Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Well…

December 4, 2014

I know it has been a while since I have posted. I feel like I have been saying that a lot when I post. Most of my posts have been to share the unusual and weird things that I have experienced. As I teach on when discussing the media, news is what is different. Now that I am in my sixth year, there is not much that is new and exciting, and since I no longer work in the middle school jungle, things are a lot less crazy.

Except for today…

When I got punched in the face.

Long story short, I was walking down the hallway and a fight broke out right in front of me. The general rule is that you don’t get in the middle of it. I hesitated and no other adults came and I had to do something.

Since it was a girl fight, I was hesitant to stick my hands in there and start grabbing. I finally got in and it took a while, but I got them separated and was holding on to one girl and the other girl came back for more. She missed and the punch landed on my eyebrow. Judging from the force of it, she was pretty angry.

My response was to yell out, “oh, hell no. You just assaulted a teacher.”my students were laughing later about the second line, but I wanted to let her know what she did, hoping to stop her.

I got them separated and once they both got to the office, the girl who hits went after the other girl again

Guess what, it was about a boy.

I think I have more street cred now that all of my students saw it. I have been checking Twitter to see what they said. Text me if you want to see my favorite Tweet.

-J

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Another year done…

June 20, 2014

This year marked my 5th year of teaching. It is hard to believe that it has been that long. Let me recap some of the events that happened in the last weeks school.

I mentioned before about my UIL Current Events team advancing to regionals. They placed 2nd at regionals, but did not qualify for state. Next year I will be the UIL academic coordinator for my school and I hope to strengthen our program.

I survived teaching AP economics. Despite the qualms I had at the beginning of the semester, I really enjoyed it. I look forward to being able to build on my progress next year.

Overall my students felt confident about the AP exams. I will find out their scores in about two weeks and I believe I will see a lot of progress from last year in government. I am actually expecting a better performance in economics.

I have enrolled in grad school and hope to being classes next month. I am still waiting on a few things from my fellowship, but that should be completed soon.

Now that I am finished with my AP training, my summer can really begin.

-J

ASPI…

June 19, 2014

I have been at AP training for economics this week. I was unable to go last year, as it would have been a lot more helpful then.

Going into this last semester teaching AP economics for the first time, I was nervous. This week has been really validating because I feel like I have been doing a good job. There are other teachers here who taught it for the first time last semester as well and I can tell that I got it better than they did.

Doing professional development classes like this is good for me because it helps me empathize with my students, because it reminds me what it is like to be a student. If I am at something that I am interested in and I am having trouble focusing, I can only imagine what it is like for a 17 year old who is much less interested.

This also reminds me how lucky I am to be in the district and school I am at. I have heard some things from other teachers about the wacky things that go on in their districts and it makes my problems seem not as bad. At the same time, we all have many if the same problems, regardless of who are students are.

-J

UIL…

April 1, 2014

Last week, we had our district tournament for academic UIL. I am very proud of my current events team. As a team they finished 1st with a score of 67. The second place team scored 46 and most (if not all) of the other teams scored in the 40s. For the individual competition, 3 of my 4 placed, coming in 1st, 2nd, and 4th.

We are headed to regionals in about a month. That will be more challenging, but based on their performance, they are one of the top teams in the region.

-J

April Fool’s…

April 1, 2014

Today I gave a test in my AP economics class. The kids were complaining a lot about the test, but I wasn’t going to worry until I got their tests graded.

I should have been worried.

The scores were terrible. I haven’t calculated the average but from what I saw when I ran the scantrons, it was awful. I would guess that maybe 10 percent passed and I believe the highest grade was in the low 80s.

I didn’t think the test was too difficult. I honestly think it was because of laziness and the seniors not wanting to do work.

Now I am angry. My new goal is to be the most hated teacher on campus. There will be no fun in my class.

What makes me the most angry is that according to the district policy, I have to reteach and retest each class when more than 40% fail. I was already worried about finishing everything before the AP test and this is not helping.

I really hope this is some sort of elaborately constructed April Fool’s joke that they are all in on. Sadly, I don’t think this is the case.

-J

UIL…

February 8, 2014

We had another UIL tournament today. Our kids did not do near as well as last time, but the competition was much tougher.

I have a blind student and she came to the meet. It was not for my event, but her coach could not attend, so I was put in charge of her. I had to check her blood sugar twice and administer her test, which involved reading the test, recording the multiple choice answers, and transcribing her essay. Luckily, there was a female teacher there to be on bathroom duty for her.

As I was walking her to the test, she was holding on to my arm. Someone called my name and I turned my head, but kept walking. I walked her into a door. I felt terrible, but she thought it was funny. Apparently she is used to running into things.

