Monday, July 11, 2016

The best laid plans...

I really did intend to post more this summer, but that clearly hasn't happened. I'm not going to post any more for the rest of the summer either. Honestly, I've been debating whether or not I want to keep this blog up. I'm feeling really uninspired lately and maybe it's time to give it up. I'll let y'all know what I decide to do about that.

Until then, I'm going to enjoy my last few weeks of summer. I'm on vacation at my sister's house for a couple of weeks. Currently it's 66 degrees, all the windows are open, the kids are in bed, there's wine and beer aplenty, and the adults are watching Zootopia (which I've already seen, but my sister and her husband have not). It's a good night.

Enjoy your July and we'll reconvene here soon.

Friday, June 17, 2016

So much irony.

Email from a fellow teacher of seniors during the week of finals:

Subject: Irony

One of my 3rd hour students just asked me what "apathy" means.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Co-workers are ridiculous...

An email from one of my co-workers during final exams:

"I heard crazy-loud singing in the quiet hallway. I rolled my eyes and got up to see what kid was being disruptive.

Just take a guess who it might have been.

Here's a hint: it's not a kid."

Who was it? This guy right here. Also the same guy who sent a group text like two weeks ago to some of my workers saying "Uh, I kind of miss you all? Can we get drinks?" And we did.

All ridiculousness aside, we really do love each other.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I did good this year...

I keep sitting down to write posts and then failing because I start thinking about how fucked this world is and how I'm sending my seniors over into a world where shitty things happen. The Orlando shooting was a travesty and I've been fuming about the Stanford rapist and I can't let it go.

But then I remember this moment, a culmination of dozens of comments and side lessons I tried to teach this year...

My students were at a seminar admin organized for them and one of the speakers told them to spread love by hugging each other all time. Even if someone doesn't want to hug you, you should do it anyway.

A kid whipped around to find me:

Kid: NO! That's not right! Consent! You told us you should never touch someone without their consent!
Me: Correct. Only hug or otherwise touch people with their consent.

If nothing else, I have 170ish kids (assuming everyone listened to me) who are well-versed on the concept of consent and what that means in regards to body autonomy.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Summer time!

So, school is done for the year.

Yet I'm definitely not done for the year. As I have for the last few summers, I'm running a summer program for middle schoolers, which is equal parts interesting and awful. Going from teaching high school seniors to talking to incoming 6th graders is a challenging change. It's only until the end of this month, then I get all of July off (PRAISE BE!).

This school year was...interesting. If this wasn't an anonymous blog I could talk to you about specific stuff, but damn me and my need for privacy. I'll just leave it at that...interesting. We all made it through. For the first time in YEARS, I had a student who failed my class and couldn't graduate. I don't feel bad about that at all. I'm not saying my class is a breeze, but you have to actively try to fail.

I have a bunch of stuff still to post from this school year, so I'll be posting over the next month or so, and then I'll probably take July off.  I hope everyone's end of the year has been quiet and not full of students begging for last minute extra credit.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Heads up, I'm no one's mom.

Seniors finished up last week and on the last day, five minutes before the bell rings, this happened:
Kid: M, you're not my mom anymore!
Me: Uh, I've NEVER been your mom...
Kid: But we've been together all year, it's sort of like you're my mom.
Me: No, it's not even a little bit like that.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Damn, I'm young!

"You are NOT 34 years old!" is an thing that was just yelled at me in class today. Somehow my one of my classes was under the impression that after 9 months together a) I've only been teaching a few years, and b) I'm 26. 

Thanks, I think?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cry me a river...

Yesterday one of my students, who was born in 1998, told me his mom named him Justin after Justin Timberlake. So basically I have to quit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Potty Humor

An email from reader S:

*     *     *     *     *

We are currently on a "hall freeze" (no students out of class except for extreme emergencies), today is the last day for seniors. So far in just ONE class I have had:

1. A student change his shirt, completely taking one off and changing into another.
2. Same student complaining because he need to go to the bathroom, but refusing to work.
3. A student ask to go to the bathroom, when I said there were no passes out, he asked "Can I pee in that jar?"
4. A student ask I would write an office referral if he just walked out of class to go to the bathroom.
5. A student threaten to call their mom so she can tell me to let her daughter go to the bathroom.
6. A student threaten to open my exterior door and pee outside.
7. Girl student: "I have to pee, but I'm a man, so I can hold mine in until the bell rings."

What is it about being "locked down" that makes these kids go crazy and all of a sudden all of them have to go to the bathroom?!?!?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Some Reasons to Stay...

Maybe you saw this HuffPo article last week, "7 Reasons You Might Not Want to Teach Anymore". I agree with a lot of what she says and there are so many reasons to get out of the classroom, way more than the seven she lists. But I'm not ready to go yet. I'm here for the long haul. So here are some reasons to stay...

1. It's not going to get better unless we make it better. We need to keep voting to right people into office, taking a stand on propositions that affect our jobs, and talking about issues that affect our classrooms. We need to not give up.

2. Technology is making me crazy, but also crazy happy. I hate the obsession with cell phones. But, on the other hand, I love technology in my classroom. I like the infinite resources the internet provides me. I like how I gave give a poll in class via phones. I like that I can text kids reminders at night and they don't have my cell number. I fucking love and how it helps me find cheaters. I found a box of overhead projector sheets the other day and laughed, because I haven't touched that relic in years. I love my Proxima. Yes, sometimes technology makes our jobs harder, but it also makes life easier, and if that means accepting our eventual robot overlords, then so be it.

3. There is a way to assess if you're good at this job. Are you doing your best? Are you never giving up? Are you helping the kids who need it to the best of your ability? Then you're good at this job. That continual struggle is what makes continual professional growth so important. No matter what my yearly evaluation says (OK, so they're always really good), I know I'm good at my job because I love it and I feel effective. Kids learn in my classroom. Kids grow in my classroom. A decade later kids come back to me with grammar jokes on Facebook, or a reflection on a book we read, or a something they saw in the world that reminds them of me and my class. I know I'm good at my job because I've turned thousands of kids out into the world, and though they may falter and have missteps, they've learned from me and are becoming better people in the world for it.

4. We're making the next generation smarter and not just in the 2+2=4 way. We're introducing them to literature, history, scientific theories, etc. that will have a lasting influence on their lives. People often say what you learn in high school doesn't matter in the real world, and I don't think that's true at all. If I can get one kids to fall in love with a book, thus fostering their love of reading, I consider it a win. If a business teacher teaches someone to do their taxes, if a science teacher introduces someone to animal biology, if a Spanish teacher creates of love of languages, we've all done something to have a lasting impact. I hate inspirational teacher shit, but there are moments where we change lives.

5. We're making the next generation better people. Someone needs to talk to these kids about the world, because sometimes they're not getting that at home. They need to understand the world and personal responsibility, and sometimes it's our job to teach that. Tolerance, patience, real world behavior, these are a big part of being an adult and a decent human being. We're not just making kids smarter, but we're making them better human beings.

6. We're in the trenches together. I say it all the time, but the best thing about my job is the group of people I work with. I would walk through fire and find a hill to die on for them, and I know they would for me as well. We support and want the best for one another. We make each others' days better when bad stuff happens.

7. Teenagers are ridiculous. They are. We know it. But that's why we love them. They say stupid shit that's enlightening and hilarious and for that we come back every day.