Monday, March 27, 2017

Writing the wrongs

Once again, we come to that time of year when teachers feel the need to have strokes at their desks.  Yes, it's time to grade those writing assignments, the ones you slaved over and stayed after school to help students with and gave tons of feedback on, with such helpful insights as "don't end your sentence with a preposition!"

Just kidding.  I never say that.

I'm relishing the fact that I get to sit down with the students to review their work, and the first thing I'll do is start reading it aloud to them.  That way, they can squirm and look at the floor and consider their failings, which they should, because I'm certainly considering their failings right now.

Structured play is great for a child to know, because it teaches them the importance of obeying rules and also playing fair with other possible children.

Children will never truly enjoy something unless they like it.

Children need to know the difference between imaginary and reality, the best way to do that is showing them reality but also allowing them imaginary.

Using idea’s never thought about before is becoming more desirable in the work force, so knowing what is real and fake is important to know at an early age.

When children are allowed to play unstructuredly, they develop creative skills.

One of our 30 human rights is to have the freedom to enjoy ourselves. 

When a child has structured play, the child is learning that they don’t always get to do what they want and they don’t always get what they want.

A child’s mentality is considered a way of freedom.

Children thrive in a world where there are no problems, worries, or stress.

It depends on the type of person you is.

It really does, doesn't it?


Monday, March 20, 2017

A day in the life

“How’s the new program working?”

I’m standing outside my classroom door, as I’m required, ready to greet my students as they walk in the classroom door.  I’m tired, and I have a terrible head cold.  This is not improved by having our dean of academics come up and ask me this question.

“Fine,” I say shortly, then turn to say hello to one of my surly students who is trudging in.  He steps between Mr. Slater and me without any acknowledgment of the greeting. 

“So it’s going well?” Mr. Slater asks.

“If they would work,” I respond.  I really don’t want to talk to Mr. Slater, now or any time.  The class period that’s about to start is my worst-behaved class, and this new “program” is the district’s response to my request for an interventionist to come in and work with my students who clearly can’t read well.  Rather than sending the STATE REQUIRED PERSON IN, they decided to implement another computer program, in addition to the one I’ve already been doing.  This will teach the kids to read – not the study-proven one-on-one help that we’re supposed to be providing already. 

So yeah, I’m unhappy with Mr. Slater, with his smug, stupid little goatee and lack of email response.  I’m unhappy with the school and their general half-ass measures.  This program was his brilliant idea. 

“So what are you doing to make them work?” he asks.

I cough violently.  “What?” I say.

So what am I doing to make them work, besides standing over them, constantly redirecting and reminding them of their grades?  I’ve been threatening their families and bribing them with illegal substances?  I hear that works.

Luckily, the bell rang.  "Sorry, I have to start class now," I say to Mr. Slater.  I walk inside and close the door in his face.  



Monday, March 13, 2017

Can I call it TBM?

I thought you'd get a kick out of an old journal entry I wrote when I was working at my high school in Crappy ISD.  

Busy day.  Two fights in the cafeteria this morning, one at lunch, one in the hallway. 

Busy day.  Two days ago I received and email, telling me I was signed up for training that I knew nothing about.  I’ve learned that questioning why doesn’t seem to work, so I figured what the heck, it’s another day I get to spend away from these foul-mouthed monsters.  I might pick up some valuable knowledge or skills as well. 

Boy, did I leave with a head full of knowledge!  It’s so full of it that I’m bleeding from the ears.  I learned that the district wants me to do MORE work, and MORE remediation, even though that’s NOT what I was told when I was hired.  They’ve got a great new program that’s going to fix the big problem of kids not being able to read.  The best news is that it only takes more than double the amount of prep time, grading time and in-class training time than the average class.  I felt waves of relief wash over me; either that or my bladder let go when I heard it.  When you have three different classes to prepare for, the most exciting thing you can hear is that you’ll need to spend more time planning and prepping and documenting. 

Busy day.  Three teachers walked out of the school this afternoon.  One was attacked by a student during class.  The administration announced that he was terminated because apparently, throwing the student off of him was “unprofessional.”  That is so true.  The most professional thing to do cover your face and hope you don’t get slashed in the guts – otherwise you’re just entering a power struggle with the kid. No one wants that.  

The attacked teacher left when the school wouldn’t call the police to report it as an assault, even though the attacker was 18.  The other two teachers left out of outraged solidarity.

So… busy day, but really, it’s just another day at Low Expectations High.  I plan to be busy with a fifth of vodka tonight.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Nature or nurture?

Are sociopaths drawn to education?

This was the main thrust of a conversation a friend and I were having today.   We were talking about how many sick, narcissistic or even psychopathic people we’ve worked with in education.  Is it because it’s an industry that doesn’t demand productivity, or at least productivity in a way that’s easy to measure?  Is it because it’s usually something run by the government? 

Before you roll your eyes at my naivete, consider that I’ve worked in several other industries before I made a move to teaching.  Yes, there were indeed both great and horrible people in those industries too.  But I don’t think I saw as many there as I’ve seen working in schools.  Furthermore, though each school has its share of teachers who have absolutely no business working with juveniles in any capacity, what I’m talking about mainly is administration.  Power corrupts… blah blah blah.

I think sick people like to be in positions of power over a group of “good people.”  Most teachers are good people.  They got into this business because they want to help kids and be a force for positive change in their lives.  They work hard for little money, spend a lot of their free time with their students, and generally throw their all into their work.  A sociopathic admin probably thinks, “These suckers are ripe for the picking.”

Who else would feel guilty about what they can’t do, and take it personally when their principal blames them?  Who else would bend over backward to try and fix it?  Who else would actually believe that group work is productive, or that popsicle sticks are a fixture in a high school classroom?  Who else could a power-hungry person manipulate as easily as a group of teachers?

We need a test of some sort for administrators.  Maybe we should create a questionnaire, and ask how many close friends you have, who you idolize, and what you think is an acceptable time to contact a team member.  If you answer with “few to none,” “Kim Jong-Un,” and “anytime I want,” then your proclivities are clear. 


Worse, maybe these awful administrators AREN’T sociopaths.  Maybe they become that way after working in education.  If that’s true, then God help everyone who is involved.