Thursday, November 5, 2015

And the Question is...

 Me: "Alex, I'll take 'Essays' for $2000."
Alex: "And the answer is '10' ."
Me: "What is the number of essays I will be grading today, Alex?"
Alex: "That's correct!"

Here's the numbers:
157 students in my World Literature classes.
82 of those 157 actually handed in an essay, that we have been working on for 2 months.
10 of those 82 will be graded because they produced a paper with a perfect MLA formatted Works Cited page. Which, btw, I have taught them how to do, even given them a typed example with all the information on it they needed. All they had to do was change the author's name and the title of their short story and put in their page numbers. It couldn't have been any easier if I had done it for them. Oh, wait...I DID do it for them!

10 :{

Friday, October 30, 2015

Freddy Krueger

Happy Halloween!
Well, who knew? I bought a long-sleeved top at Costco about 2 months ago and it has been so warm I have not had a chance to wear it, until today. It looks exactly like the tee shirt Freddy Krueger wears. It has smaller stripes but it looks enough like it that all the kids ask me if I'm dressed as him. Maybe I won't wear this again...Darn! It was a good price, too.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Truth Hurts

     Here we are again...talking about weed. The funny thing is, is that we weren't really talking about weed. We were making a list of our class room objectives. I was telling the kids, showing them actually, by letting them chart it out, how, in everything we study, all the research tells us that the more we read the smarter we become.
     And so we began talking about books. I related the book challenge I entered on Goodreads at the beginning of the year, to read 24 books. I told the kids I am now in the 30's; surpassing my challenge goal. And the year isn't over yet. I was trying to make the point that a book can be a form of escapism: the easiest, and safest type of drug you can get.
Wait for it...
     A kid from the second row: "Marijuana makes you smarter."
     Me: "And how do you know that?"
     Him, acting the smart ass role: " I know because I'm a marijuanaologist."
     Him: "Yeah, ask me anything."
     Me, walking over to stand by him, " think smoking grass makes you smarter?"
     Him: "yeah."
     Me: "What grade do you have in this class?"
     Him proudly, "F."
I just smiled and walked away, while the rest of the class laughed.
Obviously he's studying hard.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


     A couple of weeks ago I noticed two of my students using hand signals to talk to each other across the room. My first thought was, "How do these two kids know sign language?" But then I realized that they were using gang signs to communicate. This is called "stacking." While most of the signs are common among all gangs, each individual gang has their own "dialect" so to speak.
     I have no doubt that many of my students are, if not full on members of gangs, initiates. Which means that it will only be a matter of time before they have to prove their worth and either be jumped in (beat up by other gang members) or commit a crime to prove their loyalty.
     I didn't say anything to the two young men the first time I saw it, but today they started in again. For one thing it's distracting, for me and the other students. I sent one kid outside and continued with the lesson. When we were at a stopping point I went outside to speak with him. He complained that I was picking on him, that everybody did it. I told him not in my classroom, and I wanted him to stop. He said it didn't mean anything. I looked at him and told him I knew stacking when I saw it. He seemed surprised I knew what it was.
     I may be old, but in this job; I have to keep up!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Nice Shirt!

     I have decided to be more proactive in enforcing the dress code this year. I'm not sure who buys the clothes that many of our students wear, but there seems to be a big lack of appropriateness going on.
     Earlier this week I noticed a young man in my 5th period class wearing a tee shirt that was appropriate, not to mention totally inappropriate for school. I had warned him the last time he wore it that I didn't want to see him wear it again. At that time I had him take it off and put it in his back pack, and I am sure he put it back on once he got out my door.
     This time I asked him to go outside. When I got out there to talk to him, I had him take the shirt off and I would take it and hand deliver it to the AP in charge of discipline. The student refused.

Him: "I don't want to take my tee shirt off."
Me: "I warned you last time you wore it. I want the tee shirt. You have another tee shirt on underneath."
Him: "But that shirts not clean."
Me: "Not my problem. Shirt, please."
Him: "No. you can't have my shirt."
Me: "Done arguing. Shirt." With my hand out.
Him: "No."
Me: "Ok. wait here for the referral. You can go talk to the AP about it."
He left with the referral in hand.
     By the end of that period I had confiscated a phone and the first thing I did at lunch was take it to the security office to be picked up by a parent at the end of the day. As I was walking into the administration office the kid with the tee shirt came walking out. He had on a red SMHS tee shirt over his white one. Obviously the AP also thought his tee shirt was inappropriate and confiscated it, giving him another shirt to wear.
As I passed him I said with a smile, "Nice shirt!"
Man, if looks could kill.
Teacher: 1
Student: 0

Friday, October 9, 2015


     This is me (not really) being disgusted. I mean I AM disgusted but this is really not a picture of me. Anyway...back to the disgusted part.
     I've been feeling this way for a while now. Mostly I am disgusted with my students. Not mostly...they are the total root to this problem. Everyday, I come into work, ready to teach. I don't know what's going on but the group of students I'm teaching this year are totally disinterested in EVERYTHING! They are not doing their homework. They are falling asleep in class or making routine trips to the bathroom. They lie to me about having cell phones (because I collect them at the beginning of the period) and then they interrupt my class by checking for messages. I had one kid open up his tablet the other day and do something (he wouldn't tell me what) right while I was trying to get them to analyze a book we are reading. Which, by the way, is another thing I'm running into: the kids are not participating in the discussions. I ask questions. Silence. I call on individual students. I get blank stares or the ever popular "I don't know." I had a rough draft of an essay due today. 6 kids in my first period class had theirs and 7 kids in my second period class had them. Yikes! F's all around! I imagine the rest of my periods today will have the same results.
     Now, before you go there...I want to say that I am not the only teacher experiencing this chaos. Others are having similar problems in varying degrees. But it seems to be centered in the sophomore class. I don't understand. Two years ago, when I taught sophomores, they were not like this, so I'm not quite sure what's going on. I can only carry on, trying to get their attention. Trying to keep them awake (thought of getting a squirt gun.) Trying to get them to do their work. Trying to get them to read the board and get ready for class every day when they come in. It's no wonder that I am exhausted every day when the final bells rings at 2:55. Maybe as the year progresses, they will come up to the bar I have set for them. I hope so.

Friday, September 18, 2015


 It's an exciting day on campus! There have been two deep holes in the patio area since school began. I think there used to be trees there but they were removed...I don't know why. And now we will have trees again! Yay! I wish they would put in trees that provide more shade but they also have to think of the cement areas and root structure. So, any green tree is a good one, I say! Right now they are only 5 feet tall but the other ones like them, on campus, max out at the roofline of the other buildings, so there is high hope. I just hope they grow quickly!