Archive for June, 2012

Washington, DC…

June 16, 2012

This week was our Washington, DC trip.  It was kind of sad, because this is the last time I will get to go on the trip.  But, things were a little different this time.  This is the third year in a row that I have been and I have seen a lot of these things already, so I didn’t do too much exploring at some of the places.  However, there were some new sites that we visited, including Monticello and the new MLK memorial.  As usual, it feels like all I did was eat; one day we had buffets for every meal.

This trip was a little more difficult than any of the previous trips.  When I tell people that I take a group of 8th graders to DC, they always think I am crazy, but I have always said that I have never had a problem, well that changed.  This group was more difficult.  I contacted two parents on the first day, because some of the kids were driving me crazy.  I had never had to contact parents before on the trip.  I found out that one of the boys whose mother I called, did not take his ADHD all week, which might explain his behavior.  He was the one who was getting paid by other kids to lick things and also ran into the middle of the street to get his hat and completely ignored me as I was yelling at him to stop.

I said some interesting things on the trip, which probably stemmed from a combination of me being frustrated and tired.  One night when I was doing room check, I a boy was in just a towel.  I told him that I do not want to see him walking around “buck ass naked.”  I did not realize what I said at first.  This was the first time I have cursed in front of kids.  Another night when I was doing room check, I walked into a room of boys and had intended to say “Is anyone naked” or “Is everyone dressed,” but instead I said, “Is everyone naked?”  They got a good laugh.  On the last day, some of the boys were playing with the flash on a disposable camera, flashing people in the face and I wanted them to put it in their pockets, but instead it came out, “keep it in your pants.”

We invented some new games on the trip.  Some of the boys noticed a law of Priuses (or is it Prii).  Instead of playing slug bug, they would punch each other whenever they saw a Prius.  It got a little violent when we drove past a Toyota dealership.  I also invented a game, going off of this.  There was this one boy whose voice cracked nearly every time he spoke, so we started a game to punch the boys whenever their voices cracked.

On Wednesday, one of the kids celebrated his birthday and I had been planning for a while to do do something for his birthday.  We had some time on the National Mall in the morning before the museums opened, so we took a ride on the carousel.  We let him pick his horse first, since it was his birthday and he chose the dragon.  We were arguing about something during the ride and he said, “My horse is a dragon; your argument is invalid.”  I thought it was pretty funny.  When we got back to the hotel, we surprised him with cupcakes.  We gave the kids cupcakes as they were leaving the bus and they started eating them on the way up to their rooms.  They left a big trail of crumbs up to their rooms; it looked like Hansel and Gretel were in the building.  When I was doing room check later, I brought the extra cupcakes to his room and smashed a few in his face.

On Thursday, as we were leaving the capital, we encountered some protesters.  I have never been to DC without seeing protesters, but their topic was interesting.  They were protesting infant circumcision.  They had a big sing that said, “His penis, his choice.”  Of course our kids were ecstatic to see the word penis written on a sign and all wanted to take pictures.  The they kept talking about it and were asking questions.  That was fun.  I did point out to them that those protesters were effective in catching their attention.

Like I said earlier, this trip was more difficult than the past.  On the way to DC, we had a layover in Atlanta.  The layover was a little over an hour, but we still had two students who managed to lose their phones by the time we got to DC.  I think we also lost a few wallets and phones elsewhere, but some of those might have been found.  (Losing phones and wallets is not unusual, but we had more lost this year.)  On the first night there, the kids were messing around and jumping on things and such, and one boy fell and hurt his back.  It was hard for him to walk, but he was doing better in the morning, although he still had some pain all week.

For some reason, the boys thought that they had to trash the hotel rooms on the last night.  I tried to get them to stop, but it was useless.  I then told them that they needed to clean up their messes before we left.  That worked because when I was checking rooms as we were checking out, they were not as bad as I had expected.

I do not know what was going on in their rooms at night, but there was not much sleeping.  The great thing about our travel company is that they provide night guards in the hotel to keep the kids in their room after curfew, which is great because we don’t have to worry about it.  But in their rooms at night, they must have been wild.  The night guard woke me up one time because they were being loud and I think he did not come to me until after he spoke to them several times.  I was pissed, not only because he woke me up, but because they were being so loud.  It wasn’t even from the room I expected.

On the last day there, we had about an hour and a half left when we went to the last museum.  We knew that the kids would get bored in there after an hour and we didn’t have time to do another museum, so we gave them some time to play on the national mall, which some of them later said was the best part of the trip.  Really?  I bought a frisbee and football for them to play with, because otherwise they would spend the time harassing and trying to catch squirrels and pigeons; for some reason, they were fascinated by them.  While they were playing football, one of the larger boys yelled out, “I’m tired; my cankles are hurting.”  We gave him the award for best quote from the trip.

-J

Classroom in a box…

June 8, 2012

What does three years of teaching look like?

I have a lot of stuff.  I am proud of myself; I did give a lot away as I was packing, but I still have a lot.  When I began teaching three years ago, I started off with very little.  I have collected a lot in just a short time.  Right now it is sitting in my garage, waiting for next year.  Sure, there is a lot of stuff that I have never used and some things I will not use again, but I can be a bit of a pack rat.

This morning, I took six boxes of books to Half Price Books.  I got $35 for them, which is more than I expected.  I still have a lot of books though.  Nine of the boxes in the picture are books that I kept.

-J

My first day of high school…

June 7, 2012

Well, sort of.  Maybe I should say, my first day working with high school teachers.  This week, the district had curriculum update for the high schools.  My school asked me to go for government.  They said that they knew I have not taught it before, but they wanted someone from from our campus to be there to have input.  I missed the first day because I was out of town, but I was there yesterday and today.  Although I did not contribute much, it was good for me to be there.

I was working with a government teacher from the other high school who has been teaching for a while.  He did most of the work.  He had done similar things before and knocked it out fairly quickly.  It did give me a chance to become more familiar with the curriculum.  Also, as we worked, he gave me a lot of advice and materials for teaching both regular and AP government.  Another good thing is that I got to meet a lot of the high school teachers, from both high schools.  I enjoyed working with them.  They were a lot of fun.

The worst part about it was that it stressed me out about next year.  After seeing how that government teacher teaches, I feel more pressure on myself.  This teacher is known for being a great teacher.  What stresses me out the most is teaching on the same high level that he does, but I am not going to worry about it too much.  He gave me a lot of resources to get me started, which will be a big help.  Since he is at a different school, I won’t have to keep up with him, I can do my own thing, which will only get better with time.

-J