Sunday, May 21, 2006

Did you see this article in the Star Tribune? It's brilliant, and it's funny because it's true! My neighbors and I have already had a vigorous discussion about it (they disagree...and the word "transplant" was used when explaining how I can think the way I do).
The other way I know that sarcasm is lost is in my
recent post on MN Speak (and I have no problem saying that since management turned over the site has REALLY changed). Yes, I did in fact make mention (as I did in a previous post here) that I find it ridiculous that our government passed this law and that they are using it to show they can actually get things done, but when I made mention of education, the roads, and such, I was being sarcastic. I know what our government has and hasn't done. My issue is that they are proud of the fact they passed a meaningless bill that will be impossible to enforce.
I don't like talking about politics, because it brings out the zealots who attempt to nuke the conversation to win instead of listening and trying to understand others' viewpoints. Sigh.
On with the ramblings.
So, without further ado: BUT I LIKE A COOKIE!
Week in Review:
I love being a teacher. There are days when it's harder than passing a kidney stone, but I love being a teacher. There are some really rewarding days when the students get into it, and we rock and roll. Then there's this past week. Over five days, we had one good one and four bad ones.
The students have checked out. We have four weeks left, but the final week is essentially finals, so we really have only three weeks left. My students couldn't care less, and the teachers tell me, "Don't teach anything new, because the students won't listen. Don't set them up to fail." My teachers beat the crap out of me until the final bell. We learned new information in my world history class the day before the final...and then had to write an essay on that info. I'm just glad I listened.
As I said, somedays are bad. It's not that every class is bad, but one bad class along with two other indifferent classes (or three if you get coverage) can just make it a rotten day.
Here's the summation of what destroyed me last week:
1. Students going on vacation early. The students have a final project for The Odyssey. They have to work in groups and give a presentation to the class. They're freaking out (and they should, it's worth 200 points and can either help or destroy their grade). I'm being a very
benevolent dictator and giving them time in class (everyday last week) to work on the project. Most are screwing around and not working. I'm not going to be lenient.
However, the issue here isn't their lack of work ethic, but the fact that some parents are going on vacation now and taking the kids with them. I have 110 kids I work with over the course of a day. Twenty-five are missing class during the course of this week. Some are already gone and won't return until after Memorial Day (So close to the end of the year? What are these parents thinking?), while others are leaving on Thursday or Friday.
I get that parents get short vacations and need to take them when they can, but I've got one parent whose kid is failing (I mean getting an "N" folks....We don't use "F" anymore.), and he is pulling his daughter for the whole week. She's missing the project. She can't get a partner (I'm letting her work alone), but I don't see her doing the project on the 30th. They are setting her up for failure. I have a back-up plan for her, but is it fair that she does something else because her parents want to go to the Bahamas?
2. Students feeling "Springy". Here's a tip to all my students who read this (I know a few of you do): If you skip my class on a test day, and I see you screwing around either in town or outside the school, you don't get to make up the test. You can beg, you can attempt to bribe, but it ain't happening. I have one student who decided that she wasn't going to take my test because it, "was a nice day," as she told her friends. I was told she, "was sick." Oops. Even if she was sick, I shouldn't have seen her attempting to ollie (jumping with a skateboard) outside the school at the end of the day. If you're so stupid that you think your teacher won't notice you as he or she is leaving for the day...when you missed a test, you deserve that zero.
However, that's not the only Spring issue. I had to boot two kids the other day because they were shoving each other around the room. When I wrote them up, they started begging so they wouldn't miss the dance.
I had another student refuse to move away from a girl and instead wanted to be sent out (and thereby suspended). I booted him, and he didn't even go to the office, just walked off. Never a good idea.
I get that in Spring, most kids minds go...uh...loopy, but holy hell, folks. Some of these kids are down right idiotic. "I'd rather be suspended than move one seat." That's just idiotic. He just wanted an excuse to miss class (he's going to fail, sadly).
The ultimate, however, came from a student WHO BIT ME. She was mad, so she grabbed my hand and bit it. She didn't break the skin, but left teeth impressions that stayed for two days.
What is wrong with these kids? It's Spring and their horomones and such are out of control. Hard to teach with that happening.
3. Non-caring Teachers. I get along with most of my colleagues. There are a few who have issues with me, but I don't care. However, some of the teachers have checked out for the year. Their students are wandering the hallways, coming to my class instead of their own, and these teachers don't care. It makes it hard on the rest of us.
Movie Theatres:
I still believe in going to movie theatres. I do. I really like sitting there and watching the film on that big screen, but it's difficult at times when the audience is obviously not used to it or doesn't care about it. The other night my wife and I went to the AMC movie theatre in Maple Grove. It's a nice facility with large screens and clean spaces. That's good. As we sat in the theatre waiting for the previews to finish, I looked back at the projector room to see two guys yelling at each other and pointing at the projector. The film strip was too dark. It was obvious that the bulb in the projector was broken and needed to be changed. They stopped the film and started to fix it. The film was supposed to start at 8:05, but didn't start until 8:40 (they had issues). What angered me wasn't the theatre, but the audience. The management apologized for the trouble and gave out coupons. The audience turned on them, yelled at them, and then demanded their money back...but be allowed to watch the film. There were a bunch of teenagers trying to be cool and making fun of people, even going so far as the throw stuff at them (ice, popcorn, and later change). On the other end, however, there were parents with kids yelling about bedtimes. They just sat and bitched. Yes, that is their right, but come on...who does it help? Just relax and wait. It's not that hard.
On a side note, I did find it interesting that one of the teenagers who was posing (yes, he was a poser to the nth degree) was afraid to use the urinals in the bathroom. There were five urinals open (I was at one end) and he went into a stall. You can't be a tough guy and then be afraid of the guy at the urinal, Senor Poser.
Picture is worth how much?
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. This is from a story in the New York Daily News about the NRA expo that was held in New York recently.
There is so much I can say about this, but again, I try not to talk about politics and such.
I can say two things:
Dennis, I've got your next photo caption contest.
2. Is anyone else disturbed by that fact that she's in a Bjorn and attempting to grab a pistol. Do you think there's some guy out there who looks at this picture with a girl and a gun and thinks, "Oh yeah. A few years from now...she's mine," and then...uh...does something naughty?
Hope you've had a great weekend. Summer is coming as is graduation.


Voix said...

SEVENTEEN teaching days.

I'm checked out too.

As a fellow transplant, I heartily agree with the article (and your own self.)

Minnesotans are weird, but I like it here a lot.

Anonymous said...

Leab I mean come on I mean these students obviously dont care about anything which isnt right. I know if that was me i would be concerned with grades and all.

Just so you know Leab you are a great teacher and if these kids want to mess up and not do their work then thats their fault not yours dont worry or feel guilty about it.

Just thought you should know :)


Jason said...

It was impressive how your MNSpeak post took such a turn toward the defensive. I get why Kevin gets mad: it's annyoing when you work at the Capitol and people say "They're not doing anything." Of course they're doing something but whatever. I thought your post was funny.

MNSpeak has changed, but I'm not sure why. I think it has a wider readership, and so when it was a smaller, quirky, interesting group.. the site was more quirky. With wider distribution, you get less.. I don't know, quirky, I guess.

Admin Worm said...

Leab, I loved that Star Trib article as well. I found it very ironic that here was this story explaining irony, then the Trib peppered the rest of the section with columns illustrating that columnists have no understanding of irony.

The Colleen Kruse column (much like her Rake columns) left me shuddering. God, I hate her stuff. It's the typical, perky white female crap.