Let’s go ahead and talk about this 2014-2015 school year

This school year’s body isn’t cold yet and I’m ready to start an autopsy. So much to say about this year!

  1.  Off the bat, this year was very, very challenging. There were the usual challenges, yes. There were a lot of others as well that no one saw coming. There were some unique behaviors that really left my gobsmacked. Wow, didn’t see that coming at all.
  2. The Common Core isn’t exactly what I want and I can understand the concerns about it. That being said CCSS makes it very simple to collaborate with teachers all over the country. Couldn’t do that before.
  3. Teachers can be some of the easiest people to work with. They understand the “struggle”. No one is trying to get over on another. We all see the importance of our role. I love my co-workers and my teamies. #MissMrsJonesAlready!
  4. Routines. Routines. Routines.
  5. Complaining about students not following the routines, isn’t teaching the routine.
  6. The more you talk about reviewing the routines as a punishment the more you’re going to have to teach the routines.
  7. Sometimes seeking and getting parents involved is a bad thing. The Helicopter Parent is REAL. But to that point when you have concerned, engaged, useful parents you’ve hit a gold mine.
  8. Turning water into wine was a major miracle.
  9. Do not assume that because you’re doing right/good/going above that people notice.  People will ignore them.
  10. CrossFit saved my sanity more times than I can count. I can not say how thankful I am to be coaching now. I get to fully decompress from the teaching day in a creative and tough way. Thanks Team CFSC!
  11. I need a classroom theme next year. Stay tunded.
  12. My anchor chart system worked like a charm. It’s just that next year I may have a lot less space. So back to the drawing board.
  13. Everyone without a book bag is not unprepared and everyone with book bag is prepared.
  14. A classroom of 17 that sees 9 students come and through the year is going to have a tough time building team.
  15. Meal prep also was spot on. It helped so much with keeping me fed so I didn’t start gnawing on chalk.
  16. Oh, Promethean boards are amazing!
  17. The more kids read on their own the more they understand. Grade level is good, but if they can’t read on grade get them reading in the area of focus on the grade level they can digest.
  18. Read the standards. Know the standards.
  19. Small meaningful projects have a lot of use and give you a lot more bang for your buck.
  20. Paperwork can be managed. I’m not certain I did a perfect job. I know I didn’t do a perfect job with paper work, but I can say I didn’t have a mountain to pass back on the last day either.
  21. Using Journals to capture all the in class work was a great idea. It also worked like charm for homework!  Now to fine tune it.
  22. There is zero reason for me to have a classroom desk what so ever. Not like I ever did, but you get my point.
  23. Get data, use data, get more data.
  24. Class Dojo is still the best thing cooking! I know there are other programs out there, but as a fore runner to those CD is still out pacing them all.
  25. Teachers should become scientists. So much can be done by applying the scientific method to teaching.
  26. People say things to male teachers that, I am confident, they don’t mean.
  27. I have so much fun with my bowtie game. I can’t really explain WHY as much as it just makes me feel like I’m on point. Given that most of the time I’m huddled up in the fetal position wondering why I do this. I need as much confidence as I can muster.
  28. The most challenging student needs love. They need to know that even at the basic level “this person cares about me”. They are going to make it tough, but they need to you to care about them.
  29. They also need some degree of respect. Even when they behavior in the most vile, disrespectful manners. “Going there” with them doesn’t do anything, but solidify that they have to act a certain way to “demand” respect.
  30. I AM STILL WINNING THE PENCIL WAR!

I do have some news I want to post about my teaching career. Most of my family, friends and co-workers know. I am taking a position in another school district closer to my house. I’ve never been apart of my school community. I will NEVER run into my students at the market or out with my children. So to get closer to home and my own kids I’m moving from APS in August. It’s been an enjoyable adventure. Besides all the tissue I’m going to use up on our last teacher day I’m taking some fond, fond memories. Thanks to everyone!

 

An open letter to all “Bad Parents”

    Before I get to my letter. Have you seen the article over at Slate.  It contends that parents who send their children to private schools are bad. Wait…stop laughing. Wipe that coffee of your computer screen…she's serious.
 
    So a parent's desire (free will and choice, mind you) to offer their child an education that reflects their values shouldn't out weigh another parents desire for the same if money, ability are the only things that separate the two. Not sure where I've heard that needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few before. Let me check up on that. 

    I'm not writing this because I send my girls to a private school. As a public school teacher and a parent I find this article simply absurd. As a parent my primary concern is to provide my children with the best that I can. That may look different for every family and that's just fine with me. As a teacher I give my very best to my students and my school. However, at the end of the day my responsibility is to my kids. I have said it before and believe it in my deepest being; parents are the 1st teachers. I only strengthen what you value and teach at home. 

Here are just a few points the author is missing:
  •  Parents are responsible for their kids not everyone else's child. In the same vain where I send my kids is my business not yours. 
  •  She assumes that parents would be lined up at the local school board meeting advocating for better schools. That's not the case at all.  
  • She mistakenly assumes that they only reason schools fail is because of the educators and admin of said school or school system. Nope. You can't get race horses from mules. 
  •  Public schools get a great deal of money as it is right now. Most private schools run on a very tight budget. Yes, there is excess and over indulgence, but most are very modest. That being said why don't public school systems feel it necessary to court the private school parents who pay taxes and yet send their kids to a private school? Seems like the pressure would be on the government school rather than the parents.  
  •  A parent's values aren't being considered at all. It's more than my child learning Bible verses or this being an extension of Sunday School. For many parents religious education is a strong point of their family tradition. That's their perogative. 
  • Teachers on both sides of the argument generally want the same thing; a better future for our kids. Why not celebrate and collaborate with Private and Public schools rather than assume they're keeping all the good toys in their sand box? I'm actually trying to glean from all teachers just to get new ideas and insights. 
  • Not all private school classes are smaller or have the latest and greatest. My classroom right now has fewer kids than either of my girl's private school classes. They also have less tech than I do in my public school. 
  • I don't look sideways at my co-workers who send their children to private or to public school. I certainly don't call them noble for sending their kids to public or less noble for not. I don't ask why because it's none of my business. And I appreciate them respecting my decision the with the same care. 
  • Competition causes everyone to step their game up. I feel the pressure everyday. If I don't give my all and do my best me and my bow ties might be on the outside looking in. Every teacher who wants the best for their students knows that they have to do their best with the cards their dealt. 

    I do wonder if the author would feel the same way if the argument was centered around say, cars? Would I be a bad person because I didn't buy an American made car? Or maybe a Foreign car built in America since it supports the local economy. Seems pretty silly to me. 

Dear Bad Parents, 

    You keep doing what you feel is in the best interest for your kids. I think you're pretty cool. I'm going to keep plugging away making a difference in the life of my students. No name calling or finger wagging. I'll keep doing my best to show you that we're all in this together.

Signed, 

    Public School Teacher

    Not to call the sincerity of the author in question, but I don't believe she believes we're bad parents. I mean why else would you resort to name calling? 

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