Monthly Archives: June 2008

Two Week Hiatus

“Leaving on a jet plane,
Don’t know when I’ll be back again…”

I am leaving for Washington D.C. and the NEA-RA Convention today. I will post about what I learn upon my return. Also, I am helping to hire three new English teachers the day after I get back, so I’ll report on that as well. Until then, have a great summer!

Another 4th of July in D.C. Woo-hoo!

A Robin Hood Effect

One of my criticisms of NCLB is that it causes too many schools to focus all of their attention on the bottom 25% of a school’s population while ignoring the middle- and upper-level students. Some of the effects of this focus in my school are:

  • fewer upper-level course choices in order to create more lower-level courses,
  • larger class sizes for middle- and upper-level students because of smaller class sizes for low achievers,
  • teacher time used to create new courses for lower-level students rather than refining other courses,
  • school resources (support, supplies, etc.) diverted away from the majority to the minority,
  • less teacher time for upper-level students because of the forced paperwork and attention on the lowest achieving students,
  • curriculum cuts to lower the bar for students (to create higher passage rates), and
  • the focus of the school’s efforts being on the teachers’ shoulders rather than placing a focus on the parents’ and students’ involvement as well. Continue reading

Teacher Websites

I’m going to advocate that every teacher create (or have someone else create) a website for every class, especially those of you teaching in middle and high schools. I have one, though I won’t link to it because I like my anonymity, but I will say it has improved my communication with parents and students. The following are a list of benefits I have found.
Continue reading

The Year in Review

I’m such a geek when it comes to teaching. Two weeks after the school year concludes, I’m ready to start again. Since I can’t have a classroom full of students to teach, I go back and revise and adapt my curriculum lessons during July and August. This year I have some more revisions to make, of course.

First, in Sophomore Honors English I want to include a writing assignment, even if a small one, every two weeks. This may take the form of more poetry and literary terms analysis, so I can combine units a bit more, killing two birds with the proverbial stone. I would also like to splash about a few small speeches prior to the final culminating speech to help the kids get more comfortable. Continue reading

“Final Exams are Hard”

The title of this post is what a student told me today after he finished his first high school exam. He’s right, if he’s not prepared.

Finals can be hard for teachers, too, especially when it sometimes feels as though I’m one of the few giving them. Here’s my list of complaints (sorry, but this site helps me vent at times) for the first day of finals: Continue reading