Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reasons why I should be paid more (and be allowed to keep my National Board Stipend)

In the following week or so, these are the issues I had to deal with at work:

1) A student who is a potential gang member was expelled for threatening to stab another student in his math class. Said student was let back into school the next week (because he did not actually have a weapon) causing us to have to move the student who was threatened out of my class and into another.

2) I discovered that a group of girls in my class had essentially started a "fight" club and would meet to beat on one another in the restroom during their passing time. In addition, they would try to distract their math teacher, allowing them to do this in class as well. All of their parents are in denial that their "angels" would ever do such things, although the Vice-Principal has gathers a couple dozen witness reports from other students citing exactly what they were up to.

3) One member of the "fight club" group took things a bit too far, nearly strangling another member in the bathroom. I was the one who ended this fight and now the mother of the "strangled girl" is pressing charges against the other...completely ignoring that her own precious daughter had a very big part in the whole situation. Said mother is currently harassing me with emails, in attempts to now appear to be a caring parent who is involved with her daughter's schooling. I am guessing this is to prepare for when her and her daughter's character are in question during the hearing?

4) Oh, did I mention that the girl whose mother is pressing charges was suspended for 45 days for bringing a knife to school back in October? Yup, quite a model student.

5) Two boys in my class are now suspended for fighting before school. One of them ended up in the hospital with a broken arm. That mother is also pressing charges against the other boy, even though they were equally involved in the fight.

6) Because of all of the the suspensions, I was left with a class of only 21 students for two days last week. While it was nice, I am still expected to give these students the opportunity to make up any missed work. Oh, and I will also be judged on whether or not they pass the state test.

7) Tomorrow, I am getting a kid with major behavior issues in my class, because there were so many problems with the teacher of the class he was in. But don't worry, I am sure I can change his entire attitude even though his parents don't seem to make the effort.

8) Two girls that I have in my class forged notes as to get out of their Science class early and go home. One got out, the other note was caught by the office. They didn't seem to understand why this was a big deal.

9) Did you notice that I have even mentioned any challenges that have to do with actual "teaching?" This is because the actual teaching is the easy part.

10) I am still teaching amidst all of these problems. While all of this was occurring, we: Studied the Aztec and took a quiz (which every kid got an A or a B on), learned about the Literacy elements of theme and character, figured out strategies for reading non-fiction text, and used metacognition to think about reading.

With all of these challenges, I feel that I should definitely be allowed to keep my Board Stipend (which will probably cease to exist next year) as should other NBCT's. However, the "solution" currently in the works is to take away my stipend and add more kids to each class (since I am considered "highly qualified").

The question I have, and have pondered for a while is: When will we as a nation start holding parents more accountable? It is not my job to teach kids manners they should have learned at home. It seems like everybody thinks the schools are the way to handle any major problems with youth. Schools are where we try to change gangs, nutrition (school lunches), childhood obesity, family problems, friendship and social issues, and more...

Your kid is fat? Blame the school's and their "unhealthy lunches" and only "two trimesters of PE" without bothering to take a look at what they are eating at home and sheer number of hours they spend playing video games, rather than moving. Isn't it time to take a good hard look at why just turning to schools to solve all of our problems is NOT working.

All the pieces of the puzzle have to be in place to see any real change- Schools, parents, and the community. Right now, unless something changes, I have a real concern for the future of our county.

Although, maybe I can sue these parents for giving me wrinkles before I should have any?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The white hat trick

When I was in high school, there was this thing that my friends and I referred to as "the white hat trick." It was basically a theory that all guys looked better when wearing white hats (even better if they were backward).

Then, when the hats were removed, said boy could be completely average looking, or (gulp) ugly.

White hats, for some unknown reason, just caused the attractiveness of males to increase tenfold. Perhaps it was because they covered strange hair, an odd-shaped head, or a peculiar face (previously shaded by the hat).

Seriously. This theory tested to be true time and time again. In college, I discovered friends from other schools who also knew of "the white hat trick" and it's effectiveness to woo girls. It was being done all over the state...maybe even the country!

Alas, white hats went out of style when I was in college, replaced by a new trick...the "long hair trick" (I know, I am pretty clever with names).

In college, the "frat cut" finally went out of style and long hair became trendy. Long hair on guys showed that they were laid-back, carefree, and "different" (even though the majority of males thier age had the same style).

Instantly, men with longish hair were deemed to be more desirable and attractive.

Then, similar to the removal of the white hats, college boys might cut their locks for the summer- and reveal their true appearance. No longer could they hide behind their hair.

Today, the girls I teach site "skinny jeans" as a prerequisite for a boy to be "attractive" (perhaps a Beiber influence)? If a boy does not wear said jeans, he not considered cool by the female teenage population.

I sort of get the "white hats" and "long hair" as a way to hide who they really are...skinny jeans do not really fit this idea. Sorry guys. Nobody looks good in skinny jeans, even the Bieb. And they certainly do not hide anything either.

Maybe they will put away the skinny jeans when they learn of the "white hat trick" from their fathers?

I guess, the bottom line is, if we girls have make-up, push-up bras, and highlights, guys deserve to have some tricks of their own too?