stressful.

I had been hounding the kids about their permission slips for weeks and I thought I had them from everyone who wanted to go (believe it or not, there are kids who don’t want to go, even though I offer to pay their way for them).  I told them that Monday was the last day for permission slips and Wednesday, Thursday, and even Friday I had kids coming up to me asking me to go, and I let them, but it messed up my planning.  I even was on the phone with parents getting permission.

The most stressful thing I got was on Wednesday.  My principal got an email at about 5 that day from admin (specifically the CFO) and she forwarded it to me.  They wanted to know the educational purpose of my field trip.  Now I was pissed and so was my principal.  We had been planning this field trip all year and the business office had already cut the check and now they were asking.  I would not have had a problem with this if they would have asked before, but now I had a short time to come up with them.  The principal’s secretary spoke to someone on the phone and was real bitchy to them because of what they had done.  They have not asked for this for any of the other field trips and now they were asking and right before we left.  My principal knew it was a fun trip and serves as our end of the year party and had no problem with it.

You should have seen what we came up with.  Our math and science teachers came up with some great BS for the kids to do regarding bowling.  In fact, the science teachers actually used their assignment and required the students who did not turn in a science project to do the assignment for their project.   Our instructional coach also found some research on relationships and team building.  It was good, but there was still the principal of it all.

I was so glad when we finally got there, because the stress was pretty much over. Last year, we had no discipline issued, but this year was a little different, but it wasn’t bad.  We had some kids who were out of dress code and we decided to put them in time out for a while to start.

We arrived at the place and checked in and the kids started playing around 9:45.  A few minutes after 10, I was standing in line at the rock wall.  One of the kids beat his friend to the top and decided to celebrate by flipping off his friend.  When he got down, I took him to the assistant principal who was there and he was pissed.  Our school resource officer was there and we found him.  He took the kid back to the school and put him in ISS.  I told him he should had put the kid in handcuffs, but he didn’t.

We had three other kids get in trouble and I am not sure what for, but the AP put them in time out for the rest of the day, took away their phones while they were sitting there and made them help the staff pick up all of the trash.

Despite everything that happened, the field trip was a lot of fun.  I competed in about a dozen races to the top of the rock wall and in smoked the kids in all of them except two.  Of course the kids always had an excuse as to why I won. 

I am going to miss the field trip next year.

-J