Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Week Closer to Spring Break

Thanks to our "hurrication" back in September, we don't have any more 3-4 days weekends. This is the long haul, right now - Jan to March. Spring fever starts to hit the kids, and the teachers as well. Although the effect it takes on each is opposite. Students are giddy and teachers are grumpy. I try to keep myself out of negative situations, and keep busy (which is not too hard for me!) What is frustrating me more than anything though, is trying to deal with people who refuse to act on things that are within their control. Instead they choose to complain about things outside that realm - dragging those of us who are not there down with them. Sigh.

Craig is in Atlanta this weekend, trying to qualify for Nationals. His relay team was DQ'd from the entire meet last weekend. It was their conference championship meet, and his relay team missed their preliminary heat. It really does not seem to be a fair consequence, but it is what it is, and he (and the other 3 guys) had to sit and watch everyone else swim. His coach found a meet in Atlanta that they could attend and try to qualify. So they are there. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Chris had a pulpectomy this week. Thanks to Kellen family genes, he has two baby teeth with no permanent teeth underneath them. One of them had a cavity that was filled a while ago. The tooth became infected. A pulpectomy is sort of the equivalent of a root canal, but on a baby tooth. They also do not destroy the nerve, so it is not as painful. Later on (many years later) he will need an implant for that tooth. For right now they are trying to save it, so we don't have to mess with the braces.

And Gary is getting ready for his big weekend next weekend! He leaves Thursday evening for a weekend of golf in California. The foursome will be playing Pebble Beach, Spyglass, and Spanish Bay. They are trying to get on at Cypress Point as well. Needless to say - I don't have to wonder where he is when it is daylight this week!

And so closes another week. Now to figure out how many weeks till the end of school!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sugar Intoxication

Fighting it is a futile effort. But yet we try, and then we end up with a lumpy head from the brick wall we kept hitting it on! Trying to teach 13-14 year olds that have had a steady diet of candy, cookies, and cupcakes all day is Sisyphean. But yet I try! I am glad today is almost over.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thoughts for the Day!

When you find a probably fell off the truck and the truck is fixing to lose its whole load!

The saying that patience is a virtue just means you get more dumped on you "because you can handle it!"

Carry on!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Crack in the Facade

These are the days that make 27 years of teaching worth it!!! Sorry for the long post - but it just made my day!!!

I got a new student in class several weeks ago. I chatted with him as he came in, from New Orleans, knew where English Turn was, told him my brother used to live near there before Katrina, but that was about all I got out of him. Gave him a seat, and he pulled his hood over his head and proceeded to attempt sleep. Wrong thing to do in my room!!! I gently tap his shoulder and pull back the hood. He sits up and just takes up space the first day.

I see him in the cafeteria the next few days. He sits all the way in the back, by himself. Nice looking kid, neat cornrows; clean, pressed clothes; but very quiet. He does not eat lunch. Girls sit at his table and try to talk to him - fresh meat! He really does not engage and they leave him alone after a few days. Don't see him even try to talk with the boys either. Hmmm.

Since he came about a week before the end of the semester, I tell him I want him to take the semester exam to see what he remembers from his other school. He nods, still not saying much. I tell him, if he can come to tutorials, we will try to get him caught up on one or two of the topics we covered the last two weeks at least. He does not show up. He fails miserably.

New semester started the day after MLK day. I pass out the homework for the week. Remind the kids that they get 5 bonus points for turning it in early. Also reminding the kids in basketball and soccer they can do their HW in tutorials that day and get their bonus points. None of the b-ball kids or soccer kids show up. But at 2:40 he shows up at my door asking if he can stay for tutorials and would I show him how to do the homework! "Well, hell yes" I yell in my head! I show him what to do and sort of hover while he works, noticing also that he puts the book about 6 inches from his face. Note to tell the nurse to check his vision and see about glasses from Lions Club maybe.

He finishes his worksheet, and I check over it. Of course it is 100% because I made sure it would be. I get my purple marker out and put the 105 on it and the slightest smile glimmers across his face for about 2 seconds. I also ask if he has internet at home. He does. I show him our science website and the vocabulary game he can pull up to practice the science vocab. I see him the next day in the counselor's office. Pausing as I pass by, she is talking to him about what he needs to do to pass his classes for the year since he came with mostly D's and F's from NOLA. I stop and mention to her that he is off to a great start for me at least, telling her of tutorials the day before. He grins a little bigger today! He also is starting to be the first one to show up for class. His period is right after lunch and most kids don't get there until 30 seconds before the tardy bell. He is in my room 30 seconds after the release bell. He is eating lunch now too, but still by himself.

Fast forward to this week. We are finishing our unit on plate tectonics. We play vocab bing, and he knows some of the words. I pass out the review sheet, he chooses to work alone, but then comes to tutorials as well. We work a bit more on the review in tutorials, and before he leaves I also give him a review sheet with all the answers (thanks to my wonderful co-teacher Lee!!!) On the test today, he calls me over and whispers that most of this stuff was on the review sheet I gave him! "Yes, you're right" I reply. He gets to work.

After class today he actually comes by to see if I have graded the papers yet. I have (God bless scantrons!) He made a 47. He hangs his head. I point out it is better than what he did on the first test, and that if he is willing to come to tutorials we will get him passing! He leaves saying he will be there "Cuz I wanna pass!" I close the door behind him feeling a bit verklempt.

File this away with my memory of Alan (an ESL student) who tells me he will invite me to his medical school graduation because he now likes science. I guess I have done an OK job! ;-)