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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Breakers…

My last assignment for the month was a Title 1 school, second grade class the day before “Spring Break”! (Ugh)

I know, I know…not the wisest move on my part, the last day before a holiday. I know I’m going to have problems, but I am short days this month. It’s the last opportunity to add to an already anemic April paycheck.

The class was as difficult as expected. Not “terrible out of control” difficult just the “wearing me out” difficult getting them to do class work instead of tattling, whining and the constantly goofing off that comes with kids this age. No surprise there.

The end of day bell could not come soon enough for me as I dismissed the class to get backpacks from the coat closet and go home. Just when I thought I’d heard it all, three girls came running out to tattle on some boys for “opening doors”.

Having no clue what “opening doors” in a coat closet could possibility mean I had to investigate.

Now, I know the classrooms are small and outdated but I just have to wonder who had the bright idea of installing the high voltage electrical circuit breaker panels in a closet the teacher uses as a combination, backpack, coat, and outdoor play equipment room.

Sure enough, a couple boys have the kid height access panels to the high voltage circuits open and are flipping breaker switches! Fortunately there are no exposed circuits, but still…

Since the lights in my classroom are still working, I had no idea what the breakers controlled but I wouldn’t be surprised if some teacher in another classroom must be wondering if there are poltergeists haunting his/her classroom.

(…The original title of this post was "Spring Break", but then I realized I had a better title!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Difference Between MLK and BHO

"I have dream!" .vs. "I have a plan!"

Success vs Failure explained...
(It's long but worth every minute)

HT: CarpeDiem for the find

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No One Fails Anymore…

(I’m probably going to get flamed for this but…)

The Individualized Education Program (IEP), mandated by the “Disabilities Education Act”, is supposed to address kids who have delayed skills or other disabilities that make learning or functioning in a school environment difficult.

I’ve subbed classes with IEP kids before and I truly feel for the well behaved 4th grader that tries real hard to do the “individualized” 2nd grade math problems and still doesn’t “get it”. The more serious disruptive behavior cases often have a personal aide that attends class with them and will handle the issues that come up.

But, like any government program, I suspect that the “IEP” can be misused as an excuse for just plain lazy, careless work.

I just completed a 2-day stint with group of friendly, good natured, cooperative 5th graders at the country club school. But there always seems to be at least one “goof ball” who isn’t quite with the program. Let’s call him “Dave” for anonymity reasons.

Dave is also friendly, cooperative, and good natured but doesn’t do any work. If pressed, he can do the work with constant prompting but on his own, when my back is turned, he spends his time in class drawing posters. He has an IEP.

His IEP (briefly explained on the lesson plan) allows him to complete only about half the homework and/or class work. The problem with Dave is that he hasn’t done even the half he is supposed to do.

Now I’m only guessing but given the nature and make up of the school, I suspect that Dave’s low performance isn’t up to the expectations of his highly successful parents and therefore it must be a bad school or some medical condition as a reason for their son’s poor performance. Since the school is one of the highest rated schools in Calif, the problem must therefore be “medical”.

No one is simply allowed to fail anymore.

For more on (possible) misuses of the IEP program, check out the Untouchables on Buckhorn Road

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Substitute Teacher Performance Reviews...

Every job I’ve had included some sort of  “performance review” process to let you know where you stood in the ranks of fellow job holders. The results of the review determine pay raises, bonus, a promotion or in some cases a layoff notice. As far as I know, the only profession(s) where this doesn’t happen is the self employed and substitute teachers.

But then again…

(Found this on the desk after the 3rd graders left for the day...)

Monday, April 04, 2011

Look For The Flagpole…

Here’s a tip for beginning substitute teachers.

When arriving at a school for the first time and you are looking for the school office, look for a flagpole.

The school office is most likely located in the building nearest to it. The office door is most likely the door nearest the flagpole.

There are exceptions. I arrived to check in with 2 minutes to spare for a 5th grade class last Friday to find that the school office was missing. I’ve been to this school numerous times over the last five years and the school office was always right there behind the flagpole. The building was still there but the front desk, phones, computers, furniture, filing cabinets, school principal and office staff…all gone!

It took me another five minutes to locate the “temporary” school office in one of the unused Kindergarten classrooms.

It seems that they had just begun remodeling the “old office” to be turned into the new teacher’s lounge and resource area. The “new office” will relocated to a building at the other end of the parking lot.

I wonder if they’ll move the flagpole?