Category Archives: Frustration

Surprising Question from a Student

When I conducted the activity I mentioned a couple days ago, one of the anonymous questions surprised (and interested) me.

A student asked: do you really care about your students’ educations or are you just here for the paycheck like my teachers last year?

However, in my head I thought that this was a student who hears bad things about teachers at home or had a very poor Freshman year experience at my school. I’m not sure which I hoped was the answer.

In truth, I’m guessing this student had a sad alignment of our least effective and driven teachers. We all know who the teachers are who would rather be buddies with kids than authority figures, those who want to be the new Video King, those who want to do as little as possible, and those who simply work the minimum number of hours and go home. Every school has them, and we would lobby to get our own kids into different teachers’ classes.

What saddened me, though, was this was a student who even thought that teachers perform their jobs for the money without caring about kids. How can a teacher not care about kids? It’s anathema to every piece of my teaching philosophy.

Day 4 of the school is tomorrow, and I want to start changing that student’s view on education and teaching.

Differentiation For Some

I’m always amazed that training sessions are never differentiated for staff even though the staff is expected to differentiate for kids. I guess only those in the classroom are required to teach all levels.

I’m grumpy after a full day of “learning” what I already know. 😦

Daily Log and the Drama Diva

Hours in meetings today: two and a half

Hours in my room doing paperwork: two

Sentences spoken by the Drama Diva: three

As I entered my school today to work in my classroom, out of the main doors came the Drama Diva. No matter the day, she has a problem, a disaster, a concern, a reason for sadness. No sunny skies, no happy smiles, no “hello” or “How are you?”, no good news, no optimism.

Everything in her life seems to center on some bit of drama.

Anyway, I smiled and said “hello” and her reply was a three-sentence string of three different things that had already gone wrong. I hurried inside in case she wanted to begin a conversation, which really means telling me a story surrounding each of the problems. I have, without hyperbole, become embroiled in one-sided dialogues with the Drama Diva lasting over ten minutes a pop where I say nothing and only nod. These are brutal moments in my day.

I’m guessing everyone has their own Drama Diva, and I try to avoid ours like a contagious disease. I’m sure someone else in the building is Susie Sunshine to counterbalance the Drama Diva’s negativity, but I have yet to find her mirror (though I have not looked through the looking glass); the universe is full of symmetry and one day I will discover DD’s Bizarro version.

Classroom Visits

I went to my classroom today to begin decorating and organizing, but I received a couple unexpected visits. One teacher needed help with a presentation and information sheet while another wanted to update me on some technology and personnel changes. I was there for two and half hours and accomplished nothing on my “to do” list.

I need to start closing my door.

Grade Books and Younger vs. Older Teachers

Today was an exploration of the new grade book system we are using. I spent a couple hours identifying the basic functions, but the bulk of that time was used trying to figure out how to make it let me grade the way I want to enter scores.

I’ve decided that I am going to use GPA scoring on every assignment (4.0 for and A, 3.0 for a B, etc.) while still using my categories (i.e. tests, writings, final, etc.). This will make every assignment within each category weighted the same. Each unit test over the novels will have the same effect within its category as will each paper, each presentation, each speech, and so on. It won’t be a standards-based system, but I have not found the standards adopted to include all that they should. That’s my bias and the reason I do not have a full standards-based system. Regardless, I am going to have to manipulate the grade book percentages to allow for GPA scoring, and it took the better part of 90 minutes to determine how to make it work.

I also read a few articles on education issues today for about an hour. As any teacher knows, the measurements or assessments used have a drastic effect on student motivation and success just like the way schools are graded have a tremendous impact on funding and more, which is what this article notes on Alabama schools. Another interesting article noted that the Seattle School District wants to raise class sizes despite a Washington State Supreme Court ruling demanding smaller class sizes.

Today I received a call from a younger teacher, one who would be considered part of the online generation (an age group never really knowing a world without the internet). Truth be told, I straddle the line between the online and pre-online generations, but the teacher who called me is definitely an onliner. She wanted to know if we had a specific resource, and my first thought was “have you looked?” I would guess the answer to be “no,” but I have no real evidence to suggest this to be true except past experience.

What I’ve noticed is that the younger teachers don’t always tend to look first before asking others to come to their aid; whereas, the elder teachers look first and try to figure things out on their own before including others. This may not necessarily be a negative, but I have observed that the younger generation, including my students, want a immediate answer rather than putting in an extra minute or two discovering the answer on their own. They seem to think it’s ok for them to inconvenience others to speed up their activities. Maybe that ‘s a bit harsh, but I see it frequently.

Truly, providing the answer required less than a minute of my time, but in the time it took the teacher to call and chat with me, she could have located the resource on her own without interrupting me. I wasn’t even really bothered by the call and was happy to help (and very happy this teacher was starting her planning three before school starts), but the call did generate the thought about how the generations differ.

I know, I know. I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, including my use of that antiquated term, but the Google Generation does seem to want everything right now and don’t always have the patience of their elder peers. Is this simply a product of age or the effect of the online age? I’m not sure, but the trend seems to be increasingly true and today was a prime example.

Oh, sheesh. Maybe I’m becoming a curmudgeon. 🙂

Update: Maybe I should post my feelings about how the older teachers often fret over technology while the younger teachers rush to embrace it. And, when will I go from embracing the technology to fretting about it?