-J

Parents…

February 2, 2014

Here is an email that I received from a parent this week, so you can see some of the things I have to deal with.

“I am concerned how my A student got a 67 on your test? I understand she approached students and yourself to find out what she missed on the days she was ill and was told “nothing much.”
I would like to find out how she could have missed so badly on this test. If there is a problem with [my daughter] that I am unaware of? If so, please enlighten me. She has been making A’s in your class, to what do you attribute this collapse on the Test? And if she didn’t have all the correct study materials due to an illness absence, what are you prepared to do to help her with this?

Thank you for your consideration in this matter,

Sincerely,
[Mom]”

First I want to point out that I don’t get many angry emails, but it does happen. Let’s go though this and point out the mistakes.

This student was absent for several days at the beginning of the semester. I honestly do not remember what I told her, but I would never tell a student that they missed “nothing much.” She had all of her assignments turned in, so I clearly gave her everything she missed.

I went back a checked, and she has not been making all A’s in my class. Last semester she had 2 A’s and a B. She ended up with a 70 on the test because there was an error on my key. She has had several tests that were lower than that, but mom never asked about those.

I have an answer to the collapse on the test. It was a hard test. I did not intend it to be, but many students struggled. It is also the first time they have ever taken an economics test, so they did not know what to expect. Also, after I gave her the missing work, she never came to tutorials to ask me for help. I spoke to the student about this and she told me she didn’t have time to come in.

I don’t know what/if she said to her mom about this, but to me it looks like she is not telling mom everything. I wanted to tell mom to have some tact and not be so accusatory, because her daughter did not do her part.

I showed this email to one of my coworkers and he said I should tell mom to pop her tit out of her daughter’s mouth, because she is a senior in an Advanced Placement course. I did not.

One of the great things about teaching seniors, is that the parents know their children, so most of them understand when there are issues. I called a mom last week whose son had a 26 average in my class. He had about 5 missing assignments, a zero on a quiz that he took and a 33 on his test (in an AP class). Mom was pissed at him because she know him.

-J

Anxiety…

January 20, 2014

Last week started off rough, but finished great.  Although it was my second week teaching AP Macroeconomics, I had terrible anxiety, even worse than the first week.  By the end of the week, I had confidence.  I think just doing it for the first time made me very nervous.  Now, having succeeded, I have a lot of confidence in this course.

This doesn’t mean that everything is prefect.  I feel bad for my first class.  I am still working things out and they don’t always get the best lesson, but I do the best I can.  It doesn’t help that it is not a great class.

This semester might not be so bad after all.

-J

UIL…

January 20, 2014

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but this year, I am the sponsor for UIL Current Issues and Events.  Recently, we competed in our first meet of the year.  My kids did very well.  One of my students tied for first, but lost the tie breaker, so he finished second.  The team tied for third, but lost the tie breaker, so they finished fourth.  I am very proud of them.  We didn’t have all of our members at the meet, so when we do, we have a good shot at winning.  One of my students really wants to make it to state, so he is putting in a lot of time.  I hope it works out.

Our next meet is in a few weeks. 

-J

Failures…

January 2, 2014

For the first time in my four and a half years of teaching, I have students who failed my class.  This is a sign of me maturing as a teacher.  In the past, I have let students do pretty much anything to make up their grade.  It has been hard for me to not let kids make up everything.  I am still generous with late work, but I am getting better at sticking to the grading policy.

The three students who failed were all in my AP classes.  Two of them I knew all along would fail.  One never passed a test or six week.  The other I tried to move to a regular class after the second six week, but both he and his mom wanted him to stay.  He failed the first tow six weeks, but did pass the last six weeks, but it was not enough.

The final student who failed was not expected, but maybe I should have.  I had this student my first year of teaching.  He was great then, but has gotten really lazy.  I could see this and his mom told me the same thing.  He took my AP class to be with friends.  He is capable, but, again, lazy.  These are his grades for each six weeks: 71, 69 (which I had to bump to 70), and 70.  At one point in this six week, he had 4 missing assignments.  Going in to the final, he basically needed to pass the test to pass the class.  He usually tests well, but not this time.  He scored a low 50 on the exam, bringing him to a 67 for the semester.  What really sucks for him is that if he would had turned in his exam review for extra credit, he would have ended up with a 69, which, again, I have to bump up to a 70.

I did not enjoy having to call their parents to tell them.  Hopefully I will not have students fail this semester.  I will hate those phone calls even more.  Students who failed my AP class or barely passed are being moved out of AP economics.

-J